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26 December 2010

Christmas and a Baby

Like so many holidays for me, this one plowed through my life without much inspiration.  No reason to stay up late on Christmas Eve.  No reason to get up early on Christmas morn.  A day just like any other day marked by the entire town shutting down and my husband and I left alone.  This year it was just me while Todd was at work.

While I have tried to start my own traditions in my house of two, they are never met with much enthusiasm and die a slow death alongside the fireplace embers.  So every year, I put up the tree by myself, gulping down a bottle of wine sipping on a glass of wine to get me through it.  I play holiday music on my iPod so as not to disturb the football game going on in the next room - or better yet, this year, my other half just left the house to do something he found more exciting.  Each year, I go a little crazy with the tree decor.  It is, afterall, all mine.

We join my husband's family on Christmas day and for this I am thankful.  I enjoy SO much the laughter of their sibling rivalry displayed through our hours of board games, the older kids now joining us at the 'adult table', and the hugs and filled lap from the kiddos that are still young.

We have a small get-together at my mother's - more of an open house.  You never know if either of my step-brothers will join or not.  It could be a houseful.  More often than not it is just a few.  I think this must be heartbreaking for my parents.

So this year, as I ready for 'just another day', I looked out my window in time to see cars pulling into my neighbors house.  I have known them well, moreso, in the past than of recent days; a tight knit family who has been very lucky in love and light who seem to pull through anything that gets in their way together.  They have been met with some financial troubles to one of their own in just these past weeks. 

As I watched this part of the family get out of their vehicle, I noticed a flash of bright pink.  Not above being easily distracted by glittery things, I found myself stalking staring in anticipation!  As they became more visible, I realized it was a baby wrapped in the most gorgeous shade of preciousness I had seen all season.

This baby has come into their life in the past year as an immediate part of the family.  Loved and spoiled as if it were their own blood.  As I watched, I notice my eyesight get blurry.   Something deep down in my heart was speaking and I couldn't stop the tears.  I'm not sure what it was trying to say - a mixture of joy for the family, a yearning for that baby to be my own - for a reason to stay up late on Christmas Eve and get up early the next day, and reverence of what she represented...HOPE.

Hope and a REASON to celebrate.  Brand new eyes from which to view the world with an innocent little soul.  Little hands and little feet to discover a NEW path in life.  A helplessness and frailty that asks us to take the journey with her without even saying a word. 

As if as a sign from God himself, the gray sky opened up and sun surrounded us all.  Silent Night started playing on my stereo behind me as the one and only holiday song that never fails to make me weep (so much so that I typically and immediately change the channel!).  I let it sink in.  I stood there at my kitchen sink and cryed; tears washing away my darkened heart.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Had I forgotted the most important baby of Christmas?  Had I failed to remember that it is CHRISTmas?

My mind wandered to another family needing a Christmas miracle...my own.  And how ironic and poignant that while my uncle still lie in a hospital, hanging on to every day of sweet life - that he does so to see his unborn grandson.  The circle of life will not end with either of them...but go on as an inspiration to both of them.  They are forever connected in HOPE.

So as I move forward with this last week of the holiday, I will not forget the HOPE and love and little Chrismas moments of wonder that surrounds each of us now and throughout the year.

Merry Christmas..again..to you all.

20 December 2010

Awesome.

I used to be awesome.
...or so I thought.

Above average brains, quick in humor and wit; a perfectionist at heart and pretty overall fearless (or oblivious...whatever). 

Then I got bumped.  Again.

The first time was in high school - Powder Puff football.  NOTHING sugar and spice about those girls!  I got plowed. Hard! Full-on tackle by a chick three-times my size that knocked me off my feet; my head bouncing off the ground in whip-lash action.  I blacked-out and woke up with a swarm of people around me asking twenty questions.  The hospital sent me home that night with a killer headache and no chance for sleep, as my mother woke me up every thirty minutes to make sure I hadn't drifted off permanently.

The next (and  hopefully last) time was just this past year.  I realized tonight that I hadn't written about it - and now notice a huge gap in my posts; not altogether a suprise as, if you haven't noticed, I'm not the most disciplined blogger in the world.  I don't talk about this topic much and honestly, I don't remember quite a few details.  The effects; however, are a constant and haunting reminder.

My husband and I were in an auto accident this past March.

The weather was unusually cold and icy for that time of year.  We were driving on an interstate that, I later learned, had been shut down earlier that morning due to a rush hour pile-up.  I was playing solitaire on my Blackberry from the passenger seat with my feet propped up on the dashboard, taking on my usual stance as the co-pilot in the Explorer.  We had purchased the SUV after my last accident 7 years ago; a road rage incident that left me terrified to drive anything without a birds eye view of the road and a brush guard attached to ensure I could wipe out anything that ever got in my way again.  It was a solid and fairly custom piece of machinery.

It all happened in the blink of an eye.  We hit a patch of black ice.  My husband screamed for me to brace myself and reached out to hold me in my seat much like a mother's instinct to a child.  We spun out of control, slamming into a concrete barrier blocking us from plummeting over a bridge.  Airbags deployed.  I was catapulted out of my high-back bucket seat, through the cab and expelled out - not through the hatchback (that would be too easy!), but through the small tempered glass panel flanking either back side.

Seatbelts people.  Seatbelts.

Exit Window
I remember floating in the air inside the vehicle.  Slow motion.  I remember my head striking something hard.  The sound of metal and glass...and skull.  Then nothing. 

My mind wandered to the comforting smell of my late grandfather's aftershave, whom had passed away just a few years prior.  I felt the same protection and security I did when being held in his lap as a young child watching the evening news together. I remember drifting away, as I would drift off to sleep in his lap.

I woke up, suddenly and with jolted pain, just like I did on the high school football field nearly twenty years ago - a circle of people (angels really) asking me too many questions and telling me I would be OK.  I searched for, and managed to focus on my husband's shocked expression to assure him of the same.  "I am OK. I'll be fine."

To this day I can't imagine his panic after the accident, reaching over to check on me after his own spinning stopped only to find my seat empty. To find me laying in a massive pool of bright red blood, stark against the white of snow and ice beneath me. To find me stiff with one arm reaching to the heavens refusing to relax back down to my side - back down to Earth. It was months before he would not wake up in the middle of the night and reach over to my side of the bed, playing the scene over in his nightmares that jarred him awake to make sure I had not vanished. To make sure I was still by his side...forever.

I was rushed to KU Med Center and treated by their amazing head trauma unit staff.  My noggin was stapled back together and I was fitted with a boot and some crutches to help me walk on some banged up ankles.  That's it!

I later found out that I landed at the side of the road, out of the way of traffic...on the ONLY patch of soft snow within miles as if God has reached down from the heavens to catch me and lay me gently down on the pure white pillow.  A nurse, an EMT and a preacher had been following us on the highway and stopped to help.  They stayed with my shaken husband until I was moved to a private room.

What does this have to do with my self proclaimed awesomeness?

I sustained a severe concussion.  A traumatic brain injury (TBI). While most of my obvious symptoms have disappeared and the visible signs have healed, I am left...bumped...both inside and out.  I often feel sharp 'shoots' of electrical sensations across the back of my head, swelling and tightness is a common occurrence, as well as forgetfulness, unorganized thought, roadblocks in verbal communication both spoken and written and an overall feeling of disorientation or time loss/lapse.  

I am no longer awesome and it is more and more apparent in my current employment - where it's my JOB to BE awesome.  I made a mistake today.  The same kind that I often do these days.  The kind that is becoming harder and harder to ignore.  I find myself wondering sometimes, "What if somebody notices? What if they all realize I'm no longer smart? What if they are onto me?!?!"

I can only keep fighting this new 'disability' and work harder and harder to overcome.  And while I AM working harder and struggling...and making more mistakes...I will REJOICE and be GLAD IN IT.  

While I used to think that it was me that was awesome, the truth is, this whole year has been a reminder that GOD is awesome!  And no matter how far I think I have fallen off of my self-serving pedestal, my ego of awesomeness, He will reach down out of the heavens to catch me and gently lay me down into the pure white snow. I only have to reach up. 

12 December 2010

Joy down in my heart

While writing Christmas cards tonight, I read the scripture inside.  REALLY read it. 

JOY.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for JOY and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7 NIV

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great JOY which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:10

I am ready for JOY.  I am ready to see it and create it and live it and give it and pass it on.  

I will find joy in balance...or balance through my joy.

How do you find or what is your joy?

Cupcakes are a good start!


 

08 December 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Where's Waltoad?

Can you find the 6'4" man we sometimes lovingly call Toad?  Not in MY yard in the fall!
Title: "Where's Waltoad?"Photos Taken: December 2010
Photo Editing: Color Splash iPhone App
                                                                                                                                   

07 December 2010

Thanks...and Wanting More

Thanksgiving left me rather wanting for more.

More time.
More thoughtful moments.
More time to write down those thoughful moments.
More memories.
More memory.
More memory of my memories.

But what I did not leave wanting was more just for the sake of wanting more.

Not more money.
Not more things.
Not more money to buy more things.

I actually spent Thanksgiving eve staying fairly later than most at work.
Thankful that I have a job that allows me to do so.
I drove myself to meet my husband for dinner that was 1/2 price with a coupon.
So very thankful to be alive and driving my humble little economy car to meet my love for an evening out.
We saw a dear friend that we had not seen since he was hospitalized with a heart attack.
I was thankful for friendship and fun and contagious laughter and happiness that spreads.
Another friend offered us a free stay at a luxury hotel!
"Thank you" didn't seem enough!

I filled up a small sized pool they called a bathtub with water and bubbles and just let go.
Breathe. 
Relax.
I looked around at the marble floor.
I looked at the antique vanity sink.
I looked at the chandelier above me.
I became thankful that these were not part of my own home.
I became thankful for things I did not have.
I became thankful for the honor of truly enjoying the very essence of being.
I became thankful for the awareness of the simple joys in life.
I became thankful for the appreciation of the little luxuries in life.

If I had lived in a marble mansion...would the gifts of so many that evening had been enough?
If not met with sorrow...would I feel such joy?
If not for this void...will I ever feel truly full when filled?

If not for the wanting - there would be no thanks!
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