December is already a Blur, but before the entire month is gone, let me share some of the highlights . . . .
On December 17th, the children helped their Patch Club from church put on a Christmas play called Christmas Carol. Four of our children had speaking parts, and Tiffany also helped the Director pull together all the details for the play. This required many extra practices, which added to our chaotic December schedule, but it was worth it. They did such a good job! It was really a blessing! The play is about an orphan who is invited to spend Christmas with a family. The child evokes painful memories in the mother, who had also been abandoned as a child, but their similar pasts bring them together, and plans are made to adopt the little girl. After the play, we showed the video of Misha, and gave everyone the opportunity to help a real orphan be adopted!
On the 18th of December, Tiffany presented her first Christmas program at school with all of her music students. She did a fantastic job putting the program together and her students did a great job singing and reciting their verses.
On December 21st, we took time out to celebrate Joseph's 15th birthday. It is hard to make him feel special when his birthday comes at the Busiest Time of theYear! But, I tried to fix him a special meal and made sure I didn't wrap his gift in Christmas wrap -- which meant I used brown paper and had the younger children decorate it!!! (Why isn't there any birthday wrap in the house when you need it most???)
I also bought Joseph a beautiful sampler cake from SAMS -- but someone dropped it when unloading the van, and it landed upside down. :( Except for half of the icing being stuck to the lid, it was OK. Joseph was such a good sport and said he didin't care, especially since it still tasted so good!
December 22nd, I hosted a Soup Supper and Ornament Swap for the ladies from our church. About 40 ladies and their daughters came out for the fun. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work as I attempted to get the whole house clean on the same day, and made three big pots of soup to serve. Ashlyn got home from Bible school just as the guests arrived and was willing to jump right in and coordinate the swapping game. We had an amazing variety of ornaments, but as usual, there were one or two that "everyone" wanted and were willing to fight for!
My parents arrived from SC on the 23rd of December, and were here to Celebrate Christmas Eve and Day with us.
Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve! The first picture is of my Mom.
As you can see, we had no lack of food!
After our feast, Alan read the Christmas story from Luke 2.
Then, the children revealed which sibling's name they had drawn and exchanged gifts with one another. They always try to keep it a secret, so this is a much anticipated moment!! Ashlyn had Josh for the third year in a row!!!
Matthew couldn't wait until Christmas morning to give Mum Mum the special gift he had made for her! It was a little heart shaped sign to hang on the doorknob of her cottage. He painted NO on one side and YES on the other side. That way she can let him know if it is a good time for him to come over, or if she would rather not be disturbed for awhile. He was So Excited about his special gift and he went out first thing on Christmas morning to see if she had the Yes or the No showing on her front door!! :)
And now for some scenes from Christmas Day . . .
The days after Christmas were spent visiting with my parents, whom the children call Nanny and PaPa. This is a picture of them which I took while we were taking a walk at the Riverfront Park. We enjoyed many balmy days in the 70s and even the 80s both before and after Christmas.
My parents left on Sunday morning, and Alan's sister, Janet, arrived the same day -- after missing her connecting flight the evening before and being stranded in ATL. We spent the last few days of December visiting with her, while also cleaning out closets and other storage areas and generally digging out from Christmas.
So, now, here we are on the last day of December and the last day of 2008 -- with many things crossed off our to-do lists, and many things that we just didn't get to before time ran out. (Such as my yearly The Ours Times newsletter!!!) Our busy days overflow one into another and a month and then a year passes before we even know it. My prayer for this New Year is that we will pursue the things that really matter, and that God will give us peace to accept the things we just can't fit in, and that when our time runs out for good, we will have no regrets.