Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Clinging to Christmas

Signs of Christmas seemed to pop up overnight on November 1st. 

The Great Pumpkin must have swooped in and collected all the fall decor because as the sun rose, orange was out and green was in.  Driving to and from work, I counted multiple homes with Christmas trees aglow.  And the number is rising every day.

It's a bit of debate.  People are either pro-early Christmas or against not giving Thanksgiving the spotlight.  Much like politics, we are a country divided. 

Personally, it doesn't bother me.  We are a decorate Thanksgiving weekend family mostly because it became a tradition years ago with our kids.  But also because we use a real tree and it can't survive an extra month of display.  I'm completely at peace with the mingling of the two seasons because gratitude and Christmas are perfect partners.

I tend to find sadness in how quickly people tear down Christmas.  With one swipe, the litter of wrapping paper and any sign of the holiday is cleared.  For me, the week after Christmas is my favorite.  The hustle and bustle is gone, schedules slow and I can still myself in the glitter and glow of the tree.

A quiet house with only the lights of the Christmas tree is beautifully calming for the soul. 

That stillness helps me to pause and reflect on the true meaning of this season.  To sit in gratitude of the many blessings, as I think back on the past eleven months and look forward to new year.

I believe that is why many are so eager to put up their tree and decorate.  There is a magical air in this season because Christmas symbolizes love, the birth of a promise and Hope for our future.  No matter the division or chaos of this earth, Christmas reminds us there is more.  The sparkle, childlike anticipation and warmth of the season is but a glimpse of the wonder we will experience in eternity.

And that is most certainly worth clinging to...every month of the year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Blessings Abound

In a month filled with painful memories, November can be difficult for our family to face.  For many years, just turning the page on the calendar brought forth tears and anxieties, as we relived the painful night of losing our son all over again. 

We've learned to face the month in gratitude instead of grief.  

Focusing on what Austin was known and loved for, his kind heart, encouraged us to do random acts of kindness and a RAK movement was born.  For the past decade, RAKs have grown from one day to an entire month focused on sharing kindness.  And from more than just our small family but to friends and even strangers helping others and remembering a life cut short by tragedy.

Our RAK project this November has been to produce yard signs in hopes of canvasing our county with the message of sharing kindness.  The money raised will go to local charities.

As I turned the calendar tonight, noticing the scripture and special dates, I had to pause in pure thanksgiving of the many blessings God has given us recently.  This November seems a turning point of many positive changes for our family.  Changes we have prayed fervently for and, in His timing, will take place this month.

Tim and I both start new careers this month. 

For the past few years, Tim's health has suffered and we've spent many sleepless nights without answers as to why.  While I stood in prayer and belief that God would lead us in the right direction, in the meantime we did what we could to improve our well-being.  Both of us have transformed and are in better shape than we've been for some time!

This summer, God led us to a doctor who has provided excellent care and solutions to the many symptoms from which Tim was suffering.  Complications from our wreck became the common denominator in his issues and, while there is no cure for what he's facing, we have managed to minimize and reduce them with his help. 

Then news came for an opportunity for Tim to have a new career which allowed more flexibility, better hours, less physical demands, and to leave third shift.  This girl is giddy to have him back home at night!  The only downside was losing medical...

Enter my job offer.  Just two weeks after Tim begins his.

With every twist and turn, each mountain and valley, God has seen us through beyond our expectations and has provided in ways we never imagined.

Neither of us saw a career change at this point in our lives.  When we turned the calendar last January, we knew this would be a milestone year, but expected to prepare for becoming empty nesters.  Settling into expected routines.

Instead, we are facing the new year with different and exciting paths and... the surprise added blessing of becoming grandparents! 

In fact, this month, we may well know if Baby Blair will be a boy or a girl.

God is good.  All the time...

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