We're back at it in Jennifer's Quick Takes Friday. Check it out and join the fun.
(1) My mom officially retired December 31st. It's hard for me to believe she's of retirement age. She doesn't look it, doesn't act like it. When she talks about doing some senior citizen outings, it sounds weird. She's the woman who brings foreign students to our water park and shows them how to do somersaults under water or gets her groove on at a wedding dance. She's definitely no white haired lady in a red hat. She's proof to me of those adages that change as I get older--60 is the new 50 or 40 or whatever. Congratulations, Mom, and relish this time.
(2) My kids have actually enjoyed each other this holiday season. They've watched movies together, played games together, sat in the same room doing separate things together. It's very satisfying to see them hanging out like this. It makes me think they kind of like each other!
(3) Have you ever noticed there are some people you immediately "click" with and others you have a hard time getting to know? You may both be friendly and try really hard, but conversation is awkward. With others the words and humor flow easily. Some people are at ease, others on edge. Some tell you their life story, some make you painstakingly pull it out of them. Why the difference? I suppose it has to do with personality variations, but I wish I could put my finger on how to relate to people in such a way that makes the getting-to-know-you process easier.
(4) How well do we know people, really? I find myself wondering what a friend may think about while they clean their kitchen or what keeps them awake at night. How do they like their eggs or what's their favorite way to spend a Saturday morning? What childhood memory haunts them or where do they get their motivation to get up in the morning? I have great relationships, but I'm not sure I could answer questions like these concerning them. Maybe the beauty of friendship is taking the time to find out.
(5) Have you noticed how some family stories never die? My poor brothers, who are now 34!, always get the business about their childhood obsession with a remote control truck they wanted for Christmas. Nearly every year someone will chant "Lobo Trucks and Lobo Bags", never letting them forget. Why do some things stick like that?
My kids have a new one on me. We took a trip tubing down the Niobrara River this summer and in the middle of the isolated Nebraska landscape I said, "Welcome to No Man's Land." They burst into laughter and have never let up, often saying it at the weirdest times, sure to bring a chuckle to each other. I don't get it. What's the joke? Oh well, if they're picking on me, they won't turn on each other.
(6) We have one more family Christmas tomorrow before we can officially close Christmas 2008. This celebration is with my extended family on my dad's side--aunts, uncles and cousins, most of which I grew up with. I think it's a pretty unusual thing. We still get together twice a year. My kids know my cousin's kids and some of them actually go to school together too. In this day of transient families, it's a gift I don't take for granted.
(7) My favorite moment of this holiday season involved a night I couldn't sleep (imagine that?). I got up at 3:AM and plugged in the Christmas lights on the tree. I sat on the couch and considered how the Father felt the day Jesus was born. The angels were praising God, but was He happy? Could He really be joyful, knowing what was ahead for His Son? Would He celebrate the beginning of the clock ticking down to the horrible day He had to forsake Christ on the cross and look away? It made me feel sad about Christmas, sad for what God gave up, and incredulous at His great love for humans. Who are we? How can we ever repay such sacrifice?
I didn't mean to go all serious on you there, but those thoughts have taken residence in my head this December. It's difficult to comprehend such love. I pray He continues to give me understanding and enables me to live up to His calling. We are so blessed.
Happy New Year, my friends. May God draw us near this year and bring us fresh insight into Himself.