Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

I have to admit, the holidays this year are a little harder. I have been a little down, wishing for a peppermint mocha as I stroll through Target, humming "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Last year everything was so new and different, so I didn't miss home too much. This year I just want normal - traditional - familiar. Last year, we bought an artificial tree but we didn't have any ornaments. So, we made our own. I loved it. This year, we have all our old ornaments from home. What a treat to unwrap each one and remember all the great stories, vacations and memories attached to each one. The Lord knew that would bless my heart this year.

It was a little weird listening to "Let it Snow" while decorating the tree in 75 degree weather and blazing sunshine. But I loved listening to the kids belt out a kickin' version of "Little Drummer Boy" by Matt and Rachel Solik. It seems this year is a mixture of old and new. We are creating new memories with some of our old and new traditions. We have our old Advent wreath but a new Advent devotional. (BTW - I had NO trouble finding four purple candles for Q4 - 50 cents!! Back in the States, I have to buy two packs of Advent candles in order to get 4 purples because they always include a pink one.)

The newest addition to our holiday season is a precious little PUPPY! The kids have been wanting a dog for ages, but honestly, I am not a dog-person! I don't enjoy being licked or jumped on. I don't like noisy, barky dogs or smelly dogs. I have a few friends with great dogs, but in general, I'm not a fan. Actually, I really enjoy cats. They are quiet, independent and CLEAN! Alas - both our kids are allergic to cats and dogs. So, I thought I was in the clear - no messy, smelly dog.

Alegria (Ali)

A few months ago, we visited our friends in Antigua that have the world's greatest Labrador ever. She never barks, she's very laid back, friendly. She thinks she is a hundred pound lap dog. Anna Kate spent the entire trip next to that dog - petting, loving, dreaming. (She has to take Claritin in order to visit our friends.) When we got home, she went into research mode - is there such a thing as a hypo-allergenic dog? Of course there are specialty breeds, but they are expensive. I thought my husband would come to the rescue - "I'm not paying THAT for a DOG!!!" His reply was, "Everybody should have a dog to grow up with - so let's get one." WHAT??? Who are you and what did you do with my husband?

Parker, Anna Kate & Ali - Happy family!!

So, we decided this would be a family Christmas gift. Then I thought, "there's no way we will find one of these dogs in Guatemala." We read about different breeds, we asked where one could be acquired in Guatemala. We decided which breed we thought would work for our family and then ... I prayed. "Lord, if you want us to have a dog, please let it be available at the petstore in Guatemala City (3 hours away), let it be a female, let it be a Shih Tzu, and let it be brown/white/black color." (I figure if I have to live with a dog, I might as well be specific about what I want, right?)

So, Thanksgiving weekend we drive to visit our wonderful friends in Antigua and their amazing dog too. We had a really wonderful feast with friends who are like family. So THANKFUL for the Erickson's. Then on Friday, we drove to the city and guess what we found ... a female Shih Tzu, brown/white/black with papers to prove she is full breed. (Lee says the receipt is the proof enough of her breed!) At least we won't have to live with sneezing, bloody noses or daily doses of Claritin.

Princess Ali - slept all the way home on the armrest!

Needless to say, we are all completely SMITTEN with our little bundle of joy. (except Lupe the rabbit who gets harassed by the puppy) The puppy's name is Alegria, which means joyful in Spanish. We call her Ali and her name is perfectly suited since she is bringing much joy to our family this season.

There isn't a happier girl in the world.
(Berets by American Girl)

What is the point to my rambling on and on about this new pup? Apparently, the Lord knows better than I  how to bless our lives. Whether it's new experiences, warm December days, beloved ornaments old and new or cherished traditions; He knows exactly what I need this Christmas season ... and everyday. Sometimes, I'm the last to know what's good for me. Good thing He's got it all in his hand!

Feliz Navidad!

1 comment:

  1. Love THIS! Congratulations on your new addition! She is just beautiful and obviously is well loved!