Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Getting in the Spirit

It's Christmas Eve tomorrow.

Seems a little surreal.

The tree is up.  I've been singing Christmas carols.  I'm about to put the fruit mix to soak overnight for Jesus' birthday cake.  Yet it still doesn't quite 'feel' like Christmas if you know what I mean?

But then I guess it didn't feel like an amazing event to Mary and Joseph as they trudged into the damp, smelly stable.  It probably felt like an average, cold winter's night as the shepherds settled their sheep while the sun sank slowly behind the horizon.  And it was.  On one dimension it was just another night.  Nothing extraordinary.  Nothing abnormal.  Just a small boy born into poverty, like oh so many others that night and every night since. 

But on another level, everything was different.  Our calendar is based upon this event.  Yearly, we celebrate it.  Christmas.  CHRIST mas.  The day, the moment, when the king of all glory laid down his rights, his title, his position of rulership and justice, to be one of us. The night he was born into abject poverty, cruelty and pain. 

He lived like us so that we can be like him.

And that fact remains regardless of whether or not I 'feel' like it's Christmas.


Monday, December 22, 2014

What a Year

A crazy, whirlwind, tumultuous year has just flown past.  I was looking at my blog last week and realised (with horror) that my last post to you was in April.  APRIL?!!?  Where has the rest of the year gone?  It feels like someone turned on a giant vacuum cleaner and just sucked it right on up, day after day, week after week, month after month.  I've been hanging onto a table leg, hair streaming, feet dragging, as time tries to suck me into the black too.

I didn't intentionally stop blogging, believe me.  You know I'd have told you, right?  If I'd decided.  But the thing is I hadn't.  I still haven't.  It's kind of just hanging in the balance.  Do I?  Don't I?  Hmmm.  Not sure.  It takes up time and brain space and energy that could be devoted to other things.  That's what I tell myself.  And it is essentially true.  What I sometimes gloss over though is that it's not all about the time blogging takes up, but more to do with my mental state of mind.  I have to think to blog.  THINK.  And thinking has been something that has been in short supply lately.  Or at least spare thinking time and brain space has been.  I've been thinking.  A LOT.  All the time, it seems.  Sometimes even in my sleep, haha.  I've been thinking about assignments, and getting a reading done before class, and when to spend some time with my husband or my son.  I've been thinking about a friend I should be praying for, or another that I need to catch up with but when am I going to do that?  I've been thinking about moving (yes, you heard right!), about settling into a new town when I didn't want to leave my beloved Bay.  I've been thinking about how to keep a house tidy and a child clothed in things that are not too small for him already (growth spurts are such a pain, although I'm grateful he is growing happily to be sure!).  I've been thinking about work, work for me, work for Boyo, how so much of life is work, work, work.  And how work is actually good for us, provided we take time to rest.  So of course I've been thinking about rest too, and how to make sure I actually DO rest regularly, and more than just vegetating in front of the TV, which seems to have been my standard solution this past six months or so.  See, there's the reason I haven't blogged.  By the time I get to a point in the day where there might be time to blog, I am so darn tired that my brain wants nothing more than to turn off and pretend like it's in a coma.  So not quite, but pretty close.  And TV is really good for that.  I couldn't work it out.  I blogged like crazy last year, while studying.  What's wrong with me?  Why can't I find words to express myself and stories to tell?  They're all still there, I was just struggling to find any momentum to share them with you.  So I'd just put it off another week or two.  Then another, then another.  And now suddenly here we are at the end of the year.  I can't honestly believe I am writing to you on Christmas week! 

My husband has a theory, and it seems valid.  He reminded me recently that I've been a full time student this year.  It's different.  It requires more of me than the part-time I've been doing for the past few years.  I think he's right.  There are way more assignments for starters.  Way more readings and more classes.  So more study-related-thinking.  Instead of energizing my bloggy-brain like it usually does, it sapped the life out of it, sucking up every ounce of available inspiration, energy, and words for use in those assignments (some of which were, just as an aside, rather large).  There wasn't much left over.  And what there was has been required to run a household.  I am making it sound a little like Boyo just wambled around not doing much all year.  He didn't.  He worked hard.  He worked hard at part-time work and at being Daddy.  He did all the weekly housework.  He cooked once or twice a week.  He had a large A4 book with a weekly list of all those extra things to get done, like mowing the lawns, getting petrol, calling the landlord, posting the birthday cards, etc.  He was amazing.  But I still did most of the groceries, cooking, and 'organising' which you know takes time.  Someone has to remember there's a birthday, make a card, get everyone to write in it, then ask hubby to post it.  You get the idea.  Grin.

Not that I'm digging for sympathy here.  Just trying to explain, both to you my dear readers, and to myself, why it is that we have come to the end of the year and I haven't talked to you, even a little bit, in eight months.

I guess moving didn't help.  That's my understatement of the year.  A story for another post, that one, as it is quite amazing in and of itself.  But in a nutshell, we have moved.  To another town.  Only an hour away from where we lived before but for me, being a city girl, it feels like a totally different world.  People drive slower here, there are less shops, houses are delightfully cheap to buy but sometimes sadly neglected.  And it is colder here.  Much colder.  There's family here, for which I am eternally grateful.  But I have left my parents behind.  Boyo has an awesome job, just the right fit for him.  It's incredible, honestly truly, a total answer to prayer in every sense.  After five years of waiting and looking, it was time.  After five years of wondering why he was always second on the list, he was finally first.  After five years of settling in our church, it was very suddenly time to leave.  I knew it might happen.  I'd been planning, working towards the maybe since we first heard about the job.  But it has still been incredibly difficult and there's more to come.  I have a degree to finish.  I started this past semester at a run, madly finishing assignment after assignment in order to clear a week for us to be able to move in mid-term break and ease my workload enough to survive the final 6 weeks of classes and assignments without Boyo.  He moved here with all our stuff you see, but Munchkin and I live here and there.  We are commuters.  Each week, we spend several nights at my parents' house (God bless my parents, how grateful I am to my parents!).  I attend classes, Munchkin continues to go to his preschool so he has something familiar and stable in all the change.  It works well, but it is exhausting.  I love the drive, that's not the issue.  It's the packing and unpacking, the organising of food and study stuff, the trying to work out when to do washing, and of trying to settle into a town I don't fully live in yet.  Work in progress.  Going to take time.  This is what I tell myself when I feel frustrated and lonely and discouraged.  I've got one year left to finish my degree.  One year.  Surely we can manage that?  Must be.  I felt really strongly, and still do, that this is completely right.  This is our path.  Rocky at times, steep and unyielding, but one day we will reach a summit and gaze back at where we have been realising just how much it grew us.  On that day we will look forward and be amazed at all the opportunities that lie ahead because we chose to follow this path.


ps - I just love the word tumultuous!  It just sounds so much like what it describes.  Tumbling head over heel, head over heel, blown in the wind like one of those seed heads from a sand dune grass.  Churning like the waves against the rocks in a storm.  Yes, that has been my year.  But it is done and this week I can breathe deeply and remember Who walks with me and the sacrifice that enables Him to do so.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Has Anyone Seen My Brain?

Lost: One Brain.
Somewhere between the beginning of the year and today.
If you find it wandering around aimlessly, looking forlorn and slightly bedraggled, please contact the owner.
It would be really helpful to have it back.