Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope your day is filled with love, joy and peace. Thank you for your friendship and this little online community that means so much to me. You are in my prayers and I thank you for all the times you have prayed for me and my family. 🙂Below is this year’s Christmas letter. I was going to do the normal highlights of the year letter but I just wasn’t feeling it. This is what came out instead.
Dear Family and Friends,
I have tried to write our yearly letter a number of times but I keep deleting it because it all sounds so boring. There were no great business adventures or prestigious school awards or social accolades to speak of. There were no exotic vacations, unless you count the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. There was nothing extraordinary. It was a year of ordinary moments – both good and not so great.
There were definitely highlights of the year – Brian being cancer free every three months when he had his routine testing. Or when we traveled to So Cal for my brother’s wedding. All eight of my siblings attended with their families. Or when I made my first trip alone to attend a Catholic Women’s Blogging Conference. It was a time of growth, discovery and closeness to God. But those were out of the ordinary moments. It was not the normal daily experience. The day to day looked more like this…
~~ There were countless dishes in the sink and laundry that multiplied when I was not looking. However, it meant that we had food to eat and warm clothes on our back.
~~ There were the usual toys, markers and Legos on the floor that required Jedi like reflexes not to damage your feet when walking barefoot. However, there were also proud moments when a child showed me what he built or the picture she drew and their creativity gave me a glimpse at their burgeoning talents.
~~There were incredibly loud noise levels reached when all three boys (and their father) had light saber battles or played football in the hallway. However, the sound of their giggles and contagious laughter couldn’t help but make me smile.
~~ There was the driving – so much driving – to and from school, picking up kids on three different school schedules and the countless after school appointments and activities. However, there were those moments when a child saw me after school and his face lit up as he ran to me with open arms yelling, “Mommy!” It melted my heart every time.
~~ There were meals to cook, toilets to scrub, work to be done, family to visit and deadlines to meet. However, I was paid above and beyond when a daughter placed her arms around me and rested her head on my shoulder, when a father-in-law kissed my cheek and thanked me for visiting him, when a reader sent a note of thanks or when my husband told me he loved me (even when I knew I drove him crazy at times.) Those are the moments that make life seem not mundane but blessed. Those are the rewards that make my heart light and give me strength when I am tired. Those are the times when I ask God to forgive my selfishness and for taking things for granted. That’s when I ask for the grace of gratitude.
So I pray this Christmas that God lightens the load you are carrying. I pray that your struggles are softened by love and kisses and moments of peace. I pray that all your “mundane” moments be transformed into little blessings that sparkle as brightly as the lights twinkling on a Christmas tree. I pray that the presents you are given are not under your tree but the people surrounding you. May you share joy, peace and the grace of God’s mercy this Christmas.
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the action that we do.” – Bl. Mother Teresa
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