Friday, December 30, 2005

Quiet Season

I'm entering into a quiet season. After a hectic holiday season, I'm longing for a slower pace; a haven of rest, solitude, creativity & introspection. I want to read and write. I want to listen to music & take walks in the snow. I want to connect with God, with myself & with others.

There's a sadness stuck in my throat. I've been swallowing it down for too long now. Deep waters rush within me. I need to dive in & swim down to the treasures below. I've been doggypaddling for too long now, not willing to dunk my head under & get my hair wet. But this quiet season, I take a deep breath & take the plunge.

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Dear God (Santa) Letter

This Sunday it's Your birthday. This Sunday we celebrate your birth, your story, your life. However, I'm sad to say, I have forgotten about You. Perhaps Santa was once supposed to represent You - Father Christmas who works miracles, who gives gifts; the big guy upstairs who lives up north who the kids who still believe pray to and write letters to, who comes in the middle of the night while we're sleeping so we don't ever get to see in the flesh or talk with the real one. But now, the Santa icon has taken over and You get lost. I forget that it's Your birthday and that You're the one who gets the gifts.

I guess I don't know how to celebrate You. I'm looking forward to our Christmas Eve service so I can remember You and worship You and celebrate You. My husband and I are making a new tradition on Your birthday of reading the story in the Bible of Your birth. I want to not only believe in You, I want You to be real to me. More real than the idols I worship in my life.

Why do I do the things I do for Christmas? Presents, decorations, Christmas trees, parties, a feast together with family & loved ones... Most of the world shuts down and takes the day off but not really with the intention to honor You. It's nice to have the day off but I want to be aware on Christmas of what I'm celebrating.

Will You spend Christmas Day with me & my family? I hear You RSVP: "The question is, will you?" You're like the gift left under the Christmas tree unopened & forgotten. A plain brown bag. You don't demand attention; You don't have shiny colorful wrapping paper & a big red bow wrapped around You. But You are the most important gift; You are the only gift. I believe; help me in my unbelief.

I enjoy the Christmas season. I don't think You have to be thrown out because of all the commercialization. Or that all the holiday traditions need to be thrown out in order to glorify You alone. I believe You are for giving, and beauty, and relationship, and celebrating and enjoying good food. I believe You are in that. But so often I forget that You are Christmas. You are with us, whether we set a place for You at the feast or not. Please come. There is not only room for You, the day is meant for You. May I remember You & celebrate You well.

Season of regret

My husband gave me some hard but good words the other day. I've been faced with my selfishness lately. Money issues and finding work has been a big stress on our relationship our entire marriage. More of a stress on him than on me in many ways because I grew up with a Daddy who provided everything for me. Money was never an issue for me growing up. Even when I was out of the house he paid for my college & grad school education as well as provided me with a car, food, clothes, & rent-free housing. I worked as a teenager, mostly as a babysitter and at a health club. I worked throughout college and grad school as well - office jobs, nanny jobs, bookstore jobs. But I know I was lucky. It was very important to my dad to provide for his kids. He was a very giving man... perhaps to the point of taking away responsibility that should have been ours. My dad grew up very poor & perhaps that played into it. Providing for us financially was his way of giving us security and love. So, going into marriage, I unconsciously expected my husband to be my Sugar Daddy. Now, 2.5 years into marriage, I'm facing this. Husband was aware of this even before we married. I remember now, before we married, he being worried about financial expectations I may put on him because of how I grew up. He worried that he wouldn't be able to be a good provider for me on a counselor's salary (or a coffee shop salary).
I grew up with a mom who never had to work outside of the home. She took odd jobs here & there but it wasn't out of financial necessity. My mom got great pleasure out of being a homemaker and a mom. She was able to be home with all of us kids when we were growing up & I'm grateful for that. She instilled in me the desire to stay home when we have kids. I look forward to the time when we have kids and I can be home with them. I am a homebody. I love our home; I love being at home. But I also can see how this can be safe, how this can become an escape. I don't want to have kids just so I can escape from working. I still plan on counseling when we have kids - perhaps evenings when my husband can be at home with the kids. I still hope to do speaking engagements & workshops. I still hope to write professionally. The problem is, I've been so focused on the future & planning for what's to come that I have neglected right now. And I know it's because right now is hard career-wise; right now is disappointing career-wise. It's not that I don't want to work. I just don't want to have to work where I don't want to (like the bookstore). I'm so protective of my time - and probably not in a good way. I want to be able to do our counseling practice solely & having to do anything else I resent. This has caused me to be unwise & selfish with my time right now. We don't have kids now & therefore now is a time of greater freedom that I need to be using my gifts & time towards building our counseling practice & earning money. Husband said, "I'm worried that you're going to look back on this time & see it as a season of regret." And he's right. I struggle with a lot of regrets from my past. I can't go back but I can do something about now to prevent future regret. I am convicted that I'm not using this time as I should... Because of my fears, because of my lack of trust & dependence on God, because of my stubborness, because of my selfishness, because of my poor time management I am not doing with my time & my life as I want to. Those were good words from my husband. I pray God continues to change my heart & my attitudes.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Poor Oliver

Our poor kitten has been through way too much this past weekend and my husband and I are having a very hard time with it all. Ollie got in his first cat fight on Thursday night while we had some friends over. He snuck outside while we had the front door open & 10 minutes later I heard the worst cat noises imaginable. I ran outside but I didn't see Ollie or any other cat. I was very worried that Ollie was hurt so I grabbed a flash light & looked all over for him, calling for him while my friend Judy was shaking his box of kitty treats. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally gave up & started walking back towards the front door. Ollie came running from somewhere & ran into the house. He had poop on his head & all over his butt. He smelled awful. So I put him in the bathtub for a dreaded bath. Normally he goes limp when I give him a bath but this time he was furious (& in pain). He was hissing & crying. We managed to get through it, & later that night, he just wanted to be on my lap or me holding him. I was really worried about him because he seemed to be in pain & was not acting his usual perky self.

I didn't sleep much Thursday night. Ollie was on the bed with us but in the middle of the night he left (which is very unlike him - we usually have to be the ones to kick him out because he romping all over the bed at 3 a.m.). In the morning, Husband woke up first & went looking for our dear kitty. He was worried because he remembered hearing that cats go off alone when they're dying. He found him lying under the Christmas tree with very very sad eyes. All morning he barely moved & wasn't eating. When he did move, he was limping & whining. We made an appointment to take him to our vet, which we were late for because we had a horrible time trying to get him into his carrier.
The vet checked him over & said he was fine - no open wounds. He had just been through something really traumatic & was mad & probably really sore & bruised from the fight. He gave him some anti-inflammatory meds & some antibiotics.

We brought him home & he slept most of the day. By evening he was eating & even playing a little with my shoelaces. We were getting our Ollie back! It was so wonderful to have him back. We had been so scared that Ollie had gotten rabies or that we'd have to put him under. He improved more & more over the weekend. Sunday I noticed when I was petting him that he had some bumps on his side. He was due to go back to the vet this afternoon for a rabies shot. I was at work when Husband brought him in. I called my husband on my way home from work to see how the rabies appt. went & Husband said, well, Ollie came out of surgery ok. What! Evidently, he didn't get his rabies shot after all. Instead, the dr. checked out the bumps & said they were teeth bites & they were bloody. He had two on his right side & one under his right front leg. They were open wounds so they had to put Ollie under, shave his hair on his side, insert a drain into his side & under his leg & sew him back up. They put a collar around his neck (a drape like a bib) so that he won't scratch off the drains or reopen his wounds. Well, needless to say, Ollie is very very unhappy. And so are my husband and I. He absolutely hates the collar. I don't think he can sleep comfortably with it and he can only lay on one side because of his wounds on his right side. We have to give him pain meds by mouth 2 times/day & we have to clean his wounds twice/day. Tonight, doing both was extremely hard. Afterwards, Ollie scooped half his kitty liter onto the floor next to his kitty liter box. I think he's mad at us.

So, this is how it's going to be for the next 4 days til we can bring him back to the vet on Friday & get his drains removed & his collar taken off. We're not sure who's looking forward to it more, us or Ollie. Poor Ollie. We feel so very sad for him. If God cares for the sparrows, surely he cares for our kitty. Please heal him God.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tag, I'm it...

The snow is really coming down now - big fat flakes. I love it. It's so beautiful. It's capturing my attention.

So my sister in law, Wendy, tagged me to play this game so here goes...

Seven things to do before I die

1. Have a baby (at least one)
2. Be a published author
3. Travel more
4. Seek forgiveness from the people I've wronged throughout my life
5. Make sure people in my life know how much I love them
6. Have a thriving counseling practice
7. Live more free from my heart

Seven things I cannot do

1.Be a morning person
2.Be an extrovert
3. Redo my past
4. Fall asleep as soon as I go to bed (my mind is also racing & it usually takes me hours to fall asleep)
5. Swim (I could stay afloat if I needed to but I don't know for how long)
6. All the gymnastics tricks I used to be able to do
7. Be without God

Seven things that attract me to my husband

1. His face
2. His kindness
3. How he cares for people so well
4. How he pursues my heart
5. How he makes me laugh
6. How he loves me as I am & encourages me to become more the person I want to be
7. How he believes in me

Seven things I say most often

1. I don't wanna get out of bed yet (pretty much I say this every morning & it usually comes out in a whine)
2. I love you
3. I need to exercise
4. What is wrong with me?
5. I'd rather be writing right now
6. Oliver! (usually yelling at my cat for some bad thing he's done)
7. I wish I had more clients

Seven Books I love
1. Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller)
2. John Eldredge books
3. Dan Allender books
4. Harry Potter books
5. Passionate Marriage (David Schnarch)
6. The Velveteen Principles (Toni Raiten-D'Antonio)
7. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)

Seven Movies I’d watch
(or have watched over and over again)
1. It’s a Wonderful life
2. Harry Potter movies
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
4. Anne of Green Gables
5. Legends of the Fall
6. A River Runs Through It
7. To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday

Seven people who I want to join in
1. Rob
2. Judy
3. Jason
4. Tod
5. Dianne
6. Jean
7. Mom