Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Season of Comfort and Joy

A Season of Comfort and Joy

This year it seemed that the Christmas Season was truly one that brought me great

The preparation for Christmas seemed a bit overwhelming at first.  We had not even unpacked all our moving boxes when yet Thanksgiving was upon us.  My daughter Amy visited us on Thanksgiving for a few days.  I told her she could not go home until she put my tree up, and so she did, and there it stood, naked, without a thing on it, for nearly three weeks.  

One day, miraculously, it seemed, the Christmas boxes full of decorations that filled the dining room were emptied, places were found for all the beloved Christmas decorations, the tree was decorated, and the house was ready for whatever the season had to offer.  In fact, when the last Christmas decoration box was put away, I realized that for the first time since we had moved in on October 22, all boxes on the top level of the house had been unpacked!  For the first time since we moved in, I saw the dining room floor, better known as the unpacking place, without one box on it.  This was our first Christmas miracle that brought great joy.

A highlight of the season,
an event always sure to bring 
great JOY
 much comfort,
the East High School Girls of '63 Christmas Party.

The EHS Girls
I love these women!
Sometimes I can't even believe that we are all still together after all these years.
We continue to laugh, and giggle, and make jokes whenever we are together and the years just melt away.
Iris and I, shown together below, comment often on how much this group means to us as the years go by.  Here we are joking about the size of our antlers.

Some of the girls went to grade school together.  I was blessed to meet them all when I was fifteen years old.  When I look into the faces of these beautiful women, I don't see us as older women who have known each other for over fifty years.   I  see my girlhood friends each of whom has the same sparkle in her eyes that was there when we were teenagers.  Some things never change.

High school  friendships that deepen, and grow over the years are priceless.
There are few greater gifts than these rich relationships.

Family time during the holidays also provides great JOY.

I didn't always have a camera with me to capture the wonderful time I've had with family.  Moving to Colorado Springs has meant that I am now back in the same town as my siblings and cousins.  For years, some of the cousins have not lived in Colorado.  In the past year, three of us have moved back to our dear hometown.  My cousin, Diana hosted a wonderful get together at her home just before Christmas.  Having just married her wonderful husband Steve in May, this couple, still honeymooners, were wonderful hosts.  Thanks, Steve for bringing Diana back home to Colorado!

Somehow, I didn't get photos of our first dinner guests in our home.
My brother and his wife came over to share some homemade Snow Chili, cornbread, and great conversation on the Saturday before Christmas.

On Sunday, my daughter and her two children arrived.
Mason is on his way to becoming a great gift wrapper.
I can't talk his mom into wrapping my gifts anymore, but Mason was willing to do so, and he did an awesome job!  

Boston basked in all the love and affection that he received from Hannah.
Hannah, who really, really wants a dog, (so does Mason) spoiled Boston rotten.
He received many hugs, belly rubs, and enjoyed cuddle time with his best girlfriend.

Christmas Eve:  A Time to Celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas

I love this nativity that we purchased a few years ago.
I love that it includes five sheep.
I place the little lamp next to Mary and think of Julie.
I think of her as spending Christmas sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Amy, Mason, and I went to church early on Christmas Eve where we were to meet my sister Carol.
Carol's great surprise and great joy was discovered when she exited her car in the parking lot.
Her son, his wife, and her granddaughter had driven in from California and surprised her in the church parking lot.  We were also so excited to see them home for Christmas.
Sister Carol surrounded by son Erik,
and his wife Nancy and granddaughter Katie
at our home on Christmas Eve

I don't know when I have been to a more deeply moving Christmas Eve service.
Many in the congregation lost homes in the fire this past year.
The service, a beautiful, inspirational candlelight service, reminded us that as was prophesied  in Isaiah

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light 

Having walked through many a dark day throughout the last few years,
I felt great healing as I sat next to some of those I love most with tears running down my face rejoicing in the birth of the One who came to bring Joy to the World.

After church, our unexpected guests came to the house for dinner.  Thankfully, I had more than enough food.  I was a little worried I wouldn't have enough homemade rolls.  I rationed those until everyone got at least one.  Everyone was impressed that I can still bake good, homemade rolls.  (I was a bit surprised they actually turned out.)

As I told my nephew Erik, it is good to know that when one fixes too much food guests are provided to eat it all!

Christmas Eve in our new kitchen!

Sister Carol with her handsome son
and beautiful granddaughter

Christmas Day

It was so much fun to have Amy and the children here for Christmas morning. 

Amy got a styling new hat!  Doesn't she look great?

The kids were so excited over their gifts.
Hannah got her longed for Uggs.  She looks so grown up in them!

After a brunch of more good food, the kids were off to spend the afternoon with their father.
I discoverd Boston in his bed shortly after they left.
Was he worn out, or was he sad to leave them leave?  I think it was a bit of both.

I took some time to practice using my new camera that my wonderful hubby surprised me with.
Isn't it just beautiful?
I love it.
It is my favorite color!

Then we welcomed the next round of guests who stopped by for a short visit.

Jim's daughter Trinette and her family
Christmas 2012
They were followed by the next guests.
Jim's daughter Thia and her family
Christmas 2012
And so, this is how we celebrated the first Christmas in our new home.

It was a white Christmas.
It was sunny and bright.
And it was filled with great JOY.


Linda Reeder said...

Well it looks like you got ready just in time for what turned out to be a lovely, love filled Christmas. I suspect you collected enough warm feelings to keep you going through the coming winter months.

thisisme said...

Hi Sally. I am so happy that your first Christmas in your new home was filled with JOY for you. How wonderful having all those visitors, so that your home was filled with so much love at this special time of the year. Lovely photos. I love Amy's hat - beautiful photo of her with the two children. I know I've said this before, but she looks so much like you! Wonderful photo on the stairs of you with all your old school friends. Marvellous to still be friends after all these years. I envy you that. I love your top in that photo by the way! This was a lovely happy post, and I pray that 2013 will be filled with good health, lots more joy and peace in your heart. Hugs.

Joyce said...

So glad you found the joy in Christmas this year surrounded by people you love in your new home! Happy New Year!

DJan said...

What wonderful pictures, Sally! All taken with your new camera? Really fabulous. I especially love the ones taken to show your new home, which looks so lovely. It makes me happy to hear that you are through the hardest part of the move and ready to start a new year filled with joy. :-)

Jeanie said...

Your pictures, from beginning to end, show the joy you found in the season this year, Sally. How fun that you still get together with your friends from high school.
Best wishes to you for the coming new year.

Olga said...

What a delightful Christmas for you. And I can think of on one who deserves it more. Now on to a Happy New Year.

rosaria williams said...

So glad you had so many family members and friends to fill your holidays with comfort and joy. Now, it's time to rest, and occasionally, put away the decorations and finish packing too. Happy New Year to you and yours.

MerCyn said...

Sounds like a wonderful holiday and the beginning of a great new life in your new home.
Happy New Year!

Linda Myers said...

Joy to you, Sally!

Betsy Adams said...

Oh My Gosh---what an absolutely fabulous Christmas you had. I am so so so so so happy for you and Jim. LOVE your home... And--wasn't it nice to have so much company???? Bet that Ch. Eve service was awesome... Wow!!!!!

God Bless you both --and have a very Happy Happy 2013.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Hooray! I'm so happy that you had a joy-filled Christmas in your new home. It sounds like you've reached a real turning point. And your family clearly enjoyed being with you. May the new year build on this great holiday and just keep getting better!

Jeanie said...

I love seeing your beautiful house and knowing that it is now unpacked and has been fully initiated into the world of new beginnings, family, friends and the next chapter. It looks like your holiday has been filled with joy, and I hope in the hectic events of the season that your cloud has lifted and you have been able to find your joy again. Sure looks like that -- I guess when anyone ends a post with "And it was filled with great JOY!" has found it four-star. That's perfect!

Pondside said...

Christmas in a new house, surrounded by family and old friends - well, it just doesn't get a whole lot better than that...and you had snow!
Happy New Year, and may 2013 bring you every happiness in your new house.

becca said...

what a wonderful Christmas you had and your family is beautiful

Jackie said...

I scrolled slowly and read every word...drinking each one in.
What a beautiful first Christmas in your new home.
I was especially thrilled when I read that your sister's family surprised her at the church parking lot. I would love to have seen the light in her eyes (tear-filled, I bet...) What a wonderful Christmas gift to her from them.
And then...there's sweet Boston...getting all that shhugar...and then missing all that shhugar! :) Bless his heart.
The camera: da bomb. Love it. Love it beyond words. Look forward to more and more of your photos.
Happy new year, my friend.
(I smile as I KNOW that Julie is at the feet of Jesus. She got to wish him a Happy Birthday face to face. We will be able to do that one day. I look forward to our family reunion in Heaven.)
Blessings to you, sweet friend.

Isabelle said...

I'm so glad that you felt joy. You surely deserve it.

Sandi said...

Oh Sally, what a JOY it was to read this post, and gaze on all those smiling faces! I'm so glad you found love, peace and joy in your new home, and know this will be the first of many, many happy occasions within those walls.

Happy, Joyous New Year to you!
love and Big hugs! (well, cautious hugs, as my bruised ribs are still painful, but you know what I mean!!)

Dartford Warbler said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful Christmas.

It must be so good to be back in your home area, where you are able to meet up with family and old school friends again.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Chatty Crone said...

Well I have to say your new home is lovely and that you seemed to have a very merry Christmas. I do know this - that time heals - but you will never forget. She probably had a wonderful Christmas in Heaven with all those new little ones there. Hugs. sandie

Deb Shucka said...

I am so glad your Christmas was this full of joy and love. It oozes from the screen. It was fun to be a part of the festivities through your wonderful pictures (awesome new camera!) And to see you gorgeous new house and your even more gorgeous family. The first picture of all the friends struck me as particularly full of light - how beautiful every single one of you is. Hugs to you - may the year be a continuation of this peace and joy.

Barb said...

Sally, What great photos of your family and decorated home. My favorite color is red, too - I'm trying not to be jealous of that red camera (and your red kitchen walls). So glad you felt such joy over the holidays, Sally. I wish you even more happiness in 2013. I'm in the mountains now and have been skiing with family and cross country skiing with Bob. We'll ski early on New Year's Day - I'll send you good wishes from the top of the lift!

Relyn Lawson said...

I just wanted to pop by and wish you the happiest new year. May your 2013 be full of blessings, laughter, and happy surprises. Thank you for being a blog friend and a joyful part of my life.

Elizabeth said...

Great post. What a wonderful bunch of school friends you have! Odd isn't it how you just see them as they always were. I know the feeling.

Rose said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, Sally. There is nothing like reconnecting with old friends and a house full of family to bring joy to our lives. Love the photo of Hannah with Boston; our Sophie loved having all the grandkids here, too. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!

Lynilu said...

I love it. Hearing that your chaotic past few months are settling and bringing good times with family and friends makes me smile for you. :)

#1Nana said...

Sounds like a great holiday season at your new house. The only visitor we had was the FedEx guy. The week before Christmas he visited at least once a day with all the stuff the spouse ordered online because it was such a great deal. So much for our no shopping this year rule! I cooked the huge turkey and a ham and since there were just three of us, we've had leftovers forever.

Kay said...

I'm so glad you had such a lovely Christmas, Sally. It's been crazy busy over here and it looks like January is continuing to be full of things. We still have so much to do.

I love it that you've got your Christmas boxes unpacked and organized. It's so terrific that you had such a good time with your high school girlfriends. I sure enjoyed seeing my classmates this past year.

Your photos all show such fun and love. It's wonderful, Sally. May your 2013 be filled with happiness and peace.

LC said...

What a joyful and blessed first Christmas, and a wonderful January with your main squeeze back.