Adventures in Thanksgiving and Christmas Decorating

Hey everyone! Do I have a story to tell! So, Thanksgiving started for us last Wednesday. I took off the rest of the week from work. We were planning on having Thanksgiving with my parents, grandma, my other grandma, my sister in law and her family, and a close family from church Wednesday, then Thanksgiving with my wife’s dad’s side of the family on Thursday. My sweet wife spent all day cooking. We got the turkey in around noon, then started the million other side dishes.

The bread preparing to attack!


I got plenty of time to play with the kiddos while she cooked up a storm. I went and got Grandma a little before 6pm. I remember driving to pick her up and I finally was getting a breather to talk with Jesus. I had Santana’s Shaman album playing, feelings of spending time with Jesus back in high school, truly my best friend back then (and still today!), flooding my emotional core. I told him I just wanted to spend Thanksgiving truly enjoying him and my family. I got Grandma from her apartment and we talked up our storm, everything from the end times to putting Jesus first in all things. It was fun. We got back and the cars are oozing out of our driveway into the street. We parked a couple houses down and walked into a warm Thanksgiving Eve.

Our yummy 17 lb bird! The stuffing was pear and hazelnut. My wife rubbed a herb butter all over the skin and under the skin. Uh-may-zing.



Plate #1 of 2. The second plate was identical to this plate (I regretted this, as you will soon read)



Mom baked 4 pies for tonight! Pumpkin pie, nut pie, pumpkin cream cheese pie and a coconut pie.



After stuffing ourselves, we settled the kiddos down for a long autumn’s nap, my wife and I finally sat down to watch a Christmas movie. Until we heard a loud, unmistakable heaving noise that was coming from our son’s room. I sprang up to see what was the matter. But what should I see but a  massive explosion of vomit all over my son’s bed. I hurriedly picked him up in my arms and reassured him back to our room. We cleaned him up, my wife and I exchanging fearful glances. Quick timeout:

A couple years ago my wife and I and my parents got food poisoning from Chipotle. Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot emphasize how bad e. coli poisoning is. It is so bad. We had dinner at 7pm from that place that I will never go to again. By 1am, I was speeding my wife to the ER. By 7:30am I was puking out of control. Which continued for both of us the rest of the day until our spent bodies collapsed and we passed out. My wife passed out for 30 hours. Needless to say, we have some trauma there. When don’t do throw up.

Ok, so back to Thanksgiving Eve. We both clean our son, then we sanitize everything. The bathroom, the hallway where he walked, we threw away his soaked mattress topper and threw the bedspread and sheets in the washer (I threw on my N100 mask to sanitize stuff; yeah, I know, a little off the deep end, but hey, were talking bio-hazardous materials here). We both kept looking at each other and reassuring each other.

He probably ate a little too much food.

He was playing a lot with his best friend tonight, jumping up and down and running circles.

He probably had a little too much dessert. 

I’m sure he’s fine. I’m sure he’s not sick.

My wife had really cleaned thoroughly and prepared the food meticulously so as not to contaminate anything. She’s a really good cook so neither of us thought it was food poisoning.

Thirty minutes later I have the puke bowl out and my son is heaving into it while watching My Little Pony and Home Alone. We finally looked up at each other and said the words we didn’t want to admit, It’s a stomach virus.

“How are you feeling babe?” I finally asked.

“I’m not feeling very good.”

“Neither am I. I stuffed myself, but it’s starting to feel nauseated.”

Sometime between then and the next hour my wife prayed to Jesus and asked him for her not to throw up so she could have enough energy to take care of our family. Jesus granted her that request. On my side of the negotiating table with Jesus: I begged. I pleaded. I worshiped. If I could have, I would have cajoled and coaxed and bribed Jesus (kidding)…he ain’t having that though, cause he’s God. No avail. I finally passed out feeling sickly, not having thrown up yet and trying to hold off the inevitable. I woke up 45 minutes later. I begged God some more, stood in the bathroom over the sink (what felt like standing over a cliff that I was about to base jump into) and I heard what I think was probably the Holy Spirit say, Brace yourself.

I neither can nor want to put into words what happened next. I’ll just say a couple highlights that may put it into perspective.

  • My wife is not a dramatic person. She prides herself on being a “no drama mama.” By round 2 of me filling up the toilet and throwing up uncontrollably all over the floor and walls she was crying and saying, “I love you honey. I’m so sorry. Are you ok?”
  • The toilet room of our master bath…I can’t tell you how much Lysol I had to use to clean it afterward. If I had seen it in a news article, I would assume someone had died right there. Floor, toilet, walls. It was all over the walls. I filled the sink up too. The counter. The floor all over the master bath. PS and TMI: it was coming out both ends, simultaneously
  • My wife also made the comment after round 2 (round 2 was the worst btw. It was absolutely the worst), “I have never in my life heard someone throw up as much or as violently as you just did Joel.”
  • Two days later I was still pulling nuts from the sweet potato casserole out of my nose.
  • I got a sinus infection, which I still have, from food stuck in my nose that refused to vacant its new penthouse apartment in my face.
  • After being dehydrated, the first thing that I tasted was a tangerine Nestle Outshine fruit bar popsicle (they’re actually pretty healthy…1 gram of sugar and made from fruit juice and fruit for the most part). It was literally. the. best. thing. I. have. ever. eaten. The next best things were the ginger ale on ice and the gatorade. I recited Psalm 63:1 out loud to my exhausted family in bed while I was sucking on my popsicle…Oh God, you are my God, early will I seek you. My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and thirsty land where there is now water.

But here’s the best part about it…I actually really enjoyed the next 36 hours! All of our family got it. And my parents came over at 4am to care for our baby (my mom got it last night, my dad got it today, bless their hearts). But both of our big kids and my wife laid in bed, all together, all Thursday, and just snuggled, passing in and out of sleep. I know this sounds weird to you non-parents out there…but I loooooved it!!! Haha! Crazy. It ranks up there as one of my favorite Thanksgiving weeks. Definitely one of the most memorable. Not the throwing up part but the snuggling my family part. It was great 🙂 Gosh, I wanted to read a book. It was the perfect time to do it. No responsibilities, everyone’s in bed. But I came down with a good little fever and was achy to the bones all day Thursday…no reading. I could barely hold a glass of ginger ale up for 1 minute, let alone a book for even 10 minutes.

And, stomach bug or not, we were going to decorate for Christmas! A small family farm from the Great Lakes comes down to our city every year to sell Christmas trees. And they always setup day after Thanksgiving. So we went down and got our tree on Friday, exhausted as we were. And we finished decorating late last night and today!

Our tree! (this was before we put the star on top btw)





I have been collecting nutcrackers since I was 6 years old. And I have quite a collection! 



Here they are above the kitchen counters.



A tree and horn at the top of the stairs 



And decorated the bay window!



Plus garland galore and my wife cute-sied up the kids bathroom for the season. It’s great!

And, I have some cool blog post ideas coming up for this week and next. Here’s a couple posts I plan to hit:

  • Hebrew
  • Marriage
  • Christmas
  • The Apocrypha
  • End Times Scenarios
  • Jesus is our Heart’s Desire

Well friends, it’s a little late here. I need to crawl into bed. Tomorrow starts another Monday. Remember your identity in Christ coming into next week! It’s especially difficult sometimes coming off a holiday, but it’s always necessary. Tomorrow does not begin “real life,” no “real life” is our life in Christ and our inheritance in him. Tomorrow, for many of us, we go back to the battlefield to wage war for the Kingdom and to push back Satan. That’s our identity! God bless! I’d loved to hear how your Thanksgiving went, comment away! Hope sans vomiting!




3 thoughts on “Adventures in Thanksgiving and Christmas Decorating

  1. Oh that is terrible! But on the bright side, you got to snuggle and love on your family. One of my very favorite things to do (next loving on the Lord) is to take care of my family. Sick, healthy, crazy, silly… you name it its my very favorite place to be… right smack dab in the middle. There is no other joy (besides the joy of the Lord, of course) that settles my soul like that of my family. I’m so happy to hear you’re all doing better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, totally a great agree!I love being surrounded by my family, no where else I’d rather be, except Jesus! Even if that means we’re all super sick! We’re finally better, took a couple days!! Hope you had a good thanksgiving!!

      Liked by 1 person

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