Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Wrap Up Meme

1. Where did you begin 2008? I think I was at home, in the bed.
2. What was your status by Valentine's Day? wife, mom, Key Account Manager for Cokesbury
3. Were you in school (anytime this year)? Nope. Unless visiting my sons' schools counts.
4. Did you have to go to the hospital? I was taken, by abulance, to a hospital in Ft. Worth. I was there 3 days, due to a viral infection I caught in the airport.
5. Did you have any encounters with the police? Nope
6. Where did you go on vacation? Vacation? What's vacation? I did go camping in Booneville with Cat, Emily, and Leila.
7. What did you purchase that was over $500? Laptop.
8. Did you know anybody who got married? Umm.... Probably.
9. Did you know anybody who passed away? I went to one funeral.
10. Did you move anywhere? We moved from Brandon to Tupelo.
11. What sporting events did you attend? I went to football and baseball games with the hubster.
12. What concerts/shows did you go to? er... I saw a play at Actor's Playhouse and at the high school in Brandon.
13. Where do you live now? In a rental house in Tupelo.
14. What's the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2008? I can't really think of anything right now.
15. What has/have been your favorite moment(s)? Camping with the girls, any moment of laughter with my husband or my kids, Haydn finishing Kindergarten...
16. What's something you learned about yourself? I like to be rescued and taken care of.
17. Any new additions to your family? My older sister is pregnant with her third child.
18. What was your best month? Any month in the summer. I was a better mom this summer and I did a lot of crafting.
19. What music will you remember 2008 by? Krystal Meyers, Third Eye Blind
20. Made new friends? Since moving to Tupelo, yes. I am looking forward to getting to know them better. Sherry, Renee, Rosemary, Raigan, Marianna...
21. Favorite Night[s] out? Hanging out in Corinth with Leila, Cat and Emily.
22. Any regrets? Anytime I lost my temper. I always regret yelling.
23. What do you want to change in 2009? I want to enjoy motherhood more.
24. Overall, how would you rate this year?on a scale of 1-10? Probably an 8
25. What would you change about 2008? Heh. I would have bought the right charger for my laptop.
26. Other than home, where did you spend most of your time? Church, always. And, for the first half of the year, Cokesbury. Over the summer, I spent a ton of time scrapping in Cat's living room.
27. Change your hairstyle? Grew it out until this month. It's in a pixie cut again.
28. Get a new job? I babysat for Meg all summer. This is the first year I have been paid to scrapbook.
29. Do you have a New Year's resolution? I don't do resolutions. I ask God for a theme. This year's is patience.
30. Did anything embarrassing? Collapsed in an airport bathroom and had to be taken out on a stretcher.
31. Buy anything new from eBay? Don't think so.
32. What was/were your favorite purchase[s]? This laptop. Our Wii.
33. Get married or divorced? Sure, but don't tell Corey. *snicker*
34. Get arrested? Nope.
35. Be honest - did you watch American Idol? With my mama, yup. A few episodes.
36. Did you get sick this year? See afore mentioned viral infection.
37. Start a new hobby? I took up watercolors a few weeks ago.
38. Been snowboarding? On what snow?
39. Are you happy to see 2008 go? I dunno about "happy." I am not mourning it, though.
40. Drank Starbucks in 2008? Well duh. There is no Cups here in Tupelo.

I Have Taken Many Lovers

It occurred to me, last night, as I began reading a new book sometime after midnight, that each book I devour is like a new lover. I opened the front cover of The Breakers by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall with my mind still back in the volume I had just finished, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I found myself reluctant to delve into this new story, as though I could somehow betray the previous story. I read only a few pages before watching TV instead. Later in the evening, I finished the first chapter. By the morning, I felt pretty interested in starting Chapter Two.

I did the same thing when I started Uglies, and the book before that, and the book before that. Each first page is like an introduction to a stranger. Will I like them? Are they what I am looking for right now? Nervousness gives way to interest and curiosity, in the same way you go from shaking hands and saying hello to flirting and handing out your number. The further into the book you delve, assuming it is a book that you liked enough to keep reading, the more involved you become. The story is like another world that you are living in.

Then, there are suddenly more pages on the left-hand side than there are on the right. You are nearing the end. You can't just stop reading (unless it is a notorious freezer book). You have to know what happens. But, the more you read. the closer you are to saying goodbye.

Maybe this is why series books do so well. They are the long-term relationships of bibliophiles. I usually only read one novel at a time (though I may have multiple nonfiction books open). In that way, I am a serial monogamist. I am not sure what that says about the times in life that I have read two or three novels at once, or people who are always reading two or three novels at once. I'll let you decide how far this metaphor can go. I will tell you that, pre-marriage, I dated the same way I read. Books and boys, one right after the other. Never two at a time. Though some men wanted to read my novel at the same time as someone else's. It is a good thing books don't have feelings.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008's Theme Conclusion

At the beginning of the year, I had two words that kept coming back to me over and over. That is how 2008 became the year of Laughter and Possibilities. I had theme verses to match, as well, and I cannot remember my exact references. One dealt with how laughter can turn to tears, even in the best of situations. So, how did the year pan out?

As for Laughter, it was a good year. I learned that I enjoy being a mom the most when the boys and I have something to laugh about together. When I relax and laugh with my kids, I like the person that I am a lot more.

Laughter also applied to my friendships throughout 2008. I got closer than ever before to my local girlfriends. I think I had to have laughed more in 2008 than I have since before I ever heard the term "Postpartum Depression."

It isn't that there was more to laugh about though. I have learned about the intimacy that comes with female friendships. Even in the most un-funny situations, my girls and I can laugh at something. We laugh until we cry over a misspelling of a text message or a sarcastic comment in Sunday School. House Bunny quotes are sure to end any seriousness we were feeling and make us giggle.

I had to leave my friends behind to move to Tupelo. This is the hardest adjustment I have made in a long time. You don't realize how much a part of your life someone has become until they are suddenly a 4-hour drive from home. I have managed to see at least one of my girls, once a month. Four of us went camping in October. We went back to Brandon for Thanksgiving, and Cat stopped by my house on her way to TN, Christmas night. There have been a few nights when I go to bed and just wish one of them could be here, so I cry. And I think of how laughter often turns to tears.

But tears can also turn to laughter. So, I am expecting an upswing soon. ;)

Possibilities. What a crazy theme for the year. When the word wiggled into my brain last January, I was reading a Yada Yada book and thinking of how awesome things begin as possibilities. It didn't occur to me, then, that not ALL possibilities are happy things.

As the year began, I was working as Key Accounts Manager for the Cokesbury store in Jackson. I was enjoying my job and the people I worked with. I was also exploring the possibility that I might actually have a career-minded bone in my body. I was learning just how much it is possible to get done in a day, when you have a purpose and some form of a schedule. I saw how it was possible for my spirit to actually thrive off of routine.

When I traveled to TX, last February, I caught some sort of viral infection, collapsed in an airport bathroom and was taken to the hospital via ambulance. They told me once I was re-hydrated I could go but ended up keeping me 3 days. As they ran test after test and Corey flew in to rescue me, I faced the very real possibility that my life might not be a long one. I remember lying in that bed, staring at wires and tubes, thinking about Natalie. That may have been what jump-started my need to fight God over losing Nat... again. But, that is another post altogether.

As Corey drove me home, I discovered something new about myself: I like being rescued.

Back to work, I considered a job as a store manager in Columbia, SC, where I grew up and where my parents still are. I didn't have any real desire to leave Brandon (see aforementioned friends and laughter), but the possibility SEEMED very God, at the time. My vision swam with possibilities for my future. I could become a store manager. Maybe go back to Columbia and live near my family for the first time since I got married. My kids could grow up with their grandparents nearby. But, could I handle the long hours and all of the responsibility? Could I still be a good mom? What would that mean for Corey's school and career? I could stay on as KAM at Cokesbury and perhaps move up the ladder until I found myself working in the Publishing House. Where better to be discovered as a writer than by making friends with people at the publishing house? Maybe I could use my salary, after debt was paid off, to go back to school. Could I juggle work and school and family?

In the end, I came to realize that most of those possibilities will still exist later. At the time, I was seeing my children only long enough to feed them bathe them and put them to bed. I didn't get off work in time to pick them up from daycare and the babysitter's, so Corey did all that. My house was a disaster, which drove Corey nuts. I had become very apathetic about certain parts of my job (selling choir robes always made me think of the vanity of the church). So, I left to be a full-time mom again. I missed Louise and Osman. I still do miss Louise and Osman. When we were living in Brandon, I tried to visit often. Now, I have to deal with emails and phone calls.

I have learned a lot through this theme. The possibilities for my life, for any life, are endless. Every choice can bring a new adventure, a new friendship or a new loss. The possibility of a career brought me to Louise and Osman and many other people that I met while working at Cokesbury. The possibility of a move to Tupelo brought me to these wonderful teenagers and the friends I am making. The possibility of illness brought me to a place where I could engage God honestly and search for the peace I needed in Natalie's death.

Tomorrow holds an infinite number of possibilities. Also, everything I love about my life was once only a possibility. My children were possible pregnancies and possible births. My husband was once the possibility of love. My friends used to be strangers. It was possible I would meet them and possible I would get to know them. Possibility needs circumstance and my own personal will to become more than JUST a possibility.

So, here we are at the end of 2008. My theme for this year was almost too easy. The years before were not as much fun. 2007 was the Year of Purpose and Vision, which brought a year of struggles about who God intended me to be and who I wanted to be and what the heck I am here for anyhow. 2006 was the Year of Contentment. Never ask God for contentment unless you are ready for Him to strip you pretty bare. 2005, the first time I accepted a theme, was the Year of Freedom. It was, by far, the hardest and the best theme God has ever given me. It laid the foundation for all that has followed.

Onto 2009... The Year of Patience.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Jesus is Alive!

Yesterday, as I was driving to pick Haydn up from school, David was riding in the backseat. As usual, we started the trip off with a prayer. My kids are used to praying when we get in the van to go somewhere. Especially if we are going to school. They are so used to it that when I started driving Emma to school (when we lived in Brandon) Haydn would make sure I prayed over her before dropping them off. He wanted me to “Pray for Emma so she would have a good day.” These aren’t prayers heavy in theology. We thank God for the new day and ask Him to bless our loved ones. We always pray for Savannah and her mom to also have a good day and for Savannah to know how much we love her and miss her. According to the mood in the van, I may pray for specific events or people. In general, though, these are short prayers.

Well, yesterday, I finished one of these prayers with, “Thank You Jesus, Amen.” David immediately asked, “Mommy, why did you talk to Jesus.” I explained that Jesus is who we are talking to when we pray. He paused a minute and said, “I thought Jesus died on the cross.” Logic is beginning to turn wheels in this 4-year-old's brain. I explained that Jesus DID die on the cross, but that He came back to life.

My son’s reaction?

He cheered. Hooping and hollering. “Yay! Jesus is alive.”

We did go on to talk about why this all happened, etc… But, what I will always remember from this conversation is the genuine joy that overcame David when he realized Jesus is alive. That joy is our joy. It is what I need to be embracing everyday.


PS This is the same kid who told his brother, “You can NOT do whatever you want to do. Only Mommies and Daddies can!”

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