Now six days into the new year, I wanted to share some thoughts about the past few weeks — the transitions from preparing for the holidays to being in the middle of them and now very much out of them.

As much as I tried to avoid the holiday craziness this year, the days still seemed filled up and slightly wild. I enjoyed all that I did. I rested, I spent time with family and friends, I celebrated.

I was also worked during the two weeks of goings on, tried to squeeze in some last-minute shopping and worked out to counteract the cookie calories. And more of my time went to attending to the usual chores and putting in quality time with those I don’t get to see very often.

Creativity with gingerbread

There were always a lot of people around — at friends’ gatherings starting with gingerbread house decorating and a girls’ holiday dinner and culminating with family traditions and attending a Christmas Eve worship service. There was always warmth, with fires, socks, hot tea and meals fresh from the stove top.

I was hoping to couple the craziness with some peace and quiet. And I think I succeeded.

One of my favorite times this season was simply sitting on Christmas Eve with my mom in my parents’ living room, where the tree always stands. There were various interruptions during our time, but we kept coming back to enjoy some stillness before the more intense chaos returned.

Another one of my favorite moments was rather unexpected. At Nathan’s parents’ house, we welcomed a new person into the day’s events. He is a young guy they met while shopping in the area. His family is nearby, but he’s not incredibly close to them. We sat and talked and got to know him for a bit before he had to leave. Simply inviting someone in and including them is a wonderful blessing to be a part of.

Julie and me

Another part of the holidays I loved was getting a few chances to be creative. My mom typically sends Christmas cards to family and friends. She found some coupons for free greeting cards from shutterfly.com, which happens to be one of my favorite places to order photos. So, with time running out before Christmas day (it does not actually matter when the Christmas cards arrive — late is OK!), I put together some cards with photos from recent events in the Reishus children’s lives. The cards turned out really cute, and I’ll definitely go that route again for holiday cards.

I’m truly blessed — this year and each year. Even though the holidays were and probably always will be crazy, I’m thankful for the opportunities I have to spend with those I love. I’m thankful I have a community, a family and great friends — and people who love me in return.

—Kimberly

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