Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Considering this date doesn't happen again for another hundred years, I figured it was profound enough to take a bit of time out of my busy day and actually write a blog. When I go days or even weeks at a time without even a photo posted, it usually isn't for lack of something to say, but more often than notit means so much is happening that I don't have time to stop and take note of it here at Nitty.Gritty. It also is very likely that I am dealing with stuff, emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually that are just hard for me to articulate, or that in fact, I would rather not even be dealing with, so I absolutely don't care to write it down and share it with the world.
I do always promise to keep it real around here- and have been criticized for being too raw even! But the fact is sometimes even I can't write it down and get it out in this format as I trudge through it. So I hold it inside and I am sure there will be lessons learned or great insights to this stuff later on. Sometimes you just have to sit in a place and let it unfold and then looking back it takes on a whole new meaning. I am sitting and waiting for meaning right now.
Now, when I say 'sitting and waiting' you know that isn't literally what I am doing! My to-do list as a mom to 6 kids ages 2 to 13 is never-ending and after having just moved a month ago and throwing in Thanksgiving and now Christmas, well, it is just a phrase I use. I am sitting and waiting in my heart and mind. But I am otherwise busy keeping up with the kids' schedules and events and getting them back into their new-ish routine. There are things that changed and things that stayed the same since we moved a year ago, and it is still a bit of an adjustment getting it all feeling "back to normal".
I have been busy trying to make some cards for Christmas {that's a couple of different ones turning my favorite stamp into a Christmas card/banner} and actually get some in the mail before too long. I love playing with my scraps and glitter and just listening to Christmas music while I think of the people I am writing my cards to. It is a nice way for me to put my heart into something that is such a traditional part of Christmas. The mail! I know that real cards in the mailbox are getting rarer and rarer as technology has connected us more and more in recent years. But to me, instead of seeming like a waste of time, paper and energy, it seems even more important that the art of Christmas cards not get lost. To me it tells the receiver you are indeed as special in my life as I hope you know and this card is a way of saying so. I hope to never get too wrapped up in computers and phones and such that cards aren't a part of Christmas. Last year we had just moved and there was no way I could get cards out to friends. This year feels good for me to be able to do that and to handmake some of my cards is a gift to me as much as it mightbe to anyone else who gets one.
To prove my point and to just have some random holiday fun, I would love for any of you who still read to leave me a comment and just say Merry Christmas, or share your favorite holiday food or Christmas cookie. Tell me a way you are going to make this year special for someone less fortunate than you or where you are heading for Christmas day. Any comment will do, really. I will choose one {or two, if that many of you actually leave a readers are sparse these days!} and send you a Christmas card and photo. Just make sure to share your email address or come back and check to see if you've won. I will choose the winner by next Thursday {Dec. 20th} which just so happens to be my 40th birthday too! It should be a wild day for me!
I posted a picture of Wyndham and me here because she is just doing so well right now. I always worry a bit more about her as the winter approaches because she has not faired so well through the years when it comes to her weakened immune system and all the viruses and junk that gets passed around everywhere you go. For her, even a cold and flu has far too often turned into a hospital stay. Last year was her first year since she her head injury that she didn't need an ER visit or extended stay for any reason. I am hoping we can make that a tradition too and go for at least two consecutive years! It would be a wonderful thing for her and us as a family. Hospital stays are rough on everyone!
Wyndham is finishing up some evaluations at her rehabilitation center and will be back on a regular schedule again. She so loved her aquatherapy before and the pool was such a motivator for her. She has been much more mobile and even a bit independent in our home sine moving back here. I don't know if she is just more comfortable in the space or what it is exactly, but it is still even a bit shocking for me to look back to the dining table for instance, and see that she has left her spot and is off in another room. After not having gotten up from her spot for over 2 years, it is just surprising to see her do things like that on her own. The fact that she doesn't speak or really make noise is another reason it's unexpected and surprising. She would make a great spy I think. =) Her happiness is something that I never take for granted.
I love the picture of her and I because the truth is it was a bit cold and windy that day out at the beach. She doesn't really like being outdoors in the first place, much less in the cold, wind and blowing sand. I am just so proud of her and the way that she lets us push her sometimes and proud of how she pushes her own self at other times. It's sometimes a tricky dance to do- especially as a mom whose heart is bent on her comfort and ease and happiness moreso than on her growth and overcoming obstacles. She didn't want to take one step onto the state beach for our family pictures that day. We coaxed her as the other kids took off running. Teague and Crew were ahead of all of us, even though they're the youngest and smallest. She made some faces to let us know that she was unsure, uncomfortable and would much rather get back inside the toasty van and watch us all have fun without her. But even as we tried telling her that the sand was okay for her to walk on and that we certainly weren't going to let her lose her footing in it, she held on tightly. She looks to us for a lot of support, and yet we know that it's not always best for her to just sit back and watch life happen around her. The more steps we took, the trickier it got for the first bit of the beach. The sand dunes are tall and the wind was really blowing and the sand was in the air too. It wasn't your typical day at the beach.
She hung in there. We got a blanket out and let her sit down and just get a sense of the space she was in as we gathered the other kids around for an attempt at a family picture. I fully expected her to be in tears as I reached down to straighten the corner of the blanket she was on and the wind snapped it and sand went in her hair and eyes. As I helped brush her off and get her eyes cleared, instead of tears, Wyndham let out a small chuckle. I knew then that she was going to make this experience better than I had expected. She ended up walking a long ways down by the water and she held some items the kids picked up- a stick, some dune grass and all the while I was thinking how amazing it was that she was even here. How many times she pulled through something that was threatening her physically. She has had too many listless days for me to count over the years. I have seen her at her worst and it still comes to my mind in nightmares at times. So to see her beaming in a place where I would never expect her to shine was a really special thing for me to see. I could brag on all my other kids {and maybe I will get some more time to do so!} too, but Wyndham's smiles will always be a bit different and hold a meaning that I feel in my heart better than I can put into words. To have been by her side as she has lived through some really traumatic things; the challenges she still has and always will; the day-to-day struggles that she has endured and yet to see her smile in a picture like this as though life has been nothing but sunny is astounding to me. I know there will be days that are hard for her yet to come. But knowing she has such strength and a deep happiness in spite of it all is inspiring to me. I haven't been on top of my game lately, and I hoping that reminders like this from Wyndham will light the fire in me again. She certainly deserves me being my best and I love her so much I am willing to shoot for that now and always! Okay...the comments are open if you care about getting a card from less-than-perfect me. =) Happy twelve, twelve, twelve Day too!


Laura in IL said...

Am I first? I DO look for updates on your blog periodically and love to keep up with your family, even though I'm not connected to you in any way except through your blog!

We will be spending our Christmas Day at home--all 3 of our adult children will be here, traveling from 45 minutes away, from Austin TX, and from South Carolina (we live in Illinois). It looks to be the first time in 3 years that all kids/spouses will be here at the same time and we are excited!

We just have one granddaughter, who is 5, and love to see Christmas through her eyes!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Oh, and my email is vanhoorn at mchsi dot com!

Randa said...

Hey Jody, I "still" read your blog. I don't know you in any way, but I found your blog through a friend's link. I enjoy reading about how you're coping with and handling your life. Don't worry about criticism about being "too raw." Good grief; it's your own blog! Anyway, we're heading several states over to be with our families. We can't wait to see moms and dads, cousins, and nieces and nephews!

Gerjon said...

Hello Jody found your blog a couple of years ago. By Jo-Anne.
We dod'nt know eachother but I think You are a tough lady.
Firts Christmas day a friend come over to gourmet an maybe we are walking in the forrest with our dog and two daughters 0f 11 and 13.
And the second maybe we go to my mother 1 and half our drive from our house.And eat boerenkoolstamppot.
I wish you a happy and beatifull cristmas.

Nilsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nilsa said...

Jody, I enjoy oming to your blog and reading about your beautiful family. I think its awesome you can blog from your heart and tell it how it is.
We have no extended family here in Florida so we'll be spending Christmas at home with our 5 daughter's. A dear friend will be coming over with her husband and son... it will be his first Christmas so it shall be fun!
Sending thoughts and prayers for you and your family.Wishing you ad very Merry Christmas. My email is
God Bless!

*krystyn* said...

Merry Christmas to you and all of your family Jody!! You are a strong and amazing woman who is capable of ALL things. I would LOVE a Christmas card from my awesome home state of Michigan!! :)

Melanie said...

So happy for Wyndham...Merry Christmas to all! I'll be making cookie bark and Chex Puppy Chow this weekend, those are our holiday favorites!

P.S. My secret code word for leaving this comment is a made up word and the number 40:)

Seeker of the Narrow Gate said...

Well, this year I let myself off the hook. I stopped trying to plan when we watch each Christmas movie. We have not followed any traditions this year. We minimized the number the people we usually buy presents for. We usually do a Jesse tree or advent devotional - not this year. We haven't even got a Christmas card planned yet. Perhaps it is because I am 19 weeks pregnant with 3 kids - but it has been nice to drop all the "to do" lists of the season. One thing we will be doing - making a Birthday cake for Jesus and enjoying it Christmas day.

jeeper said...

Love your blog. Love that you keep it real. We don't celebrate Xmas, we celebrate Hanukkah. We make lakkes & light the menorah. Love the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song & now there is a hysterical parody of Mariah Carey's song called All I Want for Christmas is Jews. Googgle it if you want a good laugh.
I teach art & love your creations.

Just Relax said...

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family! Courtney

ann said...

Hi Jody. Been reading your blog for sometime now since your long ago appearance on Oprah. As a summer resident of Atlanta, Michigan, and a frequent visitor to Gaylord and Joburg, the familiarity of your story drove me to visit! Time to come out of lurking and say hi! No big plans for the holidays other than vacationing from my couch. Afterall, I teach 31 second graders and think I deserve (need) a rest. Merry Christmas to you all!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Jody! I have been reading your blog for like 5 years now! wow! I am so glad that I am also your friend on Facebook since your bloggings are few and far between =) You have been such an inspiration to me through the years whether it be through your faith, being a busy mom or your scrapping (which i totally LOVE). Have a blessed holiday season!~Tammy E (from "up north" Michigan)

jenny said...

Instead of buying gifts for our families, we give gifts to charities in their honor. We ask that they do the same for us. None of us need more "stuff" so this is a way to give and to bless the needy at the same time. God bless you!

Laura C said...

Merry Christmas Jody! Love love love what you are doing with your Cocoa Daisy Antler stamp. What a great post from the heart!

Kathy said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Jackietex said...

Jody, I love reading your blog and seeing what you create! You just seem very genuine and honest. I think of your family often and hope that all of you are happy and peace-filled. I have two daughters at college this year and even though they aren't very far away, it's just so wonderful to have them both home and to have our family feel complete. I live in central Texas but spend as much of summer vacation as I can at Silver Lake, Michigan. Maybe someday we'll run into each other at Target or something. :)

Helen said...

I love it when I click on your blog & there's a new post up!! Even though I follow you on Facebook!
That picture of Wyndham is gorgeous, I'm so glad she enjoyed the beach with you all!!
This year for Christmas, once the kids have gone off to their dads, I'll head off to work for the afternoon. I work in a group home for autistic & intellectually disabled teens & a few of them don't go home, so we'll have some fun together & I don't have to think about my empty house!!!

From Helen in Australia.

Helen said...

I love it when I click on your blog & there's a new post up!! Even though I follow you on Facebook!
That picture of Wyndham is gorgeous, I'm so glad she enjoyed the beach with you all!!
This year for Christmas, once the kids have gone off to their dads, I'll head off to work for the afternoon. I work in a group home for autistic & intellectually disabled teens & a few of them don't go home, so we'll have some fun together & I don't have to think about my empty house!!!

From Helen in Australia.

gayle said...

I check on you frequently! You are a brave caring lady. We spend the holidays in Fl. and our families all come for a week. I pray for a good year for your family.

alyson said...

Hi Jody, I have been reading your blog for a few years now. I love that you keep it real and honest because, quite frankly, sometimes life IS hard! I think you are an amazingly strong person and truly an inspiration. I hope you and your family have a beautiful Christmas!

Marcie said...

I've been reading your blog for some time and always enjoy your realness throughout.

I'm also a big fan of the handwritten Christmas card - I've been working on my stack for days. Hope to send them all out by Tuesday at the latest! We'll see.

I cheer you guys on from Arizona and pray for you, too. I welcome prayers, as well! :)


Jody said...

Send me your addresses via email if you'd like to get a card. I am going to send out as many as I have time for! Type 'christmas card' in the subject line and send to: Thanks for all your notes!