Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Football Season

I love football season! Not really the football part, but I love all the things that mean Fall is here. And, football season is one of those things.

My favorite team has to be - hmm... the Texans? (no)... the Aggies (I do like them)... oh yes! the YMCA!

But only when my boys are playing!

This is the first year both Tate and Car are playing flag football.

Tony is coaching Car's team of 6-7 year olds. I think God is sanctifying him through the process.

I'm not sure if Car's mouthpiece fits inside his mouth. It looks like he has a big black moustache. He does act like Groucho Marx, so I guess it works for him.

Tate is doing good on his team. I really like his coach. His main objective is to teach these boys good character. What's not to like about that? Oh, and he's got some pretty good plays up his sleeves, so they have won all of their games. Bonus.

Yes - he caught the ball.

Go, Tate, Go!

Monday, October 27, 2008

How Can I Help?

I have been sharing my heart for helping the extreme poor for a little while now, and I would like to share a very tangible way everyone can help. I will let Angel explain this exciting new opportunity for us all. Just click on the link below:

Children's Hopechest/RLC Ethiopia

So many of us feel we are all alone when we want to help, and just don't know how or where to start. Fortunately, with modern technology we can have groups like Red Letters Campaign that can help us find a place (or several places) we can step up and be a part of serving the poor. I am so thankful for that.

Fall is Here

Fall is not officially here for our family until we take a trip to the Oil Ranch. That place is so much fun! They have pony rides, train rides, putt putt golf, indian swings, hay rides... I could go on and on. We went with our homeschool friends. There were over 60 of us! And, only 5 moms because we all have so many kids - kidding! There were at least 8 moms.

My favorite feature is that it is wide open fields. The kids can run all around and I don't have to keep them right by my side the entire time, fearing I will lose one.

One of my least favorite features is the petting zoo. The idea of willingly offering my children's hands up for farm animals to slobber on is pretty gross. But - they love it. That's why we own stock in Purell. (Actually - Tony is the Purell addict, but that would be another post.)

This goat was posing nicely with Car, but then noticed the food on the ground behind him. After I took the picture, Car said - Hey, you just took a picture of me with the goat's rear!

Now, the milking station just makes me sad. I do like teaching my kids about animals, and I think hands on is great. But, that poor cow! She gets trapped in the stall and has multitudes of random, untrained hands grabbing her to squeeze out the milk. The untrained hands part has to be the worst. She seemed to be pretty content with her hay, though.

This picture of Car pretty much sums up our day. Look how dirty he is! And, how tired his eyes look.

That also explains this picture:

Everyone was so tired, this was the closest I got to a pumpkin patch photo of the kids. And, I was so tired I didn't even care to keep trying.

The BEST part of the whole day was...

Our Kickapoo Indian lady officially made it educational - so it was a FIELD TRIP!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I have mentioned before that after reading other families' adoption blogs, I am not looking forward to the paperwork that is coming. I keep asking myself how hard can it be to gather some papers? hmm...

So we were waiting for our paperwork from AGCI to tell us what all we need to do to get our dossier ready to send off to Ethiopia. When it arrives, I see this:

Wait - Remember I am already nervous about how hard it is going to be to get this paperwork together.

Okay - now. Here's what I see:

Ummm.... Tony did you order a book, or three? No, I guess it does say it's from AGCI, doesn't it?

I put it on my bookcase and didn't even look at it until the next day.

Fortunately, this is what I found:

That's not so bad. It's really a bunch of information and educational materials. The binder is what took up so much room. Maybe it won't be so bad afterall.


On a side note: I started refinishing my kitchen chairs back in March. The before and afters are here. If you look closely at the picture of our box, you will notice one black chair and one brown.

Yes, I am still not finished with that project!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Party of Seven!

It's official! We are moving forward on adopting a baby (toddler?) boy from Ethiopia. Our application was approved by All God's Children last Friday.

The kids are so excited - they are already asking if we can adopt another baby after this one. I'm thinking we need to get through this first. It's crazy how nervous I am about gathering all of the paperwork that is involved in this. It's going to be at least a year before we can bring our son home, but so far I'm not too anxious about the wait.

I'm just amazed to see where God has taken us to get here.

About three years ago, I picked up a book called Shaoey and Dot by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman. I like them and thought it looked like a cute book. I brought it home and started reading it to my kids. I couldn't finish it. I started crying. Not crying, like I got a little choked up and a few tears rolled from the corner of my eye - it was the ugly, I can't talk, I have to go curl up on the couch and let it all out cry. My kids were wondering what was wrong with me. I tried to compose myself for their sake.

Then, I noticed it came with a DVD at the back of the book. Of course, I have to know what is on that. This time I was prepared. I sat on the couch with the kids and we all watched it. Again - ugly crying.

My heart was broken for the orphans that I had never thought about before. I had seen the pictures of the rows of cribs and neglected babies and accepted it as something sad that I could not do anything about. I had never cared about these kids.

What's funny is that the book is a story of a little girl (Shaoey) that was found abandoned, taken care of in an orphanage, and then adopted into a forever family. There was nothing in the book or on the DVD that tried to break people's hearts with really sad stories of how awful these kids have it. It simply told us that these kids would like a family to love them.

I went to Tony with news of my newly broken heart. His response in short was, "uhhh - no." Through the wisdom of a good friend, I knew I couldn't make him want this and would continue to pray. He did soften and eventually said he would be willing to look into it.

Then, I went through a time of wanting to be able to have another biological baby. Tony had surgery to prevent that after our fourth child, but we both felt convicted that we should not have taken that decision away from God. Through much prayer, Tony reversed the surgery. Though at that point, we both knew we would not try to get pregnant. (I know the doctor, and all of our friends, probably thought we were crazy!) Even though we wouldn't try to get pregnant, I was sure that one day I would. Why else would God have us go through all of that if I were not going to have another baby? *this question is important*

At that point, I am sure we are through with having to think about it. Done. Period. The End.

Suddenly, our church starts talking about an orphan from Liberia named Moses. We start praying for Moses, our kids are talking about Moses, we see pictures all over church and flyers coming home with us about Moses. Moses comes to America and becomes a big part of our lives.

Tony asked me to pray about adopting.

I go back to that important question above and wonder why God is doing this to me. As I was praying one day, I asked God why He would lay it on our hearts to adopt, then have the reversal, then back to adoption? He told me -

Because it's not about having a baby.

My heart is broken again for the orphans. I was able to push it away before, but this time I don't want to. This time it's not about having a baby. It's about giving one orphan a family, but not stopping there. We want to get involved in ways to help many orphans and the poor. As we are going through this process, God has opened our eyes to His love for the orphans and poor. And, our role is not voluntary. We are called to help them.

I am looking forward to this journey. It won't end when we fly home from Ethiopia with our son. Now, this is a lifelong change for us personally and I hope it can challenge others to serve our Lord by serving those He loves so much - the poor, the orphan, and the widow.