Merry Christmas. . . Pass the Puke Pail


Corey and I both got diarrhea on our Cancun honeymoon. (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mind me sharing that.) I guess they really mean it when they say “Don’t drink the water.”

Months after that, we both got the flu and clung to our porcelain throne together in our iddy-biddy apartment bathroom.

We learned quite quickly that married life is not all bliss, and the unpredictable adventures life tosses our way make perfection an unrealistic goal.

Add children to that equation and the adventure meter spikes while the perfection meter takes a giant nose dive.

So when I read that No More Perfect Holidays was the theme for the Hearts at Home Third Thursday blog this month, I thought, “that’s easy.” Is Christmas ever perfect? For anyone? Jesus is perfect so I guess there’s that, but the rest of us? Not so much.



It was about 9:00  in the morning, the day after we arrived at Corey’s folks for Christmas last year that our oldest said he didn’t feel so good. By dinner that night, four out of the five of us were down for the count.  Food poisoning contracted at a family-fun work Christmas party turned out to be the culprit. The only reason our little five-year-old peanut didn’t have the pukes and the runs  was that he had been too excited about the arcade games at the party to eat the food.

It’s really too bad we all didn’t follow his lead. . .

There’s nothing quite like lying helpless at your in-laws house passing around a puke pail and taking turns in the bathroom. On the upside, Corey’s folks have two living rooms, so our sick family had the basement to ourselves and got some quality family football watching in on the giant TV. Another plus? I don’t think anyone put on any extra pounds from Christmas treats (though my super-slender kids could actually stand to gain a few.)

We all survived and regained our health in time to enjoy some fun with the cousins, but we won’t soon forget the Christmas our bodies revolted.


I am so grateful that though my life is imperfect, my God is not.  Perfection came to earth that Christmas so long ago, and no matter how difficult, disappointing, mediocre or fantastic our Christmases are, God’s perfection is unchanging. And that perfect life that laid in the manger 2000 years ago is still perfect today. And I am excited to celebrate his birth once again – minus the puking and the diarrhea of course.

Philippians 2:5-11

have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

By KimHarms

Kim Harms is a freelance writer who lives in smalltown Iowa with her husband of 18 years and their three sons. She's a contributor at CT Women and has written for Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Creation Illustrated and a variety of other publications. In 2016, Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction. This website chronicles her life after reconstruction and offers resources and encouragement to other women who are going through the reconstruction process.


  1. Your post title was riveting, so I had to read. I loved it! My family is generally not pukers (my get strep), but our dog Harley has more than made up for that (See “Harley and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” for more on that). Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. HeHe! I can so relate. We have had our share of sick days and holiday adventures. My son seems to favor vacation illnesses though. We have 3 kids and 2 dogs, plus family and friends that keep life interesting.

    1. It’s always nice to have someone empathize with me.
      I don’t know if I would prefer holiday sickness or vacation sickness. It’s a toss-up. It’s be nice if we could just get sick on those days when we’ve got nothing going on…

  3. I’m so glad I read your post today! We are preparing to head to Palm Desert for a HUGE family Thanksgiving (22 wild and crazies). This post helps keep things in perspective. There is but one
    perfect One and I am not He! I can just relax and enjoy the show…I guess at the very least, I can be Thankful that I will probably come back with great material for a post. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I’m excited to read about whatever treasure of a story you bring back from your trip, but I hope for your sake that it doesn’t involve puke or diarrhea. 😉

  4. Made me chuckle since we just went through a round of the stomach bug here too. Love your thoughts here–“my life is imperfect; God is not.” Awesome.

    1. Thank you! Stomache bugs are the worst. Every time I get sick, I wish I was a kid and had my mom to take care of me again. I didn’t appreciate that phase of my life enough when I was in it 🙂

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