Our family has enjoyed this holiday season very much. Chad has/had Thursday - Sunday off work; this has never happened in the history of our family before! He has gotten to sleep in (until about 6:30 a.m.---somehow he never can sleep much past this), get to some projects around the house (clean out the garage), and in general relax. I have enjoyed sleeping in and having extra fun time with the kids playing the Kinect. I think the children have enjoyed being out of school and playing around more. The girls get a chance to relax instead of the usual rounds of school, volleyball, homework, odd jobs, etc. Dale has even enjoyed the break from school and therapy, and it seems he's getting better at tolerating his sisters! I wondered if he would spend the entire Thanksgiving break screaming at the girls, but it's not been too bad. He still screams, but, when asked what is wrong, is willing to tell what is bothering him. This is much better than the general screaming and pointing, although it will be wonderful when he learns to control the screaming and just speak.
My girls and Dale have been playing video games alot this break, something the girls rarely have time for and Dale was not able to do just a month ago. Do I have to be thankful his thumbs and coordination have improved to allow him to sit and play a video game?! Just kidding. It is so good to see this kind of improvement in our son after not knowing what to expect. Dale is also improving in his bathroom skills. He is getting more independent, not needing me to cue him which steps to take or even to just get up and go. It's been three or four days now that he has gone by himself with no help! Praise the Lord!
We all consumed excessive amounts of turkey, stuffing, pie, and veggies these past few days. It's amazing how jam-packed our refrigerator was prior to Thanksgiving Day---and how empty it is now! There used to be a time when Thanksgiving leftovers stayed around for a while, causing people to groan, "Turkey again?" Now, the remaining food is gone by the next evening. Could be because we have seven people in our family now, not counting the dog who eats whatever she can steal off an unguarded plate! We thank our wonderful Lord for so generously providing for us at Thanksgiving and always. I don't think it would be fair, though, to blame Him for the extra pounds we are now carrying!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too, only without the extra weight. We are now entering my favorite time of year---Christmas! We have already begun listening to carols on the radio; tonight we will put up our tree, rearranging the furniture to fit the tree in a corner somehow. Each year my husband and I make a vow to only buy "a few presents" for the children. Each year by December 25th, the Christmas tree with its surrounding presents seems to have spread to take up half the room. About the second week of December, we abandon the attempt to "organize" the placing of presents under the tree and just start shoving them under wherever they will fit. Of course, our curious dog, Peanut, feels the need to regularly go on snooping missions around the tree, ripping holes in the gift wrap and knocking off ill-placed ornaments dangling too low. Then there are the questions: "Mom, can we please open our presents on Christmas Eve?" "Dad, I don't see any presents for me. Didn't you get me anything?" "Can we open just one right now?" (This one coming about December 2nd.) "Are we having a treasure hunt this year?" Each year---just as my parents did when I was young---we open our stockings Christmas morning. The stockings are filled with goodies, including one clue. This leads them to a present and another clue. Four or five clues later, they have extra gifts. These are usually just small, fun items....maybe earrings for the girls, candy, a stuffed animal (we have enough of those but somehow we always end up with more!). Each year they ask, as if we would ever skip the treasure hunt. The replies to these questions are always the same: "Yes, you have some gifts" or "No, we are not opening our gifts early" and "Do we ever open a gift on December 2nd?" and are accompanied by various emotions ranging from compassionate and understanding to exasperated and fed-up. Eventually the threat is issued: "Stop asking me or else!" Or else what? We'll cancel Christmas? Take all the presents back to the store? As many times as I have been tempted, I have never taken a present back just because the kids are overexcited and/or annoying. Somehow, each year, we get to the end of Christmas Day with all five kids and our sanity still intact.
And that brings me to my point. Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, a reporter from KING 5 news stopped by for an interview with our family. She said she had been trying to think of a family in the area who had much to be thankful for this holiday, and she immediately thought of ours. And she was right. God has blessed us so much this year, as He does every year. The blessings and gifts are just more evident this year. As we told the reporter, we are very thankful that our son is doing so well, that our girls are healing and moving on, that our family is still intact. God has been good. I say that as if it's something new I have discovered or something no one else has ever experienced. Of course, God is good; did we expect anything else from Him? But, in a real sense, we have experienced anew God's goodness, His grace, His mercy, His compassion, and His miraculous healing power. We truly can say from our thankful hearts, "God is good."
James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."