Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November Happenings - Opportunities to Love

I love November.  It's a month full of anticipation.  It really starts with our Halloween event at church.  We fill the parking lot with game booths and fun for the neighborhood kids.  The laughter and candy flow freely!  This year we had our first ever Blessing Booth.  We invited our guests to come and receive a blessing over them and their families.  We offered prayer for those who wanted it.  I really had no idea how it would be received, but was pleasantly surprised that several families took us up on it!  It stretched me out of my comfort zone and that's always good!

Then, at midnight our monthly 24 hour prayer started.  We were able to take those prayer requests from the community into our vigil.  It was such a wonderful honor.  The prayers for those around us were much more real with faces to put to the words.

Being in this house has been great.  I love being close to the happenings at church.  Our family has expanded to include everyone on the block.  My son, Andrew is often missing from our house.  At first I wondered where he was, but soon realized he was just hanging out at the other houses.  My once shy and reserved kid has now come out of his cocoon and has become a social butterfly.  He's even been seen talking to adults at church - of is own initiative.  I am amazed.

Thanksgiving was a community event.  We started the day meeting at a rocky outcropping that overlooks Kailua.  A small group of us have been meeting there to pray over Kailua. (Sunrise picture at the top of the page.) We gathered our churches together for a sunrise Thanksgiving service.  Three churches joined in unity to praise and thank The Lord of Heaven!  It was glorious.  The weather was perfect (although heavy rain was predicted) and all where blessed.

Next on the agenda was our annual Turkey Bowl football game.  What started out as a couple of families playing ball with their kids has turned into a 20 on 20 flag football free for all!  So much fun.

After a couple of hours at home to start the cooking, we headed off to Mark's folks house.  We had a wonderful visit with his parents.  Mark's dad is home-bound and often unresponsive but was having a good day.  We brought pie to share and the girls shared songs with Rebecca playing guitar.  Hearing Grandpa James singing hymns with all his heart brought me to tears.  A precious family time.  We don't know how many of those days we'll have so we tried to savor it.

Then it was time to head back home again to cook in earnest before the house filled with family and friends.  I resisted the urge to get stressed about the time and decided that we'd eat when it was ready!  Sometimes you can't see how much you've grown until you realize you are in a situation that previously would  have made you crazy...  Everyone pitched in and soon the table was set and the food was prepared.  We spread tables out under the new lanai roof.  It was beautiful.  Conversation and laughter filled the air.  We shared our blessings from the last year.  Several of us shared how becoming a part of this community was the high light.  God inhabits the praises of His people, and we felt Him that night.

And now the Christmas tree is up and the house is decorated.  It's so different from when we lived in this house before.  I had to find new places to decorate.  Simplicity.  That's what I'm going for.

The anticipation continues.  We anticipate the Christmas season.  We anticipate the coming new year.  But more than that, I find myself anticipating what the Lord will do among us in this community.  We don't have any grand programs or events on the agenda.  We are just learning to be a family with those around us, extending and receiving grace.  The wonderful missionary to Mozambique, Heidi Baker, says it so beautifully, "Love the one in front of you."  Simple.  That's my plan and I'm sticking with it!


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