It’s hard to see in this dark picture, but when I came home from work tonight the house was decorated for Christmas!

Someone put bells in our bushes, a Christmas teddy bear in the yard, and has some kind of magical swirly color light shimmering on our house.  It was so sweet!  The children were so excited when they got home tonight from watching Nathan play violin at the methodist church in Bartlesville.  I loved the lights, have never seen anything like it, and could drown in its hypnotic rhythm.  It was lovely!

We have made progress unpacking, and it almost looks as if we have always lived here.

The children’s rooms are all unpacked, except gifted beds still on their way.

The kitchen is unpacked, and the bathrooms are unpacked.

Mine and Nathan’s room is unpacked.

We even got two van loads of broken down boxes off to the recycling center today.

We only have the living room to finish, now that the shelves are in place after the cable man came.  I love our book shelves.  Now that the children have their own rooms, they also have their own bookshelves, and it is fun to watch the library begin to transfer to them as we gave them each some specific books and they picked others out.  It somehow felt very solidifying of this whole family experience, I think.  There is something about our family and books, and something about our books all over the house that makes it feel like we have always belonged here – even when there is more work to do!

It is good to feel safe, and a gift to feel comfortable, and all of it is new to all of us, I think.

We finished most of the books after taking that picture, and even got all our instruments cleaned up and re-shelved and a place for everyone’s spots to practice piano and violin.  Their rooms are starting to take shape beyond just unpacking, and their little school desks are set up nicely.  We are almost back in routine!  It looks like maybe tomorrow we will finally be able to put up our Christmas tree, and just in time!  It is not an easy thing to move in the middle of the holidays!

In the meantime, the yellow house is cleaned out of everything on the inside (not the garage yet), and now it is ready for cleaning.  We will do that and take new pictures to post, and see if it sells.  It will be a sad day, but also exactly like the first blessing said: that it would be a home for my family and not just for me (that was said back when it was only me), and that I would have my children there (not only did we start fostering there, but all the adopted children came back these six months to live here together once Kyrie was released on palliative care).  And, when we moved back to the yellow house last May, that blessing said that we would be in the yellow house “for a short respite to regather strength, and then to prepare for deliverance”.

We are glad to be delivered to this house, to each other, and still be in the hands of God.

I, for one, have learned lately that most often I am contending with myself, and that it is a little easier to be more charitable to others when I am not being so self-centered.

I mean to say, of course there are storms out there.  This is mortality.

But the Savior says do not be afraid, so why worry about the storm?

He reaches out His hand, and offers peace, and that is where I am to look.

Instead of focusing on what is so very hard, or how very exhausting life can be, or all the opposition against us, sometimes it is better to just look toward the Savior.

Maybe it’s really that simple to walk on water instead of drowning.

We are safe.  We are loved.  We are surrounded by angels in our community and far away loved ones and those on the other side of the veil.

We are champions of the impossible, testifiers of miracles, and witnesses to the very birth we celebrate this season.

We stand in holy places, and we will not be moved.

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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