December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

Our New Year's Eve was a school day! Every year around New Year's Day, we make lapbooks titled All About Me. I misplaced the CD with files on it we used for our lapbooks last year. God had other plans, and I found some really neat ideas thanks to the web. Some of them include God's recipe for me cards, personalized children's stories, What would I buy if I had..., My heart belongs to..., Things I would like to do when I grow up, These are a few of my favorite things, Helping Hands mini-book made from tracing of the children's hands, and more. I also traced the boys' feet on the back of the lapbooks and we listed all the places those feet go. It was a fun way to get us back in the school groove.

Then as dusk fell my boys grew excited for the New Year's Eve party Snurr had wanted in his room. We snacked as we recalled all the events of this last year good and bad. Then I put up my 2011 year at a glance door calender. We looked at the events coming this year, marked certain breaks, checked what days birthdays and certain holidays fell on, and shared some personal goals. Then came the main event: getting Daddy's model cars down from the attic. The Lord is so precious! On top of the boxes I was looking for was a smaller box marked Collector Cars. The boys were super excited!!! We impatiently opened it and discovered many Hot Wheel cars that Daddy had collected. This was the highlight of the evening for them. We did look at Daddy's models and called Grandpa and Uncles to get more knowledge on some of our discoveries. The boys were able to see his careful, detailed work that took time and patience. It was a sad and sweet time connecting with things that once matter much to Jim. How we wished to hear the stories behind them from his own mouth...

Goodbye 2010! Thank You so much Lord for guiding us through it! Hello, 2011! I don't know what you bring, but I know my Lord is already there and that makes all the difference....

December 29, 2010

Christmas Day

I awoke early and felt a black cloud over my head. I read Bible and prayed. And fell back asleep. When I awoke again, the cloud seemed heavier and darker. Grief waves began to roll in. I could feel the need to cry, yet no tears came. Every effort to get ready for the day, seemed like trudging through a swamp. The thought of getting together with family without my husband seemed too great to bear.

Finally, I made myself trudge through the snow to Jim's grave. And there the flood gates burst open. On top of his memorial bench, there are praying hands carved. I find comfort putting my hand on them. Yet this day, there was ice covering the whole top. I worked and worked till the tears came and the ice broke away. Then I put my hand on those praying hands and let the sobs come. There are emotions words cannot capture; prayers that only the heart can mutter. I don't know how long I stayed. God's amazing comfort came tenderly. I still felt the heaviness of missing my beloved yet I wasn't walking through the swamp anymore. I trudged back to the house. And tended to what had occurred while I had been gone.The tears that earlier in the morning wouldn't flow, seemed to not end at the gravesite. More tears streamed down my cheeks.

Then I popped in a movie for the boys and went to encourage myself in the Lord. I got freshened up and dressed in something I felt pretty in. I sang a precious song that was given to a widow friend of mine called "God's Grace is All sufficient" Then I felt more prepared. We all got ready and loaded the SUV. My sister-in-law called to check on me because I wasn't there yet and they were concerned. Again tears streamed down my check.

Finally we were on our way. We began to sing Christmas hymns as we traveled. And finally I felt the cloud being lifted. The rest of the day went well without tears or sorrow.

I love Christmas! I love Emmanuel coming and dwelling with us. I love visiting with family. It was who was missing from it all that makes it so difficult at times. I recently read this in 2 Corinthians 6:10 "As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing;" and those five words I sum up my Christmas.

December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

Snipp wanted to have a Christmas party in his room, so much of the day he was preparing his room, rearranging and getting it set up. As dusk came, so did anticipation and they begged me to do supper later and just have the party.

So we began, after I did a little preparation myself, which included dressing up in church attire as I had been requested to wear. Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr were in their army fatigues. As I entered the room, the two older boys were on either side of the door saluting me, and the youngest was inside proudly holding our nations flag. Once I was seated, the older boys came marching in, saluted the flag and held their salute while all three recited the pledge, shouting out, "..Under GOD.."Then the festivities began. We sang songs, opened presents from some friends, but we couldn't open our treasure boxes because Baby Jesus was missing. Baby Jesus always has the key to the treasure boxes. We did find a note though, it said, "Wise men still seek HIM. Go ask the angel about whom ye seek!"

A little history now so you understand:On our first Christmas after we were married, we had no money for presents. So I patched my husband's favorite coat and we rejoice when God unthawed our well pump. That year I started a tradition. I wrote down blessings the Lord had given us through the year and shoved the slips of paper down into our stockings. And each year since then we have focused on our blessing stockings. Till Jim died. Hanging his stocking was just impossible and I didn't want to hang ours without his. So that year, I took a little cedar box and put in pictures or things to symbolize blessings/treasures God had given us. A picture of our van and house, a gold cross, a watch, a Bible, etc. Then the following year, I found the answer. Treasure Boxes!!!! So instead of stockings, we have treasure boxes that each year has a list of treasures/gifts from Jesus. What a joy and blessing to read last years treasures as I prepared the boxes.

Another tradition we added was one Daddy started the last Christmas he was with us. In my stocking was a clue to find my gift. It ended up being in the dryer!!! Anyway, so also in each treasure box now is a clue for example: Go to something Daddy read every day. As we all know, the figuring out the clues and the hunt is about as much fun as getting the gifts. It is also a reminder that treasures have to be sought after. Like the wisemen did to find Jesus. And that we too need to seek Christ to find Him.

Back to our Christmas adventure: "Go ask the angel about whom you seek." So we went to our nativity scene. We asked the angel who told us some of the Christmas story then sent us to Mary. Mary shared more of the story then sent us to Joseph and on it went. Final an old sheep sent us to the camel and the camel gave us a riddle. Snipp was able to solve it and found Baby Jesus in the cookie jar. Back up to treasure boxes. We opened them and read our Blessings. Then the boys read clues and found their three simple gifts. Later by only the light of the Christmas lights, we ate supper. It was fun and special. Later the boys camped out in Snipp's room and I read Luke 2 to them.

It was a good night. We felt held.

December 23, 2010

This was amazing to listen to:

Scroll down to December 19/2010
Titled: Sons of Parfitt
Description : The Parfitt Young Men preaching in memory of their father

Please continue to pray for the family of Ken Parfitt

December 20, 2010

I don't usually do this, but I thought this man had interesting thoughts as he drove away from a funeral of a newly widowed family.
December 20th post called A Call to Service

Please pray for the family of Ken Parfitt.
Thank you!

December 09, 2010

A Decembered Grief

I have been rereading through A Decembered Grief: Living With Loss While Others Are Celebrating by Harold Ivan Smith.

I thought I would share its Table of Contents to be an encouragement to any fellow grievers who stop in here:
  • Alter-Rather than Abandon-Traditions
  • Anticipate the Holidays
  • Appreciate the Grief Styles and Decisions of Others
  • Ask Your Church for Help
  • Be Alert to the Culture's Obsession with Excitement
  • Befriend Your Grief
  • Befuddle Someone
  • Carolize Your Season
  • Celebrate Sensitively
  • Consider the Needs of Everyone
  • Create New Traditions
  • Create Ornaments or Decorations That Symbolize Your Loved One and Eternal Life
  • Cry If You Want To
  • Define Your Boundaries
  • Do What You Need To Do
  • Donate to Your Church or a Charity in Honor of Your Loved One
  • Don't Fast-Forward to January 5
  • Forgive Those You Believe Are Responsible for the Death
  • Give Your Grief Its Voice
  • Give Yourself Persmission to Say, "No," or "I'll Pass"
  • Guard Your Heart
  • Invite God's Help
  • Journal Your Grief
  • Made Gratitude
  • Minimize the Seasonal Stressors
  • Miss the Invitations to Parties and Other Social Events
  • Nap
  • Network With Other Grievers
  • Nurture Yourself
  • Observe a Quiet Holy Day
  • Organize Your Living Environment
  • Prepare
  • Read
  • Remain Open to Seasonal Surprises
  • Remember Realistically
  • Resist the Temptation to Make It Up to Others for What They've Been Through
  • Rethink Your Holiday Shopping Habits
  • Say Your Loved One's Name
  • Try Events
  • Unplug the Christmas Mania
  • Use Some of Your Seasonal Decorations
  • Visit the Cemetery or Scattering Ground
  • Volunteer at a Social Service Agency
  • Vote Your Choices
  • Watch Children
  • Watch Out for Numbing Influences
  • Weigh Any Criticism of Your Grief Style and Holiday Decisions
  • Worship
  • Write A Year-End Letter to Your Deceased Loved One
  • "Yes" Invitations That Feel Right
  • "Zestize" Your Season

December 08, 2010

Ephesians 3:14-21

Words of Life to me today:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

December 06, 2010

Eternal Career

I read this blessed quote today:

"Mothering is an eternal career"