has come and gone, but I am hanging on to the Christmas feeling with all ten of my need-to-get-a-manicure fingers. How about you?
Our holiday has not been perfect by any means. As a matter of fact, I was quite disappointed by some things and some people.
I'm choosing NOT to focus on that, but instead to center my thoughts on those wonderful moments that made this holiday season so special.
My Favorite Christmas Memories 2013
1. Thanksmas with the Shull side. I wrote about this holiday tradition when I was a guest blogger for Veronica. This was our last time to celebrate in the farmhouse where my husband and his siblings grew up. Brad's mom has since moved to a new house down the road from us. We had so much fun that day, enjoying the 6 new babies born this year. Add them to the other 48 or so of us and you have a day filled with chaos, noise, good food, and love!
2. A Winter Camping Trip We loaded up our vintage airstream and headed a couple of hours south and spent a night in a campground we had never visited before. We were almost the only ones there, and it was so quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. We bundled up and walked for a long time through the woods and along the lake, enjoying the gorgeous winter scenery.
3. Christmas Programs I love Christmas programs and we attended several of them this year. I enjoyed watching Faith sing with her classmates, and Alivia perform with the chorus and band. I am amazed at the talent of the students and the teachers. What a wonderful way to begin the month of December!
4. Christmas Blessing One of our sons and his wife traveled to her parents this year, so we had one of our family Christmas gatherings early. I love having all of my little family gathered around our table, listening as the kids share stories of the past and what is happening in their lives now. We always go around the table and tell something for which we are thankful. It is a great time for us to be honest and transparent with one another, revealing a little bit more of our hearts. We also gather in a circle, with our little grandchildren in the center holding a candle. We pray for each child, asking for God's blessing and protection on our little ones. This was even more special this year since it was Hannah's first Christmas. There is something powerful about hearing my sons pray for each other's children.
5. Winter Snow We woke up one Saturday morning this month to a breathtakingly beautiful snowfall. The flakes were huge and piling up quickly. Activities were canceled and we took advantage! Bundling up and grabbing my camera, we got in our 4 wheel drive and headed over to a nearby woods. I can't begin to describe this experience, and my pictures shown here do not begin to do it justice. We walked for a long time and it was just like being inside a snowglobe!
6. Sunday Dinner One of my goals for this winter is to have people over to eat that have never joined us for a meal in our home. I started by having our interim minister and another couple from church. We were joined by one of our sons and his 3 little girls. The girls rode home from church with me and on the way we discussed how they could help me get dinner on the table. I was so proud of them as they helped prepare the salad, carried dishes to the table, and helped clean up afterward. They were so adorable during the meal, listening to the conversation and adding cute and funny comments at appropriate times. I love being a grammie!
7. Holiday Brunch I had so much fun at my dear friend, Lisa's, Christmas brunch. It was a small group of women, some of whom I hardly knew. We had wonderful food, great conversation, and bonded in a short time as we shared answers to random questions. I love spending time with new and old friends.
8. Wonderful Music We have a new worship minister at our church and he blessed our community with his talents this Christmas. We had a concert at our little church with a wonderful choir and a little orchestra and I smiled for the entire time. It was so good! And I don't think I will ever forget sitting beside our 27 year old son at the Christmas Eve service. All the old traditional carols were on the program and both of us sang our hearts out. I loved it!
9. American Girl Store Yesterday, we loaded up Alissa's van and headed to the American Girl store on a field trip. The girls were so excited and I loved watching them shop for some new clothes and accessories for their dolls, take their babies to the hair salon, and have "tea" in the pink-explosion restaurant. On the way home they laughed (and fought a little!) and sang and danced (as much as possible while wearing a seatbelt!). A wonderful memory!
10. Advent For the first time ever, I celebrated the Advent. It was very popular to do so this year, wasn't it? Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs both wrote advent devotionals, and Ann's made the NYT bestseller list, I think. Isn't that wonderful? I chose to study along with the She Reads Truth girls. This involved daily Bible reading, journaling, a devotional reading, music, and advent actions. I did this like I do most things-imperfectly, but I was so blessed by it. Focusing on the birth of Jesus, the prophecies that have come to pass and the ones that are yet to be fulfilled was powerful. I don't want to leave that closeness and connection behind. So I'm not going to!
If you are still with me, thanks. I would love to hear about the highlights of your Christmas season. Want to share in the comments?