Raising Magnolias

Because it's never too late for happily ever after…

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

The Promise of Redemption

Last week a friend of mine sent me a link to a blog and said, “I think you could’ve written this, 0nly it would’ve been funnier.”

I read the blog and wondered how this stranger knew my story so well.  Better, I think, than I know my story.

Let me be clear. This woman walked out of an abusive marriage. Her children lived in fear. That is not my story. I was not physically abused and our stories only become one after her first paragraph; after she walks out.

I suppose I should focus on  happy today. On the bells ringing and snow falling and Santa is coming and Jesus has come, but as I read through Christmas cards (thank you!) and  scroll through facebook, it dawns on me that we all need to hear this story of redemption. Jesus came to save because, what the heck-o-la—we all need savin’!

Sadness, death, disease, divorce, evil….they don’t take the Christmas holiday. Your story may not be hers; may not be mine; but whatever it is, as she so beautifully writes, “it always ends up at redemption.”

She writes:

But I was the good child. The obedient daughter.
Doesn’t that guarantee something?                                                                                                                                                                 I am harshly aware of how much I look like a failure in my obedience.
Because I was supposed to be faithfully married my entire life.
Because now the church sees me as a wayward woman wanting to start over on her terms, OR
…..the idiot that didn’t know when to call it quits.
But no one knows the whole story except me and God.
In my heart of hearts I heard Him call me here.
Even in the leaving.
Even in the mess.

How does she know me so well? Not knowing me at all?

She continues:

Here is another story.
In the fall of the year two thousand years ago,
Supernatural God came to earth and entered the womb of a virgin girl.
She gave birth to our Savior amidst the stench of a stable and, shortly after,
placed the Son of God in a feeding trough—doubling as a crib.

Was she the good child? The obedient daughter?
Didn’t that guarantee her something?
Was she harshly aware of how much she looked like a failure in her obedience to God?
The church saw her as a knocked up teenager with a fiancée having to drag her with him to Bethlehem.
No plan, no perfection.
Because no one knew the whole story but them and God.
They heard Him call them there.
Even in the leaving.
Even in the mess.

And then there’s more. More of my story. Except that technically I’m not divorced …don’t get me started because I’m being nice today….all focused on Jesus and redemption! And technically I only have two children, although I have a  3rd  baby already with Jesus and I have two dogs. So, you know, other than that….more of my story…

I live daily in naked acknowledgement of earthly reality:
I am a divorced woman.
I am the single mother of four children.
I am unemployed.
I am scared.
I am a burden.
I am wide-eyed at the world.

but in this I am also:

Still in covenant with a Savior.
The caretaker of the greatest four blessings I will ever receive.
An heir to the throne.
I am covered with grace.
My every need is met.
I will live with those open eyes turning into open arms.

Where was God that day? He was there. He knew all along where I would run; when I run; how I would run and to Whom I would run to.

And He holds. And in the mess; the mess of divorce; the mess of sickness and death and fear and family struggles and yes and in the mess of broken vows and meaningless vows and selfish hearts and broken hearts and God will any of us ever heal-hearts and yes.

In the mess of a stable. Jesus came.

How exciting is this! Jesus was welcomed to the world in a mess.

And He stays with us.

Here.

In the mess.

Christmas 2012 493

http://deeperstory.com/it-always-ends-up-at-redemption/#comments

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I heard the bell ring and I was covered only by a towel (hot pink, if you must know) and some cream on my face. I’ll leave you to guess what the cream was for, but I will say that if you’re still in your 30’s, don’t make fun of me, ’cause just you wait. However, if you’re in your 40’s and not using said cream, let me be blunt: You should be.

Don’t trust the lighting in your bathroom. We are 40 and while we can still rock it, a little more maintenance is required. Oil of Olay. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Anyway, the bell rings and it’s a hard call. No, I’m not dressed and yes there is the cream, but I’m alone for the next five days and you don’t really want to pass up a doorbell opportunity.

Even if it turns out to be Ross, the 6th grader next door.

Fortunately it wasn’t Ross, because in retrospect opening the door in a towel probably isn’t the best idea, however I will say that technically, it’s much more coverage than say, a swimsuit.

It was my sweet friend Heidi bearing hugs, Christmas wishes and lots of calories.

So happy I opened the door.

I washed the cream off and got dressed. Really dressed. No leggings. No sports bras. Like, really dressed. I put on make-up. I used a hot-iron. (For my hair, not my clothes. I don’t do that kind of ironing.) Anyway, I put on my “divorce is traumatic and horrific and I can’t eat” skinny jeans and a new sweater.

I even put on a bra.

Wait, that’s not true. But I did wear a camisole.

Unfortunately.

It’s enough.

And then I started cleaning. Sheets, legos, barbies, rugs, doll clothes, my clothes, their clothes. I cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed up pine needles (along with part of the tree skirt). Whatever.

And then I met a friend for coffee, only we didn’t drink coffee (I’m not sure why, exactly) but there was no coffee and I was freezing so I never took off my coat so I just keep thinking, what a waste! And I keep trying to remember why I’m dressed for a party that I haven’t been invited to.

And it makes me sad. Just a little bit. Not a whole lot sad, because I promised my mom that a) I wouldn’t be sad this weekend and b)that I sure as heck-o-la wouldn’t blog about being sad this weekend. So I won’t tell you that I’m sad. I’ll  tell you that I may have cried all day and I’m thinking my salt/water balance may be  a tad off, but I am not sad.

But then I have an idea. I decide to start taking down my Christmas decorations and while this may sound depressing, it’s actually quite liberating and completely logical.

And if nothing else, it will keep me busy.

But for this kind of project, I need comfort.  Everyone knows you can’t take down Christmas wearing a bra.

Ughm, camisole.

So I put on my pajamas. Really, super comfy ones that my dear friend Tina gave me. Flannel and soft and yes it’s 4:00 in the afternoon, but I think we’ve established that I’m alone.

I take an angel. I remember the year I received her. I take the baby Jesus. I wrap him and I remember the friends who gave him to me; the entire nativity actually. Friends that no longer speak.

They can take their friendship, but they can’t take Jesus and with that thought, my spirits lift and I carefully, slowly wrap up the love and the memories and the promise.

I move on to the kids’ trees and the Santas and the angel hair and the fake snow and carefully I pack it away for the promise of next Christmas.

And then I’m hungry. It seems silly to put on a coat while wearing pajamas so I do a much more logical thing.

I put on a robe. Again with the hot pink.

And snow boots.

And I drive out of my garage in search of Jimmy  but, literally in the middle of my street is a friend and his son.

I roll down the window and I wanna just crawl under the seat. I want to say, “really, you should’ve seen me earlier…you know, in my sweater and my ‘they only fit because I’m going through a divorce that is quite possibly never going to end’ jeans.”

And then I giggle a little. Yes it’s Saturday night and yes I’m wearing flannel pajamas, and yes I’m learning to give thanks in all things so I can say this…Praise be to Jesus that you didn’t have to see the Oil of Olay, and yes, yes, yes!

Thank you that there was still the make-up.

I’m not sad. And I haven’t even cried since 6:00. Wait, what time did Tina call? Maybe 6:30.

Actually, I’m grateful. Grateful to be where the Lord would have me be; doing what He would have me to do.

I’m waiting.

For my children to come home. For Christmas in Arkansas. For a piece of paper that says, “It is finished.”

I’m waiting on Him.

Emmanuel. In case you missed it, that means God with us!

We were studing Isaiah. Coulter was drawing. And occasionally conferencing with his buddy sitting next to him. He’s not listening, but he’s 7 and I’m OK with that.

But Pastor makes a joke about pink, frilly Christmas trees and Coulter laughs.

And then Pastor says David’s descendants have been idiots. (Wait. I think it was David).

Anyway, Coulter’s head pops-hard to his Mom and he whispers, “he just said idiot!”

My pastor said the word idiot. This is awwwwesome!

More drawing. More prophecies. More conferencing.

Pastor tells of the King to come. He preaches on the promise of this King, that he will have knowledge and understanding and will judge fairly and he reads the verses and he reads the promises and Coulter, pencil still in hand turns to me and says, “Mom, I know it’s God. Can I go to the bathroom now?

I don’t need to hear the rest. I know it’s God.

And as our hearts break, weary-torn, aching, searching, yes breaking for the families, for the children, for the lost and the changed, for those 6 and 7 year olds whose rooms lie empty and for the 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 year olds whose rooms are caving in and threatening to swallow them up as they face a future that is forever changed.

By evil.

Yes, in all of this, Coulter gets it right. “Mom, I know it’s God.”

The answer is always God.

Always Jesus.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season. That’s what all the plaques say, but maybe EVIL is the reason for the season.

It’s why He was sent. It’s why He came.

I love my friends. I love their hearts. I love that we are all sinners, together, loving on Jesus the best we know how, but I am seriously gonna lose it, like flippin’ lose it if yall tell me one more time how we have taken God out of the schools, so how dare we call upon Him now?

Shame on you, Mike Huckabee!

You cannot take God out of anywhere. He is here. Emmanuel. God with us. He was there that day. We can’t say where was God? He was there. He is here. The question is where were WE?

Have your debates about guns and prayer in school and the NRA or the NBA or whatever the HALE it is that yall are arguing about, but let them bury their dead; mourn their loss; mourn our own loss of feeling safe when we drop off our children at our public, non-praying, satan-filled, where is God schools. (In case you missed it, the later part of that sentence was sarcasm.)

Urgh!

You think He’s not there? He is there. And if you think He doesn’t want to be called upon now, if you think it’s too brazen, too bold, too arrogant to cry out His name now, then you don’t know Jesus.

You have missed the Gospel. Entirely.

Man, I’m on a roll. Perhaps I should take on abortion today, too. Perhaps I should be so bold as to say that if you really want to abolish abortion then quit giving all your money to candidates who seem to change nothing. Give your money to lost teens, scared mommies and walk beside them. Give your money for diapers and food and tell these girls, I will be your village. I will help you raise your babies. Mentor, adopt, walk beside and let’s give girls a different way to feel love. Let’s abolish the need for abortion.

Let’s quit killing our children and let’s quit leaving our children and let’s quit blaming and using every flippin tragedy as an opportunity to bring a little politcal clout to our side.

Shame on us. Shame on me.

Coulter gets it right. The answer is Jesus.

Always. Jesus. And if you don’t get that, then you’re no smarter than a 7 year old.

Dear Fritz Family

Christmas Cards! I love them! I love the pictures and the letters and the stories and I love hanging them up and praying over the families with my children, and I love knowing that someone thought of us. Yes! I love receiving Christmas cards!

Christmas 2012 483

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Can you hear it? You know, the “B” word? I’m trying so hard and yet it’s there….it’s coming…..I can’t seem to help my….

But!

But this year, as they trickle in, they are like angry little elves who’ve been worked too hard; sarcastic little messengers eager to squash the Christmas spirit—they are the Scrooge and the Grinch and they are whispering in my ear, “what’s your name? Are you still a family? You’re not a Fritz. You can’t open me.”

The angry elves remind me that their Dad has more friends than I do (and seriously, he really does) and they remind me that we are not a family; at least not that family; not the family listed on the card.

The Grinch says remember when they were your friends? Ha! How funny that you ever thought his friends had become your friends. All the trips you took and meals you shared; crying together, laughing and sharing together—why, they were never your friends. Always his.

Uhm, OK. Sorry. I can be a little slow, Mr. Grinch.

And Scrooge adds, remember how you thought the lines would never been drawn, in fact don’t you remember actually hearing those words, “the lines will never be drawn” and yet here you stand.

On the other side of the line.

But Christmas is about forgiveness, right? Wait, is it? I dont’ know. Not really. You never get a card that says Peace. Love. Forgiveness. Christmas is about waiting. Christmas is about a Savior. Christmas is about God becoming man so that we could be forgiven and yes, I’m thinking because of that we are also called to forgive so let’s make the leap. Christmas is a perfect time to forgive. To let it go.

Or in other words—-Get the HALE over it!

I get it. You chose him. 2013 is quickly approaching it and I’m ready to get the HALE over it!

Christmas 2012 494

Of course now that I’ve been all grouchy, everyone’s going to be too scared to send us Christmas cards. Please do it anyway! There is nothing like tearing into a Christmas card and seeing Peace and Joy and Christ himself, in the faces of our children; of our families and friends. Please do it anyway, so that I can remember that there are others standing on this side of the line. With me. With us. Please do it anyway and know that, in a tradition we learned from special friends, we will pull your card down and we will pray for your family. Please do it anyway and address it anyway you like….to the Fritz Family or the Fritz-Hale family or to Myra Katherine, Coulter and Emma Claire. I have a lot of names. I get it. Then you throw in the double-name thing. Some people even think Katherine is my last name. In fact, some people that call me MK, still spell Katherine with a C. MK Catherine. I’m not kidding.

I’m a little obsessed with names. I can admit that it’s an issue for me. And seriously, call Emma Claire, “Emma” and I will go all crazy-mom on you. Oh, wait. I’m completely kidding. I keep forgetting I can’t make jokes like that. I am not crazy. But come on! Emma Claire.  Three syllables. It’s not that hard.

And yet in the quiet of my heart this morning, I know that the only name that matters—this season or any season— is the name of Jesus.

Call me Fritz. Call me Hale. You can even call me MK Catherine. I am learning to let go.

And to simply call on the name of Jesus. Jesus. The name above all names. And to know that I know that I know that as His adopted child, His family is my family. His family name is the One I can call my own.

Christmas 2012 493

And now since I’ve made such a big deal about sending Christmas cards, I’m thinking I should go order some……hmmmm……I’m thinking something like Peace, Love and Forgiveness. 

Sounds much nicer and more “Christmasy” than “get the HALE over it” don’t ya think?

Myra Katherine (MK, MK Catherine, Ms. Myra,) Hale-Fritz, Coulter Hale Fritz, Emma Claire Fritz, 

2308 Teakwood Drive

Fremont, NE 68025

The New Sounds of Motherhood (and our failed “if you can’t see me, I can’t hear you” family rule)

There was just the tiny click of the bathroom door. And first I guess a little squeak.  (Note to self: we need W-D 40.)  The smallest of sounds that by most ears would never be heard but for my children and I suspect for children everywhere this sound of a bathroom door screams of Mom needing privacy, and what fun is that; what need could there possible be for mom to be alone, so that tiny click of a sound echoes and within seconds I hear, “Mom! Mom! Come here! Mom! I need you!”

Sigh.

I actually try to reserve my trips to the restroom for when my children are gone. Or asleep. Seriously, it’s much easier that way. Whether one might need a shower or dab of lip gloss or whatever else goes on in there, I try to schedule around, well, their schedule.

But this is not always possible.

And children yelling for me from different levels of the house; yelling for me when they can’t see me and when they should assume that I can’t hear them (that’s our rule, if you can’t see me; I can’t hear you); anyway, as Coulter would say “it gets on my very last nerve.”

Now that I think about it, it’s weird for a 7-year-old to say that. Hmmm. It’s possible that he learned that from me.

We don’t have a huge home, but it has three levels and it’s kind of spread out and for some reason our “If you can’t see me, I can’t hear you policy” hasn’t really taken hold and I’m starting to think they’ve set up nanny-cams so they can detect the exact instant that I try for a moment of privacy.

So I go downstairs in search of the Mom-calls. Coulter needs me to throw away his popsicle stick.

I’m not kidding.

I try again.

Emma Claire starts yelling as if the Christmas tree is on fire and I rush back downstairs.

She’s holding Rocky and trying to get her stroller upstairs. She can’t put Rocky down and she can’t put her stroller down; thus the emergency. Of course, Rocky was supposed to be in his kennel, but this small detail is lost on her.

I try again.

Emma Claire again. There’s a red spot on her ankle. From scratching.

I can no longer remember why I even went into the restroom.

Exasperated and a tiny bit cranky, I give up.

It’s time for homework. Coulter finishes up his math and I almost missed it — he was so quiet —  he scoots in next to his sister and starts teaching her math. She’s trying to write numbers and I hear him say, “OK, so if Mom gave you two apples, here let’s draw the apples, and if I gave you two more apples, how many apples would you have?”

When your children are babies, you just wait and wait and you practice and you say “Mmmm….mmmm……mmmaaammmmaaa….” And one day they say it! And maybe it’s an accident or maybe it’s for real, but your world changes and you have been called Mama!

But, as they get older; as they get louder and as the Mama turns into Mommy and then to Mom and then to MAAAHHHHHMMMMMM!; yes as they get older, I’m finding that you have to look harder for the ways that they are calling for you; wait. Not harder. Smarter.

Yes, you have to look smarter;  and, well  listen harder to discover the new sounds and the new ways and the new words, and sometimes it’s hard because it’s different and they aren’t the baby voices of MA-MA- or the toddler voices of Mommy, but they are the big brother voices teaching two apples plus two apples, and they are the proud little sister voices bragging on brother for said math lesson and they are the  giggles erupting from the other room as I scrape un-eaten food from their plates and wonder how I’ve failed so tragically in the picky-eater column and I think of those who are going hungry and my thoughts are interrupted to the sounds of   joy and hysterical laughing and I listen to it  (knowing that it will be mere seconds before someone is crying), but I see it. And I hear it.

And these are the new sounds of Motherhood. And just like when they were babies, we have to practice. We have to work at it. We have to learn each new age and each new stage and we have to listen to hear our name being called.

Because they are always calling. And they believe (no, they know) we are listening; know we are hearing. Even if they are two levels down and totally ignoring the “if you can’t see me, I can’t hear you” family rule.

And now, if you will excuse me, my children are at school and I’ve been waiting since 3:00 yesterday for an uninterrupted trip to the ladies room.  (And by ladies room, I mean the tiny little bathroom that the three of us share; full of  ribbons and bows and goopy toothpaste containers (two, because they so obviously don’t like the same kind. Well, duh!), and little boy germs and little boy undies that never seem to find the laundry basket and toilet paper rolls that Emma Claire insists on saving for the school gerbil and kid soap that for the life of me, I can’t get anybody to use (seriously, shouldn’t the taking off of clothes and turning on of water be some sort of trigger? Some sort of clue that it’s time to use soap?” Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes. Squeak. Click.

Missing The Little One

I started playing the music. Playing music the same way I do week after week, when suddenly she began to cry. Buela. Buela, whose front teeth click up and down and her eyes watery and mattery and her body soft and large and long-ago failing and usually she smiles and giggles but today she’s crying.

And then there’s Cara. Cara, who is searching for her dead husband. Cara who thinks that he’s somewhere if she can just look hard enough; maybe he’ll come back, maybe if I keep looking; keep searching.

Kathleen wants to go to sleep. Her bed beacons and calls and her eyes are heavy but if I can come up with just the right song, just the right hymn, her eyes get sparkly and she sings. She leans her head into mine and we are cheek to cheek and we are harmonizing.

John is reading Redbook magazine. He doesn’t like me much but he comes. Every week he comes. I suppose they make him.

Mary’s front teeth don’t click because she doesn’t have any and occasionally she growls at me and she once tried to eat an egg shaker and I’m pretty certain that killing a resident would’ve been frowned upon but Mariam whose 92 and thinks she’s 72 started pointing and hollering and we were able to save Mary.

Mariam will ask me the same questions over and over; minute after minute. All about my children. About my husband (I don’t have heart to break the news, plus she will forget the minute I tell her,) but she always remembers Emma Claire. She loves Emma Claire and if I don’t bring her along, she always says, “Where’s your little one? Tell your little one we missed her.”

Tell your little one, we missed her. I’m 92 and think I’m 72 but that your child of yours; perhaps that child that I never had, that child that I never got to see, that child that I longed for….yes, that child of yours, tell her that we missed her.

Lottie is loud. She is beautiful, or at least you can tell she once was, and she is cranky and you can tell that she probably always was. She loves music and she doesn’t think I’m very good. “That doesn’t have a beat!” She’ll tell me. “The fox trot is 6/8, the waltz is 3/4, but this! This is terrible!”

And then she’s lost so I wheel her back to her room and I bump into the wall and I bump into her bed and she turns to me and says with complete sincerity, “You need to go back to driver’s ed!”

She doesn’t remember that she lives there. She doesn’t remember her room, but she knows I need a lesson in driving.

And I smile. And they all make me smile.

Widows and orphans.

My mom started taking us to the visit the elderly from the time we were little. It’s something we’ve always done. Singing, bringing bread, having awkward conversations. She has lived the example of seeing Jesus in the widows and seeing Jesus in the orphans and these friends of mine. They are both. They are the widows and the orphans.

I should tell you that I get paid to do this. It is my job. But really,  I shouldn’t. I should be doing this just because it needs doing.

Last week I grabbed the soundtrack for the “First Wives Club” and played “I’m Still Standing.” It was just random, I didn’t really choose it, I just pushed play. And then I started listening to the words and I thought, “good grief! I’m staring at a room full of wheel-chair bound widows and we’re shaking maracas to “I’m Still Standing.”

I think the humor was lost on them. At least I hope it was.

This is Advent. The season of waiting. Waiting for renewal; waiting for a promise; waiting for a Savior. And I look at  Cara whose waiting for her husband and Lottie whose waiting for a chance to dance the fox trot just one more time and Kathleen whose waiting for a nap and they are sitting in these chairs and in this place and they are waiting.

To die.

They are the lost; the forgotten; the rejected. They are us. Missing the Little One and waiting for our Savior.

The alarm rings. It’s 5:00 a.m. My first thought, is “BLAH!” I’m so cold and there are no little legs and no little toes and no little children.  And the furnance has obviously gone out.

Again.

My second thought, is “Hallelujah!” The alarm woke me up. That means I was actually asleep!

I get dressed, take out the puppies and put water on for tea. Then I have this thought. This icky little thought. I don’t know where my Body Pump music is. Body Pump. As in the class I’m teaching in 20 minutes.

To a room of people who have also been awakened by their 5:00 a.m. alarms and a room full of people who will have a lot more to say than “BLAH!” if I don’t show up ready to teach. Ready, as in, with music.

It’s in my gym bag. That much,I know. But where the heck-o-la is my gym bag?

It’s no where to be found. And I blame my husband. My husband who has always been obsessed with clean cars. My husband who cleans and organizes and who used to tease me about trying to find a recipe in Galatians (and I’ve said this before, but it’s not really that far-fetched. I’m sure if you went to my Bible at this very minute, you could probably find a very good bread recipe). Last week I found a list of country songs that have played whenever I leave my attorney’s office, which is a little hard to explain, but basically I keep track of the music that is randomly playing on the radio when I leave the attorney’s office, which I get is a little “out there”, but trust me, it’s a great list and I’ll share it with you one day.

And I recently found the list in the book of Psalms. The last song on the list was  “Who says you can’t go home?”

Anyway, my husband. He’s the one who first introduced the idea of cleaning out the van immediately after trips. The minute we would drive in…..14, 15 hours….there was a quick bathroom break and then we would start. And I am willing to admit that I grew to appreciate this little habit. But some of us are just wired differently and the truth is, I like having stuff in my car.

I like being able  find a crayon at the exact moment that I need it. Or a piece of gum. Or 20-dollar bill.

I’m even OK with the occasional week-old corn dog. Last summer I found a check from a client for $80 that had been written in April. Now I get that that doesn’t make for great book-keeping, but are you kidding me? Finding $80 in your car? Awesome!

(And you need to sing the Awesome…like sing-songy, “Awwwwesoooome!”)

Back to my husband. I mean my van. It had been a week since our trip and I hadn’t cleaned out the van and the kids and their friends were having to walk over legos and coloring books and baby dolls and even I was to the point that if there had been some sort of accident, I would have been horrified at the possibility of emergency personnel seeing the inside of my van.

And so I cleaned it. And by clean, I mean I put everything in a huge laundry basket and took the basket to the basement. Don’t judge me. We are going to Arkansas in December and I’ll just have to get it all out again. (For the record, I threw the corn dog away).

But my bag! I could not find my bag and their poor dad. Even this was his fault! (Just kidding. That was a joke. Sorta.)

But this story ends well. (Well, for me it ends well. Not so great for the Body Pump class.) After tearing my house apart (and putting it back together), I found my bag at the Y.  Three hours after my class. So, as it turns out, my clean van had nothing to do with the missing gym bag and everything to do with the fact that I left it in the fitness center last Friday.

Whatever. The moral of this story is still that clean cars are highly over-rated.

I Believe. Lord, Help My Unbelief.

Friday night I went to hear a friend sing. I expected a large sanctuary with lights low and dim but what I walked into was a small fellowship hall with flourescent lighting and seats packed-tight.

I only mention the lights because it was Dad’s  Friday night and it was Christmas music and Rachel’s music and yes, I only mention the lights because I knew there would be tears. And there were.

You know, just a few.

Already established— I’m a crier. Also established, not a pretty crier. And did I mention the lights? Bright and flourescent?

Rachel spoke of being the sons and daughters of Christ. Of being adopted into the family of God. She talked about her journey of knowing in her head and knowing in her heart.

It’s a different kind of knowing.

And then she sang.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd69GuZBLDQ

Time out—did you listen? I will know if you don’t listen!  🙂

Seriously, go back and listen.

She sang, we have all we need. We have all.we.need. And yes Lord, yes, yes ,yes! I know that.

In my head.

But how to find the heart-knowing.

Our Pastor spoke Sunday of Abraham and Isaac and obedience and idols and in the re-telling of the well-known story, he says this of Abraham: “He speaks better than he knows.” He’s referring to when Abraham answers Isaac with, God will provide, but Abraham’s answering for the burnt offering; he’s speaking of the light, of the spark and he doesn’t know that God.Will. Provide.

The lamb.

I shouldn’t even try to retell that because I’m pretty sure I just butchered it yet I think it fits. And today that is me. I speak better than I know.

I have all that I need. Pretty easy to say; to speak.

Harder to live.

A very dear and strange and beautiful friend of mine used to say, “fake it till you make it.”  He was spiritual and deep and a little on the new-agey side. He had this  massage parlor and I can remember all these candles and incense and crystals and he was like no other person that I’ve ever known and I smile out loud when I remember him. (Did you know you can smile “out loud”? ‘Cause you can). And as strange as I thought he was, I think he was equally baffled by me. He thought I was judgy (is that a word?) and uptight (can’t imagine where he got that idea) and one day he said to me that I should get a massage—you know,  to help me become more “body aware” as I competed for Miss America. Uhm, heck no!  Not from him; not from anyone….I mean I wouldn’t even let the college boys touch me (not that any were trying, whatever) but  I sure as heck-o-la wasn’t going to pay for a massage so someone could find all my cushy, wobbly bits.

Wait, that sounded so wrong and why am I even telling this story? Oh, yes, he thought I was uptight.

No, that wasn’t it. I mean, I am uptight. But I’m working on it.

Working to let go.

I even used “wth” in a note to my attorney the other day as part of my new “look how un-uptight I am” policy and I thought he would be so proud of me and instead he wrote back and said—

“I don’t know what ‘wth’ means.”

So I’m guessing that I used it wrong. Anyway.

OK, seriously,why the story?  Oh, wait, now I remember. This friend of mine, who passed far too young, would have these words; these knowing words and he had mastered the heart-knowing and he would send me notes that would say, simply, “Shine” or “Sparkle” or “Fake it till you make it.”

And I wish he knew how many times during the past year, I’ve had to fake it until I made it.

And I am making it.

If you think about it, it’s actually quite biblical. Well, sorta. 

“I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.” ( Mark 9:14-27)

I have Jesus. My children have Jesus. We have all we need.

I believe. But, just in case Lord, help my unbelief. Help me fake it until You make it what you want it to be; fake it until You make me what you want me to be.

Fake it until what’s in my head find its way into my heart.

I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.

Go get ’em, Betsy!

OK, so y’all know how I’m working on the whole being grateful for all things; being grateful in all things, and y’all know from my words that sometimes I get it right and sometimes I fail like, you know, epic-ly (sorry….epic is the new word at our house), and you know that there are days that I feel….hmmmm…..how should I word this? 

Totally. Sorry. For. Myself.

There are the “why me?” days. There are the “but I didn’t deserve this” days and my favorite, the….

“Are you freaking kidding me with this?” days.

But I am trying. And I am naming the blessings. And I am learning.

Over Thanksgiving I had a few minutes with Betsy (see earlier post about Betsy and the C-word).

She says to me and she is sincere. She says,

“I’m just so thankful it’s me. I can’t imagine if it were my sister or my brother and they have children to care for and if it had to be someone, I’m thankful that it’s me.

She is teaching me. Just by living. Just by fighting. Just by being Betsy, she is teaching and I am learning.

Giving thanks. In all things. Giving thanks in cancer.

Tomorrow’s Betsy’s surgery. Doctors are gonna rock! Nurses are gonna rock! Betsy is gonna rock!

“Lord Jesus, we thank you for Betsy. We thank you for the doctors and the nurses that you have hand-picked to care for Betsy. You are the God above all gods and the King above all kings and this does not have you stumped. And we give you praise.

And we want it gone. All gone.

We praise you for Betsy and her spark and her light and we pray for her family as they wait and keep watch and we give thanks in all things knowing that you will use her and her healing in a way that honors and glorifies you.

We gave thanks, Lord, for a healthy Betty.”

Go get ’em sister!

Shushing out the Doubters

Coulter said to me, “Mom, some of my friends say that their parents move the elf; that he can’t really fly.”

“Oh?” I replied. “Do you think maybe that’s because they don’t believe? And maybe since they don’t believe, there’s no magic? My guess is that their parents have to move him. You know, because there’s no magic.”

The magic happens when we believe.

And he wants to believe, but there are the friends and there are the questions. and there are the voices of unbelievers

“OH!”  I want to cry out. Shut them out! Tune them out! Not all voices are ones we must listen to and I think, oh how easy the faith of a child; how easy to believe. It’s in the growing and learning and reasoning and doubting that we lose the magic.

You must enter the Kingdom of God as little children.

And the magic happens when we believe.

So we read Elf on the Shelf as we do each Thanksgiving night and the magic was “activated” and the next morning Jolly Sparkle found his way to Arkansas.

One night. Two nights and then, as Coulter would say, “Epic FAIL!”

I forgot to move him.

I love this book. I love the story behind the book. I love our Elf.  But, Oh. My. Gosh….the stress of remembering.

Remembering the magic.

My mom wakes in the middle of the night and she remembers. She’s not sure what to do. We are leaving the next morning and she’s uncertain of Jolly’s travel plans. She puts him in a bag and then writes herself a note to remember.

The children wake and there is no Jolly Sparkle.

My mom calls me in; she gives me the bag and I make a plan. Jolly Sparkle obviously wants to go on a road trip.

‘Cause as you know, we rock at road trips.

We have built-in DVD holders; not exactly sure why given that there are no DVD players, but whatever, they make for nice little storage compartments. I pop one down and Jolly flies in.

The children give up looking. He must already be on his way to Nebraska, we conclude.

It took so long to load up all the last-minute items that honestly I had forgotten about Jolly when we went to pile in. Coulter screamed, “Mom! There’s Jolly Sparkle!!!”

And then it happened.

The magic.

“Mom! Look! You were surprised, so it couldn’t have been you. You didn’t move him!! It IS magical!

And just like that, we believed again.

The faith of a child.

And that rare moment when you know, fully and completely, that you just got something right.

And while some choose not to celebrate Christmas with Santa and elves and North Poles, I will fight for Santa. I will fight for the magic; I will fight for the spirit of believing and I will fight to shush out the doubters.

Because do you what’s even more unbelievable than flying elves and a Big Dude who delivers presents?

A baby, born of a virgin, sent to deliver us.

And He is Someone we can believe in.

Christmas is not about Jolly Sparkle or Santa or Flying Reindeer.

It’s about shushing out the doubters and believing in a miracle.

Because it’s in the believing that magic happens.

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