And I am by myself.
I don’t know if I’ve truly been by myself for longer than to take a shower for the almost three weeks since the wedding, and even the week before as we were preparing and a whole slew of family congregated to celebrate with us here in the desert.
We’ve experienced the whole gamete of emotions…these days have been the most magical, foggy, tiring, exhilarating, packed, and beautiful days on record for us and although I’m so sad that Schedule is wrapping it’s firm grip around us once more, I am anxious to try to debrief and articulate in writing all the things that have gone on around here.
I am not ready to pack away Christmas! Perhaps that’s why it’s still surrounding me in half-packed boxes. Usually I cannot put it all away fast enough but this year I wish I could hold on just a little longer. Maybe that’s what happens when you wedge a wedding into the Christmas season. It’s hard to give equal time to both. Yet at the same time I loved mixing in that grand celebration…the birth of a new family for my son right along with the celebration of the birth of the One who saves us. Who makes us whole. Who was born in that little stable all those years ago filled with forgiveness and love and Godliness to overcome our human-ness. There were so many beautiful things about weaving those two together. (But, dear daughters of mine, try not to get any ideas. Can you guys please plan to aim for a spring wedding? And can you wait for at least ten years? Ok, thank you 😉
We had seven of the nine siblings on my side…:
…and seven of the nine on Dave’s side all here for the wedding:
…plus both sets of grandparents, not to mention Abby’s extended family who it was so great to meet and get to know. My brother and his three kids came from NYC, my sister and her baby came from London (you guys rock!), Dave’s sister and her brand-newly-returned-from-Spain-missionary were here.
It was a giant party.
For a lot of days.
And we were SO grateful for them all as well as the calls and prayers from those who couldn’t make it and all the beautiful support from friends and cousins and so many loved ones who showed up to drop off a meal or pick up Lucy for a playdate or offer their services at the drop of a hat. We are surrounded by such goodness, including the angels (talked about in the last post HERE) who I felt their presence over and over again.
It was a pretty happy day.
And then, once the wedding wrapped up it was on to Christmas. With some family who stayed with us to celebrate that as well. We crammed in all the celebration we could, including two Jerusalem Suppers and all the traditions we could, added to because my family was here. And then Max and Abby were back from their honeymoon, so happy and glowing. We had some precious hours together, just our family before Elle took off for Spain and we took off to Utah to help our married kids (!) move into their first apartment and to be with family up there. Because, you know, you can never get quite enough family time 🙂
Claire and Grace came home from that and Dave, Lucy and I headed to Wisconsin for some doctor appointments. Lucy is going to be part of phase three of a clinical trial that is encouraging and also a little scary for us…and we were trying to get all situated for that. That will have to be a another post all of it’s own because there are a lot of details and emotions wrapped up in that whole deal as well.
Meanwhile, Elle’s been in Spain and Portugal (she’s still there), and we’ve loved getting pictures like this popping up in our phones:
Plus the volleyball season starts on Thursday. Woo Hoo!
So, when we finally arrived HOME on Friday night it felt so good to be back…although I was still not ready to take down Christmas. I wish that feeling could last a little longer.
When I was younger my parents instigated an idea where they’d bring out a little lit-up Christmas tree every Sunday. Or was it one Sunday a month? I cannot remember, but the idea was to try to keep that velvety Christmas mood going longer than just the month of December. I don’t think it was a long-lived idea, but maybe we should try it over here. There’s nothing like those Christmas lights twinkling and the feeling of service and love that weaves it’s way into so much despite the busy-ness.
We are on to New Year’s Resolutions. (Thoughts on that coming tomorrow.) And finishing the Book of Mormon. I am still plugging along on that book. I had a goal (as encouraged by President Nelson) to finish by the new year but I decided to give myself until by birthday in a couple weeks to wrap it up. It has been a pretty beautiful experience to be speed reading through that book coupled with all the events we’ve had going around here. My mom started an email chain in the beginning for us all to keep in touch on our thoughts where we were reading and I have loved it. Then when she was in town all of us girls headed to lunch to talk through our thoughts, my teenagers included. Here is our discussion before we left:
Here that beautiful mother of mine is in the front of my sister-in-law’s sprinter leading the discussion en route to lunch:
Oh how I love those women and that book. I’ve gained such a deeper appreciation for it and the stories it holds (and also for the women I love sharing their experiences) . The acts of courage, the devastation, the bad choices mixed in with the good teach me something new every time I read.
Also, I can’t end without saying that we started our new two-hour church yesterday. (It was announced in General Conference back in October that our three-hour block would be reduced to give more time for gospel study in the home.) At first I was a little leary of that idea. I just really like going to church, all three hours. But I have to say that I LOVED yesterday. We came right home and had our own little family lesson and the ways the lessons are all set up is just so beautiful and meaningful…such great ways to build Christ more into our lives. I’m so grateful for continuing revelation.
And for a new start to weave it all into my life.