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December 15, 2008

She's makin' a list and checkin' it twice

Handcircle_7 My four-year-old, Georgia, is obsessed with all of the toy catalogs that have been pouring into our mailbox.  At any given moment, you can find her lying on the floor with a catalog, pointing at all of the things she wants to put on her Christmas list. 

I remember doing the same thing with the Sears catalog.  I would spend hours going through all the toys, circling the interesting things.  I never really expected to get many (if any) of the toys, but that wasn't really the point.  The point was the magic of dreaming.  Did I really want a doll that was my size, that would walk along with me?  The idea was a bit creepy to me, but still intriguing.  I circled her with gusto, but didn't even tell my mom that I wanted her.

There are so many things out there for us to want.  There are so many voices telling us that we deserve to be happy, we deserve Things.  But this year, and each year, our family gives money to a little girl in Kenya who has never even imagined all the Things we take for granted each day.  Through Compassion International, we sponsor a little girl named Doreen.  Doreen is deaf and because of our sponsorship, she is able to attend a special boarding school for the deaf.  She is provided with food, clothing, and education to help break the cycle of poverty her family and community are entrenched in.  She and the other children who are sponsored are also told about the hope that comes from knowing Jesus and that he loves them.

Doreen writes us letters that we share with our daughters.  Every year after Christmas she tells us what she received for Christmas.  Her Christmas list has things like shoes or a sweater.  She probably spends time dreaming about getting to see her family for Christmas, and maybe having a bit of extra money for a special meal together.  Doreen is such an inspiration to our family because even though she is faced with unimaginable challenges in her life, she is filled with joy.  She tells us that she prays for us every day. 

Especially at Christmas time, we like to show our children the importance of serving others, of giving to people who have less than they do.  Compassion International allows us to do this in a very personal and tangible way.

This is an original post for Philly Moms Blog.  Amy also blogs about parenting, Montessori homeschool, and gifted education at Occupation: Mommy.

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