Sunday, January 2, 2011
What a blessing to commemorate the birth of our Savior! As we prepared for our celebration, we were ever mindful of God's most precious gift to us: His Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We were particularly mindful of God's grace to us as a family, as Al was able to be with us and celebrate with us. We are still celebrating his life and his continued recovery from his heart attack. Because I was on leave of absence from work till December 13, I was able to do my shopping and baking at a more leisurely pace, a little at a time, while Janet or Caroline or Erin was home to keep him company. He was also able to be alone for brief periods of time while I ran errands. We did several things together, such as going to his rehab sessions, shopping at Trader Joe's for healthy snacks, and coffee (decaf) at Dunkin Donuts. I also kept him company while I wrapped gifts in our den while he worked online. We enjoyed participating in our church's Christmas program. "Lessons and Carols." We also enjoyed participating in our nursing home ministry, attending Erin's Christmas concert, and our Sunday School Christmas party. Caroline and a friend of hers put up the outside lights for us. Al could not do much of the preparations, in terms of shopping or decorating, so most of that fell to me and the girls.... including cutting down a Christmas tree the afternoon before "Lessons and Carols." Caroline and I went to a tree farm to cut down the Christmas tree. Al asked for one between seven and eight feet tall, and not too fat. Since I like a nice cone shape to a tree, it took a while to find one that would fit both our specifications, as well as one that would meet Caroline's approval. The weather was COLD that day, we had a deadline, and some of the trees were growing on a slope, so we had quite the challenge. Finally we found one that we thought would work. We borrowed a saw from the farm's owners ( they have the saws there for customers to use) and proceeded to cut the tree down. Well, neither Caroline or I are very tall (both of us are under 5'4"), so it was a great adventure! We got it cut., and then proceeded to lug this seven foot tree to the shed to pay for it. The young man in charge tied it on top of Caroline's car and after paying for the tree, we drove it home. We did decide that we needed some Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate to warm us up, so we stopped on the way home. When we got there, Al had a friend visiting to play Stratego. We asked him to help us get the tree into the back yard, and Al offered to help. We said NO, and I rushed upstairs to enlist Erin's help. She's tall, so she would be able to handle the tree well. I said to her, "Get outside NOW and help with the tree before Dad gets to it!" She did. Meanwhile, Al was insisting that he could handl the tree and we were insisting that he must not! His friend looked at him and very sweetly said, "Brother, you're not helping." Well, we got the tree onto our back porch. The next day, we had a friend of Al's sister's at the house helping with some (non-Christmas) lighting issues, and he helped us get the Christmas tree into the stand. Al and the girls put the garlands and lights on, and the girls and I did the rest! I was so thankful that the Lord provided people to help us when we needed it!