I was sad yesterday afternoon as I watched the large group of people leaving for Mexico. I so very much wanted to go with them. They are bringing Christmas gifts to the children at Casa Hogar Elim, an annual thing started last year by Jeff Harrell. We collect shoe boxes, fill them up with small age-appropriate toys and sugar-free candy, then wrap them up. Now these gifts aren’t just for a boy, age 6, or a girl, age 10, there’s a package for each individual child with their name on it. We can’t put bows on these boxes, as they would be crushed under the weight of all the supplies in the cars and vans.
There are so many people from our church that want to go to Casa Hogar, they don’t even need to advertise the trips. If you’ve been there, you’re a walking billboard for CHE. The Thanksgiving trip even had a waiting list this year. The ‘regulars’ have gone so many times, they can’t even tell you how many trips they’ve made. We love these kids, and for those of us whom visit often, these kids are our extended family.
You know the old saying, ‘you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family?’ I beg to differ. I was thinking last night about family and friends, and all of the funny ways God placed them in my life. God clearly has a sense of humor!
I moved into my house three years ago, although my kids didn’t start attending the local school until two years ago. We live at the end of the street, walking distance from the elementary school. I noticed a house that had some fun yard decor, more specifically, ‘little skeleton girl’. She was out for Halloween, dressed in her hippie costume, but she stayed out for other holidays. What!? Could this be? Could I really have a soul sister on my street?
I was intrigued. Why did I think this was my soul sister? I have a full size mannequin named Darla. You can learn more about her on Facebook at facebook.com/luvplasticpeople. Anyway, I wanted to meet little skeleton girl’s mom. I did, and her name is Patty.
Patty loves to volunteer her time for great causes, so we cross paths quite a bit, not only walking down the street, but many other places. Patty was at Victoria Gardens with me when I met Flo, the ghost of Christmas future. I can’t wait to go to Casa Hogar with Patty! I live in a great neighborhood, as it’s filled with fun, caring people like Patty.
As I said in yesterday’s post, I was an only child until my teen years. I really don’t remember ever bugging my parents about wanting a baby brother or sister. I don’t know if that’s because I didn’t want one or because I knew it was a horrible idea for my parents to have anymore children. I guess God knew I needed some siblings, but decided to bring them in under different circumstances. At the age of 14, I got a step brother, two step sisters, and soon after, a half brother.
The funny thing about this is my sister Jo. We are not blood related at all, yet we are just alike. Our beliefs, our personalities, our creativity… and the list goes on. The more perplexing thing here is our kids. My son Joe and her son Isaac, again, no genetic relation, not only look alike, but act alike. Jo lives in Wisconsin, so we don’t get to see each other too often. We were on vacation in Florida several years ago, Joe and Isaac both ‘sitting’ on their heads on the sofa watching TV. Jo says, “Look, Isaac taught Joe to do that.” I replied, “What? Joe’s been doing that for months.” Both kids had been doing this separately for months. And just for the record, they look alike right-side up too.
This next one isn’t as much humor funny as it is implausible funny. Let me just start by saying it’s an extremely rare occasion when I can find anything good to say about my ex-husband. The aftermath of an interaction with him frequently results in misery and relational mass destruction.
Dawn and Genna live near Kansas City, so we don’t get to see them very often. Genna is my step-daughter and Dawn is her mother. The boys and I took our family vacation up there this past summer and we had a blast! Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You probably think it’s odd that we’re friends, so this next statement will really throw you. We consider ourselves family. Yes, family. You may not be able to choose your genetic family, but through love and friendship, you do choose your ‘preferred’ family. One of the definitions of family is “a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals…” Yes, that’s us. I’ve realized one thing this Christmas, one very big positive thing to say about the boys dad. Without him, I would not have my boys, nor would I have Dawn and Genna. As you can tell by the photo, they are obviously ‘related’, as they are a bunch of little camera junkies! Genna is a very talented photographer and is doing an internship right now. The boys like to make funny YouTube videos, a couple that have gone small-time viral.
God has brought many other people into my life in unexpected ways, from church and Facebook to a lady at church who accidentally door dinged my beat-up car. I’ll take 100 of those kind of door dings! Oh, wait, I have 100 door dings, but only one has a great story behind it.
So what does all of this have to do with Christmas? This is the time of year when many people experience strong feelings of loneliness, seemingly endless despair and high levels of stress. I’m no different, but as these feelings arise, I have this faint awareness of hope. I appreciate my friends and family, realizing I don’t tell them that nearly enough. I also appreciate you for taking the time to read my 25 days of Christmas blog. :)