your COMMENTS are gifts!

I wanted to say thanks to all who have left beautiful comments on my blog. Tonight as I sifted through my piled up emails, I shed tears of joy over the  many uplifting and kind words of encouragement.

This has been a unique Christmas for our family..more than ever before I’ve been focused solely on the TRUE reason of the season.

Can I be dangerously transparent? I’ve missed the shopping, the baking and wrapping those presents..but..I’ve enjoyed looking at the CHRISTMAS tree with NO presents beneath it and realizing..the material THINGS are wonderful and I’ll look forward to doing all those things NEXT YEAR…but..it was a good year..a year for me to remember-THINGS are not what makes Christmas.. our SAVIOR is CHRISTMAS!

I wish for you-the best CHRISTMAS ever..I pray for your happiness, health and that 2011 will be filled with the never-ending HOPE that our FATHER holds us safely in HIS HANDS! It doesn’t matter what we’ve been through, what we’re facing now or what we have yet to see..rest confidently assured..

HE IS all we need to survive and thrive..because HE FAVORS you and me!

HAPPY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Lis:)

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our way to have CHRISTMAS

This year, we will be spending Christmas Eve with my parents, my sisters and their husbands and kids. Mama makes the best Turkey and dressing and my daddy ritualistically makes the fruit ambrosia. When we girls add our dishes, we end up with a true feast.

We’ll have dinner, open gifts and end the evening gathered around the family room with Daddy reading the Christmas Story. It’s the same thing we’ve done since Lori, Amy, Kelly and I were little girls..now the grandkids would almost skip opening presents before foregoing the tender moment of this tradition.

My Chipper and I will drive an hour to Florence, where we’ll spend the night with Joshua and Nikki and Scott and Jena..Tammy, too. Our Christmas Eve nights are so nostalgic..that’s what I love most..KNOWING what your family will be doing.

No matter where you are..you can do the things that make the season ..yours. Josh, Jensi, and Tang always slept in the same room and had a STAR WARS marathon. Three years ago, we were able to spend CHRISTMAS EVE at our house together and my two seemed over-anxious to camp out in Jen’s room and relive their childhood. I remember going to the door in the wee hours of the morning and peeking in. There were my grown babies (in their twenties) sprawled out on the floor with their comforters-Josh’s mouth open with a trickle of drool and Jen’s familiar snoring sound-a Kodak memory indeed.

My Chipper and I never had a lot of money when our children were growing up..but like our parents had done when we were growing up, we made sure CHRISTMAS was magical and that we had a reason to anticipate the magic.

Another tradition we have that I cherish most is-when my Chipper and I have made sure Santa has come, we sit on the couch with the tree and firelight only and don’t really talk..we enjoy the Silent Night-the beauty of pure peace.

Of course, Christmas Eve will be different this year. We have married children or nearly married children! Joshua and Nikki have to work until 3am & 7am, but, we’ll be ready to celebrate as soon as our son pulls into the drive.

I’ll start up our scratchy recording of BEHOLD THAT STAR, so the rest of our kids will know that Santa’s been and Josh has made it home from the hospital.

When I was growing up, mama played Jingle Bells and had hot cocoa waiting on us when we entered the wonderland of make believe..funny how we carry on traditions..though we sometimes add our own twist. Our family song came about because when the kids were about ten and eight, we had an old budget cd with this BEHOLD that STAR song on it. Tammy hated it and she’d SKIP to the next one. For our little pranksters, it was prime get on your nerves stuff. They’d all but tie Tangy up and FORCE her to listen over & over-eventually, BEHOLD took over as our Christmas morning song.

Christmas morning after we’ve opened all the presents, we’ll have original Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls shaped like a Christmas tree (I put candles on it & we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus) Fancy Ham Biscuits, cheese omelets, bacon, & strawberries and bananas and apple julep.

After Breakfast we’ll PLAY..we ALWAYS get toys to try out and break in! 😀

Christmas Dinner

Rosemary and Garlic roasted Leg of Lamb

Roasted Potatoes, Onions, Celery and Carrots

Broccoli Casserole (Nikki’s favorite)

Creamed Corn

Sweet Potato Souffle

Mushroom Rice (Tammy’s favorite)

Cranberry Chutney

Homemade  Bread

Dessert

Pavlova with fresh fruit and whipping cream (mine and Chipper’s favorite)

Pumpkin Yule Log (Scott loves anything pumpkin, hopefully he’ll love this)

Egg Custard Pie (Josh’s favorite)

Hershey Bar Pie (Jena’s favorite)

I’ll post the recipes for most of these over the next couple of days and tell you what’s gluten free and what’s not, too.

It really is…THE  MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

a CHILD’S Christmas wish list

A Child’s Wish List

I’d like to have a lot of brand new toys this year,
maybe a new bike or a talking teddy bear.
I’d like to wake up early on Christmas day to
lots of shiny new things waiting for me to play.

 

But the toys always get broken and the batteries
all wear down, and then it seems that
Christmas is no where to be found.

So I’ve been giving it some thought and this
is what I’ve decided on, I’d like to have the
following please, when Christmas Day finally comes.
If my mommy could stay happy like she is
at Christmastime, on the days that I’m not
at my best, maybe she wouldn’t mind.

And, if my daddy would hurry home like
he does on holidays, it sure would give him
lots more time to spend with me each day.

If we could keep the laughter
that fills our home right now,
I don’t think my parents would
want to scream and shout.

Maybe it’s the Christmas tree or perhaps
the fireplace, but our house sure seems
warmer around the holidays.

Jesus I hope you will work this out
with Santa Claus some way.
This is my Christmas Wish List…
Amen-oh Lord, I pray.

 

copyright: Lis Morgan 1995

O’FEAR-my best Christmas nightmare!

Ask Josh and Jena to share a Christmas memory and more than likely they’ll mention something that happened in a mall. Our kids and Tammy, grew up spending Thanksgiving through the day after CHRISTMAS helping us run our business in various malls across three or four states.

Because we home-schooled during this period, our kids came to the mall with daily schoolwork. Mall employees often stopped by their work table to offer assistance. It was sweet to see a security guard spend their break tutoring our kids. (No offense..but REALLY? Great grandma dragging down the mall halls in a police costume with NO GUN, NO STICK..I reckon her best defense would be threatening a shot of granny PANTIES if they don’t hand over THEIR guns)

So, anyways..doing what we did enabled us to do church evangelism for the rest of the year. I also believe it was our greatest mission field training prior to being foreign missionaries. LIFE in the SECULAR CHURCH as we called it. For years we received hands on experiences-dealing with non church people.

I want to share one of MY best memories about one such Christmas. During our time in New Zealand, we ran our business there two seasons, skipped a season and then came to America for our allotted furlough time during the Christmas season so we could bolster our support. After 09/11, church finances, like everything else, suffered. Fortunately, we had a sideline to rely on so we set up in two malls to offset our dwindling financial support.

HE was just downright annoying. The big oaf hawked and squawked from the time the mall walkers came in until the last patron sauntered out. Of all places for the mall to put me, I was beside an overzealous, irritating foreigner.  Our carts were just fifteen feet apart…yep, it would be a LONG four weeks.

He was selling CHEAP, radio controlled cars..that he couldn’t CONTROL. The guy was oblivious to the dangers of an electronic mouse zooming in and out of mall traffic. More than once, I pointed out that if he caused anyone to fall, he’d be liable. Did he heed my advise?  ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM..heck no!

The guy was the same age as my son, though he looked older. At 6′ 5″ inches, his lanky frame made him look odd. When he opened his mouth and spoke with REALLY broken English..he appeared..no other way to put it..a bit off.

For the first thee weeks, I tolerated him..barely but, by the time the week of Christmas rolled around, I was tired, stressed about the lack of sales and just ready to think about a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Not O’FEAR. Whilst EVERYONE else chalked that year up to a bad season..he wasn’t ready to surrender. One evening as I read a mall bulletin advising that an ice storm was about to hit the area, it was so SAD that I had to laugh.  For a retail business owner-having the mall close during that last three day span, you can bank on losing thousands. There’s no making those days up and in an already lean year..it’s a devastating loss.

As I finished the memo, a young couple walked up to read my poems. They had a three year old in a stroller and a one year old eager to escape Daddy’s arms.  Shopping for grandparents. YES! Easy $25 sale..a double frame with verses on each side for MeMaw & PaPaw. I was already working around two restless boys, the last thing I needed was a NEEDLESS distraction.

Thanks to O’FEAR’s DEMON cars, my customers migrated to his cart BEFORE I could make a sale. They didn’t buy anything from him either and when they walked on, I headed to his cart..let me tell you, I wasn’t happy.

Look, man, I’ve tried to be nice..it’s unacceptable for you to cross that line (I pointed as if there really was a line between our carts) I would’ve had a sale had you not interrupted.  Don’t send your toys to my side whenever I have customers. Understand? He flashed a grin and bobbed his head up and down. Pardon, WisDidn’t mean to do dat. I p-thromise.

O’FEAR, I realize you aren’t from here..but you’re getting on a lot of  nerves, the way you flag people down…Americans don’t like to be pressured. If they want to buy something from you, they will.  Stop being so pushy..I’m telling you for your own good. (and mine!)

It went right over his head! While he did adhere to the imaginary line, it didn’t stop the peddling behavior in the slightest.

That night I drove the ten minutes to our temporary apartment fuming. I was convinced that my sales would’ve definitely been higher if I hadn’t been stuck beside O’FEAR.  Some seasons were better than others-this one hadn’t shaped up to be one of the better ones..that was for sure.

Snow was  falling as I wheeled into the parking space outside of our unit and  about the time I got inside, Jena called to say there was no way she’d be able to drive the thirty miles from the mall she and her dad were running. To make matters more complicated, Chip was stuck on the other side of the interstate and couldn’t get through until the morning. They’d worked out a plan for her to spend the night at a hotel with a couple running a cart beside of ours.

I went to bed, exhausted mentally and physically..worried about my Chipper driving in bad conditions and my daughter, who at nineteen, was in a strange city and hotel-alone with people we’d only known for three weeks.

I got up that morning to a winter wonderland indeed.  SNOW everywhere.  No doubt the mall would be closed..but, because we’d be getting that final load a day late, I knew I’d have no time to reshuffle frames prior to Christmas Eve. I decided that I could do more good at the mall, rearranging my merchandise than sitting in an apartment by myself all day.

There was hardly anyone on the roads as I made my way to the mall. All the way, I calculated our loss..two locations..two days before Christmas, easily $3,000 was gone with NO days to make it up.

When I got to the mall, I parked at the loading dock and hurried inside. The security guards were there and we chatted about the bad timing of the snow before I made my way to my cart. Sounds eerie, but, there’s a sense of family in a mall..much like a hospital or any other business. You get close to people.

In fact, my Chipper once married a couple in center court.  Honest truth!  We worked two seasons with a couple who sold toy helicopters.  He surprised her with a diamond and they decided being married in the mall was a novel idea, so Tim and Cindy asked Chipper if he’d perform their ceremony.  A local news team showed up and did we ever have a crowd!  How many pastors can add that to their resume? 😀

I had just rolled up my tarps when I heard a familiar shuffle coming towards me.  EVEN ON an “OFF DAY”…I couldn’t escape MY CHRISTMAS NIGHTMARE!

Wis! Did you see snow?  I smiled and waved to be nice.  Mornin, O’FEAR.  I’m here doofus … of course I saw the snow. DUH! Both of his arms were loaded as he approached the cart.

He dropped it to the floor and went back out. Five minutes later, he came in with another arm load..went out and returned that way a couple more times.

I can’t tell you how ashamed I am that this was the first time I’d noticed this man-child was COATLESS, HATLESS, GLOVELESS, and SOCKLESS. About his third or fourth trip in, his nose was so cold that it was glowing like Rudolph’s.  His hands were blood red, too.

He dumped the boxes from his arms and headed back down the corridor.  This time, I followed him quietly.  Outside, he burrowed his hands in his pockets & jogged across the slippery, empty parking lot to an old rusty compact jalopy with plastic taped around the back window.  He propped a board against the trunk hatch and removed the last two boxes.  I hurried back inside before he caught sight of me.

Suddenly, the sight of O’FEAR melted the ice around my heart.  Had nobody told him that he could pull to the door to unload or that there were carts in the storage area that he could use to bring boxes in on at one time?

When he put the last of his product down, he blew feverishly into his hands, this overgrown boy was shivering wildly. O’FEAR, why don’t you have on a pair of gloves?  You’ll get frostbite! He grinned. And, why aren’t you wearing your coat? He grinned even bigger.  No have one.

As he put his toys away, I studied him.  The khakis he had on were the ONLY pair of pants I could recall him wearing.  The thin, blue shirt..the one that the long sleeves were way too short..I couldn’t remember him having anything on but that shirt..for the first time in three weeks, I got the idea that he wasn’t going sockless in freezing temperatures just to make a fashion statement.

You decided to use the day to clean up, too, huh? He shook his head. I come to make sales.  At first I thought he was joking with a sarcastic comment.  But, you had to know O’FEAR to know that he wasn’t joking at all.

O’FEAR..that memo they sent out last night was to let us know that if we got snow, the stores would be closed.

In true form, he grinned widely.  Dats good news for us, Wis.  Customer won’t know de mall closed-dey come and we here to sell.  If nobody got anyting for dem, den dey get from you and me, aye? Bless his heart, he thought this was going to be a selling point.

O’FEAR..people who live here know the mall closes in bad weather.  I didn’t come to sell..I came to get ready for tomorrow and Christmas Eve.  We’ve only got two days left to sell, if we don’t get more snow!

I have to sell today.. to meet my daily quota or I don’t have enough to send home. Suddenly, my Nightmare didn’t seem all that frightening.  You’re from Israel, right?

He smiled. Yes.  Near the Gaza Strip. I come to America with work visa to make money for my family.  I hope I can go to college in this country so I can help my parents, brother and sister when I return.  It’s harder dan I believed, but, I can do it. I’m a tough Israeli. He flexed his bony arms and snickered at himself..drawing me into his charm.

Writing this brings a flood of emotions..O’FEAR impacted my life..GOD used this unlikely person to teach me to SEE with HIS eyes and to HEAR with HIS ears.  His Jewish name means means deer..and he was a deer and a DEAR who I’m proud to have known.

You really don’t have a coat? His welfare had became instant priority. Not yet, but, I get one when I make quota and hand warmers, too! He held up his gigantic hands..they were still purply red.

Picture what I saw that day as I put on my coat, gloves, scarf and prepared to leave.  A twenty one year old Israeli, standing in a mall ALONE, driving his toy up and down the aisle..waiting.  Tears are rolling from my eyes..a scene seared forever in my thoughts.

Going back to the apartment, I noticed that KMART (THANKS to WALMART) was open. I think I was probably the only person shopping..but it was one of the happiest shopping excursions of my life! I got a coat, gloves, a scarf and a beanie, socks, tee shirts, underwear. YES I DID buy the boy UNDERWEAR! I was fairly sure that they were most definitely on the must have list as well! 😀

I headed back to the mall an hour or so later and floated inside. By this time, O’FEAR had realized that nobody was coming..he was sitting on his chair, no smile anymore.

Hey, you! Aren’t you ready to give it up for the day? He looked at me sadly. You were right. Dey not come today. I set the bags at his feet. Well, you’ll be all the more ready for them tomorrow! You need to dress properly! You can’t drive those silly cars with frozen fingers!

He pulled the stuff out of the bags..NO JOKE..jumped out of his seat- picked me up and whirled me around in the middle of the mall like a rag doll. FOR ME? You bought all dis for only me?

He put the coat on, the gloves, the beanie, I’ve never given anything that was so appreciated in my life. I stood there and cried as I watched him. We left together that afternoon, O’FEAR and me. I gave him a ten dollar McDonalds card and told him to go get himself a BIG MAC.

Let me tell you the BEST part of this story. The next morning when I got to the mall, O’FEAR’S status had drastically changed. He was no longer a pesky CHRISTMAS nightmare–not to just me..but to everyone who’d been working around him. He REALLY was annoying with those cars! Overnight, he became the object of much affection!

Come to find out, the security guards had spied on us the day before and the details of his situation quickly spread. All day long, he got gifts- pants, shirts, a few employees at Things Remembered chipped in and bought him a pair of weather resistant shoes! It’s a CHRISTMAS I’ll never forget..being there with a group of strangers who adopted a young man and made CHRISTMAS one that he’d always remember!

Christmas EVE about an hour before closing time, he asked me to watch his cart so that he could go to the restroom. About fifteen minutes later (back to his OLD TRICKS again, I thought as the minutes ticked on) he returned with a small gift box. He put it on my register like a child, giddy for me to open the gift right then and there.

As I lifted the lid, he beamed. I tell jewel man dey must not be too big..they for tiny, tiny woman with gigantic heart.

Those earrings are one of my all time most treasured gifts..not because of the monetary value..but because GOD reminds me each time I look at them, how important it is that I allow HIM to be my VISION.

I don’t know what became of O’FEAR..but, I’ll never forget him or the people at that Tennessee Mall. Together, we experienced the true joy of giving! 😀

GOD BLESS the CHRISTMAS ANGELS

I don’t agree with ALL programs that the Salvation Army sponsors..but when I drop money in that red bucket-it makes me HAPPY. I like it that the ringers wish everybody a MERRY CHRISTMAS whether they drop anything in or not. They represent nostalgic Christmas- as I recall my own childhood- when my parents or grandparents gave my sisters and me coins to drop in the buckets.

This week, a dear friend of mine put out a note that simply said..the kids and I want to help a family this Christmas- if you know of anyone, let me know. I knew of a GREAT family and responded on their behalf. My friend was thrilled to do something for them.

Tonight a single dad friend of ours is on a date with his daughters..buying gifts for kids on the angel tree. It made me proud..he’s a guy and guys aren’t really into that kind of thing.

And, I thought about myself. Yesterday, when I got out of my car at Walmart, I heard the bell ringer. It’s embarrassing, but I contemplated whether or not I could spare anything. I knew exactly how much was in my wallet and what bills had to be paid. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have a closet full of gifts wrapped for our kids, family and friends.

Our situation makes me appreciate the good years..but I’ve decided that it’s not been a bad thing to have a refresher about the hardships that people face. I’m more thankful than ever for what we DO have.

The closer I got-the more excited I became about dropping my normal dollar going in the door and a dollar on the way out. The way I saw it, that may be all I can do this year-but GOD WILLING, I’ll make it up next year!

Be an angel for your friends like me..who can’t do as much for others as we’d like to do this year. Look for ways to bless someone. If we all do what we can, GOD will do the rest. I know because we’ve received unexpected CHRISTMAS gifts ourselves over the past year. I can tell you with certainty..GOD is GOOD and FAITHFUL. Like they say..you can’t OUT GIVE our FATHER!

Love me some Patrick Jayne

HAHA…ladies I figured that might grab your attention! 😀 If you don’t watch the show THE MENTALIST, you won’t  recognize that name..but if I said the guy from AUSTRALIA with the gorgeous smile and wavy sandy blond hair, you’d all probably say..OH, SIMON BAKER! 😀

Well, I’m not telling you anything my Chipper doesn’t already know so relax. We lived on that side of the world..so SIMON has been a name in our house for a lot of years now, aye my Jensi?

Seriously, I thought my readers would really enjoy CHIPPER’S latest post about Simon Baker’s character and why we ALL enjoy the show. If you don’t watch it, CBS..you definitely should..just sayin… 😀

www.chipmorgan.org

I’m Moving on…

I hope that my posts were inspiring and enlightening to you who wanted the FULL story. It’s been a hosts of mixed emotions to write..but I’m glad that I followed GOD’S leading and did what HE wanted me to do. The response was overwhelming; I’m in awe of how our life path has been propelled by a blog.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing my favorite holiday stories with you..a few of our family traditions and several of the recipes that we  can’t go without every Christmas. It is high time to pull out the HAPPY and celebrate the BIRTH of our LORD!

I sincerely appreciate your displays of love and support. The comments have been priceless. GOD has used your dedication to my site as I’ll join the 5,000 hit club this month. It’s amazing to see GOD work in ALL things for HIS glory.

Don’t wander off just because the DRAMA is coming to a close..oh, if it’s MY life..DRAMA won’t go far..trust me! As soon as Christmas is over, we’ll have five weeks to finish preparations for Jena and Scott’s wedding-February 5th. What a wonderful way to ring in the NEW YEAR!  When the wedding is over, my Chipper and I will launch into a major life change for 2011. It’s going to be AWESOME -I look forward to telling you about what’s ahead for the Morgans.

Once again, thanks for making Dangerously Transparent–lismorgan.com such a  success. I NEEDED you more than you know!

HERE’S to HEALTH, HOPE and HAPPINESS! GOD BLESS US EVERYONE! 😀

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