Update: 10:07 p.m.: We watched Journey to the Center of the Earth. As predicted, it was pretty lame. We just finished watching Hancock and all I will say is, “Will Smith is freaking hot!”
We’re taking a short break and then we’ll watch the grand finale – The Dark Knight. The boys are really looking forward to watching that one. I plan on taking a break and taping a short video around midnight and then if I’m awake after the movie, I’ll write a short note about any resolutions I might, or might not, make. Stay tuned 😀
Update 2: 12:56 a.m.: We finished The Dark Knight and it was … dark. I think the boys really enjoyed it. The husband snoozed through most of it. Heath Ledger did not disappoint and it makes me even more sad that he’s not around to enjoy his success.
No video. I’m just too tuckered out to push the play button and then upload the sucker. But I’m sure you’re not all that disappointed anyway. *grin*
My number one resolution this year? To get my writing published. I’m ready. I will BE ready. This will be an exciting year for me, professionally.
Thank you for sticking around. I look forward to spending 2009 with you!
New Year’s Eve. Another year gone. Another year on the horizon. Life is full of unexpected joys and tragedies. Blahblahblah …
I won’t bore you with yet another post about another year ending. I’m not trying to trivialize time or memories here, I’m simply not the type of person who dwells on the past. What’s done is done. I tend to look more toward the future – in fact, too much so. I am usually so focused on the future that I forget the past.
And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Hence, this blog. 🙂
Though I have no intentions of writing a deep, meaningful post (as if I’m capable of that anyway) about how it’s so important to savor every waking moment we have on this Earth (and it truly IS important), I would like to share what’s uppermost on my mind: my body and how it’s aging.
How narcissistic of me, I know. But really, when your body betrays you and you have pain, pain that you can never quite get rid of no matter what you do, no matter how much medication you take (which I don’t, normally), or what position you try, it’s hard to think of anything else. It’s so hard to distract yourself, or fool yourself, into thinking or doing anything else.
Like right now. I’m sitting here and I’m semi-comfortable. It hurts less if I sit. But the pain is there, just beyond my reach and occasionally, a ripple travels down my back and pools into the base of my spine and I not only see stars, I see their moons, too. And my head feels like it’s floating just above my shoulders, like a balloon bobbing above a distracted toddler who barely has a hold of the string.
But then it passes and my vision clears and I’m granted a slight physical reprieve until the next ripple rips through me.
I’m an old woman. Oh wait, that’s already been established. But I’m FEELING like an old woman today. I’m hobbling. I’m unable to walk upright. And I’m spontaneously jerking in response to my body trying to tell me to get off my feet and rest.
*snort* As if THAT was going to happen.
It’s embarrassing. And it disturbs me when I see the look of concern cross my children’s faces when they see mom acting like she just got electrified every few steps. But I’m not stopping. I don’t stop for anyone or anything and that includes a little (okay, a lot) physical discomfort. For those just joining us, my back has betrayed me.
It does this periodically though I like to fool myself into thinking I have this aging body under control, alas, it occasionally rebels against me. It’s rebelling now and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I let it get me down – literally.
However, I AM so very, very, thankful that I work at home and can grit my teeth and swallow my humiliation in private as opposed to working outside the home. I’m so very, very thankful that I have a husband who supports what I do and is okay with me staying home and doing it. Enduring this physical discomfort is hell out in public.
And I know this. Because I’ve endured this when I did work outside the home. Because when my back went out, I didn’t call into work sick. I didn’t take the time to feel sorry for myself. I simply ignored it and went about my business and waited until I got home to collapse into a painful coma.
I’m very stubborn, if you haven’t picked up on that by now. *grin* I’m a pretty easy-going, fair-minded individual when it comes to my family and the people around me. I even have (some) sympathy for the pain of others. But when it comes to me, to my own body, I have no patience for my own weakness. In fact, it just disgusts me. I have no idea why I’m like this, but like this I am.
I was craving Krispy Kreme donuts this morning. I was craving them so badly that my mouth actually watered thinking about them. (Like now, for instance). But I hadn’t taken a shower yet so I thought, “I’ll take a shower and then make a donut run.”
Until I stripped off all of my clothes and looked at myself in the mirror.
Now we all know when it comes to looking at ourselves naked there’s the glance and then there’s the look. Most days, I’m distracted, thinking about my day, thinking about what I need to do next, what’s for dinner, yaddayaddayadda and when I strip down I glance at my body, not really seeing it.
But then, like today, there are days when I’m forced to pay attention to my body and I really take a gander at this lump of flesh I like to call home.
I am not fat. I am not skinny. I’m … gropeable, if that’s even a word. My husband has a little something to hang onto, let’s put it that way. When I sit, I have a roll. In fact, I’m a perfect pear shape when I sit down. My torso stays intact, the bottom half of my body sort of spreads out and pools, like a teaspoon of oil on a hot skillet.
It’s not exactly nasty, but I won’t be modeling for Victoria’s Secret anytime soon.
I’ve always been a bit bottom heavy – genetics. I can get my torso in pretty good shape with minimal effort, but my hips and abdomen take A LOT more work. And even then, it’s never really “in shape.”
It took me years, and countless hours of working out and tubs full of sweat to finally figure out this is just how I’m built. I can tone, I can improve, but I can not change what I am.
I stood there, critically giving my body the once over and tried to look past society’s definition of beauty and find my own beauty; the beauty that is uniquely my own.
For example, the weird/cute/strange bump on my tailbone. A bump that probably shouldn’t be there but has been there ever since I fell off a six-foot ladder and landed squarely on my back.
Or how about the fingers of bleached out, stretched out skin that curl and embrace either hip or the sagging, wrinkled skin just under my belly button, or the dimples in my arse, just under the roundness of my buttocks – all battle scar reminders of bearing two children.
Or the curious little pouch of skin just above the area where my pubic bone meets my thigh bones and has just appeared in the past few years.
As I stood in front of the mirror this morning and analyzed every possible angle, I concluded that my body is … rather nice even with all of my flaws. It’s average. It’s been a good home to me over the years. Sure, there have been times it’s broken down (like now) or needed a tune up (like after I had children), but overall, it’s been good to me.
It’s disease free. It houses healthy organs. It cradles a strong heart. It safely gets me through each day. So what that it gives me the occasional ache and pain – when compared to so many people who are in serious physical trouble, what I’m feeling is inconsequential. The least I can do is grin and bear it.
The thought of so many people who have SERIOUS problems with their bodies, the thought of these poor people is what gets me through these uncomfortable days. So I have sinus problems, so I have back problems, so my digestive system is flawed, so what? At least I don’t have AIDS. Or cancer. At least I can see, hear and touch my loved ones. At least I have organs that function and never fail me.
And that’s the sorts of things I think about at the beginning of a new year. The fact that I have my health and that though my body is imperfect and occasionally gives me problems? I thank God for my health and I thank God for the health of my family.
The new year will begin. I will get over this back pain. And life will go on.
Or better yet, don’t watch me grow old. Because I’m going to fight this process with every fiber of my being.
Hi! I’m 43-years old. *cheerfully waves* At least, that’s what “they” claim.
According to my birth certificate, I was born in 1965. Nineteen Sixty-Five. That sounds so ancient, especially since we’re in the 2,000’s now.
Though I’m on record as having been born in 1965, that I am currently 43 years old, I don’t mentally FEEL that old. I mentally FEEL about 25 years old.
Someone check my records; there must be some mistake.
When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a 43-year old woman. I see a woman who might possibly pass for 35.
And it’s not just me, heck, I still get carded when I buy wine for my husband. (Granted Wal-Mart associates are now required to card anyone who looks to be younger than 30 but whatever, I can still pretend they think I’m not quite 21).
It’s so hard to explain how I’m feeilng without sounding cliché. You wake up one morning and you’re over 40, 50, 60 and you’re honestly surprised – how did this happen? Where did the years go?
There is something infinitely disturbing about growing old. Getting old happens to other people, it doesn’t happen to me. In my mind, the years are passing but somehow time is standing still for me. The numbers add up but the mental image of yourself does not.
At least, it doesn’t for me.
My children are growing, they are getting older. And that’s thrilling to me. I’m watching them develop into incredible people. But that’s only affecting them, it’s not affecting me. I’m still the naive, inexperienced 26-year old who didn’t recognize that her water broke and refused to go to the hospital until the last possible moment because her baby wasn’t due to be born for another eight weeks.
I try and tell myself being 40-something is not old. It’s a state of mind. It’s just a number.
It’s a high number.
Is my life half over?
What a sobering thought.
However, my age seems to be knocking on my physical door demanding to be let in or at the very least, to be taken seriously. It seems like, in just the last few months, I’ve begun noticing more aches and pains – nothing serious, but serious enough to get my attention.
I’ve always been very healthy. I’ve always pushed myself to my physical limits and bounced back the next day. Now I’m lucky if I bounce back within the week. It’s taking me longer to recuperate from vigorous workouts – much longer. I’m sore for more days and I’m so, so, so tired the next day. Which is normal anyway, especially when you start working out again, but I’ve been consistently working out and I’m still so, so, so tired.
I feel heavy, and not just the fat kind of heavy but my muscles and bones just feel heavy. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking through water, everything just feels sluggish. I’m quite confident it’s not due to a medical condition – again, I’m pretty healthy, I come from very healthy stock, and the changes I feel are subtle, but they’re there. I recognize them because I’ve always been so tuned into my physical condition.
I can usually ignore the aches and pains – I believe I have a pretty high pain threshold. If I didn’t, I’d probably be making regular visits to the doctor because quite honestly, I’m physically uncomfortable the majority of my time now.
But it doesn’t REALLY hit home until my back starts giving me problems.
I’ll be honest, one of the biggest reasons I walk is to keep my back from going out. (And here you thought I was a workout fiend. HA!) It’s when I’m an inactive slug that my back starts the tell-tale twitches and before long, I’m flat on my back and/or hobbling around like an old woman. Walking keeps my back loose and limber. After I discovered that little secret, I’ve been successful at warding off back attacks. Thank the dear Lord above.
So when my back started feeling twitchy a few days ago, I was surprised. I had been walking. I had been stretching. It had been months since my last back episode. What was the dealio, Holmes?
The only thing I can think of to explain my current back problem is that I did a lot of bending and twisting when I took the Christmas tree down. Seriously. My back is tender and sore because of that?!
This realization just disgusts the crap out of me. Am I so weak that I can’t even bend over and perform a simple task without my body betraying me? That’s what happens to OLD people – not to me, damn it!
I’m NOT old. I refuse to GROW old.
I know this is a natural process. I realize that it’s quite normal for my body to age, to break down, to deteriorate. But I’m not ready for that to happen yet. And I refuse to go to the doctor and get drugs because that’s what OLD people do.
At least, that’s what I will continue to tell myself until I honestly do not have a choice in the matter.
I dropped my nephews back off at their dad’s. They came over on Christmas day and stayed a few nights with us. I think we’re still recovering (from sleep deprivation).
My boys and my sister’s boys are best friends. They all get along beautifully and my nephews never give me a moment’s trouble. They are always so quiet and respectful and they are a joy to have around.
They spent the majority of their time playing new video/computer games, but they did abandon the games for a few hours on Saturday to hang outside (it was 60 degrees that day and a perfect “hang” day).
They walked up to the firehouse and goofed off … well here, GD took our video camera and taped their antics. My husband then edited it in our video software, (the effect is some sort of sphere effect), put some music to it and you can watch the video if you’d like:
I know, crazy right? But they are ALL about being random. They spend HOURS watching crazy videos on YouTube and enjoy the random/nutty videos the most. I think they had that in mind when they made this video. You can’t get more random than this video. 😀
They had fun though and it’s given me ammunition to use against them for future holidays so what more could a mom ask for? Bwhahaha.
The tree is gone.
The kids aren’t that happy about it.
None of us like taking decorations down. It’s like we’re boxing up our joy for another year. Reality knocked on our door and we had no choice but to let it back in.
*sigh* It’s a bit depressing, isn’t it. (But I’m relieved to have things back to normal).
Since we didn’t have a chance to spend time with my husband’s folks on Christmas day, they invited us out to lunch over the weekend. We ate at some Mexican restaurant and it was easily one of the worst meals I’ve ever eaten.
I originally ordered a combination plate – some sort of pepper … thing, and a chalupa. What I got was some sort of pepper … thing and a tostada.
The pepper thing was a large chili pepper wrapped in a corn tortilla shell and smothered in cheese. Sounds good, right? Well, it was, sort of, but it was so spicy that after two bites I had to give it up. It felt like someone had dumped in a shovelful of embers into my mouth; I couldn’t get away from the burning sensation for hours after that.
The rest of my plate was covered in refried beans – I can’t eat beans. I’d go into details about what happens when I eat beans, but I’ll spare you the gory details.
Suffice it to say, I left the restaurant more hungry than when I went in. I hate when that happens. (I could have said something to our server, but honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had ordered the right thing to begin with and I LOATHE causing waves so I just smiled and acted like I wasn’t hungry).
But it was nice to see my in-laws (because believe it or not, I like my in-laws) and I know my husband enjoyed chatting with his father so the bad meal? Was worth the time and effort. 🙂
I realized, after I read the book, that I already had a print copy of the book in my bookshelf.
That’s a sign that you have too many books and don’t keep very good track of your inventory. In fact, I think this is like the 200th time I’ve done that: ordered a book that I already have.
SO, I’ll probably be giving my print copy of Get a Clue away very soon. Stay tuned for that.
Overall? I like my Kindle. It took a little getting used to at first – the next/previous page buttons are HUGE and though conveniently located they are often easy to hit by accident. But after you get used to handling it, it really didn’t bug me overly much.
I’m very pleased with the screen/typeface. It’s extremely easy on the eyes (it’s just like reading a newspaper) and I enlarged the font so I was able to comfortably read for an extended period of time.
I browsed the Kindle store on Amazon last night and downloaded three more books – all for free!! Of course, there may be a reason why they’re free, but we’ll see. It’s SO COOL to click a button on your computer and then wait for the book to download to the Kindle – it takes less than a minute. Very impressive! I’m going to have a blast with this thing and now I will always have some reading material with me.
The Kindle is no larger than a paperback book which means I should have room to carry it in my purse.
After I buy a bigger purse.
Because I also bought a case for my new Canon PowerShot A590 IS camera which I plan on carrying around with me, too.
It never ends, does it.
I just found out that my husband won the office football pot/thing/contest, whatever it’s called.
Actually, he tied with another gal so they had to split the winnings. Hey! I’ll gladly accept that $90 bucks, thank you very much. (Which we’ll probably put into savings because my husband – who is an accountant and tight-fisted but that’s okay because we’re in good financial shape because of him – doesn’t know what else to do with money in his pocket).
This is especially funny because my husband? Never watched ONE football game this season. Not one. It was all luck. Or WAS it?
This is REALLY annoying to his accountant friend who IS a big football fan and really went overboard trying to figure out stats and blahblahblah (I sort of zone out when it comes to sports stuff like that – hey, zone out! I punned ya). The friend didn’t do very well and here’s my husband, not a big football fan and never even watched a game and he ties for first.
All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)
December 29th Questions:
1. When you are having a bad day, what do you do as a little ‘pick me up’?
2. How long have you been blogging? Who is your target audience? How often, if at all, do you think about quitting or taking an extended break?
3. Think back over the past year. Tell us: five good things that happened in your life, three bad things that happened in your life. Now go through your blog archives and pick five posts that you personally liked/resonated with you, or, you would like to share with your new readers. Link to them, please.
4. It’s a new year – a new beginning. Please finish this sentence: I will work very hard to make the following three things happen in 2009:
Okay, picture this – you’re trying to entice new readers to your blog. But they only have time to read one of your blog posts. Which blog post would you direct them to? Which of your blog posts really shines and says something about your life? Which blog post are you most proud of? Now take that blog post and submit it to the Blogger’s Best Carnival so everyone else can appreciate your greatness. 🙂
Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.
If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.
Let’s get started:
Common Features of an Eastern Life
There are a few things about ordinary houses and ordinary life in first century Palestine that we must know in order to understand the birth of Jesus. One is that it was quite common for houses in the Middle East to have a guest room where guests, and even strangers, could stay. Showing hospitality to strangers has always been a huge part of Eastern life, and is written about in the Bible and in many books on the customs of the Bible. Several biblical records show strangers being given hospitality, including the record of Lot (Gen. 19:1-4), the man in Gibeah (Judg. 19:19-21), and the Shunamite woman, who showed hospitality to Elisha by building a guest room just for him (2 Kings 4:10). Giving hospitality is a command for Christian leaders as well (1 Tim. 3:2).
Even poor people could have a guest room because it did not have to be furnished or have an adjoining bathroom and shower. People did not generally sleep on beds, but traveled with their own blankets that they slept on at night, so sleeping arrangements were no problem. Tables and chairs were not used in the common homes of first century Palestinians, and the bathroom was a pot, or a place outside. So the average guest room was simply a small, empty room, offering shelter and a place of safety. The guest room provided privacy for the guests as well as the family, because one-room homes were common. Our modern houses with many rooms were simply not the norm in a village of the first century. Quite often a family lived in a one-room house, in which all family activities occurred. They pulled their bedrolls out at night and slept on the floor, and simply rolled them up again in the morning.
Another thing we must understand about houses in the East is that it was common for people to bring their animals (the family donkey or a couple of milk goats, for example) into them at night. Such animals were very valuable, and the people brought them into the home at night to keep them from being stolen and to protect them from harm. Of course, if the family were shepherds or herdsmen, they would not bring the whole flock or herd into the house, but would have a family member or hired guard watch them in the field.
It was a common practice to raise the floor of the part of the house where the family lived, and keep the animals in an area that was a little lower.  Knowing this helps us understand Luke 2:6 and also where that idea that Jesus was born in a stable came from. Jesus was laid in a manger, which is an open trough, box, or bin, where the animal food was placed so the animals could feed easily. In Western society, mangers are in barns or stables, so if Jesus was laid in a manger it made sense he was born in a stable. However, in Eastern society, where the animals grazed outside during the day and were brought into the house at night, the manger was in the house. Thus when the Bible says that Jesus was laid in a manger “because” there was no space in the guest room, any Easterner would understand perfectly that the guest room was full so Jesus was born in the main part of the house where the family and animals were, and then safely placed in the manger, which would have been filled with clean hay or straw and would have been the perfect size for him. This was not to demean him in any way, but to care for him. The protective walls of the manger kept him safely guarded and away from busy feet and a bustling household, as well as warm and protected from any drafts or cold air in the home.
Another thing that helps us understand the Christmas story is understanding Eastern hospitality. In the East, guests were given special treatment of all kinds, including behavior that seems very extreme to us. For example, in the record of Lot and the two strangers, Lot would have handed over his own daughters to the mob before surrendering his guests (Gen. 19:8). Similarly, the people with whom Joseph and Mary stayed would never displace their guests from the guest room, but instead would inconvenience themselves, graciously bringing the couple into their living space.
Another thing we need to know is that Mary and Joseph would not have been alone when Jesus was born. The women of the household, along with the women of the family staying in the guestroom, most likely the village midwife, and perhaps even wise and experienced women from the neighborhood, would have been present, and would have shooed Joseph and the rest of the men out of the house some time during Mary’s labor (actually, the men would have graciously left on their own, which was also standard procedure in that culture). The husband and any sons (along with Joseph), would have left their own house, spending their late evening and night hours with other families or just resting out under the stars, so that Mary would have the privacy she needed during the birth of Jesus.  Of course they would be allowed back in the house after the baby was born and there had been adequate time to get things in the house back in proper order and make sure Jesus and Mary were comfortable.
Baby Jesus would have been born in normal circumstances, with Mary being helped and cared for by the women around her. Although the Bible does not mention that there was a midwife and other women present with Mary, it would be quite unthinkable that they would not be there to help. No details of the birth would be given in the Bible because births were a “normal” part of life, and no first-century reader in Palestine would expect anything different than what usually happens with a village birth. In fact, if the women of the household had not been there to help, that would have been so unusual (and seemingly coldhearted) that it would probably be written about in the Bible. Also, the shepherds who came to see Jesus knew that he was the promised Messiah. When they found Joseph, Mary, and their Savior, if they in any way felt that he was not being treated well, they would have been scandalized and outraged, and immediately taken them home to their own houses. The fact that they did no such thing, but rather left the new family where they were and went to tell the good news to the whole area, indicates they felt Joseph, Mary, and the baby were being well cared for. [For further study read Family Life in the Bible.]
The Christmas Story
So we see that the way the birth of Jesus actually happened is considerably different than what is commonly taught. It is not that Bethlehem was full of cold-hearted townspeople who would not take special care of a young woman about to have her first child.
Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem at least a few days before Mary gave birth, and were taken in by one of the local homes, most likely that of a relative. The host family already had guests in the kataluma, the guest room, so there was no space (topos) for them there. Therefore, the homeowners graciously made room for Joseph and Mary in their own living quarters, treating them like family. When Mary went into labor, the men left their own home to give her privacy, and the women of the household, likely along with the village midwife, came to Mary’s side for help and support. Shortly after Mary gave birth to our Lord and Savior late in the evening (after sunset) or at night, Joseph and the men would have been called back into the house to see the new baby boy, and there would have been much jubilation and revelry, which was always a traditional part of the birth of a baby boy, particularly if it was a first child. 
Not too long after Jesus was born, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes, dedicated to God, and placed in a perfect spot, the manger in the family home, which would have been cleaned and made up with fresh straw. No doubt the news soon spread around the village that a baby boy had been born (the music and shouting would have helped that happen), and that both the mother and baby were doing well, but soon there was to be news of a different kind. Shepherds showed up from a nearby field and told the village that a great light had shined around them, that they had seen an army of angels on the hillsides, and that an angel had told them that this baby was no ordinary baby, but the Messiah, the Savior. Their report caused great wonder all over the region, and resulted in glory and praise to God.
Thus the story of the birth of Christ reveals something that demonstrates the true spirit of Christmas: people opening their homes and their hearts, joyfully giving to others in need, and helping where they can.