...are actually not things, but rather, people. And here's how.
So, Christmas was great. Really low-key. Christmas Eve was spent with fellow Christians at Imago Dei, wonderful friends, homemade pizza (NO PICTURES! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?), their adorable pugs, Claire screaming as the young pug chased her and barked at her, Claire polishing off the last chocolate heart in her Advent Calendar before bedtime, and some classy Christmas movie-time: Star Wars Ewok Adventures - Caravan of Courage
On Christmas day we woke up late (7:30 am qualifies as *late*, for us), opened gifts and stockings, made a big breakfast, attempted to go to the Christmas Day service at church, but actually exited quickly when we realized there was no 3-year-old class and we had kiiiiinnnddaaa barely made it through the Christmas Eve service, the night before, with our very *active* 3-year old. Upon returning home, I commenced a very long nap, as did my 3 year old...Chris maxed the time to kick some Xbox-hockey-butt. Later, we made a couple little stops to deliver small gifts to friends and a neighbor (home-made ornaments).
(Chris saw this on my Pinterest and put it in my stocking. I. LOVE. IT. He is seriously the BEST stocking stuffer-er.)
(Claire wearing her super-cozy robe that Nama *my mom* made for her..love handmade!)
The days following we spent time with Chris' extended family up in Northern Washington. Claire ran, and played, and yelled, and played, and chased her cousin, and rolled around on the carpet at Great Aunt Kathy's, exclaiming, "I will live here FOREVER AND EVER!". Needless to say, I think she had fun. And good for the heart to see and be with family.
On the way up, we stopped to see my SIL, Kate, Joey, Jude, Ellie, and Cameron. I followed through with my premeditated plan of kissing, kissing, kissing little baby Cameron's sweet face.
And I had NO qualms about hogging all the holding time with Cameron. He's just too sweet for words.
We stayed the night at Great Grandpa's house. Claire frolicked through his house, oohing and ahhing, and generally thinking it was a magical palace. She freaked out with JOY when we saw there was a room JUST for her ...and even MORE! when she saw the little stuffed puppy on the bed. The next morning when we went in to say good morning she said, "This is awesome." Unfortunately, I think the altered schedule, all the constant excitement about *everything*, the lack of having napped the day before and nearing nap on this particular day caught up with her and she just CRIED AND CRIED when we tried to take a picture with Chris and Grandpa. She did not want that picture and by forcing her we were thwarting her will. And nothing is more unforgivable to a 3-year-old...or even to a 28-year-old (looking in the mirror), I guess? Ah well. You win some, you lose some.
So, I did love my stocking...it was great. But more than anything, I loved all the time with PEOPLE! Granted, I admit to actually disliking people sometimes (when I'm driving, personal friction with individuals who are so very different from me or perhaps alike?, myself even, perhaps my husband and daughter sometimes?, etc)....so I am not just a free-loving-all-people kind of person. I want to be...but unfortunately, I am judgmental, selfish, etc, many times. But despite that, God still puts all these amazing friends and family in our lives and that connection/relationship is really valued. I hope I can grow more in realizing and appreciating the gift of the relationships that I have been given.
I included these last two pictures because I found them on Chris' phone...and I love them.
I hope you all had a Christmas that was meaningful, full of love and warmth. Sadly, even as I type that I think about how many do NOT have that. And I want to figure out what to do about that...maybe not necessarily just at Christmas.
One interesting thing...*total rabbit trail here*...coming of the freeway in the midst of our travels we gave a banana to a homeless man, with a sign asking for help at the freeway exit. I wish it was more...but nevertheless...I was so struck by his kind/thankful face. More than a full day later, Claire said, "You gave a banana to a man. Why did you do that, momma?" So we talked about it. She thought about it. And she said, "That was so nice." How little she realizes that it wasn't very much at all. But it struck me that she was thinking so much about it..well after the fact. Maybe it's a challenge for me to pursue compassion? Even in the smallest of ways. Even if it's not my first impulse. I hope Claire is compassionate...and she's only going to learn it by seeing it.