Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yay Christmas!

I love pretty much everything about Christmas. I love the gatherings, the music, the decorations, the shopping. And I LOVE presents! I love getting them, giving them and even wrapping them. I love the church services, the traditions, the memories, the food! My least favorite part of Christmas is putting it all away for another year!

This Christmas was especially nice for me in spite of the fact that several around me are having their hardest Christmas ever and just want to get through it. I had lots of time to prepare and it was virtually stress free. The best part was sharing it with our kids. Whit and Travis came and spent most of Christmas Eve and all of Christmas day with us. Chloe the Wonder Dog came too, and we had a lot of fun playing with and being entertained by her. That dog is crazy about toys! Sydney was not so happy - she was a bit like Eeyore watching Tigger bounce around. I'm not sure she has forgiven us yet!

Alex was home, too, and kept us all laughing with his non-stop-one-liners. The kid truly could be a stand up comic! He's been putting his Christmas present to good use....we got him a ski pass to Schweitzer Mountain. Even as I write this, he is there as a leader for the high school youth group ski retreat. Snow just gets him excited and there's plenty for him to be excited about this year. I think he has a secret dream to hit the professional snowboarding circuit and board all the great mountains in North America. Hopefully by January he will be ready to concentrate on classes instead of daydreaming about three feet of fresh powder!
Keith and I keep saying how much fun it is to spend time with our kids. Travis fits right in and is just one of the family. We count our blessings every day that Whitney picked such a good one! I know not every Christmas will be like this one what with sharing them with Trav's parents and someday kids, etc. Therefore, I (like Jesus' mom) am "treasuring all this in my heart."

Here are some pics:

Chloe, Alex and Travis can't wait to open presents!

Gotta love new doggie toys! Chloe must have been VERY good this year!

Is it time to eat yet?????

The best part of Christmas is watching your
kids and grandkids.....I mean, grand-dog open gifts!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Are you ready for Christmas? That's the question everyone asks this time of year. Of course they mean, are you done shopping? House all decorated? Baking done? Our new pastor, Glenn, asked us if we were really ready for Christmas - the one that celebrates the Savior's birth. In other words, are our hearts ready? Priorities figured out? Relationships restored? I had to think a little harder about whether I was really ready for Christmas, or did I just have all my shopping, wrapping and baking done.

I've had some really hard things to think about in recent months. Those things did not directly happen to me, but if you're in relationship, what affects those around us, affects us. I have almost begun to feel guilty about being so blissfully satisfied with my life - my marriage, my home, my extended family, my kids, my friends, my faith .....I'm SOOO blessed! So many close to me have had to deal with the most difficult of life's struggles. Now one of my dearest friends has a child in major rebellion. That child is like one of my own. I have prayed for her, cried over her, thought about her continually, struggled with how to help, debated whether I should shake her or hug her. My heart aches for their family who are all hurting so much while trying to "do Christmas" and at the same time dancing in my heart that I get to be with my kids for Christmas and can't wait till the day gets here. Such is the oxymoron of this life we live in a messed up world.

I wouldn't change my relationships for anything. I think it's what we're supposed to be about. With the joy of family and friendship can come the pain of sharing their burdens. This particular friend walked right beside me through the whole cancer thing, has hugged me when I was hurting or disappointed, supported me when I felt vulnerable and unsure if I was strong enough. Now it's my turn to do that for her. It hurts and it's hard, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Good times and bad....God is still in control.

It's been a difficult week in some ways and delightful in others. There have definitely been times of joy and times of sadness. A family we know through the Bievers lost their son after he did something stupid and died in a car accident. Two days later one of the little ladies in my Precept class that has been with me for seven years was killed on Highway 2 just up the road from us. She didn't do anything stupid, someone else did. Ryan was 20 and Gloria was 80. Ryan was struggling in his walk with the Lord; Gloria knew exactly where she was going. Our Tuesday morning Bible study held an air of sadness as Gloria's chair sat empty and we shared our fun memories of her. Ryan's family is going on a cruise to Mexico that he was supposed to be on. Our kids spent all weekend trying to line up bone marrow donors for a 19-year-old friend who has aplastic anemia. The transplant is her only hope. A man from our church took his life last Friday. It just seems like so much sadness.

I don't know how people who don't trust God reconcile life. Not much makes sense and sometimes it all seems unfair. But I know that God knows better. I know His big picture is infinitely clearer than mine. And I don't doubt for one minute that He is on the throne. I also don't doubt that He understands our pain. Somehow I feel a teeny bit better knowing that He lost a son, too.

And I am very thankful for the happy times, always keeping in mind that those trials that James talks about in his first chapter are likely just around the corner. I guess if we don't know pain, it would be impossible to know true joy. In both, I place my hope and trust in the Lord.

Thanksgiving at Fairmont

We took a fun little excursion to Fairmont Hot Springs, Canada over the Thanksgiving weekend with our friends Gail and Roch Biever and their girls, Jena, Kayla and Alexa. Alex went with, but Whitney and Travis were hosting Dan and Karen (Travis's parents) for the holiday. It wasn't Thanksgiving in Canada, but we decided it just wouldn't be the same to ignore the holiday alltogether, so Keith smoked a turkey and roasted potatoes and we took them with us. We left about 10:00 Thursday morning and got to our condos in plenty of time for turkey dinner, complete with pumpkin pies - YUM!

The scenery was spectacular! The Canadian Rockies cannot be outdone. The sun was shining on the snowy peaks and just as we neared Fairmont, the moon rose. God certainly knew what he was doing in creation. The photos don't do justice.

Our condos were VERY nice and FREE! We just had to sit through the time share talk which we all laughed about for some time after. Needless to say, neither the Bievers or ourselves purchased any time shares. We did take full advantage of the rooms as well as the hot springs. It was very neat to sit in the nice warm water while snowflakes fell. Alex spent more time soaking than anyone and he was most impressed with the surrounding mountains and ski areas. The World Cup was going on at Panorama in nearby Invermere that weekend. We didn't take it in, but I could see that longing in Alex's eyes to hit the mountain.

Now our eyes are turned toward Christmas. The house is decorated and we will be taking in church events, parties and various gatherings. We're looking forward to having the whole family together. And next comes Maui!!! 6 weeks and counting....