The sun is out, there is no wind and…I never thought I’d say this…but 28 degrees doesn’t seem that bad. Of course I’m wearing layers. And my boots. But really, I could go play outside and not be miserably cold the entire time. I stepped out earlier and watched the fattest, reddest squirll I’ve ever seen bound across the parking lot. I watch the sun sparkle off the snow into prismatic colors. It’s the middle of the winter and I’m (gasp) ENJOYING it. Egads.
I’ve struggled off and on for a couple of months now with the inevitable march towards Christmas. Normally I start getting excited for it around October. But this year with my decorations in storage and a tight budget, I felt more dread than anticipation. I’ve always been able to “do” Christmas with generous bonuses. But I just started here in August and it’s a tiny office. I’ve always had credit cards as a safety net. Those are shredded. I talked to TheKid just after Thanksgiving and with a lump in my throat, told him that I wasn’t doing much this year…that I didn’t even know if we’d have a tree. As often as he drives me crazy with his pure male adolescence, he also surprises me and makes me proud. And that day he shrugged and said “That’s fine Mom. Christmas isn’t all about the presents you know.” When we got home later that afternoon, Jon surprised us with a beautiful Christmas tree that the boys and I spent the evening decorating. And I spent the evening quietly thanking God for such an awesome kid and boyfriend. I still wasn’t sure how to pull off gifts but the paralyzing stress was lifted and I started brainstorming meaningful, inexpensive ideas. This week my boss handed me a card…with a nice cash bonus inside. I was in absolute shock…and awe. It was enough to buy gifts for Jon & the boys and some extra baking supplies for the gift goodie baskets I’m making this weekend. Again…thankful.
Yesterday I was looking at my financial spreadsheet and realizing how tight my bank account would be after paying all my credit cards, savings, tithing, groceries & filling my car up. I toyed with the idea of skipping a month of payments on the cards although somehow I doubt “But it’s CHRISTMAS” was going to garner much leniency. I considered giving my normal income tithe instead of including the bonus…or even cutting back a bit. In the end I paid the credit cards, I wrote my tithe check for every bit of income and I immediately felt a sense of peace. Of course, groceries came in under budget as did filling up my car. It’s not much but there’s a wee bit of a buffer now. I KNOW that shouldn’t matter. Trust in God to provide means not counting on a few extra dollars in the bank account. I also think that buffer is his blessing, his way of saying “Yes, your trust is well placed” to someone who is still working on that whole relinquishing control deal. So not only am I thankful for those blessings, I am VERY grateful for his patient, gentle reminders.
Oh…and to top it all off, the cats SLEPT last night. I have had TWO straight nights of uninterrupted blissful sleep…something that hasn’t happened in a month or so. Granted Wednesday night’s rest was courtesy of Excederin PM but last night was assistance free. Not once did I hear a hiss, growl, meow, scratch or gallop (Jon’s cat gallops. Loudly). Kitten flopped on his back with one paw thrown over his face by my left hip. Phoebe curled her tail around herself and daintily laid her chin on her paws next to my right hip. They both purred and slept ALL night. Or at least when they did prowl they were quiet. Miraculous I tell you.