Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Week In-Between....

Ever notice the week between Christmas and New Year's is kind of like the twighlight zone? It has no real identity. Rather like the lull before the storm. In our house, the tree is still up (albeit missing more than a few needles) there are gifts haphazardly strewn beneath its branches, and the kitchen counter holds several different saran-wrapped plates with goodies from the past festivities. Some half-eaten fudge from a neighbor ...2 stale sticky buns from the batch daughter & her hubby brought over Christmas morning....and a plate of mis-matched Christmas cookies consolidated from several different sources....

I really need to clean up the house (there are tree needles everywhere, stray bits of wrapping paper that never made it to the trash bag, and piles of new things that need to find a home...) but I am biding my time. The lull before the storm thing again. We'll go to my brother's on New Year's Eve and do the whole blow the horns, wear silly hats and throw streamers thing at midnight. We'll hug and cry and remember the people we lost this year (Aunt June & niece Betsy) and stay up way too late laughing and talking.

After that - then and only then - does the season officially end for me. At least the part with the parties and decorations...I really hope I can treasure the true spirit throughout the coming year. We'll hang out all New Year's day...napping and watching TV and munching on stale Christmas cookies. *sigh* All those months of prepping and it's over so quickly.

So for today, I'm just hanging out here - during this nameless week that's sandwiched in between two holidays and enjoying doing nothing. There's a nice fire in the wood stove that I've been stoking since 7 am, grandson is nestled on the couch watching "UP" (a great kid's movie by the way!) and I'm getting ready to brew a cup of java in my one-shot and share a cookie on the couch with my little guy. Does life get any better than this?

I guess for those of you that have to work this week - you probably can't relate. I never had to, so or me - this is normal. Being the stay-at-home mom for many years, then returning to work as the teacher...I always had the luxury of this week. But when the new career begins come January- it will be different. For the first time EVER - Lora will have to work during the "twilight" week. But that is then - and this is now.

My coffee awaits me.

Happy New Year friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Oh what a slacker I've been! So, so busy and no time to write.

The house (alas) is not finished for the holidays (we are s-o s-l-o-w) but we're making progress. I've downscaled on the decorations this year to make things less stressful since we're in transition mode here with much packed away and some rooms almost empty... It still looks like Christmas but on a less grander way (and way less stressful too!)

I have retired my teaching cap and accepted a job as a Volunteer Coordinator at one of our local Hospice Homes. The hours are great - the pay is great - and I know that the rewards will be even greater. I begin on January 4th and can't wait to start this new chapter in my life.

The kids will all be together for the holidays (yay!). Youngest daughter & her hubby will be in late tonight from Massachusetts. Then the festivities can officially begin!

My shopping is done. The presents are wrapped. The food is bought and ready to be prepared. Today is supposed to be a cleaning day ( my poor house here so sorely needs it) and tonight I plan to put my favorite 1940's Christmas CD on (A very American Christmas), lite the tree along with some candles, pour myself a glass of wine and revel in the joy this season brings.

Stress? Yes. Family tensions? Yes. Rude shoppers? Double yes. But in the midst of all the turmoil God gently reminds me that the true reason for the season super cedes anything that may be stressing me out.

The year I lost both parents in a month, I vividly remember passing a manger scene in front ofa church near our local supermarket. I'd been shopping and dreading the fact that this holiday me, my siblings and our children would be facing our first Christmas without mom and dad. I suddenly had this strong sense that God was speaking to me as I focused on the baby in the manger through teary eyes. He was saying "Don't you see? This is what Christmas is really all about. This is where it all started...I came and conquered death! So celebrate this Christmas Lora! It's because of Christmas that you'll see your mom and dad once again!"

I've kept that very special moment with me these past 12 years. it has helped me put things in perspective when the icing doesn't stick to the cookies...when the lady with 30 items is in front of me in the "10 items or less" line and I am in a hurry to get to the post office before it closes...when I am wrapping gifts and I run out of tape and all the stores are closed because it's after midnight and I have to get the next morning at 6 am for work...when my mother-in-law wakes me from a sound sleep the following night (when I'm trying to catch up from the night before) to tell me she doesn't think I bought enough rolls for the Christmas dinner - when I had vowed I would not have to go to one more store after I got the tape on my lunch break the day before....
All those things that want to trip me up and make me curse the season...they can't. I may grumble a bit. And vent to hubby. But I still can smile and rejoice. For unto us a Savior has been born. And I will see mom and dad and late hubby again.

Merry Christmas to all!