My nephew, Asher, has been in the hospital for most of the last week. He has had MAJOR skin rashes all over for the last 5-6 months, and now since September has been losing weight. Here are a couple pictures and some information from my brother's blog about Asher's release yesterday:
"Hey, guess what. Asher's back home! He was hospitalized for Failure to Thrive on Wednesday. He was losing weight and of course his eczema was driving him crazy. The doctors did well. They think he has trouble digesting milk protein and thus was losing weight and it also contributed to his skin issues. So they have him eating a special formula and it's working well. He gained about a pound and a half in the hospital and his skin is looking so much better." Asher playing.
Asher sleeping or praying...but the rash on his body is WAY better than it's been in a LONG time!!! Thankfully, he's home now and we get to see them this weekend!!!
Many of you know Sarah and what a SUPER kid-watcher she is. For our family far and near though, here's her post about how Ollie and Lily stay entertained at her house. (They spend Wednesday mornings there each week while I teach!)
By the way Sarah--we LOVE how well they do there! Thanks so much for offering to watch them this year!!!
We have some singing videos to share. The first is of Lily. Sorry it's sideways! Whenever we talk about singing, she starts. This is a short version of what she does. And when we sing a song--she does this with us! It's so funny.
The next video is of Ollie during his Christmas program last Sunday. It was so cute. He didn't do much--but what a darling sheep he was!!!
Allow me to recommend my newest series of books! Thanks to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Roanna, I am now fully immersed in the life of a farming family from Oregon. These books (3 in all) are written by a mom of 6 and are fun, short stories about her children and her life on a farm. They are so easy to read, one short story at a time, or for hours on end.
Wow. Am I in a blogging funk. I really have no desire to blog....but I'm getting tired of seeing that last post that I put up 3 weeks ago...there's been much going on...but not enough time to really sit down and post.
So I'll share a few tidbits of random advice and quotes from Ollie.
*The other day, I put on a pink necklace, and Ollie said, "Wow mom, you look like a princess!"
*His new comment is "Sure enough!" As in, "Ollie, did you sleep well last night?" "Yep, sure enough!"
*He also likes to use the phrase "at one point" as in, "Mom, I saw that in my room at one point".
*He loves to share what he did all day when Joel comes home. It usually sounds like this: "Dad, today I fertilized, I mowed, I climbed up the dam, I worked in the shop, and, ummm, I rode the polaris (pronounced 'baplaris')". Such a busy boy.
*He often comments on my suggestions with "Oh, that's a good idea" or "here mom, you should try this".
*The other night, I was explaining to his babysitter how the evening would go. I told him, "Ollie, if Emily has questions--you can help her, right?" He responded, "Yep. I'll do that exactly!"
Such a funny boy. I'm trying to write these things down in a family journal I've started--although I can't seem to find time to write as often as I'd like. But I'm trying. Some is better than none, right??
You probably knew Friday the 13th was a special day. But I bet you didn't realize WHY. Today, bloggers all over are spreading the word about First Gift. Water for families in Africa. Check out these blogs (Jess and Megan) for the FULL story, and click here to donate.
$10 buys water for a family for 10 YEARS. Incredible.
I've been following the story of Kate and her battle with a brain tumorsince this summer, thanks to Amanda and Jess's blogs. It is a heart wrenching look at what a family goes through when battling cancer. Most days after reading it, my stomach aches just thinking about what they're dealing with. And yet, like Jess and Joel, theirs is a story of steadfast trust in the Lord and his plan for their Kate.
In the last week, Kate's mom has shared that they'd like to collect gifts for the other children on Kate's cancer floor. I'm going to send some things. If you'd like to help make a sick child's Christmas even better--check out their Caring Bridge site. They're adding Bibles to each gift too, so that those children have a chance to know Jesus if they don't already.
Here's the specifics... Send NEW gifts to:
Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Attn: Kate's Crazy Cool Christmas 2211 E Pecos Rd Ste. 2 Chandler, AZ 85225
They'd like these to arrive by Dec. 15th so they can wrap and package them. What a sweet way to give to families in need this year!
This morning, I put in my first Christmas CD. Although I like any Christmas music, I have two DEFINITE favorites: "The New Young Messiah" is Handel's Messiah in a newer, more contemporary version. It is all the wonderful prophetic scriptures put to music. I must add a disclaimer, though--this was released in the early 1990's--think big hair, shoulder pads, and Carmen. But still GREAT music and an incredible message. The second is Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb of God" (which I have YET to own, still!). But this was my ALL-TIME favorite concert ever, and I still love hearing these songs. They also take the vantage point of what was happening before Jesus came into the world.
It's so incredible to think what it must have felt like to have lived in those times right before Jesus-- knowing these prophecies--that a Savior was to come to save Israel...then 400 years of silence...nothing. Just waiting to see what God was going to do.
And finally, for those prophecies to be fulfilled in Jesus' birth.
In August of 2004, Joel and I had the tremendous privilege of going to Zambia for 11 days to work in an orphanage. This was something I'd always wanted to do. Secretly, I was hoping God would call us into full-time missions in Africa.
It was an amazing trip. We got to be a part of a Sunday service at the local church on Namwianga Mission. To be a part of a congregation worshiping the same God that I know and worship was incredible. And these people sang from their hearts. These people danced from their hearts. It's hard for me when I hear people who think that dancing is 'innately evil' or who have a hard time with that. In Africa--dancing was an expression of joy, praise, and sorrow. I only wish that I felt so free to respond in that way. (in Heaven, I've decided that I will finally dance!) We spent time at Eric's House--an orphanage run by Roy and Kathi Merritt. This house had 20-something kids when we were there--ranging in age from 2-20. Another house on the mission, Haven House, housed the newborn through 2 1/2 year olds. Since we were there, they've built two more houses! These kids are orphaned by sickness or disease (often times, AIDS has taken their parents) or just brought to the homes by parents/family who can't afford to care for them right now. They are then returned to their families once they are 2 1/2 and are weaned from milk. While we were in Africa, two baby boys were brought to the home. They were 2 of quadruplets--the other babies had died. We had the opportunity to name them--and our group named the "Newton" and "North". Joel and I ended up sponsoring those boys until they went to be with family again. Here are their pictures: It's been 5 years. Zambia is still so often on my mind. Hardly a day goes by that I don't, for one reason or another, remember that trip.
I came back realizing a few things: 1. God wasn't calling me into missions there (yet!)
2. I'd had it all wrong. WE were not the 'blessed' ones. They were. They knew what was important. Their worship seemed to pervade every aspect of their lives. They were so real. So genuine. So willing to share the little they had.
3. I would never be able to live like I used to, before the trip:
Even though we were only gone 11 days, I came back realizing how much STUFF we have here.
I so often complain that 'we don't have enough room in this house' or 'I just want a bigger, nicer house'. Yet, my bathroom is about the size of some of their huts. Where 4-5 people sleep. And sew. And hang out. I have an entire room devoted to holding and storing my FOOD. Many of these people live off of 3 meals of nshema (ground maize) and garden vegetables (if they're among the fortunate ones). I complain when I only have about a few choices of what to wear on my feet. They are among the lucky ones if they have ANYTHING on their feet.
It's a hassle when I have to drive across town to go to the bank, buy my food, mail my letters. They walk on foot FOR MILES to do that. To drink water. To find firewood. And, they carry heavy crates and baskets on their heads while they walk. I hope that I never forget what I saw there. That I always remember how MUCH we have. I hope we have an opportunity to go back another time, too. But for now, we sponsor two new children who need milk and food each day. And we pray that many orphans and children will come to Namwianga Mission to be loved, fed, cared for, and shown the love of Jesus.
Someday, maybe we'll get to have a bigger part in that. Hopefully.
but unfortunately, he's hyperventilating on the couch next to me. So I'll do the honors.
We, The Wichita Photobooth Company, get to attend a benefit called "Big Wish Kansas"put on by Cubs players! We get to actually meet Koyie Hill, Ryan Dempster, and Ryan Theriot! So, to say that Joel is excited is the understatement of the century.
If you'd like to meet them, too, you can! The link above has information for how to get there.
Believe it or not, that's what my name means. My parents didn't name me 'Kendall' because it meant that...that was just a bonus. However, I soon grew into the name. WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I tended to be a bit loud, bossy, and pretty much tried to run the place.
Fast forward to 9 months ago: Lily was born this quiet, happy little girl. Sweet (a bit loud when she cried) but oh-so-lovable. This summer, we started noticing a bit of 'personality'...happy one moment, screaming bloody murder the next. Or this ornery look in her eyes. Or her growl that she has learned. She has made other children (including her poor, sweet cousin) cry by growling at them.
She waves her arms and yells often. She gets around WHEREVER she wants to go...and FAST. As is normal for this age, we've had to start slapping her hand when she goes where she's not supposed to (like the sweet potato bucket above). Unfortunately, she's a tough cookie. That hasn't seemed to work yet.
We're realizing that she is our Chief of the Valley. This sweet, petite, smiley girl definitely has some spunk. (And look out, Ollie!)
We've had an unusually cool fall here in Kansas. Our fall started in August, and as soon as October hit--we had winter weather! So, instead of playing outside and going for walks, we are INSIDE trying to find fun things to keep us busy.
Ollie has been very creative with his playing--here are some fun things he thought up today:
Indoor Basketball He set the laundry basket on the washer and then started shooting.
Score!!! Making Fire (Daddy's boy) Wood....check.
(the only tough part is keeping Lily away...)
Puppets He decided he was into puppets yesterday--so we decided to have a puppet show with our sock puppets!
So you see, we're keeping busy...but I'm SO ready for the sun again!!!
Ollie's newest 'hobby' is dressing himself. I'm SUPER glad he can do this now, as it saves time for me each morning. The laundry, however, is beginning to pile up. He can go through 5 outfits easily. By 9am. If we let him!
On this particular evening, he was trying on Lily's socks and leggings. He also loves his new fireman hat from our neighbor, Kristi. He plays with that ALL day long--in this picture, he is on his 'firetruck' as a fireman. ...or the hat doubles as his 'railerman' costume. (our local highschool mascot) Complete with gloves, hat, and boots!