Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas Story

I just want to share with you all a true story my mom sent me a few days ago. Last Wednesday, Woodstock and other parts of ATL experienced an ice storm which created a nightmare on the roadways. Our friends back home were telling us stories of how it took them 4 hours to make a 5 mile drive. Accidents were occurring everywhere. My mom actually had to walk home from the top of the hill in our neighborhood because her Xterra started sliding and ended up sideways in the middle of the road. Anyways, below is a story about what happened that night to one of her coworkers at the highschool named Erin. It's such a beautiful story of God's love and loving our neighbors. I asked Erin if I could share it on my blog, so I am grateful she said yes, as I think it will make a mark on your day!

Merry Christmas, friends! Rather than a card this year, I want to share with you a Christmas moment. Wednesday night was a crazy experience on the roadways, as I'm sure you know. But, as the holidays seem to remind us, sometimes the best moments come out of chaos. I wrote down my thoughts below as Wednesday night unfolded . . .

So, tonight was supposed to be our Church Christmas party … a meal, games, and wrapping gifts for children in need. When the ice and sleet began at 4:00 ish, we had to make a call, but dinner was pretty much prepared already. A few of us gathered at the church to handle the gifts, and make plans for wrapping them another time, as it was clear that we all needed to get home. All activities were cancelled, and four of us left at about the same time. After an hour, none of us got more than a ½ mile from church, because of traffic at a stand still in the ice. Accidents were everywhere, and one road was iced so that traffic could not get up. No one was moving anywhere.

Jake and I decided to get out of each of our vehicles, and walk back to the church. Our minister of music, David Harrison, called Jake (the pastor) to say he was walking a mile back to the church, and was picking up folks along the way. As we ventured out of our cars and into the ice and sleet, we stopped at cars near us and said “Don’t know where you’re headed, but if you want to come inside and get warm, we’re walking up to the church. There’s food there. Come on.” Almost every stranger we met thanked us, and prepared to leave their cars on the side of the road. We had to climb the icy hill to the church. A young mom, her son, and I held hands as we slipped up the hill.

Once we got inside, the meal was waiting for us. We began taking the Wednesday night supper out of the fridge; most of it was still warm. Jake stayed upstairs, welcoming half-frozen people inside. We made hot chocolate. We ate a glorious meal of ham, potato casserole, veggies, and warm rolls. People kept piling inside. About 70 strangers, ended up sharing a meal and getting to know one another.

The best surprise was that one group of folks from the road were a group of teens heading to dress rehearsal for “The Nutcracker.” So, after we all ate and warmed up, the kids put on a live performance of the ballet in the fellowship hall. It was wonderful! Judy Brandon searched the pantry and found ingredients for a cake . .. she and several moms – strangers before tonight – baked a cake together. Kids and teenagers made themselves at home, having fun like they had been at this church all their lives. This has turned out to be one of the best Christmas parties I’ve ever been a part of.

An officer stopped by the church, and filled us in on the road conditions. It was clear that no one needed to be traveling until things thaw in the morning. So, we decided it was time for phase two of the party. We set up the screen and projector in the sanctuary, let the kids fill the center aisle and showed the Charlie Brown Christmas movie. Adults spread out on the pews. Most of them are drifting off to sleep now.

The church is warm, and safe, and full of people tonight. I have so many thoughts I want to process about this night … a change of plans, welcoming strangers, offering a meal, sharing a table … but I’m pretty sure that what happened here tonight was truly the gospel. And my heart overflows with that thought.

After this amazing experience of unexpected joys, my hope for your holiday is this. . .

- unplanned parties with friends you haven’t met yet

- a hand offered to you when you slip and fall

- friends who invite you to walk alongside them on the road

- peaceful rest in the most unlikely settings

- joy that surprises you

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh What a Day!

Ok, today has been the most comical day full of irony and mishaps and it's only 12:45pm! I just have to write it down so I don't forget it.
It all started last night when we put Ava to bed. Today was pajama day at school, so I thought, "how great! What a time saver for the morning because Ava will already be dressed when she wakes up!" I did hesitate though for a moment because normally she can be a bit messy eating breakfast, and I didn't want her to get her pj's dirty in the morning. BUT I decided to take the easy way out and put her to bed in her new pj's that she would wear to school the next day (todaY).
WELL, at 5:30 this morning, I hear Ava and Bobby in our bathroom with the bath tub water running. Before I even crawled out of bed (clearly, I was zonked out considering I didn't hear anything until they made it to the bath!), I thought, "oh noo...." Sure enough, Ava had an accident last night- of course it was her first one in like 3 months- and so her pj's and sheets needed to be changed. I would like to say that it was Ava who was so upset about her wet pj's, but really it was me! She looked soo cute in them and they were so warm and cozy, so I decided to run downstairs and throw them in the wash before school. The other ironic part of this story is that up until the LAST time I changed the sheets, I always put a towel down under she sheets just in case of an accident so it won't soak through to the mattress (I really need to get one of those plastic sheets). But since she had not had an accident in so long, I decided not to put a towel down when I changed her sheets last week, and OF COURSE, that backfired!
So we finally make it back to bed...well sorta. By that time, we all were pretty much awake. Despite being up so early, the kids and I somehow managed to be late taking Ava to school, which means I have to unload everyone and check her in at the office AND walk her to her classroom. Now normally I am still in my pj's with slippers on when I take Ava to school bc the school is so close. Well THANK GOODNESS I got dressed today! All I kept thinking when I was checking Ava in was, "Thank you Jesus that I put my tennis shoes on today!!" LOL
After we take Ava to school, Lucas and I drive to Bobby's office to say hello. On our way there, I pick up my phone to call my friend Deb from work because she is letting me borrow a sweater for our Ugly sweater Christmas party tomorrow night! Bummed, I realize that I cannot find her number under my recent calls. I tried asking a friend from work, but she didn't have her number. So then I ended up calling the hospital and asking my charge nurse for her number, which I hated having to do because I know they are soo busy in the mornings. As I dialed her number, it popped in my phone as a saved number. UGH! I had it the whole time!!
Now that we are home, I am stricken with a case of LOST things...yesterday I made an ornament for my mom for Christmas, and I think someone in our house who is under 3 ft tall, took it and hid it somewhere! He recently has a love for putting things in our trash can, so I have a feeling it's in our dumpster outside right now since I just took the trash out....And there is NO WAY I am digging for it in there!! This culprit of mine also LOVES our tv remote, so much so that we have taken the batteries out of one of our remotes as a "decoy" with buttons that he thinks is real! hahaha. That being said, I accidentally left the real remote within his reach earlier this morning, and now it is GONE. Nowhere to be found (probably also in the trash...). This is a bummer because I was excited to watch 19 Kids and counting while the kids napped, and I caught up on laundry! But since it's the Comcast remote that is missing, I can't access our DVR :( so Sad!!
Let's see...I think there was something else funny that happened, but I think that's all my brain can remember at one time! Hahaha. So glad that Bobby and I are going out on a date tonight! I need a brain refresher!
Well before I go, I will share something precious that Ava has been doing lately. Every morning when she wakes up, she runs downstairs and pulls up a chair to get closer to our nativity set. She says good morning to all the wise men and animals and spends a few minutes talking to Mary, with such things like, "Mary, I need to pray for more snow. Do you ask Santa for more snow?" And then she always asks me where baby Jesus is. I remind her that baby Jesus is still in Mary's tummy and that he will be born on Christmas day. She gets really excited because she will say, "MOM! Mary has a baby peanut just like you?!?!" Ohh, how I love my Ava!
Merry Christmas!

The Annual Dave Ramsey Christmas Party- Such a FUN night!!

Our best friends Branden and Lauri O'Neil

The First snow of the year! Our house looks so pretty at night- Bobby did a great job on our lights!

Our Christmas Angels :)

Making cookies with our favorite buddy Steph at the Breakfast with Santa at our church

The Annual downtown Franklin Christmas parade. The kids LOVED it and so did I!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Breakfast with Santa!

This past Saturday, we took the kids to our church for Breakfast with Santa. They both loved it! I thought for sure Lucas was NOT going to be a fan of the big bearded stranger all dressed in red, but he didn't care at all! There was a photographer present who I am so grateful for because she captured some cute pics of our kiddos.

Click here to view these pictures larger