Saturday, December 7, 2013


Discover. Play. Build.

Today I'm joining Ruth Ayres Celebrate This Week. Stop by her blog to read some other celebrations.

It's 9:00 on Saturday night. I spent last night and all day today at our church's Christmas Store. I'm pooped and contemplated not posting, but I haven't missed a week of celebrating and wanted to keep the trend going. So this is probably going to be a brief, and probably not very well-crafted list of celebrations from today…

1) Christmas Store- Every year, my church does a Christmas store. Low income families from the community can come to the store and purchase terrific, brand new gifts, really good stuff, everything from Fisher Price toys, big wheels, and Legos for the little guys, to CD players and phones and clothes for big kids, for $5 each. I've volunteered several years and always really enjoy it. Last night, I ran home after work, changed clothes, and headed out to the high school where the fair was being held. In about two hours, 40 or so volunteers unloaded a huge truck (the kind you rent when you move), arranged tables, set up Christmas trees, and sorted gifts. This morning, volunteers started arriving around 7:30, for the store, which opened at 10:00. When families arrived, they were assigned a personal shopper (my job). The family selected two gifts per child, placed them in a laundry basket carried by the shopping assistant, then waited in a hospitality area while the shopping assistant took the gifts to a different area for gift wrapping. I'm really grateful to attend a church that does lots to meet the needs of people in our community. It was really fun to meet the families and talk to them and help them select gifts. My families included a Korean woman who spoke absolutely no English, a grandmother shopping for her 14-year-old twin granddaughters who live with her, another mom who had five little boys, ranging in age from 18 months to 11, and several moms that only spoke Spanish (which relates to my second celebration).

2) Growth- Lots of Spanish speaking families come to the Christmas store. My church is really diverse, so we have lots of bilingual translators to act as personal shoppers for the those families.  Every once in a while, though, there would be a big rush of Spanish speaking families and they'd  need bilingual shopping assistants and I was pressed into service. Two years ago, when I worked with Spanish speaking families, I really struggled and had to ask other people for help on several occasions. Today, I could understand everything the families were saying to me, and pretty much make myself understood (OK, so I don't know how to say 'wrap your presents' or 'gift wrapping' in Spanish), but for the most part, I did ok. I was excited to see that my Spanish has improved a little.

3) Answered prayer- One of the things I love about the Christmas store is the opportunity to meet new people from the church, or to talk to people I have seen, but have never really gotten to know. This morning, I stood in line next to a woman in her seventies. She and her husband had only been attending the church for a few months and this was her first time helping with the Christmas store. She shared a few stories about her life as a missionary, then I told her a little about my boys. She asked how she could pray for them and I told her that I really want my boys to meet some Christian men who can mentor them into manhood. She said she would pray, then, much to my surprise, tapped the gentleman in front of her on the shoulder. She introduced herself, told him my story, and asked if he knew of any organizations that focus on mentoring young African American men. We talked a little about my boys and I said that they were in Arizona. The man said he had an uncle that lived in Arizona. Surprisingly, (or really not because it seems like that is the way God works in my life), the church happened to be in the Phoenix area, in the exact suburbwhere my son goes to school. He took my number and is going to have his uncle call me.

Tonight, then, I guess I'm just celebrating a really "ordinary" day as a princess of the Most High King.


Michelle Haseltine said...

I'm so glad you shared your celebrations. Celebrating answered prayers...that makes me smile! That Christmas store sounds amazing!! Great post!

Amanda Villagómez said...

I enjoyed that you shared different celebrations linked to this one event. Next weekend my community will have a similar event. We just moved, so I have not seen it before, just heard about it. I was glad to read your thoughts on why events such as this are so helpful.

Congratulations on your Spanish. I remember how it felt as I realized that my proficiency was improving as well.

Linda B said...

Happy to hear from you and all about the Christmas store. I think things have this marvelous habit of working out, connections, serendipity, isn't it terrific that you took the time to talk in line (some don't) & made that first connection who then helped you? What a story. Also glad about your Spanish. I have a friend who is taking Spanish so she can better communicate with patients (she's a nurse). Hope the holidays continue to go well!

Andrea said...

I love hearing about this Christmas store. What a fantastic idea and a way to help those less fortunate. It is so great that you were able to see that your Spanish had improved. I also love the story about your answered prayers. How amazing!