Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

A Note to my Friends who Just Aren’t Feelin’ It.

It’s Christmas Eve.  I have been up since 4:19 this morning.  That’s about an hour too early.  I could have stayed in bed, pretending my body has a bit of common sense.  That’s futile, in my experience.

I might be too excited to sleep. It’s Christmas Eve, you know.  We’ve got chestnuts to roast, and popcorn to string. Well, maybe I would rather read my book and play some ping pong, but still.  It’s a day to enjoy.

I have this buzz in my head.  It’s persistent.  I stopped this morning to acknowledge the buzz; I’ve been hearing it for a week or so now.   I asked God if He’d translate what I’m hearing.   I hope He answered.

I have been thinking hard about my friends and family carrying grief this Holiday Season.  If that is you, then I think the translation of this buzz is meant for you to hear.

I think I’m supposed to say two things:

  1. Tomorrow won’t look like today.
  2. You’re sad, and it’s okay.

My sister, Gail, posted a picture this week of a past Christmas.  She said it was one of her best Christmases.  That Christmas, Gail’s beautiful son, Ryan, was alive.  Ryan was a fun maker.  He was full of joy.

Gail said that she remembers laughing so hard it hurt that Christmas; she has a picture as evidence.  I enjoyed my family too that year.  But, I look at that picture, and I have a different memory.  That  was another Christmas when I faked it.   There have been more Christmases than I want to count when I generally faked having fun, and faked being present.  Grief and sadness keep your mind occupied.

christmas sisters

That Christmas, like so many others, I was wrestling with thoughts of Eddie’s future; trying to make peace with his health that seemed to be in an eternal downward spiral.

One year, on Christmas, Eddie was too sick to take the trip to Iowa to see Scott’s family.  Scott and I made what felt to us like an excruciating decision.  We left Eddie home with my parents for the day while we made a lightening quick trip to drop off presents, hug Scott’s family, and then turned around to come back home.

This decision felt traumatic for Scott and me.  We just had a hard time accepting that this was our son’s life; missing life, really.  It felt like a grave omen.  As we were getting ready to leave for Iowa, I heard Scott sobbing in a corner of the basement.  Scott was grief stricken too. Those were sad days.

That was yesterday.  That isn’t today.  I thank my precious Savior in heaven for showering mercy on this family of mine, and restoring Eddie’s health.  All good things come from HIM.

The fact that our deepest wounds have been healed, does NOT put me in a position of authority to talk about dealing with grief at Christmas.  You may rightfully be thinking, “You don’t know how I feel, Miki.  Your problem is solved.”

You’re right.

That doesn’t change the fact that my heart feels pain for others who have to fake it this Christmas, or any Christmas.  And, I feel compelled to tell you it is okay. YOU are okay.

I want you to know that you are NOT alone.  You are not forgotten.  I prayed for you this morning.  I care about you.  But, I also want to tell you that the God of the universe cares for you too.  I’m not preaching to you.  I’m not interested in converting you.  I just want you to know today, that if you are sad, and you feel hopeless, there is a supernatural hope that can be found through faith.  My faith in Jesus is not my religion.  This faith I have is practical and supernatural., and sustained me  when grief gripped my heart.  This faith of mine yields hope, and that’s what I know you  need.  Hope.  We all need hope.

Hope that a better outcome is ahead.  Hope that we can survive the present.

 

Romans 5:2-6

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

 

 

I want you to have hope.   Today is not tomorrow.  You are not stuck here.

If you’re faking it today, it’s okay.  It’s really okay.  I want to tell you that you are brave.  You got up today.  You showed up.  That is enough.

Be kind to yourself.  Thank yourself for moving along.  That’s all you need to do. You just have to take the next step.

I will keep praying for you today.  I will pray that you know you are not alone.  I will pray that you find supernatural hope.  I will pray that you just take the next step, and congratulate yourself when you do.

You are loved.  This is your time and place on this Earth, and your life has meaning.  I pray you feel God’s love for you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, my friend.

 

Miki

 

 

 

 

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Being You

How are your Christmas preparations going?  Have you hung the oats and ivy yet?  Get at it, yo.  It’s Christmas.  What??

I hope you know what that means.  I haven’t the foggiest.

You remember I’m All ABOUT CHRISTMAS this year right?  I’m making good on my declaration to make up for Christmas past, when illness had us by the…throat.  In honor of  Christmas fun,  Olivia and I posted ridiculous Christmas videos on my FB page over Thanksgiving.  Just some absurd “how to” videos that show you how to do nothing, actually.

I think my friends might sometimes think this:  Does Miki ever stop and ask herself why she’s the ONLY adult she knows participating in public nonsense?  The answer to that, my friend, is, yes.  Miki does ask myself, I mean, herself, (this third person, first person conversation is getting away from me) that question.

I say, “Miki, are you sure you’re okay with your kids remembering you as this crazy parent who participated in juvenile antics?”

I thought long and hard about that question, and while I am a little nervous about me, and I do admire and aspire to be more like people who are more mature, my answer is still this:

Yes.  Yes.  I’m okay with it.

I’m not okay with all of it because I think the way I am is good.  It’s not.  If I had a choice, I think I’d choose to inhabit the life form of some grand lady with tremendous organizational skills, and a knack for getting things right.  But, I’m not that grand lady.  I’m a silly lady.  That’s me. The me that takes no effort to conjure up; I wake up every morning, and there she is again; like a bad habit.  Silliness is my native tongue.

I lamented to Scott recently.  I told him he just has no idea how much of my brain space is dedicated to silliness. It’s astonishing.  He patted me on the head, because he feels sorry for me.  And, for himself.

I guess it isn’t the worst thing.  We know some good people who are getting their heads kicked in by life right now.   Have you noticed that there’s never really a shortage of sorrow in life? So, I say, let’s just have some laughs.  Let’s enjoy feeling lighter for one moment.  The sorrow will be right where we left it.

And there’s this other thing I’ve been thinking about: One of the many things I want our kids to walk away from their childhood lived in the home that Scott and I built together (figuratively),  is the ability to identify the person God made them to be in this world.  I want them to embrace that person.   It is my belief that God stamps us each in a unique way, for a purpose.  Kids (and adults) can waste so much time not liking themselves; trying to rework their hard wiring. That’s not a happy existence.  I want ALL kids to be happy and fulfilled, accepting who they are and using what comes naturally to them to serve others.

THAT’S my Christmas wish for the world, sonny boy.

I’m paving the way for you by posting utter nonsense.  What I won’t do for humanity.

All my Christmas shenanigans are going over in a decent fashion in our house.  Zeke and Olivia are like little Christmas elves. They’re game for anything Christmas.  Most of the time.  We went Black Friday shopping.  On the way home, I thought we could sing a jolly round of Christmas carols. My sister taped this sing-a-long, which I thought went over much better BEFORE I watched the tape.  I see now the kids were not impressed:

 

 

My New Cult and my Aging Parents

It’s true.   I am a part of a cult.  It’s called Fit Bit.  Do you have a Fit Bit?  If you do, there’s a good chance you know what I mean.

I asked for a Fit Bit for Christmas.  Do you know what a Fit Bit is?  If you don’t, there’s a chance you just woke up from a ten year coma.  You might want to check with your doctor about that. Here’s what a Fit Bit looks like:

fitbit

At first, Scott scoffed at me for wanting a Fit Bit.  He doesn’t get it.  He said, “I just can’t get you one of those.  It’s the principle of the thing.  If you want to work out, just work out.  You don’t need an expensive watch to motivate you.”

But, I do need an expensive watch to motivate me.

Exercising is literally Scott’s favorite thing to do.  He doesn’t do it to lose weight.  He doesn’t do it to impress people.  He does it because it brings him joy.  If Scott couldn’t exercise, he’d be a sad man.  I’m not braggin’ on him.  That’s just how God made him.  Lucky Scott.

I have always been somewhat interested in health and fitness, but always have to find new things to stay motivated.  That’s why I wanted a Fit Bit.  It’s a watch that grades my effort every day.  It tells me at 4pm that if I don’t get moving, I’m getting a C – for the day.  Then, I get off my butt.  Start moving, and bring home an A+.  You’re not literally graded.  They count your steps.  But, for me, it’s like a report card.

After Scott’s impassioned anti-Fit Bit speech, I really thought I wasn’t getting one.  But, guess what?  I have a 13-year-old daughter now, and she is my ally.  The way I heard it is that Olivia and Scott were out doing their Christmas shopping, and Olivia said this, “Dad.  I know you don’t want a Fit Bit, and you would never wear a Fit Bit.  But, this present isn’t for you.  Giving a gift means you are thinking about someone else.  You consider their needs and interests, and give them a gift you think they will enjoy.  It isn’t about what YOU want.”

Wow.  Having a daughter is AWESOME!!!

I love my Fit Bit.  I got off to a little bit of slow start, because I got the rotten lung over Christmas.  But, I did my best.  Now, I’m better, and this thing is keeping me moving.  I’m not sure if I’ll get sick of it, or not.  I hope I don’t.  I don’t really have a track record of getting tired of and/or discarding things we’ve spent our precious dollars to have.  We bought a treadmill before Eddie was born, and we wore that sucker down to nothin’.  It lasted 11 years.  I hope this Fit Bit does too.

I have two other sisters who have Fit Bits.  So we talked about Fit Bits a lot at Christmas.  We said we liked our Fit Bits.  We wanted to wear our Fit Bits.  We wondered if our Fit Bits were working.  We used the words Fit Bit many times.  Because, that’s what you do when you have a Fit Bit.  You say Fit Bit. A lot.

After listening to hours of Fit Bit talk, one of my non-Fit Bit wearing sisters eventually told us she’d really like to tell us where to put all of our Fit Bits.  I think she’s the one who said Fit Bit is a cult.  She might be right.

I was thinking about something besides Fit Bits over Christmas.  I was thinking about my parents, especially my Dad.  I think I told you that he only has a fraction of his sight left.  I enjoyed watching my sisters fuss over him. I really would like to know how to make sure my kids will fuss over me when I can’t do all the things I once did.  I think that’s a nice thing for families to do.

I tried to really give it some thought.  What is it about my Dad’s new vulnerability that brings out this fierce protectiveness in his daughters?  I was working that over in my head when I had a sudden flash of memory.  I remembered a pleasant drive I had with my Dad one Christmas.  I was in high school.  It was Christmas break, and I couldn’t get to my sister’s house in Green Bay when the rest of the family did, because I had basketball practice.  Everyone else went ahead, and my Dad stayed back with me.  By the time we could leave for Green Bay, the temperatures had dipped dangerously low.  We left anyway, and I wasn’t worried at all. I knew my Dad would take care of me.

It’s weird how I remember obscure things.  I don’t know why I remember that car ride, but I do.  I felt so happy and content to be driving with my Dad to see the rest of the family.  I actually remember feeling safe and protected.

And, I think that’s it.  I think THAT is the answer to my question.  When parents are in good working order,  they give their kids the luxury of feeling safe.  The luxury of not having to worry about how things are going to work out.  When it is going right,  kids take it for granted that their parents are strong, competent and ready to take on all the grown upish worries, so kids don’t have to.

I think that’s why seeing our parents at this end of their lives is making their daughters hover; wanting to make sure their parents’ every need is met.  Our safe place of strength is vulnerable now.  When my sisters and I were young, we wouldn’t have believed it could happen.  Now that it has, we know what to do.  We know how to protect, serve and offer safety to vulnerable people we love.  We know, because our parents taught us.

dad and heidikaty mom

My Crop Top and our New Holiday Tradition

I’ve decided I don’t need to go to the gym any more.  I’ve discovered YouTube.  After my walks in the morning, I plug in whatever I have time to do into the YouTube search bar.  I pick workouts that are as short as 5, 10 or 15 minutes, because it’s like I’ve always said, “go hard, or go home.”

I’m excited. These workouts have cool names that help me understand why I’m doing them: “Bikini Butt” and “5 Minute Crop Top Workout” are a couple of my favorites.  I’ve never worn a bikini, or a crop top, but I have a feeling that’s about to change.

Crop tops are THE COOLEST!  (Literally, I guess.) I saw a young woman at Costco the other day wearing one of these shirts.  It was around 20 degrees outside, and she and I crossed paths in the parking lot as I was running to my car to get out of the cold.  I saw her belly button, and her rock hard abs. I thought, good for her.  She’s not gonna let the negative wind chill tell her what to do.  I know it’s only a matter of time before I too can wear crop tops to Costco, or work, or my kids athletic events. I guess it’s just something everyone can look forward to seeing.  Especially my kids.

Do you have an, “Elf on a Shelf”?  I’m so sad we missed this tradition.  My friends at work have young children, and they have the best stories about this guy.  Olivia’s gotten wind of these stories, and it’s not good.  Olivia is holding a grudge against me.  I have totally failed in the holiday tradition department as a Mom, and I’m sorry for it.

The other night, Olivia was particularly bitter about our lack of traditions.  She made quite a speech about it.  She said, “When I’m a Mom, I’m going to do Santa Clause, Elf on a Shelf, Saint Nick, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Leprechauns!”

Leprechauns, Olivia?  Really?  Leprechauns are a tradition Moms do? I feel pretty doubtful about that.  I think Leprechaun traditions are just bad form.  I told Olivia that the only reason a Mom would do a Leprechaun tradition is if she was drunk.  Because, that’s just like the Irish.  I told Olivia she should be pretty darn thankful her Mom is sober.  How about being sober for a tradition, Olivia?  Why don’t the Leprechaun Moms try that?

I really do feel guilty about all this. The lack of traditions part.  Not the part about calling moms who do Leprechaun traditions drunks.  I stand by that.

I love the Holidays.  I never tried to make my kids NOT believe in stuff.  I just never thought of it.  Ever.

I have loads of happy holiday memories from when I was little, but they’re not centered around any one tradition, or character – well, other than the Christ Child, who we happen to think is real, and not a character.

I was trying to think about why I associate Christmas with joy and happiness as an adult, since I can’t remember any specific family traditions.  The only thing I consistently came up with was this: family, faith, food, music and laughter.  Those were our family’s traditions.  I’m not saying that’s the right way go, and, really, given a redo, I’d try harder with my kids.  But, in my family, that’s how it was done.

I don’t know what memories I’m helping build for my kids.  Hard to tell at this point, really.  It’s not like Scott offers me any help.  He’s not one to play his pan flute, while we gather around the piano for a merry holiday sing-a-long.  I’m kind of on my own with this stuff.

Here’s a picture I love.  This is after the Christmas eve service when I was young.  My older sister, Gail, and I are laughing about something.  I wish I knew what.  I’m drinking out of a fancy little mug.  I bet it was egg nog.  YES!  We did have a tradition.  Egg nog was a tradition.  Way to keep it simple, Mom:

christmas egg nog

Another tradition my family had growing up was this little elf my Mom brought out every year.  Believe it or not, I’ve blogged about this guy around Christmas last year.  That’s how special he is to me.  My sisters and I LOVED him.  Let it be known, this guy was around 40 years before anyone ever thought of “Elf on a Shelf”.  I don’t know how I was lucky enough to inherit him, but I did.

This year, we’re in the process of refinishing our basement.  That means all the Christmas decorations are buried somewhere in the garage.   I’m smart enough to take a pass on entering that house of horrors. The only decorating I’m doing this year is our little tree, and our little elf.  I did find the elf.  He gave me a really good idea.

The night Olivia was mourning the traditions that never were, I thought that I could start a new one.  My kids are too old for the real Elf on a Shelf, but how about “Teenage Elf”?  He looks like he could get into some Christmas trouble, right?
Here’s day one:

teenage elf

Oh, Olivia, I sure hope you didn’t want the rest of that sparkling cider. I was thirsty…..Your Friend, Teen age Elf.

Oh, that naughty little guy drank the last of the sparkling cider Olivia and her friends bought.  Looks like a lot of mischief to me.

I went to great lengths to get Olivia to discover Teenage Elf’s antics before school.  Scott did too.  Olivia woke up, and walked into the kitchen for breakfast.  Naughty Teenage Elf was laying on the counter by the coffee pot.  Scott told Olivia she looked like she needed a cup of coffee.  She looked at us real grouchy, and said, “What?”, and turned around to walk out of the kitchen.

I said, “Olivia, please.  Just get some coffee.”

She turned towards the coffee pot, and then she saw him.  She kind of laughed a little.

I expected more.

I said, “Oh, would you look at that Teenage Elf?  Boy, was he up to no good last night.  Tell me he didn’t drink the last of your sparkling cider?  That’s so mischievous! Who knows what kind of antics he’ll be into before Christmas?”

Nothing.

She just smiled again, and walked out of the kitchen to get ready for school.  Well, I’m not a quitter.  I’m certain this guy can bring happy memories of Christmas traditions to my teenagers,even if I have to ram the little sucker down their ungrateful throats.

When Zeke came in to the kitchen, I tried again.  “Zeke,  look who visited last night, Teenage Elf.  And, look at what he did.”  I pointed to the cider guzzling elf.

Zeke said, “What do you mean?”

I Explained, “You know, TEENAGE ELF!  He’s like Elf on a Shelf, only he’s Teenage Elf, because you guys are all teenagers, and Olivia wanted a Christmas tradition.  So, I’m starting a fun Christmas tradition with Teenage Elf?”

“What’s Elf on a Shelf?”

Holiday traditions can suck it.

Thanksgiving Rehash and Scott’s Singing Career

How was your Thanksgiving? We enjoyed ours.  I can’t really remember what we did, but I definitely remember there was something fun about it.

Thanksgiving is a lot about food.  I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom.  I was so much better at food then.  I had actual recipes with fairly long lists of ingredients I liked to make.  I remember a pumpkin torte that involved multiple layers.  I also made this fruit salad that Scott liked.  The fruit was covered in a homemade custard sauce that involved tempering egg yolks.   I tempered eggs?  I did. Or, maybe that was just a dream.

This year, I worked late the night before Thanksgiving.  Scott came through for me, and bought a cheese tray, hard salami and a veggie platter for his side of the family’s celebration.  I did manage to make some cookies Thanksgiving morning, but that’s it.  That’s all I got.

For my side of the family, I brought nothing.  You’re welcome guys.  Hope you liked it.

Olivia had her heart set on Black Friday shopping this year.  My mom and two sisters and niece and I all decided we’d spend a few hours joining the fun on Friday morning.  And, it definitely was fun.  Especially, if you think fun is like jumping off the high dive into a pool of sharp knives.  It was definitely THAT kind of fun.

I don’t know why people do it.

I felt so overwhelmed.  I just kept giving myself small goals.  Like,  looking for the closest open chair.  One time I just sat right down on the carpeting while Olivia sorted through a giant trash heap of items on sale.  Another time, I sat on a pile of jeans.

My mom wandered off on her own. She told us she got side tracked picking up after a tornado that must have gone through the Boston Store’s shoe department.  She couldn’t help herself.  It looked like those workers needed some disaster relief volunteers.   My mom also found an empty beer bottle in one of the dressing rooms, among all the other wrappers, discarded clothing and empty soda cups.  Black Friday is just a classy thing.

Olivia found a couple of good deals during our shopping trip, and she probably could have shopped all day, but she knew the rest of us were getting weak.  We lasted until lunch.

black friday

Eddie, Zeke and their cousin, Caleb, went out for Black Friday shopping on Thursday night.  Caleb asked my boys to do this with him. Caleb thought it might be fun.  I told Caleb his cousins are really bad shoppers, and I couldn’t really remember Eddie ever shopping on purpose before.  Caleb had confidence they would have fun. So, I believed him.  I gave my boys money, and I told them to pick up some Christmas presents.

They didn’t.

Their first stop was McDonald’s.  Eddie asked the McDonald’s employee if they had any Black Friday specials on chicken.  The guy said he was sorry, but everything was just regularly priced.  He did offer Eddie this special grocery bag.  So, that’s really nice.

blackfriday bag

Here’s a Black Friday Special…Sorry, Eddie got to it first.

Friday night, the cousins played “Pit”.  Do you remember that game?  We used to love playing it when I was a teenager, now my kids do too. “3,3,3”, “2,2,2”!!!

20141128_183145

Saturday, Zeke and Eddie and the other wrestlers on their team, scrimmaged some other wrestling teams.  Some of us parents went and watched, because we’re sick like that.  Zeke, Eddie and Scott are all on the same team now. This has never happened before. I’m excited to watch these boys I love do what they love this winter.

After the scrimmage, we went to see a dog at the humane society. This dog was a precious little thing that someone posted a picture of on my Facebook timeline.  We loved this dog right away.  We’ve never been to the humane society.  Olivia, Zeke and I were super excited to go, because we just love dogs about more than anything else I can think of.  But, guess what?  The humane society isn’t a happy place.  We couldn’t get the dog we saw, because Reggie needs to be neutered.  I know. I know.  You’re going to tell me we should have done that already.  Let’s talk about that later.

Right now, I want to tell you that if you think going to the humane society sounds like a neat thing to do some time, you need to know it isn’t.  I’m not sure why I didn’t know that.  The humane society, by definition, is a place for dogs without homes.  Each dog is contained in a little pen, and they bark and bark and bark.  Olivia and I made the mistake of going back and seeing these dogs.  We couldn’t talk for an hour after we saw these dogs.  We were both so sad.

Olivia’s channeling her sadness by making plans for a her future.  She’s going to start her own shelter where the dogs have much more comfortable accommodations.  She said she is going to also provide care and activities for kids with special needs to interact with these dogs.  She seems really passionate and certain.  I asked her if I could come work for her, and she said she was already planning on it.  Maybe that trip to the humane society wasn’t wasted after all.

Saturday night, the boys were gone, and Scott built a fire for Olivia and me.  Do you know how lazy I am in the evenings?  Really, really lazy.  I have a lot of friends who get very productive in the late evenings.  I don’t.

We sat by the fire and watched, “Nebraska”.  Have you seen that movie?  The whole thing is in black and white.  I thought it would annoy me, but it didn’t.  We really liked this movie.  Even Scott said it was very good.  I don’t remember the last time Scott gave a movie a favorable review.  The main character in “Nebraska” was a nice guy, and he did nice things without expecting anything nice in return.  What’s not to like about that?  It was really nice.

I was thinking that after the movie I should probably try to be productive, but then I decided I’d better lay on the couch some more.  I read my book, and I watched Olivia and Scott perform.  They were dancing to, and singing “Fancy”, by Ziggy Azalea.  They wouldn’t stop, even when I asked them to, and that’s why I think they deserve to have me post part of their performance. I wish you could have seen the whole thing.

I know you’re going to tell me you didn’t know Scott was such a good singer.  Well, he is. He’s thought about pursuing a singing career.  It’s just that we kind of need his insurance.

Sunday we went to church, watched Olivia play basketball, and Zeke and Olivia decorated the tree.  Eddie and Scott are the world’s worst at celebrating holidays.  I don’t know how to make them care, because the really just don’t.  I’m not sure if that’s something they can take medicine for, or if they just are going to live the rest of their lives like that, but they seem happy enough.

20141130_173208

So, I guess that’s that.  You know Christmas is coming at us like a freakin’ freight train.   I think someone should embroider THAT saying on a holiday pillow.  I’d totally buy one of those.

Cotton Candy and the Kardashians

I get so mad when my life doesn’t know I’m a blogger.  It’s all crazy and busy, and I’m like, “Excuse me?  I’m a little bit of what you call a blogging genius over here.  Could we make some room for that?  I mean, someone has to save humanity through blogging.  It may as well be me.”

My life doesn’t listen.  It just stays all high speed and wild; never giving me a chance to think.   I crave time to think. I miss it when it’s gone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about humanity lately.  What a complicated, beautiful heap a crazy that is.  I just read one of my new favorite books that made me think about humanity even more.  Have you read, “Hiding Place”?  This book is a biography about Corrie Ten Boom.

Apparently, I am the last Christian on Earth to read this book.  The story is freaking me out.  Whenever I mention it to a Christian friend, they’re all, “Oh, I know.  I read that book 8 years ago.”  Show offs.

Corrie Ten Boom is just this wonderful, amazing, incredible embodiment of strength.  I can’t believe someone like her existed.  It seems impossible.

ten-Boom_Corrie

Corrie Ten Boom was Dutch.  She came from a loving, Christian family.  During World War II, Corrie and her family helped with the Dutch underground network.  They  assisted Jewish people with avoiding concentration camps and death, actually.

Corrie had a secret room built in her own bedroom.  When the Gestapo finally discovered Corrie and her family’s illegal activities, they stormed Corrie’s home. Corrie’s Jewish friends snuck into the secret room, and survived the raid.  Corrie and her family saved their lives.

Corrie and her family were sent to prison, and then Ravensbruck, a concentration camp.  Corrie was in her 50’s when she went to prison. Things got ugly.

This is a beautiful story.  I cannot explain how much Corrie and her family members moved me to want to be better at being human.  I cannot explain how much their faith in Christ renewed fervor in me for things unseen.  If you’re sort of anti-Christian, because Christians act all know-it-ally and holier-than-thou-ee, you’ll like Corrie Ten Boom and her family. They aren’t like that.

Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  That’s another favorite of mine.  Atticus is the only other character in my history as a reader that has moved me in the way Corrie Ten Boom has.  Too bad Atticus was fictional.  I think Atticus and Corrie Ten Boom should have gotten married.  They’d make extraordinary humans together.  How is that relevant here?  I don’t know why you want to talk about stuff that can’t even happen.  It just seems silly.

Atticus and Corrie Ten boom touched my soul because they both have a super human quality.  Humility.  They have unnatural ability to suffer humiliation with dignity.  In Corrie’s case , she claims her strength is not her own.  In fact, more than once when she’s at the end of what she can bear,  She admits it to us and to herself.  She tells God that she’s just out of strength; If he means for her to keep going, He must sustain her.

Right there.  That is the part when Corrie is revived.  Her strength is renewed. It’s almost like God wants her to get to the end of herself, to see His power to carry her is real.  Not a fairy tale.

Here’s what else I love, love, love about Corrie Ten Boom.  She does not judge.  She’s filled to overflowing with love for humanity. She works feverishly to meet the needs of those around her.  At one point she described celebrating Christmas and Hannakah with her Jewish friends. She spoke with respect of her Jewish friends.  She did not cast herself in a superior light.  It sounded beautiful.

Corrie figured her whole purpose on this Earth was to show Christ’s love.  She talked about it all the time.  But, more importantly, she showed it.  She didn’t try to convince people.  She didn’t engage in debates. I love Corrie.  Did I mention that?

I want to be like Corrie.  I want to know why I am here.  I want to remember that I have been called by Christ to love.   I want to make loving people my mission: Christian people, Jewish people, gay people, heterosexual people, Morman people, atheist people, all people.   That’s the point.

These are the kinds of thoughts I’ve been having.  They’re big thoughts. I was pondering Corrie’s dependence on Christ when I became distracted by Kim Kardashian.  It’s true. Sometimes that’s on at our house.  Olivia discovered this show on Netflix.

Do you know what happens when you are contemplating the love of Christ and saints like Corrie Ten Boom, and you’re yanked from your thoughts with angry voices arguing over a prada purse?  Or you catch sight of a 13-year-old girl showing her sister how to use a stripper pole?  It’s harsh.

It’s like being snuggled up in a warm quilt on a cold day, and having the quilt stripped away and ice water poured on you.  Or, it’s like eating a deliciously sweet apple and biting into a worm.  It’s alarming and abrupt.

I’ve been reading better books lately; books about inspiring people.  I’ve been trying to meditate on more scripture too.  I guess I’ve been doing a little too much of that, because I’m now officially unable to tolerate the Kardashians, or real housewives, or any other screaming, materialistic, self-serving reality TV personalities.

See how far I’ve carried my Corrie Ten Boom lessons?  In my world,  you love everyone expect for the people on reality TV.

I should probably tell Olivia that she isn’t allowed to watch the Kardashians.  But, I’m not going to do that. Not yet.  I think the Kardashians and folks like them are causing us to crave entertainment that is as good for the soul as Cotton Candy is for our body.  Cotton Candy is sweet on impact, but offers no nutrients to sustain us. We eat it because it tastes so good and harmless. But, a diet of cotton candy will make us sick and lethargic. And let’s face it, cotton candy is gonna slowly crowd our organs and skeleton with globs of fat.  Which is really bad, mostly because all those globs of fat will make our butts look big.  Sometimes I just get all caught up in this complicated theology.  It’s hard for the common person to even understand me.

Let me say it this way: Cotton candy offers us nothing but taste. That’s it.  That’s all you get out of it.  Oh, and a big butt.  If you want that, you should eat it.

If you like the Kardashians, I hope you don’t think I’m judging you.  Hah!  I have some ladies over in New Jersey and Orange County who I want to eat cotton candy with all the time.  I have SUCH a hard time saying no to those gals.

I’ve explained my position to Olivia.  Because, I’m Corrie Ten Boom’s protoge, remember?.  Corrie Ten Boom doesn’t judge.  She doesn’t tell other people how to live.  She just follows the path God lays before her, and loves everyone along the way.  Christ’s love through Corrie draws people towards her.  Towards Him.  He changes people through her.  It’s beyond her control. Corries friends are on their own paths. She’s not in charge of changing their direction.

I’ll keep loving Olivia, and eventually she’ll leave the Kardashians, because God is calling her there.  Yes, I’ll have loved her into it, because that’s what I learned from Corrie Ten Boom.  That, or I go bat crap crazy when I hear those Kardashian girls fighting over another dress.  Then, I’ll smash the TV in the driveway.

I’m not very good at this, Corrie.  I think I need to read the book again.

corrie ten boom quote

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