Christmas time is such a wonderful time of year for so many people, but for even more people, I would be willing to guess that it's less than merry. Maybe every year, or maybe just this year. I couldn't get that thought out of my head last week, as I shopped and was out and about in my little town. In fact, on Christmas eve, I couldn't stop singing these song lyrics.
I know that for some people, this was the hardest Christmas they've ever experienced. Some might have recently lost loved ones, some might have divorced, some might be sick, or have sick members in their family, some just are lost and unbelievers, and have no joy. I was praying for those such people as I sang these lyrics on Thursday. I am so thankful for the hope I have in Jesus! He alone gives us what no other thing or person can give, and He alone fills our heart when it feels empty and void. I am so thankful to His indescribable gift in our salvation.
On a lighter note, my family attended my favorite church service of the year.
My sister Lisa and my nephew Jaret are home from Colorado, and I saw her for the first time on this night at the candlelight service at church. I might have cried at the sight of her. I miss seeing her all the time, and as we sat next to each other and sang carrolls, I couldn't help it as my eyes filled with tears time and again. It's been a wonderful few days of having them home.
After this service, we went to my dad's house. We always celebrate Christmas with him and my stepmom on Christmas eve. We had a yummy dinner of those little hot ham and cheese sandwiches, and some other dips and crackers and sides, then we opened gifts. I love this time at his house every year! Each year looks different, too...one year we sang Christmas carrolls together, and one year he read the Christmas story out of the Bible. This year there wasn't those things, but we shared laughter and heartfelt moments as we sat and enjoyed the company of one another.
After his house, we came straight home and the boys hit the hay. And "Santa" came to visit. (Yes, we call ourselves that, though no one in our house has believed in him for several years.)
We shopped for Christmas very late this year, and because of that, as of Christmas eve morning, we had zero presents that were wrapped and under the tree. Drew and Jonah wrapped some of my gifts and placed them under the tree that afternoon, but mine were the only ones. Todd set up the gifts we left out from "Santa" (two each) and I wrapped all the rest. We laughed and made noise and kept shushing one another. Then we watched A Christmas Story and went to bed. Graham woke up and was sleep walking at midnight and carried on a full conversation with us for a few minutes, then at two, major storms hit and the whole house woke up. :/
Six thirty rolled around the next morning, bright and early.
I make them sit for this same pose every single year. They're so big! It still surprises me sometimes. They got lots of goodies and "toys" (except not), and we noticed that the goods were significantly lower in number this year, because the prices of all they wanted shot up. Somebody told me that would happen. Among the goods were hover walks, a Fit Bit and a Nikon D3300. They got others goodies, too, like a camouflage sheet set, a sleeping bag, cologne and a shower speaker. And some more things, but I don't feel like naming them.
We stayed home until noon, then left for my mom's house and Christmas lunch. !!! We were all super excited to eat, because her cooking is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. And lunch did not disappoint. We opened gifts after lunch, then sat around and talked and cut up. Todd and my nephews and Bill and a couple of my boys sat around the dining room table and played a new game that we learned a month ago (Tripoley), until we left their house around 4:45 (well, after dessert was consumed). It was a wonderful, wonderful day of overeating and sharing at Mom's house.
This night each year, my dad and stepmom and Todd's parents come to our house so the boys can show off all their loot. We always eat snack type foods, and it's a fun time of more eating and laughter and talk around my kitchen table. I never get a chance to host, so this time makes my heart so happy.
This year after they left, we went to the town square and let Drew try out his new camera.
Noah and I swung on a swing under this roof for a bit, then I took some pictures. We looked at a few more Christmas lights, then went to visit some sweet friends. My Missy!
I love her so muchness. It was Todd's idea to drop by and say hi to her and her sweet hubby Jeff, and we stayed about an hour, then came home so the bonus son could come back over and spend the night. I went to bed with my Christmas book and slept until nine the next morning.
My mom and sisters picked me up at eleven and we went to my favorite Mexican food restaurant to eat a yummy lunch. (Pancho's.) We attempted to do a little shopping, but with not much success because of all the people (crazy people) that were out. Todd worked with the sheriff's department that night and the boys and I stayed home.
Graham and I made a Kroger run for some dinner that they requested and Graham ordered me a Subway sandwich. I took this picture of him because he was making this girl laugh really hard.
He came out saying the ladies that were in there were so nice. A lot of people I interacted with that day were grumpy, so this encouraged my heart and reminded me that regardless of how someone else treats us, we are to treat others with kindness and compassion and respect. I love his smile in this picture. We watched another Hallmark Christmas movie, and they also played some X-Box games and rode the hover walks around the downstairs of our house.
Drew was sick with fever on Saturday, so because of that and the fact that his chest was hurting, we missed church Sunday morning so I could take him to the little clinic in Kroger. He has an upper respiratory infection, so he was prescribed steroids. I undecorated a little last night and replaced Christmas decor with winter. I came across this little guy that I received at an ornament exchange I went to a few weeks ago. My friend Andrea bought this, and I unknowingly picked it during our Dirty Santa game.
He's such a cute little guy, isn't he?! I love him. All my decorations are on my dining room table, but the tree and mantle are still decorated. (I plan on getting it all taken down today and put back in the attic.)
This little girl kept me company as I alternated between wanting to read my new book, taking a nap or watching the marathon of episodes of Gilmore Girls that was playing on the UP channel, on cable.
The Gilmore Girls won out, and Todd took a nap next to me on the couch, while the boys played a video game upstairs.
After dinner last night, we decided to go to Starry Nights at Shelby Farms. It was the last night, and Todd had a free ticket, and it was his birthday! So off we went once the rain stopped and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We took Crash and Callie, too, and fun was had, until the boys started being gross and I got irritated. (Seeing a theme? I cannot be in the car with them for too long before losing a portion of my sanity.)
Boys. Sometimes they gross me out, sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes I join them.
Speaking of that, last night Todd was looking for my tweezers and asked everyone if they knew were they were. Nobody did (we thought), then Jonah decided that he did in fact know where they were. They were in his and Noah's room, and it turns out that they'd been using my Tweezerman Tweezers (a really nice and expensive brand of tweezers) as little picker uppers to feed worms to their leopard gecko.
I kid you not.
Todd died laughing while I almost threw up. He did sterilize them, then put them back where they belong with an admonishment that those were NOT to be used in the handling of worms.
I started a new book last night, probably my last Christmas book of this year (but maybe not), and stayed up too late and finished about three fourths of it. I woke up early with Graham, who is working today at an event with Todd's friend, and it's been doing this on and off since six thirty.
Pouring down rain. We're going to need an ark, it's rained so much in the last week. I will be thankful when this rain moves out and cold weather returns in its place. Which is today!
It was a wonderful Christmas, and I pray that yours was meaningful as well. I know of so many areas and people that were effected by tornadoes in the last few days, and my heart and prayers go out to them.
Thanks for reading my blog! Love to all.