Hats and Heaven

I had to learn to make pompons yesterday. I had knit the cutest hats for the kiddos for Christmas, but the pattern directed me to make a pompon and attach it to the end of the hat. I considered just omitting it, but the picture with the pattern looked so cute with the pompon at the tip of the long hat. So, I searched the internet for directions, and attempted it. They didn’t come out too bad actually, and I have to admit that the hats look more complete with the addition.

That’s the sort of thing that I’d have asked Mom to help me with. I’d have taken that hats to her house and we would have laughed at my attempts as she tried to show me how to make a proper pompon. I miss her laugh. I miss a lot of things. It just might be hearing her laugh that I miss the most though. She had a great laugh. She used to laugh all the time. I can still remember what her laugh sounded like. I’m afraid that someday I won’t remember it as vividly as I do now. I’m scared of forgetting the little things. I guess because it’s the little things that I miss the most. It’s the little things that I want to always remember. It’s a double-edged sword. I want to hold on to the memories so much, but remembering brings the tears. Regardless, I would not trade the memories, because they are worth the tears.

I’ve been thinking about my kids lately. I was Munchkin’s age when I lost my Grandpa. I have some memories of him. Ones that I’ve carried with me and cherished for 25 years. But, oh, how I wish that I had more of them! I wonder if she too will hold tight to the memories, and grieve for the moments that she will never get to share with Grammy. I was Mr. Q’s age when I lost my Grandmother. I can’t remember her at all. I’ve tried so hard so many times to pull up something, some memory of her. I regret that I never really had the chance to know her. I wonder what she was like. Will he share the same regrets as he grows? I wish that I knew what to do for them. I pray for wisdom. I know the hurt that they have felt, and will feel. They are so young. I wish that I could spare them the hard things, the painful things.

Oh, the consequences of our sin! I’ve anticipated Heaven for many years. The older I get, the more I see, the more I long for Heaven. That’s what Christmas is about though, the restoration of our souls. We were never meant to live in this sinful, fallen state. That’s why He came all of those years ago, to restore us to all that He had planned for us to be. That restoration will not be completed though, until He returns. In the meantime, we must still live in an imperfect world, full of grief and pain of our own making. We have been redeemed, but His work in us is not yet finished. Someday…

For this week, I’ll keep meditating on the words of the prophet in Isaiah 9:6.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Dear LORD… Prince of Peace… I ask that You impart Your peace to us this Christmas. Soothe our breaking hearts this coming year. Continue Your work in each one of us. Strengthen us for the journey. We look to You with hope, because of all that You have promised us. We stand in awe of Your great love for us, broken souls that we are. We humbly and gratefully accept Your grace. Grace for the moment… Grace for today. Amen.

Daybook For December 21st

Outside my window… twilight, the stars will be out soon.

I am thinking… about relationships, in many stages…

I am thankful for… my Aaron.

From the kitchen… homemade crackers, and a cake to bake in a couple of days.

I am wearing… black pants, turtleneck, and the February Lady Sweater that I knit for myself during Ravelry’s WIP Wrestlemania.

I am creating… the last of my Christmas knitting! All knit, ends woven in, and ready to be washed and wrapped!

I am going… to have to go to the grocery store tomorrow…

I am reading… should be reading the Count of Monte Cristo, but have been too busy knitting, cooking, and working on my own stories.

I am hoping… to find the Prince of Peace in Christmas this year.

I am hearing… music from my iPod, mostly mushy songs at the moment. I’m just in that mood I guess.

Around the house… wrapped gifts, and a pile of knitwear waiting for a bath and wrapping paper!

One of my favorite things… dancing when no one is watching.

To read more daybooks visit http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

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’]

Daybook for December 14th

Outside my window… the sun is glinting off the snow and ice on the bushes, and it’s tempting me to grab the camera…

I am thinking… of how different things are this year.

I am thankful for… Dad getting home safely from his business trip last night.

From the kitchen… I have fudge, caramels and such to make, and Joyce and I will be making our famous rock candy again this year! (Hopefully there will be no third-degree burns this year.)

I am wearing… black knit pants and a tan shirt that Mom bought for me while she and Dad were at Universal Studios a few years back.

I am creating… more Christmas knitting, which I cannot mention because it’s possible that the people I’m knitting for might read this blog!

I am going… to take the camera outside for some photographs after all.

I am reading… Count of Monte Cristo, but I took a break to read three Doctor Who books. Yes, I know, totally frivolous reading. J

I am hoping… that this turns out to be a good Christmas after all.

I am hearing… computers humming, the boys are quiet since they are eating!

Around the house… the Christmas tree is all that I’ve managed for decorations, but it will have to be enough.

One of my favorite things… seeing the beauty in the ordinary.

Read more daybooks at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com

Daybook for Monday, December 7th

Outside my window… Snow!

I am thinking… that someone has been re-arranging the ornaments on the tree.

I am thankful for… the chance to visit my cousin this weekend.

From the kitchen… it’s definitely casserole and soup season.

I am wearing… jeans and a blue shirt with butterflies.

I am creating… lots of knitted Christmas gifts, but my carpal tunnel may force me to do some sewing today instead of knitting.

I am going… to take my sister to Bangor this morning.

I am reading… some Doctor Who novels, though I should be reading more on the Count of Monte Cristo!

I am hoping… that Dad has a safe business trip.

I am hearing… the hum of the computer, but the house is quiet since the kiddos are still sleeping.

Around the house… the tree is up, the nativity scene is arranged, and the stockings are hung and filled.

One of my favorite things… chatting with my husband before he heads to work.

For more daybooks please visit http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com

A Christmas Tale

I’ve spent my evening reading through some of my old files. I have come across a lot of poetry, some wonderful stories that I think I really should finish writing, and even a few completed short stories. One of those completed stories is a Christmas story. I wrote it in high school, in the year or so following Mom’s car accident. As with everything I write, there is something of me in it. Reading it touched a chord and I shed some tears, but ultimately came away encouraged anew. It’s not quite as polished as what I try to write these days. Perhaps someday I’ll find the time to smooth out some of the rough edges a bit, but for now, I’ll leave it as it is. I decided that it might make an appropriate blog post for the Christmas season. I hope that you enjoy my tale…

 

Christmas Miracles

 

    Christmas Eve, and where was I spending it? In the on-call room at Northern Emergency Services (NES), just waiting. I worked a lot of holidays, especially Christmas. Oh, I had a father and brother whom I could spend the holidays with. Truth is, I hadn’t been home for years. Dad and I had never really been close, but things had gotten worse after Mom had died. My brother, Larry, had tried to get me to visit Dad, but I wouldn’t listen. So, I spent most Christmases working.

    I should probably introduce myself before you get too confused. My name is Jenna Parker. I’m a licensed paramedic, and I’ve worked at NES for five years.

    It had been a quiet night, so far. There were two EMTs working that night in addition to myself. Sam Kingston, the resident comedian, and Jack Sherman were both on hand. Jack’s wife had died of cancer not quite three years ago. Unlike me, Jack had no family. His parents had died when he was young, and he had no siblings or children. He spent the holidays alone because he had to.

    I was becoming uneasy at the direction my thoughts were taking, so I decided to find out what Jack and Sam were up to. I found them in the kitchen getting some coffee.

    “Who made this batch?” I asked as I poured myself a cup.

    “Sam is the culprit this time,” Jack replied.

    “Is it drinkable?” I joked.

    “Of course,” Sam answered laughingly.

    The three of us talked for several minutes until the phone rang.

    “I got it,” Sam said as he rushed to answer the phone.

    “I sure hope it’s just someone calling to wish us a Merry Christmas,” Jack remarked grimly.

    “You and me both,” I said quietly.

    Neither of us said anything else as we waited for Sam come back and tell us what the call was about. We didn’t have long to wait. Sam ran back in and explained.

    “We’ve got an accident on route 3, just before the inn, one injury.”

    “Jack and I have this one you cover the office,” I said as we rushed out to the garage.

    “Right,” Sam replied.

    “I’ll drive,” Jack told me just before we got in the ambulance.

    We were both pretty quiet on the way to the accident scene. Any car accident is terrible, but on Christmas Eve…

**********

    When we got to the scene there were several local firefighters and one police car. Apparently, everyone in the first car was fine. The only person who had been hurt was the driver of the second car, a woman.

    How she could have possibly survived the accident is beyond me. I had never seen anyone get out of an accident that bad alive. Even then, I didn’t think it was very likely that this woman would make it.

    It took a few minutes for the firefighters to finish freeing her from the wreck. When they finally did we went right to work. We got her into the ambulance and started for the nearest hospital. I tried to stabilize her, but her blood pressure had dropped drastically.

    “Step on it Jack, I’m pretty sure she has some bad internal injuries. Her pressure is dangerously low.”

**********

    Officer Kevin Marks watched the ambulance drive away.

    Please God, let Beth make it. Please don’t let her die, he prayed.

    Then he called his friend, Ed Anderson, Beth’s husband.

**********

    When Jack pulled into the hospital driveway I was relieved, but also a bit depressed. This woman, Beth, was in very serious condition. I didn’t really see much hope for her, but I kept telling myself that she would not die. I don’t know if I believed it or not.

    We got Beth into the hospital quickly and turned her over to the doctors’ care. I saw a man with two teenage girls waiting in the hallway.

As Beth was wheeled by one of them called out, “Mom?”

In that moment I saw myself twelve years ago as a seventeen-year-old waiting in a hallway like this one…

**********

I leaned over as far as possible trying to see Mom. I still couldn’t believe she had been in a car accident. Someone had told us that they were taking her into surgery. I watched as they rushed Mom into the operating room. When the doors closed behind Mom I asked God to save her for the hundredth time since I had found out about the accident.

“I really don’t know if we can do anything for her Mr. Parker. Her injuries are extensive, but we will do everything we can,” the doctor told my dad.

Even then, I refused to believe that she could die. We waited for an hour and a half before we heard anything. Then, the doctor came out to the waiting room. Dad, Larry, and I stood anxiously, waiting.

The doctor hesitated before saying, “Mr. Parker, I’m very sorry. The internal injuries were very severe. Maybe, if we had gotten to her sooner… I’m sorry, there was just nothing more we could do. I’m afraid your wife died in the OR.”

I didn’t hear anything else that anyone said after that. My mother was gone, and nothing would ever be right again. How could it be?

The months that followed my mother’s death were very difficult for all three of us. I did my best to try and keep everything together, especially myself. I couldn’t let anyone know how much I was hurting; I didn’t want to. So, I hid behind walls of cold detachment and kept myself busy so I couldn’t think about how I felt. I didn’t want to face life without Mom. However, that couldn’t last forever.

Five months after she died I began to feel very depressed and angry. I was mad at Dad because he was so wrapped up in his own grief that he didn’t notice that I needed help. I was really angry with God because I blamed Him for Mom’s death. After all, He could have prevented the whole thing. So why didn’t He! That’s when I stopped talking to God and my dad. I didn’t think either one noticed. I didn’t think either one cared.

Since then I had learned to bury myself in my work and pretend that there was nothing wrong. Most of the time it worked. Still, every now and then I would remember. Then all the feelings would surface again before I could stop them. All the pain and grief inside would almost overwhelm me. Fortunately, I had become very good at burying my feelings.

**********

I watched that teenage girl standing in the hallway, and she didn’t cry. She looked fine, unless you really looked at her eyes. You could see the storm going on inside of her. It was like looking at myself, and for the first time in many years, I prayed.

God, I know that we aren’t exactly on great terms now, but this family really needs You. Help Beth, You let her survive that accident, please, save her life. Help her husband and kids right now; don’t let them feel alone like I did.

“You ready Jenna?” Jack asked.

“Yeah, I’m ready.”

**********

Sam met us at the door when we got back and asked, “What happened?”

Jack glanced at me and then answered, “It was a really bad one. There was only one person injured, but I don’t think her chances are very good.”

At that point I hurried into the kitchen and tried to pretend I was making coffee. A minute or two later Jack walked in.

“Do you want to talk about it, Jenna?” he asked.

“About what?” I asked.

“About why you just ran in here and hid.”

“I’m not hiding!”

He walked over to the table and sat down before replying calmly, “Yes, you are. You’ve been hiding ever since your mother died. I think this just brought the whole thing back along with all the hurt and feelings you buried twelve years ago.”

“You have no clue what you are talking about Jack.”

He was quiet for a moment, then replied, “Jenna, I know what it’s like to lose someone you care about very deeply. Believe me, I know. But you can’t hold onto it forever, because it will kill you inside. You have to let go of the past and deal with all the hurt and bitterness inside of you.”

    I whirled around and faced him long enough to yell, “Deal with it? My mother died. I lost her! How am I supposed to get over that?!”

    “You don’t get over it, but you can get past it. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even what we consider a tragedy. I know it doesn’t make sense, and I know that it hurts, but that’s when you have to trust God…”

    “No!” I interrupted, “He let my mom die. He could have stopped the whole thing, but He didn’t! How am I supposed to trust Him after He ruined my life?”

    “Did He really ruin it?” Jack asked quietly. “Jenna, all our struggles, all the painful things that happen to us are what make us grow and mature. That’s what shapes our character and makes us who we are.”

    “Or, shatters your life,” I said bitterly as I sank into a chair.

    “I can’t possibly understand why God does most of the things He does. But, I do know that He loves me and that He can give me the strength for just one more day. I think you know that too.”

    “I know,” I whispered.

    

“There are days when I feel like the sky is falling on me. I guess those are the days that I have to depend on God the most. It’s not easy to deal with the pain, and it does take time for your heart to heal. God told Paul that His grace was enough, and it is. He can help you, and He will, always.”    

“Jack, I’ve hardly said a word to God in the past twelve years. How could He forgive me after all this time?” I asked feeling the walls I’d built crumbling.

    Patiently and gently, he explained, “That’s what Christmas is really about. It’s about the miracle that God loves us enough to have sent His Son to us, for us. He did that so we could be forgiven. Psalm 130:3&4 says, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness…” Whatever you have done, wherever you have been, God still loves you and will always forgive you.”

    “You really believe that?”

    “With all my heart.”

    “There was a time I did too. Now, I don’t know what to believe.”

    “Believe what is true, Jenna.”

    “What is true?”

    Jack thought for a moment and then he answered, “Maybe other people forgot about you, but God never did. He loves you more than anyone else ever could. He wants you to be close to Him and to let Him help you. That’s the truth, and that’s the only way you ever will get through this, with His help. I personally know this to be true. It’s the only reason I’ve made it this far. I couldn’t have done it alone, no one can.”

    I could feel the tears pricking the back of my eyes, and for once, I didn’t try to stop them. Yes, I knew it was all true. I also knew that I had to take the next step, I had to ask for forgiveness. The choice was mine, I could get better or I could be bitter.

    “Jack, I think I need to be alone for a while. I’ve got some praying to do.”

    “O.K. I’ll be right out here,” he said before he left the room.

**********

    Oh Father, please mend her heart, Jack prayed. In fact, he prayed for a long time. He prayed that Jenna would find the strength and peace that he had come to depend on.

**********

I cried and prayed for what seemed like ages. I felt drained, but lighter. Something very heavy had been lifted, something that I had carried for too long. Now, after twelve years, my heart could finally start to heal. I could start to live again.

    When I got home the next morning I noticed the phone sitting on my desk. Oh God, I don’t think I can do this. Still, I knew I had to call. So, I found my address book and looked up a number that I had not dialed for far too long.

I waited while the phone rang and when it was answered I said, “Hi Dad. It’s me, Jenna. I was wondering if maybe I could come home for a few days.”

 

**********

 

Oh, and about Beth Anderson, she did pull through. That’s one Christmas miracle that she and her family will never forget. It’s one I’ll never forget either.

    That Christmas Eve I found out that Christmas is truly about miracles. I found out that God’s love is one constant in a world that changes every day. I found out that broken relationships can be put back together. And I found out that any heart can be renewed, even mine, if it is only willing.

 

“…because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'”

Hebrews 13:5b NIV

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.

Her Laugh

Do you know what really gets to me? It’s watching a movie that I know she would have loved. I did that yesterday when the kids were napping. I curled up on the couch and watched a movie. Through the whole thing, I kept thinking about how much Mom would have enjoyed it. I knew exactly when she would have laughed, and when she would have cried. In the middle of every funny moment, I could almost hear her laughter echoing in my ears.

She had a great laugh! When she laughed, you could see the twinkle in her eyes. She used to laugh so much! I think that’s one of the things that I miss the most. I miss that familiar laugh of hers. It was unique to her.

She laughed a year ago when I called to tell her that the kids had managed to pull the Christmas tree over.

“Didn’t you anchor it to the wall?” she asked.

“No… was I supposed to?” came my reluctant reply.

And then she laughed. Ten minutes later, she showed up at the door with Dad and we anchored my Christmas tree.

I suppose I’ll have to put the tree up soon. The kids really love the lights and decorations. I’ll miss calling Mom to let her know that my tree is up. She would always come and see it, and tell me that the only thing missing was tinsel! Then I’d convince her to sit down and have a cup of coffee. Her last tin of coffee still sits in my cupboard. Maybe it always will.

My nativity scene was a gift from her, two years ago. Some of the ornaments on my tree are ones that she gave me. Some are handmade by her. Memories, so many memories. All bittersweet now.

Still, what is Christmas, but hope? Hope for eternity, because of the sacrifice that was to come. Christmas brings me tears, but it also brings me hope.

Mom’s laugh isn’t lost. I think that right now, maybe the halls of Heaven are ringing with her laughter.

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