Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The loss of a loved one

It is becoming a January trend that I hope has come to an end. Last year when I came home from ShmooCon I found out a dear friend was losing his battle with addiction and passed away the next day. This yeah I found out that my best friends mother had passed away and then a week later my grandmother passed away. I am pretty sure the January curse needs to STOP! So much heart ache and pain has been surrounding this month that I am not sure how we have managed to pull ourselves together. Please keep all of these amazing people and families in your thoughts and prayers

A little about my grandma... Her name was Ila Marie Likley and my grandfather called her Tutee growing up I called her Nonni. I will not lie about the fact that I was not very close to my grandma growing up, we didn't spend much time together and really just didn't  click. It wasn't until my daughter was born almost 7years ago did all this change. My grandma became so much more to me then my dads mom, and my grandma. She became a great grandma, and best of all my friend. We shared stories, and tips. We laughed and cried together. We learned to forgive each other and truly love each other with every ounce of our beings. We really talked about everything, it was no holds bar. We talked about her husband often; he passed away when I was a very young girl. She told me of all the good times they had together. I learned so much about the home we often visited growing up but never really connected with. The blood sweat and tears that went into building their home. The first time they brought their daughter home from the hospital and how then she said her house become a home. The story of my twin uncles and how she had no idea their were two of them. The craziness that soon followed after they were born. The day she found out she was pregnant with my dad and how she new he would round out their little family. The dance parties they had in the basement of their home. The long weeks when my grandpa was out on the road and she was home with the kids. Stories about the kids and the stuff they did growing up. Stories about some of the furniture in her home and where it came from and what it meant to her. But I think my favorite moment was when we were talking about our favorite Christmas presents; she said maybe not my favorite but my most rememberable would have to be an orange. My kiddos were in the room when she said that and they laughed at how silly it was. I told them come an listen to her tell you why it meant so much. The listen intently at her amazing story about the depression and how an orange was so expensive at that time, how her father made sure they got this hard to find, expensive delicious orange in her stocking on christmas day. This story made a huge impact on my kids and this year we started the tradition of an orange in their stocking. It was so cute to see their faces on christmas morning and then tell their Great Grandma all about it, was truly a heart warming experience.

My grandma became my friend. Someone I could sit and hold hands with and talk with for hours. She was someone who truly made a huge impact on my life and was a driving force behind many of my decisions. I shared with her heart ache, pain, loss, fear, the hurt I felt growing up, and we shared moments of healing together. I am beyond blessed to call Ila Likley not only my grandma but my friend. I will always miss her and life will not be the same without her, but I promise to always care her in my heart and to continue to talk about her with my kids. She will always be a lasting memory in our household.

The Saturday before she passed we talked about our house hunting. I told her of a home I really loved and how we were hoping to see it soon and if all goes well we would put an offer on the house. She asked me if it was a ranch (If you new my grandma you would understand why she asked that) I told her no it wasn't. Her response was "Jennica you will have to move again". I laughed and smiled. She then said I really hope you get it. Wednesday she passed away and Thursday we had scheduled to go see the house. So we went, as I knew my grandma would want me to. We fell in love with this home and we both knew it was the home for us. Friday we put in an offer and Saturday we set off to Ohio to be at my grandmas viewing. Saturday night I was sitting around the table with my family when I got a phone call. WE GOT THE HOUSE!  I can't help but think my grandma had a hand in all of this and was with us through out the process. We can not wait to move forward with our lives and move into the new home. She will defiantly be a huge part of our new home as we feel she had a hand in it all.

I miss my grandma so much and wish I could run to her side and tell her that we got the house! However I know she already knows and is celebrating with my other grandparents. I have and army of angels looking over me know. =)

Life doesn't always go as we plan and sometimes (well always) we have to give it up to God. We ask why? Why did so and so pass away? Why are we here? Why can't we just move on? Why now?! I have been reeling with these questions the past couple of weeks. The answer is no where to be found but in the trust of God. I will never know why my grandma passed away when she did. I will never understand why my other grandparents died so young. I will never understand why I have lost so many friends over the years. But I have learned to trust in God. It has worked for me so far.

RIP Janice Reffo 1/18/16
RIP Ila Likley 1/27/16
You are both loved and missed dearly

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CHRISTmas is Upon Us

It is hard to believe that we are in December already! The tree is up, the lights are lit up, the stockings are hung. Shopping is almost done, lists are made, plans are set and life is crazy. WAIT STOP!! What is this all for?! JESUS! But why all the other stuff?!?

Okay lets take a look at the history behind Christmas. The first recorded date that Christmas was celebrated on December 25th was in 337 AD. In 336 AD Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity (he was the first Christian Emperor).Then a year after, Pope Julius I declared the birth of Jesus to be held on December 25th. 

We have no exact date of when Jesus was born, but some believe that Mary was told that she was the chosen one and that she would bear the child of God on March 25th nine months later is December 25th. Some also believe that we celebrate it on this date as Winter Solstice was held around this date, so they wanted to take this celebration and make it a day to celebrate the birth of our Lord. 

What about Santa Claus? Why? Here is a little back story on St. Nicolas.. It all started with a man named Nicholas. Nicholas grew up in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey), He grew up as a devout christian, his parents taught him to love people and God. When he was a teen his parents died and left him with a large amount of money. Living his life by the Lord and obeying his words"sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. Nicolas became a bishop of Myra and was well known around Myra for his generosity. 

As a bishop he wore a red coat with white fur and a red hat. He was also an older man with a white beard.... See how that image comes to play. 

When he got older he heard of this family with three girls who didn't have enough money for a dowery (to marry off the girls). If they didn't get married they would most likely end up in slavery. He went to their home on three different days and tossed a bag of coins into the window; some say the bag of money ended up in the girls stockings hanging by the fire drying out. People heard of this and anytime they recieved a secret gift, they assumed it was Nicolas. Do to his good deeds he was given the title of a Saint. 

There is a day of celebration for St. Nicolas which is on December 6th. This is the day St. Nicolas actually died and so it is a celebration of his life. This is a great way to share this remarkable story of a man who lived his life fully to serve the Lord and to help others. 

This is great information to explain Santa Claus to children, and why he does what he does. In our home we do have Santa come and visit we talk about St. Nicolas and how his name came to be known as Santa Claus. How he gives to little boys and girl a gifts, food and or money. But we also talk about how we should emulate St. Nicolas, and work for the Lord every day. So we really focus on giving back through out the year; especially during the holiday season, this allows us to share Gods love to those in need. 

Christmas Tree? Well this dates back to Egyptian times. They worshipped evergreen trees, when winter solstice came they would take the palm leaves to symbolize that life trumps death. The tree was originally a pagen symbol but was adapted into the christian celebration of Jesus for Christmas. The reason behind the Evergreen Tree is because it stays a live and vibrant all year long, it doesn't die, or go into hibernation a lot like the love of Jesus Christ. 

Lets get to it... There are a lot of things that have been added through out the years to Christmas. Most of which is commercialized, I agree that a good portion of it is ridiculous, but I also know my kids love some of this. I also know that my kids know the true meaning of Christmas and that we are to give more and not take. Be happy with what we have and to live a life for our Lord. Jesus is the reason for the season, whether adapted or not. Everyone deserves a birthday party and Jesus is no different. Jesus was Born of the virgin Mary, that is a big deal! We may not know the exact date or year of that birth but we know he was born. So celebrate him this year, celebrate the Savior who came walked among man, sacrificed his life for our sins, died on the cross and rose again from the dead. How amazing is that?!? Enjoy this large celebration of lights, trees, carols, stories, and gift giving. Its the biggest birthday party of the year!

God bless and Merry Christmas!