My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas and the Beauty of Family

What a full day today! I love Christmas every year. It certainly has changed over the years, but some traditions never change!

When we were younger and my sister and I shared a room, we would have a terrible time sleeping on Christmas night. Eventually, usually around 3 am, my brother would come into our room and we'd kinda just hang out until our 6 am "allowance time" to get up and run upstairs to check out what Santa brought.

As time went on, even as a high schooler and into college, I still struggled with sleeping through the night on Christmas Eve. And even when my sister and I had seperate rooms and after I had moved out and on to college, I would bunk up with my sister on Christmas Eve and share the excitement of all that comes with Christmas with my sister!

And even now, an adult, each Christmas, Andrea and I move into Bri's room for Christmas Eve and enjoy sharing sleeping space and a little sister love!

This morning, we were up at 7 and downstairs opening up our stockings and seeing what Santa had brought the other kids. After a little pumpkin deliciousness (thank you Aunt Peggy), we opened up the rest of our family gifts and then it was time to get cooking. For our Christmas this year, we had a "multi-cultural Christmas meal". My mom made Chinese as well as Jenn (my brother Chris' wife). My grandma and Ray made a deep fried turkey and stuffing. And I made jallof rice, beans and plantain, and ground nut soup and rice ball. I have to tell you that it wasn't quite the same as in Ghana, but it was familiar enough. I added way too many spices and everything was pretty piping spicy! But, it was fun to try my hand at some Ghanaian recipes and to see what would happen. A few more times practicing it and I think I'll get it down!

After a delicious and VERY FILLING meal, we headed downstairs for gift-opening time. It was so fun to watch Kayden, my little 1 1/2 year old nephew opening gifts. He is just so stinkin' adorable! He would tear a tiny piece of paper off of a packacke, hand it to his mom, tear another little piece, hand it to his mom, until the whole package was unwrapped! He was so cute when he opened up the little african outfit I had got for him. He started taking off his sweater and wanted his new shirt put on right away. So cute!

After gifts, my mom and sister passed out puzzle pieces that Andrea, Bri, and I had made the night before. My mom wanted to play some kind of game that would demonstrate all the different families that come together to make one family on Christmas day. So, after passing out all the puzzle pieces, we all sat down to figure out how the puzzle would go together. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but after some time and a few hands helping out, we were able to put together the colorful Christmas tree puzzle!

It was fun to see my Grandma, cousins, and all the other family members that got come and celebrate with us today. I just love time with my family and Christmas is just one holiday that makes me feel so absolutely BLESSED to be a part of the family that I am a part of. Loving, giving, full of laughter, and always, always, always inviting more and more people to be a part of the family for our special day!

Merry Christmas to ALL OF YOU!

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