Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fingerprinted!

We got in and had absolutely no wait! Headed out for lunch to celebrate our 14 year anniversary today!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

USCIS Update

We are still waiting for fingerprinting appointments.  I had expected them no later than today's mail and when the paperwork didn't arrive I called our adoption agency.  Because of the recent USCIS fee increase, applications are backed up.  So instead of 45 days we are looking at 60 days, this is from November 19th.  Please, please pray that either the adoption agency will see the need to expedite- due to little miss needing biophosphonate infusions- or that miraculously USCIS would just get it done quickly.  Little Misses future depends on strengthening her bones.  We are talking possibly the difference between being wheel chair bound or leading a normal life.  She walks now, but the medicine is growth dependent and we've already missed her first four years of growth and as you grow more strain is placed on the bones.  Please pray.  We have to have have this paperwork before China can do anything else. 

Don't forget we've moved!

Our new blog is www.poormanponderosa.blogspot.com.  See ya there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upsizing

(from poormanponderosa.blogspot.com)
Well we've prayed, we've test drove, we've counted the cost and test drove some more...  The last month it seems has been filled with uncertainty about what vehicle God would have us buy.  At first we thought he was leading us to an eight passenger minivan, but our hearts didn't settle.  We've compared minivans to suburbans to 15 passenger vans, looked at seating, pricing, etc.  Yesterday, we went and saw 15 passenger vans.  It is with fear and faith a lot of trepidation and still some hesitation, but we are going to be buying a 14 passenger van and we feel at peace about it.  Why all the fear and faith, trepidation, hesitation?  Have YOU ever driven one?!  It's like driving an aircraft carrier!!!  The fear is because we know of a young man who was injured in a 15 passenger van accident and his life will never be the same because of it.  Trepidation and hesitation are from the fact that we never imagined ourselves here, have never been in this situation before and it is a bit overwhelming.  The faith aspect is we believe that we are following what God is telling to do, but we really don't want to understand or try to comprehend why we need a 14 passenger van, an eight seater would fit us fine.  Maybe it's the cost, maybe the room, I honestly cringe to think about other possibilities.


God equips who He calls, He doesn't call the equipped.  So if he's called us to care for orphans and He's equipping us with a 14 passenger van... (I'm not ready to go there!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moving Blogs!

Dear Friends,
Just wanted to let you know I will be posting at www.poormanponderosa.blogspot.com from now on. We would love to have you join us over there. Making the change has a dual purpose- not singling out one child for who the blog is about as well as we wanted to make a play of our wonderful name! We hope to see you at our new blog home! Still working on it, but it is up and running!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Homestudy Has Finally Been Approved!

Nothing really more can be said! We are working hard on bringing new little miss home. Working on new blog as well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One LESS!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Evidence is Overwhelming!!!!!

We got a call from our adoption agency today. The next piece of paperwork that we were needing in order to bring little miss home came today!? I am reeling from shock and awe. God is making it overwhelmingly clear that he wants HER to join our family. Due to the favor that is happening on her and our behalf I am not sharing what came and though we could our agency is asking that we still not post her picture. Yet. The only pieces of the puzzle left before we can bring her home are immigration approval and travel approval. Our God is working MICACLES on behalf of this little girl already. May HE redeem her and make her whole. He is moving MOUNTAINS!!!!

As a quick follow up, the house we thought of pursuing already has four contracts on it. Pray that if this is the house for us God would make it abundantly clear and make necessary PROVISIONS.

Things May Be Quiet Here, But Not At Home!

I've wanted to sit down and write so many times, but have such a hard time finding the time! We are currently praying about a certain house, a certain vehicle, a certain tractor... We are also praying and deliberating on putting Elizabeth in Deaf Ed classes a couple of days a week. Her progress has been so slow and there's the argument that at home she's not around her peer group...

Our homestudy will hopefully be done in a couple of days and we can submit for immigration approval to bring little miss home. I just wish we could get further in the process so that I could post pictures!!

We finally had almost a normal school day yesterday (our normal that is), it was such a blessing after three weeks of pell mell, helter skelterness.

Last but not least. We approaching the season of giving and it would be helpful to bring in some money to help with adoption expenses so I had this idea. I coupon shop, I get things free or almost free when I do this. What do you think of "buying" items, but however instead of me shipping the items to you I can donate them to our local homeless shelter, the women's shelter and the free clinic and the money raised would go straight to our adoption?! Would anyone be even interested in this idea? I don't want to waste my time, I have so little, so if you could PLEASE share your comments this would be greatly appreciated. I would probably use paypal to process the money. Any input in the way of doing some sort of fundraiser would be appreciated. We have considered a garage sale, but our house was taken over with things for the one for Elizabeth's adoption and I don't want that to happen again.

I promise this really is the last thing. Elizabeth has a NEW SKILL! She can climb into a chair now! It's those little things that I had taken for granted before.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Incredible!

I love you honey. May your day be full of blessings. :)

We Survived and Thrived!

The last three weeks have been so challenging, but we made it! For the Children was a success and we had several people outside of the participating agencies come! Thank you so much to all of the volunteers, the childcare workers, with special thanks to Ms. A, Ms. K, Ms. C and Mr. M (not our M) for all that you did and thanks to the attendees! I pray all were blessed and were able to get informed on the topic they chose. Five churches attended the session on how to start a foster/adopt ministry!!!!
Thank you everyone for your prayers. They were felt. Though stressed yesterday, I never got a migraine!!! My throat still flares and my stomach is still knotting, but hopefully as the stress reduces so will these.
Our meeting with the social worker on Friday went well even though the sewage had backed up into our house Friday morning! Oh, yes it did. Our bothersome tree root struck again! LOL!!!
Hopefully life will get back to normal, though I am coming to realize that our normal means nothing is ever normal!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dodging Bullets

I think I finally realized what has been going on for the last two and a half weeks. Spiritual warfare. Guess I'm not real quick on the uptake. It does make sense though. I am supposed to present information about making adoption a reality at For the Children on the 6th. What better way to disable me than to feel horrible, have so much to do that it's hard to get my presentation ready, have sick, complaining kids...?! Even technology has not been friendly lately!
Please pray for us. I have canceled our appointments for the day to try and concentrate on getting me and the kids better, the rest of the stuff from our trip unpacked and getting the house presentable for the social worker's final home visit on Friday for our current adoption. Breathe. Just breathe. And clean. And unpack. And file. And work. Be in prayer the bullets are flying!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stuck or Trust?

We all have expectations. Maybe we expect to have children or get a certain job or live in a certain manner or even that God wants us to do a certain thing. We have expectations of our children. We have expectations of our spouse. We have expectations of our parents. We might even have expectations that when we pull up to a light that soon it will change and we will be able to go.

God has expectations of us. "Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself". Fairly lofty expectations. Am I truly loving the Lord in all those ways? Is my neighbor getting any of my attention? Am I getting any of my attention?

I did not want to vacation in Colorado at this time of year. Snow was my major concern and being stuck indoors. It was also not a very convenient time, but I resisted and Mr. Incredible persisted. So to CO we go.

I expected to be able to go sledding on the mountain next to the condo when I saw snow on the ground. Denied. I expected to be able to sled down an 8 foot pile of snow in a grassy area. Denied. To say that my expectations were dashed would be an understatement. I didn't want to be here in the first place and now we were being legislated what we could do!? As far as I was concerned our vacation was smashed, stepped on, run over and then thrown into an odiferous landfill. I was mad, mad at Mr. Incredible for making us come, mad at myself for everything, mad at the kids for just being kids. My expectations weren't met and I had a choice to make. Were we seriously going to pack up and go home with 5 days left? Was I going to let my attitude control me or was I going to control my attitude. Yes, when your expectations aren't met it isn't easy.

Our vacation started off with not being able to find either of our two atlases. While loading the van, one child unscrewed the antennae and another child tried to "fix" it unbeknownst to us. We were puzzled by the noise of a vibration as we merged onto the interstate. A little way down the road Mr. Incredible saw 1" of the antennae hanging onto the area between the hood and windshield as I was whizzing at 70+ miles/hour and proceeded to hang out of the van to retrieve it. So we get to the exit after our entrance and pull off to reattach the antennae and try to get my phone to pull up a map of our route. Less than 120 miles down the road we hit torrential rains and are almost involved in an accident when trying to leave the C-F-A that we lunched at. Sunday- no sledding. Monday- no sledding. Tuesday- sledding in town with incidents. Wednesday- finish Hague training and go shopping for forgotten grocery items from Sunday. Thursday- great sledding in town. Friday- not so great really mushy snow sledding in town. Saturday- leave and bump a parking garage support; a Denver GF bakery and cafe is no longer a cafe we find out as we stop for lunch; T too small to slide down at FOTF. Sunday- take a detour to a volcano and enjoy a chilly hike down into the crater and around the rim, at least some of us.

I try to laugh at our vacation, and we did have funny parts. Like getting a floss pick stuck between my teeth while flying down the road. Or the tank of gas that lasted 456.4 miles = 7 hours. (I had determined to drive at least a tank on the way back, it took us three tanks to get there and only two back!?) Apparently I choose the wrong tank! LOL!! Why do things always happen when I'M driving?

So will I let ruined expectations and a vacation that all were glad to see over be the defining moment of my life? Or can a let my focus return to what God expects of me? Be stuck or trust?! I cannot let a few mishaps tarnish the incredible provision and safety that we DID experience. (loving God) I can continue to pray for the administrators of WP. (loving neighbors) I can also treasure the time with family and the break from my usual schedule. (loving myself)

Mr. Incredible now understands my hesitation in going in the first place and our marriage has had the chance for a lot more laughs. It really is hard to not laugh when you tauk wif a withp bacauth of de fwoss thtuck in your mowf (talk with a lisp because of the floss stuck in your mouth).

Note for posterity. Colorado is best enjoyed in September when lots of hiking can be done and little people have an outlet for their energy. :-)

Free Giveaway- Support Orphans!!!


GIVEAWAY!

This week, you have TWO chances to be entered in a giveaway for a FREE Lifesong for Orphans t-shirt! Lifesong will be debuting 2 new colors (chocolate brown for men and red for women) and are offering to give away 2 shirts before they are available for sale!

Here’s how to enter:
#1: Go to the Lifesong blog posting from Monday and guess how many children are no longer orphans that Lifesong helped to bring home through financial assistance.

#2: Leave a comment on Friday’s posting about how we can creatively work together as the body of Christ to care for orphans around the world! Here's what you do... share with us your ideas.  Leave a comment... maybe about a ministry your church is involved in... or a family you helped support financially to adopt.

 Maybe you have this aMAZing idea that has been just waiting to get out and be put in action.  Here's your chance!  Let's inspire each other to rise up on behalf of orphans!


“With this in mind, take some time to walk through your house and ask God what he would have you do with your part of the 200 million orphans worldwide, most of whom may never hear the gospel, much less have it lived out in a loving family of their own.” – Greg Lucas

Friday, October 29, 2010

We have Pre Approval!

We got awesome news last night. We got our pre-approval!!!! That news came a week after our LOI (letter of intent) finally got submitted. Once we get back from vacation we will finish up our homestudy and fill out the form for immigration approval. Hopefully we can get all sent to USCIS maybe by the 10th or before and get fingerprints maybe before Thanksgiving.
God kept me up last night and I hope to share with you this afternoon. Gonna do some more family fun first though!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sites and Sounds

The snow is coming down again. We were able to get some sledding done today in town. For the first two days we had run ins with security over sledding at the resort. First day, not on the mountain. We were only going 30 feet up and were with our children. I was hacked that there is nothing to do, no one around, no one on the mountain and we couldn't even sled 30 feet up from the bottom!? People were hiking all the way up and they weren't getting on them! (and we weren't in the hikers way) So day 2 we use a pile of snow that they made at the end of a sidewalk that leads to a grassy area and made that into a little sled run. We cleared off the hill when the bobcat was adding to it, we were being very safe and guess what happens. Yep, security comes around again and says absolutely no sledding period. The guy from the previous day said we could sled in the area that we were in. And now-nope. ARRGGG. So 2 1/2 hours of sledding with no incidents. The reason for this no sledding policy, apparently some children died one year after they crashed into a tree. How many people die from skiing and yet they still allow skiing! They do however have sledding in their sledding area, where we were!!!!, whenever it is set up, but it is not because usually there isn't this much snow on the ground already...

Today with our sled run in town, there for an hour, we suffered a bump on the head, a bloody nose, an almost continuous temper tantrum and this was supposed to be "safer"? Oh and bad road conditions getting into and out of town. I don't know about the general population, but my vehicle sliding on ice is not my idea of fun.

I don't want to be stuck at a closed resort and yet I don't really feel like being animal food by going out and hiking around the national parks with a foot of snow on the ground... I really hope that this vacation gets better...

The kids have been able to continue learning Chinese though and Mr. Incredible and I have been able to complete our 10 hours of Hague training each, so all is not lost. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bye, Bye Super P

Today was Super P's last day. He has been hired on for a full time job and we are left praying and wondering who God will provide as our next helper. (maybe God is speaking to you?) It's our usual lazy Friday (Ha!), no appointments, however we have been busily cleaning and preparing for tonight's visit from our adoption agency's social worker and for all of what is happening next week!

Quick update on adoption: I had asked our agency over a week and a half ago what I needed to be preparing and gathering for the homestudy. They said "nothing". Monday I called to see if our LOI had been sent and had to leave a message. Tuesday I sent an email to follow up the phone message. On THURSDAY I finally got a response and it said that all the stuff that I had asked about the week prior and told I didn't have to do, we would have to do!!! It also said that our LOI was getting sent off on Thursday! Whatever happened to sending it Monday?! I was angry and wanting to scream, not at all in the mood for being around our five blessings, feeling so pressed for time in other areas of my life that I thought about skipping exercising. But, I knew I would feel better besides being a better mommy if I went. So I did. When I got back home God had the MOST amazing news for us in the inbox. (I started crying while reading the email and was still crying when I called Mr. Incredible.) We only have to redo a few things and most I got taken care of already! The others will hopefully be here the first week in November! I also found out information that made me have to go change this post. The favor that we are being shown is simply amazing. I am so humbled by what God is doing. This stretching is hard and so many days I feel like a complete failure, but God is working to bring our daughter home and I simply need to do what HE asks and trust. And as Beth Moore says, MOVE IT!!!!!

I will post more about the 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families, later.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

9-1-1 Does Work!

So I bet your wondering what happened. Through a series of events Mr. Incredible was home alone with our younger four doing dinner, baths, etc. Mr. M found a sticker earlier or at some point prior to his next action and when daddy said go upstairs and get jammies and underwear, he interpreted that to mean do what the sticker says, which was to call 911 in real emergencies. Well, guess our reading needs some help. Because though no "real" emergency was present, Mr. M commenced to sneak into our room and use the phone to call 911. Mr. Incredible was finishing dinner with Mr. T and Elizabeth and was only made aware of what happened when he answered the ringing phone and was asked if there was an emergency. Oh yeah. Wait for it. It gets better. If you dial 911, they will come to your house, even if you answer the return call. So... One of the two officers that responded is our neighbor who I had already waved to twice tonight through our various coming and goings. Apparently he did have quite a smile going on while speaking to Mr. Incredible, however they did save their laughter until after Mr. Incredible had shut the door.
Thankfully Mr. Incredible did answer the phone although he had debated not doing so since there had already been one telemarketer call tonight. Not sure he would have heard their knocking from the bathroom...
So (drum roll) that makes 3 poison control calls for a certain child and now a 911. And he's only 6!
I love you, Mr. Incredible. It could happen to anyone, it just seems to keep happening to us!

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Family, #1 and #2

So this is what we learned this past weekend....

Habit #1- Be Proactive

Instead of being reactive
Stimulus -> Response

Be Proactive
Stimulus->Choice in Response ->Response

The goal here is to stop and choose a response better than your initial gut (probably not prudent) reaction. Choose the best thing to do. Exert control over your response. The only thing we can control is our reaction to the situation.

Habit #2 Begin With the End in Mind

Imagine your life in 20 years, who are you with and what are you doing? Start whatever it is you want now!

Be intentional. Be intentional with who you are. Be intentional with what you do. Be intentional with who you do it with.

Make a 2-3 sentence family mission statement that clarifies your goals as a family.
___________________________________

Don't think we have it all together, we are still working on our family mission statement! The biggest thing that these two habits spoke to me was I HAVE to be intentional with spending time with each of the kids each day. It is NOT going to just happen. This is a choice I need to make so that I can better meet each of my children where they are. I need to be willing to stop my to do list and do something with them that they enjoy (probably not school related) and meet them where they are. It's not easy, but do I want my children to think the house or email more important than them?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Little Things...Eat You

So many things have been going on, and on, and on, and on...

Trying to finalize details for "For the Children" on November 6th. There is also something else local going on the 6th and we are trying to resolve that conflict.

Instances of why I didn't want to use our same adoption agency again have permeated the week. It took them four agency agreements to finally send us the right one. (We are the first family doing this 2nd "immediate" adoption from China) The cost of this adoption is more expensive (initial cost) than their "basic" adoption, now it's only by $20, but COME ON! Saying that they couldn't begin our homestudy for two weeks because of the "refund" period in our contract. Well the fourth contract they sent, the one we signed DIDN'T have a refund period! AAAAAAHHHHHH. So that was Mon.- Thur.

Lest Friday and Saturday be somewhat calm, I mean we were at a retreat for foster/adoptive families! Our helper let us know that he found another job and wanted to know how much notice to give! I really wanted to scream, "YOU CAN'T LEAVE!!!!", but I knew that was my insecurity about abandonment talking. Considering we are going to be on vacation for 10 days, I knew I probably had a right to say 3 weeks, but that would disqualify him for this new and *better* job. GRRRRRRR.

Right now I am flying on a wing and a prayer, so close to tears all the time and wondering just how I'm going to get this southern family prepared for 10 days in CO with gluten free food, all our usual weekly stuff and find a new helper and and and.... Sometimes it's all the little things that really eat you up.

Lord, you are the maker of time. Please help me to budget mine wisely because it's slipping like sand through my fingers.

I will post about the wonderful training we received, later...

*40 hours a week, more pay and benefits* Not sure how that's better than being around 5 awesome kids, but apparently some think so. Oh wait! There are days that I think so too! LOL! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Two Worlds Collide- a sister for Elizabeth

When Mr. Incredible and I started praying about adopting again, I had plan. I wanted a little black baby girl. (notice there isn't much room for GOD in I) Mr. Incredible wasn't sure about the timing - seemed too soon- but admitted that the whole process does take a while and so we started praying for the Lord's will to be done...

If you had asked me back back in August when I posted here , what God was going to do I would have said I thought I knew a direction. Little did I know! LOL! If God had revealed where we are now then, I would have RUN SCREAMING and NOT have posted. Funny how God works!? He only gives us what we can handle, then He stretches us and we can handle a little more, followed by more stretching... If HE had showed me the whole thing, I would have said it wasn't HIM. But now I can see how HE is WORKING. He has a plan. I have to trust.

Our world has collided with God's plan and we will never be the same. God is moving in our lives and giving us favor with foreign governments and we are now going to be adopting a little three year old girl with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones) from China. Yes, we know she breaks easy. Yes, we know we already have five kids. Yes, we know it sounds TOTALLY INSANE. And yes, it is God's leading! Not what we imagined, thought of or even considered, but when God moves HE MOVES.

I was not going to ever use our adoption agency from Elizabeth adoption again and they knew it, but our name kept coming up and other families kept saying "no" to this little girl and so they contacted us. They contacted us the last day that Mr. Incredible was in Indonesia. A few days prior he had been in the Chinese city where this little girl lives. God had laid on my heart that his business trip would change our lives, I could only think of negative, VERY negative, ways "our lives would be changed". So when that email slipped in the inbox hours before Mr. Incredible was to end his business trip, I just had to wonder. It also turns out that she went on the waiting child list within hours of Mr. Incredible and I coming into agreement that God wanted us to look at adopting again. (remember that post?) Within hours of THAT!!!

This last Friday we submitted formal application to the adoption agency not knowing what China would say about the dossier, had an inkling but nothing official. At the end of the application was the "submit" button. Before I sent it off I called Mr. Incredible at work and we had one of those just to make sure, really?!, not too late to back out you know, no money spent yet conversations. He asked me what was so hard. Being real I had to say that I knew what this meant, the waiting, the strain, the work, the financial and emotional cost and I just didn't want to do it,... but I knew that God was leading us here. Interestingly, I had to click "submit" to complete the application, not "finish" or "done". I wasn't just clicking a button to finish an application, that click of the mouse was the difference between obedience and my way. Clicking that button indicated my/our submission to God's will for our family no mattered how it differed from MY plans. Never would I have imagined a simple task to cause such a pause, yet I KNEW that if I didn't obey, God could not be glorified.

The reward for obedience?! I can finally get excited(!!!!!), TODAY the Chinese government officials gave the go ahead to be able to *proceed. (it's amazing what submission does, we've been waiting for a couple of weeks for that approval!) *It also means that we will be able to bring her home a lot sooner- very important medically and emotionally (more on that later). That we can *proceed is such an answer to prayer and such a confirmation that God does truly want her to join our family. Oh, I forgot to mention... our *.

It's strange, we know we are going to adopt her, China knows we are going to adopt her, but apparently we are the first family to do what we are doing and so there is a bit of a hangup on the paperwork and until it is officially official we can't post identifying information or pictures :(. So bear with us until God straightens this out.

For whatever reason God has chosen us to be the parents of this little precious girl. He has seen her birth, her abandonment, her life, her many broken bones. We haven't (so far). He knows how Mr. Incredible hates needles and can't stand to see his children in pain. God knows my mother's heart and how tough it is to be with the children through their various procedures and surgeries, even if it's for their good... and yet we are going to have to be willing to break her so that she can be healed.

Well that's our news. Our world is colliding. Our family expanding. To God be the glory!

*as of 10/21/10 we received news that what we had previously shared is now confidential. So in the interest of keeping China and our adoption agency happy, I deleted some information. I am sorry it doesn't read as well now and you are privy to all the cool things that God is doing. But OH MY HE is WORKING!!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two Worlds Collide part 2

What if I lived here?

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24: (EDITORS NOTE: A TILT AND SHIFT LENS WAS USED IN THE CREATION OF THIS IMAGE.) A family pose outside a shanty house on June, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)



Instead of here.



What if this was our family vehicle?

A family fleeing flood waters rides on a motorcycle to evacuate while looking for higher ground in Khan por village in Sukkur at Pakistan's Sindh province August 9, 2010. Landslides triggered by the worst floods in Pakistan in 80 years are hampering already troubled relief efforts, with aid workers using donkeys or travelling on foot to reach millions in desperate need of help. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro (PAKISTAN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)


Instead of this.




What if the fact that we have a vehicle is an unattainable reality for most?

What if this was MY child's bed?

A Cambodian child rests on a hammock at his family shelter at the Steng Meanchey dump site outside Phnom Penh July 5, 2010. Although the city has new modern site that handles its garbage, hundreds of Cambodians including children, many of them orphans, still live and work at the old abandoned dump site in the outskirts of Phnom Penh.  REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (CAMBODIA - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT)


What if our pot of soup for our dinner would be consider a week's worth of meals for a family in another part of the world?

What if my this was where I prepared our food?

A woman washes her clothes with water from a polluted river in Indonesia's capital Jakarta August 21, 2010. Jakarta, with a population of 9.59 million, is overcrowded, set in an earthquake zone, prone to flooding, and crippled by inadequate infrastructure. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has recently suggested moving the capital, or the seat of government, to relieve Jakarta's congestion. Picture taken August 21, 2010. To match feature INDONESIA-CAPITAL/  REUTERS/Crack Palinggi (INDONESIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY BUSINESS CITYSCAPE)

And this our water to drink?

A girl bathes with water from a polluted river in Indonesia's capital Jakarta August 21, 2010. Jakarta, with a population of 9.59 million, is overcrowded, set in an earthquake zone, prone to flooding, and crippled by inadequate infrastructure. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has recently suggested moving the capital, or the seat of government, to relieve Jakarta's congestion. Picture taken August 21, 2010. To match feature INDONESIA-CAPITAL/  REUTERS/Crack Palinggi (INDONESIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY BUSINESS CITYSCAPE)





What will I do when confronted with these images? Am I willing to DO anything? Willing to sacrifice something? Will I sit idly by? Saying I have enough to do already. Will I turn away and pretend it doesn't exist? What will God say when I stand before Him?

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these." ~Mark 12:30-31

Are they really my neighbor 1/2 a world away?

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."
~Proverbs 3:27


Friday, October 8, 2010

Two Worlds Collide

These are the images that I got to be a part of in April of 2008. These are the children that opened my heart to considering a special needs adoption. These children live in a foster home of about 28 children in China. They all are special needs and EXTREMELY well cared for.
video

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Less

Pause the music at right and take some time to listen.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have Sister Will Travel

The conversation went something like this,
Boys: Let's put Elizabeth in the cooler and roll her to the car.
Me: What?! Why?
Boys: She goes so slow so this will be quicker!
Me: Okay, but you can't close the lid, J, it's your job to hold it up.
(Commence our slowest walk to the car yet, LOL)
Boys: This is fun!
Boys never cease to amaze me.

video

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busyness

I know it may seem like I've disappeared lately. Our incredibly busy life has just been even more consuming lately.
On Sunday our pastor spoke of how people drink to dull the pain of their empty life or will fill their life with busyness to keep their mind off of the hole in their life. Sitting there I thought on it. Nope. I have a very filled life because I've obeyed God and we've adopted/or God blessed us "the old fashioned way" with 5 children who each have unique issues and opportunities to overcome challenges- Gluten Free diet, food allergies, ADHD, RAD, PDD, LD, and hearing impairment. Wrestling with the finite hours in my day is not because I need to fill a void, but is one of the delights of a heart bended to hearing God's call. Off now to more joyous opportunities to serve!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hewo Kitty

Those are the most precious words. You don't think so? Well this morning Elizabeth uttered her first phrase, "Hewo Kitty". A wonderful way to begin the day. After over a year of pouring language into her, we finally got two words together spontaneously!!!!

Answer to, So what is non-toxic, sticky like honey, colorless, and smells like a bottle of perfume?

Chapstick
!!

Mr. M wanted to smell good and decided to rub a whole stick of chapstick on his chest and abdomen. Honestly I thought he had found some body cream since he was so odoriferous. However, when his body stuck to me during book time before bed I knew something was a miss. Upon his disclosure of having used chapstick, it took effort to conceal the smile and laughter that wanted to bubble up. Only this wonderful, zany child would come up with rubbing CHAPSTICK on his body to smell good!?

---------Incredible Update-----------

Mr. Incredible ventured into work today for the first time since becoming ill. Thank you for everyone's prayers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Day in Our Life

Mr. M: There's a fish!
Elizabeth: la- la- la- la, la- la- la- la
Me: WHAT?! (knowing we have no fish) WHERE?!
Mr. M: In the TOILET!
Elizabeth: wewo wooh
Me: J. Go see what's in the toilet! (bracing myself for something bad) AND NO ONE TOUCH IT!
J: It's a leaf!
(sigh of relief breathed)

Note to self, don't give T Boost and clarify "if you need to p*ke just p*ke" to include instructions about NOT just going all OVER the FLOOR when standing NEXT to the toilet!

Riddle for the day:
What's non-toxic, sticky like honey, colorless, and smells like a bottle of perfume?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sometimes...

Sometimes things are tough because God is trying to correct you.

Sometimes things go wrong because Satan is the prince of the air and his ways are not for our good.

Sometimes things are going wrong because you're headed in your own direction and God is trying to get your attention.

Sometimes things are great for no explainable reason.

Sometimes things are great because God is rewarding your diligence.

Sometimes things are so mixed up and sad/glad, happy/mad at the same time and the real test is what is our response going to be. Will we believe that He IS WORKING? Will we SEEK HIS FACE? Or are we going to do what we've always done?

Sometimes people may say having 5 kids is having 5 too many. But each have brought encouragement in their own special way these last two weeks, along with spilt milk, huge messes... and a reaffirmation that life is indeed precious!

Sometimes I just need to not take myself so seriously and laugh my head off at whatever is brought my way.

I am truly amazed that I am still standing after 14 days of basically single mommyhood. Mr. Incredible went to the doctor and he now has meds and hopefully starts improving. I don't know that he will be visiting a certain Mc Eating establishment any time in the future. I could be upset (part of me really could be), but this has actually been the most glorious trip he's ever taken to China (at least for us at home). I am taking care of a really sick husband and I didn't even p*ke when he did - that's progress! I have dealt with several sleepless/little sleep nights and yet was still aware enough to not be broadsided by the guy who ran the red light, or the guy who ran the stop sign or hit head on by the lady that ran another red light. (Do I have a poster saying 'hit me' on the van?!) God's hand has been so present lately, that I am in awe. I normally would have melted into some sort of puddle on the floor way before this. Sometimes I just have to give up my desires and plans and say, "Lord, whatever may come, you are in control. Use me, help me, strengthen me." If this hadn't been my prayer for the last two weeks, I can honestly say I don't think I would be where I am. But we are still standing!!!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grabbing the Power

LYDD, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 25:  The sun sets behind power lines running from Dungerness nuclear power station on July 25, 2009 near Lydd, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


Ephesians 1:18-21 (NIV) "...that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ...far above all rule and authority, power and dominion..."
The Message states verses 18 and 19 -"... to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!"

Let me take some liberty for a moment and imagine with me that God is a high voltage transmission power line. He IS full of power. He IS the source of light and life.

So if God is like a high voltage power line -
Are we living far from the source of power so far that we are unaware of it? Or are we looking at the power line from a distance and think, "Wow! What power! That's nice." Maybe we go stand near the power line and are in the magnetic field saying, "Oh this is nice. I can clearly see God and I can feel his presence this is good." Adventurous people may find a way to poke a little near the line and get the occasional "electrifying experience". OR
Leaping do we
grab onto that power line and say, "Let me be YOUR conduit, use me! I may burn, but let me burn for you!"

Power lines are not easily reached for a reason, there is energy, POWER in them. You have to take a leap of believing. Believe that God IS who He says He IS. Believe that God can DO what He says He can DO. Be willing to accept and do the plan He has for YOU. He won't force it.

Up in the air hanging on to the power of God may get lonely, hard, tiring, BUT living for God though not easy, is worth it.

1 Thess. 2:2,4 "We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition ... we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts."

‎"God can't say, 'Well done good and faithful servant' if you don't do what He asks."~ from Gideon Tuba Warrior, Veggietales

Update

Mr. Incredible arrived home at 8:30 yesterday morning while Mr. M and I were at a local quick clinic trying to ascertain if he had strep throat.
Mr. M DOES NOT have strep throat- praise the LORD!
Mr. T is still coughing and wheezing.
Mr. Z last night complained of a sore throat, was coughing and having some difficulty breathing and is still having some issues.
Mr. J hasn't had a nosebleed recently (that I know of), but is not in top form.
Mr. Incredible is having serious stomach issues.
It would appear that Elizabeth and myself are the only ones really up and going. LOL!
Needless to say, I am a little occupied at home and so I had to call our church and let them know I couldn't be there for our once every eight weeks volunteering time in a class. (really so sorry)

I am beginning to think that this is spiritual warfare since when I pray for Mr. Incredible or read scripture to him the stomach pain stops. Growing up in a more "religiously free" denomination, I saw the bondage that people were in when they didn't "see" or "feel" God and have since tried to temper my upbringing because God is there even when we don't "feel" or "see" Him. However, since Thursday morning something IS going on. A lot of me wonders if this all has to do with an email we received asking us a question Thursday afternoon.

Lord, may we persevere. May we seek you. Heal, Father. Use me, I'm yours. Amen

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Last 28 Hours

God has really been dealing with me for the last 28 hours about having faith, believing, showing love... It's really been for a couple of weeks, however in the last few hours noteworthy things have been happening. (unfortunately not bloggable at present) Please pray that we are able to hear the Lord clearly. Please pray that Mr. Incredible and I will be "on the same page" once he returns home. Please pray that we can set selfishness aside and seek God's heart.

A couple more practical prayers- Mr. J has been having nightly nosebleeds during the middle of the night, Mr. T has had three days (maybe four, they're running together) of breathing issues, Mr. M possibly has strep throat (discovered tonight, sorry to all we were around today!). I think that satan is trying to overwhelm me right now and take my eyes off the prize and I'm trying to stay strong and have faith.

Thanks prayer warriors.

Mr. Incredible's returning!

Mr. Incredible is on his way home. We will see him in maybe another 24 hours. Please pray for his safe return.
He sent me this one line email earlier, "Just to let you know, I just charged 12,000,000 on the credit card." What?! Fortunately, I knew it was Rupies not dollars. :-) Still a chunk of change, but not THAT bad. LOL! Never boring!

Alvin

     


Alvin was born in a Liberian refugee camp in The Republic of Ghana, Africa.  His mother fled there during the civil war in Liberia.  Sadly, while she was in Ghana her family was killed in Liberia.  Alvin’s father died in the refugee camp before he was born.


In 2007, When Alvin was 4 years-old, he and his mother returned to Liberia.  There she began attending church and quit drinking.  Two years later, a few days before Christmas, she began vomiting and was admitted to a hospital with malaria.  Soon after, she died.


Alvin now lives at Lifesong Liberia's Master's Home of Champions.


You can help a child like Alvin. You can feed a child like Alvin.


Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.


We have 44. 26 to go!


Will you join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans?


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to make your commitment! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quita

  


Quita is 5 years old.  During the disarmament time, rebels came to her village and took all the men, including her father.  She never saw her father again.  Later it was discovered that these men were taken to a bridge where they were shot and thrown into the river.


Her mother ran to the Salala district with the other villagers for refuge.   There she later got sick and became paralyzed.  Last year Quita’s mother died and Quita was taken to the Lifesong Liberia's Home of Champions.  When she grows up she wants to be a medical doctor and help children.


Isn't it amazing that at 5 years old she's thinking about how someday she can help other children?


How can we help children today?


We're asking for a monthly commitment of $28 for one year.


Twenty-eight dollars...


- eating out at that new restaurant


- the shirt you've had your eye on


- a date night to the movies


- those pillows that would just look sooo good on your sofa.


I won't lie, making this commitment will require some sacrifice.  But trust me.  The sacrifice is always worth the reward.


What can you sacrifice for a child like Quita?


Our goal is 70 people.  $28 a month.  One year commitment.


We have 36 commitments, 34 to go!


Join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans!


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to commit! 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're #1!!!

I've been doing some recon for Elizabeth's adoption. According to here there were 3001 adoptions from China to the United States in 2009. I know that we weren't the last to adopt from China last year, but see that 1. That 1 is Elizabeth. I might not be able to adopt 3000, but I can adopt 1. 1 can make a difference.

Nine Days Done

Mr. Incredible has been gone for 9 long days, but God has been faithful. My parents have been such a support and help with coming to visit. I joked with my dad about having a Daddy Do list for him. You know what, he's been working on it! Light fixtures that I've had for a couple of years in sitting in the garage are now in their rightful places! The hole in the wall from Mr. M pulling out the curtain rod, gone! My mom has been even spoiling me with some of her awesome cooking. Oh I could get used to this... :-)

Mr. T is under the weather right now and I hope he improves for a field trip that I have planned for Friday. Sniffles for one child is a major respiratory event for him. Mr. M is doing WONDERFULLY on his new dose of medication, such huge strides. Since I am not one who is big on medications, I didn't really even think of giving him a higher dose. I'm so glad that the behavioral pediatrician said something.

We do have some sadness. Our wonderful Ms. K who is Mr. M's occupational therapist will not be returning after her maternity leave is over. :-( So sad to see her go, been struggling with her temporary replacement who has now gone on to a different new job. I'm really hoping (and praying) that Ms. N whom we meet tomorrow will be a good fit. Change is never easy for Mr. M.

Not ready for our crazy Thursdays.

Thankful for Skype- free long distance using the internet (even internationally).

Extremely thankful that salvation is not based on merit or Bible study completion. I am not perfect and my week 2 of Bible study is STILL undone. But I found the bookmark! Does that count for something?! LoL!

More on Liberia

This summer our church had their annual VBS program.  We had the kids raise money to support a Vacation Bible Camp at Lifesong Liberia.  Well, the response of these 5-11 year olds brought tears to my eyes.  We heard stories about kids doing extra chores around the house and emptying their piggy banks.  One child even asked if this year's Christmas money could go to helping these children across the world!  wow!


That week we raised more than double what we needed!  That same week our Liberia director, Emmanuel Jones, discovered another orphanage that needed our help.  Another orphanage where the children were starving.  Another orphanage that we could help with extra money raised by children in Illinois.


Amazing!  God's timing is so good, isn't it?


We announced to the kids that their money would not only give Liberian children a Bible camp to attend, but would also provide food and shelter for over 25 more children!  Oh the cheers that filled the Sunday School room that evening.  They whooped and hollered.  I cried.  God is good!



2010 Liberia VBS from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.



 



Over 360 children attended!


67 children dedicated their lives to Christ!


75 adults came, and 11 of them received Christ!


Bishop Emmanuel Jones writes:



It was heart touching and very moving to watch for three days.  I saw the children change in a dramatic way in their relationship with God and with each other.  


The camp was profound and the children left very encouraged and blessed.  We have started a church in the community in order to continue discipleship and follow up with these new believers."



But this was only the beginning.  Now, with more children we have more cost.  Funds are tight and we need help.  


Here's the exciting part.  If we surpass our goal of 70 sponsors we can take in more children!  Children who would otherwise be turned away!


Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment. 


We currently have 25 commitments... 45 to go in just 3 days!


Can we do it?  With your help we can!


Join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans.


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to commit! 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kemah



Kemah never knew her mother. One day while she and her brother were sleeping, their home caught fire. In a desperate attempt to save his children, Kemah’s father ran into the house for them. After he rescued her brother, her father searched for Kemah as well. That day, the roof of their little house caved in, leaving Kemah’s foot badly burned and killing her father.


Now orphaned, 6 year-old Kemah and her brother found refuge at Master’s Home of Champions-Lifesong Liberia. Here she is gaining an education, is given daily, nutritious meals, and is learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Kemah can tell you that she loves Jesus and knows He loves her because He died for her sins. Someday she hopes to be a missionary so she can tell others about the love of Christ!


Wow... What an amazing response to the Gospel from a young child who's already experienced more pain than many of us will experience in a lifetime. But Kemah is not alone. There are other children... so many children... who need our help!


We're asking for a monthly commitment of $28 for one year to help cover the costs of caring for 70 orphans in Liberia. This donation will cover food and water, and other necessities, such as coal and kerosene, toothpaste, bathing and laundry soup, and hair oil.


A typical grocery list at Lifesong Liberia for 1 month includes:


- 8 bags of rice


- 5 gallons agro oil


- 2 bags of cornmeal


- 1 bag of sugar


- 20 gallons of red cooking oil


- 1 carton of cooking salt


Sometimes powdered milk and flour will also be purchased, but not every month.


Every 1-2 days cassava, various vegetables, fish and occasionally chicken are purchased for soup.


Typically the children at Lifesong Liberia will have cornmeal porridge for breakfast and rice with soup for lunch and dinner.


Will you help us feed and care for these children? Children like Kemah?


Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.


We have 17 commitments. That means 53 to go in just 4 days!


Join us in bringing joy and purpose for orphans!


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to make your commitment today!



Monday, September 20, 2010

Lifesong Liberia

Let's be the Hands and Feet of Jesus!



2010 Liberia Video from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.



This week we are inviting our faithful readers and supporters to step up and help us in a time of need for Lifesong Liberia.


Lifesong has partnered with The Master’s Home of Champions orphanage and is providing a loving and safe home to many destitute and abandoned children, some of whom are deaf.  We seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and are focused on the goal of raising up champions for the good of Liberia and glory of God! 


This summer, another orphanage was in dire need, and thanks to an unexpected donation Lifesong was there.  Praise the Lord we can help more children!  But now, we need help too!  We need your help to make sure these children are fed every day!  We need your help to care for the fatherless!  Will you join us?


70 sponsors in one week is a tall order.  We know this.  We also know that we serve a big God who has told us that caring for the poor and vulnerable is at the very heart of who He is!  We believe we can make this happen! We pray that God will call hearts this week and we trust that you will answer!


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to commit!


Hear personal stories & follow the progress on our blog all this week!



 



Saturday, September 18, 2010

MY PARENTS ARE COMING!!!!

This is actually a good thing, BUT MY HOUSE IS A DISASTER AREA! Been cleaning for a couple of hours and only managed to get the guest bed cleaned off, some of the guest room dusted and two cups of coffee drank. AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! In case you are wondering why I'm freaking out, my mom (and dad) taught me too!!! Every time company was coming over the ENTIRE HOUSE had to be SPOTLESS!!!! It's just not gonna happen... (my head is hanging in shame).
Ah, my little perfectionist alter ego still lives. :-) So much for going to the Bulgarian band concert at church!

Friday, September 17, 2010

4 Days Down

I am so very happy to report that we have made it 4 days without Daddy! No major tantrums. Though there was some candy stealing everyone is on the other side of it. Hopefully. :-) Elizabeth is going to sleep easier. (we've been having issues for a month or so) The wasp sting area doesn't have fever, though it's still a scary red. The house though not much cleaner is not that much dirtier. No migraines, very thankful for that. Everyone IS alive, in case you were wondering. My parents might be coming tomorrow (12 hour drive for them) and even if they don't we'll be fine. We have some plans to keep us active tomorrow. Oh, and yesterday Mr. Z and Mr. J made cookies by themselves! Now I didn't let them bake the cookies without my supervision. I got the privilege of baking since Z was at practice and the dough had to chill, but they did a fine job on the measuring and mixing. Who says boys can't cook?! We even had a family movie night tonight! with popcorn!!! (and I actually sat down and watched it! lol!)
I never would have imagined that things would be rolling along so well right now, but I am happy to report that all's well!
Now what can I do AT HOME by myself (with kids asleep) on a FRIDAY night? Vacuuming and cleaning the guest bedroom for my parents? OR Guitar Hero? I know what I should do... but I've been good all week... Time to CUT LOOSE with the blinds closed and the volume not too high on my wonderfully big 19" TV. Yeah, PARTY is my name! Ha! I crack me up! But if you can't laugh at yourself, life gets boring!

It's Gonna Be Alright

Well this morning began at 5am (that time really should only come once a day) with the alarm telling me to get up. I finally drug myself out of bed at 6 and proceeded to get myself and five kids dressed and fed for our 7am departure to a doctor appointment about an hour away. Super P accompanied us on our early morning trip and he stayed with the other 4 in the waiting room while Mr. M and I went back to see the Doc. It took awhile for the doc to come to the room and so M and I had some one on one playtime. I did look around to see if there might be a camera or something watching our interactions because it was taking sooo long. (Maybe it just felt like a long time since I was sitting on the floor playing and my wasp sting was "feeling" it.)

So this is our third visit to this specialist and ...(drum roll)...
The diagnosis of PDD- Pervasive Developmental Disorder- is truly right on track. Pfffhaa. (that would be the sound of the last remnant of hope being deflated) ADHD, yep, it's sticking too. Learning disability, we don't know what one (or more), but we know from the gap between receptive and expressive language we got it. This is not the first time I heard this, but today for some reason it seems so much more final. Kinda like "third times a charm". We haven't "uncaught" it even after almost a year of medication, therapies, modifications, etc.

On a good day Mr. M just seems like a "normal" active boy. Good days happen if he gets #1- ADHD medication, #2 Essential Fatty Acids, #3 Strict Gluten Free diet, #4 very limited sugar in diet (and I don't use artificial sweeteners), #5 our schedule doesn't deviate (Ha!). If any of these things don't happen there will be bumps, if more than a couple don't happen it's almost anarchy. (migraine waiting to happen)

Mr. M has wore out both of his older brother's patience quite a while ago. They're tired of their items being broke, stolen, Lego creations destroyed, etc. Who can blame them? I get frustrated too. The amount of energy, emotion and time spent on him alone are comparable to what it takes for three other children.

Why am I writing all this? Because it needs to be said. When you adopt a baby, it's like getting a present that you unwrap slowly. They are all there, but you discover more of them as they grow. For those children who have suffered pre-birth trauma or post-birth trauma (Mr. M had both) the package might contain things that you never imagined. Mr. Incredible and I had no idea that we would be facing these things when we took a nine day old little baby boy into our home to foster or even more than a slight idea of what laid ahead when we adopted that little baby boy 19 months later.

If I'm pro-adoption, why am I saying this?! (I bet you thought it!) Because God redeems. He takes what the devil meant for harm and turns it into good. That doesn't mean it happens overnight or that it's easy, but GOD REDEEMS! (I'm crying now) Mr. M was placed in our family for a reason. God chose US for HIM. We may never fully understand how we are changing his life. I do know that he is changing ours. We may never fully know how God uses Mr. M's life to bring God glory. But to God be the glory for the changes that are happening. God is working in Mr. M's life and the fruit is developing, slowly, but becoming more evident.

PDD- Purposefully Divine Destiny
ADHD- Annointed Deeply Healed Definitively
LD- Loved Dearly

Love has to stick even when things are tough. God has a plan and it's gonna be alright.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Forever Family Day

Today marks the 1 year mark of Elizabeth's adoption!
Elizabeth, mommy and daddy are so proud of you and all you do. How far you've come and how your not afraid to try new things, eventually. You are a precious little girl and we love you so much. We are so glad God chose YOU to be a part of our family. We are truly blessed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reasons for Mr. Incredible to NOT Travel

In the past (when I stay home with the kids and forgo my parents)
- our air conditioner caught on fire and filled the house with smoke
- I ran a 103.7 fever for three days and had 4 kids to take care of by myself
- our pool pump quit- had to call the repair guy to fix
- the kids got SICK, like three p^king at once, this has happened on numerous occassions
- countless other little things, these are just some of the "biggies"

*He left at 5am today for China and Indonesia on business.*

In the last nine hours
- Elizabeth fell down the stairs (from about 4 or 5 up)- she's fine.

In the last hour
- I got a wasp sting on my b^tt, seriously. Yeah kind hard to self check that one...(may need to call a friend, a GOOD friend)
- Mr. T p^ked, with no warning or reason...(at least he missed his clean sheets!)

It's gonna be a LONG, LONG, LONG 12 days.

1 Year Gotcha Day!



Today marks the one year mark of meeting Elizabeth. What a wonderful and scary day it was. So truly blessed by how God has worked in her life in the last year.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Cool Is That?!

This is an excerpt from a chapter in our history curriculum. I had only thought of the plagues on Egypt as judgement before, but there was a connection to their daily life! So cool that God deconstructs each of our idols one by one, making us ever more aware of WHO HE IS! Oh that my heart be more pliable than Pharaoh's!!! (and so cool for the kids to see the connection at such early ages!)

"...God then revealed that Pharaoh would certainly let Israel go, but not willingly; so that it would be necessary for God to judge Egypt with ten terrible plagues. Then Pharaoh and all Egypt would know that the God of the Hebrews is God, the Lord; and that their own gods were no gods at all.

Moses, in the presence of Pharaoh, stretched out his staff over the Nile River, which the Egyptians worshipped as the god of life; and the water became blood in all the lakes and streams of Egypt. Even the water in the jars in the homes became blood, and every fish died, and the river stank; thus God judged the Nile. But in Goshen, where the Hebrews dwelt, the water remained pure.

But as Pharaoh did not let Israel go, next and unnatural force of frogs rose up out of all the rivers in Egypt, and went everywhere, even in the houses and the ovens of the Egyptians. Now Frogs were worshipped as the goddess of the land, and so sacred did the Egyptians hold them, that to kill one was punishable by death.

Even though Pharaoh entreated Moses to remove the frogs from the land, he did not let Israel go. Thus gnats and lice descended upon them, and covered every man, and every beast; for gnats were the symbol of the god of the earth, thus God judged him to be no god at all. Now as Pharaoh's magicians could not duplicate this miracle, they said to him, 'This is the finger of God!' But Pharaoh would not let Israel go.

Then such a large swarm of flies descended on Egypt , that every person, beast, building, and inch of land was covered with them; thus god judged the scarab beetle, who was the god of the insects and sacred to the sun god Amon. But in the land of Goshen, there were no gnats, no lice, and no flies.

Then Pharaoh assured Moses that he would certainly let Israel go. But as soon as the flies were gone, he did not keep his promise, nor did he let Israel go. Thus a horrible disease descended on the livestock of the Egyptian: and all cattle, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, goats, and sheep that were in the fields, died in a single day. For the Egyptians worshipped the bull and cow as a god and goddess, which even had their own city and temple sacred to them; thus God judged these false gods.

Now Pharaoh sent to Goshen, to see how the livestock of the Hebrews fared; but when it was told to him that not a single calf of the Hebrews was even sick, he still hardened his heart, and would not let Israel go.

Next boils erupted on man and beast, to judge the god of wisdom and medicine; but Pharaoh would not let Israel go. Then Moses warned the people that a great hail was coming; and those who heeded the Lord left no man or animal out in the field; but those who did not heed the Lord, remained in the fields, and they died because of the severity of the hail. Thus God judged the sky goddess of the Egyptians.

But as Pharaoh would not let Israel go, a plague of locusts enveloped the land, and every green plant, which the hail had not destroyed, was consumed. Thus God judged the false gods who were to protect the crops. But in Goshen, there were no boils, or hail, or even a single locust.

Then God judged the sun god, Amon, for He brought a thick darkness over all the land of Egypt for three days. But in Goshen there was sunlight as usual. Pharaoh was so angered at Moses for all these plagues, that he sent him from his presence, and moreover said to him that in the day that Moses saw Pharaoh's face again, Moses would surely die. So after warning Pharaoh of the terrible final plague yet to come, Moses left Pharaoh, and did not see his face again. Yet Pharaoh did not let Israel go."

(Taken from The Story of the Ancient World, chapter 42, by Christine Miller)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Be in Prayer

I have a friend in blog world that needs our prayers today especially.

His Hands His Feet Today

Thanks.

Believing and Receiving

We started a new women's Bible study at church this last week- Beth Moore's "Believing God".
There were two things that REALLY stuck out to me this first week...
1. "The world knows when our reality matches our theology."
When our reality and our theology are the same, we are walking dynamite for the Lord because we are living what we believe!

2."We need to quit wishing and whining and start believing and receiving."
I know we've said, "We'll do ---, when we have ---". Now I don't want to be fool hardy, but what would happen if we just did it?! Believed that God spoke to us and did it! Yep, we sure could use a bigger vehicle if we adopted again, but are we going to let THAT hold us back? Hmm.

Beth went on to say how we are Abraham's spiritual seed, Gal. 3:26-29.
God has an earthly inheritance for us, Deut. 4:37-38.
We will see God's inheritance for us when we are fulfilling His calling for us, but He will not force our calling on us, Deut. 8:7-9, Eph. 1:18-19, Eph 2:10.
And the #1 reason why our calling does not become reality, is our UNBELIEF, Heb. 3:7-19 (OUCH!)
God wants us to do wonderous things- Faith and sanctification closes the gap between reality and theology, Josh. 3:5, Num. 15:37-41.

I have heard a lot lately how in the natural eye our life looks overwhelming. I'll admit, sometimes it is. :) There are days when it seems like we have overcome huge things, but then there are those days when we are stuck down in the mire fighting those little nasty battles. I don't know if I am in a place of where my reality and theology are matching up because I often feel that I fall so very short. It is only through faith that I am able to make it through everyday and I'm going to need an even bigger measure once Mr. Incredible leaves for his 12 business trip in two days! So glad my parents are planning on coming! Upward and onward! And time to start believing and receiving!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Love Fridays!

There's nothing better than just being able to be home... without having demands of places you need to be... without therapist expected over (love you though!)... or having the freedom to just go off to Mardel's and get some laminating done- FREE!
May your Friday be blessed as well!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Time Managment- God's Way

I am always amazed at how God's timing is perfect. Earlier this week our "crazy" Thursday actually happened on Tuesday. So we got that out of the way early!
Then today during the time that we should have been gone the chimney sweeping guy came, over an hour early, and he finished up just as M's speech therapist arrived!
Now I just have to pick up Z from practice. Mr. Incredible arrive home (hopefully!!!). Pick up our one everyday prescription (almost out!). Make it to Bible Study BEFORE it actually begins- a friend is meeting me there. (One of those special people that I never would have known had we not adopted Elizabeth) Feed the kids before I leave to go to the study... and all of this before 7! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Procrastinate?

I try not to be a procrastinator. I was raised with, "Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today!". However, my upbringing has failed me and in the interest of being transparent and dispelling any myths about how "on top of things" I am. It's been just over a year since we left home for China. Now it WAS a TWO part trip... we had to drop off the kids with my parents, so it hasn't been a year since we left the good 'ole USA for China, but.... I finally unpacked FROM THE SUITCASE the little gifts that we got Elizabeth to give her on birthdays. (my head is hanging in shame at the procrastination) It was just all neat in a suitcase and, and, and- I have no excuse.

My name is Jennifer and I have become a procrastinator. The thing that I detested as a child. I now embody.

The most embarrassing thing? We forgot to give Elizabeth her present for her 3rd birthday!!! Oh man! Maybe I'll save the blanket for her forever family day, that's coming soon. I live, I learn, I forget and I try again!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Savings at Kroger and CVS and a little lesson

CVS (3 transactions)
J&J baby wash, J&J baby lotion, 96 ct box of diapers, 2 hydo shave gels, 2 hydro razors, 4 packs of gum, 1 caramel (because I went negative), 2 Zegrid OTC, 4 SoBe lifewaters, 10 clearance items= $0.48 out of pocket and $1.49 on a gift card. I used 8 ECB to buy the clearance items that were 75% and 90% off. Total saved $145.17 and I have lots of ECB left to spend.


Kroger (2 transactions)
4 pkg Reach floss, 2 pure protein bars, 4 Dial handsoaps, 2 deoderants, 4 pkg rice = $0.36
Now I did also pick up 21 packages (yes, that is twenty-one!) of Ian's Gluten Free Chicken nuggets at $3.00 each. I know that sounds super expensive, but in actuality it is over 1/2 off the regular price. (still expensive, but when your GF and you need some convenience...) Total savings $113.91 at Kroger.


So why do I coupon?
  • The money saved can be spent on more worthwhile things, ie. college fund, adoption fund.
  • I like a challenge.
  • It is my way of relieving stress.
  • The stuff that we don't use I giveaway, tax deduction and/or blessing to others.
  • I enjoy getting bargains!
I had some coupons spread out at church the other evening while waiting for Mr. Incredible and the kids during AWANA. A gentleman approached me and asked what I was doing, my system and how it worked, a couple of ladies inquired as well wanting to know the same things. I gladly shared the information that I have learned, because I want others to find the savings that I have. As I was trying to clean up and child pick up started I then observed the eyes of those who hadn't heard how much I save. They saw me (I was in shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops), saw my coupons and passed judgement. (I'm not kidding, they looked at me like I had a plague or at least was in a much lower caste than them.) I could have been offended, but I chose to forgive. I don't coupon to win a popularity contest and so I'm not going to worry about what others think about me. Don't get me wrong, it's great when people think what you're doing is super cool. But in the end when Jesus says, "Well done good and faithful servant", is it really going to matter that the doctor or the young mom didn't like me cutting coupons?!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Powerful Song

The Story Behind the Song

Work in Progress

God is not a God of neatness. Sometimes it takes messy things to take the things out of our hearts and lives that are not of Him and replace it with things that are of Him. My home and life look like one big construction zone right now. UNDER CONSTRUCTION and DETOUR, DETOUR! Though we are not remodeling currently it looks like a Tazmanian Devil roared through not long ago. The stuff shoved in the guest bedroom resemble the "things" I keep trying to stuff into my life or the "junk" my heart won't let go of.

I know that this is just part of the refining process, but this time I am really feeling the fire (maybe it's Mr. Incredible's upcoming 12 day business trip as well :)).

One friend said recently, "You're either moving forward or you're sliding back. There is no standing still." I have mulled this over for several weeks before posting it, thinking. Just how true is this?! From the last month of experience, VERY TRUE! God wants us to pursue Him, even when it gets messy and we feel like giving up. If we stop and try to stand still, Satan and all his little entrapments come and jump on you. So onward I press...

Here's some *thoughts* that someone recently posted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

And God Rested...

We had another crazy Thursday planned for today, and then...
... the counselors office called to cancel saying Ms. C had a family emergency. (Dear Lord, be with Ms. C and her family.)
... the speech therapist called saying she was in a town 45 minutes away and still had an eval. to do there (our appointment was in an hour)... could we reschedule?!
So our crazy Thursday turned into a peaceful Thursday- only zumba and occupational therapy. We all laid down for like a whole hour and 15 minutes even! I guess God realized I wasn't feeling 110% today and gave us the opportunity to rest. Way to go God!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our "Garden", aka Patch of Death.




You can see the things that are left are the tomatoes (on the far end) and a few shriveled green bean plants (near end). This is our second year at "gardening" and by far our most fruitful yet. We harvested probably 40 or more green beans and 1 tomato. I really need to work on the soil (in case you can't tell) and am considering having raised beds. The heat REALLY took a toll on the garden even though we watered. All the squash died after blooming...
This is our one tomato that made it and the bottom already had a bad spot on it. :/ Fortunately we have a few more that may make it... MAY being the key word.

2nd Tooth Gone!

Well it took our dentist's intervention, but Mr. M has now lost his second tooth!



The Before




The After

Monday, August 30, 2010

Spending Spree

Apparently today is the day for spending money. $725 for our van and $14 at Walgreens. I would have made it to another store to spend more money, but it took too long at Walgreens. lol!

So why did we drop 3/4 of a grand on our 8 year old van? Well, it's been shifting "hard". (this is my description of it) Apparently, the front and side mounts for the engine were broken. I wanted to know what would cause a breakage such as this (thinking they were made of steel). I was duly informed that they were made of rubber and sometimes it just wears out! (I really wanted to say some offhand, lewd comment like "You sure do sell expensive r^bbers!". But I couldn't do it.) Isn't it great when God keeps you from opening your mouth!?

I actually did "make" money at Walgreens, but I'm rather upset that they didn't take 12 of my coupons so I'm not going to detail my trip right now. Trying to work through the frustration. AAAHHHHHH!!! (didn't really help :-)) LOL!!!

I think today could easily be summed up by the open, almost consumed container of Cool Whip that I found in the fridge with the lid completely missing from the fridge and finger sweeps through the visible remains. When you see that on a Monday morning, you just know, it's going to one of THOSE days.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Photo Book

Shutterfly.com just released a promo code for a free 8x8 photo book. Enjoy!
Promo code: 8PBA91
Offer e
nds September 1, 2010

Just for Laughs!

In honor of my date with Mr. Incredible tonight... I got the sitter, no new dress, I doubt we'll go dancing, but maybe we can still have fun?! ;-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Mr. M!


Five years ago today we were able to finalize Mr. M's adoption. What a long hard road we walked to get there... Who knew it was just preparation for the days ahead! LOL!

A friend posted this to my FB, it so rightly describes our dear Mr. M. ‎"Some men learn by reading, some men learn by observing and some men have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
Will Rogers

We love you Mr. M!