So I have this little pet-peeve of mine..and that is when people overuse the word "blessed". I feel like it's one of those "Christianese" words that gets tossed around a lot. In this last year I have grown to understand a bit better what a real blessing is. I think that when you have a year like mine (that is not particularly one to repeat), it is almost easier to see the true blessings, because they are like a white diamond against a black velvet cloth. They stand out. And although they may be much smaller than the black cloth that's behind it, they are still shining bright and are very obvious. This is how the blessings this year have been for me. I won't go into all the deatils, because I just want to focus on my Christmas blessings. :)
Raleigh and I were unsure of what our Christmas plans were until the day before we were able to leave. UGH!! That is not the blessing part of this story! Let me explain: because Raleigh is the only Nickelodeon-Approved host at the Marriott here, we have been waiting for them to tape someone else doing the show, mail it to Marriott, and then get the final approval from them. A tape was already sent to Marriott for approval in October but they did not approve his replacement. Then they taped this same guy again on Dec. 3 and sent it off the next week (cutting it close I might add...). Since a boss at Marriott decided that the Nickelodeon show should happen on Christmas Day and every day after (through New Year's), we were stuck until we knew if this guy got approved. If he didn't get approved Raleigh and I would have only been able to go to Oregon for about 4 days (that's only 2 days with each family) and would have had to fly back to the desert on Christmas Morning. :(
FINALLY, the day before we were hoping to leave, we got word that he was approved. This is the first blessing. As we were lying in bed at my parent's house on Christmas Eve, I was thinking about how we would have had to fly out the next morning at 5:30AM. That was a truly "blessed" feeling I had. And the whole time we were in Oregon I just felt loved on. Great conversation, concerned hearts for us, and thoughtful gifts that let me know people think about us and care about us. It hit me that when people love me, and when circumstances seem to line up perfectly, that's God showing me love. That's how He chooses to do it sometimes! I felt so loved--not only by my families but by the Lord. He didn't have to put those people in my life and He certainly didn't have to open up the doors for us to be able to make it home for Christmas. But He chose to, and it was a real blessing.