I haven't seen my computer much over the past week. I think Christmastime keeps me pretty busy doing a lot of other stuff (so I have more I can write about here?), so please don't give up on me. As things settle down, I'll get back to posting more regularly ... but for now, I'll post when I have a free moment.
First, I want to publicly state just how impacted I was upon hearing the news of another school shooting in Newtown, CT. I don't know that we've ever been to that part of Connecticut, but having lived not far from there for eight years, it still feels like it was close to "home." It doesn't help that I have kids in the age range of the children who were executed that day. My heart just filled with grief and pain for those families who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
I was sick that day. I woke up feeling okay, but Z and O had been vomiting in the night (it has also passed through my three oldest nieces) and then after breakfast, I started feeling flu-like symptoms. It was all I could do to get up the stairs and collapse into my bed.
Thank you, S, for monitoring your siblings all day and for checking in with me regularly. I couldn't have gotten the rest I needed without you. Thank you, D, for having the wisdom to have your kids stay home with their own illnesses since I wouldn't have been any help to them that day.
As a distraction, I turned on our bedroom television. I planned to watch something recorded because I'm not a fan of daytime television. But what popped up was the news shortly after the shooting as they were just gathering sketchy details of what happened.
I watched for at least an hour, gathering details. Sometimes, I was texting C or D while they were at work so they knew what was going on outside their offices. Mostly, I was lying there with my eyes closed just listening to the reports. Awful.
I felt sick and terrible, but the news and magnitude of the situation was just horrible. Eventually, I had to switch it off and watch something lighter -- not out of disregard for what was happening, but out of a need to stop crying for the families affected, which didn't make me feel better at all.
Prayer. Yes, I spent a lot of time that day praying. I prayed for those investigating, I prayed for the families of the children lost, I prayed for the families of the principal and other adults lost and for the injured. I prayed to thank God for lives spared. I prayed to thank Him because as we have seen time and again, He uses bad things for good in the lives of those who love Him, and I know He won't let us down this time. I thanked Him for our children and that they were safe, downstairs, watching television for far too many hours that day.
People of Newtown, CT: I know so many of your neighbors around the globe are praying for you all. May you find peace amidst this crisis. May you know that Jesus loves you and that there is a plan in all this craziness. I am so sorry for your losses. I am overwhelmed just thinking about how you must feel. I'm going to continue praying.
By Saturday, I felt better. I knocked out a bunch of Christmas shopping I wanted to get done (along with everyone else who finds Saturday a convenient day to shop) and I was very blessed to be able to do most of it all on my own. C took the kids and they did their own shopping.
We squeezed in dance class and kids' church Christmas musical rehearsal.
Today was the performance during our church service (I'm including a short clip)...
And yes, that is O scuffling for a place up front on the right. During the other songs, he spent the whole time waving at me over and over. What can I say? He's very outgoing and social.
I think the funniest part is that we were told that the kids were supposed to dress as orphans like the kids dressed in the movie, Annie. So J got herself dressed this morning in a skirt (that she loves) that has a big ripped section in it with leggings, a wrinkled shirt and she didn't brush her hair, but then threw it up in two ponytails. O had on pants that have flooded (too short) and an old red sweater. But about half the kids were dressed up in their best Christmas clothes, while those dressed as "orphans," were just wearing their normal play clothes with hair perfectly in place.
So, our kids, who were, for a time, orphans themselves in real life, were the worst dressed up there. Awesome. These will make great Christmas pictures! I'll make sure to send some to their old social workers back east, too, so they can see how well the kids are taken care of now.
Anyway, after church service was our annual Christmas dinner. C coordinated the youth to be servers. S and H served. The other three kids sat with friends of ours at a table to eat, but then only ate cupcakes. I took pictures of the service and then I left to do some wrapping. I know I was supposed to stay for the meal, but I wasn't going to eat what they were serving (enchiladas) and C told me it was fine with him if I got stuff done that needed doing.
Oh, by the way, with a brief celebration that did not confine itself to Paleo, I am still sticking with it and I've lost another three pounds (being sick helped that, too). Yay!
Tomorrow's Monday. Lord, help us all glorify you as we progress through this week and in everything we do.