Sunday, January 22, 2012

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning. While we were shortly going to be hosting several friends for Christmas brunch, we managed to have a beautifully quite and wistful Christmas morning. Henry, with all of his birthday practice, had gotten pretty good at opening gifts.



Along with a new train table, Henry received a beautiful hand-carved train.




Henry also received a beautiful Christmas sweater and a fabulous felt sandwich-making kit (funny video of that to come).


Henry is, officially, totally in to Thomas! (Thanks, in part, to a surprise gift from the Dechary's). Mom and Dad got suckerpunched at Toys R Us when this was on the end of an aisle. Turns out, it is a pretty fabulous toy...as long as Zipporah isn't curled up in it. That freaks him out (as it should).

Happy Birthday, Henry!


I'm sorry to say that we have no photos of Henry's actual birthday gathering ON his birthday. Our friends, Mike & Barb and the Stricklands came over to celebrate. Henry was very excited to see his buddy Brendan.

We also continued the celebration the Saturday following his big day with the Dodson clan. Here we all are. What a crew!


Kesiah Rose is always so helpful in keeping all of the little ones out of harm's way.


Sweet Gwenny.


And our dear Addie. She is so grown up!


Henry enjoyed his birthday cake a little less this year than last.


Here are a couple of pics of Henry opening gifts the morning of the big day:


Henry LOVES his teeball set! Because its winter, we mostly play in the garage.


And THE firetruck. The H man just adores this one (courtesy of Grampa!).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Well...

It looks like Blogger is not letting me upload pics. If it doesn't get its act together before naptime ends, it could be a while before we finish celebrating Henry's birthday (much less Christmas!).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Most of my days are spent enjoying this ridiculously blessed life of mine wondering what it is that God is up to in me, with me and around me. He seems to do his work more stealthily that I'd like.

But on occasion, I can almost hear him screaming at the top of his lungs for me to pay attention to something specific. He wants me to notice something and sends His message over and over until it dawns on me what is happening.

This is one of those times.

In the past several months, I have been exposed over and over to the reality of global human trafficking, slavery and the international sex trade. And I will never be the same.

It began when Andrew and I rented and watched Blood Diamond. There is a scene in the movie where the rebels, after steeling young boys--we're talking 7 and 8 years old, are injecting them with illicit drugs to bend their wills and make them a part of their armies. It was, perhaps, one of the most disturbing things I had ever seen.

I spent some time investigating child soldiers: how many there are, where they are still being trafficked and what organizations are fighting against this disgusting evil.

This fall, a new family began attending All Souls. It turns out the husband has written a novel about the trafficking of young girls and woman into India for sex. A human rights attorney, Corban spent months doing research on the topic and even traveled to India to visit the brothels. His book, A Walk Across the Sun is available now. He discusses it here in a Barnes & Noble blog.

In December, I read this blog post about Christmas. In it, she talks about the responsibility of knowing from where our gifts come. There are 27 million slaves worldwide. TWENTY SEVEN MILLION. Most of these men, women and children are forced, against their wills, into working 18+hours per day to produce products that we use every day (some of the worst offenders include cotton, coffee, chocolate, sugar).

So, I decided to visit slaveryfootprint.org to see how many work for me.

My number: 51.

Dear Lord, let it not be so.

Last week, my two office mates happened to be out of the office all week. This meant I could listen to things a little bit louder than I usually do. The Passion 2012 conference was taking place in Atlanta during that same week; so I decided to watch as many sessions that were streaming during the day as I could. The focus of their conference: Ending Slavery.

See what I mean about God screaming at the top of his lungs?

So, what does this mean for me. A regular ol' mom trying her best to love her husband, raise her son and live a life for Jesus?

Here's a quote from a friend on Facebook (actually, Corban's wife):

" The truth is, this will only stop when enough people rise up and say enough. We need a modern day abolitionist movement. What can an ordinary person do? Support justice groups working to combat the issue, spread the word so that more people are informed, call your representatives and ask them to increase funding for anti-trafficking initiatives (the U.S. government spends more money on military marching bands than it does on the fight against slavery), use a gift or a talent to help raise awareness or funds. We can all do something. Everyone has a voice. What ideas do you have to help combat modern day slavery?"

At the moment, I'm light years away from understanding how I can make a difference. I'm looking forward to attending the International Justice Mission's Global Prayer Gathering in April with a group from All Souls.

But in the meantime, I'm reading and praying and hoping.

I also can't help but share that Andrew has been SUCH a blessing to me. He has encouraged me and not once looked at me like I was crazy becoming obsessed with this issue. Thank you, love. Your support means everything.

I tell you this because TODAY is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. And I have a voice. And I choose to use it.

________

There are so many amazing organizations doing work to fight this massive human injustice. Here are a couple if you'd like more information.

International Justice Mission
Tiny Hands International
Not For Sale
Word Made Flesh
Love148
Compassion International
World Vision

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Henry Turns Two: Daycare Party

Happy birthday, Henry! H had three birthday parties (yes, THREE--now you know why we haven't posted anything until now!). The first one was at his school.

Ohmygosh, Henry's classmates are adorable! Here is the birthdayboy with his home-made birthday hat!

There were a few little people missing this day. So they could all fit around one table.


These ladies are just awesome! Ms. Katie and Ms. Taylor are so great with the kiddos.


And this picture just cracks us up. So precious.



Texas Thanksgiving

Yikes! It is 2012 and we're just now getting pics and video up from Thanksgiving. Needless to say, the holiday/birthday season is super busy for us!

Henry had the time of his life in Texas. He took to Nana and Grampa as if he'd just seen them the week before. There were giggles galore!

We enjoyed the beautiful Texas weather and took a walk around Southwestern University. Here, Henry pauses with Grampa and Nana for a rest.


I'd say, in addition to Nana, Grampa, Becca and Andre, Henry had 3 favorite things in Texas. 1. Grampa's Texas-sized cowboy hat. He wore that thing the whole week. (He still asks for Nana and Grampa to wear it when we Skype. They are so precious to oblige him.) 2. Joey. Henry just adored Becca's puppy. He asked for her every morning as soon as we woke up. 3. Betty's golf cart. He STILL talk about Betty and her golf cart. It cracks me up that he remembers her name!


Aunt Becca had the most awesome idea to bring Henry into Austin and take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr. Henry lu-huh-ved it.





We can't wait to get back to TX soon!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So much coming soon

Hey loved ones!

Holy cow do we have photos, stories and videos galore to share! If you'll bear with us, we're trying to get back into the swing of a routine and a few of us are having a bit of a difficult time with it. As such, our evenings are less free for blogging time!

We'll get on it soon. We haven't forgotten and love you so much!