3 days: A Christmas bloom where you are planted
As I sit typing this blog, it is a very, gray and dreary day on the prairie. Hovering right above freezing, early fog and light rain have been the highlight for today’s weather. I don’t even know if rain is the right word. Spitting is what my Papa would have called it. My childhood home lies closer to Mexico while I currently live closer to Canada. On days like today, I hoping for sunshine and not at all, dreaming of a White Christmas, especially when the lawn has big muddy patches from our ninety-something pound dog.
We spent the weekend, cleaning house and working at the Elf Workshop. Having a daughter who plays high school basketball limits how far we can travel during the season. So it will be just us home for Christmas. We are planning a low key day, and we even gave our kids the freedom to choose what they would like for Christmas Eve and Day meals. Chicken Enchiladas and Poor Man’s Lobster were rather interesting choices, but nonetheless, we will be together celebrating the anniversary of Jesus’ birth. Next to him, my children and a love of learning and imagination are the best gifts I have ever received.
Dreary days like today drain me, but I am pulling myself together because it is baking night. No one in this house has any Belgian DNA in their cells, but we live among Belgians and have adopted their customs. Among the delicacies on the bakers’ agendas for this evening are these delightfully, crisp little waffle-like cookies known as Belgian cookies. We will be using a specially designed waffle iron (though I personally prefer the native name of lukkenyzer), which was fashioned, patented, and manufactured down the road in Ghent . . . Minnesota by “The Belgian” (who lived in the house that one of my best friend’s dad grew up in). I have very special memories of learning how to make these cookies from another bus family, whom Reed adored. So in a small way, he’ll be here with us.
In addition to looking forward to tonight’s family baking extravaganza, I found a little bright spot earlier when I looked up from my dining room table to discover the Christmas cactus, given to me for directing the children’s pageant, was starting to bloom. It reminded me of another dreary time this summer when I found a blossom in the most unusual of places. The sweet friend who sent the pictures of my kiddos making the fairy gardens a few days ago was the same friend who owned an amazing herb farm down the road. Reed loved her lemon balm, and one year chose that plant as his special addition to his garden space. I think it must be propagated on the wings of angels, because it has sprung up in the most unlikely of places all over our yard.
I was having a really bad day following the Girl Awesome’s sports injury this spring. Some people had said some really awful things to her. My heart broke for her, which brought up all the hard things our family has been through in the almost seven years since our worst day. I spent most of that day in bed crying and talking to God. Eventually I needed to get back to living. After dishes, the most pressing thing on my agenda was taking out the trash. (I know – I live the glamorous life.) A little glimpse of green caught my eye on the way to garbage can. Embedded in the rocks (where no plants have been in over ten years) was the tiniest lemon balm plant poking through the rock bed.
A different kind of tears filled my eyes as a chuckle so tender and quiet alit from my heart. I knew exactly what God (with maybe a little help from a redheaded boy) was trying to tell me. If I can make a plant grow in the most inhospitable of environments, I can take care of your troubles too.
There is always hope. Revolutionary, day-changing, love-filled hope!
Tonight we will bake and forget our dreary day! We will laugh and sneak batter and eat way too many cookies and dance like crazy people (a baking necessity), but most of all we will bloom where we are planted.
If you are in the neighborhood, stop in. There is always room at the table.