Friday, December 31, 2010

So Long, Farewell!

2010 is almost at an end.  Can I get an "Amen" or two for that fact??  The last two weeks have felt like I've been trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose aimed straight at my mouth.  But I am happy to say that things do appear to be improving.  My mom is now out of the hospital and at a rehab facility to try and get her strength back.  Unless there is an unexpected setback, she'll likely be out of there in a week or so.  We may be moving her into a one bedroom apartment so she won't have as much to keep up with and also to save her some money.  So while there are aspects of life that will be easier, a new adventure is most definitely on the horizon.  And guess who lives only five minutes away from her mother?  Yep, that would be me....and the things God has been teaching me are so many and so profound that it's going to take the rest of my life probably to process them all.  If and when I ever get some uninterrupted time, I'll attempt to share with you some of what that has been.

Today I am getting things back in a somewhat orderly state in our own apartment before I go see mom and then head downtown to Atlanta.  Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but a while back Hamp and I had volunteered to work at Passion 2011.  I had to back off from my original commitment, but with mom's move to rehab, I'm going to get to join Hamp for some of the conference and we will get to spend New Year's Eve together.  I know it will be tiring, but I'm ready for a different kind of exhaustion and I think this will be a refreshing time for both of us.

One last thing before I put things in high gear.  At the beginning of November I started another blog called Pixy Prose.  For years I've wanted to create a line of greeting cards but haven't had either the time, resources, knowledge, or equipment to do so.  I discovered I could satisfy that creative part of me by simply using the internet and a new blog.  Of course, millions of others have discovered that blogs can be an expression for lots of things as well, and I never really got many looks on it.  That humbling reality combined with my mom's health issues have forced me to stop it for now because I don't really have the time to invest in it.  While I don't have a ton of people who read this one either, there are more views of it probably because it's been around a while.  Once I have time to remove the Christmas background, don't be surprised if this becomes a combination of the two.  I'm not sure it's a good idea to squelch something that surprisingly met a need for creativity I didn't realize I had.

So as a beginning to the new year and a goodbye to the old, here's to discovering what God has placed within us!

"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us."
~Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Does This Make Possible?

I am sitting in a hospital room in the middle of the night listening to my mother mutter unintelligible words as she reaches for things only she sees.  I know I'm not the first person to deal with tough issues like this, but the part that makes this hard is that the majority of her problems are a result of choices she's made throughout her life.  What began as a medical situation that required surgery to be corrected has become the least of the issues threatening her life in every way.  I truly believe that as long as a person has breath they have value not only in God's eyes but in the world they live in.  But I'm not gonna lie; dark thoughts come unbidden especially when it's dark outside.

A few weeks back some friends of ours were telling us about the difficult time they'd been through recently.  They've been involved in ministry for the last 30+ years and as victims of deception and ultimately betrayal, they had to uproot their lives and begin again.  One thing they shared with us that they had taken from the experience was instead of asking the question, "Why?" to ask the question "What does this make possible?"  I've thought a lot about that question and how it's a much more productive one to ponder when life doesn't go the way we thought it would or should.  It's somewhat helpful to think about as Tiffany will now be spending Christmas alone due to our inability to travel because of my mom's health.  And as Matthew recovers from his 7th surgery on the same knee, the hope is that the answer is "a lot!".  But as I think about the many possible ways this scenario could play out with my mom, all I really know is what is no longer possible for her.

At some point I'll get some pictures up from our time together as a family a couple of weeks ago.  Sadly, my mom wasn't feeling well even then and left before we could get any pictures of her that day.  But I do have one from her birthday that we took at Publix where she was working that day and it's one of my favorites of her.  So I'll close with that and hope that memories will eventually erase the scene in front of me as I type.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Madness

Welcome to the pre-dawn creation of today's post. I am up because my poor body can no longer digest all of the food I'm putting in it in a timely manner and so sleep has become the thing to go. I remember now why I began Weight Watchers online last year on January 1st - I was simply tired of eating and feeling terrible. I have reached that point again and will gladly stop the holiday feeding frenzy most of us succumb to each year. Why we do that in our country could be a fascinating thing to ponder when there is time someday...

As I type, two of our children, the cold-fighting, sweet spirited spouse of one son, the cat, and the hubby are all sleeping in our relatively small apartment. Such is life in our new normal of recent years. It might be fun to actually create a game to predict where we will be living next Christmas and how we'll celebrate as a family. The rest of my side of the family will be here in about six hours and we visited with some of Hamp's family yesterday in Newnan at Sprayberry's Barbeque. (The onion rings with their accompanying grease are last night's prime suspect in the stomach distress that awakened me an hour ago.) Then tomorrow brings not only predicted zero-degree wind chills, but the departure of the Disney daughter and the Great White North couple to warmer temperatures than they will leave. The local coaching son will be counting down the hours before his Christmas break and also probable knee surgery once again. His poor knee just gets messy inside about once every couple of years as little cartilage fragments splinter off and get stuck under his knee causing lots of pain.

I left you with my upcoming trip to Baltimore pending and I did have a good visit. The meeting that needed to happen went fine and I got to see several friends for short visits and eat a crab cake lunch. While southern crab cakes can be good, there is nothing like a Maryland crab cake and anyone who has discovered them will agree.

It was mostly cold and gray while I was there so I didn't get many pictures. But I do have these which make me smile every time I see them.

Aren't those faces the cutest?? And the guinea pigs are pretty cute too.

Hamp and I got our tree up last weekend and Kit has enjoyed hanging out underneath it as usual. Tiffany got her as a gift on Christmas morning 15 years ago; my, how time flies!

As Christmas Day rapidly approaches, we find ourselves actually thinking beyond it. We're volunteering to help with Passion 2011 which will be held in Atlanta from January 1-4. Hamp took a couple of days off so we could help the whole time and we're excited about it. We may or may not get to hear some of the speakers and/or music, but it's not about that for us. The heart of the volunteer staff is to be a door-holder in the Kingdom so that the college students coming will be able to focus whole-heartedly on what God might have for them. There are still volunteers needed and the only requirement is that you are at least 26 years old and have a willing heart. Being able to function with little sleep might be helpful too. :) If you want to learn more about the conference, click on this link and it should have a place where you could volunteer if you're interested in doing so.

I should probably "officially" begin my day as our little household will begin to awaken soon. Have a good Sunday and bundle up - the weather is not going to be our friend in the next three days or so. My only consolation in the upcoming forecast is that the extremes don't last as long as they did when we lived several hundred miles further north.

Hopefully this calendar page I turned to the other day won't be your experience in the coming days, but if it is, make sure you get a picture!