Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I didn't have much. I was feeling downright grinch-like, to be honest. At this time last year, we were hoping the new year would bring some relief to our woes, but the year started off telling us otherwise, with my sewing machine breaking down and our water heater dying in the first two days of the year.

And so it went, one thing after another, fighting fires, taking care of the most pressing matters as we were able, letting the other slide until money was available.

As we headed into December, I knew it would be another year where we wondered where the Christmas money was coming from. As late as mid-month, we were wondering if there would be any at all. I planned well with my groceries and was able to plan our Christmas feast and cookie making without adding too much extra to my grocery bill, for that I was really thankful. One of the highlights of Christmas for my kids is dinner.

Last Tuesday, I got the surprise of my life. Noah's mom called to ask me if I was free for dinner when she picked him up. Amazingly I was, my kids are usually busy most evenings and I don't often have someone available to watch the younger kids. Her mom met us at Panera (her mom is our pastor's wife and a good friend) and we enjoyed a nice meal together. I was then told they had additional plans. They wanted to take me shopping. I guess each year they pick someone to surprise with something special and this year it was me. Citing the fact that moms are always the last to get what they need, they wanted to spruce up my wardrobe.

Anyone watch What Not To Wear? It felt like that, without all the criticism. I didn't even know where to begin, but they got a feel for what I might like and they started pulling things off the racks and I went to the dressing room and tried on all different things. There was the "doesn't fit and/or we don't really like it" pile and the pile of things that we all liked. I went out to show them everything that fit at their request.

Now initially, I was horribly uncomfortable. I didn't feel deserving of it and wondered how in the world I choose when someone else's money is being spent. I need not have worried, they had a plan. They took the pile of things we liked and, while I danced Noah around the store (it was getting late and he was getting tired) they picked out what they wanted to buy.

The bottoms are basics. Nicely fitting jeans, a pair of black slacks, and a black tulip skirt, just below the knee with a little flare at the bottom.

These are the jackets. Each very different, each usable with all 3 bottoms.

These are the casual shirts. Again, each a different style and each one usable with all 3 bottoms.

And the dressy shirts. The one on the left has a metallic gold accent running through it and the one on the right has little sequins.

Finally, the accessories. We were finished with the clothing and I was about to begin walking around with Noah when I heard "shoes!" and we headed to the shoe department. The necklace was a little added surprise in the bags.

It was a mind boggling night. I had forgotten what it was like to really get dressed and not just throw on a pair of jeans and a big shirt in the morning. It was also a little bittersweet. I had just been given a marvelous Christmas when I was wondering how to provide Christmas for our kids.

Sometimes I feel like God's most unfaithful child. While we had less than usual to spend, we did have some money by Friday and I worked on my Christmas list to make the most of it. Monday was to be the big shopping day. I needed to take Jonathan to shop for his siblings, bring him home and then take Lucas to shop. I would then leave to do mine, needing to be home by 6:00 so Rachel could babysit and the boys could leave for a planned outing.

But Sunday night Joshua's car wouldn't start, which means he needed Rachel's car, which meant I didn't have a car to use until my husband was home between jobs. I could then take him to work and get started...at 2:00 in the afternoon! Sunday was also bitterly cold and windy and Monday was expected to be the same. It was daunting to think of doing so many errands on such a day, and trying to fit them in so little time seemed impossible.

Rebekah and her boyfriend have been sharing her vehicle as his wasn't working. He got his fixed, though, and she showed up at home Sunday night with her truck. I didn't know until Monday morning, but an early start was again possible.

I left at 9:30 in the morning with Jonathan, brought him home and picked up Lucas, finished with him and picked up Rebekah, who helped me with grocery shopping and picking out a few things for Rachel. I dropped her off at home and picked up Rachel, who also had an errand she needed to run, then she helped me pick out some things. I brought her home and headed back out for the few things she couldn't be with me while I bought. I finally arrived home for the night at 9:00pm. Rachel's babysitting was canceled and the boys opted to stay home which allowed me to shop until I finished.

EVERYTHING was done. The Christmas shopping, the grocery shopping, every bit of it. I found so many good sales that I felt like the boy with the loaves and fishes, the money we had seemed to go so much farther than I expected it would. I had assumed I'd have to go back out today, but when the car issues cropped up I knew it would be best if I got everything finished.

So today, I should be able to get everything finished that I thought I'd have to cram into today (around shopping trips) and tomorrow morning. The wrapping is already finished as I woke very early with aching legs and feet and couldn't get back to sleep. I figured I might as well get up and get started! I have laundry to do, laundry soap to make, two pans of cookie bars plus bread to bake, and I still have to do the homemade marshmallows. As time permits, there is also picking up and vacuuming and bathrooms to be cleaned.

My husband told me to try to lay down for a while, even if I can't sleep, but there likely won't be time for that. If I get it all done today, though, tomorrow can be spent relaxing!

So my Christmas spirit, while a long time in coming, is here in full force and I'm so very thankful for that. I also figured out the nice thing about shopping so late...I don't have so long to wait to see them open their gifts!

I hope this Christmas season find you all happy, healthy and rejoicing that God sent His son.



Mrs. Sew and Sew - Karen said...

God bless you and your family this Christmas. I am glad all worked out for you. What a wonderful surprise to be taken shopping for a few new clothes. Enjoy the holiday...Have the Merriest of Christmases. :)Karen

Sweet P said...

What a wonderful Christmas gift to you! You deserve it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Pam said...

Such a fabulous Christmas gift for you. It sounds like you are very deserving of a little something special!!

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2009.

Linda said...

Oh I hope you have the very bestest Christmas season ever!! I'm so happy your friends took you out shopping and that you were graceful enough to accept--it's not always easy to be the recipient of a great gift! Happy holidays to all of you and I hope 2009 is wonderful.
Lurking Linda

Connie W said...

Your clothing choices are great and picking things that mix and match make sense. I often do that when I shop, especially since I mostly look for black for winter, and things that work best with black. How wonderful that this gift was given you! Wishing you, Ruthie, and everyone in your family a very Happy New Year.

Marilyn R said...

Here is a belated Merry Christmas wish, and a wish for a blessed New Year! Your new clothing is beautiful! What fun - and such a blessing!

Barb said...

Hi Sue just stopped by to check out your blog and thank you for entering my giveaway.

Hope the rest of your year goes well!!