I finally awoke without a swollen throat! Just some sniffing and coughing now and then but how good it is to sip my morning coffee without a grimace. I'll continue with my tea toddies and extra vitamin C to keep infection from returning.
Next week is the "end of semester" week that I work so I need extra strength. I know they were concerned about my health (for good reason) so believe me, I plan to be healthy. I need that week of work this year and I can handle one week shelving textbooks. At the same time, it has been such a blessing seeing needs met. Whoever was responsible for the Charlie's Soap box appearing on my porch... THANK YOU!
I have mentioned many times that I was not a good receiver. For one thing, it requires humility and a humble spirit and I'd much prefer God working on my, um... giving and leadership skills? But He knows what part of the marble has to be chipped away to present me complete before the Father. Hopefully He won't say something like, "You should have seen what I had to start with!".
I've already written about the list I make each year, those things I would like to do during the Christmas Season. This year I knew they would have to be simple and costing very little (or nothing) so it has been quite easy to feel blessed.
My little Charlie Brown Goodwill tree looks amazing. Proof you can "glam up" something quite simple. I have enjoyed morning quiet times and evenings cuddled on the sofa with the tree lit in the corner.
I now have a pretty lace tablecloth on the dining table. It makes it look festive all the time, as if we were ready for an evening for putting on the Ritz. Christmas music fills the background and time is spent with books or a good movie.
There are gift bags under the tree, filled with gifts for the guys from The New England Contingent. Of course, I have mine already since I had to bag and wrap them (Steph sent everything home with Christopher in one huge bag when they met in Maryland).
They included the gift I picked out while we were in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is now propped up on my bookshelf... a framed reproduction of old fashioned needlework with the words from Psalm 107:8 in simple stitches. I know, I should have waited until Christmas but it is so cute.
I love giving and receiving gifts from Stephanie. For her birthday, I sent her a package of small items I'd been collecting for sometime. It amazed both of us how everything sent was much wanted and needed, even the gloves I had purchased on clearance after Christmas last year! One of the gifts she sent me is Lavender Spray which I can hardly wait to use... it is under the tree. I didn't use such restraint to display the needlework.
I encouraged her to spend money this year. Really! (They are already great savers.) I truly believe in investing in the home and children with good quality toys and household items in prosperous years. They also found a good quality artificial tree, purchased in preseason sales. Their old one was dangerously "tippy" for a home with four active children. Of course, Grammies would think that money well spent. :)
When one has made quality purchases in good years, if seasons of limited ability to purchase come, there is already a tree and decorations that warm the heart and no money has to be spent... toys like Play Mobile and Lego's, classic books, board games, music, warm quilts, good quality cookware, tools for Dad, etc. Gifts given for years of use.
At the same time, managing their expectations with quality instead of quantity. Children receiving everything they ask for... too many packages at Christmas and Birthdays... will not know how to handle adversity. Some may never have to but I'm thinking many will.
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give our children (other than a heritage of faith) is an appreciative heart and freedom from excess... simplicity... quality vs. quantity... people vs. things... an afternoon baking cookies... conversation over coffee (with the older child)... a game of Candy Land played with the preschooler... time.