It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Labor of Love

Here it is!  There is one box I must find first--the 22-year old cardboard box with yellowing shipping tape and Grandma Laurene's lacy handwriting with our used-to-be address in Oakland on it.  This is the decoration that goes up first every year!

The contents are just as they were the first time I opened this box--two pieces of heavy foam sandwiching the prize between them.  The excitement is the same in 2010 as it was in 1988! Our very own jewel tree, designed and hand-crafted just for us by Grandma Laurene and Grandpa Dale.

Like others in the family who had these special customized trees, Hero Husband and I, married just 8 months when we received ours, were being acknowledged as the beginnings of a new family, a new branch on the family tree.  I loved that!

I looked at every single detail!  There were so many lovely vintage pieces of costume jewelry I vividly remembered being worn by both my Grandma and my Great Grandma before her.

Oh, and look here--using an old brooch as a picture frame was a picture of my mom and dad as high school sweethearts--the roots of my tree.

At the top was a cross, properly occupying the most prominent position . . . then a rhinestone "F" for my new last name . . . a golfer pin for Hero Husband with his initials hand painted in gold . . . one of our wedding pictures . . . an American flag for this very American girl . . . a pair of sandstone earrings from the Black Hills of South Dakota--a family favorite place . . . a picture my Grandpa took of me at my graduation--they drove 1800 miles to be there . . . an Oakland A's baseball cap because they knew we were such fans . . . and many, many more details that highlighted who we were.

Each and every piece was a tangible memory, a touchstone, a token of history . . . my history . . . our shared history.  There were even little nods to our new life together and celebrations of who we were becoming.

This was such a labor of love!  The detailed planning, the framing and arranging, the placing of each light and fixing it in place must have taken hours!  I love thinking of my Grandma and Grandpa working together, sharing ideas and picking out each just-right piece, excited to give us the treasure they were creating.

You won't believe this, but I have never had to change a light bulb on my jewel tree!  A Christmas miracle?  Could be!

There is another labor of love, a true miracle, that outshines even these tiny lights that have lasted me so long.  In a humble stable in Bethlehem, a very young, very faithful virgin girl labored to give birth to God's own beloved Son.  Her tiny baby held all the hopes and dreams, the joys and passions, the hurts and needs and broken hearts of the whole human race. And if that wasn't a job too big for one so small, He would also be called the "Light of the World." Wrapped in swaddling clothes that temporarily hid the light of His majesty, Jesus came so the lights in our living "jewel trees" would never have to go out.

"The LORD their God will save his people on that day
as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown."

How are you letting your light shine?
What does it mean to you to be a jewel in His crown?

I'm joining Ann Voskamp in her counting of the multitude of gifts God bestows everyday!
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!

holy experience

176. Gifts that God tucks in when things go wrong--when my battery died (again)we got to drive around looking at Christmas lights while the battery recharged.
177. Unexpected blessings in spite of because of redirection
178. Wisdom from a pair of delightfully rambunctious 4 year old boys:  "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!"
179. Little girl with dancing sapphire-blue eyes and a sifting of freckles across her nose--she jumped up to breathe in the wisps of smoke from the blown-out candles , exclaiming, "I LOVE that smell!"
180. When I called Drummer Boy to find out how his final went, he was just picking up the phone to call ME to say that it went great!
181. Sitting in on She So Sweet's basketball referee training
182. Time to gather at Peet's to talk and catch up with Hero Husband & She So Sweet at the end of the day
183. This week's extra places to share my blog and to connect with other bloggers' stories of their step-by-steps with God
184. Technology that connects me with people I have yet to meet face to face, making them into close friends
185. Discovering the classic movie Holiday Inn with She So Sweet
186. Favorite Christmas decorations that usher in "a feeling of Christmas."
187. Being on the same page
188. That Drummer Boy was able to reschedule work to be with the family on Christmas Eve
189. Spoken words that reconcile hearts
190. Generous family members who fill up our empty places

Also linking to L.L. Barkat's Seedlings In Stone today!

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