A Christmas to Remember- 2017

From left to right- Abigail, Nathan, Gaye, Destin, Danilo, Anna (Christmas 2017)

Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed Christmas with those you love. This was the first Christmas my immediate family was together since the passing of my husband, almost three years ago. Little Destin, my grandson (15 months old), was an entertaining addition! Someone taught him to fist bump. And my favorite present was learning that his little sibling will be arriving in July!


Anna woke up a few mornings after Christmas not feeling well. We thought it was due to that little one in her tummy, but as the day went on, we concluded she had a stomach bug. These germs fought with a vengeance! About every other time Anna got sick, she would faint.  So my family sprung into action!

Bethany and Wesley found a good deal on some snowboards! (12-2017)

Wesley, Bethany’s husband, is a health inspector and he suspected the Norovirus had found us.  According to Wesley, this virus can live on fabrics for up to 12 days, on hard surfaces for a week, and is highly contagious.  One is contagious before the  symptoms appear and up to three days after symptoms are gone! Lysol doesn’t kill it. The hot water in the washer and laundry detergent doesn’t kill it.  And the dryer isn’t hot enough to kill it. YUCK! It takes Clorox. So Bethany started wiping down doorknobs, faucets, and other surfaces with Clorox wipes. We washed bedding and rugs in case it was an ordinary virus. And we began using paper towels, plastic cups, and paper plates.

Abigail was in charge of taking care of Destin and cooking food.  Bethany continued to sanitize and wash dishes. I cared for Anna.  Wesley hauled in wood and kept the fire going. After a long day at work, Nathan made a run back into town for Ginger Ale and saltines. Danilo had left to go back to Florida to work so he wasn’t exposed….yet. Anna felt much better the next morning after a predictable schedule of getting sick every hour.


The Vara family (Danilo works at Sherwin Williams)

Unfortunately, all our precautions seemed to be in vain.  While Anna was resting the next day, Wesley got a unique version of it. The next day I got it.  Bethany took her turn the next day. Abigail said she would like to go ahead and get it over with.  She got her wish the next day. Danilo had come back for the weekend and he also didn’t feel well when he left.


It was a miracle that Little Destin didn’t contract it.  Everyone had taken turns caring for him and he walked around touching everything. This raging virus could have easily sent him to the hospital, but God protected him. Nathan also escaped it.


Our dog, Rooster keeping warm!

As bad as this may sound, there were some blessings in the midst of this.  We were unable to attend church on Sunday so we spent several hours discussing the Bible.  It was such a blessing to hear my children and sons-in-law discuss what God was doing in their hearts. It was interesting to hear their thought processes, discernment, and wisdom.


It also warmed my heart to see my children loving each other and working together knowing what was at stake. They could have gotten out of Dodge, but they laid their stomachs on the line and sacrificed for the sick ones. I often heard, “I’m so sorry you are sick,” “Can I get anything for you?” and “What can I do to help?”

Please check out Abigail’s blog at Praycookblog.com!

So this Christmas didn’t turn out as we had anticipated, but it was still a very good Christmas. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus. He left His Father’s side to be born as a baby and came to Earth to lay down His perfect life so that we can be with Him in heaven one day.  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) This is exactly what Jesus did for us. He embodied love. God is love. God proved His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


If we will admit our sin, believe in our hearts that Jesus is God’s son and that He died and rose again, and ask Him to be the Lord of our lives, we can have His love in our hearts.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I John 4:11)

It always amazes me to see God’s deep, sacrificial love coming through one of His children. In a world of selfishness and pride, God’s love stands out in a lovely, unique, refreshing way and it gives hope.  Let’s spread that love around today, friends!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

(Pictures from the Gaylord  Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN- December 2017)

Why Did Jesus Come?


Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.  I like everything about it…the songs, giving, family get-togethers, yummy food, lights, colorful decorations, special programs, and that Jesus is at the center of it all.

But this year is different.  I am separated from my best friend who has celebrated every Christmas with me for more than half of my life. My husband, David, will be present at Jesus’ birthday party in heaven this year. I’m jealous. I’m sure it will be a grand celebration.


Abigail and her “dear”

A few months ago I wished I could just hit a fast forward button and skip this Christmas. The separation is particularly difficult at this time. It seems too painful to try to get through it. But once again I realized this is not about me or how I’m feeling. Christmas is about celebrating Jesus’ birth on earth.

I would do almost anything to end this painful separation from David. Yet, God the Father and Jesus chose to be separated from each other because of their great love for mankind…for YOU and for ME! They had always been together.  They had never been apart.  Yet they volunteered….they signed up!…they made a deliberate choice to be separated for a time so sinless Jesus could pay for the sins of the whole world so we could be together forever.  That level of love blows my mind.

IMG_20151208_072619338 I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas because I thought it would be too sad while that is the whole reason why there even is a Christmas! Jesus said, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

In Luke 2:79 Zechariah said the Messiah (Jesus) has come “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Isaiah 61:1-3 lists several more reasons why Jesus came…

  • to preach good tiding to the meek (poor)
  • to bind up (heal) the brokenhearted
  • to proclaim liberty to the captives
  •  to open the prison to them that are bound
  • to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord
  • to proclaim the day of vengeance of God
  • to comfort all that mourn
  • to console them that mourn in Zion
  • to give those who mourn beauty for ashes
  • to give the oil of joy for mourning
  • to give the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness

Did you notice how Jesus came to give relief from emotional suffering? God’s Word gives such comfort and hope!

Verse 3 explains the result,

“….that they might be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” Those who mourn and are comforted by God have the opportunity to glorify God!


Do you know this Jesus? If you do not, you can.  Jesus came to help us, but we must yield to Him as Master and Lord of our life. Ask Him to forgive you for your wrong doing, stubbornness, and pride. Ask Him to come to dwell inside your heart so you can have a peace that passes all understanding and be able to go live with Him when your days here are no more.


Without Jesus there are no Merry Christmases.  But with Jesus we have life, hope, peace, joy and love for all eternity.  May your days be merry and bright!

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes