Christmas Card List Thoughts

This thought has been swirling around since I addressed our Christmas Cards last week... tiny shiny glimmer thoughts like the glitter inside our boys' handmade snow globes. It started gradually, like snowfall, as I penned names and numbered streets and zip codes. First, the obvious ones of family piled, then core friends, our Life Group and the beautiful mama faces I see every Wednesday at Nurture. There are friends at church, and Bryan's co-workers.

Each name, a tiny. shiny. glimmer.

The cards pile one on top of the other; mounds of snow on our kitchen table. Even with each one named, I wish for more cards. New friends we are meeting, new relationships developing.

I stare at the white envelopes and let the names reflect my thoughts. How completely similar and entirely different our Christmas Card list is this year from last!

There's our family: moms and dads, siblings and grandmas. Those ain't changing!
The same steady safe friends who I met in High School and college, and took turns alternating between bridesmaid to bride then back to bridesmaid. We are all over the map, my go-to girls! How I value this joyful bunch, and the deep levels our lives intersect. They too, will always be a standard.

My eyes rest on new names, new people our family has been touched by. Some we immediately connected with when Bryan took his job at our church, while others I met only months ago and have been incredibly blessed by their authenticity and zest for life, making me nostalgic for my go-to girls, yet thankful that there is space for more.
New friends. New names on our Christmas list.

Looking at the snow pile of Christmas Cards my thoughts collide into a bit of a mental avalanche.

Suddenly I want to stomp my feet and will Karen and Heather next door, make weekly play dates with Linds and her two boys, snuggle Mandy's Rylie and Brooke, explore Encinitas with Netti, Skylar and Luke, and enjoy afternoon margaritas with Ber while our crazy four run rampant in the backyard. I'd love nothing more than to have monthly face-to-face heart-to-hearts with Lindsay and Tay, and a book club with Jamie and Jill. And if all our Atascadero peeps could move into our neighborhood, well, I'd be fine with that too! I mean, is it too much to ask to have our closest friends close?

The avalanchehe flurries still and I see the new names, the close-by blessings. 

The couples we see weekly, circled in a living room talking, doing life together. Laughing {sometimes crying} about our kids, praying for job direction, for marriage difficulties, for anxiety and strength... we are united in seeking God's Spirit individually and for our spouses and kids. An extended family is what we have become.

The beauty in all of this is the old and new. The amazing gifts represented in the names of standard unchanging friends and the appreciation for new ones.

As the New Year approaches, my eyes are set on being intentional about the life-long friends; a desire to make plans, whether it be once a month or once a year, to catch up on the life we can't daily live together, to recreate old memories into updated ones, to savor the depth, history, and power in knowing and learning from one another, and continuing to grow with gals I've known half my existence.

And to the newer names on the list, I plan on being present to daily adventures. To saying yes to refreshing, vulnerable conversations and hearing, then walking alongside their one-of-a-kind story. To seeing the potential in every person and every healthy opportunity. To belly laughing 'til it hurts and not thinking twice about the piled laundry on my bed when they visit. To praying for wisdom when I need to say no, or stay home more, or pause at my kitchen table after Christmas cards have gone out and there is no list on the table, and to ask God these questions:

Aside from geographic vicinity {or lack thereof} who do you want me to spend time with?
Who do you want us to surround our boys with?
Our family with? 
Where do you want us to serve, whose seats should our dinner table occupy, and with other Believers, are we mutually pointing each other back to You? 
For those that don't know You, am I learning from them, your seeds being planted, my life richer because of their many life facets and perspectives? 
Am I a better person when I spend time with this person, or do I leave feeling less then?
Am I making time for old friends and space for new ones? 
Above everything, am I finding my dependence and value and affirmation in You?

In a year from now, the Christmas Card list will be jotted, our kitchen table once again scattered with white snow envelopes and I hope to say with confidence that I intentionally, prayerfully poured myself into relationships both new and old!

I hope to say I was better at returning phone calls with out-of-state sisters and made it a realistic priority to maintain life with out-of-town kindred spirits.

I hope to show I exercised wisdom with relationships of those that live close by and chose genuine friends over a busy social calendar, ones that after spending time together, we both leave feeling refreshed and understood and tasting God's grace for enjoying the everyday together.

I hope that the tiny. shiny. glimmer names I do life with, both near and far, reflect a better Bekah!
And I hope that for you too!

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