This Christmas was simply beautiful.
I don’t say that because of the mountain of gifts my family was blessed with,
The glimmer of the lights or the shimmer of ornaments.
I say that because the entire day was this surreal, dream like day of laughter and love and enjoying the people who mean the most to me.
No one was fighting.
Nothing else was on my mind at all except just enjoying the moment as it came.
I was blessed with some wonderful gifts this year, but I found myself more excited for my kids.
They are old enough to ask for things and excited for Christmas all on their own,
And their facial expressions are simply priceless, filled with surprise and wonder.
A few days before christmas my six year old Anthony came to me and gave me a giant hug.
“Mommy?” he said with a smile, his giant brown eyes meeting my hazel ones.
“I don’t even really care what I get for Christmas, I will just be grateful for whatever I get.”
I smiled, and felt a little warm and tingly inside.
I am so proud of my children. Every one of them, with all their unique attributes are so precious. Maybe they are just a really good batch of kids, but I like to think at least a small part of who they are comes from what my husband and I have taught and showed them.
Needless to say, my children got everything they wanted and more for christmas.
But it made me feel like such a success that even at such a young age my son understands gratitude.
My dad will be 75 in a few short months.
It amazes me every day how quickly the time has gone by, even in my short 22 years in this world. It seems almost cruel how limited by days with him are, but I am thankful for every one of them.
This year was different, only six of my dads eight kids were present for Christmas. I missed my brothers and their families, and I could see in my dads eyes he was sad the group was so much smaller this year, but I’m grateful the those of us who could be there were. Every year the family grows and changes. Fresh faces seem inevitable with such a large group, but there is truly nothing like the traditions. Opening gifts, biscuits and sausage gravy, a giant turkey dinner and singing Christmas carols in the living room. The jokes and the laughter, the happiness I can even begin to explain. It’s all I have known to be Christmas, and I hope it stays this way for many years to come. There is nothing quite like the familiar, home for the holidays is the only place to be. I love my family so much. New and old faces, the ones I see often and the ones I see almost never, you are all jewels to me I cherish with all of my heart.
Family Christmas December 28, 2012
This Christmas was simply beautiful.
From the Heart of a Child April 11, 2012
“Mommy?” My son Anthony’s voice is small as we approach our front door.
“How do you think Treyvon is feeling in heaven right now?”
I turn from putting the key in the door and stare in my child’s big brown eyes.
The last few rays of sunlight are melting behind the horizon, dusk settling over the neighborhood.
We have just come from a prayer vigil at Valparaiso University, honoring Trayvon Martin and praying for peace and change in our nation, and for justice to be served.
I can see that the heart of my five year old is heavy. His face is somber and sincere.
“How do you think Treyvon feels right now Anthony?”
“I think he is sad.”
“What do you think made him sad?” I know what my answer is to this question, but I am curious what part of tonights events have struck a cord with my son.
“I think he is sad because he sees his mommy and daddy, and how much they miss him, and it makes him cry.”
I look at him, so young, and already so filled with the burdens of this world.
Tears begin to well, and I fight to swallow them back because the last thing I want is to make him even more sad.
“I’m sure you are right Anthony. But do you think that it made him happy that they found the man who hurt him, and that we all got to go and pray for him and his family tonight?”
He pauses for a moment and I can see his thoughts forming.
“Yes,” he finally says. “I think it helped that we got to pray. I hope it made him feel a little better.”
“I’m sure it did baby.”
I heard about the vigil through a family friend, and as soon as I read about it I knew I wanted to be there. This case has been on my heart and mind a great deal over the last 44 days, and with George Zimmerman finally being held accountable for his actions, it seemed such an appropriate closing to this waiting game nightmare the entire nation has been caught in.
My boys stood with me, Hoodies Up.
We stood together and prayed.
We heard students share poems they had written, and pastors and members of the community speak about race and stereotypes and how we can all be the change we wish to see.
Somehow in the dimly lit chapel, holding our candles and sharing together in the somber event,
I felt hopeful.
My children, so small and innocent, just the way Trayvon was to his mother once, are my hope.
If we all care enough to speak out, and refuse to accept the stereotypes and the hate and the racism, then we WILL see change in this nation.
My children could be part of the generation who sees a new kind of future, if my generation fights hard enough to change what our reality is.
We can be the difference.
From the eyes of my child, hating someone because of how they look is baffling.
Hating anyone that you don’t even know,
And taking the life of another human being is incomprehensible.
Why are people afraid of what is different?
Why do people hate what they do not know?
My son is only five, yet on some level he can understand that death takes sons from their mothers and fathers, and breaks families, and leaves holes in the hearts of those they loved.
I hope and pray it is a pain I never have to feel.
I can promise you one thing, I will live my life fighting for my children, and their children, and their children’s children.
Fighting every day for equality, and for an end to the madness that brings such pain and suffering and anguish.
Fighting against the hate and the stereotypes and the judgements without cause.
Fighting for justice in this great land of ours,
So that future generations have a chance to live their lives without fear of wearing their hoodies up.
**See me and my boys on the News Coverage from tonights prayer vigil.
Throbbing March 5, 2012
And of course, I have nothing in my medicine cabinet that I can take with it.
Can’t take Aleve or Ibuprofen when pregnant,
And of course, we are out of tylenol.
Bed will help.
Praying its gone by morning.
Blessing 62: My Pillow
-And the rest of the wonderful bed I can hopefully have a good dream or two in tonight.
My Little Baby Bump January 17, 2012
Not a whole lot else on my mind tonight =)
Cant wait to watch my belly grow! (and then get this little munchkin on out of my tummy!)
Blessing 17: My big sister
-Born 26 years ago today, I am so grateful for her and cant imagine life without her ❤
Giggles January 11, 2012
Day 2 of Devin being sick so a long, heartfelt blog is just not happening tonight.
However, I did come across this hilarious compilation of some pretty whacky church signs and I must say, these are REALLY funny.
SMH at some of these people, I mean really guys, what were you thinking???
I hope you enjoy =)
Blessing 11: A joyful heart
-It really is good medicine =)
Shadows of the Heart October 12, 2011
Within the heart,
Beneath the surface we keep certain thoughts hidden.
We fear to appear vulnerable,
And so we burry our fears deep down,
Praying no one sees just how inadequate we really are.
I asked you once to look in the mirror and to honestly tell me what you see,
Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about my insecurities.
Not to ask for pity,
That’s the last thing I need.
My hope is that in being transparent,
Perhaps I can learn to conquer what is holding me back.
When I was a little girl,
I suffered from nightmares.
I remember waking up almost every night until I was about nine,
Terrified and trembling,
My pajamas damp with sweat.
The dreams were vivid,
They were so real,
And they haunted me even during my waking hours.
I would race down the hallway from my bedroom to my parents room,
Running as fast as could,
Truly believing if I was quick enough I could outrace the demons of my nightmares.
Into my parents bedroom I would leap and snuggle between them in their bed.
I would shake and pray between squinted eyes that I would live to see the morning.
I really believed something was trying to kill me.
I was afraid to go in the shed in the backyard,
The attic and basement,
Even under my bed or in my closet,
I was convinced that the terror I experienced while I slept was partially real.
To this day I hate being home alone,
I guess the dreams never went away completely.
When my mother was ill,
There were many nights she wouldn’t come home.
She would be so distraught or exhausted or confused,
She would sleep at friends houses.
My dad knew where she was,
But when we asked him where mommy was,
“I don’t know” was his only answer.
I would wait up for her some nights,
Praying for her to come back.
Some nights she would,
Usually very late,
Hours after I was supposed to be tucked into bed.
I would crawl to the top of the staircase and listen,
They never knew I could hear their arguments.
I felt like my whole world was falling apart.
Yelling triggers something in me,
I shut down emotionally.
When someone yells at me I just stop listening,
A defense mechanism of sorts.
I was just a little girl,
But I became very afraid of being abandoned,
That when people I loved left,
Even just for a while,
They may never come back.
I still don’t like being dropped off places.
When i finally hit puberty,
Just how different I was from my sisters became clear.
They all had chestnut brown hair,
Mine was a dirty blonde.
They were all thin, petite with athletic figures,
I was chubby, with a belly and a round face.
All I could see was how my clothes didn’t fit right,
How my breasts were bigger and my stomach rounder,
How my skin was uneven,
My lips were chapped from nervous licking.
All I could see was how in family pictures I stood out,
I was different,
And I hated it.
I couldn’t see whatever “beauty” people claimed to see.
I felt anything but beautiful.
I felt fat, and ugly,
I felt confused by all the other events of my life.
I longed for acceptance wherever I could get it.
In my search for a friend,
For someone to love me,
I gave parts of me away I can never get back.
I still struggle with feeling unattractive,
Repulsive even on my bad days.
I question why anyone would want me.
And I doubt anyone really does.
I feel like I am lacking,
And that almost every feature the mirror shows me I could improve.
I am very dissatisfied with myself,
And I think that accounts for a huge portion of my unhappiness with others.
I fear attachment to people,
Because they may one day realize how flawed I truly am,
And leave me.
I have difficulty letting people in,
To let others see me gives them the power to hurt me,
And I am already so damaged.
The scars are plentiful and they multiply each day,
As much as I pretend that words don’t hurt me,
I am not made of stone.
I hide behind my plastic smile,
But inside I am silently screaming.
I don’t want to hurt anymore.
I don’t want to be sad,
Or lonely or unhappy.
I don’t want the pang of anguish that overwhelms me when I am disappointed.
Intimacy comes at a price,
Is it one I am willing to pay?
Not so long ago I was dead inside,
And have since been reawakened by my Savior.
So when I think of the alternative to these feelings,
However unpleasant and difficult to bear,
Yes, feeling something is worth the price.
Being alive means pain with ecstasy,
Sadness with joy,
Tears with laughter,
And turmoil with peace.
Life numb and censored without genuine emotions is a lie,
And why would anyone want to live a lie?
I know I don’t.
I’m so imperfect.
I’m so flawed.
I’m so unworthy.
But I’m here,
Day after day I will wake up and continue to fight,
Until my reality is the one that I so deeply long for.