Wednesday, December 24, 2014


                                                                                                        THE GIFT OF NOW
Christmas 2014

Seventeen years ago as a young wife and mother, the idea of an annual Christmas letter inspired me.   For 16 of those years, themes and thoughts and happenings from our lives flowed seamlessly and creatively from the tip of my pen (and later the keys of my keyboard).    It was with a great sense of accomplishment they were printed on the finest handpicked paper, crisply folded, inserted, stamped, addressed and on their way by the earliest days of December to friends and family near and far.  
This year however, the earliest days of December came and went, and still no sign of a letter, not even a stirring.  It surely wasn't for lack of report-worthy news and events.  Looking back, I’d say 2014 is one for the ages. 

A year of dedicated commitment to health and wellness (at the gym and around the table)
Matt's  High School Graduation and acceptance to Grove City College 
Sarah's marriage proposal from Tyler, and turning 21
New friendships and family
Trips to Florida, Pittsburgh, New York, Virginia and Connecticut
Wedding dress shopping   
Quite possibly, one of the most vivid and beautiful autumns I have seen in all of my 47 years. 

At the end of the day (and the end of the year) couple ALL of that with 
the challenges of ministry life,
full time work, 
 the beginning joys and fears of the empty nest,
I find the very thing that once inspired, now takes a back seat to a different kind of inspiration......

BEING PRESENT IN THE GIFT OF NOW, the quieting of our hearts slowing to prepare Him room, that's what inspires me most now.   Sometimes in the ebb and flow of life's busyness, adjustments are necessary.  It's 1 day before Christmas, and I’m totally OK that my letter is just getting written.   You see………"BEING PRESENT IN THE GIFT OF NOW, no matter how changing OR how constant..... is what inspires me.”

*Exchanging baking, for an evening out for Christmas desserts and music, with new friends and dear family.  
*A cup of Christmas Tea and good conversation with my next door neighbor instead of running to the mall.    
*The expectation of stress-free togetherness.
(It's a beautiful thing, and not always packaged perfectly)
*Christmas Carolers at the front door---avoiding an over scheduled season meant being home and present to receive their melodious gifts.
*Helping my daughter’s best friend from out of town, plan a Christmas surprise....
 And being there to witness the joyful tears and capture it on video.   
*Watching my kids enjoy time with each other (in silliness and in maturity)

*Watching my husband and his “grownup” little girl checking off their "daddy-daughter" bucket list together, with little more than a year before her college graduation and wedding.
*Getting to work extra early on a Monday morning to witness an employee in need, being blessed beyond measure by her co-workers.

For us, changing things up a bit this year simply meant enjoying every single special and intimate moment of the 2014 Christmas Season (planned and unplanned)  with joy in our hearts and peace in our minds.
 As we open the pages to 2015,  
 bring to you some of life's greatest gifts. 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Steimling Family