Hi!! How are you, how was your Christmas week? I am still buzzing pleasantly from everything and also trying to take a breath, let it all soak in deeply.
Since, in the best ways, life remains too full for me to slow down and write thorough accounts of each little pleasure, I am seizing this quiet Saturday afternoon to at least mention some highlights from Christmas 2018. It was spectacular in more ways than I can relay. Our home, our family, our circle of friends, everything was drenched in grace and joy. It has really truly been a season of Love coming and going from every direction. Here are some of the memories I hope stay with us forever:
Walking through the Blanchard, OK Christmas parade with our Jedi OKC friends. Handsome was dressed as Batman from the waist up, ha! And he drove his Smokey & the Bandit car, which was laced with twinkle lights. So much fun. Just as the sun was setting, we saw a station wagon pull around the corner, topped with a huge tree and filled with people costumed as the Griswold family. We died from laughter.
I want to remember our fledgling outreach project with the Sweet Sperrys. All those tight hugs from strangers, the ongoing feeling of abundance and gratitude. All the random connections and shared prayers.
How side-splittingly hard my sisters and nieces laughed at Snapchat filters. Hashtag-hotdog-face.
And the fun of distributing gifts with my youngest niece, Kenzie. She is enthusiastic and generous, just like her mama!
May I never forget all the many stolen bits of raw cookie dough I enjoyed while baking so many multiple trays of so many different cookie recipes. All month long, from plain and simple to crazy and decadent. My favorites were the monster cookies and one that resembled shortbread and had orange zest, almonds, cranberries, and coconut. Ok, wait, also maybe the espresso-dark chocolate chip biscotti. I claim to not have much of a sweet tooth, which is true, but when homemade raw cookie dough is available, especially when said dough is loaded with extra textures, I am powerless. For some perspective: the Lazy W kitchen cranked out about 20 separate batches of sweets in a few short weeks. I snuck at least a little bit of each one. That, friends, is a lot of raw cookie dough commandeered by yours truly. I will run so fast in January, right? All that sugar and glycogen??
Let’s hang onto memories of Christmas Eve at my parents’ house and then Christmas Day at the farm. I want to always remember the several hours of cooking fresh Mexican food and the hard laughter and warm cuddles with nieces. I want to always remember how great it feels just to be with my parents and siblings, three generations represented, lots of complementary personalities and deep, abiding Love between us all. And the Saran Wrap game!! My gosh!
I also want to always remember my husband’s idea and the effort he made to surprise my Mom with Chinese food on Christmas Day. She had suggested we all go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and then see a movie together, but the group consensus was a cuddle puddle instead. So Handsome’s gesture was just so thoughtful. I fell in love with him a little more when he made it happen, never mind that everybody was so stuffed we barely ate any of the food, ha.
How downright excited Klaus got every single time we drove him around looking at Christmas lights. He is so boyish and sweet, it hurts a little.
And his discovery of empty wrapping paper tubes. Over the course of the month, he shredded at least four and I am not allowed to throw them away. He continues to guard the slobbered little bits of cardboard as much as he loves his plush toys.
That house at southeast 44th and Harrah Road. My gosh!! It was so festive in daylight hours, with about fifteen inflatables, but at night? The Las Vegas of rural Oklahoma.
How happy and friendly the general public has been all season. Kind of amazing.
Time with my girls. And Jocelyn texted on Christmas Day!
Time with friends.
Downtime and daily routines with my boys.
Small Group Christmas reception! It was also our one year anniversary as part of this monthly gathering. We had lots of fun. I need to tell you more about this tiny community soon.
Paperwhites, to me, are a perfect expression of the gentle anticipation we all feel around Christmastime. The watching and waiting, the silent vigil, the growing excitement (ha!), and then all the fragrance when the white petals finally open. God with us, the coming, the fragrance of the Holy Spirit when He is near.
Oh. Guess what. I planted mine late this year, but they still grew tall and strong, green and glossy all the way through Christmas weekend. Then, true to the magic of the season, I saw white tufted blossoms sitting quietly the night Jess came to the farm to open her gifts this past Friday night. Is that not beautiful? I love how God orchestrates the details for us. I could never have arranged that on my own. And? He makes something so good (perfectly timed blossoms) out of my mistake (planting the bulbs late). Okay. Let’s remember that gift.
Amazon Prime. Amen and amen.
Glorious, easy, pleasant, miraculous Oklahoma weather. Good weather just makes everything so simple. Would a snowy wonderland be picturesque? You bet. But in our state, those rarely happen without the attendant ice storm, power outage, and car wreck extravaganza. So I will take the gift of springlike weather very thankfully.
Watching The Neverending Story at home, wearing pajamas, thinking about how beautiful the holidays have been.
Many of the details and lots of our traditions are the same as before. But this Christmas has felt different. It has felt different since summertime, really, and in ways that I suspect will last. This underlying sense of permanence makes every gift more glittering, every day glowier, and every every job more meaningful.
What is left to cause us fear? What is left to keep us from feeling joy?
I mean it is all a stunning amount of joy, and this is the top of that iceberg. I loved Christmas 2018, and I love even more the confidence that our Joy is planted. God is with us now and always. Christmas cannot end.
“If our tigers and hunters are now gone,
then our futures can shimmer out of the darkness.”