Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy New Year

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Is it wrong for me to say, “Goodbye 2015!  Don’t let the door hit you in the a@# on your way out!” Because, man, that’s how I feel.

It’s been a crappy year…a yucky, stressful year.  And I’ve been reminded that stress can do lots of horrible things to your mind and body…like make you tired and grumpy, make you gain weight, make you have pains where pains don’t belong.  Stress is an evil little heifer.  Mix her with a dose of sorrow and you’ve got a batch of blah.

So without much ado, I will go to sleep tonight and say goodbye to 2015 without looking back!

But tomorrow…I will start tomorrow with hope.  There’s something encouraging about the idea of a fresh start. One segment of life closes, another begins. One day ends, and at midnight, a fresh day blooms.  Our minds have been programmed to believe with each new year we have the opportunity to begin again…I kind of like that.  Don’t we all need the chance to feel fresh, to feel like new opportunities are possible?

Tomorrow, I will begin looking for new opportunities.  That is my resolution this year.  Taking advantage of opportunities means stretching, moving out of my comfort zone, and not being afraid of difficult situations.  Those are hard feats for me…I’ll be the first to admit it.  But this is how I see it: new opportunities could be as simple as being kind when others are being cruel, saying hello to a stranger, joining classes at church when I’d rather be lazy.  Opportunities could be as amazing as traveling with my family or pushing myself back to college.  Who knows?  The thing is to take the opportunity when it arises.

There is tremendous hope in those thoughts…a yearning for fresh, a desire for better, a wish that maybe, possibly the next twelve months will be better and stronger than the last.  Here’s hoping we all find that freshness, that push to move us forward.  Shouldn’t we in the very least refuse to stay exactly the same?  Shouldn’t we at least try to smile just a little bit more or laugh a little bit more?  Shouldn’t we cherish the good while realizing the bad will not win over us forever?  I sure hope so.  Hope will keep me going.

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Hello Christmas Break!

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It should be mandatory for every adult in the world to spend the week before Christmas break in schools.  Not only to experience the chaos…the squealing, running, chatty, messy chaos (and that’s just the teachers), but to feel, to remember what it’s like to be a child.  The children go to another place, a world adults forget about when they grow up. Children live in a perpetual realm of giddiness this time of year.  It’s exhausting but it’s also infectious. Every adult should get to experience that kind of giddiness at least once more in their lifetime.

In the midst of utter pandemonium, here are some of the things I heard over the week:

Little boy, age 6 – “I have ballet stuck in my head!  When I get home, my daddy’s going to ground me.”

Funny girl, age 6 – “When did people get in color?  Like not gray anymore?  I saw an old picture and people used to be gray.”

Too smart for me boy, age 6 – “Who first started using money…not just trading stuff?”

Precious girl, age 6 – “That sounded like two snowflakes singing together.”

Inquisitive girl, age 6 – “Who made the Earth? I know God, but like who did the landscaping?”

 And last but not least, after receiving a precious homemade card from a little girl…a handwritten card with a beautiful Christmas tree and lights and a star in the sky, I find another note folded up inside. She pointed to it and said, “It’s a zombie map, so if you need to get away from zombies.”

A journal entry from the week. I asked who the man was at the bottom and she said God. Sigh...sweet baby girl.

A journal entry from the week. I asked who the man was at the bottom and she said God. Sigh…sweet baby girl.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with love and laughter.

C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.

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The older I get, the more concerned I become about the world we’re living in.  The news is terrifying, people are afraid of neighbors, and somehow in my lifetime, we’ve become a society that is so politically correct that we have lost common sense.  Respect is slipping away…simple truths such as greeting others with kindness, treating adults with reverence.  This country is turning into something I don’t recognize.

Christmas is turning into something I don’t recognize.

Bear with me.  Let’s spell Christmas.  C..H..R..I..S..T..M..A..S.  Does anyone else see the beginning of the word as I see it?  I know I’m not alone.  It says Christ.  Not holiday.  Not Santa.  Not season.  When did Christ lose his standing on his own birthday?

This time of year bothers me…actually more and more each year.  There is a total disregard of what the season really is.  This is not just a holiday season…it’s Christmas.  This season is not about parties and gifts or stockings and Rudolph.  It’s not about anything except Jesus.  Period.  But somehow this time of the year has turned into just another holiday.  We’re not celebrating Santa’s birthday, we’re not celebrating anything but the fact that Jesus was born to save people like me…simple sinners who struggle each and every day.

Now let me clarify:  I am a Christmas nerd.  I love it.  Always have.  I love the time with my family and our decorated Christmas tree.  I love to eat holiday food (maybe a little too much).  I love my church filled with red poinsettias, a spiraling tree and the Nativity scene.  All of these things are wonderful traditions and very calming when I’m weary and agitated, BUT these things have always been celebrated because of Jesus’ birthday.

I am terrified of losing the meaning of this time of year.  I am terrified that self-proclaimed Christians won’t publicly stand up for Jesus (even if it is on national T.V.).  And I realize I’m not being politically correct by pronouncing my opinions for all to see, but in this matter I’m shouting from the rooftops:  Christmas is about Jesus!  Nothing else.  And it never will be.  I love my Jesus that much…the man who has stood by me through it all.  He’s my dearest friend…He sees every heart wrinkle, every personality flaw, every mistake, and He loves me anyway.

I can hear the non-believers in my head saying, “But shouldn’t every child have a ‘holiday’ even if they don’t believe?”  First of all, I’m a sucker for kids so of course I would say they should. It is not the fault of children if they’re living in an environment they can’t control.  However, as parents, we should step up and make sure they know the true meaning of Christmas.  Even non-believers should clarify what the day is about with their children because believe me, they hear it other places.  As a bare minimum, they deserve to know the definition of Christmas.  (Just this week, one of my students asked me how old Jesus is…in front of the whole class…on his own with no prompting from me.  Children talk, they express their views and ideas, they have vivid minds.)

Is there a time to stand up for your beliefs?  Is there a time to not be politically correct?  I believe the time is now.  This season is now.  My faith pulls me to declare that for me and my family, we will celebrate our Jesus.

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From the bottom of my heart, I wish a Merry Christmas to each and every person I know, to everyone on this planet.  I pray that we all feel peace and hope and love…things we can only know by finding the true meaning of Christmas.