Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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With Grateful Hearts

December 26, 2014

We just sat two hours in traffic for a trip that should have taken roughly 50 minutes. It had surprisingly only taken those 50 short minutes the previous 5 times we’d done in the past three days. I think we’re ready to sit at home for a little bit.

Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips asked on his Instagram photo post this morning “As we end another Christmas season, I wanna know if you all got what you wanted, and if so, what was it?” and I will keep my opinions to myself about some of the posts but it got me thinking about our Christmas.

While so much has changed–friends have lost loved ones, friendships have died an unnatural death because of earlier events this year (see Parenting 1, 2, & 3), and for the first time in many years I wasn’t able to go to the local Candlelight Tour of Homes (something that always got me in a Christmas mood and something that I did for me)–I am not as moody or not in the Christmas spirit as I was last year or in other years if the Chief wasn’t home. Maybe my month of Thankfulness has left a residual feeling of good will or a peace that allows me to roll with things a bit more. Maybe it is because the girls are older and we were sans the spoiled temper tantrums we had last year although they are still pretty good at picking on one another.

Whatever it is … I’ll take it.

Sure I don’t have the energy I’d like, but it isn’t leaving me in a depressed funk. I think the Chief has been a little more understanding of the lethargy that makes me a little less than productive (and yet I managed to sub 3 days straight for the first time and I think he appreciates that even more). I think the Chief and I are a little more appreciative of each other.

So to answer you, Mr. Phillips, what I got for Christmas:

1. being able to sponsor two students at a residential foster case school along with our scout troop and being able to send T1 and T2 on a mission trip with the church to deliver those presents and minister to those students. I think our children got the bigger blessing of being able to serve others and gain an appreciation for the smaller things in life.

2. the Chief asked for a relief to cover him for two extra weeks and then a week before Christmas that relief told the Chief to stay home for Christmas. I guess because I’ve had experiences with other MMs and their spouses not being so generous or taking our small children into account I am especially grateful. I plan to send a card and some cash in the Chief’s seabag to give to his relief as they do the change-over to say “thank you and enjoy a night out on us.” As of this writing we still aren’t sure of when the Chief will actually rejoin the ship.

and 3. being able to anonymously give. As the Chief and I had conversations about life insurance and other uncomfortable but necessary things in light of a recent tragedy, I told him that it was weighing on my heart to by-pass the online funds and give directly to the family a substantial cash donation so that they could have some now. The Chief agreed on my amount and we asked our congregation to facilitate a check to allow us to be anonymous. The other part of this story is that I had been looking since Black Friday for a wok for the Chief–something he’s asked for but he has specific needs and because I wouldn’t just go and buy him a table saw, I’d usually just get him a gift card, I was about to give up and do the same for the wok–and on the 21st I had confessed to the Chief that I really didn’t have anything for him under the tree. He just shrugged and said, “We just took care of my Christmas gift [the check]”. When I say I admire the Chief for his generosity, that is an understatement. Truly.

And it is these things I think that have carried the Christmas spirit through this month for me. A busy but fulfilling and rewarding month (even if my race wasn’t ideal) and one that wasn’t too stressed out. We enjoyed our scout talent show and party (and saw a menorah lighting for the first time); the girls’ winter concerts and the Chief was here to see them!; a holiday party at one of my best friend’s; babysitting my nephews while the girls were on their mission trip (and giving my sister and her husband a night out by themselves for the first time in a year); Christmas Eve with my in-laws; Christmas day with my parents; and another family gathering on short notice today–even if we say in two hours of traffic to get home.

If I had to look back, I am so blessed to be in such a different place than I was a year ago, even with all the changes. And I love being able to give to others and present enough to do so.

Merry Christmas to all. God Bless.

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Musings of my Blog-iversary

December 9, 2014

So 11 days ago WordPress kindly reminded me that I have been masquerading as Snipe Wife for 4 years now. Wow. Hard to believe. I also now have 200+ followers. If you’ve read my blog long enough you know how I feel about at least 50 of those being robots or people who just want to hawk their own websites and having nothing to do with merchant marine affairs or anything else I post about. Really, WordPress, why can’t I click “delete” on some of these pointless follows? But 200 followers in 4 years is not bad for being an anonymous blog.

I had started the blog with much trepidation but with amazing support from a fellow blogger. I spent the month posting on FaceBook my 30 days of thanks and posted them on Dec. 1st. I honestly don’t know which FB friend started that but for 4 years now I have continued the tradition.

Four years ago I suffered probably the second most traumatizing event in my life. If you read the last few entries on that list, I described a desperation and despondency; anxiety that would spiral out of control; a pain that would stick with me for years. The purpose of the list is to count your blessings. I don’t post on FB “If you love Jesus, you’ll repost this” pithy sayings and “challenges” … instead I was trying to list what I was more than grateful for, knowing the source of all the blessings in my life. My intent was to never stand before anyone and say “Thank God I’m not like that tax collector; look at what I do” (Luke 18:9-14). My intent was not to make anyone else feel bad they didn’t have fabulous baby sitters to make their lives easier or to criticize anyone else’s husbands who can’t stand in the Chief’s amazing shadow. But my attempt to just show, rather than “repost”, my gratitude was twisted in the brutal attack.

The following years I debated even doing the list but I felt it was important to write these blessings down, to show my children later so that they too could appreciate all that we have been blessed with to cultivate giving hearts in them. I would struggle and lose steam as the month wore on and I got closer to the anniversary of that trauma. I questioned whether posting such a list was vain and pithy and whether it made others uncomfortable. And yet as I read the daily posts of other friends who joined in, I never saw the same flaws in their lists. I was encouraged and uplifted by their thoughtful lists. I was much harder on myself.

Interesting that I saw a lot of 3-day and 7-day thanks challenges starting in the fall this year. I did not participate because I was going to make my 30 Days of Thanks again this year. And it was going to be different. I was going to truly focus of finding something that day that I was thankful for. I would make it less of a laundry list. Yes, I always started off with giving credit where credit was due–that wouldn’t change. But if I was thankful for a rainy day then I would thank God for that rain. Yes, I’m still thankful for my fabulous friends and babysitters and I can’t live without them but I was focusing on the little things, the things we really take for granted.

I didn’t necessarily post every day; instead toward the end of the month I posted every couple of days. Not because I lost steam or had doubts… I just wanted to think about the thing I was most thankful for.

I didn’t lose steam because I didn’t hear those brutal words anymore. There was a fundamental shift in letting it go. Letting go and trusting in healing God provided me. It wasn’t over night but it was so much better than the two years of pain that left me with generalized anxiety and the onset of psoriatic arthritis. The healing continued to evolve and my trust in God has grown.

I’ve even told total strangers on the merchant mariner wives FB that I write this blog. I haven’t given up on this blog, I just write when the mood strikes me. I’m less self-conscious about it … even coming to terms with creating boundaries with the Chief about his input. Four years… lots to be grateful for, lots of lessons learned. Lots of healing.

To my 200+ followers, real or not, thank you for sticking with me on this journey.

 

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Thankfulness 2014: Week 4

December 6, 2014

Nov. 22 Thankful for books to read, clothes to fold, and cooking competitions to watch and giggle over with the girls. What a relaxing Saturday!

Sunday night took a turn that had me feeling less than grateful and struggling to give thanks. But I suppose it is only fitting that:
Nov. 23 if I am granted tomorrow then I am thankful it will be a new day and that today will be behind me.

Nov. 24 I am thankful for the brief blast of warmth today and the mother-daughter time with T1 and another new “first”. Let me not forget that these things will be just as new to T2 when her time comes. (We went to a friend who sells Mary Kay to learn how to apply make up with the ‘less is more’ philosophy … because she was caught trying to wear make up without permission.)

Nov. 25 I am thankful for the fellowship, conversation, and family fun of a night of coffee and bowling. It was such a low-key night. Probably the first time in 9 years we didn’t have scouts [the Tuesday before Thanksgiving] and oddly (gladly?) I don’t feel guilty about it one bit.

Nov. 26 I am thankful for the rain and wintry mix. Perfect for resting and hanging out at home, working on projects… so glad the Chief is still home to help T2 finish her science fair project! The rain also got me out of running sprints but I have to make it up on the bike. 😦

Nov. 27 I am thankful for the table of plenty were shared in. We have never truly known want and I hope my children understand that. More though, I am thankful for the feast of God’s love that He so generously invites us to. His grace and mercy are abundant and unending and for the first time in a long time, I am content to sit in that glow.

Nov. 28 Because it is our nephew’s birthday I am thankful for all our nephews near and far! I am also thankful for the friends who carry on the crazy tradition of getting together for some good food, good conversation, and starting off the holiday season just right!

Nov. 29 I am thankful for the difference time and letting go make. To end this month of thanksgiving with a real appreciation for counting blessings and being grateful instead of … well, if you know me you know what the alternative is …, it is something to be savored. It is peaceful and it has been a long time. I enjoyed this relaxing Saturday morning with the Chief, appreciating his presence and for being my rock. And then the girls came home… LOL

Nov. 30 I am thankful for the calm before the storm … is the house ready for Christmas? Nope and I don’t know when it will be. Does that bother me? Yeah. But it is mainly because we don’t know when the Chief is shipping out and the vagueness is killing me. I’m going to take a breather and reread my list of 30 Days of Thanks and then just conquer my list of Things to Do one task at a time and remind myself to not sweat it if it doesn’t all get done. And Yeah, for the first time ever we have some outdoor Christmas lights. LOL

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Thankfulness 2014: Week 3

November 29, 2014

Nov. 15 Today, I am thankful for today. Please go and hug your loved ones and tell them you appreciate them. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Nov. 16 I am thankful for my mom. Our relationship has always been rocky but that is probably because we are so much alike. But no matter what she will be there for me. I am thankful for every day with her; each one is a gift.

Nov. 17 I am thankful for finding the energy to get through today. Never knowing what I am up for makes it so hard sometimes to commit to the many things I want to and have to do. No, the laundry didn’t get done but I worked and trained and took some scouts shopping. That’s enough for me even if tomorrow I need a nap.

Nov. 18 I am thankful for my troop of Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassador. And all the support of their families. What a crazy and entertaining night! Never a dull moment and at least the meal was successful. It was a bittersweet moment with one family noticeably absent. Love all my girls: [names removed to protect the innocent and not so innocent] … watching you become amazing young women. Thank you, JSB, T, and the Chief for making tonight happen too!

Nov.19 I am thankful that the Chief is doing something to make sure we are leaving a legacy of responsible stewardship. We are already doing many things right but we are working on others. Plus there may be hope for our spoiled children yet! “Date night” was to Dave Ramsey‘s Legacy presentation. Oh and I am thankful we heard together which one of us should be making the budget. As my mom says, “Three guesses who and the first two don’t count.”

Nov. 20 Today I am thankful Christmas music… I am currently burning mix CDs for the car and have come to the conclusion I have way too much Christmas music. On my 7th CD and I’m thinking it is going to total between 18-20 CDs. Nah, you can’t have too much Christmas music. I do love our local station that turns into the Christmas station Thanksgiving Day but it seems they play only the same 20 song. I want variety. Lots of it. My latest acquisition? Darius Rucker‘s Home for the Holidays and Harry Connick Jr‘s 2008 What a Night. Probably my 3rd or 4th Christmas album by him and well, you can never have too much HCJr either.

Seriously too much. 23 CDs. And I almost forgot to mix in Straight No Chaser. (I’ve been told I need to get Michael Buble and Pentatonix. Any other suggestions out there?)

Nov. 21 I am thankful to all the teachers who taught me the basics of the English language. It amazes me how much I have forgotten but actually use every day and take for granted. Seriously, how could a person with an English degree blank on common suffixes? (It is a little more complicated than that but embarrassing nonetheless.) Not necessarily “use it or lose it” but I can’t always explain why I use it. LOL Humbling to say the least.

And yes, my post on Romantic Christmas Songs is still my number 1 post of all time with 687 views. Don’t forget to check out Part 2 and my 2013 review of Trace Atkins and the Robertsons.

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