Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

The time is drawing near, this most holy day of the year, when we remember the first gift of Christmas, a baby in a manger. As a child, my eyes were on the gifts under the tree, wondering if that special one would be there under the cheery Christmas wrap and ribbons.

As an adult my focus is not on the value of the gifts but on the love that went into them.

My sister, Rosanne, has spent a lot of time over several years scrapbooking the 12 Days of Christmas ornaments for all her siblings, finishing this year. What treasures of the heart they are. My favorite, a picture of me with my first horse, Pokey, embellished with stamps she had saved from previous Christmas cards of Zoe and Sadie with baby, Mollie.


Our 91 yr old church organist, Bernice, still makes her special pickles for the chosen ones because she knows how much we love them. You can tell who gets the gift packages by the look of delight on their faces as they peer inside.

We had supper with our friends, Swains, last night and daughter, Lisa had a Christmas stocking stuffed  with goodies for us and all our animals, from the kale for the chickens, to cat treats and toys, dog treats, and apples for the horses.

A special gift from our Sunday school children, who put on the story of that first Christmas morning so long ago, complete with a live Baby Jesus, who, in real life, was Lily in a red velvet dress.

The gift of time spent with family gets more precious all the time, I'm blessed with two great families and lots of friends who are family.

The gift that came back to us on Sunday night at our small church's traditional caroling party with food afterwards. I made a kettle of soup but Barb put her heart and soul into not only chili, but everything you could think of to go with it, a big basket of hot chocolate mix with 2 kinds of marshmallows, a large tray of goodies and all the bowls, napkins and spoons to eat and she does it with a smile and kind spirit. We had a very small crowd show up, it was a cold night and I was thinking, "Why do we even bother?" Then we were at the nursing home where Bruce's Aunt Vera lives, suffering the effects of a severe stroke that left her paralyzed  and not very communicative. Seeing her mouthing the words of those old, familiar carols, along with us, made me realize, 'This is why we bother.'

But the best gift I ever received is my loving husband, Bruce, who is kind and patient.

 He takes the time every day, sometimes several times, to acknowledge his faithful dog, Mollie as she expresses her sheer delight at seeing him. This is the most important part of her day and he doesn't disappoint her.

I hope your Christmas is tail-wagging great and spent with people you love.


  1. thank you Julie - beautifully said, especially re: our beloved brother as your best gift - I think vice versie honey!! I'm also so glad you went caroling and that Aunt Vera was responsive to you all.....much love, CG

  2. Exactly the reason why I started up the Christmas Caroling at our church, with soup afterward! There is nothing that feels as good as seeing those people in nursing home smile, sing along, tap their foot, etc all along with the carols that we sing. It brings a tear to my eye every single year. I never realized what Caroling did...till I was at Mayo hospital right before Christmas, in 1998. Feeling so sorry for myself that I was likely to be "stuck" in a hospital and moping around... then I heard a group of carolers walking down the hospital ward/hallway. I came to my doorway as they paused and sang 2-3 songs to myself and the person in the room next to mine. How uplifting! It made my mindset to be that God had me and if I had to be at the hospital it was OK..... but at that moment it was like God himself told me, its all OK. Don't worry. I cried for about an hour after that, and ever since, have tried to join a caroling group, or start one myself. It made my night. My only hope is that I can be one to make another feel like I did on that December night in 1998.

  3. How wonderful that Vera responded..that brought a tear to me and then I read these comments and nodded my head. Feel the same!!

  4. I too got teary reading the Vera was mouthing the words! How wonderful that you were there to see it and bring such joy to the residents. Nursing homes are never full enough with loved one's during the holidays. I'm sure she was so glad you were there. :) And I also love what you said about Brucie. What a wonderful gift you are to each other, and all of us!!