Prayers to you all at the closure of this crazy strange year! Do not believe I’ve sent paper Christmas newsletter since 2014. I did do electronic newsletter in 2019 (published 12-31), and RIGHT after that my criscollrj.com site failed. So whether many of you had an opportunity to read it I’m not sure! I mentioned some dark scary times. Faith in God is so important, and prayer of family and friends is paramount. This post says a lot. Please read if you can. https://www.criscollrj.com/2011/04/11/the-powers-and-exponents-of-faith/, emphasizing Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” I read through entire blog this year and reviewed it and edited it in preparation of moving back into my soon to be revamped original blog site. I’m glad I wrote so many of these entries years ago – I’d forgotten many of them.
The urgencies of life all keep going on these months, almost 3 months since I posted last, my Christmas newsletter. School is in full swing for me and the kids, and we are doing fine. The usual chaos of trying to get the house cleaned (or not) and cooking, studying, playing, having outings, and planning the quarterly work trip with Rog keeps us all busy. Progressing one step at a time.
When a young boy decided to take a gun to school in nearby Chardon, Ohio, it was a moment of reflection, horror, questioning, sadness, shock, and many other emotions. Three boys died, the last of which was buried 10 minutes away in northern Chardon yesterday. The barrage of beautiful black and red ribbons has been everywhere, and I’ve even worn a red headband for a week now myself. What a tragedy, and I pray and have prayed for the victims families, friends, and the boy who shot them, and his family.
Of course something like this makes you hug your own children and say, thank God it wasn’t us, it wasn’t our children. You hug them many more times a day than usual, and yell at them less than usual. And you wonder what the purpose was. We have seen a tremendous outpouring of love, support, and offers of prayers to our immediate neighbors to the south of us, and perhaps it was that love after tragedy that was supposed to be a kind of lesson. I’m not sure. As we all continue to heal, spring is at our doorstep, with tulips and daffodils beginning to poke their heads out here and in other places. Everything becomes normal again, though of course it really doesn’t for the families touched.
In the education and democracy class I’m taking, we have had some discussion about how these events could somehow be addressed at school. I don’t know, really, what else they can do. Bullying prevention starts in elementary school. But yet it continues. And then we don’t even know for sure, was this boy bullied? That has never been confirmed.
As I listened to Dr. David Jeremiah today, http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio_archives.aspx, as he was preaching about stress and our lives, I was drawn to this parallel. He was describing how when we are so stressed out in life that we have a rest in our Savior and God and that not only is it a slight offer to come to Jesus, but is a command, the way the Greek “I” is written in the text. “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
So as we go about our daily duties, which He does entreat us to do: “From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.” (Proverbs 12:14), we still need to go to Him for rest and rejuvenation, and for me, be more like Mary and less like Martha from the New Testament stories.
Building a case for us to know that we do need to work, and not be lazy or slothful, are these verses contained in this blog post that I found. http://strengthenedbygrace.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/proverbs-on-work/ So by no means is God telling us to be lazy and sit around in Matthew 11:28-30. Perhaps it is a message to rest in Him as we work, to pray through the day, and to meditate on Him always. It is a lesson to me to try and take more time to read the Word and try to hide it in my heart to think more on as I go through my day. And just listening more to teaching radio, such as this show by Dr. David Jeremiah, has been a good practice as I drive hours a week now with work and school, to establish better habits to grow in my Christian walk.
And in the words of Keith Green —
Jesus commands us to go,
But we go the other way.
So he carries the burden alone,
While his children are busy at play,
Feeling so called to stay.
Oh, how God grieves and believes that the world can’t be saved,
Unless the ones he’s appointed obeys,
His command and his stand for the world,
That he loved more than life.
Oh he died, and he cries out tonight.
Jesus commands us to go,
It should be the exception if we stay.
It’s no wonder we’re moving so slow,
When his church refuses to obey,
Feeling so called to stay.
Oh how God comes, as he starts the great judgment of fire,
So he can gain, his greatest desire.
Cause he knows that the souls of the lost,
They can only be reached, through us,
We’re his hands and his feet.
Jesus commands us to go,
It should be the exception if we stay.
It’s no wonder we’re moving so slow,
When god’s children refuse to obey,
Feeling so called to stay.
As the spring arrives, I have been thinking about running in various ways.
I have used it as a thing to worry about – as spring comes every year, the boys would get more boisterous about escaping the house and running off (or in Chris’s case, usually walking very fast). As far as I’ve heard, Chris has not started yet this year with this; and here Ryan has not either. But last year, it was very difficult with both boys, with both households having installations of backwards locks where we need keys on the inside to let anyone out! This has not happened at all yet this year, but we wonder when it’s going to occur. We are hoping and praying by this time the boys will be able to communicate by words or icons that they wish to go somewhere consistently and not feel they have to “escape”!
In Ryan’s case, I am praying when we go to the park this spring (whenever it dries out enough!) that he will not run away from us in the parking lots like he did last year, not that we didn’t hold his hand, but he did it in a different way, just suddenly taking off from the middle of the playground where he had been swinging or climbing, as a game where he would want us to chase him suddenly, but in a dangerous way, usually ending up in the street or parking lot.
In a different vein, with all the challenges we have been having, sometimes my (and all of our) thoughts can lead to wanting to just run away, run fast, run far, to a place where there aren’t quite this many challenges, where people think clearly and act rationally all the time, and there is no more pain and sickness, and sleep is sound and not interrupted, and – wow, sounds a lot like the heaven we’re waiting for, doesn’t it? Yes.
Then of course running reminds me of exercise, and how little of it I’m getting at this point – lol! Time to get the Wii fit going now that I’m done with school in a week, and only going online for summer. Time for the whole family to start getting fit –not necessarily running, but walking, indoor cycling, calisthenics, et cetera!
And finally – 1 Corinthians 9:24 – “24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Lots to ponder as spring gets into full swing, my winter/spring semester is almost over, the kids’ school is winding down, Roger is healing in his body and preparing for when he will return to work, and I look forward to a break and time to get my house (and mind!) organized, and start a new semester. May I not be so close-,minded with school and duty that I forget including time for us to enjoy the summer weather, playing outside in safe areas, and also making sure I take time to have devotionals, prayer time, and, yes, exercise.
Happy spring! (this is last year, but they’re already budding now!)
First I must confess I did have to look up if the plural of syllabus was syllabi – and certainly it is. I wonder where I came about that certain bit of information in my head – I’m certainly not sure – but slightly pleased to know that was right. LOL.
Since 1999 I have had a cell phone – a bit late on that front, but there it is. At first I shared with my mom a cell phone plan where I had a phone similar to the one in the photo. A little bigger perhaps, it was still an amazing thing to us! We progressed to having our own plan by 2004, where at first Roger had Alltel and I had T-Mobile – our workplaces and the connectivity thereto was of upmost importance, and Roger even had to have something of a direct connect right after with Nextel. I also toyed with Sprint before we both ended up getting Verizon in approximately 2006, and even with a brief period with AT&T we are now back with Verizon, as for us now they have the best connectivity of the bunch.
As everyone knows, cell phones are everywhere, and everyone seems addicted to them. They are precious possessions, connections with the world, comfort for parents that children can instantly check in, and entertainment for some, and internet connectivity for the lucky! Yet they are accident causers, confusion creating (remember the first time you saw someone talking on a Bluetooth?) and sometimes patience prodding (person in line online not paying attention – with embarrassment I admit I was that person in line the day after Christmas, talking with my daughter about some urgent question she had about a ride to an activity, where I didn’t hear the clerk say, “Please move your cart, ma’am, the stockboy needs to get through!”
After being in college now for a year, I am now in my first semester of taking three classes on college grounds. I have taken two other college classes on campus, one my first session (Spring 2010) and one in the Fall of 2010. The other 3 classes were online. I don’t recall what those syllabi said about cell phone use. What struck me this semester, is all three of the documents pretty much forbid even looking at the cell phone. I liked the humor in one of the paragraphs:
“Turn off and put away all electronic devices. This includes cell phones, pagers, Palm Pilots,
Blackberries, MP3 players, tape recorders, cameras, laptops, electronic notebooks, and all other
devices already in circulation or yet to be invented. For those who must be reachable, leave the
telephone number of Campus Police (440-525-7241) and your class schedule. Campus police
will be happy to dispatch an officer to your classroom. The person who needs to reach you will
be able to call Campus Police even if they lose the phone number. Lakeland is listed in the
phone book, and our police have access to your schedule.”
She does have a point. I actually am going to follow her directions and if anyone has an emergency they can call the campus police. Hopefully that policy won’t have be used, but it’s comforting to know it’s there!
The tree unadorned, awaiting just the unassembly. I did get the tree up right after Thanksgiving, but was a little late getting it all decorated (a week or so after Thanksgiving?) But as always we treasured it’s beauty, and planned to take it down the 7th. However, because Colleen was having a New Year’s party January 8, I decided to leave it up the 8th and take it down the 9th. Life got busy and I didn’t finish until the 12th!
This is my attic, and what a super attic it is! As you can see in the 3rd picture on the right there there is plenty of room to stack boxes 4-5 high even in the eaves. That is my Christmas corner where everything will snooze until next November – –
This is my first year to establish a snowman corner
The lights are put away now, of course, but the merry white figures remain. It seems to be good timing with scenes like this:
This was the beginning of the most snow we received at once this year. This was, I believe, Saturday the 8th, the day of Colleen’s party. We have had snow since then for 4 days from two different systems – I believe we now have about a foot of snow – less than some snow belt areas around us and some states to the Northeast in the blizzard, but enough to remind us that it is indeed January! I have always loved the snow. I don’t know what it is, but snow makes me feel refreshed and energetic. I get crabby and lethargic in the heat, and am much more active in the winter. I hate the heat, and you don’t want to be around me if the air conditioner fails on a hot summer day!
Things continue to be about the same in our household – we are in prayer over many issues and know the Lord has us in the palm of his hand.
We continue to pray for Chris’s placement. A place that will offer him autism and deafness therapy and a safe residency, covered by our insurance or development disabilities funding, has not been found. His grandparents continue to care for him in the week . . . Continue reading “From Christmas to just Winter”→
I spend so much time making to-do lists and doing budgets and work checklists and homework checklists I need a break from that!! So here’s a new kind of list I thought would be refreshing to make!
Play lots of Wii with RJ and Chris too – and if Colleen will agree to play she should come right along! Ryan and I played for 1 hour last night and had a lot of fun!
Try and write on here once a week or so.
Proofread my posts going back to 03 and get everything categorized and tagged.
(2020 finally proofread all posts from 03 to now, it’s taken MONTHS. Haven’t checked categories and tags AT all. Need to read all comments also….)
Scan in my old pictures bit by bit and get them on Flickr (and renew Flickr for a year to the pro version!)
Plan what colors I want to paint all our rooms and post them on here. I already have three! I’ll post soon as they’re in my purse – it’s apricot or mint green for either kitchen or living room (not sure) and a slate blue for my bedroom.
Play guitar twice a week and do some Youtube videos for fun!
Do a wild and crazy Youtube video with Rog of us playing guitar with whatever brave children want to appear with us.
Plan to someday do a great long walk on a hiking trail with the family and maybe even have a picnic along the way sitting on a big rock by a forest 🙂
(2020 – having the boys from mid March to end of November, we hiked SO MUCH! every season! Can’t wait to get back to it as when we’re well we have them every weekend (we have been sick, you’ll hear about that soon enough).
Paint a picture!
Decide if I’m going to ever finish my book from 1981 or if I should just start a new one (maybe copying some of the great material from that one into the new one).
(2020 – ugh. Boy would still love to do that. I still have the book, and it’s online on my www.line-bright.com site — you have to ask me for password. It’s still in same shape it was in the 90s but IS in html format!!!)
Sleep for many extra hours.
Ahhh, cathartic just to write – remains to be seen if I do most of it.
At first glance my priorities seem very basic, and concrete, like:
Do the laundry
Get homework done
Make sure kids are safe.
I get up at 5 and make sure Colleen gets on her bus, then Ryan goes, and I know Gayle is getting Chris off to school. Our family team is taking care of our kids and everyone is safe and secure. Rog goes to work and I do work and school and try and build the Avon business.
I just felt this morning like I needed to sort out what our highest priorities are – I just don’t want to be in the position of the urgent ruling over the little moments of importance – of being so busy that we don’t have time to sit with a child for a moment or have a cup of tea with a loved one. I want to take the minutes of being able to see little things the children are doing that are really unique and encouraging, and not overlooking them because I’m too busy doing homework or getting a job out. I also want to treasure the minutes with Rog, Gayle, Chuck, my mom, and all our other relatives and our friends as well, and not only see them when I’m not busy working.
What I’m grateful for is that as a family through the years we have been good with getting our kids out to lots of different experiences and situations, both as a whole family and sometimes with just one or two of the kids. I am happy that we can look back and remember (and look at pictures too) of all the events we have attended as a family, as well as times that we just played at home. There are moments of aggravation and stress, too, of course, trying to please everyone and having things go wrong, but I am really glad we at least try.
I think back to trips, like when we went to North Carolina in 97 and then Port Clinton in 04 and 05. I am really glad we did this, even though at the time it was hard. We had a lot of fun and have good memories of these trips. But also I am glad we do things like yesterday when Rog drove us out to his hometown and showed the boys his old house he grew up at, and other times we just drive to McDonald’s and get chicken nuggets.
So, even though at this point I think of priorities and I think of things like, get my transcription done this week before our trip out of town (business) on Monday, and study for my biology test, it will also include enjoying watch Chris eat a piece of cheese that he loves and treasuring his laugh, looking at Colleen’s beautiful artwork, and hearing Ryan sing the melody of one of our church songs yesterday and actually recognizing it (“Your Grace is Enough”), and taking the time to enjoy a good meal with Rog alone at times. All of these things add up to a life of meaning and priority.
As a person who has always been not so good at multi-tasking, I have had to learn to become quite good at it!
The important things in my mind always are:
Taking care of our children and the family’s basic needs.
Roger and I getting our work done.
Us getting our schoolwork done when we’re in school (Rog from ‘99 to ‘01 and possibly going back next year, me since January of 10).
Colleen getting her homework done, trying to get some entertainment/learning activities for Chris, and supervising Ryan in his education pursuits (He’s rather like me where he’s obsessed with school items and loves his alphabet and learning to spell, so that helps – he creates his own educational hobbies!)
And just keeping enough clothes to wear to be clean and dishes washed to be sanitary!
So I would always try and do these things first – still am!
But it’s amazing how many other things pile up when you do this. Things you feel you never have time for. More dishes that you just can’t get to. Filing (started that last week as far as cleaning out the file cabinet!). Grass that needed cut that Rog had been too ill to do (he’s outside now finishing it, and our friends helped us with it last week (pictures coming).
Then things arise like 500pp of printing needed printed out for various agencies. Like in one week (happened to me in April). That means you run out of ink, and have to buy it. Then you have massive phone calls on this, that and the other. Every day is full of interruptions. Necessary interruptions, unnecessary ones, and sometimes annoying ones! Sometimes pleasant ones! Sometimes a spontaneous trip to the park is a tremendous treat (hopefully soon!)!
All in all, I’m trying to learn, that it’s not always the important all the time. Sure, I’m working on getting out my deadlines of the week for work, and do my homework, and cook dinner. But I don’t want to be a once a year or once every six month blogger any more. And I want to be spontaneous. Enjoy Chris today who’s at the house as he didn’t get to go back to school yet after his hospital stay. Enjoy the trivial.
Testing out Windows Live Writer. Working at the moment, and have had a ton of stuff happen in our fam since Christmas, and will try and update soon. Really would like to get all three of my blogs seriously underway and active on searches soon. Prayers for my family’s health issues appreciated at this time.