"You didn't give me these arms, but you gave them a family to hold.
You didn't give me my body but you've truly shaped my soul. Your love has given me wings and how my spirit soars. Knowing that I always will be yours. Forever and for always I am yours."

Monday, December 26, 2011

Who Gifted Us Their Christmas Jar??

Our village is a giving and selfless village! We woke up Christmas morning to find two Christmas Jars sitting in front of our door. What is a Christmas Jar you ask? Well, it is a jar that someone has used to collect spare change throughout the year. At Christmas they decide to share this with someone that can really use the donation.

There was no note or name attached to our beautiful jars so we don't know and likely never will the name of this kind benefactor. We believe they chose to help 2 little orphaned children in China who are about to figuratively step into a new future. With this help they may someday WALK in that future too! We are so blessed. Beyond what we deserve. My children saw the jars and immediately planned to return the blessing to someone else next year.

Today Lan and I went to Walmart to the 50% of Christmas section and I saw these perfect little tins with American scenes on them that were MADE IN THE USA that we can fill with required presents for the Chinese adoption officials when we travel. There were also gorgeous gift bags all marked 50% off. I was adding up in my head what was left of our tattered budget and my friend Joyce finds me still in the aisle. After some welcomed chatter she pulls a $50 from her purse and tells me she has been thinking about me and the girls and wants to help. Such a generous gift....and into the cart and off to China will go the tins purchased through the donation of another villager. Bless you Joyce!

I am posting a photo of our kids getting their special treat jars from Grandma Carol. Inside are the worlds most magnificent chocolate chip cookies ever baked. Life is sweet. So very sweet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Meaning of Our Christmas

Many people see the proverbial cup as half full. Others see it as half empty. We try to see, "Someone must be thirsty lets take the cup and find them". Distressingly this year someone tried to steal our cup! They broke into our home safe and stole the nearly $10,000 we had collected for the adoption of our two daughters waiting in China. Our daughters have been watching for a forever family since their births and admission to an orphanage. Neither of our daughters can walk and they need medical care not available to them. The perpetrator was caught and apparently he still had nearly $5,000 of it hidden somewhere. He was tried and ordered to pay that to us back in October but we haven't seen the restitution and it is reported there is no money left. It has been a very difficult and stressful situation.

As a family we had to make many choices. Do we take it as a sign that the adoption was not meant to be? Do we walk away knowing we tried but couldn't make it work? As a family that was unthinkable to us. We could not leave two Ellison children behind as indeed these are our precious family members. We decided that new school clothes, trips to the movie house and Christmas presents are fun but not real needs. A real need is not having the right of every human and especially every child. The right to a permanent family. The right to a place at the Thanksgiving table. The right to an education. The right to a future with options.

As we contemplate the Christmas season this year it is different for the Ellisons. We are focusing on the gifts we can give with our hearts and our service. We reflect on the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We count our blessings as opposed to brightly wrapped things under our tree. The photo of a girl in a plastic playhouse or the other sitting on the stairs of the slide are the most divine gifts we can imagine.

This year what can WE GIVE? How can we honor our Savior Jesus Christ? Little Misha shows the way.

In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:


It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, they went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children many things to build their own manger.

The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately--until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.

Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?' And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.' So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him---for always."

As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him - for ALWAYS. I've learned that it's not WHAT you have in your life, but WHO you have in your life that counts.


May this Christmas find you filled with the celebration of Christ.


The Ellisons

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Frosty the Snowbot?

And we have some techno cookie decorating today...Domo arigato Mr. Snowboto.

What is.....

What is 47.5 inches tall, weighs 47 lbs, is the reigning house Just Dance 3 champion and has perfect vision (now)? Well, that would be CADEN! Bless his heart, he got the gift of vision for Christmas. What is much bigger than 47 lbs and gets the Loser Mother of the Year Award? Why that would be Stefani who had never figured out that Caden could not even read the top line of the vision chart! Great falling balls of fire, there were twice annual hearing exams due to his brittle bones and the chance that this could affect his incus, malleus, and stapes of the middle ear. But vision?? Not on the radar. He has never failed a vision screening. I just took him in for an exam as my friend just found her daughter couldn't see. I wanted to confirm things were good in the eye department. Wahwah. NOT GOOD. But he looks awfully handsome in his new spectacles doesn't he?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Year Ago Tonight Death Came Calling

It started as having to clean up the pile of fallen leaves my boys ran off and left. A storm was coming. I had no idea the storm that was really gathering. A twist of my knee resulted in a routine outpatient surgery to repair my newly torn meniscus. A day later, a year ago today, I gathered my crutches and made my way to the bathroom about 20 tottering steps away. On the second step an intense pain pulsated in my heart and a tremendous whooshing went through my lungs. I couldn't catch my breath. I crumpled back onto my bed and willed my racing heart to slow down, slow down, slow down. I consciously reminded my lungs to fill. They didn't seem to remember to do it on their own.

I didn't realize that I was in extreme trouble. I didn't understand that my body was screaming at me to get help. It wasn't until the emergency room physician explained to me that I was on my way to ICU. I had to wait for an ICU nurse to arrive. These were my thoughts:

"The clock on the Emergency Room wall glowed a pale iridescent pink 3:49 AM. The throbbing in my knee kept pace with the tock, tock, tock of its time. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But I continued to see the faces of my children and the panic would grow, my breathing become more labored, my lungs constricting even more.

Sleep eluded me as I lie stiltedly on the gurney. Numbers kept crashing through my attempted solace, chasing any chance of sleep away. 3:50 AM tick tock, tick tock. 8876. The results of the d-dimer test for blood clotting which should be under 500 but was proof that I was at high risk that night for more complications. Seven. The age of the little girl who was dead on arrival in the ER two hours previous.

But one number kept leaping behind my eyelids and licking them like fire.

Fifteen. The number of blood clots that invaded my lungs and caused me to be in jeopardy this night. Fifteen. The number of years since I met and married my husband. Fifteen. The number of years I had been a mother. Fifteen. The number of children I was responsible to mother."

I am fully aware that I should not be alive. Tomorrow is the funeral of Marilyn Bulkley who lives in a neighboring rural town. Last Wednesday she went in for the very same knee procedure and on Thursday had two blood clots enter her lungs. She fell into a coma and her life support was turned off on Sunday. I had FIFTEEN clots. But I lived. WHY??

The past 365 days since my staring down of death have been physically challenging but spiritually a gift. I am determined to use each extra minute I have been given to better the world. When I need to rest I rest. If I need to I say NO. But if I can say yes, I SAY YES! I am certain there is more for me to do. Without this experience I would not have considered bringing home our two divine waiting daughters who have been looked over by families for their whole lives. My new eyes saw them. Not only my life but their lives too were saved. They are a gift for us. As you can see, they are making a heart in the picture below to tell us they love us back as they wait for our processing.