Sunday, December 28, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

I have about 200 pictures of my sister's trip with us. I'll post a few now and some more later. She stayed about 2 weeks at our place and just kind of meshed into our daily routine.

We went to a German, Chinese, Brazilian BBQ place for Christmas Eve dinner. We had the traditional Christmas Eve fare: garlic chicken hearts, broiled fish-head included, garlic pickled pork belly. Ya know, all the classics. And who doesn't have a young Chinese guy dressed as a cowboy and outfitted with a medical mask at their party?!

We had a blast with Carrie's sister and her 8 month old, Grae. Grae had all the old ladies cooing when they saw her. They all said she was SO white and SO fat. So for the rest of the time, her Chinese name was "white and fat." I taught my sis how to knit; she met with lots of our friends; we went to parks; made and distributed cookies, cards and gifts; hung out; prayed and drank too much coffee. It was a wonderful balance of hang out time, rest and getting to know China. At the end of her trip, Carrie, Kim and Grae met up with Kim's in-laws in Beijing. We walked around a more traditional area and took tons of pictures. I'll post those another time. My sister's an incredible photographer, so it was really fun for me to get to take pictures alongside her.

This is a frozen lake. People and sheep were skating, sledding, riding and walking all over.

Here's Kim and her mother-in-law eating some local snacks. It was a beautiful day to be outside and enjoy the Beijing smog.

A guy changing some electrical wiring. Who needs ladders really?!

Kesed and his new best friend, Grae. The two of them got along really well, it was really cute.

Having her here was so much fun. She is such a blessing to me, my family and now to our friends here in the city. I've cried now, multiple times. She was here for about 2 1/2 weeks, which was just long enough to make it feel like she was supposed to be living here with us. She was a wonderful minister and friend to all of us. So until next time....We Love You!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A "Personal Relationship" With Jesus

The Apostle John obviously had a very close, personal relationship with John. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved who laid on Jesus' chest at the Lord's supper, one of the three closest disciples. This language of having "personal relationship" with Jesus is the centerpiece of modern evangelicalism. Notice what happens in Revelation 1:17, when John sees Jesus:

"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead."

Having a "personal relationship" with Jesus is no casual matter that is in anyway conducive to habit, trivialities, or apathy. To fall on our faces as though dead means we're doing something far more weighty and pregnant with meaning than catching up on to-dos, blog and email, or watching the latest news report or TV episode, or whatever other seemingly important thing we have to do each day.

We're compelled to ask ourselves, "Do I [practically speaking] regard my 'personal relationship with Jesus' with this sort of trembling and single mindedness?"

Friday, December 26, 2008

America: The Most Dangerous Place to Raise a Child

We have heard so many times that it's dangerous to raise our kids overseas, or that it's a disservice to them to rob them of America. In some form or fashion, people often say this to us.

Luke 8:14 counters this idea: "And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature."

It is far more dangerous for our kids to live amid the laxity, entertainment, addiction to comfort, apathy, affluency, and gluttony of America than here or anywhere else. These things may rob them of their souls. By contrast, the most dangerous places in the world or merely those that lack America's conveniences all offer our kids the life-giving chance to see what really matters, to live intentionally, as foreigners in the world....

As parents, we need to examine what we really think is dangerous...criticism, weapons, automobiles, cancers.... OR "the cares and riches and pleasures of life"? Do we merely care for their bodies and momentary happiness OR their entire lives, including their souls and their eternal joy? This distinction will radically affect how we parent, where we spend our money, where we live, what we eat, who we meet, what we watch and listen to, the risks we will take, and the sufferings we will embrace with gladness.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Penn Tells His Thoughts of Proselytizing

You gotta check out this clip posted Penn (of Penn and Teller) about strangers who tell other people about Jesus. He is an atheist. His words may catch you off guard. This is a must see.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Psalm 16:11

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Merry Christmas to everyone!

We promise to post soon. We've been enjoying time with Carrie's sister, so computer time has been slim.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


We had a great Thanksgiving. We actually spent the day of Thanksgiving in interviews for the adoption. What a great way to celebrate! Some of our friends graciously invited us to join them on Sunday for a big Thanksgiving meal. We've got some teachers in other parts of the city, but they all came together for the dinner. It was wonderful! We got to meet lots of new people and eat some great food.

Here's the gang with tables set up in the hallway of their dorms.

Charis spent the first hour like this. She doesn't like white people. No joke. So she was scared of everyone....except for the one black teacher we have in the city. Charis likes her. After an hour, she took her coat off and we coaxed her to sit with Brad and I.

Kesed spent his dinner being fed by a friend. They sat and talked and played and ate. It was funny because about 30 minutes after eating, I see our friend holding Kesed by his thighs and waiting. He finally asked me how Kesed was going to go to the bathroom, because he had normal pants on (no split pants). I told him that he had on a diaper. I explained that he didn't need to hold him up (right next to the dinner table, by the way) waiting for Kesed to go to the bathroom. This is the way all Chinese parents do it, I just forgot to tell our friend Kesed had a diaper on. It was funny.

Malachi spent his after dinner hours at a dance party. He was in the center the ENTIRE time. He actually had some good moves. This kid cannot stand being still if there is a beat to be heard. It's so funny to watch his shoulders start moving. Then the head gets going. It's as if he's going to bust out of his skin if he doesn't dance.

Here's Selah playing guitar with a friend. They were singing "Great is Thy Faithfulness when I walked in. She loves playing any type of instrument. We had a blast.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A new winner!

So I have been dethroned.  I am sitting in the airport and just got done reading a little article on the rise of plastic the DEAD!  Face lifts, botox injections, tummy tucks, and whatever they will pay for.

Congratulations to all the men and women who have now taken the crown of Mr./Ms. Pathetic.

I hope they feel good about the fact that they spent thousands of dollars to look good as they lay under a patch of dirt and cow manure.  Way to go.  I'm sure the hungry, hurting and homeless can wait.   UGH....

People.         Sometimes, I'm not sure why God keeps us around.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Officially crowned... Ms. Pathetic

I, Carrie, have been gone for a couple of days.  I'm in a large city down south and it has caused me much culture shock.  But that's not the point.  I'm writing to confess that I could not possibly get more pathetic.  I have officially lost it on two separate forms of transportation in the last two days.  

Pathetic Encounter #1

I was on the airplane and reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns".  It's by the same guy who wrote "Kite Runner".  Both are intense... good, but really intense.  So I'm about halfway through and there's a situation with an orphanage.  ***Little Spoiler***  A mom has to drop off her 7 year old little girl at an orphanage in Afghanistan because the family has no food and the country is in war. So of course the author goes into this vivid explanation of the drop off.  The facial expressions, the dust swirling in the air, the unspoken was relentless, really.  Well, anyway, I just lost it.  Right there on the airplane.  And it wasn't the calm little dab your eyes on your sleeve kind of cry.  It was a sucking on a vacuum cleaner kind of cry.  So I faced the window and stared at the pollution as we landed.

Pathetic Encounter #3

Tonight, I walked through the streets for a little bit, taking pictures and just relaxing.  My introverted side needed some picture taking and people watching.  I'm listening to Christmas music as I'm walking the streets and watching cell phones replace the laughter of their child in the stroller.  I'm watching Christmas sales and lines around the corner to buy expensive jewelry.  I'm standing backwards in the subway and it was as if I was the only person standing still while people and things flew past me at warp speed.  "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" was playing as I was watching lifeless, oblivious people and things fly passed me into the background of Christmas.  As I was weeping, my heart broke for the confusion over this holiday.  As believers, we HAVE to celebrate differently than this world.  We have reason to celebrate.  We are not to remain in a state of dismay and confusion, especially during Christmas.  

Christ came, revealed himself to the prominent and to the lowly.  I pray that the Lord would allow me to remain somberly joyful this Christmas.  And thank you Lord, for the gift of tears....even if it is pretty darn pathetic :)

Monday, December 08, 2008

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

“God loves a cheerful giver” (this includes our time)

John Owen's Indwelling Sin

Wow! If you want to slay the incessant desires that wage war against your soul and thus pilfer joy, John Owen’s Indwelling Sin is a classic worth slowly chewing on. It is too dense in content for a fast read, however, if you would commit a few minutes a day to meditating on a few pages or paragraphs, greater victories will doubtless be gained.

Enjoy the following encouragement from Owen’s book, “Never let us reckon that our work in contending against sin, in crucifying, mortifying, and subduing of it, is at an end…Many conquerors have been ruined by their carelessness after a victory, and many have been spiritually wounded after great successes against this enemy…he who dies fighting in this warfare dies assuredly a conqueror.”

Justin Taylor has a great edition of John Owen’s most famous works on sin, entitled, Overcoming Sin and Temptation.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Weary of God

Just read a tough word in Isaiah 43:22, "Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, but you have been weary of me, O Israel." We all know weariness; applying that to God, our sin looks even more deplorable!

All sin is becoming weary or tired of God. A good question to ask ourselves is simply this, "Where and when am I weary of God?"

Not "if"...since we all sin. Why do we grow weary? From this perspective, we have a different way to approach our prayer time, Scripture study, worship, service, and life in general....what do you do to not grow weary in a day and throughout the day? In the words of George Mueller, our duty evey morning and all day is to make sure we are "happy [i.e. overflowing in joy] in God", otherwise, we are useless at the breakfast table or anywhere else.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thank God

If you want to grow in your knowledge of the Father, read Paul and Jesus' various prayers of thanksgivings. We only thank people when they did actually did something. So, whenever we read "I thank God that...", we know that God actually did... otherwise, there would be no need for thanksgiving. Right?

With that said, check out this little jewel in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers." Notice what Paul says God did---God made them accept the gospel (cp. 2:5, 8, 9; 1:5), the word of God, as the word of God

Most people think God offers the word of God but we are the ones who finally decide to accept it or not. But when you actually read the Bible, notice what it says. This is yet another example of sovereign grace! May we constantly thank God for the grace he gave us to accept the gospel at all. We contributed nothing to salvation but our sin!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

My little make-up artist

After rest time the other day, Charis emerged looking ready for a night on the town. Not sure which town exactly, but a town of very shady proportions. Sorry for the eye thing, but I wanted you to see that Selah also drew a watch on one hand and a bracelet on the other.

So if you're short on make-up, any markers will do.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home Study rundown

Day 3 of the home study....done.

It feels like we've just finished the 4th quarter of an aTm vs. Louisiana High School football game. (I would have loved to picked a better competitor for the Aggies, but it wouldn't communicate how close of a game I am talking about.). Our social worker came on Thursday night. Her train got randomly canceled out of Beijing, so she didn't arrive here until 8 pm or so. The first night was going over paperwork. Medicals, power of attorney, financial statement, the whole deal.

Day 2 was pretty intense. We had interviews together in the morning so that she could assess our marriage. We talked about EVERYTHING with her. Right down to pet peeves :) . We had to recruit an army of babysitters to help out with the kiddos. Some spoke English, others did not. We ate lunch with her while the kids were at home. She wanted to see our interaction together. We held our breath, because all the kids had eaten already, and 4 kids sitting at and around a table with no food is usually not a great formula. But we managed, thanks to some crackers and sweets. The afternoon was filled with personal interviews. They asked about our personal upbringing, struggles, memories, our relationship with our family, etc. 5:00 and we were done...tired and totally done for the day.

Insert narrator here: Note, Carrie got sick the morning of the first day of the home study. So all of her answers are accompanied by blowing of her nose and an entirely irritating nasaly voice. Like that annoying Fran actor lady's voice.

Day 3: She came over at 7:30 am to get started. She had the kids take her around the house and show her around. The whole time, she's giving them instructions on how to be safe with the baby. After they are done, we sit and she gives us some heads up on adoption. What bonding looks like, things to be thinking of before we pick her up, how to handle adjustments in the home.

It was fun to feel like we're getting closer. It was wonderful to actually get the freedom to think through what raising this new baby will look like. I think it really feels more real now. Our social worker was fantastic. Thanks everyone for your prayers, everything went wonderfully.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, there will be no turkey, pumpkin pie, yummy green bean casserole and stuffing. But today, we have our home study. It's the biggest hurdle in the adoption process. So I can think of nothing more that we'd rather do this Thanksgiving, than to give thanks to the Lord for allowing us to be a part of this adoption. We are thankful for His adopting us. And we are also thankful for the grace of getting to adopt our baby from the other side of the world.

God is good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

2 Firsts

First First:   

We decided to get Kesed's first hair cut.  I've been delaying because he had these precious curls in the back.  But now that the humidity is gone, it just looks like a bird's nest sitting on his neck.  And then there's the comb over in the front.  Bottom line, it just had to be done.  He's chewing on his bribe, but to no avail, he hated the whole deal.

Second First:  

Selah lost her first tooth!  She had been working on it for awhile now.  And actually, the two teeth on the bottom are already in quite a bit.  It was end of the day on Saturday and she wiggled it out.  Before too long, the one next to it will be out.  

We did the whole under the pillow, tooth fairy thing, but she got scared when she saw shadows in the middle of the night.  So at about 3 am, she found out the truth.  She never asked us directly if it was real (otherwise we would have told her the truth), but she had a suspicion.  But we think she really did want to believe it was true, so she just never asked :).  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Question to ask

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it......But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question."-Anonymous

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Complete opposite meaning

For Selah's birthday, she got this angel from a friend.  I loved the translation/message written on the side.  It reads:  "God grant me the serenity to accent the things I cannot change."

So Brad and I pondered this deep thought.  "God grant me the serenity to accent the things I cannot change."  Ya know, like a bad personality, impatience, brashness, etc.  Ya, God, grant me the ability to accent those.  Seems like I don't really need God's help in accenting those things. Unfortunately, I'm doing a good enough job on my own.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Selah's 7th!

We celebrated Selah's 7th Birthday this week!  I cannot believe she is 7 already.  I love who she has become and how the Lord is growing and changing her in so many ways.  She broke down in grief the other day because we told her to say she was sorry the other day, but she felt like in her heart, she wasn't sorry.  We've had several interactions with her like this lately, where she is becoming more and more aware of sin and her need for forgiveness.  It's beautiful.  (Sorry for the random underlines below.)

We always have a family dinner on the night of their actual birthday.  She wanted chicken alfredo.  We invited our close family friend over to join us because she couldn't come to the party.  We also go around the table and express what are a few things that we love about the birthday person.  
We had the party on Saturday.  She invited a school friend and some friends that live around us.  I'm so proud of her Chinese.  It's so fun because she doesn't really even complain about not having English speaking friends.  But we did get to invite one other American family in the city.  Here's mom doing some face painting.  It was a flower themed party.  I just couldn't do princesses for another year.  

This is her friend from school.  They used to sit next to each other, but got separated because they talked too much.  She's a sweet friend to Selah.

We played pin the bee on the flower too.  The girls all thought this was a blast and played it again and again.

The weather wasn't super cold, so we headed outside and played a game called "Eagle catches the small bird."  It's a traditional game here that all the kids play.  

We had a wonderful time!  Selah has become a wonderful girl.  As parents, it's amazing to watch her love others and care deeply for the hurting.  The last few months, she has told us several times that when she gets older, she will move to Africa and live among Muslims.  It will be fun to see what He does with her.

We love you sweetie!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Try to Define "Sin"

Most of us simply list sins instead of define “sin”. At best, we might say “breaking God’s laws”, but this is still misses the main problem with not mature past a child’s thinking towards a more mature Biblical understanding.


Simply put, we suggest the following definition of “sin”. Sin is valuing of anything else above God. This simple definition actually has far reaching ramifications. But first, we need to defend the definition. Romans 1 is the clearest. Romans 1:23, 25, 28 speaks our “exchanging” the glory and truth of God for created things. This is the fundamental problem of the universe; all other Scriptural descriptions of “sin” fall under this basic idea. “Whatever is not done by faith is sin” (Romans 14:23), yet faith believes that God rewards those who seeks him and that He is able to do what he has promised (Hebrew 11:1, 6; Romans 4:20-21). Given that we are commanded to do everything to the glory of God, including eating and drinking, (1 Cor. 10:31), then all sin is “falling short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)—again, not showing the worth of God above all other things. What we value is always evidence by our lives.


This means that we stops asking “Is this or that a sin?” This misses the point and shows us that we are not thinking of the worth of God but the worth of our self-interest. Also, sin is not merely about law-breaking and guilt; it’s also about the honor of God and how we have publically shamed him before the world. Sin is like publically spitting in our father’s face. Romans 2:23-24 is chillingly clear, “You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." Notice that law-breaking is the MEANS, not the ultimate problem—the worth (glory) of God is ultimately at stake.


This should cause us great angst as we realize our “list” of sins just expanded. Worshipping God is feeling, thinking, and doing anything that shows the worth of God. How many things do we do, think, or FEEL that do not reflect His infinite worth. What a joy to define sin as it is that we may see our desperate condition, confess sin, and call out to the God of Mercy to transform our hearts more and more like Christ’s!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

just a normal saturday

Just a normal Saturday in our household.  We're doing straw painting.  Here's Selah and one of her best friends, Mao Yuan.  They have a blast together.  They just got done roller blading and are now painting together (along with Charis and Malachi).  Kesed was there too, but I think he was busy playing with the broom.

Here are the kids sporting their new hats.  I got them all knit just in time for winter to come.  Yesterday, winter snuck up and slapped us from behind.  I've also got one for my sweet neice who is coming in Dec.

And just what you've all been waiting for, Charis, following in her big sister's shoes. Here she is sporting a corduroy jacket, velvet dress, pink turtle pajama pants, her red socks and wizard of oz ruby red shoes.  And you ask, did you go out like this?  Of course.... dressed and ready to go.  Those of you who know me well, shouldn't be surprised.  

That's all for now.  

A Little Noticed Contradiction in "Freedom"

It is plain wrong to say both that a person (1) has the “Free Will” to have faith in Christ but (2) not the “free will” to be justified by law, by one’s own righteousness. All Christians agree with the latter; many also assert the first statement even though these two claims (as will be shown) are contradictory.


All of Scripture attests to the fact that the fruit of our lives reflects. The condition of our hearts (Mt 7:16, 12:33; Lk. 6:43-44; Rom. 7:4-5). True faith is evidenced by good works (see James, 1 John, Hebrews) Faith without works is death (i.e. is not genuine faith). Yet, notice that in the above two statements, a person says that we are able to have faith in Christ (independent of grace, since the will is “free”; otherwise, it’s not free) YET this ability for faith should therefore imply the ability to do good works [again, independent of grace].  Does this not mean that we could be saved by works by virtue of our own inherent good, “free will” [apart from grace]?


However, this has never and can never be done. In fact, to assert such would be to deny the gospel. Galatians 2:21 plainly states, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.


That so-called “freedom” which theoretically makes faith possible without grace (hence, “freedom”) is the same that makes works based salvation theoretically possible. Yet, this is impossible!!! The key point often overlooked by “Free Will” advocates is that is it contradictory to say both that the will is “free” and in need of grace. {It is a simple side step and not a real solution to say grace makes free will…grace does not make one as if there was no grace}. If it also needs Spiritual grace, then it is not free of itself!! It is still a slave to impotence of sin.


How can we call slavery “freedom”?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"Believe...!" Does Not Imply That We Actually Can

This is a follow-up to a previous blog.


We have heard a thousand times people respond to us saying, “Because God commands us to do something, it must imply that we can do it. Otherwise, why would he command it?” As we will show, this logic does not hold up. Those who hold to “Free Will” do not show explicit Scriptures for this position, nor can they very well define “Free Will”. In truth, it’s a philosophical position fought for based on what they think the Scriptures infer (though don’t actually say). [This blog is also a follow-up on the Martin Luther series since it’s drawing from his book “Bondage of the Will”.]


It ought to be a plain to us that in Scripture God’s demands to us do not necessary imply our ability to obey them. (I will offer a very simple, daily life example in a moment.) Rather, God’s laws are meant to expose our sin, in particular our sinful inability, that our natures are unable to delight or heed his law (Gal. 3:19-21; Romans 3:20, 7:7-13). Romans 7:7-9 especially makes the point that God’s giving of the command does not merely show us past flaws in us, but provides the occasion by which sin is provoked to exert its power. Therefore, giving law does not at all imply ability; rather, it is the tool God uses to humble us, showing us our moral inability.


It is like giving a large hammer to a small child who pleads to swing it though he’s clearly too weak to even hold it. Yet, the father gives it to his son that the son may be silenced in humility and in awe of the work of grown-ups. Likewise, how many physicians tell their patience to do things they know well they can’t do. Such “futile” exercises are meant to reveal our inability, NOT our ability.


The belief in “Free Will”, if taken to its logical end, comes dangerously close to denying half the gospel. How so? The New Covenant, which we see in Luke 22, 2 Corinthians 3, and Hebrews 8, is what Christ’s life, death, and resurrection brought ought. It says that we will (1) be forgiven of sin and (2) given a new spirit such that we will have new hearts causing us to obey {for example, see Ezek. 36:26-27; Jer. 31:33-34}. Everyone knows about forgiveness, but people rarely relish the second part of the New Covenant (thus the “good” of the gospel): He gives us new hearts that CAUSE us to obey!! If we already had “free wills” to obey God, why do we need a new Spirit to cause us to obey? If our wills necessarily need the Spirit to obey, then it’s not free in itself!


Rather, we should agree with Romans 6, we are all slaves...either to sin or to righteousness. There is no room for “free will” in between these two categories. Without the Spirit’s saving grace, all of our wills are enslaved, not free. That’s why it says in Romans 8:7-8, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


Thus, God’s commands are not given in vain. They achieve their purpose—that we might learn our impotency! And thus be saved.



Saturday, November 01, 2008

"Help Me Believe" cd

You need to check out this album:  "Help Me Believe" by Donna Stuart.  It's an album filled with hope, redemption and freedom.  iTune it and put it in your worship playlist.  

It has really ministered to me this weekend as I pondered the Grace of our adoption.  I have been blown away by how much the Lord loves to care for His children.  This cd is an expression of a child pleading with her father to come and sit together.  

Love it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ethiopia deluxe

Brief update in the adoption world.  I walked in and showed those cops who was boss and they all scrambled, typed, sealed my document and I was on my way out the door in 10 minutes flat. 
It went something like that, or at least that's how I'm choosing to remember it :).  Bottom line is, we got the document!!  We've also successfully jumped several hurdles.  They were ugly jumps, but we jumped them nonetheless.  Our paperwork is almost finished and we'll now wait for our home study at the end of the Nov.  After that, it's more paperwork and red tape.  

We had a cop friend come over to our house today and help with getting fingerprinted.  While here, he told us he was going to look around a bit.  We nervously threw small talk his way.  He seemed satisfied, but it was a tense few minutes.  Having him walk around just made us feel nervous, even though we haven't done anything.  We tell people, we've got 4 kids, we don't have time to make trouble.

We've been studying Ethiopia these last two weeks of home school.  So tonight we finished up with our Ethiopian meal.  We got to eat with our hands, so that's always a good formula for the kids enjoying a meal.  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why 2 Blogs on "Free Will"?

What an irrelevant question to life huh? “That’s for pastors and theologians to quarrel about,” you might be thinking.

In fact, one’s view of “free will” may undermine the gospel of grace, steal one’s joy in Christ, and dull one’s ability to read Scripture. Ergo, it’s very relevant.


Actually, this is one of the most relevant and least discussed topics in the normal Christian’s life. Those who argue for “Free Will” rarely can define it and explain without contradiction what they mean. So, we’re committing two forthcoming blogs to the topic. We find few people willing to talk about the topic basically, as we can tell, because they don’t understand what is at stake. Positions have been assumed and people don’t know how to live without these certain assumptions.


The coming blogs hope to show why the “Free Will” argument, if taken to its logical ends, can lead to grave consequences. Everyone says we have “free will”. We want to show that “free will” is an empty term that needlessly confuses people and hinders Biblical truth. We know some people just like the funny cultural stories or the kids’ anecdotes, but we hope you’ll consider reading these blogs as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Punched in the Gut

I feel like I've just been punched in the gut.  And I'll tell you, my gut has not been well this week.  So this was the final blow.  

I just got home from spending the last several hours talking to the Chinese police.  And if that doesn't sound like enough fun, I got home and got more discouraging emails.  All of them adoption related.  Outside the box questions throw most people here into a tailspin.  At KFC, you want fries and not corn?  "no, we cannot do that."  At the bank, we lost our card and need a new one.  "no, we cannot do that."  I want chicken instead of beef in that dish..."no, we cannot do that."  
So in going to the police and asking for a simple letter stating that we haven't committed crimes while living here in China was received with a "huh?!  Why do you want to adopt?  And you want to adopt from WHERE?!  How are you going to feed it, clothe it, send it to college???"  All I wanted was a simple letter and it has now turned into a 2 week ordeal.  It's still not solved.

I know that the Lord wants us to do this.  I cannot tell you the incredible amount of paperwork we are trying to get done.  It's expensive, time intensive and emotionally trying.  But as I have been praying this afternoon, the Lord has reminded me just how costly His sacrifice was for us.  
So I will press on, because our sacrifice is nothing compared to God's.  And our gain will be great when we get to meet our new little one.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Gospel and the Recent Economic Crisis

We have heard for years a very subtle distinction between Christians (or some types of Christians) and other people like politicians, economists, aid workers, etc... The idea goes that Christians help "spiritual" suffering while other people help "practical, this worldly" suffering. Essentially, preaching the gospel seemingly is made to be irrelevant to an economic crisis, to solving marital problems, educational reform, war, raising kids, pregnancy, and other "real life" problems. This blog (we hope) helps put that myth away. It is a godless myth that perhaps most(?) Christians subtly fall prey to. Consequently, Christians allow sharing the gospel to be minimized and even trivialized.

First of all, the preaching of the gospel is the most practical, long term means of alleviating suffering here and now, not just with respect to eternity. How? The ways are too numerous; let's just think about the recent American and world economic crisis.

When the gospel is preached, God changes human hearts forever. When the heart is changed, a person's life is radically changed; not only that one life but those around him or her. As people continue to spread the gospel into entire families and communities, entire segments of society and generations thereafter are radically altered. Family and social bondage is broken. What happens when the heart is changed?
The truly changed, Christian heart does not love money, thus does not live in such a way that the loss of investments takes away his peace and joy. The free, Christian heart gladly relieves others financial burdens by giving money away in these times. The transformed heart does not long for retirement because her hope is heaven and her desire is productive labor for Christ all the days of her life. This heart does not grow more anxious about the destination of the market than the that of the souls around them. Christians in business seek to work with integrity, not wanting to scam the system for the sake of the next promotion. The Christian heart is motivated to work harder, longer, and wiser in order to find new solutions to relieve human suffering, whether this means solving scientific, business, and economic problems or by offering the sweat of our brow and the use of our skills in order to help people through tough financial times. Resources like homes, cars, clothes are freely shared as in the book of Acts. It is an irony that so many of us continually lament the loss of our portfolios even while we enjoy the leisure of reading this and other blogs, even while children in Ethiopia are hoping to survive the week for lack of food. This economic crisis is an opportunity for Christians to magnify the worth of Christ's gospel. How shall we then live?

With each and every problem, the motivations of the Christian heart, the new desires embedded in the renewed mind address suffering in practical ways for generations to come. Mere political and financial strategizing alone only relives the pain for a season, if at all. We must ask ourselves whether we believe in the power of the gospel, whether we truly love other people, and whether we are truly taking the wisest, practical approaches in abolishing evil in the world. Let us preach the gospel to ourselves and our neighbors.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Young Pioneers

The last couple of weeks, at Selah's school, they have started the "Red Scarf" campaign. Basically, it breeds the smartest kids in each class to be leaders. The idea is that you identify them now and they will be leaders of the Communist Party in the future. They have to memorize certain propaganda statements, march in line every monday morning and recite certain slogans.

Well, a lot of Selah's friends at school now wear these red scarves around their necks to school because they are being groomed for the Party. Selah said that one of her friends told her that Selah would NEVER be allowed to do this. She got her feelings hurt and was really sad at being left out. That day, we had a friend eating with us, so we talked about it as a group. She exclaimed that because she was not Chinese, she would not be allowed to join the Party.

"But Mommy, I don't understand, it's not fair that I cannot join the Party. It makes no sense!"

We had a little discussion on international politics and came to a good resolution. So to help the grandparents sleep easily tonight, the only party our kids will be attending will have cake and noisy balloon games.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pro-Obama but Pro-Life?

Here is a thought provoking article (especially page 2) for any
Christians struggling with their tension of wanting to support Obama
but repulsed by his abortion stance. I know many struggle with the
one-issue voting thing:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Adoption Start

Well, we've got BIG news....we're officially starting the process for adopting a sweet baby from ETHIOPIA!  

We have more thoughts than I can put in one blog.  We basically wanted to update everyone on where we were at in the process.  We are still at the very beginning stages, and could still be denied somewhere in the process.  But we are hopeful and excited.  It basically came down to a special needs Chinese baby or an Ethiopian baby.  After much prayer and conversation, we decided that we just couldn't take a care of most special needs because of life circumstances.  Some of the special needs are really minor, but it is just hard to know when those babies will be available.  And on the positive, we both felt really at peace and excited about the idea of adopting an Ethiopian baby.  Right now, they are experiencing a pretty bad drought, which reminded us of the urgency of help in these sweet child's lives.  

We've been listening to adoption sermons lately and will share some of those reflections in the days and weeks to come.  

This is one of the BIGGEST faith leaps we have taken as a couple and as a family.  And with the stock market the way it is, finances are looking grim.  But that doesn't change the situation in our future baby's life.  He/She still needs a home, a family, brothers and sisters, and a picture of Jesus' love for him or her.  

We aren't sure how we are going to afford this, but we know that GOD is FAITHFUL.  We have seen Him do such amazing things in our lives, that we are sleeping well at night, knowing that He will make a way.  

We'll share more as we know more.  Right now, we are scheduled for a home study in late November.  They will interview us and take a look at our home and family to make sure it's a good environment for them to come in to.  

Ok, that's it for now.  Rejoice and pray with us as we start this journey!!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The 4th Child

I've gotten those forwards that talk about the differences in parenting between the first and fourth child, and they are right on.  I always laugh out loud because they are just so true.  

Well, just tonight, I was laughing at how different we are with Kesed than we were with Selah.  I could go on forever, but I'll leave you with just two for now:

With child #1

1.  You practice and practice walking with them.  You spend countless hours prodding them to go to your spouse and clapping and screaming like kindergartners at recess when they finally take a step.  

By child #4

1.  You want to duct tape their hands to the floor so as to prevent them from learning to walk.  You are happy that they are fairly slow and immobile and you can still put things on the bottom part of your bookcases.

With child #1

1.  When something drops on the floor, you scramble to get it and go immediately to the sink to wash it for 2 minutes in boiling water.  And then put it in the dishwasher and get another pacifier from the piles you got at your baby shower.

By child #4

1.  You find them in the kitchen eating at half eaten apple from the trash can.  And then you let them finish it, because at least they are getting some fiber!

I don't know what kind of parent lets those things happen, I've just heard stories  : )

Friday, October 03, 2008

Arbitrary Parent Rule #17

"Malachi, you may not wipe your boogers on the wall."

Malachi:  "But Mommy, my hand didn't even TOUCH the wall!"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"Bondage of the Will" (Martin Luther) Part II

For the two other persons who are interested in this blog series, here’s part 2.

So far, Luther has been responding to Erasmus’ Preface. (The whole book is a response to Erasmus’ book on the matter).

Luther explains that all of God’s promises depend on his total sovereignty over all things, especially the Will. He says, “For when [God] promises, it is necessary that you should be certain that He knows, is able, and willing to perform what He promises; otherwise, you will neither hold Him true nor faithful…” To put it another way, to deny God’s total sovereignty is to make God merely a predictor of things he can’t do and/or hasn’t actually accomplished. All things in history arise from human decision, whether to birth a child, move locations, take a job, betray a friend, crucify a man, or any other thing. Accordingly, if God were not sovereign over the will, he could not promise to do anything (since all the factors leading up to various events required decisions outside his control).

He also addresses the argument that such debates and inquiries ought not happen because they create divisions. He has stated that salvation and the gospel are actually at issue for this matter informs us of our desperately humble state and God’s grace. However, he furthers his argument by saying “tumult” is natural when the Bible is taught. Should we not teach gladly the weighty things of Scripture simply because people will get upset? He challenges the premise common today that unity must be predicted at all costs. The issues that surround the “free will” conversation are central to the gospel (i.e. grace, human righteousness, sin, God’s power and promises,…)

Erasmus asserts that since such doctrines cannot be understood by people, we ought not to accept them. Understanding is necessary for acceptance. If we are not careful in selecting what we teach (says Erasmus), people could be adversely affected. However, Luther aptly replies, “What else do you mean by all this, than that the words of Scripture should depend on, stand on, and fall by, the will and authority of men?” How many of us hesitate to say things because it might cause people to be uncomfortable, humbled, or upset, though the Truth could save them from many worldly troubles or even hell? Truth will never find “consensus” (yet we may easily acts as if it should).

Finally, Luther advances towards a defining and explaining what is meant by people when they say “Free Will”. He speaks of two kinds of ability (better explained by Edwards 200 years later; I think I mentioned this in a previous post on being responsible for what we cannot do.) In short, he wants to explain that the Will always does what it wants. It cannot do other than what it wants. However, the will cannot change itself. All theologians agree on this point, including Erasmus, who says that God’s grace is necessary to affect the will. However, Luther points out that Erasmus undermine the “Free Will” argument when he say this. Why? Because if God’s grace is necessary for a person’s heart to be changed, then it cannot BY ITSELF do what God wills. Therefore he says “ ‘Free Will’ without the grace of God is, absolutely, not FREE; but immutably, the servant and bond-slave of evil, because it cannot turn itself unto good.” In other words, if the Will supposedly has some power, but this power is ineffective, then it has no power, no freedom. At he heart of the conversation is what is decisive…God’s grace OR the human will apart from grace.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Redeemed 32nd

Thank you guys for all the birthday wishes!  It really did bless me to hear from you all.  I think with Brad being gone, it was extra sweet to be thought of by others.  So, thank you.  

Just a few thoughts on today.  You know how you sometimes have big ideas about how a day is going to look.  I'm not sure why I still do this, because it always plays out in my head without a hitch.  But my four wonderful children add an element of spontaneity that my dreams don't account for :).  

After the household was awake and had eaten breakfast, my first task was to fish out half a roll of soggy toilet paper from the toilet.  I'm a texture person, so behind oatmeal and tofu soup, soggy paper is a wretched thing to touch.  But my mom super powers took over and I grabbed a plastic bag and fished it all out.  Those are the same powers that allow me to clean up throw up without losing lunch and dress bloody wounds without passing out.  

I decided to make homemade donuts to share with some friends and while making them, a good friend from the States called.  It was such a welcomed breath into the day.  And the donuts were great!  So donuts and apples for lunch.  I feel better knowing that at school they only eat vegetables and tofu, so donuts and apples can be inserted every once in a while.

A little later, Malachi lost our keys.  The only ones we have at the moment, as Brad is gone with the other pair....until Sunday.  So our plans to go out with friends to the park this afternoon are averted by being house bound.  But Selah went and had fun.

Long story short, our friends called a guy and he'll change the locks tomorrow.  Some other random stuff happened today, but it all seems trivial after what just occurred with my one year old.  The kids are all having a sleepover tonite in the boy's room.  Kesed and I really had a hard day together.  He just was cranky and whiney and didn't sleep well.  As we were singing and praying together, I noticed he was unusually still in my lap.  So I took him out while the other kids played for a bit.  Then, for the next 20 minutes or so, he just laid with me all curled up into my arms.  He's a nuzzler, so he just got comfortable and stayed there.  I know 20 minutes doesn't seem long, but in one year old boy terms, it's eternity.  

As I laid there with him, I was overwhelmed in humility as how he had seemingly forgot all the times I had gotten frustrated with him during the day.  He forgot how many times I had to step over him because something else was needing my attention.  He laid there as if to tell me "mom, it's ok.  I'm still here and I'm still yours."  I very much felt the presence of the Lord reminding me of His abundance of forgiveness that permeates our lives. And when we understand that,  the chaos of the day becomes background on the canvas of our life's mosaic.  As I was with Kesed, nothing else seemed to matter.  There was much joy in the redemption of the day.  And I didn't want anything to get in the way of that time-no phone calls, door rings, nothing.  I just wanted to bask in that redeemed time.  

God is so faithful to redeem us while we were yet sinners.  What a beautiful picture it is as we curl up into His arms and allow Him to surround us with forgiveness for our failing Him.  Forgiveness when we step over Him to attend to "more important" business.  Forgiveness when following Him does not at all seem convenient.  

Thank you Kesed for this birthday gift.  And thank you Lord for second chances. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Don't Waste Your Prayers

Heard a great sermon this morning. (I love iPods.) He talked about not wasting our prayers. He uses James 4:2-5, “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’?” James says that when we ask for things from God to use merely for our own benefit and not to enjoy and glorify God above all other things, then I am an adulterer.


The pastor then gave an analogy. When we do this, it’s like a wife who also has a boyfriend. She goes to her husband and prays (or asks) of him, “Give me fifty dollars so I can enjoy myself and be happy”. The husband gives her the money and goes to bed. Meanwhile, she leaves the house and goes to her boyfriend, then gives him the money to have sex with him. This is essentially the picture of James 4!


I’m reading through Jeremiah and Isaiah right now. It again and again likens idolatry with adultery and whoredom. How would it change our lives to see that we all are idolaters and commit adultery, for we so often worship the image in our mirror.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just found out this morning that my sister is coming to visit!!!!  I realize that it's only Sept. and she'll come in Dec., but I am beyond excited.  And she's going to bring her sweet baby girl.  So we will get to meet for the first time!

It's a happy day in our household.  I cannot wait!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God holds us responsible for what we can NOT do

Really. Something completely counter intuitive to most people yet unambiguous in Scripture is that God holds us responsible for what we CANNOT do. Let me show you at least 4 verses (notice the language).

First, Old Testament.
Jeremiah 6:10-11, "Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in."

Hosea 8:5, "My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of innocence?"

Second, New Testament.
Romans 8:7-8, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

1 Corinthians 2:14, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Most people say that God couldn't judge us if he also "elects" us (i.e. if we are unable to believe for ourselves). The problem with this philosophical presupposition is the Bible. The reason most people don't accept this is that we don't understand it. Let me offer a little help from my favorite dead guy, Jonathan Edwards (in Freedom of the Will)

(Carrie tells me that pictures keep people interested in blogposts...still interested?)

There are two kinds of inability. Simply saying we can't do something is too vague. There is "moral inability" and "natural inability". By "natural ability" we refer to those things we normally think, "I can't speak Chinese", "He's tied to a chair", "He's blend and can't see", etc. By "moral inability", think of a mom. She is unable to kill her kids. A child abuser, on the other hand, because of his heinous desires, is "unable" not to hurt people. Yet in both of these instances, we definitely do praise to mom and blame the criminal precisely for their inabilities. Take the supreme examples...God and Satan. God is unable to sin. Satan is unable to be righteous. Yet, shall we say that God is therefore NOT worthy of praise or Satan blame? Of course not. This kind of "inability" has to to with the love of our heart, the passions of our wills. We always do what our will finds the best option. Even the suicidal person thinks killing himself is better than living; we suffer long hours on the job because we think in the end it's better than being homeless and hungry. Notice even the language in the Jeremiah passage above, they "cannot listen" because they take no pleasure in His word. People get this topic wrong because people get the two kinds of "inability" wrong.

As Romans 6 say, we are ALL slaves to something, either sin or righteousness. We do what our master says. We are slaves to our fundamental passion. Therefore, we must have God graciously grant us "new cause [us] to obey..." (Ezekiel 36:26-27). As Romans 12:3 says, faith is a gift. 2 Timothy 2:25 and Acts 11:18 say, God must grant us repentance.

Two contemporary Christian songs that celebrate this reality and thus the manifold wonder of his grace are Caedmon's Call's "Thankful" and Shane and Shane's "Beg". If you are a Christians, enjoy his grace on your life today! If you are not a Christian and you are reading this, call out for mercy, "help my unbelief!" He is a gracious God!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kesed's 1st

We started the festivities off with a little Chinese barbecue. As you can tell, Kesed was thoroughly enjoying himself. He spit out he meat and yelled most of the meal. Just too excited to eat. One year ago, in Thailand, he entered the world with a bang. It was a textbook delivery with lots of funny cultural moments for added flavor.

The kids and I made a fish cake. Thanks to our friends, The Benson's, we had a box chocolate cake (which translates to mom not having to make it from scratch!!) Since I was on an easy- birthday-cake-making roll, I decided to go to a bakery and buy the icing. Lazy, I know, but there are just times you've gotta give yourself a break. Martha Stewart doesn't have 4 kids ages 6 and under living in her home. So she can import her Belgian chocolate cake layered with Connecticut apples and Papua New Guinea figs. But for this girl, it was convenience that ruled the day.

We returned home and took out the fish cake that the kids and I made. We had the crazy singing flower candle that has become a tradition in our family and had a great time together.

He wasn't real sure what to make of the cake, but seemed to get into it after a few minutes. I cannot believe he is one already. Most people have these cute measurements and growth updates, but Kesed hasn't been to the doctor in a really long time. So here's our family's Chinese equivalent:

weight: a large bag of dumpling flour
height: one and a half of Brad's feet

Big brother and sisters love him to death. Malachi can't wait until Kesed can wrestle.
He's crawling all over the place. He'll stand, but then sit down. Just not interested in the whole upright walking thing. He's making noises that we attribute to things, but really, I don't think he's talking yet. He's got a wonderful laugh and loves to be a part of everything.

We haven't cut his hair yet, which is funny to our friends here because they shave babies heads when they are a month or so old. I just can't seem to part with those curls.

Happy Birthday little man!! We love you so much and love how much the Lord has blessed our family through you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"The Bondage of the Will" (Martin Luther) Part I

Because I think it will be helpful for readers and for myself, to keep myself disciplined and concentrated on meaning, I'm going to try something. I'm going to summarize the main sections of Martin Luther's "The Bondage of the Will" as I read it. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANT TO QUIT READING...just wait. There is perhaps no topic in the Bible more neglected yet remains more relevant to everything essential to the Bible than "Free Will". Most people dismiss it as abstract, superfluous nonsense, irrelevant to the weekend's football games, the stock market, Iraq, and the presidential election. What a sad misunderstanding. We have found no subject in the Bile more encouraging and enlightening to WHO God is than in this doctrine. Martin Luther, one of the foremost leaders in the Reformation and one of the most important people in history, said himself that this was his most important work. As I've started reading the book, it's scary how contemporary it sounds. With that said, give the periodic "book reports" a try.

P1- 38: Luther is replying to Erasmus, a Catholic writing who is known for being eloquent but not intellectually rigorous

Erasmus claims that discussion about "Free Will" is unnecessary and superfluous. Yet, at the same time he claims that the people must strive for God while recognizing that Gods mercy is necessary for this striving effective. Luther responds like this: The topic of "Free WIll" is anything but "unnecessary and superfluous" because (1) it clarifies for us what we can and cant do in our strivings after God, and (2) informs us as to whom God is so that we know what he does and thus can trust and worship. Luther uses and analogy--would a farmer sow and plow a field without first assessing his field, his seed, whether he has the proper equipment and know how to do the job? Would a general proceed into war without first examining whether his soldiers are fit, money is plentiful, and how the various elements of strategy fit together. Or as Jesus says in Luke 14, would we ever build a tower without first counting the cost? Of course not! However, Erasmus and any many of us says that such "theological jargon" is irrelevant. If we think such matters are too abstract and muddy for us to care about, how are we to know if and how we could be saved, what our needs and abilities are...MOST PEOPLE JUST ASSUME THESE ANSWERS WHILE AT THE SAME TIME SAYING THEY TOO UNCLEAR AND IRRELEVANT. Do you see the contradiction? How can you assume something so essential to becoming and being a Christian while saying it's unnecessary? Why are we so thoughtful and careful about worldly things and about eternal things, we're so flippant? This speaks much to our hearts' condition and perhaps to our salvation if we are not stirred to inquire of our needs and God's nature and work in saving us. Luther closes this section by stating his goal for the book. In short, he says to Erasmus, basically, I'm going to make you define "Free WIll". When you do, you'll see what happens. Hardly anyone does this and thus start using empty words and neglect to consider what the Scriptures say in light of their arbitrary definition. (As one theologian has pointed out, Arminians [those who traditionally are said to believe in "Free Will"] hang their entire argument on a philosophical presupposition that is BROUGHT to Scripture, not one that is explicitly seen in Scripture.)

By the way (Brad here, not Luther), I think one reason why people struggle so much on this when they think about it is that people aren't comfortable not understanding everything. IF the Scriptures creates for us categories of thought we can't reconcile, then so be it. However, what many do is reject "what" is the clear teaching of Scripture because they don't see "how" it could be true. Until next time...


Our little man turned one today!! We just got done having barbeque and cake. We'll post tomorrow about the festivities.


Sorry, we've been away and been blog losers. This week has been one of "those" weeks. One things about our lives in China is that there are rarely normal days. They seem either to be overwhelmingly amazing or painfully awful. I wonder if others in our shoes have similar experiences. Anyway, this week the Hurricane hit our home area. Brad still has not heard back from any of his family. We sometimes make quick remarks on Facebook. All that to say, after our Sabbath time this week (we take Sabbath on Friday afternoon and Sat mornings), hopefully we can post some stuff.

Zai Jian!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please get that boy some more food

Our city has a few new American English teachers that just moved to China last week. So we invited a few of them over for hamburgers. We had met the other three teachers before, but the fourth teacher, Amy, was brand spankin' new to China. We sat down to eat and Malachi's interrogation began.

Malachi: So, are you married?

Amy: No, I'm not married.

Malachi: Why?? Did your husband die?

(interject mom's inner dialogue: "oh, please tell me he didn't die" and "please, malachi, put more food in your mouth so that nothing else embarrassing comes out.")

Amy: No, he didn't die, I've just never been married.

Malachi: Well...maybe it's because you're so short.

(interject mom inner dialogue...again "ok, maybe she didn't hear him." and "what the heck do I do next?!)

Mom: mom has to leave stage left because she is laughing uncontrollably, but cannot show it. Mom is now crying from laughing so hard. "Malachi, you cannot say that to people!"

Malachi: But why mom? What's wrong with that question?

Mom: (thinking to self, "I don't know why exactly, but I know, it's rude and you just can't") Malachi, just go apologize.

Malachi to Amy: sorry.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mommy post and homeschool rant

So this is a total mommy post.  I'm not going to write a lot, just sharing some pictures.  Enjoy!

********Warning, brief homeschool rant***********

So, I will rant just for a second about how ridiculously fun homeschooling is. I always saw homeschooling as a cop-out for not
wanting to send your kids into the "real world". I could probably do an entire blog on all the great stuff we get to do as a homeschooling family. These castle pictures were taken on a day when we started learning about castles. So we made a lego castle, decorated crowns, dressed up, played king and queen and started reading a book called "Castle Diary" for our nighttime reading.

This was the day after we ended our time learning about Greece. We've made homemade pita bread, eaten 2 different Greek meals, read about Greek gods, looked at Greek architecture, etc. We have had a blast. And the whole time I can incorporate how Scripture is a thread throughout all of history. When were studying Greece, we made antique scrolls and Selah pretended to be in Athens teaching to the people about how they should turn from their idols. Anyway, I can rant and rave for days. I just wanted to encourage you guys out there who are maybe scared of homeschooling or thinking of starting. DO IT!! It's been fantastic. And believe you me, our kids our plenty, "in the world", and have tons of interaction with other kids.

Here's my little buddy. It's his birthday month, so he'll get a longer post later. We have lots of nicknames for him, but the one I like best is "Shuai Ge," which means "handsome little buddy" in Chinese.

He's totally about to conquer this grape.

My sweet Charis downing a peach.

Malachi wanted to make sure my picture showed him throwing this bag of milk. After a few tries, we got it.

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