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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birthday Blog...

I celebrated my 48th birthday a couple of weeks ago.  It was a relatively painless number to turnwhile the big Five O is looming around the cornerI still have two more years in my 40’swhich what was it everyone told me when I turned 40?  I think it was that “40 is the new 30.” Obviously a saying made popular by someone in their 40’s who still felt like they were 30. I know for a fact that I don’t feel like I did when I was in my 30’sso I am pretty sure that the 40’s are still just the regular old time 40’s and I am almost certain the 50’s will follow the same path.

But none the less- my 47th year was another year of learning many valuable lessons, making many (hopefully) forgivable mistakes and often experiencing a combination of the two- learning valuable lessons from my forgivable mistakes!!

During my 47th year, I think I have finally “come into my own”, whatever that means I have actually learned to really like myself a little more, and stop focusing on my faults and my shortcomings so much. While I still have what I have come to call “bad hair days”, the days when no matter what I can’t seem to find much about me that I like or anything anyone else would like- most days I have come to terms with ME! I have more confidence.  And I am much happier! 

I have quit worrying about what everyone might think or believe about me, or my family.  I have come to grip with the fact that there are always going to be haters around me, and there will always be those who want to sit in judgment over me. I have taken a step back from trying to please EVERYONEas my son David would say, I am a recovering people pleaser.

I know my heart, and believe me, it is pretty wretchedbut I also know my God and He is pretty awesomeand for some unexplainable reason He chose to purchase my wretched self with His Son! So I am choosing to walk in the knowledge that the only one who can sit in judgment over me, has already set me free! I have learned that it is through all of those ugly weak spots, cracks and holes that I havethose are where my Maker’s light shines through!!! He fills my gaps with His saving grace and strength.

After several hard years (I think about 43 to 46) during my 47th year I have been overly blessed with simple happiness. As a recovering people pleaser, my rat race life has calmed down. I enjoy my family and my friends.  I am a happier wife and mother, grandmother and friend. I laugh more, and I laugh loud.

Right after my 47th birthday, we made a change in our business.  We were forced to let a long time employee go, and I took on added responsibility and a more face to face work with our customers!  I have really enjoyed my new position.  While working with your husband is always a challenge, I feel like Cody and I are doing a remarkable job at working closely

This year I read through the entire Bible in 8 months!! (Or at least I will have read through it in 8 months- I have 6 more days left in this reading program)And I am currently in a Wednesday night Bible Study where we are reading through it in 90 days! So in 3 months I will have read through the entire Bible twice in a year. It has been life changing for me.

Yep- the 47th year of my life has been wonderful.  I have an amazing husband who I love more every day.  I have 3 incredible children who have brought two wonderful bonus children into my life and given me the most amazing granddaughter and grandson ever! They are all my happy thoughts and hold my very heart.  My friends, my family and my church body keep me grounded in my faith I am looking forward to what my 48th year brings life lessons and all.  I LOVE YOU ALL!!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Lessons from Visual Basics

A few things I have learned from being in business and working with my husband:
1.    Men who have affairs with their secretaries obviously have a relationship built off of lies there are days that I am sure Cody doesn’t want to come into my office, much less have an affair with mein fact, I think he often avoids me. And that generally works for me.
2.    While honesty is always the best policysometimes keeping your mouth shut is the best solution.
3.   I often accuse Cody of never speaking to any of the other employees in the same tone he uses with me.  But if I am honest, I would never speak to another boss in the same tone I use with him. (I think we both could use a little work with that.)
4.   Leaving “work” at the office is not only difficult, it is really impossible.
5.   It is important to watch for the “glazed eye” look when discussing your business with your friends.  Just like the subject of your children, no one is that interested
6.   Eye rolling is a sure way to end a conversation with a fight.
7.    “Days off” are almost non-existent. And departure times are subject to change.
8.    We are always together. Always. Good?  Sometimes. Bad? Sometimes.
9.    I can always expect one question, daily, “What are your plans for lunch?”
10.  Praying for God’s grace to allow me to be my husband’s “helper/completer” at work helps keep me focused on how both of our strengths work together with both of our weaknessesotherwise it is easy to begin to see only his weaknesses in the light of my strengths- and never notice my weaknesses in the light of his strengths.
11.  Tension between us can clear a room quicker than a smoke alarm.
12.  Cody is the only person at work that can follow me into the ladies’ room to finish a conversation.
13. Most days I would rather be at the shop with Cody and everyone else rather at home alone.
14.  We are both the last to get paid.
15. I decide to quit and get a “real” job at least once a quarter. I usually get as far as walking to the front door I used to get further and actually look in the “Help Wanted” ads.  It also used to be closer to once a month
16.  Cody recently asked me to go pick up some wine glasses from Ross so we can sit in his office and have a glass of wineI don’t think that would happen in most places of business, and I have to say it hasn’t really happened here yet But, now, come to think of it, if you refer back to one of my first lessons- this could be an avenue that might lead a boss to have an affair with his secretary.  Hmm maybe Cody is trying to make a pass at me!
17.  Piggy backing on the previous lesson- sexual harassment accusations pretty much go out the window when you are working for your husbandthey are expected and often encouraged.
18.  Communication is keybut timing is essential.
19.  There is really no “” my way in or out of anything, Cody knows and recognizes all of my best movesthat is not to say that there are not times when I can charm him
20.  Respect and love are key as long as I show him respect and he shows me loveour relationship in business and in marriage stays in balancehowever a small crack in either can create havoc.
21.  This is a lesson I learned a long time ago in our marriage, however, it carries into our business relationship as well- Cody is not always right, but he is very seldom wrong; I am not always wrong, but I am very seldom right.  And I have learned to make this thought process work for methe times I am right may be few and far between, but I know how and when to pick my battles.
22.  Being “on time” to work is relative- for both of us.
23. We are a team, and there is really no other team I want to be a part ofmaybe we should come up with a cheeror a chant.
24. I have found that when I have my back to Cody, waiting for him to “pat it” we invariably are standing back to back because he has his back to me waiting for the same re-enforcement.
25. I love Cody unconditionally and unrealistically.  Cody loves me unconditionally and unrealistically.  Love covers a multitude of inadequacies.



Friday, January 4, 2013

It's All About Jesus

“And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”         Luke 1:31-35

“So it was, that while there were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”      Luke 2:6-7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” John 3:16

“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.”           Psalm 139:14

Twenty years ago I sent out a very special Christmas card that had each of these verses in it…the card also announced the birth of our third son, David Glenn Crittenden.  David was born on December 18, 1992, exactly one week before Christmas Day… he was our very own “Christmas miracle.” And now, 20 Christmas days later, these verses still ring true in my heart and still point me to what the entire season is about.

I recently told a friend that I can’t even begin to think about Christmas presents or plans until I have figured out what I am doing for David’s birthday… He is still my Christmas miracle… the flesh and blood, the new life, the son, the gift from God that I celebrate every Christmas season… “…fearfully and wonderfully made…”

However, crowded into the days prior to and following David’s birthday are the days which we plan out “our Christmas Celebrations”… what are we giving everyone?  Where and when are we going to various events as well as family celebrations?  As our family has grown to include in-laws and grandchildren, we are no longer just juggling the time we spend with Cody’s family and my family, we are also trying to work around the growing commitments our children have with their own blended families.  Time gets tight…stress can easily take over the joy of the season. It is easy to let all of this over power the meaning of “…for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…”

This year, Cody and I celebrated Christmas in Temple, as has become our tradition, with our children… December 23rd is dinner at Pluckers and back to our house for gifts and games… Dec. 24th is a party with our friends, Elizabeth and William Hibbard at their home, and Christmas day… well that is the one day that changes each year with our own children, but remains the same with Cody and I… we wake up in our own bed and begin the day together… a new tradition which began six years ago…(meaning for 22 years, Cody and I spent Christmas eve night at either his parents’ house, or my parents’ house.)

This year on Christmas day, I got up early and put a turkey and dressing in the oven… I finished packing, made breakfast sliders and we headed to have breakfast and exchange gifts with our granddaughter, Aubrey! And then??? We loaded. We loaded up the turkey and the dressing.  We loaded the drippings and broth for the giblet gravy… we loaded presents (some we had received and some we were giving to others) we loaded dogs…we loaded everything we needed for a trip to west Texas… at one point we “tagged” up with each of our kids and their families… and we all headed out… in a caravan of three separate vehicles… The “Crittenden Clan” from Temple began a trek to west Texas on Christmas morning to spend Christmas with the rest of our family. Our first stop was Lubbock, Grandma and Grandpa’s house…The “Macey” branch of our clan were the first to arrive…but the rest of us were not far behind, and by 5:30 on Christmas evening we were all enjoying Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa in Lubbock, TX. The oven was full of leftovers from their Christmas lunch which we had missed with the rest of the family, and we had added our turkey and dressing.  By 7 p.m. we were stuffed with our Christmas dinner and all happy to be together celebrating the birth of our Savior… “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

We all loaded back up on Thursday and headed to Muleshoe to spend time celebrating Christmas with Maimee and Grumpy…and Stephanie, Kyle and the girlie girls- Reagan, Preslee and Bella. We had camp fires, threw washers and played games, ate at Leal’s and opened presents…and Reagan read us the “Christmas Story” from the Bible.

We celebrated the birth of our Savior, with each other and with our families.  We did not celebrate just on December 25.  We did not celebrate just by the giving and receiving of gifts… we celebrated every day from December 23rd until December 31…in fact, I am not sure we have really stopped celebrating (even though the giving and receiving of gifts has come to an end, more or less…) and should we ever really stop celebrating? 

The card I sent out 20 years ago also had these words in it:

“The Christmas Story”

“Mary, when you held

your baby close, did you see

the radiance in His eyes?

Did you feel the tears of Gethsemane

when you hushed His cry?

when His soft hands unfurled

like tiny rosebuds,

did you see the nail prints?

When you looked into His face,

did you see God’s Son?

This night of rapture

was the beginning of love,

the first glimpse of glory,

the brightness of hope,

wrapped in prayers.”


My creative 10 year old niece, Preslee, made signs/posters for my mom to hang up in her house for Christmas.  They had a simple, yet clear, message- “It’s all about JESUS!”   So, all over my mother’s house, you could look and see the words written in bright markers, with glitter and decorations to remind us what the season is really about Jesus.  And I don’t believe it is just about the baby Jesus who is the subject of the poem above… I believe it is about the man that baby grew to be, and the life He lived and the debt He willingly paid. I believe that Preslee hit the nail on the head with her posters. And I believe it is something that we should celebrate daily and that our lives should reflect this celebration on a daily basis. Just sayin’…because it is. Really. All.About.Jesus.AMEN