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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


April 16, 2013
A really crummy day… that is what I feel like the sum total of my day is today… Cody is out of town, spending some much needed time with his family- so that leaves me as the “substitute teacher” at work- taking on his “hands on” responsibilities in addition to my own. His trip was fairly last minute, and while I knew he was trying to get away, I did not know until I got to the office yesterday that he was leaving after lunch. We are fairly busy right now, and in the middle of  trying to complete several projects, so that caused a tad bit of stress on everyone as we were all scrambling to get our instructions as he walked out the door.
Monday afternoon- fairly smooth sailing. Tuesday morning, not so much… after a very fun and entertaining ride to Aubrey’s school (one of the highlights of my day- especially when she told us her “hair wouldn’t do anything.”) everything headed south. We soon found out that Temple High was on lockdown (they are right next to our building) and later found out that a student had brought a gun to school and shot himself… a tragedy that could have been much worse had the young man decided to use the gun on other students before turning it on himself.
Following that, things just continued to go wrong…ending with a bunked up job;  all of the VB employees (two of which happen to be my sons and one me) frustrated and trying to problem solve without the brains of the operation, Cody, here… only to talk to him and find out all of our “problem solving” had just been a waste of time…Experience is key…
As I have said before, working with your spouse, your sons and your “extended” family has its ups and downs… it is often stressful.  Many days I feel like I am trying to please 3 Crittenden men (because I am) and most days I feel like I am trying (but not succeeding) at taking care of everything… Today was one of those days…
At the end of the day, I came home- worked out with Lynnsay and our trainer… mowed my back yard (riding lawnmower-Cody is out of town, my first time to use it!) and dug in the dirt to plant flowers. As I sat on my back porch, watching the last bit of daylight fade away, enjoying the fruits of my labor as well as a glass of  the fruit of the vine…the sting of the work day began to fade with the daylight. The sting was replaced with burning muscles and aching  joints.  Exhaustion crept up on me and I welcomed the fact that sleep would soon be my refuge and hoped that tomorrow will be a much better day…actually I know it will be- it is after all, Hump day with Hudson!! And my husband is coming home!!!
April 23, 2013
A week later…after reflecting on my crummy day, I realize that there was more to my emotional distress than just a bad day at the office.
My day actually began shadowed by the fact that my husband was away and dealing with heart wrenching situations, while I was here, helpless and useless, unable to give him any support. So instead I put all of my energy and effort into our business, concentrating on helping and supporting Cody by taking that burden off of his shoulders. Something I thought I could control. Epic fail. So, instead of being the “Heroic Wife”, I slowly began to fall into a pit of self disappointment.  Without realizing it, I had put the burden of failure on my shoulders.  Failure as a wife.  Failure as a business partner. Failure as Cody’s helper/completer. And what is worse is that I began responding to Cody as if that was how he was seeing me as well.
At some point I had lost sight of my position in life.  I had bumped myself right up from Cody’s helper/completer- to God’s helper/completer.  I had very successfully taken the responsibility of “taking care” of my husband and placed it on my shoulders.  I had wrestled in prayer for Cody, but my heart was not completely trusting in the fact that God was holding him in the palm of His hands, which was my prayer. Instead, I had somehow switched my prayer from that, to pleading for God to show me how I can protect and take care of my husband.  I was putting myself in between God and Cody, and very cleverly making “me” the center of my prayer. Guess what?  God very successfully moved right around me and left me in my pool of self pity. And while He held Cody in the palm of His hands and comforted him, He patiently waited for me to look up and cry out to Him from my pit of failed attempts to be His helper.  And he is faithful and he is just.  He gently pulled me out, cared for my bruised self-esteem and put me back in my place.  He gently showed me, as He has hundreds of times,   that He is God, and I am not; He sent us the Comforter, and it is the Holy Spirit, not me.  I need to just be Cody’s wife and business partner.  I need to be Cody’s helper/completer. I wonder how many times I am going to have to learn this lesson?  Probably at least one more time…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter Changes

Years ago Cody and I decided (I say “Cody and I”, but I am not sure it was actually a joint decision… I think Cody may have agreed out of self preservation) to boycott Easter church services, but instead celebrate Easter in a non-traditional way.  Our, (my) reasoning was simple…I found myself too caught up in the holiday and had lost focus of the holy day… I had gotten so caught up in Easter outfits, Easter baskets, Easter meal, Easter eggs….the picture perfect family at the Easter service; I lost sight of the cross and of the meaning of the celebration.

The great awakening for me was the Easter when Jacob was about 4 years old and Lynnsay was 3. I had undertaken the job of making Lynnsay’s Easter dress. (And I HATE to sew…) It was adorable. Laura Ashley McCall’s Pattern #7113.  I even had used Laura Ashley fabric, yellow print for the dress and a coordinating yellow floral for the pinafore apron… She was going to look like a doll.  And what is more, is my mom had made Jacob a pair of adorable yellow seersucker pants with suspenders.  They were going to be quiet the Easter pair!  My two beautiful babies…until the Vaseline incident…
No need to go into detail about the incident…just saying that Easter I was certain that my beautiful daughter (who now has incredible hair) was never going to have anything but a greasy mess on her head.  My Easter Sunday was spent full of emotions- but none of them was fixated on the actual meaning of Easter.  I never once thought about the sacrifice of the cross.  I never once thought about the price that Jesus paid for my sins.  I never once thought about the miracle of the empty tomb. I never once focused on the new life I have in Christ.  I was consumed with my failure as a mother…I did not have the picture perfect family...

The next year we had the opportunity to go to Lake Buchanan and “camp” with my grandparents, and we took it.  My mom’s parents, my Mudgee and BigDaddy were retired and they would bring their travel trailer to Lake Buchanan for several weeks during the spring.  Cody and I started the tradition of joining them at Lake Buchanan for Easter weekend.  Over the years “Easter at the Lake” evolved and changed… we had all of our family some years, and we had minimal family some years.  But it became a Crittenden Clan tradition…We had our own worship service. My parents and grandparents gave their testimonies.  My BigDaddy made me a cross that we could “bloom” on Easter morning with wildflowers signifying the new life we have in Christ… Our Easters were focused on the holy day that we were celebrating, even though my kids were filthy, dressed in raggy clothes and usually barefoot.
Later, after my grandparents passed away, and the rest of our family began celebrating Easter at “home”…we continued to celebrate our Easters at Lake Buchanan with our “Temple Cousins” the Lucketts at their lake house… The time we spent at the Luckett  Lake House cemented the bonds between our families… our children have made lifelong memories together at that house… and so have Cody, Bobby, Karen and I… that house, weekends there, Easter in particular, molded us into a family.
However, as time has passed, our children have grown up, most of them have married and all but one of them now have their own children.  For the past couple of Easters it has been obvious that the Crittenden clan has over-crowded the Luckett Lakehouse and I am pretty sure, that we have overtaken the Luckett Easter… So after a couple of years of bringing tents, pop up campers and trying to “fit” in it became clear that the Crittenden Clan  once again needed to make a change to our Easter tradition.

This year, for the first time in as long as I can remember- the we stayed “home” for Easter while the other half of our Temple family, the Luckett’s, were able to enjoy Easter in a not so packed and crowded Lakehouse.

We all missed being at the lake… we each missed being with the Luckett’s immensely… we are a family that does not let go of “traditions” easily so the weekend was under a shadow of “I wish we were at the lake” thoughts.

 But God is really amazing…and our Easter weekend was pretty awesome.  My parents were here, and they got to celebrate Easter with their great- grands in the same way that my Mudgee and BigDaddy did with our family at Lake Buchanan years ago.  I was able to serve at our church during the Eggstravaganza which both of my grandbabies enjoyed, and, also, just happened to be Hudson’s first Easter Egg Hunt. We enjoyed a shrimp boil and games of washers with our family and friends in our back yard (first shrimp boil in our new house)… and we went to the Easter service at our church on Sunday with our family. Following our wonderful worship and celebration service at church, we had a great family lunch at my cousin, Kaylenn’s house with the Crittenden Clan, my parents, my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Mike and a new member at Foundation, Cederick… and (I think, thanks to Blythe’s prayers) there was no rain to keep another Easter egg hunt from happening! It was a great day and a great way to celebrate the miracle of the cross… it was full of worship, love and family. The miracle of the cross and the resurrection of our Savior was the center of my heart. My focus on Jesus and the Holy day was not overshadowed by “picture perfect” expectations.  Maybe I have grown up a little and matured some in my faith...then again, maybe my children have just all grown up.... (and now that they have families of their own, are insisting we go back to the lake next Pelican Pointe here we come!)