This Merry & Bright Christmas

I entered this Christmas holiday rather naively…AS IF I WOULD TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS WHEN MY WHOLE FAMILY IS JUST CHILLING TOGETHER. Oh, excuse my yelling.

I was just so busy catching up, drinking coffee, inhaling whip cream, laughing, joking, acting 15x more immature than usual, talking late at night, waiting for my brother to get engaged, wedding planning with Ember pretty much as soon as that engagement took place, looking at our wedding photos, laughing with my sister about the awkward photos we both received…and well OK! You get it! At what point did I have time to take photos? I do have a hap-hazard amount, but I kind of love that.

The holiday has been so fun and so full that I could not capture it all with a camera. And if I had to do it over, I would do it the same. I am beginning to believe that a truly wonderful time has very few photos as proof.

We did so much chit-chatting on the back porch, and I cannot tell you how nice it is to make plans for a wedding that is NOT mine! Let the fun times begin!  I love looking at that wedding arbor in the distance and knowing we made memories there…and we are not there anymore. Call us crazy Californians, but we sure love that sunshine even in December!

Three years ago on December 23rd, Ben nervously asked me to marry him. He wrote a beautiful story for me, and of course, nothing happened according to his plan & who wants the flu prior to proposing?! But saying yes to Ben continues to be my best yes. Our life is rich, even though 2017 has been crazy, hard, good, fun, difficult, sad, and happy. I love living for better or worse with him. This 2017 has been hard, but oh so good to be side by side with him!

My sister Hannah & her husband Jacob prepared the most delicious meal for our Christmas Eve’s Eve celebration. If you do not celebrate Christmas Eve’s Eve, you are definitely missing out!

I love this picture because you can see that Hannah & Jacob are hard at work in the kitchen. They are quite the pair. I love watching them interact, and they could have their own hilarious reality show simply by being themselves. But they sure are powerful in that kitchen!

They prepared fried chicken, ribs, maple butter (crowd favorite!), fruit, fruit dip, mashed potatoes, parmesan soup, rolls, and a delicious ginger, orange, fizzy beverage concoction. It was fabulous. They should open up their own cafe, I mean that’s how delicious they can cook food.

And the BEST part? They had not tried some of these recipes. They just whipped ’em right up.

And please make your best guess as to what this food item is….because it will blow your socks off, quite honestly. Ready?


Did you guess it right? Well anyway, I could not get over that these….THESE are mashed potatoes! Didn’t I tell you they were a power couple in that kitchen? Now, I am sorry to say that I did not get individual shots of each beautifully, delicious item…but here is an over-all view of the meal to end all other meals.

I love how full of gifts are family tree was this year. Gifts are fun, but it is always the people behind those gifts that make them so special…and a full tree so magical. If you look quite closely through the  screened door, you can see how much love truly is floating around in the merry & bright Brock home.

I have loved the time with my family. Being able to talk about the joy and difficulties of 2017 with my family has filled my heart to overflowing. There have been things in this year for many of us that were just plain hard. Those hard things did not abruptly stop when Christmastime came round, but we shared in them. And somehow, we still sunk into the joy & love that is everywhere present in our lives.

My husband who I adore + all my siblings!

Even so, Christmas is not about gifts, family, or feelings of holly jolly joy. Because even surrounded by this much love, a heart is still a human heart. I realized this year in quite a personal way that nothing can separate me from God’s love. NOTHING.

And the thing that takes all the pressure off a holly jolly season is the truth that this holiday is not about us…nor where we are or what we have lost or how empty-handed we seem to be. Christmas is not about us…because we know God!

I do not have to bury my pain, and I do not have to be ashamed of it. On Christmas, I remember to rest in God’s Son. And I fall hard and thankful into His love. I know that NOTHING…not even my deepest grief nor my hardest pain can separate me from the love of God.

It is here in the comfort of Who God is that we can all confidently say…Merry Christmas…for it is Christ that we celebrate and Him we long for. We spend this holiday rejoicing as we rest in the comfort & joy of His love, sure that not even pain or suffering can separate us from Him our glorious Savior, our great Father! This is my Hope, and my thoroughly human heart can know all the joy of God even when, even though, even if.


Come As You Are

holidays on broken backs

Heartbreak & Breathtaking Rainbows

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