Christmas Eve Ponderings


I put up the Christmas tree this year. Most years we’ve celebrated Christmas at my sister and niece’s houses, so my ornaments stayed boxed away in the basement. This year, my son and I are hosting festivities. I can’t wait. This afternoon everyone will begin arriving and we’ll spend hours laughing, playing games, eating and opening gifts. I’d forgotten how fun it is to decorate the Christmas tree.

Each ornament tells a story. Baby’s First Christmas: My husband and I didn’t have much money, but we were excited about our new baby. The ornament was from Current. It was inexpensive and unbreakable. It’s now thirty-three years old, just like my incredible son.

Styrofoam Ball: My son laughed when he pulled it out of the box. This was the first ornament he made while in preschool. It’s painted gold and has a pipe cleaner hanger.

Bread Dough and Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments: I remember sitting down at my kitchen table with family and friends and all of our kids, making crafty Christmas decorations. This was after my divorce when finances were still tight. We had a wonderful time. Today some of the ornaments are unrecognizable blobs. They still hang proudly on my tree.

There are ornaments from Yellowstone National Park, Amsterdam and other fantastic places we’ve traveled. The tree is decorated with penguin ornaments, since Travis has always loved penguins. There are police officer ornaments representing my time in law enforcement. The journey of my life over the years is represented by ornaments on my Christmas tree.

Decorating the tree reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much joy is in my life. It will never grace the cover of a magazine or win any prizes, but to me, it is the most beautiful tree in the world. 

An Olive World

About two and a half years ago, I adopted a new member of the family. Olive is identified by the Denver Dumb Friends League as an English Pointer mix. I’m not quite sure what she is mixed with, but she is a beautiful dog. She has a personality so big, it fills a room.

Olive jumps straight up in the air showing her excitement as I get ready to throw her latest toy. She’ll chase the cat around and then sleep on the bed next to him. Sometimes it’s as if she understands exactly what I’m saying to her. You’ll have to believe me when I tell you about her personality, because you will probably never see it.

Why? Olive is terrified of people. While I’ve done almost everything I can including dog agility and obedience classes for at least half of her life, having her stay at a local kennel to work with trainers and getting her out in the world with dog lovers at the dog park, it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. She loves the dog trainers now, but she is scared of everyone else except for me and my son. If you see her at the park from a distance, you’d never know that just getting closer will turn this confident, full speed dog into one that hides behind things shaking in terror. That is just sad, because seeing her love of life brings me such happiness.

I wouldn’t trade Olive for the world. She actually adopted me. I’ve never had a shy dog before and she was trembling when the adoption counselor brought her into the room for me to visit. I picked her up and held her close on my lap, she was only four months old. After talking to her and petting her for a few minutes, I set her down. She slowly worked her way over to sitting down next to me and leaning against my leg. It was one of those moments when you know “it’s meant to be.”

So why am I telling you about Olive?  It is because there are people I know who are afraid just like Olive. They may not be specifically afraid of people, but are afraid to share who they are and the amazing talents they have been given. I’ve been there, done that.

“I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

“What if people don’t like it?”

“I can’t draw.”

“I can’t write.”

I read a book once that asked me, “If you could be anything, what would you be?” One of my answers was a writer. The Crosswinds newsletter that I talk about in the first post of this blog came as a result of that self reflection. Can I write? I’m certainly not the best writer but I think I can do well enough to share my heart.

What are you afraid of sharing with people today?