The Dinner Table

So Destiny has been bogged down with trying to prep Christmas before heading to the West Coast to see me.  She has fallen a bit behind on our 12 Days, but no worries, she will catch up.  For now, here is my Day 4.

Today’s challenge was “On the table.”  We tasked each other to write something about Christmas dinner.  Take a gander and chew on how we each interpreted the challenge.

Lacey:

‘Twas the day of Christmas
When an hour before dinner
Aromas were swirling
No fantasies of getting thinner

The Vera Wang china all pristine on the table
To keep up appearances we weren’t raised in a stable
The children both playing with their new Christmas toys
While sharing and laughing in excitement and joy

And hubby in his apron, and I in mine too
Have been slaving in the kitchen for an hour or two
Filet almost done after bathing for 3 hours
Casseroles made and my face covered in flour

Over to the oven, I run in a hurry
To rescue the rolls from a flaming fury
The mashed potatoes golden with melted butter
Tempt my senses as I resist with a flutter

When I look up, the hubby is swigging a beer
And toasting his efforts with holiday cheer
Seeing such pride and feeling such verve
I know that our dinner must be ready to serve

More rapid than wolves my children they came
And I calmed and corrected them both by name
Colette and William it’s time you settle down
Lest you want to start dinner with a sad mommy frown

To the bathroom, wash hands!
Then sit nicely in your chairs!
Now bow your heads, fold your hands, and say Christmas prayers!

With a blessing and gratitude and end with Amen,
Our small family gathering was free to dig in
But before our mouths were too full of christmas delights
We exclaimed in unison
“Merry Christmas to all and Bon Apetit tonight!”

 

There’s Something About Mary

Prayers-for-Expectant-Mothers

Destiny:

Anyone who knows me personally might find it laughable that I could compare myself to Mary, mother of Jesus, but I propose we have a few things in common. Though I’ll be the first to admit Mary’s devotion to God and steadfast womanly innocence are wildly different from my own, we both have gone through the rigors of childbirth—and we both made treks of quite some distance prior to bringing life into this world.

While I am tempted to put forth a discussion on how Mary might have reacted when the angel Gabriel came to visit her to deliver her the news of a divine pregnancy, I struggle with that concept too much to engage in theological debate. I often entertain the notion that Jesus was the unplanned result of a natural tryst between two consenting betrothed’s. However the 30+ years of Methodist ideology pounded into my head has me scared shitless that I could be wrong—and do I really want to piss off the blessed mother? I don’t think so…

What I can relate to, however, are the feelings of impending labor, knowing my life was about to change forever, knowing that while I might not have the son of God in my uterus, the tiny life I was about to nurse at my breast would create her own mark on this world. And before I could meet this wonderful gift, I would need to make a journey of my own.

With a due date of April 16, I got express permission from my doctor to make a 450 mile trip for a once-in-a-lifetime event: I was to be the Matron of Honor in my sister’s wedding. Lacey was to wed on March 20 and I was to stand by her side, eight months pregnant, to witness her vows of fidelity, honor, and love. So on St. Patrick’s Day 2004, I loaded my whale of a self into the backseat of our Toyota Camry, surrounded by pillows and blankets aplenty and headed to Atlanta. I can’t remember how many pee breaks we made, how many times I had to shift my body to move baby from my bladder, or how often I had to do deep breathing exercises at the Braxton-Hicks contractions that racked my body. I had an arduous 900 mile round trip journey…but there is no way I wouldn’t have made the trip.

Thinking about it now, I cannot imagine how Mary and Joseph made that 90 mile trek with her in her late third trimester. She had the “luxury” of riding on a donkey while Joseph led her to Bethlehem, but she certainly needed pee breaks, too. Mary and Joseph had a legal duty to make the journey, by order of King Herod, so not returning to Judea wasn’t even an option. Though I was not legally bound, I get that feeling of responsibility to one’s kin to stand up and be counted.

I returned home on March 21 and made it another week until labor started. I remember those first labor pains and rubbing my belly knowing I had only a few short hours (or 18 long ones) before 2 would become 3 and my beautiful daughter would shift my moniker from simply wife to that of mother. I rocked in the rocking chair and gazed at the newly painted John Lennon mural of her nursery and wondered what she would smell like and whether she would look more like me or like her father. I thought things that every mother thinks when her world is about to change—things that I’m quite certain Mary thought too, as a mother naturally would.

There are so many questions I have when I think about Mary: How cool was it that she didn’t have to do the needle/thread test—she knew without an ultrasound that she was having a son. How on earth did she make that journey without the use of cruise control or noseplugs to ward off offensive smells? By the same token, does she know how lucky she was that she didn’t have to gulp the orange drink for the mid-gestation diabetes test? Once she found out she was knocked up, did she take advantage of the 2nd trimester hormone surge and pounce on Joseph once and for all? So many questions, some of which I’m sure she had too and she didn’t have the help of online message boards to find out whether that really was her mucus plug or not…

In this Christmas season, I find it easy to find a kindred spirit in mother Mary as we celebrate the birth of her first born. After all, there’s something special about the one who first calls us mama. As for all of my questions, while fun to ponder, I harken the Beatles who remind me that mother Mary whispers words of wisdom, just “let it be…”

Lacey:

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most Highwill overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:26-38

I am sitting here trying to empathize with the Virgin Mary. Trying to put myself in her sandals, if you will.  I’m a little less hung up on the fear and disbelief that would strike knowing I was a pregnant virgin, and I am way more concerned with how I would react knowing I was pregnant with God’s Son.  The only way I would know how to sort through such a conundrum would be to drop to my knees and pray.  Mary was amazing in her response to the angel Gabriel. She asked a reasonable question, then said Thy will be done.  Now I am assuming that after the winged messenger disappeared, she might have been hit with a bit of reality.  I found it way more difficult to get into Mary’s head than I expected, but here is my feeble attempt:

CHALK-MARY-AND-GABRIELDear Lord,

I am so scared.  Yes, you have made Your will clear to me, and I trust You.  But can you see where I am coming from?  I mean here I am, about to be married, and now I am pregnant.  Not only am I pregnant, but I am pregnant with Your Son.  I’m pretty sure that story isn’t going to go over well with the people here in Nazareth. I am a bit scared of their judgement and desire to punish me.  Help me know that You will protect me from their judgement.

Lord God, could you help me out with Joseph?  The angel came to me, and I know Your will, but why would Joseph believe me?  I love him dearly, and I would be so grateful if I could have him as a helpmate through this journey.  Please just give him peace in knowing that I am Your servant and this is of You.  Thank you!

Here comes the fear again. What is it like to be pregnant with God’s Son?  I mean, I’ve talked to plenty of women in town, and I’ve seen my own mother pregnant, but those were common pregnancies.  I know what to look for and what to prepare for in such a pregnancy.  But now that I am carrying Your Son, will I be less sick or more sick than typical?  Will my belly glow?  What am I supposed to eat?  How much am I supposed to eat to nourish the Son of God in my womb? Will I be pregnant for 9 months? Does it take more or less time to grow the Son of God?  Oh gosh, what is labor going to be like?  How does one give birth to a child of the Almighty?

I take comfort that I know You pretty well, so I can at least know a little bit what to expect about this boy to be called Jesus.  I imagine He will be just like you.  He will be loving.  He will be wise.  But God, I’m a little nervous about his temper!  Please give me the wisdom and patience to raise Your child.

For the next few months, I will literally have God inside me.  I guess that should be comforting to me.  I don’t have to wonder if You are with me or if You hear me.  i will feel Your love coming from within. Thank you for such a privilege.

I don’t know why You chose me.  And at moments, I’m a little bit perturbed that You chose me.  But here I am Lord. Please help me to keep focus on Your will throughout this pregnancy. And Lord, help me have peace about bringing Your Son into this world.  Please guide me in helping the birth of Your Son be glorifying to You.  Amen

 

 

Songs of Good Cheer

When deciding my favorite Christmas songs, I have several that come to mind.  First I have to decide if I want a hymn, a carol, or a catchy original tune.   Or do I want to pick a specialty album by some of my favorite artists? I love the Pink Martini Christmas Album, and then there is Weezer’s O Holy Night.  Of course there is TransSiberian Orchestra that has been a favorite of mine since I was 12.  There’s always the memory of the little christmas play I did when I sang “We Need A Little Christmas.” from Mame.  But wait, there’s that one that makes me laugh and smile every time and totally gets me grooving.  Yes, this one is it!

Well, yes, that is a favorite, but I can’t say it’s THE favorite.  What song is it that defines Christmas for me? The one that I am saddened if we don’t sing it at Christmas Eve service. The one that brings memories flooding. The one that fills my heart with joy.  The one that builds my excitement for the coming of the Newborn King. For the spirit of the music and for the lyrics and for the inablity to keep me from singing, my favorite Christmas song is…. the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  It helps that I sang it every year for 6 years at my high school’s annual Messiah performance.  But I’m not just stuck singing my soprano part.  This is partly due to the fact that I am no longer a soprano, but also because I love to sing all the other parts, especially the tenor and bass.  And the lyrics, oh the lyrics. What joy and adoration!

King of Kings! And Lord of Lords! And He shall reign forever and ever!

What is your favorite Christmas song? Can you narrow it down to 1? Whatever it may be, keep it on repeat, because you only have 11 more days to groove to it until it goes away for another year!

musiciswhatfeelingssoundlike

When Lacey asked me to write about my favorite Christmas song, I knew in an instant which song would top the list. There is a song that I look forward to every single year, one that I would give just about anything to see in concert. It is a song that I turn up whenever the radio plays it, on the rare occasion that it does. Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Carol of the Bells” is arguably the most passionate, soul-moving modern day Christmas song in rotation.

Though TSO is instrumental, I can hum along with the opening licks, “Hark! How the bells, Sweet silver bells, All seem to say, Throw cares away…” and as if a commandment, I do indeed throw all my cares away. For it’s Christmas time….a time for love and servitude. A time for giving—not only of one’s treasure, but of one’s time and talents as well. In case it wasn’t clear in yesterday’s Letter to Santa, I. Love. Christmas for all of the feelings it conjures—gratitude, blessed, a sense of commitment to the community—and TSO has the magical ability to put these feelings into musical notes that mystify the senses and captivate the soul. When “Carol of the Bells” plays, with its awesome guitar riffs, one cannot help but immediately buy in to the spirit of the season. Georgia Cates was correct…Music is what feelings sound like.

 

Our Letters to Santa

Dear Santa,

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way.  If you are really coming to town, and you’re checking your list. Before you head right down Santa Claus Lane, I have a few things to ask of you.  I’m not going to do the whole world peace type of thing, because A) I think that is impossible in our fallen world and B) I have no delusions that you are in charge of anything of the sort.  I know there is a different “big man” in charge of that type of thing, and He has made it clear when and how our world will be redeemed. But if for some reason that “big man” has ordained you as the granter of wishes, I am sending you a few of my little desires.  I am programmed to ask for three things but to only expect one, so here is my list for this year:

  1. A full night’s sleep with no waking until morning. PLEASE!  I have had one of those in 4+ years, so if you could somehow manage arranging my children sleeping through the night, my dogs not whining, my husband not snoring, and me not having to pee all in the same night, that would rock my world!  And look, I’m only asking for one night.  I won’t ask for another one for another 4 years if that’s what it takes.  But dude, I could really use the sleep!
  2. Someone to buy our house in Atlanta at a reasonable price.  I mean you could probably kill two birds with one stone on this one.  I’m sure you’ve got someone asking for a home in Atlanta, maybe even Dunwoody specifically.  It’s a great home, especially for a young couple.  It has tons of potential, too.  Check it out on redfin and see if it fits the bill for anyone else on the nice list.  I’m not sure I want anyone on the naughty list getting that house, because he or she’d just bulldoze it.  And I don’t want any of this perfect timing stuff, I want it for Christmas (or at least the New Year).  I’m not giving you credit if it happens after 1/1/2015.
  3. A friend or family member to move to the South Bay of LA. Now, I’m not going to be picky here.  I do have preferences and maybe a little bit of an order of preferences.  Ideally, we’d like our best friends and godparents of our kids out here, Jen and Justin.  I mean, we’ve been working on them for 3 years, so we’ve laid some groundwork for you.  However, if they aren’t willing to budge, then we will welcome anyone else (wink, wink you know who I don’t want) with open arms.

So, Mr. Santa Claus, there you have it: my list.  You’ve got 12 Days. Let’s see your magic! Love, Lacey

Destiny and Lacey Santa

Dear Santa:

As I sit down to compose my 2014 letter to you, I wonder why I haven’t thought to do so in years past. I also find myself feeling incredibly greedy, as this has been a year of granted wishes. In spite of a pretty horrific start to the year, Christmas came early on July 30 when the man of my dreams entered my life. From then on, 2014 has been one big amusement park ride of excitement and thrills. From road trips to buying my own home, I have been walking the yellow brick road of good fortune.

With 2015 on the horizon and the Emerald City within my sights, I wonder if I should even have the gall to ask for more….after all, isn’t a book deal within my own reach if I should simply submit? And I’m within 18 months of paying off my home and car, each of which will put me in a different plane of financial peace. It doesn’t seem right to ask for more…However, if I harken my younger days when I sat on your lap and wished for the stars in spite of my already bountiful blessings, I can think of a few things to add to my wish list…Below are a handful of Christmas wishes.

  1. Might as well get the big one out of the way…I had so much fun buying Christmas presents this year, I’d love a bigger budget to continue to shop for friends, family, and those on the Angel Tree who are in need. I promise I would shop wisely and use my funds to spread the magic and love of the Christmas season.
  2. I had the wonderful fortune to reconnect with a dear friend this past year and surprise him with a trip that was one for the memory books. I know it’s a bit nebulous of a request, but more moments like this would be much appreciated. And if that’s too vague, then maybe you could just whisper in McCartney’s ear that he’d really like to visit the Queen City in 2015?
  3. The granting of my final wish would be a bit bittersweet, however if you could help Red Wanting Blue reach more people with some mainstream radio play, that would be awesome. But please, not before I get a chance to bend Scott Terry’s ear about a super-secret surprise for my aforementioned friend!

I know I’ll think of more self-serving wishes in, say, March, when I think “Doh! I really wish I would’ve bought that vintage avocado Tupperware canister set I saw on ebay in December…” but right now I’ll leave you with these three. Happy Christmas, Santa, from one not-so-little girl who still believes in your magic, no matter when in the year you decide to sprinkle it.

Destiny

Ingratitudes

Please enjoy in the spirit it was written…

When discussing a possible Thanksgiving blog topic with my sister, she said, “Save the touchy feely stuff for your own blog. Be ungrateful on crossingthestreams.” As someone who is keenly aware of how good begets good, I was hesitant to unleash such negativity into the Universe, but then the humor in the exercise struck me. Sure, why not be snarky on the one day of the year you are supposed to be filled with gratitude? I am grateful for the tiniest things throughout the year, so how perfectly appropriate to flip that on its ass on Thanksgiving and be ungrateful. What follows is my list of 5 Ingratitudes. Now I just pray I have enough time to write my touchy-feely blog before karma bites me.  Ungrateful

5 Ingratitudes

  1. I am ungrateful for the fact that they added a stupid “Anonymous GM” via computer to Monday Night Raw thereby undermining the whole return of Daniel Bryan.
  1. I am ungrateful for the fact that I remember numbers really well…which means I am constantly reminded of exes’ birthdays and all of their relative’s birthdays as well. Not to mention anniversaries. Blah.
  1. I am ungrateful for the nausea that racked my body last night, thereby nearly sending me into a panic attack that I wouldn’t be able to make it to Thanksgiving dinner at Adam’s family’s where I’m being introduced to siblings and nieces/nephews galore.
  1. I am ungrateful for the packaging insert in my medicine that states, “slight weight gain” possible. As I have gained almost 100 pounds in 4 years, I believe that is a “slight” understatement.
  1. I am ungrateful for bitter coffee. When trying to pinch pennies and purchasing a certain yellow and black brand of coffee that couldn’t be that different from our regular national coffee shop brand, I realized that it’s worth the extra couple of bucks to get down with Dunkin’.

However you celebrate the holiday today, tofurkey or a grand bird, surrounded by family or at the counter in a diner, abroad with newfound friends or in America’s heartland, I wish you a moment of ingratitude so that those things for which you are grateful become abundantly clear.

Here I am, Miss Snark.  Sometimes it’s nice to be an open book and tell it how it is.  I am not thankful for everything.  Some things in this world don’t jive with me.  Here are 5 of those things:

1.Chewing or Swallowing Loudly.  You know those things that make you shudder in frustration or annoyance?  Well, for me, it’s when I can hear people making noises with their mouths, specifically while chewing or swallowing.  Chomp Chomp, smack smack = shivers down my spine.  You think, “Oh yeah, that’s annoying.”  Sure, some of you may be able to empathize in your own suffering with misophonia, but let me just explain exactly what the sound of even a closed chewing mouth yet hearing the clicking of a jaw or food being switched from one side to the other does to me.  I actually have to distract myself by digging my nail into my hand.  Nothing like the distraction of pain. I’m thankful for distraction.

2.Racism.  Topical, yes.  But it is here, still. In our country.  More widespread than many want to admit. And it’s disturbing.  Yes, I get the fear of “the other.”  It’s a natural instinct to be wary of that which is different than ourselves.  We want to protect what it is ours and what we believe to be true.  We don’t want our identity to be threatened.  But listen, in the era we live in, the world of global communication and connection, there is no room for devaluing someone because he/she looks different.  Period.

3.Ridiculously High Airfares.  I want to be able to see my family and friends.  $500-$600 roundtrip airfares sure put a wrench in that.  I want my kids to spend time with their grandparents and godparents, and a mortgage payment for all of us to go get hugs, renewal, and fellowship from our blood and dearest makes that incredibly difficult.  Screw you airfare!

4.Snakes  Just no.  They are creepy and gross. I don’t like talking about them, imagining them, seeing pictures of them, or seeing them in person.  You will not catch me in that damn reptile house at the zoo. That’s for sure!

5.Medical Questions on Mommy Boards.  No I don’t want to look at a picture of your child’s poopy diaper and tell you why it’s green or seedy or runny.  No I don’t know if that rash is from eczema or poison ivy or a bug bite.  No I’m not going to advise you on the best treatment options for your sick child.  Did you know there are these things called professionals? Doctors. AND you can call them and ask questions.  Ok, so you prefer natural remedies? Then find a homeopath.  But don’t list your child’s symptoms or freaking post a picture of their nasty snot, poop, or rash. Please just call a professional.  Mommies may have experience, but they are in no place to be risking the liability in diagnosing your illnesses!

Yeah, so, NBD, right?  Well, except #2.  The rest are basically First World Problems, and guess what, here I am living in the First World, and these are my problems. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that these little annoyances are my ingratitudes.  Thank God I’m not dealing with starvation, freezing to death, smallpox, or hostile visitors!

Poetry for our Peanuts

Lettere01gorgo

In this month of love, we thought we’d express our devotion to our brood through poetry. And what better way than through the time-tested (and grade-school approved!) acrostic? Enjoy!

For Destiny’s youngsters…

Jumping doodlebug, doing gymnastics all over the house,

On the couch, across the floor, my biggest

Little one isn’t so little anymore. A special place

In my heart she will hold, my

Eldest, my Jolie Bear, my almost 10-year old.

 

Rhettster, Rhett-Rhett, or just plain old Bud.

He is sensitive to his core,

Ever striving for perfection.

Trying at times, but what little boy isn’t? When he

Tells me he loves me and gives me a kiss, I know it’s from the heart.

 

Poo is her favorite subject, she’s just at that

Age. Soon she’ll move on to other less disgusting subjects, like boy bands or beads.

I am loving watching my youngest grow, for

She’s no longer a baby. A little girl, not quite a young lady, but always my

Lovebug. Her devilish grin, her twinkling

Eyes, she can capture your heart in an instant.

You watch as my baby girl scoops up the world in the palm of her hand.

 

And now for Lacey’s wee ones…

Curls of gold bounce as she wiggles
Over, under, around–climbing everything.
Let her be, watch, adore her
Endless energy
Twirling, spinning, composing original
Tunes that narrate every move and thought
Ever and always my baby girl

What will he be?
Is he a charmer like his daddy?
Level- headed like his mommy?
Lavishing lovies like his sister?
Is he the sensitive soul of his namesake?
All that he becomes, he will be
My little one whom I adore

It’s Enlightened Me…

music_notes

Most people make New Year’s resolutions just before the new year in order to hit it hard once the ball drops…or once the hangover wears off the following day. I, on the other hand, have to let mine stew. I mean, the typical ones go without saying. I’m going to exercise more (so far, so good), I’m going to make healthier food choices (if you forget the brownie I just ate, I’m doing alright)…but the real resolutions…the ones that you want to frame your whole year to make it stand out as better than the year before, those are the ones that take some time to brew.

So my sister came up with this idea–actually, I think she got it from Vivid & Brave, this totally awesome female-run website for female bloggers–to have a quotation as a mantra for the year. The idea is to reference this quotation whenever you feel off track, or whenever you simply need some inspiration. You can make a sticky note to remind yourself of your goal and why you are doing what you are doing. Or, in my case, tattoo it on my hand in Sharpie since I need a constant reminder to keep my ass in line. Continue reading

In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye…

  1. You go from hugging your Granddaddy goodbye and telling him to stay healthy until Thanksgiving when he’ll meet his namesake…

    To praying that his entry into the Kingdom would be as peaceful and comfortable as possible. That he would send kisses from Heaven to that little boy trying to bust out of your womb too early.

  2. You go from being thankful that your bedrest buddy is not in an “emergency situation yet”…

    To praying for her safety and strength as she is contracting 2minutes apart. And praying for the new reality of being released from bedrest but having a preemie in the NICU and 3 older kids at home.

  3. You go from returning home from a last trip to see friends and family before your newest addition arrives in 6weeks…

    To spending 2 days in the hospital to being released on bedrest.

  4. You go from the daily grind of trying to keep up with your 2.5 year old while you are 32 weeks pregnant…

    To having to watch your husband and daughter take on the grind by themselves.

  5. You go from protecting and prioritizing your 2.5 year old daughter because she doesn’t have the miraculous womb nourishing her and protecting her anymore…

    To prioritizing and protecting your 33week son in utero because your uterus is angry and trying to evict him too early.

  6. You go from twirling with your little princess…

    To sending her off on play dates or to the park with a new babysitter so that you can lay in bed trying to stave off contractions.

  7. You go from deferring to your sister as the master of wit and writing…

    To finding your own voice while co-blogging with her.

  8. You go from thinking you know what’s next…

    To realizing you have no idea. All the while knowing that God is loving and holding you through it all.