I know, it's been a while since the last post. But things are relatively good, and I've been fairly busy, too.
Shopping: not nearly the headache-inducing experience that it normally can be. I did most of it in one weekend (last weekend, just before Christmas), and I got pretty much everything I needed without stepping foot in a mall! That's now at least 8 years of a mall-free Christmas! WAHOO! I bargain-shopped like a madwoman, and came out pretty good. I also included some gift cards because I knew that's what some of my recipients wanted. So it all worked out.
Singing: oh my! The choir did a fantastic job -- not that we don't always do, but somehow it seemed to be really great this year! From where I stood/sat, we hit all our cues, notes, times, etc. and we sounded great!
Christmas Morning: I got some workout gear from my brother, PJ's from the parents, The Barbecue Bible from my brother (OMG, some of the recipes in there.... SLURP!). My dad and I love to grill and love trying new things, so I can't wait to try these out! Plus, I got a Visa gift card (YAHOO!!!). I gave my parents each a fleece pullover with matching fleece beanie cap, each a pair of PJ's and each a gift card to a favorite store (Mom got Hamrick's, Dad got Home Depot). I gave my brother a fleece beanie cap, a Circuit City gift card, two movies (Sling Blade and Stephen King's Silver Bullet), and an MP3 player.
Eating: I was extra good, I thought. I have this plan each year that I don't track on two days of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Every other day, I track! So on Christmas, I relaxed and enjoyed myself and didn't worry so much about the food. It's kind of a 90-10 rule: I give myself some wiggle room to enjoy a meal or a day every once in a while, and I'm vigilant the other 90% of the time. After all, it's not one meal that gets us to where we are.... it's "one meal"-ing ourselves every waking moment!
So all in all, it was a nice day.......
However, one of my former coworkers lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Eve. It is all the more heartbreaking because she had just lost her husband in May after his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease. Their children are just barely adult-age (late teens and early 20s). I cannot imagine what they have gone through, having to lose two parents so close apart and to two awful diseases. My prayers are certainly with them.
It made me think of my own family. For quite a number of years, my dad's family had funerals either just before or just after Christmas. His grandmother died in December 1968 (my mother's first Christmas with Dad). His nephew (my cousin) died in December 1975 (my brother's first Christmas). There were two or three others scattered in there.
It also made me think of a friend from my old church who just lost her husband last week, suddenly and very unexpectedly. Her daughter was a couple of years behind me in school, and it made me sad for them.
I wonder why God just doesn't put a moratorium on death from Thanksgiving to New Year, all over the world. I know, I know -- death is as much a part of life as is birth, and we're not asking for a moratorium on babies being born. None of us get to choose the time of our death, but you just wish that no family has to go through a holiday with a fresh, raw loss .... and how it mars every holiday after that. True, once a person passes, no holiday is ever the same without them; it matters not if the loss happens in March or July or December. But when you lose someone right at Christmas, it clouds the whole holiday, even many years down the road........
My prayers are with those girls, and the other family, and all other families who have a fresh, raw grief this holiday season -- whether from the passing of a loved one, a child deployed to a war zone and spending that first holiday away from family, or a missing relative who hasn't been seen or heard from in months, and there are no answers. My prayer is for peace in their hearts, courage for the future, and for answers to one day come.