Joel's side of the family came in from out of town.
My sister inlaw and I - months ago talked of doing something together to celebrate this holiday - something that would be untraditional for our family....pull us out of our comfort zones....show our kids the real meaning of gratitude, Christmas & life...
We decided to do some sort of outreach. Originally, we had hoped to work with the City Mission - turns out they were bombarded with volunteers. (Which is sort of amazing) Looking back, I couldn't be happier at what we ended up doing.
A dear friend told me about an organization called The Malachi House - an organization funded by donations only - that cares for the terminally ill who would otherwise be living their final days homeless. This organization turns a very difficult and sad transition into a loving & caring one.
Personally, the thought of facing the idea of my death is one that sounds frightening...these patients have accepted the fact and this 'house' is one of love and compassion in their remaining time here.
I called to see what a little singing/guitar-playing/creative family could do to help show love to the patients at the Malachi house...and lo & behold they were ALL ABOUT Von Trapp families like ours!
The night before heading to the Malachi House we had our kids draw pictures for each of the patients....I was impressed with the detail each one put forth. Some drew pictures of homes filled with christmas decorations...presents...others drew a big christmas tree with bright lights...my nephew, Elijah, even wrote a beautiful Christmas card that would make Hallmark feel insecure.
Friday afternoon, with Christmas carol lyrics & pictures in hand, we walked into the Malachi house. An old fragile woman who had been volunteering that day showed us to the chapel. They turned on the cameras so each of the patients could see us from their rooms...Joel strummed away and we sang & sang & sang. We spoke with a patient named, "Sissy" and the kids loved on her....the babies smiled at her...
We visited the patients who were unable to come down to hear the LIVE performance....handed out the homemade pictures and heard their stories.
It's been a motto of mine to follow the scripture of refreshing others and watching how we will then be refreshed. This is precisely what happened. We were all tired...some of us cranky...some of us still in a turkey coma...but we left with smiles on our faces & so did the sweet residents of the Malachi House.
This is JOY.
All photos courtesy of Kim Miller Photography