Monday, December 5, 2011


advent [ˈædvɛnt -vənt]
an arrival or coming, esp one which is awaited

I feel a deep connection with advent this year.  My church in Denver celebrated advent in their own, semi-liturgical way.  They tried to make each service almost ache with a sense of waiting.  I understood it on an intellectual level.  We wait for Christmas, we wait for the coming of the Messiah.  We partake in the waiting so that we can celebrate the answer to our wait. This year I feel it.  I do ache.  My heart aches, my spirit groans.  

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart

The people in the advent story were waiting for someone to save them from their shame, their people’s oppression, their fear, and so many other things. They weren’t expecting the Jesus they got. They were expecting a warrior who would protect them, fight for them, vindicate them.  Instead, they got a baby.  They got a pacifist. They got someone who told them to give up everything they had to follow him.  How will the Emmanuel who comes to me be different from the Emmanuel I am waiting for?  

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I am waiting for someone to make my heart not hurt anymore, to repay what I have lost, to take away my sadness and give me joy.  Even though every part of me wants to “get over this,” I am going to allow myself to feel.  I’m going to let myself feel the uncomfortable ache.  I will wait for the coming of my Emmanuel because I know He will come.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The New Reality

The things that make me tear up have been catching me somewhat off guard lately.  Things I would never have thought of: a recipe I wish I had, a conversation with the owner of a local herb store, the new side bar on Facebook.  
My mom battled cancer for almost two years and just recently lost her fight.  Maybe “lost” isn’t the right word.  Maybe she won.  Maybe the rest of us lost.  My family and I were blessed to spend quite a bit of time with her over the last month or so, since it became evident that the tables were turned and she would probably not survive.  Sam and I spent a week with her over the end of October and beginning of November.  I wheeled her around in a wheel chair, helped her to the bathroom, changed her bandages, loved her.  We had been home for about two weeks when dad called to ask to come home early for Thanksgiving.  When I walked in the door I was surprised by how quickly she had faded.  It was becoming increasingly more difficult to think of her as my mom and not as my grandparent.  She looked so old and worn out, and she said such senile things.  On Sunday she was pretty awake and alert.  My sisters and I sat down with her and we used my sister’s computer to record our conversations.  I asked her to tell us why she was proud of each of us, to say what she liked about us.  Her comments were so uplifting! She wanted us to go through her jewelry and pick out what we wanted, and as we sifted through necklaces, earrings and rings, she told us the story behind each one and why she liked them.  
I wish last week had never happened.  I wish I could call my mom’s cell phone and she would answer.  I wish my heart didn’t have to hurt like this.  But, it did happen, and I’m so thankful that it happened the way it did.  We each got to say goodbye, to say how much we loved each other.  We got to serve our mom the way she served us her whole life.  We got to celebrate the life of one of the most beautiful, strong, wild women I have ever known.  I’m so thankful that we had the opportunities we had.  And I’m so glad I was able to spend twenty-six years with such a remarkable woman.  On Monday we had a memorial service.  We remembered her life and shared our memories of the impact she’d had on our lives.  It was so fun to hear how everyone’s lives had been shaped by something my mom did or said.  I felt so honored to be part of her.
And now the journey begins.  Now we try to adjust our lives to this new reality.  Now we learn how to look up recipes and adjust them to being the ones she used to use.  We learn how to see “Chelly Moore” on the right side of our Facebook screens and not look for the little green circle letting us know she’s online.  We get to share our conversations that would have made her so happy and interested with someone else who will also find them interesting.  We get to remember and cry and hurt and someday we will cry and hurt a little less.  
So that’s how my last week has been.  Well, basically my last six weeks.  Now I’m past the wounding and onto the healing part.  I’m thankful for the healing. I’m thankful for being back at home with my sweet husband who has helped me through this whole process.  I’m thankful for the little things that make me happy during these days.  Here’s what I’m happy about today:
-I worked today and they let me serve in the middle section.  Granted, It was super slow and I only made $20, but they have never let me have the sacred middle section before.  It made me feel like my boss thinks I’m good at my job. I liked that.
-Tonight is my first Parsons Christmas Parade!  We are going to my aunt and uncle’s house for treats after the parade so I’m making two delicious goodies.
-I had an interesting conversation with the owner of the herb/massage/natural healing place yesterday.  I was telling her some of my issues and she said I should look into getting my thyroid tested.  If I can get that straighted out, it might solve a lot of the issues I’ve been having.  I find the human body fascinating in the way it all works together. It is crazy how if one thing goes wrong, everything can fall apart, and if you fix that one thing, everything goes back to normal.   I forgot to call the doctor again today, but I’m going to get my thyroid tested next week, hopefully, and we’ll go from there.  
-We finally actually turned on the heat in our house on Tuesday.  I love having a warm house. I love coming inside and noticing the temperature change.  I love not having to wear layers in the house.

I figure you’re interested in what I’m bringing tonight, so here it is:

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

My chocolate chip cheese ball, rolled in graham cracker crumbs

I’m also making cupcakes with ganache filling. I’m thinking I’ll probably have some with mint ganache and some with regular ganache.  They’ll have buttercream icing and I’m sure they’ll be delicious!  I’m excited about them. :)

Cupcakes with centers removed for filling
White cupcakes have regular ganache filling, green cupcakes have mint ganache filling

I know most of this post has been kind of a downer. I'm really doing okay. My heart hurts and life is quite a bit different now, but I'm still doing okay. My life is still very good and I'm still surrounded by people who love me. This will sound cheesy, but I hope you find time to be thankful even in the middle of this season's stress, expectations and exhaustion. I hope you feel as blessed as I feel right now.