I feel a bit shy coming back to this little white space.
It’s been a month since I last wrote here?
How can time pass so quickly!
This blogging break was really not even intentional,
but with traveling out-of-state over the holidays,
and exhaustion catching up with us from the busyness it all,
and a tree falling on our internet line,
and the cold days of January…
well, it all turned into a little break that was actually very needed.
Sometimes the best thing is to step away and just be quiet.
Turns out, life has been so full of busy I’m having to LEARN to be quiet!
I don’t mean not talking; I mean, quiet in my soul.
To where I can be in my home and sit still,
to read a book, to not have to be doing something.
I didn’t realize just how busy our past year was until I hardly knew how to do quiet.
Sometimes life just brings busy, and it cannot be helped.
That was a lot of it, last year.
But, I also know there are choices involved, and I want to learn how to make wise choices in our schedule in this coming year, to learn how to live WELL,
not just survive and end up exhausted!
I came across this quote recently:
“One thing’s for sure: if you decide to be courageous and sane,
if you decide not to overspend or overcommit or overschedule,
the healthy people in your life will respect those choices.
And the unhealthy people in your life will freak out,
because you’re making a healthy choice they’re not currently free to make.
Don’t for one second let that stop you.”
While I’m not sure how it can all be played out in reality
when I also live in community (part of a living body of people & church),
I also did like the freedom given to step away and say no,
something I want to do better at learning to say…
So, my goodness, just where DOES one start again?
Everyone is long past the Christmas and New Years and Resolutions and even Organization 101, and headed toward Valentine’s Day projects.
And me? I just went through my holiday pictures yesterday, and am still working on those resolutions. :)
So, since I’m taking it slow-style these days, here’s backtracking waaay back,
nearly a month ago.
Most of my family lives in a beautiful garden state up north,
and this was the year for our Christmas get-together.
With six of us kids, four of us married, and two living out-of-state,
holidays are a little more complicated than they used to be! :)
But it was all okay; we decided the best time to work with everyone’s schedules would be the weekend after Christmas. It was a little sad at first to not be with my family on Christmas Day, but then we realized that our own little family could have our first Christmas together – something we’ve never done because of always having extended family events on that day. And that turned out to be really really special.
I kind of felt like a grown-up though (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but more of a “I can’t believe I’m the adult around here!”) ~ the tradition-making, all the food prep, it was all up to me! It was a reality-check for a woman who still thinks she’s a kid. :) But we had a lovely family day, playing games, reading by the fire, and just enjoying one another. Oh yes, we had grits and shrimp, as requested by the kids. :)
We traveled north the day after Christmas, and the pictures are all from our time there.
// Christmas dinner //
// Salad: English cucumber serving as the bowl, spring greens, red and yellow pears, pecans seasoned with butter & sugar & cinnamon & cayenne pepper, pomegranate seeds, and feta cheese, with a red wine vinaigrette dressing. //
// centerpieces of candlesticks & paper snowflakes //
// Time with family is always so special, and if you far away from each other, it’s even more treasured. My father leads us in meaningful times together, reading Scripture as he did when we were small children, and now giving us opportunity to share with each other and connect on a deep level. Priceless. //
// One of my favorite pictures of the whole time is below on the left: it’s a bit abstract, but it shows childhood wonder and delight. Zoe pulled out princess dress-up clothes and wore them for the Christmas dinner. Against the Christmas lights and tree, it speaks of life as beautiful.
Also, I thought it was so fine when I found a little hipster beanie for Hudson at Baby Gap on clearance. When he wore it in the north, snuggled in a cozy wool blanket, I started laughing because he looked like a little Amish boy! I think the Amish are more fashionable than given credit for. :) //
// The kids and I had prayed for snow while we were there, and what do you know ~
IT SNOWED! A glorious, beautiful snow! My southern-transplant-sister and I were absolutely THRILLED. :) //
// I love this picture. My three kiddos were in awe, and it was Hudson’s first time at seeing snow! [rave warning: I LOVE SNOW!! ] //
// We had only part of one day when everyone in our family was all together, before the guys had to head back to work and schedules resumed. It was much shorter than usual, and we did have one or two evenings together besides that, but we just decided to soak it up and enjoy what we were given. We sisters were together, and spent time with extended family and friends too. //
// The Sisterhood! [don't miss the subtle pointing at a baby bump :) ] //
// Our grandmother is 81 years old and we are so grateful to still have her with us; we enjoyed brunch one morning with her and our aunt and cousin. ♥ //
// Dear friendships that feel like family, and keenly missing the one beautiful friend waiting for us in heaven… //
// Game time! we always try to make time for some lively interaction, and try not to hold grudges after the game is over. Ha! //
// My husband was helping his brother in their new house for a few days, so we spent some time with his family too [sadly, no pictures :( ], and it gave a little extra time for things like taking coffee to my brothers at work. :) //
// It was tradition as kids and parents: after a snow at nighttime, we would go to the local Bird for breakfast. We did it again for old times’ sake, now with a family multiplied double in size. :) Thanks, Daddy. //
// The final leg of our trip ended a bit west in a weekend with my dad’s big wonderful family. Late nights, crazy laughs, wonderful family times, and it was time to head due south… //
// The dining hall where we last stayed, and I just loved this collection of dishes.
I think it would look fabulous as an oil painting in a kitchen! //
And though there were many more memories and dear people not captured on camera,
we hold them all close in memory, and are so thankful for the richness of family and friendships we’ve been given.
Sometime over the holidays, as the wonderful mail and pictures came so thoughtfully to our mailbox, one of the girls asked, “Mommy, do we have a THOUSAND friends?”
And I laughed, and thought a second, and answered,
“You know, honey, I think we almost DO.”
It was an amazing moment of realization, of feeling SO RICH.
No, we don’t get a thousand cards at Christmas. :)
But we have amazing family, and cherished friendships, and that is the best kind of wealth.
The wealth of loving and being loved?
There is no price high enough for that.
Is our world perfect?
Is our family perfect?
Behind every person, every picture, every blogger,
is a story unique and their very own, and nearly every time, there are elements of great pain.
Most times, you never know.
Most times, you shouldn’t know.
Pain is also sacredly private, often with only a safe inner-circle that knows.
is so true.
Tread with kindness.
Speak with compassion.
Live with tenderness.
But, in the midst of the hard, imperfect things in my life,
AND IN ME,
I also am immensely grateful for all the beautiful gifts of friendship.
Those who love unconditionally,
who also love enough to speak truth,
who care and live and walk beside me in friendship.
Live quietly and with rest today,