I hope you will visit my ministry website: http://ajourneyoffaith.net .
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Sunshine & Beaches & Kids
We enjoyed a picnic at the beach today,
with my sweet friend, Linda, and her boys.
I am thanking the Lord for a relaxing day ...
... Bible Study babies this morning.
... picnic at the beach this afternoon.
... out to dinner with my dear husband.
... a walk at the park after dinner.
... small group: sharing and prayer.
As I am heading into a time of CRAZINESS ...
... Hosanna and I off to another homeschool
convention in Eastern Wa. tomorrow - Saturday.
... a track meet for Josh in E. WA on the way
home from the convention.
... arriving home LATE Saturday night.
... a prayer time with Mark & Lanae on Sunday.
... kids' dentist appts. Monday morning.
... and ... OFF TO AFRICA next week. Woo hoo!!!
Praying for sweet Comfort tonight ...
... for health.
... for strength (physical and emotional)
... for peace that her mommy is on the way.
... for hope that she WILL get to America
to see her doctors that are waiting for her.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Long story ...
More details tomorrow ...
I had to get passport photos today ...
I had to FedEx my passport to New York today ...
I emailed several hotels and guest houses today ...
Yes ... I am going on a trip ...
I am ... GOING TO GHANA ...
When? Oh ... NEXT WEEK ...
Have I been praying that God would USE ME?
Have I been praying that God would STRETCH ME?
Have I been trusting God for MIRACLES?
Remember a couple of weeks ago, I asked for prayer for Mark & Lanae, as they traveled to Ghana to bring home their children. Then, I updated the prayer request by telling you that they had to come home without the children. Well ... Lanae and I are headed to Ghana to PRAYERFULLY ... Bring Those Children Home.
Biggest Prayer Request tonight ...
Pray for Comfort's health. She is just 6 years old and in need of heart surgery as soon as possible. There is an American woman at the orphanage this week, who "happens" to be a pediatric nurse. She phoned Lanae today and said, "Comfort is not doing well." So, PLEASE pray for Comfort ... that the Lord would bring healing and that the Lord would keep her healthy until we can get her home and to Children's Hospital in Seattle.
Biggest Praise Report tonight ...
Someone that Mark and Lanae knows has offered to pay for my plane ticket. (Just in case you were wondering how I could possibly be making travel plans to Africa, when I have been praying to buy shoes and school books for my kids.)
More prayer requests to come.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sarah had a Hair Day today, and this time she asked for short braids. I really like the longer ones, but there is one big bonus to shorter braids ...
... a MUCH shorter Hair Day. Only about 6-7 hours today.
Since people often asks how
long Sarah's natural hair is ...
we took this pic.
Almost 1/2 Done
Monday, April 27, 2009
Today, I found a theme as I read some of my regular daily blogs. And, those blogs had links to other blogs with the same theme. The theme: R.A.D. - Reactive Attachment Disorder.
I am not one that likes to label children, especially since those labels often lead to, what I believe to be, unneccesary medical interventions (ie: drug the kids so that they'll behave better). I also get frustrated when labels are used to excuse negative behavior, without any attempt at behavior modification. Yes, labels may be able to help identify and explain a child's behavior; but I do not believe they should be used to excuse and allow the negative behavior patterns to continue. Now, don't think I just happen to be a mom that has children without any issues ... I have one child that was labeled ADHD, and others (along with my dear husband) that would be given that label if we asked for a label.
I was pleased to see that today's blog posts tended to agree with the opinion of not labeling ... but, rather, explaining behavior patterns. I especially liked what Laura Mouro's blog had to say about this particular label:
"In my opinion, RAD is not a "disorder" that an adopted child either gets or does not get diagnosed with. I think that the symptoms descriptive of RAD are a reaction that every adopted child has to some degree. Now, some obviously have RAD to a greater degree than others. But, honestly, can an (older) child (non-infant) go through what an adoptive child goes through and not have signs and symptoms of RAD?"
Here are a few links to some of Laura's posts:
I also found Christine's blog, and this post ...
I am always learning from my sweet bloggy friend Donna, as she researches educational delays and brain development. Today she wrote about ...
And then there is my email and bloggy friend, Kristin. She, too, touched on this topic today (and had links which led me to Christine and Laura). Today's post was about ...
Jim and I were harshly criticized before we brought our children home, because we had not read every possible book nor taken every possible class to learn about attachment disorders. We had read some, and we had spoken with several adoptive parents about their transitions (including having CLOSE friends who have dealt with severe attachment issues, and have adopted 3 older children over the past 8 years). Our perspective was NOT that we didn't expect to encounter any attachment issues with our children; our perspective was that we didn't want to dwell on every "what if?" situation. As we have parented for the past 25 years, we have encountered MANY very difficult parenting situations (especially in the teen years). While we did read a lot of parenting books, we did not focus on all of the books that told us how horrible the teen years could be. Our focus has always been to parent from a positive perspective, and then to seek the Lord (and, professionals if need be) when the negative situations occur (which they most certainly will). The week that we left for Africa, to bring our children home, our little local weekly newspaper printed an article about several families in our community who were adopting from Ghana. The paper quoted this parenting perspective ... and we were lambasted. Months later, this one sentence quote was still being repeated as an example of our family "not being prepared for our adoption". In truth, we were prepared ... just not in the same way that other families might prepare.
While in Africa, we were observed telling our children, "In America ... this is how we do things and this is why we do things." Those observing us felt, again, that this was NOT how to parent adopted children. So, once again ... we were criticized harshly ... and those accusations followed us home.
Why am I bringing up those situations today?
We did not change the way we set out to parent.
We did not go out and seek more "professional training" ...
but, rather, we sought the Lord for His wisdom.
We did not stop giving direction ... and teaching the
children what life was going to be like at the Big D
house in America.
We did not completely change the lifestyle of the Big D
family in order to accommodate the new children.
(Yes, accommodations were made; but life did not
suddenly need to change drastically.)
We did not stop setting boundaries for our new children;
as we felt that boundaries were critically important.
And ... today ... after reading all of the above blog posts ... I finally felt like these women would approve if they saw how we are parenting. We, obviously, haven't chosen our method of parenting in order to please others (since we are so often criticized), but it was nice to know that we are parenting like a lot of other newly adoptive parents of children from Africa; and that our parenting style has been effective/successful.
We haven't encountered anywhere near the trauma that many families encounter. Some of that is definitely because different children have different levels of attachment issues. However, I believe that a lot of it is also because we had a plan ... we were prepared ... we did set guidelines ... and we didn't allow the new children to take control of our household when they arrived. We set boundaries right from day 1, and we had consequences when those boundaries were ignored.
Three months before we went to Africa, we were at a business conference in another part of the state, and we went to visit a family that we had met through their blog. They had adopted multiple children from multiple countries over the course of several years. What we found was a living situation that I KNEW would send me over the edge ... a completely out of control household, with a completely distraught/worn-out/frustrated mom. We spent 2 hours with this family and left saying, "What are we getting ourselves into?" Their perspective was that, any and every adopted child would be out of control and there was nothing you could do about it (as the parent). They literally told us that we needed to expect our house to be destroyed ... furniture, carpets, appliances, etc... And, they gave us example after example of the things their children had done. The mom even told me of a book that I needed to read. (She buys them by the case, to hand out to newly adopting parents.) To be honest, I wasn't about to buy the book, if this was going to be the outcome of the parenting advice. We didn't need to "get training" to find out about R.A.D. ... we had seen it up close.
At the same time, we had very dear friends walking through a nightmare foster/adopt situation that had to be terminated after multiple police encounters. Again, we saw R.A.D. up close and personal, and we did not agree at all with the "parenting advice" that our friends were receiving from the "professionals".
So ... had we gone through a lot of "training" before we brought our children home? Not in the professional sense of the word ... but we had been trained. We had looked closely at both of these situations. We had discussed them thoroughly and talked through how we would approach each one. Then, we proceeded to seek the Lord as we faced each new situation with our children.
Our children have been home for 13 months. They haven't destroyed our house. We haven't had to call the police. They are polite, generally obedient, loving and kind. This past year hasn't been easy ... but we know it could have been much worse.
Do our children have R.A.D.? Like Laura, I don't see it as a disorder. Yes, it has taken my children time to attach. Are they fully attached? No. Can you imagine trying to figure out how to "attach" to a new mom and dad and 10 new siblings, while at the same time trying to figure out how to just "live life" in America??? Do our children KNOW that we love them, and that we will NEVER leave them? Absolutely. Do we know that our children love us? You bet ... even when those pesky symptoms of R.A.D. are showing their ugly head.
I learned a few things from today's blog posts ... but most of all they just confirmed what we are already doing. However, the best thing I discovered about the posts I read today, was that I finally had something to show our older children ... a way to explain to them that the issues we deal with with Jacob, Sarah, and Rachel are typical ... and that the way mom and dad have responded to the frustrating situations really is the best way (even when it doesn't make logical sense ... because R.A.D. is not logical). I actually copied all of the above blog posts onto a Word document, and printed them ... so that each of the older 5 children living at home can read them this week. I look forward to the discussions that will take place after they all have a better understanding of R.A.D., and how/why it affects their young siblings.
Now ... you 3 big kids that live out of state and oversees ... I hope you'll pop onto the above links and read them, too. It will help you to understand what exactly mama has been trying to explain to you in our regular skype or phone conversations. And, you'll see that it is not only your little siblings that create these most frustrating daily situations for their parents.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Future Track Stars
Elijah, Rachel, & Josiah decided
that they wanted to learn to hurdle.
Sarah decided to join them.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The other day, I wrote a post about What Do I Have To Do To Get To Heaven? I had us look at two opposing perspectives on Christianity.
#1 How much do I need to do,
in order to make it to heaven?
What do I have to give up,
in order to not spend eternity in hell?
#2 What more can I do,
in order to please Him?
What else can I give up,
in order to serve Him better?
I finished the post by saying ...
My focus is not on how close I can get to hell,
without getting burned.
My focus is on how close I can get to heaven,
while still living life on this earth.
Today, I would like to take a closer look at some specific situations that those two perspectives might come into play. Which side of each of these conversations would you be on?
Two Teenage Girls (or young adults)
talking about their boyfriends ...
I told my boyfriend we can do anything except,
"go all the way".
I told my boyfriend that I want to stay
pure for my future husband.
How far can we go and still be "pure"?
How pure does the Lord want us to be
for our future husbands? How pure would
our future husbands like us to be?
"Flee from sexual immorality. ... Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? ... Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Overwhelmed Mommies ...
I'm so FRUSTRATED. I don't think there's anything
wrong with using a few bad words.
I want to honor the Lord with my words,
even when I'm frustrated?
But ... at least I didn't use the Lord's name in vain.
And ... I don't use the "F word".
I don't want my words to even show a hint
of disrespect or dishonor.
"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this ... to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:26-27
Young ladies getting dressed for a blind date ...
What can I wear so that he will really take notice?
I want to honor the Lord with my attire?
I've worked so hard to keep my body looking good,
I'm proud to show it off.
I want to look nice, yet not distract this young man's
attention away from getting to know me
(by focusing on my body instead of the conversation)?
"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety ... appropriate for women who profess to worship God." 1 Timothy 2:9-10
Teens picking a movie to go to on Friday night.
We need to go see this one because
EVERYONE says it's great.
Why is it rated PG13?
It only has bad words and a little violence,
there's no sex in it.
I want to keep my mind focused on things
that are pure and holy.
But it's just entertainment.
Would the Lord be laughing with us?
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8
I hope that this post has encouraged you
to see which perspective you usually use.
I hope it has encouraged you to do the RIGHT thing ...
even if your peers are pulling you in the opposite direction.
I hope this post has encouraged you to always want
God's very BEST for your life, rather than just trying to
do the minimal amount of "good works" to get by.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren ... do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. ... Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as theses: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." Colossians 3:1-8
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Hosanna and I are off to spend the weekend together. What fun!
We have never had a weekend away, and, financially speaking, this is certainly not a time that we would plan one. However, we are not going to go spend money this weekend ... we are going to go earn money this weekend. Yes ... we have a job to do.
I have been hired by a curriculum company to be their sales representative at 3 homeschool conferences in the next 2 months. And, since I am doing the first 2 conferences by myself, they said it would be fine for me to bring Hosanna as a helper. (She is a GREAT helper, and I couldn't really imagine doing a conference all by myself.)
This weekend, we get to work at a conference in the Seattle area on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So, we get to stay at a nice hotel and eat at restaurants (VERY fun for mommy/daughter time).
Next weekend, we get to spend Friday and Saturday at a conference in Eastern Washington. (And, we'll stay with a homeschooling family that lives in a "historic home".) Then, in June, I get to work a BIG convention down in Puyallup, where I lived for 10 years (which is REALLY fun because I get to see many of my old homeschooling friends).
I am PRAISING the Lord for ...
... financial provision.
... mommy/daughter time.
... big kids at home to take care of
little kids while mommy is gone.
(What a blessing that Gregg and
Lindsey both happen to be home.)
I am PRAYING for ...
... energy to do all the work that needs to be done.
Friday is an 11 hour day in the vendor booth.
... a BLESSED time with precious Hosanna.
Such a rarity ... but so necessary right now,
as she is about to enter her teen years.
... things to go smoothly at home, while mama is gone.
While all of the big kids are fully capable, there
are still a LOT of personalities to work with.
I am sure that pictures of high school track meets are not very exciting for most of you. However, since one of the most wonderful uses of this blog is for us to share out daily lives with all of our young adults that are living overseas and in other states ... they LIKE to see pictures of their little brothers running.
For those of you that aren't excited about more track pictures, I thought I would start off with a picture taken from the meet today. Yes, basically, Mt. Baker is in our backyard. This is the view from where we were sitting, in the stands, to watch the boys run.
Ben ran the 800m.
Josh ran the 800m.
Both boys ran the 4 x 400m Relay.
And, Josh ran the 1600m. (mile).
But, mama didn't take any pics of that race.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A week ago, I asked you to pray for my bloggy friend, Linny, as she and her family faced unknown medical issues with one of their 10 children.
Today ... this precious family really needs our prayers ... as their 18 year old daughter, Autumn, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Please pray ...
... for Autumn, that the Lord would give her peace
and that she would be able to FULLY trust in HIM,
as she walks through this difficult time.
... for Linny & Dwight, for strength as they face the
unknowns, and for wisdom as they help all of the
little kids understand what is happening.
... for the doctors, for wisdom as to how to proceed.
For knowledge as to when to be aggressive and
when to wait.
On top of this huge trial that just took them by surprise ...
... they brought home 2 precious little ones
from Africa in December.
... they lost everything in a house fire in January.
... their church (DW is the pastor) is in the midst of
huge staff changes. (3 of 5 pastors leaving)
... last week they started the process of leg castings
for their adopted son with arthrogryposis
(a very serious condition). Linny had to take Isaiah
to Denver (450 miles each way) for the casting, and
the trip will need to be repeated every 10 days or so,
Thanks for joining me in prayer for Linny and her precious
family, as they walk this VERY difficult life journey right
now. I hope you'll stop by her blog to give her a note of
I had this totally random pondering last night ...
We often treat God like the Family Doctor. Yes, we have a "relationship" with him. But, we may only check in with him once a year or so. We know we can call him in an emergency ... but we certainly don't want to pay his fees on a daily basis. He's a "nice guy" ... but we're not going to let him tell us how to live our lives (even if our unhealthy lifestyles could cut our lives short). We know it is good to have a Family Doctor, but we have no need to see him more regularly.
If you recognize that your relationship with the Lord is as casual as your relationship with your family doctor ... I would encourage you to read, "Crazy Love". Christ has already paid your fees, and He wants to meet with you daily.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Crazy Love - page 61
"The very fact that a holy, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful, and just God loves you and me is nothing short of astonishing.
The wildest part is that Jesus doesn't have to love us. His being is utterly complete and perfect, apart from humanity. He doesn't need me or you. Yet He wants us, chooses us, even considers us His inheritance (Eph. 1:18). The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us.
That really is amazing beyond description. The holy Creator sees you as His "glorious inheritance".
The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him ... and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by."
Do you ever think ... "How much do I need to do,
in order to make it to heaven?"
and ... "What do I have to give up,
in order to not spend eternity in hell?"
Or, do you think ... "What more can I do,
in order to please Him?"
and ... "What else can I give up,
in order to serve Him better?"
While both sets of questions focus on what we might need to do and what we might need to give up ... the perspective is completely different.
Sadly, many people see their Christian lives as a set of rules, and a few flexible boundary lines that they need to live within, in order to make it to heaven.
However, the holy God of the universe wants our hearts, our love, our lives. God did not create His commandments in order to bring himself pleasure ... He created rules, guidelines, and boundary lines because He wants what is BEST for us ... for you and me.
If we TRULY love the Lord with all of our hearts, our souls, our mind, and our strength ... than we will WANT to live our lives as fully pleasing unto Him. Our hearts' desire will be to love Him, to serve Him, to show Him all honor and glory with our lives.
If you are married ...
... do you love your husband because
you read a book that told you to?
... do you serve him because you signed
a wedding vow promising you would?
... do you do just enough for your marriage,
that you hope he won't file for divorce?
... do you talk politely to him when he is home,
but bad mouth him when he is gone?
... if others ask you about him, do you mumble
something about "Yea, I love him."
... do you tell all of your friends what an
amazing man he is?
... do you get excited when you know he
will be home in a few minutes?
... do you like to cook his favorite meal,
just because he likes it?
... are you excited to talk to him every day,
and sleep in the comfort of his love every night?
Can you even comprehend that the Creator of the Universe ... loves you even more than your husband (or your mother & father) does? Don't you think that He should be able to expect even more from you than your husband expects of you?
If you TRULY love the Lord Jesus Christ, then ...
... you will be excited to
tell all your friends about Him.
... you will look forward to
spending time with Him every day.
... you will look for ways to do
the things He has asked you to do,
and you will WANT to do those things.
... you will spend time with him before bed,
and you will sleep in the comfort of His love.
I LOVE the LORD!!!
I WANT to serve HIM.
I DESIRE to do HIS will.
I can't help myself ...
I TALK about Christ, my first love ...
ALL the time.
I don't see life as a set of rules that have to be followed.
I walk through life actively seeking to KNOW His guidelines,
because I know they are His BEST for me and my family.
I NEVER think ...
"Can I still get to heaven if I do such and such?" Never!
My focus is NOT on how close I can get to hell,
without getting burned.
My focus is on how close I can get to heaven,
while still living life on this earth.
The typical track meet that our boys run in has 3 or 4 schools participating.
And, our school hosts a "big" meet at the beginning of each year, with 16 schools.
Last Saturday, however, our team ran in the BIGGEST track meet I'd ever heard of ... with 53 schools. We took a 1.5 hour drive to Snohomish for this meet, that went from 10:00 am - 7:30 pm. We had beautiful weather, and we had a FUN Family Day. Woo hoo!
(Mama took her camera ...
with good batteries and a memory card.)
Josh ran the 1600m (1 mile),
and the 4 x 400m Relay.
Jacob enjoyed his day.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Jim and I were going to take a walk last night, when Gregg put his shoes on and announced, "I'm going with you." Of course, this would have been expected by our little 7 year old Elijah ... but, now, this was our almost 25 year old, Gregg. Jim and I actually tried to discourage him, as we enjoy our one-on-one time during our walks. However, Gregg was not to be dissuaded.
The 3 of us set out for a walk, and were enjoying our talk time so much that we thought we'd walk over to the local coffee shop. As we neared the shop, we realized that they were closing in 3 minutes, but that their other location was open for another hour. We sent Jim off on a jog to go home and get a car, while Gregg and I continued to walk and chat. Then, we enjoyed an hour at the coffee shop before heading home. (Some of the kids were a bit concerned about us, thinking that we had been out walking for 2 hours, and it now had been dark for quite awhile. Oops.)
We talked about a LOT of stuff ... but the part I want to share this evening is the conversation we had about our family being "outside the box". A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about being outside the "Christian box" when I talked about Cookie Cutter Christians. But, last night we just talked about being "outside the box" that society would put us in.
At nearly 25, Gregg isn't married and he isn't in a career. (After 4.5 years in the military, he knew that wasn't going to be his life-long career.) He struggles with not "fitting in" with others his age. He really doesn't know what the next step is for him. However ... he is seeking God and seeking advice, wisdom, and encouragement from Mama and Papa. We KNOW that the Lord will direct, in His time. Right now ... we are enjoying having Gregg home. We are enjoying the crazy times with him (he can be a complete Goofball), and we are enjoying the adult discussions. We are not discouraged, nor disappointed at all in where Gregg is at in life. As I told him last night, our hopes and dreams for our children were that they would grow up to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. And ... our 6 young adults are all doing just that.
I pointed out that Jeremiah (22, and studying Arabic in Jordan) hasn't followed the path of his peers either. He finished 2 years of college by age 18. Then he managed a coffee shop for a year. Then he went to Liberty University for a year. Then he taught school for a year. Then he went to the Middle East. And, now, he is considering where he should go to complete his B.A. degree, and then ... probably a Masters degree ... and, ultimately, probably a Phd. He has a passion for politics ... and a passion for ministry. He doesn't yet know which will be his career, or if the Lord will find a creative way to combine the two.
Then there's Cassie (23). She completed her 2 years of college by age 18. Traveled to Africa with YWAM. Worked in full-time ministry for 2 years. (Traveled to India with her church ministry.) Moved out of state, thinking that she would get another full-time ministry job, and find the man of her dreams. However, 2 years later, she is very involved in volunteer ministry ... but is working as a full-time nanny. Who would have guessed? At 23, we all thought she would be married and having babies by now ... but God chose to give her a little baby or two to love, before He brought her His intended life partner. This is not what any of us would have envisioned ... but it is God's very BEST for Cassie. (And ... we pray that the life partner will come along soon.)
No, our "big kids" don't fit the box that society laid out for them. None of our 6 young adults went to high school and then to the university. None of them know, exactly, what their life calling is. But, each and every one of them is actively seeking the Lord for His plan for their lives. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Last night, I also pointed out to Gregg that Mama and Papa never "fit the box" either. We still struggle with wanting a peer group to "hang out with". But, we just don't "fit". We're either "too radical" or "too conservative" or we just plain have "too many kids". However, even though life can be lonely sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I can't become less "radical" in my desire to follow Christ. I wouldn't trade any one of my kids for all the dinner-dates, with friends, in the world. I won't start watching R rated movies just to "fit in". I KNOW that our family was called by God ... to be different. Sometimes I think I need to apologize to my kids for raising them "outside the box" ... but I can't. I cannot apologize for doing what Christ has called us to do.
I know that a lot of young single gals read my blog ... and quite a few young mommies too. I often hear the comments, "I hope my children grow up to love and serve the Lord like yours do." Well, I hope they do too (along with my next 7). Tonight, I would like to encourage you in a few areas of parenting that were important to us ...
#1 Be PASSIONATE yourself ...
about serving the Lord.
(Lead by example.)
#2 Parent OUTSIDE THE BOX.
Seek the Lord for His specific
will for your individual family.
#3 Be involved in MINISTRY with
your kids. (Our family mission
trips were some of our best "vacations".)
#4 Encourage (require?) your kids to
READ about other "ordinary people"
doing extraordinary things for God.
(Missionary biographies were a large
part of our homeschooling history classes.)
#5 Study God's WORD and PRAY with
your children, and for your children.
#6 Help your children to be FAMILY-oriented,
rather than peer-directed. (Set boundaries
as to how much time is spent with peers vs.
how much time is spent with family.)
#7 Make the HOME a place that not only your
children want to be, but a place that they
want to invite their peers to, also. (I LOVE
that the Lord has given our family so many
"adopted big kids" because we have a family
that welcomes them in and includes them.)
#8 Be excited when your children make God-led
choices that are OUTSIDE THE BOX. Don't
be embarrassed that others might not
#9 Help your children to understand that the need
to PLEASE GOD, is much more important than
the need to be accepted by their peers. (And,
make sure you live by that TRUTH also.)
#10 CELEBRATE with your children, the fact that
God has called you all to be DIFFERENT! Be
excited about those differences!
What should I DO?!
I'm home alone
and the house is QUIET ...
I can't remember the last time
that such a phenomenon happened.
Papa went to Bible study
with Josh, Hosanna, and Josiah.
Gregg took Ben, Jacob, Sarah,
Rachel, and Elijah to the park.
And ... Lindsey went to visit
her friends at Youth Group.
What to do? What to do?
Should I ...
... read a book?
... make menu plans?
... do more laundry?
... write a few blog posts?
Since I can make menus, do laundry, and write blog posts when the kids are home ... I think I will READ in my QUIET house.
Should I ...
... lay on my bed to read?
... sit in the QUIET living room?
... sit outside because it is finally NICE out?
(we hit 70 degrees for the first time this spring)
I'm off ... to sip some ice tea and read a book ...
Now ... what shall I read???
So much for a quiet time. After Lindsey left ...
... I wrote this post.
... started a load of laundry.
... made my ice tea.
... picked up a book to read
... and, the kids came home before I could even
make it outside to sit down and read the book.
(They had had some disagreements at the park,
so Gregg brought them home early.) So sad!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Crazy Love - pg. 42
Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.
Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.
Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed
Why are we so quick to forget God?
Who do we think we are?
I am not ordinarily a worried or stressed person. I do live most of my life in joyful anticipation of what the Lord is going to do in me and through me and in my circumstances, and in my family and through them and in their circumstances. However, this year I have had changes in both my worry level and my stress level.
My worry level has gone up this year. Due to my job loss, and lack of anticipated income, I have found myself more concerned about finances than I have in many years. The interesting thing is, that for MANY years, we lived on MUCH less and we HAD to depend on the Lord for our finances on a monthly basis. However, for the past 5 years we have had our security in the extra paycheck rather than the Lord. We have gotten comfortable, secure, and relaxed financially. I believe, however, that no matter what our income is ... we need to get out of our comfortableness and financial contentment. I believe we are called to keep giving, to keep "doing" for the Lord, to keep blessing others with our finances until we MUST depend on the Lord. He desires to be our provider. Yes, sometimes he blesses us with an abundance financially ... but I believe his intent in this is to have us be able to GIVE even more. Even though we now live on MUCH less than the majority of the people that we know ... even our family needs to find ways to live on less ... and to give more.
On the flip side ...
My stress level has gone WAY down this year ... as medically evidenced by a MAJOR drop in my blood pressure. Three months after I lost my job, the top number of my blood pressure had dropped 15 points. And, 3 months later it had dropped another 20 points. Wow! (With no weight loss, change in eating habits, or addition of exercise.) So, while my worry level has gone up a bit (due to finances), my overall stress has gone down significantly (even with the added stress of the adoption transition).
The Lord knew ...
... that I needed to stay home this year.
... that I needed to be able to focus on
my kids and my homeschooling.
... that I needed to once again turn all
of my financial worries over to Him
... that I needed to re-learn that
He alone needs to be our provider.
Have you ever considered the fact that
worry and stress are evidence of arrogance?
I hadn't really put it in those terms before ...
but it makes sense.
I want to throw off all remaining
fragments of worry and stress.
I want to run ...
free of any arrogance.
I want to run this race of life with ...
complete faith and trust in the Lord.
I want to celebrate the fact that the Lord has called me
and my family to a crazy and radical lifestyle of living
each and every day walking hand and hand with HIM.
Won't you join me?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
A few blogs that I read have recently mentioned the book, Crazy Love. It sounded interesting. I was intrigued.
I bought the book at Wal-Mart last night, and popped it into my purse as we headed out the door to a track meet today. I then proceeded to read the book aloud to my dear hubby (and Lindsey & Hosanna in the front bench) as we drove the 1.5 hours to the meet. Eight hours later, on the way home from the meet, I turned on the light so that I could continue reading. This book had our rapt attention.
When we were about to drive by Wal-Mart on our way home, Jim asked how much the book cost. Then, he turned into the parking lot and asked me to go in and buy 5 more copies so that he could give them away.
Yes ... it is THAT good. I don't think we have ever bought 5 books to give to anyone. Never. And, we've read a LOT of good books over the years.
Tomorrow, I will start over at the beginning ... to re-read and fully digest all that is written.
Tonight, I will share with you just a few words from the back of the book ... and hope that you are intrigued, as well.
GOD is LOVE.
Crazy Relentless, All-Powerful Love.
Have you ever wondered if we're missing it?
It's crazy, if you think about it.
The God of the universe -
the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles,
galaxies and E-minor -loves us
with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love.
And what is our typical response?
We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.
Whether you've verbalized it yet or not ...
we all know something's wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart
long to break free from the status quo?
Are you hungry for an authentic faith
that addresses the problems of our world
with tangible, even radical, solutions?
God is calling you to a passionate
love relationship with Himself.
Because the answer to religious complacency
isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts -
it's falling in love with God.
And once you encounter His love ...
you will never be the same.
Because when you're wildly in love
with someone, it changes everything.