The Art of Enjoying Different

It’s the day before Christmas Eve

And all through the house

I’ve a plan in the making

For me and my spouse…


Our stockings are hung

By the chimney with care

In hopes that whomever

Tries harder to  care… to share… to love… to forgive … to accept…


Okay- so my poem reads a little differently than the one we usually hear this time of year. But that’s what I’m focusing on, accepting and enjoying “different.” Not just the kind of different that make my husband and me better together but the kind that set us apart too, reminding us of who we are individually and dare I say… who we’re not.

The Plan is to joyfully grasp and gravel with the idea of different and to accept those who see things differently and be accepted by the same token.

Sounds like a tall order, huh? Well, it is, both for a jolly ol’ saint dressed in red and white going chimney to chimney and for those of us striving to maintain Christmas cheer around festive tables of tradition. You know us; we often miss both the point and person of Christmas altogether until it’s too late and we’ve worked ourselves into a tizzy over unimportant details, or when we’ve lashed out (audibly and silently) at loved ones for their versions of different or when we’ve failed to accept what is and then rejected what isn’t. Like Christmas cookies, no two are exactly alike but if mixed with all the same delicious ingredients, even though the are different they taste the same, even the broken pieces!


The Art of Enjoying Different is to take one delicious bite at a time, accepting and appreciating each crumble for what it is.


Accept that this year is different… it is not the past; It’s the present. People, places and traditions change every single year.


  • Accept that my family is different … we’re neither the family next door, nor the one down the street nor the one on the other side of town. We’re us and we’re doing the best WE know how to do.


  • Accept that my narrative is different… my story belongs to me, and not to others and that is ok. It makes me who I am. As for the others, they have a story too …


I know I cannot go back and relive the awesome memories or awful mistakes of the past, nor can I go forward and live the expectations of the future, at least not yet.  I cannot even go door to door photo-bombing the special moments of others or teleport myself into pretend movie sets and magazine photo ops. But I can be inspired:

 By cleverly staged photos and well written stories played out in pixels on screens, both big and small, yet different from my own

 By the real-life people and places with which I have the priceless privilege of being acquainted, though they are different.

By the life lessons we learn from doing life together and differently.

 Yes, I can be inspired to grasp reality, yours and mine, with a gratitude for the unique experiences and expressions we each enjoy. I can gravel with the fact that there’s always a 20/20 hindsight moment in the making because of our differences. It’s in those moments that we have reason to pause and ponder our actions and reactions and whether or not to extend the very grace extended to us by Father Christmas Himself, Christ Jesus.


Speaking of Christ and Christmas-

I cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of Creation, where in the beginning He fashioned the most fabulous feast of all time in a perfect garden setting, the place where He first called us to come and dine.

I  cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of the Cross, where in the middle of time as we know it, He fulfilled His plan to redeem the failures of mankind (especially mine) after we left His beautifully set table in the garden to sneak a bite of the forbidden fruit pie, the one never intended for our consumption.

I cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of our eternal Celebration, where He went to prepare an even better place for us to gather and be relieved of our earthly sufferings: our pain and our shame.

I’ve decided I think I like different. It tastes good, especially when eaten one sweet bite at a time chased by a glass of grace and gratitude.

How about you? Want to join me in embracing others in hopes that they will likewise embrace you back in the same manner?

Oh my! I feel a New Year’s resolution of a “different” kind emerging. (pun intended)

Two by Two by Two…


To say we were carried through the week by angels on high and cradled under the wings of the almighty is an understatement. It was Super Bowl Sunday and my five year old daughter was to be checked into the children’s hospital north of Atlanta at 6 AM the following morning for surgery. She had suffered with progressive renal reflux since birth and the damage to her kidneys had worsened. Her latest check up revealed she was not thriving as other five year olds thrive. Her weight and height had not moved in almost a year. I could see it in the dark circles under her eyes and in the pasty white color of her otherwise olive skin-tone. We had spent many weeks in the hospital on IV antibiotics fighting urinary tract infections caused by her increasing inability to void. She now she needed intervention.

That same night during the football game my nine-month old son had to be rushed to the hospital on the opposite side of town of where we needed to be in just a few short hours. He had become dangerously dehydrated from a violent stomach virus. It was a virus his pediatrician had told us could last for up to 10 days and to “wait it out.” The problem with waiting it out was that my son also suffered from Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. His case was advanced. In other words… he was not your typical baby spitting up from an overfull belly. Though he had not yet failed to thrive like his sister, he was not well either and his status was about to change.

The night was harsh but by four o’clock in the morning our baby was stable again and we knew the time had come to split up. As two parents with two children suffering from two disease processes wreaking havoc on their little bodies, we had no choice. We needed to be in two places at one time. Even though it appeared as if we were losing our battles we were not, we were fighting them. Though we were temporarily without the comfort of the other’s hand to hold or shoulder to rest upon we were not alone. God provided help during our time of need.

For seven days friends and family also split up to comfort and care for us. During our most unpredictable and worrisome hours they prayed with us. They cleaned our house, washed our laundry, cooked our meals and held our hands. By the end of the week we had been relieved of the burdens we had been shouldering for years. The people in our lives loved us through the darkest moments until we reached the light of day. 

The first week home we noticed was our son was holding his food down, something we had never before experienced. During our second week home we noticed our daughter’s temperature charts had maintained readings between 98.4 and 98.6. That’s a normal we had not experienced consistently during the past year when I learned to drink coffee by the pot instead of the cup.

A few weeks later my son’s gastroenterologist held in his hands the test results before the virus along with the ones after the virus. He was weighing them in the balances. “It’s a medical impossibility that an intestinal virus could correct such a complex condition,” he said before adding, “But it did.”

Then a year later my daughter’s urologist did something similar when in his hands he waved the results of her most recent renal scans. He said, “though we can correct renal reflux disease through reconstructive surgery we cannot reverse the damage it causes to the kidneys beforehand; however, according to these results there is no trace of the previous damage.” 

Unlike their pediatric specialists my husband and I were not scratching our heads; we were lifting our arms and praising our God for the healing He had brought to our family: two children healed from two disease processes while in two hospitals located miles apart.

In the period of one week’s time two battles were fought and two were won and two children were healed and two parents relieved. And for this reason, “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2 (NKJV)