Saturday, November 28, 2015

Merry Menopause

Hormones and holidays don't mix.  I am thankful for the foresight to decorate early this year to save the stress of last-minute holiday preparations because I don't handle stress well these days, thanks to not so merry menopause.  I suspected my mood swings, insomnia, and agitation were indications that I am in the throes of this female rite of passage.  Perusing a lengthy list of symptoms last night and realizing that I am suffering all but two, have confirmed that suspicion.

I have already offered my apologies to family for being a Scrooge lately.
Long walks through the woods and solitary drives through the countryside, far away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, have proven therapeutic.  Online shopping has become my friend.

Maybe you are not dealing with hormones but you have other challenges which are stealing your holiday joy.  Don't beat yourself up for feeling less than able to gracefully navigate the holiday gatherings, shopping, and celebrations.  Find ways to make it through and give thanks for the little blessings God has bestowed on you. Pray as often as you need to.  Talk to God about what you are feeling and lean on Him.  He knows anyway, and He delights in supplying the peace you so desperately seek.  And for goodness' sake, don't beat yourself up!  God doesn't, not if you are a child of His.  Crawl up in His lap, have a good cry, or take a nap, especially if you are tired.  The rest of the world can wait.  It will get better.  My stress, your sadness -- they're only temporary.  Dwell on the good.  Endure the struggle.  Know that there is always hope because of the One who came at Christmas.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Another Sleepless Night

I've been up since about 4 a.m.  I have a love-hate relationship with sleep.  When I am utterly exhausted and finally able to take one of those drool-in-your-sleep naps I usually awake refreshed and content.  But when the sound of my husband's CPAP awakes me in the middle of the night, or he pokes me and says, "Roll over, you're snoring," I can pretty much write off any sleep for the rest of the night.  Unlike him, I am not able to roll over and go back to sleep easily.

We live in a small 3-bedroom house.  Don't get me wrong -- I love my home and am thankful for it.  But there have been many times in the past year that I have yearned for a room of my own, where I can sleep without being interrupted by the late-night television viewing of my night-owl son or ticking clocks or noisy sleep machines.  On a recent overnight stay with my brother-in-law and his wife, I reveled in the luxury of being the only guest in the guest room, which was comfortably furnished and oh so quiet.

So here I am, already tired from having been awake two hours earlier than I should have been, writing about nothing.  It is at these times that I question God.  Why is it so difficult for me to sleep?  What can I do differently to ensure a better night's rest? Is there some divine purpose in my insomnia?  Some inspirational bestseller to write in the still, quiet hours when I should be sleeping?

I'm curious.  What do other people do when they can't sleep?  Sometimes I pray. Occasionally I write.  But most of the time I just wonder why God created us with the need to sleep when it is obviously something my body doesn't do well. I think I spend more energy fighting sleep than I save actually getting any.

I suppose I shoud be thankful for insomnia and receive it as the gift of God's undivided attention when the rest of the world is sleeping.  What do you think might happen if all the insomniacs out there turned their sleepless hours into prayerful ones?  Think we could have a hand in changing God's world?

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Holiday Rebel

It happens every year.  When I turn the calendar page to the month of November I go into panic mode.  The knowledge that Thanksgiving falls this month and Christmas follows quickly on its heels, throws me into a state of anxious awareness that time and money are in short supply and that the holidays will soon be but a memory.  Life begins to resemble an overturned hourglass as the last remaining days of the year all too quickly pass.

Not this year.  This holiday rebel intends to celebrate Christmas with a little more simplicity, making the most of every opportunity to savor and share the love of Christ with others.  In an effort to accomplish this I have assigned the task of writing our annual Christmas letter to individual members of my family.  What they have to say will no doubt be more interesting than my annual report on the state of our family!  Determined not to over commit my time or overspend the budget I have set, I am making my list and checking it twice, exploring my options along the way in order to stretch my gift-giving dollars and maximize family time.

I admire people who thrive during the holidays, maintaining cheerful enthusiasm despite all the baking, shopping, gift wrapping, parties, and family gatherings that fill up the calendar this time of year.  But the simple pleasures -- sending Christmas cards to friends and family, driving through holiday light displays while listening to endless Christmas music on the car radio, stepping outside on a silent, starry night, and watching a few Hallmark channel Christmas movies in front of the fire with a steamy mug of hot cocoa in hand -- are the things that make the season bright, at least for me.

As a whole our society has lost sight of Christmas' true meaning.  Mobs of people didn't crowd the streets of Bethlehem or flock to the market ahead of time seeking gifts for others.  Instead, a handful of lowly, empty-handed shepherds rushed to a dark and smelly stable in search of the Gift that had been promised through the ages, Jesus -- the Light of the world and the very Glory of God himself.

Despite my best efforts to observe Christmas as a "holy day" rather than just another holiday, I no doubt will find myself caught up in the frenzy somewhere along the way. But with one eye on the manger and the other on the Star that will guide me there, I will bask in peace knowing that I already possess the greatest Gift of all and endeavor with all my heart to share Him with others.

Copyright © 2015 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved.