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.

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