IMG_7618For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

ONE

I have an aunt who is now in Heaven after a battle with cancer.  We lived about two hours away from my aunt and her family and saw them usually once or twice a year.  But she had a huge impact on my life.  I love her and miss her and look forward to spending eternity with her.  I had the privilege of spending time with her in the last days that she was here on earth.  My cousins invited my sister and my husband and me to come and see her and accepted our offer to be of any help that we could.  We took the night shift so they could sleep.  It was very difficult to see her in this state.  She was a powerful and strong woman, the one who always gave and gave and gave and did.  She took care of everybody.  I had never seen her in a position to need anything.  Now she needed everything and God had placed me right in the thick of it.  It was hard.  Physically it was hard, but more so emotionally heart breaking to see someone in pain and needing everything.  I was truly happy to be there to give back to this amazing woman who loved us all so richly.  I talked to her and prayed over her and I had the awesome privilege to read to her from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling.  It was November 23 just before 9:00 a.m.  I read the devotional page then the scriptures listed.  I looked up and out the window and the snow was just coming down in huge flakes.  He beckoned me to come outside and be with Him.  I knew Aunt Shirley wouldn’t mind.  She was finally resting.  I ran outside and flung open my arms and embraced His snow kisses and wept and worshiped.  He gave me the gift of reading His word to her within hours of her seeing His face.  One of the passages for that day was Psalm 4:7-8.  “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  This verse had significant meaning to me and for Him to give us that verse that day then call me out to be embraced in His snow were precious gifts.  Thank You, Lord God, for my precious Aunt Shirley and for that time with her.

IMG_7607    IMG_7606

TWO

We moved into this house in the spring of 2010.  Shortly after being here I told my husband that I wanted to have a Christmas party with our friends.  We do not have a huge house by any means but the layout is such that is a great party house.  I could just picture it, it would be lovely!  We wanted to bless others and celebrate our Jesus with this amazing home in which He had placed us.  That was the first year of the annual Christmas party.  We cut down our tree the Friday after Thanksgiving and the decorating begins.  The evites are chosen and sent and lists are made.  It really is a ton of fun.  It’s a ton of work as well, we make several different dishes and desserts and stack piles of dishes to be used for the event.  We serve chicken and dumplings, vegetable beef soup, cabbage soup, sometimes chili, enchiladas, home-made mac-n-cheese, along with appetizers and desserts of all sorts.  I just could not imagine serving my chicken and dumplings in paper bowls.  I had to use real ones and real spoons.  People thought me daft given the number of people invited to said event.  The first year, we borrowed some stuff, but have collected various sets of dishes here and there.  Nonetheless, it still requires that some dishes get washed throughout the party.  I really had no idea how this would all work out that first year, and you must be thinking, “Who really cares!?”.  It is relevant, I promise.  I really am very good at winging it and dealing with things as they come, so that’s how we approached it.  It was only moments in to the first party when one of our friends expressed how excited he was to be using real utensils and dishes.  I was thrilled.  Now I must explain that we had invited over 100 people to this event, and it was a chance to bring together people we have known for years and some we had just met like our new neighbors.  I think that first year between 60-70 people attended.  Needless to say, the kitchen was a very busy place.  Dishes had to be stacked and put in the dishwasher, forks needed to be washed by hand for the dessert round, hot pans of enchiladas had to be delivered to the table, it was a whirlwind of work and great fun.  Cuz, you know what happens?  Some people love to serve and feel most comfortable with a dishtowel in their hand.  People met people at my sink and talked with old friends.  Others collected plates from various parts of the house and brought them to the kitchen.  People served and celebrated at the same time.  It was sheer craziness, and they loved it! I loved it.  I never sat down, and it was great!  So great, in fact, that we have had such craziness every year since.  And the friend that commented that first year about the real bowls and spoons is the first to get his hands in the dishwater, because he really wants me to keep using real dishes.  It makes my heart happy.  People connect and look forward to celebrating with each other.  That is a precious gift.  Happy Birthday Jesus!

THREE

This one is short, I promise.  Cooking for my family provides gifts everyday.  They are nourished.  They are learning how to cook and eat real food from scratch.  Each of them can cook at this point, so we often do it together.  And my favorite gift is when they actually really like what I have cooked. 🙂 Thank You, Abba, for sweet and savory gifts.

Advertisements