Christmas Cards

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. We had a really good one. Although, in our family we have something I call the Franco Family Curse...at least one person in our family is sick for every major holiday. This "curse"became apparent to me in the first few years that Noé and I were married, and it's only become worse now that we have two small children. Last Christmas was one of the worst incidents as both kids had the stomach flu and were vomiting in their beds on Christmas Eve. So I count my blessings that this year it has just been a cold that (so far) only Paolina and Santiago have. But it still hindered us from attending the Christmas Eve service at church and has definitely kept the kids slowed down the last couple of days. Although this may be a good thing, since Santiago got a set of Nurf guns from his Abuelitos, and I personally don't have the energy to be fending off sneak attacks or pretending to be a sniper all day.  I would much prefer to sit at the table and play dominoes or put together a puzzle, which were also a few of the gifts the kids received. Speaking of which, I am so so thankful to both sets of grandparents, who totally made it possible for the kids to even get gifts this year. I know that gifts aren't what Christmas is all about, but it sure would have broken my heart to attempt to explain to my 4-year old and 2-year old that there would be none this year because their father doesn't have a job. As an adult, however, I have to say that despite the fact that we are now into the second month of being unemployed, this has been one of the best Christmases we've ever celebrated. Both kids are finally old enough to help me make cookies "for Santa" and they both made gingerbread houses at our local library. Santiago is old enough to put together advanced puzzles and play more challenging board games, and Paolina is completely into dress-up and playing with dolls...so I've had as much fun with their Christmas presents as they have! But more importantly, our personal circumstances have given me the opportunity to really really reflect on the true meaning of the season and to appreciate God's grace and mercy to us on a whole new level. The Creator of this infinite universe humbled Himself enough to be born as a helpless baby in a lowly manger, experience a mundane life on Earth with the many trials & temptations we also experience, and then to die an excruciating death on the Cross...so that we may have the opportunity to spend an eternity in His presence. And this same Lord and Savior also loves me enough to care about my daily needs. We are still in our home, still driving our car and still have enough food every day. And He has gone above & beyond our actual needs by putting it on the hearts of others to bless our children with more toys & games than they really needed. I am humbled by His love for this broken and sinful world.

Now onto my favorite part of Christmas...making cards! I used to do a sort of "assembly line" of identical Christmas cards. I usually made about 200 and had to start around August to get all of them made and put out into the mail by December 1st. This year has been a more hectic year than usual, and in the end I would never have been able to put the money into mailing that many cards anyhow.  But I couldn't give up making cards altogether, so I chose to only make 13 cards, each a different design, that went out to our closest friends and relatives. And here they are...

Thanks for looking, and I hope each and every one of you continue to have a blessed and happy Christmas season!

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