Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful day celebrating together. I hope you did too!

This is a picture of the birthday cake C. made to celebrate Jesus' birth.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

nearly here!

Christmas is nearly here. I have been thinking about how much my children learn from the world. We don't have television, we haven't been to the mall, yet they still talk more about Santa than Jesus on His birthday. The older kids understand the true meaning but are still "wrapped up" in gifts. (get it?). But when I talk about Jesus' birth, the little boys just don't get it and start talking about their own birthdays. It reminds me of true human nature and our selfish behaviour. Sometimes looking at my kids is like holding a mirror up to my face. Do I truly understand and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas? Do the activities we participate in reflect His love to others? Do I expect less from others and give more?

Haggai 1:5 Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways."

So these few days leading up to Christmas I will be giving careful thought to my ways and hopefully my children will pick up some good things.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the season

Today we are cooking up a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and the rest of the fixings for a big Christmas dinner. We are celebrating together early so J. can be home to enjoy the good food and time with us while he is on his days off. He works many holidays so we are certainly used to that. He has been employed in this line of work for over 11 years. Usually we go visit family to stay busy if he is working. But this year, my parents are in HAWAII. I am so jealous. My sister is having her in-laws visit. My in-laws are all over 5 hours away, most over the mountain passes. So we are alone this year. We will be opening our gifts early on Christmas morning, before J. leaves for work at 9 am. Then I will be trying to find some fun activities to do with the kids. I hope their new gifts will keep them entertained for a while. I told them what I want for Christmas this year is for everyone to get along!

PS. Please think about the people who work in the service/emergency field this Christmas. They work hard in the cold nasty weather and most times are not much appreciated.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


K. with S. after his surgeries in 2008

  • S. is going to begin preschool on his birthday next month, right after winter break! And he is able to qualify for these services based primarily on his medical needs. He is really not delayed enough in other areas to qualify. Which is EXCELLENT news. He is such a little miracle.
  • We are fighting yet another cold with K. bringing it home first. She is still a thumb sucker, and I am afraid this nasty habit is introducing all sorts of fun winter germs to our house. Also, we are trying a restrictive diet on K. this week. She has a lot of food intolerance symptoms, and I have wondered if maybe she is gluten, dairy or egg sensitive. It is hard to cut out all these foods, but I hope soon we will have some sort of idea if there is one type of food she should avoid.
  • I have NOT been doing much Christmas shopping and am NOT sending cards or letters again this year. I am nearly finished shopping for the extended family, the kids are almost done (just need a few more stocking stuffers), and then something small for teachers and such. I'm thinking homemade muffins? What do you think?
  • The kids have their church play this Sunday. C. has a short solo and is a narrator. K. is one of the 2o or so angels, and L. is the stage manager. Should be good times.
  • We've had company the last few weeks, in the form of play dates. The idea of having another child over to add to the noise and chaos used to make me a little anxious. It still does, a bit. But I have decided to put that aside for my kids. They are really enjoying sharing their home and family with their friends. It has also blessed us too.
  • I am so excited for the date night our church is putting together on Saturday! The teens are babysitting kids while parents can go out and do some shopping, or whatever for several hours. I can't wait. Not sure yet how we will spend those few hours, but it will be great!
  • Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words regarding Mercy. We are still healing and struggling through the process. I kind of feel like I did when I experienced a miscarriage. Nobody really wants to talk about the issue, and the loss is great. I appreciate your continued prayers for our whole family and for Mercy.
  • Please be praying for my friend Melissa. She reached out to love and support me while I was in Uganda as she was there adopting another Mercy. She has spent her time in country encouraging other adoptive families, ministering to pregnant mothers, and shining a light for Him. She has been in Uganda since the end of August. For last few months she's been dealing with visa issues, a complicated mess. Her family at home misses her terribly. Pray for a miracle for Melissa and Mercy to come home soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ways to Celebrate

I was on facebook today when I saw my friends, Beth and Jeremy Howard in Uganda, posted some great links. I checked them out and was moved. to tears. I have a lot of emotions going on lately, but this just convicted me. I am already excited about the Advent Conspiracy site.
The whole idea is to worship fully, spend less, give more, love all. To spend quality time with those you love, help serve, and give to those in need.

  • We have been spending less this Christmas, that is for sure. Everyone is getting one gift from us, and kids are drawing names between siblings. Things are simple and easy.
  • We have enjoyed spending time together as a family this holiday season. We have enjoyed watching Christmas movies together, cooking and eating, playing games, singing, dancing, listening to Christmas music, reading, doing small crafts, and putting on little puppet shows.
  • We have given a bit to those in need (we could always do more). We put together a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. We gave to a local food drive. We are doing an angel tree gift. J. helped with a shopping trip for local kids in need. We sponsor a child in Africa through Compassion.
  • I feel we are lacking on the worship end of things. Of course my children know the reason we celebrate Christmas. We have a nativity scene on our piano and we have a birthday cake for Jesus every year. We go to church, and the kids are in a play. But what about TRUE worship, TRUE sacrifice?

Check out these sites:

"It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads. One round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night. I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m at the door, one hand on the doorframe, resting in the light of the hallway, I turn to close the door a bit on the dark and he stops me with just one question:

“What does Jesus get for His birthday?”

The words hung… strung me up.

I say the words into the black. Um… A cake? Our love?

I can hear him turn again in the bed, roll over on the pillow. Restless…

“But Mom…. if we get wrapped presents for our birthdays, real sacrifices from people who love us — they gave up other things to give something to us — then why don’t we do that for Jesus’ birthday?”

I stand at the door looking into all that light cast down the hallway.

Why is the sky blue, why do we blink, how do clouds hold all that water, the children ask me a thousand questions and the world spins dizzy on a million questions I don’t know the answers to and I stand in the dark, the light right there, and I grope for the answer that could change the world…

“Why don’t we give up things so we can give to Jesus for His birthday?”

Is it always this way, that a little child will lead them?

He was four or five that year, I can’t remember. I just know that now he’s fifteen and I stepped out into the light and we’ve done all the Christmases since his way, giving away. It’s not at all wrong to do it differently, but just for us… all the Christmas gifts — gifts for the Christ Child."

Read the entire post please!

And this post:

Ten Things to Do on Christmas Morning When all the Gifts are for Him

1. Birthday for Breakfast

Serve Birthday Cake for Breakfast — with ice cream and an arch of balloons and birthday hats and light the candles and sing of wondrous grace! He has come! And for us!

Our tradition is angel food cake for the birthday cake — made with freshly ground wheat — and I think of the wheat that fell to the ground, died for us and the harvest of the many.

2. Sup with Him — Feast Fit for a King

And we make breakfast a feast fit for a king. One of our best meals of the year is reserved for Christmas breakfast — recipes we serve only for Christmas Morning Breakfast —- Victorian French Toast with whip cream and fresh fruit and a cranberry raspberry slushy drink and Sausage bake and orange juice and pineapple and we decorate with floating candles and and a nativity scene center piece and our best linens.

He’s invited us to His table, adopted us, made us one of His own— and we have time to come, to say yes to His invitation!

3. Gifts for Him, the Birthday Child

After breakfast, we gather together to give gifts to the birthday babe, the King Come—- and these are all gifts to the least of these, because Jesus Himself said, when you give to the least of these, you give to me, so we pick out more gifts from His catalogues. We don’t open presents but we open a far deeper joy.

One family writes of their creative Christmas mornings of giving Christmas gifts only to Jesus:

On Christmas morning this year, we had our oldest dress up as a wise man, and he went around the house, finding tin foil stars and taking the gifts he found there to the baby Jesus that we had in the living room. It was great! We plan to five the same kinds of gifts to Jesus this year...

What a creative way for kids, the whole family, to celebrate Christmas morning– tinfoil stars that have notes of donation to the least of these, a boy dressed up as a wise man, really worshipping!

It sounds, yes, terrifying, to not exchange gifts on Christmas morning, it did to me —- but the utter and unadulterated joy we unwrapped in giving away to those Jesus says He’s with, the poor.And we discovered all that He is absolutely true to His word: it is always better to give than to receive. And when we give to them we are giving to Him, it leaves us filled and satisfied in the realest sense.

Satisfied that everything fits and nothing will be returned and no batteries are needed for we have done the one thing that is needful — touched the hem of God, murmured adoration and offered up gifts to Him.

4. Serve Him a Meal

A loaf of fresh bread to an elderly neighbor spending his first Christmas alone, a still-in-the-dark cup of coffee and an egg sandwich delivered downtown to a homeless person, ladling bowls in a soup kitchen at lunch time, delivering sticky buns and a hug to the family who buried a child this year, gifting all the neighborhood with cookies and a card rejoicing in Christ come —- serve Christ a meal this Christmas, bread of heaven come down for all the hungry.

5. Invite Him In

It may be a single relative in need of a welcoming hearth, a lonely person from your faith community, a widow from down the road, a grieving friend, a lonely stranger, but to invite someone in need to His party because Christ who came to a world that had no room in the inn now calls all to come and He calls us to His kind of hospitality.

We have done this and this is His party and this is who He wants to come — the one who feels as unwanted as He did when He came to us. So we open the door and say come and celebrate with those He came for…

6. Give Yourself Talent Show

We know a family who gives the only gift we ever can really give, the gift of ourselves, by offering a little Christmas Day Talent Show. He does a crazy little tap dance — and everyone laughs —- and she joins him —- and everyone howls. What can you give of yourself to offer to Jesus, your family, on Christmas morning?

7. Join all of Creation

We spend hours outdoors on Christmas day, joining all of Creation and the heavenly throng in giving Him praise. We walk through the bush and sing Christmas carols, we go sledding down the back hills, we play in the snow and we laugh. We’ve decorated trees outside with treats, strings of popcorn and cranberry, suet and peanut butter and, if the conditions are right, it’s the one day of the year that we pour maple syrup over snow and eat taffy — we taste and see that the Lord is good!

8. Tell the Story

Over the years, we’ve told the Christmas story on Christmas morning with cousins and kids getting dressed up and re-enacting it for us, with kids written-performed-directed puppet show, with blankets and spotlight and silhouettes. Old men have been Joseph and toddlers have been Mary and this is the story that we love to tell — to remember the gift who came.

9. Sing the Hallelujah Chorus

Sing it in the woods, on the streets, in a nursing home, a hospital hall, a prison lounge, around the piano with the family, for the next door neighbors, a shut in across town. We join the angels this day and we fill the world with the music of the Messiah here. Find a way, somewhere, to sing because isn’t this the day of all days, we need to sing?

10. Follow the Light

And come Christmas night, we follow the light and some years it’s outside in the woods, luminaries, candles in jars, lighting a path to a nativity scene and we sing worship in the deepening dark, and some windy years, its filling the house with candles and spending the last hours of Christmas day singing glory, glory, glory, glory to God in the Highest.

Great ideas and reminders of what we need to be doing this Christmas season. I love it. I think we will have having a family meeting tonight to brainstorm ideas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Update on M.

Some sad news...

Thank you so much for all your love and support you have shown us this last year. We have been trying for over a year now to adopt Mercy from Uganda. We feel like God has closed all the doors for the adoption of Mercy. We are sad, confused, frustrated and heartbroken. As time passes we are feeling His peace.

After many weeks in prayer about the events that took place before and while we were in country, we know now that bringing her home is not His plan for us or her. We want to continue to help Mercy in any way possible, but are still trying to find the best way to do it. We are thankful Mercy is in a good family situation already, with a "mom and dad" and 13 "siblings". She is loved and well cared for every day. The only thing missing is her medical needs, and I am sure God will provide a way to find help for her.

Our trips(s) to Uganda were not wasted. We were staying and serving in a Christian orphanage and got to know and love 14 wonderful children. We met some awesome people and missionary families and will forever be bonded to this beautiful country.

Please pray for us. Pray for Mercy and her caregivers too. This is so hard to go through.


We are blessed by the finalization of the adoption of our son today! His name change is now official and I shouldn't have to spell his name during doctors appointments anymore. The last step in this whole process is still ahead of us, with the naturalization/immigration stuff. This will cost several thousand in fees, so we are going to have to wait a bit. But at least now this step is over. And the courts did not have any problems with the paperwork. Most of the originals were destroyed in the earthquake.

We went to court with our friends, and did a dual adoption together! It was nice to have some moral support, as the whole paperwork thing was a bit uncertain. We celebrated with some breakfast and went on with our busy day.

Of course, I feel like the enemy has tried to take the joy out of the day. E. had a big raging tantrum for about half the day. It was exhausting and put everyone over the edge. He has been nothing but defiant.

I could tell yesterday something was building. He was having a really hard time at church. Nothing I did make him happy, everything I did made him complain. His shirt had come untucked and was tugging at it. So I helped him tuck it in. He instantly pulled his entire shirt out from his waistband. Then I noticed his lips were chapped. I got out my new, peppermint lip balm, given to me by a friend. I applied it to his lips and said, "There, doesn't that taste nice!" And he scowled at me and said "I don't want that!". He used his coat and shirt sleeve to wipe at his lips throughout the whole worship service (which J. was leading). He wanted to sit when everyone was standing and stand when everyone was sitting. He yelled "I'm not singing" when there was a pause in the music. I was so relieved when they dismissed the kids to their children's church classes. I asked L. to take E. to his class. E. started to balk at that idea, so I took him instead. Halfway to the classroom, he started to pull on my hand. Then when I let go of his hand, he stopped walking. Then I grabbed his hand again and he refused to move his feet and picked them up, straight legged from the waist! He wouldn't go in the class room, and actually wanted to just sit and make me miss church. I allowed to have him have a little time out, but talked up how much fun the kids were having in class. They were practicing for the Christmas program next week. He was missing out. Then they started playing the soundtrack and getting out the jingle bells and he was ready to go in, running!

Today E. was fine this morning and during court. He was great playing with his friends. Then the drama started with I asked L to help put his shoes on when it was time to go. He was tearing them off his feet, curling his toes, and whining. L., being 13, has little patience so wasn't being very nice about it. But the day just got worse for E. We told him it was time for nap, since we all got up two hours before we are used to. He cried in his room. Then he started to scream. Then I got him up and had him lay down in my bed, to cuddle. I understood why he was having a hard time and wanted to give him some attention. He acted like I was going to kill him! Kicking, screaming, crying, on and on and on. The whole thing lasted about four hours. He never did nap, after all this time. I did a bit while he was in his room playing with blocks. I am burned out from dealing with him. Then the other kids... Fighting, arguing, talking back, name calling, sneaking things behind my back. Trying to kill the joy.

Praying I will find it again, and soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Dye

We are Feingold members. This is an association that helps educate families about food choices to help with behavior and health complications. We have been following this program (sometimes very closely, other times too relaxed) for about six years now. I really see a difference in my children's behavior when they eat foods with artificial colors and preservatives.

I got this email and wanted to share:
We are so excited!! We just had to share this with you right away, and we could not wait to include it in the December eNews.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), finally responding to the 2008 petition by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), has agreed to hold a hearing on food dyes in March. See the Federal Register announcement dated today.

This hearing is long overdue, but very welcome! Although Yellow 5, Red 40, and other commonly used food dyes have long been shown in numerous clinical studies to impair children’s behavior, the FDA has continued to dismiss the mounting evidence against the dyes.

According to Dr. Michael Jacobson, CSPI Executive Director, the continued use of synthetic food dyes is hardly worth the risk. "What’s the benefit?" he says. "Junk food that’s even more appealing to children than it already is? Why, when we’re medicating so many children for hyperactivity, would we let food manufacturers worsen some children’s problems? Behavioral problems aside, animal studies indicating that dyes pose a cancer risk provide another reason for banning those chemicals."

Fortunately, a few companies are adopting smarter policies even in the absence of government action. Starbucks does not permit dyes in any of its beverages or pastries, NECCO has switched to safer natural colorings for its famous Wafers, and Frito-Lay is testing dye-free snack foods.

Europe has moved much more quickly to protect children from artificial dyes. The British government has urged companies to stop using most dyes, and the European Union requires a warning notice on most dyed foods. See more. As a consequence, Kellogg, Kraft, McDonald’s, and other American companies that do business in Europe use safe, natural colorings over there — but harmful, synthetic petrochemicals over here.

We in the Feingold Association have been working with Dr. Jacobson on this issue, and we plan to be at the FDA’s March meeting. I will fill you in on details as I get them, so that perhaps many of you, too, can make yourselves heard (and maybe seen).

We can optimistically hope that this is finally the beginning of the end of synthetically dyed foods in the United States.

Best wishes,

Shula Edelkind, Feingold eNews Editor
Feingold Association of the United States