Sam and I combined our culinary skills for the second time in two days and created a BIG batch of M&M cookies. I've enjoyed watching people and looking for God in unexpected places lately. I almost feels like I'm a stranger in a strange land, which it true if I really stop to think about it. If I'm truly Kingdom-minded, I'm not "of this world" anyway. It's funny sometimes how far a smile, a little humor, and some patience will go under the right circumstances.
My contribution to our Christmas Eve dinner was bread/yeast rolls and my "Wonderful" salad. This meant yet another trip to Food City-This eating at home is going to require a little more advance planning on my part, but I have to admit the food tastes better to me and I think we all enjoy spending time together without the distractions of a restaurant. We haven't quite mastered the meal at the table yet, but we'll work up to it eventually.
We loaded up two cars and headed out to NorthStar for "A Simple Christmas." Scott cleverly started the service with a Children's Story about the Candy Cane at the conclusion of which he presented each child with a candy cane to "lick on" during the service. Purdy cool move on his part, I must say! The church was packed wall to wall with families and friends. Actors portrayed parts of characters involved in the original Christmas story (the Innkeeper, Joseph, Anna, Mary, etc.) and the music helped us focus on the birth of our Savior. Afterward, I invited Anderson to join our Christmas dinner and gratefully, she agreed to join us.
Back at Grandmom's house, we were surrounded by family, laughter, mouth-watering aromas, and beautiful decorations. Grandmom prepared steak with mushroom gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, a plethora of desserts, and everyone ate their fill and then some! As tradition commands, dinner was followed by the trip to the basement for the massive ripping of paper and squeals of delight as the UNwrapping of the gifts commences.
One of my favorite gifts was a photograph that Katie took of clear, sparkling water spilling over some rocks framed and matted in a simple black frame. On the mat, Katie had written the following messagein her precise, careful handwriting :
IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
"All is well, it is well with my soul."
Hate to say that I have a favorite gift when I truly loved them all, this one was the most meaningful. Peace. Peace like river. Peace. God's peace that surpasses understanding. THAT's what I want.
|Scott shares the Legend of the Candy Cane with lots and lots of sugar-charged, super excited children!|
|Sam and Addie listen to the story and count down the minutes 'til PRESENTS!!!|
|I love seeing hands lifted in surrender to the Lord, especially when the hand belongs to our pastor.|
|Charlie, Lauren, Natalie, Addie, Chelcie, Drew, Courtney, Bennett, and Sam (what's up with his HANDS?!)|
|Special prayers being lifted up for Justin Jackson and his family as he prepares to leave for Afghanistan just after Christmas. This brave, young man is one of my former third grade students...and one of my favorites!|
|Cousins Round 1 - Charlie, Courtney, Chelcie, and Drew|
|Sam and Addie in ADDIE'S matching PJs...Poor Sam, so much to be embarrassed about later in life.|
|How I love these people!!!!|
|Seriously? NOT! This one is totally staged!|