Friday, August 27, 2010

A Neighborhood Parade, of sorts...

It was kind of like a parade.

A one-float, one block, neighborhood parade.

Eight houses down from us, a play set was left on the curb. We had been talking about enlarging our swing set, the play set on the curb was very similar to the addition we had been planning.

That got Kory thinking... which almost always leads to action.

So, last night, Grandpa brought the truck, neighbors provided a sled and manpower, and our little parade began.

Completed by an audience of neighborhood kids (mostly ours).

Kory's biggest concern was having enough manpower to transfer the play set.

As he was getting ready to go down and start the move, a couple walking their dogs stopped to chat. He offered to help.

Then as our strange little entourage approached the driveway, a man, who we never officially met but have seen around the neighborhood, jumped out of his van and offered his assistance as well as two rollered platforms.

We had the perfect amount of help exactly when we needed it.

As they moved into the yard, I thought how cool to have neighbors willing to help like that. People we barely know, as well as our next door neighbors made themselves available.

I've gotta think if there is a need most people want to help. Sometimes they don't know how, don't want to interfere, or just don't know.

If we put ourselves out there and ask, or accept help, a connection is made.

Giving, receiving, sharing, living together. In an age where it is easy to isolate yourself, sitting in front of the TV or computer, connection/community is becoming rare.

This made last night even more special.

I'm going to admit it, the thought of dragging a play set down the street struck me as a little awkward and slightly hilarious. I'm glad we did it (using the word "we" very lightly). It made me thankful for our neighbors, including the ones we don't really know.

And we got a free play set!

It needs a little sprucing up, but I think it will be the perfect addition!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: If I Could Ask God Anything

If I could Ask God Anything: Awesome Bible answers for curious kids by Kathryn Slattery could be a good resource to have on your child’s book shelf. It is filled with questions on topics ranging from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to Christian holidays, prayer, and being a Christian. All of the questions are centered on the Christian faith. The answers are simple, bible-based with very few going longer than one page. The questions cover a wide range from things like “If God loves people why do bad things happen?” or “What is communion?” to “Help! What should I do when I feel like a church service is boring?” and “Why do we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with Shamrocks?”

I don’t know if this is a book your child would read cover-to-cover. I doubt it. But if your child has questions about Christianity, this could be a handy resource to own.

As I said before, the answers are simple and short, but they could be a great way to start a conversation with your child. Or if your child has a question that you are not sure how to answer (or word), you could use this book as a starting place for both of you. I believe this resource would be best used by the parent and child together.

Older kids (at least older than mine who are ages 2-7) will benefit from this more than younger ones. At this stage in life I don't see us using this book that much, BUT I have a feeling as our kids get older this book may come in handy someday.

***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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An End and a Beginning

A few weeks ago we received a letter in the mail. It informed us that one of our Compassion kids is leaving the program and no longer needs a sponsor. They told us this is common for older kids. She is 16 and we have been exchanging letters for close to ten years. We had met face to face in the heat of El Salvador two years ago.

Now she is moving on. We will probably never have contact with her again, but our prayers will follow her wherever she goes. There is a little sadness, and a lot of thankfulness that we were given the chance to partner with God and play a small role in the life of a girl in El Salvador. I am trusting He used our sponsorship in Yesenia's life. I know He used it in ours.

And now we get to do it again. Only this time, we want to share the experience with our daughter.

The pictures of the children we sponsor are on our refrigerator. Our kids see their faces on a daily basis. Sometimes they read the letters we get, but it is really more our project than theirs. Mya is old enough for that to change.

The next child we sponsor will give Mya the opportunity to get involved. I hope the process will help broaden her world, so she can see a little more tangibly what life looks like in another part of the world, and that it will continue to grow in her a heart of compassion.

So, we are saying hello to Lebene. Lebene lives in Ethiopia. She is five years old and we are her sponsors. Mya chose her and will be the one writing her letters. I hope they will be friends.

Dear Lebene,
Hi. I'm Mya, my parents and I are your sponsors. I have one sister and three brothers. My sister's name is Suhn. My brothers names are Simon, Jonah and Sean. Simon and Jonah are twins. My parents are Megan and Kory. I am getting ready for school next week. I love to swim. We will pray for you and your family. We are so excited to be your sponsors. We love you.
Love, Mya

And so it begins. We get to partner once again with God's work, playing a small role in the life of a very special little girl living in Ethiopia.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child or learning more about Compassion please click here.

*On another note, THANK YOU for your comments and ideas on my last post. One of the things I love about blogging is the sharing of ideas and you all had great ones! Thanks for sharing!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The List

How do you motivate your kids to work? To complete and learn basic house-hold tasks?

I've tried chore charts before. The problem (for me). They take thought, planning and follow-through to be effective.

Last summer we used one. I printed charts off at the beginning of every week. We were pretty consistent through most of the summer. They worked, but this summer they sounded like too much work.

So I did nothing, and my kids did very little extra work around the house (with our trip to China this summer I didn't push in this training department anyway).

But now we are home and its time to get busy!

Earlier this week a friend commented that she makes a list of jobs for her kids to complete every morning. As a listy-type of person this appealed to me. Compared to chore charts, lists are low maintenance and non-committal. If a day is extra busy, we drop the list. No problemo.

So far, so good. I make a list each morning. They complete it by lunch time. If they need extra motivation, there are no fun extracurriculars until the list is complete (or no snack/dessert item at lunch).

In an effort to keep "the list" fun, I'm trying to come up with a variety of jobs. The same-old-same-old will get old fast. Some jobs that have appeared so far are washing the door window, sweeping the front porch, emptying wastebaskets, working on math flashcards, writing and coloring activities, reading.

As sad as this sounds.. I am running out of jobs.

The list won't work without jobs.

So, what are so jobs your kids are responsible for completing? I need ideas.

Our list will thank you.

Our kids may not.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Listening In

A little background: A couple of weeks ago I saw the beginnings of a wasp nest in our garage. I saw a wasp at that time, but haven't seen one since. I must have mentioned it to the kids. This morning, this is what I heard...

M: Simon and Jonah do you want to go out in the garage with me to get my book?

(apparently they know about the wasps nest too)

S: No

M: It will be so fun. We will run out really quick and run back.

J: I don't really want to.

M: God and Jesus will be with you and me and if you get stung it won't be a big deal we can just put some baking soda on it.

S: Is a wasp in the car?

M: Come on, this is your last chance.

And with that she convinced S to go with her, while J watched from the door with encouragement when they returned, "at least you didn't get stung!"

Friday, August 06, 2010


I am so excited for you to read this post because in it you will "meet" a kid who I am extremely proud of. My first memories of Vanya are him and Kory singing pop songs like "Beautiful Girl" and some JT song.:)

Today he is a Godly young man with a passion for Christ. Seriously I am so proud of him! Please take 2 minutes to watch the following video and then read on to learn more about this special young man and how God has worked in his life.

“I remember the first time I saw Vanya because there was something different about him. Yes, he was the only black kid in the orphanage, but more than that, there was something about his eyes that intrigued me.

“Vanya is a smart kid.” Denis, our director, told us. “He was abandoned as a newborn. His parents were students at the university and he is very smart.

I smiled at him and he smiled back. His outgoing personality was evident as he tried his hand at English. I met a lot of kids at that summer camp in 2004, but Vanya is the one I remember."

-Marla Ringger, Orphan Advocate

Vanya, then 13, was just learning the power of Christ’s love in his life. Recently Lifesong for Orphans had started a program at his home in Sachnovsheena Orphanage. And though Vanya resisted the Gospel at first, through the examples of volunteers and staff members, Biblical mentorship, and educational support he began to see Christ’s love in action, and knew this was something he wanted for himself.

Now at 19, Vanya continues to rise above standards and expectations. He lives in one of Lifesong’s Transition Homes in Kharkov, a home designed to support those aging out of the orphanage system, studies English at the local college, translates for Americans who come to visit, and mentors younger boys at the orphanage in the same way the Lifesong staff once mentored him!

We praise God for success stories like Vanya’s and are thankful for our partners who continue to support those like him both financially and in prayer!

Vanya from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

When the days are long.

One step forward, 4 steps back.

That is how this past week has felt. In some ways it feels like we are back at the beginning, that first hard week.

Realistically it is better.

She is attaching to me, which is good. On the other hand, when Kory gets home from work and I NEED a kiddie break the tears start (more like continue) to flow because she doesn't want Kory.

We've had lots of tears. Her. Me. Sean. Her again.

Sometimes all it takes is for Sean to enter the room.

She is so fragile. I understand that. She has had to deal with more in 2.5 years than many people have to deal with in a lifetime.

But it makes the days long.

I wish I could say I've been the perfect model of love and patience.

I can't.

Some days you might mistake me for the wicked stepmother. I feel like a villain.

Thankfully, other days I feel supernatural doses of love and patience flow my way, spilling over to Suhn and everyone else.

It's a process. A hard process.

I've been told nothing worth having comes easy.

Suhn is SO WORTH HAVING. She is worth the tears and frustrations. And so much more. She is our sweet China baby and she was meant to be a part of our family. Praise God!

I am thankful for the struggle. It is teaching me to love more. The real "love is patient love is kind" type of love. It has shoved my weaknesses into my face forcing me to depend on my Father and give thanks that His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

The days might be long for us right now, but no worries, we are in the good, safe, strong hands of our Savior. By his grace we are working through the hard, relishing the good and looking hopefully toward the days to come.