As we enter this holiday season, I find myself reflecting on my blessings. I find it very easy to be thankful because my life is full, my blessings are abundant, and my circumstances are good. We are healthy, we are well taken care of (even if it's sometimes a squeeze to the next pay check), and our life is good. Who, in our circumstances, could not be grateful for the life they've been given?
But what if our circumstances were different? Does my gratitude and joy only come because my life is easy? What if I found myself in the shoes of someone less fortunate - what would my attitude be then? How easy it is to trust and rejoice when things in our life are good. And here's the bigger question: What am I doing to share my gratitude and joy with those who are less fortunate?
Lately I have been missing Ethiopia a lot. I've been thinking about the simpler, slower way of life. About the way they seem to engage with each other and have lots of time for each other. As we enter the Christmas hoopla, I am just struggling with it a bit this year. I love the decorating (yes, I already have my tree up!), the baking, and the time spent with my husband, kids, and family. But, is it where we find our joy? Is a beautiful tree and lots of material gifts really where our joy is found? Of course not. I just find myself caught in the contrast of what life is here this time of year (which actually serves to make many of us grumpier) and the life that I saw in Ethiopia. Which of these ways of life help us to keep our focus where it should be? I tend to think our African friends have gotten this right.
For those of you wondering, I have not become a scrooge - I do not hate Christmas and am looking forward to celebrating this year. Maybe after being in Africa and bringing home our precious boy who was literally found in it's streets, I just feel a little different about the excess. And find myself contemplating all the good that could be done for those who really need it this Christmas.
Where have I been....well, right here; just not blogging very successfully. I am sure by now there is no one out there even checking this thing!! The longer I waited to post the harder it was to think about where I would even start or what of interest I might have to say anymore!
We are doing well....Elijah is 10 months old now and is ALL over the place! He is crawling, climbing and pulling up and needs constant supervision. He is a joy, though, and continues to be an incredibly happy baby. He has been healthy, too....no ear infections for a month! When we went to the Dr. the other day they did say he had some fluid in his ears, but it wasn't infected yet. We are hoping the fluid will clear on it's own or it's off to the ENT for us! Still no teeth for the little guy yet, so his diet consists of baby food and puffs. Mmmmm......good thing he doesn't know any better! :)
The rest of us are doing well, too. The three big kids and I are enjoying home school and the freedom that brings. After teaching the last 5 years, I am amazed that you can get more done in a shorter day when it's only your kids and you aren't always waiting for everyone else to be done!
I have been busy with the Chosen ministry at church. We launched this new orphan care and adoption ministry in August with a 'Least of These' Sunday and a shoe drive. Then a couple of weeks ago, we had a dinner event with Tom Davis as our speaker....it was awesome! We had about 200 people show up, which were excited about - especially for our first event of this kind! Since then we've had many people show interest in adoption or orphan care - which was EXACTLY the point...three families have talked to me about getting more adoption information and we have another group of people interested in doing international orphan care!! Lots going on and lots to figure out in this new ministry, but it's good, exciting stuff!!
So.....where have I been? Well, home schooling 3 kids, taking care of a baby, working on ministry and running to basketball, tennis, guitar, piano, chamber choir rehearsal, and church events. Now that I'm back in the groove of writing, I'll try to do better!! Blessings!
We are a family of ten...striving to live the lives that please God...getting it wrong a lot of the time, but trying nonetheless. We have eight beautiful children...three were given to us through birth and five through the miracle of adoption. We feel blessed to be living the life we've been given.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
~ One in ten children die before their first birthday ~ One in six children die before their fifth birthday ~ 44% of the population is under 15 years old ~ 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition ~ The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years old ~ 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world) ~ There are roughly 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia ~ Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa ~ Half of the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. ~ 88% will never attend secondary school ~ Coffee prices (Ethiopia's only major export) declined 40-60% from 1998-2002 ~ Ethiopia's doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000 ~ Severe drought struck country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)