Monday, December 19, 2011


Dear Mom and Dad,

There I was, sitting on a noisy school bus, on our way to a field trip to the Natural History Museum, when I got my wake up call of the season.

I was half listening to the hub-bub around me, but mostly had my mind focused on my still-to-do-but-not-enough-time-to-do-it list. I was feeling frustrated: angry that I was the one who had to do all the shopping, water the Christmas tree (not to mention already having to buy the tree and decorate the tree!), wrap the presents I hadn't had time to buy yet, clean the house, get the goodies for a party we were invited to, etc, etc.--and apparently I was supposed to do it all without spending any money! Just before smoke started coming out my ears, a little hand tapped my arm (which also, by the way, annoyed me, because I am just that grumpy of a person), and I looked down at the offending child, probably with some degree of unpleasantness on my face. "Mrs. Vance," he said, "Why do we celebrate Christmas? What is it really all about?"

This particular student is relatively new to the area, having just moved here from a place that you and I would find rather unusual. He had recently written a journal entry at school about how this was his first year to celebrate Christmas--actually, to celebrate anything!--and he was enjoying everything around him. So, when he asked me why we celebrate Christmas, he really, truly didn't know. His question shook me from my pity-party and put me back in place.

"We celebrate Christmas to remember when Christ was born," I replied.

And, thanks to that little boy and his question, I've finally been doing just that.

May your week and mine be filled with the wonder of a child,

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Dear Mom, Dad, and others,
You've already written about how amazing and helpful the internet is, and I am in complete agreement. Tonight I was able to write to Evan, read your blog (amazing talk, by the way), enjoy the story that you found through google (we should all give such wonderful Christmas gifts), and plan a few more things for school this week (Pinterest is the best!).
I also got to see, and feel, something tender, sweet, and kind. My friend Kate created a facebook group page for me. It was very thoughtful, and I feel very loved. And a bit overwhelmed at how kind people can be. More overwhelmed by the thought of trying to be good enough to deserve it.
Kind of like Christ and all he offers us.
So many gifts. So many good things.
So past my bedtime.
Love you,

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Dear Mom, Dad, and Others Who May Care,
You said to just start writing. So I am.
Big news of the week is that Joshua had some oral surgery done. All is well, although he is quite sore, and not looking forward to the additional pain that the upcoming braces will bring.
I think having your child wake from an anesthesia-induced "coma" is quite telling about their personalities. Evan just smiled at everyone he saw. Lane asked for his cell phone and wondered if he had any blood on his shirt. Joshua asked if he could keep the wheelchair.
Later on, while parked at the grocery store where I was filling his prescription, Josh woke enough to ask, "Did I get to ride out to the car in a wheelchair?"
"Yes," I said. "Do you remember asking if you could keep it?"
His eyes brightened. "Well, can I?" he asked.
"Do you like wheelchairs, Josh?" I queried.
"No," he replied, "But I like IVs. Can we go back and do that again?"
I'd better be careful what kind of drugs this kid gets to be around...
And maybe, just maybe, I'll be around here again sometime.
Love Always,