Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas is Love


It's Sunday night, all the boxes and wrap are back in the attic, the gifts all carried away to new homes, the feast is dwindling and able to fit nicely into plastic containers, and another Christmas celebration has come and gone in the Russell home.

Our middle son's girlfriend had her first "American" Christmas. It was so much fun to give her gifts (from Santa) and from us and to watch her amazement at all the crazy chaos involved in our holiday traditions. Our oldest son and his fiance' actually spent the night (even though they only live 15 minutes away) so they could be here when we all woke in the morning. In fact, they woke first (MIRACLE!) and made us yummy Vietnamese coffee with biscotti for us to enjoy while the stockings were unpacked. And my mom was here too. It is just not the same when she is not able to be here for our holiday celebrations. Hubby, Daughter, and I, all relished in having a "full house" for Christmas. I love the sounds of everyone laughing, the cooking, and even the cleaning. The music is constant and the lights twinkle all day and all night. It's so magical.

But it's not perfect. I still get tired and cranky when I feel like I am doing too much. I still feel disappointed if things are not perfect and still take too much responsibility in trying to make sure everyone is happy. What? It's not just like Norman Rockwell?



It is what it is though, and although we aren't the perfect family, there is a lot of love going on at this time of year - and all through out.

So, I will spend the next few days (weeks?) thinking of ways that I can stream line the celebration process now that our family is expanding. Eight people on Christmas morning is a lot of presents...and food...and showers, blow dryers, towels, ....

and love.

That's what this whole thing is about. Love.

God so loved the world ...

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In Honor of the Graduate

He looked so serious, so still as he sat there
Clothed in black robe, square cap balanced just right
"He looks more like you than I realized", I whispered to his father
"He looks more like my dad", he whispers back
Wetness gathers in the bottom of my eyelids
Time has gone so fast
A second college graduate in our family
The children God created through our love
so many years ago, I couldn't imagine this day
"The Middle Child" this one
loved with a great big love
but always in between and sometimes feeling left out
Yesterday would not have happened without
his dedication, his hard work, and his perseverance.
Thinking back to the little boy with the big blue eyes,
the big round glasses and the hair sticking up.
Thinking ahead to the young man who will carry a weapon
in law enforcement, community service.
My heart fills with pride, with joy, with fear
and I know that he is in the hands of God.

Congratulations to our wonderful son!
UNT Graduate from the College of Public Affairs and Community Service
Degree in Criminal Justice

We are so proud of you!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Family Day at Galleria Mall.
Still no time for words.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I love, love, LOVE my new job but I am so busy! Miss blogging, but will be back soon!

There is a photo of my new workplace for Wordless Wednesday!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitude Monday, One Thousand Gifts, 71-79

Reflecting as the month of November comes to a close, it is easy this month to list the multitude of ways that God tells me He loves me. He whispers at times, but this month, He bellowed it from the heavens, in loud, undeniable ways. "I love you, my daughter, Liz! Let me show you!"

This week I heard Him.

71. Celebrating. I love holidays and this time of year is like the peak of wonderful for me! It starts with my birthday and doesn't end until New Years. I always feel like it's one big party.

72. Perfect timing. God's timing is so perfect. He brings the right people at just the right time, and as odd as it sounds, He removes people at just the right time. I saw that going both ways this week. Amazing.

73. Silly as it sounds, the fact the the Thanksgiving meal went off without a hitch. I only had a one minute or less panic attack, but otherwise, all the food timed out perfectly, tasted wonderful, and we even tried new recipes!

74. Antibiotics. Both my daughter and myself have officially been diagnosed with sinusitis. Luckily, we have seen the doctor and will be on the mend soon.

75. I was able to complete almost all of my Christmas shopping in one weekend! I really do think I am finished...and this is fantastic! I have a few little things to pick up, but all that is left is the fun stuff now; no lists to carry around, no sales to watch for, f.i.n.i.s.h.e.d.

76. Quiet time. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., I sit down with my God, who I am crazy in love with and every morning when I get up, I can't wait until it is time to sit with Him again.

77. When I listen to my children, now grown and nearly grown, I thank God for the way that He has blessed me in the fact that they have learned to love to celebrate the way I prayed that I might teach them to. My kids love to celebrate the holidays and they love the rich traditions that we have developed.

78. Pool covers. What a great invention and I am grateful that my husband has covered our pool for the winter. It is not fun when you have to put your hand in sub-zero temperatures and with the cover, we probably won't have to do that!

79. My husband. He never ceases to amaze me. He stays calm in the craziest of storms (even though he crazily can storm in the calm?) and is a solid rock. God was thinking when He gave me this man!
Enjoy the last couple of days of November!

Saturday, November 27, 2010



That is how I feel - and it has been 2 days since Thanksgiving.
I am still stuffed.
Stuffed full of food, yes. Also stuffed full of love.
My day before Thanksgiving post was a little grouchy.
I don't take well to things being changed, especially at the last minute and especially on holidays.
But, I did decide to start my day over.
And our Thanksgiving holiday was great!

Feeling very blessed, and thankful...and


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hurry and be tomorrow already!

I want to start the day over today. Thankfully, it is almost over, so if I just hang on, I will be asleep soon and tomorrow is another day. Today is a day I am grateful to not be living by the Jewish calendar and starting my day at sundown. Well, scratch that! If it is sundown as I type, than technically, I can call it a new day.


It has just been one of those days. You know, where you wake up not feeling good, go to work anyway, feel terrible and wish you weren't there, and then get home and wish you were back at work? Yeah, I am having one of those days!

It is at times like these that I know that I really can start my day over whenever I want. This is a program tool that I love, even though I sometimes have a hard time using it - like today. I am trying to "finish" up some things at work as I prepare to vacate my position. The girl I am supposed to train is on vacation this week. And I really am not feeling well. I feel like I am drowning in mundane tasks that everyone wants completed before I leave and I struggle with feeling resentment and anger.

Our Thanksgiving celebration is not turning out exactly like I had hoped. It's all okay, just a couple of "key" visitors that are not going to make it which has caused me to have to make yet ANOTHER trip to the grocery store (my dear husband volunteered though - yay him!) What bothers me more than the shopping is the underlying question as to what (if anything) might really be going on. And even though I chose to keep these thoughts inside my head, my kids expressed them without my even saying a word. And you know what happens when a mama feels her kids are hurting...not good. And again I struggle with resentment and anger.

To top it all off, I allowed myself to react to a comment that I wish I had let roll off of me. I canceled my house cleaner who was coming tomorrow. My house really isn't that dirty, and I will be home tomorrow to do the little bit of cleaning that needs to be done, but still... (pout, stomp) What was I thinking? Resentment and anger are bubbling just below the surface.

I want to wallow there, and if not there, then I could spend some time with self-pity and self-doubt. Each, like those little devils, perched on each of my shoulders, whispering into my ears, Resentment and Anger saying, "What a jerk!" (about the person who I feel wronged by) or Self-pity and Self-doubt saying, "Look how stupid and incapable you are - no wonder these things happen to you."

But, I know there is another way. I can acknowledge that I have been hurt. And my kids too. And I can take ownership of my own actions that I regret (canceling the house cleaner) But I do not have to choose to listen to those thoughts that only frustrate and paralyze me. I can let go and let God. I can choose to enjoy the day anyway - starting right now. I will be aware that when I am tired and not feeling well, that I am more susceptible to stinking thinking, and I can make choices to stop those thoughts in their tracks. If I really am having trouble, I can call a trusted friend for help.

And I will not forget that I have my God who gives the greatest help!

What a relief it is to give up and move into a new day!

Made to Crave - Lysa TerKeurst

Especially since I entered my 40's, I have noticed that the pounds keep pounding upon my body! Two years ago, I started taking exercise much more seriously and eating healthier choices, generally speaking, and by making these two changes, managed to drop 25 of the extra pounds that were weighing me down. But that was a year and a half ago, and I have another 20 that I just keep holding on to! I have evaluated it, prayed about it, found accountability partners, tried diets, pills, etc., but this last 20 pounds seems to be permanantly fixed to my body! AGH! It seems there is more involved than just my love of food, eating, and cooking, but that there is a spiritual problem going on here. Could I have allowed food to become an idol? A "friend" that I turn to when I want comfort?

I love the title of Lysa TerKeurst's new book, Made to Crave. It releases soon and I cannot wait to read it! Check out this little video! You might want to read it too. (just sayin'....)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Multitude Monday, One Thousand Gifts, 61-70

Thanksgiving is this week and gratitude is the hot topic. People are taking time to think about and be thankful for their blessings at work, in worship services, in thier families, and in the media. Let us remember all that we have to be thankful for all year round! Gifts this week -

61. My birthday. I am grateful for having celebrated turning age 49!

62. My husband who knows exactly how to pamper me!

63. Thai Yellow Curry - prepared for me by my son, Aaron, and his girlfriend, Sofi. This was part of thier gift to me and it was fantastic!

64. God's word. It never grows old, it always changes, and it teaches me and challenges me at exactly the right time in exactly the right way.

65. Flowers. I love fresh flowers. They make the most mundane day seem special and the special days even more perfect. A friend who knows me well left a fresh bouquet on my porch on my birthday and they are still filling my home with frangrance and beauty!

66. Spending Saturday morning at the Asian market with my future daughter-in-law. We had so much fun and bought so much good stuff!

67. My daughter's creativity. She made the most amazing birthday card! I don't know where she gets her artistic ability but she could go into business!

68. The warm weather we had in Texas over the weekend. Even though I am ready for it to be cool, we had to winterize our swimming pool over the weekend. I am glad that it was warm when I had to stick my hands in the water.

69. Anti-inflammatories. At 49, I am very, very grateful for these type of drugs.

70. Prayer.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Today is a special day. It is the first day of my last year in my forty's.
I am a little anxious about this, but overall, excited. There is something about knowing that 50 is one year away that causes me to experience a deeper motivation to live life to the fullest.

Yesterday, I resigned from my current position. Fifteen months ago I accepted a position with a group of cardiologists in Dallas, thinking that it would be a good move to bring more satisfaction in my work life. Long story short, it did not turn out that way. (I don't think that was even a short story, but bear with me.) Although I met some people that I really liked, and enjoyed working with the doctors in that practice, it just really did not satisfy my desire to learn, to lead, and to make a difference. I have tried hard not to complain, and only a few close friends know how I really felt about my job there and I have prayed fervently (and with others) that God would open the door to an opportunity more suited to my "career goals", for lack of better words.

He answered that prayer! On Wednesday of this week, I accepted a Business Manager Position with an In-patient Rehabilitation Hospital! The facility will open in January, admitting our first (post-acute care) patients. I will start a month before the opening and be part of the preparation from the beginning! My excitement soars at the thought. I will be doing what I love doing and the very best thing - it is only 2.8 miles from my home! Oh, Gracious! No more 45 minute commute (both ways) to work!

There are many things that I would like to accomplish before I turn 50 in one year. And this job change is one of the top on my list.

Some other goals are to increase my running time. I participated in a triathlon this past year and have considered doing it again. The swimming was the most difficult to enjoy, but the running was the most difficult to complete. I love to cycle and can easily ride 15 miles with no trouble, but the other two aspects of being a triathlete are difficult for me. I want to get better.

Odd as it may sound, I want to learn how to cook new things. I love to cook. But I have gotten lazy as my schedule has filled up and my children are growing up. Lately, I have discovered that I experience great satisfaction when preparing a difficult recipe and serving a lovely, specially prepared meal. I want to try new recipes and find a few that I can rely on to be outstanding.

I hope to find ways that will help me age with grace. I will not deny the fact that I am a woman who is middle-age, and certainly do not wish to pretend to look 21 and instead of 49 (and just looking stupid). If you are a friend of mine and see me trying to dress like a teenager at my age - smack me! That just looks ridiculous!

May creativity be one of the results of my more "mature" status.
May love increase; that I might become more able to love unconditionally instead of becoming intolerant.
I hope to be able to laugh at myself more and more, finding humor in the things that some find hard to accept.
I pray that the mistakes I have made and any success I may have will bring wisdom, not regret or pride.
And I hope to experience gratitude as a way of life, acknowledging all the gifts that God has given me in which to enjoy life in all it's abundance!

Happy Birthday to me.

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained by living a godly life.
~Proverbs 16:31

Thursday, November 18, 2010