I had a Christmas quite typical to most people who made their living in healthcare. I put on a pair of scrubs, went to work, and did my job just like any other day. I did notice that in an attempt to make things cheery and convince themselves they were not missing out on the festivities with their families the nurses had brought in some ornaments from home and hung them about the computer station. Everyone brought christmas cakes and cookies and even spicy chex mix in little plastic cups from the nurse’s cart. The aids on the halls began dressing the patients in their christmas outfits they had laid out the night before. I began making the rounds, convincing people to exercise, demonstrate transfer techniques, and go to the toilet on a holiday. All morning i would hear, “But it’s Christmas! Why do you think i must work with you on Christmas?!” I was always slightly amused that the patients had zero insight into the fact that we also wanted to go home and be with our families, but, we had a job to do and so trudged on convincing people to work towards rehabilitation….arriving at work at 6 am in order to get all the patients seen by the time they had their big Christmas dinner with the families in the main dining hall.
Around noon the Christmas music began to play. Families were arriving and taking their seats at the pushed-together banquet-hall-style card tables covered in holiday themed table cloths. I heard rhetoric like “Are you warm enough mom?” And “We brought you a slice of Sarah’s lemon merengue pie for later. She made it with lemons from her neighbor’s tree in the yard.” I finished up my paperwork, locked up the gym, and headed out. I had been invited by my sweet friend and coworker to spend Christmas dinner with her and her family at their property 1 town over. It was closer than the 2.5 hour drive to my family in Texas so it was feasible to make it there in time after work. I loved my friend and her family members. I also thoroughly enjoyed visiting her property, the very thing that planted the seed for homesteading in my heart in the first place. I spent the day with them. They were very kind to include me and allow me to be part of their holiday. They were a beautiful family full of love and i counted myself lucky to be in their presence when the opportunity arose. I had made a decision recently that would change the trajectory of my life. Not everyone privy to the decision was happy about it. Some thought it was a right awful idea and they had lists of reasons, but, it sat firmly on my heart with a peace about it that i couldn’t explain. Many tried to show me the error of my thinking with arguments of logic and reason. I asked God in prayer to give me a sign if i had interpreted his will for me correctly or if i had gone down a wayward path with this decision of late. On Christmas day my friend gave me a present. I never expect a present because i’m not actually part of her family and just the food and the company alone is plenty enough of a present in itself. But she always gets me a little something, which prompted me to come prepared this time with a bag of local pecans and elaborately decorated christmas cookies from our mutual friend, the cajun cookier. As i unwrapped the present from its tissue paper i realized that i had my answer from God. There was the sign i had asked for. The little brown leather book would quickly become my second most cherished possession, surpassed only by my simple red bible whose binding i had glued back together once already and followed closely by my favorite machete from Nepal. How fitting that God had used my friend to answer my inquiry. She was one of a handful of people in my life who seemed to walk very closely with God, in her sorrow and joy alike.
As the sun began to set i headed back to my homestead to tend to the dogs who had patiently waited for my return and not done poopapalooza in the house (may have been in response to some mention of hickory smoked turkey earlier in the morning). I let the dogs out and let them run and wrestle in the dark for a while. Then i fixed them each a bowl of dog food topped with a small mound of smoked turkey pieces from the grocery deli. I was so exhausted and the dogs were so filthy; Christmas presents would have to wait for another day, but i would at least get them a tasty Christmas Supper before sleep overtook me in the rocking chair.
It wasn’t until 2 days later that i had an early day of work, got a good 30 minute nap in, and became inspired to continue Christmas for the girls. They had been good and no one had gone wee in the crate at all. It was the perfect opportunity for presents. They weren’t even as dirty as usual as a front was expected in later that evening so a rain storm had come through while the temperature remained in the 60s and i ushered the dogs into the grassy, mulchy dog/chicken/something run to get a nature bath minus the mud. Once they were dry in front of the heater in the house i went to the shed and fetched their presents. First my Uncle and Aunt had sent them chewy tooth brushes with insertable toothpaste. Cashew loved it! Sili, was still boycotting everything in life because i had made her wear a cone.
Then i went to the shed and got the Christmas present i had been hiding in there since i saw it on sale at walmart months ago. I brought everything inside, put them in a sit stay position, laid their present out on the floor, and then released them from the sit stay position to check it out. Both dogs seemed very pleased with their present. I had made a decision to get them both 1 big present instead of one each after watching Cashew take both bones, both water bowls, and both food bowls for herself. I figured, if i got an item big enough for them to share, they’d use it together. If i got two smaller ones, Cashew would likely take Sili’s, stack it on top of hers, and sit on both. So, 1 XL it was.
They were quite adorable with it. Sili wanted to lie down and nap immediately. Cashew set about wriggling all over it and mashing her scent into every bit of it. At one point Cashew, true to form, sat on poor Sili’s head, cone and all. No spacial boundaries. None.