We spent our first Christmas, in many years, in Pennsylvania- with our family. It was delightful. The day after Christmas, I sat on a smooth brown chair next to a tall glowing tree. Framed by almost floor to ceiling windows, large, white snowflakes floated to the ground. It was a perfect moment. Later, I sat on the floor with my little baby scooting around… my sister in front of me, my youngest brother across the way. My mind composing a memory. How dear, dear their ‘blood of my blood’ faces, their hearts, their minds. Their conversation! And he, kindred spirit, spoke the words my heart was writing, “It is good to be together. It is good for us all to be here…” and then, “Thank God you live in Maryland!” Smile.  My mom manned the Christmas food festivities- which were delicious. We brought desserts. We breakfasted at home on Christmas Day… with our traditional cinnamon rolls and Egg Bake Casserole, coffee, tea, orange juice. But then, it was “to Grandmother’s House we go!” with great delight and excitement and all dressed in our Christmas Best (with a back-up dress for a little blond princess who sometimes gets very car sick! Fortunately, we made it without needing to utilize that back-up.)We came bearing desserts for the festivities- which I will now duly record for future reference:

Cookie Platter filled with Peppermint Bark, Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and a few scant gingerbread men; Frosted Gingerbread Bars; Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin Pie; and the Chocolate Chip Pie. I think that is all. The top favorites appear to have been the Peppermint Bark, Pumpkin Roll, Chocolate Chip Pie, and Gingerbread. 🙂

I collected many shining gifts of grace these last few days. I am not going to list them all… but these small five- I share.

-Asher enjoying Christmas Dinner (and here, I say, thank you Mom. Thank you for all you did and all you cooked and thank you for cooking for our family and for him)

– my little girls playing with my brother’s little girl,

-a tiny baby niece bouncing in the exersaucer

-long talks

-a game night with loved ones…and here I reflect on game nights- which I generally avoid and do not choose… however, it truly is (or can be) a bonding, memory building experience and I truly do get to see and appreciate personalities. So, I am really glad we spent the time and I have a lot of inner laughter over some of the antics and wins.

We are home now, extending our Christmas through New Year’s Eve with plans to make the house sparkle, catch-up on school correcting, play hard with new gifts, and for me, ponder, reflect, and prepare for the new year and the next semester.

Happy Christmas to all!

P.S. This blog, these words, are often where I redeem the days and the memories. Finding, receiving, and working healing in hardness. Finding gold in ashes. I see it glinting there, warm, full of light. In the dusk, in the darkness. It is not the whole picture. It is not all the picture. It is the good.