Every Christmas my dad gets a cake. A few years ago he wanted a cake that said, "Happy Birthday Jesus" and instead it came out "Happy Birthday, Red". Last year he asked that "nothing" be put on the cake. So they had a cake with "Nothing" in nice red letters. This is what he got this year:
Dad said he wanted one word to encapsulate our Christmas this year, and this was it.
I guess it is a little chaotic, but it sure is fun. The kids are running around like crazy, the kitchen is overflowing with good things to eat, and my brothers are keeping us entertained on piano and guitar.
We spent a few days in the country with David's family, having Christmas with them. It's so peaceful where they live; I took several walks around their property to soak in the quiet.
The kids enjoyed time with their grandparents, making cookies, and checking out library books.
Zoe, accommpanied by her very musical grandmother, sang "Away in a Manger" for us.
Last week we took Carter and Grace on a field trip to court to see their grandfather in action. We watched as he weighed evidence then made decisions as to whether young offenders had to stay in detention until their trials, or if they could go home. I think it was sobering for C and G to see kids - some who were their ages - come shuffling in to the courtroom in shackles and handcuffs for their hearing. It was heartbreaking to hear the proceedings for one boy who had served his time, but had a mother who said she didn't want him, and no one else who could take him. I couldn't see his face, but I could tell from the slump of his shoulders that he felt no one cared about him. I almost stood up and shouted, "We'll take him!" as he was taken back into detention to await a foster home.
Another field trip we were able to do recently was a tour of Savannah. I forget that my kids haven't grown up here, and don't know all the history - the city's as well as our family's history, so we started at Bethesda, where D's family served as house parents, then went on to see our various homes over the years, and the Baptist Center, where my grandfather pastored.
The Indian chief Tomochichi's grave
Then Aunt Mary came to town, and her visit included a trip to one of our favorite places, the Tea Room.
This furlough the kids have really enjoyed taking part in children's activities at church. Zoe was able to dance as an angel in the Christmas program, and she loved every minute of it - especially wearing a costume.
A few random photos:
Recently we saw this white sparrow - which is apparently quite rare - at my parents' bird feeder. It made the kids miss our little canary that we left behind in Indonesia.
Oh, the love of a grandmother, that would allow a granddaughter to go crazy with the face paints.
Today we had to stop by Wal-Mart and it was a complete zoo. I couldn't believe all the masses of people, and all the masses of stuff the masses of people were buying. This is the part of Christmas in America that drives me crazy, and makes me yearn for our simple Christmases in Indonesia.
But there are definitely aspects of Christmas here that we love, the first thing being family. Other things that come to mind are cooler weather, fun Christmas activities in the community, and ready-made eggnog.
My computer keeps crashing, and I am taking it as a sign to finish this and get to bed so I can get up early to be the first to say "Christmas Eve Gift!" (first one to say it gets a gift - so goes our family tradition).
Merry Christmas, dear readers! May you be blessed beyond measure this Christmas season.