What to buy your kids for Christmas when you are trying to get rid of everything

While I lived in Kenya, I blogged every few days. When we moved back to Canada, I knew it was time to let blogging go and dive into Canadian life. Just before Christmas this year, I decided that I wanted to get back into blogging regularly. Bear with me as this blog is a little on the dusty side and I begin to find my writing ‘flow’ or ‘voice’  again.

I challenged myself to write a new blog post every day of January as we prepare to move across the pond and back to Kelvin’s motherland in Kenya. As you may have caught on by now, I have actually already failed at this challenge because, well, I ran out of time yesterday and then decided to veg out and watch a netflix documentary instead of starting my blogging on January 1st. Oops, already missed a day. Kelvin already commented that my one new years resolution has already flown out the window on day 1.

Keeping my first post on the lighter side, I want to share how we tried to keep Christmas simple as to not accumulate stuff that we would have to get rid of in the next month. I will share more about what we are packing another day as I seem to get that question a lot.

Kelvin and I are simple people who need very little stuff so it’s easy for us to refrain from buying our kids a lot but trying to get grandparents and aunties and uncles to stop spoiling your kids is no easy task!

The one ‘big’ gift we gave to our children was this collapsible tunnel. Did you have one growing up? We sure did and I loved it. The beauty of this gift is that is folds to be almost completely flat! And it’s super durable to put in a suitcase and not worry about it getting broken as it’s thrown about through airports. I got mine at Mountain Baby in Nelson.

Going against my wishlist of books and flashcards for my kids, my brother bought the girls this awesome device called the Dragon Touch Y88X Plus tablet for kids. In as much as I try keep my kids from technology, it is truly a life saver when you travel with little ones. This particular tablet is already loaded with kid friendly games and videos. It will definitely be helpful on those 10 hour flights.

This was an actual gift my auntie gave to the kids. It flashes like Rudolph’s nose when you put it on your head. The kids absolutely loved it and, obviously, so did Kelvin. It actually is not a bad gift. It’s small and light weight and if I happen to lose it on the journey, our hearts won’t be broken.

A few other gifts we gave the kids included new toothbrushes (always a necessity), a couple good books, and some small princess figurines. All easy to pack, fairly light weight, and we won’t be crushed if we lose them. Of course some gifts we may have gone a little overboard include the hoards of chocolate and the fuzzy Frozen jammies that will simply be too hot to sleep in in Kenya so they unfortunately will be left behind.

We tried to get out on Christmas day for walk….if you know us, we just aren’t cold weather people so this wasn’t easy for us.

Daddy and Mercy even did snow angels. Those brave souls!

Mercy obviously *loves* taking pictures…

I guess the most precious gift we got this year was spending time with my family for one last christmas in Canada. My kids adore their grandparents and uncle. I don’t think they realize that they aren’t going to be able to see them as often anymore.

I think any kid’s day is made complete when they get to lick the whip cream off the beater…
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Making Spirits Bright

makingspirits-bright

 

Dear Rehma Family,

This Christmas, we invite you to honour your loved ones and make a donation on their behalf! If you are looking for a meaningful gift that will make an impact in the lives of many, please consider making a donation to The Rehma Project in these specific ways:

 

Sponsor a player for $15

The annual Rehma Tournament for 2017 is already in the planning stages. This tournament brings over 500 youth and hundreds more spectators from the area in a two month intense tournament. This tournament is keeping youth busy in sports and out of destructive habits, keeping them in the care of amazing mentors who are pouring into their lives daily at the pitch, and promoting unity and peace in the community. For $15, you can ensure a spot in the tournament for a bright youth!

New mom and baby package for $50

Want to send a special gift to a support, encourage, and equip a new mom and baby? We have a new program aimed at loving women and babies. We will be handing out a new born kit equipped with the essentials (and some treats for moms) to the new babies on the block. $50 helps get a bright mom and baby get started on the right track!

School Scholarships for $150

Every year we hand a number of school scholarships to young men and women who have shown great character in the community. For $150 you can ensure a bright future for a youth in Kongowea!

Along with a donation, you will receive a card in the mail that you can gift to that special someone describing the gift you gave in their honour.

To donate, please email us at info@rehmaproject.org and we will get you started!

Thank you for making spirits bright this Christmas!

 

Longing for Jesus

Christmas is over and I feel like I can now collect all my thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

This Christmas I longed for Jesus more than ever before. I kept finding myself just uttering His sweet name all day long. Under my breath, in my mind, on my heart – “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”

It was more out of desperation than out of praise.

This Christmas season was hard for me. I spent most of it with a pretty heavy heart and a lot of discomfort. And I don’t think I was alone. I kept reading about and talking with people all over the world who were feeling the same, mostly those who live abroad and away from everything comforting and known. One person even entitled their post ‘Surviving Christmas’. Since when did Christmas become such a struggle that we must survive through? It was always a time of relaxation, rejuvenation, family, comfort, abundance, and food. But I understood this post. I felt like I just wanted to survive through this Christmas and move on.

Jesus

I really wanted a real Christmas tree and I wanted to open lots of gifts on Christmas morning. Is that selfish of me? I have now spent four Christmas’ in Kenya with no tree or gifts and, for the most part, I didn’t mind that one bit. But this Christmas, I wanted lots of junk food in my stocking and some new stylish clothes and maybe a fancy gadget. I miss spending Christmas with my family and doing things the way that I did growing up.

Jesus

It is unbearably hot here. Not sure what happened but it seems hotter than last year. It’s made everything a lot more difficult and daunting. Plus we have are all battling some sort of head cold that is making everything that much more uncomfortable. You can’t even sit still without sweating. Last night I had the fan blasted on high and draped my body with a damp towel and I was still sweating. Tears streamed down my face just wanting to be cool.

Jesus

Kelvin’s family is here and although I adore them, they do things differently. They don’t even speak english so often I have been left out of the conversation. I am so nervous to cook for his mom that I just keep messing up. My rice has been mushy and my chai too strong. I am not even sure if I want to explain how uncomfortable I was having a chicken on my deck. Before we killed it on Christmas morning, I had to go to my room and compose myself so tears didn’t decide to show up for all to see. Chicken. Blood. Everywhere. And me being uptight about cleanliness hovered over Kelvin trying to make sure everything was washed with hot water and bleach. At some point I scratched my nose only to realize that I just smeared chicken blood all over my face.

Jesus

It’s not always easy knowing that you don’t have the means to buy your loved ones gifts. Kelvin and I went to the grocery store the other day and had the intent of treating his family to some nice gifts. Once we looked at the cash in our hands we realized that it was not going to be possible. We ended up buying some more expensive sweets for them all to share. However, it is even harder when I look around and see people who don’t have any food or any family for Christmas. They are right outside my door.

Jesus 

My heart aches with all the suffering around me and all over the world. Shootings, bombs, sicknesses, poverty, dysfunction all around. One heart break after another.

Jesus Jesus Jesus 

I believe I have understood now more than ever what it means to long for a Saviour, to await the coming of Hope, to depend solely on the Son of God. How many times I had to stop and whisper ‘Jesus’ knowing that He was the only thing that could get me through this next day, hour, minute. At times I didn’t even know what I needed or how to get there so I just murmured out His name.

And He did show up. I did get through. And I am doing well. There were great moments of joy and wonder. I did laugh and smile and make merry. We enjoyed family and loved ones and ate amazing food. Sweet breezes and cold showers cooled my body.

God is indeed with us.

 We prepared a huge Christmas feast. It was way too much food but we doggie bagged most of it and sent it home with everyone. Was so so thankful to have all of Kelvin’s sisters there to help cook and clean.
 This was part of the chicken we killed in the morning. I was especially happy to see it eaten as it was waking us up at 4am cock-a-doodle-dooing.
We played some Rummikub. 

 It was Kelvin’s twin sisters’, Joan and Harriet, birthday on the 24th so we decided to celebrate it on Christmas when the whole family was there. I woke up extra early to bake it before they woke up. It was a pretty sad cake but it did the trick.
Then we had a dance party. 

Yes, He is really with us.