"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat,
and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
The wonderful season of winter is here again!
Time for homemade hot cocoa,
chilly, crisp nights,
the soft, cozy glow from the Christmas stars in our front windows,
remembering Christmases past,
and the sweet anticipation that this Christmas is right around the corner.
I love these moments....every part of this season.
special thoughts of that precious Baby, His sweet mother, Mary, and His loving father, Joseph,
huddled close together and the love that filled their hearts that first Christmas night....
and sitting on the porch, talking to my sister, Sandi,
as our neighbors drove by, shouting "Merry Christmas" to me from their car.....
and hearing Zach count down the days 'til Christmas Eve.....
and reminding him to plug in the Christmas lights every evening towards dusk.....
and turning our kitchen radio on to hear only Christmas carols & music being played.....
and sitting at our kitchen table with Kevin opening all the Christmas cards that came in the mail.
We always love doing that together...hearing from special people,
reading the words they so thoughtfully write,
and looking at the pictures they include in their cards every year.
Today, included in our stack of cards, was a Christmas picture
from my dear, childhood Sunday School teacher, Sis. Nancy.
Every time I see her name or hear of her, I have the fondest of memories.
Do you know how you sometimes hear a person's name,
and the only memories you have of them at all are pleasant ones of the nicest kind?
Their names stir no anxiety or apprehension,
they conjure no negative emotions,
and you cannot honestly remember one bad memory associated with them?
To me, one of those rare, special people...is my still-dear-friend, Sis. Nancy.
She is one of those special people who truly had a big say in the influence of my young life.
Honestly, she is one of the kindest, most Christlike people I remember knowing as a child.
She was a patient teacher, very soft-spoken and mild-mannered, and always incredibly kind to me...
no matter what was going on in my life at the time....
and even during times of church-splitting and upheaval and chaos.I never saw her show a bad attitude or set a bad example for the children she had so faithfully taught.
When she was severely tested, she practiced what she had taught us to believe was right.
Can I tell you how much that impressed me, as a child, looking on?
I remember a song she used to sing in church,
and, to this day, I still have the exact paper upon which she hand-wrote the words for Mom.
It is called, "Thank You For The Valley I Walk Through Today".
I will probably never realize how true-to-her-life's-testimony those words were to her,
as she stood in front of our little chapel singing them to the congregation.
As Kevin opened her Christmas envelope addressed to us today
then handed me the picture,
I noticed the white fence shown in the background behind her and her family.
I commented to Kevin on how I can still remember that fence.
It's funny...the things you remember.
It has been years since I have visited her home,
but I remember seeing that fence when I was little, and Mom, Dad, Debbie, and I would go there.
Every year, Sis. Nancy had a special Sunday School Christmas party for us in her home,
and she always gave us a brown paper bag full of goodies to take with us when the party was over.
Growing up, we didn't have much money or a lot of extravagant gifts in our family,
and I SO looked forward to that special party and that brown goody bag every Christmas.
It warmed my heart to get her yearly greeting in the mail today.
I hope she knows how much I love her and how profoundly and positively she impacted my life as a child.
I will never forget her.
Isn't it wonderful that Christmas provides an opportunity for us to keep in touch with the ones
we may never otherwise hear from every year?
Every, single thing about Christmas just blesses me and warms my heart.
It is sad to see autumn go....
you know me, and my aversion to change!
We are in that phase where pretty much all of the leaves
have fallen and lie scattered beneath their trees....
creating a beautiful, multi-colored, ground-covering blanket across our yard.
Aren't they beautiful?
Who said God doesn't love colors?
The other night, Zach and I raked a lot of them,
put them in the wheel barrow,
and gathered them all together in one big heap by the gardenia bush
in our front yard.
He loves doing that each year.
His Mama kind of loves it, too....
especially watching the fun he has.
Of course, running and jumping in, then rolling in the leaves, accompanied by Paige,
is the whole motivation for helping!
How grateful to God I am to still be here with Kevin and him...
to cherish the moments, to watch Zach play, to join in when I am up to it.
Each time the seasons change and a new one comes around again,
I thank the dear Lord from the bottom of my heart for allowing all of us to see it
all happening one more time.
How precious life is!
I made one more little fall scene with the leftover pumpkins
we previously used to decorate our front porch.
LD and Mark hand built this birdhouse for Kevin a few years ago
and gave it to him as a gift.
I thought it looked pretty sitting on top of the pumpkins.
Zach is getting beyond excited for Christmas to finally get here!
He keeps begging to open something...anything!
We finally relented and allowed him to open two stocking stuffers today.
In case I haven't mentioned it lately,
can I just tell you how much I love being this sweet boy's Mama?
Honestly, I never do get over the wonder of him
and how God sent him to us after such a long time of waiting.
I love Zach's enthusiasm and passion for life.
Truly, it has sustained me and prevented me from giving up more than once.
Seeing it all through his eyes...makes it fresh and new.
Isn't that one of the most special things about having a child?
They haven't lost the zest,
haven't yet become jaded and burned out on so many of the things we, as adults, take for granted.
I am cherishing and loving every moment of this precious Christmas season.
I am so glad Jesus came....
and so thankful every year at this time that the whole world pauses to remember.
I hope you, too, are enjoying this Christmas.
I hope you have special memories of Christmases past...
memories that warm your heart and take you back to sweet moments.
May your days be merry and bright,
and may God bless you to create the most special Christmas memories ever....