Thursday, April 30, 2009

Knowing and Doing are totally different

James 4:17 "Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

So this verse has been kicking my tail since the kids and I went over it together last night.  This verse has been permeating many of my decisions I made today.  Last night when I went to bed, not long after, Selah threw up.  I knew I should have her come and sleep with me so that I can take care of her.  That verse ran through my head.  My flesh wanted to leave the mess for the morning and tell her to go back to bed.  

When Selah came in, Charis always comes in also.  "This is the right thing to do."  But my flesh was angry because Charis is a crazy, loud sleeper.  So this invitation meant no more sleep for me.  

Kesed was really upset when he woke up this morning.  My flesh said "he's fine, he'll get over it and go back to bed."  But that was not the right thing to do.  The right thing to do was to check on him and love him, unselfishly.  

This sounds like a day with many victories....until the afternoon happened.  I lost my temper, more than once, I put the kids to bed 45 minutes early, I got angry and was frustrated.  As I got in the bath tonight (that's the place God likes to deal with me) and I was reminded of this verse.  

It seems that somewhere between lunch and home school, I forgot it.  

I think this is a great parenting verse.  I hear all these moms who seem so loving ALL of the time.  But I'm not going to full myself into thinking they are always that patient.  We all have these times where we're at the end of ourselves and we want to crawl into a quiet room with some good coffee and sit there until WE decide to get up.  No demands.  But then I remembered the joy my family brings to me.  The joy it is to serve them.  So tomorrow, I'm going to plaster this verse to my forehead and stop making excuses for be selfish with my time.  And how if I want to see more of God, I'm going to have to eliminate the sin of knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Emotional" Calvinism

To be a Calvinist intellectually essentially means you believe what has been dubbed TULIP:

Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints

However, as I have been reading various texts emphasizing God's sovereignty, I find myself even more interested in being a Calvinist emotionally.

Unconditional Love
Limited Anxiety
Inexpressible joy

The truths behind intellectual Calvinism should fuel one's emotions. Those who call themselves Calvinists would do well to respond emotionally in keeping with what is claimed intellectually. THEN, to God would be all the glory!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh, buddy....

Last night, we were making some gifts for my parents who are coming soon, and Malachi got in trouble.  He was sitting in his room, very disappointed that he was missing out.  And when Brad went in to talk with him, this is what Malachi told him:

"Daddy, (sniff, sniff) I am just filled with sorrow."

Wow buddy, that's really sad.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Do I have faith?

People always want to know, "Am I saved", "Do I really know God?" "What is genuine faith?"

A verse I read this morning is so clear:
"And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.'" (Numbers 20:12)

Moses is punished for not believing, having faith in God (v. 12a). Then, the Scripture clarifying how we know that; in other words, what faith looks like, "to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel" (v. 12b).

We know we have faith when our lives publicly make much of the holiness of God. By "holy", the Bible at least means God's unique glory displayed in his infinite perfections. Therefore, in our attitudes and acts of obedience, are we making him look infinitely precious in the eyes of others? Or, sadly, do we make Starbucks, investments, our children, or our reputation look more precious to us?

God loves you and....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Piper's words on prosperity gospel.

This needs to be heard. We've heard people here reading "health and wealth gospel" type books that have been translated into their language. I hate that so much of that type of teaching is coming from our home country. It's really sad.

Needless to say, we love this video.

Happy Easter 2009

We love Easter. For obvious reasons...we love Easter. What can be a more beautiful and tragic event in all of history. For God to come down in humbled form. To come, for the sole purpose of glorifying Himself, His justice and His grace all wrapped up in the event of the cross. Simply mindboggling. Getting to share this story brings us all much joy. Here are some other (albeit, a little more trivial) things we've gotten to do;

We made paper flowers:

Here's our final display:

We dyed eggs, let them dry and then added some marbling. We took tissue paper and put it inside a bowl. Then the kids took a spray bottle to dampen the tissue paper and rolled the egg around in it. It added a cool marble to our eggs. And it was also much easier for little hands to do by themselves. I'll probably just do it that way next year and skip the cup dye.

We had a big party last year with lots of kids, candy, crafts, and an egg hunt. As we were processing Easter this year, all our kids kept talking about was "when is the egg hunt???" I mean, asking until it hurt. So we decided to forsake the egg hunt. We are just really serious about not letting secular traditions trump Jesus. We told our kids it's like them having a birthday and instead, we celebrate Dora the Explorer instead of them. They wouldn't want someone else celebrated when it was "THEIR" day. They got that and seem to get our concern. So the whole weekend has been about Jesus-as it should be.

Here's my handsome little buddy.

Then we peeled the eggs and used the egg shells to make beautiful crosses.

This is a neighbor who is also an art teacher. We spied her this morning painting some of the gifts of spring. She's actually painting the side of our building enthroned in white blossoms. It's beautiful. We've been checking in on her progress all day.

An update from art lady friend: my kids are now being allowed to use her brushes to paint the grass and trees bright orange. Sometimes I have to remind our friends that you CAN tell kids no.

During our family worship time, we reenacted the crucifixion and resurrection using homemade play-dough and figurines. We had teddy bears, rubber duckies and pirates all watching the crucifixion. Then today Jesus (played by a pirate) rose from the dead and the kids had to find him in the house. We wanted them to understand the experience the disciples were having at the time of Jesus' death and resurrection.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with sweet worship. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Strange Misconceptions about Adoption

People say lots of weird things to you when they discover you're adopting. These are things that have been said to us or other families adopting from Ethiopia. So not all of these were said to us, but others who have adopted. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we hear similar things. God seemingly left out a filter when creating some people.

I can't wait to see a REAL black person. This one is obviously directed to our family, as we live in a country with very little skin color diversity.

One time we were at a park and Addis (a little boy adopted from Ethiopia) wouldn't keep leaves out of his mouth. Every time we put him down, he put a leaf in. A friend at the park with us asked, "Is that what he is used to eating in Ethiopia?" Yes, we found him roaming free on the savannah foraging for berries. He is a baby, not a herbivore.

Ethiopia is in Africa, right? So is he going to be (pause because they aren't sure they are supposed to be saying it out loud) you know, African, black? Generally, this question is posed as informational, as if we haven't considered that we will be raising an african american son.

Speaking of african american, that particular term was difficult for a friend once. "No, he will be african" he told me. "And American," I added. "Yeah, I guess. But it's still not the same." Not sure why that mattered, but it did during that bout of verbal curiosity.

There are various poorly planned stereotypical comments made, generally surrounding sports. Football and basketball are the topics of conversation that usually draws out these awkward moments. I have a standard answer for this one that I will pass along for the moment that it comes up in your conversations. "Yes, and next we are going to adopt an asian baby because we really want an olympic gymnast."

And, my all time favorite, "will he speak english?" This question has been asked in a hundred different ways. "It will be interesting to see what he speaks once he starts talking." "I wonder if he can understand anything you are saying." "He will probably need some speech therapy to get caught up." My general response is, "when your baby was 8 months old, what did they speak?" We got this same line of questioning when telling people we were moving to China. "Will your kids be able to speak English?"

A guy directly asked a an adoptive mom "are you Madonna?" "huh?!" "Ya, you've got fancy sunglasses and you're a white family with a black kid."

It has been asked by at least three people at this point. "Do you plan on telling him he is adopted?" My answer is usually a polite, "Yes." What I want to say is, "No, we prefer him to think his mother had an affair and we don't want him to know his biological father."

My oh my. People.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

It's Martha Time

It was FINALLY warmer today! As in, we didn't have to wear our long underwear. But with warmer weather comes strawberries and next come peaches. But here's the deal. The last couple of times I've noticed that the strawberries are just not lookin' right. Apparently the same chemical they put in the clouds to make it rain, also produce some wigged out fruit. Do you think it's ok that we're eating these things? It's not like "oh, kids look, there's this weird strawberry in the bunch." Because it's pretty much all of them. What do you think, eat or stay away?

On to more uplifting things, we made these fun things over the last two days. We love doing crafts in our house. This was was really fun and used scrap paper and home made glue.

Homemade Glue is super easy and eco-friendly (just don't think about the fact that the ingredients you are using to make glue are also the ingredients in most of the bread products we eat. Colon cleansing anyone??)

Add 1 c. flour to a sauce pan
Add 1 cup hot water to sauce pan

Mix until smooth.

Add 2 c. flour and stir.

It will still be a little lumpy, but stir until blended together. Turn the heat up and bring it to a boil, stirring the entire time.

About 7 minutes later, it will thicken to a pastey texture.

Use paint brushes to brush it on.

You put vaseline or in our case oil to cover a bowl. Then, we ripped up scrap paper. A layer of strips for the base and then smaller pieces for the inside. And just keep on until you've got 4-5 layers. Then I pulled them out of the bowls for a little bit to make sure they wouldn't stick. I put our paper bowls in the sun to let them dry overnight. Then we painted and decorated them this morning. They turned out really cute, the kids did a great job. Selah also made a little fly and stuck it to the end of the frog's tongue, but it's hard to see in this picture. Then we all headed to the store to pick up some candy to put in our little bowls.

While Martha would be proud of our little craft project, she would not be at all excited about our strawberries. Those bad boys aren't coming from any organic farm using natural fertilizer flown in from Argentina and grown in pure oxygen in some remote farm in Connecticut. Sorry Martha.

Friday, April 03, 2009


We got our court date to pick up our sweet little girl-May 22nd!!!! What does this mean in the Ethiopian adoption world? It means that once we pass court, we get to travel 4-6 weeks after. Now many times families don’t pass court the first time. The courts want some other signature or something, but it’s about a 50% chance of passing the first time!!! We are so excited. Be praying that we pass the first time. And recently, some court dates are being moved up. So pray for that too J.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

3 miracles yesterday

There's tons of paperwork that has to be done for adoption.  All of it time sensitive and needing immediate attention.  One of the most important forms,  the embassy worker forgot to have us sign before we left-in january. So the first week of February, they emailed and told us to scan our signature in and they would take care of it.  We did that-3 times.  We then made 8-9 follow-up calls making sure everything was ok.  Never once talking to a real person, but leaving messages.  I'm not sure why nobody from Homeland Security was EVER answering their phones, but that's for another time.  So 2 nights ago, I had a dream about our adoption paperwork.  I was very clearly told (by whom, I'm not sure) that our paperwork was not being taken care of. 

So, I (carrie) had this dream.  At 8:30 am, I called and actually talked to a person.  It's now been 2 months since our paperwork has been filed.  He said "Oh ya, your paperwork is sitting right here on this desk.  We haven't received your scan yet."  Trying to remain calm, I explained to him the seriousness of their complete screw up and that he'd better get this stuff going...NOW.  He was helpful though.  But praise the Lord for the dream.  Because we never heard back from the embassy, we just dropped it and hoped everything was ok.  Well, everything was not ok, so thank you Lord.  

Later that day, we got a phone call from our landlord.  A lot of you know that her family wants to move back in to our apartment in August/Sept.  This causes some problems with the adoption if we don't pick up our little girl before we have to move.  So we've just been waiting to see how God's going to figure this one out.  Well, our landlord called and said that her 16 year old  daughter "thought that it was too much trouble for us to move.  That moving to a new country with small kids is hard enough and that they shouldn't make us move out of their apartment." So they are going to rent another apartment on a 5th or 6th floor instead, so that we can stay here!!  I can't tell you how incredible this is.  When we tell this story to our friends here, their mouths drops open in shock.  They have never heard of a landlord having this kind of compassion on their tenants.  Again, thank you Lord!

Lastly, as Brad and I were walking home that same day, we ran into bird lady.  We call her my personal sanctification.  If it's not complaining, she doesn't say it.  But she told me how much my Chinese has improved and how wonderful I'm doing.  I was in shock!

God was so incredible as He showed us several miracles yesterday.  I give Him all the credit!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...