Brandon came home for a short visit Thursday morning (both he and Megan will be coming for Thanksgiving!) Even though his visit was brief, I tried to have a couple of his favorite foods on hand — Soy chicken and Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Hearing him share about his new ministry in Ohio thrilled this mother’s heart.

After he left this morning, I headed out to do a little Christmas shopping (without Christmas music on the radio!) I heard Chip Ingram (one of my FAVS on 106.9 at 10:00 am) sharing how both he and his wife came from very dysfunctional families, how he did not open a Bible until he was 18 and how she didn’t come to know the Lord until she was 25. She had been married before so they also battled with the blended family. And yet, against all those odds, through God’s mercy, they have four children whose hearts are totally His. He shared this to encourage every parent that if they could raise children who love the Lord with everything that was against them, anyone could. I felt like he was sharing our story as well. We, too, are eternally grateful to God for how He has worked and continues to work in the lives of our boys. It’s all Him!

On a lighter note, I came across some of the boy’s past “Christmas’ lists”, and oh my, did we ever have fun with those discoveries! I won’t name any names, but one of them asked for a 4Him cassette tape many years ago. My, how times have changed. 🙂 Gone are the days when Brian and I could head to Toys R’ Us, fill up the basket, and leave without spending more than $50.

With the economy as it is, and being a one-income household again, our Christmas spending will be much less this year, but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water by halting the joy of gift giving altogether. To compare today’s gifts with those given by the Magi is a far reach, but there is something joyful in giving and receiving. It’s not the cost of the gift, but the thought involved. Being on a tighter budget has actually proven to be a catalyst for creativity and I’m enjoying it! Speaking of creativity, check out what Brandon & Megan’s church, River’s Crossing, is doing this Christmas season. It’s a conspiracy indeed!

If you’ve checked the weather forecast for tonight, you know it’s supposed to hit 21 degrees. If that’s not a set-up for a night in with the hubby, I don’t know what is! Hot cocoa and a good movie, here we come!

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