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Christmas at the Ranch




We love Christmas. We love everything about this time of year, from the music, to the food, to the traditions we celebrate as a family. Of course, the reason, celebrating the birth of the Savior remains the focus, but the trappings are all things we enjoy. I would like to share a moment with you, a little glimpse into our life here at the Ranch.

Our tradition is to go out onto the Ranch property and find a Christmas tree. Joy and I bundled up in some warm clothes and began our search. We must have looked at a hundred trees before Joy gave her nod of approval. She is the one that handles the decorating, so she gets to pick the tree. Every time. Every year. So, we find the tree. The ceiling in the great room is about 20 feet high. That lets us get a pretty good size tree. Well, this tree was a dandy, was very tall, and very full. We came back up to the house and I grabbed a chainsaw, trailer, and boys, and we headed back out. When the boys first saw the tree, they sort of laughed. Jesse was convinced it was way too big. William thought he could throw it over his shoulder and carry it to the house himself, and I just sat back and listened to them chirp at each other over it. So, I fired up the old saw and got the tree down without any issues. The original plan, developed by these two boys, was to carry the tree out of the woods, to the field and to put it onto the trailer. I suggested I drive the trailer into the woods to the tree, and we put it on without having to carry it so far. I got outvoted. So, I began the slow walk back through the snow, to the trailer and four wheeler.

As I was walking out of the woods, I could hear the boys start grumbling. "Pick up your end. I AM picking up my end, you don't have YOUR end high enough". "Stop pulling on the tree, let me get a grip.". "I should have worn gloves, my hands are all covered in sap!". (I told them to grab gloves, but was told they are tough and don't need them. For the record, I wore gloves). So pretty much your typical action when getting two teenage boys out to do a chore.

I drove the trailer back to the tree. They had moved a total of about fifteen feet in the ten minutes I was gone. I got a chance to point out to them that I suggested at the start that we drive the trailer to the tree. Sometimes, I just love being right. Anyway, we got the tree loaded and up to the house without any issues. Getting the tree into the house is a whole different story, one I will probably share on another day. I will say that my initial measurement was off by a bit, and after getting the tree upright, we had to take it back down and trim another foot off the bottom so it could fit. Remember how I pointed out to the boys that I was right about bringing the trailer to the tree, well, they got to chirp at me about how they were right, that the tree was too tall and needed to be cut shorter. Go figure.

We got the tree up. Joy started placing the lights. She always goes simple with her decorations. Less is more, and she has a wonderful eye making things beautiful. I think she said there are around 1200 lights on the tree and it looks great. So, I am sitting here with a crackling fire in the fireplace, the house is only lit by the light of this wonderful Christmas Tree, and the house is quiet. Peace. Joy. Love. Jesus. What a moment this is, and I am blessed to be able to share it with you.

The tree came from an area of the Ranch we plan to make into a memorial garden for Frank and Jinny. It is fitting that this is the tree filling our home with Christmas joy. I am adding a picture for you to enjoy. This is our first Christmas without them and we miss them dearly. I think they would have enjoyed sitting in the light this tree is casting over our home. Please take moment and give thanks for the blessings in your life. God is good. All the time. And He has been very good to us.

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