Monday, December 31, 2012
This past weekend I attended the funeral service for the husband of a dear neighbor. There have been quite a few funerals here in our neighborhood this past year. Some people are uncomfortable with funerals, but most that I have ever attended have been comforting and actually even enjoyable. While it is difficult for me to offer condolences to the family members of the deceased (I'm never very good at knowing what to say), I enjoy being reminded that this life with its trials and pains and difficulties is just a small part of our Heavenly Father's plan for us. Mostly though, I love hearing about and learning new things about my friends and neighbors lives. No matter how short the service or how private the individual, I always come away knowing them just a little bit better and appreciating the gifts that they have given and the joy that they have added to this world. Hopefully I can learn just a bit from each and every one of them and determine to make myself just a little bit better in the process.
Friday, December 28, 2012
Our White Christmas
The plan for this year's Christmas Eve was to travel the 40 miles to my hometown to gather with my parents and siblings and their families for a Christmas Eve lunch and get together, and then to bring my parents back home with us to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. The weather has been fairly warm and dry this December, which I have not minded, but we do need the moisture, so of course when a snowstorm was forecast for Christmas Eve, I received the news with mixed emotions. I do not enjoy driving in snowy conditions, especially the 40 some odd miles up the canyon to my hometown and back. We woke on Christmas Eve morning to a dark and cloudy day. It was cold and wet and rainy here in the valley, but the weather forecast let us know that it was already snowing in the mountains and that even more snow was on it's way.
Nevertheless, I nervously set about to my tasks of baking rolls for lunch, filling the car with gas, and purchasing a few last items for Santa to use to fill the stockings. DH and DD1 were both scheduled to work, so it would just be DD2, DD3, and DD4 driving up the mountains to the party. My car has recently had the steering column replaced to ensure that the windshield wipers and other electrical related functions don't flake out and stop working like they did the last time I drove up the canyon in a snow storm, I was getting more nervous and short tempered by the minute. DH was aware of my nervousness and lovingly added air to my car's tires. Just about the time the last batch of rolls was baking, huge snowflakes began swirling through the sky, falling fast and heavy. It was time to leave. I was still very nervous, but DH assured me that if he were driving, he would still go, so one of the girls offered a prayer for safety, we loaded up the car, and started our journey.
The roads in the neighborhood were already snow packed, so we drove very slowly out to the main roads and headed towards the freeway. The freeway still had lots of slushy snow cover, but the windshield wipers were working fine, and we drove slowly, joking about arriving at the party just as everyone else would be ready to leave. The car was working fine, and even though we saw others who were slipping and sliding around a bit, I drove slowly and had no trouble. When we were about three quarters of the way up the canyon, the snow tapered off and stopped, and the roads were almost dry. We drove the remaining twenty or thirty miles at normal freeway speed with no problems at all. In fact, we were one of the first cars to arrive at the party location! We enjoyed a nice peaceful lunch with the relatives, played some games and sang some Christmas Songs, saw how big the new grandnephew babies are getting, and just enjoyed the afternoon. After another prayer for safety for all who were traveling and cleaning up we loaded my parents overnight bag and gifts into the car and headed home. There was blue sky showing in the upper valley as we left for home, but we soon came back to the full cloud cover and some snow flurries, but when we reached the canyon, the roads were well cleared, the snow had stopped and traffic was fairly light. We traveled safely back down the canyon, and didn't see falling snow again until we reached our own neighborhood, where the roads were still quite snow packed.
We settled grandma and grandpa in with a Disney movie they hadn't yet seen while I fixed our Christmas Eve Dinner of Ham and Chicken and the trimmings. DH arrived home from work and we had our dinner and Christmas Eve program of singing carols and reading the Christmas Story from Luke and Matthew, then hung up our stockings and sent Grandma and Grandpa to bed. It was finally time for Santa to come, so I got back into my car to drive the few blocks to our family business where I had stored a few of the presents. I gathered them up, got back into the car, turned the key in the ignition . . . and the car would not start. I tried several times. Nothing but a highly annoying whine. So I picked up the bags of gifts that I could carry and walked home. It was now nearly midnight, or shortly thereafter, and DD3 was just preparing to leave to pick up DD1 from work, so she drove me back to my car where we picked up the remaining gifts and brought them home. By the time the Dear Daughters returned from DD1's place of employment, the stockings were nearly filled, and we were soon all safely settled into our Christmas sleep.
The repaired car, now again in working condition
We had a nice Christmas with our girls and parents, eating Christmas Brunch, opening gifts, and then enjoying a Christmas supper and games with DH's mother and family. DS1 arrived in town late Christmas night, and was able to help us get my car in to be repaired the next day, and even drove his Grandparents safely home in another snowstorm. The car has been repaired and paid for. We are far from rich materially speaking, but in the area of little miracles, family, love, and blessings, we are millionaires. God loves us, hears and answers our prayers, and is always watching over and protecting us. I believe in God, our loving Heavenly Father. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe in little miracles.