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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Friday, December 28, 2012

Colorado Christmas Miracles

10 days with my family just wasn't enough.  I wasn't ready to leave.  But, these days, I'm never ready to leave the arms of my loved ones.  The opportunities to visit and share and live together...they're just too rare.  So, these moments, these opportunities--they're treasured, and lived in, and pondered.

This time with my family was awesome.  I got to spend some great time with my sisters, Brianna and Andrea.  We played games, watched movies, made trips into town together, had an amazing sister day (with Elisia, my niece), worked out together, attended school with Bri, and just had a great time.  It was a blessing to get that time with Bri.

It's weird to have a sister still at home...growing up without us siblings in the house.  The moments to "get to know each other" are few and far between.  Brianna is 15 years old...full of fire and spunk...smart and quick witted...this girl is amazing.  It was a sweet, sweet blessing to spend time with my beautiful, grown-up (though I keep telling her she isn't allowed to grow up), little sister.

And Andrea is, well, just hard-core.  She is so passionate and I'm so proud of what she has accomplished these past couple of years.  She's really been facing so much trouble, but God has given her a passion for fitness and it was great to see the positive way that she encouraged and inspired the whole family while she was there.  It was fun to get to hang out with her and hear about what has been going on with her, to get that sister time, to just laze with her.  It's a rare occurance, but such a joy.

And getting to know Markhem, my parent's youngest foster child, always busy with a new game idea, a new conversation, a new thing to play.  He was a joy.  Seeing Chris Santisteven, laughing together, seeing how he has grown and matured.  Oscar and Francisco, playing basketball, laughing together over video games.

And, of course, time with my mom and dad.   Conversations.  Pictures.  Laughter.  Music.  Sweet quality time.  I just love that.

This time around, I got to go down and visit my brother, Chris, and his family, Jenn, Kayden, Elisia, and Nick, in Grand Junction.  Their new house is lovely.  They all have space.  A sweet blessing compared to their other house.  Kayden is growing up.  I miss so many moments when little ones grow so fast.  But, he is a character.  Keeping you on your toes with funny comments, hilarious facial expressions, the essence of childlike joy.  It was so fun getting to spend time with him...a little mini-me of my brother Chris.

And perhaps one of the greatest memories from my time in Colorado would be the Sunday that we all attended my mom's church in Delta.  Chris' family came too.  Our whole family together.  It was, perhaps, the first time that the whole family has been together since my college years.  Hard to imagine.  After dinner, we took up a whole table of 14 at a little Mexican restaurant in downtown Delta.  Laughter and good food and great company.  It was a "quality time" girl's dream.  And to hear later that afternoon, that God spoke to my brother in a powerful way during the church service, well, it was a Christmas miracle.  One that came after years of prayers.  God is so faithful!  And there was such a celebration in our living room when we heard the news.  Answered prayers.  Years and years of answered prayers.

Christmas was a beautiful holiday.  Simple.  Easy.  Almost quiet.  I say almost.  I mean, how quiet can it be when an eight year old gets noise-maker toys?  But it was beautiful.  Opening gifts.  Spending time with family.  Enjoying a multi-cultural meal.  Overeating (isn't that always part of the holidays here?).  Laughing and hugging and ending the day together with peppermint cheesecake (my only dessert for the week) and Despicable Me.

And then there were the days of rest.  Where I didn't ever change out of my pajamas.  Where I read and journaled and watched movies all day.  I never get days like that. 

Bri learned to say my name before starting a conversation.  I'm so used to the noise around me that I wouldn't respond to any conversation unless she got my attention first.

And honestly, the quiet, those still days, they felt so good.

I did a little work, but had a lot more downtime than worktime.

This Christmas time with my family was filled with miracles.  Little moments and big moments where God showed up. 

I'm certainly blessed.

And I don't want to leave.  I want to stay.  I want to dwell in this space.  I want to live and breathe this rest and this sweet family air for longer.  But, I can't.  Time marches on, as it always does.

And so, I look forward to what is next.  Time in Tennessee and North Carolina with loved ones.  A friends from the Feeding the Orphans family and my Whelpleys.  Oh, I have missed my Whelpleys.

This trip, I am afraid, will always be a little bit of bitter and sweet.  Always saying goodbye, and moving into the next hello. 

So, for now, goodbye to my family, the cold, cold snow of Colorado, and hello to Kat and Isaiah and the warmth of their home and hearts.

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