Our family celebration actually began Tuesday night, the 23rd, as we headed over to Mom’s and Steve’s house for snacks and fellowship. Mom didn’t remarry for many years, but know this: Steve Ivester was worth the wait! He was a single dad with custody of a young son when they met over a decade ago. Dan is now attending Greenville Tech and he’s just like his dad… awesome. It was a very meaningful way to close out what had been proven to be a difficult day for our family (see my previous post).

Christmas Eve was quiet. The experience is very different for the part-time empty nester. (Parents, enjoy every moment of your children’s laughter and excitement! It will be a memory before you know it.) Zach worked all day so it was just the two of us until later that evening. We attended First Baptist’s Christmas Eve service and especially appreciated the tone that was set from the beginning when Randy baptized a couple of teenagers and an elderly woman. The entire program was very nice, but I have to admit that for a claustrophobic person, the 5:00 service was, well… a little unsettling. The auditorium was filled to capacity – so much so that they brought in extra chairs and placed them behind us in the balcony. On this slam-packed evening, we handed out candles to every child and adult to light for the final song. Don’t get me wrong — it was a beautiful and moving sight to behold, but rest assured, the average claustrophob already had a fire escape route in mind. Um… you can call me “AC” for short. 🙂

Christmas Day reminded me of “old times”. We had a lot of fun opening gifts with Zach that morning (missed you Brandon & Megan!) . I received the nice pound cake pan, some great books, gift cards for more books, a Starbucks gift card, etc. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to chilly days, warm coffee, and putting my reading glasses to task. We also enjoyed a wonderful family lunch in Spartanburg and then returned home to enjoy another great ham and mac-n-cheese dinner that evening with my dad and Sherry (who broke her arm on Christmas eve but was a real trooper!) I truly thank God for my wonderful family whom I’ve come to appreciate more this year than ever before.

Today, the day after Christmas, finds me a bit melancholy as grandmother’s funeral was this time last year and tired from packing up the decorations — but I’m looking forward to tomorrow, which I’m hoping will be a more restful and reading-filled kind of day.