Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Letter - 2015 - Gratitude -

This saying: "If I had more time, I would have made this letter shorter," has been attributed to many authors and philosophers, and I remind my students of the need to make every word count when they are writing.

And when it comes to writing Christmas letters, how do you condense 12 months worth of activity, or inactivity, into a letter that someone will enjoy reading rather than reading out of obligation? Likewise - Christmas letters are notorious for sharing too much information, having some ulterior motive, bragging, leaving someone/thing/place out, etc.

So a couple of Sundays ago, when Scott said he'd address the Christmas cards (What? I said, are you feeling well?), I wrote our Christmas letter. I wanted it short (less than a page long) and concise, without making our lives any more, or less, than what they are. I spent the entire day writing (well, write, rest, edit, write, rest, edit . . . ).

Merry Christmas; I am blessed. Scott and I are blessed.

December, 2015

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

This thought has been on re-run in my mind the past few weeks. And I can’t help but count our blessings. Scott and I are grateful for:

Family – With six children and their spouses, and twenty grandchildren, our hearts are the fullest when we are able to share time with them. Being grandparents is an incredible gift, and watching our children parent is beautiful.

Extended family – We gather and work and rally and care for Dad and Mom and each other. Our priorities and our hearts are first and foremost for our family. Living next door to Ronda’s parents gives us the opportunity to see siblings and nieces and nephews regularly. We’ve had some beautiful sunrises and sunsets this fall, and these Max Weaver Sunsets are reminders to us of Max and Ruth and the goodness they left us.

Friends – We are surrounded not only by “family of blood,” but as well by “family of choice.” We are grateful these lines are often blurred. We have been able to share our home with some amazing folks this year who entered as strangers and left as friends. There is always room in our home and hearts for one more. Ronda loves seeing the transition from student to friend, and we cherish these relationships.

Opportunities to serve – Although we carry no big titles, service is in our blood. Scott is always busy helping someone – Ronda’s parents, our children, and with his spare time he serves at the Food and Care Coalition and with Alcoholics Anonymous. Ronda continues to teach at UVU, and when classes are finished for the day, she heads to Utah Valley Hospital where she serves as a chaplain, and her cancer journey adds beauty to this role.

Relationships are our focus, yet we make sure our souls are filled. We are beyond grateful for healthy bodies and minds. We exercise together, hike and bike together, and we have enjoyed Zion National Park, and an amazing hail and rainstorm that held us captive on a mountainside, as well as rediscovering Ronda’s Idaho. We have a beautiful home that is large enough for the two of us and visits from family and friends, yet small enough to be able to care for – our yard and garden bring us peace and joy – Scott is the constant gardener.

With all this said and shared, there is still much goodness that goes unacknowledged. For 2016, we commit to speaking kinder, sharing more readily, smiling more often, and reaching out with arms open wide. This is our gift to you – Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

Merry Christmas!   

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