Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

One of the Christmas presents I gave Jeremy was a blog book.  It is awesome!  It is our entire blog in book form, with a hard cover, complete with pictures and posts.  I'm so excited for this resource and it inspires me to begin blogging again.   We love that we have a sort of family journal that we can hold in our hands and turn the pages.  Last night, on Christmas, the kids took turns picking out certain posts to read aloud to everyone...a walk down Memory Lane.

A favorite Christmas tradition is to give the kids new jammies that they open on Christmas Eve.

Each year the kids draw names among themselves. This year was different, though, because since they worked this summer, everyone had their own money with which to shop!
Josiah got Anna a Fur Real Pet.
Isaac got Ryley a cable for his guitar/amp and a hat (not shown).
Ryley got Isaac a Nerf gun and table-top pinball game.

Anna got Josiah a North Face Hoodie.

One of Anna's favorite presents is her Own! Pink! Bb gun!

This was the first Christmas that the kids had their very own, hard-earned money to spend on others.  It made for an incredibly special time for our family.  I loved hearing them discuss how excited they were for someone to open a present and be so surprised.  They didn't focus on what was under the tree for them.  Each person was able to experience the full joy of giving and receiving.  It seemed to be a much richer experience.

And LOOK!  They got each of us some COOL presents!  They all did seriously awesome in this regard.  They bargain-hunted, coupon-clipped and placed bids to get exactly what they'd chosen for us, even buying not-too-matchy sweatshirts for mom and dad.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Latest Coke Bro Film

It's been an emotional day full of roller-coaster-like ups and downs but I'm so glad I got to end it in such deep laughter!  I love my kids.  I love my life.

Click this link to watch:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Is He Calling You?

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  James 1:27

Recently, God has called our family to specifically "look after orphans" by bringing some of them into our family.  This is only one way we believers can honor His Word regarding orphans (and widows, and the needy, and the unbeliever...).  Over the years our family has participated in this instruction from the Bible in various ways.

The Creator's beauty and creativity can be seen in the way He works through His people to care for those in need of His love.

Much like a call to the mission field, God has called us to adopt.  Much like missionaries called to the field, we cannot do this alone.

Has God placed this type of ministry on your heart?  Are you unsure of how to jump in and be a part of His movement in the area of orphan care?  

As we answer His call for our family, we need help.  Sadly, many kinds of adoptions are staggeringly expensive.  The astronomical price of adopting from Ethiopia has been the biggest hurdle I'm working on overcoming.  Our adoption(s) will cost roughly $30,000.

We believe God doesn't ask us to do the impossible...alone.  The mission we are on looks impossible for us and we are so excited to see how the Lord is going to enable us to do this.

Can we be so bold as to ask you to consider helping Him use our family?  We are seeking people who can participate in one (or more!) of three areas:

1.  Much prayer is needed.  Will you pray for our project?  My heart quickens as I push away fear of the finances required.

2.  Much creativity is needed.  Do you have any ideas on ways we can pull these funds together?

3.  Much funding is needed.  Are you in a position to financially support our project?

Asking for any kind of help is never easy; no one likes to do it!  I believe God is working on building faith in us and humbling us through this journey.

If after prayerful consideration you find yourself answering "yes!" to any of the above, please send us an email letting us know!

We are excited as we anticipate sharing the amazing things God does in this next stage of our lives.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Until the end of my life becomes the beginning of my life I sit at His feet, busily worshipping by serving.

"Whatever you've done to the least of these you've done unto Me."

God has asked our family if we're willing to open our hearts and lives to some of His children who desperately need love and physical and spiritual nourishment from a family who will be theirs forever.

  We have said, "yes".


Over the last few months we have begun the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia.  Stand by for further updates...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kale Smoothies=yum!

The last time I was at Costco I grabbed a big bag of organic baby kale.  It's pre-washed and, like everything at Costco, comes in bulk.  I don't love cooked kale, but I figured I'd find a way to use it.  I love that it's high in iron, calcium, vitamins K, A, C, fiber, etc...
So I've been experimenting with various smoothies in our Vitamix.  Our favorite so far:

1/2 cup (or so) frozen Alaskan wild blueberries ;-)
1 organic apple
1 organic carrot
1-2  organic banana(s)
1 kiwi
2 Tbsp flax oil
1 large handful of kale
About 1/4 cup water
A sprinkling of stevia (if needed)

Although I've been making and drinking them daily, I needed to preserve the kale, as I wasn't using it fast enough.  Typically kale is blanched before freezing.  For various reasons, I didn't want to blanch it so I scoured the Internet for information on freezing without blanching.  With the Internet, perseverance pays off; if you look long and hard enough, eventually you'll find what you want to read. ;-)  I read that it's not necessary to blanch so I tried freezing it in a pillowcase (advice from the old days).  It's worked really well, although I haven't steamed it, as we use it raw in the smoothies.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Word Nerd

I learned long ago what a word nerd I am.  Writing is a fun hobby for me and as I look back over years of journaling, I realize that I often use a $50 word where a $5 word would suffice.  Recently as I set a new goal in my writing,  I enjoyed breaking the very goal I was attempting to set.  I love irony.

"I should use acceptable, abbreviated words where appropriate and applicable.  (Alliteration is an appreciated appliance.)"

Looking back over what I'd written with fondness and satisfaction, I noticed a pattern.  Almost every word beginning with an "a" has twin second and third letters.  AHA!  Now I realize that I'm not only a word nerd, but a number nerd as well!  Balance is beautiful.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun: Cubed

 Today, three of the kiddos and I talked about cubed numbers.  This topic followed our recent discussion on square numbers.  While I was in the shower, the THREE kids created the cubed number 27, which is the product of 3x3x3 (or 3x3=9; 9x3=27)
I recognized the challenge they had in working on one cube together, instead of individually.  Teamwork is such a beneficial skill, but one that my kids struggle with!  Today they succeeded, and there were not even any fistfights. ;-)

 I asked them why working as a team can be so helpful.  They each offered their opinion and then we talked about the biblical concept of "one body, many parts".  I asked them which part of their body was more important.  They discussed their thoughts, eventually concluding that we can't place any higher importance on any one part...of a body, a church body, or a family.

Then we discussed the verses found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up." (Numbers are everywhere!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sacrificial Love

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." I Cor, 13:1-3

Lately, as I've asked Jesus  how I can be more effective for His Kingdom, He has answered me with two simple words: "love people".  Why is such a simple concept so hard for me to live out?  For one, I recognize that in order to love someone in a way they feel and accept love, I need to think about them and how they're wired.  Loving someone in a way I understand and receive love may not reach them at all.  They may never even know I'm trying!  I am challenged with the task of giving in a way the receiver understands and can accept.  My offerings are nothing without love.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13

Sacrificial Love-
"This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." 1 John 3:16

What will I sacrifice today, in order to love someone?  Love is an essential factor in a relationship, but until sacrifice is required, it's almost meaningless.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Even the Sparrow has Found a Home

We have experienced some challenges lately.  I'm so thankful for God's work in my life, for as I recognize the familiarity with which I face these, I remember my past reactions to such concerns.  Almost always worry was the best word to describe my response, the kind of worry I feel most acutely in the very pit of my stomach at the very cusp of waking every morning.  I've prayed about this issue over the years.  Some struggle to set aside worry as they attempt to drift off at night.  I struggle at the other end of sleep, and I hate it.  I've asked God to help me eradicate worry altogether, adding that,  at the very least, could He please help me relocate it to any other part of my day??

As a chronic Over-Thinker, I've tried to find balance in the way I deal with troubling circumstances.  I classify myself not as an optimist, nor as a pessimist, but as a realist.  I attempt to live neither in denial (optimist!) nor under a perpetual cloud (pessimist!).

Naturally, when faced with a difficulty in life, we mentally scramble to consider someone else who is going through a bigger difficulty, so as to gain "perspective".  Then we tell ourselves, "Quit your whining!  It could be so much worse!"  I have decided that I disagree with this method.  Validating our emotions, thoughts and feelings while navigating a trial is so important.  I coined a non-eloquent phrase years ago: "No one else's trials can invalidate my suffering."  (I know, I know- it contains a double-negative.  But I've never been very good at math. ;-)

Often, we Christians feel compelled to label everything a blessing.
 I've come to the point where I view that as being just plain dishonest.  Yes, life is stuffed full of blessings, beginning with the very first breath I draw upon waking.  And God does promise to bring good out of every trial, even turning our mourning into dancing!  Amazing!  But hard times are not in themselves blessings.

Today as I was flipping through my Quote Book (in which I record important words I want to retain forever), I stumbled upon a good reminder from one of my very favorite books, The Sacred Romance, by Curtis and Eldridge.

"Pretending that life is easier and more blessed than it really is hinders our ability to walk with God and share Him with others.  Faith is not the same thing as denial. Blessings come...tend to be infrequent, unpredictable, transient...our journey is shaped more often by dragons and nits- crises that shake us to the core and...troubles that nag us to death...Are they tragic events and random inconveniences, or part of the plot through which God redeems our heart?"

Even the sparrow has found a home...
And therein lies the beauty of trials. Not only are they tests God uses to show us where we are in life, but they provide an invaluable opportunity for us to flee from fear, worry, and run straight to Him, laying our burdens at His feet.  How lovely is His dwelling place!  "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar."  (Ps. 84:3)

Monday, January 30, 2012

No Apologies! and The Launch of a New Blog!

I stop myself short of apologizing for being such a lame "blogger".  I wrestle with the idea of being online a lot, and as I remember back to my days of keeping the blog current, it seems I was always on the computer.  There are so many things we try to stay caught up on in life that lately the thought of broadcasting my thoughts into cyberspace feels a bit silly and unimportant.

BUT:  My kids really need a reason to write.  As much as I dislike change and technology, it's happening all around me; if I want my children to thrive it's likely that I need to recognize that fact and use it to our advantage.  I'm not into having them write with the idea that writing is the end, but the means to an end.  With that in mind I encouraged them to start up their own blog. I think they'll be so much more inspired and excited when I announce, "OK!  It's Language Arts time!" They launched their own blog once before while we were in the house-building mode, but between the generator system and satellite Internet, we were rarely able to get their posts published on the blog.  It was too discouraging to continue then, but circumstances have changed and we're at it again!

Ryley is taking online high school classes this year, so he's writing up a storm, for REAL reasons, as the means to an important end.
Josiah is very technology-minded.  Not only will he enjoy having a purpose to document his thoughts, he'll LOVE being to change formats, fonts, import things, etc...Plus, we have now completely switched over to the Mac (laptop and desktop) and it's just plain fun to play with! He's already written his first post and imported a picture from the web (which I've never even done before).
Isaac and Anna will bring their own personality to their blog.
Check in every now and then; I bet they'll update theirs much more often than I update this one!