Decorating our Christmas tree always makes me thankful.
We have "filler" ornaments, sure, but the majority of our ornaments hold special meaning for us. When we travel, we often buy an ornament to commemorate it. Additionally, in our now nearly 8 years of marriage, we have been through quite a few milestones - not to mention the ones from before that. Many of which are immortalized in the form of ornaments.
Every year, as we search through the crumpled paper towel sheets we use to protect this precious cargo, I am reminded of so many - good, but also sometimes hard - things that the Lord has brought us through. We, as missionaries literally live off of the generosity of others - and thankfulness is the overarching emotion I feel. Especially this time of year. These ornament are tangible reminders of that.
Here are some of the ornaments that hold special meaning.
1. Baby's First Christmas Ornaments
There will never be a day that I won't get teary pulling these out! Those teeny-tiny fingers and toes... I can't even stand it! I even made sure that when we made these, I made an extra, so that if/when the kiddos ever want one for their trees when they're adults... I can still have mine. #momwin
These ornaments make me so thankful for the little lives God has entrusted to us!
2. Felt Cupcake
This ornament. This was the year that finances were so tight, that these handmade felt cupcake ornaments were the only gifts we could afford to give. I'm thankful for this year. This was our first year as a married couple. This was the year of Arby's chocolate turnover dates, Ramen noodles, no health insurance, not being sure if we had enough gas in the car to run errands, getting signed up to bring food to an event - and then not having enough to make dinner for us... It taught us to economize, to appreciate what we have, and enjoy the REAL spirit of Christmas.
3. Travel Ornaments
I am so thankful for the ability to travel, and see new places. These ornaments remind me of all the fun family memories we've shared.
4. White House Ornaments
My dad's dad, my Gramps used to buy my mom these ornaments that the White House Society puts out every year - and then when I got married, he did for us too. In 2016, I lost three of my grandparents - one of them being my Gramps. Dan's grandma also passed away that year. Aidan, our 2 year-old (at the time) attended 3 funerals that year - and was an absolute dream. I was a pall-bearer in my Gran's funeral. When Gran passed away, we put together pictures for the reception afterwards, and numbered them for the slideshow.
3 months later, we were putting together a slideshow for Gramps' funeral. The next number in the slideshow would've been 12, but I was looking at a picture that was already numbered 13, and was wondering where I went wrong with the numbering, when I realized - I hadn't gotten it wrong, it was just still numbered from Gran's funeral.
After they passed, my mom continued the tradition. Every year, when I take them out, I am thankful for my extended family, and the time we had together.
5. The Coolest Ornament
One year, I sent my mom a random picture of an ornament that I LOVED. Somehow she found it, and I got it for Christmas that year! It's an urchin and a spindle - it's amazingly fragile and beautiful, and somehow made it across the ocean.
I'm so thankful for a mama who knows my heart.
Coffee. I'm not even kidding. I'm thankful for coffee.
7. My Oldest Home
8. My Last Home
USA - Jacksonville.
9. My Current, and Beloved Home
Slovenia. I love it here so much! It has felt like home since the moment we got here. I am so thankful that we get to live and thrive in Slovenia.
This is from when we went hiking a couple months after we moved here. <3
10. The Person With Whom I Will Be Home No Matter What
I am so thankful for Dan. So many of the wonderful things in my life are because of who I get to spend that life with.
So, this holiday season, I encourage you to take the time to reminisce over the moments that your ornaments represent. When you think about those memories, take the time to thank God for the good... and also the hard things He's brought you through. Often times we wouldn't get to the happy memories, if it weren't for the tough ones.