Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Blessings

This Christmas had its mixed blessings. It was great in many ways. Our nuclear family shared good times being together. God blessed us so much. We went to movies, our Christmas tree adventure went really well, and shared many other memory-making moments. This was a year that we were (read: Darla was) able to get all the shopping done early.

We also enjoyed time with other family members. My sister and her husband and kids stayed a few days at our house. Their kids and ours absolutely love being together. We hosted a big Christmas meal with them and my dad. We also went to Kingston to celebrate with my mom. My mom got Darla and I a TV to replace the one we got for a wedding gift. Huge upgrade!

Our church family was great too. There were several opportunities for gathering. The Christmas Eve services were well attended and there was a sweet spirit.

I think the gift giving part was a success. The kids all loved what they received. Drew and Duncan got new phones and TEXTING (what have we done?)! Dara got an American Girl doll with lots of clothing to go with it. Darla got money. That’s her favorite! I got a jacket and matching gloves. Love them!

I should also express my thanks to God for providing for us financially. We entered this Christmas season wondering how we were going to be able to afford it. As with many others, our cost of living has gone up and we’ve incurred some medical debts over the last two years that are making things quite tight. Suffice it to say, God provided through generous people (who had no clue things were tight). All of this was unexpected and I believe was given by God. I am so thankful and undeserving of this kind of grace.

On another note, Darla and I both got sick. Darla on Wednesday morning (Christmas Eve) at 4 a.m. began doing what the stomach virus makes people do. It was bad and lasted about a day in severe form and tapered off for the next two. I became sick with the same thing about 24 hours later. Christmas Day (Thursday) began early for me in the bathroom. I put on my game face and made it through the gift opening. I had prayed all morning that God would not let my sickness affect the day. He gave me the strength. Our tradition is to eat a big breakfast after gifts are opened. I helped Darla get things started by frying the sausage when I became overwhelmed. I hustled upstairs, shut the door, and fought the nausea. I stayed in bed the rest of the day and night. I was much better the next day and the next, resuming most activities and eating habits (still was a little shaky after meals). But then I started feeling a sore throat and my lymph nodes swelling on Saturday night. Sunday morning I awoke to the alarm after a restless night of hot-and-cold spells and a bad sore throat. I was not going to church. Thankfully, Will Cross, visiting home form Dallas Seminary was scheduled to speak. It is yet another example of God’s grace.

Every year Drew and I go on a Georgia hunting trip with a friend and his son. This year was the first year it hasn’t happened. Thank goodness! I would have been miserable. God is so good to me.

I’m planning on taking some time before the New Year to get alone with God to pray, evaluate, and plan. I desperately need some time with him.