Yesterday, the freezing rain in the forecast suddenly turned to snow outside our window. In Southern Pennsylvania, snow is often more of a blessing than a common occurrence, so we settled back to work thinking it wouldn't last. But it continued, and our first real snow of the season covered the trees that line our road. The lantern outside our back door wore a little elf's cap of snow, and our dog stepped tentatively out the back door sniffing the new white stuff.
A year ago, we had just moved into this house and were barely able to get unpacked, wrap presents, and, of course, throw our holiday party. Hosting is one of my favorite things, so that was top on the priority list. It acted as a nice housewarming as well. A year later, we are very settled here. It has been nice to get started earlier with the Christmas shopping, and the planning of our holiday fête, which we hosted last Saturday.
I remarked recently to my husband how often over the past year of living back home I have looked around me and thought blissfully, "Gosh, my life is so great." I think a major reason for this feeling is that so many of our visions have come to fruition. Living on the other side of the country was an adventure I would never give up, but it made us yearn for things, some of which we couldn't quite put our finger on. Being back home has shown us that many of those things were waiting for us right here in our own hometown. I believe Ryan and I make a good life for ourselves no matter where we live, but this place has allowed us to put many of the puzzle pieces together that were once a bit scattered.
We see our grandparents frequently - even my grandmother and relatives in upstate New York are in very close proximity compared to when we lived in Texas or Idaho. We see our parents and siblings as often as possible; two out of my three siblings live here in town now. They are part of the core of our social network. As are our friends, some who live in our town, but others who come from nearby cities and remind us of our past city lives.
Even my dream of having a band has been coming together in the past month. My sister and I have added two lead guitarists/mandolin/lap steel players, bass, and drums to our outfit, The Hello Strangers. This is something I'm really looking forward to in the coming year.
I love the Christmas season for many reasons: the cheer, the little gifts and treats to pass around, the special times with family and friends, and the magic of bigger things we cannot quite explain. I love the feeling of looking back at the past year and counting blessings, while also looking ahead to the next year of life and being given a fresh start. I am grateful everyday for the things that I have, and try not to take any of it for granted.
This Christmastide, may you look back in fond remembrance and look ahead to a year full of promises and surprises.
Christmas sweaters bring Christmas cheer!
My sister and her beau spread the holiday spirit at our party this past Saturday: