On the lighter side than previous posts, I just want to say how much I am loving being the mommy to a prissy, adorable, don't-you-just-want-to-kiss-her-cheeks-off little girl. We had a calm day at home today where I again, threw out my to-do list to play dress-up and have our first official tea party (to which she jumped up and down and cheered for). I just had to post some pics of my little princess and share a little funny:
Yesterday while watching the Mickie Mouse clubhouse, I heard her burst into tears. The tears that she reserves for when mommy has hurt her feelings or the boys have scared her. I go in to ask her what is wrong as the tears just stream down her cheeks. She points to the screen and after a couple minutes wondering if Disney has flashed some kind of subliminal message to terrorize my daughter, she finally says "that doggy was sad" in the cutest little toddler voice ever. Seems that the crew was paying too much attention to a new puppy and Pluto retreated to his doghouse sadly. Oh, how I love little ones.
So those of you that know us know that T is an awesome singer. And if you have sat anywhere near me in church, you know that I only have one note and it is greatly warped. I have even stopped singing "Happy Birthday" as an additional present. Now our little threesome, they love to sing. Especially Braeden and Addison. Braeden can be heard singing in his room while playing or driving down the road. Addison is just starting to sing along with the songs on the radio, a task which involves a lot of humming interspersed with a couple actual words. So I wanted to share a new song that has come out from the artist Brandon Heath called "Give me your eyes" as all four of my loved ones are singing this one around the house lately.
The chorus of the song says: Give me your eyes for just one second.. Give me your eyes so I can see..Everything that I keep missing...Give me your love for humanity...Give me your arms for the broken hearted... The ones that are far beyond my reach... Give me you heart for the ones forgotten...Give me your eyes so I can see
How often is it that we sing along to the radio and have no idea what the words are that we are saying? And in this case, while singing along, do we even realize what we are asking of God? "Give me your eyes so I can see"..... that's a pretty scary request if you stop to think about it. Do you really want to see and love humanity as God does? I think that if he granted that wish at even 1% fulfillment, it would still be enough to put me in a straight-jacket. To look at the suffering of the world through God's eyes would be a painful process. To see the persecution of His children in China, the killing of His babies in America, the starvation of His children in Africa, the prostitution of His little ones in Thailand. Do you really want to feel God's love in that way?
A couple months back Braeden fell face down from a play set - hard. As T picked him up, he went limp and stopped breathing for about 30 seconds. In that time, we both felt an over-whelming sense of panic and pain at the prospect of loosing him. Now think of your own children. Do you think that those across the globe feel any less love for their little ones? We don't want to see through God's eyes because it is too easy to hide in our little world on our own. Now I didn't start out this blog as a guilt inducer because I am as guilty as the next in meeting my own needs and wants before I start to think about others. What I wanted to do, and may be failing at doing, is to ask you to step up. Christians or not, there are those around you who need your help. You could volunteer to get groceries for an elderly neighbor. You could help to tutor a child at the elementary school. You could help coach a little league team or volunteer at church (a dying art). You could save the life of a child with Compassion. You could contribute to help persecuted Christians through Voice of the Martyrs. You could help to feed those who are hungry. Just don't sit back and close your eyes.....
I ask that God would "give me the heart to help those that are forgotten". And hopefully, one day, I'll be ready to ask to see more clearly.
O.k., so I have to admit that I have a hard time with memorization. It's a good thing phone numbers can be programmed in or I would never call anyone. O.k., so I still never call anyone but that's not the point. I have a really hard time memorizing people's names, road names, and even sometimes the names of my clients. I have no idea how I made it through high school and college successfully. I also have to admit that I have a really hard time memorizing scriptures and rely way too much on biblegateway.com because "I know it's in there somewhere." I have found that the best way to remember something is to teach it to my kids. Because those little jokers don't forget a thing!
One of my best pieces of advice for new moms is, "don't do anything you don't want to become a habit because kids have a much better memory than we do." If you give them a quarter to get gum out of a machine in a random Chinese restaurant, four years later when you visit that same restaurant they WILL expect to receive their quarter. If you give in and buy a screaming toddler a "quiet down" toy in Wal-Mart - you will be broke within a year after all your weekly visits. If you go to a screaming 2 year old in the middle of the night and give him a cup of milk, you had better get ready to make that milk every night until he is 8! But I digress...
So now to the subject of my blog - we live in a neighborhood with lots of kids. Kids that love my front yard and seem to gather there as much as the local fire ants. So one day after the kids had been outside, Braeden reported that one of the neighborhood girls had called him a not-nice name. To which Seth puffed his chest up and let me know that he and the other big boys had "taken care of her". Which I, upon interviewing, found out meant they had called her some pretty not-nice names right back. So I go into full mommy mode. Here would be a teachable moment and I need to capitalize on it. I whip out my highlighted Bible and find Romans 12:17 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody." (So you know that I just zipped over to biblegateway for that one don't you??) and discuss it with the boys. Man, did I do a good job! Nugget of knowledge passed to my offspring, my work is done for the day.
So the next day, the boys and their dad are on their way to Seth's football practice and are discussing the little bully that likes to tackle Braeden and be mean while his Daddy is out on the field coaching. T gives Braeden that old adage that every dad feels the need to crown their little man-child with "boy, if he hits you - hit him back!!" To which Braeden says, "oh no Daddy, I can't repay evil for evil!!" (mom is smirking now) Score one for the good guys.....
So my point is that even if you think that your little ones are too little, too preoccupied, or too immature to handle discussions about good vs. evil; Heaven vs. Hell; sin vs. salvation - they will learn things and remember things so much better than we could, even without lifting a finger in effort. There are so many touchy subjects today with abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, promiscuity, drug abuse. All those things, in our day, could wait until at least middle school. But moms and dads, your children WILL learn what evil is. Whether you like it or not. In many states, it has already made it's way into the elementary classroom and is being taught as normal and good. And I would much rather my children be able to see it and know the difference between right and wrong while their little minds are still pliable and while they still think I know everything! We have a lot of work to do and a long row to hoe.....
Alright, the story of the Wages wouldn't be complete if I didn't add the fishhook story... for those of you who haven't already heard it anyway. So a couple weeks ago the family was down at the lake with a group from church. Most of whom had already gone home. My two littlest then decided to go back in the lake so I jumped in and tried to persuade little Miss to jump in too. In the meantime, I look over to see Seth's fishing pole still dangling in the water. I tell the boys they need to get it out so that the hook doesn't get stuck in someone's foot (I could only have wished later....).
So then, with the boat hiding my view, I hear Braeden start screaming. That scream that you know is not a put-on. The scream that is not "I'm really mad at brother mom, come beat him up for me." The scream that is telling you that either a limb has fallen off, or, in our case, a fishhook is in their eye. Now, I like to think of myself as a very calm and collected mother. I don't go running to skinned knees and I don't shriek at the sight of my toddler on top of the refridgerator. I take pictures of children with chocolate cookie all over themselves and the walls and laugh at the baby with diaper creme covering her entire face and hair. But a fish hook?? seriously??? This was one sight a mother did not need to see.... ever.
So I literally walk on water and up onto the pier to hold my little buddy and all I can say is "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry". Not to gross you out but the hook had (thank God) missed his eye and had gone IN and poked back out of his lower lid when he picked the rod up. I screamed for Seth to find me someone to help and he found our youth pastor who came running. He took one look at it (much more calmly than I could) and said "Tracy, it's too bad, we are going to have to take him to the ER." Great..... again??? (that's another story for you). So I go to try to find something to cut the line and pass T coming down the hill as I go up to the house.
In the meantime - Chris tells Braeden that he wants to pray to Jesus for Jesus to help them. Braeden, in between gasps and tears, says "I don't wa-wa-want to pray" (great example for the pastor buddy!! Couldn't have made mommy look good, could you? What have the Wages' been teaching their kids!) So Chris says, "that's alright, I'll pray for us" and does. In about 2 min. time, when T gets to them both and helps to pry Braeden's hands away, this hook FALLS down. Mind you, I had spent about 3 min. holding and examining this nasty thing and it was through, no falling out allowed.
SO.... 5 min later, Braeden is running around acting like nothing has happened. Mommy is seriously looking for an adult beverage (kidding), and now gets to blame high blood pressure, once again, on my youngest son. But through it all, how awesome is it to be 5 years old and have your own personal miracle from the creator of the universe!! I just sometimes wish that Christ didn't have such a sense of humor. And yes, we CAN laugh about it now.
Just wanted to add, English is such a weird language. Seth had T and I rolling in the car recently when T was explaining what happens when you steal things (the boys were "borrowing" things from each other). He told them if it was something really big, you could be sent to jail. "Do you even know what jail is?" To which Seth rolled his eyes and said, "yes, I KNOW what jail is." So what is it? "IT'S THE STUFF MOMMY PUTS IN OUR HAIR!!" And here I thought that Braeden was our only one with a great sense of humor!
So I am halfway there! With my support letters 2 weeks out, I am now half way to my full support needed by Nov. 24th! That includes an awesome yard sale we were able to do on a main highway last weekend where we racked up $423. Only about $200 more than any other yard sale I have ever done. Take into account that it rained on all the merchandise first thing and was threatening more rain all day and I say that it went pretty well!
So as far as the trip goes, I am really started to get into the planning mode. Now I am on to thinking about dreaded shots (I passed out during my shots for college, what a weanie), domestic flight up to D.C., and what to take for myself and for Amanuel. That has been the most fun! I waited patiently for backpacks to finally go on after school clearance and am now seeing how many goodies I can pack into all the multiple pockets. We have had a good time finding jewels on clearance such as flip flops, hand towels for his mom, new CARS undies, mini photo albums, colored pencils, etc. My biggest challenge is now going to be learning some Amharic words. I am absolutely awful at second languages (who would have thought it for a speech/language therapist). Thankfully, many of those in Ethiopia speak English because saying /ameseghinallehu/ for "thank you" is beyond my mental capabilities!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have helped with financing my trip! Things started moving along at such a rapid pace when I finally just gave everything over to God. When I decided that if He wanted me to go, He would help make it happen. It just seems like now that it is happening, it is kind of surreal. (I hate that new hip word "surreal", but it just fit). I have had so much of a positive reaction from others that it must be of God. Even T is starting to feel at peace at relinquishing his standing as my protector and letting the great protector carry me under His wing instead. Please continue to pray that everything will continue to progress smoothly.
As an aside, I also purchased two handkerchiefs at a second hand store recently as I figured that most likely, I would be going through a supply of Kleenex over a week and a half. Funny, T absolutely thinks handkerchiefs are the nastiest things ever. Anyway... a recent post on Compassions' bulletin board from someone who went to Ethiopia last year told me to get ready as it will completely break my heart. In his words, "Not because you will feel sorry for their condition, but because they will make you realize your own condition. I met the most selfless, content, faithful, and loving people and I try every day to be more like them. " It brought to mind:
Matthew 13:22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
Sometimes I think how much easier we would be able to hear the whisper of the Lord without the cell phone's ring, TV's call, or computer screen's lure. In the US, we think we have so much but are we really the ones that are lacking? Everything we have will one day waste away and then where will we stand? So my education begins in February. And I can't wait to get started as I feel that I have just begun to get a glimpse of my destitution through my work with Compassion. The above poster Steven also wrote that, "we never regret the good things we do, only the good things we don't do." Something to think about, how much fruit have I produced lately?
For those of you who don't know. I am planning on taking a trip with Compassion International in February 2009 to Ethiopia to see poverty first-hand and be able to bring those experiences back to my work with Compassion. I plan to use this blog to keep friends updated on my trip and experiences. More on that later as I'm running late for work, as always. Anyway... I finally got the go ahead to send out my letters for support, with the $4000 due Nov. 25th. Big order for God.
I was up until 12:30 last night working on the first batch of my support letters for the trip. I had flip-flopped a little recently with the economy in the state that it is whether or not I was really suppose to go or not. I decided nothing was too big for God and if HE really wanted me to go initially, He still wanted me to go. Anyway, this morning I am tired, I am kind of pessimistic. Just not feeling very light and chipper. Lack of faith is rearing it's ugly head. Decided I really needed to pray "over" the support letters and have God to bless them and help those who receive them to receive them positively. Anyway, then I opened up this daily devotional from CrossWalk and was just amused to see how God talks to his children:
"Maybe today you feel like you have pulled off to the shoulder of that road and all the other cars are just whizzing past you. Everyone else seems to be intent on where they are going and how they are going to get there. But you just feel lost and hopeless. Do you need someone to come along and help you accelerate back into the flow of traffic? Just for today, I invite you to pray and ask God to help you get where you are going. I challenge you to listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to you - to open up God's Word and let it guide you. The exit numbers are all there. And, with God's help, you will get where you are going.
Dear Lord, I need Your help to make it where I am going. I confess that sometimes I don't even know where I am going and get overwhelmed by the distance it is going to take to get me there. Yet I know that You have provided me with the Way to get there. Help me to trust in that. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
And who says coincidences are just coincidences???
Head to our storefront to purchase out-of-this-world coffee and help orphans in the process!
$5 from every bag purchased is donated to our adoption fund AND makes a donation to an orphan care projects.
Help us completely pay off our debt from our adoption.
Thank you to all who donated to help bring Lil' Olivia home. We left the adoption with only $6000 in debt (my last trip) and are still selling remaining fundraiser items to pay it back..