Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
We are leaving for Florida in two days, but we have been anticipating Florida for a LONG time.
Mya can't wait. She is more excited for Florida than she was for Christmas.
Kory can't wait. He needs a break from work.
The boys are clueless. But, if they could comprehend Florida, they would be excited too!
I can't wait. To have a break from the (sometimes) hum drumness of every day life sounds exquisite! A new (hopefully warm) setting, adults to talk to throughout the day, new experiences to share with my children (i.e. flying on a plane and going to the beach) all sound wonderful.
As I said, I can't wait.
The sad thing is, once it is over (and it will be very soon), I won't have Florida to look forward to anymore (at least in the near future). And, in all reality, our experience in Florida will never completely satisfy our desire to be there right now.
As C.S. Lewis puts it "The longings which arise in us when we...first think of some foreign land (or plan a trip to Florida)...are longings which no travel can really satisfy."
This again reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. It is by C.S. Lewis.
For those of you who have been reading since my blog began it will be review, but I think it is a quote worth reviewing.
C.S. Lewis says, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."
Heaven. That is a trip worth anticipating. And, the exciting thing about Heaven is it will be so much better than anything we can think or imagine. Florida will never satisfy - Heaven will exceed my expectations and COMPLETELY satisfy every longing I have ever had.
I can't wait!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2:8-20 (NLT)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
They were excited. Excited to open presents, yes. But also excited to watch their siblings open their presents. It was fun to watch!
Kory and I exchanged presents too.
Mine came in a big, microwave sized box. Which contained a smaller box, which contained a smaller box. (I remember watching my mom open similar presents from my dad.) I love what he got me - Kory is a great gift-giver. Because of the packaging, the actual gift was unexpected. It got me thinking...
So much of the Christmas story is unexpected.
A virgin girl gave birth to the Lord of Hosts. What must she have felt when the angel came to her? What was it like to hold the baby Jesus? What was it like to look into his eyes? God as a baby! What was it like?
Shepherds were the first to know. Poor, stinky shepherds out in a field! What was it like to see the angels singing, "Glory to God in the Highest!" What did they feel as they went to find the baby? when they saw him? What was it like?
Wise men traveled from afar. Foreigners bringing expensive gifts to a little, unknown Jewish boy. Why did they follow the star? What did they think they would find? What did they think when they found him? What was it like?
God giving the best gift ever given - his son. Jesus, leaving the glory of heaven to be born as a man. What was it like to bow down and worship him that first Christmas morning? To reach out and touch the hand of a baby who would save your soul. What was it like?
An unexpected story written by a God who loves us infinitely.
May you experience the wonder of the Christmas story this season.
May you be blessed with unexpected gifts in unlikely packages.
May you experience joy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus - the one who changed everything!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Happy Birthday Jesus.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Billy by William Paul McKay and Ken Abraham chronicles the early years of Billy Graham. It is told through the eyes of Charles Templeton a friend and fellow evangelist. It tells us about Billy before he became a household name: where he went to school, his early failures, how he met his wife and how he got his start as an evangelist. The book climaxes at a point where Billy has a crisis of faith and ends with the campaign that catapulted him into the public eye.
I’m guessing this book was written after the movie (yes there is a movie) was created. It felt like the author watched the movie and wrote the book accordingly. Regardless, it is an easy book to read, the material is interesting and it left me wanting to learn more about Billy Graham (I have added his autobiography Just As I am to my reading list).
One of my favorite moments came at the end of the book. Throughout the book Charles Templeton is being interviewed which is how the reader hears Billy’s story. (Templeton eventually became an agnostic and even wrote a book titled Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith.)
As his interview comes to a close the following happens:
“he suddenly grew quite emotional. ‘I believe Jesus was the greatest
teacher…the most moral person—‘ He stopped again and looked at Deborah [the
‘And…and if you will permit the expression…I
In a sense this book is as much about Charles Templeton as it is about Billy. It tells the story of two men who started out sharing the Good News of Christ and ended up walking down drastically different roads.
If you any of this perks your interest and you decide to pick up Billy, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
My expert ranking: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
We will begin our tour in the "family room," the most used room in the house.
To get a true feel for the room, take a moment to imagine a fire in the fireplace, a Christmas movie on the TV, and small children in their soft fleece PJS. Then add in a toy-strewn floor, a struggle for seat position and the consistent requesting of snacks and you will have an accurate picture of what a night in this room looks like.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Company is coming, of the overnight variety.
I kinda need to clean the bathroom. You know so they aren't completely repulsed by the way we live and never return.
Cleaning the bathroom...
What else could I do?
read a few blogs, take some Christmas cards out to the mail box, tell a 3 year old he can't have another snack right now, argue with him for an additional 5 minutes (whose the mom here?), pick up the bedrooms (I'm not a complete slacker!), write a blog on cleaning the bathroom, read a few more blogs, schedule a hair cut, stare aimlessly out the window at the pretty snow falling...
switch the laundry, apply stain remover to the lip gloss colored bedspread, rescue a crying baby, put the same baby to bed, get a snack for the boys, discuss my eye color with a three year old, ignore a whining child, check the laundry to see how much time is left...
Then again, I could go upstairs and clean the bathroom.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
My friend Emily is celebrating the everyday today. And I want to join her.
Time is a funny thing, it can drag by one minute, and fly the next. The older I get the quicker it seems to fly. I am still in awe that my baby is one year old. Didn't we just tell people we were expecting? How does that happen?
Time is unrelenting. It continues to march forward, even when you ask it ever so politely to stand still.
Time won't stop moving, so I better enjoy the moments. Especially the everyday ones. After all, those are the ones that make up a lifetime.
There are countless moments throughout my day, when I'm looking, that I wish I could bottle up. My brain just isn't reliable enough and camera's don't seem to do them justice. I wish I could bottle:
- the comical looks - the way he makes his eyes do that!
- the spontaneous hugs given by little hands without prompting
- the smells of PJ's laced with maple syrup
- the singing done when it seems no one is paying attention
- the funny, funny words that come out of little mouths
- the building of gigantic snowmen with daddy
- the spontaneous dance parties
- the excitement in my little girl's face as she tells me about her day at school
- the snuggling on the sofa as the entire family watches a favorite show
Once those moments are safely imprisoned in my little bottle, I could pull them out and relive them whenever I wanted. Just like the first time.
But, I can't do that. So I try to memorize them in my mind's eye. I try to take pictures. I try to write down the memories. I try to really live the moments so they stick somehow...
That is I try to live the moments when I remember how fleeting they are. Too often, I am too busy to notice. Or too tired. Sometimes I notice, but choose not to join in and live the moment.
Honestly, today it feels hard to unwrap the everyday. It feels hard to create (or even participate) in those moments that make memories. Today I'd rather crawl back in bed and go to sleep.
Which makes this post a good reminder for me. I have been challenged by my friend Emily over the past week (find a few of those posts here and here). I am thankful for the reminder to live in and celebrate the everyday.
And, even though I don't feel like it today, I'm going to try to look for and participate in those everyday moments that make up my life... and celebrate them.
Unfortunately, there can only be one winner. Fortunately there is a winner and that winner is...
Merry Christmas everyone.
Remember, even if you didn't win - you can still purchase the CD at this site. 100% of the net proceeds will benefit orphans so it is a win-win-win!
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Merry Christmas Everyone!
We are slowly wading through the mounds of paperwork, building steam as we go. The further in to it we get, the less overwhelmed we feel - most days anyway.
Our agency is very organized - that helps.
And, we are making progress - that's good.
Along with the paperwork, payment deadlines loom. Payment for the home study. Payment to the adoption agency. Lots of little payments as we sift through the paperwork. Payments to certify and authenticate. Payments to the Chinese government. It is more than a little scary.
The high cost of adoption is a barrier for a lot of people. It was #2 on my list of reasons why we should not adopt. Adoption is expensive, and we don't don't have that much money sitting in our bank account.
So, I am learning to trust.
Psalm 50:10 states that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Matthew 10:30 tells us God knows the number of hairs on our head.
He is a God with unlimited resources.
He is a God who knows me intimately and loves me anyway.
He is a God who will provide for our needs as we move forward in this adoption.
Obviously we need to be good stewards of what He has given. We cannot act foolishly with our money and expect God to grow a money tree in the backyard. He doesn't work that way.
But, I can trust him to provide for my needs.
When I let go of my financial worries and turn them over to my Father, I start to get excited.
I also get excited when I see His people band together to help lessen the financial barriers to adoption. There are a few organizations out there who offer grants and interest-free loans to families pursuing adoption.
Lifesong for Orphans is one of them.
We are hoping to work with this organization to raise funds once we get a little further down the paperwork road.
When I look at the bills that will be due as a result of this adoption, I get a lump in my stomach. I worry that we won't be able to pay for things on time.
Then I remember... my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He will provide.
I need to trust.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I am slightly biased regarding this little project. The vocals were done by my sister AND the CD was produced by my dad.
It is a great CD!!!
Even better, by purchasing this CD you automatically become an orphan advocate.
All proceeds from Journey On will be donated to Lifesong for Orphans. That means your purchase will have an impact on orphans in Ukraine, Zambia and India. To find out more, visit http://www.lifesongfororphans.org/. While you are there be sure to check out Lifesong's Christmas Catalog.
The price of one CD is $15. I'm sure Lifesong would not object if you wanted to pay more. :)
To order this CD, visit Lifesong's website. Then find the contact us page. Send an e-mail to the address on the page requesting a CD.
There you go, Christmas shopping done.