Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Merry Christmas 2011

                                        December in Review
  • Mark and I had a weekend away in Branson. 
  • We hosted our Sunday School Group here. 
  • I hosted a Christmas Youth Party at church.  Fun and Crazy times!
  • Enjoyed Breakfast with Santa at Eckerts
  • Drove through the Lights at Santa's Magical Kingdom.
  • I managed to watch 2 seasons of Parenthood. 
  • And read all 3 of the Hunger Games in 5 days. ;-)
  • I did not sleep much. 
  • We had our Family Fondue Christmas. YUM! 
  • Christmas upon Christmas Party with family.
  • We had the Annual Nativity which was as hilarious as always. Hope I can get it posted here.
  • Were joined by Shane & Elisa from China through Skype for Christmas Eve. 
  • Visited with Marks brother and family in from Georgia. 
  • Makenna & I traveled to Youth Encounter. Obviously she as a youth, me as a well not youth. 
  • I actually enjoyed it, loud music and all.
  • Ate & ate and ate and ate
I think that about wraps it up! It was crazy and loud and fun. We stayed up late, we slept late, we played and played. I think Sage's prayer on Christmas though was the highlight. 
"Dear God, I hope this is your BEST birthday ever, AMEN".   

I hope your Christmas was Merry & Bright!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Battle With In Me

As most every other parent in the USA I am in the midst of Christmas Crazy. Wrapping, shopping, balancing my lists to make sure each child is going to open EQUAL presents.

I have STRUGGLED with even what to get my 5 children this year.  I am a gift giver. I LOVE to give gifts. People who do not share this love language can't understand this. Though I think as moms, we all love to give and see our chidren's faces light up as they tear into packages. 

But with 5 children, FOUR of those girls, we have it all. So I find myself making up things they "need" just to be sure they get something to open. I find myself bending to the challenge of getting the gift that is sold out and hard to find. I find myself buying simply so they can open. 

Not all true. I actually tried to put some practicality into my choices this year. Things that will be used instead of played with. We did set a budget (Thank you Dave Ramsey) and amazingly I stuck to it. Something I typically struggle with. 

Part of our gift giving involves donating to a cause in different peoples names. In lieu of teacher gifts we choose to give in their honor to the cause we feel is needed.  It has been much better received than any of the other creative "junk" I have given.  And so today as I sat down to figure out what we will be doing I was consumed with sadness.  We have contacted Chenzhou, and they said they are in need of warm clothing for the kids. One of my amazing team members  , Megan,  did a clothing drive to get clothes over.  I wish you could all know her heart for the orphan. I wish you could all know HER. Love that girl and SOOO thankful I get her as my team member!  She was able to send over 3 suitcases of clothes. She was guessing that was about 50 outfits! WOW!  Our family is in the process of giving more warm clothes to add to that. Because the thought of my babies over there in the cold, while I sit here in my warm house with my warm clothes, makes me so sick. 

It puts things into perspective when I start wrapping up the toys for MY children, that around the world, those kids, whom I also consider MINE, are freezing.  Just because I can't adopt all of them, I know that God has called me to care for Chenzhou, as if it is my own. 

It causes a battle in me. The battle to fit in with this world I live in. Of designer boots, dream vacations and i-phones/i-pads-pods, etc. And the battle to sell out for what tugs at my heart.  Am I wrong to want things for ME and for my children?  I don't know. I don't think we are ALL called to sacrifice those things. BUT if God has laid it on MY heart to REALLY care for the orphan, THEN is it wrong if I choose ME over them?  Is that what I am doing, choosing me? No one can argue my heart for orphans. Obviously I plan to return in July, so is that enough?  Is it enough to raise funds to send over bumbo seats or send a few fruit baskets for the nannies to enjoy? To provide air conditioning? To keep the communication lines open, reminding them I still think of them? Somehow it does not feel enough. It feels like things I can check off the list. Not that those are not great, because they ARE.  I am SO thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of this story of helping the kids of Chenzhou with bumbos and air conditioning.  I don't take those lightly. They are GOOD things. 

But is it enough? From ME? That is the question.