Monday, December 21, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} in a season of abundant celebrations, part 3

| a weekly capturing of contentment in everyday life | 

We've had a couple of quieter weeks since the last update - only an 18th birthday and a college graduation to celebrate! (I jest.  There was nothing *only* about either event!) After the graduation ceremony last weekend, Brian said "OK, that's all the celebrations until the wedding, right?"  I said "Right!" Pause. "Oh, wait. What about Christmas?" 

(Here's part 1 and part 2 recapping this season of milestone celebrations for our family.)

A few photos to practice contentment the past 2 weeks

| Natalie's 18th Birthday |

Natalie Turns 18

I've never met anyone who counts down the days to their birthday like our youngest child.  If we could bottle the commitment and focus she employs in the weeks leading up to December 8th, we would (maybe) be able to pay her upcoming college tuition.  It helps that a few of her good friends celebrate birthdays during the same week - turning it into a seven or ten day extravaganza.  Brian and I try to do our part and then get out of the way!  

And there was a tatoo event.  Parents of small children, listen up.  You get through another day telling your kid "You have to wait until you're such-and-such an age to do this or that."  Well the days tick by, and behold, they turn such-and-such an age.  Natalie was the first to take us up on the "Not until you're 18".  As the youngest of four,  being the first at anything is a well-accomplished goal.  We celebrated the tattoo with her.  I humbly share with you her explanation for the design in this post at her brave blog: Where I've been lately

| Rebekah's Graduation from UNT |

Bekah and her perfectly-fitting tribute to her marvelous parents, Bernie & Jodi Cummins

Rebekah's graduation from the University of North Texas

This girl finished her bachelor's degree a semester early (while planning a wedding) and graduated Summa Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

We are proud of her - for the degree, of course - but also for the way she chose to be fully present to relationships and community while dating our son who lived 5 hours away in Houston for their entire college career (which means almost all of their dating years).  Over the celebration brunch, I told Bekah that when we first met her we liked her right away.  But it wasn't until their first semester of college -- she in Denton, TX and he in Houston -- that we realized she was THE ONE for Alex.  We watched them choose the suffering of distance from each other, while embracing the abundance of learning, community, and experience at their respective schools.  This was a hard decision, and we trust created a fortitude "muscle" that will serve them for the rest of their lives.  

And now we all celebrate the fact that the long-distance years are over!  

| Funny |

Graduation day outtakes 

Office Holiday Hijinks

This is the Team Gingerbread House Competition.  The above photo shows the winning team's entry.  The photo below is my team's entry. If you knew the reputation my team has in our office, this would not surprise you in the least.  My contribution was the magnetic poetry, of which I'm a teensy bit proud.

A few of the artistic types on our team, created a giant holiday mural which also reflects perfectly the general consensus on the place religion has in this month's holidays. Of course, I'd heard of Festivus, but never the 'FSM'.  The symbol and acronym represent the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and is a real-ish sort of thing (as real as satire, anyway.)  The adherents of FSM (also known as Pastafarianism) are gathered together by "a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools." 

Well, happy holidays to us all, I suppose.

| Real |

Making the annual friends and neighbors gifts: Holiday Potpurri

Not having the opportunity to discover FSM, our family quietly marks the days of Advent with candles, Scripture, hymns and prayer. I've curated another series of Daybook posts, and am ever grateful to discover several others who have been encouraged by the series as well.  This means more to me than I can describe.  

May our humble searching for the One who has come and will certainly come again lead us past symbols, acronyms, and religious protest to the very present, ever-near Emmanuel.  Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas to you all, good friends.

Have YOU captured any contentment this week? 
 I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |

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