Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Football and Misc.

So many things to write about and so little time... I wasn't feeling very well yesterday so my weekly cleaning and laundry didn't get done.  And in the real world, those things don't just go away.  The baby is down for a nap, two loads of laundry are already in the washer and dryer, and I've made a pot of coffee.  The floor is strewn with toys, the bathroom needs to be cleaned, and there's a fair number of dirty dishes in the sink.  I have to make pork pie for supper and cookies for the New Years Eve bash at Kevin and Deanna's tonight.  But I suppose those things can wait.  The coffee must be enjoyed and the writing must get done.

First things first, the Packers-Bears game on Sunday was a nail-biter.  Unlike the game that followed it that evening (Cowboys-Eagles), our game was exciting because it was two good teams that really battled it out.  We managed to pull out a win (tho it wasn't very pretty) and won the NFC North.  We're going on to play the 49ers next week.  It's at Lambeau Field and the temps are supposed to be around 10 (with a possibility of snow) and those are always good things when you're playing a team from Cali.  But the 49ers knocked us out of the playoffs last year and went on to be defeated in the SuperBowl so it's going to be a tough game.  The best news is that Aaron Rodgers is back and, if Sunday was any indication, in great shape.  He was criticized for throwing an interception and fumbling but you have to expect a couple mistakes after being on the sidelines for 7 weeks.  The one interception was in the endzone so it didn't hurt us too much and the fumble was recovered by us and we ran it in for a touchdown.  In the last few minutes of the game, we had three 4th downs that we converted on.  The last one, a 4th and 8, was magnificent.  Rodgers was almost tackled but he broke away, running to his left.  He looked downfield and saw what the Bears evidently couldn't see.  Randall Cobb (first time back since a week 6 broken leg) was wide open and headed for the endzone.  Rodgers airs it out to him, Cobb makes the catch, and we're up by a touchdown.  There were a few seconds left but our defense managed to come through and the Bears couldn't score and the game was over.  It was a thing to see.
In other football news, Rony Romo was declared out for the season earlier this week (injury to his back).  If the Cowboys could've beaten the Eagles, they would've advanced to the playoffs.  But in typical Romo fashion, Kyle Orton (the backup) threw an interception in the last few minutes of the game, and that was that.  Eli Manning, who has had 27 interceptions this season, was hit during the game against the Redskins and suffered a sprained ankle.  He stayed in for one more play and, what do you know, threw an interception.  It only seems fitting that the Cowboys would be eliminated from the playoffs on an interception (although it would've been better if Romo himself threw it) and Eli Manning's last throw of the season would be an interception.  The Giants backup was put in and they went on to win the game against the Redskins. Also ironic.

There are also exciting goings-on in the family.  My little sister Bridget is pregnant and the baby is due July 26th.  Also, Daniel's cousin Nicole had her second baby (Connor) right before Christmas.  If we end up staying here in Wichita, Josiah is going to have many cousins to play with as he's growing up.  I know some people were expecting news of wedding bells from another member of the family but that doesn't seem likely now.  I love being married and I'm always sad when I see someone struggling in a relationship and I know they want to be married.  But marrying the wrong person is a horrifying prospect and it's better to struggle and end the relationship than to get married for marriage's sake. 

Well, my cup is running low and I only have another hour and a half before the baby wakes up.  I can usually still get things done when he's up and around but he's gotten more clingly the last few weeks and sometimes he just wants me to play with him.  But that's not a bad thing. :)   

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Anticipation

Christmas is over with for another year. I do believe that December 26th is the saddest day of the year.  All the anticipation and excitement, the presents and stockings, the Christmas Eve service and Christmas carols, reading the Christmas story on Christmas morning, the Christmas lights and decorations, the snow.  And suddenly, it's all done.  Family and friends go home.  Work resumes.  Presents are put away, or used, as the case may be.  The snow melts.  Our decorations and tree are still up but I'm already starting to feel the itch to take them down.  It just doesn't feel right to still have them up when Christmas has passed. 
But the little baby who was laid in a manger 2,000 years ago lives on.  That tiny baby, the Messiah, the Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Because of Him, we have another anticipation that's greater and stronger than waiting for Christmas.
The people of Israel longed for the birth of their Messiah.  Throughout the times of the Old Testament, prophets would speak God's words and promise that He was coming.  After Malachi, there was silence for 400 years.  And then an angel appeared to a young woman, telling her of the baby that she was to carry.  Shepherds in the hills outside Bethlehem were the first to hear the good news.  And then a star appeared, promising to show the Magi a great thing, if they would only follow it.  The young child grew into a young man.  He worked beside His earthly father, learning carpentry and waiting for the time that His heavenly Father had appointed for Him to start His ministry.  That time came.  For 3 years, He taught and loved and healed and rebuked and cried.  And then He was crucified, making the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Three days later, He rose.  And 40 days after that, He ascended back into heaven.  But that is not the end of the story. 
The anticipation that we have is that He's going to be coming back.  Someday, we will get to see Him face to face.  I think that day will feel like a million Christmas morning's put together.  And we will have that feeling forever. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The In-Laws

Saturday evening was the somewhat annual Crockpot Supper and Family Christmas Sing.  Daniel's Wichita family got together for a crockpot supper and afterward, we had a time of singing, playing, and reading.  Those who were musically talented played or sang, there were a couple readings, and several regular Christmas carols sung by all.  It was a really fun time. 
The part I liked the best was being able to look around the room and see a family gathered, worshipping God and celebrating the birth of His Son, Jesus.  It makes me sad that I would never see my family do something like that.  Mom and Dad both have 4 siblings and among them and their children, there's one, maybe two, couples that are Christians.  The rest espouse scientology, eastern religion, nothing at all (athiests/agnostics), or some perverted form of Christianity. 
My mother-in-law has 5 siblings.  Two of them (and their families: children and grandchildren) were with us that evening and another two (if not all three) of the others would have joined us if they lived closer.  I was incredibly blessed to marry into a family with strongly held Christian beliefs.  This family argues, laughs, shares, and loves.  They take care of each other, they stand by each other through tough times, they celebrate blessings and accomplishments, and they discuss and debate to sharpen each other.  A high priority is placed on family, marriage is kept sacred, and children are incredible blessings.  They are not perfect by any means but they understand the love and grace that has been extended to them and they try hard to extend that same love and grace to others. 

One of the songs we sang was my favorite Christmas song and I will leave you with the words.
I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Colds and Teething and the Packers

Yesterday I had a cold.  My nose was runny, I had a terrible sinus headache, and my throat was sore.  Today, the cold has all but vanished.  This never happens to me so I'm very thankful.  My kid, on the other hand, is still suffering from something.  Late last week, he started to exhibit the signs of teething.  His eating habits started to change.  He would wake up crying at night.  His nose started to run (clear, not the greenish color of a cold).  And his dirty diapers... let's just say things changed in that department as well.  The only thing he wasn't doing was drooling but I know that some babies swallow most of their drool (which then effects their dirty diapers).  But now that I seem to have gotten a touch of a cold, I wonder if he's just suffering from a cold as well.  If so, this'll be the third one in his short life.  If it is teething, I hope he hurries up and pushes those teeth out because I'm doing a lot more of his laundry than I'm used to.  The change in the dirty diaper department has caused a blow out and an impromptu bath almost every day.  Whatever it is, he's handling it like a trooper.  I didn't do much more than lay on the couch and watch movies yesterday and he played with his toys and the kitties all day with nary a whine. 

In other news, the Packers won on Sunday.  Our beloved quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is still not playing but somehow, Matt Flynn managed to get us a win.  My little brother Cal was at the game and he said it sure wasn't pretty but a win is a win, no matter how you get it.  We still have a small amount of hope of getting into the playoffs but we're heading to AT&T stadium to take on the Cowboys this Sunday.  They just lost to the Bears so hopefully Tony Romo is entering his annual December slump.  If not, it's going to be a tough game.  Rodgers is to be evaluated by his doctor today and will either be given clearance to play on Sunday or he'll be benched for another week.  Even if he does come back, I still don't hold out much hope that we'll make it to the playoffs.  When a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers caliber is injured and out for two months, there's usually not much hope of that team doing anything great that year.  The Patriots would be nothing without Tom Brady.  The Broncos would be done without Peyton Manning.  Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, Drew Brees and the Saints, Andy Dalton and the Chargers.  These teams are nothing without their quarterback.  I'm always sad when the Packers are struggling.  But there's always next year!   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving

Well, we survived another Thanksgiving.  I say "survived" not because Thanksgiving is a bad thing but because between all the visiting, the baking, the cleaning, the eating, and the overeating, those 4 days are pretty exhausting.  We had Thanksgiving with Daniel's immediate family on Thursday, we had our little Thanksgiving on Friday, and the big extended family Thanksgiving on Sunday.  I think I did pretty good on not eating too much but we now have a fridge full of dessert leftovers... not a good thing when I'm at home all day long! 

The last week has been gorgeous.  We've had sunny days with the temperature getting up to 60.  On Sunday, quite a few of us went for our annual Thanksgiving walk in the park.  We always seem to have nice weather for our Thanksgiving festivities.  On Saturday, Daniel and I were both outside in t-shirts.  Daniel put up our Christmas lights and I was doing some garden work.  But the nice weather is coming to an end.  On Friday, we're supposed to have a high of 25.  I don't mind since I love cold weather and snow.  Maybe we'll have some snow for Christmas this year!

And now we can all turn our attention to Christmas.  The next few weeks are going to be full.  We have some family birthdays coming up in addition to the usual Christmas-y things that we do.  I kind of wish there was more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas so that so much wouldn't be squished into 3 or 4 weeks but no one asked my opinion when the fourth Thursday in November was picked to be the national Thanksgiving Day.  I've already purchased a couple gifts but I still have the bulk of my Christmas shopping to do.  I think I'm going to have to ask my lil sister to babysit one of these days so I can go get it all done at once. 

Let's all keep in mind during this busy time of year that we're celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  It's not about Santa or presents or snow or lights or hot chocolate.  It's about the God-man who humbled Himself and came to earth to give us salvation.  We celebrate Him on Christmas Day.