Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018

Well, Christmas 2018 has come and gone.

And it was lovely.

I keep looking at pictures and going over the memories and smiling to myself. Ricky and I had a lovely drive home to Toronto last night, reminiscing and reflecting.

IMG_3300

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I felt much more relaxed and had a lot more time to prepare for Christmas than I have in other recent years. I loved putting a bit more thought into the gifts that I bought, buying them in a more relaxed frame of mind, and wrapping them up NOT at the last minute.

IMG-4132

Although I confess that my heart ached a little bit to miss out on the Christmas activities at Countryside School, I did enjoy celebrating Christmas with the little kiddos who I work with now. There are many moments where I forget how very “new” to this life my current kiddos are, but I was reminded of it when I gave them their Christmas presents from me.

They did not even know what to do with those wrapped packages. (After all, they have only experienced one or two Christmases.) So I got them going and they soon caught on to what they should do. A favourite moment of mine was when one little boy had his gift partially unwrapped and realized what was really going on here.

“Hey! HEY! There’s something inside here, Auntie!” That’s what he said. I imagine that Christmas Day was pretty exciting for him.

I gave them each a book as their Christmas gift and found it amusing that they did not realize that these books were theirs to keep. They kept trying to put their books on the bookshelf in our library area. Apparently, I have ingrained in them that books belong on the bookshelf.

On Friday, Ricky and I spent the day preparing for Christmas. In the evening, we had our own lovely little Christmas dinner, opened presents from each other, drank coffee late into the night, and also watched Netflix movies late into the night. (Those last two things may have been related.) Ricky gave me a letter board and a bullet journal. I am very excited about both of these things.

IMG_3295

IMG_3305
He wants to be a #lifer with me!!!

I made ginormous peanut butter balls at some point. I forget when it was exactly. I made them ginormous for two reasons. 1) Because I love them and bigger seemed better. 2) Because I am not a patient person with any sort of fiddly job and rolling larger peanut butter balls meant getting done faster. I thought that they couldn’t possibly be too big. But they kind of are. Whoops. They’ll last us awhile. And if you’re ever in need of an overwhelmingly large giant peanut butter ball, you know who to come to.

IMG_3297
Please take note of my “keeping the chocolate melted” invention. It got the job done.

On Sunday after church, we went to Ricky’s family’s house, where we started our Christmas celebration with a delicious meal. Other activities included the annual book exchange, playing games (boys against girls, often), delightful and thought-provoking conversations, watching It’s a Wonderful Life, and reading. I failed to take a single photo of these things happening, and I feel sad about that, and will do better next year, I am sure.

On Monday evening, we headed to my family’s house for the traditional Christmas Eve pizza. We also caroled for some neighbours and watched a Christmas movie. Christmas Day included aunts and uncles, a dog named Bonnie, a puzzle, lots of food, two ukuleles, and three diffusers. (Mom gave me a diffuser, Wendy gave Mom a diffuser, and Uncle Mark gave Wendy a diffuser. As far as I know, no one gave Uncle Mark a diffuser. The two ukuleles belong to Wendy and Renee.)

IMG-4214

IMG-4217

IMG_3310

IMG_3314

IMG_3315

IMG_3317

IMG_3318

IMG_3319

IMG_3320

IMG_3328

IMG_3322
Don’t let Kenton’s grumpy face fool you. He made many hilarious comments over the course of Christmas and seemed to be in fine spirits. 
IMG_3307
Look at that cute husband who’s so pleased with his shirt from Renee. 

IMG_3330

 

All in all, it was a

Perfectly

Lovely

Christmas,

Sprinkled with bits of

Heaven

And

Humanity

All the way through.

 

And what to do with the feelings of being unfairly, undeservingly blessed?

The food, the family (not just one, but TWO), the friendships, the freedom.

I am so grateful for what I have and for what I know to be true.

So many people all over the world don’t have this.

It just doesn’t seem right, and I don’t know exactly what to do about it.

 

But onward I shall go.

(Bullet journal in hand.)

Pieces of Advent

This post is a random collection of thoughts, questions, and songs, each piece separated by a mere horizontal line.


 

Jesus is my future.

(No matter what does or does not happen here on earth in my lifetime.)

 

Jesus is my future.

 

My beginning and my end,

And with me for all the in between.

That makes everything

a lot

more

okay.

IMG_0547[1]


 

Questions:

Was Jesus absent from heaven in those 9 months while his body grew inside of Mary? If so, did God miss Him? Were they still one as Jesus grew a human body? How did God feel as He watched His son slip into the world? Did he burst with joy? He must have.


 

This song.

“Noel”, by Lauren Daigle.

The invitation to “come and see what God has done” is so beautiful. And isn’t that exactly the invitation that we should offer to our fellow humans… to come and see what God has done for humanity? For us personally?


 

Jesus was born into the messiest of circumstances and the most unstable of times, but God made celebration and rejoicing a prominent part of the story of his birth.

 

God knew the pain that the years ahead held,

but he rejoiced in the beauty of the moment.

 

We don’t have to wait for perfection to rejoice.


 

I love hearing Handel’s Messiah, whether it’s a live performance or simply a Spotify playlist while I’m driving. This Christmas, I stumbled across a song by Jenny and Tyler (first time hearing of them!) that combines several bits and pieces from Handel’s (much) larger work.

I love it.

It’s completely different from the real thing, so you’ll have to be a bit open-minded if you are a loyal lover of Messiah. 

It is different.

It is simple.

It gives me chills, especially at the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God” line.

And you know what the best part of all is?

It’s perfect for singing along with, should you happen to be one of those people with a softer sort of voice. Ahem.


 

Advent.

This is the time of trusting Jesus to be here.

This is the time of trusting God to fulfill His promises.

This is the time of wild hope.


 

Come near to Him.

Come

and be warmed

and be found.

Come and see. 

 

IMG_0542[1]


 

What has God been showing to you this advent time? 

What songs speak to you? 

What questions do you ponder about the events of that first Christmas? 

Three Years

Ricky and I celebrated our third anniversary last Wednesday (November 28).

Three years.

It’s enough time to…

… practically learn how to read each other’s minds.

…just be scratching the surface of appreciating having a person who is always there to support you.

… have developed some traditions of your very own.

… have felt annoyed at each other.

… have realized that the honeymoon stage can go on and on and on if you let it and you nurture it.

…. have had several homes together.

… have been so mad that you refused to leave the car and come into the house. (I don’t even remember now why I was mad.)

… have laughed and cried and done both at the same time together.

… no longer even think about how loudly you are “honking” when you blow your nose.

…have developed good and bad habits together.

…have been selfish and generous to each other.

…know that sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to turn over in bed and face the other person during a hard conversation.

…have learned how to be completely honest with each other, and to accept criticism as caring and constructive.

…have really and truly become a part of each other’s families.

…have felt the pain of “being on different pages”.

…have seen each other be excellent and, well, less-than-excellent.

Three years is enough time to learn that it is a beautiful thing to be bound together.

060_IMG_0015
Photo Credit: Unfrozen Photography

What about you? What have you learned and experienced in your years of marriage or other forms of relationship with your fellow humans? Co-existing and relating can be quite an adventure…