Monday, December 28, 2009

...And a Merry Christmas Was Had by All

Well we had a whirl-wind of Good Tidings and such around our house.

First off, we had a great Christmas party with the Center of Praise choir coming over. We ate some delicious food and read the Christmas story. Dr Ronn Elmore was the reader and Victor played his guitar and at certain parts of the story, we would sing a carol together. It was so nice to slow down and get focused on the true meaning of this holiday. I wish all of you could have been there...

Christmas Eve we had a 'Present Extravaganza'. Every year, somehow, the Lord has given us a way to bring presents to all of the Pakistani kids in our neighborhood. Being that they are Muslim and don't celebrate Christmas, they really look forward to it. This year our dear friends the Dittmore's sent us fuzzy blankets, gloves, shoes, toys and I don't know what all--God bless them! I wish I had a picture to post with this story, but I was in the house cooking up a storm and I was dead-dog tired!

Later that evening, we heard some skidding tires right outside our house. I went out to look and our neighbor yelled "Call the police, someone just stole our car!" Oh boy! Our neighbors had just pulled into their driveway and got out to open the garage door and move a bike out of the way. The engine was running and quick as anything, a guy jumped in and drove off! It still hasn't been recovered. Bold. Very bold.

Christmas morning was spent at my step-son Asher's house. He and his wife, Janice had her side of the family over also. This was especially fun because there were lots of young kids over and they were bouncing all around and very excited.

We have known Janice's family for a long time. A funny story: When Victor was in his 'rock 'n roll' days, his band, Waterfall, moved into Bob and Rachel's neighborhood. (Bob and Rachel are Janice's parents) They reached out to the band and shared the love of God with them. None of the band came to Christ during their stay in that neighborhood, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. Victor remembers seeing Bob across the street and Bob would yell out "Praise the Lord, Victor!" and Victor would shout back "Smoke pot, Bob!" Great memories...

It was while at Asher's, I learned something that I'm still thinking about. There was different music playing and since Janice got her parents tickets to see the musical 'Wicked', the song 'Defying Gravity' was on. The music went on to play a random song called 'Hate on Me'. My son, Simon said "This is our family's theme song." and Sterling chimed in "Yes, it is!" I said "What do you mean by that?" and they proceeded to tell me that people hate our family. "What? Why?" They told me it is because sometimes, when we help people, " just makes them hate us."

Wow...I think it is exagerated, but they have seen some bad behavior at times.

Oh, I don't want to end on a bad note. And I won't because we still have to serve people and let the Lord worry about the outcome. Our family has helped plenty of people and they were very grateful and love us for it.

Part of the song says "I gotta do me." As in, 'I have to do what I know is right and I won't quit.'
Jesus, certainly, was the BEST at this!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wild Branches in Las Vegas

I just liked this photo of me singing at a rehersal for the Night to Honor Israel in Las Vegas. It was a special evening. We sang with a local church choir-very special people and so excited to support Israel. We also got to sing with our friend Avi who is now the cantor at Beth Shalom in Vegas. It is always fun with him especially when he busts out with 'Key-lay-o-lahm-chaz-doh!' 'His love endures forever!'

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Program

Last night was Samuel's Holiday Program. He is in 3rd grade.

While I was waiting for the BIG SHOW, I over-heard this conversation:

Woman to mother: "How intoxicated are you?"


Daughter: "Just how intoxicated are you? I can smell it!

Right then, yes it hit me.

I also brought Ella to the show. She is Sam's little sister who is in kindergarten. I had to break some tough news to grandpa Victor. During the program, the crowd was clapping to some of the music and, sadly, it was then that I realized the beautiful girl, um, is rhythmically challenged. This isn't a fatal flaw though. In case you are wondering.

While I'm writing of Christmas and holidays, I must write that I have been trying to put the 'fun' back into dysfunctional. This year, the pot has been stirred (as far as family relations go) and it really doesn't feel that good. It is making me pray a lot and hope for the future. I actually did something I never do: shop with my ipod in my ears! I felt like I just needed to listen to some praise music and refocus on the Lord. I played the song by Bishop Larry Trotter 'When You Praise' a bunch.

Part of the words are 'When you praise Him, things begin to happen. When you praise Him circumstances change. When you praise Him, blessings are released!'

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Yesterday, I helped our church hand out boxes of food, toiletries and Avon to women in my neighborhood of Oak Park. The charity that Center of Praise worked with is called Wellspring. Wellspring feeds women and children every morning and gives them a nice place to relax.

They do a great work. It was nice to help the families that came through. The children were precious and had that 'this is a special day' look in their eyes.

After each woman received her boxes to take home, then we would ask if we could pray for them and we invited them to come Sunday to church.

I have to add that most of the women that came through were truly in need. You could see in their eyes the hard life they lead. These women have it really tough out there. My heart went out to the moms who had lots of kids. It made me think of how I grew up with just my mom raising us. It was a struggle. Very hard.

SOME on the other hand, pulled up to collect their boxes in shiny new SUV's. What is that about?! about ghetto!