Friday, December 31, 2010

"Mom, come quick! ...... they're pooping in the snow!"

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

As the Christmas season begins to wind down and the adrenaline that once powered my body slowly ebbs away I find myself utterly exhausted and dragging my tail around the house. "Mom, come quick! Daniel smashed his head on the corner of the table!" shouts Nicholas. "Is it bleeding much?" I enquire in an unsympathetic tone. "*Sigh* I'll be there in a minute...." I add as I roll myself out of the soft chair with great effort and slowly wander toward the demanding cries for help. "I'm coming, I'm coming" I mutter under my breath .  "*sigh, what I wouldn't give for a warm place to curl up and sleep all day." I think to myself.  How could I have been so on top of things over the past two weeks? Baking all sorts of goodies until the wee hours of the morning, cooking an abundance of food to fill the freezer for the holidays, steam cleaning carpets while my family slept all cozy in their beds, washing, drying, folding and putting away the mountains of laundry that seem to magically accumulate in the basement, shopping for bargains late into the night, wrapping and hiding Christmas presents faster and far more effective than even santa claus could if he were real ...... and now ..... I feel run over and lifeless, and oh so tired. 

 All this build up over the preceeding weeks for THIS?!?!? Was it even worth it??? You bet it was :)
Maybe it's due to aging or just my hormones doing what they do best (messing with my head) - but this Christmas was the best one yet. Despite feeling spent and fatigued I must admit I have never felt more satisfied through out the holidays. I am one blessed lady! I got to spend Christmas in our new home with family and friends (and if you know me personally outside of this blog - then you know how important family is to me.) My mom (Grandma Windsor to my kids) spent the holidays here (at my sister's place) it was nice to be able to sit and visit without time constraints. We traditionally do a gift exchange among our family at Christmas time. This year my younger sister Annette came up with the idea of giving each other Christmas ornaments as gifts. They could be store bought or hand made, it didn't matter - the idea was to give of yourself. Some of us aren't so gifted in the "craftiness department" like Annette is but we did our best. Grandma Mary even went so far as to have someone else make her ornaments for her, using HER own ideas of course. I made some and then had to resort to "shopping" for a few others..... the pressure was just a little too much for me :) My youngest sister Melissa complained that she wasn't crafty at all - that Annette got all those genes ...... so she bought a few things instead :)

It was all great fun and the ornaments turned out beautifully. Yes, Annette is the craftiest of us all and if we were having a contest  .... she would win - her's were the best :) Christmas dinner was equally enjoyable. Everyone contributed and we had more food than necessary - no one left hungry :)  We had a new face with us for Christmas dinner. Melissa brought her friend Lorne with her. I love my little sister and if I could give her the best possible Christmas gift in the world - one that fit her perfectly and seemed to suit her entirely, one that was worthy of her (cause she is worth far more than rubies.... ) - Lorne would be that gift. Too bad it wasn't my idea - I didn't have her name for Christmas. Hahaha. Lorne, it was wonderful having you for Christmas. We enjoyed spending time with you and look forward to many more occassions with you. Anyone who can "put up with" our family (especially the men-folk) and can "hold his own" in the face of a food fight {didn't you start that?} is more than welcome to come back. We look forward to it.
"So what did you get for Christmas? Did you get everything you wanted?" That's the question I hear many people asking each other this week. People have asked my own kiddos the same thing. Getting stuff is okay but I'd prefer to ask people "So what did you GIVE for Christmas?" Through out the year our family gets together once a month for "family dinner." Family Dinners are a monthly gathering to reconnect and celebrate any occassions that have gone on that month (birthday's, anniversaries, etc) We all take turns hosting the dinners in our homes - it is the highlight of the month for me :) During these dinners there's alot of silliness and joking .... and always a few cameras flashign here and there. So at Christmas time, my gift to each family is a slide show (on disk) of all our photos from the get together's over the year. I love to watch how the children change from month to month in the pictures and how our lives develop into this great story - it's our history. We don't just HAVE a history together - we're continually making history together! We're so close because we keep building on our history, month after month, year after year. It's what makes us a family! So like I said earlier, the "Our Family" disk is my gift to my family each year - but this year I got something so touching in return....

As we sat watching this year's pictures on the computer my dad turned to us and said "I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to be a part of all this." I looked at him in confusion. "A part of all what?" I asked. "This." He said pointing to the computer screen. "All the things we do together and being involved in your lives. My dad was never involved like this..." he said quietly. It was one of those moments where your heart threatens to come out of your throat and causes you to become mute. "No Dad, we should be thanking you for BEING so involved in our lives - we love you for that. Not all fathers are like that." I replied. Suddenly the moment was too intimate. We cleared our throats and turned back to the computer to watch our pictures. It was then that I realized how very blessed I am. I have a Dad who not only loves me, but actually LIKES to spend time with me. He likes to hang out and do family things. He likes to pick apples at the orchard, brings me coffee at the hospital when my kids break body parts, attends dead pet funerals in the back yard, attempts to repair my kiddos toys when they fall apart (although I remember him always taking mine apart as a child), knows how to bake birthday cakes and is very good at it, and wants to go on a missions trip with me half way around the world :)
So when someone asks me "what did you get for Christmas this year?" I think I will tell them "So much more than I can even explain. I got family." and my family means the world to me :) Thank you Family for making this Christmas so memorable!

Making memories ~ Maybe that's why I enjoy this time of year so much - the end of one year - the beginning of a new one. Time to reminisce about the experiences we've had this year and look forward to making new memories!
As I thought back over this past year I was overwhelmed. We have experienced so much in the previous twelve months. Both blessings and "not-so-blessings" (for lack of a better word). Regardless of whether or not we "celebrated" our encounters this year -  every adventure we found ourselves in has become a chapter in our story. For me personally, 2010 has been one big rollercoaster ride - and I'm always up for a thrill ride! It has been such a full year .... the Teenager graduated from grade eight and began highschool, both the Baby's and Daniel's  adoptions were finalized, the Teenager had knee surgery and has been on the road to recovery since, Daniel broke his arm (again) and has healed up nicely, our beloved dogs Babe and Buzzy both died this year, we welcomed a new dog into the family - "Bruce" (no, we do not have a thing with "B" names.... the dogs have all come with names already.) We sold our house and purchased a new home in the country - right where we wanted to be, my Husband has kept us all busy ..... he was sworn in as a Police Chaplain, had a serious accident and spent some time in the hospital (collision with a transport truck), and then dealt with kidney stones. We recently spent two weeks in India on a missions trip and came home in time for Christmas! Did I mention how exhausted I am :) When I reflect on the past year there are only a few things I would change. I am looking forward to 2011. A brand new year full of possibilities ...... What are your plans for the New Year?   
Think Big ..... no, Bigger ........ Luke 1:37 says: "For with God nothing will be impossible."
That's my plan for the New Year ..... a new mind set and a whole year full of possibilities!
Here are a few funnies from our house to yours:

* I bought my little brother James a bow and arrow set for his birthday. He was very excited about it and looked over the package thouroughly. "What age is this for?" he asked me. "I'm not sure James, what does the package say?" I enquired. "Well it says eight to twelve "Libs" he replied. "Libs?" I asked. "Yes, right here." he said as he showed me the package. It said "Draw Weight : 8-12 LBS" (LBS=pounds)
* On the back of the packaging for the same children's bow and arrow set is this warning: "This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling." Well..... we didn't want James to reproduce anyway.....
* One evening while the little ones were all outside playing in the snow one of the boys came in with an odd expression on his face and an urgent plea in his voice "Mom, come quick! Susan and Latoya have their pants off outside and they're pooping in the snow!" Sure enough when I got there I almost stepped into a pile that looked much like something the dog would leave behind .... but the dog was not outside. "Why in the world would you get undressed outdoors? Why would you poop outside?" I asked incredulously. Little Susan piped up and assured me it wasn't her pile. "I didn't poop outside, I only peed." She stated confidently. Latoya hung her head and said in a confused voice "but the boys pee outside all the time...." "Do they poo outside too? I retorted. "No." She said flatly. ("Thank God!" I was thinking .... I was not prepared to hear anything different.) I told them that in no uncertain terms were they ever allowed to poop outside or pee for that matter  (especially not in our yard, at the side of the house where anyone driving by can see the "new people" who just moved in .... pooping next to the garage) ..... not as long as we have a working toilet in the house (just incase they confuse camping with this situation) then I made Latoya scoop her own poop.
* Shane was at the kitchen table pondering game shows..... "I got it! I got it! I know why they call that game show "Minute to Win it." "It's Because you have a minute to win it." he said excitedly.
* Little Susan hugged my middle while she sat on the chair. "Mommy you're so soft and warm" she sighed. (Thanks, I think.)
* There was a Christmas card on the shelf addressed to "Mary." The children sat around the table glancing at it and whispering to eachother. I overheard one of the boys hiss "I think she forgot the word "Christmas."
* The kiddlings were sitting around the table sharing some Christmas candy. Daniel was busy unwrapping a Hershey's kiss. He expectantly handed me the little paper that peeks out of the top of the kiss and asked "What does mine say Mommy?" {He thought it was like a fortune cookie and had a special message for him.} Hahaha
* We picked up the movie "The Last Air Bender" to watch with the children one night over the holidays. Part way through the movie Daniel (who is very sensitive when it comes to movies) asked me in a serious tone, "Mommy can you sew me clothes like his?" And then turned to his dad with a contemplative expression on his face and inquired "Daddy, can you tattoo my head like his?"
* When the Teenager finally rolled out of bed one morning little Susan confronted her. "Why you sleepin' so much? You need to wake up in the morning!" she challenged.

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As we venture forward into a new Year full of unimaginable possibilities ..... may you be abundantly blessed.
Happy New Year - from my Fish Bowl to yours :)



Monday, December 27, 2010

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”

We've only been home from India for two weeks now but I miss it already. If you've never been on a mission's trip before let me encourage you to just try it at least once. It will be a life changing experience - for you and for the lives that you touch.
We went to India this year to revisit the orphanage we (our church) built a couple of years ago, to spend time with the orphans and minister to the pastors we support there, to see the leprosy patients and aids patients we care for and to spend time with our dear friends the Katta's who work tirelessly to manage all these "ministries" we (our church) pour into. There were four of us who went this time. My Husband and myself, a friend of ours who recently moved away from our area (but promised to make time to go to India with us) and a young man from our church - my friend's sixteen year old son. We spent two weeks ministering to the people of India and encouraging the pastors and leaders. We saw many incredible things and were so blessed to witness many answered prayers. For such a poor people their faith is HUGE - and God honors that :)
"What's India like?" people ask. Well, from the moment I step off the plane there's a buzzing inside me - like electricity looking for a way of escape. The familiar smell of the air and the sights and sounds of this busy place are a welcomed experience ....  a long awaited homecoming of sorts. The people are gentle and curious and desperate all at the same time. The villages are crowded and dirty. Many live in filth..... and there's a smell ..... that indescribable aroma that permeates every inch. There's a lack of personal space and the uneasiness of feeling every eye on you wherever you go - this is India.

Not for you? Too unnerving you say? It's what's at the end of that never ending eighteen hour flight, the terrifying twelve hour car ride, the bumpy trekk down a goat path ..... when you arrive all sweaty and stinky and too tired to speak - and then look into the smiling faces of the sweet babies, little children, the old widows and the broken lepers who stare deep into your spirit with hope in their eyes .... that's what makes it all worth while. That's what keeps you going back.
During this trip we visited many of the churches we support through the Katta family's ministry and each of us had the opportunity to speak at each of the churches. We prayed for hundres and hundreds of people ... in was hot and stuffy and the flies .....  (not "complaining" about the heat - you all had snow while we were away), we fed many of the local congregations, distributed much needed medicines to leprosy patients, distributed clothes to the orphans and widows, travelled to remote jungle villages to feed, clothe, and minister to tribal people, and purchased a new vehicle for our orphanage - the "Praise Fellowship Church children's Home." This was not a vacation, we worked hard. Some nights we couldn't even stay awake and fell asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel. You know we've put in a full day when a sixteen year old falls asleep at 7:30 pm???
We saw the power of God move in people's lives - we witnessed miracles and daily received lists of praise reports from the congregations we visited .... excitedly telling us of all the answered prayers.(Praise Reports 1, Praise Reports 2, Praise Reports 3, Praise Reports 4)

Although we were involved in a minor car accident and were a little uncertain about whether or not we would be able to board our flight on time due to terrorist activity in the north, we were safe and protected and since we've come home ... we're missing the people so badly that we can't wait to go back to India :)

People have asked me "What impacted you most?" I have a hard time answering that question because there are so many things that have touched me in ways I can't describe. One thing that stands out though is the expectant faith the people we ministered to have ..... it reminds me of a few scriptures in the book of Matthew (Matthew 9:22, 9:29, and 15:28) Matthew 9:29

* But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

*Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”

*Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

What an encouragement this trip has been! I so look forward to returning to India - but even more than that, I look forward to seeing others step out and experience a missions trip .....

 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

I wanted to say "Thank you and God bless you" to everyone who contributed in this missions trip - all your prayers, finances, and hard work have made an impact on so many lives..... may He reward you abundantly!

Have a blessed week!

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