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The lost bouquet

 

 The Lost Bouquet by Frugalista Blog, wedding, anniversaries, marriage, bridal

 

If you’re like me, you pretty much obsessed over every wedding detail since you were five.

Of course, by the time I was 25 things changed. Like, I wasn’t going to have a horse-drawn carriage or a dress with a hoop skirt. The 80s of my childhood consisted of a lot of Princess Diana wedding dreams. Then my teens and early twenties took me to an obsession with Jackie Kennedy. So much so that I found a very similar wedding dress like the one she wore when she married John.

And in my typical fashion, it was on sale!

That’s pretty much where my Jackie Kennedy vision ended. Except for the wrist length gloves and strand of pearls I wore. But there were no dignitaries, senators, or heads of state at our wedding. And we also had a budget, so no old Bouvier money to pay for the jazz band I ordered.

I found a florist that I simply fell in love with. She created a ‘Martha Stewart’ type portfolio of lush foliage. And actually, Martha Stewart had only just started her Weddings empire in the early 90s, so all of this seemed ahead of its time. I kept in mind the orange blossom and narcissus flowers Jackie had used, but I also had a theme of hydrangeas throughout. Hydrangeas everywhere!

When we headed out for pictures the morning of the wedding with my bridesmaids, I was tucked in the backseat of my dear friend, Melissa’s Subaru Outback. My dress spilling over me, I dare not move, but the flowers had arrived and I wanted to see my bouquet. She brought it to me in the car and I carried it on my lap in its delicate cool-petaled glory. It was fragrant and felt just the right weight in my hand. I arrived at the park that had the rose garden we reserved  for pictures and for my groom to get his first glimpse of his bride.

It all went perfectly well. The clouds hung over us like they were about to rain, but held off, not sprinkling but creating a reflective veil of lighting for the photographer.

I felt fabulous in my dress. I felt terribly uncomfortable in my shoes! But that’s another story. They sure were adorable. Everyone looked beautiful. I held on to my bouquet tightly. It was an anchor for the day. Giving me something to do with my hands, drawing me in to its delicate, sweet scent. Scent is a powerful thing. It settles back in our ole factory glands and burns itself in our memory vault.

I had the florist make a mini bouquet for the bouquet toss at the reception. It was a sweet little nosegay of similar flowers so I could spare my bouquet and have it as a keepsake.

By the end of the festivities and cake cutting, garter throwing and first dances, so much was happening and time was running out to get changed and to our honeymoon suite. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I didn’t want it to end, but the clock kept ticking and even though I wasn’t going to turn into any pumpkins, we had to keep a schedule. I knew my bridal party would look after all the cleanup and details that bridal parties do. All our bouquets were on the cake table to add to the floral decor. I needed to change and run off with my husband for our wedding night. Things like where to store my petticoats and paying the caterer were left to all my ladies in waiting of moms, aunts, bridesmaids, sisters, etc. I knew things would be handled.

The next day at my parent’s house was a wedding breakfast. An all day open house that gave us time to soak up each others company and bask in the post wedding glow. For friends and family that traveled from afar to be with us, this was an extra special day that gave us that time to share without so much of the craziness of the previous day’s events.

I saw many of the centerpieces from the reception displayed throughout my mom’s living room and patio.

“Where’s my bouquet?” I asked her.

After going through each and every box, vase and display, my bouquet wasn’t anywhere. Not one of my bridesmaids remembers picking it up.

Strange, because most of the flowers made it back to my parent’s house. How could this particular piece not?

I didn’t get too upset over it. Heck. Lots of things could have gone awry for the occasion and that was such a minor thing. So many of my cherished people were working so hard to make this day a success, what was a little detail like ‘we lost the bride’s bouquet’ going to really add up to in the end?

Anyway, we had a two week honeymoon ahead of us to New England to see the sights of Cape Code, Vermont and the shores of Maine. There wasn’t any need to worry about some dumb flowers.

After returning from my honeymoon, I still needed to get some last few personal belongings from my apartment I shared with my roommate, also a bridesmaid. I let myself in when she was at work, and packed up my final box of whatever. I noticed her bridesmaid’s bouquet sitting on a side table. It was drying and looked like a still life reminder of the fabulous event that had just happened two weeks prior. I felt a let-down of sorts.

It was over. All the planning and dreaming, magazine clippings, dress shopping, fantasizing was done. I had had my wedding that I wanted. It was a dream come true.

I was jealous I didn’t have a bouquet of my own drying on an end table.

One year later, celebrating our first anniversary, we had planned a weekend getaway to Victoria, B.C. We were going to visit the gardens and have high tea. It would give us that feeling of the wedding that took place among the gardens and flowers a year prior.

The night before we were to leave as we’re packing, James tells me to close my eyes and he wants to give me my present.

I’ve had presents and surprises from him before. Mountain bikes. Hmm, that didn’t go over well. Ice cream cakes. Okay, sweet, but I’m lactose intolerant. I figured this would be something charming and funny in his typical style.

I didn’t cheat. I kept my eyes shut. But I could smell it before I could see it. The fragrance hit the back of my sensory triggers and brought me all the way back to the beautiful day a year before when I married this man.

There was my bouquet. Not the same one from the wedding, but an exact replica he had the florist recreate.

I cried.

Its petals were cool and soft. It had the same weight of the first one, anchoring me in place as a bride. Orange blossom, freesia, roses and narcissus wafted above.

I couldn’t stop looking at it, smelling it and holding it. Much like a little girl getting a new doll, I was enraptured with my bouquet! I also, was unbelievably overwhelmed with gratitude and fulfillment that the man I married could see into my feelings and heart so much to know this mattered to me.

It meant more than any jewelry or crystal, paper or clocks, that any anniversary list could have.

I kept that bouquet for 16 years. I only just threw it away after going through a revamp of my living room. It was disintegrating and dusty. I didn’t preserve it professionally. I didn’t need to.

I had had my fill of my flowers, I had my memories and pictures. And I had my husband who cared so much about me and understood sentimentality like I could only hope.

It was a dream come true, that I hadn’t even dreamed in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He loves me just the way I am

Recently over at Bonbon Break I wrote about some lingerie I was sent to review and I guess this got McSweetie a little bit excited. Whoa. Hold on there. Not THAT excited.

You can read the post here if you want.

He has never really complained about my lounge and sleep attire. Sure it’s mismatched, saggy, and stained with a myriad of substances, human and food related. But I’m a comfy gal. Always have been. Even in our early courting days when weekends would be spent at each other’s apartment. There we’d be over morning coffee and he would make fun of my giant ribbed orange socks. I loved those orange socks. I bought them at the Gap in 1991 with a matching orange and white striped top. Because you always bought a pair of socks to match your shirt at the Gap in the ’90s.

Those socks lasted at least until 2005 when I finally put them in the Goodwill pile. They were my favorite bedtime orange socks. But it was time they go.

Apparently, it’s also time that my pajama bottoms with ice skating penguins take a hike as well. Maybe the underwear with one too many period stains should get the heave ho. It’s hard. I get attached to my things. Even old, ragged gross things.

I have been quite content with my ‘comfortable self’ these last couple years. In fact, I think blogging has gotten me more ‘comfortable’. Because I spend a lot of time writing, I’m sitting. A lot. Let’s face it. Writing is not cardio. And eating while writing is devastating to one’s waist.

But this is not a fitness post. Nope. I can preach and preach from the mountain tops and bell towers how I am learning to love my body ‘as-is’ and you should too. I am not talking about that so much.

I’m talking about when my husband bought me a bunch of trashy lingerie lately and it made me cry.

I am not sure if I will understand how my husband’s brain works. And that’s okay. He sure as heck is not going to figure mine out either. But I’m trying to at least put myself in the lobe of his noggin that thinks, “I’m going to buy Rebecca lingerie that looks awesome on a model that is a size zero with double D boobs and it’s going to look just as fabulous on her as it does the model chick.”

It’s no secret that I don’t have double D boobs and I’m not a size zero. I like to hover around a size 6 and lately it’s been more of an 8. AND THAT’S OKAY.

BUT- trying on anything that is too small, let alone with holes strategically placed along the waist line, or see through lace in other areas, is enough to put one over the edge of a Xanax needing cliff.

McSweetie- “I got you some things.”

Me- “You did? Oh boy! What?” (this is where I hope it’s shoes, lipstick or a handbag)

Mc- “Some lingerie. Here, try it on and you can wear it tonight.”

Me- “Uhm, there’s nothing flannel or over-sized here. Where’s the fuzzy comfy stuff?”

Mc- “You have fuzzy comfy. Let’s try sexy and shiny.”

Me- “You know this won’t fit me right? It’s like tacky city here of poor quality and even worse fit. You know this right?”

Mc- “Well, I think I bought it in your size, so give it try.”  Eyes hopeful.

Later, I shaved my legs and pits, applied bronzer lotion everywhere I could and gave the garments a go.

Not one fit me. Not. One.

I was devastated. Sure, one of them looked like a banana hammock Borat wore but only in red lace. That one actually did fit better than the others. But let’s not go there.

After some time of pouting and stomping around the house obviously with a huge chip on my shoulder, he asked what was wrong.

“Nothing fits, that’s what’s wrong! You think it’s fair to make me try stuff on that is clearly made for a 22 year old who has never had children?!” I wail.

What a selfish pig! What a misogynistic asshole to think I can just conform to the rigors of what society thinks is pretty! How dare he?I am going to burn all of Frederick’s of Hollywood down to the ground for leading men on to think us women can wear this shit! Who does he think he is?

Him- “Well, I just thought you would look awesome in it. I wanted to see you in something sexy just the way you are. But if you aren’t comfortable with it, I’ll just return it.”

Me- “You will? Really? Because, maybe I can get something sexy but that fits me better and is better quality so I feel comfortable in it and want to wear it, you know?”

Him- “Sure. I would love that. I’ll just send this stuff back.”

Me- <wipes tears away> “Oh okay. Thanks babe. I love you.”

Him- “I love you too.”

AWWWWW!

And just like that I felt dumb for feeling so mad. If it was a pair of shoes that didn’t fit, or a sweater, I would have shrugged, put it back in the bag with the receipt and went about my day. But the fact that it was lingerie made this whole thing in my mind about body image that was just dumb.

HE has no problem with my body and probably wishes he could see more of it more often.

Now that the weather is warming up, he just might get his wish. Which is kind of getting me to get moving so the certain parts of me jiggle less and less as the flannel turns to cotton and the sweatshirts turn to tank tops.

I’m feeling kinda sassy like I can get it a little higher and tighter, locked and loaded. And who’s to say I might be shopping a little bit for some tasteful yet alluring intimate wear? Hmm?

After all, McSweetie is a sweetie and a very deserving one.

But let’s leave the trashy cheap satin and lace to the 22 year old’s, shall we?

 

 

He loves me just the way I am by Frugalista Blog

RTLF #22 – my kids

Way back when, before there was Owen, we considered Emma might be an only child. My pregnancy was tough with her. My post partum was no picnic either. Unless it’s a picnic where fire ants crawl in your pants, sting your crotch and wild honey badgers shred your nipples. Not pretty.

James probably had a coronary five times over stressing about the health of his wife and unborn child in a time span of 3 months. He figured we were done in the baby gestating department.

But once the baby-nesia set in, and I was ready for another, I convinced James that Emma needed a sibling. That she wasn’t going to be the token child of some sweet, middle class couple who doted on her and was totally whipped because she was the center of our universe. It was important for her to have a sibling, a counterpart in the family. And if we could grow that little cabbage patch kid ourselves, let’s give it a go.

After Emma’s second birthday, the idea of being pregnant again didn’t seem like a horrible  idea anymore. So sure enough, I got knocked up, and that baby turned out to be Owen. She had just turned 3 when he was born.

Despite the early years of whining, bickering, throttling, and basic sibling rivalry between them, we’ve turned a corner.

Every now and then the uterus spawn will do something to shock and awe you into thinking that maybe they won’t kill and hate each other forever.

This week, Emma wrote an essay on how her favorite thing to do is spend time with her brother. I think the earth stopped spinning for just a milisecond there out of shear WTFness.

The following is her words, and yes, I melted reading this.

“I have had many memories, but my favorite ones are with my brother. My most cherished moment in my life happened when I was three years old. My Oma and Opa woke me up early in the morning with smiles on their faces to tell me my brother was born.  We drove to the hospital to see the new addition to my family.  When we arrived to our destination I remember being filled with glee.  With my baby doll in my arms that I named Owen to prepare for holding the real Owen, I sat down in the big hospital chair and my father placed my brother in my arms. With the amount of tears and cameras out I knew that it was an important moment. Today, there are small moments that I cling to such as beating my brother at Mario Kart, him saying I look pretty, or even when he laughs at my joke.

Another reason why spending time with my brother is important is he has always been there for me. Two years ago I had a back injury that had me in bed for a week. During the bed rest period I was helpless and scared because I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom by myself.  One of the hard days I was really emotional and I needed cheering up. My brother, being the cute little boy he is, came up to me and handed me one of his stuffed animals. It was a giant, blue cookie monster from Sesame Street. He told me to get better soon and he loved me. His words of encouragement were just what I needed. The days of hurt went by faster and I was soon fully recovered. That was one of the many examples of Owen being by my side and helping me get through something. I loved every second of my brother’s words of wisdom.

In conclusion, spending time with my brother, Owen is my favorite thing to do because of amazing memories we have had, him always having my back and life lessons we have had together.”

 
Emma is turning this essay in today and I needed a copy of it to prove to her she did once write this. My work here is done people.

German cooking is more than Schnitzel.

What is it with food reaching into our souls?

I’m not a food blogger, and I don’t have beautiful pictures of food to go with my words that compare to a Bon Appetit spread.

But I wanted to share my mom’s talent for bringing us around the table in gastronimic harmony. My brother flies in from Chicago to have roast goose and Yorkshire pudding. My kids want to stay the night at her house just so they can eat ‘Oma’s food’. She’s the pied piper of her kin.

Mom was taught the old fashioned way. Put in the kitchen as a young girl in post World War 2 Germany with her Tante and her Oma. She watched, stirred, sliced and learned. She watched her Oma snap a chicken’s head off for Sunday’s dinner. This chicken was her pet at some point. But hey- this is post war, you’ve got to eat.

My early memories of food also consist of porridge. Porridge is what we called it growing up and what my parents call it. My dad is English, maybe this is why. I always felt like Goldilocks, but I never thought it was ‘just right’. I didn’t like porridge as a kid. But that’s what we had Monday through Friday and you ate it. No question. I couldn’t wait for the weekend when we could have cold cereal. But now I realize as an adult. My parents make really good porridge. It’s funny what you think is gross as a kid. But get used to. Then go off to eat it somewhere else and then realize, ‘hey, this is really gross, they don’t know what they’re doing.” So now I appreciate my parent’s porridge. A pinch of salt. That’s their trick. Not everyone knows this.

The majority of my memories of my mom’s cooking are good (minus the zucchini or cream of mushroom crepes she made when I was 5). Her cooking is the kind of cooking you come home for. The kind of cooking holidays center around. My German mother would make a pizza every Saturday night. She would start with making the dough. There would always be sausage on it and sometimes mushrooms, which I would only appreciate when I was about 15. I picked them off when I was 6. We would eat pizza and watch the Muppet Show every Saturday night. It didn’t need to be Italian, it was just damn good crust made by a German. She’s mastered pie crust, tart crust and bread crust. We like crusts.

Christmas was roast goose that she would flame with a splash of brandy before my dad would carve it. Oh, and my dad can carve better than Chuck Norris. I’m certain. If there was an Iron Chef carving contest- my dad would win.

Red cabbage simmered with apples and vinegar. So German. So good with goose gravy. Goose gravy that she would make for days before with all the giblets and whatnot that comes inside the carcass in that little paper baggy that 80% of Americans throw away, I’m sure. Mashed potatoes mashed only to the brink of fluffy. Not too much so they get gluey. Another mistake of most cooks. Cream, butter, onions. The trifecta of all good things made in the kitchen. Julia Child style.

What’s strange is my mom can cook really good Thai food too. How funny is that? She rarely makes (make that never) speatzle, she says it’s too much work to make. She doesn’t do schnitzle much either. But everything she does has her signature. The signature of decades in the kitchen and knowing what the heck you’re doing. She can make gravy that is rich and dark and poultry that is tender and not cooked a minute passed to the point of dryness. White meat that doesn’t need the gravy. But to not pour it over everything would be a crime because the gravy is so good.

Making Christmas dinner at my house this year, I was searing the prime rib to put in the oven; and I felt confident in my abilities. I thought, everything I do in the kitchen is because I watched my mom, ate her food, asked her questions and now I can do the same for my family. It’s really a bonus when I teach her something she didn’t know. Maybe she just pretends she doesn’t know to make me feel good. I stepped aside though for her to make the Yorkshire pudding and the gravy. Why try to paint Monet when Monet is standing there with a paint brush?

I think people who can cook well,  have an intuition, an instinct that can’t be learned from books or classes. I think they are people in day to day life that listen, care and are compassionate to humanity (except Gordon Ramsey, he blows this theory wide). How else would they know to fluff a meringue to perfection, slice plums for a cake, season green beans like summer in a bowl? There’s a nuance that is captured between the food, the cook and who they cook for. It might be love. Yes, it’s love for sure when it comes from mom.

Yep, that's mom and me slaving over the dinner. WIth Champagne.

Ahh, the sublime Yorkshire pudding. An English staple perfected by a German. It's not really a pudding, more like a pancake. Leftovers taste good in the morning with syrup. Who am I kidding? What leftovers?

Have you hugged your monkeys today?

There used to be a bumper sticker that read, “Have you hugged your children today?” Kind of silly when you think, well, of course I have! But maybe the day has gotten away from you, you’ve been at work, meetings, running them back and forth to their practices, and low and behold, it’s time for them to go to bed, and have you really, I mean REALLY hugged them?

Today is the day for the Anthony Strauss funeral. I will not be attending for a number of reasons. One being, I’m sick. Nothing like a sinus head ache to go with the ugly cry. I send that family my prayers of support.

The post I wrote last week Heartbreak and Parenting. There is not one without the other. has been my MOST visited post ever. Obviously it hits a nerve with so many of us.

I’m often stuck betwixt the sublime sentimental, and the irreverent ridiculousness. But today is really a day for sentiment.

There is nothing worse in life than a child’s funeral. It goes against life’s order.

My friend’s son’s funeral a few years ago had a beautiful video presentation of his life. There wasn’t a dry eye in that auditorium. I’ll never forget the opening song to that video, from The Dixie Chicks, Godspeed, a lullaby to a little boy. It really says it all:

Dragon tales and the “water is wide”
Pirate’s sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

The rocket racer’s all tuckered out
Superman’s in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, will find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears “Amen,” wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Godspeed
Godspeed
Godspeed
Sweet dreams

Godspeed little Anthony. Bless and keep those who love and miss you.

Heartbreak and parenting. There is not one without the other.

Warning- this post gets preachy, sentimental, and down right tearful. Some sing through their sadness, paint or go running. I write. So read and bear with me. Get a latte, a cocktail, whatever- this is going to take awhile.

I gripe a lot about my children, and my poor husband. But the reality is, I could not live without them. And I hope I never have to. With that said, I have seen a lot of heartache from parents I know. Losing a child is THE most devastating part of life I can think of. And anyone who knows someone who has lost, thinks, “Gosh, I’m guilty of thinking, Glad it’s not my kid. But how horrible for them.”

I was originally going to write about the upcoming anniversary of our friends’ daughter’s passing, Siona Shah. She went to be an angel on New Years Day 2011. As a community and neighborhood we were heartbroken for this family’s loss. Siona bravely battled Leukemia and was only 6 when she died. Her parents, Nigam and Reshma and her older brother, Sohil, like to talk about her passion for purple, her love of princesses, unicorns, the color pink and butterflies. We climbed the Columbia Tower to raise money for LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) and dozens of people ran with Team Siona in the Rock n Roll marathon to raise money for LLS. I have a new found respect and admiration for the Be the Match Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Both organizations were there for Siona and her family. I know many lives have been touched and maybe saved because of her legacy. My heart is always with you Shahs.

But then this week of holiday happiness between Christmas and New Year’s, when kids are playing with their toys, parents are trying to gain headway on the mess, and looking forward to when school starts again- a sad stream of Facebook statuses was coming through my feed. A little 10 year old boy had accidentally strangled himself with a necktie and his family was praying for him to come through. For two days they kept a prayerful vigil at Harborview, our renowned trauma hospital in Seattle. Hundreds of people prayed for his recovery, there were rosaries, vigils and masses said for him. But to everyone’s dismay, he passed on Thursday to be with his Lord. Little 10 year old Anthony Strauss was now an angel. But what some of us knew, he is joining his sister Gloria, an angel who passed before him.

Little Gloria Strauss’ story was covered in our Seattle Times in the months before she died of a rare, incurable cancer. Many grew to be fond of Gloria, prayed for her and her parents, her then 6 siblings. She passed away at age 11 in 2007. Her family knew she was now an angel. No question. They set up a non-profit to help others going through grief and loss. To lift them in prayer, hope and faith. The way their family, church and friends did for them.

Now they face it all over again. To grieve over their child. What good could come of this? How could God let this happen?

I don’t know.

But this I do know. We have the power to reach each other. To send whatever we can, whether it’s money, prayers, sympathy. There is always death and sadness. There is always birth and joy. Without one, there isn’t another. So we cry, we comfort, we carry on.

And most importantly- we love our kids no matter how crazy they drive us. The night I found out Anthony died- (I didn’t know this boy, to be clear, but the power of Facebook makes you feel like you know perfect strangers.) I was ready to shake my kids and tell them to please go away to their rooms. Let me be and not bother me. I was exhausted, irritated and completely done for. It was about 10 pm. Then I went on Facebook and saw the tremendous grief a family was feeling over not having their boy to run, jump on the furniture, pester his sister, terrorize the cat and ask his mom a million different questions. And I thought- they would trade places with me in a heartbeat.

So I went upstairs, hugged my children, rubbed their backs while they lay in their beds. Kissed their mussed up, sweaty hair. And blessed them each for being there. I thanked God for this. And went downstairs and cried to James.

I have blog readers in Australia, the UK, Asia and of course, the US. If you’d like to reach out to the Strauss family, share their story or  help make a difference, I’ve included several links. And gosh darn, just hug and squeeze those crazy monkeys in your life!

Gloria’s Angels

Be the Match Foundation

St. Jude’s Hospital

St. Jude’s Fundraising page

Silently, the wondrous gift is given

Often with the stress of Christmas, the pressures of getting it all done, I forget what’s important. I know, I’ve probably griped about Christmas more than raved about it. And no, I’m not a Grinch. I just like complaining. (Ask James and see Pet Peeves) But really, remembering what’s important, is truly the reason for the season.  This sounds so cliche, I know. Blah, blah, blah the meaning of Christmas is more than presents. I get it. When disappointment sets in I remember this- I have my presents already.

They are, my two incredible children and my extremely tolerant, devoted husband.

The other day I dropped the kids off at the library entrance while I went to park the car. I watched them walk hand in hand inside the building, chatting kindly to each other. I practically burst into tears at the sight of this. For multiple reasons- first, they weren’t punching each other; second, they are the most incredible beings that have walked this planet. Yes, I’m biased.

Now for my husband:

When I was in college, before I met James, I used to pray every day for God to send me a husband. Does that sound a little too Doris Day for you? I know. But it’s true. So single ladies out there, light your candles and say your prayers and you too will get hitched to a swell guy like I did. Okay, just kidding. This isn’t a 1950′s article on how to land a husband.

This is my tome of gratitude. My testimony to all that is good in my life. And how I must not forget how much I waited and wanted it, and now I have it. MY family. I knew that one day, my prayers would be answered. That I would have the person in my life to share my tomorrows, my todays, my children, my everything.  It was my faith that told me that.

I get all weepy when I listen to my Sarah Maclachlan’s Christmas CD. I’ll be in the car by myself, singing along and always tear up with Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

If you’re a Christian, this is the part of Christmas you accept. If you’re not a Christian, then this is the part of Christmas you scratch your head at, or maybe just dismiss altogether. And I know my previous post on Christmas and the Winter Solstice makes this post seem like a paradox, or just plain hypocrisy since I explained the Romans were all about their toga party and the Puritans banned the whole thing. And I wrote that folks should celebrate how they want. I still believe that is true. But I am a Christian, and my reason for celebrating Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

I know that there’s a lot of cynics when it comes to Christmas. Back in the 60s even Charlie Brown was jaded by the whole true meaning of Christmas. This was 50 years ago! We haven’t improved at all since then.

So, I still cling to the belief that Christmas is silver bells, Jimmy Stewart, the Virgin Mary AND that little baby, lowly in a manger. It may be naive of me, childish, or just completely based on that thing called, FAITH.

So every Christmas Eve that I have the privilege of sitting under my tree, candles lit, children tucked in, presents under the tree, James sitting in the other room on his laptop (come on, what did you expect?) and the feeling that I get to do this all over again, my heart is truly full.  Thank you baby Jesus.

Silently, the wondrous gift is given

Often with the stress of Christmas, the pressures of getting it all done, I forget what’s important. I know, I’ve probably griped about Christmas more than raved about it. And no, I’m not a Grinch. I just like complaining. (Ask James and see Pet Peeves) But really, remembering what’s important, is truly the reason for the season.  This sounds so cliche, I know. Blah, blah, blah the meaning of Christmas is more than presents. I get it. When disappointment sets in I remember this- I have my presents already.

They are, my two incredible children and my extremely tolerant, devoted husband.

The other day I dropped the kids off at the library entrance while I went to park the car. I watched them walk hand in hand inside the building, chatting kindly to each other. I practically burst into tears at the sight of this. For multiple reasons- first, they weren’t punching each other; second, they are the most incredible beings that have walked this planet. Yes, I’m biased.

Now for my husband:

When I was in college, before I met James, I used to pray every day for God to send me a husband. Does that sound a little too Doris Day for you? I know. But it’s true. So single ladies out there, light your candles and say your prayers and you too will get hitched to a swell guy like I did. Okay, just kidding. This isn’t a 1950′s article on how to land a husband.

This is my tome of gratitude. My testimony to all that is good in my life. And how I must not forget how much I waited and wanted it, and now I have it. MY family. I knew that one day, my prayers would be answered. That I would have the person in my life to share my tomorrows, my todays, my children, my everything.  It was my faith that told me that.

I get all weepy when I listen to my Sarah Maclachlan’s Christmas CD. I’ll be in the car by myself, singing along and always tear up with Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given.
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

If you’re a Christian, this is the part of Christmas you accept. If you’re not a Christian, then this is the part of Christmas you scratch your head at, or maybe just dismiss altogether. And I know my previous post on Christmas and the Winter Solstice makes this post seem like a paradox, or just plain hypocrisy since I explained the Romans were all about their toga party and the Puritans banned the whole thing. And I wrote that folks should celebrate how they want. I still believe that is true. But I am a Christian, and my reason for celebrating Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

I know that there’s a lot of cynics when it comes to Christmas. Back in the 60s even Charlie Brown was jaded by the whole true meaning of Christmas. This was 50 years ago! We haven’t improved at all since then.

So, I still cling to the belief that Christmas is silver bells, Jimmy Stewart, the Virgin Mary AND that little baby, lowly in a manger. It may be naive of me, childish, or just completely based on that thing called, FAITH.

So every Christmas Eve that I have the privilege of sitting under my tree, candles lit, children tucked in, presents under the tree, James sitting in the other room on his laptop (come on, what did you expect?) and the feeling that I get to do this all over again, my heart is truly full.  Thank you baby Jesus.