December 05, 2011

A Birthday, A Race, A Tree

Last week, we celebrated Luke's birthday .  His requests were simple: dinner at Chik-fil-A, a visit to Monkey Joe's (an indoor playground with huge inflated slides), and dirt cake.  

Luke is a serious Lego builder, and spent several happy hours putting this jet together. 

Later in the week, I got sick.  It hit me quickly.  We were having coffee with some supporters, then an hour later I was standing in the Kroger check-out line, simultaneously shivering and blazing, with a basketful of meds and teas, my favorite of which is ThroatCoat tea.  If you've never tried it, I highly recommend it for sore throat.  

Anyway, once we got home I went straight to bed and stayed there for several days, feeling so incredibly bummed out.  Not just physically, but emotionally, as I had been planning to run the Savannah Bridge Run with David.  We'd been training for several weeks, and despite the fact that I am a WLE - Woman of Low Energy (thanks to a bout of mono several years ago which seriously messed up my immune system), I was ready for this race and looking forward to it.

Race day rolled around and despite my cold, I forced myself up that bridge and met my personal goal of running the whole thing and not walking.  

My dad is a runner, and has several marathons and half-marathons under his belt.  I never quite understood his fascination with running and races, for to me running has always meant pain.  

But while David and I stood at the starting line with thousands of other people, waiting for the race to begin, I got it.  I realized why Dad gets so "geeked" about it (to use his terminology).  Fun loud music was playing, and while it was cold, the crowd buzzed with energy and anticipation.  It was like a big party.  And then after the race there was more music, and snacks.  What's not to love?

And while I know a 5K race is nothing to boast about (I mean, really, do you ever see anyone put a "3.1" sticker on their car?), for me, as an aforementioned WLE, it was an accomplishment, and it's given me the confidence to shoot for a longer race next time.

We finished off the week with the decorating of the Christmas tree.  Does anything smell better than a fresh Christmas tree?  If I only had one scent to enjoy the rest of my life, it would be a Frasier fir.  

Mom still has many of the ornaments my brothers and I made as kids.  I made this Santa as a second-grader in Mrs. Graham's class.  Mrs. Graham, wherever you are, that was one of my favorite years of school.

My brother Jonathan, back when he was young and sweet.

My parents brought back purple Christmas balls from Germany when they lived their in the early '70s.  Only a few remain, and they get a special place at the top of the tree.

And now it's less than a month till we head back to Indonesia. I have mixed feelings, as I always do, about heading back.  We are ready to be settled in our new location, and ready to get back to a normal pattern of life, ready to get back to our ministry with MAF.  But I dread the goodbyes with our family, which have not gotten easier with time.  And there's the List that hangs over my head, of items to buy to take back with us. I am hoping to finish the purchasing and maybe even start the packing next week.

And hopefully we'll have time to take in some fun Christmas activities, enjoy tall, frosty glasses of eggnog, and spend some quiet moments contemplating Immanuel, God With Us.


Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Natalie- I love your blog! I love the Christmas pictures. My mom always saved our, too! The special ones at our house go at the top of the tree, too. Caroline got a lesson in "prime Christmas tree real estate" this year. Save the top for the best- not always the pretties, but those that hold a special place in our hearts.

I know y'all are enjoying being here for Christmas. Praying already for you and your upcoming transition. God has big things in store for you in this new location. I know the kids are going to love their new school.

Happy Birthday Luke!

Love you guys! Merry Christmas!
Courtney Riley Nelson

Carrie said...

Actually, now that you mention it, yes, I HAVE seen a 3.1 sticker on the back of a car (in Elizabethton), but I had NO idea what it meant. Now I do. That should tell you how much of a runner I'm NOT! Haha! I say that anything (including a 5K) is a total accomplishment - especially coming back from being sick! Way to go Natalie! :-) Blessings and enjoy your time with family over the holidays!

Ruth Harrison said...

Thanks Natalie...reading your blog is like sitting down with you and a good cup of hot tea or coffee...warm and real. Praying for you in this month of mixed emotions...celebrations and packing...and everything in-between.

Merry Christmas!


For new blog title, how about "Mama & Pap" or "Mom & Pap's" or just "Papua Mama"...sorry! that's the best I could do :)

Kay Heritage said...

Natalie! It was so wonderful to meet you! Too brief, though! I would love to get to know you better and this would be a good start, joining your beautiful blog! Looking forward to getting to read more about you and your children! :)

Latha Vijayakumar said...

It is a nice blog and the pictures are amazing