Giving thanks and Christmas goodies

wpid-2012-12-21-11.59.25.jpg

This holiday season has been a challenge for me. Because of its ups and downs, I have incorporated into my daily routine a moment to stop and give thanks in all things. I am here to tell you, of all challenges a woman of faith faces in a day, giving thanks in all things is simply not easy. Looking adversity straight in the eye is not comfortable. And thanking God for it? Well, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

Today has been a very tough day for me. The last final days of preparing for Christmas have been hard because I am missing some of those who are most dear to me. So, procrastination has set in. I have created lots to do – all that has absolutely nothing to do with my very long to-do list.

But that is okay, because my feeling of being a bit blue has led me to a distraction, which has led me to a wonderful opportunity to give thanks in all things.

While cleaning the office, when I really should be cleaning the bathroom, I found an old column of mine – my very first published column – ever! A former editor, Steve Stein, took a chance on me, and on Christmas Eve, 1998, I was published.

The memory of the excitement of seeing my byline, combined with the words I wrote 14 years ago, gives me the opportunity to thank him and so many others who have helped me along the way. I can never thank my former editors and writing colleagues enough.

“Sugar Buzz” was written when my oldest was 13 and my baby was one. This column reflects what Christmas used to be like in our home, 14 years ago. Of course, I miss those days of Christmas past, and in giving thanks in all things, I look forward to the memories of Christmas present and future.

I hope you enjoy this column! God bless you and your families as you create special moments together.

“Sugar Buzz,” written by Lynne Cobb and published in The Mirror Newspapers, December 24, 1998:

I know I read somewhere that sugar does not affect children’s behavior. Well, this experienced mother can truly dispute that statement! Any parent who has ever hosted a child’s party or helped out during classroom parties can attest to this fact as well.

But who am I to complain? Growing up, there was always “something sweet” with coffee after dinner. This tradition has carried over to my household as well as those of my siblings. I have a panic attack if we have surprise visitors and there is nothing sweet in the house.

Now, as parents, my husband and I try to keep our children’s sugar ingestion to a minimum. (I said try!) All four of them were born with a sweet tooth. Dessert is part of the food pyramid, right? And Christmas is coming, which means – more sugar and goodies.

I honor of all the parents who will try to talk their children into vegetable sticks in lieu of candy and cookies, I lift my cup of cocoa to you. And here’s a tune I penned to “Silver Bells” to get you in the mood:

Sugar Buzz

Sugar buzz, sugar buzz,

It’s Christmas time in my kitchen.

Butter rings, fudge and things,

Soon kids will be spazzing out.

City children, country children,

With their hands gooey-gross,

Keep eating the cookies and junk food.

See them laughing, see them jumping,

See them bouncing around.

And they just keep on chowing junk down!

Sugar buzz, sugar buzz,

It’s Christmas time in my kitchen.

Angel wings, sugary things

Soon kids will be spazzing out.

Grandma’s baking, candies making,

See the kids beg for more.

Mom and Dad roll their eyes – plead for mercy.

Hyper children, sticky clothing,

Today’s the year’s longest day…

And tomorrow we’ll start this again!

Sugar buzz, sugar buzz,

It’s Christmas time in my kitchen.

Red food coloring, fined everything

These kids just can’t simmer down!

Merry Christmas!

© Lynne Cobb – 2012

Some quiet time with Super Heroes

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:13 NIV

A few years ago, my husband and I answered a call for volunteers for our local historical society. I am not embarrassed to admit that I was a bit apprehensive.

Our volunteer mission: to place flags on veteran’s grave sites.

My apprehension wasn’t due to the perceived creepiness of going to a cemetery, but how would I handle this emotionally. As a military wife and mom, I’d be placing flags at the graves of someone else’s spouse or child.

Previously, my only experiences at cemeteries had been emotionally charged because of the burials of relatives or friends. Would emotions run high for this event, too?

Volunteers gather in the center of the cemetery to receive flags and instructions, then disperse. Amongst those donating their time were several members of scouting groups and some veterans – a good mix of young and old.

Walking amongst the headstones is very humbling. There is an innate respect for the ground you are walking on, carefully tip-toeing to make sure you don’t “step” on someone. After a quick search of a seemingly endless row of headstones, you spot one. A veteran’s grave marker. It is unmistakable. Place a flag to the left hand corner of the marker and you’re done.

Or so you think, “done.”

In my case, I would stand a moment and picture what the service member may have looked like, in a uniform fitting the years noted on the marker. Looking at the dates, you know if this person was young or old when they died; if they had come home from war and continued on with their lives. Or, sadly, if the service member had fallen for their country. Super heroes who answered the call to serve.

I’d say a sincere thank you to each veteran, using his or her name, plus give a prayer of thanks to God that this person put their life on the line for me, my family, my friends, for future generations, and off to find the next marker. Yes, there was a certain soberness to the occasion but there was certainly cause to smile, hearing the distant shouts of an excited Cub Scout yelling “I found one!” then watching as he firmly planted a flag and a gave a quick salute.

Did my emotions run high? Yes, without a doubt.

Leaving the cemetery, seeing hundreds of flags swaying in the breeze, I whispered to my super heroes, “Thanks, guys. See you next year.”

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me. ~Lee Greenwood

How will you celebrate Memorial Day?

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

A quick note to say thanks…

 

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.  ~Author Unknown

Just taking a quick moment to thank you all so very much for your support. As many of you know, I am relatively new to blogging. The fact that people are reading and responding to my posts is not only humbling but truly rewarding. The past few days I have received so many wonderful comments. Your “likes,” comments, personal notes and constructive suggestions are keeping me motivated.

There have been many changes in my life in the past few years, some good and some not-so-good. Transitioning from print media to other career ventures is just one of the changes and challenges! Personal changes, such as my dad’s struggle (and then his death) from Alzheimer’s; friends dealing with health challenges – both their own and that of their parents’ or children – and then losing friends way too soon have made for the more challenging times.

But the good has totally outweighed the bad. Had not these challenges been laid before me, my faith in God wouldn’t be where it is today. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now – writing. I wouldn’t have met new friends. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reunite with old friends, create stronger bonds within my own family or leaned on my dear friends for strength.

I would not have gained an attitude of gratitude.

Again, I say from my heart – thank you.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb