This story began when I was 6 years old and I had a broken arm. It was summer and I attended Vacation Bible School at Pajaro First Assembly. There were many, many children that attended that year but there was a really nice girl who I met. She helped me carry things because of my broken arm and we became new friends.
Even after Vacation Bible School was over we continued to spend time; I would invite her over to my house to play on our 54 acres of apple trees. We had such fun and became good friends.
The story is long and involved but after seeing the need in her life; as well as that of her baby sister, my parents were given legal guardianship of both girls and my family grew from four girls to six overnight.
The reason I share this story is because I find it fascinating how God’s plan in our lives can be so creative. Over the years she and I have grown as “sisters”. No, we don’t share the same blood as she is a mix of Spanish and Native American and I am Irish and Scottish yet we share the same heart and love for one another.
Alberta Wray has been my friend, confidant, coach, and encourager throughout my life; God in His wisdom knew I would need her in my life. As you look at your life in hindsight is there someone God gifted you with in a creative or surprising way? If so , thank Him for it because it shows that He knows what you will need; who you will need to navigate life!
Alberta has impacted the lives of hundreds of people all over the world, she is a wonderful human; I’m glad she’s my sister.
Throughout my life there has been a great deal of tradition surrounding the finding, decorating, and sitting around our yearly Christmas tree. From the time I was a child my folks would pack we six girls into our station wagon and head to a tree farm to find that perfect tree. We would wander around looking for that “perfect tree” amidst laughter and warm hot chocolate.
When we moved from California to Central Oregon our search for that perfect tree became much more intense as we would trudge through snow, fighting the wind and cold, to bring home a tree that would light up our holiday living room. This tradition brings so many wonderful memories of laughter and snowball fights to mind.
However, I am reminded of a year when we didn’t have a Christmas tree; we didn’t really even have a home. We were living in 3 small trailers and our clothes were being held in two damp tents as we waited for our new house to be built; a project that had gone 3 months longer than anticipated.
My parents, prior to Christmas morning had gone up to our “yet unfinished” home taking Christmas balls and bows with them. Grabbing a tall ladder they decorated the steps with bright adornment in an effort to give their girls a “Christmas tree”.
Imagine our surprise Christmas morning! We laughed with delight and heartily appreciated the creative efforts that our parents had put forth, it was a great day of memory making!
Having traditions matters. In a world where there is an abundance of change, having traditions can pull a family together to share memories that are both historical and new! They remind us together of what we have shared in the past but give us the opportunity to build on those traditions in fresh ways if need ~~like the ladder!
This Holiday season give yourself the chance to choose or create some traditions of your own! Whether baking Christmas cookies, Playing “ding , dong ditch” as you bless your neighbors with surprises, drive around looking at all the lighted homes, following the advent calendar as a family, or getting a Christmas tree. Simply build shared experiences that you can count on each year! You will find that these are the memories that will warm your heart and fill you with joy-filled reflection in the years to come.