Sneaky Christmas came this year. It came down the chimney when I wasn’t looking. Too bad Santa didn’t buy the presents while the day dawned. I’m thinking its because we usually get almost a week after kids are off school before the day hits. That didn’t happen this year.

I always have my gifts bought early in November. I guess I just wasn’t organized. Plus, everyone was slow getting wish lists made, even I didn’t know what to ask for this year. But, I made out like a bandit any way.

The real sneaky thing about Christmas, though, is not the lack of time to buy presents. It’s that Christmas, by its very nature, tells you that you have to buy presents for everyone. That’s a pretty long shopping list.

Christmas is about a gift. It is your gift. What? Christmas is not about me. I beg to differ. It is about a gift for you. That gift, though, is not the baby in the manager. It’s not even the Christ on the cross. It is, though, the resurrected Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for you.  It is about the Christ that because of His resurrection has achieved superstar status by providing each of us the way out of bondage to the pulls of the negativity of this life.

He loved us so much He died for us so that we could live for Him. One way we live for Him is through genuinely loving people. On Christmas there is no better way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday than by having meaningful, quality time with your family. Telling them how much you love and appreciate them and how totally awesome they are.  I’ve been doing that with those I love. I hope you’ve had opportunity to do that as well. If not, you can still do it. It works anytime day or night, year after year.

This year, this mom is very, very happy in that I got just what I wanted for Christmas: both of my children home at the same time for the holidays. My children, however, are not and have not been children for quite some time.  They are both fine young adults embarking on their individual pursuits.

Jenny is a college graduate!

Jenny finished her bachelor of science degree in psychology from Evangel University in Springfield on Dec. 19.  Officially a college graduate with honors, she will not walk across the stage in May to receive her diploma. The reason is quite simple really.

She has accepted a job teaching English as a second language in Japan. She will leave in late March and will be gone for a year. This is just another reason why the holiday season is very special this year.  We’ll have a graduation celebration for her after the holidays. Anything for a party, right?

Andrew loses 60 pounds

Andrew has returned from a job in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where he was service manager for MacXprts, an Apple retail store.  The store had been bought by the Columbia company which sent Andrew out there for what was supposed to be a six-month stay. It turned into eight months.

Although he found it hard to be away from family which includes his cats, Harley and Fluff, he dropped 60 pounds. All that beautiful Colorado landscape made riding his bike to work or jumping to work via his kango-jumps something fun to do. He may accept another job with MacXprts at one of their 10 stores throughout the U.S. In the meantime, he’s enjoying some time off after working six days a week for 10 plus hours a day.

Roy volunteers for PET Project

Roy has been busy. In addition to climbing towers and installing bell systems for Schulermich Carillons, he volunteers with PET (Personal Energy Transportation) Project in Columbia. These uniquely designed carts are propelled by hand and allow those in third world countries who do not have use of their legs to get to get around and carry items. Some even use them as street vendor carts for selling their wares. This helps give them an income as well as transportation.  Wheelchairs are virtually unusable because of the rugged terrain in many areas. To learn more about the PET Project go to http://giftofuggemobility.org/.

Teresa develops website, works on book

Teresa is continuing to operate TLC Home taking care of two mentally challenged young women. This year she began a new website focusing on sharing stories about real people going living real lives going through real struggles serving a real God. The articles include stories about various people as well as insights into everyday life.  Check it out at: www.realGodrealpeople.com. Feel free to add your email address to get updates on new stories.

She’s also working on a book with the title, Confessions of a Foodaholic. She hopes to have the rough draft ready in about three months. Feel free to hold her accountable for the at least 6,000 word per week goal she has set. If you want to help in any way, she’d love to have proofreaders and those who would read for content, logic and flow. If you have ideas about what you would love to read in a book about food difficulties, please comment below. I’d love to here from you.

Retweeting the sounding joy,

Roy, Teresa, Andrew and Jenny along with Masters of the Universe Harley and Fluff

Christmas: God-sized Plan
At the end of the world, who is Jesus?
Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 260 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has three more books, "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God." Sweet Grace and Sweet Freedom study guides are available as well. All books are on Amazon. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss tab at TeresaShieldsParker.com. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking Tab.