The last week or so has been absolutely crazy, as evidenced by my lack of blogging! Anyway, my week started with a trip to Atlanta with 22 kids to visit families and caseworkers. Let’s just say that spending 10 hours in a van with 5 teenage girls is pergatory. I worked half a day on Tuesday and it seemed that every time I started to leave someone would show up unannounced. Finally, I got out of work and headed to Atlanta. The traffic was absolutley crazy but that was to be expected. I got there in time to freshen up before the other guests started arriving. My uncle had invited all the family over for dinner on Tuesday night. It was alot of fun with 23 adults and 6 children. It was good to visit with some of my cousins that I had not seen in awhile. My aunt’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew from Florida were there also.
On Wednesday, I was awakened at 5:45 am by a phone call from work about something that they should have had the paperwork on. I was a little put out by that but went back to sleep. After breakfast, I headed out for some last minute Christmas shopping. We bummed around the house the rest of the afternoon and then went to church for the Christmas Eve service. After the service, we decided to get something to eat, and my uncle suggested Waffle House. We went into the Waffle House that was busy and noticed there was an empty table and no one seemed to be doing anything about cleaning it off, so my Type A uncle, bussed the table himself. The people at the next table left and so he bussed that one too. Then a guy who was there said he had been there an hour and still hadn’t gotten his food. We decided we better go somewhere else to eat. So as we were leaving my uncle said,”My job is done and now it is time to go!” We went to Taco Mac and all was well. We came home and opened our Christmas presents. That has become our Christmas tradition since becoming adults. My aunt’s nephew is 10 and still believes in Santa Clause, so we were trying not to ruin that for him. It was late when we got to bed and of course Shawn was up early on Christmas morning. It was hard to sleep after he opened up his electric guitar with the amp! My dad and I went and picked up my grandmother and then helped get everything to eat. We had a great meal with our family favorites of cornbread dressing, coconut cake, and ambrosia. My aunt who is from Baton Rouge, La added her family favorite of rice dressing and a cranberry dessert. It was a great combination. Shawn and my uncle raced his Razor Scooter down the hill by their house and I took a nap! It was a lazy day the rest of the day!
I got up this morning and left to come home. It was good to be with family, but I am glad to be home also. I din’t sleep so well last night because I had to sleep on a twin bed with my cousin’s min pin. That dog is spoiled to say the least! I was about to fall off the bed. I was glad to see family that I haven’t seen in a while and it was a joy to meet some new people. I look forward to doing it all again next year!
Christmas can be a bittersweet time of year for people. Although it is a time filled with laughter, fun and family, it reminds people of what or who they missing. For many people this will be there first Christmas after having lost a loved one this year. For some, they may have a loved one across the sea fighting for freedom and can’t be here with them. for many, it is a reminder of mistakes they have made and the things they have lost along the way.
The great thing about Christmas though, is that is a time of hope and thankfulness. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ. The One who came to earth as a baby to be born in a manger. Who lived a life like me, yet was without sin. The Perfect Lamb that gave His life for me on a cross and then rose three days later to give me the hope of Eternal Life. That my friend, makes me cry. Me, the unworthy sinner for whom He came to save can have the hope of a life that never ends. We celebrate His birth because without the birth there would have been no sacrifice for our sins.
Everytime I hear this song, it makes me cry. There are tears of sadness for loved ones who are no longer on this earth but also tears of joy that they are in Heaven anxioulsy awaiting my arrival. There are tears of sadness for those who have no family and do not know the joy that Christmas time can bring, but also tears of joy that they too have the hope of a better life and future. There are tears of sadness for those who are away fighting to bring peace to earth but also tears of hope that there can be peace in our own hearts this season that is given to us by the Jesus, the One sent from Heaven.
Well, actually this will probably be more of a week update rather than a weekend but lets see how much information I can cram in this post!
On the job side, things were pretty crazy at work this week. We had to submit a corrective action plan to Provider Relations (people who monitor our kids progress) for some time sensitive documents that we were deficient in (sorry for all the jargon). In our original submission, we set a date of November 15 to have it all completed. Well, on Monday, they decide to tell us that it needs to be done by November 7, Friday. We went to work but lo and behold, the printer decided to quit working when I had pages and pages of things that needed printing. It was Friday before they were able to get us a new one. While faxing massive amounts of paperwork to caseworkers for signatures, I joked about us blowing up the fax machine. Then next day, I had several emails stating they could not read what was faxed and could I resend it. So, I was faxing wherever I could find one that worked.
Monday night I went to dinner with my favorite people for a belated birthday celebration. It was good to just laugh and be with friends. Then on Tuesday was the election and by then I was ready for it all to be over! I went to the podiatrist that afternoon because my foot was not getting better and found out that I had a stress fracture. They put me in this stylish shoe for a couple of weeks. Flew back home and managed to be late for choir practice. We were supposed to be practicing our parts on the Christmas musical, but our leader decided to tell us her story of the deer that got away when she went hunting on Monday. Yes, I guess my friends are redneck, although she cleans up quite well!
Wednesday was more of the same at work and left work and went straight to AWANA. I was exhausted at the end of the day! Thursday was about the same and finally Friday was here. I went in to work at 7:00 so I could leave at 3:00 and get to Atalanta. I didn’t quite get everything finished at work so I have that waiting for me Monday morning. Friday night I landed at my cousins house and it was nice to just be with family. We got up on Saturday and helped clean house and get ready for the LSU/Bama game. I made cupcakes and watched the first half of the game and then was off to the Fickle Pickle for a blog party. It was a little intimidating at first to go into a place where I knew no one. I was glad that I went. I met some really neat people and it is encouraging to see that so many people from all different walks of life can be brought together under a common hobby, blogging. I am glad that I had the opportunity to be apart of that last night.
Now, it is Sunday morning and I am blogging and drinking coffee and getting ready to go visit my grandmother and then head home to start the madness all over again!
Last week my mother celebrated thirty years of teaching at Raleigh Christian Academy. It is an accomplishment that she has been in the same profession for thirty years but an even bigger accomplishment that she did it at the same school. I know that it hasn’t always been easy for her. I am sure there are times when the easy thing to do would have been to leave but she knew it was not the right thing. That is one lesson that I have learned from mother after all these years. The right thing is not always the easy thing.
When she took that job thirty years ago, she never dreamed that she would have such a great influence in so many different kids lives. Many of the students that she has taught over the years have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, police officers, teachers, preachers, missionaries, youth pastors, musicians,and the list could go on and on. She started out teaching elementary and now teaches Honors and AP English. She even did a few years as an elementary principal, but realized that her place was in the classroom. She has been involved in the music program at the school and has spent many years as the pianist for the choir at school. She is a very gifted musician playing the piano, the organ, and the violin. She made sure that my brother and I were given opportunities to be involved in music. To this day, my brother and I both sing on Praise Teams at our different churches. While watching sports is not necessarily her cup of tea, she was at most of my basketball and softball games. Even when they were out of town. She may not have necessarily enjoyed them, but her kids were out there and so there she sat.
As a teenager, I always thought that my mother and I had nothing in common. Our personalities are very different, but the older I get, the more I realize how much like my mother I am. My love for books and music comes from my mother. My desire to not just have a job but have a career in which I can make an impact comes from mother. My mother instilled in me a job worth doing, is worth doing right. I can’t tell you how many times she made me do things over and over until it was right. I didn’t like it at the time, but as an adult, I am glad she did. She taught me to take responsibility for my actions, and not make excuses. Although she swore I was going to write a book on excuses some day. I could come up with them. I am sure there have been many days when she wondered what in the world she was going to do with me. I know I was not the easiest child in the world to deal with, and there were days when it seemed that all we did was butt heads. Believe it or not, I have a stubborn streak. I was more quiet about it than my brother though. He would just flat out dig his heels in about something, whereas I would say okay, and then go do what I wanted to do. I think we finally made a break through in our relationship when I became an adult and we were finally able to admit that we just didn’t understand each other. Since then, I have made more effort to understand her, and I know she has made more effort to understand me.
I think the most important thing that my mother has taught me is commitment. She has modeled this by her commitment to Raleigh Christian Academy for 30 years and this September, she will have been married to my father for 40 years. In this day and age, this is quite an accomplishment. I know it hasn’t always been easy for her and I am sure there were days she wanted to throw in the towel. The most important commitment that she has role modeled to me is her commitment to doing God’s will no matter what the costs may be. It is her commitment to God that has enabled her to be successful in the other areas of her life. Sometimes being a teacher can be a thankless job, but I am thankful for my mother and the influence that she has had on my life. I am confident that when she stands before the Lord at the end of her life she will hear “Well done my good and faithful servant.”