Friday, December 12, 2008

Ho Ho Humbug

I am sitting here at school, and yes I know that it is 4:22, but I have gate duty tonight. Lucky me! I got all excited this morning, because it was Friday. My kids are very anxious for Christmas break, and that means I am too. My Friday seemed to come falling in on me when I remembered that I have gate duty until 7 o'clock. I could have gone home, but I would have had to turn around and come back before I could even get anything done. I thought I should stick around school and take the opportunity to get some things done here at school, because my brain will be in shutdown mode next week. We have so many things going on at school that I wouldn't have time to do anything if I wanted to.

I love Christmas, but sometimes I feel like we busy ourselves so much that we forget what we are really supposed to be celebrating. I am very guilty of that. I am so worried about where I am supposed to be, what I have to buy, and how many days that I have left, that I don't give God the praise that he deserves. I realize that this has been a pretty negative post, so I am going to end it with an email that I got from my superintendent at the beginning of the week. It meant a lot to me to know that the person who is in charge of our school has his heart and mind where it belongs at this time of year.

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to
appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas. My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's
Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the
production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She
assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class
rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage-held up large
letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. < /span>
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down- totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of first through sixth graders snickered
at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the
children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first
place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
And, I
believe, He still is.
Amazed in His presence...
humbled by His love.
Amen, He still is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"525,600 minutes. How do you measure a year in a life?"

Just an update on my little angel. She is getting entirely to big for her britches. It makes you wonder where that year (525, 600 minutes) goes.
She is 1 going on 16! Everything that is kinda phone shaped, goes directly to the ear, and "Hi. Hi. Hi Dad. Hi."

She just looks like a big girl doesn't she. I still cannot get over watching her short little legs walk/run everywhere. We are a whole 20 lbs. now. Officially legal for the front facing car seat:)

Grrr. That's what a tiger does. She is VERY vocal. I am sure she will be a singer when she grows up. I love that she is saying things that we can understand. It doesn't seem possible. My favorites are when she clicks her tongue to tell what a horsey does, and she sticks out that little finger and says, "Top it!" That is really cute, but I am afraid that it has somehow become less effective when we say it. Maybe if we wouldn't laugh when she did it?

Monday, December 8, 2008

And I am Washed by the Water!

I had an amazing day yesterday! I cried all day. I know that in most cases that would not be good, but it couldn't have been better. I finally ( after months of struggle) got baptized. I cannot describe the feeling. I was baptized when I was younger, but it had taken on new meaning to me and I knew that it needed to be renewed. To feel that I am clean and have a new start is awesome. I feel like my faith and love for God has grown so much in the last few months. Also, my number one Christmas wish was granted. My husband went with me. That was a large part of the emotion that I was dealing with.

I went into the room to change and thank goodness for Erin, because I needed to know that I was having a normal reaction. She said she also had a meltdown. (Thank you so much for everything Erin. Love you!) When I walked out and could see people staring at me, it seemed like everyone was a blur but James. That could have been a result of the tears that I was choking back;) He was smiling! He understood how important that moment was to me. I know that I have to lead by example, God will take care of it in his own time. When I was leaving Beth asked if I would sing next Sunday. I told James he should come back to hear me sing, and he didn't say no. I know that it will be a long journey, but I am willing to wait.