No Guilt, Just Extremely Thankful

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7453-0.jpgThis morning I sit here thinking how blessed I am. My mind is going in so many directions, I’m not sure where this post is going to go. But I know I have to write it all down or my wee little brain is going to pop!

Years ago I would’ve felt guilty for feeling so good. My family exchanged many gifts. The kitchen counter is piled high with cookies and candies. Our calendar was full of parties and festive gatherings. We sang carols and Jingle Bell Rock. But today…I don’t feel guilty. I am just plain thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7456-0.jpgSuperman has a thriving business. Twenty-seven years ago, it was something Superman took, feeling the pressure to have a job before he married my daddy’s little girl. It was fine until he found a “real” job. Yet, God knew all along that this was where Superman needed to be. For this I am thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7449.jpgNope, I don’t feel guilty for Santa coming to our house all those years. We never used Santa as a way to control the kids behavior, but as someone who is good, giving and loves all the children. I admit our children received a lot of gifts at Christmas, more than any child deserves, but then doesn’t God do the same with us? I know he gives me waayyyy more than I deserve every day. But with every single gift, whether it was a pair of socks or their favorite toy, they responded with true thankfulness. Presents weren’t under the tree until Santa came on Christmas Eve. So there was much anticipation for Christmas morning. My prayer is that my kids will anticipate the coming of Jesus with even more giddiness. Christmas is just the warm up.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7445.jpgI am thankful for all of the adventures we’ve had this past year. We’ve hiked and climbed and traveled and explored. I love seeing this great place we call Earth with my family. I am so thankful not only to have the ability, but also the desire to go and the eyes to see the beauty that God has made.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7448.jpgI am thankful for the thought that my family put into the gifts they give. I get misty eyed when I see the wrapping job Adam does on his gifts. They may not have the most crisp edges and fluffy bows, but I know he took the time to do it. The cards that Thomas picked out for the girls and the heartfelt messages he wrote in each, mean more than diamonds and pearls. Gift giving requires one to look beyond themselves and to think about someone else. I am so thankful that my family has hearts to give.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7451.jpgI am so thankful that Superman and I have a child who has a college degree. I don’t take that for granted! She worked hard! And she did it in four years. Another child has grown exponentially academically and in life maturity since being in college. About four years ago, we worried he wouldn’t make it to next week and now here he is. I am so thankful!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7450.jpgI am thankful for my health. I don’t wear a size six, but you know what? I can hike many miles, climb up mountains, and play a few hours of tennis. None of which I’m an expert, but I can do it! Friends are fighting cancer, battling obesity and living with life altering diseases. I am thankful for my imperfect body and mind.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7446.jpgI am thankful for the laughter in my life. I live in a noisy chaotic home. Sometimes when I open my mouth, it is loud. I don’t mean for it to be…it just comes out excitedly. When my family gets together, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. In fact, we reminisce about all the crazy and funny times we’ve had together. I imagine in many homes there is silence or bickering. Praise God this is not true for us! Even with our large extended family, we can only offer hurting checks from smiling and great big belly laughs. A good dose of laughter is good medicine. For this I am thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7452.jpgThis little baby girl is getting married in June! My life is changing. No longer do I shop for gifts in the “pink” or truck departments at Toys-R-Us. No longer will Christmas just be the five of us. Life is not the same. I’m a little bit scared, but I couldn’t be happier with gaining another son. Tyler is great! Yup, my life is going to look a bit different, but it is going to be good. For this I am thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7442.jpgI’m thankful for the tradition our family has done for many years now. Our church organizes an Angel Tree. The Angel Tree Oragnization donates presents to children of parents who are incarcerated. The purpose of the program is to let the children know that they are not forgotten by their parent who is in jail. And that there is a way to fill the void left by their parents absence, which is through Jesus. The parents write what he or she would like for their child. Families like mine, choose one or many angels and purchase the gifts. The gifts are wrapped at church, then families or individuals will deliver them to the homes. My family delivered to two homes this year on Christmas Eve. To not overwhelm the family, two or three of us will go in the home. We hug and love on the children and caregivers. We make sure the children know that the gifts are not from us, but from their mommy or daddy and how much they miss and love them. We spend time talking to the caregiver, usually the mother or grandparent, getting to know them, seeing if they have any needs and praying for them right then and there. It is humbling. As easy as it is to write a check, (and so needed!) I think that walking into these homes has given my family a deeper perspective. For this I am thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7441.jpgI am thankful for hands to hold, hands that do, and hands that hug. I loved holding my mommas hand as we looked at the gingerbread houses on display at the Grove Park Inn. I am so thankful for being able to create with my hands. I feel at such peace when I am creating. Not everyone knows what brings them joy and peace or what talents they have. Thank you God for making my heart run a little faster when I see bright papers, soft yarns, and colorful paints. Scissors, needles, glue, and glitter all make me smile. I am thankful for all of the family and friends that I was able to love on this season. Old friends whom I haven’t seen in years, new friends, family from far away and family near…I got to hug. For this I am thankful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7440.jpgSuperman, Mary Claire, Adam and Thomas….the Rauscher clan….Nanny…I am so thankful!

Well, I think I’ve got it all out. I feel better now. No guilt. Just thankful.
Thanks for stopping by,

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Happy 85th Momma!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7391.jpgShe was born on Christmas Day. After the Christmas Eve midnight service, the choir came to sing outside the window when my mom was born. Isn’t that beautiful? So I started thinking about her birthday the other day. How old was she going to be this year? 85?!?! I quickly emailed my sibs to make sure I had done the math right. Yup! This was a special year and we needed to do something. A surprise party was in the works.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7392.jpgAs is normal for my family, we immediately formed the famous “Flying Wedge”. A flying wedge is the metaphorical position we take as a family when one of is in need. We had to get together to celebrate our mother’s birthday. Annie bought a ticket the very next day from California. Although leaving for Pittsburgh on the Monday after the party, Susan adjusted her plans so she could be there on Saturday. Jane made sure Mom had her hair done at Madam Moizelles. David made sure he was home from a business trip the night before. Laura gathered her five kids and drove the three and half hours to Columbia. I bought a ham.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7360.jpgI had called my mom Saturday morning to see if I could come down to hang out with her. I walked in the house first. Then Annie. Mom was totally surprised to see her! Then in walked my family with their arms loaded with bags of food, folding tables and chairs. My mom knew then that more was to come! She’s smart like that.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7367.jpgWe knew that if we had told her two weeks ago what was going down, she would have exhausted herself with lists and preparations. This way, she could still help set everything up, but only have to fret and fritter for a short time. In fact, we’re so thoughtful, we let her iron the tablecloth all by herself! (By the way, she loves to iron. She used to iron layers of petticoats, hankies and dad’s undershirts.)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7368.jpgEveryone helped get things ready. This is sweet Emma, Laura’s youngest.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7270.jpgA funny thing happened. I picked up Annie from the airport the day before and brought her back to my house. Putting aside how tired she must have been with the travel, Annie and I got to work. We decided to bake a gluten-free carrot cake. One cake didn’t look like it could feed the 20 or so people that were going to be there, so we made two. We get to Grandmas and she has a cake sitting there on her counter…a gluten-free carrot cake!!!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7274.jpgEveryone arrived on their own time, cousins, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons….

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7277.jpgWine was poured and appetizers were eaten.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7282.jpgDavid’s cast was signed. How did he break it, you ask? Well let’s start off by saying, he’s a 13 year old boy. He was raking the leaves in his yard and made a big pile. So what else would one do, but jump in, of course! Well, he decided after jumping into the pile from about 20 feet up a tree, it was so much fun, he would do it again. Oops!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7267.jpgWe played Phase10, a classic Rauscher card game. How many rounds of runs, sets, skips and wild cards were manipulated at this table over the years? And here we are.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7356.jpgAnnie shared her knowledge and passion of essential oils with the girls.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7275.jpgDavid attempted to show us how to open a wine bottle with your shoe. Who needs a bottle opener?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7276.jpgOk. Maybe we do, because all he got was a wet sock.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7287.jpgA new game was shared amongst the boys guys. (Excuse me.)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7352.jpgThe next thing we know, everyone is hooked up with this trivia game, playing against one another. Grandma was using her vast trivia knowledge to help the younger guys. She is a master NY Times crossword player. This gal is sharp!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7378.jpgToasts were said in honor of family.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7376.jpgToasts were said in honor of love.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7375.jpgToasts were made in honor of my mom. Here! Here!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7384.jpgThis has to be one of my most treasured things to do…sharing a meal with my family. Great conversations, catching up on things and retelling funny stories.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7385.jpgMom blew out her birthday candles and cut the cake…three gluten-free carrot cakes and a fruit torte.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7386.jpgSo, Annie and I wanted to know if our cake measured up to the professional’s. Tyler did the honors annnd…..OURS was the winner! (Hands down, if I say so myself.)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7388.jpgFor her birthday card, Annie and I made a family tree card, showing mom her beautiful legacy.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7372.jpgOur Mom and Dad had six absolutely amazing children, shown with red background circles. Those six children gave Mom and Dad 19 healthy, smart, beautiful grandchildren, shown in blue. And now, the fourth generation is growing with the start of six sweet adorable great-grand children, shown in cream. The loving spouses of family members are there in a striped background. Pretty amazing!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7335.jpgTime for pictures. Got the guys. Too cool.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7297-0.jpgThen the sibs. Geez. You would think gathering six adults would be easy. It takes some work. Shift to the left. Shift to the right. (Stand up, sit down Fight fight fight! Ok, so I got sidetracked.) Birth order. Center on the window. Fix the curtain….

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7393.jpgThen we try outside with better light. Then Bozo, the clown, decides to be the funny guy!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7320.jpgThis may be my favorite. I love seeing my mom laugh like this!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/2a5/46532751/files/2014/12/img_7327.jpgSo there you go. Me and my siblings coming together for one purpose and one purpose only…to love on our momma. Happy Birthday! We love you so much!

Thanks for dropping by! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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