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Christmas, a concert, and an ice storm (a crystal winter wonderland).

Christmas has past and it was a very nice one for our family. I think I surprised Rebeca the most. She likes all kinds of animals, but likes Zebras a lot. I bought her a Zebra bank, a Zebra pillow pet, a Zebra stuffed animal, two zebra figurines, and a Zebra night lite that shines stars on the ceiling. She was so happy with her “Zebra” Christmas.

The other children seemed pleased, too, but the older they are, it seems to be harder and harder to buy things for them. I just mainly do gift cards and let them go get their own gifts.

The weekend before Christmas was our Christmas Concert. We had been practicing since September and little by little everything started to come together: one, to get me excited about the concert, and two, to actually make a great concert.

I wasn’t that excited about singing this year until we had a practice with the OKC Choral Bell Choir. They did two pieces for the concert and also accompanied the choir on three pieces. It was incredible to have them participate. They made the music ring (pardon the pun), but it is true, that they made a huge difference in how the songs came together and the sound.

We also had an incredible guest conductor, a guest pianist, organ player, soloist, rhythm section, flute player, and cellist.

Together, each person’s expertise added another dimension to the overall sound and quality of the concert. It ended up being a truly lovely concert. The only thing is a major ice storm hit OKC about an hour before the first concert. Attendance was dismal, to say the least. And that was really sad because it was a Christmas concert to bring the spirit of Christmas and bring peace to the soul.

I made several new friends through the course of the practices. One in particular, became a really good friend. One afternoon during a break, she found out that I spoke Spanish, and told me that she had a friend that lived in Honduras. She explained that this was a childhood friend and that she was from a wealthy family and had a resort in Honduras. She said her friend had always wanted her to go down there and visit, but she had never wanted to go alone.

I told her my husband and I would love to go with her to visit her friend. We even got online to look at the resort, to check out things, and make plans. Then two days later, she calls me frantically and wants me to go online and translate some Spanish news articles. Apparently, the same friend that we had been talking about was murdered…and she was worth around $800 million.

A very strange déjà vu type occurrence as we had just been talking about her and my new friend had been ready to contact her.

The week before the concert had been crazy for me. I was so busy, and with extra errands and responsibilities that weren’t planned that I was feeling really frustrated. I took one day to drive to Manhattan, Kansas to take a car to Benjamin. His car’s engine had died completely. He wired us some money and Fito bought him a car. He found him a 2004 Dodge Stratus with only 140,000 miles.

Fito and David loaded it on our 16 foot trailer, tied it down, and I drove it to Manhattan using our 2009 Ford Flex. We were afraid, but it did a really good job towing. When I got to Manhattan, Ben had to find a ride to meet me. Then the mechanic where his broken down car was kept informed me that they were all out to lunch, but in an hour and a half, he could help push the car into the trailer with his truck.

I really didn’t have an hour and half as I had to get back to go to choir practice. I was also worried that in pushing the car with a truck that it could be damaged.

I called a couple of tow companies, but they couldn’t help. I then started to take the ties off by myself. Two men saw me and offered to help. They were done working for the day. They wouldn’t take any money and just stayed the whole time and helped up unload the Status and load up the Pontiac.

The men and Benjamin pushed the Pontiac up on the trailer after only two tries. They stayed and helped us to tie it down properly. I told them they were my Christmas angels. The only payment they would take was some homemade cookies I had brought for Ben (but really, he shouldn’t eat as he is diabetic).

I arrived to choir practice late with the car and trailer still hooked up. Manhattan is just at 300 miles. It had been a long day and an even longer week. As I was entering, a friend came up to me worried about a text she had just received from her son. He was suicidal (as he has been in the past) and she did not know where he was or how to find him.

We did the only thing we could; we gathered in a circle and prayed for him. I offered the prayer and at one point felt a complete calm, peace, and assurance that he would be okay. I told his mom that after the prayer. (And he ended up okay).

But how that one text changed my whole perspective of the week and my life; all the busyness and stress I had felt simply vanished. My children were all okay. Christmas was coming. We were singing beautiful songs, and for one moment in time complete peace. May each of you too, feel peace and count your blessings. May each of you be so blessed.

Coming home on Sunday, the sun came out and turned the ice into a crystal winter wonderland.

It was so beautiful and yet the highways were really never that bad and we did not lose electricity...a true Christmas miracle. However, many trees and bushes were damaged.

Our home with the evening sun. This is ice, not snow.

This is our back yard. See the River Birch down by the lake that is completely bent over? It was damaged by the tornado and now this...poor tree.

Our back porch.

Our vegetable garden.

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