Thursday, December 30, 2010

Imperfections and Gratitude

The holidays were crazy this year.  Jewelry orders kept me swamped until the week before Christmas.  Two days before Christmas, Craig and I were scrambling around Wal-mart trying to wrap up Christmas for the kids.  Mental note: Next year, start earlier! 

Craig and the twins crash after a Christmas party

The week of Christmas brought tons of unexpected situations for our family members.  Craig came down with the flu and was walking around with wadded up tissues in both nostrils for almost a week.  Among the other surprises of the week for family members were: a forced move 3 days before Christmas, a new baby born 5 days before Christmas and a serious infection that kept one of our sweet nephews in the hospital until Christmas Day.  That week is still a whirlwind in my mind.

I have a tendency, as a lot of women do, to feel guilt...all...of...the...time.  Guilt for not helping others more.   Guilt for not being a better mother.  Guilt for not having a cleaner house.  Guilt for not spending more quality time with my husband.  Just guilt for pretty much everything you can think of.  And I won't lie.  This Christmas season had it's fair share of it.  I wish I could have been everywhere for everyone and I wasn't. 

One afternoon a few days before Christmas, I bent down to wipe CJ's nose.  He rubbed my cheek so softly with his cold little fingers.  I gave him a tight squeeze and my eyes quickly scanned the room.  Craft papers and crayons strewn across the kitchen floor.  Last nights rice under all the chairs at the table.  The sink full of dirty dishes, tiny fingerprint patterns of stick people all over the back sliding doors.  I wanted to cry. I felt inadequate, frustrated and exhausted....

And then I felt love.  An overwhelming sense of love and gratitude filled me.  I believe strongly in a loving Heavenly Father.  I know it was his way of telling me, "You're doing just fine, Lora." 

That feeling stuck with me for several days.  I found myself alone on my knees many times this Christmas season giving thanks for the good in my life and praying for the ones we love that were having such hard trials.  It had suddenly become so clear to me that I had SO many things to be grateful for.  Thinking about my family and those around me that were struggling awakened me to to fact that I have virtually no control over my life.  I can't keep illnesses away.  I can't control the economy and whether or not there will be work for my husband.  But I realized that the one thing I DO have control over is my home:  the feeling in my home, my personal attitude and beliefs the way I raise my children. 

Lizzie and baby Tustin while Papa read Luke 2

I am grateful for a life that is so so far from perfect but so good and so filled with love.
Gracie and Duke (who recently has become more of an "inside" dog)