Isn't it funny how where you live is considered home, until Christmas. Then wherever your extended family is is considered home, even if you didn't grow up there.
We will be headed to Alabama for the week to enjoy my extended family & hopefully my friends that can make time for me. I am going to try to cram in as many friends & relatives in my visit as possible. I don't want to miss a thing. One thing that being an Army Wife will teach you, is to never take an opportunity for granted. When you are headed home & you are 12 miles from your parents house, but you are passing the road a long time friend lives on, turn on down it, call them, see if they are home, try to visit. You never know what next year will bring. You may not be coming this way next year. Or, if they too are military, they maybe somewhere else next year. I have been blessed to live in the same place for 16 years of my life & have lifelong friends. Not everyone had that type of childhood or blessing.
The more I get out in the world, the more thankful I am for the extremely close knit street, small town, small K-12 school, & close knit county & community I grew up in. You only know what you live as a child. When you grow up & you see how others around you lived in an entirely different world, it has to sink in that you took for granted all the years of safety & security you felt as a child.
I am also blessed that I have parents I can be proud of. Every day I realize how thankful I am & how much more thankful I should be for parents that cared. Again, as a child you don't think much about your parents. You know them inside & out because you lived with them. But you don't think about how the decisions they made affected your life. I am so thankful I never had to worry about "if" my parents were coming home, or where they were when they weren't home, what they were doing. I had that life that as a kid you think is boring & now as an adult you know it was consistent & the consistency that you counted on was a comfort you needed & had & didn't even know it.
I remember waking up on Christmas morning as a kid & not being able to wait until my parents got out of bed to open presents. No matter how bad the economy got in the 80's, I had presents. Whatever I needed, and much of what I desired, my parents somehow made happen by putting their own wants & needs aside (those of you who are reading that are parents, does that sound familiar?). Boy at the list of things that I have to be thankful for due to my parents.
So you can pin it on Santa if you want, but when I look at the blessings that I have been blessed with LONG before I even knew how to ask for them, I know that they all come from MY Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, who watched over me & provided for me & held my parents up & held them together to take care of me, his daughter who didn't deserve it, who wasn't worthy, but who He died for anyway.
Every time I pass through on my way home, I have to pass by where I was raised. I have to pass through. I never go through without being reminded of how blessed I really am.