Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fine Holiday Interior Design

I have a few decorations out, lights on the house, wreath, tree, but many things I decided to not fool with this year. So your house may be more decorated than mine...BUT...do you have one of these?

This is now my centerpiece created by my children on our kitchen table. Poor Marshmallow Santa was too heavy to hang on the tree, and Madeline had some time on her hands, and this is the result. To further describe its beauty, note the Pantech cell phone box and sharpie marker labeling. And it is topped off with the fake berries I think I used to put in some garland (which is one the things I didn't fool with). Secretly you know you want one too!

Speaking of cell phone boxes, did I mention we bought the girls a phone? Ahh yes we are crazy. Actually we do not have a landline, so we bought this as our "home phone" but they think that explanation is lame so it's labeled in our contacts as "Brooks Girls" when it rings. When they opened that thing, you have never heard so much screaming since the winning of the Showcase Showdown on the Price Is Right. And it's all good except for incessantly asking to text anyone they know. I personally embrace unlimited texting on my plan, but not all agree, and we had to have a family meeting about that so as to not annoy our friends. It cracks me up because they don't take it anywhere, only call family members, and think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Lastly I will comment about Christmas Lights. For those that care. If you have known me long, you might gather that I am a bit picky about certain (all) things. So this spills over into holiday decorating or any holiday clothing (any holiday). It's an illness of mine, kind of like how I enjoy mowing, folding fitted sheets properly and vacuuming. Perhaps those will be my jobs in Heaven some day:) Anyway I should focus here... I am convinced that many people drink a six pack and then put up their lights in our area. I am being kind when I say the word Crooked. I like it when people string the lights to the end of the house and fling that strand onto a small bush a few yards away and there is this long random strand (usually blue) that seems to lead to nowhere. I have one neighbor who has one type of light on the front of the house, ran out of that type, and went with a couple of more styles on the sides. It's super classy and also very attractive in the day as well. Their last name is Griswold. lol. But I am not kidding that there is this one house where they own every single one of those blow up things, and have an actual working train and train track in their front yard. You can go by and ride in the thing, and they have a Santa who hangs out most nights for pics. It is a TRIP! It's way over the top, but I give them an A+ for gawdy and A+ for super cool (because it's not my yard to clean up). My kids think it's a rip-off that we live on a hill. That was my explanation as to why such a beautiful thing was just not possible at our house.

For those interested, I could email you instructions on how to make your very own Marshmallow Santa centerpiece, but I think it's pretty self-explanatory.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Drawing Near to the Throne

Today is one of those days where it seems like everything changes. For the past couple of months, I have felt like I am in a fog, feeling a little guilty for participating in happy things, because of those suffering in my life. The Lord has been so sweet to remind me that it is His pleasure to carry the burden, instead of me doing it alone.

Specifically today was really hard to wake up to, knowing that by the end of it, I would have placed my mother in the last place she would live under hospice care in a nursing facility. I think we have discussed in the previous blog about my weak stomach, and nursing homes rank about #1 on that list. But once again the Lord provides, because yesterday sweet Heather swept in to be the functioning organizational side of my brain and we called about a million people (who probably thought at first I was a man since I have this awesome constant cough and deep voice right now) and we visited a beautiful (yes I actually said that), clean, facility complete with a caring staff. And mother was brought there tonight. Not only is this provision for my mother's physical care, but even in her confusion and worn out state tonight after being transported there in ambulance-like fashion, she noticed and commented to me immediately about how beautiful it was, and thanked me. And I thanked the Lord for this tiny miracle in my day. She was afraid of where she was going, and the Lord allowed her to be put at ease in a moment of clarity.

This facility is close to my home and I am amazed at how God can provide for even what seems like a selfish need of mine (to have to NOT go somewhere that smells terrible and looks creepy). The words "exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ask or think" come to mind (Ephesians 3:20)

Over the past two months I have at times felt panicked about the decisions I have had to make so quickly--and the weight of them. And again the Lord has said "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you." (Isaiah 43:2) And I am clinging to that because He is faithful. He has a track record of faithfulness thousands of miles long when I look back over my life. He is so good to remind me of what He has overcome/accomplished in my life so I can trust with Him with today.

Presently I have a terrible case of bronchitis, my son (who has terrible asthma) is recovering from swine flu, and now my bathtub (yes in the new bathroom) is not working, I can't see one of our chairs for the laundry that is covering it, and people I love are sick. I am a walking nightmare to a hospital right now and just knew I would be asked to wear a mask (which probably would have made me pass out, because I cannot stand to have stuff close to my face like that). HOWEVER, all that will pass (except maybe the laundry/chair). I received enough grace for today from the Lord. I think I will never be able to wrap my mind around all God has done for me on a daily basis these last 2 months, the amazing godly people He placed in my path at just the right time, and a church family and Life Group that seem to never tire of caring for us in our times of need. I am humbled that God would care to meet every single need.

For the meals, encouragement, notes of scripture, carpool angels, prayers, errand running, babysitting, organizing of files, calling me to make sure I am eating (which I forget to do when I am stressed), those who drag me out of the house to escape and see a movie, super cool Alan Jackson cd, and real friends who don't mind "ugly crying" and venting...I am grateful for you. Because when you ask me how I am , I know I don't have to say "fine". Thank you for not hiding when you see me coming (thinking oh my gosh what NOW). Thank you for actually picking up the phone when you see me on caller id (cause I am calling you for the third time to pick up my kids). You are the hands and feet of Christ in my life. You have shown my children what the body of Christ should look like. I don't care for the circumstances I am walking through today, but I thank God for His people to relieve so many burdens.

God has chosen to show His goodness even through this time of pain, because He is kind enough to reveal Himself and His character to me. And I will "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and FIND GRACE to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Scary Santa visits McAlister's

Okay since I can't even remember what I was going to post regarding volleyball I am moving forward to today's events.

Taylor and the older girls are in our church's Christmas event called Journey to Bethlehem, where thousands of people walk through the set of Bethlehem, complete with Roman soldiers, live animals, merchants, blacksmith (T's job on the set), etc. It is awesome because the end of the journey is not the manger, it is the cross, and the plan of salvation is presented. Now I talk about going to this as though I know a bunch about it, but I have never been because someone in our family usually needs mama to stay home and help them get well. And that's okay because I am a huge wimp about being cold outside. BUT when my crew gets a little older (SB and J) perhaps we'll be a part of it too.

So tonight SB, J and I made our own journey to Target and McAlister's. My nephew is turning 2 so we spent about 30 minutes studying all Batman related toys before deciding on a car that will take Joker down if he shows his face in Gotham City. Okay and then moving on to getting toys for the names we chose from the Angel Tree at church. And while I found stocking hangers for the mantle, J proceeded to "swim" along the bottom shelf, covering himself in all various forms of dust and dirt, making his entire blue shirt and jeans take on a gray appearance. BTW "swimming" in dust at Target is not a good plan for a child with asthma. Just a side note.

Now I probably have the weakest stomach of anyone I know (except my sweet Deana) so although there was much begging to have dinner at the Target food court, I remembered I had a gift card with a balance at McAlister's. So being the fine Political Science major that I am, I presented a strong enough argument to convince 2 children that this was a much better (and cleaner) choice. Honestly if I were to blog about all the food issues I have, you would put a check mark next to neurotic and have all sorts of ammo to chat about behind my back....so we left for McAlister's. And then on the way there J starts to say he just wants to eat at home. Realizing this was absurd, my quick-witted Sarah Beth tells brother, "Well Uncle Larry eats at McAlister's all the time. Don't you want to be like Uncle Larry? He's so nice to buy tea for Aunt Lala there." Now on a side note again, Aunt Lala hates McAlister's and the tea is not for her, it's for Uncle Larry. BUT that was all it took, because Uncle Larry and Aunt Lala (Laura) are rock stars.

THEN I arrive and find that kid's meals for dine-in are 99 Cents--even better. So we order, even spring for a sugar cookie. Toward the end of the meal some guy who looks like Santa approaches the table and leans in toward my kids (close talker) and says "do you know who I am?" Of course they are dumbfounded and cannot believe this man is so close to us. Then he reaches in his pocket and pulls out these stickers which say "I Met Santa" and passes them out. I did not get one btw. He announces his Santa-ness and asks if there will be cookies for him. And then, I kid you not, he asks Sarah Beth, "Now will you leave the door open so I can come in on Christmas Eve?" She nods and asks what type of cookie he would like. Oh brother...so this guy leaves "ho ho ho-ing" from our table. AND at that point while I am trying to decide if this man is either drunk or delusional, J announces he needs to throw up (which makes me feel sick too, but I am happy to announce I held it together as I ran 90 to nothing to the McAlister's bathroom but leaving my keys on the table and praying they wouldn't take my sweet tea away).

We bolt to the bathroom and sure enough...and I am wondering is this due to asthma or Santa? But at that point, does it really matter? So I am going to go out on a limb here and state that we don't really do Santa at our house and never have. The prospect of someone being able to break into the house without us knowing was a little much for Peyton when she was around 3yo and she was super afraid, so we came clean. We pretend and have fun, and don't rain on anybody's parade though. I sort of felt like telling this well-meaning Santa/close talker that it's just not how we roll, but I had a feeling it would be lost on him. But I left with my sweet tea and keys, and we had a long talk about how we don't leave our doors unlocked on Christmas or any other random night.