Mentor's Moments


It’s Christmas time in the city, in the country, and in the small towns, everywhere you go. Each year it seems to me I see more lights, more yard decorations, and life gets more hectic. We put up our tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year so we have time to enjoy it.

I have a tradition of buying each household a common ornament. With adult children scattered, they can’t always get home for Christmas, so I find an ornament that reminds me of a something we did that year—a memory—and buy the same ornament for every tree. The year Tom was in Korea, we bought a red, white and blue bulb for our soldier far away. The summer I traveled in Spain with him we had a “Felice Navidad” ornament.  The year we took Beth and KJ back to their Grandfather and Father’s roots and spent several days in Savannah, Georgia, each tree had a seashell angel. This year KJ helped me select an appropriate one: two lovebirds, to commemorate our wedding this summer. No matter how scattered we are, we can look at some of the same decorations on our trees and remember we are a Family.

Our pastor has encouraged us to make memories, build traditions, and use the season to teach our children about prophecy fulfilled and prophecy to be fulfilled. He Who came once to redeem mankind will come again to reign over the rebellious planet. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.

The two boys got in late Wednesday night. Tom arrived about midnight, Steve about 1:00 AM. We were up until almost 4, laughing and talking, so we slept in on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day dawned with no water and no children. [Both our daughters are divorced. Beth and her son live with us and he visits his dad every other weekend and a week at Christmas and Easter, plus time in the summer. Candace lives about 3 hours away. She has joint custody; her son stays with his dad one week and his mom the next. We delayed presents until the boys arrived.

In all our excitement with late arrivals the night before, we had forgotten to close the garage doors, so the pipes not only froze, but also burst. Beth left to pick up KJ from his dad’s just before Candace arrived with Ryan, while the men frantically worked on jerry-rigging our water. I tried calling everywhere to find a restaurant open for Christmas dinner. Meanwhile, Beth and KJ got home and the boys “terrorized” their presents. I had put the turkey in the oven, and the females decided they would rather rough it that go out in public with no shower. So, we ate Christmas dinner on paper plates and used plastic utensils. Pride goeth . . . .        

My dear husband says that you can’t be an overcomer without something to overcome. (Remember, he is the guy who said, “Children are a blessing, you just have to take it by faith sometimes.” If I don’t slap him to Kingdom Come, he has some good philosophical phrases.) We overcame. Despite no water, the ladies were not “stinky,” as they proclaimed themselves to be, and a good time was had by all.

The next day, Sunday, most of my crew took off for our vacation home in Canaan Valley, and I took off to take Steve to the airport in Pittsburgh. Do you recall the day after Christmas?  Snow, and worse, black ice. We left the house at 2:00 and got to the airport at 5:00—normally a 2 hour trip--good thing we allowed the extra time or he would have missed his flight! Steve sent me home, we didn’t have time for our planned dinner together anyway. Hwe told me we had a fabulous Christmas, and what cdoujld have been a disaster was a fun memory. Good sports, all.  I crawled back to West Virginia, not exceeding 15 miles per hour until Washington, PA!

I started up to Canaan in the morning. Ryan had never skied, so we got lessons for them. He was miserable, cold and shaking, so Joe spent the rest of the afternoon on the lifts and slopes with KJ while I took Ryan back to the house. The next morning his poor little body was covered with chicken pox!

We left early for Lewisburg. to take Ryan home. I put him on a cot beside our bed and nursed his chicken pox fever all night long. We left Ryan with his Mom and checked into the Greenbrier to celebrate our 37th anniversary. [The Greenbrier is a fabulous five star hotel in Greenbrier County, WV, a few miles from where Candace lives.] Ryan’s mom dropped him off at 9 AM the next day so she could go to work, but we had one romantic evening.

The Snead Christmas should be sent to Chevy Chase for his next movie. . . . I haven’t told you the half! The men’s unsuccessful attempts to rig the water would fill the entire newsletter. But it was great, and I hope yours was filled with as much love and laughter. I was awes that my big Special Forces Ranger actually took time to come up behind me and hug me. I think he was as glad to share his first Christmas with us in five years as we were.   

Perhaps you, like me, spent the night up with a sick child. I remember when I had all five children. Inevitably one of them spent Christmas miserable, sick on the couch! Joe says it again: you are happiest not doing what you want to do, but what you should do. When you do, they come home for Christmas, even when they are 30! Blessings to you all.