Thursday, June 26, 2008
Apparently it is not enough for me to be "just" a stay at home mom. When Kylynn was about 6 months old I started looking around for "something to do". Because being a full time mom: nursing, changing diapers, and entertaining a baby were not enough. Since all I had to do with my free time was run our household, run the errands, grocery shopping and cooking, bill paying, and cleaning. Nah...that was nothing, I needed to do something to fill my time. So I volunteered for a ministry. Now at that time I had prayed about it for some time, God brought the opportunity into my life and so I feel like God wanted me to use my time on that ministry. But the older Kylynn got the more volunteering I added, I mean if I can do one ministry when she's 6 months old, I can do a lot when she's two years old!
My point is not that I am an ultra holy lady and look at me and all I do. My point is I do not think that I (or any of you other women who also struggle with this) are bringing God much glory when we volunteer for ministries 1) without consulting Him, 2) that we don't have time for and therefore causes us to give less (needed) time to our families, and 3)that wear us out so that we are not good at any of the things we do.
During the book group/Bible study on Wednesday a lady read from 2 Samuel 21: 15-17, where David is older and goes into a battle that he should of let other people fight. He grows faint and is almost killed before his men save him and tell him he is never to go to battle again so that the lamp of Israel is not quenched (Jesus, the messiah was to come from the line of David). Then she said, it's not your battle to fight, it's God's battle and He can handle it. You could have knocked me over with a feather. In my heart I must believe that it's my battle to fight, that God cannot accomplish this or that ministry without me, as prideful as that sounds. If not I would not stretch myself so thin that I grow faint and need other people to come in and rescue me.
Here's the truth, service to God is very important and he asks it of us. However God does not need us, He chooses to work through us. He is all powerful and can accomplish His will apart from me. I wish more Christians would use their time for the advancement of God's kingdom, but it's not my job to do twice as much as I can to make up for them. When those situations arise, I need to step back and pray, for God to provide someone for that ministry so that I can serve God well in the ones I am truly called to and so that I do not take someone else's place. I show an immaturity in my faith when I pile every ministry need on my back and start to walk along, I show that I think it is my job to save this world and that I must rely on my strength to get it all done. Instead I need to remember that my God has overcome this world and all that's in it, He is the savior of the world, and it is only by His strength that I do anything.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This is what caused me Saturday morning to be daydreaming of our "fall" and for the summer to be over, gladly thinking to myself that soon it would be over, just hours later my friend informed me that it was actually only the FIRST day of summer. This was totally crushing, being a stay at home mom I rarely know concretely what month or day it is, so I genuinely believed the summer was soon to be over.
When I reflect on my childhood in Maryland, I will quickly tell you that I do not miss the snow. I miss the seasons, even winter, I miss fall like an old friend, I miss the summers where going out to enjoy them did not mean risking death, I miss the spring that lasted for more than 1 week, but I do not miss the snow. If someday I again live somewhere with seasons, and a summer that does not last 5+ months, I will say, I miss Texas dearly, but I do not miss the heat!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Kylynn's first time on the beach in a year, I've never seen her love something so much so quick, she wanted to live there. She especially loved being in the water.
Notice how I am sitting in a chair, that is my preferred location when at a beach although I did venture into the water with Kylynn to give Kyle a break.
Kylynn and Audrey (our friend's daughter and Kylynn's best friend) taking a bath together after a day at the beach. Kylynn is saying "cheese" apparently she hasn't perfected a fake smile yet :)
We took the kiddos to Moody Garden's Rain Forest, it was really fun, there is live animals and birds that roam free. Kylynn looking at fish in the water.
I hope y'all are enjoying your summer as much as we are!
Monday, June 16, 2008
There is a book titled What a difference a Daddy makes by Kevin Leman. If you are the father of a girl, I think this is one of the most important books to read. On this father’s day I’m here to tell you that it is indeed true. The way you raise your daughter (fathers) will forever shape who she is, what she believes about herself, and her perception of God.
I remember the first time I realized that not all fathers were as wonderful as mine. I was probably about 8 to 10 years old and we were having dinner at another family’s house. We were eating fried chicken and so when I went to make my plate I took a breast (because I don’t like dark meat). The father of that family told me I needed to take a leg because the white meat was for the adults. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but it struck me then and has never left me, that my dad always let us take the food first and then he would fill his plate, my father would never take the best and give me the leftovers.
I have been in many bible studies where women struggled greatly with the idea of God as our “Father”. For them the person that was father represented a lot of pain in their lives and I could tell that this caused a great struggle when they tried to relate to God on that very important level. I always feel so overwhelmingly blessed in those moments, not because my father is perfect, but because he was a wonderful example of the father, God is to us, and that is the way God designed it to be. We are made in His image and we are to try and parent in His image.
These are the things my father taught me that I believe God too teaches us, I was so blessed to have learned them first from my earthly father so that I would be able to believe my heavenly Father. He loves me unconditionally, really, even if I mess up horribly he still loves me. He will lovingly discipline me when I disobey, this if for my good so that I can learn to be an adult who disciplines ones self. To not discipline me would have been to fail me and to cause an unhappy future. He put my needs before my own, he changed my diapers (not as many as you mom!) even when that was not his first choice of activities. By doing this he taught me the ability to put other’s needs before my own and this pleases God. He taught me I am beautifully and wonderfully made and I should not allow anyone to treat me otherwise, this is also how God views His children also and He does not want us to allow others to harm us or for us to harm ourselves. He taught me about faith, that it is a journey forever moving along hopefully growing closer to God, but inevitably having times when we grow distant. But the faith I’ve learned assures me even in those dark times our God is still there with a love a million times greater even then the love my father showed to me, and let me tell you that’s saying something!
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Today I was sitting in the kitchen and this song came on and it was exactly what I needed from God at that moment, being God and all I guess He knew that. :)
When I heard,
"Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary"
it gave me great comfort, to remember that God is strong enough to get me through this sometimes tiring journey of adoption and the trials we will surely face in the future, He does not faint and He won't grow weary, praise God!
When I heard,
"You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles"
It was a great reminder of how God is my child's defender right now, there is not many weaker than a baby that is an orphan. It brought me peace to know that He will comfort my child through the hard times that lay ahead for him. Praise God!
He restored me through this one song, so that I can say, even when our process has momentarily stalled (no children were released during May), "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord"
Sunday, June 8, 2008
This week we learned about the trinity it will be on the web for listening on Monday, you can click here to listen to it and each Monday you can go back to that website and hear the next sermon in the series. That is also where you can go for a podcast, but don't ask me how to do it, I don't know! :)
I know that we are all so busy, but these sermons have really just made me so excited, I'm praying that this will be an amazing summer of change for me, that by the end of it God will have made me more like Him. And hey if you're fasting from TV with me, listening to these sermons is a great thing to do instead.
Speaking of the TV fast I thought I'd list the things I'm excited about finding time for while I'm doing it, in case it gives you any good ideas:
1. Sit on the front (or back) porch in the evening, by this time the heat feels good and you can look out and appreciate God's creation, or watch your kiddos play!
2. Have a conversation with your spouse (or friend). Not one of those dreaded conversations about something that's bothering you but a fun conversation. Read an article together and discuss, Kyle and I always do that with this article. Or tell each other what your dream job is and why...
3. Read a book out loud with your spouse/friend. Kyle and I read all seven Harry Potter's this way, it was a lot of fun! And if you don't like to read with another person, read a series of books by yourself.
4. Do a craft, ok those who know me well please stop laughing! I aspire to do some crafts this summer, what I know how to do is knitting and tiling, but do whatever you enjoy.
5. Run. Ok again, please stop laughing! I dream of learning how to run, it probably will never happen, but maybe just maybe I'll start to try this summer. Or do any fun exercise you like, swimming, bicycling, dancing.
6. Shop. What more can I say, go to Target or your favorite clothes store at night without your child(ren), it is bliss!
7. Hang out with friends, way back in the day, I used to hang out with my friends and do whatever, once you get married and especially have kids, you stop doing this (or at least I did). Call up your friend and go to the movies or for coffee.
8. Take a class. I met my most bestest friend (like that title, H) at a knitting class that our city offered. Most cities have all kinds of classes through one organization or another, try a Salsa dancing class, or pottery, or photography, or CPR, whatever floats your boat.
9. Read a classic. Ok, so maybe my definition of classic literature isn't what the librarian says, but you know read a good, old, long book that you've always wanted to read! :) I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath.
10. Cook. I know we never have time to cook, but without TV maybe we do. You can cook at night and eat it the next day, or make stuff and freeze it. I actually find cooking a lot of fun, especially when it's an activity with a glass of wine and music, not a mad rush at five o'clock.
11. Listen to a CD. You know the way you did in high school, where you'd play it and read the lyrics and get caught up in it. Listen to a CD and really enjoy it!
Friday, June 6, 2008
It is then that by some miracle someone must be praying for me, because God shows me why I should cherish the wait. And when I let Him walk with me and remind me all the good that is going on right now, the good that would be different if we had our child home, I breathe in deeply and smile. Here's why I cherish the wait.
First is Kylynn. She is all mine and I am all hers. I am her best friend and constant companion and I love every minute of it. Except for the days when we go to the grocery store (remember that story!) I think it should be called the terrific twos not the terrible twos. Here are some things about her that I know I would miss in part or would be different if we had another child right now. She loves to pray, we pray at least 5 times a day, and yesterday (for the first time I witnessed) she bowed her head and prayed by herself, "Dear Jesus, yada yada yada Daddy yada yada, Amen! It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. She is talking up a storm and everyday she says something else profound, I love that I get to hear everything she has to say. She is my little helper, she helps me do chores, cook, and care for the dog. We get to go on all kinds of adventures (no waiting on sleeping babies for us!) we went to the movies the other day, the zoo, the park, whatever we want to do!
Second, I remember who I am again. When I had Kylynn the combination of sleep deprivation and newness of it all left me in a daze. I no longer felt, look, or even acted like "myself". When you have only a two year old, you get a full night of sleep, you can take the time to get your body back in shape/feeling good, you can re-discover the joy you experienced from serving the Lord. It has been a huge blessing to me to get re-involved in the ministries that mattered to me, plus new ones that God has laid on my heart now, and attending regular bible studies, I would not be doing these things if I had a new baby.
Third, I'm learning what my marriage looks like now that we have a child. I think after two years we've finally got it down (mostly), it takes a lot of re-adjusting to add a person to the family and I appreciate the time in between to fully adjust to the first person before adding the next. I also get to experience the joy of watching my husband be a daddy, in all the years before Kylynn I never loved anything about Kyle as much as I love watching him be her daddy, it blows me away.
Finally, I'm being stretched and molded into the woman God wants me to be. Every time I think I've become a "super-Christian" :) God throws something at me so that I realize wow! my faith is small and I am easily knocked off course. I need the wait, because it allows me time with God to learn about who He is. The more I get to know Him, the more I am changed, the stronger my faith becomes, the more I can live for Him and not for me. Something tells me the longer I have children and the more I add to the mix the stronger my faith will need to be. Even when I'm just clinging to it, I believe in God's absolute goodness and his absolutely perfect plan for my life. So I rest in that and try to remember to cherish the wait, for God has given me this time of waiting and all things work for the good for those who love the Lord.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
My brother-in-law recently jumped out of a plane, by choice, I would never choose to do that I'm not that big of a risk taker. Or am I, some of you might consider what I'm doing even crazier than jumping out of a plane! :) I am going on a TV fast. That's right, it's just like what it sounds like, I am going to be fasting (going without) TV for the next month or two. Family Life started this idea of a TV fast many years ago and I took part in it way back in 2002 and I thought it was great.
Back in 2002 the idea of going on a TV fast seemed like the end of the world to me. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was very addicted to TV, I watched it several hours a day, and it was my friend. But then one day I realized that I sat around and thought about what was going to happen in these pretend people's lives way more than I thought about God. I also "didn't have time" for quiet times, a good prayer life, or being involved in any ministries. It turns out I did have time but I was choosing to give it all to the television, it was sad! So one night I heard about the TV fast that Family Life was doing, it was during the month of August when it was only re-runs anyways, I figured, what the heck, what have I got to loose.
Turns out it wasn't the end of the world, it was even kind of fun. It was one of many things God has used in my life in the past six years to change me and mold me into a woman He can use. But I know not all of you have TV issues like I do so why bother with a TV fast, well there are many other benefits. The biggest one is TIME!! it is amazing how many things you can get done if you completely cut out TV for a month. And I'm not just talking about chores, you can have a lot of fun with your family and read books you've wanted to read for years. The most important reason is a closeness with God, it is amazing how hard it is to hear the Lord speaking to us when the world is screaming at us through our televisions. We don't have cable and are very careful about what we allow ourselves to watch on TV/Movies and still the messages that come into my home that cause me to sin in a number of ways or believe things that are lies is shocking.
I know that a lot of people are going to laugh at me on this one, but just give it some thought and some prayer and see what you think. I promise you it will make a difference in your life and in your family. And at the end of a month (or however long you choose) you can watch TV again, in time for the Olympics! It is re-run season after all.
In case you're in here's a list of 10 things to do when not watching TV:
by Rob Flood
By God's incredible design, the gravitational pull of the sun keeps the planets from drifting randomly throughout space. It unites them into a "family" of heavenly bodies called our solar system. Without the sun keeping us together, all life on earth would be impossible. Orbits would not exist and chaos would reign.
Families have "suns" as well. Throughout time, they have held families together by their gravitational pull. Years ago, it was the farm or the family trade. But in many American homes today, the family "sun" is called the television. This sun is often the central point of a family's relationships. Nearly all time spent together is spent staring into this "sun". Our conversation often orbits around what we've seen … or missed.
Many people are upset about the quality of television programming today. But television's real problem is that it's a time thief. We allow it to reign over our marriages and our children. We allow it to infringe on nearly any and every area of our lives.
Consequently, we miss out on some of the best God has for us. TV is not the only culprit. There are others … many others. However, some of the others do not have a power button.
Some Christian organizations such as FamilyLife encourage families to take a fast from television. You may wonder, "If we fasted from TV, what would we do instead?" Below are some suggestions for alternatives to watching television. Even if turning it off completely is an unbearable thought to you, consider these ideas for replacing a portion of your television-watching time.
You will be surprised at how little you will miss the time of watching. You'll be blessed at what you'll discover. And you'll be just a little sad that you hadn't tried it before.
- Sleep My wife and I have three small children. As busy as they keep us, we are completely unable to watch television until they are asleep. However, there is a reality that is hard to face—we are tired, too. Even parents with older children get tired. Between running from baseball to ballet to band concerts, families are exhausted. And yet many parents make it worse by sacrificing sleep to watch their favorite shows.
Once the duties of the day are done, rather than turning on the TV, you could turn out the lights. Think of the energy you'd have if you invested your evening "watching" time in longer nights of sleep.
- Talk Whether it is a particular child with a certain issue or some personal, financial, or spiritual goal, there is always something to talk about. Even beyond the practical conversations, there are hopes in our hearts and events in our lives that we rarely share with those who are closest to us. One of the reasons for this is that we don't take the time to talk with each other. Additionally, our children are growing and changing before our eyes. The time we have left with them grows shorter and shorter each day. How sad that the TV steals the time from us. If we'll just turn it off once in a while, we will find the time to get to know our children, and keep getting to know them.
- Play Games The point here is not to invest in blood-thirsty competition, rise above the rest and declare your ownership of both Boardwalk and Park Place. The point is to create some great fun together as a family, or even as a couple. Play some games that require no vulnerability or stress. Other times, play some games that will help you get to know each other. These games can spur on conversation. Like the television, playing games is still entertainment. However, unlike television, playing games builds relationships.
- Read Books Some books are entertaining; some books are educational. Many that circulate in Christian circles help us know God and people better. In my home, there must be 20-30 books that I have bought with excitement and have never taken the time to read. Before I can open even one of the books, I must be willing to turn off the TV. And don't forget the lost art of reading as a family. Books like The Chronicles of Narnia, Little House on the Prairie, and even The Lord of the Rings make for much more enriching entertainment than any of those same stories in video form. The corporate imagination of your family will be engaged in fresh ways as you read together.
- Home Projects Do you have a corner of your home or garage where your "to-do projects" await completion? In my home, we have actually painted rooms two years after we've bought the paint for that room. It sat in a corner of our garage until I found the time. Whether you own your home or not, surely there are things you've expressed a desire to accomplish in your home that you have not yet done. By turning off the TV, you will have the found time you need to accomplish what you cannot now.
- Pray The Scriptures tell us to pray for our pastors and our governmental leaders—even those we don't like. We're told to pray for our families, for our nation and for the return of Christ. Many of us have children. As parents, we are called to pray for our children's current and future needs, not to mention pleading with the Lord for help in parenting them well. Then we are told to pray for the sick and for those who are investing their lives in the gospel. And don't forget the need to pray for the lost. Have you wondered, as I have, where to find the time for all of this prayer?
With the TV off, you will be able to invest time in prayer. Pray alone. Pray with your spouse. Pray with your children. As Christians, we like to tell people, "I'll pray for you." Yet, instead of keeping our word, we'll switch on the TV and allow that time to be stolen from us. Fight that tendency. Turn off the television—and pray.
- Intimacy The story of a man who gave his best years to the company is a familiar one, and an easy target. How familiar is the story of the couple that routinely gave their most alert and energetic hours each day to the television leaving only their most fatigued hours for each other? We don't hear it much, but it is all too common. Instead of living in this often unrecognized regret, agree with your spouse that your best hours belong to each other. You'll undoubtedly see the benefit in your time together and in your relationship. And, who knows, you may also find it far more entertaining than television could ever be.
- Minister Just a couple of weeks ago, I heard an active church-going couple declare that they were too busy to minister to people. I don't know all that consumes this family's time. I do know they never miss an episode of "Survivor," though.
There are needy people all around us. They are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members, even our pastors. We rob ourselves of giving and receiving ministry by allowing TV to occupy a prominent place in our lives. A well-intentioned 30-minute phone call will mean more to a person than an episode of any reality TV show you might watch.
- Get to Know People Becoming a student of people is important if we are ever to minister well. We would all agree that Jesus ministered perfectly to people. He knew our hearts and our make-up. He made us—naturally He knew us. Getting to know people not only takes more work for us; it also takes more time. With the amount of quality resources available in the local Christian bookstore and through the Internet, we are left with no reason for not ministering to people other than "we are just too busy." Take some time to discover how people work. You will see the benefit of that in your family relationships as well as your ministry relationships.
- Get to Know God's Word God has used mankind across nearly two millennia to capture His will and His heart in a collection of writings called the Bible. Life, both now and eternally, is found within its pages. Guidance for every problem and shortcoming we have is found there. Love beyond description is promised and granted there.
What would happen if, for 30 consecutive days, you spent just a portion of your television-watching time reading through some books of the Bible you have never heard of? What would happen if you did that for a year? Television cannot promise that type of life change. How much better is the investment of time in the Word than the investment in television? The answer is beyond what words could communicate.
Discovering some of the best God has for us is just a single push-of-a-button away. Have the courage to turn it off. Then discover the countless other ways you could better spend your time. The regret will be short lived. The blessings could very well be eternal.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Since we are blessed to have a child it was not of utmost importance (for us) that we adopt an infant, as you can do by going through a domestic adoption agency that works with pregnant woman who wish to place their child up for adoption. The idea of adopting a baby that has just been born so that the only parent he ever knows is you is, for obvious reasons, very appealing. It is my understanding that they do not have as hard of a time finding parents for the unborn children of these pregnant moms, so we took that into consideration. Of course any child that is being placed for adoption needs to be adopted so I think it is a wonderful choice to choose a private domestic adoption, however we wanted to adopt a child that had a lower chance of being adopted. If you would like more information on an adoption of this kind I have stumbled onto some wonderful blogs of people who are in the process or have adopted from the same private agency and live here in College Station.
Sit a Spell
The Bacak Nation
The second domestic adoption option is to adopt through the state, which are children removed for various reasons by Child Protective Services. I cannot tell you how much I admire the people that foster and adopt through this process, if more Christians would become involved in fostering and adopting these children the system would be completely different than it is today. However, for us after praying about it we did not feel like that was the path God was taking us down. Having spent a short period of my life working at a job that was part of the "system" I just felt unprepared to become part of it on a parenting level. Maybe on our next adoption God will ask that of us, and if so I will grit my teeth and say...Ok. :) If you are interested in more information on adopting through the state you can click here: Texas foster and adopt .
So we were left with international adoption. We did not feel specifically led to adopt from any given country, although I had a strong feeling it should be an Asian country, I have no idea why. So we went online to different adoption agencies that dealt in international adoption and requested their free packet of information. Each country has different requirements for who can adopt from them in regards to your age, your marital status, your income, the number of children you have, etc. So some countries we were not qualified for and that narrowed it down. Second we looked at time frame for the adoption process, cost, age of child at placement, and care of child before they come home to you. It was by looking at those factors that we chose the country that we felt like was the best fit. If you are interested in getting information on international adoption you can visit Holt International .
In a couple days we will reach the 8 month mark for amount of time our homestudy has been in our country. Unfortunately we don't have any news yet, but please do pray for us that we will be able to bring our child home soon. Your prayers keep us going and keep us sane during the wait, they mean more than you could know.