Countdown to Christmas – 25 Days Until Christmas

Ah, the magical number of 25 is upon us.  Tomorrow, December 1.  That’s when the real fun begins, right?! 

I am making most of my gifts for Christmas this year.  At least I hope I am – I haven’t exactly finished much YET!

Do you prefer a homemade Christmas?  I sure do.  I look back on the gifts that the kids have given me and I really love the ones that they made.  I sure hope the recipients on our list feel the same way!


Thoughts for This Christmas Countdown Day:  Your love shines through in everything you do.  Think about homemade gifts for the holidays this year.

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    Christmas Countdown – 26 Days Until Christmas

    I was going to write something about making homemade gifts this Christmas season.  But, after the afternoon issues we’ve had with our very compassionate oldest daughter, I changed my mind.  Instead, I feel the need to remind myself and you that Christmas is nothing with the Christ child. 

    We are nothing without the Christ child.

    This snowman is nothing without the Christ child.


    Thoughts for This Christmas Countdown Day:  God’s grace is a gift for eternity.  Enjoy it now for the future is His!

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      Can I Sit With You? & Christmas Countdown – 27 Days Until Christmas

      First, a joy to share.  I submitted a story to a couple of moms who wanted to put together a book.  The purpose of the project was two-fold.  Their lives and families have been touched by autism – both have sons with special needs.  So, they wanted to raise funds for their Special Education PTA in the area where they live.  I just happen to (quietly) follow the blog of one of these authors, which is how I found out about the book.  Second, one of them has a daughter who is at the age when she’s learning what it means to fit in … or not fit in, at school.  Do you remember your pre-teen and teenage years, trying to fit in?  Good golly, I do!  This books helps address the differences of people – at a level that is appropriate for everyone from pre-teens to adults.  We DO fit in.  Really. We do!

      Anyways, my story was accepted for publication … and I’ve been published along with a number of other wonderful authors with stories that DO FIT!

      I’ve already placed the order for my books – one for our family and one for the school library in the school that my daughters attend.  Can I Sit With You is a collection of blog stories by authors from all over, edited by Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers.  If you have children who are just trying to fit in, this book would be an excellent gift for them this holiday season!


      On to the Christmas Countdown!

      I am reminiscing about the final Christmas I had with my family – I find it’s always good for the soul to find the shining stars and joys of our past.  Dad was in the hospital three hours away, from which he would never leave alive.  He had suffered cerebral aneurysms, which eventually killed him.  Mom had moved us from a southwestern Iowa farm, back up to Fort Dodge, Iowa – which was my hometown and closer to relatives.   If I remember right, one of my aunts actually owned the farm where we lived.  We lived in the old farm house and Aunt Ellen and her son Mat, lived in a trailer home on the property.  I wasn’t really aware of adult issues when I was 10 so I only remember bits and pieces … and what others in the family have told me.  I know that Aunt Ellen gave Mom the trailer she had lived in and they moved it to a trailer park in Fort Dodge for us to live in.  Aunt Ellen moved to Des Moines.  They had a big sale at our farm, which must have produced some extra money for Mom – because she went nuts buying Christmas gifts for us in 1975. 

      I also remember it was the first year that I questioned the impossibility of the mysterious Santa Clause!

      I truly don’t remember what we received as gifts, but I do remember how HUGE the present piles were under the tree.  The brightly colored wrapping paper.  The ribbons that twinkled with the Christmas lights.  Of course, with five children in a family, there were usually big piles.  But, those were usually clothes and stuff that weren’t fun to get as kids.  But wow, in 1975, you could barely see our tree for the piles and piles of presents!  And most of them were toys!

      Our Christmas tradition had always been that we had chili (with beans, which makes my southern husband turn green because real Texas chili doesn’t have beans) for our Christmas Eve dinner.  After the dishes were done, we’d set out in the car … spending an hour or two driving around and looking at Christmas lights.  And usually, upon our return, Santa would have arrived!  On this night, since it was just my mom, we all ate Christmas Eve chili and then bundled ourselves up she sent us out the door … us kids walked the trailer park, looking at all of the Christmas lights that adorned the homes of our neighbors.  And, lo and behold, upon our return, Santa had come!

      The joy in our house that night was amazing.  I still feel it, every year when my own kids see that Santa came to visit.


      Thoughts for this Christmas Countdown day:  Help find joy this Christmas season.  Whether it’s with a special homemade touch, with sharing your blessings with others or with singing a joyful noise.  Know that your joy reaches everyone around you … and that feeling never goes away from memory.

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        Christmas Countdown – 28 Days Until Christmas

        There are angels among us.  I am sure of it.  Everything around us seems to be falling apart (myself included) – the transmission & transfer case went out of the Suburban, my glasses broke, I have a broken (painful) tooth and the house is needing repairs already (warranty issues, hopefully)…the list goes on and on.

        But, amongst the turmoil and chaos, angels here on earth have touched me.  Deeply.  And I thank God for them and for their generosity and compassion.  I hesitate to call it love when we’re truly just business associates.  But, it’s angelic and wonderful and good.

        Today’s photo is a bright memory from a dark childhood.  When I was in the eighth grade at a Lutheran school in Fort Dodge, Iowa … my teacher was Mr. Haake.  I had been removed from my first foster home (by the police who came to school to get me because it was a bad home) and was living in my third foster home, where we’d just found out my younger foster sister had cancer.  Mr. Haake was kind, quiet and reserved – but, he often pulled me aside to offer words of encouragement and bits of faith-strength to help me through my days.  He made Christmas gifts for all of the students in our class.  I don’t remember what the boys got, but all of the girls received this beautiful angel that he painstakingly beaded.  I still have mine and it hangs with distinction on our Christmas tree.  A couple of years ago, I sent an email to the pastor of that church because I felt I needed to let Mr. Haake know that I was ok, I’d survived the mess of my youth and was doing well – and I thanked him for caring about me so long ago.  It just so happened that the week I emailed, they were honoring Mr. Haake and his wife (who was also a teacher at the school) for their many years of service to the church and school community.  The pastor wanted to read my letter aloud during this ceremony and wanted to know if he could have permission to do so.  I was touched, but at that point, I realized just how much the teachers, staff and pastors at that school held me up when no one else did.  Yet another group of angels here on earth.


        Thoughts for this Christmas Countdown day:  Look around at the angels in your life.  Some you may recognize immediately … some, you may not even notice at first glance.  But, be thankful for them.  Praise God for them.  Angels help keep the faith.

        And for a little crafed quilty fun, let me share with you what I’m making this year for Christmas!  I have a number of kids (and kids at heart) on my Christmas list who we need to buy for.  I’m kinda on my last dollar, so decided to spend my time making gifts for everyone.  This year, the gifts will be quilted tote bags!  And, as I explained to one pal, if I make an error while piecing them, I’m the designer … so, I’ll just call it my creative license and go on with my life!



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