Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Ten Favorite Christmas Songs

Christmas music has been playing now for about a month or so but honestly, I think it could play all year long as far as I'm concerned. I love the beautiful lyrics about the baby born in a manger; some of them written hundreds of years ago. While the traditional ones about Jesus are my favorite, there are a few Christmas songs that I really have fun listening to - and singing along with!

When Faith was very little I used to play The Denver Mile High Orchestra's swing version of Jingle Bells and would have her in my arms and we'd go dancing around the living room together. Maybe that's why that song is one of her favorites! Faith actually doesn't do well listening to the slower, more traditional songs as she gets very emotional and even a little weepy.

To learn the history of where these Christmas songs originated check out my Article: My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs and from Whence They Came

It was hard to narrow it down to just ten - but these Christmas songs are highest on my list:

O Holy Night

White Christmas

Jingle Bells

Feliz Navidad (Faith loves this song too! I think it reminds her of her Auntie Barbara who is from Mexico!)

Silent Night

Do You Hear What I Hear

Joy to the World

The First Noel

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Breath of Heaven

Other favorites include: Mary Did You Know, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Let It Snow and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Give the Gift of a Wheelchair

As with most kids in this country who have a physical impairment, our daughter has access to one of the most basic necessities of a handicapped child - a wheelchair. But for those disabled children in third-world or communist countries, many children with cerebral palsy or similar disabilities cannot so easily attain a a much-needed chair that offers the simple gift of mobility.
For just a $150 donation, a pediatric wheelchair can be given to a child in a third-world country
It is truly heartbreaking that these children who have no means of mobility are left home to lie in bed all day while their parents go to work. These children cannot attend school because they have no way of being transported to school or even the ability to sit up while at school. Some children who may have use of their upper bodies crawl on the ground to get from one place to another.

The worst part for these families is that they are looked down upon for having a child with special needs. Sometimes the father leaves his special needs child and moves elsewhere because he is embarrassed or he feels too much shame. Having a disabled child in some countries is a stigma and there are no such words as "special" needs.

While there is a lot of debate about our government and its health care system, we can be thankful that they can help families get basic equipment that is needed for special needs children. For many countries, the government simply does not care about citizens in their country who have a disability.

This is where the ministry, Wheels for the World, comes in to help. This ministry is part of Joni and Friends, founded by Joni Eareckson Tada whose international ministry for the disabled is well-known throughout the world. In case you haven't heard of her, Joni is a quadriplegic who as a teenager became disabled as a result of a diving accident. It is through Wheels for the World that over 90,000 wheelchairs have been collected, restored and distributed since its start in 1994.

The best part about this ministry is, along with the wheelchairs, recipients also receive the message of the Gospel. While it is the goal of the ministry to meet the physical needs of the disabled, it is even more important to meet the spiritual needs.

In 2013, the Wheels for the World team will be distributing wheelchairs and sharing the Gospel in several countries including El Salvador, Haiti, Peru, Thailand, Uganda, Poland, Romania, and China. If you are interested in donating money for a wheelchair to a disabled child, it is just $150 for one wheelchair, $300 for two wheelchairs and $450 for three wheelchairs. Just imagine - a wheelchair that costs thousands of dollars in the United States can be given to a child in need for just hundreds!

You can even donate a wheelchair in honor of someone by going here. You will be able to fill out a card that says, "Given in the love of Jesus by _____." Rob and I have done this in honor of Faith and what a huge blessing to be able to give a gift that can transform a child's life! We hope you, too, consider giving the gift of a wheelchair - and more importantly the gift of hearing about Jesus!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Festivities Galore

This season is known as the most wonderful time of the year and probably the busiest time of the year as well. Along with starting Christmas shopping, putting up our tree and thinking about getting our Christmas cards ready, we have taken part in some great Christmas events.
Faith checking out some of the ornaments on our Christmas tree!
Last Monday we kicked off the week with Faith's program at school called "Old Man Winter's Icicle Follies." Faith's music teacher had given us a CD with all of the music on it so Faith could learn the words better. And I must say, when Rob and I both heard the fast-moving music with all of the tongue-twisting words, we both thought the songs were a little ambitious for third graders. Wow were we surprised when they pulled it off! All of the third-graders did great! 

The best part was seeing Faith in the front of the gymnasium alongside the kids in her grade looking relaxed and singing right along with the rest of them. Although, I do admit that I had a moment when one of her classmates wheeled her to to front and then didn't put her closer to the risers. I almost went up there and re-parked her chair. I just didn't want Faith to stand out anymore than she already did. But I let it go and all was well.
Centennial Elementary Third Grade Winter Performance

Our cute little reindeer!
Faith even did great during the audience clapping which she usually startles and tightens up. We were so proud of her! It was a cute program and Faith has still been listening and singing along with her CD. The music is engrained not only in her head but her mom and dad's as well!

Last Thursday I took part in Java JOY's Christmas JOY event at Boneshakers. It was a nice time of gathering together with other ladies singing Christmas carols, listening to Christmas stories and sharing, relaxing and drinking delicious hot drinks. The JOY ministry was also able to bless the girls at Teen Challenge with the book, Jesus Calling for each of them, along with some much-needed laundry items.

On Friday Faith went to the Bell Mehus for the Nutcracker Suite ballet performance. When she and her dad picked me up from work that evening, it was all she talked about. She loved seeing the dancers and hearing them sing. She told me about the stage and their costumes and all the different colors she saw throughout the performance. I am so glad she went and even happier that she enjoyed it so much. Again, she seems to be doing better with crowds, loudness, clapping and doing things as a group with her classmates.

After work on Friday we briefly stopped by our pastor's home where he and his family were hosting their Christmas Open House. This is something they do for their congregation every year but they have to break it up into two separate days so they can accommodate everyone in their home. We didn't stay long as we all had a long week and Faith was ready to go home and stay home, which we did all day Saturday.

Sunday night I went to "The Reason 2012 Concert" which was a sold-out show held at Evangel Assembly of God. The event was put on by the evangelistic outreach, PULSE - "a movement of young adults running after God's heart for this generation." It was an awesome event and it was great seeing Kutless, Moriah Peters and Fargo, North Dakota natives David Lubben and Nick Hall but the best part was seeing how many young people stood up to declare a new commitment or re-commitment to Christ!
Members of the band, Kutless, David Lubben and Moriah Peters
Next weekend we are going to try to go to New Life's Christmas pageant, One Starry Night which will be held at 4916 N Washington St. here in Bismarck from 6:00-8:00 p.m. It is sort of a walk-through event that helps you to experience Mary and Joseph's journey to the manger.

It is definitely the most wonderful time of the year as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and although it can also be the busiest time of the year, I pray that all would remember the true meaning of Christmas!