by Grace Wilde
Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions. (Luke 12)
Have you ever been to the store? There is extravagant stuff everywhere, welcome signs, craft ideas, then you spot a beautiful dress. You already have millions of dresses but this one is just unique. So you buy it. This simple act sounds normal, but it is not. Buying extra things is the feeding of the brain with material stuff not the educational, spiritual, and foundation of life kind of stuff. This is not silly, not crazy, this is consumption.
Adam and Eve - Consumption brought sin into the world!
Where did consumption start? Believe it or not consumption brought sin into the world.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3)
You see Eve was tempted by the devil with a sneaky trick. The trick of consumption. She was first asked what the tree was about. She told him. The devil states that God is wrong. He convinced her that the fruit actually was a mystical, delicious, powerful fruit that made you more powerful than God. She ate it and gave it to Adam, but it didn’t make her happy. It made her as miserable beyond miserable. In this simple act, she brought sin into the world. The devil tries to do the same thing today. He tempts us into his lies of consumption.
Earth - Consumption brought sin into the world and may end it!
Let’s say a new computer comes out. Every one in a city hears about it. Many people already have a computer, but this one is even better. So, everyone buys it. So, all of the old computers fill up a dump. This is a example of how something may seem awesome, but it trickles back to a dump. Think, 1.5 tons of trash are wasted a year per person. Now, there is billions of people in the world. So, the whole world wastes 1,110,000 tons a year. How much would change if we didn’t over consume?
Joy - Not the joy of things
Let's say you have a chocolate bar and you eat it. Does this give you joy? That joy will only last for a minute. The same thing happens with a phone. What is real joy? Real joy is the joy that can stick to us for days; the joy that will last forever. The answer of this desire is Jesus. Jesus is the joy that sticks to you for eternity, not the material possessions of this world. Jesus fills me with joy everyday in receiving the sacraments, spending time with my family, singing praise and worship songs, caring for the poor, reflecting on His word during desert day, praying at adoration, attending Mass, and observing his creation (grass, trees, flowers, mountains, dirt, air, stars, the moon, the blue sky, snow, rain, the sun).
Each encounter with Jesus fills us with joy, with that deep joy which only God can give. - Pope Francis
When we open our Christmas presents on Christmas day let us remember that the real present and the real joy is Jesus. So, let us go out this Christmas to love one another and not things.
You weren't created just to consume resources, you were put on this Earth to make a contribution. - Mother Teresa
by Jessica Wilde
As 2016 comes to a close, I reflect on the tangle of mixed emotions we have experienced this last year. Obviously, we experienced tremendous joy when meeting and getting to know our son. When our kids bonded with him, our hearts overflowed. We experienced joy when seeing other families bring their adopted sons and daughters home. We felt loved by our village as they helped us adjust to life as a family of six. But through this joy, our eyes were opened to the deep sadness and pain that exists in our world.
There are countless kids in orphanages around the world who continue to yearn for not only the basic necessities for life but, most importantly, the love of a family. Kids are abused and neglected. War tears families apart. Hate keeps people from loving their neighbors, both foreign and domestic. Fear keeps many from even trying to help. But, it’s the everyday bullying and hate toward each other that astonished me the most this year.
"It’s been through our following the Lord in growing our family through adoption that we have experienced the most open, challenging and at times hurtful opinions from the world around us. There’s also nothing that makes my heart beat faster than having the world question my family or His call upon our family. I’m learning my response in these moments needs to always be first to refocus, rest in His call and stand…keeping my eyes up." (No Hands But Ours)
I keep my eyes up when I hear...
“He looks like T-Rex.”
“He looks like a deer.”
People have referred to our international adoption as “importing a need”.
“My family has two kids. We choose quality over quantity.”
I’ve been told that I “should hide his arms with long sleeves so nobody would know.”
Others just point and stare and then ignore him when he notices and tries to tells them “Hello”.
Some friends even stopped talking to me when they found out we were adopting internationally.
And the many racist comments…
One lady even put a soup bowl on her head and mocked Chinese farmers right in front of my kids.
I am a lover not a fighter, so these insensitive and hate-filled moments usually leave me tongue tied and heart broken. But, I’m learning to focus on what really matters - what the world thinks of our choice to adopt Chi, or what God thinks? What people think of Chi’s abilities or his potential, or how much God loves him just as he is?
Recently, our priest inspired us to look past the golden Byzantine icon of Mary surrounded by cherubs holding the infant Jesus. He suggested that we instead reflect and relate to her life as a Mother. She was not only criticized for being an unwed Mom but her heart was pierced with a sword every time her son suffered.
How did Mary handle all the hate and sadness in her life? How did she respond when she was ridiculed for being a unwed Mom? How did she endure the pain of watching her son suffered?
The answer is Faith. She had Faith in God and in His plan for her life and her Son’s life. So she stood by his side knowing that her heart would be pierced by the pains and hate her Son would suffer. But her love for Him kept her close to Him so she could help Him as only a Mother can with her presence. Sometimes that’s all a Mom can do. We can’t take away our kid’s pain but we can be there so they don’t have to endure it alone.
So as 2017 begins, I aspire to be more like Mary and put my faith and hope in God’s will. I will help my family learn to respond to all the hate they encounter on a daily basis with love and kindness. I will build up Chi Yu’s self esteem at every opportunity I get. I will teach my family to pray for those who have hurt us. I will continue to walk by my son’s side, and hold his hand through the good and the bad. I will remind him of all the many beautiful moments, and friendships in his life.
I will have him remember...
The beautiful little girl with golden pig tails who grabbed his hand, pulled him onto the dance floor, and became his first friend at church.
His friend, Josef, who is always the first to greet him at our co-op with a happy “ni hao” (Hello in Chinese).
The nurses who smiled at him as he kicked his soccer ball up and down the hall while we waited for his blood draw. They later said that watching his joy was the best part of their day.
The neighbors in our condo who told us that hearing our kids play outside is “like listening to the beautiful sound of birds chirping”.
The many people who stop me just to say that my “family is beautiful.”
Maybe my heart hurts like Mary’s did. And yes, I dread the day when Chi Yu will have enough English to understand all of these mean comments. But I realize that I can’t stop people from being racist or mean. I love Chi Yu so much. He is worth every sword to this Mama’s heart. He is beautifully and wonderfully made. He is my beloved son.
Now, if you’ve read this far, I have a New Year challenge for you. When you see someone who looks, thinks, or acts “different”, instead of staring, judging them, ignoring them, or whispering rude comments behind their backs, simply smile and say hello. It’s amazing how a simple gesture like this can brighten someone’s day.
There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more. (Robert M. Hensel)
As for my family, I know He has more wonderful plans for our family in 2017. We just need to continue to listen with a prayer filled heart and not let fear get in our way of being God’s light in the world.
Happy New Year!
by Alex Wilde
What does the candy cane have to do with Christmas? I will tell you…
What letter does the candy cane look like? It's not an ‘r’. Flip the candy cane over. Now, what letter does it look like? It probably looks like a ‘J’, for Jesus who was born on Christmas day. I think ‘J’ also is for Joseph, Jesus’s father. Now, turn the candy cane over. It looks like a staff. Who visited Jesus at his birth that had a staff? The Shepherds! They were the first people to get to the Nativity, after Mary and Joseph of course. The stripes are for Jesus’s death and resurrection.
Candy cane day is a day in Advent when my family eats candy canes and candy cane pears which is whipped cream with candy canes and pears. We also read The Legend of The Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. We also put some candy canes on the Christmas Tree. We can bake candy cane pears then eat the candy cane pears until it’s finished!
Recipe for Mommy's Candy Cane Pie
How to make Mommy’s Candy Cane Pears:
First, take the plastic off the candy canes, put the Candy Canes in a pan on the stove and add water. Second, turn on stove to dissolve candy canes in the water. Third, peel the skin of the pears, core out the cores and dice up the pears. Fourth, put the pears and candy cane syrup in a pan in the oven. Bake 350 for two hours or until the pears are caramelized. Serve in bowls and top with homemade whipped cream. 6 people can eat it.
by Brecklyn Wilde
When you are decorating the Christmas tree at your house, you probably are thinking that the Christmas tree has many pretty ornaments. Each of them has a special meaning for it to be there on your Christmas tree. But have you wondered about the meaning of the Christmas tree and its story about Jesus?
The Christmas tree started out as not being a part of Christmas. It started out as an evergreen tree. Then a monk named Saint Boniface said that it resembled the Holy Trinity because it had three corners but was still one tree. But the story does not stop there. In the medieval times, people would celebrate a holiday on December 24. They called it the ‘Feast of Adam and Eve’. On that holiday, they would decorate evergreen trees with apples and bread twists to tell the story of Adam and Eve. It still was not a Christmas tree yet. The next story begins when a man was walking home from a Christmas Eve mass. His name was Martin Luther. He was going to see his children back at home. Then he stopped and he saw a evergreen tree. It was covered in icicles. The moonlight was reflecting off them. They looked like candles. He cut down the tree, put it in his house, and since the icicles melted, set candles on it. On Christmas day, he used it to tell the story of Jesus’s birth to his children and said that he came to be the light of the world. The last story of the Christmas tree is probably the one that we likely use today. People usually decorate it with glass ornaments and treats. Sometimes people put handmade ornaments on. But on top of all the ornaments and the tree is something that is very special. People usually put a star or angel on top. This resembles the angels who told the shepherds about Jesus, or the star who guided the wise men to Jesus. And that is the story of the Christmas tree. I got this history from a book called The Legend of the Christmas tree that is illustrated by Bill Dodge and written by Rick Osborne.
What I do to celebrate the Christmas tree in Christmas is watch Charlie Brown Christmas, make ice cream cone Christmas trees, and decorate the Christmas tree. I decorate the Christmas tree by putting plastic ornaments, glass ornaments, metal, paper, and handmade ornaments on the tree. I put an angel on top of the tree. On Christmas Eve I open up presents from my family under it. We don’t have a real evergreen tree. We have an artificial one that lights up on the tips of the branches. In my room, I put a purple plastic Christmas tree on the floor. On top of it, I put a princess. GG and Grandpa get a real evergreen tree. Granny and Tractor Pops decorate their tree with big balls. One of our friends has a Advent tree.
In conclusion, the Christmas tree isn’t just about presents. It isn’t about decorating the Christmas tree like everyone else because it is popular, either. It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. It is about the traditions that you do. And whenever you think about the Christmas tree, it gives back great memories.
by Jason Wilde
I know you've all watched the animated version at least once a year since age four.
Yes, the little story that has been repeatedly scrubbed into your mind year after endless year since when you were in Kindergarten, when they forced you to watch shows like Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” instead of letting you go outside whenever the weather turned sore.
But, I’m going to take this very story, which you thought you knew from end to end like a cinch,
and turn it on it’s head, flip it around, and in so doing, make you rethink your fundamental childhood understanding of the lovable character we all simply know as the Grinch.
You see, the Grinch wasn’t a bad guy after all.
And I don’t mean that he changed…no, contrary to what our Hallmark made for TV culture would like you to believe, the Grinch didn’t really become nice and non-confrontal.
His heart didn’t actually cause him, out of the black,
to become a good Who and forget every bad thing that the Whovians ever said about him, and learn to forgive and play nice and give everyone their precious things back.
No, what I am trying to say is that from the beginning, Grinch wasn’t a bad guy…
In fact, he was the savior of the town of Whoville.
Ok, stay with me here, will you try?
Let’s start instead with the Whovians. Here, we have a Christmas-loving society who could think of nothing other than Christmas - the gifts, the feast, the music, the decorations and the glamour of it all coming together into one giant mass of Christmas. I mean, what more could our inner child want than to live in a town that either celebrated or prepared for Christmas year round?
But then, that evil Grinch steals it all away from them in a night of rage...but that doesn’t get them down! No, instead, they prove that mean ol’ Grinch wrong by coming out into the street, holding hands, and singing ‘Dabu Doray’ till it “changed” and convinced that old Grinch to bring their stuff back...because, you know...it’s theirs, and they need it for Christmas, right?
But what if I said that the Grinch was actually Whoville’s savior? What if, instead of thinking of the Whovians as victims of an evil villain, we take a deeper look into why they acted the way they did when they suddenly realized that their worldly possessions had disappeared?
You see, the Town of Whoville had actually forgotten about Christmas...or we could say they didn’t really need Christmas other than as an excuse to buy things, to show off and be the most merry Whovian in town. They lived in an eternal state of more, MORE, MORE! Every store flashed with the latest sales, and every house had to be absolutely brilliant and decked with the latest lights and tinsel and the biggest tree one could fit into his little Whovian door (or, why not install a tree roof, so it can be dropped in?) Now, the Grinch saw this whole fiasco and asked what it all really meant, and all they could tell him was that it was the right thing to do, because what respectful Whovian could not celebrate Christmas? O, and since you don't look like or agree with us, you aren't really welcome here.
Of course, they politely asked with tight little smiles, like good little Whovians, for him to come and join them for a little ceremony, to allow him to feel 'welcome’, but Grinch saw right through the scheme as it was only a selfish spectacle to make them feel better about themselves...and to have another reason to hold a town festival. And to give an award for the merriest Who? C’mon, can you really get any more vain?
And so, he took it all away.
What happened next was a test of Whoville - did they actually remember what Christmas was without all of the distractions? Well, of course they did, right? They remembered that Christmas wasn’t about the presents at all! They could have Christmas without the ribbons and tags, the packages, boxes, or bags! Instead of these meaningless things, Christmas is a spirit of compassion and love that comes from knowing our God and how he asked us to love and take care of one another.
But here’s the key to my entire argument:
If the town of Whoville woke up that fateful Christmas morning to find their well lit trees, shiny ornaments, stuffed stockings, burning fireplaces, roast beasts, and mountains of presents just as they had imagined in their dreams…
Would there be any spontaneous choral song?
Would they remember each other for long?
Would they think about why they were celebrating during the mess?
Would they have all come together to find the spirit of Christmas?
Would they have welcomed Grinch into their homes for the feast?
Would they have let him cut the roast beast?
You see, devoid of all of the shiny distractions and gifts, the Whovians were left with nothing but the spirit of Christmas in their hearts, and that spirit not only filled the Grinch’s heart, causing him to come down from his hilltop, but more importantly, it allowed the Whovians to truly accept and love him.
My argument is that if they had woken up to find everything as they expected, then they would have once again been too distracted by the spectacle of it all to really find the spirit that God asks us to kindle in our own hearts - the Spirit which fills us with love and kindness and charity for all humanity - the Spirit which asks us to love one another, to do selfless works, and to expect nothing in return for us.
So I ask you all:
Should you play the part of Grinch this Christmas?
by Brecklyn Wilde
Halloween is so spooky. I like it, though. Some things are a little scary, but I know it’s not true. I am going to talk about the things that we do for Halloween, and some ideas for you.
I decorate the house for Halloween. I put paper ghosts on the walls. I also put other things on the walls like mummies, witches, vampires and pumpkins. I made a ghost puppet and I call him Mr. Boo. I made him by wrapping a paper towel around a pencil and taping it. Then, I cut it to make it look like it’s flowing. Lastly, I put the eyes and the mouth on him.
Other things that we put up I did not make. For example, we have bones. I am definitely not talking about the bones inside of us. I am talking about plastic bones. A couple years ago one of our barbie doll’s head broke off. We put the head on the gate next to the plastic skull. It was hilarious. Another decoration we have is a pretend arm and leg that we put under our garage and it looks like there is a person being smooshed. Everyone touches it to see if it is real.
We put on Halloween music. Some of them are “Jack’s Lament” (from ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’) and “Grinning Ghosts”. My favorites are “The Monster Mash” and “The Purple People Eater”. I like “The Monster Mash” because one year in dance class I danced to it. I like “The Purple People Eater” because when I was 3, Mommy and Daddy would call me a purple people eater.
I like deciding what I want to be for Halloween. It is a hard decision. Sometimes I want to be a wolf. Or maybe a fox. A raccoon would be really cool. I like the idea of a black cat. Maybe not a witch. I don’t think I’ll ever be a vampire or a mummy. I don’t want to be something to scary or not too scary.
This year I decided to be Hermione for Halloween. I want to wear mommy’s graduation outfit. I want to have a chopstick for a wand. For the cat I am going to bring a stuffed animal cat and put it in my basket. I got the idea from Alex, who wanted to be Harry Potter.
I like the foods that we eat at Halloween. We have mummy dogs which are hot dogs with strips of cheese on top. We also have blood which is Kool-Aid. Another thing that we have, which is one of my favorites, is this sauce that has guacamole and olives. Everyone should know why I like it because… it has purple chips on top! The chips are arranged to make the shape of a pumpkin. For dessert we have spiders which are pretzels covered in chocolate. Sometimes we have popcorn balls. This sounds like a lot of food when you are going trick-or-treating.
The candy that I am especially going to look for is suckers, M&ms, and starbursts. I basically like chewy candy. I like that candy because it can dissolve in my mouth and I can savor it. Another thing I am going to be looking for is mice. I don’t mean real mice. I am saying “mice” because a couple years ago at one house people were giving out toys instead of candy. I got a toy rubber mouse and named her squeaky because she squeaked a lot. She doesn’t really squeak, but I pretend that she does. Grace got a journal that time and Alex got a rat.
I like Halloween. I think that it is scary. I just talked about the things that I do in Halloween. I hope that some of the ideas are helpful. Happy Halloween!
Here’s a joke for you to keep.
King Tut Who?
Where’s my Mummy?
On a Mission
Two passionate parents and their four children are excited to bring His Word to everyone in need while living a life of Gospel poverty as missionaries. They invite you to join them on a journey to encounter our global neighbors that Jesus commands us to love through works of charity and service.