The Garrisons

Follow our journey on adoption #3 for child #8!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Can you believe 2009 is coming to a close? I always find myself feeling a both excited and sad every year at New Year's. I know it is supposed to be a time of celebrating and looking forward - and it is - but it's also a time for reflecting. A time for reflecting on the past year, both the joys and the sorrows and the things you'd like to change.....the relationships you wish were different, the areas of your life you need to be more purposeful and intentional, and the ways you can make a difference.

I hope this finds you doing well, reflecting on your blessings, and looking forward to the new year. I know it does me - feeling grateful for my many, many gifts this year - and yet a bit sad that it all goes so quickly. (as I get older, it only seems to go faster - or maybe with each kid it seems to go more quickly!) I am vowing to do better in some areas of my life and try to surrender other areas to God. I guess that's what New Year's is good evaluation of how we can grow and better ourselves. (although I don't make "resolutions", I still find it a good time to reflect!)

So, from our house to yours - Happy New Year! We hope 2010 will be a year which brings good things your way!

I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.
Isaiah 63:7

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A New Tradition

Christmas has come and gone at the Garrison home and we hope your celebration was blessed. We had a great time with family and enjoyed having many of them in our home for food and fun. Elijah, of course, had little interest in his gifts and loved the wrapping paper most of all. We tried to find moments to focus on the reason for this special holiday, but it proves to be a challenge every year in the hustle and bustle.

We did begin a new tradition this year that I hope we will continue. This idea is thanks to a Facebook friend who shared it after I asked for ways to make the Christmas holiday more Christ centered. Before Christmas Eve, I asked everyone to prayerfully consider what their gift to Jesus would be this year. What would Jesus want for Christmas? It could be to spend more time with Him in prayer or reading scripture, to forgive someone who has hurt you, to work on some aspect of your life that needs refined, serve more, etc. We each wrote these down, wrapped them in gift boxes they'd been given ahead of time, and brought them to a family meeting after church on Christmas Eve. Each of us then unwrapped our gift and shared what we were going to give Jesus. (It is His birthday, after all!)

It was interesting to hear what our children had chosen as their gifts to Him. It brought me such joy and pride to hear them vowing to love Him more through giving of their resources (time, money), and spending more time with Him in prayer. Each of ours was a little different, but I think we found a theme of wanting to give more of ourselves and spend more time with Him. And that, I think, is what Jesus wants for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Want to make a difference for just $25???

So....what can you do with $25? Let's could fill half your tank with gas, take half your family out to eat (depending on it's size, of course!), take about 4 people to the movies, or SAVE A CHILD'S LIFE!

That's right - for just $25 a month, you can make a life saving difference in the life of orphans. Children's Hopechest has just launched their new partner's website. Go HERE. They have a goal of enlisting 1,000 new partners this month so they can reach 5,000 more orphans in 2010. (see what a difference your few dollars can make??)

Children's Hopechest has set the goal of raising $500,000 to reach another 5,000 orphaned children in 2010. They’re raising these funds so that…

  • Fewer young girls are forced to trade sex for food.
  • More orphans will have food to eat, and the protection and love of Christian mentors
  • No girl will end up in the commercial sex trade.
Your donation will feed orphans in Africa and rescue them from extreme poverty. Your gifts will support life changing programs for girls in Russia that help prevent sex trafficking and forced prostitution. So, give up those lattes or fountain sodas....for less than $1 a day, you can change a child's life!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just Because He's Cute.....

Elijah, 11 months
(we don't know what the tongue thing is about....but he does it all the time!)

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gifts that Give

If you are like most families this Christmas season, you will be buying lots of gifts for those you love. I've done a little research, and I thought I would share what I've found about giving gifts that can give not only to those you are giving to, but help lift someone else up out of poverty as well. There are many great organizations out there that do this, but here are just a few I've found.

First off, there are wonderful organizations that allow you to buy a practical gift for those in need in someone else's honor or memory. For example, you can purchase a goat, chicks, blankets, livestock, food, etc. for those who so desperately need them. It's hard for us to imagine in our American abundance, but these gifts can literally change people's lives. Samaritan's Purse and World Vision are two organizations that have great gift catalogs for this kind of gift.

If you are in need a gift where your recipient has a little something to open, there are a plethora of organizations or companies that sell a product and the proceeds go to support charitable causes as well. Here are just a few, but if you look online, you'll find even more.

  • Bajalia Trading Company sells a variety of items including jewelry, baskets, pillows, throws, stationary, journals, and more. All items are hand crafted by local women (choose a region - China, Afghanistan, India, Turkey or Uganda) and the proceeds go to help them rise above poverty. The organization aids in training and other forms of community development to empower low-income people as they work to improve their lives.
  • Cards from Africa has a variety of hand made cards made in Rwanda by families affected by AIDS and genocide. Selling their product helps them to rebuild their lives.
  • Saints Coffee - Buy a pound of coffee and feed an orphan for a month! Easy enough...we all know coffee drinkers! This is a fair trade coffee that uses its proceeds to partner with organizations such as Children's Hopechest, a Christian organization that is meeting children's needs and sharing Jesus with them at the same time.
  • For the little ones on your shopping list, go take a look at Tiny Rockstar. They have some darling little shirts and buying just one t-shirt feeds a child for an entire month....for as little as $12, you get a t-shirt and help an orphan.
  • Punjammies Premium Sleepwear carry lots of comfy PJs....all made by women who have been rescued or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. This organization gives them a rare opportunity to make a new life for themselves.
  • Hand and Cloth sells beautiful blankets made by women in Calcutta India who have been rescued from red-light districts. Through creative enterprise and the transforming love of Jesus Christ, this organization seeks to empower women to begin new lives. The blankets are made from recylced sari material (the traditional Indian dress for women). Participants in the ministry receive employment, training, and regular Bible studies.
  • Good Paper is a free trade organization that sells greeting cards, handbags, journals and stationary. Good Paper alleviates poverty, helps orphans and socially oppressed peoples in Africa, India and the Philippines.
  • Trade As One (Change a life with everything you buy) is an organization whose mission it is to use sustainable business to break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world. They have an wide variety of products from coffee, jewelry, scarves, apparel, bags, chocolate, and the list goes on. Everything here is sold fair trade and benefits someone trying to work their way out of poverty.
  • Freeset sells t-shirts made by women who have been rescued from the red-light districts in India.
As I said, there is more where that came from, but this may give you a start if you are inspired to give gifts that serve a dual purpose. Also - if you are local - be sure to stop by a sale that a local Christian orphan advocacy group is holding. Known to Me is a community of believers who are coming together to change the lives of a community in Swazliland, Africa. You can read more about it on their website, but they are having a sale this Saturday, December 5 from 8-2 at Windsor Road Christian Church. They will be selling hand rolled bead jewelry from Beads for Life (Uganda), handmade purses from Timbali Crafts (Swaziland), and Just Love coffee that supports Known To Me’s efforts at the Ludlati carepoint. I also noticed that Just Love supports the orphanage in Ethiopia that Elijah came from (Kids Care). Be sure to check it out!

Be sure to share with the rest of us what ways you are giving gifts with purpose this season!
Merry Christmas!