Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Preparing for the Season

Yesterday was a special day for our family, it was our day to put up the tree. Now, in thirty five years, I cannot remember a single Christmas that we did not cut down our tree from a tree farm. But the past few years Matt and I have been beginning to ponder the idea of going to an artificial tree because of the growing cost to have a live tree. This year we had both come to the same conclusion and were finally at peace with letting go of tradition. When we approached the subject with the kids, there were mixed reactions. It was split, but the tears that came from the ones who couldn't bare the idea of not hunting down our tree echoed the wrestling Matt and I had gone through in our own hearts. Matt and I huddled up again to try and figure out how to approach this change. We decided to take a drive and talk it out, we also headed to 2 different places to just see if there were real trees for an affordable price. We thought maybe compromise on all of our parts may be the best solution, so we checked our local Menards to see what their precut trees were like. To our pleasant surprise, they were extremely affordable, less than half the cost of a tree farm. So we headed home to scoop up the kiddos. No one seemed to even mind the compromise of them being precut. And the funnier thing was that we could even afford my favorite kind of pine tree-a frasier fur which we have never had before.

We went out to lunch together, which is a real treat for all of us to sit down in a restaurant. We had a good time laughing together, and were treated with free peppermint milkshakes by the manager there which was just such an extra special gift from the Lord.

After lunch we returned home to prepare our snack food for the evening of decorating. This year I was amazed at how much we have grown, almost all of the kiddos made food, making it go so quickly and so smoothly, allowing Matt and I to spend time participating with the kids instead of being buried in the kitchen. We watched our favorite movie-White Christmas-and I could sing and the girls danced while putting ornaments on the tree. It was a magical night which ended with Noah's favorite part-setting up the train under the tree. We have made the old train chug through another year to everyone's delight.

After everyone had gone off to bed, Matt and I were going to watch a show together, but I ended up sick half way through it. My appetite has begun to fade the last few days and I of course was sensing a change due to this. I went straight to bed discouraged, fearing the morning. I had a restless night and woke this morning feeling it. But I got up, did my best to pull it together, Matt set half a bagel aside for me knowing that if I went too long without eating, it would cause more trouble, but as I started a load of laundry, the dog got to it first. By then I was really not feeling like eating anything anyways, but just as Matt was walking out the door, I had to make a dash to the bathroom. The tears just flooded my face as the morning sickness has started. Everyone just kind of stopped and quietly waited for me to come out knowing exactly what was going on. I laid down on the couch to try and gain some composure, Cole very sweetly brought me another bagel for me to attempt. I grabbed my phone to put some worship music on and brought this grief welling in me to the Lord. After resting a bit, and finally eating that bagel, I got up and slowly started back to my morning routine working hard to keep my mind on the Lord instead of allowing my mind to drift into frustration and fear. He is my strength and will be even when I may not be able to rise in the morning to the tasks of the day. Being in this journey again brings refining to my stubborn heart, and a brokenness from not being capable of doing it all myself.

I am up and about now, a bit slower than normal, but very thankful for the ability to rebound from this mornings rough patch.


  1. Praying dear friend! LOVE the photo with the kids - so absolutely sweet and overflowing with the joy of such an amazing family. Love and hugs!

  2. i am so sorry, manda. my heart goes out to you!! please know that i am praying for you daily to have strength, grace, and most of all, to feel better!