Just Enough

Most of the Christmas decorations are still packed away in crates and drawers. And I don’t have any plans to dig them out.  For some reason I wanted small trees this year and peace. I had ordered a set of small trees on a whim from an online retailer.  I put them on my mantle with some greenery and pine cones. I visited a local shop where the proprietor had small trees (the largest is about two foot) at a great price and bought five so my Byer Christmas Trio would look like they were standing at the edge of an evergreen forest.  Then I purchased a bag of inexpensive bottle brush trees to display with a couple of small box houses, making a tree farm of sorts. I added a trio of small trees and a bowl that belonged to my great grandmother, full of small pinecones that I found in the mountains on a long ago trip, to my little desk. I added old brown crocks into the mantle display, put a single candle surrounded by greenery on a small stand, hung jingle bells on the front door, placed a sprig of berries on a doorknob, put out a few of my Christmas books and called it a day.

It’s just enough to honor the season without taking away from the true meaning. It’s just enough to remind me that making a home can be a blessing, but not so much that I’m exhausted. And, if I decide that I’m too tired to put it away and it all hangs around for awhile, it still blends in as winter decor, leaving me the freedom to put it away gradually without stress.  It’s all pretty low key. it’s all just enough peace to keep me grounded and help me find my sense of place. You can see it in pictures below.  Welcome.

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Hope your Christmas is filled with just enough peace and grace,

Teresa

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Linking up with the Nester for the Christmas tour of homes.

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I Won’t Lose You

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I look out my window and see you standing there, all forlorn in your red jacket and shoes.  My heart breaks into a million pieces as you look around lost in another world.

I’m helpless to fix you. I wish I could take you in my arms, hold you tight and make the pain go away.

Memories of things said in haste flood my mind; things I wish I could unsay because I didn’t know. I didn’t know you couldn’t always help it; I didn’t know how bad you were hurting.

How we were all hurting.   Walking around in a fog trying to make sense of the new normal.  In many ways we are all ill – it has changed us.  We dig deep trying to find answers; trying to hold onto hope, but failing in so many ways.

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I don’t want you to leave before you go.  I want you full and present while your’re still with us.  I know it’s not about me, it’s not about any of us really.

We’re the burden bearers reaching out to you to offer comfort, accepting the reality that it’s never enough.  I stifle screams for mercy and laugh with you over whimsy and words that have no meaning.

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The laughter is the mask that helps us live, otherwise we’d cry tears unto death.  We won’t give in without fighting.  I won’t lose you.  You are still you.,

I wait for a glimmer of your essence and thank God for you..I blink away tears as I watch you walk away and I pray for mercy, strength and peace.

Later, I’ll cry those tears and hope they wash everything new again.

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Hoping in grace,

Teresa

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postscript:  a few years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  It has been a long painful journey, but it has also had pockets of joy and gifts.  I don’t write about it much because it is so painful.  I have begun to realize that in the writing, a bit of understanding and healing lurks in the words, so today I shared some recent thoughts.  I didn’t do much editing, letting the words speak for themselves they way they were felt.  

Joy?

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Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   –Romans 12:12

This was one of the verses included in my devotions this morning.  I had to chuckle a little as I read that verse, in light of what I’ll be going through this afternoon.

In a little while I’ll be sipping a lovely “cocktail” in preparation for a routine procedure in the morning.  I have not looked forward to this at all.  I remember well the nastiness of the drink and how I couldn’t finish it the last time.  I also don’t like it when I’m not in control of a situation, so these things usually make me more nervous and fearful than your average person.

So, I’ve done a lot of praying for peace and protection and for good results.  The normal types of prayers.  I also have prayed in hopes that somehow the taste could be blocked.  Seriously.  Not to gross you out, but I almost gag at the memory of five years ago when I last drank from this gutter drink.

I sat with my mother for a while last evening and while we sat quietly in her living-room I spent some time in prayer and was reminded of God’s faithfulness to bring us peace and I knew he’d be with me through this ordeal. And he will.

You can imagine my chuckle this morning when I read that verse in light of my prayers and upcoming procedure.  So, I am doing my best to be joyful in the hope that I won’t taste or even have to drink all of it.  I am trying really hard to be patient with my current ‘affliction” (I think that word is very appropriate for the insult of having to drink the dreaded concoction) and I think faithful in prayer applies here as I’ve done my share of asking for strength to get through this.

I know this verse is to remind us of our hope of heaven and that our suffering or afflictions are nothing in light of that hope.  I also realize that what I will be experiencing this afternoon and tomorrow morning is nothing in light of Christ’s suffering, or even the suffering of one who is facing life threatening illness. I don’t take these things lightly.  But reading this verse this morning, reminded me that Jesus loves us and he cares about us.  He understands our fears and he will be with us in all things, even the minor things that can make us apprehensive.  He also sends us the right scripture at the right time to drive home the point.

Whatever you are facing today I hope that you take hope, practice patience and pray faithfully.

Hoping in Grace,

Teresa

This Christmas

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100_3939.2This Christmas has crept into my soul slowly.  I am sitting here looking at the lights wrapped in tulle on my fireplace wall and the little tree lights peeking in from the Music room and I realize that sitting quietly (as quietly as you can with a game on in the background), soaking in the lights and allowing the redeeming grace of love’s pure light to sink to the bottom of your soul is the only thing that really matters.

The decorations don’t have to be major or perfect, the gifts don’t have to be extravagant and the food doesn’t have to be over the top.  Simple can suffice. (And the excitement of a Bengals touchdown can apparently break through the calm without making the lights flicker too much before all settles back to calm and bright.)

Earlier in the season when Rod Stewart was crooning in my ear and reminding me about baby Jesus (really, if you read it once, no need to again, but if you’re curious go on over and I’ll be here when you come back) I had one of those moments when you begin to realize a deep truth. A truth that has been marinating in my soul all season.  I realized that we go to a lot of trouble to make one day perfect. We act as if Christmas Day only comes once a year.  We get all in a frenzy making sure we have our list checked off and everything planned and synchronized.  We exhaust ourselves shopping and cooking and trying to fit in one more event.

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We say that it is because of Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.  But, I have to wonder if that is what we are doing.  Because I’m not so sure we are really focusing on the Holy Infant, tender and mild.  In light of the significance of his birth, Christmas is every day.  The day of his birth was the dawn of redeeming grace.  It wasn’t just for that one day, to be remembered once a year.  It is a Hallelujah event to be celebrated every day.

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There is nothing wrong with trees and baubles, parties and great food, or sharing gifts with family and friends.  However, if those things become our focus and wear us down to the point of becoming Scrooge, then I think we have to examine our priorities.  That is what I decided to do.

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When Rod sang Silent Night, the words really sank in more than ever before. I realized I wanted my focus to be on Christ, the Savior is born, so, I made a list of things to remember this Christmas.  Maybe it will help you remember too!

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May you find Heavenly peace wrapped in grace,

Teresa

A few more pictures…

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Really, It’s Not About Me (except today, it might be), But, All Is Bright!

Disclaimer:  Keepin’ it real, y’all. An update post of sorts since I’ve been pretty absent lately.  The Christmas spirit has been a slow start for me and You may be subjected to a small pity party, but it does end on a bright note!  Also, I mention Rod Stewart and Jesus both in this post. I think they would be okay with that. 

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Rod Stewart is crooning I’ll Have A Blue Christmas in my ear and the dish suds is getting to the point that the dishes better be done soon or we’ll have to have fresh water.  If only I’d done them last night instead of going to Dollar General.  Because mixing dinner dishes with breakfast dishes makes double the “toil and trouble”.

Going to Dollar General (I live in a really small town and it’s a good place to get gift wrapping supplies) was a good thing though, because finally, it was beginning to feel like Christmas.  Nothing like buying empty gift boxes to get you in that Christmas spirit. But then,

I had breakfast dishes to do (at lunch time) because I woke up with a short stab of pain in my head and then felt a little heavy armed and a slight (very slight) numbing sensation in my face.  So, I called my parents to come sit with me awhile just to make sure I was really okay (I’m really not a hypochondriac).  I seem to be okay because we checked my blood pressure and it was close to normal (I am self-diagnosing a pinched nerve, or sinus issues, or more than likely, just plain ole stress) and then I was hungry, hence the breakfast for all of us and the extra dishes. Followed by,

A mishap with the bathroom sink.  I left my Mom (who has Alzheimer’s) in the bathroom with the water running, forgetting that she has trouble turning the facet off.  A few minutes later when she hadn’t appeared and I realized the water was still running I walked in to see the faucet skewed sideways and water running down the counter, over the cabinet front, onto the floor.  Quite a nice puddle.  Yep, she still has her strength, apparently, as the faucet was sideways and is now lose, but still seems to function without leaks.  And, my bathroom floor needed a good mopping anyway.  I was a little frazzled by this turn of events, but tried to reassure her it wasn’t her fault. Lately,

I’ve been way stressed.  Like waking up crying stressed.  Like I want to hibernate from the world stressed. For no apparent, specific reason, but just life in general catching up with me, the depression that lingers longer this time of year and some nagging health related things I need to share with my Doctor when I finally dig my head out of the sand and let him start drawing blood.  But first,

We have to get through Rocky’s Cataract surgery (December 17) and my having to navigate big city traffic on the interstate (my nemesis) since he is having surgery in Louisville. We have known for several months that this was coming soon, but when he saw his Doctor last week she went ahead and scheduled now, during the most ‘hap, happiest season of all,” so that is added to the stress to do list.

Then there is my computer which is in for a check-up as we speak. The prognosis is not good.  Rocky’s also needs some TLC so we are both functioning on a very slow computer, which is nothing to complain about really, in light of more important things.

I am also still playing musical tables at my house and currently have a floater table. She spent two nights ago in the Music room and last night in the Living room.  she is a leggy, restless one that table.  I waffle between sending her away or finding her a place all her own.  Except, therein lies the rub.  We are short on space. I kind of like having her around though due to my inherited thing with tables,  so here we are,

Living in a space with too much furniture and feeling somewhat unorganized which has not been good for my state of mind.  If I have too many things  begging for my attention at once, or too many decisions to be made, I freeze and can’t function. Which is why,

Today, for a little while, everything caught up with me and it did feel like it was about me.  I resisted the urge to cry and started the dish water instead.  Then, after a few moments of searching for the Christmas CD’s, I soaped and rinsed dishes as Rod sang to me.  So, now that I’m armed with clean dishes, my gift boxes and Rod, I think I’ll usher Christmas in quietly, giving myself permission to do no more or no less than I feel up to. Because, as Rod just reminded me, it’a really all about,

“Silent Night, Holy night, All is calm, all is Bright.  Round yon’ virgin, mother and child, Holy Infant, so tender and mild.  Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”  (click the words to hear Rod sing.)

Holy Infant, tender, peace.  This is all I need to remember.  When the dishes are dirty, when the sink floods, when my computer crashes, when I have to battle traffic, when my head hurts, when my spirit is crushed, when I’m pulled too many directions, when I am chest deep in chaos and the breathing is shallow and the world is closing in, I just close my eyes, breath in the silent night and remember the Holy Infant.  His tenderness brings peace.

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Peace in the Grace,

Teresa

Prompted By A Psalm And Hills

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121

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I pray that you are looking to Him for your help today. May you find rest in your weary, peace in your worry and strength in your weak. He will preserve you for evermore.

Resting in grace,

Teresa

For the complete 31 Day series, Prompted to Write click here

Advent IV – Peace

Linked to All Manner of Inspiration for Sacro Speco (sacred space)

This is the fourth Sunday of Advent.  Churches and Homes around the world will light the candle of Peace, which is also referred to as the Angel’s candle.  This is the season of anticipation of the arrival of the Christ child.  Of course this is symbolic as we know he came long ago.  For believers this also represents the anticipation of his second coming.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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Finding peace in grace,

Teresa