The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!

We're having such a fun and busy Christmas and I hope you all are too! I don't at all want to put a damper on all of the Christmas fun, shopping and celebration, because that is such a special part of the holiday! This video I am posting is not to make us feel bad, but I just thought is was so poignant and really has made me think about the true meaning of the holiday and to also rethink my spending!
My sister in law, Susanna, works as a writer for Living Water International, (click on post title above to go to their website) , which is a ministry that builds wells for fresh water for people in need world wide! Watch this video, it will change they way you think about Christmas shopping. Every year, I am striving to spend a little less on indulging ourselves in many gifts. I'm still working on it and getting better, but still find myself overspending, ugh! I hope I can continue to improve in my choices and keep giving to those in need! Please take 2 minutes to watch this video-(sorry- you'll have to first scroll down to the bottom of this page and pause my blog music, then begin the video to hear the audio!)






video

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

GETTING READY FOR CHRISTMAS!


I love Christmas and preparing for the season! Here are some fun pics. This is our house all festive, okay it doesn't snow in Florida- but oh well!



Joshua is having fun decorating the tree! It was quite warm that evening!


He's a cutie in his Santa Hat!


Jacob and I on the night of our yearly Christmas party- One of my favorite traditions!


Our tree. Jacob spends a lot of time putting on a gazillion lights!


Here is some of the food I prepared for the party.


Christina's Dance studio performs in Celebration where it "snows" every night during the Holiday Season. She is doing a Ballet number.


She is a beautiful dancer.


Christina and her best friend, Alexis. They are growing up so fast! (and no they don't wear this much make-up in real life - only for performances!)



This is Joshua and Matthew playing in the "snow" at Celebration, Fl. It is so warm this night that the "snow" suds are even melting as soon as they hit the ground!


MERRY CHRISTMAS AND MANY BLESSINGS!


Friday, December 4, 2009

I AM A GUARDIAN AD LITEM. WHAT IS A GUARDIAN AD LITEM?


Exactly what is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)? Throughout my life, I have wanted to do something to help children in need. I knew, if I just looked around, there was something I could do close to home. Having attempted to adopt from foster care years ago, and finding that the sweet tiny girl we wanted (only 6 years old mind you) was so badly abused that she could not be placed in a home with siblings, I was shockingly introduced to the world of abused children. It was a world more common than I had realized. WHO would touch a child with intention of harm like that? Don't people know how innocent they are? When you see your own child get a genuine fear come over them, perhaps about a stranger, or a situation where they feel lost, you can see their helplessness and sensitivity. What parent would intentionally harm them or ALLOW or worse yet ENCOURAGE someone in their home harm them in ways that would make ours hearts sick? When the child completely and utterly depends on that parent to protect them? It's almost too much to bear and I know many people who say to me, "Don't tell me about it, I don't want to know." Well, we HAVE TO know, because it is happening all around us. The children cannot protect themselves.
Last year I became a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem. A GAL is a person who advocates for the rights of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. I did 30 hours of training, and pretty much had my first case given to me immediately. I learn most as I go along! I am now on my 3rd case of a sibling group. I visit them a couple times a month. Talk with them, visit their school, observe situations, homes, care-takers and watch for signs of problems. Make sure they are getting the care and protection they need. I attend court with them when needed. It sounds like a lot, but I really only spend a few hours a week working on my case. I promise you, anyone can do this. The reward is establishing a relationship with these broken children. They love for me to visit! They talk and enjoy the attention. I still keep in touch with my first case regularly, even though he is in another county now.
I never thought I would be driving around through the back roads of my county visiting old shambled trailers and finding little sad children inside. Or perhaps a child readjusting in a big beautiful foster home. Or a child trying to find his place in a group home. All of the families welcome me, no matter what has happened. They know I am there for the child's best interest. If you are interested in being a volunteer in your immediate community, consider being a GAL. The program supervisors will work with you and only give you what you can handle. Even if it is just one child who you have to visit occasionally. Or as many as you want, because there are THOUSANDS in your county. It is so rewarding and they need us!

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo