Today Is a very special and important day.

Today is the first birthday of Nathan Paul Krueger Wiebe. One year ago today his parents held him in their arms for the first...and last time.

I have loved Nathan through knowing and sharing a special kinship with his mother and I have been greatly touched by his life.

I have no idea what heaven is actually like but I imagine these two, born so close together, have each other to play and laugh with. To worship God with.

I know Nathan is happy on this day, that he rests in the full presence of his savior... but I know his family has a deep ache that will not be soothed until they, too, stand before God, and hold Nathan in their arms again.
The problem with reading about 20 blogs an a regular basis is that you are way more likely to get tagged that I guess I'll play along. :)

1) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
It disturbs me how many people in my world are anti-Egg Nog. I remember my first Egg Nog Latte of the season this year, and thinking it tasted like Christmas in a cup.

2) Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
My favorite part of any present any time of the year is opening it. I can't imagine not wrapping gifts.

3) Colored lights or white?
I am a white light girl. But a few years back I put a string of colored "pearl" lights on the tree too. It was so pretty. Like light up decorations.

4) Do you hang mistletoe?
There are way to many people in this house to hang sprigs of poison around. Plus I get all the kisses I need.

5) When do you get out your decorations?
Usually the day after Thanksgiving...but this year, since I was out the door by 4:30am, there was a delay.

6) Favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert?
This is tough. I'm really a dessert girl. But if we are talking Christmas then it's gotta be the HoneyBaked ham....mmmmm.

7) Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Ok, I can really only clearly remember one specific time...but in general my mother's ability to fool me into thinking the big gift under the tree was for my dad...and not me...year after year.

But my most favorite holiday memories are of my kids...especially the year daughter got a Hello Kitty Etch-A-Sketch and screamed when she opened it.

8) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
That he exists and is amazing?

9) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
I love opening one gift on Christmas eve but don't think we have in a while because of bedtimes and excitement and all.

10) How do you decorate your trees?
White lights, purple and deep red ornaments, and lots of keepsake and kid made ornaments.

11) Snow, love it or hate it?
I love that we can go visit the snow and then come the same day!

12) Can you ice skate?
I can. I love it. There is an outdoor skating rink this year. In Southern California! I can't wait to go.

13) Do you remember your favorite gift?
Ummm... I think it was my ring last year. It's one I've wanted for years and years and it says, in Hebrew, "I am my beloveds and He is mine"

14) What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Jesus is the obvious answer. But it is even deeper to me now...the idea that this beautiful and perfect baby boy is celebrated because at just 33 years old he would die such a brutal death in order to free me from sin. I connect to the message more as I get older.

15) Favorite Holiday dessert?
I love ALL dessert.

16) Favorite Christmas tradition?
I love the tradition of how we spend our break, so much family time.

17) What tops your tree?
There is an angel that resembles our first one, last year we had a star but this year that star has moved lower and our angel is back.

18) What's better giving or receiving?
Everyone says giving. I do agree. I love to get a gift as much as anyone but I love to get a good gift for someone I love.

19) Favorite Christmas song?
Celebrate the Day by Relient K. I cry every.single.time.

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

20) Candy Canes, yummy or yucky?
Yummy! Especially if used to stir Egg Nog or Hot Cocoa

21) What do you want for Christmas?
I won't really get gifts this year and that is just fine. I want to spend time with my good friends and my loving husband. Oh, there are two things I really do want but they aren't gifts in the traditional sense. I want one for my friend Jennie and one for me...

22) Do you attend an annual Christmas Party?
I do. I look forward to our annual church banquet every year.

23) Do you dress up for Christmas eve?
Only if my husband and I manage to get a date in.

24) Do you own a Santa Hat?
Actually no, I do not. My husband has one I think, but not me.

25) Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
My parents and my immediate family.

And now I am supposed to tag someone...or four someones...hmmm...
Krista, Cassi, Hattie, and Shanna
Sometimes the irony God likes to use in my life is almost laughable. Other times it cuts to the quick. And still other times it's just plain confusing...sometimes all at the same time.

Today I read this:

Colosians 3: 5-17
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Only to be reminded later of a few times when my talk was not pure in the company I was keeping. It hurt so much to know I had wounded the herat of God *and* my friends. I want to hop in my magic sin remover and go back and undo it. This is what happens when I am not on guard and I have to ask myself, "Am I letting stuff in that I shouldn't be or was it simply a lack of judgement?"
And harder still I have to ask God to shine a light into all the corners and do some housekeeping. I don't always like the housekeeping...finding something long forgotten or allowed to grow in darkness. I don't like to see the ugly parts as they are revealed. It makes me shudder to see those things revealed.
And it doesn't have to be something "big", just not what I want to reveal to My Glorious God. It's humbling and uncomfortable at the least.
Yet, I am so greatful to my Jesus, who just cleans it up with me and looks at me with love and peace and joy, not revulsion or pity. He doesn't change in His love for me... and when the work is through there is cleanliness where the dirt was. It shines like a freshly cleaned sink, with those little sparkles and all.
And that was just a small part of what God's word spoke directly to my heart today.
It seemed that every line, every word, was for me. Even the ones I am not sure how to apply... I know I was meant to read them today. To etch them on my heart. To adjust my thoughts and patterns to His. That as each step before me is revealed to be ready to take them.

Throughout my married life, probably because I have been married my entire adult life, I have at various times come to a place where I could feel some new shift just over the horizon. Something changing inside me, some new stage in my life.

I can feel it happening again and, to be honest, I hate the feeling. It's anxiety inducing in nearly every way. Sometimes I feel that I could weep uncontrollably and my fight or flight reflex screams "Run! Move! Do Something! Anything!" and yet, with some practice I have become able to hear God as He says, quietly, in a whisper, "Just wait. Just relax and let me lead you. Be aware and watch, but wait."

Wait for what? I just can't even guess.

In the past what I have done is leap into searching and grasping for the answer. I never find it. It comes, but I think I miss a lot of what God wants me to learn or some of the beauty of the ride. I miss the traces of His hand moving.

So here I am. Sitting and waiting. Crawling out of my skin...but still waiting.