Joyous Giving

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year we are doing Christmas differently--no electronics, and our kids are only getting things that fit into their stockings. This may sound cruel to some, but I hate the furious ripping open of toys and then looking for what's next, which I said would never come to our home but it did anyway. Thus the change in gifting for the year.

I think that this change, combined with other things going on in my extended family that have been hard, has made this holiday season feel odd and dampened our excitement some as a result. So we signed up to sponsor three children from Compassion International, to get our focus off of ourselves. I let each Campbell kid pick out a child, with the only requirement being that they had to pick one with a heart symbol, which means they've been waiting for a long time for a sponsor.

When I contacted Compassion to ask some questions about how to mail things, the representative that I spoke with told me something amazing--two of the children we selected had never had a sponsor before, and the child that Kyla chose has had two sponsors that never followed through. It was wonderful to see how excited my kids were about this information.

They each have their child's bio printed out and they keep it in their rooms. We got our sponsor packets from Compassion last week, and they had a bookmark with the child's picture and info on one side, and a list of prayer requests on the other side. I can't tell you how much joy it gave me to hear my little Sara praying through her list for her child, Sharon.

A bonus that I didn't think of when we signed up is how our kids will get letters from their sponsored children in their native Spanish dialect. It will be translated, but it will still be fun for them to see a letter written in another language from their new friends.

All day yesterday was spent sending email greetings to our new kids, and then making cards and pictures and letters to send to them. Kyla's friend is Nicole, and her birthday is in March, so she made a birthday card for her. Iain's friend, Louis (pronounced Lou-eese, we learned), likes soccer, so Iain was excited to tell him about how he enjoys playing basketball.

Below are the pictures that we put on the new sponsor sheets. Each Campbell kid wanted their picture taken with Daisy:

It takes about six months to get letters to the kids and then to hear back from them. Our kids are excited about hearing from their new friends, so it gives them something to look forward to...and maybe they won't groan as much when I ask them to get the mail now. :)

Last Sunday, December 18th, was Glen's birthday. We had afternoon plans, so while Daddy walked the dog, the kids and I quickly decorated the dining room and had his present ready for him when he came back.

I love catching expressions when someone opens a gift. I think he liked his new gloves, and I love being able to surprise him with something he actually likes...

That afteroon, Iain had a basketball game, so I took the girls to a birthday party for Sara's friend, Chelsey. Sara got her face painted at the party and she was sad to wash it off, so I took a picture so she could remember it.

Glen is off from Christmas Eve through Thursday, and we are excited to have him home with us. We are going to be some of the crazy people who are in stores on December 24th...but that's okay. The weather is supposed to be mostly sunny and near 40 degrees, and we'll be together, so it will be a wonderful day!