Monday, December 29, 2008

Time Without Purpose

I am off work all week. In the world of advertising most agencies shut down during the week between Christmas and New Year's and the agency I work for is no exception. What a perk, an extra week of paid vacation! I always say time is just as precious as money!

But, every year Hannah spends this entire week out of town with her dad. A week all to myself. Sounds like heaven to some I'm sure. But to me, I have to really work at staying busy. Without a job to go to or a child to take care of, I struggle to find purpose and then laziness ensues. I don't know about you, but I somehow inherited the laziness gene. I wake up and think to myself, "what should I do today?" Usually the answer is that I should clean the house or do some laundry, so I lay back down and sleep some more. I sleep too much and with the after-Christmas-blues upon me I find myself a bit depressed. Being depressed makes me want to sleep some more, sleeping makes me lazy, which breeds the blues and so we have a lovely little cycle going on. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the week off from work, but I know I need a little push in the behind to get me going!

I used to rationalize that being lazy during this week was perfectly fine. After all, this is my week to do as I wish. And if I want to spend it being lazy then so be it. But at the end of a lazy week I don't feel fine, I feel. . .well actually I feel like sleeping, which makes me lazy, which breeds the blues and the cycle is in full swing! Did you know that laziness is actually a sin? It is! The Proverbs are filled with both wisdom and warning on the subject of laziness. This revelation was not good news for me.

To avoid a week sinning the laziness sin, I decided to make a list. I made a list of things that need to be done as well as things I want to do. If we are working with just the things that need to be done, I will most certainly sleep too much, sleeping makes me lazy, which breeds.....well I'm sure you get the point!. So, this year I plan to chronicle my progress using this blog to keep me accountable. So far I have rented and watched 5 movies. I went shopping with a friend and washed my car. I sent some thank you cards out and starting writing in my blog again! And, I still have four days left. Stay tuned to find out all the gotta-keep-me-from-being-lazy things I plan to do this week!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Protective Love

Protector is one of the many words I would use to describe a mother. A mother is supposed to protect her children; to keep them safe from harm. I remember when I was facing divorce I felt like a lioness protecting her cub. The marriage was failing beyond my control and I was hurting more than I had ever hurt, but through the tears and pain, the lioness appeared and boy did she roar! I was going to do everything I could do to ensure my daughter suffered as little as possible while the whole mess of divorce unraveled. A few years later, I remember dropping Hannah off at daycare one morning and I overheard another little girl tell Hannah she didn't want to play with her. My heart melted. I wanted to run to Hannah and hold her and love her and protect her from this big mean monster disguised as a pretty little girl. Instead, I watched as Hannah went right on playing and soon the two girls were playing like best friends. I want to hold Hannah in my arms and protect her from all the hurts of the world whether big or small. I want to keep her safe and loved always. This week Hannah and I met a woman who's mom didn't protect her. This woman's mom didn't keep her safe and her story broke my heart.

Earlier this week, Hannah and I delivered gifts to a family we had adopted for Christmas. We were connected with a single mom and her two kids through a local Christian-based mission. My original intent was to help a family in need but also to teach my daughter a valuable lesson about giving and receiving as well as to give her a glimpse of life outside her own little world. We were so blessed by people helping us provide gifts for this family. We had 6 huge trash bags filled with wrapped presents to deliver to our family at the mission. The life lessons were already in full swing long before we delivered the gifts. Hannah had sacrificed our annual trip to the Nutcracker Ballet to help provide gifts for this family. She enjoyed carefully picking out items that she thought the family would really like. She hand-picked several clothing items for the 15-year old daughter and beamed with excitement as I approved her selections. Yes, even before the delivery of the gifts, the lessons learned were many.

Just arriving at the mission for the gift delivery was a new experience for Hannah. We were in a part of town that looked very different than our quiet, relatively safe suburban neighborhood. The mom and her 7-year old son met us in the parking lot. They helped us unload all the bags of gifts and the mom gave us a tour of the mission and their room. Their room reminded me of a college dorm room and in the corner was a little Christmas tree decorated with homemade decorations and family photos. The mom confessed that she is struggling to get her GED because she is only at a 2nd grade level. She can barely read or write. She told me that she was working through the pain of things that had happened to her as a young girl; things her mom's boyfriend had done. She had lived in a lot of places but now found herself with her two kids at this mission. And for the first time, she was excited about the future. She now knows there is in fact a God and He loves her. She has placed her faith in Jesus and everyday is brand new.

The woman thanked us for all the gifts and admitted that this would be the best Christmas her kids have ever had. As Hannah and I were driving home, I thought about this woman and all that she had said. I looked at Hannah and I was saddened that this woman didn't have a mom who protected her. For whatever reason her mom didn't keep her safe and didn't even make sure she could read and write. I can't imagine not protecting my child. I grabbed Hannah's hand and with tears in my eyes, I told her that when she is a teenager she will probably think I am too strict. She will think I just don't understand. She will probably be mad that I won't let her do certain things, or go certain places or hang around certain people. She may even think I am old fashioned. But as her mom, my job is to protect her. I explained that the woman we had just met didn't have a mom who protected her. I'm not sure what Hannah understood or exactly how she felt about all she experienced that day. But, I'm sure our short time at the mission with a family we didn't really know made an impression on her heart. It certainly did mine!