Archive | December 2013

Dear Neighbor


I’m sorry I don’t remember your name….

I know I probably should……..

I’ve been told it a number of times…..

I know…….

I’ve smiled and waved Hi!

Only a gazillion times ……..

and yet…..

I still don’t remember your name.


There is one thing that I will remember about you when I’m gone.

I’ll never forget our first Christmas in this house.

That November evening when the sun went down and all the Christmas lights came out.

My son was only 2 at the time,  and there he sat on the back of my couch….He was peering out our big picture window in total amusement of what he saw.

There before him was a giant Christmas train!  It was all lit up with the wheels  rolling and smoke billowing.  He had a front row seat with which to view this spectacular scene.  I didn’t know at the time that I too had a front row seat to a scene of my own.

See every year my kids would know that Christmas Day was near based on whether or not your train was up.  The night it appeared the count down for Christmas officially began.

We noticed the year that vandals came and knocked it down.  They broke pieces of it and my children thought it was gone for good.

The following year we didn’t see it at all.  Convinced that it was officially gone we moved on with our Holiday festivities for that year.

Then one November night

The Christmas train returned…..

And I once again..

Had a front row seat to the smiles on children’s faces.

I know that you worked hard every year to put up that train…

I know when it was knocked down it took time to repair.

I would see you over there with flashlights working so hard in the dark.

I may not have ever said anything about your hard work, but I did notice.

I also know that my children are not the only children that your train brought great  joy to.

I watched many children in my house over the years and they would all take turns sitting in  my big picture window watching your train.  The opportunity to witness the joy that it brought them, the first time they would see it…… was priceless.

This year my son is 12 and I heard him say the other day “Hey Mom it’s almost Christmas….The Christmas train is up!”

I smiled……

Then quickly turned away as I shed a tear.

We will be moving next year and although you can’t come with us, the memories you gave us will never leave us.

So I want to thank you for all of the work you put into that Christmas train year after year.

I want you to know that your neighbor noticed

I want you to know the joy that it brought the children who came in and out of my house.

Matthew 6;19 says do not store up your treasures on earth but store them in heaven, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The treasure here is not in the train that took so much time and work every year.   I’m sure that it has value here on earth, but the real treasure is in the joy that I was able to witness in the children that came and went.   I had a front row seat to one of the best shows around and you gave me that treasure.  Your train made it possible so now  I want you to have a piece of that treasure too.

I may not remember your name….

But I will never forget……

How you’ve blessed our lives.

And so I Thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Beautiful MaumeeThanksgiving…….

A time to look around

A time to take note of where we’ve been……. and where we are.

A time to look at what we have……… and not at what we don’t have.

A time to acknowledge what matters most.

So what matters most?



Is it how the Turkey is cooked?

Is it the words spoken over the table?

Is it who is sitting at the other end of that table?



This year I was blessed with three Thanksgiving meals:


The first was with my extended family.

Conversation got a bit too personal……. and was quickly followed with the accusation.   Then I heard it… only took them two years to dig in with this one so here it is….. when I am I going to start dating?  I’m quite sure I am not the only person out there with family members  who like to ask too many questions with the excuse of “we only ask because we care.”


The second was joining a friend with her family.

I didn’t know everyone but that was okay.  I was quickly introduced not that I remember all the names but I can remember their faces.  It was a bit awkward ……but the food was good and it was nice to not be alone.


The third was with my children.

A turkey that I prepared along with mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and pie.

We all squished around a table that was too small, with me sitting on broken chair and my daughter on a footstool.

There was no fancy dishware or wine to share…….. But the memory we’ll share.

The thing that mattered most in all of these was not what was served………… or what was talked about,………. but who was there and the love that was shared…..That is what I am thankful for!

Thankful for the opportunity to be graced with the presence of others even if it is sometimes uncomfortable.

Even if…….. sometimes the conversations hurt.

Even if…….. its with someone I may not ever see again.

Even if…… its under humble circumstances.

So this year I looked around

I saw where I was and where I had been.

I could see what I had……… not what I didn’t have, and I am choosing to acknowledge what matters most.


Love matters most…..

Love is all encompassing….it makes the world go round.

Without it there is no meaning, no purpose, no hope.

Love is, Love does and Love will always be what matters most.

So this Thanksgiving if you have Love open your hearts and your arms wide.

Give freely of what matters most.

Love holding nothing back.

Galations 5:14

The entire law is summed up in a single command;  Love your neighbor as yourself.

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now theses three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the GREATEST of these is LOVE.