Thursday, December 07, 2023

The Tree is Up!

Jamin is home and came by to visit - after he shoveled his home out. Of course, it snowed the day he returned.  ::snort:: He stayed for dinner, and we enjoyed hearing about his trip. He "charged the storm." He went to the places he and Josiah loved together in West TX and he let himself feel all the emotions. The track, the church, the college, the mall, the Chick Fil A, the Twin Buttes, our old home, Lake Nasworthy... He embraced the emotions of grief. The book I am reading says to do that when you feel safe...and was time. 

We decided to charge the storm in our small way tonight.  We decorated the tree. I am NOT putting up all the decor this year. There are wreaths on two doors. There is one nativity. There are a couple of pictures around and no, I am NOT wrapping all our doors and photos in Christmas paper this year. There is a tree. I only planned to put lights on it - lots of lights. 

I planned to buy 5 boxes, but Freddies was out of either multi-colored or plain white lights in boxes. I got two big spools of mini white lights. I realized I had 160 feet of lights or 8 boxes worth of lights. Michael and Jamin put the first spool on. It was nice...but we needed MORE LIGHTS. They added the 2nd spool of lights...and posed so graciously as they began adding the 2nd spool of lights.  ::grin:: 

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. 

Yep - I need lots of lights this year. 

Next, Stacia put her great-grandmother's tree topper up. I hadn't realized it could be 100 years old. I know it's at least 80 years old. 

I wasn't going to put ornaments on the tree as my ornaments are pictures and I didn't want to cry. But I have to make space for the emotions of grief.  We set this bag aside and put the others up. I'm sad I can't find a few of the photo ones we had up last year. There is also a special ornament still in the garage I won't put up this year as I think we are done going through boxes. LOL It is one Julia gave me years ago when I had a miscarriage. It's a clear glass bulb with sparkly tinsel that was for me to remember when everyone else had moved has come to stand for all those we've lost - the 7 miscarriages, Grams, Uncle Bill, Mom, Dad and Mom G, Granma Ann... it's been my private memorial for decades now. It's out there somewhere. Finally, we unpacked ornaments of Josiah's Christmas'.

Yes, I teared up. This is Josiah's first Christmas. He is 10 months old; Krista is 2 and Bre is 4. 

Carrie told me having her Christmas tree up sparked a bit of joy. I see that now.  I cried...but I'm also happy. Happy to remember. Happy to have one thing normal in this crazy season.  That does NOT mean I am going to put up the outside decor or drag more boxes inside. This is enough. 

We found a new spot for the tree. I like it. We can see all sides of the tree, it can handle lots of lights, it reflects in three windows, and it makes a fun place for people to warm by the fire. 


1. I didn't hit the moose in the road on my way to town. This was 9 a.m.

2.  Today was the first time Stacia and I have been back to study since...

3. ALWAYS such a thrill when it snows, and Shawn shows up to plow. Jamin spoils us.  

4. Stacia and I stopped by Laura's to pick up a Christmas surprise. We got to meet her dogs and I got a hug. Some of you may know her from Little House Big Alaska, I know her from food co-op. 

5. It was certainly a note of grace to catch up with Jamin and his adventures in TX. He is prepping to move from one side of Wasilla back into a unit at the 4 plex he owns in Eagle River. We are buying something he owns...something we've been saving for years to purchase new. We'll be able to set it up in the back yard next summer....any guesses? 

IF or WHY Are you Doing THIS?

If you feel De'Etta pulling away from teaching Bible studies, serving coffee, or leading women's ministry is pulling away from God, you are wrong. 

If you think Michael moving away from leading men's ministry, giving announcements, our service in prayer on Sunday morning, or stepping away from leading a LifeGroup is us pulling away from God, you are wrong. 

If you think our leaving our church in the valley to be with our children at their church in this season is the same as "running from God," again, you are wrong. 

Know we were in 100% agreement when Holy Spirit led us to "step back from ministry, focus on family and attend church with Josiah's girls and the kids in this season."  This is "self-care" - for now.  We have no idea how long "now" will last.  Satan attempted to sow seeds of devastation and bitterness into our family. We are in spiritual warfare, and we are listening and following to the best of our ability. 

Our hearts ache at losing the community we have poured ourselves into for the past six years. We have discovered true community continues through ups and downs and changes, and while we may lose some friendships, most are still praying, still loving, and still dropping by.  We understand some feel hurt and do not understand. I've shared GG is in that boat. We are sorry for that. However, we can't stop following where Jesus has led us.  We have not forced our girls to follow us, we've encouraged them to follow where God leads them. GG is stuck with us because he can't be alone in our home for an afternoon. We are working towards solutions for him. 

It's hard to tell from what you observe where another's heart is with God. Certainly, if we were SINNING, you may be able to assume we'd pulled away from God or that God was punishing us - we remind our LifeGroup of our study through the book of Job.

But, really, are any of the things mentioned above a sin? Is it possible when we say God led us to do these things that HE has? That these very things are signs we are following CLOSE after our Shepherd. 

I, De'Etta,  have never been closer or more dependent on God than I am in this season. I wake up early and stumble to the bathroom where I stay in prayer for as long as it takes before I am assured, clothed in Jesus, clothed in His full armor, and able to walk out of the bathroom to face another day of grief. 

We have never appreciated the people (who are the church) more than we do in this season. 

We have been, by position and by gifting, pastor/teachers - those gifts haven't gone away. We will continue to shepherd and teach. We have no idea how or where, but it is who we are.  For this season, though, those gifts are directed mostly to caring for our grieving family. 

Rest assured we are not isolating - we are intentionally seeking out community. We are not avoiding the church scattered or gathered. This gift of time and margin has been a lifeline as we process through the events of the last six weeks. We have spent decades pouring out. In this season we NEED and CRAVE solitary time with Jesus. He is tending our souls and pouring back into us in ways we cannot explain. It's deeply painful; but God is with us.  Our lives have focused much on doing for God; now we simply focus on being with God. 

A friend asked De'Etta, last week what her word is for 2023. Honestly, her brain has dumped many things she once thought important. She told her she didn't have a word, but she knew in September "grace" would be the word for 2024. Since the conversation she was thumbing through her Bible and there in the margin saw her word - highlighted in passages, in her journal - "transformation/transformed." Yes, transformation, intentional prayer this year has focused on being transformed into His image. Transformation in so many areas of life. We believe this season of simply being with Jesus in a season of deep pain and confusion is transforming us. We can't tell you how just now. We recognize and sense the transforming process. And we are giving ourselves and others grace to not fully understand how or why it looks like THIS. 

If you read this and are questioning our actions, we hope this helps you reach a measure of understanding.  We realize you may not understand, but then do we ever truly understand another's faith walk?