My Beautiful Christmas Disaster

The_Grinch_who_stole_Christmas

I had many ambitious plans to help fight my Bah Humbug spirit. I was determined to teach my kids a lesson and get some holiday cheer at the same time.

Disaster and Disappointment

Plan #1 – Homemade craft decorations…FAILED!
Kids were so busy being stubborn and ornery that it never came to pass. They double teamed me and refused to comply with any of the household or school guidelines. Chores went undone or were done hastily and poorly. The same with homework. Homework was done so quickly, none of the answers had anything to do with the assignment. Completing the homework correctly became a battle. It was full on war…me against the kids. I won, after many challenging battles. Why does it take 4-5 hours to complete 10 math problems? I don’t understand!

Plan #2 – Help with the food give away at church…FAILED!
My church did not do the food give away this month ūüė¶

Scrooge

Plan #3 – Serve meals to the homeless at one of the food banks or shelters. In L.A. there are plenty!… FAILED!
I simply did not follow through on making the plans. I was so exhausted from warring with my twins, I did not have the energy to follow up or the brain power to remember.

Plan #4 – Make homemade gifts…FAILED
Reason: See #3 above. No time or energy to make the candles and scarves. Result: I have a mountain of yarn at home waiting to be crocheted into something and lots of flour, sugar, peppermint, and chocolate waiting to be baked into something delicious. Thank goodness I hadn’t purchased the stuff for the candles!

The Big Turn Around…The Beauty of it All

My younger sister flew in from New York later Thursday night. As soon as we got in we started reminiscing and recalling fond childhood memories. We have an aunt that we had not seen in over 20 years. We had not idea where she was or how to get ahold of her. So, when you need to find something or someone, you Google it, and that’s just what we did. My sister and I sat up and searched diligently for our long lost aunt. Oh how we loved and missed her. Then it happened! We got a hit. We found a likely address but no phone number. So we decided to go knock on the door. We were reluctant at first. Even after we knocked and the person on the other side responded, “Who is it?” we were speechless. For a couple of educated, fully grown women, we could not muster up any words to say. The obvious choice would have been our names, but that was too much like right. So, we opted to leave a note. As my sister was writing, the door opened. There was an older woman standing in the doorway. I began to speak and explain why we there. Would she remember us? Is she even the person we are looking for? After I gave her the name of my aunt whom we were looking to find and told her exactly who we are, she excitedly ushered us into her home. It was her…our grandma. We had finally found the missing link in our family that we had desperately been missing,

My sister and I spent the next couple of hours talking about our lives, family, and catching up. The joy felt when we finally laid eyes on out aunt is immeasurable. Our smiles were big and our hearts full. I showed them pictures of my twins, who look remarkably like me. My sister talked about her life in New York. Our grandma fussed at me for not having gone to visit my sister in New York in all the 7 years she’s been there. We told them about our brothers, the sour relationship with our parents. Grandma fussed some more. It is great to have to this part of our family back!

When our aunt walked through the door she was carrying bags of yams. Yams at Christmas time = delicious goodness. She was making sweet potato pies. So, my sister and I returned the following day, this time with my twins. Our cousin was home this time so we go to see everyone at once. The last time we saw our cousin she was a toddler. To see her all grown up reminded my sister of her age, because I clearly didn’t age as much as she did :). My kids loved Auntie and Grandma as much as my sister and I did when we were kids. Auntie and Grandma, in turn, loved my kids as well. In fact, Auntie hadn’t changed one bit. She was still up to her tricks. When we left, my kids told me that she had slipped some cash into their pockets. My sister and I simply smiled and laughed…”She used to do the same thing to us when we were kids.”

God Knows Best

There’s a saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Nothing I had planned for Christmas happened. No decorations, no crafts and baking with the kids, and no Christmas dinner with family. There was no tree, candles, wreath, pine…nothing!! Not even a Christmas song. Then God showed up!!

In His infinite wisdom, God gave me the Christmas that He had planned for me. He sent my sister to me, allowed us to give our grandfather a surprise birthday party. At the party was our brother, and our cousin from D.C., along with a host of family and close friends. God reunited us with family we were¬†missing, family we had not seen in almost 20 years. God granted me and my children time with my little sister. My kids got to bond with their aunt. Oh the adventures we had and the memories we made…Priceless!!!!

I didn’t get what I wanted, and was not able to do anything I had planned. However, I got everything I needed and then some. With God, sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don’t, but you always get what you need.

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No Gifts for Christmas

No Shopping this year. Forget the Big Deals and Door Busters... I don't need them!

No Shopping this year. Forget the Big Deals and Door Busters… I don’t need them!

Buying gifts this is year is out of the question. With our recent move and all the reasons my kids school is finding to drain me of cash, Christmas gifts are not in the budget this year. No Black Friday lines or Cyber Monday deals for this chick. No toys, games, do-dads, trinkets, accessories, or the like. No nothing! I am not actually giving my children gifts this year, nor do I intend to shop for anyone else. This Christmas is about giving, and the love and effort that goes into each gift, not receiving.

There will however still be gift giving. I am going to teach my kids a lesson in giving, love, and the true meaning of Christmas this year. For Christmas Eve, my children and I will be up bright and early serving food to the homeless and needy. This will teach them to be grateful and appreciate the things they have, however little it may be. We will then spend the remainder of the day making homemade gifts for family and friends to add to the craft gifts we will have already completed by that time. The time we spend making craft gifts will not only help our family to bond, but it will also teach the children a valuable skill and build their character. The twins will develop patience and persistence while learning to crochet, build and construct projects, paint, and more, all of which can be built on and become hobbies and trades.

The Saturday before Christmas we will rise early to give away food at our church. Every month out church gives away big bags of food to the community. This month, we will be there front and center sorting through food, packing the bags, and handing it all out: another lesson in appreciation and a precursor to the impending breakfast we will serve a few days later to really drive the lesson home. There will be no big tree this year. I will decorate the house simply and beautifully with things we create and only a few store-bought items.

If you are wondering what we will be making, wonder no more! Here’s the short list of some of the crafts we will be doing.

  • crocheting scarves
  • making frames
  • baking cookies shaped like holiday themed items like candy canes and lollipops
  • baking breads and small cakes
  • making ornaments
  • making wreaths
  • gingerbread house

I’m sure we will add as we start working. If you need some inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest page. What are your thoughts on my ideas for this holiday season?

What will your family be doing this Christmas?

Note: I am a HUGE¬†Peanuts fan, so Charlie Brown Christmas music will be playing. I will also be sneaking Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang into our decor and crafts. For those of you interested, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” airs on Tuesday, December 18th. We watch it every year and the kids love it. Hope your family loves it too.

Eye of the Storm, That’s Where You Want to Be

The Storm

Daily Prompt
Your blog just became a viral sensation. What’s the one post you’d like new readers to see and remember you by? Write that post.

Here is my contribution…

Webster’s defines a storm as¬†a disturbance of the atmosphere marked by wind and usually by rain, snow, hail, sleet, or thunder and lightning; and¬†a disturbed or agitated state. A hurricane is one of the most devastating types of storms. For the purpose of this post, I will use hurricanes.

The Parts of the Hurricane

  1. Outflow
    The high level clouds moving clockwise out away from the hurricane. These clouds are indicative of air spreading out over the top of the storm, which is essential to its development.
  2. Feeder Bands
    These are squally bands of showers characterized by strong gusty winds and heavy rains. These bands become more pronounced as the storm intensifies, and are fed by the warm ocean.
  3. The Eyewall
    A band of clouds, strong winds and heavy rains surrounding the eye of the storm. At the eyewall, there is rapid movement of air toward the center and upward into the cloud.
  4. The Eye (This is where you want to be)
    What goes up must come down, so with the violent rising air converging toward the storm center at the eye, sinking air develops within. This air dries out, creating the clear, calm eye. Winds are very light here since the focus of convergence and hence strong winds are in the eyewall.

Now that we know what a storm consists of let me explain how this relates my life and my struggles. We all know that tornadoes and hurricanes are terribly horrid storms. They destroy everything in their paths. They blow through towns and cities with gusto that no living thing is able to withstand. So, why the heck would I want to be right in the center of it???

Well, if you are on top of the storm, you risk coming into contact with the Outflow. This is the part that gets the storm going. In real life application, this would be the rumors being spread, lies being told, acts of betrayal, and any other negative thing being done. The Outflow is where it all begins. All the things that are vital to creating the massive storm converge in the Outflow.

You don’t want to be near the Feeder Bands either. The storm is under way; there is no stopping it. In fact, the Feeder Bands is where the storm intensifies. This is where things go from bad to worse. Let’s apply this to real life. You’ve been lied on an decide to counter with another lie or a much worse truth. Now you are caught in a bitter battle of back and forth. Who can trump who and outmaneuver the other? The idea is not to make things worse, but to avoid being hit by the worst parts of the storm. You don’t want to be the one getting hit. Move out of the way!

If you thought the Feeder Bands were bad, then Eyewall is exponentially worse. This is where you can lose your mind. The strong winds rushing to and fro, the pouring down of rain, gusts of air rapidly uprooting foundations are all too much to bear. In this place, in the Eyewall, you can get caught up in the very mess you were trying to avoid. If that should happen, it will MESS YOU UP!

I have talked about wind and rain. The wind is an agent. It propels the storm and transports all the things that have been destroyed while destroying more. The wind carries¬†rumors, lies, backbiting, deceit, betrayal; it uproots faith, healing, and deliverance. The rain drowns out the faith, healing, and deliverance, while the stormy waters pour out more rumors, lies, backbiting, deceit, and betrayal. There is nothing good about this storm. However, because “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to¬†His¬†purpose.” Romans 8:28. Now if we truly believe this then we know this storm is meant to better us. In the midst of the storm, God has something for us…a blessing or a lesson, maybe both. To get optimal results, you must remain safe and seek shelter in the storm…the Eye.

The Eye of the storm is the region of the most calm weather conditions. Wind and rain are mild, and the rage is quiet. It is in the Eye of the storm that you will find safety in His arms. While everything is bad around you, you are safe in the midst of it all. From the Eye, you can SEE the damage, but you don’t EXPERIENCE the damage. From the Eye, you will experience the storm, but not the consequences of the storm. Here, in the Eye, there is peace, calmness, and even stillness. You will have to move your position as the storm moves so that you remain in the Eye and do not get caught up in the Eyewall or Feeder Bands. In the Eye, you avoid the Outflow.In the Eye, you are safe… In the Eye, you are SAFE! In the Eye, you praise God. In the Eye, you thank God for your victory. In the Eye, you have clarity. In the Eye, God can grant you vision and sight…that means you can now see clearly. ¬†In the Eye, you will find rest. In the Eye, you will find God. Stay in the Eye, if you do, no one can touch you.

You see, in the Feeder Bands are full of people saying and doing things to hurt you. The Feeder Bands are meant to crush your Spirit. The Eyewall is meant ¬†to devastate you and make you feel lost. The Eyewall will cause you to lose your ground. Don’t let your haters and enemies have access to you. Stay in the Eye!

Once the storm is over, you will be able to STAND and SEE all the damage that has been done. Once the storm is over, you will be able to STAND and SEE! The enemy cannot keep you down. Stand on the Word and be encouraged. God promised He would never leave us nor forsake us. When trouble comes, He will protect us. Once the storm is over, you will come out victorious!

Note: Information about hurricanes was taken from http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/HurricaneFacts/what-are-the-parts-of-a-hurric/31027