Thursday, January 19, 2012

Graceful Numbers

I'm not sure where I learned this, but somewhere in my life I heard that the number 5 represented grace.  I thought of that last October when I turned 55 on my birthday.  Since I had two 5's going on, I decided that meant I could claim double grace for me and my family in 2012.  Then the other day I was thinking about this again and realized that if you added the numbers 2+0+1+2 together, you get...5.  So I'm taking that as confirmation of my earlier deduction and find myself looking forward to what this empty slate of a year has in store for us.  I'm pretty sure this would hold up in a theology class....not!   :)

Anniversaries deal with numbers too.  We reflect on how many years since (fill in the blank) happened and whether that's a cause for celebration or a remembrance of loss.  When I was talking with my Mom this morning, she reminded me that exactly one year ago today, she returned home after 31 days of emergency room/hospital/rehab stay and it gave me quite a pause.  A year and a month ago I would have bet money that she wouldn't live through all that was going on.  For a purely random comparison, here's her Christmas tree last year that we put in on the windowsill of her hosptial room. She actually has no memory of anything surrounding the holiday.

And this was this year's tree in the beginning stages of being decorated in the living room of her apartment.

I would have to say that falls in the grace category.

This past weekend as the rest of the country was celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., I periodically looked back to six years ago and what was Tiffany's wedding weekend. Every once in a while, I still just shake my head at the reality that is ours and how that barely a year later, her husband walked out on her and ultimately chose an alternate life style leaving lots of carnage in his wake. But mostly I am thankful to God for saving her from a marriage that was already full of heartache and preparing her for the life He called her to.

I would have to say that falls in the grace category.

Back in my youth, there was a song by Three Dog Night called "One". The first line says, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do". I've learned that truth firsthand in the last few months as the settling in here in Tennessee has gone much slower than I had anticipated. I am by myself a lot. We're still not settled for sure on a church and you don't see neighbors in an apartment building except in the parking lot. And to top it off, three months ago we lost Kit, my feline companion that filled a void I didn't realize was as big as it was until she's been gone. But in this time of solitude, I've learned in new ways that God is always there. Being alone with myself doesn't scare me anymore; in fact I'm almost too OK with it sometimes. I suspect that as we age and those we love begin to leave us faster than we'd like, the knowledge that I will never truly be alone will sustain me when nothing else can.

I would have to say that falls in the grace category.

So maybe 2011 wasn't as lacking in grace as I thought. But I'm still claiming a double share of it this year just in case!

Friday, January 13, 2012


Happy New Year to everyone! Yes, I know, I'm a little late on that one and realize it's almost MLK's birthday holiday, but better late than never, right? Over the last month or so, I've been pondering some tweaking of the blog and as a result haven't really done much of anything. I realize that if I want to stay interested in keeping up with Keepin' Up With The Joneses I actually have to do just that. And it would help in keeping readers too. Well, if there are actually any left. goal for this new year is to have entries often, even if they're only a picture or a sentence or two. I think I've been guilty of thinking that if I didn't really have anything significant to say, then I didn't need to say anything. But isn't that a bit narcissistic? Why do I think that anything I ever say could be significant?  (By the way, how do you like the use of the word "narcissistic"? I'm learning bits and pieces from Tiffany as she plods away at her master's degree in counseling and I must say that I'm better for it!!)  I think I've concluded that whether anyone reads or not, for now this is a way for me to journal through the adventures we seem destined to live out and to help me remember what the year has brought.  It appears we'll be settling down for a while in the Nashville area, so we'll see what unfolds as the year goes on.

I don't have much time right now to wax eloquently, so I'll just share a few of my favorite pictures from Christmas and tell you why they are.

I realized a few years back that our tree ornaments tell a story every year as I decorate it so I intentionally keep an eye out for new ones to add to the collection. This first picture is of a new Hallmark ornament of an Oriole which represents our time in Baltimore along with a locally designed ornament with part of downtown Franklin drawn on it.

This ornament is not a new one, but it makes me smile every year as I put it on the tree. When it's dark, dreary, and cold outside, it's a reminder that life keeps moving forward and in the not so distant future Spring Training awaits along with a new season of hope for baseball fans everywhere.

This was a gift from our dark-haired Disney daughter this Christmas and it makes my heart smile. It's a reminder that all girls are princesses and while it seems that the wait for Prince Charming for some seems eternal, God has a plan and He's moving everyone into place at just the right time.

This last one made me cry when I finally got around to putting it together. Loss of loved ones, human and otherwise, is a universally common theme for all of us and we experienced that with Kit this fall. She had been part of our family for 15 years and it was very sad to not have her sleeping under the tree this year. Matthew brought his cat, Simba, when all of the kids came to celebrate Christmas and his presence was a help for me in the absence of Kit.

I'll leave you with a picture of our greatest gift this year.

While the moves of the last three years and the total upheaval of our family has been difficult a lot of the time, I have learned something very valuable in the process. Being together as a family, whether often or only once a year, is a gift and I hope to never take it for granted again.