Friday, December 24, 2010

A Much Needed Christmas Bouquet

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2


 My children like to help.
When my son hears the mixer turn on,
it is music to his ears.
He bounds into the kitchen from whatever far reaches of the house where he has been
and starts yanking on the ladder from it's storage space between the refrigerator and the cereal cupboard.

 He has a little follower now
who also involves herself in the whole affair.

Levi is sure to encourage her interest
by popping tiny samples of whatever is being whipped up into her mouth.

 Christmas time has yielded wondrous new tasty concoctions that this house does not normally produce.
  Cookie dough is an improvement to mashed potatoes and pizza dough.

 As much as I love the help and sweetness of having the children always eager to help,
sometimes I just need a break...

and so do they.

  The weather has turned cold and windy,
so long mornings of outside play have turned to extra long mornings of including them in my plans,
making my day longer.

I know that these years will pass, so I'm not willing to always shuffle them away to the videos
although they do come in handy often during these indoor months.

Sometimes, though, these walls just need to be pushed away,
so we head outside to brave the elements.

I've had a sore heart of these past days.
A roommate from college has lost her husband to a year long bout with cancer.
She has five children, from about 13 years old down to 2.

It was hoped and prayed that he'd win this battle and be able to stay on earth,
but God wanted him in heaven.

I keep seeing her in my mind.
Although she lives far away and I haven't seen her since college, 
the thought instantly brings tears to my eyes.

I look around me and see everything I own,
the memories of my husband wrapped in each,
and it makes me cry for her.

I know that it is hard, not only to see the past in everything about you,
but now she has the future
and her little ones to care for on her own.
I know that God will help her,
but it's incredibly hard;

So stepping outside was a good idea
to carry our indoor spirits out into the winter wind and open spaces,
and let the cold rejuvenate us.

I love taking walks.

The sun is warm and seems to brighten the inside as well as the out.

The smell outside is fresh and clear.

I longed for the flowers of spring and summer to touch and admire,
but only the skeletons of summer poked their tired heads from the leaves and brown grass.

 And then I got an idea.

I ran to the shed where we keep an old broken refrigerator of paints
and found a half can of maroon spray paint.

I shook it's resting contents and attacked the old flowers of summer with it's misty red spray.
 There is life after death for these flowers.

 I finished off the lot just before the can of paint finished it's contents.

 While these dried in the windy sunshine, I wandered around the yard,
looking for other hopeful specimens for my bouquet
and realized a Christmas bouquet could not exist without some evergreens. 
 I lopped off some juniper branches that had reached too far out into the flowerbeds.

 Then I saw these bare branches of the Mock Orange.
It needed to be  trimmed for the spring
so I borrowed it's unneeded branches.

 Japanese Keria is one of my favorites.
The branches stay green all the time, even when the
variegated leaves on this type have fallen off for the winter.

I grabbed the lot of these things I had pruned and picked,
and poked them into a vase.
 No, it isn't holly
or poinsettias...

but it is a Christmas reminder
that the dead flowers of summer carry with them them memories of warmer days,
but also the hope of being transformed into something even more beautiful
even after their death.

The smell of the evergreens are sweet and nostalgic.

The fillers ad little bits of happiness to our lives,
sometimes without my even appreciating them,
like my children's constant chatter
or nibbling on the cookie dough.

Life can be very hard.
It can be very sad.

But I'm thankful for little walks outside to pick a Christmas bouquet.

 My farmer asked why I'd take the time to do this when I have a million presents to wrap,
the Christmas cards are still waiting to go out,
and the food for Christmas is still waiting to be cooked.

I did it 
because a Christmas bouquet made me stop
and think about the real meaning of Christmas
and it helped my spirits to let go
and find rest in a simple thing.

This bouquet is dedicated to you, Ellen.
Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your children and family.
I will pray for you every time I see our Christmas bouquet.


  1. Tonya, what a wonderful, dear friend you are. I will keep Ellen and her children in my prayers too!! Love ya, have a most wonderful Christmas!!

  2. Thanks, Jenn. You have a wonderful Christmas, too! I am so thankful for all the wonderful friends that I have! (I need your new address, by the way, I think. Can you give it to me over fb? Please. :) My Christmas cards are going out a little late.)


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