Good bye teen years!

Happy New Year, everyone. I considered posting all the pics that have meant something to me this year. But there are so many, and really, this collage says it well. We’ll never use a teen in our year again, and that’s true for many of our kids, as they move into adulthood, with some having their own families! I hope the whole number of 2020 is a reflection of our year ahead. That we accept no fraction of the best. That hearts, spirits, politics, friendships, families, and attitudes become whole. Here’s to God doing things in our lives that we can’t imagine (Acts 13:41). Cheers to 2020!

Mug Hug 1

I hope today you feel the best hug; the one that says, “You are worth it all.”

Kenny G for you:

Born is the King of Israel

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

C H R I S T M A S  E V E  M O R N I N G

Mug Hug 2

Just in the St. Nick of time! A new mug hug for my post. This is actually my border’s mug that she received as a Moda Center employee. She works the Blazer games but isn’t as attached to them as I am. I am thrilled to have this little gem in my Christmas mug selection.

These last eleven days of writing has been a real discipline. Anyone who thinks writing is not work is wrong! Counting down each day has also given them their own meaning. I’m not looking back in bewilderment on how I arrived here. Instead, it makes sense, which is kind of an odd feeling in itself!

Most everything is wrapped up (and delivered!) for this Christmas season. The kids and I celebrated on Saturday. My daughter is in Colorado with her husband’s family, where in somewhat Griswold style, they cut down their Christmas tree in waist high snow. My son and I will attend our annual candlelight service in the late afternoon, and then we’ll head to a movie and dinner. I’m so looking forward to spending time with him. He’ll be at his dad’s for Christmas.

Tomorrow I will work at a homeless organization and then go to a friend’s house. I hesitate to make that public, yet I want to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

Not being with our families is hard. We miss out on purpose when we’re not filling our day with plans to serve them, and the joy of receiving whatever it is we get from them (which I know is different for every family!).

There are some who live a desperate existence without a family, home or food. This is where I’ll find my purpose tomorrow, and share the joy of knowing our savior.

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

Until Mug Hug 1 on Christmas Day,

Joni

 

 

 

 

 

Mug Hug 3

Ahhhh, cream. My morning is happy; my Half and Half is replenished.

This is a repeat mug, but still, it hugs my heart.

This has been quite the exercise, writing every day. Like everything, it’s got two sides: it’s a privilege with a lot of satisfaction, and it’s a commitment that begins to feel like an obligation, so I am glad I’ve got two days left!

While I prepared for Saturday’s dinner I had “It’s a Wonderful Life” on. Outside of Les Mis, could there be a more amazing movie?

George Bailey has everything a person needs to make a difference in the world. He’s talented, ambitious, likable, and good. Even snarky, young George calls Mary, “brainless,” by which Mary is completely unaffected. He is determined, driven and ready to explore the world, go to college, then he’ll build skyscrapers and build cities.

In this scene George tells his dad that he absolutely does not want to take over the building and loan business his dad established.

Morgan Stickney of NH also had plans. She was positioned to become an Olympic swimmer, but as outlined in this NY Times article, she lost a leg. My own daughter has had medical issues that have altered her direction. I have a friend who anticipated a magical year with her new husband, to discover within a couple of months of their marriage that she had breast cancer. Another friend’s financial security and well being was taken from her when she was laid off after 15 years.

All of us experience a degree of disappointment. Some to the point where where our plans abruptly change our course.

The degree of impact one can make in the world doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to allocation of trouble. It would make sense if the people with all the aptitude for great things would be granted a life free of obstacles, freeing them up for super big accomplishments. That the less ambitious would receive more interruptions in life, because their plans aren’t quite as productive or don’t equate to the big deal successes. But there seems to be no plan for difficulty allotment, which is both fair and beautiful.

I think that’s because God doesn’t think about sky scrapers and Olympic successes. That’s not to say he’s not in our story while we pursue our dreams. I know he’s in my story, and I’m sure he’s with Morgan Stickney in her journey. But as we learn in George’s story, the greatest success we have is the connection we make with people every day. While someone is building a sky scraper or in line at the grocery store, or passing someone on the street, are we looking up with a smile that says: You matter. You make a difference.

And when we do that, we make a difference.

Yesterday at church we heard our final message about the 4 elements of Advent: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. The passage our pastor shared was this: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35.

George’s guardian angel Clarence, intervenes when things get desperate for George. In the end, George discovers why his life is worth living, with or without sky scrapers.

How wonderful it is, the difference we can make.

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

Mug Hug 4

So I’ve realized something kind of embarrassing. I’ve committed 12 Mugs of Christmas, and while I have 12, they’re not all different, which means repeats. This is my final mug that is different, so Mugs 3, 2, and 1 will be repeats. What a Mug Ugh!

And this morning’s “best part of waking up,” falls short, because I’m out of half and half! I had to use the last of it in last night’s dinner when the cream I thought I had was bad. I was making a gorgonzola sauce for the prime rib, so I compromised with my remaining half and half, which made the gorgonzola sauce, half as good.

Even though the gorgonzola sauce was imperfect, everything else was great. Preparing for the dinner and setting a lovely table is a hobby and a gift that I love to offer friends and family. But nothing means as much to me as laughing with my family, and feeling loved.

Heaven!

Roasted vegetables: crunchy on the outside and tender inside

I went to BedfordBrown the day before with a friend and drooled. Then came home and used what was on hand to create an imposter, which was lovely enough!

One of my favorite quotes is by Victor Hugo. It lacks inspiration, but affirms the human spirit. When I’m sad, or feel something missing, this quote reminds me that it makes sense to be sad, if connection with my family is absent. Victor says,

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves. “

This quote is the essence of Les Miserable, one of my favorite stories. It depicts grace and mercy. It’s what we receive from Jesus: love, in spite of ourselves.

There are many people who don’t know that happiness. A lot of them are sleeping on our streets, with no place to land, because for some reason, this world didn’t give them a family who could love them, in spite of themselves.

There really is no greater gift here on earth, than the security we find within the love of our family. Even when the gorgonzola is runny and my coffee is without the half and half on which I depend, I am content because I experienced the greatest happiness.

I love you, family.

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.