A book is a friend for life. The words stay with you, even when you put the book down.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Strange Way to Spend a Holiday

This weekend was supposed to be my big Christmas celebration with my Kansas family. The plan was that we drive to my cousin's house Friday and spend the night, then have a huge celebration at my brother's house on Saturday, then drive home Saturday night to get ready for Christmas Eve at home.

Well, that certainly was not the way the weekend went.

It all went well, to begin with. We had an uneventful trip from Oklahoma, a nice 7 hour car trip. We arrived just on time, Friday afternoon, at my cousin's house. We got to spend some family time together. My aunt and uncle brought my grandma over to visit. That was so nice, since grandma lives so far away and, at 92, it's difficult for her to travel. We got to see my cousin's three little kids, and I was very excited to meet the youngest, just 6 months old. What a cutie!

But then, things went all wrong. I felt sick, thought maybe it was my cousin's spicy chili soup that was responsible. I should have known better. It was really a kidney stone. Great timing. My cousin the nurse helped diagnose, and she helped Hubby and I get to the ER.

Yep, that's right, I spend the majority of my Kansas Family Christmas in the hospital. I was there all day Saturday waiting for my turn in surgery to get the stone removed. I got a good night's sleep Saturday night at my cousin's, before we set out Sunday morning to pick up the kiddos at my brother's.

My family is so amazing! While I was in the hospital, they all made sure the kids still had a good Christmas time.

Friday night, the kids stayed up late at my cousin's house playing with the baby cousins and (hopefully) not worrying about mom. They slept well, then they got picked up Saturday by their grandparents to go eat lunch and spend the rest of Saturday at the Big Family Christmas. All the cousins were there, as well as Great-Grandma. They had a really great time! Then, they got to spend the night (with the twin cousins) and wake up to mom & dad's arrival for the trip home to Oklahoma.

I do feel better now, and I am certainly thankful I was near the hospital not on the road! I am especially grateful for the doctor on call Saturday, who not only operated quickly and efficiently, but gave me dietary tips and hope for the future for maybe not so many kidney stones in the future!!

After all this, I got to thinking. Maybe I read this somewhere, I can't remember, but the gist is this: The first Christmas didn't go exactly the way Mary had planned. She certainly didn't plan to give birth in a stable, surrounded by shepherds, with only Joseph for help. But that was God's plan. No matter how our Christmas events turn out, God is there.

That, to me, is the true miracle of Christmas.

Christmas Eve picture at Church! (notice the big bruise on my arm from the iv!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Rush

The rush of December is upon us. It seems that there is no rest until the new year begins. Each day is full -- rushing to and fro from one busy event to the next.

This weekend, we're having our second family Christmas celebration. Two down, two to go. We've also had several Christmas plays and programs, as well as basketball games and dance practices/recital.

With all the busy-ness, we haven't finished our shopping. We're just taking things one event at a time. Therefore, we have finished shopping for the kids' gift exchange taking place tomorrow. We have NOT, however, finished shopping for this weekend. Or any of the future Christmas events. Procrastinating? Not really. We just haven't had the time.

Somehow, it will all be accomplished. It will! And then we can slow down and breathe -- but not until after the 28th.

If I had time to read, I would curl up with a good book. Guess I will have to do that after the 28th. When I have time, I think I'll read Stealing Air by Trent Reedy. It just came in at my library, and looks interesting.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Wonderful Rat

Everybody knows the movie It's a Wonderful Life. You know, everything goes wrong in the guy's life, and he wishes his life could be over. Then, miraculously, he sees what the world would be like if he could wish himself away. It's a poignant holiday movie that seems to be always playing during the Christmas season.

I just finished a great kids' book that tells the same kind of story. It answers that age-old question: what would you do if your life could be completely different?

In When You Wish Upon a Rat, the main character gets a chance to find out. Ruth is unhappy with the way her life is going: she's lost her favorite relative, her family is a bit bonkers, and she no longer has any close friends at school. All she really has is a stuffed rat that her aunt gave her before she passed away.

This was a fun story, a unique interpretation of that classic "give me a different future" story. Ruth gets to try out three different versions of her life, before deciding that her "real" life is really the best one. She also finds a friend along the way (not just a rat).

Tweens will love reading this book. I bet my daughter will love it, if she can get past the beginning sad part, where the aunt is dying from cancer. The rest of the book is fun, even though it teaches an important lesson about loving your life just the way it is.