Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Very Special Christmas Gift

It has been a wonderful, memorable Christmas for so many reasons. We’ve been blessed with time together and with family. God has been so gracious.

This year has held some difficult moments.

This past May, my sweet Grandma learned that, after 7 years in remission, her lymphoma had returned. She fought valiantly, but on July 16, Jesus called her home.

We are a tight knit family (my siblings and I the only grandchildren on that side of the family), and my grandma has always been a cornerstone of each holiday.

We knew this Christmas would be hard.

Last night, we held to our Christmas Eve tradition of going to the house my grandparents lived in. My aunt lived with my grandma for several years, and continues to live in that house. She did a wonderful job of making the same food and creating the same wonderful, warm atmosphere that we always enjoyed with my grandma. We had a wonderful time together, sharing in food, laughs, and gifts. Still, of course, Grandma’s absence was felt deeply.

Now my grandma was a very generous lady, and one of her favorite discoveries in her later years was a channel called QVC. 🙂 She’d often buy us items from QVC — particularly jewelry for my sisters, mom and I. In the past several months after her passing, I’ve often looked at the jewelry she’d given me and thought to myself “I need to treasure this all the more…I won’t be getting any more jewelry from Grandma”.

You can imagine the tears that sprung to my eyes last night when, at the end of the evening, my aunt presented my sisters, mom and I each with small boxes wrapped in gold paper. The tag on mine read: “To: Nikki , From: Grandma”.

My grandma had done some of her Christmas shopping early this year.

Early — like, before she even got sick. She found beautiful necklaces for both of my sisters, my mom and I. She ordered them, received them, looked at them, and tucked them away as Christmas gifts for us.

My aunt found them and carefully wrapped, labeled and presented them to us.

Each one of us got a different necklace. I LOVE mine…it’s what *I* would have picked out for myself. A lovely stone heart made of Irish Connemara Marble. Green — my favorite color.

Thank you God, for small graces, even as we celebrate the biggest one of all.

You are so kind.

In Loving Memory of Grandma E (pictured here with W, last Christmas)…

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Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…

It’s the end of a long but wonderful day of Christmas cheer…I’m just nestled here on the couch, relaxing in front of the “fire”

(is it weird that the room is starting to feel a bit warm and
I swear I am smelling a hint of smoke?)

Merry Christmas!

Huh?

Here’s a little thing I picked up at Marshall’s today.

It was so weird. And ugly. And bizarre. And cheap. How could I not?

Because every tree needs something that says:

“Merry Christmas from a Creepy Baby Dressed as a Lamb
while Wearing Mickey Mouse Ears”.

(*please also note the inexplicable “A Star is Born” phrase at the bottom of the ornament — backwards cuz I used my computer camera).

Deck the Halls…and walls…and floors…and such…

There’s nothing that warms a home quite like Christmas decorations do, is there? Here’s what we’ve got in our house this year:

1. A Tree

I’m a big believer in real Christmas trees, but for the 3rd year in a row we opted to go with our artificial little friend. His fragrance isn’t nearly as lovely as a real tree’s would be, but he’s a lot simpler to assemble and decorate, and — with 2 tiny ones around — I’m not as worried about someone pulling it over on him/herself or eating some needles or me being so scatterbrained that I forget to turn the Christmas lights off and our house burns down. So, fake tree it was this year. It was sort of an impulsive decision that we are already feeling a bit bad about. We do love them balsams (*name that movie). Oh well…”maybe yater” (as W would say :)).

Fake tree or real, the ornaments that adorn it are my favorite part. Our ornaments are a collection comprised of ornaments from our childhoods…and more recently too, I suppose. My family was *big* on ornaments as I grew up. My 4 siblings and I each had a box of our own ornaments, along with an itemized list of our ornaments reminding us of what year we got each one and who/where they were from. It sounds SO “type A”, but I am really thankful for it, and it’s a tradition I’d love to pass down to our kids. I love how so many of my ornaments bring back glimmers of memories from different times in my life. On our tree we’ve got pasta wreaths spray-painted gold and beaded pipe cleaner candy canes and loosely stitched stockings…and I love it.  Those “department store” type trees are beautiful — with the matching glass ornaments and ribbon and all that — but in my home I’ll take a personalized tree any year.

W had a great time helping us decorate the tree. As you can see, he decided that all the ornaments would look good on one branch 🙂 :

2. Nativity Scene

This was my “dream” nativity scene — I first eyed it while I was working at a Christian bookstore…and finally it became mine! It’s original home during the holiday season was in our bay window, with a lovely lighted garland behind it giving it just the right solemn glow.

However now that we’ve got a 2-year-old it’s new home is way up high on top of my china cabinet. 🙂

3. Advent Calendar(s)

Last year I set out on a quest for the perfect advent calendar — something that would tell the Christmas story in a simple yet fun (yet not overly cutesy) way. I didn’t come up with much. So far the best I’ve been able to do is find the cheap little cardboard kind with the perforated “doors” to open each day, along with this little number I scored after Christmas at Marshall’s last year:

It’s basically just a hanging tapestry with 25 square pockets on it and a little wooden thing-a-ma-jig that you move to a new pocket each day. It doesn’t do anything to tell the Christmas/advent story at all, and M has nicknamed it “house of the rising sun”…but W likes it, it’s a fun little way to count down the days til Christmas, and — I have to admit — it’s growing on me.

Those are the big decorations we’ve got going on in our house this year — what about you?

The Tale of the Orphaned Sweater

Here is a picture of baby S on Thanksgiving:

Note the little hand-knit sweater she is wearing. Isn’t it lovely? It came with this matching cap:

Both are beautifully and intricately knit…upon close examination, the details are beautiful, and even the expert knitters in my family were unsure how some of it was done. Whoever made them did a wonderful job.

The thing is, I have no idea who made them.

See, I bought them a few years ago at a church garage sale. I was pregnant with my son W but didn’t yet know if he was going to be a boy or girl. Eager new parent-to-be that I was, I went to the garage sale, saw this pretty sweater set, and snatched it up for like $1 or some ridiculously cheap price, just in case I’d need it.

I can’t help but wonder what the story of the sweater is. Who made it? Who wore it? Did anyone wear it? Was it ever treasured or simply tossed away carelessly? How did it end up on a card table piled high with onesies and worn out BabyGap clothes?

I don’t know. But you know what’s funny? I started this post out as a simple anecdote about a garage sale sweater and now I’m all deep, thinking of how we are each so much like that sweater in the eyes of our Maker (see Psalm 139 & Romans 8ish).

Check Out…

…the Saturday Evening blogpost at Elizabeth Esther’s site!