Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

When I picked the four fave posts in my blog-iversary post - I knew I'd leave out posts that I liked ever better. 187 posts in a year - that's a lot of deep thinkin.

MBG picked Permanent Color, which I liked too. Facing It was filled with introspection.
Then there were the stories of the kids' shenanigans.

I will remember 2007 as a really hard year.
But also one that forced me to grow as a person.

Excuse me while I proclaim a bit of my faith: I heard a pastor once describe how God cherishes people's pain because it is when His children cling to Him the tightest. When we have to let Him carry us through. The same way we do for our own family. That image has gotten me through the past six weeks. I am grateful for that.

With that, I wish you a very Happy New Year. My brain has been swirling with resolutions, which I will publish within the next day. Whether I accomplish them or not, sometimes it just helps to put it out there.

I am optimistic for the coming year.
It holds many oppotunities unforeseen.
I am confident that I am up for it all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


It was one year ago today that I lost my blog virginity.

Boy, time flies when you're navel gazing.

Here are four of my favorite posts, in no particular order (apparently birthdays bring out the writer in me): Being at Home, Birthday Girl, Dear Mason, The Twenties

And my favorite series, Keeping House, which I hope to do more of in the new year (damn resolutions)!

I've hovered over Delete Blog more than once with that cursor.
I'm so glad I never clicked.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Giving More

Jen and Mad are expanding their Just Posts with a beautiful challenge for the coming year. Volunteerism.

Which, of course, got me thinking.

My background in social work. I've got a b.s in it. For real. B.S.

I spent four years in my undergrad planning to save my small corner of the world. I learned so much about the field of social work at a individual, group, and community level. I learned how to counsel. How to case manage. I learned about stress management and boundaries. I learned about burn out. About professionalism in human services. About communication. It was a fantastic education and my excitement was huge. I was social work student of the year in 2000. I graduated summa cum laude. I could hardly pick a focus. Medical social work? Government? Homeless programs? Teen moms? Not-for-profit? Corporate?

The possibilities were endless and I was excited!

I ended up working with people with disabilities in a government case management role. It fit my personality and I loved this population of people. What a great feeling it was, to help people and their families get all of the supports that they need.

After several years working in this position, my life had really changed. I had a child. Suddenly, my focus was not on saving people of the world. It was in rearing just this little one. She was my Focus. I realized that I needed a change, that would be better for my family, better for me. I also disliked the hands-off nature of case management. I saw many ill-equipped people trying to educate and assist people with disabilities, and do a crappy job of it. I wanted to get my hands dirty, to get in there and try to make a real difference.

I went back to school and earned a master's of education in special education. It took my two years and eight months. Many tears. Many miles.

Here I am today, now trying to rear two small ones. Two people who have my Focus. And twenty-seven teenagers with special needs, who I am also trying to help out. I am a teacher.

So my focus is on my family and my career. My home and my marriage. We go to church (sometimes). A church that is very service driven. A church that challenges people to help the least of us. A church that is not satisfied with only attendance.

I often have guilt. Over my self-absorption. What about all of those other things I wanted to do? The teen moms? The sick children? The homeless? The aging veterans?

But self-absorption is certainly not the right term. I haven't had a hair cut in 7 months (really). I take care of many others before myself. But there are the "others", the populations of those in need that I wanted to save as a social worker.

It becomes a choice for me. Do I spread myself more thin with a few hours a month at the Children's Hospital or Veteran's Home? Or do I make a commitment to giving more energy and more passion to the things I am already doing?

I will be a better teacher. I will be a better wife. I will be a better mother.

Those are the things that this year, I am volunteering to do. This year, I will do better for those that I am already committed to.

When my children are older, when they are more portable, we will help our community. I will teach my children to give back. I will teach my children to respect and honor difference. We will be a family that volunteers. I will be a retired teacher who possibly starts her own private not-for-profit. Or the teacher/social worker who does something wonderful for our community. Or the one who runs for local office on a platform that speaks up for people with exceptionalities. Something that does make a difference. It will involve my passions and my skills.

But for now, I will be dormant. One who stays sane at home. And who does right by the wee ones in my home. I resolve to do better here. And extend myself perhaps a bit more at church, through the programs that are already established there.

We can give of ourselves more this year than last.
I am going to do that.

Friday, December 21, 2007


My post yesterday was such a bummer for the weekend before Christmas really. And was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek regarding what you say to a 'how are you?' and what you are really thinking...any way.

The holidays really are my very favorite time of the year, sick or not. I love the music, the lights, the snow, the gifts, the scripture, the waiting, the Coming. The story of His birth is my very favorite story. All the other Christmas movies and holiday specials. My DVR list is absolutely jam-packed with holiday shows to watch. My cupboard is full of ingredients to make yummy holiday treats, just as soon as my lung capacity is up and I don't feel quite so yucky. I'm making all kinds of yummies. The holiday outfits, the family get togethers, the nativity. The cards in the mail. The two week break from school. The changing of time to a new year.

It's all just too good. Too good.

Growing up, we didn't have excess, but my family celebrated. We had lots of good food and lots of big family gatherings. Santa always left something on Christmas morning and it was always such fun! The year I got a Cabbage Patch doll, that was memorable. One year, I remember getting a stereo (long after having stopped believing in Santa), and Santa was real to me again. I really wanted that stereo! Christmas has always been something special.

I was talking to my cousin this morning about getting stuck in one's own bummers. I try so hard not to do that. When you think of the scope of the entire world, my world is so magnificient. The fact that I have a heated home, medical care, healthy kids, a career, a car (even one that's in the shop getting expensive repairs), makes me a lucky one. The fact that loved ones who are sick are able to seek treatment. That we are free to make our choices. That we have monthly income to keep paying off bills. It all makes us fortunate. No one is without their struggles, I choose not to let mine get me off track.

So in this blessed season, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. In this season, it is so good to say Thank You Jesus. Thank you for it all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hi Ya Neighbor

What do you say when your neighbor across the street asks, "How are you?"
It really shouldn't be a tough question. Today, for me, it was.

Do I say fine?


Do I say that I'm crappy?

That I found out yesterday that I have pneumonia and that I won't be able to work for the rest of the week? That I'll be missing my last two days of work. Finals exam days that are 1/2 days for the kids? That I'm missing a ton of teacher work time that was going to help me finish up grades and progress notes?

Do I tell him that I spent yesterday crying? That I was told by my doctor to nix weekend plans? Which meant no Christmas with my parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews this year? That this is the first time in my life I'll be missing Christmas with my side of the family and that it's got me feeling like holding my own pity party for one?

Well...I didn't. Say ALL of that. I did tell him I'm under the weather and he wished me well.

And I will be.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Christmas Program

The scene at our house tonight:

I'm tired. I've taken both kids to the girl's Christmas program. Daddy had to miss it (boo) for a calendar committee meeting (boo).

We've come home. The boy drops an entire box of goldfish crackers onto a tiny tea plate, trying to get a snack. I chuckle. Brought on by laughs, the girl decides she'll make it more of a mess, to get more laughs.

"No! Just because Mommy laughs, does not mean something is funny!" I even say it sharply, to add meaning. Really, have you ever heard any so ludicrous? Jeez. Just because I laugh it's not funny. I really did not think that one through.

Then, the children help the manger folk (wise men, Mary, know the type) to a snack at the Christmas tree. My little boy making little chomping sounds as the shepard takes pretend bites out of our tree. Then returns them to the barn beneath the tree.

That is joy.
That is Christmas to me.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Sun Came Up This Morning

'Tis better to hope, though clouds hang low,
And keep the eyes uplifted;
For the sweet blue sky will soon peep through,
When the ominous clouds are lifted.
There never was a night without a day
Or an evening without a morning,
And the darkest hour, as the proverb goes,
Is the hour before the dawning.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back Up

I've been struggling for the last hour with the urge to delete my earlier post.
I am a optimistic person who tries to stay positive. It's very hard for me to "talk" about the dark side. But it's there, even if I hide it most of the time.

A few of the closest people in my life recently have questioned my motive and the purpose of blogging. The most influential person in my life said that she doesn't get it, that it does not seem like a good idea, and she doesn't know why I put myself "out there" for others to comment on.

That has definitely slowed the internet introspection at Omaha Mama.
Because I couldn't really answer to it.

I've journaled since third grade.
And probably secretly wished someone could or would read my angst and talk with me about it. I'm not a very private person, but I tend to keep things close to my heart that are troubling me personally. This blog tends to let me vent, brag, write, read. All things that are good and healthy for me.

I like to blog.
I like the hobby.
I love the writing.
And the reading.

I just wish a little that I had kept it a secret from a close few.
From the ones who don't get it.

For those who do, I'm glad you are here.
I'll try to keep posts like my earlier one to a minimum.

I'm rambling and I realize this.
My head and heart are just so full.

Some Whine With My Cheese

Warning: This is not a Happy Holiday Post. If that is what you are wishing for this evening, please overt your eyes and step away from this blog.

I've spent a little time today reading the past three months of my posts.
It made me cry. I had to get a tissue.

Mostly for the stuff I didn't write.
For the last weeks of comments from one of my best friends.
Jaqniel is the commenter who lost her battle to cancer on Thanksgiving.
I miss her.

Then there's my sweet nephew.
He's battling leukemia. And it's just not mine to write about. But it's breaking all of our hearts.
It's also filling them with pride.

I write mostly seasonal posts these days.
Of children and photos and changing weather.

I've realized something about myself.
If I think about certain things too much, my heart feels with fear.
The evening news makes me cry.
So I keep things on the surface.
And pray my butt off.

We had a horrible, violent event in Omaha at one of our shopping malls.
A man shot up the place and killed people.
Here. In my new hometown.

Then there's the cancer. My friends and family who are battling cancer.
How does that not fill a person with anger and fear?

And our family's penchant for viruses and infections this fall/winter. I've got bronchitis and sinus infection. I can't draw a full breath. Yuck. Three of four in our household are taking antibiotics. It would be four, but he finished his round.

I feel like I shouldn't even hit publish here.
But I've been alluding to being somber and tired for months.

This is why.

I'm forever and optimist and believe 2008 will be better.
I believe in many things. That is what makes me smile.
Right now, I'm smiling.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Because We Need A Little Christmas, Right This Very Moment

We've had a festive December thus far.

It's hard to feel pure joy, when you've got others' sorrow on your mind.
My family and friends' trials are my own.
That being said, I still feel the need to honor this glorious season with the usual traditions.

Giving them as much energy and joy and I can.

My kids make that part easy.

My faith is renewed at this time of year.

It brings back memories from my childhood, as well as my efforts to make new memories for myself and my kids.

My prayer tonight is that everyone can find joy in this season, no matter how small. There is pain, loss, and suffering around us. We huddle together and find joy in each other.
It is a comfort.

Just sharing your life with someone.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Warm Memories

Last year's Christmas greeting
The 1st of December and we're having our first ice storm. Brrr...
The goal for today is to take down all remaining fall adornments and put up the happy Santas, snowmen, and the TREE. Quite an undertaking indeed.
It makes me think of last year, the first year that Brenna really got into it. She helped put it up and didn't try to tear it down. Mason was only 7 months old, so still harmless. This year, I fear his destruction. There will have to be constant supervision in the room where we put up the tree. He is that child. The one who would end up trying to climb it, only to have the whole thing come crashing down on him. I love him dearly, but he is truly that child.
And we don't want the poor boy to have such Christmas trauma!
I'll let you know later how it all goes. And maybe share a pic.
For now, I'm going nostalgic.
Remembering this time last year.