A few weeks ago my friend Shelly took our family photos. I can't wait to see them. She does a great job. It happens every time though. I start thinking about family photos, and I get a lump in my throat. I think about the one who is missing, and it makes me sad. I miss my Emma. We've been taking pictures of Carleigh in my wedding dress since her first birthday. We started it with Emma too. We took Carleigh's photo in the dress again this time. She's so grown up. The dress that once hung off of her and puddled all around her is fitting better and better. I can hardly stand it. Cora put on the dress for a photo too. Of course, it swallowed her. She was so funny flapping the sleeves like a bird. The last family photos we took with Emma, she just laid on the dress, because she was so uncomfortable, we didn't want to make it worse by stretching and moving her body around so she could wear the dress. I wish I had more photos of her in it.
The holidays are hard. I guess they stir up emotions I don't realize are there. I feel like I'm on the verge of tears all the time...there's a perpetual knot in my throat. I say every year that I'm going to get it together and have gifts purchased before December starts. Well, this is not the year, again. And this needed to be the year more than ever before. Between the kids' activities and extra concerts and the Christmas musical at church, we have something, at least one thing, every night between now and Christmas. Add in trying to get underwriters and make contacts and so forth for Emma's Bayou Bash, I'm feeling like I can't catch a breath. This is not how I wanted to spend the month. I wanted to do fun things with the kids like bake cookies for our neighbors and watch Christmas movies while making popcorn garland. I wanted to go ice skating and go to the Houston Zoo light festival. I've heard it's beautiful. Luke asked me this morning why someone would describe Christmas as blue. I told him when someone was blue, it meant they were down or sad. I'm feeling a little blue, I think.
The good thing is that we are enjoying our Advent time together every day--so far. It's amazing to me how God had a plan from the beginning. Our Advent scriptures started in Genesis. The sweet Heather, who did my recent blog makeover, posted a link on her blog for a free printable Advent Kit. I just love it. The Jesus Storybook Bible says, "Every story whispers His name." And it does. That's what I want this Christmas to be about...focusing more on Him, Jesus, our Messiah. I'm already worn out. I haven't finished decorating my house, haven't purchased a single gift, and don't even see an available spot on my calendar to make this adorable wreath that Tara featured on her blog. I had big plans for Carleigh and me. I might just have to take her out of school one day. I know she would love making the wreath, and I would love spending the time with her. I think that's what I'll do. Thanks for letting me talk that through.
I had my Rockwell moment the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We went to a tree farm not too far away and cut down our own tree. Luke did the honors. He's such a burly boy...love him! It's in the tree stand with lights on it, and that's about as far as I have gotten. Maybe tonight we can get the decorations on it.
|Sharpening the blade.|
|Over the river and through the woods to the Christmas tree farm we go!|
|You ring this bell, and someone comes by and loads the tree in the trailer to take it to the front. It's kind of like magic. Wish I had a bell like that at home! Only I need a cleaning crew and secretary instead of a trailer. ;)|
|A little bit more.|
|Load it up, kiddos!|
|Isn't she a cutie!?|
|Cora is so strong!|
|Don't you just love this truck!?|
|Loaded and ready to roll!|
|I kind of like it just like this.|
So, what's on your calendar this Christmas season? What are you doing to stay sane? I wish you all joy. Joy is my word for the year to come. It's a choice...one I'm intentionally making...even when I don't feel it. He is our joy. I'm clinging to Him.