Friday, April 30, 2010

Whew!  I really did intend to do this drawing earlier in the week.  But with 3 eye doctor appointments, 4 dentist appointments, a visit to a Chinese school, a visit to a part-time homeschooling school, two families from our church over for dinner on two different nights, a birthday party, and all of the regular stuff (homeschooling, music lessons, etc., etc.), the week just got away from me!

But tonight, my fabulous hubby graciously drew a name from all of my wadded up pieces of paper


drum roll please....


will soon be the proud owner
of Strengthen Yourself in the Lord

I pray that you LOVE it!

Go on over and visit Jill's blog.  I just noticed that she's having a little giveaway of her own!
And because some of Sarah Bess's precious children were part of the impetus for this giveaway, I'll be sending a copy to you, too.  I hope that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me!

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Question of the day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

how could one boy
get dog food
on 3 counter tops,
one wall,
and the collander that was in the sink,
waiting for the lettuce to be washed?

If you know the answer,
please tell me!

Coming up next:  Strengthen Yourself in the Lord drawing!! 

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Nothing to do but praise!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friends, my heart has been heavy these past few days.  There are so many people who are hurting.  Children who are in hospital rooms, fighting for their lives, sick children who are going to be left in an orphange for longer than they should because the judge won't waive the 10 day waiting period, and even precious little ones who have died.  If you know Sarah from Sarah's Covenant Homes, you know that two of her darling girls died recently.  If you don't, you can read about these two beloved girls here and here.

This morning I awoke thinking of Evelyn and Elizabeth and the many other children who live (and die) without parents and families and churches to pour out love upon them.  But, I also awoke knowing that God is good and that their deaths are not a part of his perfect will.  And I found myself praising the Father for his goodness and His kindness and His grace.  I thought of what Bill Johnson said in his book, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord.

"After my dad's death, I discovered the privilege of giving God a sacrificial offering of praise that I will never be able to give Him in eternity.  My offering was in the midst of sadness, disappointment, and confusion--none of which will I ever experience in Heaven.  Only in this life will we be able to give an offering with that kind of 'fragrance.'"

This book has been such a blessing to me.  Through it, I have learned to praise God in the midst of sadness and despair and also throughout the joys and blessings of this life.  And as I do, I realize that He is the greatest blessing of all.

There are so many of you who are experiencing pain.  Do you know that God wants to give you hope and joy?!  He wants you to see His face in the midst of the pain and He wants to shower His blessings upon you.  And then there are those of you who are experiencing the great joy and comfort of God.  Do you know that He wants to strengthen you and encourage you during this time, as well?!

I have an extra copy of Strengthen Yourself in the Lord, and I'd love to bless someone with it.  If you're interested, just leave a comment.  I'll draw a name sometime next week from among those who leave a comment.  Of course, if there is more than one person who would really be encouraged by this book, I might be inclined to buy another copy or two!

Praying that each one of you experiences the Lord's goodness throughout the trials and the joys of this life.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I have to tell you, I was so happy when the warm weather came upon us, because we could set our ladybugs free!  I am bit of a softie when it comes to capturing insects.  I hate to have them die while in our "care".  So, when we received our ladybug kit in the mail and I discovered that they only live for about 3 weeks in captivity, but can live up to nine months if they are set free, I was very eager to make sure that we let them go after our observations were done.  The problem was that it had to be at least 55 degrees in order for them to survive.  When we were in the second week of their adult lives, and it snowed outside I began to get a bit worried.  But, it was warm a couple of days later, and even if they don't survive the full nine months, I figured that they'd be better off outside than they were for the third week in their little habitat.

The kids were very eager to see what the ladybugs would do.

As it turns out, the ladybugs stayed in their habitat for a while when the top was removed.  (There's definitely a spiritual lesson in that, isn't there?)

The kids enjoyed watching them.

And holding them.

Eventually, we put them on this tree.  Hopefully, they're still flourishing there or have made their way off to someplace very ladybugish-like.

Hopefully, the crickets that are chirping away in our schoolroom, will make it through the end of this week, so that they can be set free as well!

hmm...I guess that I wouldn't make a very good entomologist.

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God likes you

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yesterday morning, my sweet Lily crawled into bed with me and asked, "Is loving someone and liking them the same thing?"

I thought for a moment and then explained to Lily that loving someone is being committed to them through good and bad, wanting their best and being completely for them regardless of their response to you.  Liking someone, on the other hand, means that you truly just enjoyed being around them.

" you like me?"

"Oh yes, Lily," I said with a hug.  "I enjoy you very much.  It's so fun to be with you.  I really like you...and I love you too!"

Lily and I talked for a bit longer, and then hopped up for some breakfast.  I pretty much forgot about the conversation.

until today

This morning, during our Sunday worship, our pastor began praying for people who wanted to move from simply being "committed" Christians, to being zealous lovers of God.  Lily told us that she would like him to pray for her.  When our pastor laid his hands on Lily's head, he said, "Lily, God loves you."

and then he paused for a moment and said...

"God likes you."
"He enjoys you."
"He enjoys your prayers."

I was in tears.  God was answering my precious little girl's question.

Am I likeable?

 Oh yes you are, Lily.  The Creator of the Universe likes you.  He totally enjoys being with you.  You better believe that you're likeable!

After the worship time, I asked our pastor why he had said those things to Lily.  He told me that he had gotten a strong impression from the Lord that he should tell Lily how much God likes her.  "Usually it seems more important that someone knows that God loves them.  But for some reason, it seemed that God wanted Lily to know how much He likes her."

Isn't our Lord so kind?!  He heard the question of a little girl who was wondering if she was likeable, and He answered it abundantly. 

Precious Lily, God likes you.
He enjoys you.

Sweet friend, do you know that God likes you, as well?  Like Lily, you probably know that God loves you.  And you might even know that your mom loves you.  But are you likeable?  Does God like you?  Does He enjoy being with you?

I am here to tell you that He does. 
He really likes you.
He enjoys you.
He enjoys being with you.
He likes to hear from you.

God likes you.

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Heart of Hope...Heart of Blessing

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tina, over at One Blessed Nest, totally blessed me yesterday!  Look what came in the mail!

Tina has such big heart!  And she's passing down that same heart to her children.  You've got to read about how her sweet son participated in making this special heart (Heart of Hope for Haiti) here

Thanks so much, Tina!  You are such a blessing to all who know you!

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light in darkness

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jadon and I sat across from one another in the doctor's office.  As Doctor Tsoi started to share the details of Jadon's upcoming surgery, I saw tears begin to form in my son's eyes.

"Come and sit with me, Jadon."

Jadon rushed over and wrapped his arms around my neck, clinging to me, as if for his very life.  He was so frightened that he didn't want to let go of me when it was time to leave.  He held onto my waist and we awkwardly walked out of the surgeon's office.

When we got home, I made a sunbutter and marshmallow sandwich for Jadon, and asked him to pick out a game to play.  We set up the chess board, and in between eager outburts from Jadon telling me that it was my turn (my competetive son was still anxious to beat me!), and bites of his sandwich, Jadon began asking me questions.

"Why do I have to have this surgery?"
"Will it hurt?" 
"Why was I born with this problem?" 

That was the tough one.

We talked about Jadon's birthmother and the possiblity of her having poor nutrition while she was pregnant with Jadon.  We talked about how his birthparents might not have been able to afford surgery and that, possibly, that is why they couldn't keep him.  We talked about how God works everything together for good and that we were so glad that he was our son.

Jadon has experienced many losses and a lot of pain in his nine years.  He experienced the loss of his first parents just a few days after his birth.  He experienced the loss of affection and attention, by living in an orphanage for 23 months.  This will be his fifth surgery.  His first surgery was completed in China, and most likely, he was alone for most of his hospital stay.  He has reasons to be fearful and he has reasons to be sad.

Abandonment, surgery, and pain are not the Father's perfect will for my son.  But, our perfect Father has permitted these things to happen in my son's life.  And though we are asking God for miraculous healing, I can also see how the pain of this situation has caused Jadon to ask questions that he might never have asked otherwise.  I can see how this surgery has brought out more compassion in this little boy who is usually interested in legos, swords, games and winning.  I can see how my son has progressed from responding to tough situations in anger, to appropriately feeling sad.

On the day of his appointment, Jadon stayed very close to me.  He wanted to go on a walk with me.  He wanted to sit on my lap and he asked me to lie down with him at bedtime.  I would never wish this pain upon my son, but I do know that the One who is Light, has brought His light to this dark situation.

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smart girl

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grace is getting really good at riding her scooter.  She loves to show us how she can put both of her feet on and ride like the wind!

What she's not so good at
is putting her scooter away.

So, yesterday, I saw the scooter across the cul-de-sac.

"Grace, please go get the scooter and put it away."

"But Mama, if I get the scooter
I'll get hit by a truck
and I'll die

and you can't get another Grace."

Well, I guess that she got me there.
I definitely couldn't get another Grace.


a certain mom went to get a certain little girl's scooter
all the way across the cul-de-sac

smart girl

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unexpected blessing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Every once in a while, David goes without work for a time.  He is a self-employed carpenter/contractor and it amazes us how seldom he doesn't have work.  But during this past month, there have been a few days where this has been the case.  This used to cause me quite a bit of stress.  But obviously, that doesn't help anyone or anything!

Over the past few years, we have come to a greater realization of how God provides for our every need.  There is absolutely no reason to worry.  So, instead of feeling stress if Davd isn't working, we try to take advantage of the time together.  Truly, it becomes an unexpected blessing.

For Christmas, my brother, Phil, and his wife, Annette, gave our family a season pass for the Museum of Nature and Science.  We haven't had a chance to use the pass yet, but today we did!  What a great time.

Lily and Grace piloting for the space shuttle.

Yana, Adam and Lily loved the insect exhibit.  We have been studying insects for science, so they could recognize many of the different species.

Grace did a lot more playing than looking.  :)

Very cool view of the earth.

Grace liked to push all of the little buttons on the exhibits.

Yana and Adam mixed up some DNA.

We also were able to see the IMAX Hubble movie.  I would highly recommend it.
Our God created an incredible universe! 
We were blessed today to learn a little bit more about it
and to spend some wonderful time

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Christ is Risen!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Once again this year, we have been totally blessed in our celebration of our Risen Lord!!
It started out with our Great Friday service.  Grace had all sorts of questions and comments this year--"Why is Jesus on the cross?"  "Poor Jesus."  "Why those bad people mean to Jesus?", etc., etc., etc.
I was so glad for the questions!  She is really thinking about the great love that Jesus has for each of us.

Our big celebration of Easter at our church occurs on both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  The reason for the Saturday night celebration is that the early Christians were so eager to celebrate the resurrection that they would start at the very beginning of the Jewish day (sundown the day before for us).  Our pastor talked about freedom from fear and how Jesus has already defeated the enemy!  There are so many things that we would do for our Lord if we were bolder.  A good word that both David and I are taking greatly to heart.

Our sweet neighbors and also some precious friends from church gave the kids some sidewalk chalk.  Here's what they did this morning!

Our other sweet neighbor, Lindsay, came out to join in the festivities.  She gave each of the children on the cul-de-sac some candy and flower seeds.  We all just love Lindsay.  She used to be a teacher and is so special to all of the kids.

Earlier in the day, I got this cute shot of the kids.  Aren't they precious?!

After they got all spiffed up.  They're all ready to sing, worship, dance, find eggs and feast!

And one shot of the whole family.

I pray that your celebration of our Risen Lord was wonderful and brought you great encouragement this year!

He is Risen!!

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Great Friday

Friday, April 2, 2010

On a Theme from Julian's (of Norwich) Chapter XX
by Denise Levertov

Six hours outstretched in the sun, yes,
hot wood, the nails, blood trickling
into the eyes, yes--
but the thieves on their neighbor crosses survived till after the soldiers
had come to fracture their legs, or longer.
Why single out this agony? What's
a mere six hours?
Torture then, torture now,
the same, the pain's the same,
immemorial branding iron,
electric prod.
Hasn't a child
dazed in the hospital ward they reserve
for the most abused, known worse?
This air we're breathing,
these very clouds, ephemeral billows
languid upon the sky's
moody ocean, we share
with women and men
who've held out days and weeks on the rack--
and in the ancient dust of the world
what particles
of the long tormented,
what ashes.

But Julian's lucid spirit leapt
to the difference:
perceived why no awe could measure
that brief day's endless length,
why among all the tortured
One only is 'King of Grief'.
the oneing, she saw, the oneing
with the Godhead opened Him utterly
to the pain of all minds, all bodies
--sands of the sea, of the desert--
from first beginning
to last day. The great wonder is
that the human cells of His flesh and bone
didn't explode
when utmost Imagination rose
in that flood of knowledge. Unique
in agony, Infinite strength, Incarnate,
empowered Him to endure
inside of history,
through those hours when He took to Himself
the sum total of anguish and drank
even the lees of that cup:

within the mesh of the web, Himself
woven within it, yet seeing it,
seeing it whole. Every sorrow and desolation
He saw, and sorrowed in kinship.

i mean more then-you-and-me in-lifetime

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is Elijah.
He is one of the cutest, funniest, smartest little cookies you'll ever meet. 

Elijah and some other cute, funny, smart little cookies come to our house on Tuesdays and Thursdays to study science, history and Bible together.

On Tuesday, I asked the kids to write a summary of King David's life.
Here's what Elijah wrote.
king dAviD
DAvid wAs A shepered Boy.  OnE Day Sameul anointed DAvid As king.  DAvid Loved God-very-very-very much  i mean more then-you-and-me in-lifetime.  he DiD about-Five times stuff God Did not Like.  Just Five.

Well, I think that pretty much sums it up...
What do you think?

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