Christmas Cold

Did Christmas make anyone else sick?! I consider myself a healthy person, but then I stray from routine, stay up a little later, and bam I’m in bed with a box of tissues. Oh well.

I had a very merry Christmas. My husband and I spent Christmas Eve with my side of the family, and then we drove to Nevada that night to spend Christmas with Danny’s parents, his sister and her husband, and our baby nephew Elijah. The time we have together is extremely valuable, because we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like.

Here’s a picture of the lovely bunch!

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Now that we all have Instagram, we get to share glimpses of our lives with those we love. However, as we all know, pictures never tell the full story, which is why the good Lord made captions. Just kidding. I think this is something we are all aware of by now, but what does that mean? How does that translate?

On Christmas Eve, I was at church and ran into one of my friend’s mom. She shared with me that this was the first Christmas all her children were married. Her home would be empty for the first time. However, she said this with a smile, because all of them would return to celebrate Christmas at her house.

I was immediately taken back to the year my brother got married to Rachel. I was twelve. They wed in October, and I can clearly visualize him coming home one day to collect his Christmas ornaments to take to his new apartment to put on his own tree. One that didn’t include me. I can’t express how hurtful that day was. I was still a kid, and I think that was the first time I realized my Christmases, my life, would look very different from then on.

As I was telling this story to my friend’s mom, she asked, “Is that the only sibling you have?”

Without even thinking, I said, “No. I have a sister, but she’s never lived with me. So, she’s didn’t have ornaments on our tree.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I could take them back. As if somehow, that would make them less true.

But I was immediately comforted by her response, “I understand; we have a blended family too.”

Truly, my family is blended so well that I don’t even remember we have different parents most of the time, but then I run into those small moments that remind me that I do. Christmas is a magical time, but it’s also a season that heightens our expectations and emotions. As friends post pictures of their Christmases, we can start to believe all sorts of different things.

This Christmas, I’m grateful for the family God gave me. He has blessed us through love, marriage, and even divorce. How great that I serve a God who “works all things together for the good of those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28.

Now that Christmas (Blogmas) is over, I’m not totally sure where this blog is headed, but stay tuned. I’ll be brainstorming the next couple of days and deciding which days of the week I’ll be posting.

Thank you to all of my readers! I so appreciate your encouragement and support.

xoxo

Blogmas Day 23: Our Third Christmas

GUYS, it’s almost CHRISTMAS EVE!

We’ll start our day tomorrow by opening presents (really just stockings) with my parents. Next year we have a big trip to Alaska planned, so we tried to have a modest Christmas this year. After we open gifts, we’ll go to church for a special Christmas Eve message. Every year my church ends the service by singing “Feliz Navidad.” It’s cheesy, but it’s something I really look forward to. After church, we’ll drive to my aunt’s and uncle’s house, and then we’ll make the long trek to my husband’s parents’ house in Nevada. Christmas day is also my mom-in-law’s birthday! So, it’s extra special. 🙂

Before I end this post, I thought I’d share some pictures from my first two Christmases as a Shaw. ❤

Christmas 2015

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Christmas 2016

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(Because we live in California, we’re allowed to wear hawaiian shirts at all times. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

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Also, I feel like it’s a good time to formally introduce Dobby, my little house elf. Isn’t she just the cutest!

Well, that’s all for today folks! Happy almost Christmas Eve!

xoxo

Blogmas Day 20: Christmas Plates

We were registering for our wedding, and I wanted Christmas plates. But, the plates were going to cost approx. $300, and Danny said that they weren’t practical.

His comment irked me, because I typically don’t spend money. So, in my mind, that means when I do ask for something pricey, I should automatically get it. Ha, this opinion seems a lot more logical when it’s just inside my head.

So, I didn’t register for the too expensive plates. However, the following year (Our second Christmas), Danny said we could hunt for more affordable Christmas plates, and we found some!

I actually like them better than the $300 plates.

However, a similar incident occurred just recently. As already stated in a previous blog post, I’m not a natural gift giver. Therefore, when I think of a good gift idea, you better believe I’m going for it.

This gift idea was for my father-in-law, and I got the same remark from my husband, “Is that practical?”

To which I responded, “Does a gift need to practical?”

After thinking about my question, my husband reasoned that his dad already has all he needs. So, if we stumble upon something that simply rouses a dear memory, there is value in that thing.

It’s so funny to write these scenarios out. In those moments, I felt right, and he felt right. That’s all an argument is—two people feeling right.

 

Blogmas Day 16: Immanuel; God with us

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

My maternal grandma passed away in July 2014.

Her name is Jennie. One of the reasons my family does not have a long list of Christmas traditions is because traditions weren’t important to her. She didn’t follow rules; she made them. All she cared about was that her family was together. She called us her people, and she was and is our matriarch.

Her home was the first built on her street. That’s where we gathered, underneath the loquat tree, eating watermelon and fresh bread from the San Antonio Bakery. Her laugh. How I miss it.

There are so many stories surrounding her to tell, but I have several cousins who can tell them better, using her voice. Frankly, there are some I just want to keep to myself.

Toward the end, her health declined, but her fiery spirit never faltered. She never stopped loving life, no matter how hard it got. There were so many scares, so many times the doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the worst, and then she’d get better and come home. Typical, so typical for her to even defy mortality.

Nonetheless, the day would come, and even though none of us were ready to say goodbye, she was. I don’t know how we all fit in that one room, beside her hospital bed, but we were all there. She spoke to each of us and told us to drink water.

The morning she died, as my brother and I were preparing to head to the hospital, we had worship music playing on Pandora, and the song “I’ll Fly Away” came on. I remember we just looked at each other and knew the Lord was preparing us for her flight.

That time in the hospital, I believe it was only two to three days, there were numerous tears, but there was also so much laughter. I remember thinking, what does everyone think of us? We are so loud next to this dying woman, but we got it from her.

However, when she told us she was ready, the room grew still. She closed her eyes and resolved as a morendo.

We called the nurse, and his name was Emmanuel.

My mom asked, “Sir, do you know what your name means?”

He answered, “Yes.”

There will be dark days, days of loss and grief. However, Christmas reminds me that God desires to have an intimate relationship with each of us. Where would I be without God’s presence in my life? I yearn for His company. It is something I both want and need.

Whenever I feel alone, I remember His promise: God with us.

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“I’ll Fly Away”

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on Gods celestial shore
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Oh how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

Just a few more weary days and then
I’ll fly away
To a land where joys will never end
I’ll fly away

I’ll fly away oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away

 

 

Blogmas Day 14: A Poem

It is day 14 of Blogmas! I am sharing another poem.

I hope you all are getting that shopping done and having a merry time!

 

Does He Know

She walks in the
City snowed with
Warm light, smeared on
Wet pavement.

She peers beyond her
Taunting reflection to
Behold children caper and tug
On mothers’ and fathers’
Sleeves as they wait to greet
Santa. She wonders.

Does he know her
Christmas wish?

Blogmas Day 13: Christmas Time is Here…

Happiness and cheer!

It’s a wrap folks, I have COMPLETED my third semester in graduate school.

WHAT A RELIEF!

Yesterday, I was working on my 15 page seminar paper (15-25 but we all know that means 15). After writing 14 pages, I took a break by having dinner with my hubby and some close friends at a Chinese restaurant called Red Ginger. As we were driving to the restaurant, I kept telling my husband, “I’m almost done. I’m almost done.” I couldn’t contain my excitement. It didn’t matter which direction the conversation leaned, I always came back to the thought of reaching the finish line.

It’s hard to look forward to Christmas when you have finals to study for and papers to write. So, if you are a student and are not out of school yet, stay strong! You can do it! And if you are not a student but you know one, give that person a big hug. He or she needs it.

By the way, the restaurant’s napkins were folded to form Christmas trees! Snatch this idea up!

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xoxo

Blogmas Day 12: Oh Christmas Tree

Happy Blogmas Day 12?

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I just went to water my Christmas tree, and it fell over. I’m pretty sure the inner part of the stand detached. Luckily, the wall was there to catch it, and no ornaments were hurt in the making of this movie…er blogpost.

But, when life gives you lemons, get a bonsai tree!

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Have any Christmas mishaps occurred at your house already?

Blogmas Day 11: Christmas gifts for her or birthday gifts for me?

Happy Blogmas Day 11! We are almost halfway!

When I first googled Blogmas, I instantly came across several lists that supplied Blogmas post ideas.

The most popular idea dealt with gift giving: gifts for her, gifts for him, etc. I immediately chuckled, because I do not classify myself as a gift giver, and I certainly didn’t have any pro tips to offer on the subject.

In fact, I find Christmas stressful, because it is all about finding the perfect gifts for those you love, and it doesn’t help that I’m a procrastinator. Maybe I could be a successful gift giver if I gave myself ample time.

But if you read my Blogmas Day 9, you know I recently had a birthday. After receiving so many amazing gifts, I now feel confident that I can help myself and assist my fellow bloggers who share my struggle.

Before, I steal my friends’ great ideas. I’d just like to say that gifts aren’t everything. Although I appreciate the gifts I received, I value the friendships behind the gifts so much more. So, don’t worry if you can’t afford much or anything at all. Just remember to love a little tighter; I’m sure that’ll be more than enough.

Now, let us begin!

1. Books?

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First, I’ll begin with the book on the left. If you’ve read my very first post, you already know that Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech is my favorite book of all time. However, I have not read ANY of her other works. Although, it has been on my to do list for a long time.
I think this is a good gift, because it acknowledges what I already love, but it also pushes me to explore new things.

The book on the right, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, is a classic. The cover is aesthetically pleasing, and it has beautiful pictures inside.

But more than that, these books remind me of why I bonded with this friend in the first place. It was our love of books that drew us closer. So, think back. What was it that sparked your love and friendship?

2. Experiences

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(FYI, AMC is a movie theater)

Don’t give me a thing; give me something to do.

Whenever I’m asked, what do you want for your birthday/Christmas, I rarely have an answer. I’m not a shopper, so I don’t even know what’s out there. But, I’m always down for a night out. Homework usually keeps this student inside. So, I appreciate the incentive to get out of the house. Like yesterday, I got to enjoy Disneyland.

3. Personalized You

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Warning: If you’re an amateur like me, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying someone a piece of jewelry. We all have different tastes and styles. So, unless you really know what that person likes, I might steer clear. However, the friend who bought me this necklace is the best gift giver I know, and she did not disappoint with this gem.

I particularly value this piece, because it is personalized.

I love trees. My love for trees was actually inspired by Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moons. Oh look, we segued back to my favorite book. My favorite Bible verses also typically involve trees.

For example, Jeremiah 17:7, 8 reads, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Isn’t that powerful? I love it, and I love trees.

4. Tastes and Smells

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I’m definitely a foodie, and I am stoked to try the honey and jam. The wreath is real, and it smells DELIGHTFUL. The candle also has a gentle almond scent, and who isn’t ready to cozy up with some hot cocoa.
I like these gifts, because they activate the senses, and they are also true to this time of year. Winter will be over before we know it, so I’m happy to receive presents that help me stop and sniff the season.

Even though, I’m not advising you all to go out and buy exactly what I’ve shared, I hope something on this list inspires you!

Blogmas Day 10: A Christmas Play

We have made it to Blogmas Day 10!

When I was a little girl, my mom directed a few of the Christmas plays at our small church. At that time in my life, I was quiet and not the most outgoing kid, so I wasn’t auditioning for any roles. Until, one year they needed someone to play Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Since the play was told from the perspective of the nativity animals, Mary and Joseph didn’t have any lines. They simply had to travel to Bethlehem and stand beside the manger. Sounded easy enough, so I took the job.

While standing next to the manger, I was to hold baby Jesus, and when the play ended, I was to exit down the main aisle alongside my husband Joseph. Except, after running through the play several times, I realized something was very unfair. I was holding baby Jesus the entire time, while my husband Joseph didn’t seem to have any fatherly duties. Mind you, I was probably eight at this time.

Therefore, I proposed that I would hold baby Jesus during the manger scene. However, when the play ended, I desired to hand the child to Joseph, and we would walk out as a family. Except, Joseph wasn’t having it. He was not going to carry a doll. The disagreement between us escalated and was brought to the attention of the other cast members.

After hearing our sides, the cast explained to me that at that time in history, it was typical for the mother to care for the children. To that I responded, “There is also a sheep who orders pizza in this play, so I’m pretty sure we can bend the rules.” Ultimately, the cast dismissed me, and we moved on. However, I wasn’t through yet.

The night of the play, everything went as planned. Except, I was still determined to have Joseph carry baby Jesus when we exited. But when I went to give him the baby, he simply walked off stage. So, what did I do? I laid baby Jesus back inside his manger and left him there.

So, there we were, Mary and Joseph, on Christmas day with no baby. My mom later told me that baby Jesus was rescued by my best friend’s little sister.

Stubbornness is a funny thing. Even when you’re right, you can be wrong.

Blogmas Day 8: Frosty the Snowman

Happy Day 8 of Blogmas!

When I was two, my grandmother told me that a certain someone wasn’t real.

Now before any of you get upset, I’d just like to say that my gram is a very wonderful woman.  In fact, she greatly contributed to my Disney VHS collection growing up, and for that I owe her everything.

Nevertheless, at the time of the incident, her decision horrified my mother. (Don’t worry, they’re fine now. Everything worked out.)

But to “fix” what had transpired, my mom decided to go the Frosty the Snowman route. On Christmas mornings, I always open presents from my parents, siblings, cousins, etc. But most importantly, there is always one present signed Frosty.

We can also thank my gram for enlarging my mom’s snowman collection, and now that I’m married, I feel it is time to start my own.

This year I purchased new stockings and stocking holders from Kohls.

Aren’t these little guys just the cutest!