Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Lot's of memories of being overwhelmed with emotions at this time of year.
And for various reasons too:

1980: My first Christmas with the love of my life. We had zero money and not a single decoration. Not a single one I tell ya!
Ralph somehow found this huge box of decorations by the side of the someones driveway that they were throwing away so he loaded it into the back of his truck and brought it home to his bride.
I felt like we had won the lottery! Garland, candles, colored lights, red satin balls and tinsel.
You know what?
I still have many of those items in my collection of Christmas decor!
Overwhelmed with good things.

1981: Remember I said we were broke? Well a year later, we were even more broke.
Some people claim to day about how broke they are (me too) and yet they have a beautiful home, enjoy nice cars and go on vacations.
The Russell's however, were not that kind of broke.
We were not broke from debt as there was no one in their right mind who would have lent us money. Ralph's income was a whopping 4 figures!
We drove old gross cars, lived in a house trailer and had to get food out of my mom and dad's freezer. We camped in a tent for our only vacation.
We made our gifts that year because we had no money.
Homemade gifts from us is not a good thing. Neither one of us has the talent for making things. (Wait,...I take that back,..Ralph can make a mess!! hee hee)
Overwhelmed with poverty.
We even got a Christmas basket from the church.

1987: I could not stop weeping from joy. Jae Lynn had been placed into our arms just 3 months before and I felt as if the world had suddenly changed from black and white to technicolor.
The meaning of Christmas was more real as I reflected on Santa Claus, children but also on Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Overwhelmed with an unexpected love for a baby.

1988: Wonder of all wonders. Two children does not divide a mother's love,..it multiplies it? I had no idea I even possessed such a capacity for extreme devotion!
Overwhelmed that God loved me enough to bless me with two daughters.

2001: This is the the year which holds the distinction of being the best GIFT I ever gave!
Since 9/11 had just recently wreaked havoc within the travel industry, we were able to secure cheap arrangements for a trip to Disney. You see,..we were still very broke :)
Overwhelmed with excitement.

2004: Christmas Eve almost saw me have a screaming hissyfit in my parents yard as we exited the car and walked into the traditional gift swap and family time. I wanted to be in bed with the covers over my head.
The pain of Jae's death was never so acute as it was that night.
Overwhelmed with despair.

2007: Shouldn't things be better?
Actually they were, but you couldn't tell it from this post.
Overwhelmed with feeling a constant pain that ebbs and flows.

2010: Guess what? No overwhelmed feelings this year.
I've got decorations.
I'm not broke.
I've not cried but a couple of time in the past month.
I'm feeling joy again.
I'm blessed with the love of my extended family.
Abby has one of the sweetest hearts of any teen I know.
Casey has put up our tree for the first time in 6 years.

God is so good to me.