the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

A Happy Christmas

Since I spent the last week of 2009 in America, we ended up celebrating our family Christmas on January 2nd this year. Abigail is still young enough that the actual date doesn't really matter to her - but she is now old enough that Christmas is really fun. Living in Thailand we try to do a couple of holidays with more of an American flair, for ourselves and for Abi so she can have some connection with her American roots. Our biggest "tradition" holiday - by far - is Christmas. We start the day with an American breakfast cooked by Lori. This year she made an "Apple French Toast Casserole" which was so good that Esther actually ate it (she is generally a very picky eater, and especially adverse to western food). While we eat breakfast, we listen to the Christmas story - first in Akha, then in English - while discussing the characters in the story through our nativity scene.

Then we celebrate a new tradition, initiated by Abi. Since there are presents under the tree, Abi knew that there must be a birthday. For about a month, she kept thinking it was going to be her birthday again, but now if you ask her whose birthday is on Christmas, she will answer "Baby Jesus" or "God" depending on what she remembers of the story at the time. So, we all sing a rousing version of Happy Birthday to Jesus, led by Abi.

Then we open our presents and stockings. Lori and I love this time because we get to really spoil Esther. This year, in addition to clothes & food, the popular gifts were...

For me: a new netbook to replace my dying & incredibly slow laptop. Thanks Mom, Dad, Grandma & Grandpa!

akha-women-by-soe-winFor Lori: a beautiful, original oil-on-canvas (50" x 36") of five Ulo Akha women carrying bundles of roofing grass and corn in from the fields. This original composition was painted by Burmese artist Soe Win, who we were able to meet in Maesot where we purchased the piece.

For Abi: a custom-made traditional Burmese outfit that Esther bought from a seamstress in Myanmar (Burma) & a miniature blender so that Abi can make smoothies just like her mom!

For Esther: a huge bag of her favorite dried cherries, photos and a photo album, clothes from America and fabric, thread & sewing needles so she can learn how to sew Akha stitches (everyone has always given her a hard time because she didn't learn how to sew as a girl, now she can practice in the city. she's really excited to show her mom that she's learning to sew!).

After all the presents and playing, we enjoy a wonderful smorgasbord lunch of breads, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, crackers and summer sausage to round out a wonderful - if belated - family Christmas. Hope you all had wonderful times with your families as well!

Thank you Esther for this beautiful outfit!Modeling her beautiful new outfitEsther's new fabric, thread & sewing needlesAbi's second favorite Christmas toy - a shopping cart.A very happy Esther, and a silly snowglobe stocking stuffer.So excited about her new blender.Opening Christmas presents from OmaAbigail enjoying her new Christmas toys

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