Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Train

It was FREEZING, and it was also a warm experience that I shared with my sisters and I'm so thankful I was able to go.
I'm refering to a special place right here in Oklahoma called "The Christmas Train" in a little "town" outside of Pryor called "Dry Gulch". It was started by a pastor by the name of Willie George who leads a pretty popular church here called Church on the Move. He wanted to spread the true story of Christmas so that people from all walks of life could know Jesus.

When the idea was 1st presented to me, my first thought was I really didn't want to freeze and I also had visions of the boys walking around with red cheeks and their noses running all over the place, shouting every 10 minutes or so that they had to go to the bathroom (which, in my opinion should be added as an Olympic event in the wintertime).
But something told me that I don't get to have these opportunites with my sisters all that often and that I should seize this one. I'm glad I did.

It was a true Christmas fairytale. As you enter this little "town", you are greeted by smiling townsfolk dressed in attire that was reminicent of Little House on the Prarie. They open all the doors for you everywhere you go and say with a smile,"Merry Christmas" or "God bless".
The town was lit up with bright white Christmas lights on every building and it was beautiful. The shops and attractions were also from another time and reminded me a little of a smaller version of Silver Dollar City.
But the train was the highlight. It only lasts for about 5 minutes but as you ride they light up huge story boards complete with artistic representations of the birth of Christ and it goes through his life until His death on the cross. I was sitting in the middle of my 4 yr old and my niece (who, when we came upon the scene of Jesus hanging on the cross, said "Why are they torturing Jesus?" - out of the mouths of babes). Like I said, it was a very warm experience and by the end of our short trip through Jesus's life I was tearing up.
We finished our time there with a wagon ride, eating food that cost too much, stuffing ourselves into the shops with people needing their souvenir Christmas ornaments and letting the kids ride the merry-go-round. It was a blast. I think the warmth inside from sharing time with my family outweighed the cold outside. Hope we can do it again next year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Feelin' the Love

Wow, all I had to do was ask. I asked God to just embrace me in His love and I received it through everyone with kind words from friends, family and the message in church today was especially uplifting. Thank you to everyone. I know that pothole days will come and go and what seems so difficult at certain times will get much easier to deal with later on.

And this too shall pass...

We all have those days when we need to be quiet, remember to focus on the most important things and try to SLOW down. It will probably be after the holidays before I'm completely back to a semblance of my normal self. -whatever that is ;)

But that's ok with me, I know this is a rough patch of road and I'm going to embrace it. I'll enjoy spending time with all of my family for Christmas, after all we only have this time once a year.

I really felt the love today and just wanted you to know!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It has been a pothole day. My definition of a pothole day is a day that feels very similar to hitting a huge pothole. That feeling of driving along not worried about what lies ahead and just when your attention is focused on something else for a brief moment, WHAM, KERCHUNK, a pothole. It throws you off, it messes with the alignment on your car... See where I'm going?
I have really been doing ok lately, feeling strong, praying a lot and focusing on all our blessings, (having said that makes me feel guilty about how I'm feeling, did that make sense?) anyway, I've been motoring along ok. Today has just been hard. I've been so emotional about everything, wondering why it has to be so difficult everyday. With our finances the way they are everything becomes a major decision. There isn't freedom when there isn't money. One of the things that has been particularly hard on me is the fact that I've lost friends.(I know it's said that your true friends will be there no matter what, but they were good friends to me) and I probably haven't lost then in the truer sense of that word but it's difficult when it takes money just to leave your house. People like getting together for coffee or lunch, sometimes a movie or a girl's night. I can't participate in any of these things and if I do the other person ends up paying for me and that just really gets old. I feel pathetic when this happens because I know I can't reciprocate the favor. I am thankful for friends that will take care of me like that but I can just imagine that they're sitting there thinking to themselves "I'm not asking her to do anything again, I'll probably have to pay her way." Don't get me wrong, I won't even go out unless I have a little money to at least pay my way, but much of the time I won't have to pay because they know my money situation and offer. This is a lovely gesture that again, I'm grateful for but I just wish I had money to spend once in a while so I can pay their way for a change.
I really miss my friends.
Christamstime is just a ridiculous time for us. I try and tell myself that Christmas isn't really about all the presents, la la la, etc... But let's be honest, having presents under that tree from Santa is a pretty big deal to a 9 and 4 yr old. They don't realize that Santa's budget has become infinitely smaller than ever. I tried telling my 4 yr old that Santa gets presents for so many girls and boys that he can't get everything he wants. He says, "Yeah he can, he makes the toys"
Who came up with that lovely portion of the story? Why can't they rewrite it so that Santa has to shop at Wal-mart with all the people and sometimes they run out of toys. - Yes, I like that better.
Needless to say, I'm still grateful for everything we have. We are very blessed. It has just been a pothole kind of day. I lost my focus and now my alignment is off, time to take myself to the repair shop, the one that's owned and operated by Jesus.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Topsy-Turvy World

Sometimes I feel right side up when everything is upside down.
I grew up learning right from wrong, and now that has been blurred.
What was wrong is becoming right and everything is turned around.
I am trying to focus clearly but with everything that has occurred,
I am left without understanding and it just seems so absurd.
How do I teach my children that what I know is unique,
to those that offer only a glimpse of truth and the rest is obsolete.
What was right is becoming wrong, you don't talk about your faith.
Be correct and don't offend those whose ideas do not concur!
But to just pretend does not justify the truth, I need to be brave.
I must hold on to my values and beliefs that formed who I am today.
I will tell my children the truth and I will glorify His name.
I will pray that the world loses it's battle and they remain on solid ground.
To experience a truer joy that in the world is never found.

Michele Cornwell 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Boys

I have to post about the two boys in my life that keep me from being in a rut on a daily basis. Logan is 9 and is becoming more precocious every day. He is actually very much a smart-alec too, but he gets that from me so I can't be too annoyed with him. Truth is he keeps me laughing. Holden is 4 and is just so sweet, ornery, but sweet nonetheless. He is the child we have a hard time discipining because he knows how to work us. It's hard not to smile when he flashes those dimples.

Even on the days when I just want to pull the covers over my head, they won't allow it. They don't know about life's hardships and I want to keep it that way. They're children and they want to have fun and play. They want our full participation, our undivided attention.

I had a great day with them yesterday and it was just what I needed. We made Christmas cookies (which I ate for breakfast this morning... is that wrong?), played games and watched cartoons. I am truly blessed, they are one of my most important reasons for becoming a healthier person...mind, body and soul.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow day!

I woke up this morning and flipped on the tube first thing to see if last night's ice was enough to close the schools. - yes it was! I felt like a kid, excited that I would be closed in my house with the weather's permission not to have any responsibilities today. Maybe I'll get some cleaning done and I can bake something, oh I'm feeling very domestic today.
Normally, I can do without this kind of weather but I just really needed this time to be quiet and not have to run anywhere. Sorry for those of you that have to get out in this regardless but I'm going to be a little selfish and say "Hooray for the snow day!!!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Moving a mountain

So, I leave church today feeling strong, like nothing can bother me and I'm happy as a clam thinking of what I want to eat for lunch. We get home and I tell Matt that I need to go to the grocery store before the cold weather hits because we have nothing (literally) to make for dinners. I proceed to make out my list, so proud that I have thought of about 7 dinners to make (if not more after leftovers). sidenote: If you know me you know how much I HATE thinking of what to make for dinner and I really HATE going to Wal-mart during the weekend.

So, I am just walking around like I got it going on and I ask Matt if we should all go so we can get out of the house for a bit. He looks at me and says "Do you have a budget on that?" here it comes... I say "Well, what kind of budget should I have?" and I'm sure you can guess where the conversation went. The sum of these parts ends up with one of us explaining that we have no money and the other of us feeling defeated and ending up in tears. I'll let you decide which one is which. Needless to say, I gather my senses (yes, I'm the bawl baby) and decide that I will make it work with what we have and not worry about the rest. (I know this sounds like it should've been the solution all along but I'm emotional first and sensible later.)

I leave (by myself and tell Matt to let the boys play outside while the weather is nice because there is no sense in putting them through a. Walmart stress, b. my stress and c. my stress+Walmart stress = no fun Mom).

I get in the car, turn the radio on pretty loud and change the station to Christian music. (no, I don't always listen to Christian music, sometimes I need to get my groove on with rock, country and some oldies) anyway,

So, I say out loud - "God, sing to me." and the song that begins playing is about how God can move the mountains which strangely enough is exactly what our pastor's message was this morning... moving the mountain (or problem) in your life. I had a renewed energy because I knew this was no accident.

Satan is good, but God is GREAT. I don't mean that satan's nature is good (obviously). I mean he is good at what he does. It's not a coincidence that just when you feel like you can manage a situation, something happens to completely pull the rug out from under you. I've heard people ask why God let's things happen, but I don't believe that it's about Him letting things happen so much that it's about what you do with what happens. Satan will manipulate every situation in order to keep us away from our Father. He loves nothing more than when we feel so depleted and depressed that we can't think of anything else but the problem we are having.

Well, satan, you didn't win this time and it might be a small victory but I went to the store and had only $100 to spend and it has to last us longer than a week (for a family of 4) and I got almost everything we needed for $92.82. Praise God! I am still out of the rut today!

PS. I want to thank everyone for putting up with the e-mails everytime I write. I initially wanted to just let you all know what my new adventure was and now that you know I don't want you to be inundated with my writings on daily basis. So, after this one you won't have to receive them cuz I'm going to change that part (unless you just love hearing my happenings and then you can let me know and I'll keep you on the e-mail list.) You can find me on the address that comes to you on the link if you're curious as to what I'm up to and what I find in life to keep me Out of the Rut!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's a Wonderful Life

It has been a day. That's all I'm going to say about it and I'm sure you can read between the a and day. Nothing too serious, just blah, nothing but doing laundry and TV. Just as I was starting to feel sorry for myself that it seems like I'm always busy but never doing anything special, I looked up from the pile of laundry I had just started folding and saw that "It's a Wonderful Life" was on - my favorite Christmastime movie. Ironic as well that it happens to be about a man who feels like he has never done anything special and it turns out that he was the center of so many wonderful things.

Thank you God - I needed that!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Looking on the Bright Side

It's truly annoying when you tell someone your woes and they follow it up with "Look on the bright side." or something equally as heinous, "It could always be worse." - what is that? Don't they know I want to wallow in self-pity for a while? When this happens, I just want to look that person in the eye and say,"Shut up."
Have you ever fallen asleep under the covers and then woken up to find yourself entangled in them, like you've waged a war with yourself in your sleep? I compare this to self-pity.
Truthfully, self-pity is like a warm comfy blanket that I often wrap myself up in and stay there... until it becomes confining and suffocating. When I'm in it at the time, I don't want someone telling me it could be worse, I mean, I do know that already and I will get there eventually, just give me a minute will you?
(I am getting to a point)
My closest friends have told me in the past how strong I am and how happy I always seem, but the truth is I don't feel strong and a lot of the time I am struggling to smile. I have, however just recently discovered this path that God has taken me down and it is very humbling. I don't know the time or place that my eyes were open but I am grateful that He is helping me see a little more clearly.
Life is a funny thing and I wonder if God is watching us all and evaluating how we begin to understand. Kind of like when I tell my boys how to do something over and over and then finally they do it on their own without my persuasions. Oh Happy Day!
This is a difficult time right now for us (and I know for everyone, I'm not in self-pity mode- so hold your breath). We have had huge financial problems for what seems like an eternity. However, it is only within the last say, 6 months that I feel like I can do this. I've heard that God only gives us what we can handle but I honestly wish he didn't think so highly of me at times. I'm tired, physically tired of the worry and just when I think I've laid it down for Him to take, I take it back. (I'm kind of a control freak that way)
Anyway, like I said, it's been about 6 months since I've been on this path of clarity and I see that God keeps giving me opportunties of understanding. The 1st one was when I read the book by William P. Young called "The Shack", (thank you Kelli) and if you haven't read it I suggest you pick up a copy and read it twice. It changed my perception of God, religion, and relationship at a time when I was struggling with church and the people in church, etc. The 2nd was last night when I read a blog called "Bring the Rain" by a woman named Angie Smith. A very real, true story about her 4th daughter that lived for only 2 hrs and excruciating decisions she and her husband had to make. I have posted it on here and recommend it if you are struggling with your faith or any difficulty in your life. Reading her story gave me this sense of who God is really. Through her heart I saw Him. I learned that I must turn to Him - always! When I feel self-pity, He is not going to tell me, "Look on the bright side." He is going to give me the tools I need to pick myself up and He is going to love me through it. I feel like God is looking at me and saying,"I think she's getting it." I know I have been told that God is always there and He is the only one I can rely on and in my head I knew that, but my heart is still trying to catch up. Going to church is fine and it's good to read the bible but if you don't have the relationship with Him it's like biting into a Twinkie and discovering that they left out the creme filling.
I know I have a long way to go, I haven't given up that blanket yet. But I do know God will be there to help me get untangled.
My favorite verse in the bible is Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
It's my favorite because it gives me the security of knowing that even through some of my poorest decisions, when I haven't listened to His voice and struggled on my own that He will make it work for His purpose.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Middle of the night panic

Anyone who has children knows how it feels to wake up in the middle of the night to some kind of health related emergency. The sound of your child coming into your room and being half-awake and half-dead to the world, trying to get your eyes to focus on which one has stumbled his/her way avoiding all the obstacles to reach you and say "Mommy, I don't feel good." Last night was like that for us, except my son Holden stumbled in and just stood there wheezing and coughing. So I woke up fairly quickly to have been so zoned out asleep and probably stood there for a full minute before finally figuring out the next step. (poor Holden)

So without the albuterol for his nebulizer, I tried the next best thing I could think of - sitting in the bathroom with the hot shower running and trying to get a sleepy, coughing and very grouchy 4 year old to let me slather some Mentholatum on his chest, while still being half-asleep myself. After the hilarity of this treatment, it lasts only while we were actually sitting in the steam. I don't know if anyone else wrestles with "what to do" in their brain as much as I do but I literally am going back and forth in my head,"Should I go to the emergency room or wait until morning and take him to the doctor?" for about 3 hours. My beloved husband wakes up and takes a turn holding him because he's just not improving, no matter how much of that Mentholatum I slather on him. So after the battle in my brain I finally decide I better take him to the emergency room because my poor child has suffered long enough. We get to the emergency room, (St Francis South, because I didn't want to wait long)walk in and no one is there at registration(I'm not kidding). This is the EMERGENCY room, right? I'm glad I didn't walk in with a gunshot wound. Anyway, after the 2 hour emergency room event(still probably shorter than going to the bigger hospital) I feel calm and relieved that my baby can breathe better and it confirmed that I was right to take him when I did. All that anxiety about should I or shouldn't I go, so many stupid things ran through my mind, like the cost of going to the emergency room vs the doctor's office, and if he's made it until 5:00 maybe he can make it a little longer. What is more important than my child's health for goodness sake?
I guess the reason why I decided to write about this experience is because I recognized how much relief I felt when I knew he was going to be fine and how much love I have for these 2 boys that my anxiety level goes through the roof when they're sick. I hope they can survive my insanity and can one day know that their mom will absolutely do whatever it takes to make sure they're ok, because they are my life!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Christmas Surprise

Out with my children in the holiday shuffle,
my stomach in knots with all the hustle and bustle.
I shop for the food, the candy and gifts,
hoping I don't forget a soul on my lists.
Did I remember to mail our Christmas cards?
I don't want someone to say "We didn't get ours!"
I hurry my children back into our car,
yelling,"Please don't sit on the new Christmas star!"
I sit in the traffic my patience is put to the test.
I can't wait to get home my poor feet need a rest.
Finally we're home, it's time to unload
all the packages and food into our humble abode.
When it's all put away, I sit down and close my eyes.
Now my kids run in and say "We've got a Christmas surprise!"
I exhale and with a forced joyful smile
say,"I'll be there in just a little while."
"But mommy," they say, "We have a present for you!"
And now I know that my delay won't do,
so I hold their hands and close my eyes
and let them lead me to my surprise.
They show me the way to the kitchen table,
where sits a box wrapped in colored on paper.
I sit down and open their artistic display
to find it empty, which to this they say-
"We know you are tired and needed some love,
so we blew into that box our kisses and hugs!"
At that moment I realized this is what Christmas should be,
not the food or the gifts or the star on the tree.
It's the love Jesus brought when He was born that day.
The whole reason He came, to show us the way.
It's the same love I see in my children's eyes
and I felt that love in their Christmas surprise.

Michele Cornwell 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Family night

Had so much fun.

My husband's family used to have a family night about once a month and it was really great getting to spend time with everyone and having that opportunity to really get to know each individual personality. There is such a closeness that stems from spending time together. I took that for granted in the beginning because after some unfortunate events in my inlaws life our family nights were nonexistent for, let's see, about roughly 5-6 years? Not that we didn't see each other. There are still birthdays and holidays, the only problem with those events is that it's mayhem and the focus is somewhere else.

Last night was the first real family night we've had in a long time and it was just so much fun. My favorite part of the night was watching a video of my brother n laws 7th birthday. Talk about hilarity, looking back at the hip fashion in the 80's, my husband's "hot pants" and nifty socks that went up to his mid-calf. The flipped up collar of my sister n law had her looking like the stylish 80's queen. What I noticed most when I watched this video, was the happiness that shined on all their faces. Whether it was just a simpler time or that everyone was just together having fun and making memories. Isn't that what it's all supposed to be about? I haven't seen that happiness in many of us these past years. My pastor did a series called "Happy Don't Live Here", a phenomenal series that talks about where we try desperately to find happiness in extrinsic things. Money, Cars, Houses, Jobs, Success, etc... He (my pastor) explained that true Happiness is an inner joy regardless of the outside circumstances. Think about that, how is that possible? What if there isn't money to pay the bills? Well, in the video what I noticed is that they probably did have money to pay their bills and they were much happier but did that happiness really come from the money? I don't think the true focus was ever on that (knowing my inlaws). Their true focus was on the inner joy they experienced as a family, the relationship between husband and wife, brothers and sister, grandparents and grandchildren. The reason I know this is because of how I grew up. It was very much the same, except we didn't have the money due to an outward circumstance in my parents divorcing. As painful as that was, my family brought us all through that time. My mom bonded with her sister through that and from that came time spent with my cousins and time spent every Sunday going to my grandma's and just hanging out for a few hours, laughing and playing & making memories. If I hadn't had that, the bond of family, it would have been entirely much more painful for me growing up. What I'm trying to say is I believe God has put us together to know a true joy regardless of outside circumstances. He didn't create us so that we go through life alone and in pain, He created us to come together and experience life together. To enjoy each other's personalities, play games, laugh, even have spats and hash them out together.

As my father n law would say "Last night was a whole bunch of alright". (he actually said that, it was documented on last night's video) ... How can you not have inner joy regardless of outside circumstances when you hear a line like that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Technology and communicating

I'm going to just lay it out there, I HATE getting texts. E-mails used to bug me until the whole texting thing came into play. Now it seems e-mails are actually personal in comparison. My DAD texted me Happy Birthday. I see people texting in their cars while they are DRIVING. I've seen kids text to each other from across the room. C'mon are you kidding me?
I really miss how we used to communicate. I have tons and tons of old notes from highschool friends and I cherish them. I'll bet that is not even done anymore, passing notes. The joy of not paying attention in class and writing to your best friend about how bored you are and who you have a crush on this week, etc. I really think kids are missing out with all this technology. I think adults are as well, but at least we knew a different and I think better way of communicating. I know it's ironic that I'm writing on a blog about how technology has turned us into a bunch of people who don't have time to pick up a phone or write a letter. It's not that I think technology is bad, just that it shouldn't take the place of real communicating. There are some people that I will go for months without hearing what their voice sounds like.
The reason why I'm writing about this is because one of the things nearest to my heart is friendship. Friendship with others is something that makes me very happy and I miss seeing and actually talking to people. I am guilty of not picking up a phone as much as anyone and I haven't written a letter since highschool. I'm hoping to change that and I'm sorry to all of you for not being a better friend. My out of the rut idea for this week is to write letters and pick up the phone. If I get your voicemail, please don't text me!