Saturday, November 25, 2017

Preparing for Christmas

I love taking close-up pictures of Christmas decor.  I took these last year and they're among the last pictures that have made it onto my computer.  Most often now, I use the camera on my phone, and I have found it impossible to transfer pictures from my Android phone to my Apple computer.  (I know it is possible, I just don't have the patience to figure it out.  I've tried...)

While my family has in many ways done away with the traditions of my childhood, we have crafted a few of our own traditions; a fact I am very thankful for.  I want my kids to have something as solid memories of childhood.  For a number of years it looked like their only childhood memories would be of moving, and moving, and moving!

On the day after Thanksgiving we go out for dinner followed by shopping for a new ornament.  Every year since the kids were very young (excepting probably the years in Taiwan, where we didn't know how to find places to buy Christmas ornaments) we have allowed the kids to choose one ornament apiece.  The idea from the beginning was that when they grow up and move away they would have a collection of sentimental ornaments to take with them and start their own Christmas decor.  It remains to be seen whether this idea has been successful because last year the kids were far less than enamored with their choices from childhood and refused to allow them to be placed on the tree! (Buzz Lightyear and Dancing Princesses are embarrassing to their teenage owners!)  Who knows, maybe when they're old enough embarrassment will give way to nostalgia.

Tonight is the night; new ornaments will once again be purchased and over the weekend our tree will go up and the Christmas season will begin.

Last year in mid-December there was a shocking revelation at the church we attended.  Coupled with news from many other churches, I was devastated and done with church.  I was NOT done with God, just deeply, deeply disappointed in men.  It's been a difficult year as far as that goes and I have only recently felt I could begin to look for a new congregation to join.  My husband and I have had some deep conversations around the subjects of church, pastors, sin, and expectation.  There have been no thunderbolts of knowledge from the heavens, but I believe I am ready to look with fresh vision for a church where we can contribute and hopefully experience Christian community.

Christmas is so inextricably tied with church.  Last year we "celebrated" without church and it was very, very painful.  This year we do not yet belong to a church but we are visiting.  Hopefully we can incorporate church back into our celebration and enjoy some of the old tradition.

I feel my writing has gotten very rusty.  Perhaps with some exercise...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Wow, it's been 11 months of silence here.

Today is Thanksgiving.  I polled my family to determine if I should cook the traditional meal or we (once again) buck tradition and go out for steak.  Steak won a resounding victory.  I have mixed feelings; it's nice not to go to all the work involved with a traditional turkey dinner but I'm sad as I hear of others gathering with extended family and having a wonderful day together.

The truth is that, since the death of my mom, my family of origin continues to become more and more fractured.  It's quite sad.  There is no hope of a large family gathering.  I did consider inviting others with no family, but I started the thought process too late to act on it.  Maybe next year.

This year Dad will join us again.  Yes, he is still here and (relatively) healthy.  But that's it.  My little core family and my Dad.

I have much to be thankful for.  My kids are healthy and we have a pretty good relationship.  Given that they are in the thick of their teen years, that alone is something to be VERY thankful for! My husband is healthy and he is so good to me. I am actively learning of how much God loves me.  I've struggled with that, so this is a big deal to me.

As in every life, much has happened in nearly a year. Perhaps I'll share.... Seems a very empty promise.