Friday, January 1, 2016

A Perfect Christmas

We have been incredibly blessed.

I could let that statement stand as it is, without any qualifiers, but I want to praise God specifically for the joy that we have shared through this Christmas season.

This was our first Christmas in the US since 2010.  We have celebrated each year in Bolivia, of course, with many of our old traditions and a few new ones, but there is something special about being "back home."

The weather is definitely part of that.  After four HOT holiday seasons, we have enjoyed being back in cold country!  God blessed us with plenty of snow for a nice white Christmas

Enjoying the Bozeman Christmas Stroll at 31°F
The girls were afraid that they would hate the cold and not enjoy sledding because of it, but they have adapted just fine.  They are far from timid on the hill, too!

Naturally, the best thing about Christmas in Montana is being surrounded by family and friends.  We have been blessed by several celebrations over the past couple weeks.  We went to church and had Christmas Eve dinner with my (Nathan's) parents, then did our own thing on Christmas morning.

Throughout December, we noticed that the girls were much more focused on what they wanted to give rather than what they might get.  We wanted to encourage that as much as possible, so we changed our tradition a little bit.  Instead of everyone starting with a stack of gifts to open, we piled up what we had to give.  Then we took turns presenting one of our gifts to the intended recipient.  It made the whole experience much more focused on the giver.
Don't forget you can click it for a bigger version of these cuties!

The gift Kaylee and I appreciated the most of all was this nativity that the girls made for us.  They had been working in secret for weeks, locked up together in their classroom, with a continual hunt for more TP tubes as the only hint at what was going on.  Not only did it reflect hearts that are focused on the Truth, but it demonstrated their willingness to work together to create something for us.

The girls' nativity
After opening our gifts and having our traditional breakfast of cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, we hopped in the Land Cruiser and drove two hours away to visit Kaylee's mom and her husband for a few days. The weather wasn't great, so the drive was exciting -- I was thankful for the Toyota's 4x4. (Click here for the time lapse video)

The girls with Grandma

Our celebrations ended with a day and a half with my whole family.  It was a whirlwind of food, games, sledding, gifts, and more food.
Construction game with both my brothers and two nephews
Now that we're done partying, it is time to change gears and begin our preparations for moving back to Bolivia.  We are 3/4 of the way through our time here, with an exit date in early March.  We have sorting, packing, and cleaning to do, some last-minute meetings, and I am working on preparing my Etnos classes for the new semester.  Please pray for us as we "unsettle" once again!  This time we get to start it with our hearts full. :)

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