Monday, December 22, 2008

The Best Christmas

There was one distraught coworker in my office last Thursday morning. He told a distressing story. It went something like this:

Coworker: Remember that client I have been working with the last several months? The one we helped get a walker for her mother?

Me: Yes, I remember. What about her?

Coworker: Well, she had asked for help getting Christmas gifts for her little girls. She faxed over the form. I followed up. But somehow they didn't get adopted.

Me: You've checked with the donations coordinator?

Coworker: Yes. Sometimes some families don't get adopted. I guess this is one of those circumstances. I hate to think those kids won't get anything for Christmas because of some mistake I might have made. I was awake all night thinking about it.

Me: Bring me the forms.

Coworker: That's awfully nice of you, but...

Me: Please bring me the forms...

Some emails were sent out, explaining the situation and asking for help. I had faith that this would work out, even though it was very last minute and most people would have already spent their Christmas budgets. I figured if a few people did a little, the parents would have enough to put under the tree.

I did not send to my entire address book. There was no real rhyme or reason to my choices. It was as if God was guiding my hand as I clicked on select individuals, some with whom I have not spoken directly in quite some time.

The response was overwhelming. There were bags of toys, puzzles, books, clothes, and shoes for the children. There were gifts for the parents. There was even a huge turkey for Christmas dinner.

I sat in the floor and cried when I went through the loot, humbled by the realization that if my friends would do this for strangers, they would surely do this and more for my family if asked.

And here is the final proof that God had His hand in all of this - every single person from whom I received a donation thanked me for giving them the opportunity to help out. THEY thanked ME! Many went on to tell me that they had been praying for a way to share their good fortune this year and that they now felt as if Christmas was finally here.

I have the most amazing friends in the world. I defy anyone to say otherwise. And my God is an awesome God!

Happy birthday, Jesus! And thank You. You have given me the best Christmas gift ever!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I dare you not to laugh...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Shoes

Sorry I've been MIA the last couple of weeks. I've had nothing on my mind other than our annual Christmas program at church. This year the chancel choir, children's choir, and youth drama team joined forces to present The Christmas Shoes, a musical drama based on the #1 hit single by NewSong.

Putting together a program of this type, in a small church with limited resources, is no small undertaking. Aside from teaching and rehearsing both choirs, I rewrote parts of the script to suit the ages and genders of the actors, rewrote part of a song to make it more sing-able, and relied upon my Asian minimalist nature to create convincing sets from practically nothing.

And it was all good! The program exceeded my every expectation. First of all, everyone showed up on time! The children's choir sang sweetly and then managed to stay still and attentive for the remainder of the program. The acting was outstanding. And whoever that choir was that graced our chancel last night, I hope they come back every week.

Let me just say that I was impressed with how professionally every single person, from preschooler on up, behaved. There was this perfect blend of serious and silly throughout the entire process.

One of the couples in the chancel choir sang a duet - Mr Grinch. They got laughs in all the right spots and were altogether a big hit. It was as if the song was written just for them.

We played to a packed house and received a standing ovation. There were bows and grins and hugs all around. Our accompanist, Belinda, got the loudest applause, and it was richly deserved.

There were many shining moments, and I could write pages about them. But what I really feel compelled to mention is all the behind-the-scenes stuff. From the minute I decided to put this program together, I knew that it was going to happen. That's because I handed it over to Him.

Every time I had a specific need, someone stepped up and offered to help. It was such a joy to not have to worry about sound or lighting or who was going to keep an eye on the children. I even had plenty of help with tear down afterwards.

I'll cherish this program and hold it in my heart, because I am well aware that this was a rare and beautiful thing. And I believe it blessed the hearts of those who experienced it with me. I think I am finally ready for Christmas now.

Monday, December 1, 2008


If you've been around me the last several days, you may have noticed that I have not been myself. You might have wondered why I am quieter than usual, less jovial, a little aloof. There is a reason, and it is probably not at all what you may be thinking.

It's not PMS. It's not stress. It's not work or family or church or the economy or politics. No one has died... that I know of. I am not sick, unless you count sick with worry.

The reason is that my heart hurts. Please don't feel bad - you couldn't possibly have known because I wouldn't have allowed it. I tend to keep my pain private. Others don't always know what to do with it when you share it, and the last thing you want when you are hurting is more reasons to hurt.

Q, my eldest domestic short-haired feline, is missing. He got out on Thanksgiving day, and he hasn't returned. He is 15 years old, and he has resided with us his entire life. He has never been outside because he is terrified of outside. And for the last several days he has been alone and scared and cold and hungry and thirsty and OUTSIDE.

Q is just an ordinary cat, just like I am an ordinary woman. He's not breathtakingly handsome. He's not dazzlingly brilliant. He's not a death-defying acrobat. He's just a cat. A cat that sits on whichever part of you feels bad when you are sick. A cat that sleeps in the bends of your body at night, stealing all your body heat. A cat that has been known to fall asleep sitting on the arm of the sofa and then fall off. A cat that eats only cat food, if you can believe it.

He's a cat that tries to stow away in my suitcase when I travel and then cusses me out for several hours when I return. He's a cat that nags me to come to bed when he is ready to retire. He's also a cat that didn't leave my side for two weeks when I suffered a miscarriage. He's proof that ordinary can be special.

After searching the entire house, we spotted him in the side yard Thursday evening, and he deftly disappeared when we tried to scoop him up. We've done all of the usual things to try to get him home, and a few not so usual. Is it a sin to pray about a missing cat? Maybe. I think God will overlook my trivial nature this time.

I did not tell you about this before because every time I started to say, "My cat ran away," it sounded a bit like "the dog ate my homework" in my head. It seemed trite and dumb. And I didn't want to be laughed at. I still don't, although I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear you laughing at this very moment.

Just... be patient. I'll be fine. I'm always fine. And, please... if you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.