Thursday, April 22, 2010

Puddle Jumping

I love watching spring rain fall outside my windows. As a somewhat practical adult, my delight tends to stay safe inside appreciating the soothing sound of falling rain, delighting in the green it brings as well as the added coziness that creeps into my kitchen.

And while there is nothing wrong with enjoying a spring rain from the inside, my children know better than to stop there. Spring rains are meant to be played in. The residue the waters leave behind are meant to be exploited to the fullest. I love the layers children add to my life.

Recently, a torrential springtime downpour transformed our backyard it into a temporary water park.

So out they tromped, grabbing the opportunity to put their new galoshes to good use.

And while the water quickly turned to mud...

Springtime memories were created.

A moment which may be forgotten by the little minds who inspired and made it happen, but this mamma's heart won't forget. An all-too practical adult spending the afternoon splashing in puddles. A sprinkle of childhood. A gift to unwrap.

My Cup 2 Yours is talking about Spring today. Hop on over to read more!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Final Stage of Pregnancy

Do you remember that stage of pregnancy?

The one at the very end. When the new baby's arrival is imminent.

That point when you tell yourself baby could come at any time, even though realistically she won't for at least a couple more weeks.

That stage when you are ready. Ready for baby to come. yesterday. Even though it means sleepless nights, diaper changes and a complete disruption of life as you know it.

That stage where almost every thought is directed toward baby. Where the Internet feeds your obsession via searches on baby products and blogs. Lots of blogs on babies.

Do you remember that stage?


We still have a few more hoops to jump through before Travel Approval comes our way. Hopefully around the first of June we will be on our way to China.

I am waiting. Not so patiently waiting if I'm being honest.

Because I am ready to bring my girl home.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Dealing with Ordinary

Life can be mundane, if you let it.

Ordinary days filled with the same old, same old. Same routines, same chores, same battles.

Every so often a little taste of different comes along. A trip. An outing. A conversation with an old friend. Something a little out of the ordinary. Something as small as the first walk of spring after a long winter.

These tastes of different bring flavor to ordinary days, but sometimes its hard to seek out the different and let it overpower the ordinary, even for a moment.

The ordinary takes over. Covering life like a thick wool blanket. Making the future seem like nothing more then more of the same. A little bit of Ecclesiastics thinking creeps in, you know the "meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless" kind of thinking?

Have you ever been there?

Even with the adventure of China and bringing Suhn home, the fear of living nothing more than an ordinary life grips me.

And then I read about Brother Lawrence and some much needed perspective comes breezing in, removing the wool blanket.

Do you know Brother Lawrence? He was a monk whose job for 15 years was washing pots and pans. A simple, unglamourous job. The SAME job for 15 years.

And this is what he said,

"My day-t0-day life consists of giving God my simple loving attention."

He also said, "We should offer our work to Him before we begin, and thank Him afterwards for the privilege of having done them for His sake."

And that, I believe is the secret to an extraordinary, un-ordinary life. It is not so much in what we do with our day-to-day, but the attitude we do it with as we remember who we do it for.

Whether he calls us to do "great things" or places us in obscurity, we need to remember we are living in the presence of God and that every action we take, no matter how small, is for His sake.

This practice of living in His presence brings joy and purpose to the most mundane of lives and that is an extraordinary thing!

*Brother Lawrence quotes were taken from the book God, Discover His Character by Bill Bright.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The No Monster

He looks innocent enough. To the untrained eye he can be as sweet as pie,

but lurking beneath those baby blue eyes is a dark side. A monster hidden just below the surface...

If you ask his name, he'll gladly tell you. He's had lots of practice.

One word... NO.

Grandmas may try to come to his defense. They may even deny that a monster lurks beneath the surface of their darling grand baby ready to defy and terrify those who cross his path.

Don't believe them. They've been suckered by the disarming smile, baby soft skin and toddler-like, hug-delivering hands. He's got them wrapped around his peanut butter-laced fingers. Right where he wants them.

But I'm not fooled. I've seen the cold, hard evidence. The no-monster has reared his ugly head one to many times for me to deny his existence.

If you risk exposing yourself to him for any length of time, you'll see what I mean. Years of being the baby have made him an expert at his craft. Cross him the wrong way and he will spit up a NO faster than you can say burp rag. He knows thousands of different ways to say it. Each tone specially created to get his point across. He uses them often. He uses them well.

Some say knowing is half the battle. Others retort a good offence is the best defence. In my experience the best way to send the no monster into hiding is this: Sit tight and stick to your guns.

In my little no-monsters life, this line of defence looks a lot like this:

You'd think sitting in the "time-out chair" for extended periods of time would be enough to chase the no-monster away for good.

You'd think...

Unfortunately, the mind of a toddler will always be a mystery.

Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Follow Anne's Blog.

One of my favorite bloggers, Anne Jackson at, is currently touring Moldova and Russia with Children's Hope Chest. I'd encourage you to follow her blog over the next week. It is hard, hard stuff, but maybe there is something we can do.

russia badge1 Sharing is Good


Because I'm a fan of his, and because my sister actually finished his book, and because his book is next on my reading list, and because I liked another one of his video clips so much, and because I saw this clip on a friend's blog and thought it was profound...

Here is a little bit from Francis Chan... Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Lifesong in Ethiopia

Would you like to see what Lifesong is doing in Ethiopia?

Then by all means, read on!

We found many of the students in the Ziway Lifesong School were coming to school hungry and brought no food for lunch. Teachers complained of lack of attention on the students’ part. Lifesong initiated a school feeding program in November, 2009, for all 300 students at the school.

For breakfast each receives fafa, a porridge-like food that provides the nutrients that each growing child needs. The lunch menu rotates through a cycle of fish soup, the national foods of shiro and injera, vegetable beef soup, and pasta.

Now that the Adami Tulu Nursery School has re-opened, Lifesong has also started a similar breakfast and lunch feeding program there.

The Ziway school feeding program, in which 300 children are fed two meals each day, has been very successful. Caregivers, teachers, and the students themselves report that they are much healthier, more attentive in class, and have more muscle and skin tone.

Sustaining the program of feeding each student a nutritious breakfast and lunch at the Adami Tulu School will take additional funding and special logistics. However, if it is God’s will, we know that He will provide what is necessary for the feeding program. On the first day of the feeding program, all students were measured for their height and weight and this data was recorded. Several children were found to be malnourished. Now that we have this statistical data, we intend to monitor the students’ progress.

In Ethiopia, $3 feeds 1 child for a month!

Monday, April 05, 2010

I am a Peanut.

The world does not revolve around me.

I know that. But sometimes, my world does.

Every word spoken I take personally. A weird look and I wonder what I did wrong. Everything comes down to how it will affect my life.

When my world shrinks down to me alone, it is time for a healthy dose of perspective.

It's time to step back and remind myself that I am just one peanut in a jar taking up a bit of space in the snack isle of a mega grocery store.

It's time to remember that the story is not about me. I get to participate in the story, but it is not about me.

It is about my all-powerful God who spoke the world into being. A world so big that if our galaxy the Milky Way (a relatively small galaxy) was the size of North America, our solar system would be the size of a coffee cup.*

My God who, despite my peanut status, knows me, has a purpose for me (a part to play in His story) AND gives me access to His power so that His purpose can be fulfilled.

It is utterly unbelievable.

The only response I can think of is to take my eyes off of me and worship my Creator. As Bill Bright says in his book, God Discover His Character, "All you can do is bow down before Him in humble adoration, servitude and worship."

"The Lord merely spoke and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He gave the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let everyone in the world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of Him. For when He spoke, the world began. It appeared at His command. The Lord shatters the plans of nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken."
Psalm 33:6-11

*This stat was taken from Bill Bright's God, Discover His Character.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Jane Austen - A Book Review

“Janeia”, Peter Leithart’s term for the mania of all things Austen, may apply to me.

I must admit I am a fan, and as I am not the only one, ample material has been supplied to feed my love of all things Jane. Movies like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma rank among my favorites (BBC versions included). I couldn’t wait to see the movie Becoming Jane when it released. And, let’s not forget the media that gave rise to Janeia in the first place… the books. I’ve read all, but Northanger Abby and that is on my list.

All this to say, when I saw that Thomas Nelson was publishing a series of short biographies and Jane Austen was on the list, I grabbed it immediately.

The small 150 page book was a quick read. I must admit, the first chapter or two left my eyes glazed over as my mind wandered elsewhere, but that changed as I got to know Jane, or Jenny as she was known to her family.

I was glad to get to know the real Jenny (who’s life does not, by the way match very closely to the Jane we discovered in the movie, Becoming Jane, especially in the romance department).

Nevertheless, the real Jane was as likable as her heroines with a smart sense of humor. If you have read her books you could hardly imagine anything less. Her biography is filled with letters written by Jane, to Jane and about Jane, chronicling her life and giving readers insight into the woman credited with birthing the modern novel.

If you have participated in Janeia on any level and want to know more about the lady who inspired it almost 200 years ago, I would recommend the biography Jane Austen by Peter Leithart. I’m guessing it will give you a greater appreciation for the work of Jane Austen, as well as the woman herself.

***DISCLOSURE NOTICE: A free copy of this book was supplied to me for the purpose of review by Thomas Nelson Publishing. No monetary exchange was given. All comments and wording in this review are purely my own.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Attempts at Craftiness with Decoupage

Over the last several weeks, my crafty side has decided to peek out. On a small, decoupaging level at least.

Suhn's adoption has been the inspiration for this new venture. The two projects I've completed center around her and her names, both her English one and her Chinese one.

It all started when I discovered that her Chinese name came from a Chinese saying. Translated into English the saying goes, "A fall of seasonal snow gives a promise of a fruitful year." Our agency was able to send me the Chinese version and I turned it into my own little art project. I want to introduce elements of China into our home. I figured this was a good place to start.

The main cost came in the form of the picture frame. Most of the paper came from old Real Simple magazines, with a few sheets of scrapbook paper thrown in. Add in a bottle of decoupage glue for $6 and this is what I came up with:

My next project involved Suhn's English name. All of our kids have their names on the walls of their bedrooms. The boys have wooden letters painted in yellow. Mya, the firstborn, has small canvas letters from Pottery Barn.

I wanted to do something fun without spending a lot of money so I decided to put my trusty bottle of decoupage glue to work. I purchased four 8 X 10 canvas squares from Hobby Lobby along with sheets of scrapbook paper. I blew up and printed off Suhn's name in a font I liked in MS word and went to work.

I am excited about the final project (look too close or you will see numerous mistakes from an amateur crafter).

I'm even more excited about the price. I spent less than $12.

How about you? If you've experienced the fun of decoupage what have you created? I still have some left and would love more ideas!