My son's first school production. He was very excited and had been practicing 'Santa Claus is Coming To Town' for weeks. The day had finally come!
Off my son eagerly went on his school bus to school and I hurriedly packed up child #2 and away we went. The snow was coming down at a pretty good clip, and knowing that there isn't much parking at the school, I gave myself 45 - 45 minutes. This I thought was a very generous amount of time. As I drove down the main road, it didn't take long to notice that these 'flurries' were already accumulating and making for very slick roads. Driving was slow going, but not too bad. I got to the end of the school road, and it was at a stand still! Here is where the fun began! (please note the sarcasm) There was no parking at the school so I turned down a side street. It was absolute grid lock! Long story short, I had succumb to tears as realization hit that my son's class would be starting their performance any moment. I had promised him I'd be there!! I cried out "God, please let me at least get off this street!". It was no sooner out of my mouth, than a man came out of his home and waved to me (I was one of a stream of cars) and asked if I'd like to park in his drive way. "Oh my goodness, yes, please!!" (Kindness #1)
We parked and off I ran with younger child in stroller through the slushy streets. We finally made it into the building, only to see my son's class marching back to their classroom as their part of the 'Winter Concert' was done.... Soaking wet with a bright red nose, I stood dejected in the hall... The assistant teacher in his classroom very kindly invited me back to class where they put on a private concert just for me! I have it all on video! (Kindness #2)
After the kids did their songs for me, I headed back out into the messy weather and absolute mayhem in the streets (at this point, the police and fire departments had now arrived and are shaking their heads) to go back to the car. I get there to find another car parked behind me (I really don't mind at all - the owners of the home were so kind to let me park there to begin with!!). The man comes out (who I now know is named Tom) and invites us to come in and wait since the woman parked behind us has a child in a higher grade and will therefore be a while longer. I thanked him but declined as I could see that the little man was tired, and I thought he may snooze in his car seat.
After we read a book or two, had a snack of raisins and watched the kids on video, there was a knock on my window. It was the lady who lives in the home, who came out to ask if we'd like to come in and have some coffee and a snack (can you believe this - how amazing this couple is!! - her name I discover, is Pam). Again we declined as we knew it wouldn't be much longer. (I was right, we were out a couple of minutes later).
As we pull out, I spot a friend and say a quick 'hello'. She tells me that my back tire is almost flat. 'Excellent', I say to myself. Off I go to find an air pump. Thankfully the first service station I come to has a pump, and hey, it's free. Not sure it's working. Ask a gentleman who is pumping his gas who tells me to check inside. The clerk assures me it is working but gives me a tip on using that particular pump. Go back out... can't get the cover off of my tire.... Very kind man I had asked about the pump working, comes over, takes the cap off, pumps the air for me and then wishes me a 'Happy Holiday'. (Kindness #3)
After this, I feel overcome. It has actually been a pretty rotten morning.. but with every challenge/disappointment, I had been met with a kind stranger (or not so strange) to help. This Christmas season had been riddled with challenges for us. Yet I never let it overtake me, as we encountered each hurdle, God was there with a help, an unexpected blessing or a sense of peace that washed over me. Yet another reminder.. Although this season can completely knock us on our butts with stress, over packed schedules, financial pressures and the like - The real focus on this holiday needs to be remembering the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ! He is the ultimate gift!!! Clinging to Him and being thankful for His coming to our rescue should never get lost in the gift wrap, or put on the back burner because we can't fit Him in our schedule amongst the Christmas parties... He should come first, and be in everything we do!! Thank you Jesus for coming to my rescue - yet again!!!
My friend Michelle will be teaching a monthly calendar class at a local scrapbook store in Rockland (The Crop Shop) starting in January. It will be $10 each month you attend. Coffee is included. Come next December, you'll have your 2008 calendar ready to go!! Interested? Contact Michelle: firstname.lastname@example.org PS - she's also teaching a beginners class!
Every time I look down at them, all I can think of are the Star Bellied Sneeches. You know, the ones that had 'stars on thars'.
This time of year, there are many 'fix-it-up-chappies' like Sylvester McMonkeyMcBean out there. You may recall that Sly is the guy that shows up offering a machine that will put stars on the plain bellied Sneetches, for a small fee of course. Then when the original star bellied ones get angry, he offers them a different machine that will remove their stars, for an even larger fee.. of course.
In the end, Sly leaves a very rich-chappie, having taken the Sneeches for all they have. Finally, having realized that regardless of whether or not they have a star on 'thars', they discover that all Sneeches are equal, and become friends.
Ahhh, good ole' consumerism. Isn't it great?!
None of us fall prey to it, right?!
Ummm, maybe we should check our credit card statement before we answer.
Here's one hot item this year ~
WebKinz....These were explained to me as being a great little toy to teach kids how to be responsible, because they take a code and enter it online and then 'care' for their pet. Ok, not a bad idea.... But explain to me, how does giving a child 20 of these teach responsibility?
Can a child properly 'care for' 20 pets? Would you honestly purchase 20 cats to live in your home to teach your child how to be responsible? (If you do, please tell me, I don't want to visit without a can of Febreeze!) "Suzie has that one and I don't" .... "Oh, Sylvester McMonkeyMcBean! We have some takers!! For the bargain price of just $12, they can keep passing through your machine."
Don't get me wrong - I'm just as guilty in getting caught up in things!
We are all susceptible to vanity, materialism and 'keeping up with the Jones'", but be leery lest you fall victim to the Mr. McBeans out there, and get taken for all you have.
Do you have more than others? Well that doesn't make you better!!, nor does it mean you need to spoil your kids rotten with purchases.
Instead, we need to think of those, who are no less than us just because they have less - but rather, share your blessings. Pass on the excess that you have to be a blessing to others.
Also, don't worry about those who have 'stars', and you don't. Be thankful for what you have!
And lastly, if you really want to be 'rich' (not in an earthly sense) and 'have it all' (not as in materialism) - then focus on what really matters this holiday season. The birth of our Savior, Jesus, who came to save us all from our sins - that we may live eternally in heaven with our Heavenly Father! Where the streets are lined with gold, and where a mansion will be prepared for us, if we accept Jesus as our Savior!
With no machines or entry fees!!!!
And don't forget - our heavenly Father thinks we are the best!!! regardless of 'stars'!
Saying this word to myself, I immediately get an image of Reptevia singing with his hands flailing in the air and shimmying his shoulders while chickens scatter around him. And the next image is that of my brother-in-law imitating this scene from 'Fiddler On The Roof'.
Traditions are so comforting, aren't they? This time of year, I tend to treasure our traditions even more, whether it be decorating the Christmas tree as a family, reading the story of Christs' birth to the kids (and reminding ourselves of this amazing miracle!!), planning my family's Christmas party, etc....
The other night, we were heading off to our fellowship night with some of our friends from church, and while trying to decide what to make, a holiday tradition came to mind.
As a child I would watch my mother make Thumbprint cookies every Thanksgiving and Christmas. They were a time consuming cookie to make, so she only made them on these special occasions. I loved to stick my thumb into the dough before it went in the oven, and then roll them in confectioners' sugar after they came out. When I was a little older, she let me drop teaspoon fulls of the chocolate filling into the depressions. I LOVED those cookies!!
My mother doesn't do much baking any more (still does a lot of cooking though), and the tradition of making Thumbprint cookies for the holidays has fallen on me. I hate to use the term 'fallen', because it sounds as if I don't want this task - but I do!!! Each year it is something I look forward to, as it brings back memories of making them with my mother.
I brought a batch of Thumbprints to our fellowship group the other night, and everyone loved them. I shared the recipe with one of the families, and I can't help but wonder if it may now become a part of their holiday traditions.