I admit I feel a little creatively wrung out after all the posting in November.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say.

December is already blazing by us. Many of the Christmas cards are sent. Visits and outings are being planned. Paige will be home next week. And the snow…is far away from us (hoorah!)

We had a quiet weekend, even though it was full of nice things. Friday afternoon, we took a somewhat impromptu trip to see our ‘(North)Carolina Next of Kin,’ our ‘Carter Side of The Family,’ known to the rest of the world as Jay Stone Singers:


This picture is from the cruise, which is when Rod and I last saw them. The girls hadn’t seen them since Labor Day. Funny thing is, even though we moved only 90 miles away from them, we’ve spent more time with them out of the Carolinas than we have in. Such is the nomadic life of singing friends.

We had a great time doing what we do…drinking coffee, eating Mexican food, stopping at Walmart, and kicking around their cozy, chaotic house. Time with friends who are family is balm for the soul.

On Saturday, we stayed a little closer to home and hung out with friends again. We did normal friend-things…watched the Wildcats beat the Tarheels (who is this talking about college basketball? I have no idea…), made sandwiches, played outside. It is so very good to have close friends, close by.

On Sunday, well, we had Journeychurch, of course. It wasn’t the same without our dear pastor and his family there, but we had an awesome service. And the guy on the drums? Total babe.

{of course it was Rod}.

Afterwards, we decided spur-of-the-moment to go for pizza. We called our Saturday-friends to meet us, and turned out some other friends were there. I love having random meetings with new friends!


And then Sunday night happened. Aren’t they hard sometimes, as we try to cram in the last sweet minutes of weekend while simultaneously preparing for and avoiding the stresses of the coming week? Sunday nights used to be anchored by church, but we haven’t gone to a church with Sunday night service in quite awhile. So yesterday afternoon, the girls played, Rod took a cat nap, I folded some laundry. And at some point, I got sad. Because ’tis the season, and my Christmas season looks so different than it ever has before. I know that this is part of the deal…new traditions, blahblahblah. But I’m reeling a little from those ‘little’ losses. Not seeing my cousins. Not hugging my gramma. Not singing with the church choir. Not finding the right time/look/feel of hosting a party for the kids (like we did last year). Not having an intimate dinner party with my closest girlfriends. Not seeing It’s A Wonderful Life at Hollywood Boulevard.

…and not seeing my parents or my brother on Christmas for the first time in my life,

not to mention my brother’s family, and of course, Rod not seeing Josh for the first time in his life.

Moving is a strange thing. It has brought me through emotions I expected and many that surprise me. I constantly have the feeling or fear or stoic acceptance of being left behind, and then I feel stupid about it because we’re the ones who left. Sometimes there is no logic to any of it, and last night was one of those times. I was just getting to the teary, make-no-sense portion of the evening when,

Jen called.

She is one of my closest friends.


She is the one I suffered/made it through student teaching with. The one who came to the hospital hours after my babies were born. The one whose house I retreated to every Monday night for 3 years. That one, you know? But I don’t usually lose my junk with her. And last night, I did. Heard her voice, and let myself cry. By the end of the call, I felt better, I was reassured, and we’d basically planned the next 50 years of our friendship, dancing at kids’ weddings and such.

Today I texted through another event with other friends far away. I don’t have to send them complete sentences. Sometimes, just my location, the view, or a few choice words (Jeggings! Laminator!) succinctly communicate all we need.

It is so very wonderful to have close friends who stay close, no matter how far.

After talking to Jen, I got the kids to bed, popped in another Christmas-movie to watch with Rod, and smiled all night because 1) even virtual hugs rock at making me feel better and 2) our light-up garland on the mantle that wouldn’t light suddenly lit (you got that?)

Christmas looks different this year because everything is different this year. But the things that count, the preserved relationships, the always growing ones, and those in a state of careful but fun discovery, they matter the most.