Sunday, June 26, 2011

Biggest and Perfect... Is Coming!!

My husband is on the phone... right now... and just mentioned to his uncle how his step-sister is pregnant.  Well I did not know this.  We do not really talk to her, ever.  There is no reason why we don't- we just don't really- and none of that matters right now. 

But, do you know what came out of my mouth? 

"Lisa's pregnant?  Wow!  That's like the 30th person that I know right now who's pregnant!"  This was said with my mocking oh-she-really-needs-and-deserves-to-be-pregnant-when-I-am-not voice. 

Cruel?  Probably.  Am I used to it coming out my mouth?  Yes.  Do I really feel like it is completely unfair that yet another person I know is pregnant, without probably any trying and maybe even with trying to prevent it?  Totally. 

Am I getting over it?  Yes!  YAY!!

Because do you know what came into my head right immediately after I felt another stab of pain in my unpregnant body??  The feeling, belief, trust and hope that we were not meant to have another child yet.  We are meant to adopt.  My baby(ies) is(are) waiting for me!  Do you know how good it felt to have this washed over me?  It did and God, I know it was you!!  {wink, wink}  I wish you could see my face... how big my smile is.  How tears are rolling down my cheeks because of the joy I am feeling!  Crazy?  Totally!  Crazy in love with my God who has something bigger than my biggest dreams in the works for me!  Me!  And my family!! 

He's got something good  perfect in the works.  I don't need to feel envy, pass judgement, feel resentment or anger or anything but love.  I should be praying for the pregnant women I know and for their babies.  I also need to pray for my daughter and for our other future children.  I need to pray for all of the waiting children

And out of nowhere I started singing Dinah, blow your horn.  HAHA!  No idea where in the world that came from.  Dinah, won't you blow... Dinah, won't you blow... Dinah, won't you blow your horrrn! 

So I had these sequences of feelings all within maybe 30 seconds.  Has to be a God-thing.  Joy was washed over me right after I felt that nasty jealousy come.  It is a struggle, every. single. day. to not be completely angry and envious of all the pregnant women I see every day out and about.  But, I am learning and God is working with me to stop.  Stop and realize that He has (the) biggest (plans) and (utter) perfect(ion) for us.  :) 

He has biggest and perfect for your life, too! 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Would I Deny Him?

I have often wondered that question.  Maybe it started with the Columbine shootings. 

I have never wondered if I would deny believing in Him for real, but sometimes it is hard for me to see the point of saying you believe only to be shot, thrown in prison, etc.  Why?  Because what good are you dead?  Who can you serve then?  Who can you witness to?  While I absolutely admire people who have "stayed strong" (ok, so I kind of think they made a bad choice... gasp!) I do not want to be like them.  I never want to be in that situation, of course for the obvious, but also because I do not know what I would do.  My questioning does not come from wanting to live or live outside of prison walls.  It comes because I do not see much, if any, point to dying that way when you are going to be almost the opposite of a good witness.   

Who were they serving when they died?  Afterwards, did anyone say "Hey I think this following Jesus thing looks pretty good.  I think I might give it a try!"?  I doubt it.  I wouldn't have.  I would have thought something more like "Wow that whole Jesus thing got him killed/imprisoned!  That is not something that I am interested in!" 

And just so you know I am talking about gun-to-your-head-if-you-say-yes-you-are-shot kind of senario.  I absolutely support dying for Jesus.  There is a huge difference.  Huge.  Doing His work, which is usually messy and often dangerous, and dying while serving others and Him is beyond admirable and I would like to think that I would never back down in those situations.  But the gun-to-your-head one is different.  At least to me.  

I do think there is a time and place for being a witness in prisons and I could see a little more easily not denying Jesus if it were to lead to prison.  You could witness to the other prisoners or the guards.  But again... would that be something you would want to follow?   

Our goal is to lead people to Christ.  As many as possible.  And what is the easiest way to lead people?  By leading by example and by showing and sharing how your life is amazing because you have Him in your life.  Is that ever accomplished by answering yes so that you can be shot and killed?  I don't know.  God knows our hearts.  And while God knows that our hearts are completely full of sin He also knows what we think of Him.  He knows how much we value our relationship.  He knows if we believe or don't.  If we love Him, honor Him and believe that Jesus died for our sins but said no and were shot anyways I do not believe we would go to Hell.  There is debate about whether you can lose your salvation and as Christians we believe that you cannot.  I looked up verses about denying Jesus and Matt 10:33 says "But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven."  Does this refer to this situation?  I'm not sure.  But if He knows our heart and if we use our life to bring others to Him then should we say yes?  I'm still not sure what I would do.  Hopefully, I will never be in that situation.    

What do you think?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: A Place Called Blessing

I LOVED this book!!  It is such an easy read and I couldn't put it down.  I cried, then laughed and cried again.  My mouth fell open several times during the book, which means I am usually hooked!

This story, which could easily be real, is about a boy who has devastation after devastation in his life.  He is soon put into foster care, where even more devastation continues.  Devastation and its result for him might shock you and make you think differently about children, especially those in foster care.  (What a perfect story for me to read as we are on our own foster to adopt journey)  Throughout his life, he has learned to depend only on himself and never trust anyone.  Things happen and people come into his life for the better and for the worse.

This is a book that everyone should read.  It teaches about forgiveness, of others and of ourselves.  It teaches about being a blessing and receiving blessings.  It teaches about love, loss and hope. 

I joined Book Sneeze so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Working on Curriculum

Last year was our first year of homeschooling and since I did not find any one curriculum that I loved or could afford I decided to "put together" my own.  Ummm... not such a great idea!

For this next year I bought a few curriculums to put together. 

Here is what I bought:

BJU Science 2
A Reason For Handwriting T
A Reason For Spelling C
Positive Action for Bible 2nd grade
A Beka for History/Geo. Our America
A Beka for Health, Safety and Manners

For the other subjects, including Math, I will just grab from workbooks that I love. 

Now, I am putting together the exact lesson plans that we will use and I have run into a few issues, a few things that I am very disappointed in and a few things that I LOVE!!

Disappointments and Issues: I was super excited about my BJU curric. but I will never order it again :(  I am spending hours looking for experiments and examples for our science curric.  The book jumps around soooo much, which is fine if you like that.  I don't.  Some of the "experiments" in the book are too simple and sometimes seem to not really relate to what the topic was.  Some of the experiments are great!  I am really, really dragging out the pages and I am only able to get 1 day a week of reading from the book and 1 day of their experiments and mine.  I am adding another day to some weeks in order for K to do an actual experiment write-up.  I thought this would last us a year but even only doing 1 day a week it will only get me 20 weeks worth of school.  The book is very well written though, besides not staying on one topic for more than 1 1/2 pages. 

I am also really having to supplement the A Beka History and Geography.  Like big time.  This one is not as hard as the science, but it is still a pain.  Also I can only drag it out for 20 weeks.  I think that it is made to last longer, but I don't see much info being learned if it was done for a whole year. 

LOVES:  I LOVE the Positive Action for Bible lessons!  Love, Love, Love!  Totally recommend it!  They share how you can do their plans in 3-5 days a week.  We are easily getting 4 days work out of it and it will actually last for 35 weeks!

I also am totally IN LOVE with the Reason For lessons in Spelling and Handwriting!!  I might actually get this whole curriculum next year!  I am barely going to make it through 1/2 of the Handwriting book this year and that is doing it 3 times/week.  The Handwriting book works on a Bible verse for the week and at the end of the week you get to write the verse on a cute border sheet that the child can also color.  They have suggestions for what to do with those sheets, including sending them to prisoners, the elderly, family, making them into placemats, etc. 

Both of the Positive Action and Reason For currics are written so well for both the parents and children.  They offer so much extra ideas and tips!  Cannot get over them!  I am thrilled that we have found at least some currics that I love... and I'm pretty sure that K will love how bright and vivid and playful the lessons are. 

Here are the links to their sites (and no I have never recieved anything free from either of them... I just love them!):

Some of my other LOVES are: Little Critter workbooks.  We only have the writing book, but I might get the others.  I LOVE it!  It is soo thorough and teaches great skills!  I wish they made them until at least 4th grade... I think they stop at 2nd or 3rd.  I also LOVE this workbook that is filled with almost every subject and it all relates back to the Bible.  I pull from it all of the time.  I also use Everything for 2nd and 3rd grade workbooks all of the time.  They last forever! 

All of those books I got from Mardel, which is my favorite store ever!  Ok, besides maybe Hobby Lobby.  They ranged from $3.99-$5.  You cannot beat that! 

What curriculums are you using?  Do you have any LOVES you want to share?? 

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Take: On adoption, Christians should put up or shut up--- Jason Locy

My Take: On adoption, Christians should put up or shut up

Editor's Note: Jason Locy is co-author of Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. He and his wife are adoptive parents and participants in Safe Families for Children, a voluntary alternative to foster care.
By Jason Locy, Special to CNN
When the Arkansas Supreme court struck down a voter-approved initiative that banned cohabitating straight and gay couples from adopting orphaned children, the Christian community predictably erupted.

Byron Babione of the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers, attributed the April ruling to a “political movement afoot to undermine and destroy marriage.” Baptist Press, the publications arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, ran an article that quoted Babione as saying the ruling reflected “a campaign to place adult wants and desires over the best interests of children."

On one hand, these comments aren’t surprising. Conservative evangelicals have decried “the anti-family gay agenda” for decades. On the other, they underscore the way many Christians denounce a social problem that they have no plan for solving.

And the problem here is not ultimately gays adopting — the prevention of which, I believe, was the impetus behind the Arkansas initiative and behind adoption restrictions in various other states. The problem is a global orphan crisis involving tens of millions of children.

In the United States, there are approximately 116,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That means a judge has either severed the rights of the original parents or the parents have voluntarily signed their children over to the government.

To put this into perspective, we might compare the number of American orphans to the purported 16 million Southern Baptists who attend more than 42,000 churches nationwide. Quick math reveals that there are roughly 138 Southern Baptists for every child in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted. To say it another way, this single denomination has an enormous opportunity to eradicate the orphan crisis in America.

If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve probably heard a sermon on Noah or Moses or David. But how many sermons have you heard on the biblical mandate to care for orphans?

When was the last time you heard your pastor declare, “if you choose to adopt a child we will stand with you. We will provide respite care, financial help and do everything possible to meet the needs of that child?”
Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics — the Christian Church — can provide safe, loving, permanent homes for these kids. Our faith dictates that we fight for a better way in both words and deeds.
When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responded yes, Jesus didn’t tell him to picket the wolves. He told Peter to feed and tend his sheep.

Some churches and Christian groups are stepping up. Focus on the Family launched a Wait No More initiative in Colorado in 2008, forming partnerships between local churches, adoption agencies and the government in order to encourage families to adopt through the foster care system. As a result, the number of Colorado orphans waiting for a family has been cut in half.

Christianity Today ran a 2010 report headlined “Adoption is Everywhere,” illustrating the trend among churches and Christians who are giving “attention to orphans, adoption, the fatherless, and so on.”
Despite such efforts, the American orphan crisis remains. Too many churches still find it easier to stand behind a megaphone decrying the morality of laws than to stand beside a child in need.

Thousands of orphaned children in America need grandmas and grandpas, embarrassing uncles and crazy aunts. They need someone to teach them to fly a kite and throw a ball and read a book and tie their shoes. They need someone to call mom and dad.

In fairness, adopting a child is not easy and many of these children face difficult adjustments once they’re adopted. They have experienced pain, loss, hurt, confusion and misplaced trust. They have endured physical, emotional and sexual abuse — things most of us don’t even want to imagine.

In 2008, when my wife and I adopted through Bethany Christian Services, the organization educated us on the possible challenges of adopting a child. They informed us that even though our daughter was a baby when we brought her home, she would eventually ask tough questions, as would our friends and family.
But my wife and I know our faith demands action and that sometimes action takes us out of our comfort zone.

As a father of three — two biological children and an adopted child — and a host to a number of children that have needed a temporary home I can tell you these kids need less arguing over who should and should not be allowed to adopt and more families stepping up and saying, “we will adopt.”

It is time Christians decide to either step up or shut up. If a Christian group wants to wade into the discussion over who should adopt, it needs to put its money and manpower where its mouth is.

That means not only challenging families and churches to adopt from foster care (which costs virtually nothing financially) but also to adopt children resulting from unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs and children of mixed race or minority ethnicity.

If Christians’ only desire is to fight the culture wars and score political points, then they should continue to lean on empty rhetoric. But if they truly care about the family and the Bible, they’ll begin caring for children who desperately need a home.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jason Locy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


You like to break promises?  Come see me.  You know someone who does?  Send them my way.  I must just give off the vibe that I like truly love people who break their promises. 

It has been a hard morning.  Sigh.  I have forgiven and come to peace with my life up to this point.  I am good.  I hold no grudges and I truly, deep down accept the things in my past.  That doesn't mean that I sometimes don't feel broken because of those things.  That doesn't mean that when new cracks come I don't remember how badly all of those other cracks and chips hurt.  Today I feel broken.

When I say this I am being completely honest and I could give specific details as to why I feel the way I do but that doesn't matter... every single person in my life who has ever had the opportunity to break their promises they made to me has.  Every single person in my life who has ever had the opportunity to stab me in the back has.  And I'm not exagerating by any means. 

Promises to love me unconditionally...   to support me when no one else will... to always be there for me no matter what...  all broken at every opportunity

Promises to rescue me, to save me and to love me... broken

Promises to keep my secrets... broken and thrown in my face

Promises that you would accept me for me... broken

Promises that things would change....  that issues would be dealt with.... compromises would be made... broken, broken, broken

Promises that were specifically made on specific issues... not only broken but disregarded as never even real

Yes, every person in my life, given the opportunity to stand with me, has chosen to break my heart.  And when a new opportunity presents itself I don't expect anything different.   

Besides feeling completely broken, it leaves me feeling stupid.  Stupid for loving.  Loving anyone enough to open myself up to the opportunity to be hurt... one more time.  That's my problem. 

 I love too much, too easily and too deeply. 

You want me to love you?  I will.  You know someone who wants to be loved without conditions?  No problem.  Only it is a problem.  Because I keep giving and never once have I ever felt like I was truly receiving.  Writing that even makes me feel like maybe I am unlovable.  I must be, right?  And so I cry and my heart crumbles a little more. 

We are called to love.  I can do that.  It comes so easily and naturally for me.  But how do I keep myself from breaking?  I don't know.  If I try to guard my heart I become a cold person.  I can shut off my love just as quickly as I can turn it on.  I can become numb and not allow myself to feel the hurt.  I have done it before and I'm not such a nice person when I do that.  I don't have to be awful, although I can definitely take that role on, but I just am there.  I don't fully trust anyone.  At all.  Even when my guard is down I have learned that there is no person that I can ever deep down in my gut trust with all of me.  Have I tried to trust like that?  Of course.  Children are born with that trust.  We grow up longing for it.  We marry expecting it.  I've just learned that I can't expect that from anyone.  When I put my guard up there is nothing I expect from you or even want from you.  It is so lonely feeling that way.  And for me if I feel alone I want nothing more than to be alone. 

The only thing that always keeps me going is my God.  My whole life He is the only one who I have ever given it all to.  He is the only one who has and maybe ever will truly love me for me.  He is the only one who can and does make promises that cannot be broken.  So I break because of people.  Imperfect people.  I get that, which is why I have forgiveness and hold no grudges.  And my brokenness brings me closer to God, which is wonderful. 

I guess the only way I can keep living, loving and trusting (somewhat) is to just live to glorify God, love God above all else and trust that He is always here for me, has a grand plan for me, will never break His promises.  I also need to trust that however broken I may be He can always fix me and make me even stronger.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: What Are You Waiting For?

I really enjoyed this book.  I love how Gresh writes and this book is very easy to read.  She tells stories along the way from her own experience and from the experiences of other young women she interviewed on the topics.  The book is about much more than just sex.  It deals with almost every topic you can think of under that category. 

She speaks very candidly and she is the first woman I have known to speak so openly about the topics in this book.  I think this is a must read for teenagers and my daughter will definitely be reading it when she gets older.  I am going to pass this book on (or buy one) for my sisters to also read.  I will be recommending it for every young woman I know and also for us mothers of daughters. 

I joined Waterbrook Multnomah so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Book Review: Money Secrets of the Amish

A great book!  I really enjoyed reading this book.  Normally, I love reading books about being a better steward with my money, but they are usually not so fun to read.  This book reads like a book not a seminar.  Craker has a great sense of humor and I love her writing style.  I am going to find out what other books she has written and read some of them.

  There is no big secret in the book.  The ideas are wonderful though and there was many that I never really focused on or thought about.  There was a great motto that I am going to memorize- UWMD- Use it up, Wear it out, Make Do or Do without!

I definitely recommend the book to anyone who enjoys learning more about the Amish or to anyone who would like to live more simply in general and with their possessions. 

I joined Book Sneeze so I could get free books!!  Yay for free!!  And double yay for new, quality books for free!!  I do not get any other compensation besides the book and agree to give my completely honest review.

Home Study: Check!


I have not blogged or done much (besides take a little beach trip) for the last couple weeks.  I have been doing things to get ready for our home study. 

For me, that meant organizing my whole entire house, which I have never done in my life.  Really.  I haven't.  Not because I have never wanted to, but because I am no organizer organizing my house does not come naturally to me. So now my house is about 95% organized and clean, which is amazing!  Absolutely amazing! 

The way I organize is to take everything out.  Right?  Is there another way to do it besides having everything out in the middle of the house and in piles until you find somewhere to put those piles?  Let me know if you know another way! 

Our home study was Tues at 2pm.  Needless to say, I was up all night Monday and did get a couple hour nap in Tuesday morning because I was up working on things all night. 

And my piles: A couple of them ended up in big black garbage bags in the attic :(  So sad.  Soon I will have to finish up my last 5% of organization! 

The home study:  I was praying that this would happen- she literally took a maybe 4 minute tour of my house and I was the one encouraging her to look around.  Yes, my house is small, but still.  I was really hoping that I would be way more prepared than I needed to be.  And I totally was. 

Here's what I was expecting or rather having a nightmare about:  (opening of a kitchen drawer) "Why would you put this in here with this?"  "What was your thinking behind arranging things like this?"  Yes, you may laugh, but to me this was serious stuff.

Why so serious?  Because this home study was the biggest judgement on me and my family that I have ever had.  Someone was going to walk into my house and "study" us and tell us, basically, if we were considered "fit" to parent children.  Well, I am not sure if it would have felt so judgemental if we did not already have children.  Since we do, it felt like someone would also be agreeing that we are doing an acceptable job parenting or that we were unnacceptable parents, who were bringing our baggage on our daughter and damaging her.  Yes, again, I was probably thinking this and taking it too far, but for me the judgement was huge.

It's over!  All done!!  Our caseworker was awesome and hopefully I won't have to see her at my house again until we have some kiddos that she is checking in on!

And now life can go on!!  In a clean and almost completely organized house!

Summer is definitely here :( and I am going to cherish my time with my daughter for the next few weeks.  It's hit me that in a couple months I will probably never have only 1 child again.  For us all this is pretty darn exciting, but I want to enjoy my alone time with my girl until then!

What are you summer plans this week? 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Discipline and Obedience

We all know that most children behave the worst for their parents.  They do more talking back, rolling of eyes, arguing, throwing fits, etc.  So when there are poorly behaved children in your care don't you wonder how much worse they must be with their parents?  

What brought this post on?

One of the most frustrating things for me is being around parents who do not discipline and/or children who have no discipline or expectations to obey.  (Along the same line of frustration is parents who are wayyy too hard on their children.)

Why so frustrating?

1) Because if my daughter is around to see this, we come off as the too strict parents and I feel like I have to explain why we have rules, etc.  Do I care that my daughter might think I am too strict?  Honestly, yes.  I know that she knows that we have many more expectations of her than some of the other families we know.  That does not mean that I want her to think that we are being more strict just for our pleasure.  I want her to see that undisciplined and disobedient children are not fun to be around.  They aren't.  At all.  I also want her to see that in our family you get absolutely no privileges or pleasure out of behaving in those ways.

2) Because I know how most of those children will grow up if the same expectations are held of them.  Self-entitled.  Disobedient.  Bossy.  Disrespectful.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc. 

3) Maybe this one should be #1.  This one is a little harder to explain.... I guess I understand why non-Christian families might not discipline.  There is that whole "happiness" thing.  Do you know what I mean?  That whole idea that the goal is to be happy.  For our children to be happy.  For everyone to live in their little happy bubbles no matter the consequences.  If that is your primary goal, then sure do whatever you want!  Now, do I want my children to be happy?  Do I want to be happy?  Do I want everyone around me to be happy?  Of course!!  But even more than that, I want my children to be disciplined and obedient.  Why?  Because, I believe, in the long run that will give them more happiness and a greater ability to have joy, which is so much better than happiness. 

So when I see Christian families who have no form of discipline at all and expect no obedience at all it really confuses me.  It seems like I know more non-disciplining Christians than I know who do expect obedience.  This also makes such a bad witness to non-believers.  Discipline and obedience are such godly characteristics.  I believe that behind teaching and encouraging our children to love God and others, discipline and obedience are the #1 things we are to teach.  Here are some verses:

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6 

"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."
Proverbs 12:1

"Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?"
Hebrews 12:9

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
Hebrews 12:11 

Our daughter is not perfect and I wish I would have focused more on the word "obey" much earlier.  She does throw fits and does not always obey without grumbling as soon as I tell her to do something.  We are working on those things.  Will she ever obey perfectly?  I doubt it, but if we could get to 99% I'd be overjoyed about that!  It is so much easier to give in and "go with the flow" and focus on the child's "happiness", but we can't.  The Bible also tells us parents to "not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4).  I might be way off but I think that verse is about us setting boundaries and rules so that our children are not frustrated and angered.  Children like rules.  They feel more safe and secure with boundaries.  We are told to set them.  

I would love to set the world on fire with our (Christian) obedient, joyful, loving, enjoyable and fun (of course) children.  What an example and witness we would be!