I didn’t have it in me to keep rolling with the “save the world” ideals today.
And I am totally okay with that.

Today was the kids’ first basketball practices of the season. They did great, and the sounds of a basketball court still pound against my chest… but a little bit less this year. The kids miss Mike as Dad. They miss him as Coach. We all just miss him.

We’ve been learning to live and rise… even with the holes.

Even those of you who have known parts of the story with Mike last year have seemed to realize now that I am speaking about it, that the weights we have carried have been heavy.

BUT! We have had faithful infilling by the Holy Spirit in and over every hole, with an overflowing of our “empty cups” throughout all of the changing seasons.

So, we’re okay.

For a year, my answer when asked, “How ARE you?” has been an honest, “We are better than to be expected.”

The weight has been heavy, but the grace has been stronger.
There still has not been a day [for me anyway] without any tears, but I truly know that seeds have been well-watered for future growth, and for the days and months and years before us.

So, we’re okay.

“On this Day” of the post last year had our sad, but funny, with a little hope Christmas decorating debacle [J Michael and I laughed out loud when we read it in the car], and just as it was exactly a year ago, when we finally BEGAN our Christmas decorating, it’s been on a big delay this year, too.

This year, I did well to buy a wreath for the front door and Lego Advent calendars that the kids have been enjoying every morning. So far, that’s it.

So, we plan to trim a tree… “maybe tomorrow” [I’ve been saying that for two weeks now. I really need to get myself motivated to make it the real tomorrow… tomorrow].

So, this post is quick.

Know that people who hurt at Christmas, hurt for a long time.
BUT! People who hurt at Christmas can also cling tightly to the Hope.
Christmas is a beautiful season of Hope.

“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” means more to us than ever.
Our expectation has intensified greatly during this yearful of every-day-closers.

I’ll end this with last year’s funny – yet mushy – post from fb, and hope tomorrow is not a rerun of that!

And finally, do you know what else I did today that held me together and provided some hope moments to pass along to the kids?
I listened for a while to Mike’s “life song” that he shared with me shortly after I met him.

And then I kept listening to all of his favorite Steven Curtis Chapman songs.
[That whole album “Heaven in the Real World” was one of his favorites, and those songs were powerful in my heart today.]
I played several of them in the car with J Michael and we talked and talked.
You see, JM loves the band 21 Pilots that is led by Steven Curtis Chapman’s sons.
He LOVES that THEIR dad was one of HIS dad’s favorites.
He relates to the Hope that their family has walked through hard grief passages, too.
I told him that SCC, his dad, and I were all shaped in part by the writings of Oswald Chambers and that that was one of the reasons that Mike related so well to his songwriting.
I told him that he packs a lot of Truth in his lyrics, and that when he’s missing his dad, he can also listen to lots of SCC songs to help find comfort and wisdom.

He asked if I’d play them tonight from the speaker in the front room after we “play Dad.”
So, we’re tucking in.

We can try to Raise the Standards tomorrow… after we trim a tree.

For now, catch up as you can, and thank you for reading along with us on our journey.
We are loving the stories of purpose.
The powerful private messages. Wow.
I’m thankful that this sharing is beyond me.

It takes us all to rise in Hope.
This was a song of SCC’s that I heard for the first time today.
We [the big collective we] rise.

From 2016 - The Year of Rising to 2017 - The Year of Action
Michael's Medical: Part 3.1, The Standard