A very merry weekend recap

I am a spoiled, spoiled girl. That’s really the only way I know how to describe what the holidays were like for me. On Christmas night, while I was lying in bed saying my prayers, I told God I was in utter disbelief about His faithfulness and how thankful I am for my wonderful family. It feels almost unreal; I don’t deserve it. And I don’t ever want to take anything for granted, ever.
Clay and I had a wonderful Christmas Eve spending time with his side of the family at church and their traditional “Breakfast Dinner” afterwards. Several days prior, I jokingly suggested my mother-in-law serve waffles at the dinner and, sure enough, there was a box of Eggo’s in the freezer when I arrived. She’s so awesome. 

After relaxing with the in-laws, Clay and I headed back home so I could bake a pecan pie for the Christmas Day festivities. While the pie cooled on the stove, Clay and I cuddled on the couch and watched our favorite Christmas movie, This Christmas.
We woke up bright and early on Christmas Day to do our personal gift exchange before heading back over to the in-law’s for presents. I was a jittery, excited mess for Clayton to open his present. So much so, I almost lost my mind when he started gingerly unfolding the wrapping paper, taking great pains not to tear it. I’d been sitting on this surprise for almost two months and couldn’t stand it anymore. “WOULD YOU HURRY UP!?” I blurted out, impatiently. Surprised by so much emotion at 7 o’clock in the morning, Clayton ripped off the final layer of paper to find this:

Puzzled by my note, Clayton cast a cautious smile in my direction as he got up and made his way into the guest bathroom. Pulling a large package out from under the sink, he looked at me with an even more confused expression. “What is this?” he asked, maneuvering the giant box back into the living room. 

“Just open it,” I said coyly from behind the digital camera I had poised and ready. “And be sure to read the tag. It’s not just from me; it’s from your parents and Grandma, too.”

With much more urgency that he displayed earlier unwrapping his decoy gift, Clayton tore the wrapping paper off of the large box and revealed his big surprise …

… an xbox 360!

Clayton is a man of little emotion, but he literally shrieked and jumped up to hug me. He has wanted one of these game systems forever and since he’s done so much for me and let me funnel so much of our spending money into my running, I felt he totally deserved something this special for himself. He’s so selfless, it didn’t even occur to him that he could ask for something like this for a Christmas or birthday present, so I was over the moon with happiness to be able to surprise him. 

Then I suddenly felt really bad that we were going to be at my mother’s house for the rest of the day and he wouldn’t get a chance to play with his new toy until after Christmas. Ooops. That was harsh.

But then it was my turn. Several weeks ago Clayton had mentioned to me that what he bought me for Christmas was something that I had never asked for. Piquing my interest, I privately exhausted myself trying to figure out exactly that could be. I believe (and Clayton can attest to this) that I am a very hard person to surprise, so if you are able to completely blind-side me, then kudos to you. The only time I can think of where I was legitimately, 100% thrown for a loop was when my family burst into the room with my Kitchen Aid mixer on my 26th birthday (and we all know how life-changing that was).

Intrigued, I took the package with my name on it out from under the Christmas tree. It was my favorite shape of box, too. (Is it weird that I have a favorite shape of present box? I like them kind of rectangular, but not flat like a clothes box. Fatter, yet not very big. It totally throws me off and I can never guess what it is.) But before I started tearing off the paper, Clayton handed me an envelope that was nestled in the tree. It was a card that contained an Amazon.com gift card with the note, “This should get you started.” I was baffled.

“Okay,” he said, “now open the present!”

After ripping off the green wrapping paper, I discovered a brown box that had Kindle Fire printed on the side of it.
Clearly I look gorgeous early in the morning.

I’m not entirely sure what happened next. I think I blacked out from lack of oxygen from screaming at such a high-pitched decibel. But needless to say, I was surprised. Delightfully surprised. Like, deliriously surprised.

Clay was right, I had never asked for a Kindle before because I never knew that I wanted one. I was hesitant to have an e-reader at all because I’m a creeper who likes the smell of old books and likes turning pages with my hands. But then on Black Friday when Clay and I made the mistake of stopping by the zoo that was Best Buy, I saw the Kindle Fire and told Clay it was the coolest gadget ever. But unbeknownst to me, Clay had already bought me one. Apparently he bought it right when they came out earlier in November, thinking that it was something I would really enjoy. And that just made the gift all the more special and amazing. 

After we played with our new toys for a few minutes, Clay and I cleaned up and headed over to the in-law’s for yet more presents. I was already feeling overwhelmed by my Kindle Fire, I couldn’t fathom getting anything else. 

But, my in-law’s are amazing and graciously gave Clayton and I some very awesome gifts including a Dutch oven (I’d been needing one for months) and a Kahlua gift set with 4 different flavors of Kahlua (do they know me or what?). After a sadly brief visit, Clay and I had to pack up our goodies and hit the road to go see my momma and sister.

Now this is where I need to further reiterate the “I’m a spoiled, spoiled girl” part from the beginning of my post. 

My mother out does herself every year. Every single Christmas she tells us, “Money is tight, it’s going to be a small Christmas”. And every single Christmas my sister and I tell her, “Mom, we don’t care. We don’t need lots of presents to have a good Christmas. You know that.” And yet, every single Christmas my mom provides the most thoughtful, generous gifts that leave us speechless. She’s just amazing like that. She just wants to do nice things for everyone all the time and she’s just the best. That’s all I can say. She’s just the best. 
I had to laugh out loud when Mom handed me a large box with both Clay’s and my name on the tag and said, “This is just a little last minute gift I bought on a whim. If you don’t like it, you can take it back."

My mom bought my husband and I a brand new set of stoneware dishes. She bought us a brand new set of dishes “on a whim”? “Well, I know you’ve wanted to get a nicer set of dishes ever since you got married,” she said. “I saw these and they reminded me of you.” And yes, she bought my sister a set, too. Ashley’s dish pattern is a colorful flower design that perfectly matches some of the Joseph Joseph kitchen items she received for her future house. Of course my dishes are earthly and neutral and yes, they match my mixer. What a silly question … 

I was almost starting to panic I was feeling so overwhelmed. 

And then I opened one of my last presents (I know, can you believe there was more? Again, the spoiled thing.) My mom wrapped this one up in a fancy Christmas box that we’ve had in our family for years and like to joke, “Who gets the box this year?” Well, I totally got it this year and it just so happens to be my favorite shape of present box (see above). I pulled off the lid and maneuvered a sheet of red tissue paper, revealing what was hidden inside.

When I saw what it was, I immediately dropped the box.

And burst into tears. 

Like full-on, get-me-a-tissue, I-need-a-moment-to-collect-myself kind of crying. 

My mom bought me the white iPod Touch that I had been yammering about wanting for months (literally months. People were seriously sick of me talking about it). My old iPod bit the dust almost 6 months ago and my mom generously let me borrow her super old iPod Nano to train for the Monumental Half Marathon. I had been chattering incessantly about how neato it would be to have a Touch because you could get a GPS app to log running miles and blah, blah, blah.

I couldn’t believe it. Then again, I’m not entirely sure why I was so surprised. This is what my Mom does. She puts herself last so that she can give her children what they want. She loves to see us happy. She’ll do it at any cost. And she knows she doesn’t have to buy us things to make us happy, but she does it anyway because she wants to. 

And I think that’s what overwhelmed me to the point of tears. I gave her a giant hug and she had to brush her own tears away, but they might have been from laughing at me because I was such a ridiculous mess. It was touching.

I can only hope that the gifts I gave my family in return bring them as much joy as what theirs did for me. I was incredibly excited to give gifts this year because Clay and I were blessed with the financial means to get our loved ones things that they really wanted. While I recognize that presents are only a teeny, tiny part of what the Christmas celebration is all about, it still makes me feel good to be able to help make their holiday a little brighter. I can’t thank my in-laws, family, and hubby enough for their love and kindness. I pray that God blesses them all tenfold. 

We spent the rest of Christmas Day playing cards, watching movies, and feasting on a pork roast with all of the trimmings. As my mom was preparing dinner, she pulled out a few lobsters she was hiding as yet another surprise (by this point, my heart almost couldn’t bare another surprise). We used to have lobster every Christmas, but due to financial cutbacks we hadn’t had it in a few years. But there it was, steamed and ready to be dipped into melted butter (I totally allowed myself to cheat and have butter because that is the only way to eat a lobster. Remember my saying that starting any kind of diet around Christmas would be torture?). I love seafood, but I am terrified of most creatures in the sea when they are alive and can touch me while I’m swimming. I was a little skeezed out by my lobster’s eye and made him face away from me while I tried to crack open his claws. But I kept having visions of him “not being all the way dead” and moving around on my plate, so I had to ask Clayton to kindly dismember the rest of him for me.

Just yesterday I got a package in the mail from a girl who I have known since we were in pre-school. Emily and I used to be besties. I couldn't even count the number of sleepover I had at her house when we were in elementary school. But after my parents got divorced and I briefly moved out of town while my mom went back to school for her master's degree, we lost touch and by the time I moved back for middle school and high school, we had completely different social circles. However, thanks to the power of Facebook, Emily and I started reconnecting recently when I learned she was a vegan. I started asking her questions and she took a strong interest in my desire to start eating "cleaner", being a strong encouragement when I made the choice to reduce the amount of dairy in my diet. Well, yesterday I picked up a package from UPS and saw it was from Emily. She mailed me a copy of Kris Carr's book Crazy, Sexy Diet, a book that teaches and empowers readers to stop damaging their bodies and move towards a lifestyle of repair and renewal. I started reading it last night and can't wait to dive back into again tonight.

It was such a kind, wonderful gesture. I couldn't get over it. I couldn't get over her and how incredibly sweet she is. Isn't that just ridiculously thoughtful? Oh my gosh, I think I've just spent the better part of a week completely floored by people's thoughtfulness.

So I’m sitting here today, three days after Christmas, sipping my almost cold coffee and still experiencing feelings of disbelief and faint twinges of guilt over how blessed I am. When I say I’m blessed, it’s never to brag. It’s a statement … a statement of undeserving. When I say, “I am so blessed” in my head, it almost sounds as if it should have a question mark at the end of it. I am so blessed? Me? Why me? I am so undeserving. And yet here I am, comfortable. It’s unfair. Who am I to have all of this? Why do I get to have a roof over my head and a warm place to sleep every night while others shiver in the cold out on the streets? Why do I get to have my own car while so many others have to walk, take the bus or just no go anywhere? Why do I get to have a job when so many people are standing in the unemployment line? Why do I have so many people who love me when so many people are all alone? Why do I get to have luxuries when so many people don’t even have their basic necessities? 

That’s called grace, my friends.

And like I said before, I will never take it for granted. And I will make sure that I find ways to pass on blessings to others.

Sometimes I worry about putting any kind of religious well, anything, into my blog because I know that not everyone who reads this has the same beliefs that I do. And that’s okay, but my faith is the corner-stone to my well-being, and I am choosing to share with you the words that I live by:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I am a blessed, blessed girl.


  1. Parents are certainly some incredible people! My mom sounds like your mom's twin! What awesome mommas we have! So glad you had a blessed Christmas!


Post a Comment