Skip to main content

People Are Gifts

Tribe of Taylor--June 2018
On the first day of Christmas break I went to the car wash. At the end of the process where the attendant wipes down the car, I rolled down my window and said, "Merry Christmas! Here's an invitation to a beautiful Christmas service if you and your family would be interested." And of course, there was a generous tip sticking up out of the tract-invitation. The attendant smiled and said, "Thank you very much, ma'am!" And that was the beginning of Christmas vacation. People are gifts.

I was up until 11:00pm on December 21st doing the gift-wrapping while music played. Norman used to be summoned to the dining room to help me with this task. Now I am learning to do it without his help, but I still have the funny memories of watching him wad up the ends of the wrapping paper in his signature "Norman H. Taylor" style. He used a lot of tape on the ends of those wads. The English language fails to describe how much I miss my Norman, but I can finally smile and even chuckle at some of the memories from our family traditions. Good memories are gifts.

And speaking of gifts, every year I say the same thing: "Next year I'm shopping early."

And every year I'm in the stores with the mobs a few days before Christmas. Usually, my sister Janelle and I are shopping together, failing to change our ways and laughing about it as we shop the picked-over stores. 

Don't try to give me any ideas on how to improve this area. I'll admit the truth: I rather like the mobs. And it totally tickles me to shop with my sis. We pick out our gifts for each other right there in TJ Maxx.

"What do you want?" Janelle asks as we run into each other again.

"More flatware to handle all the dinner fellowships I'm hosting," I say. She plunks it into her cart.

"What do you want?" I ask Janelle.

She drops blouse into my cart, and then we head back into the fray. When all the shopping is done, we find her husband, my bro-in-love Dennis and take the poor bedraggled man to dinner. Some men love shopping. Others hate it. Many just endure it. Dennis endures.

This will be our first family Christmas in Florida, and I am grateful for God's gifts to our family:

The gift of Christ.
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)

The gift of family.
"God setteth the solitary in families..." (Psalm 68:6)

The gift of continued healing from deep grief.
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3 KJV)

The gift of grace and peace.
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:3)

God also gave me the gift of my oldest Austen son and his lovely wife Jessica as neighbors here in Pensacola. They live a mere 15 minutes from what we now call "the Florida family home," and I can have popcorn and old movie night with them whenever we want.

Daughter Hillary and youngest son Collin are flying in from Minnesota for their Florida home Christmas. My sis Janelle and bro-in-love Dennis are already in town. Nephew Joshua arrives soon as well, and then we'll begin the new tradition of Christmas in Florida.

Home in Minnesota was cold and snowy. Home in Florida is still brisk in December, but sunny and tame enough to grow cold weather crops like collards and lettuces. We are learning a new normal, and God is giving us the grace to do it.

Time spent together is a gift.

Cherish your loved ones now, because you don't know if you'll have them by next Christmas. 

Christ gave Himself as a redemptive gift to humankind, and then blessed us with our families and friends. Love them all abundantly, and don't let anything get in the way of that love.

I had to resist the urge to text my adult children this morning to see if they were at their airport gate. I didn't want to be a Smother Mother, but it was hard to wait for news that they had made it through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, which looks a lot like the Minnesota State Fair.

"Don't text them. Quit being so impatient," I told myself. 

And then Collin texted on behalf of both: 

"We're at our gate!"

People are gifts.

Christmas blessings to you and your family. 

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." 
(Isaiah 9:6)

If you have questions about life after this side of Heaven:

Francie Taylor
Founder of Keep the Heart


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Habits that Keep You Broke

Do you suffer from "too much month at the end of the money?"

Being broke is often a result of habits that are kept like house pets. Working so hard and having no money in the wallet is self-inflicted bondage. How does this keep happening?

You've done the Dave Ramsey School of Stop That.

You receive notifications from your bank when your account balance is low.

You know how to do basic math such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

So what keeps happening to your funds? You're subtracting faster than you're adding, multiplying debt and dividing your brain into stress-filled compartments that alternate between "Things are fine" and "This is such a mess." Is this right? No. Then what is it? Sin. Financial irresponsibility is sin. Is that the sound of your mind shutting down? Well, before you go, remember that the definition of sin is basically this: you know the right thing to do, but you're continuing to do the wrong thing …

Parents Are Not Responsible for That

Parenthood is not a role for wimps or whiners. There are the exciting times such as music recitals, sports tournaments, and graduations. But if your tribe is like ours, you've probably also had the maddening moments, like the time one of our children discovered how to unfasten the tapes on his diaper and used the contents as "chalk" on the bedroom  wall (yes, it was "his," so that narrows the field of suspects).
Children are young for a few blinks, and then we spin around and we're hearing "Pomp and Circumstance," that familiar graduation march as our "babies" walk down the aisle in cap and gown. If they choose to go on to college, four snaps later, we're sitting in the auditorium at their college graduation, scanning a long list of names in the commencement bulletin while waiting to watch them walk across the platform to receive yet another diploma. It's warp-speed fast (except that diaper stage).

Parents don't mind taking res…

Moving is Not for Whiners

When I woke up for the first time in my new town, I said to myself, "Where am I?"
Now mind you, this is not really a new thought for me, as I often wake up in conference hotels and wonder which state I'm in (other than the state of confusion). But now, I was really wondering about this strange bedroom with the lovely little armchair next to the closet. I didn't recognize a thing in the room, and that's when I remembered...
...I've moved.
My new hometown doesn't feel at all like home, but I will give it time. It took months of prayer for the Lord to lead me to even consider moving, which eventually led to a position as editor for the Joyful Life Sunday school curriculum at Abeka Books in Pensacola, Florida. Decision day was January 31, 2018.
And then a whirlwind.
And then a huge moving truck.
And then I boarded a flight because in the process of planning this move, I had forgotten all about my car. (Who forgets about their car?) Thank the Lord for my Pasto…