Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas All Summer—Opening Miracles

This is a continuation of a story that starts here

Okay, I'll spare you the minute-by-minute details, but my two weeks of solitude and serenity painting in my studio were suddenly eclipsed by the mayhem of design production. The week that followed was a watershed of calamities, including a trip to the hospital with Katie (don't worry—she's fine) and the super-expensive digital files coming back all wrong, and my husband (thank you, honey!) taking the morning off work to help me color-correct all the scans. The stress put me over the edge. I stopped going to bed on time, stopped my workout regimen, and had a-headache-bordering-on-a-migraine that lasted all week. I was a wreck.

The files had to be uploaded to my printer in Los Angeles on July 9th. Of course the computers crashed. Of course the FTP site was full. Of course I couldn't access the site from my computer and had to transfer everything downstairs on a jump drive. Of course there was a problem with the cover. Par for the course, right? But then — suddenly, at 11:57 p.m. (just minutes before the clock struck twelve and I turned into a pumpkin!) the whole thing worked, the files were gone, and I turned off my computer and went to bed.

The next morning I got up at 5 to run a 5K. Because I said I would. I'd been training for it all summer. And I was rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen. A gift. I finished the 5K, running it in four 8-minute segments with short walks in between. Another gift.

The proofs arrived via Fedex the following Monday. (I told you Peter was amazing!) We made some minor corrections, signed off on everything, and overnighted the proofs back to Los Angeles. And then I had to wait. For the longest 2 1/2 weeks of my life. (No — the second longest. The longest were the 2 1/2 weeks my first baby was past his due date!) The project was completely out of my hands. I could do nothing but pray. I prayed for the printers in Korea. I prayed for the bindery. I prayed that the boat wouldn't sink.

The books were scheduled to arrive on August 1. They didn't make it. *breathe*
I called Peter. He said they were tied up in customs and should deliver on the 2nd. *breathe*The convention starts on the 3rd. *breathe*The 2nd came. The books didn't arrive. Heartsick, but with a shred of hope, I called Ester back and told her sometimes UPS and other carriers often deliver as late as 7pm. *breathe*We go out to dinner. I can't eat. *breathe* (Oh, me of little faith.)
The doorbell rings. Our 11-year-old answers, and brings me a box.
Here I am, opening a miracle. (Yes, I had to capture the moment). My sample copies.

Ester calls the next morning: "You were right. They came on the dot of 7pm last night. We have plenty of books here in time for the convention." *exhale prayer of thanks*
Looking back, I spent my whole summer indoors. I missed my family vacation. I spent my whole summer working. And it was one of my best summers ever, because I spent my whole summer focused on Christmas: On Christ, and the miracle of His birth.I opened gifts called Connection, Harmony, Joy. I opened gifts I thought I didn't want: Darkness, Despair, and a Dare. I responded with gifts of my own: Toil, Solitude, Prayer. And found myself reveling in more gifts: Water, Light, Inspiration. In a way I felt like the Littlest Angel — reaching unworthily toward the altar with my grubby little hands, placing there all I had to offer, hoping it would be acceptable.

And I opened a miracle. I couldn't believe that just 2 1/2 weeks later, I was hefting the finished product, opening a real cover, turning actual pages. And as close to perfect as I could have hoped. I never imagined my summer of non-stop Christmas would hold so many wonderful gifts, such an increase of faith, such powerful peace. And this little miracle I was holding embodied it allit began as a book about symbols, and ultimately became one.

* * * * *


Kateastrophe said...

Ooooh LOVE LOVE LOVE. Here is my list:

My Mom
My Grandma
My Step-mother Lisa
My Mother-in-Law Janna
My Sister-in-Law Sher
My Sister
My brother Sean
My Boss Laura
My Aunt Alex
My friend Alisha

The Mom said...

How fun to open that package and see the final project! I can't even imagine how you felt!

My list:

My mom
My mil
My sister
My other sister
My aunt
My grandma
My sil
My other sil
My other other sil

Please pick me!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Ooooh, I would love to win this work. I would love to do a review of the book on my too.

My list includes:

My Mom
My Gigi
My Grandma
My Sister Melanie
My next door neighbor, Julie
My sis-in-law, Jennifer

Heidi said...

This has been such a lovely series full of so much of what Christmas is all about! The kinds of gifts that Christmas is all about . . .. hefting that book in your hand for the first time is pretty darn brilliant, too. I recall getting a little dizzy at holding the realization of a 25 year dream. It's a lot like having your first baby. Heaven.

Barbaloot said...

What a fun/generous idea! Can I be on my own wishlist---cuz I want one:)Also,
my parents
my sisters-in-law (four of them)
my cousins (two of them)
two of my friends
my roommate

LisAway said...

What a miraculous ending. Looks like it couldn't really have possibly been any more stressful than it was, which provides a "nice" contrast to the beauty of what you were creating and the miracle of it all. :)

Who am I planning to give the book to?
1 My MOM!!! (mother)
2 Anne (sister)
3 Su (sister)
4 Nana (grandmother)
5 Ola (regular friend)
6 Natasia (blogging friend)
7 Dad & Pam (father and his wife)

Kimberly said...

I've already bought a copy for my parents, my Granny who's serving a mission with her new husband, the local butcher and his sweet wife (who sometimes come to church functions, but are staunchly Baptist), and my brother and sister.

I would greedily love to have copies for...

My good friend Angela.
Our sweet and generous Relief Society President.
The three ladies I visiting teach, Gayle, Marilyn, and Heather.
Anita, my daughters' primary teacher.
My Uncle who is angry and not speaking to my mother.
My Granny who is too alone this Christmas.

Shari said...

I would love a copy for--

Me, of course
My Mom
My sister
My friends, Karen, Kriss, Becky, Sindy, Camille and Erin.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the realization of your book (well, yours and Ester's). Isn't it amazing that when something is meant to be, no earthly power can stop it from happening?

Lara said...

I love what you said about the lessons you learned and the gifts you were given as you did this (very hard) thing.

What a beautiful end product! You must feel so wonderful about it!

My list:

Best friend Bonnie
Friend MaryFran
Friend Hilary
Brother Jon
Brother Dave
Brother Nate
Sister-in-law Anne0Marie
And I guess me. :)

Rose said...

What a story!
1). I would love one
2) my new daughter-in-law - Kira
3.)my daughter, Amelia
4.) my neighbor who run a community Nativity - Jan
5) my Mother-in-law who needs an uplift who in her elderly years is taking care of her sick husband.

6) Donna who has health problems

Heidi said...

I love the prints but I have nowhere to put them. However, I can go for winning free books! Of course, if I don't win, you know I'll buy them anyway.

My parents
My neighbors across the street
My sister Barb
My sister Lynn
My Bishop
My in-laws
Kathy whom I visit teach
Melanie whom I visit teach
My brother Scott
Lots of other friends who may or may not win one of their own or buy their own, so we'll just have to wait and see . .. . hee hee

Dedee said...

This is the only contest I'll enter. I'm hoping to have enough to buy one of those glicee's soon. :)

My mom
My mother-in-law
My husband's father's wife
My sister whose name I have for Christmas
My niece--who might need it now more then ever
SIL #1
SIL #2
My brother
My friend here

And never worry, if I don't win, I'll buy them anyway. :)

ME said...

Would love to win Christmas for:

Mom & Dad
SIL Jill
SIL Kelly
BIL Matt/SIL Cathy
BFF Emily
BFF Janet
and one for my stocking. :)

Mary Ellen

L.T. Elliot said...

Oh, Jana. I cried. I'm so, so happy for you. Only you could have said it this way, could have really displayed the miracle of it all.

If I could give this book to the world, I would. (And I'm trying to tell the whole world about it, believe me.) But most of all, I'd want to give it to my 6 siblings, my grandmother, and my parents. The people I love most. And then I'd just want to stand on a corner and hand it out to strangers everywhere and brighten their holidays--because I know it would.

Rachel said...

I'm not sure who I would give it to, but I know I'd make sure they knew the story behind the story.

Probably I'd give it to my mom, my mother-in-law, and my sisters-in-law.

val of the south said...

Great story...can't believe the timing - amazing!

Other sister
Visiting teachers Stephanie and Beth
Sister Gammon

val of the south said...

I don't know where you want the extra entries here are mine!

I put the beautiful book cover on my sidebar with a link to the sidebar.

I liked the book on FB and I can't call my mom because it's too late :)

breckster said...

I can't believe it is time to think of a chirstmas list!

Lark, Lorraine, Emily, Talyn, Jordan, Courtlin, Tammy, Sandra, Justin, Anna

Happy Mom said...

The colors and soft quality of your paintings are so lovely!

Here's my list.

My Mom who read to me.
My Mother-in-law who's heart is full of love.
My Sweet Daughter who's just about to tie the knot.
My Niece and her adorable husband.
My lovely 83-year-old French sister that I Visit Teach (okay, I don't visit teach her any more, but I still have to go see her because she's amazing)
My Sis who sweats with me to help me get in shape.
My friend Yvonne who has more faith than anyone I know.
My friend Carolyn who helps me understand the Catholic faith and is fiercly loyal and kind.
My friend Mary who goes about doing good...always.
My Husband -'cuz I'd get that one!

You bring beauty into the world with your art! Thank you!

--H said...

This would be too good to be true. I very much want to give one to:
My SIL - Marianne, the librarian;
The three wonderful women in my YW presidency;
My two YW advisors;
My boss for his 11 children;
My husbands friend in Boston, who is looking for truth;
My kindred friend from the theatre who needs light;
My cherished friend from the theatre for her mini-me's;
And Katie - who would weep just for the artwork - so she can snuggle with her children and read it every night.
Oh...and Nichole.

The possibilities are endless.

And I'll figure out how to link you to my blog. THat way 3 or 4 more people will know about it..

Heather Richardson said...

Dear talented Jana, here is my list:

1. Mommy
2. MIL
3. Sister CDE
4. SIL
5. SIL
6. SIL
7. SIL
8. Bishops wife/good friend
9. Other good friend Valerie
10. Daughter Harriet

The Words Crafter said...

Hello! I'm a brand new follower and I just ordered two of your autographed copies, one for myself and another to give away on my blog for Christmas!!! And now, I see this, how cool!

My sister in law Nikki
My mother in law Pam
My director Jamie
My assistant director Monica
My co-teacher Misty
My other sister in law Michelle
Another co-worker Linda
Another co-worker Nancy
And another co-worker Carol
A blogger friend Charlene

And I have to say, thank you for the opportunity!

thepricklypinecone said...

Oh how generous. Thank you so much for the chance!
I would love a copy for:

My Mom
My Mother in Law
Aunt Lily
Aunt Ella
Aunt Jemima
and my sister.


deb said...

you so bless.
and I'm beyond happy for you.

I will spread the love, I will order my copy and post about it as I said.

a list just in case

each of my five children so they will have a copy for themselves , their someday homes,

my nephew
the local home for pregnant teens affiliated with our church
the shelter for abused women
my aunt Betty
a random stranger who finds it wrapped to take at a coffee shop or the walk in clinic

you are an angel.
it is an honour to be typing in this box

Kristin said...

My current counselor Paige
My spiritual guide Regina
My former counselor Wes
My coworker Kristin
My coworker Kathleen

Cindy said...

Just want to say that I think your story is beautiful, and I will have to buy a copy of the book after reading it!!!