First, one year ago YESTERDAY, Dave proposed to me. Such a happy day for us, and personally for me, such a day of God's redemption and grace. Saying yes and marrying him was the best decision I have ever made! I bet that as years go on, I won't always remember this date (as its not our real anniversary), but I sure hope I do-- it's a good reminder that life can change in a year. On December 20, 2011, I was heading home for the holidays and had gone through a few different failed dating relationships in the past 18 months....and I was thinking I will never meet the right guy. I met him a couple weeks later. On December 20, 2012, we get engaged. And on December 20, 2013, we are happilly married and living in DC (getting ready to go home for Christmas!) How much life can change in a year!!! (always a thought I hope to remember when discouraged -- things usually get easier or better with time!) You can read our love story HERE.
I thought I'd share a few Christmas and non-Christmas articles that I've recently read that were encouraging or fun.
- Dissapointment at Christmas
- Buying Kids Presents at Christmas (I am not saying I agree with the whole thing, but I love a lot of what she says: Her kids don't get gifts because they are "good", they get gifts because she loves them and wants to give gifts and also because she wants her daughter to learn to give with generosity)
- Why you should eat the cookie
- Pregnant with Christmas
- BOLD Prayer lists
- God of the Impossible -- and my thoughts on the topic
- Jesus is for those that hate Christmas (and for those who are just suffering through it this year or any other year)
- Christian Christmas Grinches
Also, along the way, we've had a few Christmas parties and I thought I'd share pictures :) One night, Dave was sick so we skipped a couple parties and spend the night in, watching a holiday flick and decorating a gingerbread house. I tend to get mopey as the holidays come to an end-- there is always a whole lot more that I wanted to accomplish compared to what I did accomplish. I wanted to see the lights at the zoo, go to a Christmas play, walk around Old Town Alexandria and see the decorations, go ice skating in Georgetown, etc. But, there were really only 3 weeks of Christmas before we flew home...and one was spent on our weekend getaway. Not too much time to get things done. However, I am grateful for the fun things we did do....curling up on a snowy day to watch Christmas movies by the tree, managing to send out our holiday cards on time, enjoying the lights that we did get to see, celebrating with friends, listening to Holiday music and making a few Christmas sugary treats, doing our advent devo daily. It's been a good year -- and things I have failed to do this year will just be done next year....many more Christmases to start many new traditions (and keep old traditions as well!)
Dave's Office Party in Middleburg at Red Fox Inn
My office party in Georgetown at the Ritz Carlton
Our Community Group party at our apt.
The architect at work (My side is very planned out, his is very artsy and free form -- typical!)
Finally, I saved the best news for last...we are going to home sweet Mississippi TODAY. We've been counting down -- it's been 5 months for me and 6 for Dave. It is my belief that Mississippi is one of America's best kept secrets. We know that some of our history is bad, but at the same time, many many people (of all races) in Mississippi will love you, welcome you and talk your ear off! I sure miss the South and am eager for a week at home. We have a busy busy week ahead with the annual game night (with my family and 2 other families), caroling, Tacky Christmas at the deer camp, family Christmas and Christmas Eve traditions, seeing friends and a wedding of 2 sweet friends! I'm so excited to go home tomorrow, but I am almost a little sad to be going because I know we've been looking forward to this week and the week will go too quickly, ha!
How special to go home at Christmas. My friend Emily posted these words on Facebook the other day (from the advent readings by John Piper which are wonderful!).
"Do you feel restless for home? [Coming home for the holidays] feels good. I think the bottom line reason why it feels good is that [we] are destined in the depths for an ultimate Homecoming. All other homecomings are foretaste. And foretastes are good. Unless they become substitutes. O, don't let all the sweet things of this season become substitutes of the final, great all-satisfying Sweet...ness. Let every loss and every delight send your hearts a-homing after heaven. Christmas. What is it but this: I came that they might have LIFE? ... That you & I might have LIFE, now and forever. Make your Now the richer and deeper this Christmas by drinking at the fountain of FOREVER. It is so near."
I've been reflecting on this all week. Other than coming home from college, I've never had a holiday "homecoming". All of my post school life until now, I have lived an hour away from my parents - and have celebrated with them all season, so this year I have tried to reflect on how my eagerness to go home (including our countdown!) reveals my even greater need and desire for an ultimate homecoming!! Isn't it wonderful how all the sweet and wonderful feelings and experiences during the holidays are good in and of themselves AND good because they point us to eternal everlasting concepts?