Bonfires and Bluejeans

Randoms from my spot next to the fire

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

     I am in awe of how our holidays have been this year.  Never before have I been able to sit back, relax, and really reflect with a positive attitude the day after Christmas.  In years past, I have been stressed, irritated, and pulled in more directions than I ever cared to go and usually by suppertime of the 26th I was already dreading the next year’s holiday season.  Looking back, I have to say that some of my most down, depressed times were during the Christmas season, so that only makes sense that it would bring around so much angst.  Seems that this most wonderful time of the year doesn’t always bring about the most wonderful kinds of feelings for everyone.  But, as time goes on and things change…situation changes can bring around new outlooks and attitudes can change, too.  Thank God.  Because I am sitting here, the day after Christmas, with a ton of things to do, but not feeling one ounce of stress.  I enjoyed this Christmas season more than I ever have before in my adult life.  Sharing it with the ones I love, seeing their happiness, made the little bit of frustration I did feel well worth it.

The relaxed, happy family.  Nope.  No stress here!

 
     All through the kids’ lives, they have known the truth about Santa.  I never agreed with the philosophy of telling them the truth from the get-go, but I never had a say so in the issue.  Well, the kids were really wanting to believe, so Sean and I really made it a point to make Santa as “real” as possible to them that we could.  We were doing okay; they each had moments of doubt and belief.  After the letter writing, stories, and movies we could cram down their throats, the culminating moment was when “Santa” himself called them on the phone Christmas Eve.  “Santa”, or better known as Mikey the future brother in law, sounds just like the jolly ‘ol man himself.  He seemed to know everything about the kids, and their faces just lit up every time he said something about them.  Jax, being himself, decided he would try and “trick” this Santa, and asked him the hardest question he could think of.  Who was the mayor of the town where he lived when he first started delivering presents?  I cringed thinking the gig was up.  But, without missing a step, Santa knew the answer.  Bergermeister Meisterberger.  All those years of cartoons really do pay off!!  After a very personalized note from him to each kid based on that phone call and they are believers.  Like Jax said…”You really do exist!”  One more year, at least, Santa is as real as he can be.

Jaxton…trying to trick Santa Clause.
Jordy’s face lit up like a Christmas light when Santa called her.

      Before Sean came into our lives, the kids never experienced shopping for gifts for me.  Whether it was for birthdays, Christmas, or Mother’s Day, they never had the chance to go and pick out whatever they thought I would want.  They absolutely love being able to do that.  And I appreciate Sean for taking them shopping (this year was on Christmas Eve…crazy guy).  Jaxton picked me out a beautiful necklace and earring set that is perfect.  He knows I like things that sparkle, and its a chain with a sparkly cross in my favorite color combo of purple and blue and black.  He really knows my taste…and put a lot of time into picking out the perfect one.  Jordy chose to start a charm bracelet for me.  The first one she got for me was the bracelet chain that had a clear heart that you can put small trinkets inside of.  She put a “J”, a small girl that has her birthstone on her shirt, and a small tag that says “I love Jesus”.  She chose each one, and I look forward to the many years of adding to it with the unique, special charms that signify the different events of our lives.  I loved taking the kids shopping to pick out Sean’s gifts, as well.  Jax thought he needed a new basketball (what guy doesn’t ?) and Jordy was pretty confused as to why he would need a “mouse” until we went to the electronics section and picked one out…since he asked for one.  The looks on their faces when we opened up our gifts that they chose were priceless.
     I am so blessed to have the family that I do.  Every single day, I thank God for them, and for bring our lives together.  We have all been excepted into each other’s families, and that is never more evident than at the holidays.  Tyler is included in the gift giving, even though he has yet to meet my mom.  The kids are just as loved and included in the Eisensmith side, as well.  They talk all about their cousins…that list has grown immensely…seemingly overnight!  There is so much love and acceptance all around.  Family has a new meaning to us now.

I would say this is a successful holiday season.  Baby girl has the right idea!  If you can find her, that is.

 

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2011…Good, Bad, and Best

     So 2011 has been a fantastic year.  Full of some of the highest points I have ever experienced in my personal life.  My relationships with my love, kids and family have been strengthened to depths never before seen or even imagined possible.  I have become more dependent on those around me (a first for me) as well as opened my heart and really worked to tear down walls that took many years to build.  At the beginning of 2011, I took a good, long look at myself and saw several areas that needed a massive overhaul.  I knew that however painful, it would be for the good of those around me, especially myself, in the long run.   Any growth out of a comfort zone can be a cause of discomfort, and this year was no different, albeit not the extremes of the previous years.  I’m sure the comforting love and safety I have found helped immensely with that!
     The previous few years were pretty difficult, so 2011 was a much appreciated break through of life in general.  I really got my head straight, and got down to business.  I made the plan to focus on myself, and to take the opportunity to better myself.  It has taken me years to build the confidence I needed to do this; long story short, I’ve not been encouraged to better myself in previous years.  Now with the encouragement and support I need, I have stepped out of my comfort zones.  So I took the leap and started school.  Whoa.  Culture shock to say the least!  It’s been a while since I’ve been in the groove of studying and being dedicated like I need to be. Working a near full time school schedule into working full time, along with kids, a fairly new relationship (at that time), and just life in general, there were times I wondered it I took on too much to handle.  But, when I got the statement for my loans, I figured if I’m already in this deep, might as well keep sinkin’ in the dough for the education.  And still I roll on…
         Even spiritually, I am in a better place.  Funny how when you’re at the lowest point you’ve ever experienced, the only hope you have is to grasp on to the only thing you have left.  The only thing you know that won’t fail.  This year I’ve learned the true, ultimate meaning of grace and how it has been in effect in my life…even when I didn’t actually see it in action.  Or wasn’t really paying attention.
         This has also been a year of a massive roller coaster.  While I was experiencing some of the highest points of my life, I was also feeling some of the biggest fears and worries I have had to endure.  While my personal life was coming together, my extended family was facing pretty tough trials with the illness of our mom.  But like families do, we pulled together, rallied around her, and are seeing her through this.  Together.  You hear about families not being able to weather a storm; about how tragedies can put a wedge between families.  But we seem to be closer for it.  I even feel closer to my dad, who has been a rock for me, through all of this.  Even though he is no longer married to my mom, he saw a need in his kids, and stepped in to be the supportive dad we needed.  What really surprised me during this time was how I was able to experience these highest of highs and lowest of lows…all at the same time.  Unlike the proverbial roller coaster everyone talks about.  It was simultaneous.  And somehow, miraculously, I still managed to pull it all together~the kids, school, work, family, mom.  It was tough.  I cried several times.  Didn’t know how in the world I was going to manage.  If it wasn’t for the incredible support and strength of Sean and his ability to jump in and be everything I couldn’t, I don’t think it would have been possible.  Doing homework at chemo…staying up well past midnight for homework…yet I knew there would be supper to eat and clean clothes to wear.  He has done far more than his share.  He taught me throughout this year what sacrifice really means.
     Looking back I have overcome so much…with the help, support and love of those around me.  Looking ahead, I have so many things to anticipate.  There are so many exciting changes on the horizon.  Life changing events that are going to better us all for the future…I am so blessed and as the years go by I am able to better and more fully appreciate all of those blessings…both large and small.
        

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

     I just wanted to take a second and wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  From our family to yours, we pray that this time of year is full of blessings and special memories, and that the new year brings all that you desire and more.  God bless!

With love,
Sean     Jennifer
Jaxton   Jordy
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