I am sorry it has taken me so long to post, but we have been swamped here and trying to keep our heads above water has taken some effort. While I haven't been blogging, I HAVE been writing as I have many assignments I need to complete before my lay ministry class on the 10th of January, so most of my "spare" time has been reserved for that.
We had an amazing Christmas, it was just about perfect in every way. No one was sick, presents weren't the focus (although definitely appreciated!! Hahaha!), and in church yesterday when asked during the children's portion of the service what was the most exciting part of Christmas for each child, Matthew responded with a tear inducing (for Mommy at least) "Spending time with my mom and dad.". Now how in the world can you improve on that one bit?
We had a houseful for Christmas with 2 additional unexpected and yet very welcomed guests, bringing our grand total to 16. None were related by blood, all were related by love so it was a warm and special way to spend the afternoon as we ate until we could stand no more and laughed until we were sore!
I decided for once to not take any photos and just be present in the moment with the kids and everyone else, rather than viewing the events of the holiday from behind a lens. Yup...purposely not a single photo was taken and I actually enjoyed it! As much as I love my camera, sometimes it comes between me and the subject I am photographing if I get too "into" it. Besides, when you think about it, does anyone ever really care to see the kids each and every year as they open their gifts with the same background and same faces, just growing a bit larger each year? Hahaha!
While the festivities were just as I had hoped they would be, at our Christmas Eve candlelight service is when I felt it the most...the missing little bodies next to me, the yearning so deep it brought tears to my eyes instantly as I looked down the pew at the faces of my outwardly mismatched yet inwardly perfectly matched family lit by the single flame of the candle they held. Oh how I had hoped that our daughters would be here for this day! It was a year ago exactly when we discovered that God indeed was going to grant us our fondest wish, and surprised us with the fact that it was all worked out for us and we need do nothing but get moving on it. Although we experienced some stutter steps, we now are closer than ever to realizing our...and their...dream of uniting as a forever family.
But somehow, at that moment and for the remainder of the evening, a bit of melancholy settled around my like a warm shawl around my shoulders. Patience can be so hard when one allows oneself to picture the plight of our beloved children before they come home. Sure, their basic needs are being adequately met, but their heart needs certainly are not. But we moved forward and I made a conscious effort to shrug it off and enjoy what I do have instead of pining for what I don't have, and life was good.
Last night we had a really neat experience when we were invited over to a Scouting friend's home to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with them! This was a great opportunity to learn about their traditions and we had a wonderful time visiting and getting to know them better. They were very thoughtful in thinking to ask us to share this special evening with them, and I am sure that all that was seen and tasted that night (Oh yea...we all decided latkes were mmm...mmmm...good!!!) will be a springboard for later discussion as we explore the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. After hearing some prayers in Hebrew we were going to read a children's book about Hanukkah and Kenny asked "Is it in English?" as he thought it might end up being in Hebrew as well. No doubt he is already tired of trying to master a new language! Hahaha!
So on to anticipating the new year! We will likely be working hard this week and I will try to blog as I can, but we are at the time of year when spare time is slim...and sleep is paramount :-) Hahaha! I'd ask those of you who are praying folk to remember a friend of mine who just lost his mother in an accident, and to think of Kenny as we prepare to leave for Chicago on the 13th for another appointment at Shriner's when hopefully we will be scheduling his first surgery. His anxiety level is always so high about MD visits, and knowing we are approaching his first surgery here at home I expect that to continue to escalate.
Hope each and every one of you had a special Christmas, and are safe as we enter the new year!