December 26, 2009

A Christmas to Remember

My children and I have been living in a community shelter for victims of domestic violence since December 15th. My husband hasn't paid the child support he was ordered to pay for the past 2 months. The five of us are living in single room that doesn't even have a lock on the door. We have restrictions, curfews and we live with strangers, some which are strange to say the least. Things are pretty bleak right now.

But yesterday, my children had the best Christmas ever!

When they came down to the children's playroom in the shelter where the Christmas tree is set up, their eyes beheld a sea of gifts. They were awestruck, squealed with delight, dove in and set to work on the seemingly impossible task of unwrapping an incredible pile of gifts. They opened and played with gifts for hours. At one point I asked my 3 year old Joshua if he was going to open some more of his gifts, and he said, "That's enough Christmas, I'm tired of opening presents." LOL!!! Once he got a second wind, he was right back at it.

My children were blessed beyond their wildest dreams thanks to the employees of Aramark Corporation located in Reading, PA. They chose to adopt our family for Christmas after we were brought to their attention by one of their employees by the name of Lucy, whom we had just met through our mutual friend Nani.

On Wednesday December 23, my children and I went to Aramark to meet with the people who decided to bestow us with so much kindness, without even knowing us. They were having their holiday luncheon and they invited us to join them. When we walked into the lunchroom where their Christmas tree stood, I was just overwhelmed. All of these smiling friendly faces, and a tree full of gifts that were all for us. I was overcome with gratitude.

I introduced us to everyone while trying not to cry, straining to talk over the huge lump in my throat. The true spirit of Christmas had come to us this year. I remember in years past donating toys or clothing for those in need and it was a good feeling, but until this day, I didn't know personally what the recipients felt. Now I understood intimately.

Words are not enough to describe the thanks in my heart to the Aramark employees who rallied together for the cause that was us. All I can say is that I am forever grateful and know that I could never ever repay them for their incredible generosity. They gave us a Christmas to remember!

We don't have much right now, but we have family and friends who love us and strangers who care. Most of all we have a heavenly Father that watches over and provides for us. Our Christmas started 2 weeks ago when we went to a holiday Christmas party for Forestdale Fathering initiative where my daughter won a bike in a raffle. It continued with a visit to Grandpa and a generous gift to all of us, and it continues on as we visit with their aunt, Grandma & our friends.

The windows of heaven opened up and poured out a blessing that we literally don't have room to receive! Again God has done what I could not possibly do and used our family, friends and strangers to pour out His indescribable, uncontainable, incomprehensible love on us. When we finally settle into a home of our own one day, the children will each have enough toys to fill thier rooms.

So we'd like to thank:
The employees of Aramark in Reading, PA
The employees and donors of Turning Point
The employees and donors of Forestdale Fathering Initiative
The teachers and friends at Life Academy
Our friends: Liz, Zori, Nani, Tutu, Austin, Kela
Our family: Grandpa, Grandma, Aunties Raina & Pam, my oldest son-big brother Anthony

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts and pray God's blessings upon you and your families in the coming year!

(I don't have access to my PC right now to upload the pictures I took, but I will post pictures as soon as I can.)