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Time for JOY and time for cheer

Oh, how I have missed my blog! It’s so much easier to write about things I know! My novel was so fun and rewarding to write, but writing fiction is definitely much harder for me.  You would think it’d be easier since you just use your imagination and you can make it go wherever you want. But it’s really difficult for me to write about police officers, car accidents, falling in love at the age of 30 (I was 14 when I fell in love with the man I am currently married to), and drugs. Yes, all those things are in my novel. Are you shocked? You should be.

Care for a snippet? Here’s another to whet your appetite. It will be a few months before I finish the book, but I fully intend on trying to get it published. Why else would I write a book? To just keep it locked up on my laptop? I doubt it will get picked up, but it’s worth a shot. I will just keep reminding myself, once everyone realizes how terrible it really is, that J.K. Rowling was denied publication of Harry Potter no less than around 40 times, and I will naively press on.

It’s the Christmas season. I have still not yet put together my Advent project (I am making ornaments for a Jesse tree…you can do your own by downloading this PDF). But our tree is up and the few decorations we have are in their proper places.

As of a few months ago, Heidi now talks. Constantly. It was pretty much felt like a one-day deal. Something clicked and suddenly it went from wordlessly signing, “more please!” to “Mom, may I please have a snack?” Well…not quite, but close! It’s been amazing to see what she learns. There is nothing more satisfying to me at this point in my life than to discover life all over again through the eyes of a child.

While she is only two, I talk to her like she’s ten years old. I explain everything I can to her. I tell her why the leaves change and where the food at the grocery store comes from and why daddy has to go to work every day. I don’t expect her to understand a lot of what I am saying, but she understands most things perfectly well, which has been a pleasant surprise.

Last week, Heidi and I were enjoying the amazing mild weather we’ve been having by playing at the playground at dusk. My favorite thing to do ever is play at the playground with Heidi. The pure glee on her face as she runs and jumps and swings and plays makes me heady.  Plus, when I swing really high, she shouts, “Good job, mom!”408774_10101402097013209_1022393178_n

The sun was starting to set, and I pointed it out to her by saying, “Heidi, did you see the pretty sunset?”

She whirled around, her blonde hair flying, and she threw her hands up in the air and shouted, “God made the sunset!”

My little momma’s heart swelled with pride, and I got tears in my eyes. I wish I could record that moment in time and replay it over and over. Yes, I’ve told her that before…and yes, she was probably just repeating what she heard…but there was something about how easily and happily she shouted it to the sky, arms spread wide. She forgot about the spanking she got that day. She forgot that we had to leave the playground shortly. She had even let go of my denial earlier that day when she asked for a sucker and nearly lost her mind.

So simple. Never questioned it. God is big, and He made that for me, and that’s all that matters in this moment. The blunders and mistakes of the day, the possible disappointments in the near future, didn’t matter to her. Oh, to have the mind and heart of a child.

Granted, she repeats the bad stuff too. *Ooops*  You win some, you lose some. Let’s focus on the positive.

This is probably why I am most excited about Christmas this year over the past two years. She’s old enough to understand a little more of the story and the giving and why we celebrate. She can listen to a story about Jesus, and she can understand giving some of what she has to someone else. She can see that giving makes others happy. She can put the money in the Salvation Army’s red bucket. She can help me wrap (sorta) and pick out presents for Christmas boxes and see people’s faces light up when they open their gifts.

She won’t understand totally…and she still hates sharing her toys…and when we shop for the Salvation Army Christmas boxes, she gets a little upset that I wrap up all the little toys I bought and don’t give her any. But we all need to start somewhere, and it’s just neat to watch her learn from the very start.

We all have to start somewhere. Yes, we’re selfish and we can be mean and we sometimes don’t want to share and we get angry when God takes things away.  We don’t always keep the peace, the grace, the faith that we should or that we want to. We hold onto the bad that has happened to us like a child gripping her favorite toy, looking for justification and vengeance. But we would do well to take after Heidi. Leave the bad and take up the good.  Because there is good in all of it, if we just look really hard. The goal isn’t to be the sweetest or most giving; the goal is to know God more and to love better.

That’s a good goal to have, even after Christmas.

“From one man, He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

~Acts 17:26-28

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