Wednesday, December 30, 2009
For example, Lucas and Daniel wanted to buy dwarf hamsters. I had a hamster when I was young. It was a good memory, except for finding it dead in the cage before sunrise about four months later. I burst into tears and carried its cold fuzzy body to my parent’s bed and cried until they woke up and asked what was wrong. They flipped out. Outside of this sad ending, I find hamsters to be cute and cuddly pets that are fun to watch. I also think it is great for kids to experience the joy of cleaning out the cage. I endorsed buying hamsters and a few days ago my males sent out to Petco and returned with mice! Not loveable hamsters, but…..beady-eyed, long tailed, snake and cat food sort of mice. The very same thing folks buy traps to kill, my sons paid their own saved up money to buy…... The main course snake owners purchase to feed their cobras? They are now family members. Rodent! As if that does not gross me out enough, they were so “affordable” they returned home with three of them!
THIS is why boys need daddies to take them to Petco. Had I been there? After hearing that dwarf hamsters eventually kill each other when they get older, we would have returned with a couple fish.
Another example…..my husband grew up quad riding and had wanted to buy a boy toy for the last ten years. I resisted. I just hated the statistics on injuries and worried that there would be an accident that could have been prevented had we bought those Legos instead. Two years ago, my dear friend Stephanie, had a heart to heart with me and explained that God made boys a different way, let’s just say “Wild at Heart.” She suggested I encourage the male bonding and adventure to flourish in my guys. She heartened me to embrace it. I came home from that late night conversation and shared it with my husband. I tell you the truth… that very next weekend he went out and bought the first of three quads and the trailer followed shortly after. I am outnumbered on the love of off-roading and I have had to trust my husband’s direction with our sons. Why? I would feminize them to death, if I could….just to keep them safe.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
You know, it really doesn’t matter what was wrapped up under the tree with my name on it….I find that the best gifts are the laughter of gathered friends and family, lights and gingerbread houses, decorations and eating peppermint sweets, cocoa with clouds of whip cream and too many cookies. We have had a full week of reindeer games, dinner parties and afternoon naps. Perfect way to celebrate the life that God sent to us is by living and embracing the life He set before us. Looking back over our week, I am reminded how blessed we are in this department of life.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Last Sunday, the lady leading worship at our church mentioned that she sings at a lot of funerals and she had more than usual during the holidays. During the funeral service she listened to all the praiseful, uplifting, wonderful things that were being said about person who had passed on. She then double dared us to take some time to write a letter to someone we love or care for and to share the words with them while they are alive to hear them….because it is sad to think how we wait until a person dies before we relay all the things we admire about them.
Sitting next to me during the service was my friend of nine years, Elle Hoo. I started thinking about her and all the joyful and not so joyful times we have shared. Getting through her husband’s kidney transplant, Lucas’ health issues, life’s regular ups and downs, and our house fire solidified that we will be friends for a long, long time. When we met at Community Bible Study in 2000, we were part of the New Mom’s Group with our infants. It feels like God brought us together…I just know He did. We slowly became friends, walking our little ones in joggers and spending lots of Mommy time watching her daughter and my son grow up.
Ellen is health conscious and committed to plenty of exercise for mental and physical benefits and she has introduced me to many healthy snacks that I would have never met, if not for her. For example… grape tomatoes, munching on raw cucumbers, Smart Pop popcorn, or throwing artichokes in chili. She also is an excellent baker, gingerbread cookies are her specialty. For a while, every time I called her she was baking cupcakes!
When we first met I could not believe that she mowed her own lawn, I thought…” Wow! What a woman, I am going to give that a try!”
I starting mowing and kept it up for six years… so you might say Ellen inspires me with her take charge way.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Sacrifice is painful and I am pretty sure I would have not made the same decision he did when I was nine or twelve. It really touched my heart that Lucas expressed compassion at such a young age. As a general internal reflex I find it easier to turn my head to children bloated, lying on the ground with flies dancing around their faces with big round hungry eyes. I don’t go there easily. It is worlds away from my comfy home, healthy family and cupboards filled with food. A holiday prayer that does travel my heart this time of year is for the children who are in the hospital over the Christmas Season. Most Americans celebrate the birth of Christ, but under that umbrella falls all these wonderful Christmas happenings….creating gingerbread houses, driving around to see house lights, sitting on Santa’s lap, baking cookies, spending Christmas Eve with friends and family, going to church and the best one of all… waking up in your OWN BED in your OWN HOUSE on Christmas morning. Hospitalized children experience none of that. Yeah, Santa visits the hospital, but it aint nothing like Christmas at home.
Baby Lucas was released from the hospital nine days before his first Christmas in 1997. This particular admission for him was for five months and sixteen days in the Intensive Care Unit. In his first year while being hospitalized, Halloween came and went and I did not care that Lucas did not have a cute baby costume. Thanksgiving came and went and I ached to have my baby home, but just accepted that it would not happen and was thankful he was alive. But the thought of his first Christmas being spent in an ICU crib just ate me up inside. I wanted nothing else but for our family of three to be cuddled up in our nest and NOT humming Silent Night to the bleeping of hospital machines. Arriving home on December 16, 1997 was the best gift of any Christmas so far. Sleeping together under the same roof, with my ten month old down the hall and my husband next to me was HUGE. Just knowing that I could hug my baby first thing Christmas morning and hold him without a drive to UCLA was a gift words would only cheat.
Spending so much time in the hospital in his first year of life affected some development that, thankfully, he has caught up with over the years. Lucas has had his share of medical procedures in the last 10 years, enough to make him NOT like hospitals or needles and to create a tender, compassionate heart. He has befriended other children with heart problems that are actively being treated for serious issues of life or death. Possibly because of what he has lived and seen, (the stuff most healthy kids are never touched by) is the very reason he could decide to donate a goat to a needy, starving family, instead of insisting on a stocking full of more ‘stuff’ that provides short lived excitement.
When I look at the picture above, that was taken in 1997,at the hospital before being realeased for our first Christmas at home, I remember how diffcult that year was and how far God has carried Lucas...sitting back my eyes are once again opened to the truth that bad times don’t last forever and that God can turn even the icky, painful situations into something beautiful. Like the saying goes…God works slowly, but he is always right on time….. my heart celebrates that He not only sent his Son, but this Christmas, through Lucas, he sent a goat!