It sure is a bitter cold day today in South MS... (for my Northern friends, don't laugh!) ;)
I am sitting by my large window soaking up the sun WHEN it decides to shine! My cat, right beside me, has decided it is the warmest place in the house too. I just haven't been able to get warm today. If you know me personally, you know if I am not having a hot flash, I am cold. Due to the extreme nerve damage I have, my body temperature is always like 10 degrees colder from my waist down. I literally have to use heating pads, hot socks, hot water, etc to get warm. A blanket may keep the wind away or protect from the cold air, but it won't warm me up. So, unless there is a heated seat or a microwave in the close vicinity, I won't be leaving my house today.
As I type this, my husband is out gathering more firewood... he is such a doll~! :)
I have been praying for all of the elderly people who don't have someone to gather firewood or build them a fire... who don't have adequate heat their bodies need to survive. I have also been thinking of all of the poor animals who are not sheltered in the cold weather. The homeless, the sick... I know there are parents walking around with their children praying for miracles. I pray for that too. For miracles, for sunshine, for warmth in the air, love surrounding them, for shelter, for love and mercy.
We all need love and mercy, and we need to be gracious and generous in giving it too.
I have had to give myself plenty of mercy and grace this month... recovery from surgery has been difficult and usually December is packed full of parties, sights to see, bells to ring, shopping, eating, travelling here and there to take in all of the Christmas decorations we can...the list goes on~!
Well, this year, it was not quite like that... it was different. Physically, I was in a different place and we all know that when we are in a physical place of change, pain or healing, it has the potential to change your plans... Albeit, I would normally just slap some lip gloss, mascara and a cute pair of shoes and just go with it whatever the circumstances, but I couldn't this time. I had to stop doing everything and completely focus on the 'need to do' list, not my 'want to do list.' It was so hard! Still is!
Coupled with healing from my surgery, I have also been suffering with some really difficult problems with my legs, especially my left one and my left foot. Not sure why, but when you have nerve damage and the injuries such as I have, an explanation of any of it cannot be found. This has limited, very much, what I can do, how long I can walk, stand... and I don't like it one bit. I have found myself all month up an hour, in bed for 8... and so on.
Talk about changing life and the month of December for me~! And for my family! I really had to search my life, my heart and decide exactly what I knew I had to do for my family, for my boys and for RW... I did that and if I could do anything else, that was lagniappe.
I even had an unfolded basket of laundry in my bedroom the night of our Christmas party and went to bed with dirty dishes in the sink twice! Woah, that is huge for me!
However, all but two traditions were still followed and kept... we even managed to make a few new ones too, at home... (we missed the Christmas Parade and didn't get to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa, like we do every year... BUT, my big brother, dressed as Santa and made a house call especially for us!) How awesomely sweet is that?
Our lil' Will also had the flu and a bacterial infection during this time... he had some pretty rough days. Thankfully he is all better now and back to running around like crazy~! (big mama grin!)
I am still being patient with myself... and asking that of others. It is critical for me to learn to take care of myself so that I can take care of everything and all of the many blessings God has entrusted me with.
So, today, I say I am sorry I only sent out seven Christmas cards (and with no pictures in them either, gasp!) and I say I am sorry if I couldn't attend your party or event... and if I did, please know that I made great effort to be there, even if I only could stay a short time. And to those of you that are waiting for your chocolate covered pretzels, they are ready! :)
We put all kinds of crazy pressure on ourselves to do this, to do that, and expect to perform full throttle, like we have done in the past ( at least I know that I do!)... but friends, don't disservice yourself like I was doing... don't give yourself demands to meet your own standard of excellency without knowing the risk you are taking both mentally and physically. Trust me, there is a risk. Taken it... many, many times.
I can look back at the month of December and sure it was not what I thought it was going to be... I wasn't SuperWoman who was able to check all of my "to-do's" off of my list... and (breathe) I had to know that was okay. What mattered were the smiles that I saw every day... the moments I didn't miss, the moments I was very present in... and knowing that God gave me every ounce of strength to make it through those moments He knew I couldn't miss!
God knows our heart... he knows just what we need and the importance of it all! Every year, I get an ornament for each of our boys engraved with their names, the dates, and then I also get a family ornament with "The Weatherly's" the date and all of our names...well due to my lack of ability to stand up, I was not able to shop much this holiday season, and I didn't get to the ornament place to have them made. This troubled my heart so much, it really did. There was no "Matthew~2012" on our tree... UNTIL Christmas morning when I opened my presents from RW & the boys... there they were ... three little penguin ornaments, and the family ornament with names written, not by a professional on the other side of the counter, but handwritten by the sweetest man I know... my husband. He knew my mama heart... and he purchased the ornaments and a sharpie... got his best man- handwriting and wrote the names and dates on each one! (melted my heart, totally!) God used RW to fill my heart with joy that Christmas morning... did I need those ornaments? Yes, even God thought so! :) I thought it would be the first year that I wouldn't have special ornaments made for Matthew and the boys, but oh they were the most special this year!
I had been completely discouraged because I felt I had let my family down by not being able to do everything I usually did... and that is when the biggest gift came, the ability to trust God with separating the what I needed from what I wanted or what I thought "I" had to do... Humility is a beautiful gift because it won't stand in the way of accepting grace and support from those God has put in your life to lift you up or to get those special ornaments when you are unable to! This is what is so beautiful about family. I am so blessed to have families, on all sides that encourage, love and support, through it all.
I am now sitting by the warm fire... listening to RW and Nate play basketball on the back deck... the cat has also decided this is now the warmest place in the house!
I can be honest in saying that I don't like the slow down time... the 'rest' time, the uncomfortable change, but I will admit, I have seen much more beauty in moments than I have in a long time.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a season for everything... wow, how well we know that! Everyday I am learning that part of surviving this season of my life is accepting this season... accepting that I may need to sweep half of the house in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, perhaps even the next day... and giving myself mercy and grace needed to do just that. And loving who I am through it all.
Maybe you need to give yourself some mercy and grace or perhaps maybe you need to extend that to others during this season of life... if you are looking for a place to start, loving yourself and others will probably lead you in the right direction. :)
Sending great love and wishes of peace, love and mercy for you and your families as we draw a close to 2012.
Love to all,