This Christmas was different than the last 3 years. Different-eR. It was special because of quite a few things. This is our first Christmas, living in the Portland area, since 2002…the year Braylon was born.
No travel plans to make for us – only the ones made for my incredible in-laws to join us at the home we just moved into. This place amazes me…and the fact that God, in his grace, made it possible for us to rent it and share it with many family members this week. It is humbling, sometimes surreal. The fact that He made this possible and has blessed Ricky’s business as much as He has since July, just makes me shake my head & smile with satisfaction. Yes, he loves me that much. He promises that if we delight ourselves in Him, he will give us the desires of our heart (~Ps. 37:4). We have… and He has. Room for the kids to run and play, an open white & cheery kitchen, a garage, a neighborhood with friendly people and park close by, a backyard, all appliances, and owners that are incredibly easy to work with and talk to. These are just a few of those desires of my heart, which He has given.
Glory to God, always faithful to His word.
C H R I S T M A S 2010
Before I forget, here are some details of our December.
Music Scene: The 12th, I got to sing several songs at Horizon Community’s annual concert. This year, they were What Child is This, Go Tell It (a duet with the beautiful Brooklynne Levasa) and I Believe, the finale, which was originally sung by my favorite blues musician of all time, Mr. Jonny Lang. On the 17th, I sang at a cute modern cafe called ‘Cloud 7’ in the Pearl. Two songs: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (blues style) and Silent Night (a capella style) w/a great, young performer, Ms. Sarah Billings & her extremely talented band, complete w/keys, guitar, drums, bass, & even a sweet sax player. SO fun. My family all came and supported me, even for just two songs. What a great night.
The Move: The next day, we finished painting in the new place on Morgan Ct., & we MOVED! Fresh colors on the walls and our own things inside this house really made it seem like home almost straight away. My mom was so helpful! Providing labor (painting the bedrooms), hugs, housewarming gifts and coffee as needed…all week long.
The next day, I was singing again at church; this time blessed by Pastor Kenny who gave me the opportunity to do my bluesy Christmas song, “This Jesus”, a personal one I wrote last year in Texas, about how even though miracles happened more frequently around the time of Christ’s birth, we can still pray for & expect them, even now.
Family Together: On the 20th, I just ran around town and did some last minute shopping for food and a few small gifts. The Pilands flew into PDX that night…and Ricky let Braylon stay up and go with him to pick them up, even w/an 11:15pm arrival. He said when Braylon saw Gamma at the gate, he ran full steam ahead toward her, jumped up on her in a huge hug with all limbs hanging on, nearly knocking her over! I guess he missed her. 🙂 It’d been since May or June. Too long. But not as long as Kim had gone without seeing them…14 months. Way, WAY too long! Kim, Clint, Aaron & Ali made the 7-hr drive (but it really took about 9 due to central WA snow) to visit & stay w/us. All 4 of ’em piled into Angel’s room. It may be a little close for comfort, but it works!
On the 23rd, the 8 of us along with Jeremy, Jamie, Riley & Tyler all gathered and talked and laughed and ate a delicious meal together, then opened gifts and then indulged in some sweets, played a game, talked more, & just enjoyed each other’s company. I was concerned about providing & preparing the food for so many, but we all chipped in and helped. Janis and her meal-plan she devised with me saved the week from stress. It’s actually been fun to make meals.
My Side of the Fam: Christmas Eve was spent with my parents and sister’s family, as was Christmas morning (at Charity’s home)…LOTS of fun. I just LOVE them!
As much as we tried to go away from a big ‘ol load of gifts, you can only not-contribute so much – and then when you’re at family members’ homes, you just gotta do what they’re all doing, I guess. Not that gift-giving is wrong or bad. I love giving. I think we just want to move away from spending and focusing on the monetary gifts. Our goal as we’ve been more convicted lately, is to focus a bit more each year, on worship and Jesus and giving to people outside our lil family…like to those who have serious needs. This is what the Lord has been speaking to us. We will be able o use it as a more true teaching moment for our kids and help them to keep their perspective in the right place so that when they have kids, they can learn and celebrate the true meaning of this season, much more than generations past. Rick & I think that if we all did these things (give more but spend less, serve more as a family, & engage in full worship together, during the Christmas season, it would glorify Jesus more, as he is worthy to be praised. We want to do that in the future. As I type this even now, a Pandora commercial came on for Compassion International suggesting to give a gift of a chicken to a family who needs the eggs. “Go to www.compassion.gifts.com“. That’s one thing – one example of what I mean. I love that idea!
Back to the Bebb home get-together…we had a blast and enjoyed our time, ate roast beef – which my mom did perfectly! My mashed potatoes, KFC’s gravy, fruit-,spring- and jello-salads, and more. It was different and delectable. This morning’s feast was traditional for the Bebb’s (@ the Stewarts) including her famous Santa Pancakes (pics to come), hammy eggs, bacon, sausage & a gorgeously gooey monkey-bread masterpiece inside her glass covered cake-dish. Drool – on – keyboard…wiping up now.
It has been amazing to spend so much of the last week or so with so many loved ones – that physical element and proximity make such a difference. The hugs and kisses and games and tickles and photos taken and cooking together and eye contact – these things are all so special. Simply special. They are reminders to me of how good our God is.
That was about it.
I will write later about how we told Angel that Santa’s ‘misfit’ elf, Hermie, came down our chimney and left us a loaf of wonderfully baked cranberry orange bread, ginger bread cookies and pastries.
As for now, I am BEAT! A good beat.
A blessed beyond belief beat.