Friday, December 24, 2004

What a busy week! We enjoyed the first snow storm of the season this week, and the kids had a blast. It began snowing around 6:00 pm, and by 7:00 we had about a quarter to a half inch. The kids immediately wanted to go outside after dinner, so they donned their snow clothes and went out to play. They had a wonderful snowball fight with dh and the dog, made snow angels and miniature snowmen before coming in to hot chocolate and some homemade cookies. We were all so grateful for the early snow and counted it as a Christmas present for Southern Maryland. Knowing that the snow would likely melt by early the next day, we felt very lucky to have had such a magical time that evening, as snowflakes fell against the dark sky, illuminated by the warm glow of the holiday lights adorning our home.

We've truly had a wonderful week of giving, for which I feel very grateful.

I felt very lucky to be able to welcome a friend's baby this week, visiting them in John's Hopkins Hospital. He was born at a whopping 11 pounds, and needed to be hospitalized because of some breathing complications. We took snacks and Christmas decorations to brighten her holiday season as she spends her days and nights with him until he finishes a round of antibiotics due to some fluid in his lungs. They are both in good health otherwise, and we're very hopeful that they will be home before Christmas Day. I have been helping to cook for her family of three boys at home as she spends her time in the hospital, and my dh generously donated his labor to help roof their new addition last weekend.

This week, too, I have been cooking for my friend who is in the midst of a monumental struggle against non-hodgkin's lymphoma, and I was able to spend about a half an hour visiting with her for the first time since her ordeal began. She looks amazingly strong and has been maintaining such a positive outlook that I feel very hopeful for her and her family. She will be enjoying the holiday alone with her husband and two beautiful children before she heads back to the hospital for her third round of chemotherapy. Please, hold her and her family in your thoughts for a moment.

Yesterday, the kids and I delivered Christmas cards that we had made in our 4-H Club to the County Nursing Center. We found extra holiday cards and recycled used cards by cutting the front off and gluing it onto new card stock. The kids signed their names and drew some pictures, making it a wonderfully personalized way to give something to our community. My family was the only one able to deliver the cards, but Emily, Julia and Sam all had such fun hand-delivering them to the residents in the dining room. My heart was truly shining for the gift they were giving and receiving. After we left, they all asked to do it again next year!

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