Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Looks Different at 25

At what point in our lives does the anticipation of Christmas transition from overwhelming excitement to overwhelming stress? 

At what age does the countdown to vacation go from seeming like the day will never come to feeling like the day is coming way too soon? 

What makes the holiday season so stressful? Why is getting ready for vacation so stressful? 

In both cases, the anticipation of what is to come should bring us great joy and excitement. At least it did when we were kids. I used to lie awake, unable to sleep because of my uncontainable excitement for Christmas morning. Same with vacation. 

Now I don't sleep for entirely different reasons. I go to bed late trying to cram in as much work as possible before the day is over. I wake up early, like 5 in the  freakin' morning early, my mind racing with all the things that need to be done that day. 

The gifts that I have yet to buy. The laundry I have yet to wash. The clothes I have yet to fold. The packing I have to do. The cookies and fudge and cupcakes and more cookies I have yet to bake, wrap, and give away. Which by the way, my husband, knowing my stress, so lovingly helped me decorate.

He took some creative license on some of them...

The two at the top of the pic would be Rudolph the Almond Nosed Reindeer and Asian Reindeer. And here we have Fu Manchu Reindeer

He's good at providing comic relief when I get in my stress modes. I love him for that. 

Since when have I allowed this season to be overtaken by the pressure to get everything done? At what point did the magic of awaiting something good evolve into wishing it would all be over already? 

As I sat here this morning, reflecting on this past week and all that it held, I couldn't help but feel that I wasted time worrying about things that aren't really important. 

Yes, there are clothes all over the apartment. If they get folded, great, if not, so be it. At least we will have clean underwear to take with us on our trip.

Yes, my kitchen is a disaster. But the time I had to try new recipes and create yummy treats brought me great pleasure, and the products that came out of it will hopefully be a loving reminder to those that received them that we so very much appreciate them and their friendship. 

Yes, the apartment looks like something exploded in it, but if it's not spic and span by the time we leave tomorrow, oh well. As long as the fridge is cleaned out and rid of anything that may grow eyes and hairy legs while we are gone, we'll survive. 

Outside of needing to remember that this season has nothing to do with a "To Do" list and everything to do with the birth of our Savior, there are much bigger things going on than the mundane tasks I just mentioned.

You see, on Friday (or really, Thursday in the States) we learned that my Dad has stage 3 cancer in his tongue and throat. It has developed fairly rapidly (in June he was having problems with his vocal chords and the tests ran at the time showed no sign of cancer anywhere in his body) and he will undergo a ten hour surgery on the 30th of December.

While this news is unexpected and very hard to hear, especially on the heels of a very difficult year beginning with the passing of my Grammy, continuing with the trials in Luis' career, and then of course, losing the baby, I remain hopeful knowing that the Lord is faithful and will carry us through the long and treacherous road that awaits us.

Right now I just continue to do what I have been doing all year of surrendering my thoughts, my fears, the "worst case" scenarios that seem to pop up in my mind, and try to see God's greater purpose in all of this.

I am so grateful that it does not seem to be life threatening, but unfortunately it will be life altering. At the moment, he is in a lot of pain, and I just pray the Lord would bring relief to him the next couple of weeks, so that he can enjoy the Christmas season and all the wonderful things that come with it. 

I also pray that the after effects of the surgery (loss of taste and ability to speak) will be minimal. I pray that the doctors will have wisdom to know the right plan of action and that the speech therapy required after will be quick and effective in helping my Dad re-learn to speak. 

For those of you who don't know, my Dad is a pastor, and has been given the amazing gift of encouragement and sharing the truth of God's love with people. I pray that through this season, he will be able to see how he can continue to use that gift despite not being able to use his words the way he would like.  

At the moment, it's all still very surreal. I've never wanted to be home so badly than I do at this very moment. This week we are still planning to go to Austria before flying home, and while I am very excited about the time to get away with my husband, I will anxiously await getting home on Friday to be with my family. 

Please keep my family in your prayers, obviously for healing for my Dad, but also strength for my Mom as she walks along side him through it all. And specifically, at this point in time, please pray that, given how quickly the cancer has come on, that the two weeks that await us before surgery will not see even greater progression and spread of the tumor.

For more information, check out my Dad's blog for how he's taking all of this, and to be encouraged by his amazing faith amidst such trying circumstances.


Jess DeCuir said... Best Blogger Tips

We never got a chance to get to know each other really well but I want you to know that I love your blog and love your family! We are praying for your dad and your whole family everyday. My heart breaks to think about what you all must be going through right now; it definitely makes you think about making the most of everyday because you never know what could happen tomorrow. I really hope that you guys have a wonderful trip home and your time together is blessed. We'll continue to lift you guys up and pray in faith that God will not only heal your dad completely but use this whole crazy situation for his glory! And... keep writing and posting recipes. :D

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks Cara! You made me cry and encouraged me all at the same time. I can totally relate to your stress with the holidays. My home is also a mess and the tree is bare, with a remodeling project thrown into the mix. I spent the day painting, not shopping, caroling or wrapping! My heart is very heavy with the load your family has to carry this Christmas and beyond. I too am trying to focus on surrendering my thoughts and fears to our loving God, and trying to find His greater purpose in the midst of this nightmare. You are all in my thoughts and prayers continually. Please give each of your family a big hug from us when you get home! We love you all! Leslie Deo

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Be encouraged my sweet Cara for our Savior is the Ultimate Healer! I am grateful that your sweet dad is in the best of health and ready for this battle, but I'm most grateful that he has the best coach around - our most gracious Heavenly Father! He is with him and our prayers are with you all! Stay strong and don't dwell on the 'why's or hows' just set your focus to healing and recovery. I'm certain that Randy will just find a new way to get his point across because nothing will stop him from winning people to the Lord...I LOVE YOU AND HURRY HOME!

Julie said... Best Blogger Tips

Sweet Cara, I know what you are going through and please call anytime of the day or night if you need ANYTHING. You of course are in my prayers daily. Love to you all!

Philip and Angela Engle said... Best Blogger Tips

Love you and praying for you cara! Can't wait to see you to give you a hug! Ange

Morgan and Tyler said... Best Blogger Tips

We will be keeping you and your dad in our prayers. I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas and that your dad has a fast recovery.

K8 said... Best Blogger Tips

Have been praying for your father since i heard. Praise God for the encouragement and discipleship he spreads in his community! Praise God for his testimony...We will pray for miraculous healing and comfort to him and your family.


H. Gillham said... Best Blogger Tips

Thinking about you as I write this and how hard for one as young as you and so far away from your daddy . . .

You have faith --- that will get your through --

Hugs to you and your whole family.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

We've added your dad and your family to our prayers. BIG hug!

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