2012 has been an unbelievably hard year for our family. Our son Chris (born on Christmas day many years ago) lost his battle with diabetes in March. We spent our last few weeks with him while also dealing with a house that had been flooded by a backed up sewer line. Nine days after he left us, as the house was beginning to take shape again, a second flood was forced upon us and we had to start over again. Another son took over the refurbishment, and we continued our quest to build our dream home in the piney woods of East Texas. Building a home is stressful under the finest of circumstances, but progress was made with my hubby's endless energy and persistence. Then came that dreaded call in the night telling us the family home (yes, the one with 2 floods already) was on fire! Praise God - our son, a friend and the pets were able to escape. Morning brought visions of charred rafters and ceilings now covering the floors. Thankful, but tired, we began the dreaded business of insurance claims, clean up and rebuild. And so it continued.....but then it hit me - the fire had stolen what little Christmas the year had left us! Forty years worth of decorations had been in that attic! All the handmade projects - the thumbprint mice on wooden spoons, the painted and glittering pine cones, the salt dough treasures lovingly crafted with tiny hands. They were gone, or totally covered with smoke and soot! So it was decided - NO CHRISTMAS this year! No tree, no lights, maybe not even any presents.
But then our family and friends stepped in. An enormous second-hand tree was supplied by our daughter, along with thousands of lights. My fellow shop-owners at Zibbet.com began shipping ornaments on a daily basis. Other online friends read my joyful posts and soon joined the effort. The postmaster declared the good news of more boxes arriving to a crowded lobby, so soon my neighbors joined in the giving. The outpouring of love is beyond amazing! It has rekindled our spirits, awakened a lost hope, and brought unknown joy. And now we have the most amazingly beautiful "Friendship Tree" to remind us forever of our blessings.
We have always given to others - it's just "what you do". Our kids were raised giving blankets and singing carols at the nursing home; going with Papa to deliver baskets to the poor; selecting an angel and buying gifts from their own allowances; dropping every bit of change in that red kettle. Giving and Christmas were one and the same. Now we've experienced the joy of being on the receiving end, and what a blessing this has been! My friends have given up beloved treasures, crafted one of a kind delights, and most importantly - shared their hearts. We are blessed beyond measure. Our cup runneth over. Thank you dear friends!
Joy to the World!
These are just a few of the many gifts of love we've received. You can see the whole album on my FaceBook page here.