Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday Ramblings

Don't you wish life would take a break during the Christmas Holidays?
No bad news.
No cranky people.
No harsh weather.
No sickness or death.
No fighting.
Just a sweet Courier and Ives scene for a month.

last of the advent series, Isaiah 9:6

I think I have found a way to do this.
First, bring all your family in your house, lock the doors and shut all the blinds.
Maybe not so much.
One of mine has to work the 24th and 26th, and the other would go stir crazy not seeing others besides her parents.

How about this?
Just stop.
If you are in a crazy parking lot full of even crazier shoppers, find that last parking stall and pull in, and then just stop.
 Just sit for a moment.

So, it might not be a Courier and Ives scene in your car, and all of life might come crashing in, but still.
Take the time to stop.
To ponder. To wonder. To marvel.

I'm going to try this as much as I can.
I'm finding that the stresses of the unknown for my Brenna in the upcoming year are stealing all my thoughts and joy right now.
As the "normal" question arises in parents of Seniors:
"What is your child doing next year?"
So much excitement and EXPECTATION loaded in those words.
I asked those questions five years ago, when my eldest was a senior.
Now, when faced with that answer, I have fear and anxiety.
Because I haven't the faintest idea.

So I'll find that last available parking spot and sit before I go rushing out.
I will sit and ponder the words that a baby was born with the titles

The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.

When the sinus headache hits like it did today, I'll find a friend to boo-hoo to and then stop to realize how blessed I am.
When I can't understand my crazy feelings about holidays past or just don't understand my feelings period, I will find a quiet spot and pray. Then text a friend. Then remember how blessed I am.

My friend overheard a woman in the store yesterday muttering, "why can't we have Christmas every other year?" Can you relate to the expectations she has to fill or the ones that aren't being met?
Me too. 

Thank you for visiting. Thank you for coming on Fridays and reading. Thank you for coming over when I actually post something other than a ramble. Thank you for your support and encouragement.
My wish for you this Christmas is a break from expectations and the ability to find a quiet spot and breathe. 

I'll see you back after the first of the year.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Ramblings

How is it going in the department of expectation?
The show last weekend went far better than I ever expected.

The best part was when my friend, Amy showed up. 
This girl totally blew my socks off with her surprise visit.
We had been texting like normal all week and I had no idea she was in town.
Until I turned around at the show, and there she was.
I think I made quite a scene, I can't remember.
What I do remember is hugging her so tightly and the feeling of being loved.
so good.

Were my expectations met at the show?
Yeah, I think so.
I did a lot of mental gymnastics of minding my own business and focusing.
I met lots of wonderful people who came out in pouring rain and freezing (for us) weather.
But more than that, I think I put the expectations down. I let them go.
It made for a much nicer experience.

I am continuing to do artwork around the advent season.
I love this verse from Isaiah 11:6-
"The wolf will romp with the lamb and a little child will lead them."
Can you hear the expectation in this verse?
The hope that comes with it for peace and security?

This week my thoughts were on Mary as she traveled on a donkey, nine months pregnant and giving birth in a stable. 
I did some reading and found out that this was probably the best they could get, coming from a large family and not one of great means. They had to travel for the census and be registered and quite possibly were given the stable as Mary and all that surrounded her would be "ritually unclean" until her son was circumcised eight days later.

Nine months pregnant.
I remember that time in my life. The expectation of it all. The weariness in it. The heaviness. The longing for relief mixed with excitement and hope. The wondering if my body could take any more or give anymore to the baby growing inside.
Was I saying, "Let it be with me just as you say"?
not quite.
It was more like, "please let it be today. please let me sleep. please let me see my toes again. please, please, please."
Added to that, if anyone had asked me to sit on a donkey for days on end I would have politely but firmly declined.

Then I read Luke 2:19.

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
or, as the Message version reads:

"Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself."

There are, at times, events that come into our lives that we just cannot put into words.
Events that leave us humbled, a little confused maybe, but also in utter astonishment.

As I look into this Advent season and wait in expectation, I find myself wanting to see the daily events that will make me ponder. To look for the events that I can tuck away deep within myself.

I think I will go back and change the writing on the canvas with Mary's face and put the words from verse 19 on it. Maybe even on the back, I'll write down the events that I want to keep tucked away in my memory.

What will you look for this week?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Ramblings

I have been getting ready for the YMCA show in Redlands this weekend like a fiend.
Yesterday, the door of doubt and anxiety swung wide open, blowing in the words,
"I'm doing it wrong. All wrong."

I have to confess. It began with an innocent question from my husband.
"Why are you making paper wreaths instead of painting? Isn't THAT what you do?"
That question has fermented over three weeks.
Am I doing what I'm meant to do?
or am I catering to the masses?
It came to a crashing head yesterday as I doggedly went through my day, determined to have fun at what I was doing........and add more paintings-quick ones, but work nontheless.
By the time I was finished, I hated every. single. one.
By the time Miss Brenna got home with her foul mood I was about in tears by dinner time.

I know, right???? A foul mood from this sweet face?

I found myself sitting in Bible Study not even able to open my hands during the singing.
Not once.
The question
"Can I not get ANYthing right?"
reverberated through my head all night.

We looked at the concept of Advent last night.
It's nothing I was raised with, nothing my church has ever taught, but something I realize I long to understand.

A sense of waiting with held breath for a great gift.
Freedom from oppression.
A glorious coming.

But it came in a manger.
A baby, for crying out loud.
This is the meeting of our longings? Our great expectations?

Growing up, Christmas for us was epic. Four trees. Glitter everywhere. Sparkle galore.
And so many, many expectations of the season. As I grew older, I realized my mother longed for her expectations to be met in this holiday. Family. Gathering. Glitz,  you name it.
 And every year they were dashed as the season ended and January hit.
Now that she is gone, I have mixed feelings with the waiting for Christmas.
I can hear Bing Crosby sing and either get sentimental, or want to bash the radio in.
I walk into a store with ornaments that are covered in glitter and want to either buy all of them or run straight out the door.

These things-songs, trees, my mother- won't meet my expectations.
There will be days of complete and utter contentment sitting by a decorated tree and there will be days of so much tiredness and getting sick of wrapping gifts by that same tree.

Each of these days before Christmas, I want to think of a baby...

This morning I took the canvases I finished and painted over every. single. one.
and decided to do an Advent series. 
To learn more of the waiting. The longing. The hope.

A contentment began to settle in.

So I prepare.
I prepare for the show like a fiend and wait with joyful expectation instead of doubt.

And when someone asks if I am "ready for Christmas", I'll have to say yes.
Because I will be waiting with even greater hope and joyful expectation.