Christmas time is a wonderful time.  It has been my favorite time of year as long as I can remember.  I love it all – the decorating of the house, baking, spending time with family, shopping for gifts and carefully wrapping them with love.  I learned how to make bows from my mom and I love doing it.  I have used the same ornaments that were on my tree as a young girl – ornaments that my grandmother handmade.  Traditions – that’s where it’s at!

The last 2 Christmases have begun to change however.  I have lost both my parents now (my dad passed away the year before on Christmas Day).  I have married and moved to  another city.  My sister has married and bought a winter home in Colorado.  I got to see her last year after Christmas.  This year I won’t see her at all.  Our “traditional” Christmas Eve celebration is gone.  Our “traditional” Christmas Day celebration is gone.  As a matter of fact, my husband and I will be alone this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Wow, how things change.  It’s been a VERY hard transition for me this year.  I’ve missed my Mother and Father tremendously this year.

Now, I realize that it is my turn to make traditions.  I feel  a little lost.  I’ve had one idea for the last 2 years that hasn’t happened yet because we are all too busy.  I think there may be something wrong with that.  I find myself searching my heart to decide what REALLY matters to me and my family.  How can I create a spirit of Christmas love to my family wherever they are, whether I actually see them during Christmas or not.  I know it isn’t in the gifts.  As a matter of fact, I’m considering not doing gifts for Christmas anymore.  Instead, whoever is with my during Christmas going to a soup kitchen and serving Christmas dinner or visiting a nursing home and bringing cheer to someone whose family isn’t around.

In the meantime, I am learning new lessons about expressing love to my friends and family and remembering and honoring the traditions of the past to the best of my ability.  And, then I will pass that ability onto my daughter.

Ashes

This weekend was Labor Day weekend.  It’s supposed to be a time to relax and have fun with family and friends.  In central Texas this weekend however, people were racing out of their homes grasping onto the things that were precious to them as fire raged towards them.  The fires have not ended for many.  Others began yesterday going to the plot of charred land that used to be called “Home”.

We live very close to all of this and on top of a very tall hill.  We could see fire from every direction.  On Monday, ashes were blowing up to our hill.  I kept thinking, “This was someone’s possessions, now blowing in the wind”.  I made boxes of legal papers and made a plan of what I would take with me “just in case”.  But, when you really think of it, it is all just ashes eventually.  The people that surround us are so important to us and often we treat the “things” we treasure better than the people we say we treasure.  Why is that?  Why can’t we remember with sufficient force to love people and know that things are  just things.

I’ve also thought often during this weekend of the police and fire fighters and other workers trying so desperately to save homes and property.  I wonder if their property was in danger.  I wonder what their families were doing while these courageous people risked their lives to save lives, but also to save “stuff”.  I know it’s their job and I am so glad that people are willing to do it.  But just think – they gave up their “Labor Day Weekend” for us!  Now that is amazing to me – job or volunteer!

I want to dedicate this blog to all of those who have and are continuing to work so hard to help friends, family and strangers find their way back to “normal”.  I also am hoping that we can become a little more conscious of the people we have around us and a little less self absorbed with our “stuff”.