~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Skid Marks! No, no....

This isn't the way the holidays are s'posed to be. No, I didn't slide on the snow or ice (at least not yet) and leave skid marks in the street. Rather, I left skid marks in my brain and now I'm going to leave them on this blog where everyone can see them. Or, maybe I shouldn't. But what have I got to lose, huh?

The skid marks go all the long way from Monday, the 15th (my last post) to yesterday, the 17th. Monday, you'll notice how philosophical I was about how I'd adjusted to having a reduced kind of Christmas holiday due to health issues like chronic neuropathy pain, FMS, and diabetes (no meds yet but I'm still trying to be happy about the diet). I might have been a little bit smug about it, if I remember right--not going to re-read it again!

So, in comes Wednesday. I had an about-face which explains the skid marks. I thought I'd outgrown the holiday drudges. Okay, let's name it for what it is: depression. I'm trying not to say it too loudly in case I scare someone off, mainly me. Depression is something I don't like to admit or talk about, nor do most people like to hear about it. But it's a reality I, and many others, live with from time to time.

How I got from a moderate Monday to a low-down Wednesday, I'm not sure. Maybe I was careless with my mental hygiene. I thought I'd set my alarm for 8:00 a.m., but didn't see the light of day till 11:00. The goals I could have accomplished in the three hours sleeping! I might have spent too long a night on the 'puter. I have a tendency to do that and then pay for it the next day. That was after having spent an exhausting Monday with my daughter and grandkids. What made it so exhausting was that I took pity on one of the farm kittens that is not meant to live on the farm. I spent about two hours bathing, drying, and cuddling this baby. You have to know me to know what a pushover I am for innocent little things.

The fact that it snowed almost 5 inches on Tuesday and frightened the sun away, which has yet to show it's face since then, may have had something to do with the crash. A week of clouds can send me down to low levels--it's kind of like flying, or sludging, below the clouds, if you get my drift.

Anyway, there I was, physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, but trying to live up to the expectations I had of what I wanted to get done for the holidays. Which is laughable, 'cause it just isn't all that much. But it sure looked like a big old bag of stuff Wednesday, and it seemed like half or all of it needed to get in that one day. Or else...or else, horrors, Christmas just wasn't going to happen.

If no one has ever been there, thank God for it. I went to bed earlier than usual, slept good except when I got up once for the "necessary." That's when it occurred to me: I always, and I mean always, sleep on my right side. Because when I find a good position where the pain is the least I stay there. But this time when I went back to bed I decided perhaps I should try sleeping on my left side for the rest of the night. You know, maybe that would keep all my brain cells from gelling on one side and keeping me from having a one-sided view upon awakening.

I am much better today as you can tell. Of course, I did have to convince myself to get up and stay up when the alarm went off at 9:00. I had to read a couple of David's Psalms (43, 46) and really take them into my heart where they made a difference in my attitude. So maybe Wednesday was all Stuff and Nonesense, but at the time it felt like hell on earth (forgive me, but I don't know how else to put it).

Perhaps added to fatigue was the fear that I would sink down into the deep depression of the past. But, I'm older and wiser now than I was 30 years ago. I have my faith, as I did then--but stronger, past years of counseling, and a whole basketful of stick-to-itiveness to get me through the drudges.

When it comes down to it, the skid marks are a good sign. For one thing I didn't skid off the path and lose my way completely. I used the things I've learned from compassionate others how to turn to the left or right to get going again after I smashed into the brick wall.

Oh, thank God, today I'm enjoying beautiful Christmas music on the radio and CD player. I'm going to finish making the dough I started Tuesday evening and begin baking peppernuts. Tomorrow I'll mix up a batch or two of pumpkin bread to give away and freeze, and address a few Christmas cards to send. I had a bad Wednesday--SO WHAT!--it was only one day instead of several. Sometimes a few skid marks is all we need to realize for what we have to be grateful.

For whatever it's worth, thanks for reading my sad story with a happy ending. The wonder of Christmas isn't what we do, but that God came down to earth at Christmas and His Spirit is always with us. And I'd better not forget it! I pray His Spirit is with you this Holiday Season: Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

'Tis the Season

Taking in the scenes, the lights, the music, the hustle and bustle, and trying to find time for reflection on the Reason for the Season is what is taking up my time these days. Attending a free symphony of Christmas music, REAL Christmas music, with friends was a highlight of last week. Almost being done with the gift-shopping is a relief. It's going well this year for having saved money because I love to be generous at Christmas. Now, this doesn't mean extravagance, but just enough gifts to give pleasure to those I love.

Because of health I've had to let go of quite a lot of the traditions that used to go along with celebrating Christmas: making fudge, baking rolled cut-out cookies and frosting them, more candies and cookies, baking lots of Peppernuts (a German delicacy--spicey almond-sized you-can't-eat-just-one-handful crunchy cookie-like treats), sending at least 50 cards every year, home-made gifts, and lots of decorations.

Decorating has been simplified to mostly a tree with years of collected decorations filling the branches, a nativity scene, and a few table and counter-top decorations acquired through the years.

Baking still includes peppernuts, just one recipe instead of two or three. That recipe would be my mother's which is so special because it must be at least a couple hundred years old or more passed down from mother-to-mother through generations. The last few years I've enjoyed making an easy moist pumpkin bread which I bake in small loaf pans to give away or freeze to take to occasions that call for finger foods. If I must cook a meal for our small family or for a larger group of extended family, I'm not afraid to ask for or accept help. I don't mind taking shortcuts, like making boxed stuffing and adding my own variations, or buying frozen bread instead of making my own dough (altho' that's easy with the bread machine).

I send Christmas cards or a letter every-other-year and the list has shrunk as loved aunts and uncles and others have gone on to their heavenly home. I still think it's kind of unnecessary to send cards to people I see every week or so and can give them a hug and verbal greeting face-to-face, but still feel obligated when they put a card in my church mailbox or send one across town.

I've learned to say no to most of the Christmas open-house events, concerts, going Christmas caroling, and an array of other events that made the Spirit of Christmas real to me. The Spirit of Christmas is just as real as I read the Bible and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, the terrible sacrifices God made by sending His Son into the world to live and die for the love of human kind--The ultimate gift.

I love to reflect on the experience of the humble shepherds being surprised by a heavenly host of angels to announce Jesus' birth--(wishing I could have been there), and what Mary and Joseph experienced that night and in the years that followed. Reflecting not only on the New Testament account of God coming down to human level in Christ, but how the Old Testament predicted this moment in time. That one extraordinary moment that proved God's great love for us and how believing in Him changes our lives.

Oh, the reality of it is more than can be fathomed by our finite minds. Nothing we do, nothing we think we need, will take the place of the Nativity which is more than enough. I pray that all we need this Christmas is to let God's love dwell in our hearts. "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 fulfilled Isaiah 7:14

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh, Oh! I dropped my thoughts again

If I'd hit the refresh button before I complained about the weather gadget I'd saved myself some embarrassment! Oh, it's not fun losing my mind to the aging process. Sometimes when someone asks me, "What were you thinking?" I draw a blank. Now, for someone like me, who has always had an overactive mind, to not be thinking is pretty much a catastrophe, you know.

Actually, it's quite scary. It gets worse when I say what I'm not thinking to my hubby or daughter and they give me that look. You know the one that makes me realize I just said something stupid. And then, I start thinking about what I said and I wish I'd thought before I said it. Now, our son, he would just laugh and I could laugh with him. I need more people like our son in my life when I've lost my thoughts.

I know one thing for sure, I'm trying to figure out where all that intelligence I thought I had has gone! It could be a lack of sleep that causes those forgetful moments, and scrambles my words. Yeah, that's it, all that late-night bloggin' has gone to my head--literally.

Can anyone explain why my thoughts and words sometimes scramble when I'm talking to someone, while my writing makes sense. Or does it? Well, see there, my confidence has hit an all-time low. Okay, since I can't seem to catch a thought and hold it in my brain long enough to express it intelligibly, I'll share some borrowed thoughts from others.

"Inside every older person is a younger person...wondering what happened."

I'm a walking storeroom of facts -- I've just lost the key to the storeroom door.

You know you're getting old when you stop to think and forget to start again.

You know you're getting old when getting a little action means your prune juice is working.

"Genuine Antique Person," Been there, done that, can't remember!

Always wanted to be a procrastinator, but never got around to it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I don't know what happened to my weather gadget. But it is not fair and 36 or 38 degrees and the wind isn't only 6 mph., but more like 30 or 40 mph. That pushes the windchill way down from the 36 degrees showing on my back porch thermometer. OK, so the temperature is almost accurate but I'm wondering what happened to the wind-o-meter!

Other than the weather, I'm paddling as fast I can to get ready for Christmas. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my sister's house. Wish everyone in the family could have been there. So many things to be thankful for, including shopping for gifts on Black Friday and having more than half of it done--I think.

I don't know about anyone else, but I thought some radio stations airing Christmas music before Thanksgiving was just plain premature. Now that it's after Thanksgiving I'm enjoying it.

I hate to hurry away from here, but I have to. See y'all soon. Blessings