Giving, Sharing, Loving and Caring

Before I leave the topic of Christmas, I want to expound on some acts of generosity that my children did without any prompting from me.

They learned that some of their friends were not getting any presents for Christmas. So they bought them presents and made cards to send with them. We made several trips to the post office this year mailing presents to their friends.

I wanted them to make cards this year, but the ones that they enjoyed the most were the ones that came from their hearts.

Several of them spent their own money on presents for each other. We gave as a family to some needy families.

Garrett took his tooth fairy money to Walmart right before Christmas. As we walked in the doors he noticed the Salvation Army bell-ringer. He ran back and put one of his coins in the kettle. That kind of embodied the theme for us this Christmas. We were looking for chances to give.

Giving and Receiving

On another occasion while Gary was home, he took some of the kids to Walmart to get us a vacuum cleaner since ours quit. They bought some other things, too, so they needed two carts. As they waited in line to pay, a woman came up to Gary and asked if he was the leader of this clan. He said “yes” and she handed him a $25 Walmart gift card. Random acts of kindness. I saw them everywhere, and they made my heart glad. Imagine how God felt about it.

Sowing and Reaping – You can’t have one without the other.

Christmas – Giving, Waiting and Gathering Together

Our Jesse Tree Shining in the Light of His Glory

Our Nativity Set by Mama Says

Notice the Wise Men are not here yet. They are still on their way. They really are! I messed up the order, so they’re getting here late. But Late is right on time in this case. Maybe they don’t belong in a Nativity scene, but at least they will be arriving later, much later than the Shepherds.

Our beautiful Christmas tree. It’s just the way we all like it.

Stockings hung with care and filled with goodies.

Hot chocolate for everyone. There went another gallon of milk!

Shawn read the Christmas story from our One New Man Bible that is written from a Jewish perspective. We put on our armor and prayed a blessing over the day. Then we dug into the presents. Our children are the most patient children in the world!

Kelsey handed out presents. She knew which paper belonged to whom. We buy a certain wrapping paper for each child then wrap all their presents in that paper. No need for tags that way. The older kids had ordered most of their stuff online and had already received their presents and been using them for a couple of weeks before Christmas, so they didn’t have much under the tree. But I managed to surprise them with some DVD’s and things wrapped in their paper on Christmas morning.

Morgan got lots of puzzles.

Katie’s really good about helping the little ones with their stuff.

Morgan likes his horse, Kayla. Kelsey and Garrett picked it out for him. They knew he would like it.

What the Big Kids Were Most Interested In

Kelsey got what she wanted – including bibbed overalls which she has been wanting for a couple of years.

A puzzle I got from Wallbuilders for Katie. She and Shawn worked on it all day Christmas day. You have to finish things right away around here. You can’t leave anything sitting because little ones won’t leave anything alone!

The Little Girls Were Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

We all got some very special gifts – some that we have wanted for a long time. My best gifts were having Gary home with us, having Jesus at the center of the holiday, and enjoying the excitement and happiness of my sweet children. They really were patient. They waited several hours for everybody to wake up and come down before they opened their presents. They didn’t whine or complain. They were very excited, but they waited calmly for me to say it was time to gather in the living room. Then they waited quietly while we read the Christmas story and prayed. I was very proud of them and thankful for their attitudes. They have learned this over the years. They expect to have to wait, so they do. A good lesson for them to learn early.

My Blog Was Hacked! But Now It’s Back!

Somebody did a very mean thing to my blog. They put malware on every single file of my blog. I’m not sure what all that means, but I had to get professional help to get it cleaned off and make my blog safe again. As far as I know, nobody else was infected if they tried to come here. Google blocked my blog and wouldn’t let anybody get into it for several days. It was known as an attack site! My poor little blog – an attack site!

But it’s all clear now, and the group I got to clean it off is still monitoring it for malware. I used to get it taken care of. They did a good job, because it’s back in action and working fine now.

I did have a little problem after they first cleaned off all the malware. None of my links worked inside my blog. I couldn’t get from one post to another, I couldn’t click on a category and get to it. Nothing was really working. The only page anybody could get to was the home page. Jocelyn Dixon did some work on it, and something she did may have fixed it or Sucuri may have done something. I don’t know, but I’m thankful to have my blog working again!

Today is the first day it has really been fully functional since before Christmas. So I’m back – did ya miss me? I missed you! I’m so glad to have my blog back to work and play with.

Angels Watching Over Us

I’m thankful for the angels that were watching over us when we took Gary to the airport Monday night. Dangerous forces became apparent even before we got out of York. The car in front of us was having technical difficulties with its taillights. They went off for a while, then finally came back on. It was an old junker with an “Obama 08” bumper sticker on it. The driver switched to the left lane then came back into the lane in front of us. I started calling it the Obama car. It went pretty slow and kind of veered back and forth in the lane. Then, unfortunately, it turned onto the ramp to get onto the same highway that we needed to take. It didn’t accelerate like you normally do when merging onto a highway, so we had a little difficulty getting onto the highway, and it seemed that another car was in cahoots with the Obama car when it refused to get over at first so that we could get on. But our 12-passenger van proved to be a worthy opponent and it finally got over. Just as we got on the highway a gas truck went by spewing noxious fumes into the air. It was very obvious where the fumes were coming from as you could see the smoke rising into the air above the truck. The odor was almost overpowering. We were blocked behind it by the car that wouldn’t let us on and the Obama car. I started praying.

We finally were able to pass by the gas truck and away from the Obama car, and I prayed that they would not cause an accident. The rest of the trip to Baltimore was pretty uneventful. We made it to the airport. By the time we got there, I had to go to the bathroom so bad that I had to run in to use the airport restroom and couldn’t even say goodbye to Gary. (It’s an hour and a half trip, and I drank hot tea right before we left.)

Then it was my turn to drive back home. Shawn was with me, and the Holy Spirit prompted him to sing a medley of worship songs as we started out and found our bearings with the help of Alice, our GPS. It really soothed me and helped me to relax as we made our way through some pretty heavy traffic in some places even though it was the night after Christmas and a Monday. I was even able to hum and sing along with him even though driving in highway traffic takes all of my attention and usually stresses me out.

We had a nice peaceful trip all the way back to York (except for crossing 4 lanes of traffic at one point so that I could get off on a left exit within a couple of minutes of getting onto a certain highway!). But things went fine all the way to York until we got into the home stretch. A car on the street that I had to exit onto wanted to get on the highway that I was coming off of. It stayed right beside me so that I couldn’t get out of the lane that was going right back onto the highway I just came off of. I had my turn signal on so the driver knew I needed to get over in that lane, but it stayed right where it was. I got over because I had to. He swerved over and beeped at me then slowed down and got over into the lane I had been in. Sometimes it’s nice to have the bigger vehicle. But it was unnerving. I was thankful for the Lord’s protection all the way there and back. Our angels were working overtime to keep us safe on that trip.

I will be extremely grateful when we won’t have to make that trip just to get Gary back home to us. He will be with us all the time – right where he’s supposed to be. Thank you, Lord, ahead of time, for providing for us our own home in “the bounds of our habitation” that you have planned for us.

IHOP – Get Prayer, Not Pancakes, to Satisfy Your Hunger

Our family spent three years in Kansas City where we regularly attended IHOP activities and especially The Prayer Room. They have 24 hour worship and intercession happening there. They also have prayer for the sick in healing rooms, prayer for expectant mothers, prophecy rooms where people are ministered to and encouraged with words from the Lord about how He sees them and how much He loves them.

If you need to hear some good heartfelt worship and intercession, tune in to any time of the day or night and hear what’s happening in The Prayer Room. They are committed to keeping the flame burning on the altar, so there will always be someone worshiping the Lord there.