Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Oh, Mary.

At church on Christmas Eve day, our sermon was over the birth of Jesus and how - if we look through a series of events that comprise our life - God is with you, God was with you and God will be with you. 

A particular scripture our minister hit on was Luke 2:16-19: 

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 

Luke 2:19:
But Mary treasured up 
all these things and 
pondered them in her heart. 

Oh, Mary. 
What an intimate moment for a new mother to reflect. 
Do you know what I was pondering right after I gave birth? Where Cody found the time to get a smoothie before they had cut the cord. 

In an effort to be more like Mary, on the way home from Christmas services I made a quick list of things I'm currently pondering in my heart. I jotted them down in my church bulletin:

  1. Where all the dead flies are coming from?
  2. What is the true refrigerator shelf life of chili? Also: If I pick out the beans, can chili be used in chef's surprise lasagna?
  3. How do we have self-driving cars but don’t have Christmas lights that last more than one season or temperatures below 35ยบ?
  4. When will Caroline figure out that she has yes and no mixed up? "Do you love Mommy?" "No!" as she hugs my neck. "Do you like getting your fingers pinched in doors?" "YESH!"
  5. Why won’t the livestock waterers freeze when Cody is home, but will become solid ice before he’s 50 miles down the road on a 12-day trip?
  6. A big change coming January 1.
  7. If trash pick-up is usually Monday but Monday is Christmas...when is trash pick-up? Also: If trash pick-up is usually Monday but next Monday is New Year’s Day...when is trash pick-up? This is like a bad riddle that I cannot solve.
  8. Is it appropriate to re-send a Christmas card that was returned due to a shoddy address, though Christmas has since passed? Also, when did our friends move? More importantly, where did they go?
  9. Why haven't we had a mouse problem this year? If I question it, will they come?
  10. When did I get to the age that my favorite Christmas gifts were wool socks and a cast iron skillet?

Two days later, while trying to recompose our house from the holiday, I found my notes from church. 
I guess in terms of my likeness to Mary I have a way to go.

But that doesn’t surprise either of us, 
now does it?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Despite my efforts in keeping the holiday simple, I feel overwhelmed by Christmas this year. 

I didn't give anyone a Christmas list for me; I do not need a thing. 

I didn't put up half my regular decorations because of a curious toddler with an impressive reach. Instead, we've watched all the classics such as Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and Charlie Brown Christmas. 

We didn't make it through Frosty. 
Every other day we have the, "Who do we still need to buy for?" conversation and I find myself trying to think of "stuff" to fill a quota. I think that is where the overwhelming feeling sets in. I don't want to live in a Christmas quota house. 

I bought a container of ornaments two weeks ago to hang on our outdoor wreath and mantle greenery inside the house. Because half would end up outside, I bought the plastic "shatterproof" kind. 

On the same evening that I brought them home, Caroline had the container on its side and was sitting on it like a sparkly pony, bouncing into the next frontier. I was doing dishes, wondering where the draft was coming from, when I heard the bouncing but I didn't think much of it. 

"Lindsay! CJ is on your ornaments! She's riding your ornaments!" Cody called from a room over. 

I didn't react much, I think because the dish water was warm on my cold hands. "Oh, it's ok. They're shatterproof," I called over to him. 

And they are. 

Since purchase, they've been rode like a pony, rolled off a chair, drug around in a bucket, hidden in a toy box, thrown like a fit, tossed in the shower and a few were even hung on greenery. And sure enough, they're shatterproof.

I often think it would be easier - life, I mean - if we were shatterproof, too. So that we wouldn't break when relationships went bad or jobs were unfulfilling or disappointment saturated our soul. We wouldn't know when the ending was bad or the middle was mediocre or the beginning was awkward. 

Shatterproof would be best at funerals and tough first semesters; it would be great when the truck drove slowly down the road never to be seen again or on lonely Saturday nights before "the one" showed up. 

But then I think of all the things we'd miss if we were shatterproof. 

There would be no temporary conversations between dads and daughters, no walks home from the last college class worth any recollection or no more kissing boo-boos.

There would be no more feelings at kindergarten round up, no more butterflies over first glances, no more pride in the graduate. 

There would be no more excitement when the front door opens up, no more joy on the swing set or no more hand shakes worth remembering. We'd not know eulogies, mentors or last first dates. Never again would we experience wonder in a child's eyes at Christmas, the last conversation with granddad or experience an answered prayer. 

We'd have no more Hallmark Channel. And even though the story lines are identical and the kiss always happens in the last 3 minutes, I really like the Hallmark Channel. 

If we were shatterproof, we'd not know the greatest pain or joy, we'd grapple with general, rather than experience the extraordinary. 

So in terms of shatterproof, I'll stick to Christmas bulbs, and remain confident that it is both a blessing and a burden that we're able to feel everything so very deeply.

An exception for the shatterproof? This keepsake Nebraska Huskers bulb from 1995 - it was definitely not shatterproof, though I sure wish it was. Any Husker friends out there know where I can get a replacement?