wordless wednesday (with words)…11.28.12

Somehow, Thanksgiving in our family has become somewhat synonymous with gaming.

It started with LAN parties and a bank of computers networked in Mom and Dad’s living room so many years ago I can’t even remember the game, with wires running everywhere. Headsets came along, and so did high fives.

Now, it’s a new generation and an XBOX, with Minecraft being the game of choice. And a little Halo 4, of course.

Some things don’t change.

I still had to work hard to shoo them outside and get the table set.

What funny unexpected traditions does your family enjoy?

November 1: thankful to be here

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First and foremost, I am so thankful simply to be where I am this fall.

For six years, we lived nearly 3000 miles away and it was torture for me to be so far during family crises. This Fall, we’ve endured two big ones – the loss of a cousin and my grandfather’s fall and his continued deterioration. I can’t imagine what either one would have been like from so far away.

To be here physically – to give hugs and be able to go where needed without worrying about plane tickets or a week’s worth of driving – it’s huge. Two years ago, when we found out Tom’s job would be cut to part time and we made the decision to come home, we had no idea where that road would lead.

I’m thankful that for this season, it lead here.

Join me this month for a daily 5 minute muse on something I’m thankful for. Want to do it to?

in focus

It’s amazing to me how the right information can bring everything into focus.

He’s always been our quirky kid.

He didn’t talk until he was 4. We’d get in the shower after him to find everything lined up, and the shampoo poured down the drain. Loud noises and bright lights seemed to bother him more than other kids. He would be obsessed with fish, with whales, with dinosaurs, with facts. He survived on air from 14 months until nearly 3 years.

He went to school and he learned to adapt.

He still doesn’t like loud noises. Can’t make decisions. Insists on soft clothes. Seems to have some processing issues, but can do most math in his head. Writing is physically painful. Still picky when it comes to food. His world is just sometimes a little bit different and a lot more frustrating.

And the coping mechanisms he taught himself don’t seem to be working as well.

We found a counselor – a total blessing – who gets him.

She is giving us words that are making all of those quirks come into focus. Teaching us how to help him and finding more areas that need deeper assessment. Guiding us to better expectations and ways of doing things.

And we are grateful.

5 Minute Muse: trying to get back in the habit of writing for joy. Setting the timer and writing, no editing.

hello, October

October and November are the months when my soul is happiest.

There’s something so incredible about the change of seasons, especially while living in a farming community. The cotton has blossomed, turned to bolls and burst into fluffy white balls. The corn has reached to the sky, gone golden and is being harvested. Pomegranates hang, giant red ornaments, on trees. Some fields are already plowed under, ready for Spring.

It’s easy to see God’s hand and provision living in a place like this.

It’s also when we see church life explode. Holiday bazaars, family events, more crowded services, favorite hymns. I treasure this time.

Last year was our practice year, and we set up some wonderful new traditions last year. Our Great Pumpkin Party will forever be one of my favorite church memories, and one that we’re repeating this year. We’re talking about adding a barbecue potluck or family homecoming in November to coincide with the end of a sermon series. And at our second church, they celebrate a Hanging of the Greens service – one of my favorite traditions we enjoyed in Florida.

What I’m looking most forward to is Christmas Eve service. The candlelight, the sacred songs, the families together to worship. But mostly, I look forward to our children’s Nativity.

It’s not planned.

It’s not practiced.

Last year, we were furiously pulling together costumes as kids came in. This year, we’re hoping to be a bit more organized…but just as welcoming.

There is always room in our Nativity for another angel, another shepherd and, if we get desperate, a sheep or two. Not sure about ninja shepherds, though. That might be a one year only sort of thing.

Isn’t that we should be about as a church?

Welcoming all, making room for all, giving each and every person the space for Grace to act.

5 Minute Muse: trying to get back in the habit of writing for joy. Setting the timer and writing, no editing.

I’m praying that for this new season – the space for Grace in all we do and all we say.