Sunday, December 26, 2010

merry christmas

So if you like posts with pictures, this one might not whet your appetite. But the main purpose of this blog is for me to journey our lives so that we might look back and see where God has taken us.

Christmas 2010 looked like this.

I had no idea what to expect, the first Christmas since Blake died, and although it's my favorite time of the year, and it's been a wonderful season, part of my heart was very, very sad.

It's our family tradition that Blake and I always spent Christmas Eve with my dad. Every year, he takes us out to a fancy dinner, then we go back to his house to open gifts, drink coffee, listen to music, and hang out. I was so thankful that my dad wanted to continue our tradition this year, and it turned out to be a very special evening.

It wasn't free of tears.
And it was full of bittersweet memories.
But it was a really sweet evening, just the four of us.

And our dogs, Daisy and Bode! :)

It made me realize how very thankful I am for my relationship with him. And how far it's come over the years....

My Dad and Marlow gave Adam and I some little gifts and then blessed us generously with two big ones.

Well, one big one and one really really big one.

We got the jogging stroller we'd been wanting for when Luke gets here and I can start running again. (Oh, yea!)

And I'd rather not share much about our really, really big gift right now. It may be another story for another post. It was an overwhelmingly generous gift. And we are so grateful.

My husband is like a little kid. And on Christmas morning he was so excited that he couldn't sleep past about 5:30. So he got up, lit the fire, and read while I slept a little longer. When I finally got my sleepy head into the family room, we sat on the couch and opened gifts from each other.

It was a really fun morning, and we laughed so much! Good for my soul!

Adam got Luke "Elf on the Shelf," for his first unofficial Christmas. I read to him while Adam listened. It was wonderful.

We got dressed and headed to my mom's house, where we were supposed to have Christmas breakfast with her and some friends, Gregg & Jolyn.

Gregg and Jolyn have two daughters but they were both out of the country for Christmas. In the spirit of missing someone, we were all going to eat breakfast together.

Okay at this point I have to rewind a little bit. When Adam and I run (or walk, as it often goes these days, for me), our route often takes us through a pretty big park not too far from our house. The path goes through the park and then leads to other paths, where we can run almost anywhere.

A few days ago, when Daisy and I were walking through the park, I noticed a man sitting on a bench that really caught my attention. Although he looked fairly clean and groomed, it was apparent to me that he was homeless. He had a large suitcase, a bedroll, an umbrella, and a backpack. I passed him and couldn't get the image out of my head.

Was he living in the woods?

Deep, dense, thick woods surround this area where we walk, and I just had a feeling he had spent the night there.

Later on my walk, I actually saw him again. He was walking down the path pulling his suitcase, carrying his backpack. Again, I thought it odd, and very sad.

I told Adam about the man that day.

On Christmas Eve, when we were on our way to my dad's house, all dressed up for dinner, we saw the man.

I said, Adam, that's him. He was walking down the street with his suitcase and backpack.

Oddly enough, he came up in conversation later that night, and I described him to Sam and Marlow. Marlow had seen him, too, walking down the street. We were all troubled that this man was spending Christmas Eve alone, outside, in the cold, without anyone.

Don't get me wrong. I know there are tons of homeless people in this world. We actually spent some time getting to know a group of homeless people last year as part of a homeless ministry with some friends. And I know that most of them still sleep on the corner where we used to bring them dinner. But a homeless man in The Woodlands is a rare sight, and I guess for this reason, he really caught my attention.

Okay. Back to Christmas morning. On our way to my mom's house.

We were sitting at an intersection. Red light. We were the only car around. No one else. The homeless man crossed the street right in front of us.

To make a long story a bit longer, we ended up picking up Kevin and taking him to my mom's house for Christmas breakfast. She had no warning. We just got out of the car with one extra and Adam said, Vickie, this is our friend Kevin.

I've never seen a person eat so much. Or drink so much coffee in one sitting.

Overall, Kevin was pleasant, odd, and interesting. I had mixed feelings about the morning. To be honest, I wanted everyone to go away except Adam and my mom. And I wanted my brother to be sitting next to me, drinking coffee and eating all my mom's food and opening presents.

To be completely cliche, I guess God had other plans. There we were, six of us, kind of a misfit crowd, on Christmas morning.

All missing something.

Later, we dropped Kevin off at the place where he wanted to go, and spent the rest of the day with our families.

We had a big lunch with Adam's parents and one of his sisters, who is also pregnant. We talked about babies and how next Christmas will be so different than this one.

In fact, all of next year will be quite different, I believe. And my heart is excited about that.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

it's the week before christmas

These days seem to be flying by. Seems like just yesterday I was crossing that line into the blessed second trimester, and now I'm in my third trimester with less than twelve weeks 'til due date. My pregnancy has been comfortable and smooth, thank goodness, and I'm so thankful for the little one inside of me.

Had a doctor's appointment last week and everything looked great. Belly size, weight gain, blood pressure, and pee all looked good. And I passed my glucose tolerance test! Yea!

Luke moves around all the time! It is so much fun! You can actually see him roll around inside my stomach, and when he gets the hiccups my belly sort of twitches rhythmically. It's so cool!

Last night, I went to sleep with him kicking and this morning I woke up to his punches. I absolutely love feeling him move around in there. What a miraculous thing, this little child!

At just over twenty eight weeks, it is obvious to the world that I have something growing inside ... and it's been fun to finally have a real belly!

Daisy insisted on posing in this picture with me. :) And you can see that his nursery is progressing nicely. No real decor yet but all the basics are taken care of!

In other news, I'm all finished with my grad school coursework. This means no more tests, no more papers, no more big presentations. I'm done! All that's left is clinical hours, which I'm still hoping to finish before March. If I can accomplish this task, I'll be ready to graduate in May!

This Christmas season has been filled with mixed emotions. I find myself crying at the smallest, strangest things. Call it hormones or grief or anticipation or a mixture of all three ... I think about my brother all the time and the next week will be so difficult without him.

The last time I saw Blake was Christmas Day 2009. I am so thankful for that memory, and the time that we spent together.... I wish he were here this year, to celebrate Christmas with our family, and to know the nephew that's kicking me in the ribs right now. ;)

What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord. What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone...