Christmas is “Kid Stuff” for Adults…

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Dear Reader:

Here are my “Three Wise Men” because I have learned more from each of them than  I ever knew before they existed. They have made me fall in love again with each of them. Powerful stuff!

Today is Saturday, December 20….five days before Christmas and I am sure that for many of you this means picking up last minute gifts, hitting the grocery store, and perking up the greenery that (by now) has dried up into little brown crinkles. It is a busy day.

As I was re-arranging Christmas pictures on the table by my tree…I found myself staring at these three precious gifts of life God has granted our family. Then it hit me that Christmas really is about “kid stuff”….the “Kid” born in a manger.

As I stared at each of the faces of my three grandchildren…Eva Cate, Rutledge, and Jake…I suddenly pictured the Three Wise Men following the Christmas Star to find the Christ-“Kid” to pay homage to Him. Christmas is truly about “Kid Stuff” …and in order to pay homage to Christ…we, too, as adults must return to the child within us….the child of wonder following the star.

As I replayed the Christmas Story over in my mind and the role of the Three Wise Men some new thoughts emerged concerning their part in the Divine Birth.

1) Like the Wise Men…if we follow the Stars, God’s Winks and Signs…we, too can find Christ. He is not purposefully hiding from us…He lives in us. We only have to travel inward to find Him…and outward to emulate Him.

2) We must bring our gifts and talents to Him to share with the world…because He is the one who, originally, gave them to us.

3) After we “see” Christ…we can never return home along the old familiar path…but we must forge ahead in a new direction… changed forever by His Presence in our lives.

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In my grandchildren…I see moments of the “Divine Spark” in each of them, I watch their talents evolving, and I know one day they, too, will forge ahead to build their own lives in their own unique direction….guided by God and Son.

In December of 1942, as World War II raged…an African-American poet wrote one of my favorite Christmas poems called “Kid Stuff.” His name was Frank Horne…a prominent member of the “Harlem Renaissance” and a strong voice for his people.

He was (also) the famous singer’s, Lena Horne, uncle with whom she lived for several years while growing up in Georgia. I hope you like this poem as much as I do.

 

KID STUFF  

The wise guys

tell me

that Christmas

is Kid Stuff…

Maybe they’ve got

something there.

Two thousand years ago

three wise guys

chased a star

across a continent

to bring

frankincense and myrrh

to a Kid

born in a manger 

with an idea in his head.

And as the bombs

crash

all over the world

today

the real wise guys

know

that we’ve all

got to go chasing stars

again

in the hope

that we can get back

some of that

Kid Stuff

born two thousand years ago—-

Frank Horne (December 1942)

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So until tomorrow…Let us stop with our busyness now and take time to sit on the lap of Christ and listen to the Christmas Story…a sacred tradition to remind us about the importance of “Kid Stuff.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* The signs that Christmas is drawing nearer are coming faster and faster…Thursday it was Honey’s “Apple Tree” centerpiece and yesterday it was Joan Turner’s original artwork Christmas card. I can hardly wait each year to get it and hang it on the Christmas tree.

2014 is a treasure….whimsical and adorable….It is the front porch of home (Joan and W.T.) with their four dogs….Mickey, Billie, Lola, and Lucy. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

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Gin-g and I have been playing phone tag for three days…partly because my laryngitis refuses to leave and I can bearly talk on the phone…it has become a very unwelcome guest. (I even broke down and went to the ‘One Minute’ clinic at CVS…only to discover it is viral (not bacterial) and will just have to wear itself out….with the old remedies…honey and lemon, gargling with hot water and salt…. drinking hot teas, soups, etc (which I have already been doing)….I was really hoping for some powerful antibiotics.)

Finally we made a connection yesterday…Gin-g stopped by to see her “Friend Whisperer”….and in spite of it…we were able to communicate and had a wonderful visit. We exchanged gifts and I was left with a beautiful Lennox angel hanging on my tree…with the real  year-round angel being Gin-g of course!

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The “Centerpiece of Christmas”…Friends and Family

photo 1 (100)  Dear Reader:

Every year, without fail, Christmas arrives with Honey bringing me the centerpiece “Apple Tree.” The smell from the apples and pineapple bring (for me) the scent of Christmas…the longer the centerpiece stays in place…the more the apples and pineapple ferment until the most delicious aroma permeates the dining room and “Happy Room.”

Today, whenever we think of fruit and greenery together…we think of Colonial Williamsburg. Brooke and I, my cousin Bobby and brother David visited there one year for a few days after Christmas and it was just beautiful. However, the history behind the pineapple actually goes back to the days of the explorers.

Columbus and his crew “discovered” the pineapple in Guadeloupe in 1493 on their second (less famous) voyage to the New World. They called it the piña, due to its resemblance to a pine cone, and brought the “exotic” fruit back to Spain.

It took awhile but England and a few other European countries figured out how to grow it and soon it became a sign of hospitality. Captains of ships going to and from Central America, upon their return home, would often spike the pineapple and display it on their front porch as a way of letting the town know that the Captain was home.

Soon the hospitality extended to carving the symbol of the pineapple on bedposts to show their guests that they were receiving the nicest room and bed in the home in honor of their stay.

Today there is a town by the name of “Pineapple” in Alabama. It was originally named “Friendship” but another hamlet had beaten them to that name…so it was changed to Pine Apple… (this area was filled with pine and apple trees.) It has eventually evolved into one word.

(Signs of this universal symbol of hospitality are seen painted on the front doors of homes and the town’s welcome sign, carved in fanciful Christmas decorations, atop gate-posts and roof-tops, carved into bedposts and head-boards, and found in a variety of table centerpieces).

I have come to realize, however, that even if I could manage to stick the apples in the nails correctly (Mike built the platform) and get the pineapple on and the greenery in place…it wouldn’t be the same without Honey. Christmas doesn’t come until Honey arrives bearing friendship…which is the essence of Christmas.

photo 3 (61)  Every year I tell Honey to please let the Apple Tree be the gift…it is all I need…but if you know Honey…Santa Claus pales beside her. Yesterday she also brought ginger snaps, canned tomatoes/soups, and this Christmas butterfly for the Christmas garden.

photo  I know God chose Honey to be my guardian angel…and did I ever luck up….she is simply amazing! She is the “center piece” of Christmas for me.

So until tomorrow….the only real center piece we need at Christmas is God… who is LOVE….symbolized for us  through friends and family. There will never be a centerpiece more beautiful than this love.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Last night the family met at John and Mandy’s to exchange presents with Walsh, Mollie, and Rutledge since they will be flying to Washington, DC to spend Christmas at Mollie’s sister’s (Chelsey) home and all the family. Merry Christmas  Temples!

The theme for us last night should definitely have been the “Night of Caps” because we saw all shapes and sizes of them….starting with Rutledge’s new sporty cap and scarf….to be shared with his cousins.

photo 1photo 3 (63)photo 2 (91)  Even Jake wanted to give it a try.

I had bought two woolen caps for Eva Cate and Rutledge from Ireland…but getting them to both look at the camera wearing them was harder than going to Ireland….so we decided to just go for random photos…worked better.

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Tigger got his antlers on….photo 3 (64)

Rutledge tried on Eva Cate’s tiara….and Jake told mommy he wanted to announce the family Christmas present.

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A swimming pool! I think they are going to be very popular this summer!

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Walsh made the barbecue for the party and it was delicious…I found myself going back to get some more without the bun….it was too good to spoil it with bread. Then our birthday boys had a cake….Kringle Dingle (Walsh) Dec 23 and Deduction Dingle (Tommy) Dec. 29. They had a little help from Eva Cate blowing out the candle.

photo 4 (50)photo 2 (93) Kaitlyn got this t-shirt done for Tommy for his birthday…Tommy adores Rudy and always calls him his “Baby Boy.”

The center piece of birthdays and Christmases gatherings: family!

Merry Christmas from all the Dingle/Turner Family!

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This Christmas…Take Time to Re-Introduce Yourself to Yourself

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Dear Reader:

Because of the different roles that men and women play in any particular society…it is easy to lose sight of ourselves, isn’t it? For most of us the day will come when we wake up, look in the mirror, and wonder where “me” went.

In the popular “chick flick” Runaway Bride (starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts) Gere’s character quietly picks up on the problem Julia’s character has in committing to another person…when she becomes involved in a relationship. He discovers in writing an article on her that her personal likes and dislikes dissipate while she “parrots” her partner’s likes and dislikes.

In other words…she loses her own identity in a relationship. Something as simple as how she likes her eggs…changes from relationship to relationship. Whatever her partner (at the time) likes…so does she.

She loses her “voice” and lets someone else make decisions for her…while wondering why she can’t be happy in a relationship.

Julia’s character is found in most of us…at least…in certain stages of our lives. It is easier to give into someone else’s demands than stand and make our own demands.

As we all go about our daily lives…we change roles as easily as an actor changes attire. We might start our the morning with our mom voice, then change to the demeanor of the teacher voice…one in authority…then sidestep a spouse’s (parent, roommate, etc.) demands while trying to maintain peace on the home front.”

As children (and adults) we all marveled at the tightrope walkers at circuses…but if we are frank with ourselves…we would admit that we walk a tightrope every single day of our lives.

I read a true anecdote the other day about one of my most favorite actors…Robert Redford. I have had a “crush” on him for decades now…but sadly….unrequited love….my “Bobby” doesn’t even know I exist.

Apparently a woman entered an elevator and found herself standing right next to the actor, Robert Redford. She made a quick second glance to ascertain it really was him (it was) and she felt her knees start to buckle and her face turn red. She knew she only had two floors to say something and she would regret this missed opportunity if she didn’t.

Right before the door opened on the top floor….the woman blurted out “Are you the REAL Robert Redford?”

With a hint of a smile Redford politely turned to face the woman and replied: “Only when I am alone.”

Obviously Redford knows himself well…a wisdom has grown in him more powerful than another pretty face.

Don’t you think both Joseph and Mary (and their respective families) must have thought the same thing? “Is this for real?”

When God calls on us…He only talks to the ‘real’ us….not the role we are playing at the moment…but the person who lies within. He guides us through the obstacles designed only for us…in order to reach the goals personalized just for us…

When we truly know who we are….only then can we say. “Here I am Lord”

Here I am Lord with lyrics – YouTube

So until tomorrow…with Christmas exactly a week away…Let us not get so lost in our busyness that we can’t answer God’s call when it arrives…with a  “Here I am Lord” response.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* In yesterday’s blog on the race of life…I made a statement that hopefully somewhere along our personal life journey…we realize we are no longer racing to be first, to win a blue ribbon, or a prize…we are simply staying in the race and helping others along the way.

One thing that would remove so much pressure from our lives around the Christmas season…would be to understand that the “prize” in winning a race is not the reason for running it.

All we have to do is complete the race…in the best manner we can. To give it our all and let the chips fall where they may.

Gin-g Edwards sent a wonderful metaphorical story to visualize this thought. She says:

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Becky, we have the cutest video clip of Ruthie climbing the steps at their house and Ellie is at the top encouraging her in her childlike way,,,”You can do it Ru, you’re almost there”…some of the words that Ellie says are like a 3 year old would do, but that baby girl listens to her BIG sister and climbs all the way to to the top…and the funny thing is when she gets there Stacy who is filming tries to get Ruthie to smile at the camera, but she is not the least bit interested in Stacy filming…she had her eyes on her own prize at the top…some toy and Ellie who did all of the cheering …well, she just gets up and goes on to do her own thing…so you are right …it is not the finish, but the actual race that counts…love you…

* The only other time (except when we are alone) that I think we are free to be our true selves is when we learn something new and feel like a child again…like when learning to ride a bike…or climb stairs like little Ruthie or sway on a rope swing like Eva Cate.

I mentioned yesterday that Eva Cate spent the night with me Tuesday evening…and yesterday morning we went out in the garden. Eva Cate has had a love/hate relationship going on with the rope swing tied to an old oak tree behind the garden for quite awhile.

This time, however, instead of asking me to lift her on the knot on the rope and push her…she just marched right up to it ….grabbed the rope…starting running and then hopped on the knot all by herself. She surprised herself and the sheer joy of accomplishing something she had been afraid to try…brought out an  exhilarating true “self” of Eva Cate that made a grandmother proud.

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Of course when Mandy came to pick up Eva Cate (with Jake) she had to keep going back outside to clap some more for this “amazing” accomplishment in her daughter’s eyes. (While I got to keep Jake and just chill…he’s a cool dude…nothing fazes him)…my kind of child.

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* It’s Party Time Again! Some of you might remember that last year when my Walterboro buddy, Brooke, was c0-hosting the annual Christmas Party of the Year at her home…she did so sitting in a raised chair with her badly damaged knee propped up. The party must go on!

It really was a serious situation but Brooke worked hard at therapy and a year later she is standing and hosting her annual party standing tall (well, as tall as five feet nothing can bring). And just look at all her decorating….I told her we would call her “Miss Southern Living” 2014.

The party is later today….but come with me for a “sneak” tour.

* I have decided (after looking at her photos) that the secret to a beautiful home at Christmas is in the greenery.…these pictures have inspired me to go cut some later today.

FullSizeRender (26)FullSizeRender (25)FullSizeRender (24)FullSizeRender (23)FullSizeRender (22)FullSizeRender (21)FullSizeRender (20) fullsizerender-19  We are so proud of you Brookie for beating the odds (with that knee) and being able to outwalk and outparty everyone. Merry Christmas girl!

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Keeping the Faith… While Running the Race…

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Dear Reader:

I planted these three pink amaryllises a little over two weeks ago. They have all gotten the same amount of water and sunshine…yet the one in the middle is far ahead of the others in height and maturity. Why?

And “why” in life do some people seem to plunge ahead of the masses of runners to cross the finish line with seeming ease…year after year….after year?

Right now we are all caught up in the race towards Christmas. And we all know it is a race…we run it every year. For some of us…it is as intimidating as a marathon…for others….a brisk walk towards the goal.

These are the neighbors or friends or family who always seem to be ahead…of everything in life. And, to make it worse, they never seem rushed or discombobulated like the rest of us panting strugglers…especially at Christmas time.

Some type of “deja vu” moment hit me several years back….when I realized that the only way to stop Christmas craziness is for it to arrive! Only Christmas Day halts the frenzy of preparation. Christmas Day is usually just a blur…because the sleepless nights leading up to it have left everyone exhausted…ready to eat dinner and then fall face forward into bed.

This is the night we do dream of candy canes…but in adults’ dreams the canes spell out “I did it….I survived Christmas again.” 

One thing that would remove so much pressure from our lives around the Christmas season…would be to understand that the “prize” in winning a race is not the reason for running it.

All we have to do is complete the race…in the best manner we can. To give it our all and let the chips fall where they may.

One of our interim pastors, a few years back, preached on this same topic on All Saints Day. He imagined heaven where long lines of people are gathered on both sides of the running track…holding out their hands or patting our shoulder when we take center stage as the newest member of heaven’s track team.

Finally we see the race of life more clearly. It was never about one special prize for just one fast runner…life was always about picking ourselves up when we fell and then continuously getting back in the race again and again.

The pastor pictured the saints from the Bible extending their hands towards us as we close in on the finish line…and then suddenly we see all the people (family and friends) who have gone before us…smiling and yelling “Way to go…you did it” or “We’re so proud of you…we knew you would finish the race!”

Even if the middle amaryllis blooms first….that doesn’t affect the other two amaryllises on either side. It just isn’t time for them to cross the finish line yet. But they will be just as beautiful as the middle one when they do. In fact it will be fading while they take “center stage.”

The following is my favorite Bible verse.

2 Timothy 4:7  – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

So until tomorrow…There’s no need to try to outpace anyone else at Christmas. It will come when it is supposed to…and all we have to do if fight the good fight, finish the race…and most importantly keep the faith.

“Today is my favorite day”….Winnie the Pooh

* I had a roommate last night…Eva Cate. Mom and Dad needed an “elves” night to do some of that required “adult assembly” we all dread seeing in the directions prior to Christmas morning.

We first stopped by Doodle’s to let Eva Cate play in her famous playhouse for all the children and this year for Eva Cate to be mesmerized by a train going around the Christmas tree. I could have sat right there and watched it for hours but Eva Cate was already heading towards the door to the playhouse.

Then pizza, Charlie Brown Christmas, paint fingernails…and lights out….

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I came across this message on prayers months ago…but forgot about it for awhile….still it has lingered on in my memory.

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 I love the hope in that last sentence….”wait and we get the best”!

 

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Christmas Should “Fit Like a Glove”

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Dear Reader:

“Happy Days are here again…my gloves and sleeve… just got in….Let us shout for joy from our “within”…Happy Days are here again.”

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth so I can wish you Merry Christmas” is the lament of first and second graders around the world. But, as for me, all I wanted was my hand and arm back for Christmas…and it happened! A Christmas “miracle.”

I had about given up hope of getting these “swaddled” wrappings off my hand and arm before Christmas… because I only had this week to get it in and practice pulling the glove and sleeve on.

But Karen (remember the special earth angel “wings” lady) called and the box had just arrived yesterday morning. She said she would run it over right to the “Healing Boutique” so I could pick it up before my 11:00 appointment.

Chrissie, my physical therapist, and myself have been fighting a cold for over a week now…just the “hacky” cough kind that wears you down after awhile…we tease each other that it must have been the other one who started it…back and forth.

photo 1 (89) Mine took a turn Sunday evening for the worst…it settled in around my vocal chords and now I am a semi-mute. (I am sure some people are probably secretly thinking…”I owe you one God.”)

The downward “turn” with my cold and now laryngitis was due to the long wait for Santa Claus to arrive on the largest fire truck of all…with horns blowing and red lights flashing. As he yelled “Ho Ho Ho“…I yelled nothing (because I couldn’t) and was thinking “No No No”…my voice was gone.

Like the “Jefferson’s, however, I am moving on up“…going from this to this. A lot less bulky and tight…can finally wrap presents again…HUMMM…(this is one of my least favorite things to do) maybe ‘happy days’ was an excuse not to have to do it.

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I still hear the old adage occasionally: “It fits like a glove.” One probably hears it, more often spoken, in a dressing room area….especially a bridal wedding dress party. “Oh darling,” gushes the mother…”It fits you like a glove.”

(And if it doesn’t, such as in the case of O. J. Simpson…one can go free…to get in more trouble.)

Apparently the origin of the expression “It fits like a glove”- refers back to the time of dress etiquette for riding horses…and riding gloves were a “must.” The novice rider was always warned to buy tight fitting gloves….because if you lose control of your horse, by your gloves pulling off, it is most likely you, yourself, will end up in quagmire…metaphorically and literally.

When it comes to Christmas… doesn’t the same thought apply? We need to make sure that that our budgetary and time savings techniques “fit us like a glove.” (If not, we too, will end up in the heavy, credit card, interest debt “quagmire” come January, February, March, April, May (you get the picture…forever.)

If we work on eliminating our “Holiday Monsters” one monster at a time -like credit card debt-eventually our priorities will align with the stars and the true meaning of Christmas (treating other with kindness) will fit snugly…just like a glove..and once again we will enjoy the holidays minus a “melt-down.”

So until tomorrow…Let the magic of Christmas lift our spirits, fitting us like a glove, keeping, not only our hands, but heart warm throughout the season.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spirit of Christmas…the Unexpected Guest

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Dear Reader:

With all the planning and organizing that goes on at Christmas (like preparing for a military invasion of some sort) sometimes we can get “thrown” by the silliest things…like the unexpected guest or visitor who arrives unannounced.

Finally…at my ripe old age…like Elsa, I am letting it go. As wonderful as my mother was…this was a pet peeve with her. She would set the table and plan for a certain number of guests…and she was not happy if  these plans became altered at the last minute…particularly with an unexpected addition.

As an adult I can certainly understand my mother’s feelings back when…this was a time period when tables were set and careful planning went into seating arrangements. Mother was a perfectionist, in her day, with the cooking and decorating. Everything always looked so good.

Today, of course, most Christmas get-togethers are quite informal…with either buffet or pick up foods and paper products to eat off of….it makes a hugh difference in planning.

I keep reminding myself that nobody, years from now, will remember what we ate or didn’t…just that we had a good time doing it and being together. The house doesn’t have to be spotless…because with young children…it certainly won’t be when it is over…so I tell myself to get a grip and party on.

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I have also learned that unexpected visitors bring wonderful things with them many times. I usually try to get the blog completed in the afternoon (doesn’t always happen, of course…such is life). But when I do it is usually around mail delivery time….and at least a couple of times a week Mary, our marvelous mail carrier, comes on the porch and rings the doorbell.

You would think I would be used to it by now…but I jump each time the doorbell goes off. In the early or mid-afternoon (when the sun is flooding the front porch) while it is darker inside my “Happy Room.” I shade my eyes to get the glare off the storm glass door to see who is standing there. Most of the time it is Mary….coming in to hand me a package/mail and also to tell me how much she likes this or that room decoration…or if she has a minute to come look at the garden.

I always return to the blog more fulfilled and joyful than I left it…Mary is so full of life…it just spills over.

A couple of days ago…one of The GuidePost editions (containing one story) popped up on my email. This true story was also about unexpected visitors and on this occasion…the miraculous consequences. Enjoy!

“A Lifesaving Drop-in”

By Sue Carloni, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

It was one of those cold December evenings when there’s nothing better to do than cuddling on the couch, watching one of those heartwarming, made-for-TV holiday movies. That’s exactly the night my husband Kurt and I had planned. We live way out in the country with only our Springer spaniel for company, so it was quiet. Just the TV and the howl of the winter wind outside.

A ring at our door startled us. I glanced at the clock—8 p.m. Who’d be visiting after dinnertime on a cold night like this?  I opened the door a crack. John, Dana and their 10-year-old Carissa—our friends from church—were standing on my doorstep. Grinning wide.

“Merry Christmas!” they said. I welcomed them inside, bewildered.  It was three weeks till Christmas. They weren’t out caroling. What were they doing here?

“We were passing by on our way home and thought we’d drop in,” John explained, “Hope we aren’t intruding.”

Well, a little bit, I thought. So much for our quiet, cozy night. Ever the hostess, I put on a smile and helped them with their coats, offering to make more of the popcorn we’d been enjoying by ourselves moments before. Our Springer spaniel could barely contain himself – jumping and wagging his tail like crazy.  

“Mom, can I play with the dog outside?” Carissa asked.

“It’s freezing out there!” Dana said.

But Carissa wouldn’t give up. She begged and pleaded. Dana sighed and helped her bundle up. Carissa dashed out the door to play.

Before I could ask John and Dana if they wanted tea or cocoa, the door swung open again. Carissa ran back inside.

“Sue! There’s an old lady calling your name. I think she’s hurt!”

I rushed outside, not bothering to put a coat on. The cold stung my face, the darkness engulfed me. But I could hear a faint voice. I followed the sound and found Betty, my neighbor’s elderly mother, lying on the frozen ground.

“Call 9-1-1!” I yelled to the others.

I rode with Betty to the hospital. She’d been walking her dog when his chain caught around her ankle. She tripped and couldn’t get back up. The dog ran off. “I would’ve frozen to death,” Betty said. “I didn’t think anyone could hear me.”

No one would have…if not for our friends, dropping in on our quiet night at home.

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So until tomorrow….Isn’t Christmas about making room for that one unexpected guest….each and every Christmas? Invite Him in this year.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday….the family (with the exception of Walsh who was working) and friends went to Tommy and Kaitlyn’s Christmas gathering to watch the Mt. Pleasant parade. Everyone had to get there by mid-afternoon before Coleman Blvd was closed down since Tommy lives one block off of it.

Of course when we arrived…it was sunny and warm….felt so good. But the parade doesn’t start until 5:30 or when it gets dark…and by then the temperatures were dropping quickly…most of the parade watching took place in mid-forties with a cold dampness in the air. Burr!

Everything was decorated so cute with a bonfire going in the backyard….Tommy made chili and it was delicious.

Everything was just clicking long until….but wait a minute… let me show you the pre-panic pictures. Kaitlyn was so creative with the decorations…even down to glitter on plastic cups…adorable!

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photo 2 (82)photophoto 4 (47)photo 5 (32)photo 1 (90)photo 5 (33)photo 4 (45)photo 3 (53)photo 3 (51)photo 5 (34)photo 5 (35)photo 3 (52) You have to have a “dancing Santa” if you want the kids to dance….Eva Cate and the “drama of it all”…which tickled Rutledge. (Thanks Honey)

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The Happy family…all decked out in their “tacky Christmas sweaters”…including the cute outfits Kaitlyn worked on…but one of them gave everyone a terrible scare…criminal photo shot…please!

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Yes…the culprit was Atticus….the dogs went with Tommy and myself to set up chairs near the street to see the parade and when Tommy arrived back home…Rudy was there…but where was Atticus.

After a panicky hour….they found Atticus under the bed hidden by some boxes…what scared him? The fireworks kicking off the parade.

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Yesterday’s parade seemed eternally long….bitter cold and dropping. We would stand up occasionally to see if ‘Santa was coming’ but “nada”!

By the time he came I had laryngitis…the cold damp air….what we do for our little children/grandchildren.

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When Our World Turns Upside Down…There’s a God Wink Coming!

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Dear Reader:

If this scene looks inviting to you…it was! This was the room where I told the story of “The Legend of the Palmetto Rose Cross” yesterday. Kay, the owner Baker’s Pond Nursery, has a gift for making everything “pop” before your eyes. She had even added ribbons to some palmetto rose crosses and had them on the Christmas tree to complement the story.

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( Harriett Edwards and I think alike….I came home and added the crosses to my Christmas tree and she added the crosses to her manger scene.)

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(Thank you Harriett, also for your gifts of hope…have already found several stories I want to share and have placed the pink HOPE sign on the tree for all to see!) Too sweet…thank you!

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( A card that says HOPE was also in Harriett’s package: “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah- 29:11)

At 10:25…there was just one adorable family waiting to hear the story with two precious little boys…but suddenly Peggy Franklin (from all the way downtown Charleston) shows up and says she is meeting Susan Gaston for the storytelling and she had just spotted Honey looking around the vendors’ tables…then Fran Townsend ( looking great girl following your surgery) comes walking in…Anne Peterson comes rushing in the door, followed by Harriett Edwards and Kathy Worthington….we ended up being a dozen strong!

Thank you thank you thank you….my teaching (support) family!

photo 3 (48)photo 4 (41)photo 5 (29)photo 3 (50)photo 2 (80)photo 1 (88)  Kathy and Harriett “snuck” in… after the individual photos in front of the fireplace….but everyone, except dad and the youngest brother (precious) made the group photo!

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It was a tad drafty in the building so everyone pulled their chairs up close to the front of the room and the fireplace for the storytelling. Bless all of you for coming…to take time now in the craziest part of the Christmas season… means more to me than you will ever know…love ya everyone and Merry Christmas!

But… isn’t it nice in the slap dab middle of Christmas craziness…God saves a wonderful “wink” to pull us all back into His world again?

The following story is such an example.

Brookie sent it to me yesterday. I remember reading it last year or perhaps the year before on Facebook and loving it…so I feel fairly confident I have put it on an earlier blog…but who knows or cares…it is worth reading again! Brooke received it in a daily devotional she reads each day. Thanks for sharing girlfriend!

          The “W” in Christmas

    Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful
 experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card
 writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I
 found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family
 moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

    My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting
 season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for
 his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be
 working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining
 moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress
 rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend
 that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas
 seemed happy with the compromise.

    So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early,
 found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I
 saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I
 waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied
 by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one
 by one, rose to perform their song.

 Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the
 holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun,
 commercial entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes
 and good cheer. So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas
 Love,” I was slightly taken aback by it’s bold title.

    Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy
 mittens, red sweaters, and bright snow caps upon their heads. Those in
 the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell
 out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,”
 a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and
 on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete
 message, “Christmas Love.”

 The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her;
 a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down -
 totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”. The audience of 1st
 through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had
 no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding
 her “W”.

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter
 continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A
 hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant,
 we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the
 holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose
 for our festivities.

    For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and
 clear: “CHRISTWAS LOVE” And, I believe, He still is.   Amen.

All My Love & Prayers,
Pastor Allen (God’s Minute)

…………………………………….

Powerful message isn’t it?

So until tomorrow…Please remind us, Father, when we get down on ourselves for not being perfect

…that there aren’t any mistakes…just learning opportunities.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

* Mandy sent this funny photo and all I could think of was the old adage: “One man’s poison is another man’s cure”

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* I have started work on my “Holiday Monster”…am having fun!

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