Friday, February 26, 2010

If you have kids - READ THIS

I'm in the middle of reading "I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla" - a great book written by an African-American psychologist for parents and teachers of bi-racial or AA kids. Definitely an eye opener. Today it was recommended to read the following post and it is great - a good lesson for those of us who have never dealt with this kind of prejudice, but need to teach our kids how to 1) deal with prejudice of others or 2) learn how NOT to be that kid that practices racism, or something dangerously close to it in their child-like way.

Bigotry, Blindness, and Basketball

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dangerous Cauliflower

I realize I haven't updated in a week ... really? It's not cause I have nothing to say - anyone who knows me could tell you that. (I have permanent diarrhea of the mouth. )

Just a quick update since I'm procrastinating from going out to work after a week off. A week off with a feverish little one. Who for some reason hasn't realized yet that she isn't sick and that whiney voice, that's just not so cool anymore.

And while I'm on the topic of sick young-uns: At 1:00 am Friday night we were giving Braeden a bath and spraying off his sheets - outside - as the stench of vomit permeated the entire house. Braeden sleeps on the top bunk. Yeah us. At least it was only 24 hours, and even better, hasn't spread to the rest of the household.
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Our homestudy is oh, oh so close, to being finished. The social worker wrote last Thursday to let us know that she is back to the grind. Appears that while cutting up a cauliflower, she sliced her pointer finger open to the point of needing stitches and hasn't been able to type. The stitches just came out so now we're back on as she had been 'hunting and pecking' for two weeks on our report!

Let me take this opportunity to mention. I love veggies. Spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, tomatoes. I have a love affair with mushrooms. I am an addict. But I hate some cauliflower. And now I hate it even more...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Too Small to Ignore

Dr. Wess Stafford is the President of Compassion International and I have been reading his book Too Small to Ignore. Where I thought the complimentary book would be a mini infomercial, it has instead turned into a really, really good read. Def. worth buying if I hadn't have gotten it free!

In addition to accounts of his childhood in the jungles of Africa and a missionary boarding school - in one of his chapters he describes the good, warm, touchy-feeley story of Jesus and the children. And this picture took on a whole new light that I never would have seen before:
Just in case you didn't realize - the story of Jesus telling the children to "come to me" is told in 3 Gospels - Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The setting - Jesus is talking to the religious leaders and his disciples about the legality of divorce and marriage.

In the Gospels, the Greek translation describes the children as "babes" with the same word used in "a babe in swaddling clothes" and also as paidion which means young children. So these were probably children age 6 and under, all cooing, gooing, and waving at our Lord.

So in the middle of this adult conversation where children should be seen and not heard, the little ones must have been getting a little rowdy and the disciples started to chastise. And here is where the story begins to take on a new light:

Do you realize that in Mark 10:14, Mark says that when the little children were pushed aside, Jesus, the creator of the universe, was indignant. Indignant: "angered at something unjust or wrong."

So Jesus got mad.. he didn't just lovingly say, "oh no.... let them come to me for just a moment" as the above painting suggests. He got angry. Could you have just seen him, raising his voice at the disciples, perhaps even yelling, "Let the little children come to me!! Don't you DARE hinder them! My kingdom belongs to such as these!" This instance must have made a large enough impact for 3 of the Gospel writers to include it in their synopsis of His ministry. Enough to stand out as an important moment within a life-time of miracles, parables, and wisdom.

What I also didn't realize until pointed out by Dr. Stafford: How often does the scriptures note that Jesus got mad, really furious, and showed it??
1) when the religious leaders were trying to dare Jesus not to heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath
2) this incident with the young children
3) in the Jerusalem temple overrun by corruption and consumerism

And, as we know from scripture, in those times, the cripple, as the man was, would have also been most likely a beggar in abject poverty. So who again, did Jesus get passionately angry on account of??

The poor.
The children.
His church.

NOT:
Prostitution
Homosexuality
Thievery
Murder
Tithing

Dr. Stafford also points out, as I stated previously, children were not valued in that society. Their purpose was to be "seen and not heard." But how often now, are the world's children "not seen AND not heard." Where are our priorities and would Jesus be indignant about them? Where does the church of today rank in modeling itself after Jesus' values? Are we doing a good job taking up where He left off and working to fight for those he would have fought for? Just something to make you think...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Adoption Update

The house is officially off the market.

Which is good - we love our house. The kids love our house. A big 'whoop' went up when we told them we weren't moving. (truth be told, I think the neighborhood kiddos had been praying super hard the house wouldn't sell!)

Which is also disappointing - it puts us back at square one. All along, I didn't want this adoption to be about us. And still don't. Not only do I want that little girl safe and healthy in her own bed where she belongs - but my prayer all along has been for this adoption to be a huge testament to those around us that God is still at work in this world. That prayers are answered. That He has big plans and we get to be a part of those if we take that step and say "I will".

We knew that if we kept the house on the market for long-term, and kept adjusting the price to try to sell it - that would not be God moving, but US moving with the market. Trying to do things on our own merit vs. letting the miracles and blessings fall where they may.

So - we are taking things step by step and letting God shine his light on the next step of the path we should take, and the next, and so on.

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So - we just finished our homestudy visits about a week and a half ago. And after our social worker, (who now has a broke finger unfortunately), gets it typed up - it has to be verified by us + a bunch of people before we can send it down to Charleston and wait for permission to adopt an orphan. So the paperwork process is almost, getting closer, to being finished.

So - now we are just praying for that next step to be shown. A fundraiser in the mix. A huge commission sale for Tony. A distant relative leaving an inheritance. A win on a game show .....

As I mentioned before, I can't change the amount given on my chip-in slider but I can change the amount requested. So the $15,500 needed has moved down to $15,000 as some super, loving, awesome friends of ours - that rock both literally and as friends, have chipped in to help bring Olivia home. Thank you guys!!!!! We are now at needing $5400 to submit our dossier and get on the waiting list for a baby girl. And I'm not stressing cause I know HE's got it covered. (Not stressing till due date anyway..... then ask me how my faith is holding up!)

Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ill

physically ill. after viewing real life. after viewing real death. I feel sick to my stomach. But I am blessed.

Blessed that my children aren't crying because they are hungry.

Blessed that I can lay my children in their own beds to sleep, in their own room, under a roof. Blessed that I can take my sick children to the doctor when they are hurting.
The images of Haiti, the stories of Haiti, they hurt to see and hear. But you know what? They are not new. It's a new place. Haiti has captured our heart for a moment, but when will America forget??

Aren't these forgotten????

The 25,000 children that die every day due to poverty.
The 1.8 million children that die every year due to diarrhea.
The 40 million people that are living with AIDS/HIV.

In 2005,
Number of children in the world = 2.2 billion
Number of children living in poverty = 1 billion
1 in 3 children without adequate shelter

Still say you can't afford to help a child?? At what cost?

Sponsor a child. Donate to an orphanage. Adopt a child. Foster a child. Help someone else to adopt a child. Donate to missionaries in the field. Help give formula for babies. Give to help hunger. Give to help a pregnant woman or new infant in a third world country. Donate to help others have clean water to drink. Just give, the possibilities are endless.

** before contributing - check Charity Navigator, an independent auditing site which rates charities and their utilization of funds. Make sure the money is going where they say it is. Make sure your gift counts.

Compassion International - 4 out of 4 stars for SEVEN years by Charity navigator. sponsor a little child whom you can love on and care for personally.

Just don't let them be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

To piggyback off my last post, this week's words of Wisdom:

From Braeden - To his sweating mommy - who just happened to be working out for the first time in about, oh, 6 months:

"Mommy, why are you working out?
YOU'RE not fat.."

Wise, little son. Start pouring it out on the women early. Flattery gets you everywhere.

Play along with Me and My SoldierMan. Comments craved!

Monday, February 1, 2010

All my heart

Today while picking up the boys from their after-school care, I was talking with their teacher when Braeden came out of left field with one of his Braeden-isms. The boy cracks us up. He says and does the funniest things out of the blue which will bring a smile to my face for days after. Stacy looks at me and says "I love me some Braeden". Me too.

I told her that recently I was thinking of my children and realized - when you expand your family beyond one child, you really wonder - will I play favorites? will I be able to love another child as much as my first? will I cling to my son as much as a daughter?

Then you have them and realize - LOVE is enough, LOVE is limitless. With each kid, love is so different, and still just as strong.

With Braeden - I love his dimples. His yells of "spiiiiider monkey" as he leaps onto Tony (or any nearby adult). His fearlessness, and the laughter when he falls off his bike or skins his knees while trying to skate like a maniac. His love of spinach and mushrooms (he IS my son!). His way of making friends with anyone, any age, anywhere. His out-of-nowhere laugh that will have a whole restaurant giggling.

His sense of humor -
* at afterschool, Stacy reported he was busy doing his homework and all of a sudden poked his head up to excitedly yell, "Seth....you've just won ONE Miiiiiiiiiillllllion Dollars!!!"
* while eating spinach lasagna, he popped a big wad of spinach in his mouth and then, in true Popeye form, popped up one muscle, then another, then posed as a Greek God and exclaimed "Fiyaaa Powwa!!!" ('Fire Power' - you'll have to see Night of the Museum II for that one to make sense..)
* he wisely tries to bargain with my dad for really expensive gifts - like 4 wheelers or iPod touch. When he is told no, that's too expensive, he will downgrade - "well, then I'll just take a dirt bike instead..."

As Tony calls him, he is our little buddy. Who somehow, at the age of almost 7, still can figure out how to make us smile if he senses you are in a bad mood. Braeden has my heart - he likes the foods I like, the things I like to do. He has my heart. All of it.

With Seth - he is my complicated son. He is hard to figure out. His quiet demeanor and self-sufficiency often mask his many gifts. His seriousness while on the ballfield and love of sports makes me beam with pride as he explains players or games to me. I love that he will go out of his way to show an interest in whatever I am working on, and offer to help "What-cha doooin?" When I paint, he'll be the first one to tell me what a good job I have done. I love how Seth performs little acts of kindness all the time, to his siblings or strangers, but all without a show. You have to catch him at it or the moment will pass right by you in his kindness. I love how he still dotes on Addison. Quietly trying to help her and appease her when she is upset. I love how he so often will quickly realize when he has hurt Braeden's feelings, and will go to him to make it up by asking him to come play or including him in a game. I love how he doesn't shun his little brother when the big boys are over but includes him as just part of the gang. Seth has my heart - he reminds me so much of myself as a child with his timidness and shyness. He has my heart. All of it.

With Addison - she is my daughter, need I say more? A daughter I have dreamed about since I was a little girl playing with my dolls. I love how she asks to be rocked just so she can cuddle. And loves to put those little palms on my cheeks and kiss me on the lips. I love how she runs to Tony when he comes through the door, jumping in his arms and yelling "Daddy!!!" I love how she loves for me to braid her hair, put her jewelry on, and paint her fingernails. I love how she sits in her room for hours, chatting away with her 'dollies', content to play by herself vs. pester her brothers with whining. I even love her assertiveness which borders on bossiness. Such a strong will. And I love the way she says "Strawberry Cort-cake" and "mogurt". Addison has my heart - she reminds me so much of my childhood and the joy of being a mom. She has my heart. All of it.

With Olivia - I love her already. Thinking of her can bring tears to my eyes in the same way the last several paragraphs did. I can see her little fingers wrapped around mine. I can feel her soft little body cuddled next to me as we rock. I love the thought of big, round eyes looking up at me, finally realizing I am her forever mommy. Even though my body did not bear her, I know she will have my heart. Knowing that although I didn't endure hours of physical labor, the labor to bring her home is no less tiring. Knowing that even without my eye color, or my skin tone, or maybe even my love of mushrooms - she will be all mine, and that she too will have my heart. All of it.