Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Memories... ah.

Chapter 20:

Hope your Christmas was memorable in the good way. I’ve had some memories… I tell you that are downright memorable but in the wrong way. I mean that only in the good way.

It was HOT… Did I mention that I hate hot??? Yeah, I know, enough already. But I heard Alpine and the rest of my neck of the woods got snow! Lots of it. Yay!

It is Saturday and thankfully, cooler. (As I'm posting this it is Sunday and still a bit cooler than Christmas)

So, here’s our Christmas in a nutshell. We had a blast buying for our friends and family. Not OUR family but a family that lives here. They are our friends and their kids are our friends… Oh you get the idea. We met the mom and dad on Monday evening to transfer the wrapped gifts from our car to their car. It was a great evening. For Christmas Eve we went to a local Christian Church for a Christmas play that when it all washed out was fun for kids but didn’t have a lot to do with Christmas… Just saying.

On Christmas Day, I cooked a turkey, twice baked potatoes and brownies in 100 degree heat with 99% humidity. Have I mentioned how much???? I know. Well, this was like Hell with Humidity… or if you are sensitive… like Phoenix with Humidity…which in my opinion is about the same. Do not mean to offend all you Zoneies but I hate heat.

So, about 1 in the afternoon, we took ourselves, our turkey, gravy, brownies, potatoes, and salami and cream cheese horns over to the Maleka’s (a family in our branch) for a fun day of swimming,(which we can’t do) eating (which we did) and chatting. By the time 5-ish rolled around I was more tired, more hot and a bit sad—yeah, missing my kids and grandkids and Christmas music, and decorations.

By 8-ish, while we were back in our flat with our noisy A/C turned on and watching Christmas movies, the Elders came back from Joburg bearing gifts and big smiles. We got the gifts from the Haights. (I might add right here that I am using my first dryer sheet!) J We exchanged gifts with the Elders which was really special. (We now have a Toilet Slam Dunk game—we really do.)

My friends Diane and Ruben noticed that I was not in the best of moods on Christmas Day so she emailed me that night and after complaining to her about being hot, tired and a bit sad I felt better. Sometimes you just need to vent. And I did vent. Poor Diane.

So, the next day, they concocted some story about needing us out there… out there is a 50 minute drive to Sabie. Which I was glad to go because Sabie is always cooler than Nelspruit. Once there, I discovered it was a ruse to have a second Christmas dinner where I didn’t have to cook—they did. I just sat in the coolness of their wonderful covered patio and was waited on, showered with gifts and lots of love along with Christmas music, decorations and holiday spirit. Something I had truly been missing. It was really a wonderful do-over Christmas Day. One I will never forget.  

I’m going to change the mood here a bit.

On Tuesday, we drove to Lydenburg to teach Calisto. It was too hot to sit outside so we sat inside at a restaurant table and taught him the rest of the plan of salvation lesson. We had several people listening or eavesdropping as it goes but that’s always ok. The Sunday before, he came to church and afterwards Elder Scott gave him a LDS Bible and a triple combination—the blue ones. Now, everyone knows these are scriptures that we give away for free. Every Ward Library has dozens of these books lying around.  They are not very expensive for us to buy thanks to the church programs. You know the ones. Well, ES handed these two books to Calisto saying they were a gift to him. Calisto teared-up as he looked at the books, took them in both hands, clutched them in a tight embrace, pulling them towards his heart, he said, “This is the best gift I have received. I will love them and cherish them.”

Goes without saying but do we all feel this way about our scriptures? On Tuesday when we met him he had already read to Section 52 in the D&C… Wow. He is so hungry to be baptized. Now, every time the Elders teach him, he teaches the people he works with. Can’t wait until he is baptized! Angels will be singing on that day!

Today, we met with Debbie… the woman from last week’s blog. We just stopped in for lunch and brought her a Book of Mormon. She was excited to get it and has already watched both DVDs, read the pamphlets and is ready to call the Elders to set up an appointment to be taught. She told me today that she likes the way I say things. She can understand me and wants to know what I know. I simply told her that because I know who I am and why I am here that I am grounded inside. I am happy because of this knowledge. Come what may, I will still know I am a daughter of God and that He loves me and He knows my name. Something along those lines. Often when the Holy Ghost is speaking through your mouth you can’t remember exactly what was said… only the gist of it…but it is a cool experience nonetheless.
Well, that about wraps up our Christmas week. We spoke or emailed or texted or facetimed some of our children and checked out the others on Face Book. Hope your week has been Christ filled... It was great to see on FB all the missionary moms excitement and joy over hearing from their children. I know Elder Ah Wong and Elder Smith were sure thrilled to speak to their families. Till next time... Still no monkeys but we caught a glimpse of some gray ones along the road the other day... cute flea infested critters...

Christmas Eve Presentation...A rock band singing adapted Carols.

two more views of the performance

Yes, I am tired and HOT. This is the food I took to the party. A turkey is under the foil
I was still making gravy

The pool party. The kids had a great time!

Nice pool and nice view

Playing Wii

This is a house across the street. It is really nice but look at the tree and the nests hanging from the top. There must have been 50 birds flying around and making their homes.

These are our friends, the Weitsz. We took them to dinner to celebrate Christmas.

They invited us to the day after Christmas (boxing day here) to celebrate sans the pool but I didn't have to cook anything. They showered us with gifts, food, music and good will and love. Ah, a real Christmas Party
Our Gifts... The cup wears a hat! cute.

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