We hosted an Open House for our neighborhood for the second year and had a lovely time. We have a small neighborhood and a lot of people came by. We have some of the best neighbors that you could ever ask for and it was nice to catch up with them.
This year we tried our hand at a new kind of Christmas where we gave gifts to Jesus rather than to each other. The week before Christmas Andy and I finalized our choices for our Christmas gift donations. We had a lot of fun looking through the catalogs and choosing gifts. We purchased a year of primary school education for an abuse survivor through IJM and donated a cleft palate surgery for a Chinese orphan through Show Hope among other things. Family members donated to Hope Resource Center in our honor as well as an incredible foster care ministry that is being started by family friends in Missouri. The greatest gift is that our sweet pseudo-sister Sarah was inspired by our donation of the cleft palate surgery and rallied her company (a home health provider) to raise money to donate to Show Hope as well. My heart swelled at that news because our counter cultural Christmas message spread to the hearts of others and their donations will change the lives of some fortunate children.
We exchanged stockings with our Sto-Nack family the night before we all went our separate ways for Christmas weekend. Our choice for gift giving made my life a lot less stressful during December. I had fun looking for stocking stuffers and ornaments for Andy, Sam and Sarah, but didn't feel the pressure of having to find the perfect gift.
|This is Sam's attempt to look excited for a picture because Sarah gave him a trip to the Grand Old Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The perfect treat for the guy who can sing every word to every country song ever written.|
Sarah didn't follow our no gift guideline and bought us a Keurig machine. Andy has been wanting one so badly and was thrilled with her thoughtfulness. We love our new toy and we are very thankful for her thoughtfulness.
Our annual trek to St. Louis was a lot of fun. We saw both families and lots of friends.However, we have a woeful lack of pictures. Alas, I resolve to be a better picture taker and blogger in 2012.