Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Cheer: The tale of Happy's bike

I have to share this story with you, because this is the kind of story that can only be true.  The truth sometimes creates the best opportunity for funny.  For those of you who know me personally, you know that my husband and I have humor.  This humor also equally applies to my in-laws.  Since I joined the family, time and time again I have been victim to what I call a Gravett lie.  You see, the only time we lie in our family is when it is to totally fool one-another or just flat out give one-another a hard time.

I was inducted into the Gravett lie very early on in my marriage.  When my husband and I first moved to San Antonio, we lived with my in-laws.  We sat watching the news one evening.  It was during the news cast that my sweet newly-wed husband says,"  Hey did you know that Albert Flores is the Spurs Coyote?"   (Albert Flores, is a weatherman.)  I thought to myself, he seems a little too chubby to be the coyote.  After all, the coyote does all sorts of stunts.  I was a tad suspicious, so I ask my father-in-law.  (A little background here,  my father-in-law APPEARS to be the nicest person ever.)  He looks so kind and so I think, HE would never lie to me.  Well... as the story goes it was several months that I believed Albert Flores was in fact the Spurs Coyote, because my sweet father-in-law fooled me.

Fast forward about 10 years.  It was around Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law and I started talking about Christmas presents.  Of course, we were trying to coordinate the gifts we planned on getting for my daughter.  It was then that the ultimate plan was hatched.  We decided that grandma and grandpa would get a bike for my daughter.  Then we would also, buy a bike for Grandpa (AKA:  Happy).  HOWEVER, we told him that it was for my husband.  So began the fun and games....

It was just after, Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law called a "Family Meeting."  This family meeting was to discuss Christmas.  She wanted everyone to commit to not buying gifts for the adults.  I began to laugh as my father-in-law sat there saying, "BUT if you already have a gift for someone then that is ok."  He was talking about HIS bike, that he thought was my husbands.  I laughed and laughed, but he never caught on.  The laughs continued as he tried to keep my husband out of their garage one day, afraid he would see the hidden bike.  He told the story of how he maneuvered things around so that "The Bike"  would not be discovered. 

The joke hit the peek of funny two days before Christmas.  We discussed the assembly of the bike.  We suggested that it be taken some where to have someone put it together.  Happy INSISTED, that he could and very much wanted to put it together himself.  There were rapid fire text messages between the rest of us as we snickered about him putting his own Christmas present together.  My sweet father-in-law was putting together his very own bike.  He commented on it being reminiscent of the few memories he had with his own father, putting bikes together.  It was late at night when he decided to take it for a test ride.  We are not sure what exactly happened next but this is how it plays out in my creative mind.

"The alley is dark.  It is ominously dark as if to foreshadow upcoming disaster.  He can not see where he is going, when he starts to feel off balance.  Oh no, he is going to fall, BUT WAIT, this is not HIS bike, it is a BIKE he is gong to give to his son.  This BIKE can NOT have a blemish.  It must be pristine, it must look as if it has never been ridden before.  That is when he, in his own words,"sacrificed my body for the bike."  While I like to make it more dramatic by imagining him laying out in the alley with a bruised body and an injured ego, that is not completely true.  He only scraped his arm and knee."

The next morning we awoke to the news of his fall via text message.  I admit, that I laughed so hard, I thought I might pee my pants!  My mother-in-law said she was already in bed asleep when he fell.  She questioned, what would  have happened if he had really hurt himself?  She speculated that he would have laid in the alley all night.  While this would not be funny had he really hurt  himself, it is HYSTERICAL since he is fine.  She described him as sore from the fall and occasionally wincing with pain.  To top it off, he was going to have to fake it in front of my husband, because it was still not Christmas and "The Bike"  had not been revealed.

Finally Christmas had arrived.  Together my in-laws wheeled the bikes into our living room, to give their gifts.  It was then, that we confessed "The Bike" was in fact Happys!  I laughed and said, "You put together your own Christmas present!"  He was surprised, and even had a tear in his eye.  I like to think the tear was shed over the pain of the fall, but in reality, the tear was over the gift.  It was the perfect gift for him to share with his only grand daughter.

Christmas is and should be a joyous time.  It should be fun and filled with laughter and love.  It should be a time when even if your gift isn't what you thought it was, it doesn't matter because the real joy is in making fun out of what you got!

Merry Christmas to all......

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Season of Presence

It seems as though my thoughts are on presence.    I can't help but think about the weight of presence in life.  It has been a while since I wrote.  Since my last blog, I have experienced another death in the family.  Well, it is more like adopted family, but in my heart there is no difference. 

You see, my very best friend growing up, just lost her father.  Their house was where I spent many nights, days, and weekends.  I called her parents mom and dad.  I vacationed with them.  We spent holidays together.  For many years, we were inseparable.  We have always joked, that our friendship worked, because I always said what she was thinking, and too polite to say out loud.  Her family is so dear to my heart, and I love each of them.

The loss of her father, and the recent passing of my sweet Tia Angie, has me thinking about presence.  Presence can make such a profound impact on the lives of people.  I think of these two people and the impact of their presence in my life.  I am so thankful for even the small things they did to encourage and influence me.  Often we walk through our daily lives with a list of chores to do, work to do, errand to run, and obligations to meet.  It is in this season that I see that presence is all that really matters.

A Christmas Prayer:  By Max Lucado

Dear Jesus,
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord.  These children, Lord.  Innocence violated.  Raw evil demonstrated. 
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty.  Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Your Children

Max Lucado sent this prayer out on Friday after the news of the school shootings.  What a beautiful way to show us that Jesus came into our world at a time filled with hate and evil.  I thought his prayer was exactly what I have been thinking.  His prayer showed the significance of presence, and how important it was then and now.  We need God's presence.  We need BOTH our MOTHERS AND FATHERS to be present.  We need our hearts, families, and communities to be wrap in the loving presence of Jesus. We need to start at home.  We need to start with ourselves.  We need to take a moment to review our hearts and adjust our lives and start experiencing presence. 

My husband and I make sacrifices to put our daughter first.  We pray for her, and with her.  We read the Bible with her.  We are present in her life.  It is Christmas time, and what an excellent example Jesus gave us, about presence.  God became human to be with us.  Jesus died to be with us.  How much quality time our we spending with Him?  How much time our we giving our families?  How much effort our we using nurturing our relationships?

There is a hustle and bustle about this time of the year.  For some it is met with joy, and others with sadness.  While I admit to having a slow start to finding my joy, I have learned this.  If you want to find true joy, lasting joy, love-filled joy, you need only put your eyes on Jesus.  The cliche saying," Jesus is the reason for the season," doesn't really do justice to its meaning.  The season is decorated and wrapped in pretty paper and bows, but the true joy of the season is experiencing HIS presence.  It is not only the gift of his birth, and the salvation found in His resurrection; it is the EVERYDAY PRESENCE that makes a difference.

As you prepare this week and next to celebrate Christmas.  I want to challenge you.  I challenge you to have a season of presence.  Be present for your family and your children, not just in the fast lane or drive thru.  I challenge you to experience genuine presence with your loved ones.  Make a new tradition.  Make more time to hold your loved ones a little longer.  Most of all, I challenge you to experience the PRESENCE OF THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD, JESUS CHRIST.  When you do He will show you more joy, hope, and love than you could ever imagine.  My prayer for each of you will be that you will experience a LIFETIME of presence.

Luke 2:11-14
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!