moments + miracles

Happy Epiphany! In his homily today, our priest focused on the question, Where is Jesus? As he pointed out, this is a paraphrase of the very first words attributed to men in the gospels: the wise men inquiring of Herod, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews?” Where is the Son of God made man? The most important question any soul asks on any given day in any ordinary life. I hope the answer found you this Christmas season, and that it filled your corner of the world with unspeakable joy.

I’ve been pretty quiet here on the blog this past month. In fact, I never managed to get up a single post in December. Life has been… full, and given all this fullness, I purposed not to foray into “busy.” It meant saying no to a lot of things, but it was worth it for all the wonder I could say yes to in return. I trust you understand.

I can’t say that Christmas was a whirlwind, and for that I’m grateful. I think we’ve finally found our liturgical groove with an Advent that is just whimsical and magical enough, that prepares both our home and hearts for the feasting that’s to come without becoming a feast itself.

Brian had some vacation stacked up and was able to spend almost the entire 12 Days of Christmas with us! Best. Gift. Ever. The kids were so excited to do special things with Daddy, things I wouldn’t have been able to do with them in my baby-full state, like going ice skating! We had our fun, too, though: a day at the ballet with my three oldest to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company perform Balanchine’s Nutcracker. It’s the choreography I grew up with, and so it was very special to share with my children, seeing the magic of it through their eyes as I recalled my own childhood wonder.

I’ve set myself a challenge this year, and rather than stopping with 12 days, we are going to celebrate all FORTY days of Christmas! That’s right, forty. All the way to Candlemas (that’s Groundhog’s Day for the secular sort). Traditionally, this is how long the Christmas season lasted, and if you’re really embracing Advent as it’s own season and waiting to party until December 25th, then the practice makes a whole lot of sense. Most folks start their Christmas celebration the day after Thanksgiving and go until Boxing Day or so. Since we start ours on Christmas Eve, I figure it’s only fair to keep things rolling right through January.

We won’t be baking cookies every day or opening any more presents, but I wrapped up 40 different Christmas storybooks, each with a tiny envelope and a little activity for the day. So far, we’ve played board games, caught up on the Christmas movies we waited all through Advent for, decorated the schoolroom with twinkle lights, made thank you cards, sent a Christmas surprise to a friend’s little boy who’s battling leukemia, cooked our way through Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille, and brainstormed our goals for 2018. It’s been a lot of hours cuddled cozily on couches, good books in laps, warm drinks in hand. I’m really looking forward to the rest of our 40 days of celebrating–a little extra hygge to brighten up the dreariest days of our western Washington winter.

I entered the third trimester of my pregnancy today, and I am thrilled to finally share with you the news we learned just days before my blogging hiatus settled in: WE’RE HAVING A GIRL!! Although I don’t share my children’s real names here on my blog, you can feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I’ll be certain to spill the beans on that tidbit of information in good time.

We do have a name, and I am just in love with how lovely and old-fashioned it sounds, and how strong it looks written on the page. Pretty much a perfect combination.

Honestly, now that I’m out of the fog of morning sickness, I feel like this pregnancy has absolutely flown by. (Remind me that I said that two months from now!) I’ve been working on cultivating a language of joy throughout this pregnancy, something I wish I’d done in the previous five. I’m far from perfect, and I definitely complain sometimes, even if the complaint is just a stifled groan, but I’m building the habit of following every negative up with three positives. Not only does it help me readjust my attitude, but it sends the important message to my family that this pregnancy is a gift, that all the hard is good and so very, very worth it.

Tomorrow we pick up where we left off with school, hopefully refreshed and reinvigorated. I know that, in spite of the wonderful vacation, I’m looking forward to easing back into our routine. The thing I hope to carry with me as I go is the way I’ve learned to be truly present these last weeks, fully available: heart and hands and head. Not only to my family, in my vocation, but in my faith. I want to keep asking with every fiber of my being, Where is Jesus? I want to be overcome when every moment I have the potential to discover anew, Emmanuel–God with us. He’s right here.

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