2011 So Far

The whole earth has turned grey, and the life of the wood beyond the perimeter of my yard has gone to sleep, excepting a few brave birds who are only glad to have escaped the harsher climates of the north. The sun is sleeping behind a thick haze of clouds, and like me in the morning, it doesn't want to get out of bed. The cold that somehow creeps through my three layers of clothing chases me indoors, making me shiver at the thought of going out again. And I live in Louisiana, not Canada.

I am no longer descending from the high of winter festivities, goodwill and resolutions, which were a blast, by the way. Highlights include:

My studio Christmas recital

My sister, Emily, celebrated Christmas Eve Eve with us.

Santa made his first stop at the Keaster household, and Micah was very glad he did.

I had my second Christmas with my two favorite guys.

Finally, God was very gracious to my family. My cousin, Kristy, pictured on the right, was in a house fire with my aunt and uncle the morning after Christmas. The smoke alarms didn't work.They were sound asleep. Somehow, despite the limited oxygen in the air, my aunt woke to the sound of glass breaking. Their escape is, in my mind, nothing short of miraculous. Only by the Lord's tender mercies, do I still have all of my family, for which I am thankful on the greyest of days.

Even in light of all the good that has been in the past month, I've smacked the bottom of the spiral, and I can't seem to make myself get back up. Oh yes, I'm taking extra Vitamin D, and teaching from the glow of my Happy Light. (Thanks, Mom.) I'm praying, reading my Bible, making myself do things that sometimes, I just don't want to do, like arrange my unruly hair, put on make-up, risk life and limb by going out into germ-infested territory (a.k.a. public places of any kind a.k.a the grocery store, gas pump, bank, etc.), scrub toilets and the like. I smile a thousand times a day thanks to Micah, whose vocabulary and sense of humor is rapidly blossoming. I'm doing all kinds of fulfilling things--teaching, meeting with friends, reading good books and purchasing new music off of Itunes at an alarming rate. But I just can't shake the greys. You think I meant to write, "I just can't shake the blues," but no, I meant greys. My mood is as grey as the days. No inspiration. No creation. No spark. Just grey.

Sigh. It must be January.

The plan was to charge and assault January so hard and heavy that I wouldn't even know that it was January and maybe, just maybe, January wouldn't know it was January. Ha! Ha! I had devised a brilliant scheme!

The plan didn't pan out, though. The first week went well. I was encouraged by the fast, steady, yet manageable rhythm of the week, and was looking forward to three more just like it. I felt so elated by the successful week, that I made not one, not three, but 10 New Year's Resolutions, all of which I think I believed I could achieve in a month's time. I was in a "hoo-rah!" kind of mood.

1. Press on. (This is a spiritual goal based off of Philippians 3:12-14.)
2. Become a better wife and mother.
3. Cook more adventurously.
4. Organize the house.
5. Finish my novel.
6. Do the planned/intended crafting projects that need doing in the house. i.e. Sew the curtains.
7. Do something to improve my piano and vocal teaching.
8. Potty train Micah.
9. Begin some focused education with Micah.
10. Memorize Ephesians by the end of June.

At the end of the week, I thought to myself, "I have this." Pride cometh before a fall.

The following weekend mocked me by wrecking my lovely plans with my sister, Emily, and keeping me from teaching my Monday students. On Sunday, freezing rain and chunks of ice too small to be sleet and too plunky to be snow fell from the heavens, freezing not only the earth, but time itself that day and the day after. Five make-up lessons aren't easy to fit into a month when you're charging it like a running back making for the endzone.

On Thursday, I came down with what I thought was a stomach bug. I vomited more times that day than I have total since childhood. I was ill for the entire weekend, which wrecked my plans to see my dear friend, Danielle Dorey on Saturday, and my sister, Emily, the following day. On Monday, I repeated the breakfast I'd eaten on the previous (and fateful) Thursday morning, minus the bacon which I unfairly and falsely accused of being bad, and began vomiting again. The culprit was the deceptively delicious and dangerous gluten-free muffins Brandon had brought home for me to try. Note to self: Teff flour is poisonous. Not made for my consumption. I canceled a third day of lessons in a week's time, and honestly, I'm unsure how that much time will be made up. I have taught the past couple of days, but haven't felt well due to the allergic rash that covers all of me from the neck down and the stomach ulcer the teff flour left in its wake.

Thus, I find myself a little doom and gloom, which is quite normal for a January, to speak truthfully. While this is my least favorite month of them all, I find a grotesque sense of beauty in it this year. I may not be productive in the traditional sense of the word. I may not be the easy-going, cheery person I wish I could be at this time of year, but I believe there is something worthwhile in the act of the struggle. Forced to reckon with my weaknesses, I depend on Someone much better and greater than myself, or my brilliant schemes. I cling to my daily times with the Lord with renewed vigor because I know that these are my lifeline, the one thing that will see me through. I find victory in memorizing Ephesians, one slow verse at a time. I'm already on chapter two, which begins, "And you He made alive!" (Exclamation point mine.)

The days are dark and cold. I haven't worked on my novel as I would have liked. I have to muster energy to meet the growing imaginative demands of my child. Shoot, I have to muster energy to exchange my PJs for jeans and a t-shirt, but something good is happening--I'm learning perseverance, or rather, beginning to bear it as a tree bears fruit. Regardless, there is something more to my faith than what I alone can bring to it, and that is comforting news.

January 2011, you only have 12 days left. Teach me all you have to offer.

"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." -Proverbs 16:9