Today we celebrated Christmas with my family.
We traveled to Wilmington to Sandy's house. She managed to remain hidden from the camera all day, so I will show her fireplace instead of her. My mom is there in the rocking chair.
Notice the detailed carving on the mantel. Sandy designed and carved it herself. It has leaves from the trees found on their property.
Sandy may have hidden, but her husband John went for the opposite effect.
My sister Melinda was there too, with three of her children.
Ethan, who came on his way home from Alabama...
Phoebe (without John)...
Ellie and Tommy were in heaven today when their cousin Johnny let them play with the remote controls. They carried them around for a few hours, I think. I am not looking forward to finding out what the lingering effects of that fun will bring in our home, where those buttons are off limits.
Rachel came home from BYU-I...
and Megan was there with her boyfriend Cole...
More cousin love, as Johnny demonstrates his phone for Ellie...
We had our traditional white elephant gift exchange.
Oddly, during the first round of gifts, nothing was stolen. Ellie picked up a lovely wind-up pooping penguin toy in that round. Kind of cute, plus it came with two giant chocolate bars. On her second round, she chose to steal, horrifying me when she chose the lovely ceramic zebra which was a castoff from her cousin Wyatt that had landed in Grandma's gift pile. She gave it a good number of kisses before we set it out of breaking range. Tommy scored a Bunco game that has apparently done the rounds for several Christmases. I think the senior center gift donation will score that one from us next year. While I was out of the room, Tommy swiped my bag of homemade caramel corn and traded it to his Grandma for a cute toy. They actually got a good number of fun toys, and Rachel brought each of them a stuffed animal with a BYU-I shirt.
Tom and I got some lovely items as well. Tom had better hide his chocolate covered pretzels (Sam's Club size) along with Ellie's giant bars so that I don't break my resolve on not eating chocolate. Hard to believe, but I have been "dry" for 5 months now. We'll see if I make it through the holidays.
As we traveled in the car today we listened to Christmas music. On the way home, we were listening to Sally DeFord's music. One of my favorite songs is "Peace, Peace, Peace", which I strongly encourage you to go listen to, and the third verse lyrics are:
Peace, heavenly peaceI cried as I heard these words tonight, thinking of the tragic losses yesterday in Connecticut, and prayed for this peace beyond understanding to come to those families who lost their loved ones. I know it will not come soon, nor easily, but I pray that it will come.
Rests on men at His birth
Peace beyond understanding
Gift of God to the earth
Peace shines in our hearts
Bright as the star that shines in the east
To guide us all as we seek
the Prince of Peace, peace, peace.
The CD ended and I restarted it, and we were almost home when it came around to this song again. During the refrain of "peace, peace, peace" I heard a sweet voice from behind me sing the word "peace". Just once, and rather quietly, and I checked with Tom to confirm that he had heard Ellie sing it too, but as she did, my heart filled with that heavenly peace.