All posts tagged family

A Little Christmas After Christmas

Oops about the Chicken Soup link. Here is an online piece that ran in the Salvation Army War Cry this year….

Not a Traditional Thanksgiving

The Hyltons have always been adventurous when it comes to food. My kids ate squid and mussels at a young age. In fact, one of our favorite meals to cook together is mussels fra diavlo. Sure, we love turkey, but not necessarily on the fourth Thursday of November.

Sarah is with her other family this Thanksgiving but Micah will be here on #peeledpoplarfarm.

We’re not sure of the menu. We’ve talked about everything from BBQ ribs to Chinese food. Doesn’t matter, we will be together, and may even have a few visitors.

What I am thankful for is not necessarily traditional, either. Sure, when my kids were little, we went around the table and asked everyone what they were thankful for. The expected answers always appeared: our family, house, food, dogs. All good things, yes.

But today, I’m taking a break from the traditional Thanksgiving blessings and am thanking God for a few unusual things.

First, I’d like to thank Him for things He has kept from me. Like friends. Not that I don’t have friends here in North Carolina, but they are new and we are still in the be careful what you say mode. (At least they are.)

Because of lack of friends, Tom and I have become better friends. No, he won’t go Black Friday shopping with me, but we often talk while watching re-runs of our wood stove while lounging on the couch. That is a good thing. (Except the whole lack of Black Friday shopping.)

Because of my lack of friends to confide in, I’ve had to take my thoughts, worries, and fears to the Lord. I’m glad about that, too.

The second thing I am thankful for is that I’m a nobody. Most of you already knew that, but I didn’t. I actually thought I was doing God a favor by following Him. Shoveling chicken manure in old sweats has a way of defining that.

Recently, I read of an American Christian who traveled to a foreign country and attended a secret church. In that church were men bent over from years in the rice fields.  They were not allowed an education because they were Christians. The writer also mentioned a woman who had her child taken away because she followed Christ.

In my book, these people are somebodies. But it really doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what the Creator of the universe thinks. And He is pleased.

The third thing I am thankful for is God. In my Bible reading today, Psalm 115:1 says, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name be glory. Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.

I’m glad the Almighty isn’t at all like me. He is unique. One-of-a-kind, Holy, and completely worthy of praise. And He is loving and kind and truthful.

I pray you will have a blessed Thanksgiving.

I’ll let you know if it’s ribs or Chinese this year. Or maybe we’ll have mussels.

Investing in Christmas–Fitting In

“Did you have a nice Thanksgiving?” I asked almost everyone I greeted on Sunday morning.

What I think I meant was, Did you spend it with someone you loved? 

I wondered about this as I dropped my daughter and son-in-law at the airport for their flight home.

Then I sobbed.

The reason I sobbed wasn’t because I missed them already. That’s a given.

The reason I cried was I wondered where I fit in.

My kids are grown. They have spouses and fiancés and good friends and new family. It’s normal. It’s expected. It’s hard.

“How do we know how to fit into our children’s’ lives?” I asked Tom while I snorted into a Kleenex. We live a twelve-hour-shift away from them. We can’t offer them an exciting time. Watching the sun rise. Listening to chickens coo. Throwing a stick for our dog, Sam.

“That’s not for us to decide, Pauline.”

Tom is almost always right about those things. It’s infuriating. And refreshing.

“Besides, we have some new family now. A bigger family–the body of Christ here at our church.”

Right again.

Where I “fit in” is in a heavenly kingdom.

And it all began with a baby in a manger. The season we just entered.

I grew up as the daughter of Salvation Army Officers. I’ve seen lonely and plenty who didn’t “fit in.”

So I know there are lonely, hopeless people in all income brackets and of all races.

That is the beauty of the Christmas story–hope.

God became a Man so we could be part of a heavenly kingdom.

So we could have an eternal place to fit in with a loving Savior.

It’s the reason to hope. The reason to praise. The reason to share with someone who doesn’t have a Happy Thanksgiving, or a Merry Christmas.

The real Christmas Gift.


But, I still miss my kids.

Hang in there, friend. I’m going to write every day until Christmas.

Galatians 4:4-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.