Hope you had a merry Christmas/ holiday weekend. We were up in NY from Tuesday through Sunday, spending time with my family – J, T and mom. I saw J and mom in November, but I haven’t seen this guy in over a year – missed him :)
We kicked off Christmas festivities with a special Christmas Eve service at my mom’s church in Bedford. My mom joined the worship band this year as a singer, and it was fun to see her in her element. The service included a number of special touches, like the MV of Pentatonix’s “Mary, Did You Know”, which was just amazing. We immediately downloaded the rest of their Christmas album when we came home!
I mentioned that we planned a bunch of activities to do as a family this year – it was pretty fun to discover some new sights in the area (where my family has lived since I was in elementary school, lol). Highlights of our visit included:
– Visit to an alpaca farm (J has been yearning to go here for years)
– Outdoor ice skating near Bear Mountain
– Christmas lights! There are a couple of houses near White Plains that string up thousands of lights and sync them to holiday music – it was quite the show!
– Portofino’s pizza -Mike’s request every time we visit NY – their claim to (local) fame is the size of their slices
We also got dinner with our grandparents (my dad’s dad and step-mom) at a Korean restaurant in White Plains. We don’t meet up with extended family as often as we used to, so it was really lovely to reconnect.
Would you believe me if I said we ate nachos for Christmas dinner? Most of us aren’t huge meat eaters, so making a whole ham/ turkey/ lamb or whatever with sides didn’t make sense. We chowed down on a tray of nachos instead ;)
The weather was surprisingly mild (40s) for this time of year in NY, so I went out for a run on Saturday morning and iterated a 3-mile hilly loop around the lake near our house for a total of 9 miles. My only run at home, but it was a good one!
We also buried our dad’s ashes on Christmas Day in a lovely small cemetery in the neighborhood. My dad passed away nearly two years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that my mom knew what she wanted to do with the ashes. We went through a lot as a family during his coma and after he passed away, so I although I felt grief that he is no longer with us, I also felt so much gratitude for how far we’ve come. We’ve experienced healing and redemption as individuals and as a family, and I know God has even more in store for us in 2015.
T’s favorite verses seem like a good way to close out my thoughts here:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
May you walk into the new year surrounded by love, friends.