Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Relax on the Beach!

Justice is a Garment, Love is a Thread

Wow.  Just wow.

A weekend spent in discussion of justice.

Reminded of the pain, the sorrow that fills our world.

The impossible choices that so many face.

Mothers, fathers…the choice of doing something horrific or watching their children starve.

Hearing life stories of those who have become invisible to the average American.  To me.

Being amongst 4000 people, 46 states, 8 countries.  Our voices raised in anguish, in anger against the injustice that exists in our world.

And then, we head home.  Our hearts have been broken.  Our heads swimming with ideas of ways to help.

It is not hopeless because now there are a few more of us to give a voice to the voiceless, to bring hope to the hopeless and to bring justice where there is none.

It starts with me.  It starts with you.  In our neighborhoods, communities.  If we work together, we can make a difference in this world.

Justice is a Garment and Love is a Thread!

Sometimes you can’t just sit on the beach!

Wishes

And may we live in a world at peace and with the awareness of God’s love in every sunset, every flower’s unfolding petals, every baby’s smile, every lover’s kiss, and every wonderful, astonishing, miraculous beat of our heart.
Anonymous

The end of the old year accompanied by the beginning of the new.  The looking back and seeing both the good and the bad, finding the balance of the two.  Surprised at how many tears were shed in 2011 and yet we still ended it filled with laughter and love.  And now, 2012…looking forward to many things, but dreading  just a few.

We don’t do resolutions in our household.  That is just a set up for failure.  Instead, we have our wishes that were written down on little slips of paper and sealed up.  On New Years Eve, we will open them up and see how our wishes came true or how they’ve changed because of how we’ve changed.  Not matter how big or small, the wishes are written down and there is no limit to the number. I think it will be most fun to read the boys’ wishes and see how they change over the next few years.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Be a healthy person – physically, spiritually, emotionally   This is a biggie for me, but I’m on track.
  • Parent my growing children with love and model forgiveness and grace – This year, we will become parents to a teenager so I’m pretty sure I will have some challenges to grow in this area.
  • Connect with others – I tend to be a major introvert.  Although I enjoy my time with my friends, I love to be home and working on things by myself.  However, in doing so, I’ve inadvertently hurt some friends by not reaching out to them at times.
  • Simplify my life – I’ve already started this process, but I wish for it to move forward more this year.  You know that phrase, if it is useful or beautiful to you, get it out of the house?  That is the question I’m constantly asking myself as I look around at the things we own.
  • Create – I used to play with paper all the time, and sew, and knit, and bake, and, well, create.  For the last couple of years, I haven’t done that much.  There are just too many other drains on my time, but now I’ve found a group of women whom I relate to and they challenge me to create, not just for myself and my family, but for others.  I wish for that to continue this year.

You know, looking over this list, I see that it could be one basic wish.  I wish to live my life on purpose.  (Yes, I know that is a catch phrase right now, but it is true).  I’m tired of having life happen to me and looking back over the year and wonder why I feel like I’ve just gone through the motions.  Maybe it is just a part of my mid life crisis.  I am turning 40 in a couple of months, but I don’t want to just kind of wither away as I get older.  I want to be one of those people that embraces this time in my life.  My 20’s were fun.  I was having the time of my life getting my degree, performing regularly and getting married.  My 30’s were a whirlwind with 3 children in less than 4 years.  My 40’s will bring many changes as the boys become men and I want to be an example for them of what it means to live life fully.

So, 2011 is the sunset.  It was a beautiful year in it’s own rights, but 2012 is the sunrise of the new morning, filled with promise of what is to come.  We are now in the start of the new year and already some of my wishes are coming true.  I’ll let you know how it all works out…

Did you make any wishes for the new year?  It’s not too late.

He Was Supposed to be Doing the Laundry!

Why the Lights Are Important

This is a time of the year filled with joy and hope, but sometimes that is wrapped up with so much more.  Eleven years ago, my father in law passed away.  I had just put in a batch of Christmas cookies and there was a knock on the door.  My parents had come over to tell us that my father in law, who lived in Chicago, had just had a heart attack and was gone.  It was only 2 weeks before Christmas.  Now, the very joy and the tradition of baking some special Christmas cookies are forever wrapped up with that memory.  Fortunately, our oldest was only a year old at the time so he doesn’t remember the year when our Christmas was filled with such intense grief.

Just two years later, my mom asked if I would travel with my not yet one year old to say goodbye to Grandma in Indiana.  When our flight landed and we arrived at Grandma’s house, my dad called to let us know that he was on his way out because his mom was also in her last days.  Grandma W was in hospice care and still responding by the time we got there.  Grandma T was in the end stages of Parkinson’s and had no idea who we were.  I learned if I talked to Grandma T in German, she would at least look at me.  And I held my little guy up for them to see.  There was a slight smile in their eyes.  They passed away three days apart from each other with the first funeral being on the anniversary of my father in law’s passing.

I wish I could remember which airline I was flying because it became very important for me to get home to my husband and oldest son and the costumer service agents worked their tails off to make sure it would happen.  We were able to fly home on Christmas Eve.  When my husband picked me up from the airport, I just fell into his arms.  Again, Christmas was wrapped up in grief and we had two children to try to show some joy to.  On the drive home I kept looking around at all the lights, feeling like once more, there would be no Christmas for our family.  My dear husband just held my hand and drove.  As we turned the corner to our street, I saw the lights he had hung while I was gone.  He knew I would need that and he was right.  There was something so peaceful, so calming, so right.

The following Christmas, we were unemployed.  It marked the half way point for what would be a full year of unemployment.  Again, it felt like we just wouldn’t have Christmas, but I learned it was the little things.  As hard as it was, I put the cookies in the oven, tears spilling at the memories of years gone by.  We got a small tree and decorated it, laughing at the boys antics, but crying when their backs were turned.  But the day that my man went out and plugged in those lights for me?  That was the day I knew that we would be all right.  Those lights shone in the darkness when it seemed that nothing else could penetrate.

After that, we felt like we were holding our breath every year.  Just waiting for the grief that would hit and it did, but each year, there are just a few less tears and a bit more laughter.

Last year was a busy year for us.  We weren’t going to hang the lights because it would just be too much hassle.  Then, the week before Christmas, we got the news that the tumor that was found in my mom’s lung was definitely cancer.  The prognosis wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good.  More unknown.  So we went through the motions of Christmas feeling like we couldn’t breathe once more.  I came home from a rehearsal to find that my husband had hung the lights.  When I asked him about it, he said that he figured I would need them.  He was right.  He’s good like that.  (by the way, Mom is doing pretty good right now)

So you see, it doesn’t take a grand gesture to show someone you love them.  It doesn’t take an expensive gift.  If you are like me, sometimes it is just seeing those lights in the darkness and knowing that through the grief you can find joy.

Sometimes…Birds Destroy Pigs