Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mississippi

Ben and I just got home from a trip to Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi where we spent Christmas with Ben's Mom and her family. We had a wonderful visit with Ben's grandparents and had a blast, as always, hanging out with Ben’s family. We played games, toured the area, tried our luck at a couple of local casinos, and, of course, ate lots of fabulous food.

In addition to family fun though, there was much reality to take in. Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi was devastated when Hurricane Katrina swept through in 2004. Ben and I had not visited the area in several years, so the change in the landscape was unbelievable. Holly and Bobbie have visited the area several times and therefore were able to point out the major changes that have taken place since the natural disaster.

The event impacted Ben's family greatly. However, with much sweat and toil (and the help of dedicated and gracious volunteers), Ben's grandparents have been able to restore their home that was over taken by 8-foot flood waters over 3 years ago. Even though the house has been beautifully restored, furnished, and decorated, there are still subtle hints of the tragedy that occurred. One such example is a beautiful painting of Bay Saint Louis in his grandparents’ living room which has newly blurred edges. At first glance the effect seems purposeful, but upon closer inspection it becomes evident that the painting was "damaged" in the flood.

On Christmas Eve, we also visited the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi. Holly helped point out that the Casino had been scheduled to open at the time that Katrina reared her ugly head and that most of the memorabilia had been swept out with the storm. However, one glass case preserves the memory of Katrina by showcasing items that were recovered out of the Gulf after Katrina. Although many items were irreparably damaged, these few tattered items pay homage to the difficult history of the area.

Ben and I were blessed to visit his family in Mississippi this Christmas and are reminded that life is not in our control and that there are big things happening in this world everyday that we should be aware of. We are very thankful that Ben’s family have been able to move forward after Hurricane Katrina and are so fortunate to have been able to spend time with them this Christmas.

We pray that God will continue to bless, protect, guide, and comfort Ben’s family in Mississippi.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Tradition

Ben and I have started our own little Christmas Tradition. Because we have so much family to get to share the holidays with, we are rarely at our own home on Christmas Day. Therefore, we started celebrating our own fake Christmas Eve and Christmas Day several years ago.



We celebrated (fake) Christmas Eve this past Friday night in our usual way. We cooked a small Christmas Dinner, went out for yummy dessert, watched a Christmas movie in our jammers on the couch in front of the fire, and each opened one of our Christmas gifts. Just before bedtime Santa hung our stockings and then we tucked ourselves into our warm, cozy bed for a night full of sugarplums dancing in our heads. :)



On (fake) Christmas morning we were so excited, of course, that we were wide awake by 6:30 and could wait no longer. We hurried into the living room to exchange our gifts and rummage through our stockings. Santa brought us lots of goodies and toys!



To wrap up our Christmas festivities, we did a little shopping and headed to Kevin's for a Christmas dinner with Kevin, Chase, Holly and Mark before making our way to see I Am Legend.



Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were fabulous and the best part is that we still have real Christmas to look forward to and celebrate with more of our family in Bay Saint Louis, MS.



Christmas really is the best time of the year! Merry Christmas to all!!!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Kicking Off Christmas

Ben and I visited Dad and Jodie this past weekend and we had a wonderful time kicking off the Christmas holiday. On Saturday evening we saw Fred Claus with Kylan, drove by wonderful Christmas lights, and exchanged gifts.

In a neighborhood nearby Dad and Jodie's house, a family has decorated their lawn with lights that play to the sounds of Christmas music. When you drive by their house, you can turn your radio to a local station and watch while the lights move along with the music. I had seen emails with this type of thing before, but to see it in person was a real treat!

To wrap up our fun holiday weekend, we helped Dad and Jodie start decorating their house for Christmas (which they continued long after we left, I'm sure).

The entire weekend was a blast and we are so thankful to live close enough to get to visit even on short weekends. We are excited to continue celebrating the Christmas season with the rest of our family and friends!