Friday, July 25, 2008

I Can't Go Back

I was just sharing with a friend recently that I have realized that my focus has been very narrow as I have been working on growing as a Christian. I have spent my energy on trusting God and giving Him control of my life. I thought a strong Christian was someone who could rest in God's peace through hard times, even when they could see they were not going to get their way. I thought if I can have that kind of faith, then I'll be a strong Christian. That kind of faith is important. It's hard to give up my own will. To die to self. I will never stop growing in this area, because I will never have it down perfectly.

Trusting God with my life is vital. But, if that is all I work on as a Christian then I am only working on me.

God talks a whole lot about others.

I can't see others when I am only concerned about me.

God has shown me the world with new eyes. A part of me wants to go back. I think of the expression - Ignorance is Bliss. But, that's not where God wants me. He doesn't want me living in my bubble, pretending I can write a check here and there and play like there is not suffering in the world.

There's no going back, now.

I have been a fan of Sara Groves' music for a long time. I always thought she could express through music exactly how I felt in many of her songs. Well, now she's taken it a step further.

Sara Groves expresses her need to learn more about those suffering in our world beautifully here. An excerpt from

“I believe God invites us to add to the beauty of his plan, letting us participate in his redemptive work. But I found myself asking, ‘How have I applied this idea?' I had groomed and groomed and groomed my personal faith, but to what end?”

I think she took the words right out of my mouth.

I love that I can't go back. I love that my heart is broken. I love that God wants to include me in His plan.

And, I love this song:


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Where is My Treasure?

I've always heard, "One man's trash is another man's treasure". I would usually think of it in reference to garage sales. I've never really thought of it when thinking about the poor. Those who don't have anything.

That thought came today.

We have a room devoted to our school and we have an important rule - No Playing in the Schoolroom!

For some reason - like me letting it happen - that rule goes out the window on Christmas and Summer break. The room becomes the kids' craft haven. Paint and little scraps of paper cover the floor and since I'm on break too, I just let it go.

Then, I have a big clean out day when it's time to get back on track.

That was today.

So, back to the trash.

Like - several bags of trash.

I had visions of orderly bookshelves and school supplies all in their labeled containers in my head. I didn't notice that Moses had come up with everyone to see what was going on. As I put something in the trash, he would inspect it, sometimes removing it and taking it to his desk. He finally mentioned that I was throwing good stuff away.

I was throwing good stuff away.

Little notebooks with a few pages marked, crayons, little toys, stickers.

Some of it was trash, like dried out markers, but a lot of it was perfectly usable. My problem was that we had tons of it and I was tired of finding places for it all. The stuff was still good, but used just enough that I wouldn't want to give it away. In America, nobody would want it.

Moses took several things and said he wanted it, or he would take it for the small children. I wanted to send everything in the room with him.

Through Moses, God is teaching me to open my eyes. He is gently showing me the areas that I am taking for granted. I think one reason I don't think too much about this stuff, is that the stuff is not my treasure. But, I think I would miss it if all of it were gone. Maybe just the excess stuff is not my treasure. hmmm...

I remember to thank God for my family and our good health. But, I probably take most of my life for granted. I assume it's all going to be here tomorrow and I even complain that it's too much to keep track of.

I am thankful for this new perspective. We don't need to bring so much stuff into our house. We need to turn our focus outward to others' needs. Others that have true needs - like food and clean water needs.

God has really laid it on our family's hearts to look after the orphans and the widows. It's pretty plain and clear right there in His Word. These people are so important to Him; and if they are important to Him, I want to make them important to me. I can't believe it took me so long to see this.

James 1:27 - "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Something's Not Quite Right

When I opened this page up, I found the colors are in the wrong places and it's missing some of it's pieces. It may be fixed by the time you see it.

When I noticed it, I thought to myself, "hmmm, sometimes that's how I feel, too."

It's true.

Sometimes, I feel like my color is a little off, something is just not right, or I'm missing some pieces.

I am kind of in that mode right now. My schedule is off. Each day, it seems like I wake up and try to think of what I need to get done. There is no plan, so there is no rhyme or reason to what I decide is getting done. Then, I feel behind when I realize there were some other things I probably should have prioritized above what I did. Does that make sense???

I do really well when I have our schedules planned and I'm working on a well thought out to-do list. Our days run little more smoothly when I'm in that mode. Notice I did not say everything runs smoothly. That would be impossible. But, that's where I really like to be.

Now, I just need to get myself there. It takes a plan. And, it takes time.

Since it's summer, our schedule is pretty loose, so I have the time. Somehow, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around getting it all sorted out, so the plan is where I am getting caught up.

It seems like it should be so easy. I have folders full of cleaning schedules and meal plans that I know have worked for our family in the past. We have used them successfully. Why can't I just start using them again and move on?

I have known I have to get back on track for a while now.

I'll start today.

And, to think it all started with some messed up blog colors. Who said blogging is a waste of time? It looks like blogging is getting my rear in gear!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm Jealous.

Tony announced yesterday that he talked to our pastor and is planning on going to Africa when they take Moses home.

I want to go.

But - I don't want to leave our kids here while both of their parents take off to Africa. Remember the Mad About You episode where Paul and Jaime were trying to fly to a wedding, but they had to take separate planes? That way, one of them would still be there for their daughter if one of the planes crashed.

Yes - I think like that, too.

I know it's silly.

But, that's not why I am not going. They have a great group of guys all going over there to see the orphanage and school. Moses is sooooo excited that Tony is going to go with him. He was giddy at dinner last night and told Tony all the kids were going to jump on him when he got there. It was really great to see Moses that happy.

Moses has started telling us that he does not want to go back to Africa. It breaks my heart. I am praying that if God wants a family to adopt him, they will be obedient to that call. Tony and I have been praying, and God has really been showing us it is not our family.

I keep reading about how it can be really hard for the first-born (Tate) when a family adopts an older child. I can see that. It would be hard getting demoted as the oldest.

Also, Bear is doing much better and has started talking to him and playing with him, but she's really having to work at it. If she feels uncomfortable with him, how can we bring him in permanently? She would probably get used to it over time, but that is a lot to ask of a little girl.

All of the kids have started asking Tony and me to have another baby, though. Tony asked them if they would like us to adopt, and they were just as thrilled with that possibility. I think the key is that the new sibling would be younger than Bear.

So, we are doing our research. And, saving our pennies. (There's a big reason I am not going to Africa). It looks like Liberia's government has shut down their adoptions for now as they make some changes to the laws. They say it should open up soon, but we'll see.

We have to do something.

I always knew something about Africa having starving children, but for some reason I did not realize I could help. These kids are desperate for help. These parents are desperate for help. When I used to think of Africa, I thought of people living lives just like us, only with less stuff. And, sometimes needing to go to a food center to get help with food.

Now that I have started paying attention, I see that there is horrific stuff going on over there. Things we don't even worry about. That makes sense. Crime and poverty seem to go hand in hand. These people have to worry that someone will break into their homes and kill them at any time. Not to mention lack of medical care, an 80% unemployment rate, and many other things we take for granted. What a horrible way to have to live!

I read the
Story of the Starfish in Tom Davis' book, Fields of the Fatherless, and it gave me a new perspective about what I can do to help. I can't do everything, but I can do something.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”~ Helen Keller

Tony gave a review of the Fields of the Fatherless book on
his site, if you want to check it out. It really is a good reminder of our need to be compassionate.

We'll see where this adoption process is going. I am amazed at how God works, and He is always full of surprises!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm Ready!

Bear has the uncanny ability to put everything on backwards. Her shoes are definitely always on the wrong feet. She will even put a skort on with the skirt side at the back.

Does she really think the skirt looks better from behind???

You would think she would get it right maybe fifty percent of the time.

No, it's wrong every time.

Now this was the final straw.

I think she does it just to tease me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fruit Man

I think it's great when the kids all start working together on something (usually something silly). I totally encourage it, even if it means my fruit will be drawn on and glued together. We're going to peel these fruits anyway.

What makes them think to start putting this stuff together?

How do you like the close up? I, for one, was a little concerned about it at first. Then, I realized they were calling it Fruit Man - and it was wearing a bow tie! Whew!

I never know what I am going to find on my counter when I walk in the room.

Happy Fourth of July!

We hope you all have a safe and fun 4th of July! We'll be having lots of fun swimming and going to see fireworks, but I will also be making sure the kids remember why we are celebrating our independence. This is a fun site to go to for some Independence Day games and information.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The End of the Berry Good Day.

What good berry picking day could end without this? Oh yes, there was vanilla ice cream, too!

But, before the cobbler, I tried out a new pizza crust recipe that was super easy. The part that makes it so easy is there is no rise time. Who needs greasy, delivery when it's this easy? And, in less time!

A "Berry" Good Day

I can't believe we are still having such beautiful weather. The temperature was in the sixties this morning.

We started our day going on a walk and enjoying the cool weather before breakfast. The weather was still nice, so we headed back outside after breakfast. Papaw came over and the boys had a serious basketball game going on.

Papaw and the boys.

Then, we headed to pick blackberries and figs.

The goal was to find the "monster" berries.

Papaw and Ellie made a good team.

5,000 blackberry plants and I think we checked each one.

We saw a lot of red berries. We'll have to come back soon.

Time to head home.

But, not before a quick ride on the tire swing.

Bear doesn't see what's wrong with buying our berries at the store.

After a full day outside, the kids enjoyed the air conditioned goodness of our living room and built forts. I'm sure we will be back outside soon.