Tuesday, December 6, 2016

tis the season

It was a sunny afternoon as Aaron and I traipsed through the holly farm behind Isaiah, the "tree guy" to the farm's collection of cut trees.  He was really more of the "holly wreath guy" and a wealth of knowledge about the holly trees (90 years old) and the overgrown Christmas trees (40 years old) and the lone male holly tree in a sea of over 240 female holly trees and the resident robins that flitted from berry laden tree to berry laden tree.

As we weaved our way to the back side of the property my ears caught sound of music and not radio music, but living, breathing, in the flesh music.  Certainly there isn't music out here in this grove of holly trees, is there?  Isaiah continued as if nothing was out of the ordinary, but there it was again, the distinct sound of music.  We caught sight of the musician, Isaiah's younger brother serenading a holly harvester with songs from his harmonica.  It was an unexpected moment, but beautiful in it's simplicity. 

We were delighted by Isaiah's conversation, his impromptu holly lesson, and his eagerness to serve, our "tree valet".  We brought home this year's perfect Christmas tree and gave it a place of prominence inside the front window.

As life has it right now, this was the second year that Aaron and I picked out our Christmas tree just the two of us.  Last year it was dark and windy and bitterly cold as we weaved through the Lion's lot adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce.  This year, a bright chilly afternoon in a holly farm.  Gone are the days when our two little boys with rosy red cheeks circle lopsided trees, proclaiming them "perfect".

Austin competed in his first JROTC competition of his senior year over the weekend.  He has stepped away from many of the competitions he had shot in previous years in favor of only shooting the ROTC comps.  This picture shows him there in the middle in the off-hand position, in his precision gear, the others are all shooting sporter. 

Thirty minutes away from Austin's JROTC competition, Blake was competing in a wrestling tournament.  He wrestled three matches and we were able to be there for the last two.  As always, it's amazing to watch him wrestle.

If you've never been to a wrestling tournament there is really no way I can accurately describe it.  There is chaos, movement, whistles, cheering, sweat, kids catching a nap in the bleachers between matches, and sometimes blood.  I'm not one that loves sports but I do love competition and I can appreciate the dedication and very soul that gets poured into what these kids do.  I admire their passion and perseverance.

Also over the weekend, Aaron and I took in a concert of the Whidbey Community Chorus.  It was at a beautiful church in town that was packed well before the concert was due to start.  We found seats in the choir loft which ended up being even more exciting because we could spy on all the townspeople in attendance and point out people we knew.

The choir was amazing, better than I could have imagined a group of volunteers from our island could be.  For a portion they were joined by the high school's Harbor Singers.  The amount of voices that filled that building and the quality of the performance was moving. 

Oak Harbor High School's Harbor Singers

It's a beautiful season, this Christmas time.  I love that many of our neighbors have put up lights this year, more so than in years past.  I love that everyone has a different style in decorations.  I especially like a layering of different types of lights such as a strand of large bulb colored lights with white icicle lights hanging underneath them.  Our house has large white bulbs across the front gutter and also on the point of the roof.  Then around our living room window is a strand of small colored lights.  And of course the lit up tree in the middle of the window.

If you have time, read the first few chapters of Luke.  I've been especially struck by the heart of Mary, Jesus' mother.  Many will say she was an insignificant young woman, not chosen for any particular reason but I respectfully and passionately disagree.  Just read the beginning of Luke.  You'll see.

Until next time!