Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gifts Given {Gifts Received}

All 3 boys serving Christmas Mass with Father Qui Thac Nguyen at Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Top gift received Christmas 2011: Christmas Mass~twice!  We attended both Midnight Mass and at 11AM Christmas Day, and our boys served at the altar for both.  Receiving Christ truly and substantially in the Holy Eucharist on Christmas (twice!) makes the very-tippy-top of the best gifts of Christmas 2011.  Realizing that our three sons won't likely be serving a Christmas Mass together again after Zachary's university years begin next fall, this Christmas memory has special weight.  The following 6 gifts given and received appear below in no particular order...

Father Qui Thac, Zachary, Raphael, Peter, David and Joseph prepare for the recessional.

Peter and Joseph spot the new fish in Peter's tank Christmas morning.

As far as living, breathing Christmas pets go, the gift of 5 more fish in the tank tops the charts!  A few years ago Peter received his dog, Rocky, as a Christmas surprise.   Let's just say Rocky's special (expensive) IBS diet, his extremely loud, obnoxious bark and phobia of men entering our home gives special meaning to this gift of 5 silent fish swimming in the tank.  Joseph wrapped the tank after carefully acquainting the gift fishies to their new home.  For over a week Peter waited and wondered until on Christmas morning he revealed the newest members of our menagerie.


My gifts from the guys... a puzzle revealing a tremendous gift

The one thing on my wish list (the only thing that came to mind when Tim asked me for suggestions) was the desire to attend monthly meetings of the OCDS; a very special opportunity to grow closer to God within a Carmelite community.  In order to give this gift, Tim and the boys first had a meeting and together agreed to support me in this journey and allow for my absence on the one Sunday each month when the local group meets for prayer and formation.  PUZZLE CODE: Carmel+Light(s)+Stan(d)+Wood = mom's gift of a monthly trip to Carmelite aspirancy and formation meetings.  How sweet!

Joseph and his new axe (be warned!)

THE YEAR OF THE HATCHET could be the sub-title for Christmas 2011 at our house.  Each of our three boys asked for, and received his very own hatchet from a variety of gift-givers.  Joseph's hatchet came with a full sized axe; Peter and Zachary received bonus surgical saws which fits inside their hatchets.  All 3 have earned and know the rules associated with the BSA Totin' Chip.  Yes, the tools would be taken away if used improperly or in a dangerous manner.   Downed wood in the green-belt next door beware: these guys are sure to find you and destroy you!

Chris opens his big gift.

Receiving our gift {which shall remain nameless}, Zac's great-friend-and-awesome-human-being Chris showed amazing glee and gratitude.  Granted, this gift supports his addiction favorite hobby, and makes him a formidable enemy to his opponents on the field.  How were we to know the attached upgraded battery came with a warning about spontaneous explosion during charging?  Luckily, Chris found the needed charger-bag online and ordered it right away.  Owning 2 pawn shops allows for creative gift giving sometimes, and this gift for Chris constitutes one of those occasions. 

Peter gives Zachary a hand-made dice rosary.

Another great success story stemming from my three favorite words: "Go Ask Dad," Peter's dream of making Zachary a rosary of assorted dice came true in time for Christmas gift giving.  Tim and Peter worked together using a drill press at the pawn shop and a pound of dice Peter ordered online.  The resulting game-themed prayer tool delighted its seventeen-year-old recipient, who put it to use almost immediately to pray along on our family rosary (Gospel reflections) during the car ride to Christmas Eve dinner with my side of the family.  Not a pocket rosary like most, but a real gift from the heart (and hand-made) to boot; a keeper.

My cousin, Ryan holds his nephew, Daniel on Christmas Eve.

A wonderful gift given and received this Christmas came in the form of relaxed fellowship with our families and friends.  Spending Christmas Eve with my grandma (now 94 years old and in great health after a terrible accident a few years ago), a tradition from as far back as I can remember, marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations and launches us into the days and weeks that follow.  Our Christmas season continues, so once again I bid you all a Merry Christmas!

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