We Wash Feet

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

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New year, New Attempt  

So my last post was in 2015. Well, the last post to be published that is.  I fill notebooks, journals and tablets with my scribbles, doodles, thoughts, prayers and words about just about everything. It’s how I release it. Many years ago someone, in some book suggested writing a WOMM list, (What’s on my mind) and to this day I still dump my brain on paper with WOMM centered on the first line. If I can get it on paper, it’s as if I don’t have to stress about it anymore. A friend said I should try bullet journaling. I might. 

In 2016 we continued to serve in our community, our schools, our church and each other. I joined a great team of 4 ladies and started serving our church district as women’s ministry coordinators. I became PTO president for our elementary school and continued to serve spaghetti most Friday nights to whomever joins us. Many things happened in 2016 but let’s not focus on all that, let’s look toward 2017. It promises to bring many opportunities to be an example to others in what we say, in the way we live, in our love, our faith and our purity. 

I intend to blog more this year, to record my thoughts and our family’s journey along the way. I would like to see We Wash Feet encourage you to follow Christ’s example, serving up huge helpings of hospitality and love, grace, mercy and truth! 

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Serving Others at Breakfast

For weeks the women’s ministry team has been meeting and preparing to host our annual local church ladies for a special Christmas breakfast.  This year we decided to cater it instead of meeting together in a nearby restaurant.   Our women’s ministry director chose the theme, The Best Gift, and then began to work on our program.  I began to recruit the twenty ladies necessary to hostess the tables.

As ladies agreed to hostess a table, they received a complimentary ticket and a letter explaining the details.  This kept everyone on the same page. The letter simply said thank you and listed what their responsibilities and my responsibilities would be.

Round tables with traditional white tablecloths were placed around the room.  Each table hostess brought her dishes, glass and flatware, a centerpiece, and most often a small gift for ladies who sit around her table. Lots of details went into making this morning a successful respite from the busyness of the holidays.

Didn’t the hard work of our hostesses pay off?

DSC_0188For this centerpiece, beautiful prancing reindeer danced around a silver cylinder candle holder and red tulle netting gave it an extra punch of color. These lovely sisters used dishes passed down from their mother with red chargers under each plate to accent the centerpiece.  A Christmas bookmark and chocolates awaited each of their table guests.

DSC_0218This beautiful table decorated by my friend and beautician showed creativity worth noticing – scattered snowflakes, embellished blue ornaments surrounding a cobalt blue pitcher for the centerpiece, blue bandannas for napkins,  and silver makeup bags with beauty samples placed on each plate.

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This table’s snowman stood beside Christmas cones of bright red, green and candy stripes. The beautiful Christmas China was accented by chargers in red, green and gold. This hostess placed a candy filled plush snowman on each chair.

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This experienced hostess must throw amazing dinner parties as her table setting was elegant and sophisticated.  Beautiful fine china circled around a Santa tea pot and a Christmas home with a tiny train of sleighs that moved around the scene.  Napkin rings held paper napkins, a small notebook propped against the stemware and Andes mints sat in the saucer.  Elegance was an understatement.

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 

This Hostess and her daughter (kindergarten age) set this table together.  I stood back  watching mother instruct daughter on how and where to place each piece.  It was quite moving for this mother of all boys.  The centerpiece was unique and so very creative.  The antlers were adorned with battery operated Christmas lights.  I wish I had gotten a picture of it lit up but you will have to imagine that.

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One of Our Mother Daughter Duos

This table can only be described as cozy and warm.  I wanted to just pull up to it and start chatting.  Our hostess used two table runners and criss-crossed them. I will definitely use this idea in the future.  This centerpiece stayed tall and thin as to not block conversation between guests.  The top hat flanked one side of the tall vase and a snowman on the other.  The vase, topped with a huge white snowflake and red Christmas balls was wrapped in silver fabric making this tablescape spectacular.  Each guest felt welcomed as she sat before her plate and cup.  Did you notice the packaged cocoa stick snowman peeking over the rim? So adorable.  Every plate held red tipped flatware wrapped in a white napkin and tied with a pretty red and white checkered bow!

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Another one of our Mother Daughter Duos – We are blessed! 

This table used a green runner underneath red taper candles, a small decorated Christmas tree and an adorable snowman.  The snowman dishes held a Christmas jingle bell necklace for each guest.  We have some very creative ladies at our church!

This was just a sampling of the beautifully decorated tables from this morning. Every table was just as unique and special as the ladies who decorated them.  Some of these tables told stories of rich heritage, others were whimsical and festive but all were gifts of time and love for the ladies they would host.  This added such a personal touch to our morning and I am beyond grateful for their assistance.

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The buffet tables were clad with red cloth runners across the middle and laden with individual sized quiches, sausage cream cheese stuffed croissants, yogurt and fruit parfaits, and miniature pancakes with butter and syrup.  Talk about delicious.  I want the recipes!

Throughout the morning, everyone sang Christmas carols, ate their fill, listened to the guest speakers, and gave generously to the missionary family we chose to bless.   We were blessed.  I felt accomplished and ready to put my feet up and relax after a long morning of work.  My heart is full.  I love my sisters.  I love our church.

 

Operation Christmas Child

Like so many of you, Christmas is my favorite time of the year! Opportunities to serve others are so numerous that you really do have to be careful to not overextend yourself or your budget.  With so many worthy causes, it can be difficult to choose between the various charities and projects. You can provide Christmas for local families, children overseas, prisoners and their families, food, farm animals, ornaments. You name it, its out there and I have a hard time choosing! 

One of my favorite choices is packing a shoebox full of Christmas gifts for a child overseas. It’s a small, easy project, child friendly and inexpensive.  I remember our first shoebox. It must have been in the early nineties when my boys and I chose a gender and age group, then headed to Walmart to shop! This turned out to be such an exciting learning experience for them. A few days later we strolled into MOPS with filled boxes in tow and huge grins on our faces. Those boxes multiplied as mom after mom brought in a box. 

Operation Christmas Child has continued to bless kids around the world. Most years we’ve participated and loved it. This year Tim’s class helped us.  We sent home a letter saying we were packing a girl and a boy box as a class and the response was tremendous. We watched our 2 boxes grow into 5 boxes in the end.  

 
The teacher enjoyed it so much that she and another teacher plan to make this an annual project! Maybe it will be contagious! I sure hope so! 

The enthusiasm of these second graders inspired me to pack a box for an older boy myself. I did a little research for suggestions to fill the box and Pinterest had a ton of ideas. I packed it so full: fishing gear, hygiene products, a deflated soccer ball and pump, a compass and whistle, a harmonica, a bandana, washcloth and tshirt, rope, tools, candy, a collapsible bowl, a spoon and fork, school supplies and a water bottle.  I took the advice I read and found more items than could possibly fit inside our box. I sent him a soccer ball and the harmonica to play with but I also tried to think practical and sent a couple of tools and things that I’m hopeful he could use. He has fishing wire, hooks, weights and lures to fish. He just needs to find a sturdy stick and attach the string!  I may have enjoyed purchasing and packing the contents more than he enjoyed opening it! 

Operation Shoe Box is one of the easiest ways to give back and serve others. Please consider packing a shoebox or two this Christmas 

I Quit My Job Today

Although there was the infamous straw, I had long contemplated this day. In fact I wrestled with returning for this school year, prayed, sought Godly council and decided because I didn’t know the reason for this nagging feeling that if and when there was a reason, I could always quit later on. I should have listened and obeyed that still small voice. It was there.
Isn’t it interesting how much louder that still small voice becomes in retrospect? 

I feel relieved. I can breath again. I teach reading part time (At least for a couple more weeks). My son attends this school. I serve as PTO secretary. Maintaining good rapport with teachers and administration is essential and a huge concern. Thankfully, we have an amazing Principal who listened, problem solved with me, and requested I be available to sub.  I left feeling positive as if I should have done this week’s ago. 

Keeping our priorities in proper working order is vitally important. This part time position was insisting on more and more time away from my family to plan and prepare for the next day. My 3 hours of paid work was taking my full day’s attention. There wasn’t time to serve as wife, mother, friend. 

I do realize you may not be able to step back from your job. You may be the primary income in your home. I realize I am blessed beyond measure to afford this luxury. A single income, 2 parent home is a luxury.  I’m not advocating everyone quit. This was just what I needed to do to be obedient to my calling and ministry.  

Who knows, I’m hopeful you will see more of me in the blogosphere! 

The school year begins 

Bedtime came before the sun set but we still tried our best to squeeze out every last drop of summer break.

I hosted a girlfriends Bible Study in the living room until 9.  Yes, the night before we go back to school.  I slipped away to tuck him in and make sure he had clothes laid out for the big day!

Of course the morning came too soon.  Our high schooler somehow squirmed out of the first day of school picture but little does he know I snapped one while he ate a snack right after school!

first day of second day

 
Our second grader posed under the tree. We prayed together for his day, his teachers, our school. He was excited to get back to school. I didn’t even get to walk him in. He just got out at the morning drop off door, exchanged words of endearment with me and trotted right inside the building. 

He remembered my every morning tradition:

“I love you.

Grow in wisdom and

Be a blessing.”

Teary eyed, I scooted on over to Chick Fil A to meet up with another mama sending her 4th grader to public school for the first time.  It was our own little Tears n Tea, Coffee n Cry mommy meeting, only this time I got to be the listener or at the least the distraction! 

I fondly remember my friend insisting I meet her for breakfast on my first day of public school kindergarten attendance. I homeschooled his older brothers the previous 10+ years so this was a difficult morning filled with uncertainty. What a blessing she was that morning. I hope I passed on that same care and love.

Encouraging others can be simple. Let’s be on the lookout for another mom to console, bless, and serve when school kicks off next year. Until then . . . 

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