Initially, ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace, had to get glasses for reading. Since grace is such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll, I started thinking about the ways God shows us His grace on a daily basis. From His servings, His glasses, of grace to us - to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight), it made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born. Blessings and all, this is my life…

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"It's NEVER about the presents!"

Wow. What a sweet holiday.

Kate was only about 4 months old when her first Christmas rolled around back in 1994, so I can't remember if I did this that year or not or if it was her second Christmas that we started doing this, but every year, I spend the night at my sister's on Christmas Eve. Kate is now 13 and Grace is 8, so it's been going on for a really long time. It's just tradition and they start asking in early November every year if I'm going to spend the night there on Christmas Eve. I always act like it's a big decision because I want to see what they say, but truthfully, there is nowhere else I'd rather be! If they didn't ask, I'd be disappointed! :-)

Here's my story:

My sister called me last Saturday and asked if I could come get the girls and take them out for a little while that afternoon so she could get all their stuff out and be sure things were 'even.' Of course, I jump at the chance to do that any time she asks, so we went to Blockbuster, Books a Million, Target, then Starbucks. All was well. My sister had things just as she had hoped. I stayed at their house for dinner then left to come home and start wrapping their stuff for Christmas.

While we were out that afternoon/early evening, Grace was talking about the things she wanted for Christmas, what she'd told Santa, etc, just excited about the holiday. After a few minutes, I said, 'Grace, I know you're looking forward to all that, but you know what Christmas is really all about, right?' Her response, 'It's about spending time with friends and family and being nice.' Well, I had to giggle because she KNOWS that Christmas is about Jesus' birth. They go to church every week and she's heard the story since she was little, I guess just in the moment of me asking, that was what came out of her mouth. I said, 'It is about those things sort of, but it's really about it being Jesus' birthday and that's what we need to remember.' We talked about that for a bit then moved on to other things.

I went to our Vespers Service on Monday evening, after that, to a friend's house for a little while, then I left there to come home, gather clothes and gifts and head over to my sister's. I had been there about an hour or so and my sister discovered that she needed more eggs (she was having about 15 people at her house for Christmas dinner, so she was busy into preparations for that....she is a FABULOUS cook!), so Grace and I left to come here to get eggs....I never cook, so it was amazing that I had any to begin with! As we were leaving, Grace and I decided to ride around my neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. My house is the 7th one in at the second entrace to my subdivision, so I don't see what goes on with all the houses behind me unless I drive around to look, but I was pleasantly, and I mean pleasantly, surprised to see that many houses had a nativity scene set up in their front yard! YEA! I was glad to see that, and it provided more of an opportunity for talk with Grace. That was fun and we decided that might be our tradition. As we were heading back to their house about 10:20, she saw Santa several times up in the sky. She was worried that she wasn't in bed and asleep yet, so I told her he was probably up there looking for the babies homes so he could go there first since they had an earlier bedtime and were surely already asleep. She was satisfied with that. Although I know these days will be coming to an end in the next year or two, I love the fact that she still believes in Santa. It is just so much fun and when I say she still believes, I mean she believes HARD. She told my sister that she wanted to marry Santa so she could take care of him. :-) I guess she's afraid Mrs Claus isn't as good to him as she needs to be! :-) Grace leaves him cookies and milk out every year and, this year, she even left him a Starbuck's mug so he could take his drinks to go and they would stay hot! :-) She wanted a bell from his sleigh too, so my sister had found these ornaments that were like sleigh bells, but they had a portion cut out in the side and had a nativity set inside of them. She left two of them out, one for Kate and one for Grace. Grace was absolutely thrilled! You should have heard her screeching and hollering....it was adorable!

Anyway, not long after we got home from getting the eggs and looking at Christmas lights, it got to be about bedtime, so since I was sleeping with Grace that night, I went in there to lay down with her until she fell asleep. While we were laying there, I told her we needed to say our prayers and asked if she wanted to say them or if she wanted me to. Of course, she wanted me to, so I started:

"Dear God, we thank you for today and for the time we have had together to play and have fun....we pray that you will give us a good day tomorrow and help us to remember that Christmas isn't always about the presents, but that it's about Jesus' birth...."

While I am saying this, I hear this sweet little voice, "It's never about the presents," I keep praying, then I hear a little louder, "It's NEVER about the presents," so I just try to fluff over it and keep going thinking that she surely understands that I know that since we had talked about it earlier, but then Grace stops me and says, "AUNT DIANNE, IT IS NEVER ABOUT THE PRESENTS!!!" :-) Of course, I just had to giggle because it was funny that she just kept right on saying that until I got the point, but I had to acknowledge what she was saying....that she was RIGHT and that I was proud of her for correcting me on that. What a sweetie! Not much gets by her, that's for sure.

Not long after that she was snoozin' away and there I was, laying in the dark thinking about how God has blessed me though these two nieces of mine, each in their own way, and that I probably wouldn't experience such sweet times with them if I had kids of my own.

Have I mentioned lately how lucky I am to have the life that I have???

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from me and one sweet, spoiled rotten cat....
hope yours is great!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Older and wiser...

From a recent e-mail:

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, or my family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself...I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60's & 70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hi t by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

The fabulous Babbie Mason

There are some things that happen in life that are just too cool. Last night was one of those times.

We were fortunate enough to have the fabulous Babbie Mason at our church yesterday. She sang two songs yesterday morning, then she was in concert last night. After it was over, I bought three CD's....one for me, two for gifts, and a book. There was a line of people waiting to speak with her and since I never know what to say to 'famous' people (and not that I've had many opportunities...some people on Days of Our Lives (who are hardly famous!) many years ago and of course my favorite....Donny Osmond!), I was going to forego that opportunity, BUT as I stood there talking to people, the line kept getting shorter and shorter as others had their turn, got their autographs, pictures, and left. SO, there I was deciding that since she was SO close, I just needed to speak to her. She had mentioned during her concert that they are living in Bowdon now and since I have aunts and uncles there, I thought that might break the ice....big deal, huh? :-) Anyway, I waited my turn, handed her my book to sign, then as that was happening, my friend Pam's husband, Dow (who is also my friend), sidled up next to me and kinda stood there....I was wondering if he wanted to get in on my conversation with Babbie (!!), but imagine my suprise when he leaned in and said, 'They're coming to our house for a little while when they leave here....We have an extra spot, so why don't you come over too?' Babbie said, 'Yeah, come on over!'

I was like, "UH....OKAY!!!" :-) WOW!

So there we were breaking bread together....Pam, Dow, Rick (our Minister of Music--his wife was out of town so that's why they had the open spot), me, Babbie, her husband, Charles, and two people who were helping at the sales table after the program. Babbie had caught wind at lunch that Pam's house is fabulously decorated for Christmas (and it REALLY is!!!), and asked if she could come see it after church last night! Can you imagine....Babbie Mason asking to come see your house?? :-) It was a very nice night and as you would expect, Babbie was as fun, gracious, humble and unpretentious as you would ever want her to be. We all talked and shared things, but she shared about their new ventures, living in a small town where people know her husband more than they know her....as evidenced by her trip to Dollar General one day....her children, her grandchildren, personal prayer requests, etc. It was an amazing night and one that only served to deepen my respect for an incredibly gifted artist and a godly woman.

I told Pam that never in a million years when I left for church last night did I imagine it would end with dinner and fellowship at her house with Babbie Mason! Of course, I'm sure she never dreamed when she woke up yesterday morning that things would transpire like they did either, but it was a fabulous concert and a fun night and once again, I am more than blessed!

But can you believe that I didn't even think to take my camera??? What is UP with that? I thought about that today though and really that may have been best anyway. Babbie may have felt more comfortable since no one 'wanted' anything....just time to relax and talk....no pictures, no expectations....and making it easy to follow Pam's #1 rule for anyone who enters her house...."Make yourself at home." Now THAT is a sweet friend!

But, camera or not, it was definitely a night to remember.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Christmas quiz


I got this quiz as an e-mail and thought it would be fun to post the answers here....I'd love to read your answers too, so let me know if you want to play along....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
both

2. Real or Artificial tree ?
artificial....but this is the first year I've had one....and it's SKINNY! :-)

3. When do you put up the tree ?
The day after Thanksgiving this year because Grace was spending the night

4. When do you take the tree down?
Knowing me, as soon as Christmas is over....like maybe that night!

5. Do you like Eggnog?
absolutely.....I can't imagine anyone that doesn't, but I'm sure there is someone!

6. Favorite Gift you received as a child?
I don't know....but the first thing that came to mind is a pogo stick that I got one year.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
yes

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My dad...he doesn't need or want a thing, except for us to come visit...bless his sweet heart!

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My nieces

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received?
Believe it or not, gel insoles from my boss! NO kidding! Can you imagine??

11. Christmas Cards...Snail mail or E-mail?
Snail mail....I love cards!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
No favorite movie comes to mind, but if I can pick a cartoon, it is Frosty the Snowman

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
November-ish

14. Have you ever 'recycled' a Christmas present?
Not that I can remember

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My sister is a fabulous cook, so most anything she makes...except oyster dressing.....YUCK! Luckily she makes regular dressing too! :-)

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
clear

17. Favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
home...at my sister's....but she's only 5 minutes away

19. Can you name Santa's Reindeer?
yes

20. Do you have an Angel or a Star on top of your tree?
A star with a snowman on it

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
the busy-ness

23. Shopping...Mall or online?
both

Let me know if you play along and I'll come check out your answers too!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas With a Capital 'C'

My mom sent me this video link last month and, unfortunately, I'm just now getting around to looking at it. Many of you may have seen it before, but for those that maybe haven't, it's a catchy tune that gets to the point.

Enjoy!