Under Costruction.....


Just like life building (rebuilding) a blog is a journey.... please stick with us as we make this blog better. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Not Even Close

I promise myself every year that I will have ALL the Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving and will do nothing but enjoy the Spirit of the season and bake and cook and sing and decorate and smile all the live long day.

Yep, you guessed it, not even close.  I have yet to get our neighbor treats done, or finished shopping...and this year dragging around two prize winning boxers/biters/hitters/spitters/tantrum throwers/screaming/ pinching each other cute as can be little bloomerbuttons and their sweetly mellow as can be baby sister that either brings looks of utter sympathy or astonishment at the stupidity of the woman braving ugly weather and not smart enough to get a babysitter for her three kids that are all younger then 2 and uses one long sentence to portray the exhaustion of just getting thru one store..... let alone Costco.......

are you tired just reading this?  Don't be...it really isn't that bad...I usually ignore the stares and the twins antics and I am gently rejuvenated by the sweet old ladies that stop to reminisce about their twins and babies and grand babies and how fast life goes by, so enjoy it while you are here kinda talk.....and a cookie...a cookie always does wonders!

But back to the Christmas Spirit.....I have it, though I haven't done all that I want or that is on the list in my head and the half created list on paper....the house isn't as clean as it should be or even half decorated (that's right folks, more then half my decorations have stayed in the boxes)... and dinners are whatever is in the fridge....and yet I continue to blog and have my idol time on the computer (and yes, you, if you feel guilty reading this one little word..."idol"....then thank you for coming on and reading my post.....it means a lot).

Christmas has never been my favorite holiday, and wait...don't get all in a huff because I said that....it is because I do honor the birth of Christ, but have such a hard time reconciling the materialism and commercial aspects of Christmas with the stillness of that holy night in my heart and sometimes the ache that it leaves.

There is a never a time that the spirit doesn't make me weepy at live nativity scenes and Christmas hymns and It"s a Wonderful Life" Christmas movies. I am grateful for the season that is dedicated to Christ and the thoughtfulness that prevails as wonderful people go out of their way to serve each other and strangers.  I am eternally grateful for the babe in the manger that saved the world and I can't help but grow weepy over His earthly parents sacrifice.  I can only imagine giving birth for your first time alone and in a manger to not just a baby but to the Savior and King.

The Christmas season has been for me a time of regret and sadness at a dysfunctional family growing up, of men, particularly brothers and mothers not reconciled and of past memories that feel and sometimes become unmanageable...and of another year closing on unfinished goals (because I probably wasted too much time fb'ing, blogging and perusing your posts!) .

...and because my husband likes to shop last minute and I mean down to the wire, store is closing for Christmas Eve and they have called for last check outs over the intercom twice and he is still meandering....because that is how his family did it....and he likes it..and it gives me heart palpitation for more reasons then one....bless his heart.

However, this year I was/am determined to make it better, that this SEASON should be one filled with peace and good cheer and love...and that those feelings of regret can wait until after the new year and group themselves with the goals new year's goals that I have already dropped by the wayside. That family traditions will prevail...even if it means the house cleaning lacks (sorry honey) because that is what my kids will remember, that I will have immense patience when one of the twinners drops bolts and screws from who knows where into the cookie dough....who was watching her?! (O yeah...that would be me...all the other mckiddos were win school) and that I will be forever grateful because I have more then enough and because this story reminds me of that:

In about March 1946, less than a year after the end of the war, Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, accompanied by Frederick W. Babbel, was assigned a special postwar tour of Europe for the express purpose of meeting with the Saints, assessing their needs, and providing assistance to them. Elder Benson and Brother Babbel later recounted, from a testimony they heard, the experience of a Church member who found herself in an area no longer controlled by the government under which she had resided.
She and her husband had lived an idyllic life in East Prussia. Then had come the second great world war within their lifetimes. Her beloved young husband was killed during the final days of the frightful battles in their homeland, leaving her alone to care for their four children.
The occupying forces determined that the Germans in East Prussia must go to Western Germany to seek a new home. The woman was German, and so it was necessary for her to go. The journey was over a thousand miles (1,600 km), and she had no way to accomplish it but on foot. She was allowed to take only such bare necessities as she could load into her small wooden-wheeled wagon. Besides her children and these meager possessions, she took with her a strong faith in God and in the gospel as revealed to the latter-day prophet Joseph Smith.
She and the children began the journey in late summer. Having neither food nor money among her few possessions, she was forced to gather a daily subsistence from the fields and forests along the way. She was constantly faced with dangers from panic-stricken refugees and plundering troops.
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks to months, the temperatures dropped below freezing. Each day, she stumbled over the frozen ground, her smallest child—a baby—in her arms. Her three other children struggled along behind her, with the oldest—seven years old—pulling the tiny wooden wagon containing their belongings. Ragged and torn burlap was wrapped around their feet, providing the only protection for them, since their shoes had long since disintegrated. Their thin, tattered jackets covered their thin, tattered clothing, providing their only protection against the cold.
Soon the snows came, and the days and nights became a nightmare. In the evenings she and the children would try to find some kind of shelter—a barn or a shed—and would huddle together for warmth, with a few thin blankets from the wagon on top of them.
She constantly struggled to force from her mind overwhelming fears that they would perish before reaching their destination.
And then one morning the unthinkable happened. As she awakened, she felt a chill in her heart. The tiny form of her three-year-old daughter was cold and still, and she realized that death had claimed the child. Though overwhelmed with grief, she knew that she must take the other children and travel on. First, however, she used the only implement she had—a tablespoon—to dig a grave in the frozen ground for her tiny, precious child.
Death, however, was to be her companion again and again on the journey. Her seven-year-old son died, either from starvation or from freezing or both. Again her only shovel was the tablespoon, and again she dug hour after hour to lay his mortal remains gently into the earth. Next, her five-year-old son died, and again she used her tablespoon as a shovel.
Her despair was all consuming. She had only her tiny baby daughter left, and the poor thing was failing. Finally, as she was reaching the end of her journey, the baby died in her arms. The spoon was gone now, so hour after hour she dug a grave in the frozen earth with her bare fingers. Her grief became unbearable. How could she possibly be kneeling in the snow at the graveside of her last child? She had lost her husband and all her children. She had given up her earthly goods, her home, and even her homeland.
In this moment of overwhelming sorrow and complete bewilderment, she felt her heart would literally break. In despair she contemplated how she might end her own life, as so many of her fellow countrymen were doing. How easy it would be to jump off a nearby bridge, she thought, or to throw herself in front of an oncoming train.
And then, as these thoughts assailed her, something within her said, “Get down on your knees and pray.” She ignored the prompting until she could resist it no longer. She knelt and prayed more fervently than she had in her entire life:
“Dear Heavenly Father, I do not know how I can go on. I have nothing left—except my faith in Thee. I feel, Father, amidst the desolation of my soul, an overwhelming gratitude for the atoning sacrifice of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. I cannot express adequately my love for Him. I know that because He suffered and died, I shall live again with my family; that because He broke the chains of death, I shall see my children again and will have the joy of raising them. Though I do not at this moment wish to live, I will do so, that we may be reunited as a family and return—together—to Thee.”
When she finally reached her destination of Karlsruhe, Germany, she was emaciated. Brother Babbel said that her face was a purple-gray, her eyes red and swollen, her joints protruding. She was literally in the advanced stages of starvation. In a Church meeting shortly thereafter, she bore a glorious testimony, stating that of all the ailing people in her saddened land, she was one of the happiest because she knew that God lived, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He died and was resurrected so that we might live again. She testified that she knew if she continued faithful and true to the end, she would be reunited with those she had lost and would be saved in the celestial kingdom of God. 

After reading this story the first time of such faith and devotion I felt small and ungrateful, but the more I return to this story in President Monson's talk it becomes a Christmas story to me....it is of unyielding faith in Christ in the face of adversity, it is of  mother love far greater then any other the our Elder Brother's love for us.  This woman, gives me hope and the courage to move forward (even when I sarcastically joke about the life God has given me) and have he Christmas Spirit all year long.

This is what we, or rather I, have forgotten, that the learning is in the journey, the preparation for Christmas...not necessarily in the holiday. That the bad memories can be replaced with brighter ones of the family traditions that I have started with me and mine.  That although I am a slow learner, and often have to repeat things over so that they are ingrained upon my soul that Christ was born to carry those burdens for me.  That for my journey back to the farm is really that...a journey...not a destination.

Merry Christmas, one and all......may it be filled with loving family, happy memories and good cooking!

Molasses Pie as made by Mack's Great great grandmother from Ohio

1 Cup good Molasses
1 Cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
1 T flour
small pat of butter
4 eggs well beaten
She wrote that this was enough for two pies, though we found that it left the pie rather thin. I baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  It is like a custard pie, that is even better with whipped cream.  I also connected a link to another recipe with more details about Molasses Pie. Enjoy!

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