The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Simple Treasures

Christmas is not easy in my family.  For lots of reasons.  This year was not any easier but I did find some simple treasures I will hold onto from this year.  And when I say simple, I mean simple.  For most around my table, these things would not have even been noticed.

We did not have "Christmas" with my extended family until January 2nd because earlier in December, we lost my grandmother.  My mom's mom.  Many people called her Thelma or Ms. Nash and a few called her Grandma, but most in our family called her Mama Nash.
This pic was taken just a couple weeks before she passed

She was 96 and well loved and well cared for by my uncle and his family primarily.  The first treasure is not just our time together with all the Nash's to remember Mama Nash, but the things I heard for the first time.... my mom telling me what a good mom Mama Nash was, especially during my mom's teen years.  I have heard my mom talk about growing up with her brothers, not having much, not feeling pretty as a young girl, but hardly anything about her mom.  

"...especially in my teen years."
That was a gift to hear.  

And I wonder if mom thought Mama Nash was a good mom while she was still a teen...or if she realized it later.  I'll have to ask!

Treasure #2 came Christmas Eve when Jeremy's family came over after the Christmas Eve service and we sat around our living room and patio and talked, and watched the Texans, and skyped with his brother on the other side of the planet.  Gathering.  Eating. Talking and listening and laughing.  These simple things were gifts for my soul.  

Treasure #3 happened New Year's Eve.  We attempted to have a party but friends had plans already so my 4 girls ended up going elsewhere with friends for the night and Jeremy got tickets to the Rockets for the boys, which left me at home....ALONE....for FIVE HOURS.  

Five whole hours where I did not have to answer a question or help anyone or fix supper and answer the question of "what's for supper?"  So I ate chocolate cake and cheese bread for dinner and made myself sit on the couch and watch a movie.  It was lovely.  A treasure for this introvert who has had people at home 100% of the time the past 2 weeks.

Treasure #4 is my mom.  She is precious.  And hilarious.  And amazing.  And the best part is that she doesn't even know it.  So fast forward to January 2nd when we have my extended family over for Christmas and we are sitting around the kitchen table eating Chinese takeout (because that's how I make Christmas dinner) and my big brother is talking about how the veggies we get at the grocery store are covered in pesticides blah blah blah and at some point he asks, "And do you know what the first ingredient in Roundup is?"  AND MY MOM without hesitation says, "Glyphosate."

I think my brother meant it as a rhetorical question in his dissertation but my mom just casually drops "glyphosate" as if this is an everyday conversation.   I looked around the table and was probably the only one in awe but my goodness.  Who knows the first ingredient in Roundup??

I think that is amazing and hilarious and makes my mom precious.  Treasure.

These small things--gathering, eating (even Chinese takeout), quiet NYE, glyphosate--helped me get through another hard Christmas.

You may be wondering why Christmas is hard, especially when you read my previous post and see our beautiful family pics (thanks to Hannah at MHW Photography).  I can't really begin to describe the layers to it, but it has to do with loss, broken families, expectations, disappointment.

What was once my favorite time of the year, so much so that we chose to get married in December and give our daughter the middle name Noel, is (for now) a time I mostly endure and seek treasures in the midst of grief.  Even the smallest treasures.

Christmas Carol Card 2016

You may know us pretty well by now.  But in case you don’t, I thought I would give you a little description of each member of the family through Christmas Carol titles.

First you have to guess!  Draw an imaginary line from the person to the Christmas Carol and see if you get it right.
Jeremy                                                                                                                                           Away in a Manger
Vanessa                                                                                                                                         The Twelve Days of Christmas
Katerin                                                                                                                                           O Come Emmanuel
Emily                                                                                                                                               Feliz Navidad
Marian                                                                                                                                            Jolly Old St. Nicholas.
Wesley                                                                                                                                            Mary, Did You Know?
Omar                                                                                                                                               The First Noel
Saimon                                                                                                                                            Joy to the World
Savannah                                                                                                                              God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Jeremy, with his graying handsome go-tee, and how he handles work and family with wisdom, perseverance and humor….you guessed it; he gets Jolly Old St. Nicholas.  I am thankful for this guy—he loves us faithfully and humbly.  K.E.E.P.E.R.

Vanessa, wife to Jolly Old St. Nicholas, mom to 4 teenagers and 3 pre-teens (SELAH), office assistant to Mr. Jolly, and author of the Christmas letter, life is…..bountiful.  And Jesus is fully present.  O Come Emmanual!

We have a senior in the house—Katerin!  We’re proud of how hard this girl works in school and her job.  She has been accepted into UMHB where she plans to study International Business next Fall.  Don’t be fooled, Katerin is not all about work.  She has found a lively bunch of friends at school and church and spends much of her free time with this great group.   For our oldest Colombian…..Feliz Navidad!

We gave our first born daughter the name Emily Noel because we loved the name Emily and loved the Christmas season.  So you can probably guess which Christmas Carol is hers…The First Noel (in case you were still struggling).  Emily is in her junior year of High school and she has big plans for this next year—that change every other week.

Marian, a sophomore on the brink of getting her driver’s license, meets the world with enthusiasm, optimism, and excitement.  Marian works hard maintaining her grades, working as a gymnastics coach/office assistant, and keeping up her social calendar.  Whatever God has planned for Marian, she will make it fun.  Marian’s song title—Joy to the World!

Another sophomore in the house, Wesley, is growing into a huge young man.  I still can’t believe it when I look at him.  The doctor says he’s growing so much because he gets good sleep.  This kid can sleep!  He is the first in bed and is ready for the house to be quiet and dark by 8:00pm (on school nights, different story on the weekends).  He is a merry gentleman when he gets lots of rest.  Wes will also be a driver by the summer and he is a big fan—Astros, Rockets, Texans, Baylor—whoever is playing. 

Omar recently celebrated his 12th birthday.  I told you last year about how he creates things and gives it something extra for the wow factor.  Okay, he still does--and the other day he took it up a few notches.  He built a boat with Legos, no big deal, but then he took apart one of his remote control cars and wired his Lego boat so that when he connected the wires to a AA battery, the propeller spun.  He’s twelve and he can hotwire a Lego boat.  It’s Twelve Days of Christmas for this kid. 

Saimon, a.k.a the informant, wants to be a police officer, a marine, or a missionary when he grows up.  Whichever he chooses, he will be AWESOME because this kid does not miss a thing (serious FOMO) and he finds such delight in being the first to tell you about it. Song—Silent Night (JUST KIDDING)  Do You Hear What I Hear?  …Wait, it’s Go Tell it on the Mountain…or better yet Mary, Did You Know?

Savannah—the youngest arrow in our quiver.  This girl is Miss Independent.  On a typical afternoon, she heads down “Ms. Anissa’s street” (even though we are friends with about 7 other neighbors on the street that she visits, Savannah has given the entire street to Ms. Anissa) and she finds a friend or dog to hang out with for a while.  In her free time at home she is off to herself lost in a book or episodes of her favorite shows, or decorating her “peace and quiet room.” (Located just outside the gameroom door on the far side of the house).  Her carol? Away in a Manger.

How did you do?  You know us a little better than last year? If you didn’t do so hot, don’t worry because neither did some of my kids.
In closing We want to wish YOU a Merry Christmas as you Deck the Halls and remember that Silent Night, Holy Night long ago.
Love from the Evermon’s
P.S. Don’t Let Grandma Get Runover by a Reindeer!