Dec 082010
 

I’m not sending out Christmas cards this year. I couple weeks ago I thought to myself, “I should get started on those.” But then right after I thought that, I felt a pang of stress. It was just a quick little jolt, but it got my attention. So I immediately decided to tell myself the same thing I’d tell a friend. I said to myself, “It’s okay, G. You don’t have to send Christmas cards this year. No one’s the boss of you. No cards.”

And it felt so good. Soooo good. There is stress that is unavoidable and stress that is chosen, and I’m going to try to let go of some of the chosen stress this year. I choose to rest and watch Christmas specials and take baths and trust that even without cards, my friends and family will remember that the Meltons exist.

So Merry Christmas, friends! We all look pretty much the same as we did last year.


Even so, I do have a very special card to share with you today. It’s the Christmas card that my best friend, Adrianne, is sending out this year.

Adrianne used to write for Momastery. She was the first Monkee to read the posts each morning. She was part of our heartbeat. But something happened to Adrianne six months ago that knocked her down. Hard. And she has needed to save every bit of her energy to try to stand again. And she has needed to protect her heart for a long while. But she’s decided that she’s ready to open it again, to us. She’s ready to tell us where she’s been, and where she’s going.

Monkees, My Adrianne.





This is the umpteenth time I have sat down to draft this year’s Christmas card letter. Never having suffered from a loss for words, I’m a bit surprised at how difficult it has been for me. I’ve decided that the most fitting introduction I can come up with is Dickens’ line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I’ll start with the worst of times. Brace yourselves, because this is a doozy.

On Mother’s Day, I received a text message from Trent saying that he is no longer in love with me. (I told you it was a doozy.) I am unable to go into specifics regarding the abrupt ending of my marriage because I have upcoming court dates, and discretion is necessary. But to those of you who might be saying to yourselves, “I’m shocked! I thought they were really happy,” I reply, “Yah, SO DID I!” Needless to say, it was a lousy Mother’s Day.

Without going into the gory details of the past six months, I’ll bring you up to date with where I am now. Trent and I have been separated since May 10th, and I am hoping to be officially divorced in March. I am living with the kids in our townhouse, and I am okay. Trent is living in a nearby apartment, and he spends time with the kids regularly, based on a schedule negotiated by our lawyers.

This spring and summer were dismal. I’ve tried to write descriptions of the pain this sort of thing causes, but I simply do not have the vocabulary to explain it. I feel like I would have to create an entire new language to accurately portray this experience.

The most difficult part of the entire situation, by far, has been watching Paige suffer. She has been seeing a therapist regularly since the split, and she has come a long way. Thankfully, she has a wonderful first grade teacher this year, and she is doing well in school. She is also enjoying Tae Kwon Do classes.

Even though the Grinch stole Mother’s Day, I decided that he would NOT steal Christmas. So Paige and I recently took a girls-only trip to New York City with a dear friend and her daughter. We had a marvelous time! Paige’s favorite part of the trip was the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. It was a magical start to the Christmas season.

Grey has truly been the light of both my life and Paige’s during this difficult year. Although he displays some confusion after transitioning from one parent’s home to the other, he is too young to understand what has happened to us. He is concerned mostly with cars, trains, airplanes, and anything that moves. He remains a jolly, happy soul.

Dear ones, my heart is full and truly grateful as I sit here and type. After my world collapsed and the dust began to settle, I learned some beautiful truths. I learned that I have a family who loves me fiercely. I learned that I have an army of friends ready to come to my rescue. Friends, new and old, came out of the woodwork to cheer me on, laugh and cry, and commiserate. I feel more loved today than I ever have.

At the risk of sounding overly Jesusy, I must also give a shout-out to my best friend, who was born in a manger. In the midst of my panic and sadness, I felt the warmth and calm of God’s loving arms holding me tightly. There is no doubt, friends. God heard my cries for help, and He answered me.

At this moment, our house is warm and lit by a beautiful Christmas tree and a whole lot of love. My children are upstairs sleeping under peaceful skies. I am optimistic about the coming year. I am a lucky woman.

Love,

Adrianne








Dec 092010
 
Monkees.
Our auction was a ludicrous success. Andrea and I put three checks in the mail this week.We sent $1863 to Sarah and $1863 to Rocky. I actually took pictures of the checks to show you, but right before I posted them, Craig suggested it might be better not to post onto the world wide web our account and routing numbers. Oooooh, I said. Yes, I see your point. Smarty pants! We are a good team.




Those are Chase’s hands. My fingers are actually even stubbier and my nails are dirtier.


The third check was written for $500 and was sent to Jill to spoil the heck out of Evy and Stella this Christmas.

A very special businessmonkee dedicated a portion of all of her November sales to the Carrolls this Christmas, and this $500 gift was from her. She specifically asked me not to mention her business’ name, because she didn’t want there to be any confusion about her motives.

Amazing, huh?

But hold on, Lovies. Our Lovefestivus is not over yet . . .we have one last trick up our collective sleeve.

Monkees…meet my precious, brave, huge-hearted friend . . . Leigha.

 

Dear Monkees,

In mid-October my daughters (ages 2 and 4) and I made Halloween cards for their grandparents who all live out of town and mailed them off. The grandparents were so touched that each set mailed either a card or a letter back to the girls. Their Nona even included two pairs of Halloween socks which they wore proudly for a somewhat disgusting number of days before they would take them off to let me wash them. It soon became a daily adventure to run to the mailbox everyday. “Why are we getting so much mail?” Anna asked one day. “Because you did something that made them feel special and now they want to do something to make you feel special,” I told her.

A few days later I read Andie’s post and I wanted to do something to help. My first thought was I am going to get that mother a “We Can Do Hard Things” plaque but another Monkee was already taking care of that. Then I started thinking about Sarah and Skylar; what could I do to make their day brighter? My mind wandered back to my own children being thrilled with receiving mail. I thought, “My girls and I could do that! We could make cards and send little surprises in the mail.” My thoughts started snowballing until I arrived at the conclusion that what would really be fantastic would be if I could get lots and lots of creations from lots and lots of kids to send to Sarah and Skylar.

If our children are mirrors, and that they believe what we believe, then we should invite them to be a part of caring about this family when so many grown-up Monkees have stepped up to give the best of themselves?

PROJECT GREEN LIGHT, MONKEES!

My goal is to send the girls little care packages in the mail about twice a month. I hope to be able to include artwork of all types made by children of all ages. Today I would like to ask you and your children to create mail for Sarah and Skylar. The sky’s the limit here, so let the creativity soar. Some suggestions to get the juices following include (but would never be limited to) making “Fight Like a Girl” posters, writing about a time you had to be brave and what helped you get through it, pictures making silly faces, pictures of your pets in costume, and anything else that might get a giggle from a two and half year old girl.

Maybe something like this:


Thanks Monkees.
Love, Leigha

You guys, I think those are princesses kicking each other’s asses. Fight like a girl. Brilliant. Just brilliant. . .

Let’s send Rocky some art. Because everything will look so different to Rocky when she arrives. But kids’ art is kids’ art, no matter what country it’s created in. Hearts and rainbows and stick figures, they translate. Child to child. Heart to heart. Hand to hand. I love it, I just love it.

Please send the artwork to Momastery at 37 Pidgeon Hill Dr. #280 Sterling, Va 20165. Leigha will collect all the artwork and send it on to the girls.

Dec 142010
 

Hello, Lovies.

So sorry for the lapse in writing. I’ve been trying to write – trying pretty hard, actually. But I think my Lyme has damaged the half of my brain that is usually in working order, the writing part of my brain. It’s a dilemma.

The last two weeks have been weird. I’ve been exhausted and a little (a lot) depressed. When I found out that my Lyme was back, I developed a brilliant plan which I shared with my friends and family. My plan was to refuse to have Lyme, and to carry on with my regular life. I thought that this plan would work, because honestly, I am just too peppy and spastic and optimistic and rebellious to really be sick.

My body is rejecting my plan. It is insisting that I do, in fact have Lyme. And along with all kinds of other fantastic symptoms, Lyme makes one sort of…well, stupid. Stupid-er, in my case.

I once went to a Lyme symposium at which several experts spoke about the disease. One of the experts actually had Lyme herself… and she was brilliant, but it became clear during the first minute of her speech that she couldn’t remember any words. I’m not kidding. She’d say . . . “I’m here today…to…to…to….hmmmm.” And then she’d look down at her notes and say “Oh, yes! To discuss LYME DISEASE. Lyme disease is caused by …by…by….by….hmmmmm. OH YES! A TICK!” And this sort of thing went on for thirty minutes. At one point she was trying to describe her life on her family’s farm and she actually had to describe horses to us, because she couldn’t remember the word horse. “I love to ride large . . . tall . . . brown . . . animals. That gallop. And say ‘neigh.’ And I brush them.” Like that. This woman was a doctor. I can’t say that this particular symposium was very comforting.

Anyway. Like the sweet doctor, I can’t remember any words right now. Or where I am, quite often. Truly. Also, when Craig is talking to me, I don’t have any idea what he’s talking about. Which is not new. At all. But usually I don’t know what he’s talking about because I am thinking about writing, or the sky, or paint colors. But now when he’s talking, I’m not thinking about anything else. I just can’t process. He talks. And I stare. And then when it becomes clear that it’s my turn to talk, I keep staring. And then he says, “Okay. Never mind.” And I say, “Okay. Sounds good. ” And then I try to remember what I was doing before he started talking.

You can imagine that due to my brain deadness, whipping up any sort of essay for you all each morning has become problematic. Mostly since I can’t usually even remember what our little blog is about. Something about monasteries, right? Are we monks??? I can’t find any robes lying around anywhere and I apparently have several children which seems odd for a monk. Hm.

This whole brain issue has been stressing me out. Stressing me right out. Because we need each other here. And I thought…man. I don’t know how to keep this going. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say, other than: WHERE ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH ARE MY KEYS, PEOPLE? Damn.

But yesterday I was laying in the bathtub thinking about my sister, who is coming home for good tomorrow. For good. Tomorrow. She and John will arrive on my doorstep at 8am. The whole family will be here waiting. At this point in time I can’t really remember who the whole family is, but I am assured that they will all be here and that several of them are lovely.

Amazing. She’s coming home.

And then I started thinking about Christmas, which is also approaching fast. This Christmas thing, it’s a big deal for us Christians. God coming to Earth to live and love and die for us is a pretty big deal.

And I was thinking that even though I might be pretty stupid these days . . . I can still recognize holy ground when I see it.

The next few weeks are Holy Ground. For lots of us.

And so I thought. Hm. Maybe I’m not supposed to be fighting my way through this haze – grabbing desperately for something, anything to say. Maybe I’m supposed to shut up for awhile. Maybe God wants me to be quiet and soak in the arrival of my Sister, and of His son. Maybe He wants me to make some room for them.

Maybe God actually has to render me catatonic to get me to hush. To rest. To Be Still. Because that’s what this season is about, isn’t it? It’s about slowing down. Making room at the Inn. Practicing our faith that He makes the world spin, we don’t. So if we just stop for awhile, it’ll be okay. It’s about marveling at miracles. It’s about getting very, very small, and very, very cozy. Halting production. Quitting consumption. Worshipping. It’s about gratitude, worship and awe.

Come, Let Us Adore Him.

And so that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to get very quiet for awhile. At least for a month, I think. I am going to soak up the arrival of my Sister and my Jesus. I am going to spend my usual writing time curled up on the couch with my coffee and my Bible. Reading, listening, thinking, praying. They’re all the same things, really. For a good long while, I am going to stop pouring myself out and start soaking Him in. Because when I start to feel drained, it’s time to stop and fill myself back up. So I am going to create some silence and space. That’s where creativity starts, anyway. Not through struggle, but through space. I never, ever, get more accomplished in my creative life than when I commit to doing nothing. All creation starts from nothingness, right? That’s how God started creating, anyway. I could take a lesson.

And so, I am leaving you for a bit, to prepare for Christmas. Not to decorate prepare or mall prepare. To really prepare.

I love you all so much. I am crying right now, that’s how much I love you. You make my life fuller and truer and more magical. And I want us to do 2011 together. Let’s rock it out, together. I’ll meet you back here at the end of January. Don’t forget about me.


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Monkees.


Love, G