December 10, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

We sat around the Thanksgiving table, tummies full and satisfied, and contemplated our next Christmas Tree Adventure. We could all go the next day! The whole family was together, and after all, it used to be our tradition to cut our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving.

No, we decided, let’s go on Dec. 8th.  Everyone will be home again so we can all go together, just like old times. While everyone made it home, Dec. 8th came and went with other projects taking up all the hours of daylight. So new plans were made for the following  morning to get our tree.

I awoke before dawn, excited and happy that we would finally go looking for our Christmas tree. I had made many calls to area tree farms, and scouted out the biggest fir trees. Unfortunately, the best ones were an hour away, and no one wanted to drive that far. It was raining, after all, with snow falling further up north. One son was too sick to go. And so on.

So a smaller group of us ventured out.  We weren’t told the truth about the size of the fir trees at the alternate place I chose to go, so we trudged around in the icy rain trying to find a pine. The rain gradually turned to snow, and finally was looking pretty, but by that time we were all soaked to the skin, frozen, and ready to go home. Without a tree.

You see, I had to get ready for performing in a concert that afternoon. And none of the trees met our height criteria. So sadly, we left without a tree. It was a quiet ride home.

I haven’t given up. We will get our Christmas tree. It’s just that sometimes all the best laid plans often go astray. I still have hope. I know I will find the perfect tree. I have to. It's my favorite job, and I won't give up.

The desire for a perfect tree has led us on Christmas tree adventures in four different states. Our first family adventure began when we chose a wild specimen in California’s Sierra foothills. It was the two of us then, and our firstborn son all bundled in blankets, trekking through the beautiful, mountainous countryside. We were quite adventurous in those days.

Our next adventures led us through long treks in the rolling Oregon hills looking for the perfect tree, now with two little ones in two. Over hill and dale, first carrying the little one and then, as they grew, letting them run on their own. Sometimes it took hours to find the perfect tree. But it was a wonderful family adventure.
The next state had us toting three boys along; and finally, back in our home state, I remember a very snowy December day when our last baby had to be bundled in so many blankets I could hardly hold onto him. It was snowing like crazy, and the trees were so laden with snow that we had to brush them off with our mittens to see what their shape was like. That was 15 years ago, and that baby is a teenager now.

Oh, there have been so many Christmases and so many Christmas tree adventures. I have gained a reputation for taking way too long to choose a tree, but it must be the perfect tree! And while I get chided for taking too long, they are the first to refute if the tree I choose isn't a big enough when I choose a nice ten footer!

So, back to the drawing board. We will get our tree. This week. I hope. With a tree that large, it takes time to decorate. I'll keep you all posted on our progress. And yes, of course I'll provide pictures. 

Until then, happy decorating (and baking and shopping). In all of our preparations, let's make sure to take time to prepare our hearts for the true Joy of the Season. However you celebrate, remember the reason for the season. We need to make time to focus our hearts on the Peace that this season brings. That will carry us through all of the best laid plans. 

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