Sunday, February 10, 2013

christmas catch up

i was unable to post for a while because i had so many things going through my mind. don't get me wrong, i have written a lot of posts, but i have not made them public. i have spent the last few months in contemplation. grappling with our new life and trying to make sense of the pain our adopted daughters had endured before joining our family. God continues to grow a new heart in this girl.

besides, raising four daughters ranging from 11-14 years old is a feat! i was fearful we i would not be able to survive the holidays. with nine standing therapy appointments of different disciplines each week, how would we find the time to celebrate properly? when would i get out shopping? how were we going to afford gifts for everyone in our family? all the questions took over for a bit, until i figured out that HE knew what it would look like and it would be prefect.

i reread my Christmas post from last year. you can see it here...

and it dawned on me that last year was a season of charity and love. we were going without many things so that we could save to bring the children home. we gave to several charities as a way of giving back what we were being given.

but this year saw us on the recipient end of some powerful charity and love.

i got a call from our children's hospital about an Adopt-A-Family program. were we interested in applying? after some consideration we decided to do it. hadn't i been wondering how Christmas would turn out? wasn't this God saying, "I got this"? 

a week before Christmas the hospital called again to say come get your presents. i imagined getting some gift cards to buy what the children had put on their lists. NO! it was exactly what each child had asked for. each gift was lovingly selected and generously purchased. i sat in my room surrounded by a mountain of presents weeping over the provision. i wondered if the company who had donated all this bounty knew what a difference they were making? could they ever know the scope?

there were even gift cards for the adults!

as the days crept closer to Christmas Eve, other people stepped up to shower us with Christmas love. we received a wooden train that the kids say will be part of the tree decorations from now on, about a dozen freshly felled pheasants, a lasagna, a pan of enchilada's, various sweets and homemade candy, and even a check for gas money to get us to Florida next month, all from  members and employees of the club my hubby works for. i was dumbfounded. why would all these people care about us so much?

then i knew. He said He had this. my God was providing for us. the material things were not as important as the feelings of love, protection, and peace i received.

Jesus was born into humble beginnings. i recently heard that it was so quiet and humble the night of the birth that the angles had to go ahead and tell people what happened. i never looked at it that way. Christmas should be quiet and humble. it is not about trimmings and excessive gifts.

so this is how our scaled back Christmas went...

Christmas Eve was childrens' service at church. E and A each played a piano piece for the student musician concert. a lovely service it was! 

we always open one gift on Christmas Eve. the children opened footsie jammies. they were so excited-nearly tackling each other on the stairs to be the first to put them on.

Christmas morning was lazy and calm. the children opened their stockings and each of the four gifts under the tree. most of them were from the generous people at LAZ Parking from the Adopt-A-Family program. so blessed.

S is excited by her first stocking ever
 E is thrilled with her Manga pens
 A found her orange
B exploring her newly made stocking(yes, i was up to the wee hours of Christmas Eve finishing it)

B was very excited to get a stuffed Luigi doll. she has never really played with any of her toys. she doesn't seem to know exactly how to play. but this guy...she brings him everywhere. to dinner, to family movies snuggled up on the couch, outside sledding...etc. she is learning how to love through a doll. isn't that amazing? we take the simple act of a toddler kissing a teddy bear for granted. but when you see an almost grown child not really know how to do that, it is heartbreaking. 

S quietly said, "i like it." to each gift she opened. 

i reveled in being allowed to be part of their first Christmas. 

the presents were opened and cleaned up in about 10 minutes, but we sat there beaming. everyone was thrilled.

E and A didn't seem to notice that this year was so different from what their past Christmases have been. the running around to each family member's houses, tons of toys, excessive know the "traditional" stuff.

the kids got matching Life Is Good tee shirts from their aunts. that was a big hit too. i think the most joyous gifts were the pjs and tees. there is something to having matching things that bonds children. wondrous.

after lunch, i was suffering from fever and chills, so S, took care of making dinner. good thing we were gifted a beautiful lasagna. 

i did drag myself off the couch to get out Jesus's birthday cake makings. the kids had a blast dumping tons of cake sugar on the cake. little candy balls were rolling off the mountain and onto the floor, skittering into every corner of the room. it was pure mess joy.

even though we didn't do the normal Christmas craziness this year, it was just right. very little upset, time with daddy, time to bond with their sisters, no appointments, no stressed out screaming mommy, no have tos.

we celebrated Christmas with my parents on New Year's Day)they spent Christmas in NE with my sister and her family this year). that was a bit more like how Christmas usually was, but even they were sick and not up for staying to eat the pheasant stew I had made. so that "second" Christmas was quiet too.

after i have seen both ways to celebrate the birth of our Savior. i believe we will do the small version every year. we will focus on love and charity and try to be still and watchful for His Coming.

it seems like this month was a turning point for our family. the transition to a family of six has been hard. but, the love that was shared over this season, had a profound effect on B. she has asked to be baptized.

so we will baptize them this Sunday. if you of mind to pray, please pray that the children would allow Light and Love into their hearts, so that they will go out into the world and extend these things to others. let them be disciples ministering to all nations.