Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowy shenanigans . . . .



This is my winter song . . .

We are blanketed again in the downy soft snow. Cold wind blows outside and we watch from warm nooks and crannies and thank God for the wisdom of houses. Home life buzzes about, like the inside of a cozy hive.
Daniel has been sick these last few days with stomach 'yuckies". He has been a trooper about the whole ordeal, and the other night, when he was in the throes of "heaving" he kept saying through tears, "I'll be happy now. I'll be happy." as though he could will himself to be better, happier, than he was at that moment, hanging over the side of the bowl. It broke my heart. I wanted so badly to help him. I did what I could, but some things you have to do on your own.
Yesterday, our gift of a snow day was happily received, since I had been up from 3 a.m. with aforementioned sick little boy! That call at 6:30 am was a relief! I crawled back on the couch where I was sleeping with Danny, and closed my eyes to get a little more rest before the big boys woke up.
And indeed, they did wake up.
They got some cereal while I made coffee. I was going to need it!
The boys played Legos and some video games (a privilege they only get on weekends) and we read some Mattimeo (from the Redwall series) aloud together.
The older boys spent a little time shoveling the yard, and tossing a few snowballs around.
I took a nap with Daniel, who continued to be sick through part of the day.
In the afternoon, Joe rescued mom from the snow and she came to stay with us.
We had pizza and nachos for dinner, and then made hot cocoa and ate oatmeal cookies and watched America's Funniest Home Videos together. My kids love that show. It can be pretty corny, but it can be pretty funny too, and we had a good time laughing together.
Before I knew it, the day was over, and my kids were tucked into their beds, worn out from their day off.
I know some people complain about the cold and the snow and having to stay home, or having to battle the slushy, slippery conditions if they do have to venture out, but as for me, I love me a snow day! I love getting an extra day home with the boys.
And really, the snow is so . . . beautiful. At least for a while, before it gets all black and mushy. But for a while, it is white. So white. And it sparkles like a million slivered diamonds in the streetlights. I watched it in silence for a long time last night, out the window. Falling. And I thought about the God who created each snowflake, and who blows them down to the earth on the wind of His breath. And I thought, if He wanted a snow day, who was I to argue, anyway?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In a manner of speaking . . .

 I love this age of Daniel's, where he is trying to figure out how to communicate certain ideas and emotions, and has only really been acquainted with speaking our language for a year or so, so sometimes things get a bit . . . confused.
Well, I get confused.
Daniel knows exactly what he is talking about!
And it can be so cute!!
Yesterday, he kept asking me to "buckle" my door in the truck.
It took me a while, but I finally figured out . . . he wanted me to lock the doors with the auto lock button. But he kept saying, "Buckle your door, mom. Buckle the doors!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What I want to say to you today . . .

Isaac . . . I am so proud of you for how you lead your drama group. Watching as you organized your group, came up with an idea and wrote it out, communicated it effectively to your group members, and successfully directed the scene (with correct terminology, by the way . . ."From the top!" "You'll be off stage!" "Action!") to completion, was amazing for me as your mom, and as your teacher. You are growing into such a capable young man. I was amazed yesterday at your leadership skills and your dedication to your team members.  I can't wait to see the final product!! Good job!!

Josiah . . . I am so proud of you for cleaning your room all by yourself the other day, after only being asked once, and not waiting for your brother to help you, but doing his share of the work, too. You did such a good job of putting everything away and not just shoving it places. You are a hard worker. Walking into that room with you, all I could think about was how you can do big things for being such a little man. As you grow, you will become more and more unstoppable!! Great job!!

Daniel . . . one of the most precious moments of my entire week was putting you to sleep last night and listening to you sing a song you were making up . . . "I love mommy. Mommy loves me. I love you. You love me. Mommy loves me . . . " I burried my face deep in your curls and sighed and wanted to remember that moment for the rest of my entire life. I do. Love you.

Joe . . . thank you for everything . . . but mostly for loving me. And for all the big and little ways you take care of me and the boys. And for being my friend. And for . . . everything. I love you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Life is but a vapor . . .

Although the title of this post brings a funny story to mind about my gram and my good friend Amy, I am writing this under sad circumstances.
I found out this morning that a man Joe and I went to college with died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday morning. He was a young man, and he left behind a wife and two young sons. He was a pastor.
My heart is aching for his family.
My heart is aching for his church.
We weren't great friends. In fact, I probably had about a dozen conversations with him that went beyond a nod and a "hello" during the time I knew him. But for a time, all our lives mingled on a Hudson Valley hillside campus. And news of his death has made me sad . . . and thoughtful.
Life is short enough as it is. But when a young person dies (or, at least, one close to your own age) it sends a rattle down your mortal spine (or, at least, it does mine).
I believe in eternal life.
And  I know that death for those who know and love Jesus has ultimately lost it's sting.
But for those of us who remain mortal while our loved ones move on to that next place, death can still smart.
And it makes you think . . . (or, at least, it does me) have I been petty? ungrateful? withholding? selfish? unkind? unforgiving? to the people around me? The people I love?
Are all my relationships right? 
Am I appreciating the moments of my life? Making  the most of them?
Am I confident in my relationship with Jesus and am I ready to meet him?
What if today is my last day?
My heart aches for the Glancy family, but I know that God is sovereign, and that his wisdom is perfect.
I pray for the wife today, that God would give her strength and comfort beyond understanding. And I pray for the children left behind, that God would be their father and they would grow up strong and sure of who He is.
I will tell that story about gram and Amy . . . some other time.

A New Year tradition that keeps giving . . . 365 days of the year

For as long as I can remember, and maybe longer, we have a New Year tradition that has been very meaningful and powerful.
I've already mentioned that my grandfather was the pastor of a church in New Jersey.
We always had amazing watch-night services on New Year's Eve. The service would begin at 10 p.m. As people would come in the door, they would take a handwritten 3x5 card, from a basket perched on a chair by the door (sometimes Gram would hold them out like a fan of cards and let the people pick, blank side up of course), that had a scripture on it. That was to be "their scripture" for that year.
My gram, who took the time to write each scripture, would spend days praying and asking God what scriptures to include in that year's batch.
During the service, we would spend time singing and worshiping, and then each person would get up and testify about the year that was slipping away, and read their scripture about the year that was approaching new and full of possibility.
At midnight, we would have communion together and pray, and then dismiss to the basement fellowship room for some amazing Italian food and goodies. We were always there well into the early morning hours. It was such a wonderful way to ring in the New Year.
Grandpa no longer pastors the little church in Newark, and Gram has gone on to heaven, where she is no longer restricted by time, but my family has always continued the New Year scripture tradition. Grandpa has taken up grandma's post, and lets us pick our scriptures out of a bowl when we are together around the table on New Year's Eve. And he continues to send the scripture cards on to his family and certain old friends who are far away now as well.
Through the years, these scriptures have been a source of comfort and strength, a reminder of the promise of God for the year.
I keep mine with me, in my planner or in my wallet, and we either hang the boy's cards on the fridge or on their bedroom door, somewhere they can see it.
Our scriptures for 2010:
Joe ~ " . . .being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6
Joy ~ "Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God." Phil. 4:6
Isaac ~ "When you lie down, you will not be afraid. Yes, you shall lie down and your sleep shall be sweet." Prov. 3:24
Josiah ~ "God is your refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
Daniel ~ "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my strength and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A gift worth remembering . . .

I feel like I overlooked this in my post about Christmas, so now, it gets a post of it's own.
At our house, we have a small built-in desk in our kitchen.
Usually, this desk is the catch all for mail and school papers and coupons and magazines and recipes. The drawers seem like junk drawers, holding more toys and tools and nonesense items than useful desk items (i.e. pens and pencils and tape and staples and notepads, etc.).
Really, it has been an eyesore and a source of frustration to me.
On Black Friday, my mom, my boys and I went shopping and found ourselves in Target (love it!!).
We were in an aisle with all sorts of neat-o organizational trays and drawers and baskets and gadgets.
"This is what I need! I need to get that crazy desk organized!" I huffed out, an answer to my mom's earlier question, "What do you want for Christmas?"
My sons live in my house, so they know about "the desk", and they were there in that aisle that day. I thought nothing of my comment, and just assumed that I would continue to wrestle with messy-deskdom until I decided enough was enough, and sprang for the get-it-all-in-order gadgets that would change my life.
But someone was listening and hearing my wish.
Weeks later, when Joe took the boys on their annual "shopping for mom" trip, Isaac told him, "What mom really wants is for the desk in the kitchen to be organized."
And they bought some nifty trays and pencil holders and paper holders . . . and blessed me with two wonderful Christmas gifts!!
1) An organized desk.
2) The thoughtfulness of my oldest son, who heard me, and listened, and made my wish come true.
Thanks, Isaac.
It is truly one of the best gifts I have ever gotten!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ahhh, aspirations . . .

Daniel got a hold of a Lego Bionicle catalog yesterday, and was looking at all the crazy alien creatures you can make with these particular sets.
All of a sudden, he ran excitedly into the kitchen and announced to my mom and David and I, "I'm gonna be a big man! I'm gonna be a Lego!! I'm gonna get a big truck and go in it on my own!!" He was waving the little catalog around, and pointing to these machine-like beings with all their accessories, wild wishes flashing in his eyes, and no thought of the impossibility of this crossing his mind.
So, my son wants to be a Lego when he grows up.
It's no wonder.
We have them all over the house.
His brothers play with them all the time.
And they are so darn cool.
It made me remember a certain little girl who told me she wanted to be a horse when she grew up.
Kids. They don't see the boundaries, so they dream big, impossible things.
They believe anything is possible.
Grown-ups forget this. Don't believe it anymore.
We live in a world ringed round with practicality and limited by "reality".
But when our father is God, who lives outside our practicality . . .our physical world . . . our reality . . . is anything really impossible? His ways are higher than ours. And his thoughts too.
Not that I think we can grow up to be Legos, mind you. But I do think we can do more, be more than we think we can.
What are my "impossible" dreams?
What are yours?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A reminder . . .

 Picture of Footpath - Free Pictures -
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6

This was one of Isaac's memory verses this year, and it is hanging on the fridge where sometimes I look at it and sometimes I don't. It's been hanging there quite a while.
But lately, the past few days or so, my eyes always find it, hanging next to monthly menus and calendars and doctor appointment reminder cards and my children's artwork. I do not mean to look for it, but it is like the Spirit of God is nudging me . . . Look. Remember.
Having read it over and over the past several days, I have come to think about it quite a bit. According to this passage, there are two things to do here . . . trust Him with all my heart and acknowledge Him in all my ways.
Not just some of my heart. Not just a few of my ways.
Trust. Acknowledge.
Yeah . . . I do not always do these things.
I get caught up in myself, emotions, circumstances, situations, others.
I fear. I forget.
In fact, I feel like this year has gotten off to a pretty rotten start in the resolutions/revolutions category for me. Why?
I do not trust. I do not acknowledge. No wonder I feel lost and frustrated and . . . well, lost.
But the Spirit is reminding me, there is a way to be found on the straight path again. And it does not lie in my own understanding. In fact, the answer doesn't lie with me at all. It can only be found in Him.
So, I begin again today.
I seek to trust. I remember to acknowledge. 
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your gentle reminder, your nudge and tug at my heart. Thank you, God, for the words that bring life, and for the chance to work them out in my days. Thank you, Jesus, for your love and grace and mercy when I forget, and thank you for never forgetting me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who doesn't love dough?

This one is for Patti.
I was making homemade pizza Friday night. Daniel, being the good little helper that he is, wanted to help me roll out the dough.
He couldn't resist pinching off a bit of the raw dough and tasting it.
Apparently, he likes to eat raw dough, too! (Ahem . . . that's all I'm gonna say about that.)
Poor kid. It must be in his genetic make-up somewhere.
He looks so pleased with himself, doesn't he?

He "fracks" me up!!
I sure wish I had this blog when Isaac and Josiah were little. They said crazy, funny amazing things too. I wrote a lot of those down in journals and notebooks. Maybe one day I'll do a look back and write about some of the things they said when they were small.
Here are some more gems from Daniel this weekend . . .
Friday, after school, we walked out into the parking lot and it was snowing. Daniel looked up into the sky and told me matter-of-factly, "It's snowin'. My dad is making it snow."
"Yeah?" I asked.
"Yeah. Because he says he's cold, and then it snows."
Now, that's power.

When we got home, I took his boots off and he immediately took off running and dancing around the house shouting, "My feet are free! Mommy! My feet are free!!" (He gets that from my gram.)

My friend Rachel came ove to hang out with me Friday night and brought her dog, Daniell, with her. Daniel got down on the floor with her and said, "Hi puppy!" After a minute's pause, he said to us, "Her not talking!!"
It reminded me of a time when Isaac was talking to some ants crawling on the front porch of our home at the time. He was about three, maybe a little younger. The ants were going on their merry way, and he was following them, chatting away. Finally he said, "Hey! Are you gonna answer me?" Patti and I laughed about that one for days.

Here are some crazy-two-year-old-boy thoughts that must have floated through Daniel's head . . . .who knows why.
He said this to me after standing at the door, looking out at the light snow falling.
"There's a scary wolf outside  . . . Yeah . . .She's eating all the cats. Her nice though."
 A quick count of the cats revealed that this was, in fact, not a true story.

"I'm gonna get into a costume that looks like a plane!"
"You are?"
"Yeah." Long pause as he looked around, and probably wondered just where he would get such a thing. "Maybe later."
Cool idea though.

On Saturday, my big boys went to a basketball game with their boy scout troop and their dad. They saw the Missouri State Bears. It was a reward of sorts for their participation in this year's popcorn sales. Which, by the way, thanks to anyone who purchased pop-corn from the boys and gave your support to the BSA and our sons! They had a great time at the game. Joe sacrificed sleep to spend the day with them. I so appreciate that he is that kind of dad.

Today, I am home with Josiah, who has a fever.
He came home from the game on Saturday and crashed.
It has been going around.
He feels better today. But he still has a temp, so we'll be in tomorrow too.
Joe is traveling with Gramp. They went to Omaha for a pastor's gathering this morning, and will be home tomorrow evening. I miss him already.
Happily, the cold has lifted it's blue grip a little, and instead of being utterly frigid, it is just cold today. We are all snuggled in, enjoying the sick day . . . as much as you can enjoy a sick day. The little guys are missing their big brother, but he will be home soon.
On the agenda is afternoon? Books, books and more books.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter wonderland . . .

It has been and continues to be one of the coldest, snowiest winters I remember since having lived here these past fifteen winters.
Right now, it is a whopping five degrees here (negative 11 with the wind chill factor), which I understand would  be considered downright balmy,  a heat wave of sorts, if you live in places like  . . . say . . . Montana or Minnesota or Alaska.
But we do not live in those places. We live here. And let me tell ya, five degrees is stinking COLD!!
We had a snow day yesterday, which was really more a cold day, since the six inches of snow we were expecting didn't really pan out.
But I was glad for the day anyway.
Snow days. They are odd things. It is like . . . you are facing a day with alarms and and bells and plans and things to be done . . . and then this silly white stuff fluffs out of the sky, and gives you the day, free and clear of all previous engagements and responsibilities and deadlines -- a gift . . . and you get to stay at home instead, and drink hot cocoa in your jammies, and read that book out-loud to the kids that you put down last month and haven't picked up since, and learn how to play games like Axis and Allies with your sons (which, I am convinced you need to be a successful military mastermind to be able to read the directions and understand what they are saying), and catch up on your own reading pile, as well as a few piles of laundry. Perhaps, venture out into the frosty evening for some soup at Grandpa's house. And maybe, just maybe, take some time to become officially addicted to Fringe. Which is exactly what I did with my gift of a day.
Today, as I was at the sink doing dishes, I looked out at the flurries that were swirling out of the sky. The ground is covered with snow, as it has been since Christmas Eve. The trees are bare, sinking into the snowy earth. It is so beautifully stark, this season that reminds us of the death part of life. Spring seems like a far off dream we had once, a long time ago. We face fires. We dig in and wait it out. The cold rattles our bones and we draw a little closer to each other for warmth, and comfort. We listen for each other breathing under mountainous covers in the night. We wrap up in favorite sweaters and don fuzzy slippers and cook hot soups and thick stews and put on a few extra pounds . . . to keep us warm, of course. And we are thankful more than ever for our walls and roofs, and venture out of them less. It is a quiet, cold season. And it is lovely.

More adorable "Daniel-isms" . . . he took a sip of soda today and fanned his mouth and said, after a hard swallow, "That's warm busy!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So cute, I could just eat him up!

So, Daniel is talking up a storm these days, saying some of the most adorable things ever, and I think to myself, "what's to keep me from trying to freeze him at this age forever?!"
And then I remember the diapers and potty training and occasional fits and no-nap crankiness and . . . I tell myself, "yeah, let's just keep going forward."
But I sure do want to remember these days, when he looks into my face with such pure sincerity and lack of guile, and says the most amazing and funny things.
Here are some examples:
Two weeks ago, while I was baking in Gramp's kitchen, Daniel got up on a chair and spotted a rubber band. He picked it up and studied it for a moment, pulling at it and mushing it into a ball. Finally he said, "What is this?" (You have to know his little voice, because it is how he says these things that make them that much cutter!!)
"It's a rubber band" I said.
There was a long pause as he stared at it in his palm. Finally, "Why? Because it plays music??"
I laughed, and thought it was pretty clever for a two year old to put that together. I explained, but I think it lost its lustre when he discovered that was no music in a rubber band.
The other night, I was taking down the Christmas decorations when Daniel walked into the room. As soon as he saw me he shouted out " Mom!! What are you doing?" in a horrified voice.
"I'm taking down the decorations sweetie. Christmas is over."
He immediately slapped his hand to his forehead and wailed, "Oh, no! Mom! Christmas is not over! This is Christmas eve! Mom!! Don't do it."
I explained that Christmas was indeed over for this year, but the great thing about it is, there will be another Christmas next year, and we will get to do it all over again then. That calmed him down a bit, but I thought it was pretty funny, and wanted to share his angst with my cousin, Patti.
We called her and I let Daneil get on the phone to tell her his tale of woe. "Pad! I'm set up! I'm set up!! Christmas is over!" What he was trying to tell her was that he was "up-set" about it all.
As soon as he hung up, he said, "I forgot to tell her 'oh my gosh', mom. I need to call her back. So, we called her back, and he said his "oh my goshes" and was satisfied.
Yesterday, I sneezed. Daniel, without hesitation, said a very polite "God bless you, mom." Then he looked at me closely and asked, "what did you just do?"
"I sneezed." I said.
"You had a sneeze in your nose?"
"It fell out?", he wanted to know all about it.
I laughed.
"I guess you could say that."
It made me remember when Josiah would sneeze and say, "Mom, I blessed."
Kids are precious.
They certainly know how to make you smile. WIthout meaning to. Which makes it all the more charming.
And they actually do say the darndest things.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Resolutions . . . or . . .

I've asked myself these questions before, and I ask them again, now, here. I hope I never stop asking:
this year, am I going to be content to passively make resolutions that I may or may not keep? Or am I going to actively start revolutions, rebelling against self, sin, the commonplace, the status quo, the unholy?
Not that there is anything wrong with lists of improvements we would like to see for ourselves. I have quite a long one, I assure you, packed with things like . . . read and pray more, be more thoughtful, hold my tongue, read to the boys more, be a better wife . . . all the usual stuff.
But why is it usual stuff?
If resolutions were helping me, I'd be able to cross some of this stuff off my list from time to time instead of lugging these issues around from year to year.
So this year, I call a revolt.
Revolutions are the stuff of battlefields and brouhahas, met with blood, sweat and tears. I realize this.
"To do" lists often lay on air conditioned desks and collect dust, shuffled under all the paperwork that gathers and distracts.
I'm tired of carrying my list around for years on end, tacking more issues to it as I go.
I want to change.
And while some days I'd probably rather have it the easy way, moving from year to year in quiet resignation and defeat, dragging my list behind me, there is something else on the inside of me that wants to, needs to, longs to be free!
So, I'm joining up with the greatest revolutionary ever known . . . Jesus, who rebelled against the world system, and even his own disciples' ideas of who he was, and laid himself down to die so his Father's kingdom could come.
Even so, Lord Jesus.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas, in retrospect . . .

 Several things about this Christmas must be said right off the bat, before I go into any other details or off on any rabbit trails:

1. My best Christmas present ever was given to me by my wonderful mom, and as a result of countless hours of work by my amazing husband. They turned my BLOG into a BOOK!!! My mom and my husband had my blog published! Complete with pictures! It is amazing. Nearly two whole years of daily doings, memorable moments and recorded ramblings are now saved in a hardcover book that hopefully will become a family keepsake that will take the boys back to their childhood days from their mom’s perspective. I was grinning and giggling so much, I couldn’t even cry! Now, I’m no Pioneer Woman, and my book will not cause me to tour the country for book signings and speaking engagements. It most likely will not be sold on the QVC network, and I will fall over dead if Bonnie Hunt calls to invite me on her show. But that is okay. That is not why I write, anyway. My book is so very special to me. And to my family. And I feel like I have accomplished so much by writing about our lives. By recording the big and little details of our days. The struggles and triumphs. The ups and downs. The ins and outs. Each post tells a bit of our story. Reveals a little more of who we are, and who we are becoming. Where we have been and where we are hoping to go. As I read through the book, looking at the pictures and remembering again things that I had forgotten, I could see the changes in my boys over these two short years. I laughed at things they have said and done. I cried when I read about Dad and Gram and the boy’s birthday stories and the kind of man my Grandpa is. Writer Zora Neale Hurston once said, “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.” Which is why I write. Why I tell our story here. Thank you mom. Thank you Joe. You made the story of our lives a tangible thing. Something my sons will be able to hold in their hands years and years from now. Something that will fly them back through time to days they may have forgotten. Something that will make them remember. Something they can read to their own children, and their grandchildren. Stories of their legacy. The stories inside of me, out there. Stories about them. About us. What better gift in this world is there than that?

 2. Speaking of the Pioneer Woman, I got her cookbook as a gift this year, too. And she makes me want to cook and eat all kinds of delicious things that will live on my thighs forever!!

    3. The boys had a wonderful Christmas! They were all so excited, but they sat through dinner and dessert (best cookies ever!) and through Advent and the reading of the Christmas story quite well,     waiting to be able to tear into their gifts. But even then, they opened everything so nicely and looked at what they got before moving on to the next thing. They didn’t get gobs of gifts, which is great! But what they did get, they were really excited about. Just another indication that my boys are growing up.  They got Nintendo DSs from their MeMe. That was a big surprise. They have been asking for years, and we kept putting it off. I think they are ready to handle them now, though. It was sort of a trade off, since I did not get the other thing they have been wanting for years . . . a Red Rider Bee Bee Gun. No lie. Don’t they know . . . they’ll shoot their eyes out!?! One of my favorite things this year? Watching Daniel. It was so amazing to watch him. He is old enough to know what is going on, and he was so excited and so funny and so good about everything. He would open a gift and say, “What is it? What is it?” in a high pitched voice. And later, when Patty was helping him put some of his toys together, he plopped down next to her and asked, “What’s next, Pad? What’s next?” Everything was cause for excitement for him. The fire in Gramps fireplace, the presents under the tree, the Christmas lights winking and blinking from houses lining the cold wintry streets, the steaming platters and bowls of food and endless platters of cookies (although his favorite is pumpkin pie, just like his Dad!), the songs, the Christmas movies. He loved all of it. And he was so patient about the presents. It was truly a joy to watch him, and Isaac and Josiah, too. As an adult, though I love this season, there is always something . . . different . . . missing that used to be there when I was a little girl. Having young children and watching them light up at all the wonder of the Christmas season gives a little of that magical feeling back. There is nothing like watching your children enjoy Christmas. It really is an amazing gift, and they have no idea they are giving it to you. Our Christmas tradition is to have a big meal together at Grandpa’s with the family on Christmas eve, read the Christmas story from the Bible, sing some carols, pray together and open gifts. Then, Joe and the boys and I go home, late in the night. We wake up early the next morning, and open our family gifts. Then, we eat breakfast (which we skipped this year) and get ready to go to Mom’s or Gramp’s for another big meal, and stocking gifts and general merriment!! It really is fun.
    Sorting gifts . . .

      Danny’s turn . . .

      The big boys opening their two big gifts . . .

      Christmas morning . . .

      Daniel’s big gift was given to him Christmas Day at Grandpa’s. It’s . . . it’s . . . a . . . a . . . TRACTOR!! Farmer Danny loved it!!

      1. The food was amazing!! Christmas eve’s menu was Chicken Parmesan, pasta vodka, fried shrimp and shrimp cocktail. Delish!! And Christmas day we had ravioli and braciole!! Major yuuuuummmmmm!

      1. And all of this happened to a background of SNOW!! A white Christmas!! It really topped this Christmas off for me. It was so beautiful, and we could see it coming down out Gramp’s front window, behind the beautiful tree. It made me sigh several times as I looked out at it’s silent beauty, swirling white, lovely and cold, laying a blanket over all our world, making magic outside our window as we watched from in front of the fire, and felt the joy rising inside us.

      Really, these are just sparse sketches of this Christmas. There are no words to make incarnate the true loveliness of it, the true feelings and sights and sounds. Words are merely carriers and conveyers of realities. And sometimes, words cannot capture the essence of a reality completely enough. But the sharpness of color, the pungency of scent, the swell of the heart, the sounds of laughter and excitement and thanksgiving that rose from the house that night, those will only live in the memory of us who were there to witness it.
      Last night, Joe was laying on the couch, and said, “This was a great Christmas. Really. One of the best we ever had. Don’t you think?”
      Yes. That is exactly what I think.
      I hope you and your family had a blessed, peaceful Christmas full of good times and great memories! And, in this new year, I hope you find new things about God and yourself and your friends and family that surprise you and overwhelm you with blessings, love and hope for the days to come. God bless.