Posted in Christmas, indigo inspiration, Thanks for the memories

christmas card


20626453_10159191202895584_4854335629719844248_oI’m alive.  Merry Christmas.  Nobody’s getting a card this year.  Sorry folks.  I’m all out of extra.

The year started with the funeral of one grandparent and ended with another.  I was in the ER twice.  Diagnosed with a weird autoimmune thing with hives for days.  The amount of antihistamines that passed through my system should have meant I slept really well, but what is life.

We put our kids in public school for the first time.  A much bigger deal for me than even for them, to be honest, but all in all, upheaval all around.

Of course there is also all the everyday busyness of being a 6 person and 1 cat household.  The stuff of beauty and exhaustion.

Bills.  So many bills.

Fall into bed grateful that you made it through the day to your pillow.  Wake up to the sunrise and do it all again.

Glorious.

So, for Christmas cards, you’re all getting medical bills from me.  Merry Christmas, here’s a lab charge.  Happy Holidays, you get an MRI with contrast bill.  Happy New Year to you, a medication that insurance didn’t cover.

I’m alive.

I mean that with a dash of sarcasm and a boundless flow of gratitude.  My heart and my soul are awake.  I am living.  Feeling my life.  Being in the middle of it all.  Participating in my own story.  Championing for thrival.

So from my people and I, Happy effing Holidays.  Live your life, peeps.  Embrace the messy.  Blow off the arbitrary expectations.  Find the sacred in your mundane insanity.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Posted in Christmas, Gifts, Living Water

Advent


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Advent.

The Coming.

Love birthed itself in our image as we had been made in Love’s own image at the beginning.

Love that holds us, flows through us, breathes upon us, is ever-present.  Love that we yearn for and seek.  That all the year we cry out to touch.  Love, whose echo in our souls harkens for its origin.  The fiber from which we are made, yet somehow seem to lose in the mundane of our everyday.  In the great struggle for survival, its beacon becomes hidden.

And yet beyond hope, we dream.  We return again to celebrate year after year.  Time slows and a hush falls while the hours rush madly past.  The veil between the material and the divine feels a bit lighter this season.  A bit less definitive.  There is magic in the air and our hearts can begin to remember Love’s voice.  Love so powerful that it was not diminished by human indignity.  Love that draws out the wellspring of itself in all that it graces.

There is hope in these days.  Hope that Love can bring us all together.  To Eden.  To healing and restoration.  That tragedy can find peace if not meaning.  That sorrow can be embraced till it has reached out and kissed joy.  That the pain in every aching soul can bring forth the birth of new life.  That the lost is found and the hungry can be fed.  That war will tire and fall into the arms of community.

We take in the Body of Love.  We drink Love’s lifeblood and remember again for the first time that we are in Love and Love in us.  As Love was born to us and for us and with us, we too are reborn anew with each remembrance of Love.

The mundane begins to take on the glow of sacred.  We see the divine in the face of another.  We feel Love as it resides in our own humanity.  Against all odds we hope.  We dream.  Love does not let us close our hearts.  They are tired hearts.  Weary of pain.  Wary of the next battle.

Yet Love lives on.  In us.  Around us.  Inviting us to take part.  Beckoning us into the dance.  Welcoming the shattered pieces of us that it may make us whole again.

 

Posted in Christmas, Family, Holidays, indigo inspiration, Thanks for the memories, The Future

Christmas Past


I finally did it.

I took down my tree.

I said goodbye to last year’s Christmas.

I’ve been thrashing myself with a whip of cords for the last 10 years.  I’m such a bum.  A lazy mom.  A loser that would leave the tree up until Valentine’s Day.

I walk past it over and over, wincing at the thought of unwrapping the lights and boxing up the ornaments.  The stockings come down first, usually around MLK Day.  Then the mantel lights.  The tree skirt comes off.  The Christmas Tupperware sits on the floor by the tree for a time and I throw in a few of the kids’ handmade goodies as they flutter to the ground.

Lazy, lazy, lazy.

My manger is still up.  It might not go for another month or so.

The deck lights might become permanent.  I unplugged the porch ones.  That’s good enough for now.

I figured it out this morning.  While I sawed off the branches.  Yes, in the house.  While it was still in the stand.  What?  You have you your process.  I have mine.

The Christmas tree represents for me the magic of the holiday.  The 6 of us picked it out and cut it down as per our tradition.  Jim sets it up.  I light the tree.  The ornaments are about 40% handmade by my children.  I didn’t even hang them this year.  My  children did.  Well, 3 of them hung ornaments.  My 2-year-old threw them at the tree and clapped when they landed on a branch.  It was pure perfection in my eyes.  We sit around it on Christmas morning and hand each other gifts.  My kids buy for each other now.  Watching them light up over the thoughtful choices was the pinnacle of Christmas spirit.

It is us.  It is love and joy and magic.

By this time every year, I have a dried piney fire hazard in some corner of my living room.  An old man of a tree.  An elderly Christmas past.

And I have to euthanize it.  Every year, I have to kill Christmas.  I have to put it out of its misery and make way for the new year to blossom.

I’m not lazy.  I’m grieving.  Just a little bit.  But enough to give me pause.

What if we’re not lazy every time we think we are?  What if we’re anxious over change?  What if we’re sad at letting go of something?  What if we’re overwhelmed?

Feel your feels, peeps.  Give them a name.  Own them.  Embrace them.  Give them the attention they need so you can move forward in your life.  In your day-to-days.  In your living and loving.  You are included in your loving.  There are 6 people in my home that need me to care for them, not 5.

So today I am saying goodbye to 2016’s Christmas.  I’m giving myself room to grieve so I can be wholeheartedly in 2017.

January 2018 will bring the death of 2017’s Christmas but I know what it is now.  I can embrace the goodbye.  I can beat myself up over one less thing.  I can go forward feeling the unpleasant emotions so that there is room in my heart for the other ones.

Posted in Christmas, Food, Winter

The Weather Outside is Frightful


It’s cold.

When it’s cold, you make chili.  And cornbread.  Duh.

You will need:

  • cast iron dutch oven
  • lid for the beast
  • christmas spirit
  • a little red palm oil
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • a splash of water
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • a tad Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
  • liquid smoke to make you forget there’s no meat
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can red kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 can pinto beans with liquid
  • 1 can black beans with liquid
  • 1/2 bag of corn
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper

Heat tomato paste with spices and oil.  Add beans.  And veggies.  Simmer.  And keep warm until your cornbread is finished.

Amen.

Now you need: (adapted from here)

  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 freshly milled flour
  • 2/3 c sucanat
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 + 3 TBSP red palm oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
  • 8 x 8 baking dish, greased
  • an oven at 350
  • kitchen timer
  • christmas music
  • the other 1/2 of the bag of corn
  • something to test the middle once the timer beeps

Mix dat.  Pour into dish.  Bake for like 55 minutes.  The recipe said 30 but since I put in corn which was not in the original recipe, it took an additional 25.

Serve up together.  While the music is still on.  Because ambiance, y’all.  It will warm your belly and your soul.  I’m not lying to you.

Posted in Easter, Family, Gifts, Insane in the Brain, Living Water, Thanks for the memories

‘Broken Chains & Graves That Cannot Hold’


It’s been an awful week.  For some reason, I have cried more tears than since baking the Molly-Bun in my maternal oven.  Before you ask, I am not pregnant.  You know how it goes, though.  Hormones are no respecter of holidays.  In fact, holidays with more meaning than others band together with my Judas emotions (no pun intended) and wreak havoc on my carefully constructed demeanor.

My friend, Sarah, is fostering a tiny, beautiful human born several weeks too early to a mother who cannot and will not care for herself let alone another life.  At currently just over 4lbs, she requires constant care and an extra dose of mother’s affection, and God has chosen my friend to be her care-giver.  Seeing the baby nearly did me in.  No joke, my uterus is currently weeping, as were my eyes.

Facing the demons of dysfunction thrust upon myself and my familial acquaintances by the mental and emotional illness of our biological donors has brought to the surface pain and discomfort I had not known in quite some time.  Watching some siblings succeed in health of the heart and mind and others succeed at potential destruction has forced me in the past months to evaluate my standing as a parent, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a wife, as well as a member of the human race.  Counseling is helpful as far as you let it dredge the depths of the damage.  Healing only follows after the surgeon’s scalpel is allowed free reign, without anesthesia, no less.  I am choosing healing in as much as I can withstand the pain.  I pray to be strapped to the operating table that the necrosis may be cut away.

I am trying not to hide from the gifts that God has given me.  Putting them to use opens the heart to possible rejection, judgment, criticism.  Being the child of a pastor with creative proclivities put me in the spotlight this Resurrection Day.  Being rescued by said pastor and the Redeeming Love of Almighty God, I was called upon to offer testimony of sorts as part of an interactive Easter Service this morning.

With the emotional upheaval earlier mentioned, Saturday night afforded little encouragement in the way of literary inspiration.  Several hours and some serious soul-searching later, the following fell from my battle-weary fingers:

I stand before you a member of a metaphor.

The family to which I am privileged to belong is a canvas on which God is painting redemption and salvation.  Individuals, pieces of families, broken and scarred by relationships dying, were picked up by the gracious hand of Redeeming Love.  Though life and sin and circumstance inflicted wounds, God took 2 people, & began to build a family through which He may be glorified as Savior, as Healer.

Love has beaten religion.  This changes everything.

Through death, that is the crumbling of multiple homes and families, a new family was born.  In sharp contrast to the darkness of our current world, when I ponder the miracle of the home I’m from, I see in clear relief, that from the ashes of abuse, misuse, neglect, hate, and un-love, a new life has flourished.

Redemption has crippled dysfunction. This changes everything.

Many cycles of pain and suffering have been transformed by the healing power of Love into a safe haven where the same Spirit able to raise Christ from the dead is turning pain, fear, and disaster into truth, service, and worship to the Author of our great Salvation.

Life has triumphed over Death. This changes everything.

The children are not constrained to the curses of the parents.  In the Myhre family, God has shown to me, and I am sure many others, that in Christ, new creation is not only possible, but necessary.

Parents who cannot love since they were not loved, friends who cannot stand beside each other out of self preservation, the scars inflicted by betrayal: they all have been made captive to the resurrection of ability to love.  This changes everything.

Psalm 68:8a   “God settles the solitary in a home.” 

2 Corinthians 5:17   “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 

I was nervous.  Breathing was optional and difficult, and therefore disregarded.  I occupied my hands with a coffee mug I had been nursing all morning.  Butterflies took up residence in my abdominal cavity.  My mouth dried up like SpongeBob at the surface.  I have no idea if I made sense to anyone, but the way in which the Lord whispered to my mental state and nudged the corners of my healing-hampered heart made me thankful for the rocky road to the Sunday mic.

Posted in Food, Holidays, Thanks for the memories, The Husband

Room #35


Jim works at a high-end hotel.  He’s a bellboy.  Only they don’t call themselves that.  They’re porters.  Or some such nonsense.  They hover near the front entrance, ready at a moment’s notice to carry rich people’s crap to their rooms.  And in general, be at their beck and call.  Do their bidding.  Etcetera and so on and so forth.

Being an employee of said fancy digs, acquisition was made for a night’s stay, entirely free of charge for us.  Aside, of course, from the generous tips we bestowed upon the unfortunate employees who had not the luxury of having the night off.  Somehow, we managed to accrue 2 of these stays.  The 1st was spent in September in lieu of an anniversary celebration.  The 2nd, last night.

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Because Jim is learning what makes his wife happy, he requested the haunted room.  I have to say this: it was a better room than the one we had the last time.  Even without the bathroom heat lamp and the balcony.  Who needs a balcony in the winter anyways?  It was a cozy little room.  With a window seat.  Window seat trumps balcony.  Amen.

And if you turn the bathroom light on in the middle of the night, turn the dimmer to low.  The ghost will respond to the summons.  You’ll know.  The light will flicker.

That was the highlight of the stay.

Close 2nd?  The outfit.  Duh.

And I am a little self absorbed.  That is all.

Who doesn't feel like yellow from time to time?
The room demanded a shot like this.

Sometimes you have your husband snap a shot and the camera angle adds pounds.
Sometimes you have your husband snap a shot and the camera angle adds pounds.

"Vintage Hollywood" my friend called it.

“Vintage Hollywood” my friend called it.
On our way to dinner.
On our way to dinner.
It seems a shame to put on so much makeup for only a couple of hours, but it's so much fun.
It seems a shame to put on so much makeup for only a couple of hours, but it's so much fun.

 

 

P.S.  I currently have a slight addiction to photo editing.  Stay tuned…