Friday night was the Ladie's Christmas party at church. This is the event that always kicks off the Christmas season for me. Black Friday shopping? No way, give me the party instead!
What a wonderful evening it was. It's a real outreach for the ladies of our church and there are many, many guests that come. It's a casual, fun evening that still focuses on the reason for this special season, Jesus! We hold a silent auction for poverty relief both locally and abroad, have a few booths to shop at who's owners do it to raise money for a charity, take an offering for a charitable organization, have lots and lots of door prizes, lots and lots of food, and lots of laughs. This year once again, a friendly competition was held for a couple of pairs of gorgeous high heeled shoes. It the shoes were your size you were invited to come on up on stage and compete in a well chosen minute to win it game. Lots of laughs. And some pretty competitive ladies we have apparently when it comes to hot shoes. And when all that settles down, we have a special speaker who puts our focus back onto why we have this holiday to begin with. This year the speaker was the director of the Bible college T. attends so she brought T. with her. Such a sweet thing for her to do and I soaked up every second with my girl. I had been feeling quite sad thinking that this would be the first Christmas party I would go to without her so it was extra special to have her there. She didn't win the shoes, though. Bummer. She's gonna have to practice up on her minute to win it skills for next year.
Unfortunately, after this event because there is so much work to do beforehand, and then the adrenaline rush of being the door prize giver, it takes me a few days to recover. Seriously. Today I'm still dragging and it's blizzarding, so it's going to be an easy going day in dayhome. Now where did I put the can of hot chocolate?
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. May you have a very blessed holiday! I've had a very crazy week with handling details for the silent auction and prize giveaways for our Ladies Christmas party which is tonight. We also received devastating news on a tragic accident that took the life of a family friend. So with all this going on I just did not make it to the computer in time to do a full list for first thing this morning. But please play along and I will add more as soon as I can!
1. Anticipation of Youngest Daughter coming home. Even if it is only for one night. The bible college director is the lady speaking at our Ladies Christmas Party and because this is T's home town she asked T to accompany her. I'm so excited, but boy do I have a lot to do to get ready!
2. This post contains the next two favorites...God incidences and the beginning of a special trip. 3. A blessing of a great hotel room. To take J. to the airport we booked a hotel near the airport because he had to be there so early and none of us felt like a 2+ hour drive in the middle of the night. I went on hotels.ca (com) and picked one that looked decent and had really good reviews from guests. I got a great deal on it saving $80. And it was a wonderful hotel! New, modern, huge room, very comfortable bed, delicious breakfast included. We'll stay there again whether we need to go to the airport or not.
4. Big City Farmer's Market. So much fun and so many delicious looking foods and wonderful products for sale.
What have your favorites been this week? If you don't have time to share what you are thankful for this week with us on the computer, considering sharing it with someone you are spending time with this weekend. And don't neglect to ask what were the blessings in their own week. Gratefulness can be contagious and brightens the day! Happy Thanksgiving, American Friends!
Yes, that is me. At the Operation Christmas Child Warehouse and Samaritan's Purse Canadian Head Office. It was quite a God coincidence that I ended up there. We were taking my son to the airport to catch his flight to El Salvador to work with Samaritan's Purse on one of their water projects. Halfway there he pipes up that he forgot his Samaritan's Purse t-shirt back home. Yikes. After phoning a couple of contact numbers and not reaching anyone, we said we'd go to the hotel and then we'd try and find the Samaritan's Purse office on the off chance someone would be there. I'd never booked this hotel that we were at before but we wanted one close to the airport as he had to be there at 6:30 a.m. As we were turning into the street of the hotel, there before our very eyes, right across the street from the hotel, was the Samaritan's Purse building!
And lo and behold, there was lots of cars in the parking lot. Co-incidentally, it was the first day of the Operation Christmas Child shoebox warehouse sorting and packing! The lovely ladies there went all out finding J. another t-shirt, and while that was happening they let me into the warehouse to take a peek. It was not fully up and running yet as all the semi trucks from all over hadn't really starting arriving yet as collection week was still on. But I saw enough to literally make me cry. Thousands of boxes being packed up, ready to ship to hurting kids around the world.
It was totally overwhelming and I'm crying as I type this. This picture is only a tiny view of the front end. This warehouse is massive! What a privilege to see this after years of heading up collecting shoe boxes for my church and packing shoe boxes since the very beginning. Next year I'm so applying to work a shift in the warehouse. And what a humbling experience to, once again, see that God was in control the whole time taking care of our needs and adding an unexpected extra blessing on top of it just for me. I truly felt loved by my Father! Co-incidence? I don't think so. I think a day made in heaven by a loving God who does know everything and knows the desires of our hearts!
Is it Friday already? Where on earth did this week go? Seems like I just typed up last week's FFF and here we are again. But that's the perfect time to intentionally pause and look for the blessings. Please join in!
1. Operation Christmas Child boxes loaded and delivered! I had a car load from my church to take to the collection center. Once again I got such a thrill imagining each box being opened by a child. I love being involved with this ministry. For everyone who packed a box or two (or 6 like one special lady at my gym!) this video is for you!
2. Connections Pot Luck after service on Sunday. A special lunch so that new people can meet and connect with others in our church. I love events like this. Sometimes it's so hard to meet people as they are rushing out the door to get home to that roast in the oven. This gave opportunity to sit and relax and just get to know someone I might otherwise not have met for quite some time or someone who was normally out of usual comfort zone.
3. A surprise lunch with a friend. My friend and I were scheduled to work at the soup kitchen last Saturday but when we got there they had an over abundance of helpers, so she took me for lunch and we did a bit of Christmas decorating shopping. What a nice time with a good friend.
4. Brandied Pear candle. Purchased at above mentioned shopping trip. Smells. so. good. And it was a great price on top of it all.
5. Saving the best for last, cooking Hubby's favorite dinner for his birthday! It was a real pleasure cooking his favorite meal for him, a small way of letting him know I love him, knowing how happy he'd be about it. Happy birthday, Sweetie!
Guilt-ridden after a family tragedy at age 16, Kirsten attempted to bury her pain in her flesh and called it coping. But at 23, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten discovers a devastating secret about him. In the emotional chaos that follows, an accident by her own hand lands her in a hospital psych ward, unable to find release in injuring herself.
The only viable treatment option is a stint on a Montana sheep ranch, working with the quirky but insightful “Sister Frankie.” Feeling as inept as the sheep themselves, Kirsten slowly joins the unlikely crew of people who are also searching for healing. Gradually she opens herself to embrace mothering an orphaned lamb and hearing God’s voice and . . . possibly . . . finding love again.
Through it all, mercy begs her to remember the past, showing her there is nothing—nothing—that can’t be redeemed. (From Thomas Nelson website)
I loved this story. Right from the beginning I was drawn into Kirsten's story. It tells a very powerful story that stuck with me for days afterward. Through the assortment of characters, the reader is shown a variety of attempts they use at hiding deep pain within their lives. The main character is a very likeable young woman with secrets she has tried to hide since her youth. The only release she finds is through self injury. She is very careful to keep her secret but when an event occurs that causes her "accident" to be misinterpreted, the self injury is no longer a secret. Faced with having to do something about it, Kirsten chooses to go to a sheep ranch in Montana at the recommendation of her pastor. It is here, from the loving and accepting ex-nun, Sister Frankie, and the honest work of a sheep ranch that Kirsten starts to finally face the guilt, pain and anger that have so long been buried inside of her. Though the story is built on her, there are other characters introduced that allow the reader to relate to any one of them in how they, themselves might deal with the painful things in our lives. Theirs is a long and difficult journey that I felt invested emotionally in as the story continued. The novel is really well paced and always give just information that kept me glued to the book to find out what all the secrets were and if they would ever find healing and be able to handle life. And though the characters all had different types anger and hurt and different ways of dealing with it, their path to recovery and healing all pointed to hearing God for themselves. The foundations of the book are Christian and hearing God for themselves is a main point of recovery the book was never "preachy" to the point of taking over the story. It was presented "naturally" and, I thought, beautifully to the reader. The characters and situations are very believeable. I think the book is directed mostly to young adults but it really is a great read for any age, especially if you have young people in your life. I'm passing this book onto my girls (ages 18 and 23) to read.
Thanks to Booksneeze for sending me a free copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.
There is a preview of the story here if you'd like to read a couple of chapters.
Welcome everyone. It's been a really full and busy week and I've been quite missing in action all week on the old blog but I sure don't want to miss these Friday posts. It helps me to slow down and notice the good things that might otherwise slip past with me being barely conscious of them. Please join us as we find our fave five blessings of the week! If you need the guidelines they are linked in the sidebar.
1. Road trip to see Oldest Daughter on the long weekend. It's a long drive, 6 1/2 + hours, but oh so worth it to see her smiling face. With it being Remembrance Day on Monday it gave us that extra day to go see her. We need at least 2 nights there otherwise it's not worth it go because of the length of time spent on the road, so this long weekend was the perfect opportunity. The weather held out and we had a great weekend.
2. Shopping excursion in one of my favorite stores. While visiting our girl, we went to Homesense which is one of my favorite stores. We don't have one here, so I'm always happy when hubby suggests we go there. He knows it will make me happy and he's willing to indulge me a bit.
3. Butter Trufle Tea. Smooth and buttery, perfect for cooler days. A touch of honey and milk, a blankie and good book and I'm set.
4. Some good reading time. Road trip means lots of pages are going to be read. Relaxing in the evenings in the hotel room means extra time to read too. Love it!
5. Starbucks Creme Brulee Latte is back. What a nice surprise it was to find the Christmas drinks at Starbucks are featuring and that means my favorite of all is here! Yummm!