Google+ Followers

Friday, December 27, 2013

Arnold Memory Book 2013

Click here to view the 2013 Arnold Memory Book.

Here's hoping you'll be a part of our 2014 year in review!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Traditions

In my elementary-school years, I could set a clock by our Christmas traditions. (Go back to a favorite memory of delivering presents with my Dad here.) On Christmas Eve, we spent the afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's (where the tree had large, multi-colored lights), then off to 5:00 children's Mass at St. James.  Then we'd spend the rest of the evening just across the street at my mom's parents' (where the tree always had silver icicles!) I'll always remember the peppermint sugar sticks Mom Elmore put in a fresh orange as a treat.  Then the next morning, we'd find that Santa had come and we'd have to open up quick and then clean up quick before both sides of the family came to have a country ham breakfast and spend the day at our home. 

Now that I have my own children and we don't live so close to the grandparents, we've come up with our own traditions. (Mostly stolen ideas from friends!)  For one thing, Santa brings the kids a box of super-sweet, sugary cereal each year -- one of their favorites! Another is that we let the kids sleep in our room on Christmas Eve. They think it's really fun, but we really do it to keep them all in one spot so we can go in for surprises together. I don't want to miss ONE look of joy! I remember sitting on the steps when we were young waiting for Mom and Daddy to get their coffee before we were allowed to go in the living room. I've kept this part of Christmas intact!

We have other traditions, but I recently stumbled upon a writing assignment of Sammie's on this very topic.  I'm so happy that these have found meaning to her already. Enjoy a couple of other traditions in her own words. I know I did!

Holiday Traditions

Every Christmas, we have our own special traditions. the first tradition is every Christmas Eve, we always have yummy Chinese food. We get sweet and sour chicken, steamed dumplings and kung pao chicken. It's a fun tradition because it's delicious.

Another fun tradition is we hide the pickle. We hide a lime-colored glass pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it first gets to open the first present. Families around the world have made this tradition for many years. A couple of my friends said they do this every year too. It's very interesting and fun to see who finds it.

The last tradition is we put baby Jesus in the manger. In our large nativity set, there's a dirty manger for baby Jesus. Before the Christmas holiday, we wrap Jesus up and put him under the tree. On Christmas morning, the youngest in the family gets to place him in the manger. This is a valuable and precious tradition because it represents our families Christian religion.

As pleased as I am that she loves these things. I hope that being with family is the most important and meaningful tradition of all.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Eyob's American Name is Joseph

It took some discussion for us to decide on it, but there it is: Joseph.
It’s a family name on both sides of the family for one thing. I LOVE that!
And for another, like Eyob (which means Job, as you may recall) it’s a very solid Bible name.  In fact, the very morning after we had discussed Joseph as a possibility, I ran into a friend. I’d been lamenting about some traumatic adoption stories I’d read – if I haven’t mentioned, adoption is a broken process in so many ways. She came to tell me she’d been thinking about me and wanted to encourage me with a story from the Old Testament. You guessed, the one about Joseph.

You see after the gorgeous coat and before he was named second in command in all of Egypt, he’d undeservedly landed in jail. But when he had the chance to talk about that time what Joseph said was, “Evil was planned against me, but God used those plans for the good.” I’m not one to get all goose-prickly, but I did in that moment! It’s one of the BEST stories of the Old Testament. Take a look, if you’ve never read it.
Since Sammie was little, Joseph and his coat of many colors has been a favorite story in our home. (Thank you, Donnie Osmond.) 
Also, I find it interesting as we come upon this Christmas season to remember that Jesus’ earthly father was named Joseph.
I had the joy of singing a duet at a Christmas Eve service a few years back. I had heard the song “Mary, Did You Know?” plenty of times before. This songs mixes that favorite with one I hadn’t heard called “It Wasn’t His Child.”  Julianne Hough and Phil Vassar recorded it several years ago -- Youtube it for yourself – it’s so worth it. But here are the lyrics for that part of the song – maybe you can see why it touched me so then and now:
He was her man, she was his wife.
And late one winter night, he knelt by her as she gave birth.
But it wasn’t his child.
And still he took him as his own,
And as he watched him grow, he brought him joy.
He loved that boy,
But it wasn’t his child.
It wasn’t his child.

Like a father he was strong and kind,
And I believe he did his best.
It wasn’t easy for him. He did all he could.
He grew up with his hands in wood.
And he died with his hands in wood.
It was God’s child.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak the praises of the lamb

He was her man, she was his wife.
And late one winter night, he knelt by her as she gave birth.
But it wasn’t his child.
It was God’s child.

If you’ve never read that story, it’s one of the BEST stories in the New Testament. Then, read the rest. It has a great ending.
Merry Christmas, everyone!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

30 Short Days

30 of the shortest, long days of my life. 
Someone asked me last night if Eyob (long e, long o) was transitioning well. Maybe I’m being na├»ve, but I think he’s doing great, given that a month ago he left a couple dozen people he’d spent his whole life with. Part of me is just waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. In the meantime, I’m just trying to soak up the joy he’s brought into our home. We’ve laughed so, so much since he came home.
As for his adjustment, I guess ask me when he’s 15 or 25 or 45. We’ll know better then.
For now, I can tell you briefly what the first 30 days have been like. The transition so far has looked like this:
From screaming bloody murder in the bathtub to splashing like a fish.
From crying non-stop in the carseat to peaceful rides (mostly).
From running from siblings to arms open wide for a quick pick-up.
From clinging to mom constantly to asking sister to turn on the singing Christmas ornaments.
From staring blankly when we asked questions to signing "please", "thank you", "more" and "all done"! He even waves a greeting, if you don't scare him too much. 
From no words at all to "eat", "up" and "hot". And some swear he's trying to say “sissy.”
From eating only baby oatmeal to begging for my potstickers.
From being terrified of outside to pulling brother to the door to play in the snow.
And my favorite:
From bearing 1,000 mommy kisses to puckering up and leaning in all on his own.