Saturday, December 22, 2012


Christmas is right around the corner and  I am planning the family dinner.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, broccoli, carrots, stuffing, gravy, dinner rolls and of course we cannot forget the cranberry sauce.  This year I will be preparing a variety of desserts from recipes I have collected.  Mini apple pies, pineapple angel cake, snowballs and two-bite banana splits.  I prepare holiday meals for my family out of love.  Love of my family and love of the season.  Be it Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas.  My heart is filled with joy in knowing that days spent preparing these delicious dishes, are done so in knowing that my family will gather in my home and together we will celebrate. Together we will make memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Holidays also remind us of the ones who are no longer with us.  Loved ones who we will no longer share the season with.  Loved ones who now dwell in the house of the Lord. My beautiful Aunt Natalie.  My precious Granny.  My beloved Father.  All three have come into my life and left far too soon.  All three have enriched me, shaped me, and blessed me.  And all three have taken a piece of my heart with them when they left.

I am reminded of all of my blessings. That gifts do not always come from under a tree. That each day is a gift.  Each person who enters our lives is a gift.  A gift to be treasured, whether they are in our lives for a short time, or forever .... God brought them to us for a reason.

I find myself being very nostalgic and thinking a lot about all of the wonderful people who blessed my life.  And how truly lucky I am.  Blessed even for the ones who brought pain to my life, as each person, each event, each hurt - is a lesson.  And we must be thankful for the lessons in life as that is how we grow.

This Christmas when I gather with my family, I will light a candle in memory of loved ones who were taken far too soon.  I will also light a candle for loved ones who will not be joining us, but who are close to my heart. And I will light a third candle for those who are hurting or alone during the Christmas season.

One thing that I have been reminded of through the passing of my father, and after having grieved this past week with and for the families in Newtown, is that we need to keep those in our hearts close to us.  That there is nothing more important than family. That tomorrow is never promised and we need to be thankful for each precious moment we are gifted.  Not just during the holidays - but each and every day.  Another lesson to be thankful for.

And so as this year draws to a close, I will carry each precious lesson with me.  I will carry my family and friends with me.  And know that I am richer for each and every one of them.  And ever thankful for the blessings I gather through my life.