31 December 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas Morning, 2010
Jay (2), Samantha (11), Charlotte (7),
Rachel (12), and Josephine (6)
Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving and surprises, a time of sharing with friends and traditions. It's a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior and His gift to the world.

This year has been one of the most stressful years. Ever. I know I said that on the last post, but, it's true. James hurt his back in January and hasn't been to work since then. His treatments and recovery have been hard on him, and hard on us all. We all believed that something would work and we would all go back to our pre-injury lives, but, he is still in a lot of pain and no surgery or rehabilitation worked for him.

Pain and suffering is one thing, but being broke with pain and suffering is quite another. I am not going into the details, but, it has been hard.

Christmas came and we didn't have the money to cover the utilities, let alone Christmas for the kids. All I want to say is thank you to all the Santas out there - my parents, James' Dad and our ward family at church - Thank you for bringing Christmas to our kids. Thank you for the gifts left at our door, the sweet treats and the gift cards slipped into our Christmas cards. Thank you all.

Another Christmas surprise came from a friend of Rachel's. We will call her M. M is a team leader at her company; she has nine people on her team. At a meeting, she emphasized that Christmas was a time of giving and that the Christmas bonuses from their company this year were generous. She told her team that they should use it for their families and their communities. Then she told a story about her daughter's friend, Rachel, although M didn't use her name. M said this family was busy - five kids - all sporty, all active and always on the go. This family was a good friend to her daughter, who spent plenty of time there and was friends with all the kids. She said the Dad had surgery and that times were hard. M admonished her team to think of families they knew, and make it a great Christmas.

M came to me about three days before Christmas, and said she had something for me. She said she wanted to come over. I said Sure, we'll be home. M pulled into our driveway and it took three people two trips each to bring in all the gifts she brought us. It was overwhelming. Each of the kids had three or four little gifts - crayons, socks, new toothbrushes, hair pretties,books and little toys. There was even a remote control car for James and dishes and silverware for me.

M told me that her team got together are decided that the family in her story should have a great Christmas. They donated gifts, or gave cash for gift cards, which M shopped for and wrapped for under our tree. The kindness of strangers! Thank you.

I tell this story not to make anyone feel bad for us - we are blessed in so many ways, and we WILL make it through this injury and rough spot with the budget - but I tell it because I want to remember it. I want it included in the history of our family - which I think this blog is. I want to tell my kids and my grandkids and my great-grandkids. I want them all to know how blessed we are.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless us, every one!

29 December 2010

Ornaments? Sure...

I haven't blogged it what feels like forever. Christmas is a stressful time of year. Life is general has been stressful this year. Add the biggest, most important holiday of the year with all its commitments and traditions, and, well, part of me has to shut down. I guess I took the blog down with me.
Now we're back.

We'll do this a little backwards. Look what I found when I disassembled the tree - new ornaments! I love my kiddos....
nerf bullets, Jay's new airplane
an animal cracker
Cinderella and the three kings!

04 December 2010

Town Square Christmas

Our little town in rural Arkansas has a town square. It's bordered by the police department, the water company, a bank, the post office and a barber. There's a big fountain in the middle and the parking lot for these offices is where the carnival sets up every summer.

This year the town had a Christmas Gathering and set up a Merry-Go-Round and big Christmas tree. Local businesses donated cookies, hot chocolate and the bikes under the tree - which were raffled off. We entered the drawings for the bikes, listened to the carolers, drank hot chocolate and rode on the merry go round.

The whole gathering was free to the town. Just stroll and enjoy the season. The trees had been decorated by the ornaments made by the elementary schools. The fire trucks were available to inspect, and there was a hay ride through town and by the railroad tracks. Small town Christmas.

Charlotte, Josephine and Samantha :: Rachel (far right) and two friends

Jay on his trusty steed :: Josephine goofing for the camera!

As a cute kids quote, I have to include a comment from Josephine about the Merry Go Round. It seems she thought that the ride was called a Miracle Round. For all her six years, she had misunderstood Merry Go Round for Miracle Round. When I heard her call it a Miracle Round at the Town party, I corrected her and said "No, Joey, it's a Merry, like you are happy, Go Round, like it takes you in circles." She said, "Ohh. I thought Miracle Round was right because the horses are on poles, but they still go in circles and go up and down." Joey, you are adorable.