Monday, December 24, 2012

Quiet, Peaceful Christmas Eve Morning

My 30 Days of Blessings (Thankfulness) went far better offline than it did online . . . I count 18 separate Blessings of which I specifically wrote here in Swirlings last month.

I wondered at the beginning of November just how many such posts would see the light of day.  :)
I knew that there would be days when the priorities of the moment would take precedent, and I also knew there would probably be times when the right words just wouldn't come for any day's particular blessing.  I was right in both cases.

That's not at all to say that there were days when I was not fully aware of the vast blessings Our Lord has placed in my life.  And, in reality, isn't that the real test of writing one's blessings - to be aware that Blessings are, indeed, abundant - and sometimes even too numerous to tally?

Live life moment by moment.  Do what needs to be done in the moment and look for Our Lord's Covering over and in that moment. 

This may turn out to be more of a end-of-year post, rather than a post that one would expect on the day before Christmas.

My ponderings are rather contemplative this morning; and the end of this year is still a week and several hours away.  Who knows what my thoughts will be by then?!  :)

I'm ok with that, though. I hope you are, too!

2012 has been a topsy-turvy year; that's for sure.

My father-in-law passed away in March.  Tex and I were there with him, in the hospital, when he died.  Just the 3 of us and the nurse.   It was incredibly peaceful.  I have been so thankful that Tex and  I could be with him when he went to his eternal home.  I think of this wonderful man often.  I knew him exactly 2 years . . . not a very long time; but in the grand scheme of things, time really is insignificant when it comes to hearts bonding and people loving.

My mother-in-law has had her own share of health problems this year, as well.
In August, just as she was nearing the end of chemo treatments for cancer that was diagnosed in 2010, she was hospitalized for West Nile Virus.  She spent quite a bit of time in the hospital and also in rehab.  It was a hard time for us; we came very close to losing her, as well. 

Recently, within the past couple of weeks, she was hospitalized once again; this time for liver problems.  She's out of the hospital now.  She's got a tough journey ahead, but she's also a tough lady with a lot of grit and determination.  Admirable qualities, indeed!  Please keep her in your prayers.

Am1, DelawareBoy and Mr.Handsome moved back to Delaware at the end of summer.  Tex and I keep in touch with them via various technological opportunities . . . but still, it's hard to hug tecnology . . . well, for most of us, anyway.

Am2, MichiganBoy, LittleMiss and BruiserCharmerBoy visit us when they can, and we visit them when we can.  Fortunately, that equates to approximately 1 - 2 times per month.

Ya know . . . I never knew I would absolutely love being a grandmother as much as I do.  All 3 of my grandkidlettes have my heart.  Thinking about them can simultaneously bring laughter and tears.  I laugh and smile at their antics, their sweetness and even their mischeviousness.  I feel deep pain when I think of all the dangers that they might encounter during their life.  And then I remind myself that as much as Tex and I love them and as much as their parents love them, that God loves them even more; much more than I will ever be able to comprehend.  So.  I thank Our Lord for letting me be in their lives, and ask Him to watch over all 3 of them.  And, then I go on.

Speaking of being grateful for being a part of someone's life . . . who knew that I would ever refer to anyone as my child?!  But, Am1 and Am2 are not just Tex's daughters; they are our daughters; they are my daughters.  And their husbands are our sons-in-law; my sons-in-law.  These 4 grown-up people . . . I can laugh just as much regarding them as I can our grandkids.  I can also cry for them just as passionately as I do for the little ones.  They are my family.  Plain and simple.  And, I deeply love and pray for each and every one of them.

For those of y'all who know me well, then you know that I encourage people to live grateful lives, to live with Our Lord's Peace and Joy, to always seek His Wisdom and His Guidance and to give things to Him that are puzzling and/or painful.  You might also know that I tell people to not waste their time and mental energy on people who don't want to be a part of your life.  By that, I mean, accept it and continue living your own life.  No one can make anyone else be a part of their life.  No one can make anyone else like them.  So, why fret over it?  Why let it cloud your own life?

Ironically, I spent much of 2011 and about 7 months of 2012 trying to figure out what I did or what I said regarding a couple of people who suddenly decided they did not want me in their lives.  I would spend my lawn-mowing sessions walking around the yard, pushing that mower and regurgitating various real and imagined scenarios over and over in my mind, trying to pinpoint exactly what happened to cause such a rift.  And yet, no answers came.

If you know me well, then you also know that I am pretty upfront with things, and I encourage people to talk things over with each other.  Sometimes, though, the other person simply doesn't want to do that.  And again, you can't make someone communicate with you if they don't want to - so why waste the time and energy?  Why create such a frustration?

I made several attempts to try to open the lines of communication with these 2 people, in hopes of perhaps clearing the air; all of my efforts in this regard were either rebuffed - or worse, ignored.

A few months ago, I was finally able to take my own advice.  I was able to let them go - and get on with my own life without regard to the whys of how they felt toward me.  Ironically, such liberation came after an "out-of-the-blue" blow-up initiated by one of these people.  I walked around for days after that, talking to Our Lord about this person's attitude & behavior and most importantly, my response to such illustrious blow-up (which, frankly, my response was definitely nothing to brag about).  It was, however the catalyst that allowed me to let it all go.

Why am I telling y'all about this?

Great question!  I'm glad you asked!

I spent probably a year-and-a-half dwelling on something that I could not change.  I wasted that time; time that I won't be able to have again.

AND, I also noticed that it was beginning to change me . . . and not for the good.  This is why I encourage people to not do this in the first place.  Don't give yourself away.  The reality of the matter is that I probably spent way more mental energy on these specific people than they did on me.  For whatever reason, they wanted me out of their lives, they chose to not discuss the reason with me; and that was probably the end of the matter as far as they were concerned.  They probably went on with their lives without giving me a second thought.  Maybe not.  Either way, it's really none of my business.

Likewise, it's really none of your business what someone might think of you; especially if it's derogatory.  Don't let people's opinion of you define who you are or who you will be.

Pray for them.  Pray sincere prayers that Our Lord will bless them.  And, then, move on.  If you encounter them while you're busy living your own life, treat them with genuine kindness and graciousness; regardless as to how they treat you.  If you mess up on that part, repent to our Lord and ask His Forgiveness.  Then, apologize to the person - and mean it (yep, that's a hard pill to swallow, but do it anyway).

The way we treat someone should not be dependant on how they treat us.  It should be dependant only on how Our Lord wants us to live our lives.

There ya go.

That's been my 2012, in somewhat of a nutshell.

It's probably been one of the more unsettling years that I've experienced in a while . . . but, even that is ok.  I personally feel that it's been a time of growth; and that is always a good thing.

In between the frustration and confusion and even tears, there's also been much laughter and much love.

I choose to focus on the laughter and love, hold tight to cherished memories of loved ones now gone, do what needs to be done at any give moment, give the ick and the yuck to Our Lord for Him to do with as He pleases, change directions when I get off-kilter . . . and always look to Him for His Strength, His Wisdom, His Guidance, His Peace and His Joy.

Tomorrow is Christmas.  For me, that means commemorating the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus.
In my world, He definitely IS the reason for the season; and for that I am so very grateful.

I hope that each of of y'all have an abundantly blessed Christmas.

Thanks for reading!
In His Peace, His Joy and His Love,