Another Christmas season is upon us. Our Memory Tree is loaded with my collection of ornaments….it may resemble a Griswold tree to some, but I love every precious memory it contains. : ) The manger scenes are out and the garlands hung. That means among many things,’it’s time for another cookie exchange.”
I hosted my first cookie exchange in 1980. At that time, I was doing a program with my handicapped daughter that involved (over a period of two years) one-hundred-twenty patterners (Yes, 120 precious ladies!) who helped my family to do a very intense program with my daughter, Jan.
I wanted to do something to honor them, so on a cold December afternoon in 1980 around fifty ladies arrived with their cookies-in-hand to celebrate our shared task….cheering Jan on to achieve her potential. Slipped in with the Christmas Carols that day a Gaither song played in the background on our old eight track stereo. The lyrics were “I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise, with a captital P, I am a promise to be exactly what God wants me to be.” Some of you will remember that “I Am a Promise”melody. : )
I remember the fun of those days and the wonderful break that party gave that tired young mom as she saw all those ladies who were “Jan’s Clan” come together to celebrate. They were old and young, all volunteering to help me and Jan have a better life. Many of you are still friends on Facebook and I send you a big hug and say thank you for all you gave to the Whitley family at a critical time in our lives. I still pull out recipes from those by-gone-days and think lovingly of the ladies who brought those sweet treats. They blessed me more than they’ll ever know.
Though I’ve skipped years for one reason or another in hosting the exchange, I added it back to my traditions five years ago, at a time when every known normal in my life had changed. And once again, it has been a great blessing to my life. One of His Tender mercies—coming together with friends, laughing, and sharing our memories, our faith, and our sweet treats. Count me blessed!