Posts Tagged "Christmas 2014"

THE MERRIEST CHRISTMAS 2014

THE MERRIEST CHRISTMAS DAY…2014

The last car has gone from the yard and the house is too quiet!  But, OH! MY! the fun that has gone on within the walls of the Creekhouse during the past few days!  I think it was the best Christmas ever!  (But, I say that every year).  But, this one was surely among the top!

Christmas Day started bright and early with me getting the turkey in the oven.  Then finishing the meal prep with Don’s help, and getting dressed and ready for the fun!  First to arrive was Tara and Will and John Thomas, followed by Lori, and Tommy and Joy and Pop!  We knew Tina and Ian and Jackson were on the way, but were going to go ahead and start eating!  We held hands around the table and prayed together.  As soon as we said “AMEN”…in they walked!  So, we quickly added a postscript to our prayer and thanked God we were all together and for safety in their travels.  Alex was able to be up and enjoy the family, too!  Thank you, God!   (Adam had to work…and Suzanne and Levi were joining us after lunch at her parents.)

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After lunch, Adam and Suzanne came in and I followed the advice of several of my friends.  Last week I posted a pic of our 3 little guys made on my front porch steps.

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Several of you suggested I make this an annual photo of the boys and I thought that was a wonderful idea!  So here is CHRISTMAS ON THE STEPS…2014

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We had a big surprise for Levi, and as soon as we had snapped these boy’s pics, we took him into the garage where he had this waiting for him!  He was ecstatic!  We were trying to give him a chance to ride it a little before it got dark!  He jumped right on and the other boys hopped in too!  Off they went…down the drive, and all the way to the bridge!  What made it even more special was that Adam and his work partner happened to be free and swung the ambulance by the house in time to see Levi’s big surprise!  Thank you, Lord, for working that out!  As it turned out, we all went outside for the big ride…and made lots of pics while there.

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We gathered in the den to share some gifts.  Pop blessed us all by donating gifts to Heifer International, in each of our names.   This organization provides animals to those who live in deep poverty around the world.  By using the animals, goats, sheep, chicks, cows, pigs,  rabbits, etc., they are able to have milk and eggs for their family, and some to sell.  They then can breed the animals, as well.   By suppling a few families in the poorest of villages, soon they are able to help each other out and help provide for the village as a whole.  This is a Christian organization and well worth supporting.  Also donations were made to Clean Water and Smile Train.  This is such a worthy gift and honors us greatly.  Pop and Mom started doing this years ago, and it has become a blessing to our family.  To know that we, who need so little, are helping many who are in such need, is humbling.  Thank you Pop for having such a giving heart and for being so willing to share so others may have a better life.  You lead us well!

Levi sang ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ for us, and we all sang some Christmas songs together.

Then the little boys dug into their gifts and had a ball!  Too soon, we were all stuffed and sleepy and the  celebration came to an end!  It couldn’t have been any sweeter!

THE MERRIEST DECEMBER 26….2014

Because Adam could not join us on Christmas, we extended our family celebration into the next evening.  Oh, what joy it was for me to have all my children and all my grandchildren and Don and I in the same room at the same time!  Adam and Alex and Ian had fun just playing and sharing tech stuff.  They laughed and danced and sang and I watched it all with pride and happiness!

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Levi finally gave out on us and the night had to come to a close.  BUT…I had told the whole group I was getting pictures of my boys and nobody was leaving until I did!  So, grudgingly, I got the boys and Don and I in three quick pics!  Treasure, I tell you!  Treasures!

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You’d think folks would be glad I made a few photos of the day, wouldn’t you!  They all like to have them after they are made!  And, most of the family is cooperative….but these guys?  Party poopers!

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Can you believe it?

Jackson got his bath and posed for a sweet Christmas picture in his Christmas PJ’s beside my tree….gladly, I might add!

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And, a few minutes ago they pulled out of the driveway, heading back to Birmingham.  Levi is spending the day playing with his new toys, at home with Adam and Suzanne.   Alex has retreated to his apartment to recuperate, Don is watching a movie, and I…I am here…documenting it all.  I love to record the happy memories we make.  I want my children to be able to look back on these posts one day and remember just how sweet the times were.  I want my grandchildren and grandnephew to remember how blessed they are to be in a family that loves and adores them.  I want us all to remember this is not by accident.  It is by the grace and mercy of our Lord.  Thank you, God.

“It is God who gives us these times of joy!”  Nehemiah 12:43

 

 

THE MANGER

MANGER….a box or trough in a stable or barn from which horses or cattle eat.

A week or so ago, Joy and I went to Birmingham for a few days….to shop, yes, and just to get out of town, mostly!  We have our favorite places we like to go and sort of make the rounds until we hit all the places on our list.  We sort of criss-cross the whole city!.   One of our favorites is a gift shop in Hoover.  It’s a must on our list each time.  Joy let me off at the door, went to park the car…because she is a good sister who always looks after me!  The minute I walked through the door, my eyes rested on a little manger made of wood…with straw, shoved under a table full of much finer things.  A little doll lay on the straw.  I didn’t pick it up to check the price…I didn’t touch it at all.    I didn’t even ask Joy if it would fit into her car!  I went straight to the checkout desk and told the girl there that I wanted it!  She said that that was the last one they had and they did not have a box, so they would have to pack it up for me.  “Fine”, I told them, “I’m in no hurry.”  I found several other gifts for family and friends, and then went to check out.  They had folded it all together and packed it into a small package.  And, it fit into the car just fine!

Then we began looking at the doll that was to represent Baby Jesus.  It was not a pretty baby.  It was very strange looking, actually.  And, its eyes would not close…so I knew we could not sing ‘Away In A Manger’…since the’ Little Lord Jesus’ could not go to ‘sleep on the hay’. That would not do, at all.  And so we added a baby doll to our list.

Now, I know nothing about baby dolls.  Raising 3 boys, it was never on their lists!  Even though they did have on old baby doll they played with when they were toddlers…but I don’t even know where it came from. Forgive me boys for telling your secrets)   Dolls are strange.  Some have the saddest looking faces…and by sad, I mean scary.  I don’t know why they would even make some of the ones we saw.  We looked in several places and finally found one that had a sweet face and eyes that closed.  And, the best part was that it had a soft squishy body instead of a hard molded one.  Never mind that it had on a pink ensemble with matching hat, booties, and bottle.  Once we got rid of those things…there was no evidence of gender at all.  (OH MY!  I’ve probably offended someone!  So sorry!)

I am a big believer in ‘hands on’ learning.  You can see pictures and read books and talk about it…but when you actually feel the rough wood, and place the pieces of hay, it becomes clearer.  Swaddling clothes…what does that mean to a little one?  Not much…until you show him how the strips of cloth were wrapped around Jesus’ little body when he was born.  I dare say, he will never hear about a manger again without thinking about what it really looks and feels like.  He knows now that ‘it wasn’t soft’.

I could hardly wait for Levi to see it!  I set it up right beside the tree, and put all the items on the floor around it.  There was a mossy mat, and straw, and a piece of torn blanket, along with a book and the doll.

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Now this piece of blanket was no where near what we would call ‘swaddling clothes’.  So, I tore several long strips from an old sheet and added them to the mix.  And, waited for Levi to come.

It was the sweetest thing.  I showed him all the pieces and he went right to work.  First he put the little mat in the bottom. (“Hang on, Baby!”)

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And then he added the hay (straw).

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He put it all in and then felt of it with his little hand and said, “Lulu, this is not soft.”  I told him that when Baby Jesus was born, he did not have a soft bed, and that all he had was somewhere hard to lay.  He thought about it for a minute and then set about finishing.  First he sorted through the pile of cloths and got the biggest one.  He laid the doll on it and wrapped him up tightly.

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And then he laid the doll in the bed and covered it with the piece of blanket.

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He took a few piece of the straw and laid them on top of the blanket.  Then he looked down at him and said, “Go to sleep now, Baby.”  And, as he turned to go back to play with his toys, he stopped and looked at me again and said, “It’s just not soft.”

He’s right.  Our King came into this world in the lowliest of ways.  He didn’t have a soft bed.  He had hard wood, or maybe even stone, and the smell of animals, and the itch and sting of hay.  But, he had a mother and father who loved him, and who did the best they could with what they had.  His first visitors were among the bottom of society at that time.  Shepherds…whose job was to tend to animals.  And more visitors came later.  Kings…who were wise and brought gifts that showed how important the child was to our world.  The lowly and the exalted…he came for all!

My wish is for this little manger to be seen by the 3 little boys in our family every Christmas.  Right there with all the presents and the ribbons and lights.  A reminder that the first gift was…and will always be…the best gift!  This has always been the focus of our family and it will continue into the next generation.

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“I WISH YOU THE VERY MERRIEST CHRISTMAS !  MAY IT BE FILLED WITH LOTS OF FUN AND LAUGHTER AND GOOD FOOD.  AND MAY THE MEMORIES YOU MAKE LAST A LIFETIME !” 

(Please forgive the blurriness of these pics…it was very hard to get him from an angle to see what he was doing.  And, he was into fixing it just right…not in posing for pictures!  Which is exactly the way it should be!)

 

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