Have You Ever Asked Yourself, Why Pray?

IMG_20150202_174620018The last few weeks have felt like an emotional month for me. Luke had his decompression surgery Monday, Feb 2. Leading up to that date, I had spread the word all over social media for anyone and everyone to pray for him. I received messages and comments from Chicago all the way to New Zealand; so many, even many I have never met, said they had heard what we were going through and were praying. What an immeasurable comfort to my soul to know that hundreds were going to God the Father on behalf of my son and our family.

Luke’s surgery was February 2. As I helped him slip into the hospital gown in the pre-op room, surrounded by the sterile antiseptic smell of the hospital, the moment I had dreaded for weeks weighed down my movements. The moment that played in my head over and over again in a tortuous spiral. It was the moment when they would come and wheel my little boy away and I would have to say goodbye, let go and place him into the hands of the medical team.

I often asked myself what would I say? How do you express in words a love so utterly and achingly deep that words cannot begin to touch? What if something happens and he doesn’t come back my sweet little Luke? The Luke that can do amazing impersonations of characters on TV and in movies and send us all into peals of laughter. The Luke that builds and creates with Legos for hours and comes out with a Lego restaurant complete with grill area and bun warmer. The Luke that writes in his devotional journal about his understanding of the Savior and this deep love for God that is very rare for a ten year old. The Luke that prayed for all the ones that have been praying for him saying that he knew they too have struggles. He asked God to bless and encourage them just as they were blessing and encouraging him through prayer.IMG_20150202_143756345(1)

That dreaded moment came. I looked down into his round blueberry eyes, and unsuccessfully choking back tears, I kissed his soft cheek and told him how very proud I was of him for being so brave and that I loved him so very much and with a wet smile I told him I would be right here when he got back. I will not lie. It was really hard for me to watch them wheel him around the corner and out of sight. But in that dreaded moment, I felt God nudge my heart and remind me that He promised Luke would never be alone. My spirit felt so much comfort in being reminded that my wonderful Lord goes with my children where I cannot.  Deuteronomy 3:16 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Luke walking the PICU on the morning after surgery.

Luke walking the PICU on the morning after surgery.

Luke went through surgery with no complications. He had some pain but his recovery is nothing short of phenomenal. He was walking the next morning up and down the PICU with his physical therapist. His PICU nurse said she had never seen a child do so well and recover so quickly. They moved him into a regular room after therapy that day. And the next day, just 2 days after brain surgery, the neurosurgeon released him to go home.

So now my thoughts turn to prayer. Actually, my thoughts go to all the numerous prayers that were prayed over my son and my family. I am finding it hard to put into words the emotions that bubble up in my heart when I think about it all. I know that there has been so many times when I felt that no matter what I prayed, that my words were not heard and that they went no farther than the ceiling.

IMG_20150203_185025611

Luke visited the play room at the children’s hospital just one night after decompression brain surgery.

I don’t have all the answers of why. Why do these things happen? Why pray? All I can say is God used it all. All the prayers touched me and encouraged me that people do care. All the prayers touched Luke because it showed him he really does matter. And seeing Luke recover so quickly and miraculously touched all those that prayed that God really really does hear and answers in a way that no one can say it was done by human strength, but to show His glory, His strength. And so I will continue to pray. Even when I am not “feeling” it. Even when the words don’t seem right. Even when God’s answer is different than my wants. Thank you so much Father God that it is truly not my will but Thy will.

Advertisements

Help For The Chronic Worrier and Some Updates

IMG_20150113_090049163Just over a week ago, I found myself spending a quiet evening at home with just me and my two kids. My husband was working and my stepson (my sweet bonus son) was at his mom’s. It was a very cold night and it seemed the heat was heaving and sighing, moaning and hissing trying to keep our house warm. So I lit a fire in the fireplace and we settled down to play a game of Sorry.

As we sat there playing, giggling and taking turns sending each other back to start the thought came to me that this is what family to me is all about. My daughter wasn’t worrying about her end of semester exams coming up the following week. My son wasn’t worrying about his frequent headaches and upcoming surgery. I wasn’t worried about getting to work the next day or what was going to be happening in the coming weeks. No. We were all in the present; in the moment. It was warm there. It was peaceful and relaxing there. It was happy there in that moment.

I can be a chronic worrier. When you worry, you tend to be inside of your head. A lot. That means that you may be sitting in the present but in your head, you are in the future of “what if” and “what might”. Your mind is caught in a vicious cycle of worry and what might happen if what if happens. I have learned that the best way to combat this is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is where you bring yourself out of the worry and out of your head and look around. You literally start pointing out things that surround you and switch your focus on them. For example, my drive to work is where I really worry. I worry about whatever is going on with my kids, my job, what some one said, etc. When I practice mindfulness, I stop worrying and think about how bright the sun is at that moment or how blue the sky is, etc…

I use the term “practice” because it sounds simple but it is something I have to work at over and over again because the worry keeps trying to take over. Being mindful helps us to stay focused on the present; focus on the moment you are living in not what’s to come and especially what has been. In His word, God tells us to not worry about tomorrow. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

IMG_20150113_090049163Here is something that we all need to honestly take hold of and remember:  God actually wants us to be happy and enjoy the life He has given us. He doesn’t want us to waste it on our past or worry. (Who would ever want to know Him if we are walking around worried and sad all the time.) Being mindful and staying in the present allows us to live out our potential, to be the best we can be-who we were created to be, moment to moment.

“18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Now on to some other things that are happening. I was so excited to share that I was approached by Pigeonhole Books to do a blog interview for their resource page several months ago. They chose my blog to kick off the new year! Here is a link to that interview about me, my site and where I want to be in all of this. Check it out and show them some love! http://pigeonholebooks.com/2015/01/05/blogger-interview-donna-mott/

We also celebrated a big birthday in our family recently! Our beautiful girl, my oldest, turned sixteen! Where has the time gone?!

I would like to thank you all and ask that you please continue to pray for our son, my youngest, Luke. His chiari surgery is scheduled for February 2. Our family has a lot coming up but God has been so amazing and faithful. I will be sharing more about that later……

 

When You are So Overwhelmed, There are No Words

rock blog photo 2I haven’t posted in a while. My emotions have been so overwhelming that I literally have had no words to describe them. Which I’m pretty sure is bad for a writer. Words, for me, have always been an emotional outlet; expressing and processing my feelings; a way to scream while remaining silent. Lately I’ve been drowning in fear, worry, shock, determination, and focus with no way to get an extra breath except…….One.

Romans 8:26 “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (NLT)

It is so much comfort to me that as a child of God, I don’t have to find the words. I don’t have to articulate the storm inside my heart, the raging in my mind. My Heavenly Father knows.

He is my comforter. 2 Corinthians 1:3 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.”

He is my strength and my help. Psalms 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

He is my hope. Psalms 71:5 “O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.”

He is my rock. 1 Samuel 2:2 “No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”

My previous post was about my son. The tests results have come in and we met with the neurosurgeon last week and my little guy will be having decompression brain surgery at the end of January for his chiari malformation. As I have said before, I am so grateful that this has been found while he is young and has not had to suffer, but I have also, as a mom grieved for my son. My heart has ached for what he is facing. I have cried out of fear of the horrible spiral of “what ifs” that could happen.

I don’t want him to go through this. I am scared about so many things but it has been during this time that I have felt God’s closeness more than ever before; His presence touching every aspect of our life; our Comforter, our Strength, our Help, our Hope, our Rock.

rock blog photo 2

It Is Well: How God is Teaching Me About His Glory Through My Son

It is Well My family and I have been going through a very scary time with my youngest son. He has had some medical symptoms that have seemed to get worse. We were told a year ago he needed rest and hydration when he would wake up so weak he could barely lift a cup or spoon. The “spells” would only last a day or so and then he would go months without another. In between these times he has had headaches and dizziness but these too have been sporadic.

His most recent spell was just over a month ago. The pediatrician did a full blood panel workup. All of his tests came back normal so she referred him to a neurologist, who ordered an MRI. The next thing I know, I get a call that my 10 year old is being referred to a pediatric neurosurgeon for evaluation of possible brain surgery. The diagnosis is chiari malformation I. Here is a link with info about this abnormality to save you the trouble of googling it: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm . He saw the neurosurgeon this past week and I will get to that later in this post.

The myriad of emotions that we all experienced during the days of waiting for that appointment are nearly indescribable. My little guy was actually relieved that there was an explanation for the way he had been feeling. For me, I was terrified of what he might have to endure and so unbelievably grateful that it was found early all at the same time! I posted, shared, text, and emailed asking; begging for prayer for my son! God created my son and my prayers was that He would press His divine knowledge into that surgeon to know what was best for him.

Everyone kept saying “I’ll be praying for him and your family”. Every time I heard that reply I would nod gratefully or post thank yous and please dos, seemingly calm but inside I was screaming! YES PRAY PRAY PRAY FOR MY SON! Don’t just say it because it is a challenging difficult time for us and you don’t know what to say. This is my son; this is my baby. This is something that has no cure. This is something he will have to live with; an invisible illness that to the outside world may seem completely made up. This is an absolute significant diagnosis that breaks my heart for him! So please please please do not carelessly fling out the most overused religious phrase known today “I’ll be praying for him” THIS IS MY LIFE, THIS IS MY SON AND I’M BEGGING YOU TO MEAN IT! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

During this time I would go to work and alternate between inward anxious thought spirals and outward quiet tears. I love the fact that I can listen to music while working. I would play songs of comfort and one song kept showing up in my mind, in my heart, and deeply in my spirit…. “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford. (The story behind this song is astounding.) The words began to minister to me. I added a new prayer to my initial prayerful cries to God for my son. I began praying that I would bring glory to Him even during this overwhelming, frightening experience, praying that even my fear would still bring Him glory. I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

It is Well

It started to have an effect on me. I began to feel more at peace in the midst of fear and calm in the midst of confusion as I slowly began to accept whatever we would face with this deeply heartfelt knowledge that God really loved my sweet boy and no matter what it would be okay.

Wednesday came and I found myself staring into the kind, wise eyes of the surgeon. He said that surgery is to only restore cerebral flow if it is impeded by this condition. Based on the MRI, there seemed to be enough space for cerebral flow and surgery most likely will not be needed at this time. He ordered a spinal MRI and flow studies to be done next week to confirm this. This is so incredibly reassuring and solidifies that those prayers from all of us have already begun to work in my son. And I will say this without any hesitation what so ever and scream it: TO GOD BE THE GLORY! And yes please please please keep those prayers coming!

When You Try to Help Someone And They Won’t Let You

19973Last Sunday night, myself, my teen daughter, and my youngest son stopped to do the grocery shopping for the week. My husband and I both hate grocery shopping and I guess we both tend to procrastinate about it. So, anxious to get it done, I ushered the kids inside. It was crazy busy. I guess the whole community had procrastinated as well. We went from aisle to aisle from vegetables to toilet paper and everything in between. Finally we were finished and I eagerly pushed the heavy cart toward the check out lane. My children worked diligently on helping me load the groceries on the conveyor belt with surprisingly little bickering (which to me was an added perk).

Halfway through the cashier ringing up our goods, I noticed the old man waiting behind us in line. He had a frozen pizza, a peppermint patty and a green pepper that were half hidden behind my mounds of groceries still left on the conveyor belt. I looked at his patient face and felt convicted that in my rush and self-absorption, I had not let him go in front of me while we were unloading our items. As the cashier bagged the last few items, I felt God speak to my heart nudging me to pay for his groceries and so I spoke up and asked the cashier to please add them onto my bill.

The man looked at me and emphatically refused, almost seemed insulted. “Ma’am I’m not going to let you do that! I have enough money to pay for my own food.” Oh wow! That’s not the response I expected. Blushing and trying to recover, I said, “Of course sir and so do I, although barely sometimes week to week but I saw you standing so patiently waiting for her to finish my full cart and I’m so sorry I didn’t even offer to let you go ahead. The least I can do is pay for your pizza!” His face softened and thanking me several times, he continued to deny me the pleasure of paying for his groceries. So, I finished my transaction and began to leave. The cashier kept telling me how kind and sweet it was for me to offer with a rather shocked expression. Somewhat embarrassed, I grabbed my full cart, gathered my kids and headed for the door.19973

Walking to the car, I felt dejected and regretful for even offering. This was actually not the first time I had offered to help at this store and turned down. I could not stop thinking how in this day and age, people seem to have become so wrapped up in themselves or so unaccustomed to genuine love and care that we can no longer carry out simple acts of kindness!

We loaded the car and got in. As I reached for the ignition, my daughter grabbed my hand and with misty eyes said, “I am so so glad that God picked you to be my mom!” This coming from my teen who at every turn I seem to embarrass. It warmed my heart beyond words.

As I contemplated later on these things, it came to mind that I was focused on the wrong thing. I was focused on the man and felt a bit put off that God would have me offer knowing I would be rejected. I didn’t think about what kind of example I was showing for all the rest around me. It really opened my eyes to such a greater picture of God’s amazing plan. My obedience to the Lord might not have been for the old gentleman, but rather a witness of God’s love to my children and to the cashier and others of which I might not even be aware.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

A friend of mine recently reminded me of these words: “To love is to serve.” God’s great commandment is to love one another and to show that by serving others. It is sometimes so hard to do when we are rejected or don’t understand why God is asking us to do certain things for Him. As the scripture said, we must trust Him that he has a plan even when we don’t understand, even when we are rejected. Love and serve anyway. There is no better place to start than in your family and those closest to you.19973

My Ways Are Not

deep stormMy husband and I have had several big situations hit us one right after another in the past couple of months starting with a blown engine in our SUV that we had just paid off, that fit all 5 of us plus 2 friends. All of these issues have caused some stomach aches, headaches, worried/anxious thought spirals, and sleepless nights. Many nights, at some point, has ended with crawling out of bed, kneeling, and pouring our heart out to God either alone or together. 1Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

In the midst of these problems, through working in ministry, I have encountered others who are suffering with hurting hearts. My daughter and I both have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. When others hurt, we truly feel that hurt and try to help in any way we can.  Such empathy can also cause stomach and headaches, worried thought spirals, and sleepless nights spent praying for others. During this time, she found out that a classmate was really in trouble and she bravely stood up and went to the powers that be and told, getting them some help and facing a lot of ridicule for being a “snitch” and even losing a close friend in the process.

During these past months of difficulties, I have asked God why? That’s probably not the spiritual thing to do but it certainly is the most human. We all ask God why is this happening? Why won’t you fix this? I have asked that of Him, especially these last two months. Why did our vehicle blow up when we are working so hard to be debt free? Why did my brother’s house get robbed of so many valuable precious irreplaceable things such as baby photos that they will never get back? Why are there issues cropping up with our children and the other parents when we have worked so hard to build and raise our family to serve You? Why is Jack still being terrorized by an abusive father? Why was my friend’s son, who already has suffered severe trauma in his life, have to go to court over having his life threatened?  Why was he attacked at school by another student the next day and received several rib fractures?

Why?

And God answers!

Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.10 The rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without giving water to the earth. This makes plants grow on the earth, and gives seeds to the planter and bread to the eater. 11 So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well.”

And what an answer!  I don’t think like God.  I can’t even fathom it.  His view, His perspective is “higher than the heavens”  while mine is barely visible from this pit I sometimes find myself in and peeking out over the edge of.

As I am thinking about God’s answer, I realize that I have received more blessings over these past two months than I can count. I have seen my family grow spiritually in their faith and walk in Christ. I have seen my children make that basket, bring up that grade, and make many new friends to replace the one that was lost. We now have a new car that is better for us than the old one. I could honestly go on and on.

But most of all, I have been tremendously blessed through ministry and serving others.  One of the biggest is my daughter and I helped with our church’s large special needs Easter egg hunt event. I signed up to be a hunt buddy and met an amazing family that had adopted 11 special needs children and brought 4 of them to the event. My 11 yr old bright energetic buddy and I had a blast running through all of the inflatables and games and finally went on to collect 4 bags of eggs!  (Actually I just ran around behind him toting his bags. Lol!)  His mom was able to be pampered that day in a makeshift spa our church had set up. She came back with a new hair style and a manicure. She seemed so refreshed and rejuvenated. His mom said that although he was affectionate he did not hug. At the end of the event as the family was leaving, the unprompted hug I received from my little buddy was beyond words for me. I went there that day to be a blessing but really I was the one that was truly blessed!

DSC_2854See, we don’t always have to preach Jesus at others in their face. We can lead them to Him simply by doing what He did through loving and serving. Giving them some time for themselves when they may not often have that luxury. Helping them by going into their community and washing their windows and changing light bulbs, etc….

I don’t understand. I cannot fathom the ways of God. But I have learned that when I don’t understand I need to show more compassion, love, and give more of myself. My ways are not His ways because His view is so much better of me than I have of myself. His ability to pour out His blessings is far greater than my own. My prayer is that He still uses me faults, difficulties, anxious thought spirals and all.

A Candle For Jack

Jack is a wonderfully gifted, inquisitive, articulate 9 year old boy with a beautiful, sweet warmth about him.  His strong determined mom is a blogger friend of mine and for the past year or so I’ve been following her powerful emotional story of co-parenting (if you can even call it that) with a narcissist.  For years she has struggled to move mountains to get the help and encouragement for this highly gifted child with an IQ in the 98th percentile. When Jack was 7, because of her efforts of trying to get him enrolled in the Gifted Academy, she lost custody of her son through a very broken court system. A court system that felt it was better to not look to experts in the field of gifted children but rather to the squeaky wheel that was screaming for grease.  Her parenting time has now been reduced to 8 days a month!

Since the custody change, Jack’s anxiety has increased to an all time high.  He has shared with his mom after crying uncontrollably for the first hour of most visits with her that his father is abusing him mentally, emotionally, and physically and since the courts are not monitoring him and this man has complete control, the abuse has escalated to an alarming level.  One small example of this is that Jack is afraid of heights so his father held him by his leg and suspended him over the railing of the deck 20 feet off the ground to teach him not to be afraid!  Countless times he has been called a baby, stupid, and an idiot.  He is not allowed to cry.  I could go on with many other examples.

I was deeply moved by this brave mom’s post, her message of hope that she has received from God through her son and her anxious fear as she goes to the court of appeals on April 15 to plead with them to overturn the custody ruling.  This is the link to this post and I encourage you to please read it!  You will be so inspired by this amazing little boy.

http://scatteredsmotheredandcovered.com/2014/04/07/one-word-365-submit-to-hope/

Today we had a prayer service at church.  A time where we can be prayed over, take communion,light candles and also literally carry our burdens and nail them to a wooden cross.  My daughter and I solemnly lit a candle for Jack.  And we prayed.  Prayer changes things and so I asked God would surround this situation with His almighty power.  I prayed that Jack and his mom would feel that power and strength in such a way that they would know a peace that they have never known in the midst of this raging storm.  I am asking that everyone will join me on April 15, in the middle of working, business of life, tax deadlines, etc…to stop just a moment and pray for this hearing.  Pray for this dedicated mom.  Pray for Jack.

I have been thinking and meditating on Psalms 10 which is such a powerful chapter.  Here are a few verses that really speak to me.  Psalms 10:10-11 ESVThe helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”  Verses 14, 17-18  “But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.  O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Image

Pray for Jack.
   

Do You Bring Blessings or Blow Horns?

DSC_1520

About a week and a half ago, last Tuesday, I was driving to work.  I was talking to my mom as I often do just like any other day.  My mind was filled with memories, Christmas lists, money worries etc……    I noticed a little ways up the road, a woman coming across a bridge up ahead.  Now, because of TV movies and watching too much of the news, I began to slow down my 75mph speed as a precaution in case this was someone who thought it might be fun to throw something off the bridge onto the cars below.  It all happened in a matter of seconds.  This woman had decided that she no longer wanted to live, came over the side and jumped off of that bridge, landing in front of my car on the busy interstate!

I swerved, screaming, trying to articulate to my mom what just happened.  I pulled over a little ways from the scene just to be safe and began jogging back to this nightmare that had just unfolded in my lane in front of me!  A small group had already gathered around her and I was surprised to see that the woman had already re-gained consciousness (after seeing her land like a rag doll and unconscious).  She was trying to fight us to get up while bleeding on the pavement.  I tried to soothe her, telling her that help was coming and that she was hurt.  I asked her if there was any phone numbers I could take down and call for her but she said she did not have anybody.  The paramedics and officers arrived.  They could not believe that this woman was not run over and kept saying it.  They allowed her to sit up as they examined her injured leg and face.  She is going to be just fine with just a scraped up face and broken leg!  As I was standing with the only other witness that cared enough to stop, a kind sweet faced lady on the way to pick up her daughter, we began talking of what we saw.  She did not see the woman jump like I did, only something in the road.  As I was trying to swerve, slow down and pull over she was trying to stop traffic that just kept driving around the woman and blowing the horn.  We could not believe how many just drove by blowing the horn and kept going!

On the morning of Christmas eve, my husband and I took our 3 kids to eat a late breakfast.  I mentioned that there was an elderly man eating alone and how sad that was at Christmas when the place was full of families.  Teen could not even enjoy her food because of it and wanted to go over and ask him to join us but is very shy about such things.  My husband and I wanted to as well but we made excuses such as he probably wanted to be alone or that he probably had a house full of family and wanted some time alone to enjoy his paper.  With a determined look, she went over to the man, wished him a Merry Christmas, and told him there was plenty of room at our table.  He joyfully accepted and for the next hour we were all entertained with stories of this gentleman’s life.  He introduced himself as Jim O’Neal, the “84 yr old Black Irishman”.  He insisted that he pay for our meal but my husband had gladly already paid for his.  We all left the restaurant that morning feeling happy and blessed.

These events got me to thinking about how we live our lives.  Do we stop our hectic pace and self-absorbancy and help those in need or do we just drive by and blow the horn?  Do we go the extra mile to bring a smile to someone’s face or do we make excuses to ease our conscious so we feel better about not going out of our comfort zone?

Christians, myself included, are commanded to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).  Let’s not also forget the golden rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31).  There is verse after verse where we are to show Christ’s love through serving and loving others.  However, our selfish nature tends to fight with that kind of selfless love.  For this upcoming new year my prayer is that I allow God to continue to use me to bless those around me.  I pray that my children will continue to live out a life of serving God by being kind and loving others and that my husband and I can be an example of that love.  Who knows?  Maybe if we step up and go that extra mile there will be more people who don’t feel so empty and alone enough to jump off a bridge and instead end up sharing stories over a meal with new friends.

Are you someone that in this new year brings blessings or blows horns?