Friday, December 31, 2010

Being Bold in Prayer

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.  Habakkuk 2:1

Have you ever opened your Bible and searched for the writings of Habakkuk? I would venture to say, “not too often.” I have been surprised to find some pearls in this short, three-chapter book. One such pearl I came across and will quote back to the Lord is chapter 2 verse 1. Habakkuk tells the story of how he questioned what the Lord was doing with His people. It is a great illustration of how we can seek out the Lord's plans, reason with Him, and then fall at His feet when He answers us personally. However, in this case, the answer was not in favor of the people, Habakkuk stood in awe of God's awesome power and mercy.

As a Christian, I tend to think much about what God wants from me. I spend time praying for the things that I think He wants me to pray. I always pray for “His will to be done.” I think sometimes that may just be because I’m being shy/wimpy in my prayers. In many cases, I know what His will is (it’s all over the Bible). In praying these wimpy little prayers for things that are important to Him, I’m allowing an out for me. Does that make sense? My relationship with the Lord should be stronger than that. The Lord wants me to not only pray for the things I want and need, but also He wants me to reason with Him, wrestle with Him, and be honest in my prayers. In Isaiah 1:18 the Lord says, "come and let us reason together." Habakkuk had questions and he was not afraid to reason with the Lord, even to the point that he states in this verse that he will stand, wait and watch for God to do something. Talk about boldness!

I believe that God wants me to be BOLD in my prayers; He wants each of us to be bold. He wants us to come to His throne of grace with boldness and receive the mercy He has freely given through His Son Jesus. God wants us to pray with that same boldness, asking, seeking and knocking to know His will. Is something on your heart today about which you are not being completely honest with the Lord? Do you have questions or maybe you are upset with the way things are going? Go to the Lord in boldness. Tell Him your thoughts and feelings then tell Him that you will "sit on the ramparts [watchtower]" and wait for His answer. I am not going to be afraid. I want to see God's goodness, just as Habakkuk did. "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joyful God my savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He enables me to go on the heights." (Habakkuk 3:18-19) Now that is a great promise!

So, as I start this new year in reading the Bible daily, I am also going to be bold in my prayers.  The more I get to know God, the more freely I can share everything honestly to Him in prayer.  I am going to sit on the ramparts and wait for His answers. I expect to see His greatness this year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Well, it has come and gone.  I think this has been the fastest Christmas season yet.  Today I am going to take a few minutes to try and look back on the past few weeks.  I don’t have much in the way of photos, as it just seems to have all happened in a blur.  I am definitely going to slow it down next year.  I plan on incorporating more Advent activities and devotions to really prepare for Christmas.  It is a shame to let something so special become so ordinary.  I don’t want to be like the Inn Keeper, too busy to notice the miracle happening around him.  I want to be like the shepherds, Simeon, and the Magi who found Christmas through inspiration, anticipation, and dedication.

We really didn’t get “into” Christmas until last week.  Now the kids had been counting the days with their Advent calendars of chocolate candy.  But let it be known that The Princess got tired of the “wait” and ate her chocolates a few days ahead of schedule:)

The Princess and her preschool performed a little Christmas concert.

DSCN4865

DSCN4866

Our Christmas tree that had been on our back porch in a bucket of water was finally brought into the house.  There was some anticipation as we just left it alone for a day, so the branches could settle.

We hauled the boxes of decorations in from the garage and began the decorating process.  We don’t really go all out with decorations.  Just a few.  It is probably because it is always so late in the season when we get started.

DSCN4875

Unraveling the lights.

DSCN4876

Big Tuna gets the honors for stringing the lights because he doesn’t need a chair to reach the top of the tree:)

DSCN4879

Godzilla added a new dragon ornament to the tree (see right corner).

DSCN4877

A Mongolian doll brought to us from a friend who adopted a child from Inner Mongolia.

DSCN4880

More ornaments to hang.

DSCN4903 

My Mama’s Nativity.

Santa came to visit at our church’s Christmas party.  The Princess was one of the first to tell Santa her list.

DSCN4883

The Queen really wanted to talk with Santa, but shyness took over.  The Princess was more the happy to interpret for her.

DSCN4885

DSCN4887

Our friend’s new daughter, MeiMei, from IM.  Her very first Christmas ever!

Making Christmas cookies…

DSCN4881

…and cakes.

DSCN4893

Christmas morning!

DSCN4899

Bicycles, Pillow Pets,

DSCN4896

Xbox 360,

DSCN4901

video games, DVDs, and more!

It was a very Merry Christmas for all.

Here is hoping your Christmas was wonderful! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fashion Show

The girls have been keeping us entertained every evening after supper with “Fashion Shows.”

They walk the runway…

DSCN4856

DSCN4857 

they strike “the pose”…

DSCN4858

all of this to music….

DSCN4859

while wearing “Barbie” sunglasses…

DSCN4860

and not once did they trip on their high heels!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Princess!

It has been a busy month!  We recently celebrated The Princess’ 5th birthday!

DSCN4822 I am lacking for photos as it was very hectic with 8 little “Barbies” running around our house!  Maybe that is why all of the photos are blurry!

DSCN4815

DSCN4818

DSCN4819

DSCN4820

 

The Princess’ Birthverse scripture:

Luke 12:7 NIV
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Princess, you are a child of God, His treasured possession. He created you in His own image. He chose the day for you to be born. He has a plan and a purpose for your life.

Happy Birthday Princess! 

Sheng Ri Kuai Le!

Wo Ai Ni!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

14 Days of Homeschooling

Actually, we have about 5 days left before Christmas break…

Kick back and enjoy this youtube video.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Cards 2010

Ok, so I am not The Martha Stewart or Suzy Homemaker of Christmas.  I always have the best intentions on getting things done early, but you know what they say about the best intentions…

Anyway, Christmas cards are always a challenge for me.  I love photo cards.  I love looking at each family year after year and seeing how the kids grow and age(of course the adults do not age at all!).  Let it be known that I actually keep photo cards from each Christmas.  I always want the card to also be a reflection of our family.  I always try to send cards each year with a family photo included, and with a religious CHRISTmas theme and message to share the true meaning of CHRISTmas with friends and family.   Sometimes it is really hard to find a card that brings all of the qualities I want together in a card. 

Shutterfly has a great selection of photo cards and I am especially pleased to see that cards can be sorted by “Religious Christmas Cards.”

This is the card I will use this year:

PHOTOCARD-3-4292-MERCHLARGE_FRONT-v128209202000092985 They have a few “beachy” themed cards.  Let me tell you, those are hard to find!

There are also options to send folded cards like this “Rejoice the Lord is King” card where you can have a picture and a personal message on the inside of the card also:

EachShutterfly3 

I have used Shutterfly to create beautiful photo books.  Each year our adoption travel group gets together for an adoption/gotcha day reunion.  Every can upload photos to a Shutterfly group page that we have set up.  From there each of us can create a photo book memento of the reunion. 

In addition to holiday cards, they have a great selection photo cards for every occasion.  Another great thing with Shutterfly is if you set up an account (free of charge), you will get great special offers via email (if you choose this option).

Head on over to Shutterfly and check out all that they offer in the way of cards, photo gifts, calendars, photo books, etc!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guests or Party Crashers?

While visiting the girls room the other day, I noticed something a little different.  I mean besides the usual mess.  There were visitors or guests at the dollhouse.

DSCN4797(I’m sorry for the blurriness.  Captain Daddy had used my camera and set the thing to “landscape mode.”) 

DSCN4802

Guests?

DSCN4804

Party crashers?

DSCN4805

Visitors from outer space?

DSCN4803

Must have been quite a party!  Poor Woody!  I hope he wasn’t in the middle of something.

DSCN4800

I guess it was a good time for all!

 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

He’s Making a List…

Godzilla that is, not Santa. Actually, Godzilla has been working and re-working his list since about..June 2010. Christmas is (looming) upon us. I first started hearing Christmas songs on the radio about three weeks ago and nearly hyperventilated! Let me remind you, I am not a shopper. That aspect of Christmas doesn’t do anything but make me frantic.

So what is on Godzilla’s list? Currently, which could change at any moment, he has an Xbox360, video games for various gaming platforms, a few movies, Lego set, and a book series.

Big Tuna hasn’t gotten around to making a list. He has, however, bookmarked a few pages on the internet in case I want to check it out. According to his bookmarked pages, he wants an airsoft rifle with accessories. Big Tuna, being the ever caring big-brother, has offered to help Santa in identifying the correct Xbox360 for Godzilla. I told him I appreciate his offer, but it is out of my hands and in the hands of Santa:).

The girls, well, they want everything they see on TV. The Princess has been specific in a few items, such as, a REAL make-up table, not the toy one in her bedroom, pierced ears, and high, high-heel shoes. Sigh.

Captain Daddy is ever evasive in answering the question.

Me? Well, I’d love a RHW:)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gearing Up To Read The Bible In 90 Days

Bible-in-90-Days_2011a

Here’s a question for you, have you ever read the Bible completely through from cover to cover? Is it something that you’ve started multiple times, only to somehow lose steam as you went along?  Me too.

Amy @ Mom’s Toolbox is hosting another Bible in 90 Days challenge, starting on Monday, January 3rd. The challenge will run through the end of March ~ and I am encouraging you all to join me by signing up here.

Interested? You can find out more {a crash-course if you will} about the Bible in 90 Days on Amy’s blog. I promise you it will be a life-changing experience! The official sign-up starts today ~ at Mom’s Toolbox.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day! 感恩节快乐!

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

I can hardly believe that it is Thanksgiving.  This past month has gone by in a blur.  In fact, it was yesterday that Captain Daddy said to me, “So what are we doing for Thanksgiving?”

Our extended family is rather small.  Both of my parents are deceased, and so is Captain Daddy’s father.  We both have a few siblings.  I have to admit that our family has suffered much this year.  Captain Daddy’s Mother has had a chronic health issue that just can’t seemed to be resolved no matter how many procedures she has or how many doctors she sees.  Captain Daddy’s youngest sister is still recovering in a rehabilitation facility following an auto accident from August.  My oldest sister underwent a double mastectomy on Tuesday.

But through it all we are still thankful.  Thankful to our God that gives us each precious day.

So today, we are thankful for our family, friends, church, and church family.  We are also thankful for:

the warm weather that allowed us to cook/eat our dinner outside.

DSCN4754For our Thanksgiving dinner,

DSCN4758 

macaroni and cheese,

DSCN4757

fried cornbread and chicken tenders,

DSCN4756

Cheetos, soda, and Texas Pete sauce,

DSCN4759

\bratwurst and hot dogs, and

DSCN4773

roasted oysters!

DSCN4761

I am thankful for these kids,

DSCN4785

…and this man that rocks my world

(and picks oysters out for me).

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Holiday Perspective

A Thanksgiving Perspective

感恩节快乐!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I came across this on another blog, Treasured Pearls.  I hope the original author doesn’t mind me re-posting this.  It just seems to fit so perfectly with my passion for children with no families, and my desire to bring more children into our family.  Just ponder these comments.

I am surrounded by food and feasts beyond compare,
143 million children are wondering if there will be enough to eat.


I am surrounded by friends and family,
143 million children are taken care of by government-paid workers or worse yet, no one


I am surrounded by advertisements beckoning me to purchase the latest hot merchandise,                        143 million children are digging through trash to find a thrown out pair of shoes to wear.


I am surrounded by grown men fighting over a brown ball and trying to move it 100 yards,
143 million children are fighting to survive another day on the streets.


I am surrounded by gridlock on the highways and in the airports,
143 million children are walking to the nearest water pond/lake/river to get water for the day.


I am surrounded by designer bottled water, soda, ice tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages,
143 million children drink dirty water filled with parasites, diseases, and germs.


I am loved by God,
143 million children are loved by God.

 
I am surrounded by 224 million "Christians" in the US (
Adherents.com)
143 million children are "the least of these."

Matt 25: 32,40 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. ... The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful

Friends,
As we reflect upon 2010 and upon God's blessings to each of us, I want to wish each of you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. 

What am I thankful for?  There is much that I am thankful for.  I am thankful for each of you that follows my blog.  I am thankful for each of you that has a blog for me to follow.  I am thankful for my husband, children, and family.  I am thankful for my church and church family.  I am thankful to be able to homeschool my children and the homeschool co-op that we belong to.  I am thankful that my sister-in-law is recovering from an accident that occurred in August.  I am thankful for all that God does in my life.  But mostly I am thankful that God loved me so much that He sent His on begotten son to die for my sins so that I may have eternal life.  Because without that, this life wouldn’t mean much.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

It is a beautiful fall day.  Captain Daddy and Godzilla are off on a Boy Scout camping trip.  There is much I should be doing, but I can’t seem to get the motivation.  I have dear friends in China right now getting ready to adopt a little girl.  I’m jealous with a godly jealously:)

I think about adoption a lot. Really, I think about adoption ALL.THE. TIME. 

There is a book written by Jeff Gammage titled “China Ghosts.”  It is about his adoption experience.  It is one that I can relate to, maybe you can too.  The adoption secret that is kept quiet until you have adopted a child is this, you don’t just bring a child into your family/home.  You bring home the countless faces of the children remaining in orphanages/foster care.  Mr. Gammage writes,

“They don’t tell you that the children of the orphanage are all coming home with you. That these kids, with their wan smiles and growling stomachs, are going to follow you across the ocean, move into your house, inhabit your dreams”.

Why is it that my heart would love nothing more than to bring another child into our home, but that for so many reasons it won't happen?

Why is it that any child would have to wait for a forever family?

Why is it so expensive to adopt a child?

Why is it that I can't get out of my mind the face of a specific little girl in China?

Why is it that I have dreams of adopting 2 more children from China (boy and girl) though that door is closed?

Why is it that I can't accept that the door is closed?

Why is it that God doesn't take this desire out of my heart instead of letting it torment me?

Why do I even think I can take on any more than I have now?

Why is it that I feel like I am in a desert, or at least Jockey's Ridge at the Outer Banks:)?

I KNOW it is God’s will to take care of orphans.  But have we done all that God has called us to do?  By “we” I am referring to my husband and I.  I know collectively, we haven’t.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fabulous 30 Days of Giveaways!

NHYgiveaway

OK, you have got to go check out this 30 day giveaway over at Ni Hao Y'all !!!!  It is fabulous as is Stefanie!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

 

DSCN4658

DSCN4659

A Prayer For Orphan Sunday, A Few Days Late

Dear Father,

On this Orphan Sunday, we join with Your people across our country and beyond to pray for orphans.

We know that love for these precious children begins not with us, but with You. You pursued us when we were wayward and alone. You adopted us as your children. You invite us to address you as Daddy and to live as Your sons and daughters. Truly, we love because You first loved us.

You tell us also that You are near to the downtrodden and destitute. Your heart aches for children that face the world alone. You champion the cause of those who have no one else to take their side. And You call us to do the same.

So we pray that You would rouse us to share your heart. We ask that You would stir Your people to passion and vision and action on behalf of children that have no family.

We lift up to You the millions of children in the world who have lost their parents to disease, to war, to addiction, to poverty, to abandonment. As You promise to do, place the lonely in families. Be their defender, their provider, their hope and peace. Help us to do the same.

We pray also for the five hundred thousand children in our foster system in America. So often, they are bounced from home to home, knowing little love, consistency or true nurture. Please be their love, their consistency, their nurture. Help us to do the same.

We confess that we have often lived with little regard for these precious lives. Please forgive us. Lead us to take up their cause, not in guilt or obligation, but as a joyful response to Your great love for us.

As we do, we pray that You would use our humble response to transform. To transform the lives of countless orphans both physically and spiritually. To transform us as we encounter You in them. To transform Your Church as we lift our eyes beyond our own comfort and self-focused religion to live out the painful beauty of the Gospel. And finally, to transform a watching world as it catches glimpses of Your love made visible through the actions of Your people.

We commit all this to You, the One who is both our Father and a Father to the fatherless, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

In honor of National Adoption Month

Chinese-a-Good-Wish

Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial.
Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary.
Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween- Part 2

As I may have mentioned in my previous post, my kids love to dress up for Halloween and get free candy.  When Big Tuna was younger, his costume choices always seemed to be some TV/movie character or something “cool.”  We went through a series of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger costumes, Wolverine, Ninjas, Star Wars, etc.  He was pretty much a “store-bought” costume kind of kid.  I didn’t mind buying him costumes as he used them to play in all of the time.  I got my money’s worth out of them.

Not so with Godzilla.  He plans next year’s costume the day after Halloween.  Or sometimes a few days before this year’s Halloween.  He is always planning his Halloween costume.  His ideas are never in sync with current Halloween costume trends.  He is “off-the-shelf”  when it comes to costumes.  This started at a young age.  It probably has something to do with the fact that he became a fan of “Godzilla” at the young age of 2.  Let me tell you that “Godzilla” was not a popular costume option since about 1955. 

But that did not stop my child from being “Space Godzilla” when he was 4 years old.

Picture 001I had to create/sew a child’s “Happy Dinosaur” costume into a “Space Godzilla” with space crystals.  Don’t you love the “Godzilla Angry Face?)

Here’s a close-up.

Picture 002I was THAT Mom that had to explain this costume to everyone. 

In fact, I pretty much have to do that every year.  Do you remember last year? 

DSCN3072  “

You remember my son don’t you?  Dr. Gregory House?  House, M.D.?  Ah, now you remember.

This year was no exception.

halloweem10-10Easy, right?  Let’s see that is Belle on the left and Snow White on the right.  Who is that in the middle?  A tourist?  No.  Jimmy Buffett??  No.

halloween10-5Now do you get it?  No? 

Maybe this will help.

DSCN4704Okay!  Now you get it…sort of.  He is Poseidon, Greek God of the Seas, in his HUMAN form.  Otherwise he would blind you.  Yes, he passed out his “business cards” to everyone to explain his costume.  Sigh. 

We have read the entire Percy Jackson series, so Greek and Roman mythology are kind of big right now.  To help ease his pain, at the last minute I dressed up as Medusa.

halloween10-8Godzilla gave me a bunch of his toy snakes so I clipped them into my hair.  With hair like mine it is sometimes hard to tell if it’s curls or snakes.  My hair is like that.  Especially by the end of the day.

I have to say a special thanks to my dear friends who covered for me by taking photos of my kids, since I  left my camera at home.

halloween10-11

By the way, the kids really made a candy haul this year.  It was the first time that The Queen and The Princess have gone trick or treating.  Living out in the boondocks means we don’t have many houses to go to, and you have to drive to get to the other houses.  We crashed on my friend’s neighborhood where there is a high house-to-candy ratio.  Good candy!  I’m talking chocolate!  Full size candy bars.  Since The Queen doesn’t like chocolate, she put together a special bag of candy for me consisting of almond joys and M&M’s.

halloween10-2halloween10-3It sure beats scrounging around in The Princess’ bucket as it is quite sticky.  The Princess continuously takes inventory of her trove.