The door is always open…

I have always had a policy with my kids that they could tell me anything and without fear of repercussions. A safe place to share thoughts, ideas, things they had done, had not done, or had done horribly wrong. I have never had my kids tell me anything that truly ever upset me, and the conversations that have sprung from them sharing with me have been invaluable to me as a parent. They teach me volumes on so many levels, I have enjoyed tremendously watching them gain critical thinking skills, and in watching them as they are learning to think through whatever the issue, question, or concern is.

I grew up in a house in which I could share nothing with my parents, and I wanted it to be different for my children – they do not share with their dad the things they share with me – so I hope I have achieved my goal.

However, a couple of weekends ago my son shared with me something that disturbed me greatly. It took all my skills to bite my tongue and not “be the parent” and come down on him for what he shared with me. He shared with me that he was using chewing tobacco at school, evidently, his roommate has this lovely habit, and my son was participating in this vile habit – and has been for some time. My instinct was to immediately tell him how vile I thought it was, how foolish I felt he was in making this choice, and then to share with him all the horrors of mouth/throat cancer! Yes, my reaction was the antithesis of what the purpose of the “open door policy” was all about.

There was some conversation and somehow I managed to strangle the “Crazy Woman” that was simmering beneath the surface and simply shared with him that I was disappointed in his choice, and I asked him if Bria knew what he was doing. That stopped him in his tracks – he had not told her. This spurred further conversation on why he had not told her and what that meant. It was truly an eye opening experience for me – I have no clue why I asked about Bria, but I am thankful that I did not quell the question. Our conversation ended with me telling him how much I loved him.

Therefore, scroll forward to this weekend – Sam was home again and on Friday night after he had come home from taking the Darling Bria out to a movie. I have a rule that the kids have to wake me up when they get home – and so Sam woke me and the conversation that unfolded was truly amazing. I was paid tenfold for biting my tongue and just listening to the earlier conversation. We lay in bed together and what he shared with me brought great joy to this mother’s heart! Evidently, Darling Bria has strong feelings about tobacco use! Can I tell you how much I love this girl? Well, after this weekend, I love her even more! I am so happy that I did not open my mouth with my “parental advice” because the voice of young love is was just what Sam needed to hear! As he shared with me he was not using “chew” any longer because Bria would not kiss him if he did! A lovely conversation ensued and Sam shared with me that he is trying to help his roommate quit “chew.”

Some days it really pays to keep your mouth shut when the door is open…

With Childlike Wonder…

Having a house full of teenagers can be a challenge to any parent, but it is the Christmas Season that I find myself missing the long gone days of childlike wonder and excitement that bubbled along as the days waned and Christmas morning drew closer. Their simple excitement that surrounded everything from opening a window on their Advent Calendar to baking cookies was a palpable feeling in the house. The excitement in trimming the tree and writing their letter’s to Santa brought excitement to the parental units as well, and I found myself viewing things in a new light as I shared in the wonder that my children created.

It is not so any longer, teenagers are the most cynical of creatures and the wonder, excitement, and anticipation that is Advent is missing…

I found it missing from myself as well and rather than be saddened by that loss I have rekindled that slowly dying ember, Gentle Reader. I gently fanned the flames and I have found myself reveling in that childlike wonder again. I thought that if this problem had happened to me, it must happen to others – so this blog post is my attempt to help you regain that wonder and excitement. As the days wind down and Christmas looms ever closer, it is my fondest hope and desire that you should not be overwhelmed by what you need to do, rather that you can find a moment to take a deep breath and focus on the beauty of the season.

Steve Earle wrote a beautiful song that sums up the season for me and I will share those words with you today – the song is titled “Nothing but a Child” … I hope you enjoy the words.

Once upon a time in a far off land
Wise men saw a sign and set out aross the sand
Songs of praise to sing, they travelled day and night
Precious gifts to bring, guided by the light
They chased a brand new star, ever towards the west
Across the mountains far, but when it came to rest
They scarce believed their eyes, they’d come so many miles
And the miracle they prized was nothing but a child

Nothing but a child could wash these tears away
Or guide a weary world into the light of day
And nothing but a child could help erase these miles
So once again we all can be children for awhile

Now all around the world, in every Iittle town
Everyday is heard a precious little sound
And every mother kind and every father proud
Looks down in awe to find another chance allowed

My hope is that you can join me in being a child in the remaining days before Christmas. To help you get started I will share with you one of my favorite renditions of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah…

Have a wonderful weekend!!

A Holiday Meme.

Here you go, just in time for the holidays!  And, I pilfered this from CJ’s blog!  Thanks CJ!

Favorite Christmas …
Non-religious song? White Christmas – and my favorite version is from the movie “Holiday Inn” when he sings it the last time in the studio…

Religious song? Silent Night, preferably sung at Midnight Worship Service by candle light.  So I share with you Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht on guitar just as Josef Mohr and Franz Gruber’s first rendition was played…

Santa-related song? Santa Baby

Fictional character? The Grinch, what is not to love – especially Boris Karlof’s voice!

Dinner main course? Roast Beast – errrr, Prime Rib, complete with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish sauce.
Dinner dessert? Bouche de Noel

Scent? Butter cookies baking in the oven…

Animated Christmas program? I have two, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Non-animated program? Okay, “It’s a Wonderful Life” “Holiday Inn” “White Christmas” – all great flix!

Personal memory? Watching my children’s faces on the first year they “got it” on Christmas morning.

Story? Each of the Gospels give such an amazing account of truly what Christmas means…

This or That
Candy cane or peppermint patties? Peppermint patties.

Sugar cookies or gingerbread? Sugar Cookies

Tinsel or beaded strands? None of the above.

Multi-colored or single color lights? I love white lights, but my kids like multi-colored ones.

Flashing or still lights? Still, flashing lights make me dizzy.

Wreaths or mistletoe/holly? Wreaths, and yes Mistletoe too.

Rudolph or Frosty? Rudolph, of course.

Sledding or snowball fights? Sledding!!

Snow or ice/icicles? Snow

Hat or earmuffs? A hand knit hat, of course!

Getting or giving? Giving!

Snow days or plow trucks? Of course, snow days!!

Stockings or presents? Both – can you have one without the other?

Cookies and milk or letter to Santa? Okay, again – can you have one without the other? You have to also leave carrots for the reindeer!!

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Can you have one without the other, I love both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

Log Burning Channel or Real Thing? Why the real thing, of course.

Cards or e-mails? Hand made cards!

Shoveling or scraping ice off the car? Isn’t this why God invented garages and snow plows?

The Inn’s Manger or the animals? Okay, I would be honored to be have been with the animals on Christmas Eve.

Hot cocoa or eggnog? Egg Nog – home made, with brandy of course!

Jack Frost or Little Drummer Boy? The Little Drummer Boy!

Yay or Ugh…

Holiday shopping? Yes, out with the masses – just like the song Silver Bells talks about..

Icy roads? Just gives one a good reason to stay indoors with the someone you love!

Limited driving visibility? Again, an excellent reason to stay indoors and snuggle!

Christmas Carolers? Yes, and I have been one, I love to go caroling!

Mall Santas? Ummm, really not so much!

Salvation Army Santas? Again, not so much – but I hope you drop money in the kettles! I have been a bell ringer for them as well!

Blizzards? Only if you have nowhere to go, some wine, a roaring fire and someone to cuddle up with!

24/7 Holiday Radio? I love this, even though I do not listen outside of work, NPR – you know!

Freezing cold? Yes, it is hand knitted woolen garment weather!

Setting up the tree? Yes, I love this part of Christmas!!

Wrapping presents? Yes, I love wrapping presents!

Visiting/seeing family? I love spending time with loved one’s for the Holidays!

Belief in Santa Claus? I still hear the bell, does that tell you anything?

Chocolate countdown calendar? Chocolate, yes. Advent Calendar, yes. And never the twain shall meet!

Peeking at your gifts? Now what fun would that be??? However I do like to peek at other things, just sayin’!

Making out with Santa under the mistletoe? Oh yes – I think that is the perfect way to move from Naughty, to Nicely Naughty!

Decorated houses? Absolutely!!

Extremely decorated houses? You betcha!

White Christmas morning? Yes, yes, yes! Even in my dreams!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSupw-W8wnA]

Santa knowing when you’re asleep and awake? I love Santa watching me!


First Thought That Comes To Mind When You Hear…

Snowflake! Falling

Pinecones! Filling bowls on the table, scented with cinnamon.

Elves! Working hard!

Sleigh! Ride

Presents! Underneath the Christmas Tree

Cookies! Covered with Royal Icing!

Mistletoe! Yes, kiss me now and don’t stop!

Rudolph! The Red-nosed Reindeer…

Blizzard! And then there was more snow!

School’s canceled! Children’s cries of glee!

Ice Skating! With mittened hands and cold cheeks!

Santa’s Lap! The perfect place to share my Christmas wish…

Black Friday! The day to stay away!

God’s Son! Absolutely, born in Bethlehem…

Melting Snow! Slush!

Lumps of coal! What I do not want for Christmas!

Nutcracker! Incredible music and a magical story!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi_efzYcXGI&feature=related]

Ho Ho Ho! Santa’s laughter!

North Pole! Santa’s home!

Undeserved blessings…

Twenty-six years ago, I released a child for adoption. I trusted faithfully that my choice was the right one, and my faith was not in vain.

As you are all aware, this daughter found me last summer and we have stepped forward together on a new path ever since.

This daughter sent me a lovely email for Thanksgiving and I would like to share this excerpt with you all:

“It’s the night before Thanksgiving and I was really wondering what you were going to be doing and hoped that you and your kids will be having a great holiday. I wanted to let you know what I am thankful for since I won’t be with you to tell you. I am thankful for God and the beautiful family that he gave me, for my health, and the health of those I love. Also for helping me find you it has been a long time coming and I am very thankful for that.”

I can tell you simply and truly, Gentle Reader, I am humbled by her beautiful words and can only tell you that I am so undeserving of them. The blessings that this child has poured upon me are sweet and most incredible.

On top of that, Frick and I have struggled in our relationship for some time now, and yesterday I spent time with her and it felt like old times between us – so much so when I called her by her nickname, her face lit up and she crawled in my lap. There was no way to stop the tears from leaking from my eyes as I sat holding her.

When you least expect it, your children do things that you never hoped for nor imagined would ever happen.

It is the unexpected blessings that I am most thankful for…

Also, I need to give a shout out to our two contest winners!!  Congratulations to Biddy and Beverly!!

Just close your eyes and count backwards from ten…

TEN things you wish you could say to TEN different people right now:

1. Make the call!

2. Grow up.

3. You’ve said that already

4. If you don’t watch it The Crazy Lady is going to show up…

5. I really love you!

6. I have missed you horribly.

7. Wait, I have to write that down!

8. Don’t make me say it again!

9. Smile!!

10. Absolutely, I would love to!

NINE things about yourself:

1. I wake up in a good mood, and that won’t change – many have tried and failed!

2. I love to laugh and do so every chance I get!.

3.  I use foul language far too often, damn it all!

4.  If I get upset, my voice gets louder.

5.  I don’t yell, I get loud, remember that!

6.  I am a Stephen Minister.

7.  I love children, but do not want anymore nor do I want grandchildren anytime soon!

8. I love to cook – and I really mean it!

9.  I love to sing, and do so with wild abandon and no shame.

EIGHT ways to win your heart:

1.  In all things, be honest.

2. Kiss my neck right there…

3.  Hold my hand and don’t let go.

4.  Smile with your entire being.

5. Make me laugh.

6. Engage me in intelligent conversation that expands my mind, teaches me something new, or widens my horizons.

7. Hug me like you mean it.

8. Bring me flowers for absolutely no reason.

SEVEN things that cross your mind a lot:

1. You have to be kidding me.

2. Isn’t it five o’clock somewhere?

3. I could be knitting…

4. What the hell did I walk in this room for…

5. Do I work tomorrow?

6. Do I have clean clothes for work tomorrow…

7. What day is it?

SIX things you do before you fall asleep:

1. Put the dogs out one last time

2. Brush my teeth

3. Get a glass of water

4. Say good night to Plurk

5. Read or knit.

6. Say my prayers.

FIVE people you couldn’t live without:

1. Frick

2. Frack

3. Paddywhack

4. SC

5. my “other” daughters

FOUR things you’re wearing right now:

1. Jeans

2. Tee-shirt

3. Earrings

4. A Smile

THREE songs that fit your life perfectly:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS8NvoMudy8]

Wailin’ Jennys “Glory Bound”

Diana Krall “Popsicle Toes”

TWO things you want to do before you die:

1. Love completely and without reservations.

2. Be loved completely and without reservations.

ONE confession:

1. I am deathly afraid of roller coasters.

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