Christmas is around the bend. For many it is time to get back in credit card debt, something like dads who have to create giant credit card balances annually during family summer vacation. Christmas expenses are accrued because
Christmas is around the bend. For many it is time to get back in credit card debt, something like dads who have to create giant credit card balances annually during family summer vacation. Christmas expenses are accrued because presents need to be bought, wrapped and maybe mailed out. Ingredients for holiday meals need to be brought home from the supermarket.
My first Christmas as a mommy, Adam was still within. I had gotten pregnant on our honeymoon at the end of summer. Hubby#3 no longer needed to pursue me, so the lavish courting had stopped. And taking care of his latest wife and pre-natal expenses never even began. I was still working at the airline reservation center and putting in 12 hour shifts in order to save up for the gynecologist bill. It was due before my 7th month of pregnancy as required to maintain my doctor’s service. I had selected a Spanish speaking doctor so Adam’s dad would be comfortable during my labor. Our plan was for him to be present in the delivery room. He had wanted us to move to Mexico right away. I was having a child at a ripe age and did not know Spanish, yet. Hence, my doctor insisted I remain in America for childbirth procedures.
Boy! Am I glad that I did stay in my country! I never got an ultrasound taken to know Adam’s gender in advance. I could not afford it and was suddenly the bread winner. I chose to believe all my spouse’s lies and excuses as to why he never had money to help out with my living costs and prenatal care. Even the fees for hubby#3’s free flight passes were deducted from my pay checks. I had a whole dollar to my name the day I walked into the hospital to have our son.
I had sold most of my collectables like the RCA Victrola, rod-iron Singer sewing machine stand converted into my vanity, the TV cabinet I had had made in the orient, ginger jar lamps that were shipped over. I even sold the sofa. It didn’t matter. I was now in survival mode and needed to eat right, buy my vitamins, try to get enough rest and have gas money to get to church.
I taught myself to sew my own maternity tops and was complimented a lot on how gorgeous my clothes were. I cut out the zippers and tummy sections of my slacks and inserted elastic panels to convert them into my ‘expanding’ need. How grateful I was that it was Christmas season! I designed quilt patched stockings and took orders at work. I would create 3 a night after work. I had been blessed with a long list of special stocking orders (each with names to be hand embroidered on them). I would sew until 2:00 a.m. and clock back into the reservation call center at 8:00 a.m. for my 12 hour shift. It was literally: “Oh my aching back!”
I never permitted my heart to acknowledge that I was being used and abused. I only knew I was being a good Christian wife standing by my husband! Duh…..? We were not equally yoked. I had messed up again.
Oh those codependent songs I listened to as a teen like: Stand by Your Man, My Man, Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries. (‘As a man thinketh so is he’.). I had been brainwashed to die to self, but instead of for the Lord, it was habitually for hairy legged men.
We did move to Mexico and we rented a horrid house in a very rich zone, that was painted and fixed up little by little. I was not permitted to leave the house by myself. That was reinforced by me being guarded. There was a day guard and a night guard. If I did have to go somewhere I had to be chaperoned by paid servants. I would sneak to the market on the bus to buy fruits or drive to a tiny new church in the sandy beach colony once in a while. Many times hubby#3 would screech up to the market place or church on the beach and the public eye would witness in amazement how I was pulled into the vehicle by an ear! I lived in exhausting, continuous prayer due to my fight against fear.
By the time little Adam was in kindergarten, I had gained enough trust to take him to and from school or walk 2 blocks away to the local supermarket. I would use a stroller to take Adam to and from school as it was too hot for a child to make it walking in the scorching sun. We were below the equator. I had permission to leave the house just long enough to go to the kindergarten and quickly get back. I was being checked up on. Eyes were everywhere on us.
Adam’s first year in school I asked God for a Christmas tree to try to have holiday for my little boy. At that period of time, there were no Christmas trees in our area. Christmas with Santa was not big in Mexico, yet. The Latinos there had their own way of celebrating the birth of our Lord.
There was a very rich man who lived in a fortress of a house not far from the kindergarten. The cement walls around the house were 10 feet tall and a watchman stood guard at the gate. This rich man was married to a British lady. So, she knew about Christmas trees and could afford to have anything she wanted flown in or shipped over. We lived in a port city.
Soon after asking God for a Christmas tree, we were coming back home from school and I spotted our Christmas tree lying beside the garbage can cage in front of that mansion! I guess the British lady had gotten a new tree. I was singing thanks to God all the way home as I pushed Adam’s stroller with one hand and was dragging the artificial tree with the other. The next time I walked to the supermarket 2 blocks away, I bought 30 cents of different red and green fabrics. Adam would sit with me as we decided on kitty, heart, bell, ball, angel, and other patterns to draw, cut, hand stitch and stuff with whatever was available except the plastic grocery bags. Those were highly valued and we even washed them, hung them to dry to reuse over and over. Zip lock and baggies had not arrived yet; nor had throw-away-diapers made its way to our area.
I was able to get some paper clips to hang the ornaments. And the thick metal pull off seal from Adam’s powdered milk served to cut out a star for the top of the tree! We were so pleased and tickled!
The next Christmas we still had bits of fabric left over and I had saved ribbons, etc. We sat after school for a month and made individual Christmas cards for each house on our block and the relatives of my spouse, plus Adam’s teachers. They were amazingly divine! (Gifts made with love are anointed with beauty) I hand wrote the greetings inside. We were so excited as we walked the block and knocked on the doors to deliver them. One house was even the mayor’s.
The next Christmas I learned to use old bread buns called bolillos, to make bunt cakes of different tropical fruit flavors or natural chocolate cocoa cocoa beans. The cocoa cocoa beans exported to the Hersey Company in Pennsylvania for candy come from 2 hours away from our town. We had the real thing! And the natural vanilla was from 5 hours away!
The bread buns are peddled from a deep braided basket harnessed to the back of a hiking vendor. He made his round about 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The bread is still nice and hot. The vendor walks his route announcing “Boleeeeyo”. I developed a way to make the bunt cakes in the microwave. I got very good at it and secretly sold them as part of my ‘escape money’ I was saving up. Making these bunt cakes in volume was an activity of togetherness we could only enjoy when Adam’s dad was away. There was no joy when he was in town. One never knew when he would blow in like a destructive tornado hissing, accusing, striking, throwing, commanding, and demanding. Adam would run and warn “He’s coming!”. And he would run and crawl under his bed.
I remember once there was a traffic jam and the city chief of police was detained in the backed up line of cars. He had his car window opened. I bravely hurried out of my kitchen and crossed the street to try to convey to him in my limited Spanish that Hubby#3 was beating me. The law officer had a jolly laugh much like Santa does. He made a fist with one hand and punched the palm of his other hand, telling me to hit my husband back. The traffic began to move and he drove off having a good laugh.
We had no phone. Each letter I wrote soliciting help from love ones in America, was returned to me by my spouse in rage. My communication with America had been cut off.
So, I trusted and relied on God for protection and a way out. I got both. As much as I was battered, I must tell you I thought I had some type of blood disorder. I never bruised. Only once in those 8 years did I have any mark left on me from his anger attacks. Oh I had a cut scar or two, but no bruises. The one mark I mention was a big V from the shape of his boot tips where he had kicked me around on the floor. My son was forced to watch and listen as he instructed our baby that he would someday hate me as much as he did now. Thank God that Our Father takes that which was meant for evil and turns it into good for those who love Him.
Despite the evil one, Adam and I did our best to have Bible story time, make crafts with tidbits of whatever supplies we could find, and make bunt cakes for the poor. We had to have fresh bread in the house everyday for hubby#3 whether he came home or not. We had to have the daily Mexico City newspaper with the lottery ticket winners announced in it. If I failed to have them I was beaten. Even on days that the bakery was closed and the days the airplanes could not fly in to drop off the Mexico City newspaper, I physically paid for it.
At least we always had lots of cold bread (as it is called in Mexico). I guess in America it is called ‘day old bread’..
Adam learned to make the bunt cakes while standing on a chair. Both Christmas and Children’s Day we made about 20. We had a blast driving into the colonies (outskirts of town where huts were on sand roads ). I let Adam select the kids to hand a bunt cake to. His Spanish is perfect even today. So, he would explain that we made the cake to celebrate Baby Jesus and we were giving them with love. The kids would get giant smiles on their faces and run off to toting the special treat home to the rest of the family.
I remember one pre Christmas Day, when I had built up more trust and could drive to town for the daily newspaper with Adam ( without chaperone ); we were stopped at a red light. Adam and I always saw the thin man with no legs walking on his hands wrapped in rags on the median. That cement was extremely hot and abrasive! Drivers would hand him money from their windows. We never had money. The bread and newspapers were paid for by one of my husband’s girlfriends who was also his head chafer. She managed his petty cash in a brown paper bag. I know at times his brown paper bag had up to $100,000.00 in it.
Anyway, it was one of the days to take our Christmas bunt cakes to the colonies. We were waiting at the red light and the thin man with no legs was on the median in the cold wind. He was so tiny. Adam was about 6 years old and they were the same size. Adam asked me to row down the car window. He pulled off his only jacket and leaned over through the back passenger window and said: “Feliz Navidad!” That gift to that freezing man made my wonderful son very happy inside and out! It was an electric moment to see the eye contact of two hearts giving and receiving non committal generosity. There were no ulterior motives. It was an understanding of: “This was meant to be. Enjoy.”
We had no Santa in our town, yet. But we asked God to provide so we could be living Santa helpers. We had fabric scraps and glue. We had day old bread crumbs. We had a jacket!
Amidst the beatings and all, my life was being of value. I was able to raise my son to know the meaning of brotherly love. Oddly, even this year, as Adam is 31 years old, he is very steadfast to reach out to donate to our local rehab. He drops off good work boots, hoodies, and well made winter jackets. As those boys in rehab reach the phase of their recovery program where they need to go out to do manual labor in order to pay rent for their sober housing, warm work clothes are a must. This was instilled into Adam that cold Christmas Eve when he hurt inside seeing a man without legs exposed to the cold on a nasty cement street median.
When my son was a small child, only major hotel chains in touristic cities had Christmas trees displayed in the lobbies for American visitors to enjoy. And major cities like Puebla, Mexico City and Cancun had throne chairs with Santa placed around their parks so family photos could be taken. Santa was the ‘gift giver’ north of the border.
South of the border kids were not forgotten during the celebration of our King’s birth, either. But the ‘gift giver’ was just enjoyed in a more Bethlehem theme. The day of giggling children being remembered during the holidays is called: Three Wise men Day. The three Wise men are actually referred to as the Three Kings. Children write their wish list to these Wise men who took gifts to Baby Jesus. They can hardly sleep the night of January 5 because when they wake up January 6 the gifts will have been laid out by their beds.
Oh! I forgot to tell you the kiddos need to line up their shoes beside the bed. (Even if a child only owns a meek pair of rubber flip flops, the God loving Kings, who traveled so far to bear gifts to Mary and Joseph, are not prejudice! Upon those precious poverty feet protectors there will be a toy.)
January 6th is a holiday representing the height of the Christmas season. The date marks the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas. The children of Mexico in particular look forward to this holiday as traditionally, gifts are exchanged on this date, not on Christmas Day by a Santa.
And now my deep desire is to reveal a not hidden, yet little known truth, about the other Christmas ‘gift giver’. This universal ‘gift giver’ is experienced by those hearts and souls focused on treasures that are not wrapped in pretty paper nor tied with a bow.
In the natural world gratitude is expressed after the gift has been received. There are different cultural traditions for saying ‘thank you’ worldwide: maybe nods, hand shakes, phrases, bows, jumping joy, etc. That is the earthly way of giving, receiving and thanking.
There is another unseen world. It is the spirit world. It is governed by laws of nature just as the touchable world has laws of nature. Many successful businessmen know the following unhidden truth to be extremely yielding! They give with the right motive of helping another. These ‘gift givers’ do this faith action with a grateful heart because they are capable enough to be able to give (either tangible gifts or helping out with influential services). They celebrate the success of the person they are helping. They thank God that they, too, have a need and God will reward them for giving in the midst of their own particular lack. So they become their very own ‘gift giver’ by being a ‘gift giver’ to another!
This spiritual principal is receiving by giving. After ‘gift giving’ one’s turn to receive will come and will come in great multiplication!
What am I saying? Plant seeds of the type of gift you need. Thank God for the harvest of what you need before you get it. In your heart expect the manifestation of what you are praying for. Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. NIV Luke 6:38
You will reap.
Smart millionaires seek out struggling persons, who they can help, support and sponsor in the business world. They know that by being the ‘gift giver’ to help another become successful, the harvest multiplies their own wealth and empire.
What theories are these?
Plant a seed, reap a harvest.
Faith with action.
Calling in miracles by thanking God prior to and acting as if by sharing the miracle before receiving it.
Being a living catalyst for God to use when helping others.
The more we can be trusted to be a channel to bless others, the more God will supply us to keep the channel flowing with provision for those in need.
Be your own ‘gift giver’! Give and you will receive. However, this ‘gift giving’ is not to be done trying to manipulate or control, but thru the joy of seeing others blessed and believing you can trust God’s provision.
If we want apples we must plant Apple seeds. If we want our loved one to find sobriety; if we want our loved one to get shelter while on the streets; if we want our loved one to have good food while being a wanderer; what seed shall we plant?
Bingo! Be a ‘gift giver’ at city missions, help out the drug treatment rehabs, take provision to transitional housing and sober living places.
Expect your own miracle, help out the recovery world with joy in your heart, sacrifice material things trusting your Higher Power to supply your need later.
So: Santa, 3 Wise men, and WE are the ‘gift givers’!
Expect your own miracle, help out the recovery world with joy in your heart, and sacrifice material things trusting your Higher Power to supply your need later.
So: Santa, 3 Wise men, and WE are the ‘gift givers’!
It works if you work it! Merry Christmas. From the Cindy and Cindy’s Lizard Gang!
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