Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 346 Christmas Series: Opened Gifts

December 18, 2015
Day 346

The Christmas season of 2015 will be rift with memories. Some were anticipated and most were spontaneous.  I enjoyed them thoroughly.  Here are a few:

1. The Robotic endeavor, for Wider, I decided to undertake spilled into December. The Fall was full of robotic meetings with children who were navigating new waters and learning not only about this riveting field but most importantly about themselves. We were headed out to North Dakota for the regionals, thrilling. I will always equate Christmas with Robotics.

2. The week before Thanksgiving, in the early hours, I am called to come quickly. Robyn is bleeding and she is in her third trimester. This was the beginning of the ride. From there we hopped into the roller coaster, pulled down the horse collar restraints and off we flew into the Christmas Season. Red, the sign of life, has been on our mind and green is the color of the grass outside.  Some things in life simply do not line up.

3. All of us know what our gift is going to be - A little baby girl delivered three weeks early. There are many hands in "hold" mode. Bring it on, bring it on. Thank you RJ and Robyn for this priceless Christmas gift. We talk of this little girl. We dream of this of this little girl. We will soon hold this precious, sweet, swaddling infant child.

4. We know our other gift; Theo blasting through the doors, talking for all of us to understand, while his mommy and daddy go get his sister. We will see little guy more than usual during this holiday season. We love his forced snuggles, his silliness, his serious side, his humor, his sleepiness, he cuteness. He is the high commander.

5. Yesterday, in Walmart, a woman in a motorized shopping cart was desperately looking for her lost gift card. This is her christmas money for the shoeless little boy sitting on her lap. She was distraught, had we found it? No, sorry. I see them again. In the meantime her daughter discovered it! Many of us, in line, threw our heads back in relief. Phew. This is a moment that sneaks into the season. God, would you show her how you are desperately searching for her?

6. The moments spent in prayer with a group of women who have navigated some very rough waters this year is a gift that I will hold dearly. Though the prayers were varied, as each women is different, they were all headed in the same direction. What a gift. The fellowship that grew out of heartache is a gift I will take with me to eternity and it has helped to shape me in 2015.

7. Our time in one of our prayer partner's home, after her surgery, is a true Christmas memory and gift. She had prepared her home, before surgery, in a way only she knows how, simply elegant, full-on nostalgic, and charmingly peaceful. Her trip to surgery for one thing was delayed upon the discovery of another thing. God spared her life in a miraculous way. Our time of prayer surrounding our dear friend was throne room warmth. She is my gift.

8. Chris, my rescuer, grabbed me out of buyer's remorse earlier this week. He doesn't see me stressed and when he does he kicks into elder son mode. He began the return calls, he received confirmation that our money would be returned, helped to secure the returnable couch in the van, put me in the van, and off we went to Boscov's distribution center. From there we traveled to IKEA.  We had one of our "adventures." We purchased my dream couch and upon arrival, Sean Geiger, Geoff, Chris and, sometimes, Jesse put it all together. With a whoosh, holding hands, together we sat down into the beautiful, overstuffed, gorgeous red couch. A dream. This gift of an elder son keeps giving.

9. Jen Secord is truly a Christmas gift to me. Two years ago she lost her husband in a tragic car accident. She has been showing up to the coffee Gazebo purchasing airpots and coffee at wholesale. She then brings it to her sons' gymnastic practice in West Chester and earns money as a fundraiser. While she waits for Lynn to finish up last minute stuff, her and I talk. We went headfirst into a relationship. She makes me cry with her stories, it is all still so raw. We hug. This Christmas gift is one I know I am going to be opening for a very long time. What a gift.

10. The friends I have made this year overflow my heart with all good things. The time I have spent in deep conversation always ends with a desire for more love, more forgiveness, more understanding, more inclusion and more Jesus. What a gift.

11. Memories of water, beavers, herons, cameras, sunrises and sunsets flood me with wonderful memory gifts. The kayaks, Lynn and I purchased at Dick's, pulled French Creek and Scott's Run into clear focus. Traci Higley, Sarah Bland Haluko, Brittany Hopkins, Katie Schwartz, Deborah Kurtz, Dale Cupo, Mary Burke, Pam Hopkins, Chris Burkholder, Terri Leamer, Greg Nyssen, my lovely husband, Jesse Burkholder, Robyn and Theo Saunders, to all of you, Thank you!

12. The gift of a vacation home spiraled past any of our expectations - someone graciously offered their Maine vacation home! This was a gift to my mom, my dad, my brother and his family and to us. We laughed, we cried, we visited, we slept, we read, we played in the water, we drove a pontoon boat, we learned how to paddle board, or not, we sat around a campfire, and we visited with Julie, Eric, Donna and Darci. We were the recipients of a very good gift and all for my father's 80th birthday. These memories last into cold winter nights. Thank you to the wonderful family who gave of their goodness to make our lives even gooder.

13. LeTourneau Christian camp has filled my childhood basket full of memories. This place has enchanted me for a lifetime. It is here in the tabernacle during the hot summer camps that a firm foundation of intense bible teaching was laid.  And this summer I was able to be there with my family. As we were winding home on the long Finger Lake stretches of highway, they thanked me for bringing them. What a gift for 2015. The most wonderful thing about this time was seeing folks who had been significant in my life as a little girl. The particular weekend, we were there, was a birthday celebration of a woman who taught me to love nature. The new friends we made began a new era.

14. Floating on Moose pond with my cousin Julie, speaking of deep things matching the depth of the lake, was more than her and I could ask for. We wondered, were we dreaming??!! We share a common love between us- a Harrington family that is simply kind. And we share an unbroken love between each other that pays no attention to the movement of time between our visits. It is holy and this was definitely a Christmas gift.

15. Two wonderful summer visits to Rhode Island were chock full of talks, swimming, sight seeing with Bobbie Treichler tours, and eating. Nicky, Jesse and Abby Snider blessed me with their presence on this one. We left PA in the wee hours, only to play in the sand on one of the Narragansett beaches in the late morning. The other R.I. trip was with my personality mirror image of a daughter, Kathryn. We laughed till we split our sides. We move at a similar pace and we simply enjoy one another. We were both gifted with this one.

16. Wider School has surfed not only the web but the waves of growing pains. Robyn and I love this homeschool offering and we were gifted with an opportunity to bring even more clarity to our vision this past year. To hear a young girl attribute her assertiveness
to her experience at Wider - honestly, can it get any better. To see the smiles, the belly laughter, the gaining in confidence, the interests developing, the teachers having more fun planning than they thought they ever could, the organizational development in these students is thrilling. Some were apologizing for lack of a gift at this Christmas time. My heartfelt, honest, response was, "You all are my gift!"

17. The photo shoot Geoff and I just recently experienced was a complete and total blast! This son is full and overflowing. He is so kind to me and so intriguing. To spend time with him is wonderful.

18. My moments with Nicole and Jesse are exceptionally satisfying. I love my six children and thank God every day for these amazing individuals.

19. The gift of Primrose makes me ridiculously happy. I am so thankful for Cynthia Detweiler's willingness to provide Fergie with a mate. Primrose is the puppy on the left, as you can see the King Cavalier has given her more size than her daddy! Fergie and his daughter give me joy.

20. Katelyn Leever, for the past three years, has blessed us with her presence, at Thanksgiving, along with some of her friends. We will not have her next year as she will marry the love her life. She is sunshine with two legs. We have loved having her and her wonderful friends. This is a real gift.

21. The Lawn Dinner missed a year but not a beat! This event, in our backyard brings me such intense pleasure and joy. And this year was no exception.

22. In July being with the Treichler side of the family, at my cousin's daughter's wedding, was awesome. We are hardly together and our brief amount of time was simply good.

My Christmas list of gifts I have received
does not end there. It goes on and on and on like the song that never ends! Life is my Christmas gift.