Oh yes, it was fantastic. So many things to write about that I don’t know where to start.
Wyatt arrived home on the 17th of December, and then we all went to pick up Anne at the airport that evening. It was a long wait, but so wonderful to see her, after such a long time. When Frank went to Bible college, it was only 3 1/2 months. This was more than 8 months. Anne was able to stay home, here in Georgia, for 5 weeks. It was wonderful. Let me highlight a few memories that stand tall . . . . . . . . . . .
Elizabeth designed a beautiful dress for Heather, who was going to the December, Dancin’ Grits “SNOW BALL”. Here she is – adorable and utterly too cute.
Anne & Heather decided to make a Gingerbread TREE this year instead of a Gingerbread house. (Originally they planned to make a Tardis. Maybe next year?) Notice Jack and Jill climbing the hill (tree). Very artistic, I thought!
A very kind person (Chris Weeks) took an opportunity for a little ‘break’ and that allowed Anne to slot back into her old power point position at church. She had new software to learn, but picked it up easily. It was fabulous to be able to spend every Thursday night with her again, as well as riding with her on Sunday mornings to church. My girl had matured so much, in ease with other people, in confidence, in purpose, and in her walk with the Lord. I praise You Lord! While she was here, we talked often. Instead of staying to herself, she spent a lot of time with me, which was wonderful. She took Shelley for long walks, and then after Christmas, I was able to join her, and she showed me around some of the trails in our woods. Frank and Heather sometimes went too. The first day she took Shelley, she came back saying, “I think I broke your dog”, but Shelley improved greatly in stamina and fitness over the 5 weeks. We mustn’t let this burst of exercise lag now. We watched umpteen episodes of “Elementary”, using an HDMI cable to connect Anne’s computer to the T.V., which I loved, and went to see “Les Miserables” in the Cinema TWO times, it was SO good.
Elizabeth had James over quite a lot, and went to his house Christmas Day, after we had eaten Christmas dinner. Anne helped me do ALL the dishes and it was the first time EVER, I think, that I haven’t had to do dishes AFTER my Christmas Day nap!! It was nice having Christmas on a Tuesday. It meant that we had the two Christmas Eve services (5:30 & 7:00) on the Monday night, and could stay at home all day on Christmas Day if we wanted. Which most of us did. Christmas Eve was as lovely as usual. I played a simple melody which Bill backed with some really lovely chords during communion. O Holy Night was one of them. Anne chose a WONDERFUL story from my new Christmas In My Heart book. Everyone had wanted another story that we have read many many times, but after this story, Elizabeth said it was her absolute favorite. It reminded her of Haiti. We had a birthday cake for Jesus, and Elizabeth got me some adorable pj bottoms. Wyatt managed to stay awake and carried out all the boxes, which I had kept under a sheet in my room, which was a GREAT help. Elizabeth spoiled me to death, thinking that Anne wouldn’t be able to get anything for my stocking. Thanks girls. You are all AMAZING!!!
There were lots of gifts but here are a few highlights. Wyatt got a machine that converts tapes to MP3, so they can be made into CDs or listened to on the computer. I am now in the process of converting books and books of his sermons! Anne got an ereader, which, although she said she never wanted one, has been reading it a lot, and has read several novels over her weeks at home. I think the practical nature of having so many books in your hand won in the end. 🙂 Frank asked for a lot of books, Wyatt & Mother both gave me money to purchase a camera of my choice, which was awesome, because I really like the one I ended up getting. I think Elizabeth said her favorite gift was a little night light that projects stars onto the ceiling. I also made her a batman duvet cover, which turned out awesome. Heather was happy to get her IPOD sorted out and lots of new music to put on it. She also had a new hair dryer, some straighteners and some fashion REINDEER boots. Who else has a pair of those?
We had quite a lot of company. The Friday night, between Christmas and New Years, we had a Gathering, just especially for Anne. She invited supporters, friends, and people who have showed interest in her work. We had lots of English party food, sausage rolls, shortbread, cheese and ham on sticks, cheese ball, nacho dip, etc., and Mom’s Cranberry punch. After we ate, Anne shared about her life in England, the ministry, answered questions, and we were able to pray for her. It was a really sweet time. Some of those present were the Murray family, Marty & Tom Mitchell, Marsha Bryant, Kitty Ross, Chris & Gale Weeks, the McIlraths, Hilton & Hannah Hobby and their family. Lots of others were invited but not able to come. Anne got very involved babysitting, visiting supporters, coming to prayer meeting, visiting kid’s clubs, speaking in a Sunday School class, and making new friends. A lovely surprise, was not only a generous EXTRA gift from Midway for Anne, as well as us, but that all the money from the Christmas Card Delivery Service went to Anne’s ministry. What an incredible blessing!!!!! God is so good.
I did say we saw quite a lot of James, which is really nice, since he and Frank are also good friends. Frank and Anne’s friend, Sam, also came over for a game night in early January.
Elizabeth, poor girl, had the flu for a few days after Christmas – I remember particularly, because our friends, Dixie Clark, and her daughter, Stephanie, met with us, as well as Mary Alice and Jim Wall, at the IHOP in Cumming. Anne & Frank came with us, but Heather had to work for Biff, because she was too ill to go.
Dixie came to us on New Year’s Eve and stayed two nights. It was wonderful. New Year’s Eve we ate supper, sang Auld Lang Syne when the New Year came (Dixie played of course) and we watched the Scarlet Pimpernel. Dixie liked our healthy food and said she felt so good after even two days! New Year’s Day I made a big breakfast, Wyatt and Dixie watched football, and then in the evening we went shopping to Kohls and Dixie bought me some Cuddl Duds. I love them!!!!! Lots of talking and sweet fellowship.
Anne helped me put all the Christmas decorations away. We also had a sweet time looking through our Christmas book, from years gone by, and enjoying our history!!! There was so much wrapping in front of the back door, that we couldn’t open it for Shelley. She just lay there pitifully and looked at us through the window! (until she figured out that she could actually walk around to the front door!!)
I was really naughty over Christmas. I had some gluten, and quite a bit of candy with high fructose corn syrup in it. I must say, it has an accumulative effective on me, and I was feeling worse and worse all the time (I won’t bore you with the symptoms). I need to remember that I am not doing ANYONE any favors when I cheat. I literally went 18 months without cheating before Christmas. What happened? I’m ready for a new start. I want to feel well again!! Please please please, hold me to it, people!
Anne had to say goodbye to Daddy, when she still had 10 days with us,
because he made a big trip to Mississippi before she flew back.
I’m sure that there are so many more things I could write about, but here you have a general overview of the sweetest Christmas EVER! The Lord is good, and we give Him all the praise for this wonderful family, and for every good gift which comes from His Hand. All praise and glory be to Jesus Christ, our Lord, Redeemer, and Coming King!!