Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Holidays - too busy to be sad!

This is Vinnie on a Saturday morning cartoons day with two of our grandchildren.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving! Vinnie and I used to have Thanksgiving with my sister and her family on Thursday. When our kids got engaged and married, we told them to have dinner with their spouses families and we'd have our celebration of thanks on Friday. So this year, I had dinner on Thursday with my mother, two sisters, their husbands, and my two nephews. It was nice - quiet, relaxing, and a nice visit. Friday was nice too but there were 19 of us stuffed in my house. Eight of them are kids 13 and under! It's a bit noisier, but fun.

Now it's December 1. Oh my gosh, the month barely started and it's the holiday rush thing! Phew! I am already eager to get off this train!'s moving too fast, if I jump off I'll break a leg! So I spent the evening ordering gifts on line. That's the way to gas, no crowds, no clerks too new to know how to help find something. It's simple, fast, and I can do it like I do everything else in life (it seems at times) - online! Yeah!
This is my youngest grandson at Halloween. He was dressed as Elmo, his favorite, but would not stay still for a picture. He hated that head piece!

And just to make the holiday season a bit more nuts...I signed up to be a Tastefully Simple consultant. Am I nuts? Well, no. I really need the extra income. I figured if I do it now I'll make a little extra for the holidays. Besides, there are great gifts I can give from Tastefully Simple too. I love their foods! Baskets for all! (Don't worry kids! You won't get just food!)

Yesterday was our Thanksgiving service at our church. The first time I visited our church it was a Thanksgiving service. I could not believe it when we arrived that first Sunday! People were given an opportunity to get up and share what they were thankful for! Wow...I was the first one up this year. The teaching (before sharing time) was on conquering bitterness with thankfulness. It dawned on me, yeah, if I were going to be a bitter person, this would have been the best year to qualify! I lost two friends this year, twin grand babies, my husband and his son! And funerals/death/grieving was not all we had to endure. There were 3 weddings (all our won kids!), two breakups of a marriage (now reconciled for now hopefully for good!), a sick husband suffering from unbelievable pain all year, and the list goes on and on. But I am thankful, as I said in my last post, for a great church that teaches the Truth even if it goes against the status quot. And victorious walks though hard times with God over the past 14 years have been the very thing that built a foundation by which to stand on now in all this death and stuff. They started off as little things. Here's a few...

I remember when my step children came to America in 1995 & 96. We had a small dining room and four comfy chairs. When we had company we whipped out some old chairs and the kids got those. It wasn't very comfy when there were 6 every night for dinner! I remember asking my Sunday school class to pray for chairs. I don't know what possessed me to pray for chairs, but it just popped out of my mouth. The leader of the prayer time asked me what kind of chairs - hoping he might come across some on one his yard sale adventures. I described, almost in details, two type chairs I'd seen in the past that would look good and be more comfortable for our family. I told him I really only needed two chairs but if there were three or four and they were cheap enough, I'd take them all.

Here's one of my grandchildren dressed as Grandpa for Halloween. No one else knew who he was supposed to be but he did and was sure proud of it too!

A week later, while talking to a neighbor, we noticed another neighbor had her husband's truck all filled up with furniture. We went over to see if she was moving. She wasn't. She'd helped a friend move and there were left over pieces she didn't want to take to the dump. My neighbor was hoping to find someone who could use it. I asked if she had any chairs on the truck. She sure did! She had two of each chair I had described the week before in Sunday school! I knew it was God's way of saying that He really is in control of all things in our lives and the world around us. It was His way of showing me how the Holy Spirit in us works in us. It was his way of telling me that He orchestrates all things at all times for our good, His love for us, and His glory. That same God took Vinnie. What else am I to think but I trust Him even though I don't understand why.

A few weeks before I was about to homeschool my teenage daughters through middle school, I told them they could join some kind of activity (dance, horseback riding, a sport). My oldest chose horseback riding right away. My youngest had to think about it a bit. She came back to me and said she'd like to take piano lessons. I told her that piano lessons would not work out because sh would need a piano to practice on. Since we didn't have one and could not afford to buy one, she'd have to pick something else. I told her to pray and pray she did. She came to me a few more times saying she felt like God wanted her to take piano. I finally told her if she really believed that, she should start praying for the piano because I wasn't paying for lessons without one! She prayed. A week later, the same neighbor that gave us her friends chairs a year before, called to see if I knew of anyone who had a sleeper sofa for sale. I told her, I was getting ready to have a yard sale and actually had a sleeper sofa I was selling! The conversation went on. She was clearing out her attic and asked me if I wanted all kinds of things she had up there (looking for a trade). I wasn't much interested in what the attic was storing, but then she said something like, "in fact, I have this old piano collecting dust in my dining room. Know anyone who could use a really old piano?" I am NOT KIDDING! We traded my sleeper sofa for a free piano. And would you guess that the one person I would have wanted to give lessons just happened to have one opening left and on a day when my daughter was free to go!

And here's my granddaughter, dressed as - you guessed it - a princess! What else?!

God is good. He loves us and He's good to us. Life in Christ is not about us, it's about Him, but He sure does do a good job of building our faith and revealing who He is really is - both in His Word and in His world. I am thankful that I am a Believer because if it weren't for Jesus, I'd be a basket case today! My next post will be the story of how Vinnie and I became Believers. It's a pretty cool story!

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