The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the month “December, 2009”

Not Ready For Christmas To Be Over

I know a lot of people may read this title and think I’m nuts. That’s okay. People who know me in real life think that, too. But I LOVE Christmas.  I am not one of those people who gets in a tizzy during the Christmas season and wants to “just get it over with”. I don’t just mean that I love the trees and decorations. I do love those. It’s not even just the songs. I listen to Christmas songs year-round. So that is not the deciding factor in why I do not Christmas to be over.  Why do I not want Christmas to be over? Because during the months of November and December people do things that they don’t do the rest of the year. Churches make food drives. Stores host toy drives. Civic groups take donations to help the poor. Poor, hungry people are around us year-round. Yet, the rest of us seem to care more around Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Our church youth recently took some meals and small gifts to some elderly people in our community. They have agreed to start doing it once a month. Mark is only off two weekends per month. Now, one of those precious Saturdays each month is going to be spent cooking and hosting teenagers. That would be something to complain about, but I have seen how some of these people live and it is heartbreaking. One lady we took food to has no heat. Her house looks like a moderate wind would knock it down. I found out she does not have a stove in her house. Can you imagine living in those conditions? A couple that we delivered food to lives at the top of a verrrry steep driveway.We could not get the church van up the driveway so we parked in the road and walked.  There are about 100 dogs in their yard and the one across the street. (and we were carrying plates of chicken)When the man opened the door for us to give him the food, his pants were wet. I am not sure if he had spilled something on himself, or not.It was very sad.

I know that I have spent a lot of time rambling. I feel a sort of restlessness. I want to do more. I want to be able to help people.  There are so many situations that I know of where people are hurting or worried about the future. There are people who have health issues and are suffering.  There is so much that needs doing. Sometimes I wonder if anything I do matters. I am only one person. I can only do so much. But… I can do something. That is better than doing nothing.

Galatians 6:9-10    9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.


Not Trying to Celebrate a Death…..

but I am glad that this guy is being put to death rather kept alive in prison for 50 or more years.  He beat his girlfriend’s precious five year old child to death three years ago this month. I remember it vividly. His mother reported a car stolen from a gas station in the town where I lived. She said that her child was asleep in the backseat when she went in the station. He went to a different school, but he and Benjamin were in the same grade. Kindergarten. His picture was all over the news for the next several days. His body was found in the trunk of his mother’s car. It was heart-wrenching to hear about that happening to a child. It was even more heart wrenching to find out the details. He was beautiful. His pictures showed a big, happy smile and sweet, innocent eyes.  His pictures and his life were apparently two different things. His mother had this horrible boyfriend. Her defense in not protecting her child was that she was afraid of the boyfriend.  “I was afraid he would hurt me, so I sat by and let him kill my child. Then I went along with the staging of a phony kidnapping to protect my crazy, evil boyfriend.” Some mother, huh? If you are a single mother, please listen to me. Do not make the same mistake as this lady. She might have at one time or another been a good mom.  She might have been a nice person. But she put her child in harm’s way. She thought protecting her boyfriend was more important than protecting her child. If you have children, you need to think about them and how your decisions are going to affect them.  Just because a man says that he will take care of you does not mean he will. Before entering into a realtionship with someone, you need to know that he is a good influence to have around your children. Ask yourself some questions like:Does he do things or try to get me to do things that I would not want my children to do/see? Does he cause me to ignore my children and/or their needs? Has he ever expressed that he does not like children? Have I ever seen him looking at or touching my child inappropriately? This is not an all-inclusive list. But it is a starting point. I have seen so many  mothers in real life and on the news that value having a man over taking care of their children that it makes me sick. Sometimes I just want to shake people. I understand that raising a child alone is tough. I think it would be much tougher to find yourself faced with child abuse/neglect/endangerment charges….or worse.

Awesome Giveaway That I Hope I Win!

Stephanie O’Dea, the crockpot blog lady is giving away a totally cool Hp Touchsmart computer!! All you have to do to enter the contest is visit her review site here. Good luck!! If I don’t win, I hope you do!!!

This is Only A Test

I really try not to complain. To be honest, my life is wonderful. I have a wonderful husband, three wonderful children, a roof over my head, food in my fridge etc….etc…etc… I could go on for days about the blessings I have. But sometimes I let things get me down. Right now Mark is at the doctor’s office for the second time this week. The first time the doctor said his chest sounds like he has pneumonia. I guess this time he’ll find out yes or no. Nathaniel has had a stomach ache for 13 straight days. He has started taking Zantac (again). It has not eased his stomach, but has started giving him headaches. Lovely, huh? Benjamin has had to re-start his sinus rinse. He has been getting up in the mornings with a stuffed up nose and sore throat.

So, I have been caring for sick folks and trying to occupy Samuel so he does not pester his brothers too much when they are feeling bad. Right now he is spending two nights with Gran and Aunt Amanda so he can go to the Oneonta and Altoona Christmas parades. He is having a ball playing with Anna Claire. That has been such a help to me. I am able to clean everything withing bumping him in the head. I HATE germs!!!

A few minutes ago, I heard a voice from the sky say “This is only a test.” Even though I knew what it really was (the county testing the weather siren) it made me smile. It was like I was receiving an audible message from God. This….this time of sicknesses…this time of seeing so many others who are going through things much worse than taking care of sick families… it will pass. It is a test. Tests are not fun. But that does not make them bad. Sometimes the thing that must be done is not easy or fun. 1 Peter 6-8:

6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

The tests that the early church went through were much worse than just having to take care of people they love. Yet, they were told to rejoice in their trials.  How we respond to our tests or trails is what is important. It would be ridiculous if I sat around whining about how rough I have it when they are so many hurting, tired and suffering people around me. Like my mother in law who is going to have to have surgery Monday. She has been battling pain for I don’t even know how long. I hope and pray this surgery gives her relief. Or the man Mark used to work with who recently lost his wife. Or the lady we used to go to church with who recently lost her husband. Or the precious couple who recently lost their first-born child. Losing a loved on is never easy. You can tell yourself over and over that they are in a better place. You can tell yourself they are no longer suffering. That doesn’t make it easier to go on without them. So I want to thank God, that even though things might not feel peachy-keen and rosy right now, this will pass. This is only a test. The times where people are cruel is only a test. The times money seems to run out before the bills run out is only a test. The fairly new washing machine leaking sporadically is only a test. How I respond to these tests determines my grade.1 Corinthians 3:12-14

12Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.

14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.

♪♫ Christmas Time is Near….♫♪

I love Christmas! It is the one time where people are a little more likely to be caring about others. It is the time when we can talk about Jesus, for the most part, without people getting mad.  (yes I know the ACLU would like for us not to mention Jesus, but normal people don’t usually mind)

As a family we try to focus on  worship, being together, doing things for those less fortunate, and celebrating Jesus coming to pay for our sins. We have some traditions, both old and new that have become part of helping make this a special time of year. On the day after Thanksgiving, we skip all the big sales and stay home. That is when we put out our Christmas decorations and put the tree up.  I used to have this idea in my head of what a *perfect* tree should look like. Clear lights, all well coordinated ornaments, evenly spaced out. Something along the lines of this:Most of our nicer ornaments have gotten broken over the years. We have a tree full of glitter, popsicle sticks, craft foam, etc. And colored lights. The angel on top blinks. I do not like blinky lights. Either on or off, stay put!The funny thing is, the more we have this type of tree, the more I begin to think this is the most beautiful type of tree. I mean, on my * perfect* tree would there be any room for these?*

Another old tradition is our Christmas dishes. I got a set of Twelve Days of Christmas china when I was still a teenager. (not going to say how many Christmases ago THAT was!) The salad plates each depict a different “day” of Christmas. The boys eat off the plate with the number of their age on it. This year we have Samuel with “Six Geese a Laying”, Benjamin with “Nine Ladies Dancing” and Nathaniel with “Twelve Drummers Drumming”On a bit of a nostalgic note, this is Nathaniel’s last year to have a special plate.

We also do a LOT of cooking during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So far my kitchen helpers have helped me make:

Christmas Tree Cake

Snowman Cake

Peppermint Patties

Potato Candy

We usually make chocolate (and white chocolate) covered pretzel rods, divinity, and Rudolph cookies.

Some of the newer traditions we have are more meaningful. Last year we did our very first Jesse Tree.  We made some elaborate ornaments. Some of which are on our huge tree in the living room. The time-consuming ornaments are great when Mark is not working. They are not so bad when he is working day shift. But on the days where he works night shift, it is not much fun. Some days it felt more like a chore than a blessing. So this year we have toned it down and are coloring paper ornaments we got from here. So this year is much more laid back.

Something that is very exciting is our newest tradition. We are doing an Advent Calendar. I saw this last year on Annemarie’s blog. The cups are big enough to hold three pieces of candy. So each boy gets a piece every day. We have Reese’s Cups in some of them and they are holding up just fine. There is a little lesson to go along with each day’s cup. You take the candy out and put something else back in its place. On the first day we put back a quarter to remind us we have 25 days to celebrate His birth. Today we put back a grape Laffy Taffy. (grapes can be used to make wine, but Jesus did not need grapes to perform His first miracle.) Tomorrow we will put in a smiley face. Or a heart, I can’t remember. Anyway, the boys look forward to candy each day and to see what they get to put back and what it has to do with the Christmas story.  Traditions are wonderful way to make memories with the ones you love. Hope you and yours share lots of love during this season.

* top to bottom: A Christmas tree Mark made in Kindergarten, Benjamin in first grade, Nathaniel in second grade, Samuel’s lion and scepter, Samuel dressed as a Care Bear wrapped in a box, 2006, a Santa I made in second grade

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