It's quiet and cloudy at my house this morning.  I'm sitting by the tree with freshly wrapped presents underneath and sipping on my coffee.  I can see the reflection of the twinkly lights in the glass of the windows and my heart is quiet and peaceful for the moment.

I'm thankful to be here.  

It's not a secret that I love the holiday season.  I love hearing the words of Isaiah.  I love all of the wonder and joy and bustle.  I love working through lists and finding just the right items for the people I love.  I love the decor and the way it all comes together.  The music gets me in just the right mood, and I anticipate the many things we will be doing in the next month or so.

I love being with my family far and near.  These people have shaped my life, my husband's life, and they are shaping our children's lives as well.  Stories from yesteryear, eating special family desserts, discovering our rich history, learning more about each other--these are the conversations which are shared freely during the holiday season.  Happy memories and sad moments and realizations that it will never be quite like this again as each and every year brings changes.

I'm thankful to be here.  

This past week I've watched the evening news and thought about those poor children and their families involved in the bus accident in Tennessee.  I cannot imagine what those parents are going through this holiday season, and I'm sure they would give everything they own to bring back their babies.  I also read a poignant article regarding family get togethers and how they might change if we decided to interact with those we loved the most as if it would be the final time we would ever see them.  Perhaps we would let go of the little things that irritate us and focus on what really matters.

Those Tennessee mothers did not realize when they kissed their babies goodbye on the morning of the accident that it would be the final time they would be together.  Sometimes we have the luxury of a final goodbye, and other times life ends before we have time to properly say what needs to be said.  Those final goodbyes are not the moments to hash out silly disagreements and irritations, but to affirm and encourage.  If we knew we might never see those faces again, we might decide to use our time and words a little differently, and it might just soften our hearts towards those who tend to get under our skin.

Be thankful to be there.

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