Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of Christmas 2011

This Christmas has been special.  I wouldn't say perfect, but really, really good.  Although this post may not reflect any savvy chic ideas, I wanted to share some of the reasons why this Christmas rocked, in no particular order...

  • Our neighborhood is especially festive, and the feeling is contagious.  Many homes are decorated and go all out.  Some of our neighbors were kind enough to bring by candy, homemade dark chocolate truffles (which didn't last long!), and even toys for the kids.  I am very grateful to be where we are.
  • Having more traffic in the house is great.  Enjoyed a few game nights prior to Christmas and a nice steak lunch on Christmas day.  I love a busy house.
  • Whoo hoo for extra hands around the house!  Can I get an amen?  Here, Derek and Dash cleaned some floors.  Family also helped with the kids.  It was sooo very much needed because.... 
  • It was a handmade Christmas.    It was fun thinking about the gift recipient while working on their present.  We magnetized Scrabble tiles, as seen in a previous post.  These are nutcrackers picked out by Dash at Goodwill for his Nana.  Then, they got a little makeover.  We dry brushed a little brown paint on the small one and distressed him.  The big guy needed help with his mustache.  And, both had small accent berries added in hands and on hats.
  • We can't forget our new puppy love.  We bought her to help entertain the kids and also to give a dog a family.  Since we are home quite a bit, it seemed appropriate to share it with a pet.  Enter: Lady, adopted from Jacksonville Animal Protective services.  She fit the bill of what we needed:  medium size, short hair, and sweet temperament.  She's a great addition!  When your own family wants an addition, please consider a rescue!
  • Our family is extremely fortunate and happy to have Nanny with us.  She suffered a stroke on Dec. 10 and was on a respirator for a couple of weeks.  Many people prayed for her.  Although we were uncertain of the future, when she was taken off the respirator, she strengthened and is still improving.  This was our Christmas miracle!  We love you, Nanny!
  • Every year now for the past three and for hopefully many more, our second greatest joy is sharing tradition with our children.  Ivy recently turned one and doesn't really understand Christmas, obviously.  She's her normal happy self.  That's good enough for me!
Dash, on the other hand, is in full-on-Christmas-on-extreme-caffeine-mode.  Several mornings he woke me up saying, "Mom, you just missed my favorite Christmas song [on the radio]!"  Or, he was fully committed to singing one when I opened his door.  And, I can't forget how he entertained fellow Walmart shoppers with, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."  He gave up one-on-one time with Dad to decorate the tree, which would never happen under normal circumstances.  When Spike, our elf on the shelf, went to meet up with Santa, Dash cried.  Real tears.

The best was when he got his hands on our friend Gina's nativity set.  He held the angel and directed it toward Joseph, and said in an angelic voice, "Don't be afraid.  Mary is going to have a baby.  It's ok.  You can marry her."  What?!  My kid picked up on that much detail in the story?  It was a proud parent moment.  I was only disappointed that it was time to go and didn't get to hear how the rest of his story would have played out.  I got the same mini-nativity later.  I want to be like my friend, Belinda Hatcher, and leave it out all year.  We love Jesus year 'round.
  • The greatest joy of Christmas is celebrating our Savior.  My Pulpit Minister Joel Dalrymple (Jacksonville Beach Church of Christ) says that often people tell him something that touched them about his sermon that he, in fact, did not say.  We just attribute it to a work of the Spirit to convey what we need to hear.  Christmas Sunday (an appropriate day of the week for it to fall on, right?) the sermon was especially meaningful.  I am not certain if I heard what Joel actually said, what I needed to hear, or a combination of both.  Here's what I took away: 
Through years of disappointment in people and even ourselves, sin nature, corrupt politics, news broadcasts, and the like, many have given up on mankind.  Christians, maybe in short-sightedness, only hope for a fairly peaceful life and hope of heaven.  BUT, God thinks highly enough of humanity and his ability to redeem it that He entrusted humans Joseph and Mary for His own care and well being!  Wow. 

I am really not doing this sermon justice by condensing it to that one deep thought, but it is still worth sharing.  Thank you, Joel..  More importantly, God, thank you for believing in people!  What a powerful thought to lead us into a new year.  And, this barely "scratches the surface" of the goodness of God and Jesus.  I look forward to seeing what is in store for 2012.  Happy New Year, y'all!  Blessings!

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