As we wrap up 2012, it’s time to tape down the last loose ends and stick a fancy bow on top. At the beginning of the month, I shared with you what my year of being WILLING has been like.
Not the best wrapping job, if you ask me. The paper got wrinkled, the tape lost it’s sticky, the ribbon wouldn’t curl right, and the bow was squashed from being stored badly. Even the gift tags were mislabeled here and there…. (Have you ever done that? Last Christmas, my 8-yr-old nephew was handed a package with his name on one side of the gift tag, but the message on the other side read, “I’ll be keeping you warm this Christmas, Kevin. Yours truly, XO.” It was a bag of socks from me, intended for my husband. I’d used what I thought was a left0ver tag and didn’t realize it had the poor boy’s name on it already. The look on the little guy’s face was priceless, but the look my brother–his father–shot my husband was terrifying! Poor Kevin looked completely befuddled, while everyone else covered their mouths in gleeful shock. I was laughing too hard to explain. Family Christmas memories. Priceless.)
Anyway, my point is that today is the 29th, and although I committed to taking December off, the month has not been any less busy. Here are a few highlights:
- December 1: We got our Christmas tree. When the kids were little we started a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Tradition in our home. We would visit a local tree farm and select the quirkiest tree we could find, mainly because we were poor and they were usually the cheapest, but the kids didn’t know that. This year, we noticed that Home Depot sold artificial Charlie Brown trees for a small fortune. And unfortunately, it seems that the tree farms have caught on to us, and now charge us according to tree height, not tree appearance, these days. Oh well. We loved our little tree this year – looks like something out of Whoville!
- December 6: Christmas lights and decorations went up. Then we drove 30 miles each way to “experience” Magic Snow and Santa at a huge outdoor mall, Victoria Gardens. Yes, we’re from Southern California.
- December 11: Sammi’s school Christmas party. Although she’s home-schooled, she gets together with other students in the same program every Tuesday morning for “class” time with an official teacher…and a break for MOM!
- December 14: THE HOBBIT Part One, The Unexpected Journey! Okay. I know this has not received the greatest reviews. But PLEASE don’t leave negative comments about it here. Our family members are DIE-HARD HOBBIT fans and we loved it! We loved how Peter Jackson interjected the back-stories that J.R.R. Tolkein wrote about in his other hobbit tale collections, and the fact that PJ combined characters and beefed up certain characters to emphasize good vs. bad was, in our opinions, mighty. Sure, the epic falls in the goblin caves were pretty far-fetched, especially when nobody broke more than the skin over their knuckles, but remember, folks, this was Middle Earth and gravity was perhaps a wee bit kinder…… SOOOO…how die-hard fannish ARE we? Well, I’m so glad you asked! But let Chris, our oldest son, tell you all about it – check out my post, The Hobbit – We LOVED it!
- December 18: Sammi’s school group had an ice-skating outing. It was the first time for both of us. We held on to the rail. That’s all I have to say about that.
- December 20: We celebrated Erin’s 24th birthday with her favorite mom-made spaghetti, the most extravagant dessert in the world (a layer of chocolate chip cookie dough, a peanut butter cup, then a layer of chocolate cake mix baked in muffin tins at 350 for 15-20 minutes; oh my!).
We watched The Grinch with Jim Carrey, then I went to bed with the acute awareness that I was being attacked by a yucky, Grinchy bug…from holding on to the rail…along with hundreds of other kids who were holding on to the rail.
- December 21: I woke up dead. And got very little done.
- December 22: I slept 20 of the 24 hours in this day.
- December 23: We attended a wonderful Sunday-before-Christmas service. I came home and sat on the edge of my bed wrestling with God about how inconvenient it was that I was miserably sick right before Christmas and still had so much “Mom stuff” left to do. By that evening, I felt much better, and I was grateful, because we had a full house of friends and family.
- December 24: I awoke feeling great and even more grateful. I sewed and baked and cleaned and prepped all day…and most of the night to make up for my lost sick days. Christmas Eve was lovely, and Santa did, indeed, show!
- December 25: Christmas! Glorious Mighty Christmas! 3 hours of sleep and the Lord covered me, because not only did I stay awake all day, but I wasn’t even crabby! Home from the big family celebration at Mom’s around midnight and BED!
- December 26: I LOVE December 26th. I get to rest. Surrounded by the dregs of a blessed Christmas–bits of wrapping paper, gift bags overflowing with items not yet put away, the drooping tree, Christmas music just on the verge of getting old playing in the background, and me, reading and resting and reflecting. Delightful.
- December 27: The Lord gave me my word for 2013: STILL. I shared this with my friend (and amazing author), Laura Frantz (go check out her Boxing Day post and give-away!), “I’m a word-a-year kind of girl – I’ve been doing it for the last 6 years. 2006 was Faithful, 2007 was Grateful, 2008 was Restoration, 2009 was Prayer, 2010 was Reflect, 2011 was Unencumbered, 2012 was Willing. For 2013, my word is STILL. I love this word because it’s got a two-fold meaning. STILL, as in stillness, and STILL, as in staying true, remaining faithful, sticking with something, obeying. Not only does He tell me to ‘Be STILL and KNOW that He is God,’ but I am STILL waiting for the fulfillment of some of His promises in my life, and I have a tendency to NOT wait in STILLNESS, but to take over and try to do things my way. I want to be STILL so that I can hear His voice saying “This is the way. Walk in it.” And I want to STILL remain His Brave Heart, no matter what my circumstances. After the chaotic busyness of my misguided “Willing” 2012, my heart longs for STILLNESS. For 2013, I want to learn and practice what it means to be STILL. And so, not only has He given me my word for the year, but He’s also given me my verse for the year:
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be STILL.” (NIV)
And the best part about my December? He has taken my 2012 frantic wrapping job of being WILLING and re-wrapped it in HIS EXTRAVAGANT GRACE.
What more could I ask of the Lord?
I am so grateful for each and every one of you. I have been incredibly blessed by you who have touched my life and helped make me a better mom, a better friend, a better sister, a better wife, a better Christ-follower, a better writer, a better reader, a better version of the me God intended me to be.
Happy New Year! I’m looking forward with great anticipation–and STILLNESS–to what lies ahead!