There’s just something about white roses at Christmas time…so lovely and pure and delicate, they are the perfect flower with which to welcome the Christ child.
One last summer pic before the switch over to fall, which currently is my favorite season. (Although if you ask me next April, yes, spring will be my favorite season…in June, I most likely in will say summer…and of course there is one season being left out which will remain nameless, although I love it in December as long as it brings us pretty, fluffy snow for Christmas.)
Gulp. I just realized that I haven’t posted since November. Granted, I’ve had a lot happening in my life, but shouldn’t I be blogging the most at times like this? Instead I drew into my turtle shell. However, since this is Wordless Wednesday, I will skip the writing and catch up using photos!. Pictures of Christmas, that is; I had the flu–influenza flu, not tummy flu–and George had to work both days, I missed my family horribly, but I had plenty of reading for school:
Our first Christmas ornament, hand-blown German glass (above)A crocheted star by one of my grandmothers (above)and (Funny the way this black and white version reminds me so much of my childhood Christmases.)
And speaking of childhood Christmases, my favorite part was always Midnight Mass.It was very hard to miss Midnight Mass at Incarnation, the church where I grew up, buried my dad, made my First Communion, Confirmation, and got married (a friend took this picture). actually, we tried to make it, after George got home from work. After driving 45 minutes in near-blizzard conditions, we arrived at Incarnation at about ten minutes before midnight, only to discover that Midnight Mass is now at, um, ten pm. Next year, we are going to the Basilica!
But still, we got a couple of “family portraits” and I managed to get most of our cards out:
“That is the joyful message of Christmas night: if the little child who was born in Bethlehem is truly the Son of God, then from that moment on everything becomes possible”–Cistercian Abbott Andre Louf
Which reminds me that I almost forgot to add our little creche, complete with a cocker spaniel come to adore the Baby Jesus!
As usual, credit for everything below–except my answers, that is–goes to the wonderful gals over at RevGalBlogPals. And I owe them a hearty “thank you” for giving me a some much-needed writing inspiration!
I should mention that I did have my neck surgery last week and the surgeon said the procedure went “swimmingly.” I find this reassuring because those raw and burnt nerve endings feel, well, raw and burnt. Not a pleasant sensation. My usual brilliance is most likely lacking today since I’m on pain killers and muscle relaxers, so bear with me.
|George and me at Kieran’s Irish Pub after I lectored at the 4:30 Mass at The Basilica of St. Mary|
Share a recipe! I’m in the doldrums and need some healthy eating options for my menu planning. Soup, stew, main dish, side dish or a healthy dessert – any and all are welcome!
This is where I need help, too, desperately! I’m hoping a reader will come to my rescue with a nice slow-cooker recipe, perhaps? Please?!
We all reach times when we suddenly feel that we have more to bear than we can handle. Thank goodness I’ve lived long enough to know this is fact, because for many years, I thought I was all alone, that I was the only one who ever felt inadequate, or selfish, or so overwhelmed that all I could do was crawl under the covers and pray that morning would be a long time coming.
Tonight is one of those times. I tell myself I am being silly, as I sit here typing away next to our Christmas tree. I remember every single ornament: who gave it to us, or where we bought it and where and why. There were presents under the tree, until Fiona started trying to unwrap them. (They now repose in an undisclosed location until Christmas morning.) Every day more Christmas cards from friends and family arrive in the mail, reminding me that George and I are part of a whole community of friends and family.
Yet all I can do is cry. Last Friday, as we all know, a very sick young man killed 20 children and 7 teachers at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. I’ve been immersed in discussions/disputes about gun laws, treatment of the seriously mentally ill, grief for the parents and families left behind, as well as for those little darlings who will never graduate, not even from grade school, never travel, go to college, get married.
And for some reason I am having an even harder time than usual dealing with the absence of my own parents this year. My dad was like a little kid about Christmas; he and I always had so much fun together, decorating the the tree (always the day after Thanksgiving), going downtown to see all of the Christmas lights and the mechanized displays in the department store windows, especially Dayton’s. Caroling with mom and other parishioners from Incarnation. And every year, until I was 24, sitting between mom and dad at Midnight Mass, hearing the ancient words “For behold I bring you tidings of great joy…” Going up to the Creche afterwards to see the Baby Jesus lying in the manger, and in later years the Choir always sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah immediately after the conclusion of Mass. Holding hands with mom and dad as we prayed in the “words our Savior taught us, Our Father who art in heaven…” and most of all, singing the old, familiar carols, especially my favorite, Silent Night, Stille Nacht, written in Germany so long ago. Now there is new family, warm, loving, caring family. I have a husband, whom I love very much. But I haven’t been able to go to Midnight Mass since I lost my mom.
This is, without a doubt, the hardest time of year to be childless. We keep running into one roadblock after another with our efforts to adopt, until I have to shut myself alone in our bedroom so George doesn’t have to listen to me crying in hysteric despair. Yes, I feel selfish bringing up our loneliness for a child when I know parents out in Newtown are grieving their lost babies. But grief is grief, and it deserves to be honored and spoken of, regardless of the circumstances, or who is doing the grieving, or why.
I’m particularly overwhelmed by my upcoming neck surgery. Less than two days to go now. And I feel so alone, I guess everyone does when they are facing surgery or something similar. Because no one can experience it with you. George is spending the day with me; Friday he’s taking me over to my Aunt Jo and cousin Melinda’s house, so they can fuss over me, and Sunday my birthmom is coming over to baby me. Plus, I am receiving the Catholic Sacrament of the Sick from one of my favorite priests tomorrow. So I have all of my ducks in a row, so to speak. but I still feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it. Part of my issue here is, yet again (this question has been popping up everywhere the last few days) is WHY. Damn it all, I am sick of being in pain every single blasted day of my life. Why do I have to endure more? Yes, I know other people have it worse. but I have have never understood why that is supposed to make me feel better. I’m supposed to be happy and grateful that at least I’m not suffering the way other people I love are? I don’t think so.
I guess this is one of those times of, maybe not doubt, so much as feeling so desperately alone. This is why I ask for prayers, because right now I’ve lost the ability to form the words myself. I guess my tears and my writing tonight will have to be my prayers.
I guess a partial answer lies in something I told a friend the night of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, when we were struggling with the question of why, of how, an event so hideously, cosmically wrong could happen:
You just sound upset, that’s all, hon. Don’t apologize for that. As to why this happened…can there possibly be a satisfactory answer? We live in a violent society. We can work for peace and justice. But does that help right now, at this very moment? All we know for sure is that God weeps with us, and that in the end God will wipe away all of our tears, and we will all be together again. And I always remember that Jesus wept when Lazarus died. He understands our feelings of grief and loss, because He experienced it too.
In happier news, the house is (mostly) decorated for Christmas! We finally got a pre-lit tree so poor George didn’t have to get tangled in the lights, swearing and cursing. Although watching him was one of the highlights of my holidays every year since we got married (nine years in October!!) I don’t think George particularly enjoyed it. So we went with the easier solution for him, bless his heart.
Here are my not-so-fab instagram pictures:
|I bought this at a little German imports Christmas shop in Stillwater with my birthday money from my SIL Beth. It’s an angel (not so easy to see from the picture!) saying “Happy Christmas (Frohe Weinachten) in German.|
|The new tree, shown here in all its glory. Except that you can’t see the star on top, or the bottom. Better luck next batch of pictures!|
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