Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ode to Friends

Friends are brave and join you at Zumba
Friends share a strange love of La Bamba
Friends drag you out of your comfort zone
Friends just know when you can't be alone
Friends will make you laugh till you split your gut
Friends know just when to compliment your butt
Friends' ties that bind are like having a twin
Friends become much more than just next of kin
Friends love joining you for 4 hour walks
Friends are with whom forever isn't enough time to talk
Friends are appreciative of the little things
Friends will lift you up until you grow wings
Friends enhance and catalyze, creating synergies
Friends are protective and outraged at your injuries
Friends recognize your true inner and outer beauty
Friends have courage to stand by you, not just duty
Friends stay close no matter how far away
Friends know what to pray for before you ask them to pray
Friends will feel your pain just as deeply as you
Friends will do anything to pull you through
Friends are naturals at planting inspirational seeds
Friends are all the therapy you'll ever need

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A different kind of Christmas Letter

Normally the purpose of a Christmas letter, well, my previous Christmas letters anyway, is to recap for friends & family, and even myself, all that was notable over the last year, especially for those people who do not get to hear about your life regularly.
Honestly, I would rather not hash out this year again, in the frame of my mind I've been in lately, will quite frankly it would be like trying to reflect fondly on a hospital stay.   So, instead I'm going to try something different.  I'm going to make a Thankful For 2010 list.  Positive spin :)

In 2010 we are thankful for:
1. Parents who are just as healthy or healthier than they were at the beginning of the year.  There have been quite a few doctors visits and hospital stays this year but thankfully those issues are all behind us now, with a new appreciation for health and taking care of it.

2. Surrounded by family, who are increasing in numbers.  To have family so close (even if Steinbach & Altona don't always FEEL close) is a huge blessing, quality time with them doesn't ever feel like enough.  They are the people I could be around (and could be around me) 24/7....which we did for a week in August that was awesome!  The laughter and the love we share is a joy.  Even the little ones, getting to an age where our connection is much more, they are engaging us and interacting with us on a whole new level that is such a delight.
Every year that we have the family we love so much surrounding us is a blessing, so it is an even greater blessing if another person to love is added to the fold. This year my nephew became a much anticipated and much loved member of our family, and though the love of 8 adults is now 'split' between 4 children it feels like it's multiplied instead.

3. Financial security.  In a year where most people spent recovering from, and maybe even still being hit by, an economic down swing, we have been very fortunate and blessed.  We continue to have stable, well paying jobs that have provided us with; a great mortgage, the ability to maintain that home with renovations and outfit it with fiscally & environmentally responsible appliances, a 'new' 2009 Journey, and the ability to be generous to those not as financially fortunate as us.

4. Growing.  Growing comes from two places, a desire to meet higher standards, or failure so significant you have to grow just to survive.  Plenty of both have happened this year.  Pursuit of our ideals, moving towards a life that we value and feel God leading us towards.  Healing from choices and circumstances, this year, and years past.  But growing, whether it's pursued or healing, is still growing, and we are thankful we are moving forward, whatever it requires of us.

5. Our Church.  Although it was a hard decision to leave a Church we loved so much, Riverwood has grown into the community we've been wanting and needing.  Partly because we took the initiative to be intentionally involved, partly because I believe God has orchestrated people from our past also coming to Riverwood.  And he has blessed our efforts with some great new friends recently that have come to mean a lot to me.

6. Friendship.  If there is one thing that makes growing pains easier it is having friends to bare the burdens with you.  The friendships we have, whether from within our families, our work, our Church, and even our internet friends (hey, that's you!!), are so heartening!  No matter where we turn, we have you by our side, you have our back, you lift us up, we are so thankful to have a life blessed by friends like you.  You have helped more than you know these last few months.

7. Love.  Most of all I think we are thankful that we still have so much love for each other.  10 years ago this season, an employee took a chance and asked his boss to dance.  A Christ-loving young lady took a leap of faith dating a Fatherless young man.  Two heart-broken people took a risk that they would find love in each other.  They not only found love, they found healing in the love they shared and they continue to find healing by continuing to share love.

Thank you for sharing this year with us, in one form or another, and God bless us, everyone.

Year in Statuses 2010

Since I haven't been able to summon up a good reflection of 2010 in the form of a Christmas Letter, I'll post this for now, a summary of my year in Facebook statuses.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blue Christmas

A Blue Christmas Star 31000 Images

I had never heard of a Blue Christmas before but the moment I discovered what that was, just a few weeks ago, it really resonated with me. I'll get to more about Blue Christmas in a moment. 
Typically Christmas is my favorite time of year, in addition to being grateful for the reason for the season, I can't get enough of friend & family gatherings, the lights, the carols, the pageants, the decorating, giving gifts & cards, the cheer, the joy, the food :)  I like my Christmas red, green, gold, silver, purple, pink even!
This year my spirit just isn't quite as celebratory, I just can't quite get into the festive parts.  There are absolutely no decorations up in my home, the only ones I've considered are candles and beautiful dead red branches from a bush we have in the yard.  I've been listening to the mellow carols, I have no gifts wrapped yet, and I have a general lack of enthusiasm for most things merry & bright. This is not the typical way I celebrate Christmas.
Then I found a phrase that perfectly described what I'm feeling.
"Blue Christmas services are not a traditional Christmas service, it is one that represents the winter of our souls instead." 
That is definitely the season my spirit has been in for the last while.
And trying to contrive the cheer, the merry, the bright, the bell jingling, etc. just isn't sitting right.  I'm thankful our Church doesn't typically do the knee-high shepards and angels parade, but I know I won't be able to go into our Church without wading through swarms of children in their shiny, velvety, best. I just don't think I can take that this year.
As many people can't.  Those who are missing someone or something from their lives. Those who don't have a family to surround them.  Those that don't have healthy family gatherings.  Those that don't have anything to give or receive.
We want....I want...a 'silent night' and 'all is calm'.  The only glowing I want to see is candles. The only baby I want to think of is the one in the manger.
And this year, the one year I need this, I will have it. 
Our Church is holding a Blue Christmas service Dec. 21st. It's a night to focus on what everyone can celebrate, the birth of our saviour and the enduring hope he brings us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No I didn't!

So, this morning I did not wear 2.5" heels that did not hook on our carpet at the entrance after I did not turn off the light prematurely, which did not result in me tripping, nor falling.  Then I was definitely not saved by the over-sized straps on my over-sized purse

catching on the bannister, not preventing me from falling more than 2 steps backwards an not leaving me with only this bruised fingernail to show for it : /

Hmmmm, me thinks its a good reason to love big purses (that save lives!) and a new manicure :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm getting there

It finally feels like I'm making progress, saying no to things if I 'want' to do them just because I feel like I 'should'.  If I have no really good reason why, then I don't!  People may be a little disappointed they aren't getting a handmade card from me this year, but these are the same people who every year say 'I can't believe you hand make all your Christmas cards!'  Besides, the photo card was hand/digitally made by me :)

My Tuesday nights are over now, a slight relief, but I'm already missing my new friends. One new friend has been really great, we facilitated together and I gave her a ride a few times, and the times we've talked have really connected us and she's just the kind of friend I've been needing. Uplifting, inspirational, she's a really godly woman and she's been through something similar to my past.  It's interesting because every time I saw her at Church before this, she just had this 'something' about her that drew me to her and now we're friends.  Orchestrated me thinks :)  Ever since we've grown closer I just don't feel like there is so much weightyness in my soul....that's the best way to describe it.  I'm feeling very blessed and looking forward to a continued friendship, even when we're not facilitating group.

And although seasonal busyness is picking up and I'm not able to avoid all things goal-oriented, I'm not feeling the pressure I was even a month ago.  Work load has been at 90% instead of 150%, so some pressure off there.  Other issues have both increased and decreased but I'm finding I'm determined to communicate about them in the moment to avoid unnecessary worry which was leading to anxiety before.  Some people aren't liking the communcation so much, not entirely sure what to do about that situation yet, but at least I've tried, and I have some great people to vent to in the mean time.

I'm actually past the point where I'm itching to do things just because I'm restless and need to fill up empty time and I'm wanting to do things for the enjoyment of doing them.  I think that's a good sign I'm healing, and hopefully on pace to start the new year off ready to fully engage in life again!
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