Saturday, December 26, 2009

Our Amazing 2009 Christmas

Here I am with three of our grandchildren in the states, taken on Christmas night (more about this later). This has been an extra special Christmas for Tom and me. First, the many Christmas activities with our church family are always a blessing to us. The Candlelight Christmas Eve service was such a beautiful presentation of the Christmas story in music and narrative. I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a Muslim lady following the service. She did not receive Christ, but she has an open heart and is truly seeking the truth, and we know that if she is seeking, then she will find it. Tom and I have an appointment to speak with her further after the first of the year.

As is our family tradition we always have our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve, so after the service at church our family and a couple of friends came home and enjoyed some homemade soups in our apartment and we then moved up to Mark, Julie and Em's apartment for dessert. It was a fun time. Our friends left about 10:30 p.m. and our family came back down to our apartment to open our gifts. As always Tom began by reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and afterwards we prayed. Emmy was appointed to give out the gifts. We all oohed and aahed over our treasures. It is so special to have Mark, Julie and Emmy in Germany with us. We never dreamed that God would have our children working with us in ministry here. We thank Him often for this wonderful blessing.

Now for the surprise ending to our 2009 Christmas. We had hoped to be able to go to Chattanooga for a few days after Christmas to be with Dawn, Mitch and the kids, but it just did not seem like it was going to work out. We arranged to have some good friends in Chattanooga do Christmas shopping for us and make a surprise delivery to the Moss house on December 23. The only thing we told Dawn was to be sure and be home at 1 p.m. for a surprise visit. In the meantime our travel agent found some incredibly inexpensive plane tickets for us and we also received a special Christmas gift from a family in the church that more than paid for the tickets. To make this story shorter, we not only surprised Dawn and her family with the delivery of Christmas gifts from our friends, but we REALLY surprised them by showing up at their house on Christmas night. What an amazing Christmas we have had and we thank the Lord for making it possible.

Our Dawn

Dawn, Mitch and the kids with Tom and me at "Sticky Fingers" in Chattanooga.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Luke 2:1-14 The Wonderful Christmas Story

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were acoomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddently there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Putting the Last Presents Under the Tree

We had a wonderful service tonight at church. Tom preached the last message in his Christmas series on the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6. Tonight he talked about Jesus, our Governor. Tomorrow night we have our annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. It depicts the Christmas Story in narrative and song and is always very moving. After church we went to a pretty little Italian restuarant in our village with Mark, Julie and Emily. And when we got home Tom and I put the final presents under the tree. Helping me is our little teddy bear who sits by the tree every year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Staff Christmas Dinner

Tonight we had our staff over for a Christmas dinner. These are the good missionaries that work along side us here at Rhein River Baptist. Larry and Phyllis have been with us for ten years, John and LeeEtta have been with us for nine years and our son, Mark, and our daughter-in-law, Julie, have been with us for almost three years.

I LOVE having friends and family over for dinner and fellowship. It's my way of saying, "You are special!" Tonight I prepared Poppy Seed Chicken, rice, green beans with almonds, caramel carrots, scalloped potatoes, tomato/cucumber salad, stuffed eggs and for dessert, stracciatella kuchen. I cheated on the dessert, but it was scrumptious. I also made wassail, which I really enjoy at Christmas time.

We had a good time of fellowship, especially sharing our most memorable Christmases. One of the blessings of Christmas is sharing it with people we love.

Larry and Phyllis

John and LeeEtta

Tom and Mark.

Julie, Tom and I.

2009 RRBC Christmas Program

Last night was our 2009 Christmas Program followed by our annual Chili/Cornbread Christmas fellowship dinner. Our children did a great job and it was such a blessing seeing them using their talents for the Lord. Our Emmy gave the most beautiful and touching reading of "Conrad's Guest" (I posted it on an earlier blog) and sang "Jesus Is the Reason".

Our nursery department always has a part in our Christmas Program. They depict a bedtime story time and the children come dressed in their favorite "jammies" and bring their favorite stuffed toy. Our nursery leaders read the Christmas story from Luke 2 to them. It is so sweet and of course VERY unpredictable.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Little Brother, Gary

My "little" brother, Gary, is four years younger than me and lives in Southaven, MS. I really do affectionately call him 'little brother'. Here he is with his beautiful wife, Pam. Gary manages a branch of a well known coffee company in the mid-south and Pam is the director of a day care in Southaven. He is an all around sportsman. He loves hunting and those Tennessee Vols! We don't get to see each other very often, but he is a terrific brother!!

Here is Gary's gang....all the grandkids at a Sunday afternoon visit.

Gary and his oldest grandchild, Hunter.

The Shoppers Rushing Home With Their Treasures

Tom and I ventured out together this afternoon to do a little Christmas shopping. Germany does not have an abundance of large malls like in America, but we are fortunate to have one of the larger ones here in Mannheim. The traffic getting to the mall was bumper to bumper and the traffic inside the mall was elbow to elbow. It was truly "power" shopping.

The temperature outside was about 10 degress so we were bundled up good~

The decorations at our German mall are spectacular! It is fun to watch the children as they look at the different Christmas scenes.

Stopped by the pastry shop after we had finished shopping.

Enjoying a much needed coffee break (with pastries, too, OF COURSE!

Waking Up To Snow

What a great surprise this morning to wake up to a beautiful covering of snow on the ground. We live in a little village in the hills and the snow is particularly beautiful on the hillsides. I suspected we would have snow this morning because the snow truck came down our street late last night. The Germans are very good about being "snow ready". It looks like we might have a white Christmas!!!

Another view from our balcony.

The view from a bedroom window.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Busy Day of Shopping

Tom and I did a little shopping for some household items at IKEA this morning and then I did some personal Christmas shopping this evening. Ran into Julie, Phyllis and LeeEtta at Karstadt in the mall and we were able to have a little fellowship over some good food. An incredible men and women's choirs were performing at the center of the mall and the music was just fantastic and hearing it in German made it that much more special.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taking the Last of our Retreat Guests to the Airport

At 8:30 this morning Tom and I picked up Dr. and Mrs. Mike Patterson at our 'Haven of Rest' apartment at the church and took them to breakfast before heading off to the Frankfurt airport. Dr. Patterson was the main speaker at our Missionary Christmas Retreat. He and Becky did a little touring after the retreat and got back to the church Sunday night. They have become such dear friends in the Lord and we hated to see them leave. The Lord willing we will see them in Mexico next year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Cobbler's Guest

This is one of my very favorite Christmas readings. It reminds me that every person that comes across my path is an important person. And what I do for others is the same as if I were doing it for the Savior.
* * * * * * *

Many years ago there lived in a small village a cobbler by the name of Conrad. Though alone and poor, this kindly old man always had friendly and consoling words for everyone.

At Christmas time, some neighbors decided to visit their friend, since he had no family. To their amazement, they saw that his wrinkled old face was radiant.

As they entered his shop, they saw a room made festive with holly and evergreen, and the table was laden with delicacies. Who is coming to visit you?" one neighbor asked in surprise. "Last night the Lord appreared to me in a dream and told me that He wanted to be my guest on Christmas Day. I am all prepared for His arrival, "Conrad replied.

After the neighbors had left, Conrad sat waiting for his hallowed guest. While he waited, a beggar passed his window, ragged and half-starved. Conrad called him in, fed him and gave him shoes for his nearly frozen feet. After the beggar had left, an old woman hobbled by carrying a sack of wood. Conrad asked her in, served her dinner, let her rest before the fire, and then helped her on her way.

Again, he sat by the window, waiting for his important guest. Suddenly, he heard the sobbing a a child. When he opened the door, he found a frightened, cold youngster. After some warm milk and soothing words, he reunited the child with its worried mother.

Once more he returned to his vigil, but night was falling fast. Where was the promised guest? Anxious and weary, Conrad dropped to his knees. "Oh, Lord," he pleaded. "What has delayed You?" Then out of the silence came a voice: "Conrad, be not dismayed, for three times I came to your friendly door; three times my shadow crossed your floor.

I was the beggar with frost-bitten feet.
I was the woman given food to eat.
I was the child in the lonely street.

More Pictures of Christmas Decorations in Our Apartment

Each day we do a little more decorating and I love it!! It's like giving extra tender, loving care to our home.

Family Night, December 14,2009

After several incredibly busy weeks it was nice to be able to enjoy a night with our family. I made baked potatoe soup with side choices of bacon, cheese or green onions to top the soup. We also had tuna fish sandwiches. It was a simple supper but I think everyone enjoyed it. We ate in the living room while we enjoyed a Christmas DVD. Afterwards we called Dawn in Chattanooga so she could be a litle part of family night. Below are some pictures showing everyone enjoying their soup and sandwiches.

Julie loading up the dishwasher after dinner.

Getting the hot chocolate ready

After dinner Emily served hot chocolate made from milk chocolate that you melt in milk or cream. These little "chocolate cups" as they are called, were a special gift from a missionary friend from Ireland.

We called Dawn back in the states so she could be a part of our family night. Here Mark is getting the last word in to his sister.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

His Name Shall Be Called ...Wonderful!

Tom will be preaching on the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 throughout the Christmas season. This morning he preached the most heart-touching sermon on "His name shall be called Wonderful." He is wonderful in:

* His Eternality
* His Creation
* His Pre-incarnation
* His Diety
* His Incarnation
* His Life
* His Death
* His Resurrection
* His Salvation

My heart was so moved to remember how WONDERFUL my Savior is.

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We finished decorating the living room and I have posted a few pictures below. We had to go in search of more miniature colored lights as three strings of old ones were burned out. We have decided that our decoration theme this year will be poinsettias and evergreen. Simple...but beautiful (and smells terrific!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays

The past few months have been incredibly busy and so I have gotten behind in several things. Today was spent doing housework and beginning to get everything ready for Christmas. We actually got the tree put up and a few of the lights strung but there is much more to do tomorrow. I think this year the decorations will be simple. We'll see. Here is a "before" picture. I will try to post more when everything is finished.

Our Last Day With Our Oshkosh Friends

After working so hard at our Missionary Christmas Retreat we tried to see that the folks from Oshkosh got to do a little touring before they went back home. On Monday, December 7, Tom took them to beautiful Rothenburg, Germany - the oldest walled city in Germany and particularly beautiful at Christmas. On Tuesday Mark took them to the Dachau Concentration Camp, the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany and then to the Neuschwanstein Castle, a 19th century palace commissioned by Ludwig II. On Wednesday Tom took them on a ride down the Rhein River where they were able to see castle after castle. On their last day they wanted to drive to France and Switzerland so that they could say they had been to three different countries. So at 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning we headed toward Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is only about 1 1/2 hours from Mannheim. We had planned to eat in Strasbourg but when we got there we could find no parking places anywhere, so we headed for a small French village down the road. (Read more about that below.) After eating we headed for Basel, Switzerland. Our plans were to find a place to get out and make pictures but the two vans got separated and we spent most of our time trying to get back together. At least they can say, "We were lost in Basel, Switzerland." We didn't get back home until about midnight but it was great fun.

We stopped in a very small village in France to eat lunch. We walked up and down the main narrow street to try and find a restaruant. Every store was closed!! We finally found a French woman who could speak a little English and she told us that everyone was home eating lunch. We scratched our heads at the logic of the restaruant owners closing up to go home to eat lunch. We headed back to our vans in disappointment. I couldn't help wondering if the entire little village of people were standing at their windows watching this troup of 14 people wandering up and down this narrow street. Just as we were about to the vans Tom spied a restaurant sign off the street. He checked it out and it turned out to be a beautiful, quaint little French restuarant with delicious food and it was open. Isn't the Lord good!!!!

Our last meal with our friends from Oshkosh was at the German Schutzen Haus and everyone enjoyed a German Schnitzel. It was the perfect way to end their stay. We met this fellow when we walked in the door!

This Zwiebelschnitzel was delicious and HUGE. You can believe I took a huge 'doggy bag' home for lunch the next day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Years In Heaven

On December 11 my Mother will have been in heaven for ten years. There is never a day that passes that I do not think of her and how much I love her and miss her. Here she is with her first great-grandchild, Emily. She loved her family so much. She died when Emmy was seven and Bradley was three. Bradley doesn't have many memories of her, but Emmy has many, many sweet memories. My heart aches that Bradley, Maddy and Haley did not get to know her well. This is a poem that I wrote for her shortly after her death that tells what a special lady she was.


She worked hard. She was alone
Two growing kids. A meager little home

Unconditional love, sacrificial love,
Believe the best love. It will be alright love.
Come on home love.

The dirty dish. The clothes on the floor.
The unmade bed. They didn't matter
There was always more.

Her walls told the story.
Grandkids, the new husband or wife.
Pictures galore. Family was her life.

My greatest regret, I couldn't be there
To say my last "I love you".
To say how much I cared.

Unconditional love, sacrificial love,
Believe the best love. It will be alright love.
Come on home love.

We'll be coming home soon, Mother.
But until then....

Happy Birthday, Theresa

Friday, December 11 is the birthday of my very special friend, Theresa. We were inseparable best friends in junior high and high school. She is the friend who invited me to go to church with her and I eventually came to know the Lord in that little church. We have not seen each other in 25 years but were able to reestablish our friendship through email this last year. Happy birthday, dear friend.