One could go on and on forever talking about anything, but I'll just touch on it here.

Monday, November 24, 2014


When I think of Thanksgiving, or hear the word spoken, I do believe dried corn and colorful leaves pop up like a slide show in my head. They surround the word as if I'm staring at a school bulletin board display decorated for the holiday and all about pilgrims and indians. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade then comes to mind and I see that silly turkey float, a marching band, and Snoopy in the sky. (Oh man, how I loved watching that parade as a kid! I still like it, but it never seems to have the same magic anymore. I blame it all on the fact that I am now too old to become a baton twirler or one of the dancers in a Broadway show, performing a number before the parade gets going.) All these images stir something warm and delicious inside me as if I'm a mug of cocoa on a snowy day.

Now all our snow has melted yet Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It will be Geddy's 2nd, my 5th as a wife, and my I-won't-say-how-many as a person. I have spent Thanksgivings at the beach— freezing my toes off because we were not in the tropics—at home with family coming over, away from home at other family members' houses, and I have enjoyed one Thanksgiving in France where we had quite a feast and celebration thanks to all the American students at my school putting it all together. No matter where I spend it, I still feel amazing inside.

I think about the traditions I want to keep and new family magic that Luke and I can create with our son. This gets me to thinking forward to Christmas as well. So much about the holidays are just that, pure magic, and I want to capture it and build on it and sprinkle it about like confetti. My blessed, safe upbringing just makes it all seem like these feelings, joys, and traditions must exist for everyone. But they don't.

Ugh. I can't stand to think about children in my city without cozy, loving, family magic and reasons for brimming with thankfulness. I can't stand it, then I dwell on it, then I bury it from my mind. I can give money to the shelter; I can buy someone a turkey; I can donate toys at Christmas; I can smile; I can be kind; I can pray. But I can't give them the childhood they've never known.

I can't give grownups who had crappy childhoods a redo: no "abracadabra your childhood was AWESOME and you love the holidays too."

And it hurts to realize that God can't do it either. I mean, yes, God could turn back time, God could snap his fingers, whatever, he's all powerful, all knowing, all God. But if he did any of that it would just screw EVERYTHING up and we would no longer have God as God but just some genie or something. We wouldn't have reason for his sacrifice or hope of life eternal without sin.

So I get out my Kleenex and blow my nose and take a deep breath and stop my insane train of thought and relax a bit because no one is going to change the past, for better or worse, and it is OK for me to enjoy my beautiful memories and share them with my husband and son, but I need to still do what I can to love in the now and make it worth it for others. Whatever I can is enough because Jesus died to make everyone whole, and that's everything that matters. That's worthy of thanksgiving. I can keep my corn, and leaves, and parade, and warm fuzzy magical joy and know that there will be a day when Thanksgiving will cover the biggest table ever and every million billion person around it will be brimming with gratitude.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dirty Windows, Happy Home

From here in my squishy red chair I see the glass of the back door, smudged with child spit and fingerprints. For the first time in my four years in this house I cleaned that window and now my son sees fit to keep it from invisibility. It took a few days after the washing for Luke to exclaim, “Oh, the window’s clean!” I told him to look at it below his knees and he would see our son’s handiwork.

A friend mentioned the other evening that she knew someone who had kept an immaculate house, never a speck of dust, never a dirty dish left on the counter, but it all changed when the grandkids were born. Now this person wouldn’t dream of cleaning off the handprints from her windows. She even shows them off proudly to guests, boasting in the same way grandparents do when they show pictures of their grandchildren. An odd toy here or there, a kid’s left shoe, a print on the glass—memories live in each one and fill the house up with joy even after the kids have gone home to their parents.

I don’t want to wait until I’m a grandmother to cherish every little sign of childhood in my home, even if it means a dirty window. Luke also said, not long ago, that our house feels so much like home now when he returns from work and must step over blocks and balls on his way to the kitchen. He’s right; how can I stress about the mess when we have such a beautiful, wonderful, adorable reason behind it?

So, was it yesterday? I got down on the floor next to Geddy and breathed onto the windowpane and drew smiley faces. He laughed and started huffing and puffing and really mostly spitting on the glass with me. Now when he’s napping I can see our marks and smile again and know that when he wakes up we can add to our design.

(Here is our little window artist who, strangely quiet in the other room one day, was found just hanging out like this-->)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Angels in the Grocery Store

I searched for the boxes of apple cider on the high shelf, noticing the sweet little man in the wheelchair in front of me and his kind little wife pushing him along slowly. They made a train down the aisle, she also pulling a cart behind her. I waited until they got by, found the cider, and turned to put it in my cart when I heard a woman's voice.

"You're doing such a great job, but I'm not in a hurry and I'd love to push your cart for you."

I looked back to see a tall woman, maybe in her 40s, take over the old woman's cart and follow the couple the rest of the way past me and on to another part of the store. I couldn't quite make out the response except to hear gratitude in a wavery voice. Wow, that's paying it forward, I thought to myself. That's news worthy of sharing.

I continued in the opposite direction when it occurred to me that the compassionate stranger must have had a cart herself. Then I saw it, just a few items full, resting to the side at the end of the aisle.

I didn't see the old couple the rest of my time in the store nor did I see their new friend again, but I will never forget them.

Creative Commons Jamison Judd