|The Beach at Oak Harbor on a beautiful Black Friday|
Every year, since Chris and Jason were young enough to need a reward for being "good at grandma's house," Ray and I have built a tradition of getting out to have fun with our family on what we used to call Black Friday. I say used to call it black friday because the meaning has changed. Back in the day, black friday meant that we did not shop or indulge in materialism the day after giving thanks to YHVH-God for all he has provided for us. It was also our reward for our restless sons who had abandoned their overalls and barn boots to dress nice and use the table manners we practiced at home, at grandma's table. They would rather have been out with the wild things. Now Black Friday just means that merchants are in the black on the Friday after Thanksgiving (if they are willing to wait that long) because of America's need to camp in a parking lot so that they can be the first of the crowd to fight for one of five discounted TV's.
|Deb and Rudy Valentine at Fort Casey|
|Bomber and Rudy|
|The Olympics from Fort Casey|
|Ray tucks Rudy into his jacket to give him relief from the cold wind|
Black Friday seems to make the upcoming holiday season all the more precious. Ray and I celebrate Channakua. Chris has a child like delight in the "magic" he can make for Christmas. He loves being Santa at events. As a fireman-EMT and a emergency room worker, he sees enough horror to permanently mess up his attitude toward humanity. But he still loves to spread joy to those around him. Jason does not really love or hate Christmas. He indulges friends and family with gifts whenever he is able but would rather not get up early to go visit extended family or even open gifts. All Ray and I know for sure is we love our Y'shua-Jesus and are grateful for these boys YHVH has loaned to us.
|One of the tiny little Whidbey Island Black Tails|
|Rudy and Bomber after a long day.|
As long as YHVH gives me the strength I will spend Black Friday in the car, going someplace where we only have to buy gas, to eat turkey sandwiches, to remember a fresh how much I love my boys and my man. Life has been known to throw some stones at us. We have come close to breaking again and again. But always we find that under it all are the everlasting, loving hands of YHVH. No one knows what a day will bring. Buying gifts, wrapping them in pretty paper to be ripped open by a loved one brings a moment of happiness. Nothing wrong in that. But joy comes from hearts connecting. And maybe, at the end of the day, sitting quietly together, tired but satisfied, taking the same ferry ride back home that we have taken hundreds of times before. Remembering that contentment is an inside job, not something that I can buy for someone else.
Happy Holidays (said the old woman who doesn't celebrate Christmas but who does celebrate)