Sunday, December 25, 2011

We Wish You a Merry Christmas . . .

The following is our annual Christmas letter. I'm posting it a bit late because an infection that started in my hand last week turned into something serious. I spiked a high fever and Brad made me go to the ER Friday night. Silly me thought I'd be fine with an Airbourne and a good night's sleep, never connecting the dots that the problem with my hand was causing my fever.

I'm very grateful for my persistent husband because they said if the infection had gone another 24 hours I might have lost my hand! (Oh my!) I guess the moral of the story is: Never think you are too busy to go to the doctor and, if you have a degree in English, you're not really qualified to make major medical decisions.

I spent Christmas Eve in tears because it looked like I was going to miss Christmas with my family. The ER doctor said it might take 2 days of IV meds to get my white cell blood count back to normal. But by Saturday night, I was doing so much better that the doctor on that shift had mercy on me and let me go home with a goodie bag of some mega antibiotics. I was so grateful to spend Christmas morning in my own home with my sweet family. We had such fun watching Victoria enjoy her first Christmas and loved every minute being together as a family.

I haven't gotten approval from the family to post Christmas pics so I'm just using the ones above and below that we had taken earlier. There will be an upcoming new year's post looking back at our crazy year and I promise to post more then.

Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you had a blessed day celebrating the birth of our Savior.

With Much Love,
Kathie and Family

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy holidays from the old woman who lives in a shoe (she had so many children . . . you know the rest.) I was tempted to skip the whole Christmas card/letter this year, but I’m proud of the fact that I have managed to keep all five children alive and kind of wanted to prove it.

This time last year we were still trying to process the news that I was pregnant again at the biblically equivalent age of Abraham’s wife when she had Isaac. On June 6 we were blessed with Victoria Kate. It was not how we had ever dreamed we would spend our 19-year wedding anniversary, but I must say it was the best anniversary gift I’ve ever gotten. (Nothing says romance like ice chips in a hospital gown.)

We are still celebrating this sweet addition to our family. Thanks to you all for your love and prayers with her arrival. (Our photos were taken by our friend at . He apparently has expertise in Photoshopping dark circles and drool.)

If I have learned one thing in life, it’s been to give thanks for unexpected gifts. At times I’ve been like a typical kid at Christmastime with a thoughtfully drafted wish-list for God. My kids usually forego an itemized list, but I do get some well-meaning hints. Not wanting to act greedy, they mention a particular item then end with a disclaimer--“if it doesn’t cost too much” or “if I get this I’ll never ask for another thing . . . promise.” I’m ashamed to admit that my prayers have included some of those very same words.

There have been years that I’ve received some gifts from God I didn‘t ask for. At the time they didn’t look like gifts at all because they were packaged as sickness, need, loss, pain. I looked up at my Heavenly Father, with the same face that my kids would give me if I gave them a present of socks and underwear or coal and switches, and like a child exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? This isn’t what I asked for! There must be some mistake.” It often took years to see that this was something I could give thanks for--that He chose what I needed over what I wanted and wrapped it with His grace.

And then there have been years of opening fabulous gifts . . . extravagant gifts--gifts that I didn’t ask for, gifts that I didn’t think I needed, gifts that I certainly didn’t deserve. One such gift is the baby I’m holding in my arms this year. Another such gift is the baby Mary held in hers more than 2,000 years ago.

It was the most unexpected gift. Instead of a prince born to royalty, He came as a baby born to poor homeless parents. Instead of a King on a throne, He was a Savior on a cross. It’s this time of year that I’m convicted that I’ve been looking at the wrong wish-list.

Much of the past 12 months is a beautiful blur, but perhaps the one word that sums up how I feel this year is GRATEFUL. Although this is where I usually share the highlights of the past year, somehow all the “what we’ve done” seems so trite compared to the list of “what we’ve been given.”

The other day I read a quote that got me thinking. “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” My list is long, but it would start with: “Thank you, God, for my five precious children granted to me by birth and by adoption. Thank you for my dear husband and partner that you’ve given me for this crazy adventure. Thank you for our wonderful family and friends, who humble us year after year with their love and support. Thank you for the gift of a Baby in a manger and a Savior on a cross. Thank you for the blessing of unexpected gifts. ”

If I wake up tomorrow with only those things, it is more than enough.

Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year from the Williams Family