Sunday, December 24, 2023

How to Christmas in Grief

Christmas Eve 2023

My heart is so full on this Christmas Eve day with family in Indiana.  It is full of gratitude for memorable Christmases past with my parents, sisters and their families.

The memory of piling all our family Christmas in the car on Sunday afternoon so we could make a quick escape after the Sunday evening Christmas music of which Dick was in charge.  We gladly and with eager anticipation made the three hour drive down to South Central Louisiana to my parent's home.  Of course, we charted Santa's sleigh the entire way and even caught an occasional glimpse as it flew quickly overhead.

Once we spotted "Poppa's Light" - the only caution light in the village - John and Christy were either in my lap in the front seat or hanging over our shoulders waiting to see who would get the first sight of Poppa and Larla standing in the yard waiting for us.  This was way before cell phones so how they knew it time, I'll never know.

Daddy would always have a bowl of his finely and lovingly crafted fruit salad waiting for me.  That is what I miss most of our traditions because he delighted in spending hours cutting up the apples, bananas and cherries just right and seeing my face when I took the first bite.  We always arrived first because my sisters lived much closer and didn't require a midnight arrival, but came the next day with all their entourage.  

These were precious memories that will always declare not only my childhood but that of my children and their cousins as well.  Dad left us shortly after our Christmas in 1993, and our family Christmas was never the same.

The death of our mother is 2005 was another milestone, and now the deaths of Thomas and Sarah will forever be a milestone for their families.  New traditions will begin while they desperately attempt to hang on to those most precious.  Things are never the same, but out of sadness, grief and lose can come beauty and life.  That is my hope and prayer for both Thomas and Sarah's families this year.  That is what they would have wanted.

May Jesus Christ be honored and glorified as all of us gather to remember, to reflect on our Father's great gift in sending His Son to earth so that we might know His great love and sacrifice for us.  Thank you, Father God for showing us how to live with loss and gain simultaneously through your example.

As I was writing this, I was summoned up stairs to be given a private preview of #4 Granddaughter's wedding dress. Through tears, I was reminded again that life does indeed go on and how best to honor our loved ones than to embrace that life to its fullest.  To rejoice in good times; to support, encourage and love the ones left behind, is how to live in times of grief.

Christmas 1993

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A Final 2023 Hodgepodge Tea Party

Merry Christmas

Thank you for joining in for the final Wednesday Hodgepodge blog post for 2023.

1.  Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday?  Was it by choice or by necessity?

I think I did more listening yesterday.  We are currently at our son's home in northern Indiana for Christmas.  Yesterday brought the most beautiful wintery lake effect snowfall, so I spent most of my day watching the flakes swirl and fly around before landing on the many surfaces that this morning reflect the abundance.  Listening was definitely by choice.

2.  Are you a tea drinker?  Hot, cold, or both?  Flavored?  What do you like in your tea>  do you make Christmas tea this time of year?  What time of day do you like to sip your tea?

I am a tea drinker, and the above is my early morning preference year round.  During the warm temps I enjoy a mid-day glass of sweet iced tea with a touch of lemonade.  We call it an Arnold Palmer.  Now, for a teabag cup of tea, I prefer it in the evening with a touch of honey or my favorite liquid sweetener.  We used to make a Christmas Spiced Tea using instant tea and Tang, but I haven't made it in ages.  Maybe something to think about doing again.

3.  What's an activity you won't try, an event you won't attend, or an athletic challenge you won't take part in not even for 'all the tea in China"?

Won't try:    Hang-gliding
Won't attend:    Rock concert, NWA (professional wrestling) match
Won't take challenge:    Rugby or anything else involving contact, movement or agility skills

4.  What's something most people seem to love but is not 'your cup of tea"?


5.  How does your family celebrate New Year's Eve?

It is usually only Dick and I for New Year's Eve so it is a quiet evening usually in front of the TV.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The past couple weeks have been the most sad and emotional time for my family.  On Dec. 1 both my sisters and my middle sister's husband were involved in a head-on car collision resulting in the death of my brother-in-law and youngest sister.  How do you deal with such loss?  Only through the assurance of knowing they knew Jesus as their Saviour and through the strength and comfort He provides.

This Christmas and days and months following will be difficult to say the least, but treasured memories abound and the bond we shared as sisters will bring so much peace and comfort.  Below is a collage of a few Christmases past when we all gathered at our parent's home.  You may notice that we are touchers and huggers.

Don't leave anything left unsaid or unshared this Christmas season, and may God's blessings abound.