Christmas Traditions & Haitian coffee

Can you guys believe that Christmas has come and gone? It’s hard to believe that we are wrapping up 2015? I actually haven’t officially wrapped up all of the Christmas fun as I’m currently in Bristol TN with Tanner’s family. First, I love Bristol. It’s so beautiful with the mountains. You will find me doing a 10 miler at sunrise in the morning because I can’t imagine coming here and not running through it. So beautiful.

Tanner and his dad are currently in the shop downstairs working on some things together. He just built a table out of wood that he got out of his back yard, and yall, I wish I had a picture of it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and he is incredibly talented. It looks like something off Restoration Hardware. We told him he definitely needs to sell them. Tomorrow, we are going to have lunch with his moms side of the family for our final party which will wrap up party #11!!! WOAH! This Christmas has been CRAZY and it definitely snuck up on me. I don’t know how I wasn’t prepared, but I was super unorganized, and had to get gifts last minute. That’s not normally my style, so I’m going to be much more prepared next year.

I’m craving a bit of a routine, but we are actually leaving again on Thursday for New Years to go to Nashville with our friends from NYC. I know that it will be a fantastic time, and I’m super excited about it but also just that small part of me like “What were we thinking? I need rest!” LOL! However, I’m HUGE on giving experiences for gifts instead of material things as I feel those memories last forever. So, I gave my mom a raod trip with me this Christmas.

We don’t get a lot of one on one time together so I thought this would be a perfect bonding time in the car, so we are going to start planning that (most likely to the OBX).

I don’t know about you guys but my Christmas for 25 years has basically looked exactly the same. We have Christmas Eve with my dads side of the family and then on Christmas day, we wake up at my moms (“Santa”), have a big breakfast and open those gifts, and then we go to my stepdads side of the family then finally head to my Mawmaws at around 5pm and stay until 1am.

That family is big, and we do it up big-food and gifts. There are about 22-25 of us, and it used to be that everyone got everybody a gift. This obviously got excessive quick, so a few years ago we dialed back to just drawing names. This year, we decided that we were going to scale back one more time and get gifts for the kids next year, but the adults were going to put money towards getting a gift for a needy family in Shelby. None of us really need anything, and the older I get the more joy I find in giving to those less fortunate. I’m also totally a fan of us having less food or giving the extra to the homeless shelter! J

This year Christmas was different. Tanner and I have our own house now so woke up there and had our Christmas morning together in our home, and of course worked out in our home gym together ;) (haha typical). We headed over to my brothers house at 9am and had breakfast because of course, Jackson is here now, my nephew, and they are starting traditions with him. Tanner helped him on Christmas Eve with setting everything out for Santa, and we did the milk and cookie decorating so that was so precious.

If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that today I spent the afternoon with a family who are refugees from Haiti. This was not intended to be, but it turned out to be quite the life changing experience. I hope this is something that we can continue to help with…indefinitely. This family lives down the street from Tanner’s mom, and the daughter graduated with Tanner, and they actually escaped from Haiti years ago. The husband has made it his life mission to send every dime that he can possibly back to his country to help. He works solely to send more money to them, and even worked two jobs one time to do more. They shop at Goodwill just to be able to send more. It’s incredibly inspiring.

When he was in Haiti, he worked for the government and instead of using it for power like most, he used it to help the people. The government did not like this at all, and he found out they were planning to kill him so his family went into hiding for 4 months. During that time, he got to know someone that would help him get out of the country and so he escaped.

He goes back 2-3 times per year, and takes money and helps in the villages. Right now, they have taken on 27 children to sponsor their tuition for school because if they don’t go to school then of course they stay at home, get no education, and don’t eat. My heart like bleeds for third world country children and always has so we sponsored a child. It feels so much more personal too rather than the larger corporations because he is literally going to hand deliver the money to them. They don’t use a middleman just to cut back on costs. We hope to one day be able to go with him, and meet the child that we are sponsoring. 

They gave us coffee that was ground in Haiti a month ago when they went, and it’s the best coffee EVER. I never like coffee black and I loved this. They gave us some to take with us, and we also bought his book talking about being a refugee. They showed us pictures of the children in the villages, and videos, and shared stories with us that were bringing them to tears. I’ve never seen someone so on fire for the Lord’s work in their lives, and making that everything they are about. I was incredibly moved, and it was the best final Christmas gift I could have received.

And I promise we will be back to regular programmed fitness activities soon enough ;)

WHAT ARE YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS? (forreal tell me, I want to know!!! lol)

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