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Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Someway, we will have the Christmas tree and our cat. We may have to make some decorating adjustments but it will be okay. It is "Tradition!"... can you hear Tevye singing? Our girls are almost grown and it is important to them and to me and I hope to Dave. He patiently lugs the boxes up and down and straightens or adjusts or moves without much complaining. He is the best!
As a child, we always had a tree. One year we couldn't wait because we thought Daddy was taking too long, so William and I traipsed out behind the house and got one ourselves. It was probably not our most beautiful, but I still remember that little adventure I took with my oldest brother!
Throughout our life together, Dave and I and the girls have always had a tree. Some years I get overwhelmed and threaten not to put one up, but we always do. Through a Christmas deployment, when the tree stayed up until Dave got home, cool or weirdly warm Texas Christmases, and cold or snowy Tennessee, Oklahoma, and German Christmases, the tree is a standard. It links our holidays.
Our tree is not a theme tree like some, or elegant like others. It is a scrapbook. One we only take out once a year. As we go through the ornaments, we are touching memories. We pick and choose which ones to display each year, but even the ones not hung bring back memories. There are ornaments from friends far away. Others, we have bought each year for each other or the girls. We are saving theirs up so when they have their own home, part of us will be with them at Christmas. It will be a "mini" hope chest gift in a world where most people don't have a hope chest any more. There are the Christmas crackers that remind of us of David's childhood and his family. There are also the ornaments from my Mama, plastic icicles, even one from her Mama and ornaments she shared with me. They keep me close to her and Daddy every year, no matter where I am.
Each year as we open the boxes to decorate, it is a little like opening a time capsule. We remember places we have visited, people we have known, events in our lives. Some make us smile, some make us laugh out loud and yes, some even make us sad. That is okay though, because even the ones that make us sad help us recall happy memories. Some of the reminders were bought in stores, some were lovingly crafted by friends, and some were made by sweet little hands in Bible class or Girl Scouts or other places just for fun. There is even a styrofoam cup angel and a decorated twig that I would not trade for the world.
So the cat, Luna, will adjust and so will we. We will have the tree and we will have the cat and things will be okay. I will sit in the dark with the tree lights on this year, like past years, and remember. My dear friends and family, know that I will be thinking of you as I do.
I guess it is time to find a cat ornament for the tree.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I am not a talker. I am a writer. That way I get my words straight and manage to say what I mean more often. This is supposed to be a devotional but it is more just some things I wanted to tell you.
You know you are very special to me. You are my other daughter and I love you very much. I wanted to give you some things to think about, as you get ready to get on with your life as a wife.
You are not just a newlywed. You are a military spouse. This puts you in a unique position. You will face hardships and joys that other wives might not. You are one of a select group that has unique qualifications for this position because you have also been a military child. You have moved, lived on bases and remote areas both here, and abroad. You learned from your mother as you watched her do the things you will do now.
Here are some things to remember.
It is hard for any newlywed to be away from Mom and Dad and start their own home. Let's face it, married or single, it is difficult to always handle things on your own. Add in moving to another country and the difficulty multiplies. This is where you and Ragan will grow by working as a team. You can't always pick up the phone or drive by home to ask for advice and neither can Ragan, so depend on each other. But do ask for help when you need too.
Remember that you set the tone for your home. If you are content and have joy it will spread to those around you. You will not always be happy, you will not always feel cheerful but you can choose how you react to those feelings. A husband's bad day at work can sometimes be turned completely around by our actions when they get home. I know from experience that it can also get worse if we reacted badly.
Chose right over easy. It is easier to sleep in than to go to worship. It is easier to argue than admit you were wrong. It is easier to go with the flow than to stand up for what you believe. It is not easy to sit alone and not be angry when your husband is deployed, or to be gracious and handle things when the "I'll be home in 15 minutes turns to an hour", to deal with backed up toilets, broken cars, sick children or the millions of other things that get thrown our way when we are alone. It is not easy to comfort someone who is grieving when you are worried about your own husband. Help those around you. This can be hard at times but remember.. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 But you, brothers and sisters, never become tired of doing good. Remember that doing the right thing is often the hardest but also the most rewarding choice.
Live everyday like Ragan is deploying tomorrow. Don't waste time on silly arguments or get bogged down with day to day life. Cherish every minute. Treat every day as a gift from God and don't waste any of them. They pass quicker than you could ever imagine.
Don't fall in love with things. Can you imagine if Abraham told Sarah, "Honey we got orders." and Sarah had to pack up some of our homes! Matthew 6:20 says. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Please note that the breaking can also apply to our military movers. This is something I struggle with daily. Do yourself a big favor and learn it early.
Be flexible, because as you know Uncle Sam isn't. Windows and rooms are never the same size as the last place. Orders are late or they are changed. Babies, movers, and the cable installation people come when they are ready regardless of what we have to do or where we want to be. Remember God is good and meets our needs. He knows what is best for us. The assignment or housing area we wanted could have been a disaster and that base we dreaded so much going to could just be where we make a lifelong friend. Philippians 4:19 says: And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. This is a verse you should hide in your heart.
Serve God above all. Where we go in life and what successes we have are temporary. Where we spend eternity and who goes with us is of the most importance. Philippians 3:20 says, But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. Remember, our home is Heaven, but temporarily: Home is where the Air Force sends you!
Everyday of your life together remember that God, your family and your friends, loves you both. I pray that you will have a wonderful adventure as you head through life toward home.
I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. On one hand, I love Christmas and cannot wait for it to come. However, the other part of me dreads Christmas and wishes we could stall it for as long as possible.
I love all the beautiful meanings associated with Christmas. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday or just as a time to show love to the people in your life, it brings out the good in us. People wish each other well and take time to remember and catch up with those they care for and those who are less fortunate.
It can also bring out the bad in us. I hate the greed that comes with the season. Whether it is about profits or who has the most packages or biggest toys, it is ugly. Regardless of your motivation for celebration: God sent his Son to save us, Santa bringing presents to good little girls and boys, or both, It is about giving not getting. Greed does not profit us. It makes us less than we could be.
I often become frustrated at Christmas. I don't like to say what I want but I want to know what the people I love want. I want Christmasy food but don't always want to put out the effort involved. I want to decorate but really do not like to undecorate. I don't want the stress and the aggravation and the discord that comes with large holidays. Do you notice a theme here? This is my own kind of selfishness and greed.
As I am writing this, I realize that I don't really love/hate Christmas. I really do love it, I just wish it was all tidy and pretty and joy filled like a beautifully wrapped present. We all know that sometimes that is just not the case.
I wish Christmas did not show me so many of my flaws. I know what they are, but Christmas makes them stand out to me. I wish I mailed cards and packages on time and did not get irritated with shoppers, and cashiers, and Santas and bell ringers and I wish that I wanted inexpensive things or better yet, no things. I want to like to cook for my family and enjoy cleaning up when I 'm done. After all, who says all our "wants" have to be realistic?
The thing is, I'm not perfect. Who has been except Jesus? There are days when I love everything about Christmas and days I want to cry and call the whole season off. As far as I can see though, the good outweighs the bad by tons. And so, like most years, I start early. I shop. I just don't mail things on time. I play Christmas music way to early for my family, especially Afton. Dave humors me, sometimes Effie sings along and Afton slowly goes insane. I view this as training for when she is a mom and will often be driven insane by her children.
I decorate the day after Thanksgiving if I can and usually go to the crazy sales that day, too. I elbow through with everyone else and try to be cheery while I do it. Poor Dave hates Christmas shopping but he loves me so he goes along. His love is the best present he has ever given me.
For so many reasons, I keep right on loving Christmas. I have spent it at the beach in warm weather, with snow and cold, with all my family and with none of my family, with my husband and without. In all these situations, there were reasons to go on loving this holiday. Whether you are in the arms of those you love or clutching the phone as if by this you can pull them closer as you listen to their voice, their love is always around you. Love is what makes Christmas so special. Take away the presents and the decorations and all the other "things" and the love is still there. So to all of you reading this-I send you my love and wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year.