Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Memory Lane on Beth's Birthday

Yesterday was my sister Beth's birthday. She and I have a rather large age gap between us, so as I was growing up she was mostly out of the house. However, because of that I remember the times we had together so much more clearly. They were special and have been burned into my memory.

So here goes. Memories for Beth ...

- "hundreds" of bottles of nail polish lined up on your bedroom shelf in the basement.
- The "puddle" I found when I went to wake you one morning. Our basement had flooded. :)
- Hours and hours of swimming together in Hawaii.
- Hearing the news that you were engaged to Steve. It was just after a violin concert of mine.
- Coloring with you. You were always the best colorer!
- You teaching me to drive at the UCONN campus. I think I was only 13! (And scared to death!)
- You and Tim coming back all sweaty from long runs together.
- You suntanning on the top of the roof.
- Playing tennis.
- The dinner cruise in Hawaii.

- Your short military haircut.
- Bragging to my friends that I had a sister in the ARMY!!
- The rainbow balloon you got for your graduation. And how badly I wanted to keep that balloon!

- The night you taught me how to shuffle by making a rainbow with the cards.
- Your orange room - complete with orange record player.
- Visiting you in NY and hiking with you, Mom and Shawn.

- Your latest visit to our house and the sweet hours of conversation.
- Feeling so grown up at your wedding in my pink gown.
- The little white Gund bear that you gave me from Korea. Mercer was my favorite bear all the way through high school.
- Getting letters from you when you were away.
- Christmas mornings.
- Meeting Shawn for the first time. I remember wearing a mask because I had been sick. But I also remember being amazed that you had a child!
- Snuggling with you.

- Your rock hard muscles once you joined the army!
- Going with Christy and David to visit you in MO. And what a great hostess you were!
- Eating fresh pineapple at your house on our first morning in Hawaii.
- Great fear that you and Steve could possibly be deployed to Desert Storm in Iraq.
- And great thankfulness that you weren't!
- Abby holding your hand at Sea World.

- Hearing you laugh in the back seat of the van as you took silly pictures with the kids. :)
- And many, many more ....

Beth, you are a tremendous blessing in my life! I'm thankful for you every single day. I love you and look forward to many more years of precious memories.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Craziness!

It's been quite awhile since I last blogged. After blogging every day during the month of November, December hit and I found I was suffering from blogger burnout. I'm finally beginning to feel a desire to return though.

As difficult as it was to blog daily, I can say that it really helped me to see the delightful and teachable moments in each day. That's what I've been missing lately. Those moments are still happening, but I'm not taking the time to notice them.

So, what have I been up to? You guessed it ... Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! Cards, shopping, wrapping, sending packages, parties, cleaning, baking, planning.

I think I'm about done though. Hooray for me! Shopping is definitely done. I may yet pick up a pack of silly bandz for one child's stocking because I recently learned that he LOVES them and actually wears them all day ... EVERY DAY. However, aside from that, I'm done shopping.

I've started the baking, so I'm not very concerned about that. I have a bit more to do and a few plates of cookies to hand out to neighbors and the garbage and mail men. And in terms of food, I've ordered our Christmas roast.

My cards are all done and now I can just sit back and revel in the joy of receiving cards in the mail each day. Did I mention that getting cards is one of my favorite things about the Christmas season?

We've been working on Christmas carols with the kids and I'm really enjoying playing the violin on Sundays. In fact, this Sunday is our special Christmas service and we have some really awesome music planned. I can't wait!

What else ... cleaning will never end. But that doesn't change with the Christmas season. And we've had our last Christmas party.

All that remains is to revel in the joy and peace of Christmas. This year I'm determined to really center my thoughts and studies on the cross. Typically we think of Christmas and focus on baby Jesus. Rightly so, but as in this picture I recently found, the manger was shadowed by the cross.

The cross was his focus, his goal. I cannot consider the Christmas season complete without also bending my own knee at the cross. Stopping for a long, honest look at what Jesus did for me. Starting with coming as a baby, journeying to the cross, and ending triumphantly by conquering the grave. Hallelujah!

Amidst your own Christmas chaos, don't forget to take time to really reflect on the true reason we celebrate. It's worth so much more than all the other trappings.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Birthday Tribute

It's my brother's birthday today. Which means that I'm thinking of him a lot and enjoying some reminiscing too. We've had some good times. :) So, here's to you, big brother. Happy Birthday!

I remember ...
- sledding. I always felt safe on our big hill with you nearby.
- wearing your old tshirts to bed. I used to dance around my bedroom as I listened to the record player, clad in one of your old shirts that went at least to my knees.
- watching you put on all your hockey gear.
- Boris the snake. Lots of memories of him. Like the time you brought him in for show and tell, the guests who never failed to look scared when Boris was brought out after dinner, watching with fascination as he ate little white mice.
- laughing as kids at Lakeside tried to guess your age. :)
- meeting your sweet wife, Sarah, and being filled with joy as I saw how happy you were on your wedding day.
- visiting you in Tempe, Arizona.
- going to the Peter Pan show with you in Tempe.
- the Grand Canyon
- you heading off to Nana and Papa's for "second dinner".
- You and Beth coming back from long runs.
- Watching you eat cold pizza. Yuck. And cold Ravioli out of the can.
- Measuring your forearm and my thigh and finding they were about the same size!
- asking for advice on how to witness to my friends
- thinking how cool it was to have the waterfront director as my brother.
- thinking how UNcool it was that said brother made me do much more than others for my swim test each year.
- Clam digging in PEI.
- tremendous thankfulness for your renewed health.
- playing Pitch. Somehow you always seem to win. Even going so far as to get a 4 bagger with 10 high!
- You teaching me how to play 52 card pick up just after I turned 5.
- Me crying until you had to pick up those 52 cards.
- Playing pool with you in the basement of the M's house.
- seeing you with your head all wrapped up after your bike accident.
- you taking me to McDonalds for milkshakes just after my blood drawing for Lyme Disease.
- watching you play with our young relatives in Sweden.
- your motorcycles.
- your visit to my concert on our band trip to Philly.
- the way you used to trick misbehaving boaters by saying you couldn't see well when in fact you had perfect vision.
- picking rocks.
- seeing you play with my children.
- youth group and playing "eat that food".
- your sense of humor and how frequently you have tricked your gullible sisters.
- and of course, indian sunburns!

I love you, Tim! Here's to many more years of memories.