Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Have a Grateful Christmas

I think I set a new record for time between posts.
It feels like forever since I have had time to sit and journal and reflect on much of anything.
Life has been Good. But Extremely full.
We Said Good Bye to Our Oldest as she settled into College. Which has been a wonderful experience for her.

This fall was spent at Football games.

My #88 turned to #43 after his Freshmen season was over.

The Season was extended because our  Varsity squad kept winning so this group of Freshmen got to keep practicing and traveling along to games. Micah was late in starting his basketball season because Football took us all the way to semi state this year.

 Sophie had her first year of  Volleyball.

We finished a bed room upstairs.


And After:

Musical performances by the boys.
Jalen is in Northern Lights  which is a mixed show Choir  and Micah is in an all men's choir called Varsity Lights.

A wedding for My nephew Aaron and his lovely new Bride Jennifer.

And now here it is a few days before Christmas and My first day of vacation I woke at 4:30. Because that's how my brain works.
A day off? Yes let's wake her early and remind her she only has 5 days left to make the most of her time off :0
Plus this is the Very Most Wonderful Time of the Year and who can sleep when all these visions of sugar plums and fairytales still dance in my 40 something head?!

We are a typical family that loves to get and give gifts. But The Most wonderful thing about Christmas in our home has nothing to do with how fabulous that new sweater or boots or gadget is... Not at all. The thing that makes the season so much fun and meaningful to us is the time we spend together. And we try to make it special and only do certain things around this time of year.

So It always includes a Pj , donuts and Lights night.

Cookie And Goodie baking.
 Special foods like Crab Meat, Shrimp Alfredo and Peppermint Ice Cream.

And this year we added an impromptu game of hide and seek in the house.
We shut all the lights off (man does it get dark when the lights go down) and spent an hour hiding and seeking. Who knew we could have so much fun acting like kids!

Years ago we would take the kids to Chicago on the train. It was super fun and always a rich cultural experience for us  county mice but for the last 5 years we have had trouble finding a time that works for everyone to take a whole day away.

We love to sing together so we try to sing in the van on our way to and from places. I love that our kids are now at an age that they often initiate the singing. And Sometimes I can just listen to their blends and smile as I hear them making music together.

I love to find new ways to decorate on a dime and fill the house with music and smells of cinnamon rolls and vanilla candles.

We watch way more hallmark movies than we should and eat too much caramels and party mix so it's good it only lasts a few weeks.

Of course we love to spend time remembering why Christmas is something we  celebrate. The Birthday of the King who came down to us in the flesh.
What a wonderful gift!
(That good looking shepherd in the front row belongs to me):)

While we were looking at the lights in our pjs with our sugar rushes last weekend, I spotted a sign on someone's porch that I loved. I've thought about it often since...
 It said "Have a grateful Christmas".
I loved it so much because this time of year can be full of warm fuzzy feelings but it can also be a tremendously difficult time for people who have experienced loss, disappointment, or loneliness.
Let's just say it... Sometimes The Merry in Christmas doesn't feel one bit Merry.
And while everyone around us seems to be so happy and Excited and encouraging us to have a Joyful and Merry Christmas Season and we want to.... But our hearts are sad and overwhelmed and heavy with our pain.

I can always be grateful. Even in pain. I can choose Thanksgiving.

If happiness, jolliness or Merry living are not  the emotions you are experiencing this Christmas Season, It's Okay!
I have found when I can't find the happy I can still choose to  recall the blessing.
And it gets me through until I can find something to smile over again.

 I am grateful for another day to live life. For soft blankets. And bubble baths. For Kind people who quickly welcome in outsiders and turn them into friends. I am thankful for hot drinks. And For Music that ministers to my soul. For corporate and private times of Worship.  Today I will Hug someone I love. I will Smell the Wonderful aromas all around. Make new Memories. Take time to visit someone  I know is hurting. And live this season with gratitude remembering the reason Love came down.

From Our Home to Yours.... We wish you a Blessed Christmas!