A Simple Christmas

We were putting up the tree this year and no matter what lights we tried, they flickered and went out.  Ugh.  Can’t things be SIMPLE, I wondered?

My husband and son went on a hunt for new lights before we took any further steps in decorating. They came home with new fangled LED lights in blue and white.  The hope was that THESE lights would be more trustworthy in the end.  While that remains to be seen, the result so far is exactly what we started out wishing for to begin with… Simplicity.

After getting the tree strung with these new lights, we all stood back in wonder.  Wow.  The tree, without a single decoration on it, looked stunningly beautiful.  The longer we stood there and looked at it, the more we liked it just like it was.  We decorated the rest of our tiny house with our favorite Christmasy things, like our Nativity and the treasured Nutcrackers, but we still kept coming back to the simple tree.

A string of silver beads, a few treasured ornaments, the Star of David, and a tiny nativity adorns our tree now, and that is all.  No over kill.  We just didn’t want to detract from what seemed like a fresh breath of air.  It was quiet beauty. It got me to thinking… less is truly more.  

It’s no wonder that God did what He did that 1st Christmas night when He took a simple girl on a donkey, to a unsuspecting Inn, with a stable of nothing to write home about, and delivered unto this world the most amazing gift He’d ever give mankind.  He adorned the heavens in a flurry of twinkling starlights with one large blazing light that out shown all the others… declaring that THIS night was no ordinary night.  He did not do what He could have. God had the right to usher in Jesus to a king’s welcome.  He could have sent Jesus into the world with all the trumpets and theatrics of what rightfully would have been His!  Instead, on that special night it was simple.  Not just simple though, it was simply beautiful.

We say it often in the church, “Jesus is the reason for the season”.   Before long however, we move right along to the business of buying the right gifts, decorating to the hilt, hurrying from one party to another, baking all the decadent goodies, sending off a flurry of letters, cards, and doing for charity our “yearly contribution”.  None of these things are bad – make no mistake.  Especially giving to those in need…  But when we loose the simplicity, the one tiny baby who came to earth, unassuming, gets lost in the shuffle.

So as you spend time with family, send your greetings, and wrap gifts, bake goodies, and do all those treasured Christmasy things…remember Jesus.  Truly remember HIM.

God did simple for a reason.  He wanted it that way.  It only takes a joyful heart to celebrate the amazing birth of our Lord and savior.  It only takes an open heart to receive the precious gift of saving grace and eternal life… the best gift ever given in the history of the world.

May God bless you this season… and put the joy into your Christmas by keeping it simple.


If I were a wizard…

Drake: Do we have any more oranges? It’s the only healthy thing I want to eat.
Me: Nope, we’re out, I cant help you.
Drake: If you were a wizard you could!
Me: * forehead smack *

Right… If I was a wizard I could poof a lot of things into being – and oranges most likely would not be high on my list.

THIS is how most of the conversations with my son go.  They run from starting out normal to completely, “What the??” inducing confusion.  In this case I just told him to find something ELSE healthy ANYWAY without batting much of an eye.

But truly, I love his way of doing life.  It’s all full throttle, running headlong into the great unknown.   He’s been this way since birth when he scared the %$#@ out of us as he crawled into terrifying situations and was happy to waddle right off of  the sides of playground towers and in front of moving vehicles.  It’s amazing he’s survived till 8.  It’s a testament to the eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head we gained sight through and applied quite well.

Drake will do anything to get us to play with him.  “Mommy, you can’t catch me,” he taunts as he starts to run away.  “Oh really?”  One firmly placed step forward can send him scurrying off with giggles turning into hiccups.  I have loved those joy inspired hiccups since he first began laughing as a baby.  He tears off his shirt and runs full tackle into his Dad’s legs in a take down move that’s never gonna happen… all this to start a “wrestling match”.  It may not work in it’s intended way, but it does start a wrestling match of some sort, with the young son pinned in seconds.  I wonder how long it will take to flip that coin on its head and have Drake holding the upper hand.  🙂 and dad breathing a long sigh out as he realizes his days of coming out on top are nearly over.

Our Drake is all boy. He was not a planned child on our part, but it is quite obvious that God did and He has amazing plans, at that.  What will this kid grow up to be?  He regularly states that his “imagination has a ‘mind’ of it’s own.”  No, he hasn’t a clue why that statement is funny at all.  He seems to see it as a ride he’s just on and as curious as we are as to the destination coming ever closer each day.

So navigating a house such as mine requires a full set of armor ready for whatever is coming this way.  It is never planned and rarely makes good honest sense at all… but the end result is always mind blowing and you are always glad you came prepared for the unknown.

Tonight – it was oranges and magical magicians, if only Mom could arise to the challenge.  Not tonight.  My feet are firmly planted in reality, and no oranges will poof their way into being, so my let-down son will have go deal with the  bananas (with brown spots) or go by way of the apple.  Oh sigh, the orange will not appear to him because I dash NOT out to fullfill whims, any whims, if it be on a freezy cold winter night.

So eat what you’re told and be most happy mate.  You’ve no idea how good ya gottit, really.  So now off to bed with yee, without yer poor orange in yer belly.  Maybe tomorrow your ole MA will find a way to dazzle you with her wits and powers of unknown proportions.  She may poof them into being if she takes a mind to it…Ya just never know…

But for now, Go eat a banana (and be happy about it) – and get thee into the bed before i string you up by your toes!  (this usual banishment will result in enough giggles to begin the hiccups again and I am free to be declared winner of THIS round.  🙂

An obsessive taste of heaven

Okay… I’ll be honest.  This is not a spiritual post here.  It’s more like a dive behind the scenes to an obsession I was turned onto years ago by way of saving face, and now is my not so secret way of pampering myself.

If you don’t know already, I am a Chai fanatic.  I happened onto it when visiting coffee houses as little mom get-aways and I am not a coffee drinker even enough to tolerate faking it politely.  I simply cant stand coffee.  Love the smell, hate the taste.  But I was feeling a bit childish always ordering hot cocoa.  So on a whim I got a chai latte.  Dear heaven above can only compare to the rays of sunshine that suddenly entered my realm.  Insert “Ahhhhhhh” voice-over here…

I now have snooty preferences and preferred coffee houses and the way they make their chai.  I am a die hard Starbucks fan, because they are quite literally EVERYWHERE…  But I love a great blend from the Mocha Lounge – LOVE the S’more’s version they have this time of year, and the Pumpkin spice mix with REAL pumpkin puree from the Firefly, here in town, is to die for.  In the summer, I am obsessed with the amazing Iced Chai’s from nearly anywhere, but I LOVE the Iced Vanilla from the Expresso Coffee Gallery.

I have many loves, one being vanilla chai lattes, but will happily take any chai you got. Only problem?  My budget does not love my obsession.  I love my coffee houses, but my wallet does not agree.

So when my fab friend Stac shared this recipe with me, I fell in love and well, the rest is checkbook-lovin history.  (though if you ever want to bless me with a gift card, I would never refuse it!  🙂  hee hee)  It takes a bit of cash to get the ingredients if you don’t have them, but it lasts forever once you do…

3 regular tea bags  *  2 1/2 cups water  * 2 short Cinnamon sticks  * 3 cloves  * 1/4teasp ground Marjoram *  2 3/4 cups milk * 1/3 cup sugar or splenda

Boil all the ingredients except the milk and sugar. Set those aside.  Boil for five minutes,  cool, then add the mixture, along with the milk and sugar, to a pitcher and stick it in your fridge for at least 2 hours.  This last part is the secret.  It gives it time to mix with the tea and tastes soooo much better. (Yes, that is the technical wording) But if you are unable to wait because you are just too excited to try your brew, it will taste delish anyway.  Never fear!

Add some whipped cream and a dash of ground cinnamon and you have a date with heaven in a matter of minutes.

Go ahead, think I’m nuts, but let me tell you… when life overtakes the sanity around here, a cup of this stuff is nearly as good as any medicine my doctors can prescribe for me.  Self medicating with Chai may truly be the thing that gets me through the rough days ahead, (well that and God of course) and it is by far the best tasting medicine I will ever take!

Blessings!  – And next time you have a cup of chai, send up a toast to yours truly!

Hell bent on womanhood…

I stole my child today. Don’t judge me. I don’t get many “good days” with my interesting health situation, (to put it nicely) and today was one of them… I wasn’t gonna waste a second of it.

Lindsey had an eye appointment back to back with mine today. She got contacts for her 13th Birthday. UGH – a teenager already! (When did I get old enough to have a teenager?) Wait – don’t answer that.  I was going to take her back to school after our appointments.  Really… That was the plan.  I promise.

But when I woke up today, unlike 8 out of 10 days, I didn’t struggle to make myself move. My head actually didn’t pound out of my skull this morning. It was a amazingly good day. I was afraid to let it slip away with mundane errands and laundry.

I’ve been driven by the pain in my head, a slave to the medicine routines lately…but not today…  By golly, the only good day I had this week wasn’t gonna pass me by.

I caught this moment and held on with a ferocious grip. Yes, I should have taken my kid back to school, but I was selfish. I am not the least bit sorry either. My plans were solidly set in stone still until we climbed in the van and were on our way. I was wavering, but thinking with my parenting “aught and should” brain till I glanced over at my teenage daughter.  I took in her knock off Ugg boots vs. the light up butterfly shoes she had a few years back, the trendy green plaid puffy coat with fur hood vs. the glitter pink down coat with matching pink gloves and stocking cap. There were no pigtails sticking out of her head. Instead there was carefully flat ironed red hair to go with painstakingly applied blush, mascara, and lipgloss.  She grinned at me, peeking sideways and noticing I was taking her in.

“7 years,” she randomly she stated, then grinned bigger.

What?  What was I missing here?

“Thats when my birthday will make me 20,” (the age I fell in love with her Daddy). It was a punch to the gut. 7 years. Not seven years till she is out of the house,  not off to college, not even driving.  No, all of these come SOONER!  No… it’s just 7 short years till she could find a boy and fall in love… and be moving on towards her OWN family.

Where did time go? What vicious monster stole my time with this little girl and grew her up into a teenage, drop dead beautiful, mature, and courageous daughter?

So yeah, I stole her today. And I am proud of it.  She thinks I was just a super nice mom, getting her a $1 hot chocolate at Starbucks, shopping with her birthday money, and helping me find new jeans that were hip (and worthy to wear onto the school premises) with Christmas money from my mom INSTEAD of going back to school. I should be quiet about it, but what if the Time-Monster comes to visit you? Maybe you’ll need a heads up…

Listen, judge if you want, but here’s a secret. I learned to steal time from the Time-Monster from my own dear mother. I thank God for that every time I remember to treasure my kids like today. Yep, that’s right.  I still remember a day at Bob Evans, age 10 (and more years ago than i will confess to) where we snuck away, just mom and me, and I got to eat off the adult menu for the first time… I’d hit double digits after all.  The waitress saw a child but my mom saw the future blazingly bright before her.  I looked like a child but I was hell bent on womanhood. I was chaffing at the bit.

Lindsey’s now bubbling with Christmas cheer and energy, flitting around the house and singing annoyingly off key (intentional) and I sit here bawling in gratefulness for today. Somewhat sappy I know, but you know how that is right? You are so happy you cry and cant stop? Yeah. I’m a mess and I am just so blessed I am soggy. I want to remember this moment for a long time to come… even how soggy I am in my gratitude for stealing a moment away from that danged Time-Monster.

So, Mom… I Love you – beyond words… This from the woman who’s now a mom of a girl hell bent on becoming a woman, herself. Thank you for teaching me to live in the moment. Thanks for treasuring me and my brother. Thanks for helping me see each and every blessing from above, often hidden in daily life. You are the best example I could follow. You and Dad did good. 😀

I want to say to my daughter,  STOP IT!! STOP IT RIGHT NOW – Stop growing up so fast.  Stay 13 for a while and stop wishing yourself forward 7 more years. It will come, baby girl. But don’t let the TIME MONSTER steal any minutes away from us. I love you with all my heart and soul, and I’m just as sappy about your sis and bro too. Don’t worry, I promise to steal them away someday too 🙂