When I see that people from Minnesota, Alaska and Ukraine are reading this blog, it makes me embarrassed to admit it - but I'm COLD!
Of course, we also just spent several days in North Carolina where the temperatures were below freezing. They say your blood doesn't "thin out" when you move to warmer climates but I disagree. We lived in the mountains for twelve years. We endured numerous blizzards and smaller snow storms. We made chairs in the snow and ate ice cream, for Heaven's sake!
But I just don't think I could do that so easily now.
John and Joy are visiting his family in New York where the temperatures are hovering in single digits daily. Honestly, those of you who work and play in these conditions for four or five months each year.... my hat is off to you!
(Please, don't take off your hat as you'll immediately start losing precious body heat!)
This post isn't about the cold weather, although I had to mention it. This post will be eclectic in nature as I've been so negligent in writing this month.
I must start out by wishing my darling husband -- Happy Anniversary! We committed our lives to one another 38 years ago today.
Ours has not been a made-for-movies sort of love story. But we are happy to report that in spite of all the normal ups and downs of living in an imperfect world, we arrive at this day still liking each other and looking forward to many more years together.
And for that, we're thankful!
Now an explanation of why I haven't been posting. December 2017 felt like someone hit the nuclear reactor button on the 2nd and it just quit firing yesterday.
Don't get me wrong. Most of the events were ones we planned and I thoroughly enjoyed every single one! But today is the first truly quiet day I've had all month. Well, here's a little synopsis:
- Gingerbread houses with grands
- Church Christmas Party
- Family Communion (2 nights)
- One Lovely Wedding
- One Vow Renewal (10 Year)
- Area Ministers' Banquet
- Board/Staff Dinner (We cooked)
- Grandparents' Day @ School
- Shopping Adventures
- Progressive Dinner
- Several special lunch dates/coffees
- HAWLEY CHRISTMAS
- Christmas Eve Service
Mom's new apartment is too small to accommodate her large family. And all the siblings went back to work on the 27th. So each of our meetings was at a restaurant in the area. The waitresses laughed at us when we came in the last day.
Oh, I almost forgot. While in Carolina, we drove another hour north to meet up with Amanda and Webb (adopted family.) We needed to squeeze their newest little one which we hadn't met. Also, my sister and brother-in-law drove over from Charlotte for a lunch date before we left.
I hear some of you saying, "Are you guys NUTS?!" Believe me, we ask ourselves that all the time. But no one ever accuses us of wasting opportunities to connect, either.
Our own Christmas was celebrated on December 23rd. The children decided on a breakfast this year instead of Christmas dinner. So we changed the time and menu to accommodate six tiny people who are more pleasant during morning hours.
What a time we had!
So much laughter. So many smiles and hugs. Such great surprises. A few gag gifts. Huge eyes and a couple of happy tears.
I think my favorite moment was after breakfast while we were still at the table. As a family, we celebrated with our own advent wreath. (Children love lighting candles and blowing them out. Perfect way to capture everyone's attention.)
Frank assigned each of the young husbands an advent scripture. Then one member of each family lit a candle and we all repeated aloud the identity of that candle. Such delight to hear the blending of baby voices with more mature ones as together we declared, "Jesus came to bring light, peace, joy and hope."
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't quiet or what you would usually consider "reverent" around our table. We're a normal, loud family. We have two budding drummer boys who think utensils are perfect substitute drum sticks. One baby needed to nurse - NOW. Two little girls were giggling. And all the bigger ones were aware that beautiful gifts were waiting........just in the other room.
Our perfectly imperfect moment closed as we sang "Oh, come let us adore Him...." Even with all its "blemishes," I think a new tradition was born that morning.
As your own Christmas season comes to a close, I pray you'll feel the warmth of Christ's Love wrapping you closely.
As you make your way through icy conditions, may His Peace serve to keep your heart un-frozen and beating with tenderness.
As the lights are packed away for another year, may His Joy flood your soul and brighten every corner.
As the new year begins, may His Hope keep you anticipating great days of blessing ahead.
It may be cold outside but may all our hearts and homes be a different story because of God's wonderful Grace!
(During one of our friend encounters this month I heard a story that will surely become part of my repertoire. I immediately asked permission to share it here and have been saving it for the final day of the year. Please check back tomorrow. You won't be disappointed, I promise.)