Monday, April 30, 2007

It's a Wonderful Life 12-27-06

Hi folks,

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Mine was simply outstanding. Nothing extra-ordinarily spectacular happened. It’s just that our family and friends were all together – which, in my world, makes life wonderful.

In fact, for a few days our whole ever-growing family lived together in one house! We’re talking Shelley and I; Denay (daughter), Heighlos (son-in-law), and Soel (painfully cute grandson); Alisha (daughter) and Tim (son-in-law); Nathan (son) and Trevor (live-in youth pastor and virtually adopted son); Riley (my dog), Max (Shelley’s dog), Patches (Tim and Alisha’s dog), and Oscar (Nathan’s guinea pig). Trevor also got a little cat-fish for Christmas, but it doesn’t have a name yet, so I’m not sure whether to count it or not.

Quite a crowd, heh? It was wonderful.

Well, mostly wonderful. In a fallen world, you can’t expect things to be all wonderful. Denay got really sick when she first arrived two days before Christmas (I ‘m talking the kind of nasty nasty sick you shouldn’t describe publicly). She got better the next day, but by then baby Soel was sick. I got baby-barfed on twice in one day! I’m so proud. It’s been almost twenty years since a baby bombed me. Soel was pretty much better by the next day, but then Nathan came down with this yicky bug. So there was some fallen-world nastiness going around, but it didn’t spoil the party.

We had our first Christmas celebration with my side of the family on Christmas Eve at my older sister Debbie’s house (a tradition that goes back twenty-some years). Then we celebrated Christmas morning at our house with our immediate family. That afternoon, Shelley and I celebrated Christmas with her side of the family. Later that evening, as has been our custom the last ten Christmases or so, we celebrated Christmas with our small group and all their kids (which, by the way, includes several “kids” we’ve adopted [or who have adopted us] along the way). This small group family now includes more than 30 people. We exchanged “White Elephant” gifts, shared our most memorable Christmas stories, talked about our hopes for 2007, read a couple children’s Christmas stories together, hugged, laughed, cried…we just did life together.

Walking the dogs later that night, I pondered the undeniable fact that I’m the single most
blessed man on the planet. My life is filled with love. I am grateful beyond words.

Alex reads a Christmas story to the group