Heather Sanders

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  • Focus on keeping your faith at the center of everything you do.
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January 2013




Written by , Posted in Everything Else, Kids and Parenting, Parents and Grandparents


I recognize that Christmas photos have long since moved into most bloggers’ archives by now, but due to our family’s unanticipated holiday loss and the subsequent honor and blessing of caring for my grandmother (Momma Milly), I haven’t had a chance to post any of our Christmas photos.

As you can see above, we trimmed our tree, burned seasonal candles, hung stockings, and even pulled out our Christmas throw blankets to cozy up the living room. By the time Christmas arrived, the fans on the mantle were stuffed full of Christmas cards and more often than not, our stockings were set aside to allow for a fire in the fireplace.

Kenny hanging ornaments - Christmas 2012

Unlike previous years, the kids, Jeff and I worked together to get the Christmas tree up and decorated shortly after Thanksgiving. We wanted to enjoy it the entire month and not just the few days leading up to Christmas.

Meredith hanging ornaments - Christmas 2012

Though the New Year has come and gone, none of us are ready to take the tree down yet. The lights lift our spirits and right now that is more important to us than whatever Christmas tree etiquette we’re violating.

Big Dreams

Over the years the tree has become a compilation of all the kids’ ornaments. Each year they create or paint new ornaments, but they also receive ornaments each year from their grandparents. One day they will have a fine collection to decorate their own trees in their own homes.

DOMO tree topper

This year it was Emelie’s turn to decide what would be used as the tree topper. She selected Domo who spent the season singing “Joy to the World” through his sawtooth grin.

Grandma Bugh's Santa

A few of the ornaments from my youth made their way on the tree. This particular Santa ornament used to be on my Grandma Bugh’s tree every year.

Though she is longer with us, I do have this ornament to remind me of all the time, attention and effort she put into each and every Christmas. She loved the holidays.

OMSH - Not a creature was stirring.

And of course, the OMSH ornament I made several years ago (illustrated by my talented friend Brenda) also held a prominent position.

Merry Christmas from the Sanders family.

We decorated the tree while listening to our favorite Christmas music, rediscovering favorite ornaments, and in general, being a bit crazy.

Okay, a LOT crazy.

Best part of waking up in December.

On Christmas morning my parents, who live within walking distance, came down to exchange and open gifts.

Typically this is a giddy and celebratory time, but admittedly, with the passing of Poppa Buddie, the traditional Christmas activities felt considerably muted.

Kenny opening Christmas gifts.

Still, we did distribute and open gifts to and from each other.

Meredith opening Christmas gifts.

And of course, we were each very thankful for the gifts we received.

Emelie opening Christmas gifts.

Even the random stocking stuffers found in the dollar bin at Target.

After a big breakfast of Monkey Bread and pecan or chocolate chip waffles my parents headed back to their home to clean-up.

Later we all headed to my Momma Milly’s house on the hill where all the extended family gathered for another Christmas celebration.

Meredith with Elijah

This year Christmas Dinner with our extended family was 37 strong, including aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and many, many cousins.

Hannah and Emelie

First cousins once removed.

Kenny and Bayleigh

Second cousins.

Momma Milly - Christmas Dinner 2012

And of course, the matriarch herself, Momma Milly, wrapped in a tortoise-shell body and neck brace and suffering from fractured vertebrae, sternum, and ribs.

You cannot imagine the strength God has afforded my grandmother through this time. Her body is broken, but her spirit is strong. She is a true testimony of a life lived in Christ and has determined to move into this new season of her life with thankfulness.

When I see and hear her I am reminded of The Year of the LORD’s Favor:

“…and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

Isaiah 61:3

The First Noel

She sat at the head of the table in Poppa Buddie’s chair as one of my aunts read the story of the birth of Jesus Christ from The First Noel, a book our family has read every Christmas for years.

Thankful for those who are now resting with the Father.

We gave thanks for the life of our Lord Jesus Christ and his birth, death, and resurrection that allows us to live our lives by faith.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
Hebrews 11:1

This Christmas season was a struggle, but not impossible. This New Year will be challenging, but not overwhelming.

Selah – You Raise Me Up

When I am down, and oh my soul, so weary.
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be.
Then I am still and wait here in the silence.
Until You come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.

There is no life, no life without its hunger.
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly.
But when you come and I am filled with wonder.
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.

Heather Sanders


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