my untraditional + unexpected Christmas

Just mention the word “Christmas” and you’re bound to conjure up a slew of thoughts + images in people’s minds. It’s like that for everyone. Whether the thoughts are positive or negative, people usually have plans and hopes related to the Christmas season. I’m no different.

Sometimes you think and plan through all your holiday plans only to have things fall through. To have God step in and give you a different kind of Christmas – one you most likely wouldn’t have planned yourself.

Introducing Christmas 2015.

We woke up Wednesday morning, 12/23, preparing to open presents with our kiddos and then head on a roadtrip to spend the holidays with my family. Only one of our kids had pink eye and was feeling horrible. Because of the contagious nature of pink eye (and the fact that small children tend to share their sickness), we thought it best to stay home. This decision was confirmed when we woke up Thursday, Christmas Eve to a second child with pink eye. Bring on the vitamins for kids & emergen-c for the parents.


This pink eye was on top of the last couple weeks in which my kids + husband all caught hand, foot, & mouth disease (Jonathan and I didn’t kiss or touch for dayzzzzz) and then one of my kids got the stomach flu. I tell ya, we run a circus over here.

And although it took me a while to get over the disappointment of not being with my family (read: I’m still kinda bummed), we definitely saw God’s hand in this. In bringing something into our lives where there was only one right choice to make – and that was to stay home. Let’s be honest: after the last month of being Kentucky and then dealing with multiple kinds of sickness, we were all pretty wiped out. Christmas 2015 was all about our plans failing and being replaced with a God-ordained break. So then we had a choice. We could either thank Him or become upset. I’ll be honest, I spent a good bit of time vacillating between the two options.

But today, being on the other side of the sickness and not in the middle of Christmas holidays, I’m able to look back and see some of the blessings with a bit more clarity. Here are a few:

Since we had opened presents Wednesday, December 23 – Christmas Day felt a little strange. But it was also nice, in an odd way. We celebrated by playing outside in the crazy warm weather and washing + vacuuming our car (which had recently begun working again).


We read some of our Christmas presents…


and watched this movie together. Since we were planning to be with my parents over Christmas, I had been cleaning out my fridge. I didn’t realize until yesterday when several friends asked me about my Christmas dinner that we ended up eating scrambled eggs. Hilarious! To be honest, I felt really ridiculous when I first realized that was our Christmas dinner menu. And then I thought, hey! less work and calories for all of us! 😉 Besides, we can always have Christmas dinner some other week. 🙂

Our boys seemed much improved on Saturday, so we took a family hike to Crowder’s Mountain. I explained some of the challenges of hiking with little people here, but you can get a glimpse of some below. Namely, there was a fair amount of stopping.


I was carrying our lunch and water on my back, so we worked in a few “hershey kiss breaks” on the local logs and rocks. We’re all about healthy fuel over here.


But glorious day and shocker to all – we made it to the top! Anna Grace and Nate walked/ran the entire way up and we were so incredibly proud of them. There are a lot of good lessons to be learned in working hard to accomplish a task.


And that’s it: Christmas 2015 is a wrap. It’s not what we were planning, but it’s what God sovereignly planned for us. And we’re okay with that.

I hope that your Christmas was special. But more than that, I trust that whatever your Christmas held, it brought you closer to Jesus, the One Who came to earth so that He could bring us to God.


  1. Lorre says:

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for being so refreshingly honest and transparent on your path w the Lord! Glad you are all feeling better!

  2. Sandy B says:

    This Christmas was preplanned to be different. Because of medical issues, my husband is currently unable to drive so my daughter and I drive him to his outside sales calls everyday. I normally love decorating for Christmas, but decided simplicity was going to be the key word this year. We pulled out our daughter’s 2 ft. tree and put up one ornament that we got at the Billy Graham Library Christmas event – about HOPE. A few winter decorations and that was it. And we LOVED it – we were able to focus on our Saviour’s birth and I wasn’t overwhelmed thinking about having to take everything down. It can be hard when our plans get rearranged, but when we recognize that there is a Mighty God and loving Father behind those changes, it makes it a “little” easier to deal with. 🙂

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