Christmas Gifts

The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, the goodies are baked.  We’ve rehearsed our Christmas Eve KidStuf show, decorated for the Christmas Eve candlelight service, watched the favorite Christmas classics, and even cleaned the house.  We’ve bought the last minute presents and should be sitting back relaxing and enjoying it.

But I’m on day two of migraines and getting enough relief to barely function but nothing more.  And Michael is on week three of an episode that hasn’t landed him in the hospital but has made me contemplate the need for it many times.  So just like usual, I’m feeling a bit sorry for us, and mostly for him.  He should be able to enjoy this season, but we’re here once again and he’s struggling with the emotional battlefield that creates.

But God keeps sending us these small surprises that help keep us going, and remind me that we’re not forgotten.

First, there was this gift.

As I dug through my wrapping paper supplies, which includes old Christmas cards that I use as tags, I saw handwriting that I hadn’t seen in years.  6 1/2 years actually.

Austin’s last Christmas with us we made quite a few sweet memories.  One of them was him helping me with Michael’s Christmas gift.  Austin was a computer whiz, and I asked him to set up and configure the new laptop that he’d helped me find.  He met me at Panera and we drank coffee while he worked on it, to make sure Michael didn’t see.  He then bought a warranty to go with it as Michael’s gift, and what I found was his handwritten note saying that he’d bought him a warranty.

It’s the kind of thing I’d normally throw away, and I’m not sure why I kept it.  I’m not sure how it sat in that box of supplies for so long without me seeing it either.  But as I sat wrapping presents this year, with Michael asleep near me, and me hoping for a miracle for him this year, I got a small one of my own.  A reminder of my brother and of the love he had for us.

Later that night, last night, another completely unexpected gift was given.

A small company, UnMarketing, who says to ‘Stop Marketing, Start Engaging’ did just that through granting items from wish lists for a fairly large group of people.  They asked you to send them Amazon wish lists, and they’d be selecting some people to pick an item off the list and send it.  No questions, no fuss, no contest.  They didn’t make you share it to win it, or like them on Facebook, or fill out an application.

Within 10 minutes, two items off of Michael’s Christmas list were ordered and a personal note sent about why the man behind this chose those- he didn’t just throw money (which was cool enough on it’s own) but he took time to connect.  They weren’t high ticket items, but they’re items that he’ll love.

And with those two gifts, I’m reminded….

We’re loved, we’re taken care of, we’re not forgotten.

I wish I didn’t have to write a post like this every year- that I didn’t struggle with balancing the great and true Joy of the God we’re celebrating and the kids who have my heart with the heartache of this illness and my brother being missing.  I often feel like I’ve said as much as I can say on these topics, and have nothing more to give.

But maybe, you’re like me and facing the same things year after year and needing the reminder that just because you are doesn’t mean you’re forgotten, or unloved.

He loves us more than we can know, which is after all why we have Christmas to celebrate.

Merry Christmas my friends.


Christmas 2009

Christmas 2009


Mother’s Day Wish List

In case you haven’t realized it by the calendar, the sappy commercials or the stores filled with cards, Sunday is Mother’s Day.  Seriously, if this is your first clue, run.  Run now!  Go find something that will make your mom, or the mother of your children, know how special she is.  Need suggestions?

Here is my Mother’s Day wish list:

*  A child who does what I say WHEN I SAY IT.  Yes, my nine year old will eventually, on his own time frame, do what I asked.  But there will likely be a stop at the TV, a drink to get, or some other thing that slows him down.  This child is slow like molasses.  If you can find the magic elixir for that, my husband will need to buy gallons for me for Mother’s Day.

*  An extra day of the week for a regular beach day- sometimes alone.  The thing is, we fill up almost every moment with something.  I refuse to skip baseball games or leave my kids very often when it’s not for work.  But if I had that one extra day….

*  A big fancy vacation.  Yeah, that’s not happening.  Though we are escaping for a one night stay somewhere local for our anniversary Sunday night.  I’ll take it.

*  1000 hugs and kisses from my monsters.  Some of which I don’t even have to hold them down for.

*  A pedicure.  (Hmm, I may be able to make this one happen….)

My Mom and Jester, as seen in the Florida Times-Union

*  Time to say ‘thanks’ to the greatest mom I know, mine.

To all the moms who inspire me.  To all the moms who love on my kids.  To all the moms who’ve raised theirs and give me advice.  To my friends who are moms to be.  Wishing you a day of remembering that you’re amazing.

XOXO  Anita