The Christmas decorations are unpacked from their cardboard tombs in attics, garage spaces, and storage units. The annual ritual of carefully unrolling the bundled outdoor lights accompanied by hours of troubleshooting the dead bulbs can only be soothed with happy holiday music playing in the background (or a few shots of your favorite beverages).
Every year, we swear that we will pack up the lights and decorations carefully so that NEXT year, we will not have to deal with these holiday headaches. However, eleven months later, we always mumble those words – “Why did I pack away these lights and decorations in this lousy way???”
But alas, after the long hours of labor and love, we stand back to admire the hard work of decorating the outside of our homes (I have visions of Chevy Chase plugging and unplugging his electrical cords).
The nightfall revives these illuminated decorations and the child in us comes alive!
The next morning, lawn ornaments fall and the facade returns to normal (except for the wreaths or other non-electrical ornaments). There is a lesson I see in the day time of the holiday season….
The overturned laundry basket blocked the path on the upstairs hallway. The smell of adrenaline and sweat permeated the staircase. The window blinds were closed to create the effect of nightfall. The overworked automatic dishwasher screamed for a merciful break from the evil taskmaster. The half-empty bowls and platters revealed evidence of a once beautiful meal.
One of the beautiful indicators of change are the colors of leaves all around us. The vividness are a constant reminder that if there is anything consistent, it is change.
Why do we capture pictures of these changing hues year after year? After all, they will reappear this same time next year (assuming the trees survive the environmental changes). We have a fascination for these wonderful displays of coloration but I wonder if there is a deeper meaning that is aroused within us when we are reminded of the changing seasons?
The holiday season brings our own colors within our hearts and minds. What do I mean by this? Let me share my insights with you….
We had the honor and privilege of attending our second wedding in two weekends. The venue was perfect for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.
Driving on the beautiful back roads of Vacaville, California, we turned into a gravel road and were instructed to park in the open fields of this spacious ranch. Neither of us have been here before though we have driven by this location several times in the past years.
As we walked towards the crowd, we found our seats under some shade as the sun was beginning its descent. The gazebo was the focal point of the proceedings. The ceremony was concise and I am sure the family members in the first couple of rows were very thankful for that as they sat in the hot sun.
As we turned our attention to the reception, I saw an old friend standing in the shadows. She was a volunteer and I knew that I would catch up with her soon. During a break before the bride and groom reappeared, I stepped outside and bumped into my friend.
Then she told me some amazing facts about the Joyful Ranch.
I have been learning how to be a better husband and displacing my selfish needs in exchange for enhancing my wife’s life and well-being. Most men need to improve their thought process in their relationships with their wives, fiancé, or girlfriends (whichever situation you are at the present time).
So what am I doing to improve my marriage?
Dating my wife each week of course.
We spend our Wednesday afternoons enjoying each other’s company. Dates do not always have to cost money (great news guys)!
The other day, we decided to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix. We agreed to watch Beauty and The Beast as we had missed it at the theater. It was fun to see the human actors and actresses reenact the movie.
Recently, the weather in our local region had been unpredictable. Temperatures into the high-90’s were sometimes replaced with blustery afternoons. Planning an outdoor wedding would stress any couple during this time of year.
It was my honor to witness a very special wedding this past weekend. Who says that a large wedding is reserved only for the younger people. Why not a loving couple who cultivated a long-standing friendship for twenty-plus years and surrounded by friends and family who have been a part of their lives and long-term relationship?
Well, that is exactly what happened this past Saturday afternoon.
A wonderful thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks to social media, I was able to reconnect with an old friend from 25+ years ago – gosh, am I really getting that old???
We agreed to meet at a coffee shop (name begins with an “S”) at the old town where our families first met years ago. I had moved away in 20001 so for me, it appeared that there was a lot of changes including this coffee shop we had our get-together.
The conversation flowed easily as we reminisced about old friends and marveled at how our sons had each grown up into young adults. He learned about the loss of my first wife as he remembered her kindness and personality. Though we both looked a bit more “filled-out”, the familiarity was so comforting.
Soon it was time to depart as my friend had a patient to see. We exchanged goodbyes and as I walked to my car, a thought came to mind. Why not drive down Refugio Valley Road to the old house and see what has changed.