Friday, December 14, 2007

Crazy Weeks

Life has hit the fast lane again... We are wrapping up school for the holidays, so the kids are nutty. My fellow teachers are all in turmoil. One is out because her mother is dying of Alzheimer's. She's been hanging on with no water or food for 5 days. Another teacher is dealing with extreme back pain from ruptured vertabra that didn't respond as expected to some epidural cortizone stuff. Two others have some seriously disturbed kids in their room who aren't responding well to simple directions. And I'm team leader.

Needless to say, I'm a tired team leader from putting out fires of problems, juggling administrative duties, keeping morale up, and trying to teach my darlings something. Yes, I'm whining, but where else can you whine, if not your blog?? Right??

Home is good. The boys are SO into Christmas this year. We are working on the concept of "it's not about the stuff you see on TV, but what do you want Santa to bring you? No, he's not bringing SpongeBob Operation because I told him not to. How about some Transformers??"

I know, I know, mixed messages stink. Our family has chosen to share the story of Santa with our kids. They believe he is real. We don't discourage the idea. They'll catch on soon enough. Most likely because Mommy will spill the beans by accident. When I'm tired, I'm not too sneaky. I'm sure they'll be scarred for life. At least we can differentiate for them. Jesus loves you always, good or bad, you are loved. Santa likes you always, unless you are bad. Then you don't get toys. Just lumps of coal. But not really. Have you ever known anyone that Santa didn't come for just because they were bad?? I guess that goes into my book titled Lies We Tell Our Children. It'll come right after the chapeter called "Your Permanent School Record."

But the point I'm making is... Santa is a chance to teach the concept of consequences versus love. My kids don't get stuff because I love them. Stuff is not love. I'm so glad that neither of them has the "gifts" love language. They get stuff because we are rich in so many ways. My love and their stuff don't really go together. Getting stuff can be the consequence of doing good in school, behaving in the right place, having a special something to celebrate. But it's not love.

Love is unconditional on how they act, what they do, or where they go. God loves us even if we are poor, choosing a wrong life path, or not getting the "blessings" we want. His choice to bless or not has nothing to do with his love for us. He loves us either way.

How depressing to think that God doesn't love me because I don't have what I want. But do we know people who think that way? Maybe I have too. Yep, pretty sure I've thought that. "If God really loved me, He'd ________." You fill it in for you. I've already been there and done that. He loves me regardless of my circumstance. He loves us no matter what is going on. We have consequences for our actions. There are Proverbs about good things coming to hard workers. There are gifts given in love. But, it's merely an expression.

I hope I can teach my boys that real love isn't like Santa. He's not giving gifts because he loves us. He's just doing a job. But God, he loves us, naughty or nice. And instead of coal when we were naughty, we got Jesus.... hmmm... now that's love. Not a gift, but a person.. God himself in human form..

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Forgot the Turkey Day pictures

Oops, I forgot to post the cool pictures of the holiday at my parent's house.

Josh and Selah with Patrick, the Irish Wolfhound. Getting two 3 year olds to sit still long enough to snap a photo that looked good is hard!

That's Mom and me in the kitchen where we spent most of the holiday. I love cooking with my mom. I forgot how fun it was.

Josh finally fell asleep in Chris's arms. Poor kid was SO tired.

That's Katie and Mom, the two most elusive picture subjects in the family. I think I just got lucky this time.

Christmas is Coming,So Why Don't I feel Ready??

The Advent Season is upon us. Stores are full of stuff that glitters and sings. Church is a litany of holiday events designed to remind us of the reason for the season. School is a patchwork of special events, benchmark testing, some actual teaching time and lots of cool art projects. So, why don't I feel ready to celebrate my Savior's birth this year?

I know in whom I have my faith. There is so much to celebrate in Christ. I love the story of the baby born in Bethlehem that came to save the world from sin. I have two great kids who will really get it this year. More than just the presents and food, I mean. Ryan gets to celebrate his Savior's birth for the first time with a true understanding of what Christmas is all about. Josh is curious enough to follow his brother's lead and listen to the story for the first time. So why don't I feel ready to celebrate my Savior's birth this year?

Maybe it's because I'm so ready to tell 2007 good bye. It has not been a kind year to my family in some ways. Maybe it's because I'm tired of the commercialism. I don't want to think about the list of gifts left to be bought out of duty. Maybe it's because I'm not where I need to be with the Lord. It's hard to celebrate someone's birthday when the relationship is strained. Or maybe I'm just being to anal and critical of life in general and need to "let it go". Or maybe, and here's the one I'm leaning toward, maybe I don't want a 25 day party. Maybe the season is so envasive that I just want to live life and celebrate Christmas when it's time.

Whatever the reason, I refuse to be a Scrooge, bah-humbug, hermit. I will honor the One who came to save the world. I won't take the Christ out of Christmas, even if I do abbreviate it occasionally. I will decorate the house and go to the parties and give the gifts with love and a prayer. I won't let my little "funk" color the season for those around me. It just won't be easy. But good things seldom are.