Saturday, December 17, 2022

{December: Part Two}

Before Bubba came home for Christmas Break, we swung by our new/old church for their kids Winter Wonderland.  They decorated cookies as big as their faces and tried to eat them {whew!}, made the sweetest little sparkly handprint craft, put together an Advent Nativity Set and did a family service project for the Ronald McDonald House.  

We haven't truly decided if this will be our home church again but have felt the Holy Spirit guide us and affirm that we are where we are supposed to be right now.  We did, however, receive a letter from our former pastor telling us that he had been told we were at RH for good and he was wishing us luck.  I've never been so hurt from a church in my entire 43 years...and my daddy was a pastor so I definitely saw the ugly from time to time.  The way our former church leadership handled our situation is something that would make most walk away completely but I've literally felt the hands of Jesus hold me and whisper "It's not supposed to be this way and I am so sorry."  I know it grieves Him, too.  Our family actually didn't go to church for a few months at all while we waited and prayed for a change {hoping to be able to return to our former church} and then God used several people to speak into us reminding us that we just needed to be somewhere together in one Sunday morning, Scott said let's just go to Riverland Hills today...and I wept.  The Holy Spirit had been prompting me that way as well.  It's different than it was 4 years ago and in very good ways.  We've been welcomed with open arms and no one has judged us for leaving.  It's been exactly the warm reception that we needed after such a deep hurt.  

We are taking baby steps and asking the Lord to lead and this fun night was one of the very reasons we knew we needed to be somewhere for Christmas and not home. 

Afterwards, we got home and waited for Scott to bring Wyatt back from college.  Bear greeted his brother by hiding in the woods dressed like this and armed with an air soft gun to "hug" his big brother in BBs.  Boys!!!

Then, we had Scott's grandmama's French family Christmas together the next day.  I had to take a picture of AJ and her plate...everything was literally the same color.  

Daddy and his girls

There are 90 years between these two!!!  

Checking off our Christmas To Do list with our annual Gingerbread Baking Night...and decorating competition.  

Bear and the girls decorated and Bubba was the judge! 

We all went the following Sunday to the modern worship Christmas program which was also incredible! 

The church has built more since we were last there and is so big.  But, it's still the place where both girls were welcomed home from China, where both boys were baptized and where my Annabelle's service was held.  So, as much as it and we have changed, it still feels like home. 

Girls pedicure and red toes for all of us! 

More Christmas school.  We decided to redo Gather Round's original Christmas unit that we did several years ago.  It was a fun addition to our morning time. 

We did some more shopping and AJ found herself some shoes.  I have a feeling her big Bubba may have just snuck back over there to get them for her. 

And we remembered the day that my Mama went to Heaven...27 years going with my Daddy and sister {and her kids} to the Christmas Lights at Riverbanks Zoo.  We had never been and it was beautiful.  

The neatest story that was a total God thing happened when we got there.  I had asked about our free entry since we have a membership and they couldn't find it {my dad had just renewed it for us but there was an issue with the system}...anyways, the gentleman helping us pulled all of our crew out through the gate and said that since he recognized me and the girls from being there so much that the evening was a treat from the zoo and he wasn't going to charge us.  The tickets are $22 a head so this was a huge gift to us!  Little did he know that as he was telling us to just go on in and enjoy, that Elvis {my mother's absolute favorite artist ever} was playing on the speakers.  God has such a sense of humor!  At the end of the evening, my Daddy went back into the office to share with the gentleman that we were there to remember my mother's passing and to celebrate the season she loved so much together as a family and that he had been used by God to bless us that night.  He needed to know that!  Such a special evening together and I know my Mama would have loved it! 

Slow Saturday mornings of spot it and rewatching the modern Christmas service on YouTube.  LOVE! 

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