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I am very, very tired.  And excited.  And busy.  I am drinking another cup of coffee as I type this.

It’s Christmas Eve.  Just about everyone has something to do today.  I did notice that my bank is closed.  Guess they don’t have much to do there.

Yesterday afternoon after church, we drove down to Oregon to visit my stepmom’s family.  We haven’t been together since Ruby was a baby, probably about a year old.  She’s 7 now and Zac is 13.  My step-uncle’s wife died back in September.  She was a feisty, funny lady, and short like me.  She will be missed.  It seemed a good time to get together again and circle the wagons, get caught up on each other’s lives.  There were a LOT of little girls, ranging in age from 2 to 11.  My brother’s boys, 1 and 3, joined in the merriment.  Zac was at the other end of the spectrum.  He filled the testosterone void of boys his age by playing on his iPhone.  We ate food and talked and laughed.  I feel a little sad that I only met everyone when I was 13, and Dad married Patty.  I wished I’d grown up knowing my uncles better.

Because I was so tired, I did manage to put my foot in my mouth most handily a couple of times .  Uncle Mike, who is only a handful of years older than I am, made sure I didn’t forget it.  At least it was a great laugh, even if it was at my expense.  Then, mercifully, we drove back home.

I managed to do food shopping today, if you can believe that.  I saw two friends at the store; we chatted briefly.  We are now stocked up.  Shelton has a winter storm warning on, starting early tomorrow morning.  Now, the warning I got on my phone last night said we were in for 5-10 inches.  What it failed to mention is that the snow level will lower to 500 feet.

Our house is at an elevation of 23 feet.  Yeah.  I wonder if we’ll get any snow.

I got up before everyone else this morning to sneak a short run in.  I want to honor my commitment to run a mile every day until New Year’s.  I peeked outside at the pre-dawn morning. It was dry.  Sure, the sidewalks and streets and ground was damp.  But no precipitation fell from the sky. Up here, a dry day is a good day.  Nobody will wear shorts (except Zac), mind you, but people will celebrate in small ways, like walking instead of driving around town. I left my music at home and packed only myself and my watch out into the neighborhood.

The air hovered just above freezing.  It was very quiet, like a holy hush froze the air.  Christmas lights illuminated several houses, glowing like jewels in the early morning.  No two were the same.  As the time clicked past 7 a.m., the sky started to lighten in the east.  Loose-fitting clouds revealed the morning.  Suddenly, I could see.  I wondered if the morning Jesus was born was like this:  so very dark, and then suddenly – light!  I’d been so caught up in the joyful busy-ness of the Christmas program at church and logistics, baking, cards, cleaning, and on and on that I lost sight of the miracle of morning and  a new day.

I find myself thinking about the year that’s almost gone and just being grateful. I truly love living here in this place.  I still have so, so much to do.  I know all my readers who are parents – also some non-parents – can relate to this.  Yet for this moment, the calm before the storm – possibly literally – there is peace.

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