Happy “Last Weekend before Christmas” to you!!

I thought it would be fun to participate in the Christmas Edition of the Random Dozen this week.

Also, I must confess, since in the past two weeks, we’ve experienced…lice, a flat tire, a dead engine on our truck, another van that quit at the ice rink, … plus 4 speaking engagements in the past 10 days… I’m just plain tired.

Some randomness might be a welcome break in the midst of my crazy life!! Hope you enjoy!! 🙂

1. Gingerbread: For or against? Discuss.

Gingerbread cookies, not so much. Never tried a Gingerbread latte (although I’ve yet to meet a latte I didn’t like). I sure enjoy building Gingerbread houses with the kids. 🙂

2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?

I really enjoy living close to my parents and my in-laws. Couldn’t imagine not living in the same town with them. We are very blessed.

When I was growing up, I was very close with my cousins, grandparents, aunts & uncles, even though we didn’t live in the same town. Now that we are 6 hours away (and I have 4 kids) ~ I don’t get to see my extended family nearly enough. That is really sad for me. 🙁

3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?

Ummm…that’s a tough one. Maybe Frosty…he was a jolly, happy soul !! 🙂 I would change the ending though…I don’t like sad endings.

4. Which holiday movie best represents how you feel about Christmas or life?

You know, I don’t really watch many Christmas movies (except kids movies like Dora Christmas or Snoopy). I’ve never even seen It’s A Wonderful Life (I’m so sorry, Aunt Debbie!).

Can you help me out…which holiday movie do you think might best represent how I feel about life??

5. Is there a particular Christmas song that you’re enjoying now? Any that you’re tired of?

You know, I LOVE all Christmas music now!! Since I didn’t know Jesus until I was 26, it always blows my mind when I hear a song that I knew as a little girl…but “didn’t get” what the song was really saying (i.e. O Come O Come Emmanuel). Today at my kids’ Christmas program, we sang “Come on Ring those Bells”. I always love singing that one!! 🙂

6. What is your favorite way to remember those less fortunate at Christmastime?

John and I try to remember the less fortunate not just at Christmas, but every day throughout the year.

Years ago I used to supervise a program for homeless teen moms and their kids for The Salvation Army. At Christmas time our phone would ring off the hook with people wanting to adopt the teens or bring in gifts, etc.. This was great and we always appreciated the support, generosity, and care of the community.

However, there was a teeny part of me that wondered why during the other 11 months of the year, we couldn’t get the same support. When the teens didn’t have backpacks in the fall. Or in November when they didn’t have winter coats or boots, etc..

So John and I have tried to teach our kids that we give throughout the year. That we live with open ears and open eyes to see where God is working in our lives, and if there’s a way He might want to use us, follow His lead. Now, of course, we don’t always get this right…but we’re trying. You can read about one fun story here.

7. Does it upset you to see “Xmas” instead of Christmas? How about “Happy Holidays” etc., instead of “Merry Christmas?”

It doesn’t “upset” me, but it does grieve my heart.

8. How many Christmas programs are you attending this month?

I’ve had the chance to attend with dear friends two women’s Christmas events. Both were fabulous!

For our family, my kids had a Christmas chapel this morning, and we’ll probably go see a Live Nativity this weekend.

9. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?

I am not dreaming of a white Christmas. I live in West Michigan, so my guess is that we will have snow for Christmas (we still have quite a ton from last week’s “snowpocalypse”!)

10. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child. Pics are always nice.

My all-time favorite gift was given to me in 1976. It was the Deluxe Edition Barbie Townhouse. Woo Hoo!! P.S. Guess what my girls are getting this Christmas?? The 2009 Edition! What fun! 🙂

11. How many Christmas parties are you attending this month?

John and I went to his work Christmas party last night. We’ll also go to John’s extended family’s Christmas party on the 23rd. (I always enjoy seeing John’s cousins and catching up with them!!) And then we’ll just have Christmas dinners with our family. So not too terribly many…just right 😉

12. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?

Being intentional with everything I do. Not allowing myself to worry about what other people think. For example, due to our crazy circumstances, we weren’t able to get a Christmas tree until late last weekend. A couple of friends teased me about it. When I sat and thought about it, I was ok even if we didn’t get a tree. Christmas is about Jesus and what He offers us ~ peace and joy and life abundant. I wasn’t going to let not having a tree rob me of my joy. Nor was I going to get crazy and stressed and make it happen (and stress my family out too).

(Please know I enjoy having a Christmas tree, my point is I wasn’t going to let not having a tree take away my joy).

I have gone through Christmas seasons that were tough. Very tough. The year that David was killed, I was in so much pain I could barely function. I didn’t know where I wanted to be on Christmas Eve (David was killed on Dec 10) ~ the world seemed so jolly and merry and I was broken in every possible way.

The homeless teens from The Salvation Army where I worked made my mom, Jake, our friend Lois and me a Christmas dinner of BBQ and greens and corn bread and pie. It was such selfless love on their part in the midst of so much pain. That is the beauty of Christmas. Giving of ourselves out of the purest parts of our heart, and extending the love of Christ to one another.

And I don’t ever want to miss it because I’m too busy trying to make my house look like Pottery Barn. So this year, I’ve been very intentional about my time, my reading material, our family calendar, and our checkbook. Jesus is the reason for the Season!

Well, my wonderful brother and sister-in-law took my kids overnight (yippee!!), so John and I are headed out for coffee (he just doesn’t know it yet 🙂 ).

Wishing you a peace~filled, warm and wonderful weekend!!!

Merry CHRISTmas~

P.S. A note of thanks to Linda at 2nd cup of coffee for hosting the Random Dozen. She always has an interesting mix of questions and everyone is invited to play along. Thanks so much, Linda!!
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