I have no idea how long it has been since we were there for Christmas Eve but it has been quite awhile. Ever since Evan has been involved in the children's program at our church we have usually been there on Christmas Eve since their program was always on that night. This year they had his program on the 23rd instead.
Anyway - as I sat and looked around I saw some familiar faces and a lot of kids that have grown up a lot since I last saw them. The funny thing about the service is that it was pretty much the exact same service that they always have but with a different sermon of course. The pastor gave a very good sermon and it wasn't too long for the kid that was sitting next to me who was anxious to get home and upwrap gifts.
This year Todd and I did not get each other gifts. We decided not to since we have spent money on other things for the house over the summer. I got a couple of neat gifts from Evan that he bought at the Little Shepherd Shop at school. He got me a Chrstimas mug full of Hershey Kisses and a beautiful cross necklace. I loved them.
I did get, though, a very special gift at church. To explain this gift I have to go back a few years in time. When I was 17 I found out that I had a tumor at the base of my brain (Pituitary) that was the size of a lemon. It was benign which I'm very thankful for. Before the diagnosis I had to go to Lima Memorial Hospital which was about 30 miles away from home and be admitted and have some very painful tests done. It was a very scary time for me and although my parents were there a lot I had to go through the tests alone. Many of the tests used iodine which they would shoot though my veins and arteries to take pictures. Not until a few years after the tests did they realize that I was allergic to it which made the testing procedures a very painful process for me. After 3 days of tests they diagnosed me with a Pituitary tumor. Surgery was the next step.
I had people send me cards and I still have the huge stack of them. I also had two ladies from our church that sent me notes and letters of encouragement several times during my hospital stay and afterwards. I will never forget these notes because they sustained me through some very difficult times. They would include Bible verses and just such uplifting words for me to read over and over again. Those notes brought me a peace that I cannot ever explain to anyone. Only God knows.
When it came time for my surgery my Mom was visibly upset that morning and I believe that the peace that came over me from reading those notes transferred to her. I think that for her to see me so calm really helped her and I told her I was not afraid and I wasn't.
Well to get back to my gift. Last night as we were leaving the church I looked up in the balcony and saw Mrs. C. Several years ago (I know I should have done this much earlier) I wrote her a letter and told her how much her words of encouragement had helped me when I was 17 and that I will never forget what she did for me. I told her that she has no idea what that means to people to have that in a time of darkness. Anyway - as I saw her in the balcony we made eye contact and waved at each other. She mouthed to me that she would meet me in the back of the church. I found her there and unfortunately by the time we met each other we were in front of the doors that everyone was trying to exit so we couldn't talk very long. We hugged each other and I felt that connection that we shared from the love that was poured out for me those years ago. It was a connection that nobody else would ever understand. I know she felt it too. So that was the wonderful Christmas Eve present that I received. To be reminded of God's love for me. He used Mrs. C and Mrs. H to show me His love and His peace.
So this Christmas and always - I wish you Peace that can only come through the gift that is there for all of us lying in the manger that night in Bethlehem years ago. The gift is free. Just accept it!
Evan has been taking piano lessons for about 15 months and this was his first time to play in public. To be honest, we had been a little concerned that he would end up getting cold feet. When his teacher told him that he would be playing that evening he came home and told us that he wasn't going to do it.
Now I can totally relate to him not wanting to do it. I used to play the piano in public quite frequently. I used to accompany the chorus in school and also play along with the orchestra. I played for the youth choir at church, the preschool Sunday School class, and along with my Dad when he sang solos at church. I also played solos once in awhile. Now when you are playing along with a big group it is not really all that bad because you don't stand out too much, but playing alone can be quite frightening. I used to get nervous and no matter how well I played at home I seemed to get so worked up about it that I wouldn't do as well in public.
Evan, however, didn't seem overly nervous and he did a great job. I know he is my son and all and I have a biased opinion, but he truly has a gift for music. He has great rhythm and picked up reading music very quickly. Even his teacher says so. I was just so proud of him for doing his best and trying something that he was afraid of. Way to go Evan!
My husband has written his first book called Trying To Lose My "Self" In Israel. It is about a trip he took to Israel with a group from our church. It is a very well written book that chronicles his adventure on a trip that changed his life. It is very easy to read and includes funny thoughts as well. Check it out here if you are interested.
Okay - it's been a long time since I've posted. I've been feeling very overwhelmed trying to learn a new job in a field I've never worked in before and by the time the day is over I'm just not wanting to hang out on the computer much. But I just had to share this wonderful experience I had today.
This was a teacher in service day at school today so there were very few people there and I was really hoping to get a lot done without all of the distractions. When I entered the school I immediately saw the janitor polishing the floors and heard the loud music playing from his portable CD player. He seemed to want the volume loud enough so he could hear it from wherever he was at in the school. The CD player was right outside the office I share with another lady.
I could have probably handled the music but it was good old bluegrass music. I truly thought I wasn't going to be able to take it. I wasn't sure what to say because Cherie, the lady I work with, is originally from West Virginia and I thought maybe she liked the music so I just didn't say anything. After a few minutes she was doing some dance moves at her desk and I immediately realized that she didn't like the music at all. All of a sudden the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies came on and I thought I was going to lose it. We started laughing and she informed me that this is what we would be hearing during the summer. She said that the janitor loves bluegrass and his wife does not let him play it at home because she doesn't like it. I also found out that the janitor thinks that Cherie, the West Virginia girl, loves bluegrass too. Well she doesn't. He has made CD's for her and takes great pride in sharing the music that they have in common. She said she doesn't have the heart to tell him.
Around 10:30 am the music stopped and we both said a prayer of thanks. LOL! Then the high school principal comes out of his office and yells at the janitor and tells him that his music stopped and he would be glad to start it back up. Cherie and I gave a collective sigh and it started up again. Of course, every once in awhile the janitor would poke his head in and make a comment to Cherie about one of the songs. She just nodded her head and went along with it. She is a very sweet lady and would never hurt anyone's feelings. I guess that even though I didn't like the music it did entertain us in some way. After all - how many of you get to hear the Beverly Hillbillies theme where you work? LOL!
IF people ask, when they learn that Jesus fed the 5000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait was used to catch 'em.
WHEN the pastor says, "I'd like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering,"
five guys and two women stand up.
IF opening day of deer season is recognized as an official church holiday.
IF a member of the church requests to be buried in his 4-wheel-drive truck because "It ain't never been in a hole it couldn't get out of."
IF the choir is known as the "OK Chorale".
WHEN in a congregation of 500 members, there are only seven last names in the church directory.
IF Baptism is referred to as "branding".
IF high notes on the organ set the dogs on the floor to howling.
IF people think "rapture" is what you get when you lift something too heavy.
IF the baptismal pool is a #2 galvanized washtub.
IF the choir robes were donated by (and embroidered with the logo from) Billy Bob's Barbecue.
IF the collection plates are really hub caps from a '56 Chevy.
IF instead of a bell, you are called to service by a duck call.
IF the minister and his wife drive matching pickup trucks.
IF the communion wine is Boone's Farm "Strawberry Hill".
IF "Thou shalt not covet" applies to hunting dogs, too.
IF the final words of the benediction are, "Y'all come back now!! Ya Hear"
I am very proud of Todd. He really deserves so many other awards too. Like for being a wonderful husband, father, son, friend, etc. He gave a wonderful speech which can be read over on his blog.
Along with the banquet there were some other interesting things that happened last evening. We were in the homecoming parade that they had along with the other recipients. It was fun although I think the wind chill was about 45 degrees in the back of the convertible. LOL! As we worked our way downtown there was a lady watching the parade who was yelling dates out to the people in the parade. She yelled December 5th as we went by. Well wouldn't you know that was Todd's birthday. He explained to me later that she used to work at the school and was a savant. It's been 21 years since he went to school there and this lady remembered his birthday simply by seeing his name on the side of the car. He said she had everyone's student id memorized too. Simply amazing!
We also got to meet Judson Laipply, the guy that was famous on YouTube for doing the Evolution of Dance video. He received the "Outstanding Young Alumni Award". Between the parade and the banquet we had some spare time and we ran into Judson in the rec area. He asked if we wanted to play Carpet Ball with him. I played first and he beat me pretty bad and then Todd and Evan did much better. He is a very high energy individual and gave a great speech too. He is a motivational speaker along with being a great dancer. Make sure you check out the video if you haven't seen it before.
It was a very nice evening and even though Todd thinks that he didn't deserve the award he really deserves that and so much more. He is an amazing person full of compassion for others. He has been blessed and has shared that blessing with others. Congratulations sweetie!
This is the second book in a two-part series. The first one was called One Tuesday Morning which I really loved. I can now officially say I’m a Karen Kingsbury fan. I’d love to read all of her books.
This book continues the story of a woman who lost her FDNY firefighter husband in the south tower on September 11th. She has a 7 yr old daughter to raise while trying to move forward from her loss. There are a lot of twists and turns that make the book very fun to read. I’d highly recommend it.