Here is the family in which I grew up. I found this Polaroid on Christmas at my mom's house. My parents live five minutes away from us. That is a huge blessing.
My brother has traded those plaid suspenders for a reddish beard and a Nerf gun. He has always been the one who makes us laugh. He wrote on my Instagram feed under this collage, "No deities were injured in the shooting of this shootout." He is a blessing. (And my son idolizes him, which goes without saying, especially when he can battle him in Nerf gun challenges indoors).
My husband was implicated in this game too. The three of them had an evolving obstacle course of targets. Stopwatches were also involved. I love that my husband and brother were friends before I was in the picture.
I also love that my husband always brings some fancy cooking to the party. He is so generous with his kitchen skills and happy to serve by offering something for the feast. He is a blessing to my family.
It was a special treat this year that my grandparents from Oklahoma were visiting for the holidays. There is no sweeter a couple. My grandpa is the kindest, gentlest man with an unshakable faith in God. My grandma is a firecracker (you know I like that), and has played the piano, organ, and sung in the choir at her country road church for more years than I have been alive. There is not a hymn she does not know. I'm certain. These two and their legacy of faith are huge blessings.
I think part of why my heart was so invested in my kids this Christmas was because I spent a lot of time working on gifts for each of them. Because my daughter loves to read so much, I made her this bean bag chair out of turquoise corduroy and owl print fleece. She sat it in all morning on Christmas with her new American Girl magazine.
And because my little guy has an imagination like no other, I made him a teepee, his own secret hideout. Notice the armed and dangerous guard dog already at the door.
I'm not showing you these projects out of pride or a need for praise; I am sharing because I'm reminded of the verse that says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." When I sat at my sewing machine for many more hours than I expected on these projects, my heart was drawing closer and closer to my kids. I put in my treasure - my time, money, and talent - and found a great joy in my heart when finally I could give them my gifts. To be honest, it was a new kind of blessing for me. I've never felt exactly that way about giving him or her a toy I bought at a store.
My favorite moment of Christmas was this one.
My family were all in a row, ending with my grandparents, at Christmas Eve service. Four generations all praising our God together. As I looked down and saw the candle glow on my children's faces, I got caught up with tears. This is a holy night. My babies are with me, safe, and healthy. My parents are alive and well. Even my grandparents are well enough to fly four states across to be with us.
Holy hours. God-given hours, Christmas gifts from God with my name on them. As we close out 2012, I hold all these holy moments in my heart with overwhelming gratitude. And I'm speechless in knowing He'll outdo Himself next year.
I'll end the year with this anthem, the song I just can't shake.
Happy New Year, my dear friends.