Rethinking Christmas

Something magical happens as the month moves from November into December.  The air gets a little cooler, and there is a distinct smell of Christmas.  I savor the smell of Christmas trees and burning logs in the fireplace, making a cold night cozy and enjoyable.  I could sing carols all year long, and my heart smiles as the radio plays songs of a quiet town and a bright star. I take delight in the squeals of my children as we pass a house covered in bright, colored lights, even though I prefer a more simply decorated home of white candles and wreaths. I love this time of year and the beauty that it brings.

And while I love all the joys of the season, every year I find an internal battle erupt within me as the talk of Christmas begins. When I became an adult, little things about Christmas here and there began to bother me, but it wasn’t until I had children that a full conflict ensued.

My first priority was to ensure that my children understood why we had Christmas, that Christmas is ultimately about the gift of salvation God sent to humanity through a tiny baby, yet I couldn’t reconcile the way we celebrated Christmas with its actual meaning.  Even after my husband and I took specific measures to ensure Christ was a part of our family’s Christmas, the explanations I gave to my children didn’t make sense, even to me.

I remember confiding in our Bible study when my first child was nearing two my uncertainty of how to introduce Santa Claus into Christmas without making him the hero, pushing Christ aside.  One woman suggested if I told my children the story of St. Nicholas, I wouldn’t have a problem.  So I read up on St. Nicholas, trying to fill in the gaps of my understanding, and I explained Christmas to my kids: “St. Nicholas loved Jesus so much that he brought gifts to children whose families didn’t have enough money for the things they needed…and we remember St. Nicholas by having Santa Claus bring you presents even though your family is not poor.

We did our best to keep the gifts at Christmastime from becoming excessive, so we gave each child three gifts: “When Jesus was born, He received three gifts from the Three Wise Men…and even though it’s not your birthday, we thought you should get presents because clearly the gift of Jesus is not enough.” Every year I struggle as I try to connect the true meaning of the holiday with how we celebrate.  But the fact of the matter is that I struggle because the connection is weak.

Let me be clear–I’m not opposed to presents, I’m not opposed to spending time with loved ones, and I’m certainly not opposed to the good cheer and good deeds that traditionally accompany Christmastime.  However, I’m not sure that how we celebrate this holy day is, in fact, holy, or resembles anything that would make Jesus proud, and if we’re going to have a holiday with His name on it, the day should resemble Him and His values.

How could He take delight in a holiday that we made, supposedly in His honor, that causes the family who can barely meet its bills added stress over not being able to give its kids a ‘good’ Christmas?  Why would he rejoice in the amount of money being spent, possibly debt being created, in order to give our loved ones things that really have nothing to do with the love of Christ? While my family sits around a tree, ripping into gifts that we don’t need, another family around the globe goes without water and the basic necessities we take for granted.  When Jesus was on earth He lived humbly and modestly, showing compassion and mercy to those around Him. How could He then find glory and honor in a day devoted to exalting ourselves, our materialism, even good things like our families–but not Him?

Christ did not come to make us comfortable.  Christ did not come so we could enjoy large family gatherings.  He came to seek and save the lost.  He came as a baby to one day lay down His life as a sacrifice, and those of us who believe are called to serve as His ambassadors. Yet the day we set aside to remember His gift seems to gloss over the call that was put upon us.

I remember when I was younger having Jewish and Hindu friends who celebrated Christmas.  I didn’t understand how they could celebrate a day that held such important religious significance to the Christian community, how they could simply remove ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’ and continue on with the holiday.  Yet, as I look at how most Christians celebrate Christmas, I can honestly say there isn’t much of a difference.  Perhaps some of us go to church, but only if our church offers a Christmas Eve service, and only if the time won’t interfere with our family’s plans.  We may read from the Gospel of Luke or sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Jesus, but the rest of the day looks remarkably similar.

As Christians, we get frustrated when franchises instruct their employees to say, ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas,’ and we lament the disputes over where we can and cannot display our nativity scenes.  We desperately want to keep Christ in Christmas, yet, perhaps, we never really invited Him in.

But what if this year we changed Christmas? What if this year we really did make it about Him?  What if instead of making a Christmas budget for all the gifts we had to buy with a portion set aside for the good deeds we wanted to do, we instead made a budget for all the good deeds we wanted to do with a small portion set aside for gifts?  What if we enjoyed a quiet night, a holy night singing carols around the tree reflecting on our Savior who came with nothing so that we could have everything, and we let that realization be enough?

What if Christmas were known around the world as the time of year when Christians took care of all of God’s children?  Not just filling up a shoebox or making a donation to a charity but sacrificially giving up our own gifts in the hope that others might encounter the one True Gift.  What if the month of December were marked by Christians giving food and building wells as a means to show the world the Bread of Life who promises that we will never grow hungry or thirst?

Frankly, the thought is a little scary.  Who wants to mess with Christmas?  But perhaps it’s time.  I can spend years trying to make the connection for my children between their meaningless gifts and Jesus, or I can rethink Christmas and give it real meaning.

I want to invite Him in.  I want to remove the hustle and bustle of the holidays to focus on the little babe in the manger.  I want to push past the mound of presents that I don’t need to remember the only true treasure that I couldn’t buy. I want my gifts to others to point the way to a loving Father, and I want them to know the gift that He has given me. I want His gift to be enough. And I want Jesus to smile and say, “Yes, I’ll put my name on this holiday,” because the day was truly His.

Added December 1, 2010: I just discovered a whole website devoted to changing Christmas this year by turning our hearts towards those in need.  Check out ChristmasChange for more blogs on this topic.

A Parable

There once was a mother who could be heard repeating the same phrases daily:

“Stop picking your nose! You’re going to get sick!”

“Wash your hands after you use the bathroom!  It’ll keep you from getting sick!”

“Eat your vegetables so you grow up healthy and strong–you don’t want to get sick!”

One Thanksgiving week this mother who always washed her hands got sick.

The same day she caught a stomach bug her husband who never picked his nose got sick.

The night before Thanksgiving a certain uncle who only ate organic food got sick.

Thanksgiving night the sweet aunt who picked up the mother’s children while wearing a mask (no kidding) when the mother was sick got sick.

Guess which turkeys didn’t get sick?

Moral of the story:  Mommies don’t know everything.

If Mommy Takes a Sick Day

If Mommy decides to take a sick day and sleeps ten more minutes,

then her daughter will decide to play dress-up in her closet.

She will try on every skirt and all the pants that Mommy owns.

After she tries on all the clothes, she will notice that she isn’t wearing any shoes,

so of course, she will pull out Mommy’s ankle-height black boots.

Wearing these boots will make her feel very grown up,

so she will set out to do some grown up things.

First, she will make sure her brother and sister accompany her downstairs

while her mommy throws up in the toilet.

When she gets downstairs, she will realize that Mommy always makes breakfast,

and since she looks like Mommy in her boots, she will get some.

She will first have to push a chair to the refrigerator so she can get the friendship bread and cookies ‘hidden’ on top.

While she is getting breakfast for everyone, she notices the pack of 10,000 stickers and the stamp pads that she just got as a gift.

She decides they must have arts and crafts after breakfast.

Looking at her stickers makes her want scissors so she can cut her stickers into 1,000,000,000 tiny pieces.

Looking at her scissors makes her brother want to cut her hair.

Luckily, Mommy finishes throwing up in time (she hopes).

If Mommy takes a sick day,

then Aunt Lisa normally offers to take the kids away.  And she does.

And if Aunt Lisa takes the kids away,

then Grammy and Papa Joe normally let the kids spend the night.

And if the kids are gone,

then Mommy can throw up and try to rest on her sick day in peace

and leave the clothes and friendship bread crumbs and 1,000,000,000 sticker pieces until tomorrow.

Which she does.

And when tomorrow comes,

Mommy cleans up all the clothes and friendship bread crumbs and 1,000,000,000 sticker pieces.

If Mommy is feeling well enough to clean,

then the kids have to come home.

And if the kids come home,

then they will drive her crazy.

But after they drive her crazy,

they will go to bed.

But to get back at her for sending them away,

the baby will wake up at four and six, and the daughter who likes to dress up will come in her bed before Mommy’s ready to wake up.

And after all the throwing up, and cleaning up, and waking up,

Mommy decides she needs to sleep ten more minutes.

Inspired by Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and other children’s books.

The Blind Date

The world  of Facebook and Twitter and the blogosphere is so amazing to me. The ability to connect with someone on the other side of the world is literally at my fingertips.  When I started blogging, I wasn’t writing so much for the connections; I simply enjoyed writing and wanted to get in the habit of doing it more.  But as I continued to share my blog, I started to recognize individuals who would comment.  Over time, we began to have conversations through blog posts, and some of those conversations have led to friendships.

As one with many acquaintances but few that I would consider true friends, I use the word ‘friendship’ carefully.  I am a relatively nice individual, and I would venture to say that most people who meet me like me.  However, I seem to have trouble getting past the acquaintance level.  Perhaps I’m a little inhibited when it comes to asking people to do things with me, or truth-be-told, I’m sure I sometimes isolate myself in the little bubble I have created for the kids and me.  Or I guess there is the other possibility that after reading my blog, people just think I’m crazy and tend to stay away.

In any event, there was one woman whose name would pop up frequently in the comment section of my blog, and mine in hers.  Lisa is her name, which also happens to be the name of my own sister.  Anyway, Lisa would leave little comments here and there, and I would do the same, and after a while, I just knew this woman would be my friend if we ever met.  At one point in our commenting, I wrote that, in fact, we should meet–after all, I knew Lisa lived somewhere in the area of where I live because she went to the same church as a friend of mine.

A couple of weeks later, Lisa sent me an e-mail agreeing and offering suggestions of where we should meet and when.  She even joked that we were mimicking the movie You’ve Got Mail, a movie that I’ve never seen, so I don’t know if I’m playing Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks.  And the date was set–a Tuesday at Starbucks.  My first blind date ever.

I guess the date wasn’t completely blind, as Lisa’s picture was on her blog and my picture on mine, but how did I know that she wasn’t using one of her Glamour Shots from years ago?  I’m seriously thinking of changing my profile picture to my Glamour Shot from when I was 14; they made me look 30, after all.  I digress.

I can honestly say that I wasn’t nervous about meeting Lisa.  Yes, I wondered how naturally conversation would flow, but I wasn’t nervous.  As I said before, I knew we would be friends.  And sure enough, from the moment Lisa opened the door of the Starbucks for Chloe and me on that rainy moment, our ‘in person’ friendship began.  While her daughter sat quietly and perfectly in her stroller and Chloe sat in multiple chairs eating both her snack and my breakfast (No, Chloe, I’m not bitter), Lisa and I chatted away.  Within minutes of meeting, we were already discussing our child-spacing methods or lack thereof and went on to filling in the gaps that our blogs didn’t provide.

And it was refreshing.  It was refreshing to meet a kindred spirit, a woman whom I didn’t know, yet at the same time, feel like I knew for years.  It was refreshing to sit and sip a cup of coffee, enjoy watching our little girls, while the drizzle sprinkled over the outside.  It was refreshing, and I look forward to doing it again.

When Matt got home that night, he asked how my blind date went.  I told him, “Lisa and I really hit it off, and we’re going to see each other again.”  Matt just rolled his eyes.  I hope he doesn’t think he’s going to be replaced.  After all, he his my best friend, even if Lisa is my new friend.

This week I am thankful for my new friendship and my old friendships with which God has blessed me.  Thank you, also, to my other steady friends that I may not have ever met but continue to brighten my days with their thoughtful comments on my blog.  If I ever get to your state or country, or if you’re ever in Georgia, I know there’s a local Starbucks waiting for us to meet!  For what friendships are you thankful this week?  Come share for this ‘Focus On It Friday’!

Why I Was Late

Since having children, I have had a tendency to show up five minutes late everywhere, and this year I decided, no more!  I will not be that person!  However, I am still that person but not for a lack of trying.  And for all of those mothers who are on time everywhere and don’t understand mothers like me–I don’t know what to say.  I can only throw my hands up in the air and question, “Maybe tomorrow?”.  However, perhaps if I explain a morning like yesterday’s, I’ll receive a little grace from those who want to condemn me and my lateness.

6:00: Alarm goes off.  I hit snooze (Okay, that may have been my first mistake, but give me a break!  I still got up at 6:10–it’s pitch black outside!).

6:10: Go to the bathroom, wash my face, put in contacts

6:15: Pray, read my Bible

6:45: Begin working on my blog

7:10: Caleb and Chloe simultaneously wake up.  (Darn.  I had one more paragraph to write. I was going to stop at 7:15, anyway.  Now two kids are up before I’m dressed.  I am sunk).

7:12: Instruct Caleb to get dressed. Go to wake up Hannah Grace

7:15: Change Chloe’s diaper, get her dressed.  See Caleb doing karate in the hallway, ask him if he’s dressed.  Haven’t seen Hannah Grace emerge, know she must be lying on her floor doing nothing.

7:20: Redirect Caleb. Go in Hannah Grace’s room to tell her again it’s time to put on the clothes we picked out the night before. (See?  Organization!).

7:25: Give Chloe some books to read. Begin getting dressed myself. Caleb runs in my room, informing me he’s dressed.  Redirect Caleb to make his bed.

7:30: Stop getting myself ready when I realize the baby is no longer reading in her room.  Walk past Hannah Grace’s room where she is still lying on her floor half naked.  Redirect her

7:32: Make it downstairs to where Chloe has pushed a chair to the counter and is trying to get a banana.  Notice all the aluminum foil she unrolled and the dog food she has spilled all over the floor

7:35: Go back upstairs with unhappy baby. Go past Hannah Grace’s room where she is still half naked, lying on her floor.  Redirect Hannah Grace

7:38: Attempt to get ready again.

7:40: Stop getting dressed to yell at Caleb who has found his Daddy’s screwdriver (the tool, not his morning beverage).  Ask Caleb if he made his bed.  He says, “yes” and has, in fact, made his bed.  Check on Hannah Grace who is still half naked on her floor.  Redirect her.

7:45: Attempt to get ready again.

7:50: Put Caleb in time out for tackling one of his sisters.

7:55: Finish getting ready, check on Hannah Grace who is still half-naked, lying on her floor.  Inform Hannah Grace that we are about to go downstairs and that naked people do not eat at my table.  No shoes, no shirt, no service.  Again point out the clothes that we picked out the night before. (At this point I debate if I should just dress her myself.  I decide, ‘no,’ she’s just being defiant and wants me to dress her, and I will stick to my ‘No naked breakfast’ policy)

8:00: Fix Caleb and Chloe’s hair and am ready to do Hannah Grace’s but notice she is still lying on the floor half-naked.  Remind her again of the breakfast policy. Go to my own room to quickly make bed, grab water and cell phone off nightstand.

8:15: Hannah Grace notices the three of us are going downstairs to eat, so she begins to get dressed.  Tell Caleb to get on shoes located in the shoe basket next to the door (More proof that I’m not completely disorganized).

8:20: Serve everyone breakfast, pass out vitamins.

8:23: Grab Chloe’s shoes to put on while she’s in the high chair. Notice the socks that I put on her are no longer on her feet.  Remember seeing Hannah Grace taking off Chloe’s socks during one of the visits to her room when she was lying half-naked on her floor.  Go find Chloe’s socks.

8:25: Put on Chloe’s shoes. Begin to clean up aluminum foil and dog food mess Chloe made previously.

8:30: Give the five-minute warning announcing that breakfast is over soon.  Gather toothbrushes and toothpaste.

8:35: Announce breakfast is over, and tell kids to put their bowls in the sink.  Get bookbags and jackets off of hooks hanging by the door. (I’m really impressing myself with all of this organization)

8:37: Notice that no one has stopped eating; fall into panic mode.  Announce loudly that all bowls need to go in the sink

8:38: Caleb takes a last drink of milk and spills half of it down his shirt.  Hannah Grace grabs her bowl off of the table and spills all of her remaining milk on the floor.  Think to myself that whoever came up with the saying “There’s no use crying over spilt milk” didn’t clean up spilt milk every day.

8:40: Caleb, Hannah Grace, and I clean up spilt milk.

8:45: Everyone brushes teeth.  I grab Chloe and tell everyone to grab jackets and backpacks and head to the car. Then I notice two children who don’t have on shoes.  (Didn’t we already put on shoes?)

8:50: Kids put on their shoes

8:55: Once again, tell kids to grab jackets and backpacks and head out door with strict orders to go straight to car seats and buckle up.

8:55 and 30 seconds: Hannah Grace stops and says, “Oh, look! Leaves!” and begins to waste time admiring the leaves on the ground.

8:58: Finish buckling Chloe who has decided she no longer likes being confined by a car seat.  She perfects the ‘stiff-as-a-board’ body position. Get ready to pull out of driveway.  Look in rearview mirror and see unbuckled daughter in the back seat.

9:00: Begin buckling oldest daughter in the back who then has tantrum because she wants to buckle herself (except she didn’t from 8:55-9:00).

9:03: Leave for preschool (Carpool runs from 9:00–9:10)

9:09: Arrive at carpool.  Kiss children goodbye with clenched jaw and open door for teacher to get them.  Teacher notifies me we are missing a backpack.

9:10: My brain explodes, and then I head home to get a certain little girl’s backpack.

My Allergy

I was in a bad mood for two-and-a-half days straight, and I blame my mood completely on one ill-conceived plan by my well-meaning husband.

It was Saturday, and I had said that perhaps we could go to this furniture consignment store that Matt had driven past the other day.  I wanted to see if they had any inexpensive furniture for my quest to reorganize the playroom.  What I meant was that I wanted to go to this furniture consignment store in my quest for furniture to reorganize the playroom.  Then I wanted to come home.  What Matt heard was, “Blah blah blah blah furniture blah blah blah playroom blah blah blah.”  He came up with the brilliant idea to breakfast at Ikea and then traverse the store for ideas.

“Big deal!” you say.  Yes, it is a big deal.  Perhaps I should enlighten you with a very important tidbit of information about myself:  I despise shopping.  I literally have physical reactions to shopping.  I can remember in high school shopping for homecoming dresses in multiple stores and having to sit down next to a rack of dresses so that I wouldn’t pass out.  Nearly every Christmas season, I get faint and dizzy and have to sit down (probably because the temperature of the stores is 107 degrees). I get pounding headaches. I get crabby. Very crabby.  And I start to dislike people.

I didn’t date a lot, but if ever a boy suggested roaming around the mall as a date, that would have been our last.  I am sure that sometime in the course of the evening I would have blurted out, “You’re stupid,” merely because I am allergic to shopping, and my allergy causes me to become very mean.

I don’t like looking for great deals or shopping at stores with clothes thrown all over the place.  I like neat.  I like clean.  I don’t like to search.  I like to walk into a store and immediately walk out with my purchase.  If I go to hell, I will be placed in a mall and told to window shop for eternity. My allergy is a pain, and I hope a researcher develops a shot or something someday.

So when Matt suggested Ikea, my heart started beating at an irregular rhythm.  I know I’m supposed to love Ikea–it’s its own amazing little country–but I hate Ikea.  First of all, I rarely like any of their furniture, (I have discussed previously that I am not cool or trendy, so their stuff just doesn’t do it for me) so the thought of walking around a store that is the size of a little country just to search for ideas makes me want to poke a pencil through my eyeball.

I know I’m supposed to love Ikea–it’s kid friendly!  It is extremely kid friendly–they even have their own little daycare; however, I’m not comfortable leaving my children with people I don’t know, so we end up dragging them around with us.  Yes, Ikea has bottle warmers, extra diapers, baby food, family changing rooms, and a family parking lot, but none of that changes the fact that the layout of their store is a non-shopper’s nightmare!  And therein lies the problem.

In their evil-genius marketing plan, Ikea has planned their store so that everyone must walk in the same direction through each little department until reaching the end and thus being given the chance to exit the maze.  A person can’t simply jump to the bedroom area; that person must walk the maze through the preceding departments first.

Unless, of course, that person is part of the Davis family.  Then that person would have somehow started at the end of the store in the children’s area and then decided to walk in the opposite direction of the arrows on the floor with three children, struggling like a family of trout swimming upstream, doing his best to avoid the onslaught of people walking the right way.  For most of the trip I kept imploring Matt, “PLEASE…why can’t we walk in the same direction as everyone else?!”  But evil Ikea didn’t plan simple turn-around points.  There is no turn-around.  One must walk the whole store if one wants to turnaround.  And that wasn’t happening.

Keeping up with our children in this kid-friendly store was a nightmare.  All of the kid rooms were super cute, and of course, our children wanted to jump on every bed, read every book, and travel through the little tunnels connecting one room to the next.  Yes, there were holes in the walls, and we kept losing our children through them.  And the random streamers hanging from the ceiling that had some sort of electro-magnetic field that children were highly susceptible of falling victim to–we lost our kids to those, as well.

While I was prepared for the challenges of kid rooms with beds and toys all available for kids to touch and try out, I wasn’t prepared for sofa after sofa after sofa leading to sofas that were somehow anchored to the wall.  Performing an amazing leap reminiscent of my gymnastics days, I managed to catch hold of the leg of one of my children before she successfully mounted this red couch hanging from the ceiling. I also managed to smash my shin against the bottom rail of one of the floor couches in the process.  I think I hit the most important nerve in my body, causing my shin, foot, and back of my thigh all to throb.

So even though Ikea had a special where we could deduct our lunch (yes, lunch; we were one minute late for breakfast and thus had to pay $4.99 a plate instead of $1.99) total from our purchase of $100 or more, we left empty-handed.  We were just getting ‘ideas’ that day.  Yeah, I came up with a few ideas on that trip, but I’ll save them for myself.

As I hobbled to the car, Matt announced that we were going to Pottery Barn Kids at the mall to get more ideas, and I swear I went into anaphylaxis shock.  I would have paid more attention to the hives had my leg not hurt so darn badly.  So on we went to another store where we would leave empty-handed but full of ideas and more symptoms of an allergic reaction.  And for good measure, Matt took me to Target, too.  Finally, we ended the day with a fifteen minute stop at a certain furniture consignment store.

We got home at five o’clock that evening, and my allergic reaction lasted until the middle of Monday.

My apologies to Ikea.  You really do have an impressive and innovative store.  If it weren’t for my condition, I’m sure I would love it.

Love Is…

Love is falling asleep in his arms on the couch.  After days of going and going and going, constantly moving past one another, our minds moving even if our bodies are not, a moment of embrace on the couch, struggling to fit with a dog who refuses to share, warms my heart that can run cold. Even though the universe doesn’t count the three hours of sleep in the den, and we both face insomnia in our beds at one in the morning, I have found rest.

Love is doing the mundane to preserve something beautiful.  A mop to the dirty floor because he said he would, even though he was tired, and the day was long.  A mop to the dirty floor while I washed clean in the shower, a gesture that spoke volumes, sacrificing his own rest so that I could.

Love is our hands clasped across the body of our daughter who snuggled her way into our bed and found rest.  Love is a warm breakfast on a rainy morning. Love is the giving and receiving, the sacrifices and the blessings, the mundane and the extraordinary, the simple pleasures and the precious treasures.  Love is looking in his eyes and finding rest.

It is so good to be in love.

The Infamous Christmas Card Photo

Every year we try to capture the perfect picture for our Christmas cards, and every year I feel a ton of pressure.  Matt and I inevitably bemoan the fact that we have to wear one of the two sweaters that we own and seem to rotate during the holiday season, and I scurry trying to plan outfits for three little ones who aren’t going to cooperate.  Even though they love to play with the camera themselves, and the girls say ‘cheese’ on cue for Caleb whenever he snaps away, Matt and I seem to illicit a different reaction…

…frustration

…or complete hysteria.

We’ve tried the mall thing, relying on professionals to capture that perfect moment, and while we’ve had good results in the past, the aggravation of long waits, poor customer service, three kids who can’t sit still, three kids who can’t sit still, and three kids who can’t sit still, dampen our Christmas cheer leaving us more akin to Mr. Scrooge.

I have a horrible memory, otherwise I would’ve skipped the aggravation the last couple of years and just made a photo card from Shutterfly.  In 2007, we had a heck of a time trying to get the perfect Christmas family photo but realized that with Shutterfly, we could use any of our photos from the year to fool our friends and family into thinking our children were extra sweet.

Aww…look at that cute little boy who got into his mother’s icing dyes…aww…look at that precious little baby screaming her head off…they must be so sweet.  Ahem.

Shutterfly offers a variety of options for sending holiday greetings.  One could send a Christmas card with that perfect family picture on a flat photo card, or one could arrange a multitude of pictures on a folded stationery card.  For those who enjoy sending the family letters that no one reads, I mean, that everyone loves, these cards are the perfect option.  Just look at all the cute kids who know how to make their moms and dads happy by smiling sweetly! http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery

For those relatives in one’s life who would pave the inside of their shoes with pictures if they could, these photo calendars would make a thoughtful Christmas gift. http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/desk-calendars If you discover a place that actually paves the inside of shoes with photos, let me know–I have a relative who would love that gift!

My favorite thing about Shutterfly is the ease in which a complete dodo like me can use their site.  I’ve tried making photo books and printing photos from other sites because I had a coupon. I promise the coupon wasn’t worth the tears I shed after losing my whole photo book and having to start over three times. (But Shutterfly gives great coupons, too)  Uploading photos is a cinch! http://www.shutterfly.com/upload-pictures

And for all you bloggers out there, Shutterfly is offering the opportunity to earn 50 free holiday cards. http://bit.ly/sfly2010 Earning free cards and eliminating stress while making them–sounds like one less thing I have to worry about this Christmas.  Now maybe I can focus on getting a copy of my daughter’s birth certificate….18 months after she was born.

The Confession

I had decided last week that I was going to start participating in the Writer’s Workshop on Thursdays that Mama Kat hosts, but as I read over the writing prompts for this week, I drew a blank.  I couldn’t’ think of a story to go along with any of her prompts.  A time I stood up for a friend–nothing!  A time I didn’t follow my intuition–nope.  A time I put off something until the last minute–I’ll think about that one later.  I know I have a story to go with each of these prompts, but I also have a bad memory.  The bad memory was winning.

Then there was the prompt ‘my confessions’–umm, no. I mean, I’m already pretty transparent on my blog.  Everyone knows more or less about my parenting failures, those days I’m a less than stellar wife, and areas of my faith in which I’d like to improve.  Shouldn’t I have a little privacy?  Besides, I really don’t have any deep dark secrets.  The Jennifer V. Davis who blogs is essentially the same woman whether or not she’s typing on the computer.

And then I had a dream, a dream where I had to come face-to-face with the truth, a dream where I had to fess up.

In my dream, I was Jack Bauer’s wife.  Not Kiefer Sutherland’s, but Jack Bauer, the character he played on 24. I was madly in love with him in my dream, but to complicate things, I was one of three wives.  Even more awkward than being one of three was being one of three with a woman who attends the same church small group as I.

But I was his favorite, and he showed me his love by letting me share his bed. In my dream, ‘sharing a bed’ was not a euphemism for sex; I literally got to share the bed with Jack.  The woman from small group  slept on a mattress on the floor of the room, and the third nameless wife slept in the den.

I wasn’t comfortable in my status, however, and for a majority of the dream, I dealt with my insecurities, keeping my eye on Jack’s other two wives who were vying for my top position.  But Jack assured me with his crooked smile that I was his Rachel, the other girls, Leah.*

When I woke up from this stupid dream, I immediately thought, “Why in the heck am I dreaming about Jack Bauer?” Part of the dream I can explain: The previous week at small group, the sister of the woman in my dream made some comment about the TV show Sister Wives of which I was not familiar and still have no intention of viewing, especially if the show will cause me to dream about being in a polygamous relationship.

But that fact doesn’t explain why I was married to Jack Bauer, and if I’m going to confess everything, why I have dreamed about him once (okay, twice) before.  Or why each time I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I have to face the facts.  I have to confess:  I have a huge crush on Jack Bauer.

I never realized my feelings.  I’m not a fan of Kiefer Sutherland, and in all honesty, I was happy when 24 finally ended–I could  have my Mondays back.  But, obviously, Jack means more to me than even I knew.

Maybe the dreams aren’t about Jack.  Maybe they represent the time that my husband and I spent together for the last seven seasons as we shared each ridiculously unbelievable episode together.  They represent our weekly dates on the couch as we watched with bated breath to see how Jack would save the day again.  They represent something we enjoyed as a couple, and I’m a little sad that the tradition has ended.

Or maybe I just have a huge crush on Jack Bauer.

Perhaps Matt could yell, “Jennifer, Get out of the car!  GET OUT OF THE CAR!!” and take care of my longings.

Mama's Losin' It

*In Genesis 29 of the Bible, Jacob promises to work for seven years for Laban if he could marry Laban’s beautiful daughter Rachel.  After seven years, Laban tricks Jacob and sneaks Leah, his firstborn, into Jacob’s tent on the wedding night.  Jacob works another seven years in order to get Rachel, his true love.