Saturday, December 21, 2013

When you feel too dirty for the Nativity to be for you

*Warning, there is some swearing in this post. *

Most of us have heard it, the nativity story, some of us dozens of times if not more.

The Christ child born of Mary in a manger while shepherds quake and angels sing.
Mary and Joseph chosen of God to bear and raise the King of Kings.

And it was asked for me to tell which of these people in the story spoke most to me. And the truth is they didn't speak, not even a whisper. They felt too far, too distant from me and my filth. They felt too squeaky clean.

I questioned my Christianity.

How could they not even whisper?

Without this birth, this baby, there would be no Savior.

A baby born to bear my sins.

I have heard it said by others that they have done and been and seen too much for God to ever forgive them.

This Christmas story leads to the Cross.

Where sinless Jesus took on our sins, bore our burdens, so we could be free/redeemed.

The Cross to the Resurrection.

I wrote once about the thorns of sin that I knowingly and willingly walked into:

"I look at my blood stained skin, the thorns dipped in red.  Suddenly they are not just my thorns, they are Christ's.  I have crowned Him in these thorns that I willingly walked into.  He suffered, bled His own blood, skin pierced by the thorns that weren't His own.  His glory forsaken, to be crowned in my sin." 

I realized tonight that I struggle so much with relating to the people in the Christmas story, because I have felt more like the shit filled manger.  Smelly, disgusting.  Guilt ridden knowing that I will pierce that baby with these thorns. 

So, I wonder if those people who think they are too shit filled for Jesus feel a lot like that; guilty for putting their thorns and crap on a baby.  Is it the manger story that makes the Cross of Christ so hard for our minds to bear? 

God reminded me tonight of something I think is often over looked.  At least I know that I have over looked it and that is this:

Before Jesus came to earth as a tender, sweet baby, He sat on the throne in Heaven where all of time was laid out before Him. 

He saw and knew exactly what thorns/sins I would crown Him with that day on Calvary, long before He lay in swaddling clothes.  And He still came to earth.  And He chose to come to earth in a manger.

I don't think that was an over sight on His part.

He was born in a shit filled manger, so that people who feel like I did can rest assured that He can be born in them too.

So I don't relate to a person in this story, I relate to the place.

Come be born in me again this Christmas, Lord Jesus.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

To the little girl in me

To The Little Girl In Me:

You scare me.  You are so young.  You are a thing that exists only in emotions and feelings.  You have no words for this writer's hand to scribe.  I don't know how to grow and give voice to a girl who cannot even speak. 

I know you are young, because I cannot remember a time when I did not steel myself to this world.  A time that I didn't know that emotions and feelings got you nowhere and that they were better off shoved down deep.  I can't remember when I didn't take life's jabs and pretend they didn't hurt; a time when I didn't equate bearing pain to being strong.

I see you there in the corner of myself.  In that place I do not want to look.  I see you in all your raw emotions: anger, sadness, fear - deathly fear, and the dark lack of words that surrounds you.

It is in you and your corner in which you hide that the monsters lie.

They lie there scratching like a thing behind a door.....scratching, scratching, scratching. 

It is you and the monsters that make me fear intimacy in all of its connotations. 

When you hid you took Intimacy with you.  You locked it up tight with you and the monsters. 

To free one is to free all. 

I don't know how to free you though. 

I get close to you and I hear you crying, I see your wordless darkness, I feel you cower into a ball, so I do what you couldn't and I run.  I run away from you, that place, that darkness that surrounds you. 

But my running isn't working.  Your cries are getting louder.  You want out of your darkened prison and away from the monsters.

I just don't know how to do that.  You taught me to bury the pain and burying the pain means that I bury you too. 

So little girl, I know you are there.  I just don't know how to pick you up and bring you back home so you can grow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesdays Unwrapped : The waiting room

It was snowing this morning.  Our first "real" snow of the season where it decided to stick and accumulate in the grass.  I had a 1:30 appointment for a CAT scan, so due to the snow I decided to leave early and give myself plenty of time to get there safely and register. 

The waiting room itself was just a little hovel of a space carved out of a wall in the hallway.  The furniture looked as though it had come from the 80's, maybe even off of a set from the Golden Girls.  Plastic faded mauve pink tables and metal chairs some covered in a diluted purple pattern and others in aqua green color.  Two tables and 7 chairs in all. 

A man sat in the corner to my left.  He sat there sipping his contrast while I tried to get 3G on my phone.  As we sat another man joined us on the right of me.  He had a stack of papers in his hand, I assumed they were forms to fill out.  He was only there for about 1 minute when he was called back for whatever procedure he was getting.

This hallway waiting room was not going to give me internet satisfaction, so I put my phone away in my purse. 

An older man and woman came and joined us next.  I had assumed they were a couple but he was actually her Father.  She carried her two bottles of contrast in with her.  They were very friendly.  We joked about how I felt left out since I did not get any lovely bottles of liquid contrast of my own. 

As we sat the Father told us it was his "baby girl" that he was here with and that he was totally healthy.  He had no aches and pains, lumps or bumps, not a thing wrong.  She put up her fists and told him that if he didn't knock it off he was going to have some pain in his head. 

He asked her if she had told her boys about whatever it was that she was getting a CAT scan for.  You could tell he was concerned about his baby.  She told him that only he knew, she didn't want to worry anyone until she knew what it was she was dealing with and if there was even a reason to be concerned. 

He joked again about being perfectly healthy for being such an old fart.  I told him I would gladly trade with him.  But behind his jokes I knew he was wishing he could trade places with her. 

It was time for the man in the corner to go get his scan.  The other two wished him luck.

It hadn't really hit me that this process would be concerning.  I myself have a lump on my neck of who knows what.  I went to this appointment with excitement, because maybe now this thing, whatever it is, will have an answer; a reason behind it.  It may even unlock the mystery of what has been plaguing my body off and on for the last three years. 

I thought about what it would be like to be on the other side:  Afraid of finding out the answers, afraid of what might come next. 

I tend to be a person who thinks of all the possibilities and then prepares myself mentally for them.  In this case I think I expect to hear it is just another anomaly, something that cannot be explained by medical testing. I have told myself that if it comes back with an answer, even the cancer kind of answer, that I will be okay with it, glad even, because it will be SOMETHING instead of nothing, again.

As I sat and laughed with and observed the people in the out dated chairs I started to wonder just how I would handle hearing that it was something.  Really, actually, something......  To be honest, I am not sure. 

I think it will be a lot like when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest only a month into my relationship with my husband.  I cried because I was happy and I cried because I was scared. 

I will be glad to have the results in the next 48 hours, because then I can move forward from there. 

Linking up with:

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The last two weeks of life

My thoughts lately have been heavy and hemmed in by a foggy mist, which is why I have been silent so much.  I start to write, but the thoughts stay unfinished, so I have lots of start up posts and no actually postings. 

Since I haven't been able to get my words down well I thought I would share with you what I have been doing the last few weeks, other than the normal share of Momsabilities. 

Like most families in America we feasted on Turkey that last Thursday of last month.  This year was the first year since ever that we didn't have anyone over.  It was just our own little family.  In some ways it felt odd and not very "holiday-ey", but in most ways it felt wonderfully relaxing and freeing.  We were at our own discretion for when, what, and how we did or didn't do everything that day.  We were able to sleep in.  I didn't even have to make a pie.....and didn't.  It still ended up being a lot of work on my end and the majority of the kids decided to eat hot dogs versus the turkey and all the fixins I had spent the entire day making, but it was good, because no one was stressed out and everyone was happy. 
  I set out a snack bar for us to feast 
The olive monster strikes again.
 on while we waited on the bird.  Olives are a must, just so my husband can put them on his fingers as he has done every year since childhood.  *Note the array of papers spread across the floor with all the black Friday ads*

As I look at the food placed on the counter I can't help but be thankful for the fact that we have been blessed with a nice home, plenty to eat, and the ability to enjoy both. 

Of the few children that chose to eat the turkey none were happier that my ten year old, Kody.  He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy and so Thanksgiving dinner is right up his alley.  This year he was especially happy because he was allowed to eat the turkey leg,

Just like this.....................................................................

After dinner was finished and the kitchen put back in order I finally was able to sit down and look at the ads in the paper that had been spread across the floor.   I had not planned to go black Friday shopping this year, but there was something I had been wanting for one of the kids and Steve didn't want to go out and buy it on his own, so we did the un-thinkable and went out on Thanksgiving night.  We had planned to only hit that one store, but ended up going to 4 different ones.  What was supposed to be a short outing turned being a 4 1/2 hour production, but amazingly the only line we stood in lasted about ten minutes.  We pretty much got to everything after the big rush of people so all was calm and smooth sailing.  Plus I found a couple of really great deals for the Toys for Tots bin (or comparable charity) and was able to put a huge dent in my Christmas shopping.

This week following Thanksgiving has been a blur of flour, sugar, and butter. 

I agreed to make a retirement cake for a couple of guys in Steve's office and our church was having a Fast Friends Women's Party on Friday and we were supposed to bring a dozen cookies for it.  Baking for these events started on Tuesday.

I decided to make decorated sugar cookies for the church event, so on Tuesday I mixed my dough. 

On Wednesday I rolled, cut out, and baked the cookies.  I also made the marshmallow fondant for the retirement cake.

On Thursday I baked all three layers of cake and made three batches of white chocolate almond frosting. Then I frosted and filled the cake, crumb coated it, and let it set before picking up the kids from school.  After school I colored the fondant black, made buttercream transfers, and finished frosting and decorating the cake. The entire process start to finish took about  8 hours. 

Here is how it turned out............
side view of the cake

view from above the cake.

My camera doesn't show the details very well, but you can get the general idea.  The sub is pure marshmallow fondant.  The turkey leg eating boy up above loves all things military and happened to have a plastic toy submarine of the same model that I needed for this cake, so I used his toy as a mold (after washing it well of course) to make this one.  It is fully edible minus the toothpicks holding up the fin and fair water planes and rudder.  The people will pick it up in about ten hours from now.  I hope it is what they were envisioning.

Friday I made and colored the royal icing for the cookies for church.  I discovered in the process that I am going to need more tips of the proper size for piping.  I also decided to make and take Nordy bars along with me. *Sorry no pictures of those, but they are delish*

These are the finished cookies.  Again sorry for the picture quality and the way they are displayed.  I snapped a quick picture of them before I started to plate them to go. 

 The elf cookies are made from my ice cream cone cutter just flipped upside down.  They ended up with green hats, because I didn't quite make enough red frosting.  The frosty's never got their hats either because I didn't have enough tips for the black frosting.
The two santa's in the middle are made from a cupcake cutter turned upside down and the reindeer are gingerbread men also turned upside down.  *All of the repurposed cutter ideas were found online.....I am not that creative.* 

I just love the itty bitty cookies.  I made those out of the scraps of cookie dough that was left over. 

Doesn't that one reindeer look like he got caught in the headlights?  And that poor bitty reindeer never did end up getting eyes. 

After I had decorated all I felt I needed I let the kids go at it with the left over cookies.  Here are a few of theirs....
Karson 5 happily playing with his food. By the time he was done his mouth was completely blue from getting into my coloring gels.   My 11 year olds arm is next to him.  I love this lazy Susan that you can see on the right.  I put all my sprinkles and tools on it for easy grabbing as I am working, plus when they kids use it, it makes for less arguments since they can all end up reaching everything.

Katie, 14 made this sweet masterpiece.  She later added candy cane sprinkles around the edges of the frosting part of the cupcake.

Klara 8 did a fabu job on this sweet angel without any help or direction.  I think I have a future decorator on my hands.

Klayton 3 is very proud of his masterpiece.

Katie made this little happy marshmallow fellow while she was waiting for her turn at the cookies.

What have you been up to these last couple of weeks?