Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We had a great Pennsylvania Thanksgiving with my family, despite a nasty stomach virus that hit my mom the day before.  I thought we were going to have to cancel Thanksgiving if we all ended up sick.  But I'm happy to report no one else did and the holiday went as planned.  We just didn't let mom touch anything and she stood in the kitchen and bossed us all around to get dinner on the table.  It was delicious, as always!
Kids table
and the grown-ups table
We did our annual Black Friday shopping and completely enjoyed the early opening times.  We headed out around 10pm and hit Walmart, Target and Kohls and were home and in bed by 2:30am.  And we all got exactly what we were looking for.  Black Friday shopping gets such a bad rap, but we really love it.  And we didn't meet any mean or crazy people.  So fun!

Friday afternoon we enjoyed another family tradition, our sleigh ride.  Except it was 60 degrees and breezy so it was a wagon ride.  But fun regardless!  This was our fourth year and our third without snow, but we don't care.  The kids love it!  They each get a turn driving the horses and halfway through we stop at a cabin for a little break.  At the cabin we have snacks and the kids put on some sort of short play/program.  This year's was a hit as we figured out what Christmas is all about: Christmas is Christ.  Growing up we went on sleigh rides for several years with my grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins and I love creating the same kind of memories with our kids!

Haven's turn with the horses.  She loves it! Mati would have nothing to do with it!
The kids getting ready for our show!  Then it's time for hot chocolate, caramel corn and humdingers!
 Trying out the horses before we headed back
 And of course the biggest kid couldn't be left out! 
The whole gang: Thanksgiving 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The God Who Sees

You wouldn't think that a 10 minute drive could land you in another world, but it does.  It happened last night.  We got in the car and when we stepped out, we were there.  A place where people don't know where the next meal is coming from.  Where the wallet has eight crinkled dollar bills that need to last to the end of the month.  Where it is hard to trust God cares because no one has ever been trustworthy.  Where hope can look like a sack of potatoes or a jar of peanut butter being shared.

I went to Renee's house last night.  The world would look at our encounter and say that she was the one who was blessed because of our visit.  But I can tell you that is completely untrue.  We stood on her porch, arms weighed down with bags of groceries and called out that we were from the church.  She slowly made her way to the door, untangling her oxygen line as she went. Once she realized what was going on, she began to cry and so did I.  I was overwhelmed by the goodness of our God who sees.  He saw that Renee had cooked the last of the food in the fridge for her son.  God saw that there wasn't enough money to get through the month.  He saw her shoulders stooped low from the weight of worry.  He sees her sick heart and failing body.  He sees her downcast spirit.  But He also sees a heart that loves Him and trusts Him and gives Him all the glory. He heard all three of us praising Him together; for His perfect care and perfect timing.  That He allows me to be the tiniest piece of His puzzle in her life...reminding all of us of His care and love in everything.

As Cale and I walked back across the front of her house, her voice could be heard, raised in praise to the God who sees.  Renee helped me to see Him more clearly. Sure, we gave her a few bags of food, but what we walked out of there with was far, far greater.

Don't be fooled.  Hope really does look like a sack of potatoes.