After our many years now of going on our annual tree-hunting trip with our dear friends, it just wouldn't be Christmas without it, and when Mary, the mother in this family of friends, called us in tears asking us if we could still please do the trip this year, of course there was nothing we wanted more. You see, she and our friend, her husband, have separated, soon to divorce. Our hearts have been tender and sore, and many prayers have been uttered in search of peace and guidance for both of our very treasured friends. We weren't sure if the tree trip would happen this year due to this sad event, and were not only thrilled that we could enjoy a weekend in the hills of Bear Lake but that we could comfort and support this wife and her children. It made for an extra sweet weekend, the circumstances causing us to step outside of ourselves and recognize from afar how precious these experiences and friendship are.
We were grateful that the children played well and happily with almost no conflicts at all. We were grateful for a crisp layer of snow on the ground. We were grateful for chances to talk quietly with our friend and shed some tears together. We sorely missed her absent spouse and thought of his feelings often. It was tough, but never for a moment uncomfortable or awkward. We just love our friends.
One of the great pleasures this year was our chance to drive Inigo, our dueling Spaniard of a Land Cruiser. We fit quite well inside, even though I still rode in back between the girls. This seems to be a tradition which I don't mind. Inigo has quite a bit more room than the old jeep so we had no trouble fitting our boxes and bags, and I didn't get bruised shoulders from the car seats leaning in on me. Definitely enjoyed that. Inigo is a bit of a rough rider though, so I'm not going to say I enjoyed Logan canyon all that much, but we survived. And you can not beat the gas mileage on that turbo diesel!
We arrived in the cabin in time to send the kids up to play in the loft while we made soup and chatted away. There aren't a lot of clocks up there, so I never seemed to know what time it was. We had late nights and late mornings and late lunches and late starts to hunting the trees and that worked out just fine for all.
We found great trees - ours might be a record as it stood at 14 feet. I'm not sure we've even gotten one so big, though Troy might remember better than I do, as he does about absolutely everything. It is stately and with perfectly spaced branches. It's gorgeous.
The rest of our time was spent in much the same way - jammies and movies and cozy kid piles on the couch. Lots of great meals and greater time to talk. Our tree stood tall in our living room (we only had to chop off about 4 feet to make it fit....) and reminded us all season long of the blessing of good friends.