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The Thaw

Cold like snowy woods at 2am
Seeps deep into my bones,
Settling there, working from the inside out,
Until I think I'll never thaw.
Away, away, is the fiery sun!
I know it's rising, long-time-coming;
But the path is sure.
I wait, bated breath escapes in frosty bits before my lips,
Poised to praise-
Hope cannot be frozen.


No Tacos But Plenty of Laughs

I left the church on Christmas Eve with not enough time to go home and then go get my parents and Matt from the airport, but a little too much time to go straight to the airport; the kids and I took a brief Fantastic Lights Tour in a neighborhood near our church and passed just enough time to then get to the airport.

I drove to the terminal and tried to call my mom but it went straight to voice mail, so we just drove around and around until I heard from her. When she called and told me where she was, we just happened to be outside of the building from her and we waved, but had to drive around one more time because I didn't have a place to pull in. I made one more loop and then just pulled up next to another car thinking it would be quick to load them up and then take off. 

However, I hadn't put the seats up in the back, and we needed all seven seats. So I took a few minutes to flip the seat back up and make a couple of people mad (Merry Christmas!), and then Christian, Michaela, and Matt informed me from the back that the middle seat belt wasn't functioning properly. 

I had forgotten about this problem, since we don't usually have three someones in the back seat. I quickly pulled into the parking deck of the airport and we tried to fix it. Matt tried. Christian tried. My dad tried. I tried. I called Mike and he gave us directions to try. We tried. Failed every time. That seat belt was not going to be fixed. So Matthew sacrificed himself and sat in the dangerous spot. 

It had gotten pretty late at this point, and they were hungry, but it was Christmas Eve so we weren't sure that we'd find much open. Matthew really wanted a taco, and I mean a good taco (Hello...Tex-Mex), but again...Christmas Eve. We headed in the direction of our house and hoped to pass a place that we could drive through on the way. When we got close to home I got off of the highway and we discovered, ironically, a Taco Bell with a long line around the building and a neon sign which declared "Drive-Thru Open." We were about the eighth car. We sat laughing about how Matthew was going to get his taco after all, and waited a while before the lead car moved off. We laughed about how they must have ordered one of everything on the menu. And we laughed at how quickly the line moved after that car left.

And then we laughed really hard when we got up to the speaker and waited, and called,"Hello?" and waited some more only to realize that this drive-thru was not, in fact, open. 

No taco.

I took off from there on a mission to find them some food, even though it was almost 10:30 now. Our exit was the next one, and just around the corner from my house is a Sonic, so I pulled in there since it was all lit up and two cars were in the drive-thru line there. I wheeled around to the speaker and rolled down my window, and heard a voice say,"Sorry, we're closed." It was 10:34. Matt said, laughing hysterically,"If we hadn't waited in the line at Taco Bell we wouldn't have been too late!" Not to mention the extra 30 minutes we spent at the airport fighting a losing battle with the seat belt.

I mean, I know you had to be there to get how funny it was, but we were all feeling a bit punchy. I rolled out of the Sonic parking lot and headed home, and we scrounged something up there. It was getting really late, but everyone was pretty wound up, as usually happens when we first get together with them. 

This was around 1am. 

They look like they are planning some midnight mischief. Good thing it was already past midnight. 

Eliana velcroed herself to Matt's chest for the remainder of their trip. You think I'm kidding, but I have photos to prove it. 

Since we all got to bed so late, our Christmas morning didn't get started until 12 hours later. It was fine by everyone though, and it was a very relaxed morning (folks slept in and Mom fixed a nice egg casserole for breakfast), and no one was fussing about hurrying up and opening presents at the crack of dawn. 

It was a wonderful beginning to the day. 


Christmas Eve

During the month of December:

-we were iced in for four days;

-we spent several days (not in a row) looking for missing keys, and on all of those days our entire day's schedule was significantly altered because we could not find the keys;

-all three kids came down with the flu, over the span of two weeks;

-I may or may not have been sick (I'm a hypochondriac, my kids were sick, how I felt may have been entirely psychological);

-I missed every Sunday at church until the fourth one (in other words, I feel as though I missed Advent);

-due to all sorts of feeling out of kilter, I did almost no Christmas shopping until the weekend before Christmas.

December wreaked a great deal of havoc on me, both physically and spiritually, so much so that (maybe thankfully?) I don't remember much of what happened with great clarity before Christmas Eve. But Christmas Eve? Christmas Eve was something truly special. We attended two services, since Christian's choir sang in one and Michaela's in another. They were at 4pm and 6pm, so in between them I drove to grab a bite to eat for the little kids before Chick-Fil-A closed up for Christmas. 

Here is my only picture, of Michaela's choir just before they left the chancel. The youth did a beautiful job leading worship, and I was blown away by how many of them there were. This is the 7th-12th grade choir, along with a few college students who were home for the holiday. Listening to them was like listening to angels singing. 

After the beauty of the worship services, a perfecly juxtaposed hilarious time picking up my parents and my brother followed. 

And that is a tale for tomorrow.


A Hard Advent

This has been a season of overwhelming consciousness of my own shortcomings and failures in every area of my life, of my absolute and complete need for a Savior. Acute and constant, my awareness of this need has almost been crushing.

An infant came, a helpless baby, eventually to bear the weight of such burdens, and they will not crush me, for one day the One who crushed death itself will return in triumph over all that is wrong with our world. Until then, this waiting is hard...a necessary, and hard advent.


Frozen-Dallas Edition

Some icy weather decided to head this way earlier than usual this year. Mike picked Christian up from school on Thursday, and by that evening we knew that school was cancelled for the next day because of what was on the way. 

When we woke up on Friday, everything was frozen. 

Tree branches hung practically to the ground, and some had grown so heavy during the night that they snapped off. 

Late in the morning, Christian parked himself on the couch to rest, and proceeded to stay there for almost the entire remainder of the day. Do you know Christian? This was not normal behavior. 

Since we knew that we would be stuck in the house for a couple of days, Mike had stopped at Sam's Club with Christian on the way home from school Thursday and bought a tree. We brought down the decorations and ornaments, too. 

One of the few things that I have to put up is this tiny sleigh made from fake greenery. Christian found it in my bin during one of his up-and-about stints, and asked where to put it. I told him to put it where he thought it would go best.

And if you can figure out what Christian is doing, as you can see his reflection in the TV, let me know. It looks like he's about to swing a golf club. If so, that's pretty tricky, since I was standing right there and didn't notice any golf clubs before or after taking this picture. 

I could tell you more about our day if I wanted to bore you right to death, since it consisted of resting, more resting, and a little bit of some extra resting. I did make salsa which was an absolute highlight. 

Then it was bedtime, and we woke up late Saturday morning, which was lovely. But soon Christian was tired again, so he hit the couch and cozied up under some blankets (our house gets really cold when it's cold outside). 

While he was resting, the girls sorted buttons, which was a sweet reminder of simpler times. 

And that was about the most exciting thing that happened all day. We did watch a guy slide down our street toward the six-lane intersection in his pick-up truck. He couldn't stop so as he approached the stop sign he laid on his horn to warn any on-coming traffic of his impending arrival. Fortunately, there was not a lot of traffic since the roads were so bad, so he was able to turn onto the street and carry on. So, that was exciting (nerve-wracking, actually), but for the most part it was quite an uneventful day. Christian took several showers, since they make him feel better when he has a headache. He just might be the cleanest boy on the planet right now. 

Mike and Michaela did venture out to Walmart to get some more lights because (no one should be surprised) we were a couple of strands short of a fully lit tree. Ha. They made it back safely, and soon it was bedtime.

Crazy times.

During the night, Christian woke up twice, once at 2:30 and once at 6:30. He showered at 6:30 (I can't remember about 2:30...I think he just took some medicine then), and then went back to bed, and just as I fell back asleep Mike came in and tapped me on the arm to ask what I thought about going to church. Since I was still somewhere between a dream and the harsh reality of an icy morning in Dallas, I think I mumbled something like,"No," as I hoped the Lord would forgive me for wanting to sleep a little longer. 

I did sleep quite a bit longer, and so did Christian. He hadn't had a fever yet, but when we took his temperature today, it was a little high, so he took some Ibuprofen and did his best to stay upright. He did rest on the couch for a bit, but he also joined the girls for a gingerbread house decorating session. Mike had picked up a kit at Walmart the night before, and it turned out to be a great idea.

I had my doubts at first. They began by fighting and fussing over who would do which part, but ended up getting along nicely and working together to make a cute little house.  

They think they are going to eat it. 

I think yuck. 

My opinion might not matter though. 

Eliana said they were going to display it outside. I told her only if she wanted all the animals to eat it. 

Mike finished the lights on the tree, and the kids and I added the cranberry-like garlands (my favorite). 

And we'll finish decorating tomorrow, hopefully. Christian was ready for bed at 7:30, and asked if we could wait until then. School has been cancelled, and he wouldn't have gone anyway. It's crazy that Dallas shuts down like this when a bit of ice comes through, but I guess they just aren't prepared for the amount of work that it takes to de-ice a whole city the way northern states are. So we'll enjoy the extra break (hopefully), and Christian can get better (hopefully)!