I've always loved Christmas...it's my favorite time of the year because it's a season for celebrating Christ's birth and of hope for things to come. 2009 has been difficult for me for many reasons, and I'm not feeling much Christmas cheer this year...actually, I'm not feeling any cheer at all. I do, however, know that I have so much to be thankful for, and on that I focus. I have a warm home, food, a job, a car, tons of wonderful human friends, loving animal friends, and family that I can count on - many people have none or just one or two of those things. Still....there are a few things on my Christmas Wish List this year...
just to hold my Mom's hand one more time and hear her tell me, "I love you more than you'll ever know" - those have been a daily part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I am really, really missing them
a stubbly-faced kiss from my Dad and hear him tell me "I love you" just one more time
that my Maggie would surrender the fight to survive and take her rightful place in heaven. I know she wants to take care of me. She's done a great job of it for 15 years. She's been the best dog I could ever ask for. But, she is forcing me into making a decision that I desperately don't want to have to make
that my back problems would disappear as quickly as they started
that my friends, Tanya and Ann and Chris S., would be cured of their health problems
that I would be given one month...just one month...in which we had no hospital acquired pressure ulcers at work
that my roof would not leak
that I would win just enough in the lottery to pay off all of my debts .... guess I need to start buying lottery tickets for a chance at that :-)
that all of our soldiers were home with their families for Christmas because there were no disturbances in the world for them to deal with
that every hungry person had their fill and clothes to keep them warm and a bed to sleep in
a pair of jeans that fit perfectly - no alterations needed
that the price of gas would go back to $1 per gallon
another Christmas trip back to Disney with Mom
another trip to the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree with my Dad...and watch him shoot mistletoe out of the tree for me
a bottle of Ivory shampoo
a bottle of Caress lotion
that news reports and newspapers had to report as much good news as bad
A fellow animal lover sent this link to me by email. I watched it the first time...and didn't quite know what I thought about it. I'm sure some would call it borderline sacrilegious. But, I watched a couple more times and decided I really liked it... a lot. Really liked the comparisons it makes but doesn't put a dog on the level of God.
If you know me, then you know my passion for animals...all animals (except snakes and rats....just can't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about those particular ones). Dogs (and cats) have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Someone told me once that dogs/animals can't go to Heaven because they don't have souls. Gotta tell you... that really bothered me....made me think hard about it. I came to the conclusion that the notion is hogwash.
I cannot, for the life of me, believe that God would give us such faithful, forgiving companions on Earth...just to abandon our animal friends to nothing after they (and we) die. I have no doubt that I'll see my canine (and feline and equine) friends again one day on the other side. So...Peppy, Snowball, Mindy, Mikey, Oscar, Pearl, Bob, Ginger, Minnie, Bo and all of my other animal friends...through the years....I know you are waiting on me. Still love you as much as I always did...you all have a very special place in my heart...and I'll see you there again one day. I know I will.
One of my friends posted this link on FaceBook last week, and I fell in love with the video. It's a very non-traditional entrance of a wedding party before the start of the wedding. The couple has been interviewed for the Today show and People magazine. The Today show flew in the wedding party to reproduce the dance for an episode of Weekend Today. I bet I've watched this video 100 times and am not tired of it yet. It just makes me smile (and it makes my feet dance). Amazingly enough, I read in People magazine that the church was a Lutheran one. Now I am Lutheran so I can say that ... sometimes our ways are a bit stuffy. So, that little fact made the video even more enduring. Click in and watch...and get ready to smile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0
These are two of my most favorite volunteers at Palmetto Health Baptist. I love these ladies. They show up every Wednesday afternoon to greet visitors and staff at the entrance to the Taylor Street Crosswalk. Can't tell you their names, but they are so bubbly and cheerful that my day gets brighter just seeing them roll in.
They also brighten up their workspace...literally. They bring boxes of stuff faithfully every week, and they decorate their space. It stays there with them for the 2 or so hours that they volunteer then they pack it all back up and go home. If it's around the holidays then the decorations take on the holiday theme. If not, then the decorations are more generic. Believe it or not, this was of one of their less elaborate displays. They also leave hard candies out for staff and visitors to sample on the way in or out of the hospital. I love them for their enthusiasm and for taking the time to make the hospital a little more "homey".
When I took these photos a couple of weeks ago, it made me stop and think that I have "lots of bright spots" in my days. Some are a routine part of my day, and some happen only occasionally. I'll take them as often as I can get them. These are just a few...
*the sound of Mama's voice answering the phone when I call to tell her I'm on the way home. *my faithful 14 year old lab, Maggie, waiting for me at the back steps every morning so that she can get her "treat"...though it's really arthritis medicine wrapped up in a thin slice of roast beef *a call from my friend, Yvonne...her bubbly voice makes me smile *an unexpected card from Irene...who always seems to know when I need one *any time spent with my friends Ann and Myriam...who have adopted me and Mom into their families and from whom I have learned so much about being a better person and rising to the occasion *seeing my cousin, Chris, riding his John Deer...his love of tractors reminds me so much of my dad *a new edition of Creating Keepsakes magazine in the mail *my kitty, Oliver, hopping up on my lap to bump noses with me *chit-chatting across the table with Judy at the Stamping Place *watching our newest kitty, Calvin (aka "Cally-bug") chasing anything that flies *seeing a field of yellow milkweeds or Queen Anne's lace along the side of the road ...I know they are weeds, but I love them anyway *the guy at the drive-through window at Chapin McDonalds who always takes the time to wipe off the outside of my diet Coke cup so my cup holder doesn't get sticky *getting Orlando as our waiter when we go to eat Mexican with "the boys" - he is such a sweetie *the parking attendant at the hospital who waves to me every morning and who always stops to chat for a second when I see him inside *an update from my friend, Tanya...especially when she has good news to tell me *"Salt Therapy" with the gang.....you guys, it's been too long since we did this *a nap in the recliner on Saturday or Sunday afternoon *seeing any post on Facebook by my old high school friend, Jimmy...he is so funny! *a visit to our neighbors' commercial greenhouses...especially at Christmas when they have millions of poinsettias or in April/May when geranium baskets are everywhere *the first tomato of the summer...especially when it comes from Ms. Evelyn's garden *a homemade roll from Aunt Sylvia or Aunt Fannie's milk gravy or a piece of coconut cake made by Aunt Dot or Aunt Mary...yummy!
That's just a few of the many. Here's to bright spots...what would I do without them!
As a postnote to my previous blog entry: If you prayed for little Katie Staub, I thank you so much. Last I heard, Katie was transferred to a rehab facility and is slowly recovering from her ordeal. God is good.
Please take a minute and say a prayer for little Katie Staub. Katie is 4 years old and currently in the pediatric intensive care unit a Palmetto Richland. She is the daughter of one of my coworkers at Baptist. Her Aunt Libby and I worked together for years on 8th Medical, and her grandmother was one of my nurses when I had surgery in 2006. She is very ill and in need of as many prayers as possible.