Friends! Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Merry Early Christmas! From our family to your’s Gobble till you Wobble and Santa Baby!
It’s been an awesome time this month with family, friends, ministry and fun! Times are always crazy but we have always said life is an adventure…thanks for adventuring with us! Here’s some of the quick notes.
I remember the things that we did as a family, picking out the Christmas tree, “santa’ leaving the presents out instead of wrapping them, French toast on Saturday mornings. As I got older, I remember not doing some of those things anymore and then still doing others!
Amy and I were looking at Thanksgiving and with family stuff on Thanksgiving day not really an option this year (NOTE: There was a large family event about 3.5 hours drive 1 way. We declined to attend that), we were determined to make Thanksgiving Traditions.
So we got cinnamon rolls for breakfast, sat around in our PJs all day, listened to Christmas music, watched Christmas Movies and the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day parade, played a couple of fun games and prepared and ate an AMAZING meal! It was slow, low-key, relaxed and we LOVED it!
This got us thinking….how this year for Christmas will we continue to build on some of our family traditions and make new ones! What are your traditions during this holiday season? What about traditions / rhythms weekly or even daily? Here are two of our more regular traditions.
- Daily – Each night before the kids go to bed we tell them the following. “You are so smart. You are so beautiful (or handsome). Mommy and Daddy will always love you no matter what. And Jesus loves you even more.”
- Weekly – This pleasantly plump adolescent ate mounds of French Toast every Saturday morning. I think the most I ever got up to was probably 6 or 7 pieces. Now that I am home on the weekends every weekend, I have started to prepare a French Toast breakfast like my mom did for me. First it started out just for Amy and now the girls Madeline, Z and L wanted in on the action. So each week, we go through about a carton of eggs, too much syrup, a loaf of bread, etc and sit down for our Saturday morning Breakfast tradition.
Traditions don’t have to be elaborate or they can be. They don’t have to be out of the house! Traditions are just routine experiences done with enough frequency and celebrations that they develop memories. And those memories are what develops the desire for the routine experience!
- Things are Wacky Tacky – Tuesday was Wacky Tacky Day at the elementary school! We were so excited in our house. I helped Jojo build his outfit and ultimately all he wanted to wear was a suit Jacket, one of my ties, and it was “tacky” because he had basketball shoes on. I told him I have pictures from Easter one year of me wearing almost the same thing, only a worse tie and Reebok Pumps! Z couldn’t participate (punishment for peeing on the floor on purpose to make mommy clean it up…Fostering is always an adventure). And Madeline and I spent some serious time planning her outfit. The kids got off the bus and Madeline let me know Madeline was the Wackiest – Tackiest in her grade level. She won the same “award” in Kindergarten as well! Edmonds’ got style for dayzz!!!
- An update on Z’s school
- When Z entered our home about 8 months ago, she was behind educationally. At 5 years old, she had never had books read to her. She had been in and out of several preschools (inconsistency). As a result, she was behind. She didn’t know colors, letters, directions, or basic vocabulary. One example: We would point to an egg and she didn’t know what that was. And she didn’t have a guess. Another example: she simply couldn’t communicate. All sentences started with “raise your hand.” She learned that phrase in preschool and everything she would say would start with “raise your hand.” Amy and I were nervous, worried, and we along with the help of MANY MANY people worked hard to get Z ready for school.
- Praise GOD she was ready. She had tested out of speech services. Vocabulary sky-rocketed! and language developed! She knows her colors and shapes and numbers 1 – 10. She can count to 39…(seems to always get tripped up on “40”). As school has continued we have noticed that she is far behind on letters. We thought she knew her letters in her name but really didn’t. It was too the point where the teacher was noticing and Z was showing signs of discouragement as her classmates were picking up reading more quickly.
- So Amy (being the teacher) requested to have a meeting and get started on some interventions to help Z’s letter learning. We had a review of those interventions and progress last Tuesday. Amy and I were expecting (at least I was expecting) moving forward with a learning disability testing. However, the progress was great!
- Z still does not know all of her letters. However, she is improving. In fact she is ahead in some areas relative to her peers in her class! We even learned that she is adopting some of the strategies we worked on at home in her classroom! We were STOKED to learn that! We did ask about retention (repeating the grade) but the team said it’s too early to tell and that with her improvement they at this time don’t see a need to repeat Kindergarten! We are so blessed! Z works so hard to learn and engage! I am so blessed to have Amy as a patient teacher wife who will create strategies, work patiently with Z, and advocate for her needs!
- Children’s Ministry – continues to be a HUGE blessing. I love getting to partner in ministry with my wife. We are still figuring out how to best work together (more clearly, I am still figuring it out. Amy knows already!). We are continuing to see new families come into the church and even another (unrelated) Edmonds family which was cool! December is upon us and it’s involved to say the least. Continue to pray! We will need pace and endurance to get through all the activities in the curriculum this month! But it’s going to be AWESOME!
- Students – You remember the post, A story about life-change. Well our student ministry continues to expand at both campuses. At our South Fork location, we have seen 3 students take their next step and begin to serve on Sunday’s! That’s HUGE! At our North Campus, we just completed a student retreat. Fourteen students with volunteers unplugged for 3 days (no phone, no internet, no tv) and instead of being engrossed in those spent time studying God’s Word together. The students came back on FIRE for God and a had a legit hunger and thirst for His Word.
- Community – Amy and I are still evaluating community for us! Couples group? Family group? Meeting with men for me to lead, Amy to be part of a women’s group. Prayers for wisdom, discernment and appropriate margin and opportunities to meet this need and deep desire to have deeper and stronger relationships with our peers!
- Preaching – I am preaching this weekend at our South Fork Campus! I am so excited to share God’s Word with our people (and so nervous too)
Praises and Prayer Requests:
- Prayer Request – The beginning of the weeks are hard. Monday’s are visitation days. We love that Z and L have a great time with their biological mother. Often Monday we sit on pins and needles waiting to see if visit will happen and then deal with the aftermath of visits with bio mom. Z often says she can’t call us mom and dad (which we are ok with….it’s her choice) and tends to be stand-off-ish until about the end of the week and then warms up all in time to go to visit again the following Monday. It’s a roller coaster of emotions for sure for her, for Amy, and for the rest of the family. Pray for endurance.
- Praise and Prayer Request – Financial Partners – Praise God we have had a couple of additional financial partners join our team! Thank you and again Praise God. We are still praying for $250/month in additional support. If you are thinking about partnering with our family in ministry financially, let me or Amy know. We would love to share about ministry here in Winston Salem, NC at our church or with Z and L.
- Pray – Multiplication – We are praying specifically over the next season for multiplication. Multiplication of disciples, of leaders, of kids in the children’s ministry, of rooms. We are praying specifically that God is NOT waiting on us to multiply. We wont be caught not ready. Pray that God will multiply and we will be prepared!
- Pray – Student Ministry – Our student ministry is growing and thriving! We have students taking next steps (desiring to serve, desiring to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus). Continue to pray as we preach over the next few weeks on the Bible, The Holy Spirit, and Fasting. Pray that our students would latch onto the Gospel and have their lives transformed by Jesus.
- Pray – GET AWAY – Amy and I are about 2 weeks away from 3 days without any kids! Be in PRAYER now that it will be a time of reflection over the last year. Be in PRAYER now that it is a time of expectation for the new year. Pray for rest! Pray for fun! It’s going to be AMAZING!
- Pray – Preaching – This weekend I am preaching at one of our campuses! Pray for our house to be a place of peace as I work on the final preparations. Pray for nerves. Pray specifically that it’s NOT TOO SHORT! I’m excited just nervous!
Friends, thank you for petitioning the Lord with us! God is on the move. We have so much to be thankful for! How can we be praying for you all?!?