Saturday, December 25, 2010

And this is Christmas.

For the last few days, I haven't been able to take a deep breath.

I don’t have asthma, I’m not sick, and I don’t have anxiety (right now, anyway).

It's because of pure and utter excitement.

The last few weeks have not been easy here in West Africa. Richard has been working around the clock...literally. As a journalist in West Africa, he is covering news that is violent, terrifying, and tragic. I have never truly appreciated being a US citizen, and all of our rights, until living here.

We have been falling asleep at night talking about a country that has two presidents, burning tires, smoke bombs, random politically driven killings, and mass graves. At the same time there are also people going through our garbage looking for scraps of food.

While trying to digest the rawness of reality here, we are also dealing with simple ‘day to day’ annoyances... like mild sickness, 8 teeth coming in with constant night wakings, being pulled over by police officers with machine guns simply because you are white, me working more than I should, power outages, water outages, etc.

Etc, etc, etc. Etc, etc, etc. I suppose the 'etc's' could go on...

These annoyances are trivial compared to what many of the people around us here are dealing with.

Christmas is helping us realize how truly blessed and grateful we are.

I have been ‘more than’ excited about Christmas, as this is our first Christmas as a family. It’s our first Christmas with our angels, Laird and Dylan. Granted, they have no idea that it is even Christmas, but for Richard and I, our hearts our so full of love and gratefulness that we can barely contain ourselves.

Last Christmas, we were fighting for their lives… not knowing what the future would bring.

And here we are, blessed with 2 amazing, healthy, happy little angels.

Right now, it’s 80 degrees, the harmatan winds are humming, and we still smell of mosquito spray from Christmas Eve. We miss our families and friends back home more than ever. But Richard and I have managed to get in to the Christmas spirit simply being grateful for what we have.

We are so so so so so blessed.

And so you are you.

Be grateful for what you have. Let go of your daily annoyances. Hug your loved ones and kiss your spouse. Take a moment and look at everything in your life that you have, rather than what you don’t. Take a deep breath and soak it all in. Life is beautiful, short, and wonderful…

Merry Christmas.

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