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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Two Funny Friday Videos

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For you today, dear readers, some thoughtful advice and inspirational videos as you approach this SECOND TO LAST WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS GET GOING ARE YOU DONE ARE YOU READY??????

First of all, to those of you (mainly women, let’s be honest) like myself who tend to get a wee bit…..shall we say……high-strung during the Christmas season: BREATHE. At times in Christmas’ past,  I have found myself ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that if I could just complete the themed decorations, down to the last matching homespun Santa toothbrush cozy; if I could JUST bake/craft/spin/carve the perfect teacher gifts; if I could JUST wrap all of the presents in matching, themed, handwoven wool gift scarves with matching themed crocheted ribbons; if I could JUST get that PERFECT present for the random family member and if I could JUST get the cat to wear the elf hat at the PERFECT angle for the family photo shoot; THEN Christmas would be perfect.

Well, guess what? JUST. STOP. The cat is going to throw up on your aunt’s gift, the kids are allergic to the crocheted ribbons, and ewwwwwwww. Toothbrush cozy’s/cozies(?) are unsanitary.

Guess what else? Christmas – the real one – has already been here,  and it was perfect. We don’t even factor in to that success algorithm. So relax, get in your pj’s early, and watch a couple of funny videos I poached from Matt Chamber’s blog today.

My favorite part of this training video, “Sales is Service, Service is Sales”? Well, there’s two. First, it’s such a great reminder of how varied are God’s creations, and how He loves us all, including the ones who have no rhythm. Second favorite part? The reference to the oosik (check wikipedia for walrus oosik) that they are selling, which I know from growing up in Alaska. Which clearly fills a child’s head with rarely useful but funny trivia.


Finally, some funny from comedian Jim Gaffigan. Love it.



And if you are a little thrown that in this post I’m back to funny, after my last post was all “Christmas sad, Tara sad”? Well, join my husband and welcome to the rollercoaster. He says you’ll probably get used to it. And really? Christ is coming, Christmas is coming, and that’s joy over everything else! So I’m laughing through my sad, OK?

Not a Christmas Letter Kind of Season

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Good thing I rarely write a Christmas letter. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting them, opening that envelope and reading them, so I know that makes me a bit of a hypocrite. When I do write one, it’s a surprise to everyone (especially since it may arrive at any random time of year that ISN’T Christmas). This year, though, I’m grateful for the low expectations I’ve nurtured amongst friends and family.

‘Cause this year, the Christmas letter wouldn’t be very fun. Or it would be VERY fake.

Not that I couldn’t talk about my kids, how they are growing, how they are doing in school, what extracurricular activities they enjoy. I could wax eloquently about summer family camping adventures, or my husband’s job, or my new-found conviction that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now, even though I am about the least-qualified stay-at-home-mom EVER. IN. HISTORY.

But that letter would be bunk. Hooey. Bull-hockey, as a friend’s grandpa used to say.

The truth this year, as I stumble my way through Advent towards Christmas, is that I’m weighted down with sadness. An inescapable sadness from different tough things going on in our just-outside-nuclear family, a sadness that pours down over me like sticky, heavy syrup.

And sadness ain’t Christmas-y, people.

Truthfully, sometimes life just sucks.

Sometimes, the very best available option of a whole pile of bad options is still pretty awful.

I hadn’t put a name to what was up until I took a few minutes recently to just sit quietly and “feel my feelings”. As the sadness made itself known, and I realized how deeply the sticky heavy had sunk into me, I felt myself getting panicky.

It’s Christmas! Season of joy, happiness, and celebration! I have gifts to buy! Cookies to bake! Teacher gifts to wrap! Decorations to decorate! A tree! Carols!

Much of the fun hullabaloo of Christmas is up to me to create for my family, and we have three boys who need fun! And Christmas! and more hullabaloo! (Tiny tangent – in case you were concerned, that is the correct spelling. Hullabaloo is in my spell check. Really? Hullabaloo? OK.)

So I began to forbid the sadness, and to feel guilty for feeling it. Panic rose up in me, telling me loud lies about how the sad and I would ruin Christmas.

And then I felt a Whisper*. A Whisper that said it was OK. It was ok to be sad. I am sad for good reason. If I faked my way through Advent, convincing myself and everyone else that I had it All Together All By Myself Thank You, then why would I need Christmas?

If I can’t be honest that I’m grieving real things that are really happening, that we live in a broken world of broken people who are hurting and who hurt us, then I don’t need a Christmas from a God who would reach down to us through time and space and history to give us Hope.

And I DO need that. I do need hope.

And I need to be honest. Honest with you, Blog Readers, with my friends, with people I see. Because if I say all is well and I fake it till I can make it, there is no authenticity or vulnerability that leaves room for healing or for hope. There is only room for the lies to get louder.

So….yeah. I’m sad, and it’s Christmas. But that’s ok. ‘Cause if I am real about the hurts in my life and the empty places, I make room for Him to reach down, and room for us to reach out. Then we get to help be Emanuel, God Among Us. We get to be His strength and peace and hope for each other.

And that is Merry for sure.

In case you were wondering, BTW, I don’t think I’m depressed, not clinically. (Honest, Mom.) Been there, done that. (And I’ve already given the hubby permission to be on the lookout anyway, just in case.)

*(I’m from way too moderate a tradition to probably ever feel comfortable saying “I heard God say….” However, I do feel Whispers. And Nudges. And occasionally Kicks in the Pants.)

Have you ever had a Christmas that included some sad? How did you honor that?

Emergency Room Survival Humor

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Parenting a child* with serious mental illness has meant for us multiple trips to the emergency room. As anyone who has ever been to the emergency room can attest, you are not there to enjoy the ambiance. It’s not the I Really Prefer This To Shopping at Target Room, after all. You are tense, you are frightened, you are pretending everything will be OK, and you are forced to share space with strangers who are experiencing their own crisis when you’d really rather be alone.

That was me last week, waiting for another psych evaluation and admit, sitting in that cold, noisy waiting room at the exhausted end of a day that started with fire alarms at 4:30 a.m., fire trucks, another ER visit, and the teenager’s mental health crisis. (Indoor cigarette smoking against the rules, duh + teen having rough time = A BAD DAY)

(The first ER visit early that morning was for my Hero Husband’s burned fingertips, injured as he attempted to put out the fire and then carried a box of books outdoors that was ON FIRE, to prevent the imminent conflagration of our entire basement and house. His courage, and selfless straightforward actions to protect us? I. Have. No. Words. Well, one. Gratitudelovegratitude.)

This was the box UNDER the box the Hero Hubby carried out.

This was the box UNDER the box the Hero Hubby carried out.

Sign Language for "I love and will protect my family"

Sign Language for “I love and will protect my family”

(Also, don’t do that should you ever be in that situation. The AMAZING kind and professional police officers and firemen gave us that message loud and clear. Smoke inhalation will get you long before the flames will, so just GET OUT.)

(Also, GO CHECK YOUR FIRE ALARMS. Now, walk away from your computer and check them. I would not be typing this today had our smoke alarms not worked last week.) (I’m not kidding, GO CHECK THEM.)

So there I was, hanging out with the teenager as we waited for her to be called back, and my tired, giddy brain produced the following. It killed some time, and made us both giggle as we concocted it. Perhaps one day you can use it, and get a giggle or two out of a tough situation.

Inappropriate Ways to Amuse Yourself in the ER

  1. Engage in a loud argument with your companion about why your approaches to your treatment-resistant lice have failed. Scratch a lot while arguing.
  2. Have the same argument…..with a chair. (Note: if you or your agreeable companion are there for mental health issues, you get a free pass to do this. You are merely poking fun at your own related experiences, which is ok if merely inappropriate is your goal. If you are there for a non mental health situation, don’t do this. That’s just mean.)
  3. Begin a fierce, loud disagreement with your companion about which one of you has lost the bag of tarantulas.
  4. Pass gas enthusiastically and with abandon. Act like nothing is happening.
  5. If people talk loudly about THEIR ailments, share your opinions on their treatment options and prognosis. Include your beliefs on the use of tarantulas for healing purposes.
  6. Rowdy, unsupervised children in the waiting room? Teach them some favorite songs! “100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer……” (Note: do this only when you are fairly confident you will be called back no later than bottles 82 or 83. Otherwise, you too may find yourself in need of a psych eval.)
  7. Mime Fun! Mime your symptoms, the weather, or your favorite episode of Law and Order for the audience. waiting room.
  8. Score some of those purple non-latex gloves, blow those bad boys up and express your creativity! Begin handing out Balloon Turkeys. Or Balloon Spiders. Or Balloon……Hands.

Do you have any good additions to my list? If they are Inappropriate but Generally Harmless, share them! You never know when we all might need them!

*Parenting it is, whether it is your birthed child or the child of your heart, as in this case of our niece/foster daughter. I have her permission to blog about our adventures together.

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