Making Memories

Each year around this time, Christmas, I try to think of something special to create a memory for my family. When the kids were younger I didn’t think about making memories but as they grew they would often say “remember when”. So I started to think of ways to make those memories special.

Yes we made the Christmas cookies, my kitchen was a massive mess; we would have to make a ton of cookie dough so they each would have “lots” to cut out and decorate. Kory would always end up feeling sick with his lips and tongue green from eating too much frosting. As I look back at time in my life, I realize I thought of it as more of a chore to make such a mess, but now, I would love to have my kitchen filled with voices of my family making Christmas cookies.
As they grew older I tried to instill the true meaning of Christmas, which it wasn’t about presents or Florida trips (like their friends got to do) but the birth of our savior. We would go to Christmas Eve service, and then home to watch a Christmas movie. One of my favorite Christmas movies to watch was; “It Is A Wonderful Life,” and the kids always enjoyed “Home Alone I & II,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and “Frosty The Snowman.”

One year I read a Christmas story to them over the weeks leading up to December 25; each night we would they would sit in the living room with the lights of the Christmas tree glowing and I would read.

Another year I decided to make Christmas cookie packages for our neighbors with a card attached and sent them out to deliver them. Hoping that they would see how much joy a simple package out of the ordinary would bring, especially to the older neighbors. Of course the only thing that they remember about that year was the fact mom sent out in the sub zero conditions to deliver the cookies in the middle of the night.

To my defense, it wasn’t really “that cold” and I didn’t think it would take them that long.

As they grew older they would make plans of their own, Christmas parties with friends is a lot more entertaining than going to Christmas Eve service and then staying at home with dad and mom, decorating cookies, reading a Christmas story, or watching; It’s A Wonderful Life. I just wasn’t as important to them anymore.

One year my husband Bob and I went to Christmas Eve service alone, in fact I was pretty much alone because he had to play the bongo drums with the worship team and he had to stay on stage the entire service. I just cried, I wanted my children to know how special this time really is, to take a moment in their business to acknowledge that Christ is the reason for the season. Yeah, I felt lonely too.

During the service I tried to keep my thoughts on the “true” meaning of Christmas and not on the fact that I was by myself.

Once the congregation took communion the pastor asked us all to hold hands, even with the stranger next to us, once the whole church was holding hands, Pastor asked us to bow our heads and pray for the person we were holding hands with.  I followed his instructions and prayed for my friend on the left and then prayed for the young man on my right. I just prayed that this young man would enjoy his family over the holidays.

When Pastor closed with a final prayer I looked up at the young man (Eric) and wished him a Merry Christmas and asked if he was going to be with family that evening.  He told me that he was not able to, that his family was 5 hours away and that he was a private pilot for a company here in Elkhart and he was on call and couldn’t leave to be with his family.

Of course I’m thinking to myself; “now what do I do?”

I felt a nudge to ask him to come to our house, so I did.  I told him he was more than welcome to spend the evening with us, and that we didn’t do much now that the kids have their own agenda; but he could join us for a bowl chili that has been cooking all day in the slow cooker and watch movies.  To my surprise he took me up on my offer.  I introduced him to Bob and gave him our phone number so that I could give him driving directions to our house.  Again I didn’t really think that he would come over, I figured he would just called me to cancel and say; “thanks but no thanks”.

Once I got home from church I found that Ashley was home and I told her what I did, she agreed to stay for “a little while”.  I then called Kory and told him that I had company and would like it if he was home; he too said he would be home for a little bit to meet this stranger that I had invited.

I was relieved, I didn’t want to have to carry the evening conversations by myself, Bob was somewhat tired and I think at first he was aggravated with me for inviting a stranger, especially a “young” stranger to our house.

Needless to say it was a fun evening; Eric shared funny stories with us about his mom, dad, brothers, and sisters and the kids shared funny stories of ours.  At some points of the evening we were laughing hysterically.  We didn’t even turn on a movie; we just laughed and shared our memories with each other.  The night flew by and he didn’t leave until 11:30!
But before he left he told us that it was really neat how things worked out for him this Holiday, he was really missing his brothers in sisters and really wanted to be at home.  He went on to say that God had filled a void for him, and that it was purely a last minute decision to go to the church for Christmas Eve service, so that it would fill part of his lonely evening but ended up with a night of laughter with us.
He was truly touched by our hospitality and was blessed by our family.  But really, Eric was a blessing to me, because with him being at the house the kids decided to stay home that year and hang out with Dad and Mom.  God not only filled an emptiness in Eric’s evening, HE filled an emptiness in mine.

I sometimes tease the kids and say; “I wonder who I will invite this year on Christmas Eve to get you to hang out with mom and dad.”

But with all kidding aside, don’t get caught up with all the chores of making cookies, buying and wrapping presents, the cold snow, and the many parties to attend.  Slow down and take time to remember that it is about the birth of our Savior.  Also remember you are making memories!! Make them special ones.


Another Week-end

I climbed out of bed this morning and stumbled at the back door to let the dogs out, as I do every morning. With my eyes not totally focused I make my way to the coffee maker to get it started. It takes at least 15 minutes, usually longer, to get a decent cup of coffee from that old coffee machine of ours. As the coffee starts to slowly drip I begin to pounder of the many things that I want to accomplish before Monday morning comes back around.
As I took a mental inventory of tasks I need to get done I found myself growing very uneasy and slightly uptight. I told myself; “Settle down! Get back to the basics of your routine. Quiet yourself before the Lord, and read your scriptures.”
Slowly I started to feel the anxiety lose its grip over me. And as I was at the cross praying to my Lord above this is what he told me;
“Georgia, everyday as you walk into work you pray to me that “My” will be done, that you want to be a co-labor with me to bless people and to walk out my will for your life. I love that about you, but why do you only give me 8 hours of your day Monday thru Friday? If you truly want to be a co-laborer with me, walking out my will for your life it needs to be more than just Monday thru Friday, it needs to be more than just 8 hours of your day. Walk with me everyday, all day. You know the things that I have placed on your heart to do. You get frustrated every weekend because it is always about what you want to do and not what I, your Lord, want to accomplish through your obedience in those things I have placed on your heart. Will you put your agenda aside to carry out the things I have asked you to do? If so, you won’t become so uptight, and those things that you want to get done will get done. I love you Georgia either way, and the choice is yours if you walk out my will for your life. The choice is yours whether or not I can bless you with the things I have stored up for you as you walk out in obedience.”
As I close today I am going to approach my week end differently. I am going to place my agenda aside and start on those things that God has placed on my heart. I am looking forward to the blessing of a stress free week end because it is about HIS will not mine. You are so good to me Lord, thank you.


Where was My Thankful Heart?

I had to work Thanksgiving eve day and on my drive home, it was raining.   I tried to be excited about the Holiday; we were to celebrate Thanksgiving with Bob’s dad up at the farm as we have done the past few years.  It was even going to be more of a treat for me because my baby twin brothers and their family were going to be up there.  But, to be honest, I had a complaining spirit.   All I could think about was the Thanksgiving meal and meals that had to be made for the entire weekend. I had even made up a three day menu of what I was going to make (breakfast, lunch, dinner).  I did not have the time to get the things on my grocery list, or the money,  so the thought of going to the store with every other last minute shopper in the rain didn’t help my attitude.

I got home and as started to pack for the week end Bob’s dad had called and said that we didn’t need to go to the store.  He had bought everything needed and to just to drive safely up there.  He had even made us dinner to eat when we got settled in.                                   You think that would have relieved some stress for me but it didn’t.

I hate the extreme pressure I feel every year on Thanksgiving Day.  Breakfast is just as important on turkey day, because it has to hold everyone over until the feast is ready, which is always at least an hour after the announced time dinner would be done.

By the way, did I mention that several families drive in for the Holiday and stay at the farm?  It is truly wonderful but can be a lot of work.  My poor father in law has gotten used to his big old house being quiet, with only the occasional noise of his two dogs chasing the old fat cat.  I know that he loves us and loves it when we “all” come into town but the sweet sound of silence has to be a relief for him after the 3 days of listening to all our voices.

Thanksgiving day I woke up with this horrible headache, probably because the drive up the night before I had attitude and was having quite the conversation in my head.  And with that attitude I got a stiff neck from holding a “pouting” posture for two and half hours as we drove up to the farm.

I was asked to make one of Dale’s favorite breakfast meals, it was out of the ordinary but I did it for him. I had no excuse he bought up the store and had everything need for me, and his other daughter in law, to make all his favorite meals.  By the time I got that done and the kitchen cleaned up my head was pounding!  I was walking around somewhat like a zombie, asking myself what I needed to do next.

My sister in law, Sallyanne, jumped into action, she had cleaned out the two roasters that we use every year and started to prep the casseroles dishes.  As I stood there, not really thinking about anything, and not aware of the expression on my face she stopped suddenly from her prep and asked, “Am I doing it wrong?”  The look on her eyes made me feel horrible, did she really think that I was judging her the way she was putting the ingredients together?  What kind of maniac have I been over the years in the kitchen?  I by no means claim to be some master chief but she looked at me as if I was the “Iron Chief”.   I assured her that she wasn’t doing it wrong and that I was so thankful for the help.

We worked together in the kitchen getting things ready.  This year we actually had ovens to bake in but decided to use the roasters, again, for the turkeys to free up the ovens (it’s a double oven).  Not only did we have two turkeys to cook but a ham to bake along with all the casseroles.  Needless to say once everything was on and cooking we sat down and chatted.  That is when Sallyanne told me that over the years she had always thought she was in my way in the kitchen and felt very uncomfortable around me.

I felt awful!  Every year as I stressed out and in my head thinking the whole thing was on my shoulders, I was making everyone feel as if I didn’t want their help; which is the farthest thing from the truth!  Wow I guess I have been a total pain in the “neck”.  What a wake up call.  With me stressing out every year and thinking everyone is counting on me to make the meal, the whole time I was making them stress because of my attitude.

Well 45 minutes after we walked away from the kitchen we noticed the roaster light was no longer on, they weren’t even hot anymore.  To our horror we realized that we had too much plugged in on the wall outlet and had tripped the breaker on the fuse box.  This whole time those ugly turkeys were not cooking.
Again, Thanksgiving Day 2010 the people starve as they all anxiously wait for the button to pop “up” from the turkey’s behind.  With one question on their minds; “When will it be done?”

That final 30 minutes was a race to the finish!  Mashing potatoes, pulling casseroles out of the oven in enough time to cool but not get cold, heating the up the dinner roles without burning them, carving the turkey and ham, and oh yeah make the gravy I had enough!  I announced; “It is finally done, get in her in eat before it all gets too cold!”

Yeah, again I made everyone feel uncomfortable.  They all timidly fill their plates as they walked around the banquet of food almost afraid to ask, “Is anyone going to give thanks?”  I can’t imagine the look on my face by that time, and I am embarrassed to say, that we did not give thanks before we ate.

And I as I type this out to you today I have tears of regret and shame, that I let my emotions get the best of me on the very day people, that don’t usually pray, take the time to bow their head and give thanks.

I have so much to be thankful for how could I have done such a thing.  I feel as if God himself was waiting anxiously that day too, waiting for me to say thank you.  As I think back at that moment, I can almost see Him walk away as everyone started to eat and it breaks my heart to think that my own attitude grieved Him so much that He was not invited at our meal.

With Thanksgiving Day 2010 gone I now want to say this:
Lord God, you have so much mercy on me, and have given me so much more than I am worthy of. I  may be a little late but I want to thank you for all you have done in this past year for me and my family.  I am truly blessed beyond belief.  Forgive me for grieving you with my unthankful heart.  Always remind me when my attitude is not becoming, of the vision of You quietly walking away like you did on Thanksgiving Day.  I never want to feel your presence walk away from me again. In Your Name, I pray, Amen.


People really do want to be nice.

Driving into work one morning I noticed a tall man walk out of the local donut shop with a box full of, what I assume donuts. He had a smile on his face it was almost as if he was skipping. “Why is this man so happy about a box of donuts?” I asked myself, “Is he going to eat them all?” Then I heard God say, “He is happy because he is doing something nice for his fellow co-workers.”
I thought about that for a few minutes… I like to nice things for people, it makes me smile when I know I can surprise someone. I felt ashamed to think the worse of this man, that he was going to eat all those donuts. Think about it, people really do want to do nice things for others. I believe it is in our make up, it makes us feel good when we do nice things. So the next time a fellow co-worker does something nice for you, do be suspicious of their actions, they just want to be nice.



I hate to admit it but my attitude can, at times, be based on the weather (cold and gloomy), the amount of traffic on my way into work, the way people treat me (superior over me), or many other things. When I base my attitude to random circumstances I become, to be honest, very unstable and moody. Then it becomes hard for me to show love and kindness to people around me, and become very “snappy” towards people. On the other hand when I choose my attitude despite what is going on around me, I tend to have a good day. But I know it is hard at times to CHOOSE the right attitude.
One morning as I got around I realized I pushed the clock to the very last second again. I left the house behind schedule thinking in my head that I can make up time as I drove to work. I asked God for all green lights and no traffic, even that time could stand still so I could clock in on time. Me! Me! Me!
Not following the law I tell myself, “its ok if I go 9 over the speed limit,” or, “I didn’t notice the light being red” (and really I did) as I drove through it. I was making my guarding angles work harder to protect me. I got aggravated with fellow drivers as they follow the law and stop at the light when it just turned yellow. Grumbling and complaining in my spirit before I even got to work.
Then, on my last stretch to work an old beat up truck was driving very slowly, I came very upset. This driver did not have his flashers on to indicate that he was having any kind of mechanical trouble; if he did I would have gotten around him before I was block in by other cars. So I drove behind this man, throwing my hands up the air and shaking my head, it was very obvious that I was “ticked”. This went on for about 50 yards and then he turned and as I drove on past him I laid on my horn as I approached the last traffic light.
Then I heard God ask this question… “What if that was my son Jesus driving that truck, would you have been so rude?” I instantly felt lousy, and ashamed. I started thinking what this man must have felt; he himself might have been trying to get work on time too. He probably felt embarrassed knowing that he was making the traffic back up behind him.
I asked God to forgive me for being rude and uncompassionate, then I said a quick prayer for this man, that his day would go better and that God would bless him.
With that little lesson tucked in back of my mind, I left for work yet another morning a little behind, not as bad as the day before but I wasn’t going to let the traffic upset me. Then all the sudden this red car pulled out in front of me, I instantly felt my blood pressure rise. How dare this person pull out in front of me, her car even seem to be running poorly. I had to stop that train of thought instantly! So I chose to think differently about the fact that she was driving in front of me, I started to look closely to her car and noticed that the rear right tire seemed to be low and very wobbly. So instead of grumbling about the situation, I started to pray for this person. The Lord God knew what was going on in her life; I just prayed that HE was watching over her and that she would have a peaceful day. Just doing that simple thing help me have a different outlook on my day. So instead of using my words for complaining, I want to choose to use my words for praying and by doing just doing that little thing I have a better attitude.