So it's late. This Christmas is almost over. I'm up waiting for my laundry to finish drying. We're spending Christmas with The Studly Muffin's Family. And tomorrow we are planning to drive the 4.5 hours back home. Not a bad trip. But have you ever noticed that wherever you are your dirty laundry is bound to follow? What's up with that! One would think that at least I could have a vacation from my laundry. The Studly Muffin is up with me. Though he isn't doing laundry...He's watching a marathon of old Andy Hardy movies.
Christmas this year was really special. It is every year, but I don't even have proof this year. I am still searching high and low for my camera battery charger. I think it must have packed up and moved. I would too if I lived with me. But as it is necessary for me to blather randomly about nothing, I will give you a few favorite memories from our Christmas vacation. Thus far.
1. We started out the trip with a bang by locking our keys in the car during a potty break in some random Missouri town. Thankfully, most folks in random Missouri towns are pretty nice. We were helped out by a helpful gas station employee, a local cop and a very inexpensive locksmith. The whole episode took about 20 minutes. I got to do some browsing in the small, but entertaining gas station gift section. I didn't buy anything, but I sure was tempted. I found a ceramic piece of a hillbilly trying to fish with dynamite. I'm pretty sure they modeled this fella after one of my relatives.
2. My precious father-in-law broke his foot. Yep. He stepped out on the porch, slipped on an icy rug and went flying. I will have to say that I never would wish anything like that on him (or anyone), but he was really a trooper. He worried about all of us having to wait on him. Considering that it is usually me who manages to wind up with some sort of bodily injury, strange disease or calamity I was kind of relieved to wait on somebody else if needed. Of course, we still have about an hour until Christmas is officially over. I wonder if I need to worry about this tic in my left eye.
3. The Studly Muffin comes from a military family (he spent 4 years in the Air Force, himself). They are pretty laid back about it, but I suggest that you don't insult the Air Force in their hearing. We visited the base twice. Which means we had to visit the BX. Now that is my kind of mall. They have just a little bit of something, but not enough to wear me out or give me too many choices. It is a different world, however, for someone who doesn't have a military background. They have a whole store just for military clothing. Not a spot of red or purple in the whole place. And then there is the salon that gives military haircuts for $10. I don't imagine they do pink foils. If you live in an area that has a military base I would encourage you to give those folks who serve an extra smile every once in a while. They are really special people.
4. The food during the holidays. Need I go further? Let's just say I'm not quite ready to admit my eating failures. We'll see how well I did when I get home and step on the scale. I'm about ready to pass around a petition for outlawing pie at family gatherings. Not that I could get anyone to sign it. The traitors.
5. Spending time with family is always special. These are all family members who we don't get to see all the time. We went to church, watched Christmas movies, played games, ate more food than is necessary and did last minute shopping. This last minute Christmas shopping stuff makes me twitchy. I think you all are crazy. Is it bad that I am considering doing all my shopping next year via computer? Don't get me wrong. I love to give gifts. It's just that I value my sanity. And my limbs. There were certain moments I was tempted to stop and yell..."Everybody drop what your holding. Ya'll need a time out!"
6. All families have special traditions. We tend to have a bit of a smorgasbord of traditions. Because we alternate holidays between our families we just kind of do what that particular group is doing. Over the years it's become a melting pot of every one's traditions. troy's side is pretty predictable. My sister-in-laws makes a blueberry sausage cake. We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. We open up one present at a time. My side of the family are bit more sophisticated. We just start throwing presents out and everybody starts a free for all. None of that waiting around stuff. When it's all over we are left with piles of wrapping paper, bows and happy kids. Of course, there has been a year or two that we've had to search the trash again for a accidentally tossed present or kid.
7. Of course, the most special memories can't really be voiced into one particular event. Instead they can be summed up in feelings. The awe and reverence felt during the Christmas Eve candlelight service. The intense love for your husband while seeing him in a tender moment with his parents. How loved I feel after seeing the generosity of my family towards us. The feeling of contentment watching the Christmas tree lights reflect on a shiny ornament. The satisfaction of a hot cup of peppermint tea.
8. I got some wonderful gifts. Jewelry, gift cards, bath lotion, some fuzzy socks, a few clothes. I got way to much, but I received it all with thankfulness (and glee). Dangly earrings make me happy. The Studly Muffin bought me some cute sweats....with sparkles! Does this man know me or what? Now I can be sparkly and comfy. I am tempted just to wear them the rest of the winter. I am a blessed girl.
Mostly, I am so blessed to know My Savior. We all whine about the commercialization of Christmas. But truthfully, Christmas is what you make of it. So right now (as I get ready to go get my load of laundry out of the dryer) I am savoring the Season. We have the assurance to know that we serve a Big God. An awesome God. I am convicted when I think of how busily I live my life. It's not just at Christmas that He desires my love, but all year long. Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Think of the wonderful love He has for us. It's not just a "one day a year kind of love." It is forever. And that, my friends, is the best gift of all.