Days of December #23… the reading of Christ’s birth to my children

jerusalem

Every year when my children were young, beginning with my daughter’s first Christmas there was not a December 23rd that went by without reading, from the Bible, not a storybook, but the Biblical story of Christ’s birth. Never once was there a Santa story and my children knew what Christmas was about. Never once has there been a photograph taken of my children with Santa. I had been ridiculed by others for teaching the truth to my babies, and told I was a horrible mother for not allowing them to indulge in sitting on a stranger’s knee and ask him for things they wanted. My children understood that yes we gave gifts and they were from each other. Even if one said from Santa they knew it was from Joe and myself.

In order, every year this is what my children were read on December 23rd.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Luke 1:35

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Matthew 1:18-24

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

Luke 2:1-20

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was , that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered . 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes , and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field , keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo , the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid . 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold , I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes , lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying , 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass , as the angels were gone away from them into heaven , the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste , and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things , and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned , glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen , as it was told unto them.

Matthew 2:1-12

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold , there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying , Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo , the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was . 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Days of December #22…almost home

Palouse Falls Trip (3)

I absolutely love this section of Westbound I-90. It is that sense of “coming home” that surges in my body when I see the last bit of asphalt twisting through the trees before city lights brighten the sky.

Then my stupid brain kicks in, well not “STUPID brain” but stupid…brain. I wonder, every single time I start driving here what size rock and what grade/viscosity the oil is that makes up this road.

The oil used in making asphalt is “bottom of the barrel” crude. It is what’s left after things like kerosene, gasoline and naptha have been removed from the crude. I guess I would equate it to regular olive oil, you know like the tasteless stuff produced after the 4th or 5th pressing. Kinda sorta. The rock and aggregate is made up up specific sizes too. Depending on your elevation and historic weather make up of where the road is to be built there is a specific formula used to make the asphalt for that road.

There are just some things in life that you learn and never forget when forgetting would be just fine. I do not foresee ever needing to make my own asphalt or needing to know what grade crude to use when doing so but sometimes the brain is just programmed to trigger certain info with specific visual cues.

I think it would be just fine and dandy to look at the trees and sky and beauty of that instead.

Days of December #21… Little Helpers

I got your back

The helpful people who don’t understand…

My first lesson that “sometimes what I think will help someone may not be help at all” happened when I was learning to tie my shoes. Mama always tied my shoes tight on my feet so when I learned to tie my own they were never tight enough. Every day for weeks, maybe longer, I brought my shoes to either Mama, Tom or Paul. I would put them on, one at a time and tie the first knot and hold it tight. “push super tight” was always the request, then the loops were tied while a finger waited to be strangled by my attempt to finish the process. As soon as that was done, whomever was helping me that day would double knot my shoes and off I’d go.

In turn I mimicked their assistance by being right there to help them tie, you see, now i was an expert at it. That was until the day my little heart was broken when i walked into the bedroom again and Paul was untying to re-tie his shoes. I remember his face, that “Oh crap, I’m gonna make the baby cry” face. And of course I did. I wailed like I was meeting my doom, as only the baby can.

“Sssshhhhhhhh, Amy…don’t cry, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You’re going to get me in trouble, come here I will let you help me again. Don’t cry, please.”

My heart broken tears turned into “I am mad as hell at you tears” then the balled up fists and the baby slug to his arm. “I hate you” I screamed at him as Mama walked in.

“Amy Marie, apologize this second!”

“No, I hate Paul, he’s mean and doesn’t love me.”

Tears, indignation and a swat to my butt didn’t change the fact that Paul wasn’t honest with me. I was such a drama queen, I guess that’s what babies are.

I learned a hard lesson that day as I listened to Paul explain that when I helped him tie his shoes that they were always wrong and he was too old for double knots, the other kids laughed at him the first day he forgot I made him tie his shoes like mine.

I think that sometimes it is the really difficult lessons we learn when people try to protect us from the truth that have the biggest impact.

I know sometimes that is the only way we learn. People can be as honest as they want and say “It’s ok, I don’t need any help” when they really mean just what they said. But we, the helpers, know better. We  have the foresight to see any situation, we have thought things through to the end, and each scenario will play just like the movie we made up in our heads. I proudly wear my “helper” hat and am all knowing.

Ok…but seriously, it sounds wonderful and all but I am constantly telling myself  “sit back and keep your fat mouth shut, amy”. Then I try my hardest to remember Paul, untying his shoes and then wonder… If he had been honest with me, would I have listened? Probably not… after all… i am helper!!

So, if you think you are the bees knees in someones life because of what you offer to them, most likely you have not asked them what you mean to them. Their answer might surprise you and your ego may go into shock from the God’s honest truth that leaves their mouth. You may be called “a friend, a close friend, a coworker or neighbor”. All your brain wants to hear is “You are one of the most important people in my life, you ground me, you are the only one who understands me, you are the only person i trust…..”

I’m here to tell you…if you ask such an incredibly egotistical question you had best be prepared to be deflated like a popped beach ball. With a thud your ego will hit the ground, it will hurt like a son of a b… So when you think you “need” to have someone’s back…sometimes they need to do things without your help. Back away, let them fall and scrape their knees, vulnerability is one of the greatest strength we have because it allows us to fail and learn.

Days of December #20…running out of time

  1. 12.21.12

So I guess I have 2 hours and 25 minutes left to live… and I am laughing… One of the major planetary alignments was in the year i was born and look what happened, y’all got me. WAHOOO 😛

Some wacko woman claimed she was chosen to warn mankind about an event, stating she was “chosen by an alien race” and had some device implanted in her brain as a child…and that the information was about Nibiru ( an imaginary planet) colliding with earth, throwing us into a polar shift that rips the fabric of us apart. Well I guess that when her May 2003 date of the end came and went then the date was moved to December 2012, taking from the Mayan calendar and giving her theory substance.

It is too late for me to go on…my head hurts from trying to fathom how people will buy into a story so they can belong to something…

Days of December #19…

IMG_9324

 

Natures nice lil packages. This photograph  was snapped as I rested my camera on my feet.

Now my vision, even wearing trifocals, sucks. I could see the different colors and the way this green looked kind of like lettuce, then something off white woven into it. Something…just the colors. So i put the camera on my foot and clicked away, moving it slightly… trying to get it “just right”.

For me nature is serene, the sounds and the sense of peace I get is more profound than anything I see because what I see has very few details. The magic of vision happens on my computer. I can zoom in, lift and tilt my head until until it I see the details clearly.

My vision, when it was 20/20 saw horrible things, I lived in a state of turmoil and tears of sadness, loneliness, and survival flooded my eyes quite often. In the past 5 years my vision has gone from needing reading glasses to wearing trifocals. Now my life is wonderful..I am at peace more than I ever have been in my life and the beauty I now have time to see is looked at through lenses made of plastic.

Still…I am thankful the God in heaven above for the blessings he rains upon me each day.

The irony of how life is makes me think back to the black and white Twilight Zone. Every episode was a lesson in irony, it seemed. When I think of visual irony I remember one particular episode of this show, probably the only one that ever impacted me enough to make me remember… a man, older, his life is busy, everyone wants a piece of his time and all he wants is time to read… events happen and he is now alone…in the world, nothing but time, to read to his hearts content. Then his glasses fall off and shatter on the ground.

Since this episode I have tried to never wish too big and when I do wish I am very careful what I wish for… because the saying is more true than not…for you just may get your wish.

Predators, in plain sight, robbing and pillaging as we sit and watch

I decided to open my mail this morning…i have this cute little loan offer for up to $2000. I love to read the details on the back…just for laughs… So today I read this one…and I almost died 299.17%-378.96%. Did you know that I can borrow $700 and make 14 biweekly installments of $116.63. Yep.. I can pay $1632.82 to have $700 in my account tomorrow.

Can someone please tell me who runs these companies and why are there no regulations prohibiting this?

This letter says how wonderful the offer is because it is not as high as 3 other companies it names specifically with loan rates of 664.30%, 661.77% and 485.45%

I did some digging..because thats who i am…and it seems that the lender is a Texas based company…working with a Native American tribe, whose sovereign nation status keeps them from having to comply with state lending regulations.

This predator is the least of our worries in the days to come as this world grasps onto any normalcy to regain its equilibrium.

Days of December #18…La Boheme and a Grandson

Two things I love dearly in my life..my grandchildren and classical music. Above is one of my favorite classics… Puccini’s La Boheme. I love to pop my ear buds in and listen to Puccini…He has transported me to places in my soul that I never would have never dared to go before. I do not always like the operatic singing but the music is magical. Another favorite is O Mio Babbino Caro, just the instrumental.

This music moves ever so deeply that I just cry. How does such melody move a soul to feel so deeply? It is the second most beautiful thing I have ever experienced in my life. The first was when my daughter gave birth to my oldest grandson. Now, having your own children is such magic, but the pain involved , not just physical but the depth of responsibility that hits you when you give birth is not as freeing as when your child has a child.

It was 9 years ago today that my eldest grandson was born. I waited, worried and heart wrenching for my daughter after complications forced her to not be able to have this one naturally. My then husband was working, my son in laws parents also. Well I was too but I worked at the hospital where my daughter was. I took the rest of the day off when I found out Rachel was not progressing, she called my extension in a panic after being in labor so long…all I heard were my adult child’s cries on the phone, the sound of worry and the unknown. I raced up the stairs and made it to her room where the curtain was drawn and I could hear the Dr. telling her she would never progress because of her body structure. His voice was cold and clinical…how dare anyone speak to my child in this manner. As the Dr. drew the curtain and exited he saw me, not one of his favorite people because I dared to argue with him when scheduling surgeries for him. He walked past me in a hurry and I followed him out and said I needed to speak with him. We went into an empty birthing room and I told him I didn’t care what he thought of me but if he didn’t treat my baby girl with more compassion that I would raise hell. Not the wisest thing as an employee of this facility but I didn’t care right then. He looked at me with surprise, remarking that he didn’t know she was my daughter. He promised to take care of her and left.

I went in to see my eldest child, this tiny creature with a belly almost half her size. We spoke and I hugged her so tight, and I hugged my son in law. The nurse from the OR came in to prep her and I excused myself after saying my “I love you’s”. One of my best friends at work, Richard, also an OR nurse, came out to the waiting room, knowing I was there. He looked me square in the eye and told me Rach would be in good hands, he promised to make sure then hugged me.

As the bed was wheeled past the waiting room Rachel’s voice called out “Mom”? I was at her side and kissed her as we held each others hands, after another I love you was exchanged in a whisper  she was wheeled away, Brian close to her.

I am not the interfering type of mother that insisted I be there for the birth of my grandchildren. This magic was Rachel’s, and it was Brian’s…not mine. I sat in the waiting room and coworkers saw me and stopped by, sitting for a few minutes helping me pass the time, then they went back to work. Robert, an IT guy about Rachel’s age, sat with me the longest.

The double doors opened and Richard came into the waiting room and hugged me tight. He said…”Amy, you’re a grandma.” I started to cry. It was a feeling that struck a chord deeper in me than I have ever felt, this happiness ached in the most wonderful way. December 18, 2003… i became a grandma. i tried to call Rachel’s dad and got no answer, Brian was in charge of calling his parents.

This wonderful little baby was swaddled and in a medical bassinet cart being wheeled into the nursery. Brian was right next to him. I stood outside the nursery and was asked to come in. I hugged Brian tight. No words were needed.We both stood there looking at the little creature in amazement as the nurses weighed him, poked his heel for blood for a bilirubin count, put drops in his eyes, gave him his APGAR test, then let him lie under the warming lamp. I reached over and lifted the tiny hand and looked at this brand new Daddy… and for the first time in my life I counted 5 baby fingers on each hand and 5 baby toes on each foot. Not even with my own children did I do that. Brian was torn…he needed to be with his wife…and his new baby. I said the baby would be fine…I would stay until he got back.

After Brian left to see Rachel, baby cries started… I reached my hand to his forehead and barely brushed it with my thumb, speaking in the calmest voice I could, telling him it would be alright and that I love him. Instant calm as his face turned slightly to the side where my thumb was at.

My world was complete at that very second in time. A complete beautiful symphony playing in my heart, making tears from my soul pour down my face, making me feel like I never had before in my life.

I can tell you right now…I am glad, to this day, that I was his only grandparent there. One of the most tender and precious memories that I remember in vivid detail was mine and mine alone.

My grandson turned 9 today and I do not see him like I wish I could, along with his siblings and cousins. Every second, in person, on the phone or by Skype I try to make count as if I would never see them again because life is fragile and short.

My blouse is wet from tears and I am all sniffly and this blog took me awhile to write but it was worth every second, every tear every sniff of my nose, to spend chronicling one of this worlds greatest joys.

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