Monday, December 25, 2006

Tolmay Family Christmas '06

One of the nicest gifts of Christmas that I have received is this post of pictures from the Tolmay family in Adelaide. They say pictures say a thousand words. I didn't need a write up when these photos arrived - just seeing the food, the people, the tree and the gifts tells me that Christmas was special in the Tolmay home this year. Have to comment on Kim's artwork - talent need I say more?

So, here is a challenge - anyone else got some Christmas photos you would like the world to view? If so email me and we will make it happen. Click on "View my complete profile" then under contact click email and send 1 unique Christmas photo with a short discription and I will assemble a post-mix celebrating Christmas 2006.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Very Merry Christmas

Time flies! It feels like just the other day we had Linda and Kristen here from Zims for Christmas but that was a whole entire year ago...

2006 has been an awesome year with many a story to tell. Funny how people are drawn more to stories that sound like something went wrong, rather than the goodness of the experiences that took place. You know what I mean when there has been an accident on the freeway our first reaction is to want to see what happened, our secondary thought is "was anyone hurt..." - some of the stories that were really life events that occurred during this year are worth mentioning in this blog as we close out 2006 in anticipation of a new year dawning.

Looking across the oceans to Zimbabwe, much took place and continues to do so. Is it for the better? Well, hard to say, but truthfully, the answer would have to be a resounding no! Life is hard back there. For those who have no alternative but to face each day with the challenges of basic survival, life continues to be a struggle, even for those with wealth the pressure of sustaining life and its' comforts is ever growing. Of greater concern is the plight of the children who innocently have to plot their future, some not even in their teens having to parent their siblings due to the impact of AIDS/HIV. Grandparents being burdened with the tremendous losses they face of their children and children's children. Instead of the elderly being cared for, which would be considered normal, they now are having to fill the gap created by this crippling fatal sickness. So, looking at those types of statistics I would be more inclined to say things are not as they seem, the situation is bleak, and coupled with a continued crumbling economy, starvation and brain-drain life is not all that right now...

Over in Holland, there are a number of stories to share. The most noted story is more of a miraculous testimony. Dad this time last year to the day was diagnosed with Stage 4 NSCC, which in layman's terms is sure death from cancer, in some cases within weeks, but usually within a few months after chemotherapy. Through each session, test and examination Dad stood on the promises of the Lord that by His stripes we are healed. He continued to improve and astound specialists, doctors, friends and family. To this day, Dad has no cancer present in his body. Is this a coincidence? NO. This is a miracle. Why? Because God can. I wonder why such things happen in life, and without a concrete sure answer can only say from my heart that the Lord always has a plan. Whether it is for a loved one to live, or die, He still has a plan. The most obvious plan is so that man can see the awesome intervention of the Lord and return Glory to God.

For us here in California this has been a year that seemingly passed quickly. We have continued adjusting to the actual changes in the seasons and have loved the way nature transforms. Other States do have more noticeable and visible changes, so everyone says - we don't know any different yet. One factor that takes time getting used to is the adjusting of clocks twice a year, and also the fact in winter it really does get dark faster, and in summer stays light later - those are unique and interesting adjustments. The girls have had a good year in School and College and are working hard on progressing to their next levels in the new year. Life comes at you fast when you see your own kids sprouting up, turning into young adults! The decision to move here was hard, but looking at the future and potential they can achieve has made this worthwhile to say the least.Nancy and I take great comfort in having the fortunate ability to be together 24/7. In retrospect we wouldn't have life any other way unless the Lord has an alternative plan. As far as the shop and business goes we have seen a big transition in industry technology and wrapping our minds around it at the same pace as everyone else has been challenging and a lot of hard work. Daily we thank the Lord for our clients and that He prosper, bless, lead and guide them in all their ways so that we can continue to grow.

Further afield we have the Tolmay Family in Adelaide. For the first time since their arrival down under we have been in consultation about posting a few of their pics on the Jubber Journal and so below this post are some interesting shots of the family. I can assure I have permission to post so viewer discretion is advised - you have been warned! No really, I chat with Karin often, and although they are a huge 18.5hrs ahead of us here in California when we do chat it is as good as being in the same room. The one thing we always come back to is how we miss the family get-togethers and would give anything to have those moments back. I mean every Sunday we would all converge on Mom and Dad on Berwick Drive and have a wonderful Sunday lunch come dinner followed by watchng DALLAS (who could forget that...?) and then one by one we would peel off home. Now, we have family spread all over the globe and cling to precious memories and share them when ever we make contact. The times have indeed changed...all the photos in this paragraph are of Karin, Dave, David jnr, Mandy, Danielle and Kim...

Being Christmas Eve for us here at the back end of the earth, we cheated a little and decided to open gifts tonight rather than wait until the morning. As I stood watching the gifts being handed out by Vicky it amazed me that all of us, no matter how old, still love the joy and excitement and element of surprise in tearing open a gift. The funny thing is even when you know what it is, or have an idea what you think it is, you still eagerly rip that wrapping paper off to reveal your gift. I think it is the child in us that never really lets go of wanting to be spoiled, wanting to experience the joy of receiving a gift. I recall being a kid not being able to sleep the night before anticipating Santa would stop over, deliver my presents (written out on a wish list, remember that...?) eat the cookies I left and drink the milk. Today the same excitement is relived in millions of kids the world over, then I think how fortunate millions are to experience all the trimmings and wonder about those who never will. I am reminded of a story I heard today of a child in Zimbabwe who was fortunate to travel over Christmas and be blessed with the life changing experience of seeing Santa, seeing a beautifully lit Christmas Tree with gifts, eating all the delicacies and treats and tearing open gift after gift being showered with blessings. When asked how her Christmas was going to be back home, she was sad and said "Santa isn't coming to us this year...there is no fuel for him to travel, and he will be harmed here...". Quite a thought in the mind of a child! Sometimes to reflect on abundance and blessing is humbling, and so my wish this Christmas is that those who have, would consider those who do not have, and that there can be an enlarging of our hearts towards such in time to come to make their dreams come true.

A Merry Verry Merry Christmas from the Jubber Family in California!