On Monday, February 6, at 8:50 A.M., my grandmother went to heaven.
I didn't get to see her much, but I remember her as very generous. She always gave Christmas presents to all 16 of her grandchildren, always had little toys from McDonald's happy meals when we came to visit her. When she heard I was saving up for a laptop, she went and bought me a purple HP Pavilion. I've had it for five and a half years now, still works great. I've written 325,000 word's-worth of books and most of my blog posts on it.
All her life, Grandma was Catholic. She was born Catholic, raised Catholic, and I'm still not sure how Dad managed to get out of the Catholic church. But he did, and I'm glad. The Bible's pretty clear that it's God's grace that saves us, not the prayers we say or the money we give or the good things we do. So now that I know this, how do I convince my family? Not only do they live a thousand miles away from us, they're also stubborn Italian-Greeks. Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It's accurate.
Turns out, it wasn't my job to change my family. It was God's job, and He was willing and ready to use whomever He saw fit. He used my dad to minister to my Uncle Jim. Uncle Jim, in turn, is taking my Aunt Marie to church. My grandma? God sent her a man named Tyrone, who worked as a cook at her assisted living place. He loved her like his biological mother and even called her "Mama." He visited her in the hospital and prayed the prayer of salvation with her. I thank God for him.
I'm not nearly ready to go to heaven. I've got too many books to write, too many tickle-fights to have with my sister and a future family to love. But when I do get to heaven, I know that Grandma will be waiting there for me. She won't need oxygen or insulin injections, and she'll have all her short-term memory back. And that's why I'm not sad! I'm not saying that I won't grieve or cry at her funeral. I'm not saying I won't miss her. But she's in heaven now, with the God she's served since she was a little girl, and that's a reason to rejoice.
If you're reading this, please say a quick prayer for my family. There's a lot of details to work out and stubborn people to work with. My parents are running off Jesus and half the sleep they need, and my sister and I still have school to do. Thank you, dear reader, and God bless you.
Hello, my dear readers, and merry Christmas! I'm sure you're as excited for December 25th as I am. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose sight of the wonder of Christmas in all the hustle and bustle of making sure everything is perfect. As a perfectionist (and an overachiever), I completely understand. I'm currently in the process of crocheting an afghan, and today I found in my almost-finished masterpiece an extra hole that's not supposed to be there. (God's healing my perfectionism, so I'll just crochet over it. No one will know the difference! *Insert evil laughter here....*)
"It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you!"
Unfortunately, laughing like Yzma and quoting Disney movies doesn't solve all the world's problems, especially around Christmastime. It just takes your mind away from the fact that you need gifts for your hard-to-please siblings and your grandpa who never needs anything. What to do, what to do....
It's about enough to drive anyone batty.
Kind of like Yzma.
This Christmas, I challenge you to unwind a bit. Listen to "Carol of the Bells," have a snowball fight, decorate cookies with friends and family and enjoy it. You're not going to remember this Christmas because the garland on your tree was perfectly twisted, or because you had the most lights on your roof. You might even forget the perfect present. What matters most is the time you take to spend with your family and with Jesus, the real Reason for the season.
My most memorable Christmas wasn't the one three years ago, the one I spent crocheting my parents an afghan. It wasn't the year I got the American Girl doll I'd been wanting for months. Really, it's all the years--helping my mom in the kitchen, visiting with family, decorating the Christmas tree. Acting out the Christmas story with candles at my grandparent's house, like we do every year on Christmas Eve. God bless you this holiday season, and remember--it's the little things that make a memory.
--Quote and picture from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove.
Hello, dear reader! My name is M. J. Piazza, and I'd like to introduce myself.
I live about an hour north of Dallas. I have one little sister, am decidedly single, and have a taste in music that varies from TobyMac to Celtic Woman. And I am also a firm, Bible-believing Christian.
I know you didn't care about any of that, so now we're going to play a game. I'm going to ask a question. I myself will answer it, and I'd like you to play along in the comments. Are you ready? Let's play!
1: What's your favorite type of movie or TV show to watch?
2: What's a very interesting fact about your life?
3: What's the most extreme thing you've ever done? If you've never climbed a mountain, bungee jumped, skydived, etc., would you like to?
4: What's your favorite thing to eat that you only get at special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc.)?
5: How would you describe yourself by using the letters in your name?
1: I enjoy movies that have plenty of humor and action in them, especially movies with a faith-based content or historical setting.
2: I've only moved once--950 miles from northern Illinois to northern Texas.
3: I climbed the rock wall at summer camp, but I only got halfway up because my hands were sweating in the 113-degree heat index. I'm a very cautious person, so I would say NO to anything more extreme than...well, climbing rock walls at camp.
4: It has to be my mom's black raspberry bars. Basically, it's two layers of cookie dough in bar form with black raspberry jelly between them. There's four sticks of butter involved in making them, so they have to be delicious.
5: This one was a bit tricky, but I would describe myself as:
What about you? How would you describe yourself? Tell me in the comments below! God bless you, and happy reading!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.