Things I will miss, things I will not.

I find myself making these mental lists all the time… things I will miss, things I will not. What will I long for when this year is over and I’m back in my Mountain Hometown? And what things will cause me to kiss that mountain dirt for gladness that it’s all behind me? Some days a year overseas feels like a blink. Some days it feels like a lifetime.

This Christmas season has definitely been falling into the “lifetime” category, and I am embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve found myself crying over my Instagram feed. The twinkling lights and evergreen garlands. The trips to the tree farm and the peppermint mochas. The family. The packages. All of it. I feel so left behind. So caught in this world where life is going on but the most magical (and of course, my very favorite) part of the year is passing without one candle flicker from a bedecked window. I know that I do not need the glitz to celebrate the Christchild. I know there is deep beauty to be found in celebrating despite the fanfare. But I am having a hard time summoning it. Lord, be near.

Anyway, as I’ve been making these lists in my head of things I will miss and things I will not, I wondered if it might be helpful to write them down. To stop the swirling and the constant mental comparisons that, more often, lead me to self-pity and martyrdom than to gladness and gratitude. Maybe looking at the real words on paper will help me to remember that it is not all bad here (nor is it all good at home).


  • The fact that I can’t just shop-shop-shop and accumulate allthethings because the season calls for it.
  • That my wishlist is small and practical. A small, humble home helps me see what I actually desire, and curbs my materialism.
  • Being home together. Our calendar is not jam-packed with holiday parties at preschool and church and everywhere else. We are rested and together. There is no pressure to hustle and bustle.
  • How wondrous it is for Annie any time we do something Christmas-related. We made a paper chain to count down to the holiday and you would think we made actual magic. I put marshmallows in her cocoa and she kissed me for it.
  • That the girls think “Auld Lang Syne” is a Winnie the Pooh song. Silly, but so cute. “It’s the Merry Pooh Year song, Mama!”
  • Fresh clementines for the cost of pennies.
  • Sharing about the birth of the Baby who would save us… right here in a city that doesn’t know, with students who have never heard, and might never hear if we did not tell them.


  • The “Merry Christmas Mocha” at Starbucks– the only seasonal beverage they have– is strawberry flavored. Gag me. At least they have the red cups!
  • Having no Christmas decorations– especially not having our handknit stockings.
  • Butter costs a fortune here, and the only means I have of baking is a toaster oven. I am going to make six thousand cookies next year.
  • The weather. Yes, it’s way more comfortable… but dangit, it should not be 60 on Christmas. Also, I want snow.
  • Being apart from family.
  • Being stuck at home (golly, I miss the minivan). Trapsing two kids through a city of millions is near-impossible, and that’s not even considering that, half the time, the pollution index is too high to safely bring them outside in the first place.
  • Not having a clothes dryer. Wool socks take forever to line dry.



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