Friday night, the women in our family went to "Dazzle and Dine" at our church. It's the women's Christmas dinner and music time. We've done it for a few years and it's become a Christmas tradition. How it works is that each table of has a 'sponsor' (for lack of a better word) who does the decorating of their table. This person it my mom, who takes her job VERY seriously:) She brings her beautiful English china, right down to the little spoons that sit on the teacup saucer, positioned the right way, of course! She loves doing this every year and always has a beautiful table. This year was even more special with the announcement that my nephew, Mike had asked his lovely girlfriend, Holly to marry him just a couple hours before the dinner! So our table had a special shine to it...Holly's smile that could not be wiped off her face!
Then Saturday night, Blaine and I took the older kids and De to dinner and to see "The Blind Side" movie. If you haven't seen it, go see it! If you remember, I had it on my blog several weeks ago as a preview. It's the true story of Michael Oher, a young man who had great potential but had no home and no loving and nurturing parent in his life. A family who is driving home sees him walking at night in the cold rain and offers to give him a couch to sleep on. It ends up being a life defining moment for all of them but they don't realize that at the time. It's an inspiring movie and I found myself choked up from the very beginning of the movie through to the end. I saw pieces of our family in this movie.
When they see Michael on the street and the wife gets out of the car to invite him to come home with them the son asks the dad, "What is Mom doing?" The dad replies, "I've seen this look on her face before." Blaine laughed and I knew just what he was thinking. He's seen that look on my face before and could relate!
There's also a part where their high school age daughter is studying in the library with her friends when Michael walks in to study. Her friends give him a dirty look but after a few seconds, she gets up, walks away from her friends and sits by Michael. Not the 'popular' thing to do. This is my Katie to a tee. (Blake, too actually)
Katie's boyfriend, De was adopted when he was 15. He reminds me so much of Michael, a boy who has so many reasons to be angry at the world but instead is the kindest, gentlest, sweetest boy you've ever met. I often think, "What if De's dad hadn't taken a chance on him. Where would he be?" I hate to even imagine it. We love him so much. Like Michael, he continues to grow and learn and blossom. It's a beautiful thing so observe and be a part of.
I KNOW that Blake and Katie are the way they are in large part because they traveled to Ethiopia, saw what they saw, fell in love with the culture and the people, had their hearts broken and have little brothers of a different culture and race than their own. I cannot tell you the satisfaction and the humility it brings to my heart to tell you that our Thanksgiving table will be have a very international flair to it this year. Katie's best friend at school happens to be a Somali girl who is Muslim. Interestingly, they have much in common because they neither of them are party girls. They share similar morals and just love each other. We love her, too. She asked if she could come to experience an American Thanksgiving, having never done that before. So the menu took a slight change and the ham lovers will just have to choke down turkey this year because we will not offend our Muslim friend:)
Blake has also befriended a young man at college who is from Nepal and is a Hindu. He has also never experienced an American Thanksgiving and we are thrilled to have him. Of course, Rene (our son from Ghana) will be in attendance. Having experienced his first Thanksgiving with us last year, he's anxious to do it again. We miss him and are so excited to see him!
These kids are lonely and quite isolated in our American schools and culture. Few kids want to be friends with the kid who is 'different' than them. Not real popular, you know?? Remember high school?? Yeah. But they are missing out. How does the Bible say that people will know we are Christians again??
By our love!
That brings me back to the movie. I can't help but wondering, "Will this movie impact others to see the beautiful potential in the life of a child who has no home or nurturing and loving parent to guide them?" Oh, I hope and pray it will.
I don't know about you, but when I see a movie like that, all that is inside of me screams, "I want to be a part of something huge like that, the changing of a life!!" Do you feel that way? What could be more powerful and important? Few things could have as great an impact on eternity as this.
Ok, enough said...just go see it! Before you go, pray and ask God if he has a role for you to play in the life of someone who needs you.
Oh, and remember...you're not too old. Can I just say that I haves new friend who are grandparents and possibly in their 60's who adopted 4 boys (age 7-17) when they were babies but are adopting another 7 year old right now?? They are a wonderful family! And the blessing is great!
Then on Sunday, Blaine and I had a neighborhood potluck to thank our neighbors for their love to us after our fire. We had about 25-30 neighbors show up and we had a wonderful time!! You might remember, they collected a large amount of money for us which we used for immediate needs after the fire. They watched over our house during construction, called us to check up on us, emailed, sent cards and cried for us. I know that everyone thinks that they have the most fantastic neighbors BUT we actually do! Good neighbors are a gift from God. If you don't know your neighbors, take the first step and invite a few neighbors over for dessert. You won't regret it! And when you need them, they will be there for you like ours were.
If you made it through this long post, congrats! I have lots on my mind this Thanksgiving. I have never been more thankful on Thanksgiving than I am this year! I can honestly say this for certain.
This is just a warning that the Thanksgiving post may be longer than this one! Yikes!
Love and blessings,