Merry Christmas (one day late)! This is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s been a little different this year celebrating with my husband’s family. We’ve been married for two months and two days. It’s fun to observe and participate in the Longenecker family traditions and favorite holiday activities.
Day 59: On Tuesday we went to Nauvoo, Illinois, a historic town built up by the Mormon pioneers and the location of where I served my LDS mission. Learning about the lives of the pioneers who lived in Nauvoo brings great perspective. I prayed before I went that my heart would open to a perspective shift to more fully focus on faith. I’ve learned the most joyful times of life are the times I am leading a life of faith.
Day 60: On Wednesday, John and I went on a long walk with his grandma’s dog “Buddy.” The weather was beautiful, and the scenery gorgeous. Going on walks brings joy. I appreciate the opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle and focus on the beauty of the earth. About 20 minutes after we came inside, a thunderstorm commenced and a tornado touched down across the river – crazy!
Day 61: Watching this video before I fell asleep brought joy as I reflected on the birth of Jesus Christ. I had never seen this video before.
Day 62: Yesterday was Christmas. The highlight of the day was talking with my brother Blake, who is on a mission for our church. Even though John and I were in Iowa, we were still able to FaceTime with him and my family. The rest of the day was also full of Christmas cheer and joy. We opened presents in the morning with John’s immediate family. In the late afternoon, his extended family came over to his parents’ house for Christmas dinner. One of my favorite Longenecker traditions is “Christmas Cookies.” His family prepares these cookies months ahead of Christmas and then freezes them. My favorite of the “Christmas Cookies” are the peanut butter balls.
Day 63: Today we were supposed to head down to Nauvoo today to go to the Temple, but because of some things beyond on control, we ended up spending the day at John’s mother’s parents’ home. I played Phase 10 for the first time with John, Jenny (John’s sister), and Grandma June. Even though I was disappointed we didn’t make it to the Temple, it was a fun afternoon. Playing games with family generally always seems to bring joy. I appreciate the opportunity to slow down and spend time with each other.