Nor Things to Come…

Happy New Year? Not exactly… Eventful perhaps.

December 30th ended with me discovering that our waterbed mattress had split a seam. This brings to mind images of a tsunami raging down the hallway, but in reality, it was only a ¼ inch long split. It was enough to soak the edges of my bedding and leave just a bit of standing water under the mattress. I spent the night draining the waterbed.

Since patching a split seam is rather ill-advised, I picked up a replacement mattress and safety liner on New Year’s Eve. I was incredibly thankful that the two together cost me only $88! I rang in the New Year filling up my waterbed for 5 minutes out of every half-hour. Between the itty-bitty water heater, and a temperamental pressure tank, it was the best I could do. Shortly after midnight I finished filling it and put clean (and DRY!) bedding back on my newly-filled waterbed. Unfortunately, it will take a few days for the water temperature to return to the 90-something degrees that it needs to be for us to sleep comfortably. If you try to sleep on a waterbed that is not warm enough, you WILL FREEZE! So, the futon is our home for a few nights.

Add to that the irritation of having a completed blog post that I was unable to post for a few days, pending technical resolutions from the IT staff here at teishknits.com. I must say, being married to a first-rate computer technician has its perks!

2009 was a year that I would not wish to repeat. 2010 has started out on a bad note. Still, it’s nothing catastrophic, and I am thankful that things are not as bad as they might have been. At least none of the bedframe was ruined by the water leak. How does that quote go? “From the day that you’re born, until they take you away in the hearse, things are never so bad, that they couldn’t be worse!” Perhaps I shall adopt that as my motto for the year. I can find something to be thankful for in everything. Put another way…

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38 & 39

Winter Morning Photographs

I did take the camera out for a walk after all! Something about a sunny winter morning just begs to be photographed. I wandered around a bit, taking photos of icy branches, tire tracks in the snow, and Dad with his Farmall.

What a familiar sight that is! Seeing Dad working on his tractors, just like he has since I was a kid, makes the farm feel like home to me. A lot of things change, but some stay the same…

[slidepress gallery=’winter-morning’]

At War With the Ents

Every year it happens. It’s just inevitable. There’s no escaping it. I have to put up the Christmas tree.

My kids love the tree and all of the decorations. So, as much as I’d love to avoid it, I do it for them. In another five years or so, it will become their job, and I’ll relax on the couch and supervise. Until then, the task falls to me.

I’ve had the same artificial tree for about seven or eight years now. The stupid thing hates me. I’m serious! No matter what I do to try and “shape” the thing, it just refuses to look good. It’s a sneaky thing too. I get to the last layer of branches and sigh with relief. I’m almost done! Then the top of the tree mocks me. If shaping the branches is a nightmare, then shaping the top is THE nightmare. It refuses to be shaped in an attractive manner. And when I finally DO get it looking half-decent, I discover that the side that has been chewed by the mice is facing the front. (Mice chewed the fake needles off some of the tree the first year it was in storage. It now lives in a plastic tub in the off-season.) So, now I have to turn the top of the tree around, and try re-shaping since the part that was facing the wall looks hideous. When it is at last assembled, I step back and notice the nice filled-out areas of the tree… and the gaping holes that take center stage. No amount of fiddling with the branches ever makes it better. In fact, it may have made it look worse. I regard the tree sourly and mutter something about just sticking a lone red ornament on it and calling it Charlie Brown’s tree since it’s so ugly. I can hear the tree laughing at me. (I swear that it’s really an Ent with a rather twisted sense of humor…)

I pull out the string of new LED lights and drape it on the tree. I stand back, and then try to fix the dramatically uneven distribution of twinkle lights. When I decide that I can’t make the lights look any worse, I reach for the ornaments. The ornaments themselves are pretty. Teal and brown this year. I can never resist picking up something at Wal-Mart once the ornaments are on the shelves. They look so pretty in the boxes. I imagine how beautiful they will look on our lovely tree. Then reality sets in. I try to strategically place each shiny ball to cover up the holes in the tree branch arrangements. Instead, they look like helpless little planets about to be crushed into oblivion by a black hole. Garland, I skip. I’ve never been able to put it on the tree so that it looks good. Tinsel is right out! Although, I did ponder putting some on this year. Mom always told me that my tree would look better with tinsel. Perhaps if I put ENOUGH tinsel on it, it would hide the innate ugliness. I dismiss the idea with the realization that one swipe of the German Shepherd’s massive tail would spread tinsel throughout my entire house.

The tree skirt is the only thing that made me smile. It’s one that Mom made. It looks like her. Bright, fun fabrics. It looks happy. It doesn’t match the teal and brown theme, but I don’t care, because it was Mom’s.

I accomplished this while the kiddos were napping. When they woke and came downstairs to fine a decorated tree and freshly baked Christmas cookies waiting for them, they were thrilled. As ugly as the tree is, they told me over and over how beautiful it was, and how much they liked it. Munchkin liked our nativity scene too. It’s one that Mom gave me two years ago for Christmas. They did notice right away that the tree had no star. This was mentioned to me MANY times.

Making a star for our tree will be a project for today. I’ll get some help from my adorable kiddos, and it will be my favorite decoration on the tree, just because they helped me make it! As much as I dread putting up the Christmas tree, it is worth it for the look on the kids’ faces when they wake up to what they consider a beautiful tree. Things look a bit different through the eyes of a child. Maybe I’ll recapture a bit of that this year.

Patience Isn’t Easy…

How many times a day do I tell my kiddos that they must be patient? A LOT of times, trust me on this one. Yesterday, I discovered that I am just as impatient as they are…

I ran a quick errand for Aaron, and decided to stop by the post office on the way home. I ordered our photo Christmas cards over the weekend, and wanted to pick up the stamps that I would need to mail them out. I pulled into the post office parking lot just about fifteen minutes too early. They were still closed for lunch.

“OK,” I thought, “It’s only fifteen minutes, I’ll just wait so that I don’t have to come back later.”

So I sat, in my truck, with nothing to do. It was one of the rare occasions when I didn’t have any knitting with me. To make it worse, my iPod was also at home, so the only music I had to choose from was a selection of five FM radio stations. I flipped through the stations twice and found nothing but ads and music that I didn’t like. The car was silent, and I began to fidget. I remember thinking that it was really ridiculous that an adult who is nearly thirty couldn’t manage to sit patiently for more than a minute or two.

Finally, after what seemed like FOREVER, I was able to zip into the post office and get the most adorable stamps for my Christmas cards. (Really, how can you resist little gingerbread men and snowmen on postage stamps?)

I’ve told my children on many occasions when they complained about how hard it was to be patient, that it doesn’t get much easier as an adult. How true that turned out to be! Patience is a virtue that perhaps I need to cultivate as much as my children do.

It’s strange to realize how far I have to go. For some reason, as adults, we think we need to have it all figured out, that we need to have it “together”. I’m not saying that we should not strive for excellence in everything. We should consistently aspire to learn more, and to improve both our thoughts and actions. The transformation that Christ brings to our lives is an ongoing process. I do think that we should realize and accept that we, like our children, still have a lot to learn. I am NOT a shining example for my children. In fact, there are days when my prayers are something like this, “Please LORD, don’t let them turn out like me!” But I can point them to the One whose example we should strive to follow. Perhaps that’s the best legacy that we can leave to our children. We are created in His image, why would we pattern our lives after anyone else?

Tenth

Black Friday. Also known as my tenth anniversary. For some reason the irony strikes me as completely hilarious! I have always been told that I have a somewhat warped sense of humor… But I digress.

The early bird sales did not tempt me on the worst shopping day of the year. I typically avoid leaving my house on the day after Thanksgiving. I had no plans to step foot in ANY store, let alone venture anywhere close to the Bangor area. Then, I got an e-mail… There is the most lovely yarn shop in Orono called Fiberphilia. They had their third anniversary sale the day after Thanksgiving. They had 20% off ALL yarn! I needed a bit more of a particular yarn to finish a sweater, and I did need to pick up some nice yarn for some knitting I’m doing for Christmas, and what better day to do it, then when it’s on sale, right?

Joyce had already been to the early morning sales and back, she was actually sleeping when I called her. Still, she graciously agreed to ride with me to Orono while Aaron watched the three little munchkins. We were on a deadline, since we were supposed to have dinner with Aaron’s parents. I had to be home by 11:30 at the LATEST in order to be on time for dinner. (Yeah, we were late.) We got to Fiberphilia, and I found the color yarn I needed to finish my sweater, but there was only one left, and I was hoping for two. Maybe one will finish it; I’m this close to being done. I also found some yarn for the Christmas gifts that I’m attempting to knit. We got in line. I threw my yarn into Joyce’s arms and told her to keep my spot. I returned with more yarn. The line to the cash register went past yarn. Another skein of some gorgeous Noro Silk Garden followed me… Really, it just jumped onto the pile of wool I was clutching! We got out of the shop with my bag of yarn and Joyce observed, “We’re going to be late.” We stopped at Tim Horton’s for hot chocolate and headed back. We were late, but I had such a great morning with my sister that even the prospect of being half an hour late for dinner couldn’t dampen my mood.

After dinner Joyce and I went to Wal-Mart. By then, it was no more busy than usual, so I did some Christmas shopping sans insane crowds!

Joyce took all three kiddos home with her for the night.  So, Aaron and I had an evening to ourselves.

We sat down in a very quiet house to have supper. It had not seemed like it was really our anniversary, particularly a milestone like the tenth, but I suppose that after ten years and three kiddos, life gets rather hectic! We still had the chance to have a quiet supper, watch some TV, and just chat without being interrupted. It may have been a rather boring way to celebrate an anniversary, but I still enjoyed it. (With three little kids in the house, boring can be welcome!)

It was fun reflecting on our wedding ten years ago. The time has gone by so fast, especially the last five years with the kids. So much has happened, so much has changed. It’s been wonderful, it’s been hard, it’s been life. So much of being married is just life. It’s filled with the good, the bad, the crazy, the funny, the boring, the heartbreaking, the exhilarating, the irritating, the stressful, the fun, and everything in between. Having someone there to ride the crazy rollercoaster with you is priceless. Having someone to share the great moments, the awful moments and the everyday moments is something to be thankful for.

My husband amazes me. He is a man of character, and I treasure that. He had the courage to start his own business and work hard at it every day, and I’m so proud of him! He keeps me grounded, and he makes me think. He inspires me. I have no idea how he manages to put up with me, but I’ve not once doubted that he loved me with all of his heart. I know that it’s a cliché, but I truly believe that God put us together, and I am so very grateful that He did! There is no one else who I’d rather grow old with…

Anniversary Cake

Ever Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that all of you will be spending it with people you love.

I’ve got two pans of rolls in the oven right now. One pan will be going to a friend’s house with us tomorrow. The house is starting to smell really good!

When I was a kid, we always had Thanksgiving dinner here at the house that I live in now. I have wonderful memories of those moments. I even remember looking out the window to a pond covered with ice and snow on Thanksgiving Day! We used to have snow by then pretty much every year. Last year, when we moved in right after Thanksgiving, I had planned to begin that tradition again and have dinner here at my house. But I had not planned for Mom not being here to spend it with us. In truth, I just don’t have the heart to spend the day here, in a house filled with memories… reminders of what was, but never will be again.

Thankfully, friends of ours invited us to Thanksgiving dinner at their house. I will be fortunate enough to spend the day with not only my husband and children, but also with friends who really are like family to me. I am actually looking forward to tomorrow. My biggest concern is how my three little kids will behave!

In spite of the fact that I’m sitting here in tears, I can still find so much to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for what I had. I’m thankful that I had her for as long as I did. I’m thankful that she was here to hold her three grandchildren the day that each of them was born. I’m thankful for the tears, because it means that there were far more wonderful memories.

I’m thankful for what I have. I have a husband whom I love so much. I have three precious little ones who give me many reasons to laugh. I have a sister who is closer to me than ever before. I’m thankful for the other family and friends who I’ve been blessed beyond belief with.

I’m thankful for what is to come. I don’t know what is in store, but I do know that I will be given the strength to endure it. And I’ve read the end of the story. I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that He’s preparing a place just for me. Could anything we suffer in this short life compare to what is waiting for those of us who follow Him? If that isn’t a reason to be thankful, than I don’t know what is!

I don’t understand how joy and sorrow can co-exist, but I know that they do. One of the mysteries of grace I suppose.

Happy Doctor Who Day!

Today is Doctor Who’s 46th anniversary. For those who don’t know, it’s a British science fiction show. I was introduced to it by my Dad.

I used to watch the Original Star Trek and Doctor Who with him. I grew to appreciate the shows in time, but mostly, I just wanted to spend time with my Dad. Those are some great memories. Just sitting on the couch with him watching the strange TV shows with terrible effects, but utterly intriguing storylines. Perhaps that in part is what inspired my facination with astronomy and space exploration.

I don’t have anything profound to say today. But it was nice to remember some of the good memories that I have from my childhood.

Pumpkins, Peace and Praise

Is there anything that says autumn like a pumpkin? Aaron’s parents brought out some pumpkins for the kiddos yesterday. Munchkin LOVES pumpkins! She agreed to let me cook one of them so that we could make a pie. I found a recipe for a Pumpkin Maple Pie that just looked too good to pass up! I baked the pumpkin and pureed it last night, but didn’t mix up the pie until this morning. I used my grandmother’s secret pie crust recipe. (Pillsbury ready-made pie crusts!) It’s in the oven right now, and smells wonderful! I’ll try to wait until Aaron gets home tonight before I have a piece, I’ll try anyway…

Mr. Q has been glued to the window in the living room this morning. They are replacing culverts in the road across the street from our house. A dump truck and excavator are just too much for any little boy to resist! They were so alluring that when I set Camo in his high chair and doled out his cereal, I heard a little voice calling to me from the next room, “I’m not hungry Mommy.” This is utterly unheard of. That boy is ALWAYS hungry. I took in a cup of dry cereal and asked if he would like something to snack on while he watched the tractor. He readily agreed! He stayed there for nearly two hours, content to watch the construction. It was really an adorable picture.

It was the type of thing that would make me call Mom and say, “You will never guess what your grandson is doing!” I’d have related the story to her and we would have both laughed because no one loves trucks and tractors more than our little Mr. Q. Then I’d have told her about the pumpkin maple pie in the oven, and she would tell me that she’d be down for a piece later. I’d tell her that I still had some of her coffee in the cupboard to go with it. I still do have her coffee in my kitchen cupboard. I’ve not had the heart to move it yet. I like having the reminders, little pieces of her life around me. It still seems like a dream at times. Nearly seven months and there are still days when I can’t believe that she’s really gone. The ache in my heart reminds me that it’s true.

Oddly enough, I’ve been humming the hymn “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” this morning. I looked up the lyrics, and found hope…

 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace, Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

This is all my righteousness, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome – Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

Now by this I’ll reach my home – Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing – Nothing but the blood of Jesus;

All my praise for this I bring – Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

First Day

Today was our first day of lessons. The kids did really well, and due to their young ages, we kept the lessons short. We started reading a chapter a day of the book Little Pilgrim’s Progress. It’s a truly wonderful story, and this adaptation of John Bunyan’s classic is quite readable for young children. I remember reading it myself, and have fond memories of my first introduction to Christian and Christina. I hope that my children will have such memories of our time spend reading it together!

As with all milestones lately, it was bittersweet. Mom would have been thrilled to see the legacy she began with my sister and I, continued in her grandchildren. I will forever be thankful to her for investing the tremendous amount of time, energy and money that she did to teach us herself. It was truly a labor of love for her. I pray that I will be able to accomplish half so much as she did!

Throughout the last six months, God has sent many things my way. Scripture, poems, books, songs and even blog posts! So much has been a comfort and encouragement to me. A recent song that is not new, but was new to me, is by Matthew Ward, “I Will Worship You.”

The line, “And when my life’s complete, I’ll place my crown at Your feet,” reminded me of her from the first time that I heard it. I can see her now doing just that. I don’t know if she ever heard the song, but it’s one that she would have liked. A beautiful reminder of who our God is, and why we worship Him.

So, I will continue my journey through grief, and continue Mom’s legacy. I’ll keep teaching my children, and telling them every day just how much I love them.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Come September

I’ve been busy gearing up for starting lessons with the kids come September. When I stop to think about this task that I’ve undertaken, I’m rather overwhelmed. OK, scared to death may be closer to the truth. I know that I’m up to the challenge, I just have to convince myself of that fact!

Mom made it all look so easy. She made being an amazing mother look as natural and effortless as breathing. I have a tremendous example to follow, but by the same token, it means that I have some very large footsteps to follow in! Dare I hope that someday my Munchkin will be saying that I made it look easy? Parents have heavy responsibilities, but the struggles are more than offset by the great joys.

I’m thankful to have help and advice from some really wonderful moms and teachers. Still, there are so many things that I’d thought to ask Mom. I feel a little more lost without her a phone call away. I guess this year will be a learning experience, for both the kids and me! As frightening as this all seems at times, it’s a wonderful adventure that I face with anticipation, and a LOT of prayer!

(PS – Points for anyone who can tell me who starred in the movie with the same title as this blog post!)