The day after Thanksgiving is the day when Christmas decorations are supposed to go up. Just ask my mother. She never allowed any Christmas stuff until after the dishes were done -- and expected the stores to do the same (although I do now suspect they started earlier than she knew). She also had a rule that the Christmas tree went up the Saturday before Christmas and came down the Saturday after New Years. Of course she was dealing with real trees, not plastic stuff.
One of my few "duties" at Computer Central is to make sure the place looks like Christmas and I always wait until the day after Thanksgiving -- but before the parade. I can't say I'm actually much of a decorator myself, that's why God made daughters and daughter-in-law types. In most previous years I've been able to recruit them to do the decorating. This year none was available and the House of Hope was kind enough to send me two of their most creative residents to do the honors.
By way of introduction, following are their personal testimonies:
"My name is Amy Callagher. I am thirty years old and I am extremely thankful for the Lord our Savior Jesus Christ. I grew up in a drug-free Catholic home raised by my parents, who set a good example for me, my brother, and sister. I was an obedient kid and had the Lord in my life until I was about twelve years old. I was somehow overcome with rebellion and began to experiment with alcohol and drugs. This went on through my teens and into my twenties. When I was 28, I attempted to rid my life of all substances on my own and was almost successful. I'd failed to ask the Lord to help me through it, and the last two years were the worst two years of my substance abuse. This past summer I was trapped in my addiction, suicidal, and about to lose all hope. On July 1, I arrived at the House of Hope as my last hope to have a normal life again. Being at the house of Hope these past five months has given me peace. I've learned to depend on the Lord in everything I do and he never lets me down. I'm very thankful for everyone who contributes to the House of Hope and everyone who has helped me learn a better way."
"Hello! My name is Jamie Gardner. I am 30 years old. I grew up in Carlisle, Ind. I had a good childhood. At the age of 12, I started rebelling. I was using drugs and alcohol. This proceeded through my 20s until I came to the House of Hope in March 2008. Since I have been here, God has shown me grace and mercy. He has also restored relationships with my daughter, my dad, and my mom. My husband is also here at the mission. God is restoring our relationship as well. I am now an Assistant Counselor and I am very blessed to be here doing God's work. My husband, who is also an Assistant Counselor, and I plan on staying here at the house for a Full Counselor commitment. A Full Counselor commitment is 6 months. We are truly grateful for all God has done and is doing in our lives. I appreciate all the blessings God has for us. May God Bless You!"
Come by Computer Central anytime before the Saturday after New Years and see their work, and maybe pick up some info about the good work done at the House of Hope in Brazil and how you can help the residents. Also, Computer Central has a small gift for anyone who makes a contribution or pledge to the House!
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.