Saturday, December 24, 2011

All Is Calm

I didn't think I would be writing again but here I am :) It's Christmas Eve and it just doesn't seem like Christmas this year. It's been difficult the past couple weeks-I avoid Facebook as much as possible so I don't cry seeing all the pictures of everyone with their families, preparing together, talking about what they will do together, etc. Usually I am not so depressed -the first Christmas without Marla was rough but thankfully we spent a couple days with Doug and Rose-hanging out in our sweats and watching movies together. It was a blast!!!
This is the first Christmas we will actually be all alone. Not that I don't love being with my husband, but I am the type that loves being with people during the holidays. Normally we invite people, but this year everyone is gone. Our adopted kids (Bethany and Lorenzo) are back in the states, people are busy with their own families and here we are. I know, I probably sound pathetic....but I can't help it. I am so sad!! Everyone says how Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and I agree-but everyone loves being around their families too-it just makes Christmas more Christmasy.....ok I will try to get over it! My Marla will wake up in her apartment all alone....ok Margie..STOP!!!!! Poor girl has a bad ear infection and may not make it to the family get together tonight. Praying she feels well enough on Christmas to hang out with Sandy and family. At least we will get to skype and she can open her presents while we watch. Same thing with our grandchildren. We get to skype and they will open their presents from us. Praise the Lord for Skype!!!! It's such a blessing to us and many that we know.

The good thing is that I baked and baked. Every year I make baked goods for friends and my neighbor that lives downstairs. This year I decided to just bake for a bunch of my neighbors. I baked different cookies (gingersnaps, chocolate peppermint with white choc and crushed peppermint on top, Mexican wedding cookies, and sugar cookies). I also made a pretty tile for each of them to display in their homes. I used the scripture Numbers 6:24-26.
I made my way to each of their homes-they were shocked!!!
My downstairs neighbor is always thrilled when I bring them baked goods and they bring over some yummy goodness Napoli style for us.
Afterwards, I came home, tidied up the kitchen and started thinking about their responses. The Lord gave me a little bible study with each of them. I thought I would share it on here :)
One neighbor just kept telling me 'thank you' over and over again. The other-an older lady whose husband passed away a year ago didn't even look out the window-she thought I was a solicitor and said-no thanks. Then, I told her who I was and she came to the gate. She was in shock I tell you! She couldn't understand why I would make cookies for her. She got a little teary-eyed and asked how could she accept them when she has nothing to offer me.
Another neighbor wanted me to stay for coffee. Another one apologized to me for never stopping to talk to me. Her and her husband invited me in, wanted to chat for a bit and then made me promise I will come over often and practice my Italian with them.
When I was cleaning, I thought that these different responses are just perfect in how people respond to the Lord.
Some are just so thankful, don't have much more to say but Thank You so much!
Others feel they don't deserve Him or His love because they have nothing to offer Him. They aren't used to anything for free or without strings attached.
Others are sorry they didn't meet Him sooner-desiring a relationship now that they know Him a little better.
This was a great gift from the Lord. How often we say that when we step out and want to bless others, we ourselves become so blessed. A plate of cookies-it can do wonders. Honestly, I have lived here 3 years now and never felt as close to my neighbors as I did today. I told Jim that none of them will ever just walk by without a little chat from now on. It's like the walls came down. People think of Italians as very open and friendly. It's true in the South but in the North they can be much more reserved. People on my street are not outside much-they work and then close up the windows when they arrive home.
Now, we are excited and want to plan a Mexican dinner and invite the neighbors. Little by little-this is what everyone has been telling me since moving here. Noone usually responds to you for years. They want to trust you first. Well, I think God just opened the way. Let's just hope they enjoy the cookies :)
It's often in the little things that God blesses us and let's us know how much He loves and cares for us. If we weren't here, we wouldn't have been able to experience this joy today. I think this will become a new tradition in the neighborhood-the American girl bakes...oh you should have heard the one lady. She was so cute...Oh, Brava Margie-you made these, oh brava!! How can you not smile!!
I leave you with this beautiful song. There's something about listening to this song in so many languages over the years. Makes you realize that God indeed loved the whole world so much that He gave all of us Jesus, our perfect gift. Every tongue, every nation-we will praise Him!!!
Have a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy your time with your families. Pray for those who for whatever reason aren't able to be with their families this year. Pray for those whose loved ones are celebrating in Heaven for the first time and they are left here to mourn their loss. Pray for those in bunkers and fox holes on foreign soil.

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