Tuesday, December 24


Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year.  This passion and love for this night has been passed down to me from my maternal Grandma. She made Christmas Eve feel like magic and always celebrated it to the fullest. Our family tradition is to start the night early by meeting in the afternoon for a hiking and sleigh-riding tradition in Neff’s Canyon.  This year, the day was incredibly beautiful, we have had a good amount of snow and on this day the air was incredibly clean and clear and the sky was bright blue overhead. We arrived at the Neff’s Trail around 5:00 P.M. The parking lot was full of cars and as we started hiking we passed many groups with dogs including our dear friends, The Clements!  I got to see some of Patti’s beautiful grandchildren and Tysen with his little girl and Tanner, who is like my own child!  We hiked up the trail, Maggie and Kate got rides from their adoring uncles up the trail, Mary and I walked along and talked and turned around to view the Salt Lake Valley clear to the Great Salt Lake which I got some pictures of.  Nate was not far behind.  I was proud of Nate because he has a very real fear of dogs and yet he was alone a bit behind us.  I mentioned that to Joe later and he told me that Nate was carrying Mace.  Of course!

When we got to the spot to turn around, Katesy and I shared a sleigh.  Both Maggie and Kate were wearing helmets. I have a bit of a fear of sleigh-riding, I’ve heard way too many horror stories so Kate and I took it kind of slow. At one point, we were heading for a jump but we maneuvered around it. When we got to the place where you go down some stairs it was really icy and so we waited for the rest of the party. I was only wearing running shoes so had no traction. I stated down and then fell landing on my right wrist and I knew it was not good. My arm took all the brunt of my weight and it hurt. I had to really concentrate on just the pain and realized pretty quickly that I had not broken it, I could still move it but it hurt.  I felt really lucky that it wasn’t worse, that I would probably not be spending the evening in the emergency room! But I did have a lot to do at home in getting dinner ready and I couldn’t use my right arm but I also have the most amazing daughters-in-law and they totally took over and my boys each washed and dried a lot of dishes so it worked out just fine.

Next year, I hope to have our house all remodeled and a huge kitchen that many can cook in together and have lots of room. That is what I am really looking forward to!

Shelly, Grandma Janet and Irene joined us for dinner. Irene is in a care facility and after dinner, Joe ran her home. The rest of us headed downstairs and talked about a favorite Christmas memory either from this year or in years’ past. We were surprised when Shelly said that her favorite Christmas was in Park City in 1994 when her son, Evan, was 1 year old. He liked to play in this huge vase at the condo and we had our Karaoke machine set up and Shelly loves to sing and then she went over to Park City where she showed off her skating skills to the skiers exciting off the hill. We all shared memories- mine were from this year.

The first one I want to relate was a gift to a stranger, two strangers in fact.  My students from Skyline and I went to visit the Road Home Family Shelter to do an activity in the playroom in November. I noticed a quiet boy sitting there drawing so I went over and talked to him. He was drawing geometric designs and I immediately thought of the works of MC Escher. I told the boy about Escher’s work and that he would probably like seeing them. His name was Michael and he had 3 other brothers. One of the brothers was angry and wouldn’t talk to me at all. It was clear that he was mad at life and that made me so sad. I found out Michael’s last name and a week later brought him a book of MC Escher’s art and also brought a book about owls to a little girl named Kayla who loved to draw owls. I left them at the front desk at the shelter with their full names so that they could be given to the children. In December, we went again to the playroom, I saw Michael in the hallway waiting to enter. I was so happy to see him and asked him if he got the book to which he replied “No”. Michael found his dad and he had not seen the book either so I went back to the front desk and they had no knowledge of any books. I don’t usually bring my purse to the playroom but this time I did. When I got back into the room, I put my purse up high on a stack of books, and then I noticed the books that I had brought for Michael and Kayla were right there!  Oh serendipity!  Oh fate!  I was so excited that I walked right over to Michael and we got down on the rug and looked at the pictures and talked about each one.  I was able to write an inscription to him in the front cover and felt like life does not just happen- that we are in a cosmic orb all relating and connecting to each other!  Then I asked Michael if he knew of a girl who loved owls and he said yes that he thought she was in room 20.  I walked in the hall, going from door to door in search of room 20.  When I found it, the door was open and there was Kayla.  I asked her if she loved owls and if she remembered that we talked about me bringing her a book. She came into the playroom and we went through all the pictures in the book. She told me that she had seen an owl while she was living in the woods. I left that night feeling happy in my heart. I was the one who got the best gift of all.  These children loved their books! All other gifts pale in comparison!

Michael making Marshmallow Snowpeople!



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