Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finding Joy

These weeks leading up to Christmas have been tough for me. I just haven't welcomed the season with the usual joy and excitement. I have seen so much heartache, loss, and worry in 2009--several of my friends are facing the holidays without loved ones...people I care about are jobless or faced with uncertain financial futures...people I look up to have lives turned upside down by illness. I've been annoyed by the commercialism attached to the holiday, and the pressure to make each Christmas bigger and better than the ones before. I want the season to be magical for my boys, and I have been at a loss as to how to make it happen. So I prayed, and I asked God to restore my joy and give me perspective. Here's what happened:
I told my class of 4-year-olds the Christmas story. I looked around the circle at their big eyes, and I knew there was no one else I would have wanted to be telling about the miracle of the manger.
I called my mom to tell her our plans had changed and we would be home for the holidays. As I sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas," she started to cry. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be hearing.
I was putting clean sheets on the beds while Baby was in the bathtub. I heard him singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain" to himself while he was splashing around. I laughed, and knew that I would treasure that memory for a long time.
I stayed up late wrapping presents a few nights ago. I thought about the joy that is to come on Christmas morning--not from the gifts themselves, but from the being together--and I knew there was nothing else I would rather be doing.
I sat in a worship service surrounded by my church family singing "O Holy Night." I knew there was nowhere else I'd rather be.
Yesterday I looked out the window to see Goliath hard at work in the yard, bagging leaves to earn money so he could go Christmas shopping for his family. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be seeing.
This afternoon I put on an apron and baked Christmas cookies with Little Middle and Baby. I watched them happily spread icing and shake sprinkles, and I knew I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
I am ready to receive my King.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Snow of the Season

We don't dare dream of a white Christmas in Texas, but that's what we got (albeit a few weeks early) yesterday morning! The big boys still had to go to school, but I managed to get a few shots of our littlest snow bunny.
Here he is enjoying the change in the weather...

...and licking snow off of the trampoline:

What can I say? Boys will be boys.

What I Did During Thanksgiving Break

Around our house, nothing says "Thanksgiving" like a good hunting trip. After 11 1/2 years of marriage, I finally gave in and went hunting. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...right?
Hubby, Little Middle, Baby, and I made a day trip to the lease. We hadn't planned on taking any kids, so we ended up doing more looking than actual hunting. We had a good time, though! I'll let the pictures tell the story:

Little Middle, all dressed up and ready to go!

This is my absolute favorite picture!

The boys were examining all the dead wasps up in Daddy's stand.

Indoor plumbing. That's all I have to say about that.

Really, really BIG spider.

Rumor has it that on a previous trip to the lease, Goliath shot out all the windows on this old abandoned car with his BB gun.

Hunting brothers

Here's Baby, taking a break in the truck while we waited for Daddy and Little Middle to get back from exploring. He had a hard time being quiet, but he sure did enjoy getting dirty and finishing off several of his dad's sodas!

*Confidential to Hubby: If I'd known it would make you so happy to take me out to the lease, I would never have waited so long to go. In spite of all the red dirt, I had a really fun time being part of what you love to do (and driving off road!). I love you.*

We shared Thanksgiving with Hubby's family and drove home on Thursday night. On Friday, I re-packed my suitcase and drove to Houston. That night, I met up with my lifelong BFF and we went to see The Nutcracker performed by the Houston Ballet at the Wortham Center. I went to the see this ballet every Christmas as a little girl...this trip brought back sweet memories, made better by sharing it with my best friend!

My sweet sister is getting married next summer, and her wedding dress was ready! I met my family at the bridal salon on Saturday morning. Mine weren't the only tears shed when she walked out in her dress. She will be a beautiful bride.

A week spent traveling across Texas to be with a lot of people I love reminds me...there is MUCH to be thankful for.