I’m heading into this new week feeling grateful for so many little moments that brought me comfort and joy over the long weekend. There were heavy moments, to be sure, as our family ushered in the holidays so keenly aware of my dad’s absence. But I managed to take stock of all the little joy-moments, to “be grateful for all Thy goodness sends,” as our kitchen table prayer cube states. 
I marveled at the way Tru fills my heart with happiness. Just the sight of that little guy in his new Elmo slippers did the trick. 
Equally able to make my heart thump wildly is seeing eight-year-old Ryder caught up in the magic of the season, carefully writing a letter to Santa. Is there a way to ensure that he always believes?
We went to the Farmer’s Market to pick out a Christmas tree – an annual family tradition. The four of us bundled up and quietly walked down the aisles of freshly-cut trees, waiting for the perfect one to call out to us. “Listen for it,” we always tell the boys, encouraging them to not just look but feel the trees’ presence, waiting until we practically hear our tree calling our names. 
I nearly squealed when a special delivery arrived on my doorstep, containing gorgeous 2012 Year of Wishes calendars from Lori Portka and Lisa Sarick! The calendars are so beautiful and inspired. And Lori has been such an angel friend to me, so it was really special to have this package arrive this weekend, overflowing with goodness.
We spent Saturday evening putting up my 87-year-old Nana’s Christmas tree – undoubtedly the oldest artificial tree on the planet. It loses so many plastic “needles” each year, I’m not sure how it has any left! But it has stood the test of time, as have her oh-so-fragile ornaments and her stories of Christmases past. I love, or example, hearing how her Swedish immigrant parents could only afford a $1 tree with one string of lights that shorted out every 10 minutes. It reminds me of all they endured and fills me with gratitude for all that we have today.  
This was another favorite moment of the weekend. My mom was fixing the skirt on Nana’s tree and Tru just piled on top of her. She collapsed in giggles as he nuzzled her neck and refused to let go. So much love, laughter and light in that one precious moment in time. 
Back at home, I decked our halls and dressed up the spruce tops out front {with a concerned supervisor watching my every move}. I love seeing the twinkling lights through our front windows all winter long. 
Then I turned on some Christmas music {I can’t help it – I love it}, hung the stockings with care and we gave our special tree the star treatment. 
This is what joy looks like right here, right now. Raw and real, cultivated bit by bit, captured in small moments and capable of turning sad hearts into glad ones. 
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. 
When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” 
– Buddha
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P.S. If shopping for good things from good places brings you joy, 
be sure to check out today’s list of unique and handmade offers at
A joy to put together!