I looked forward to hosting my second Thanksgiving this entire year. I couldn’t wait for it! And it finally came with rain and friends. I love the memories I’m making in my twenty’s.
Ben cooked the turkey so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I have also made the consecutive decision to skip the stuffing next year. It’s not that it tastes bad, but it looks gross. And unless you really like stuffing, people only take some because traditionally that’s just what you do (which means you inevitably have leftovers…and ummm….NO! 🙂 )
I love setting the Thanksgiving table. I snipped some branches from the manzanita bush near our home. It was pouring rain and I was cold, but I just paused and thought, “What a wonderful feeling! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this rain!” Well, I thought something like that. It was a fun moment!
Ben and I decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. I finally listen to the Carpenter’s Christmas (my favorite Christmas album!), and we manage to pleasantly fit a TREE in our tiny living room/kitchen. These are the best kind of adventures.
In our first year of marriage, I didn’t have my collection of ornaments with me, so I punched holes in our photos and used ribbon to hang them from the tree. It’s tradition now.
I love to hang one of our pictures by the joy ornament. Each year, I learn more about what true joy means and life with Ben becomes richer. Not because of who we are, but because our hearts burrow deeper in God, our Dwelling Place…our joy. And you know? Every year with God gets better. Sometimes, things do stay hard for a long time. Life on earth will never be perfect, and it will rarely be easy…but oh the exceeding joy of God! I have so much more to write about joy but not today.
The seasons this year have been so beautiful. It’s not that the seasons have magically improved, but because I spent most of this year with my eyes wide-open. I missed so much in 2017, and this year has been like waking up to life. The year 2018 has been a grace extension of 2017. I feel like these two years have melted together in a kind of breathtaking mosaic.
It may be the end of the calendar year, but it is in no way the end. God doesn’t rush to grow and heal our hearts in a year’s time. He gently guides us through the seasons we need to encounter–seasons that could last for years. We try too hard to fit all of our healing and growth into 365 days. We get so frustrated when thousands of prayers don’t have a pretty end before Christmastime. We look somberly at another year of life in which everything STAYED THE SAME or goals DIDN’T HAPPEN or healing ISN’T FINISHED. But God doesn’t work on our timetable and Christmas isn’t His deadline.
So, look again.
You are not the same you were a year ago. You have experienced more of God’s love and grace. You have known His kindness and goodness in a million little ways. Count them if you can. You won’t be able to, but you should try. This is life with God!
I look forward to sharing some deeper posts on life and joy this December. Since my book is officially published, I can spend more time blogging. I’ve missed it! I’m a bit rusty and this post is taking me far longer than it should, but blogging is like riding a bike. RIGHT?! Let’s hope so! Well anyway, it’s going to be a beautiful holiday season.
Merry Christmas from Cottonwood Lane!