December can be the busiest month of the year, but somehow it still surprises me to look back at my calendar and recount all of the craziness that has led up to these last days of celebration.
The month begins with my husband's birthday and also includes my little man's birthday, so we have to squeeze in time for those celebrations on top of all the Christmas madness. We found space in our tummies for an ice cream cake one week and a Spiderman cake another week and gifts were bought and opened with excitement.
That weekend, I coordinated and spoke at our women's Christmas tea focusing on having a "Mary" Christmas. The women's ministry director had a brain aneurysm and asked me if I could take over for her. She was so sad that she couldn't figure out a way to plan this event, but God knew that within days she would be hospitalized and paralyzed on one whole side of her body.
A Christmas shopping trip a few weeks later turned into an opportunity to visit her at the hospital and be inspired by her hope, faith and courage in such difficult circumstances. Her head bears a long scar and her hair is beginning to grow back, but her spirit bears testimony to God's faithfulness no matter what.
The following week, I spoke at MOPS about how to twinkle, sparkle and shine for Jesus during the holiday season. I enjoyed meeting the women in Eau Claire and talking with them about how God is our beacon of hope in dark days. It was a special surprise to be introduced with a recommendation from Mary Pierce, who apparently said something about me being marvelous! (Of course my children and husband think I'm marvelous, but I didn't think it extended beyond that small circle...smile).
I had to throw in a few holiday projects along the way too like building a doll house (nothing major, just three stories and a wrap around porch and a million tiny little pieces of wood that I had to punch out, sand down, paint and glue together....), making jars of bread mix to give away and making tons of extra cookies to send to a great-aunt who can't cook this year due to medical issues.
Of course, I made time for some parties - one work party which was an hour's drive away, one white elephant party with the 20's and 30's group at church (which my husband added spice to by bringing some outrageous gifts-the kind that made my poor, sweet, innocent church friends turn crimson for the camera), and one special praise breakfast with that same group.
The kids have been busy too. The littlest guy had a Christmas program for preschool where he shouted out about ringing the bells for Jesus while he fiddled with the button on his pants and grabbed a jingle bell that someone left on the steps. He also had the opportunity to help his class buy and wrap gifts for a needy family in the area which was a wonderful project to teach the kids about giving.
The girls had their program on the following day which brought out the red dresses, tights and black patent shoes. My eldest got to introduce a song and I think she just about burst with the excitement of being able to speak into the microphone in front of everyone. The kindergarten girl (who is quite shy and timid) surprised me with her perfect motions to all the songs and her beautiful singing, but no one was surprised by the second grader's energetic dancing and loud singing. My eyes got a little moist just realizing how big they are getting and what special kids they are.
In the middle of all the other fun events, the main man of the house had a chance to go on a long weekend ice fishing trip and also on a weekend grouse hunting trip, enjoying himself immensely.
This past weekend was the Christmas program at church: a Christmas County Spelling Bee, where they learn how to spell love- JESUS. Once again, each child brought a unique twist to the presentation. The eldest was a cheerleader (a mighty cute one, I might add) and she had some speaking parts and a little song the cheerleaders sang together while they did their routine. Our middle girl got to hand out the gifts during one of the songs until a boy edged his way over to her side and pushed her out of there. A little pushing and disagreement broke out until she caught the evil eye of mom telling her to just let it go and move on over. You know, how you gesture with your head, mouth the words and speak volumes with those eyes?
A little bit later, the three year old decided he didn't need his shoes anymore so he took them off. His big sister tried to reason with him (all of this in front of hundreds of people, mind you) that he needed to put those shoes back on. He told her she wasn't the boss of him until he caught mom's evil eye (thank goodness for that eye!) and promptly got his shoes back on. Then, he decided to check and see if his sister was wearing underwear, but couldn't tell because of those black tights (thank goodness!). But the best moment was when he realized he had to go pee and grabbed himself and looked at me with a little terror in his eyes. I was in the front row, so I just ushered him off stage and helped him rush through the crowd to the bathroom.
Whew! Sure glad that program is over!