Monday, May 4, 2015

My Wish List

I'm sorry I took so long to share my story of so many Christmas miracles… they were miracles that came at a time that I needed profound healing… and the results thereof were still raw and too sacred for me to share… I think I was also in shock at the abundance of love that came our way.

I continually see and will forever proclaim that GOD IS REAL!!  HE LIVES!!

This past fall, I kept pondering on all the things I wanted or needed to buy for my children. Among other trials, our financial position was very difficult because of jobs that did not pay over several months.

I remember one day as I was praying I felt an overwhelming impression to put my wish list in writing. I felt silly because it seemed as though it was an impression from God, but why would God want me to put a silly wish list in writing? I obviously couldn't buy any of it; but since it was a Spiritual impression, I did it. 

I decided to be obedient. My list included some things such as clothing items for my children, but it also included large things like a drum set for my dedicated drummer, and a surf board for my passionate and improving surfer. I also had extra little small wishes for my girls on my list. They love everything from the movie Frozen.

I didn't show my list to anybody… not even Abe. I just kept it hidden safely in my wallet.

The Shirts

Soon after I had made my list, I took a trip to the grocery store. I saw an inexpensive shirt that Jackson would love, so I tried to get an early start on Christmas shopping and bought it for him. 

(He really needed more than one shirt. He had grown several inches and put on 26 pounds in the past year. To buy him several shirts was on my wish list.) 

As I went through the checkout, the shirt was only a couple of dollars!! What a surprise! It hadn't shown that sale price anywhere! I was so excited because with the money remaining from the discount, I had enough money to buy 2 more shirts!! I felt as if I was completely splurging… oh how our perspective changes in times of financial distress. 

As I walked to the car, I felt God telling me that this was only the beginning of HIS miracles… HE was working on my wish list. I thought that was so sweet and tender… but I knew there was absolutely no  way we could buy the big things for our children for Christmas.

The Surf Board

About a month before Christmas, I walked around an art fair. I began to talk to a man whom I knew was big into surfing. Tyson, my avid surfer, had a foam top surf board- those are great for beginners. Now he was ready for the next step up. I had no money to buy it for him, but I just wanted an idea in my mind of what he would need and how much I would need to save up to buy it for him eventually. I picked the man's brain for a minute about the next type of surf board my son should be riding. The man smiled really big and told me he had an idea. He wanted us to come see him in a few weeks, and he would have something special for our family for Christmas. A few weeks passed, and I was embarrassed to go see the man… What if he didn't remember our conversation? What if he changed his mind? What if I looked greedy coming to get the special gifts? I couldn't do it… 

A few days later, I received a text from somebody who knew the man and who also knew us… I had only met her once, but she happened to have our phone number because she had texted a picture to my phone a while back. She simply said I needed to go see this man because he had a surf board for Tyson. I was in shock. I cried. I couldn't believe our little Tyson would actually have a surf board. When we arrived he also had toys for Jayden, a wetsuit that would fit Jordan and money for us to buy other gifts for the children. I secretly hoped to be able to buy wetsuits for all the children for the winter months, but those were WAY too expensive. 

On Christmas Eve day, I was driving down the street when I had a strong impression to pull over to Goodwill. I had never been to that particular store; but since the impression was so strong, I turned in. I didn't even know what I was going there for. There wasn't anything particular on my mind at that moment.

I walked into the store and it was as if the wall was singing!!  There were hanging several wetsuits for the older boys and for Abe and me. After I draped the wetsuits in my shopping cart, I turned around and saw 2 wetsuits hanging on a rack right behind me. They were just the perfect size for Mariah; one was even pink!! Next to the wetsuits was a floatie with shorts just Jayden's size. I felt surrounded by gifts from God! I couldn't believe it. I bought them all with the money we were given and still had money leftover for a few of the kids' other needs like socks and underwear. I thanked God with all my heart. I had NEVER seen wetsuits in a second-hand store before… they were there… just our size… just for us.

Anonymous Angels

Several weeks before Christmas a package came in the mail. I burst into tears as I opened 8 gift cards with a substantial amount of money for each child. I didn't take another step before bowing my head and pouring my heart out in gratitude to my Heavenly Father. We would be able to buy almost all that the kids needed from my secret Wish List. The package came from an anonymous sender. The return address was from the Orlando area where we had lived the year before. Nobody knew how rough the past several months had been on us financially- especially nobody knew from Orlando. We had no idea who would give so generously to bless our family so abundantly. I sobbed to think that God already knew this would be happening when HE told me to write down my Wish List. 

I believe God wanted me to put my wishes in writing so that I would recognize that HE was meeting all my needs through HIS loving servants.

The blessings continued as other anonymous friends left beautiful, thoughtful gifts for our family at church and on our doorstep. We said so many prayers pleading for God to bless these souls to know how much they blessed our lives…. because we could not thank them personally. I cried as I pondered on the souls who spent so much time pondering on what would make our family happy.

Christmas Program

We have some wonderful neighbors. Most of them are elderly. Abe and I had put on a Christmas program at our church, but we wanted our elderly neighbors who can't travel as far to be a part of the program as well. We held a Christmas program of singing, musical instruments and food in our home just a couple of weeks before Christmas. Tears were shed as we, as neighbors of all different Faiths, shared our love for our Savior's birth. 

Our dear, sweet neighbors also showered our children with gifts of love. We all felt blessed and felt the Spirit of God.

Movie Night

Right before Christmas, I asked Abe what he wanted for Christmas. His only request: to go to the movies. He wanted to also take the family to the theater. I bought him movie tickets for Christmas, but it would cost too much to take the whole family. Nobody else knew of this request. 

A friend whom we had just met asked us to come to her house one Sunday afternoon right around Christmastime. We had a lovely time chatting. Before we left, she presented us with movie and dinner tickets for the entire family!!!  It couldn't have been any more perfect… of course I cried again. This was not a need… but it sure let us know that God was mindful of our efforts and of our struggles. HE was truly giving us all that we asked for… and we were growing in our humility as we saw the hands of so many angels acting as instruments in HIS hands.

Side Jobs

Right at this same time period, a dear friend hired me to tutor her daughter in reading. That same dear friend demanded to pay me a Christmas bonus for my work with her daughter. When I arrived to her house to teach her daughter, she had gifts for our family and a gift card to the exact place where I found the perfect shoes for Mariah… which was also on my Wish List. 

That same friend took a pay cut in order to allow Abe to do a job with her. She could have done the job by herself and made twice the money, but she gave him half her pay in order to allow him to work. I cry now as I think about that sacrifice… to allow my strong husband to bring more money in for his family. What a blessing brought about by great sacrifice. 

Another dear friend hired Jackson and me to teach piano lessons to her granddaughter. Our Christmas bonuses included a trip to McDonalds for the whole family and to another wonderful restaurant!!  What a treat!! We called her in the drive-thru line to tell her how delicious every bite was!! 

My Final Wish

One afternoon I was feeling especially grateful. I was speaking to my sweet, little piano student's mother and grandmother about my Wish List. I was thanking them again for blessing our lives so much. I didn't tell them what was on the list, but I told them how God was miraculously fulfilling almost everything on this long list. (Her mother later told me she was listening carefully to see if I would tell her what was left on the list, but I never did. :-))

The children were not expecting many material gifts at all for Christmas. We had been warning them for months that this Christmas would be different than other years. This year we would be making things for each other. Several of the children had been preparing coupons for each other… promises to massage feet… promises to make beds, etc. They were actually very excited to serve each other in this way.
Jordan jumped into Jackson's arms as he thanked him for his coupon gifts.

What a surprise on Christmas day!! The children walked downstairs to gifts that they never anticipated. 

We opened the presents slowly and said many prayers of gratitude for the sacrifices of so many.

The girls squealed as they received all kinds of gifts from the movie "Frozen."

Jayden had a blast with everything …and also enjoyed photo bombing little Juliana as she admired herself in her new gifts. :-)

I shared in a previous story about Jordan's Christmas surprise. Here's the link:

You probably could have heard Tyson scream all the way to California when we brought his surf board out with a big bow on it… he never expected such a wonderful gift. 

Jackson loved his new shirt. :-)

Sweet Jackson never looked at his siblings' gifts with the least bit of coveting. He was genuinely happy for them, and he loved all that he received. Still, Abe and I wished we had found a drum set for Jackson for Christmas. We had been searching for weeks. We saved most of the money people had given to Jackson to try to find a drum set for him. 

A drum set had been Jackson's wish for years now. He rides his bike 19 miles a day just so he can play his drums at school. He is dedicated and loves his music. It's his truest passion.

Even on Christmas Eve I was still driving to pawn shops and contacting sellers on Craig's List trying to find a drum set that we could afford and that would be of good quality for Jackson to perform. Most were way out of our price range or way too crummy. 

After Christmas, my piano student and her family whom I had told that I had a wish list announced they were moving. We were all so sad for they were so dear to our hearts. We helped them move; and as we said goodbye, they gave us yet another loving gift. She pressed a gift card into my hand and said, "This is for you to complete your Christmas list." Christmas had already passed. They didn't even know that there was something remaining on my list. Only Abe knew… and God. 

Jackson's birthday was the following week. I knew I had to use this money for Jackson's drum set. I called his grandparents and asked if they would like to donate to a drum set for Jackson as his birthday gift. I asked his siblings if they wanted to donate their extra change for Jackson's drum set. Everybody put their money in, and I added the leftover money from Christmas. I checked Craig's List again… 

There was a beautiful drum set that had just been posted! It came with free delivery, free set up and 3 free lessons!! With the money from our anonymous angels, the money from our friends who wanted to complete our wish list, and the money from grandparents, we would be able to buy the drum set.

I called the man selling the drum set. He was so nice and so genuine I thought he couldn't be for real… but he was. He drove 25 minutes to our house and spent over an hour teaching Jackson all he needed to learn about the care of the drum set and how to tune it. He drove to our house 3 more times to teach Jackson even more. It couldn't have been a better situation… so perfect, in fact, it seemed only God could have orchestrated such a perfect gift… and in fact HE did orchestrate the completion of my Wish List.

Jackson has since been asked to practice and perform with 2 different rock bands, and he will also play the drum set in a couple songs for the high school jazz band concert. What a blessing this has been for his musical progress.

God Is Real

I hesitated to share this story about my Wish List because I really would have been fine without the material gifts…

Also, our children really would have been happy at Christmas without any material gifts…

But it wasn't about the material gifts… it was about what the material gifts represented…

I believe God wanted us to know that HE was aware of our many trials… God wanted us to see the goodness of people… God wanted us to know we were important enough to HIM to send so many angels our way.

It was so much more beautiful and life-changing for all of us to see how the Lord made up for where we lacked… to see that our Wish List was important to HIM… 

I am humbled. I am grateful. I thank God for showing us HIS hand. I am thankful for the example of sacrifice and love that so many friends and anonymous friends gave to our family. So many beautiful miracles…