Friday, August 27, 2010

Young Lions and My Immature Heart

Ps. 34:10

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Why do young lions suffer want and hunger? Mostly it is because they have not yet been taught how to hunt and survive. Crudely, they haven't learned how to find what is good. They can't find food on their own. As a matter of fact, they are prey to older lions until they are old enough to fend for themselves. So, why the contrast in Scripture between young lions and those who seek the Lord? I think it is because we are not left along to struggle in the elements of this world. We are given a God who not only protects and provides, but does them in abundance.

The Sunday school class we are a part of here in the States has been a wonderful encouragement to Brad and I. One of the questions that some of them are asking is that why do we always say "God has really blessed America by making it prosperous and self-sufficient"? One of the guys in the class has been processing the fact that maybe all the financial wealth here could indeed be a curse. When he brought this up for the first time, most people physically shirked in their seats. But, I look at my life. When I feel self-sufficient and not in lack of many things, my affections wane for the Lord. The point this guy was making is that when we can provide for ourselves most things, why do we need to seek out Lord?

And, we also have to redefine what the phrase "lack no good thing" means. For Christ, the cross was a painfully, tragic, 'good thing'. For Stephen, being stoned in the courtyard was a 'good thing'. I have had to try and recalibrate my definition of good thing. When I define it in terms of my own comfort, I grow bitter. I grow bitter because right now, our family is not at a comfortable place. We are tired and overwhelmed. If my gauge would be shifted to seeing this time as a 'good thing', lacking nothing that the Lord didn't give me, then I would fully embrace verses like Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth."

But honestly, apart from the Lord changing my desires and granting me a peace that is beyond all understanding, it will be impossible. I am imploring Him daily to melt my desires into the shadows of the cross.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stuck in Jr. High

I apologize for the jr. high level of blogs that I have been posting lately. I'm going to blame it on the fact that we're living with my parents. Certainly it has pulled up the repressed humor that encompassed my 7-8th grade years. I have even dreamed of the day where wearing 'Units' and different colored tube socks are back in fashion.

I promise to be more thoughtful and encouraging. The Lord really has showed me a ton since being in the U S of A. It just seems that I can't formulate a thought that is coherent to anyone over the age of 12.

And in the meantime, I'm going to krimp my hair and pouf my bangs with hairspray. Lots and lots of hairspray.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Angelina Jolie and Carrie Confusion

Several times in the last year, we have gotten told that we look like the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie family. And within those several times, people have said that Makaria looks like their little girl.

I mean, except for the hair, gorgeous eyes, perfectly symmetrical face and pretty much everything from the neck down, Angelina Jolie and I are identical twins. And we both married "Brads", I might add. So, I am patient with the confusion.

Today, while at Chic-Fil-A with a friend, we were told that again. I'm not sure I see the resemblence. But, when I hold her on my hip and allow my oversized sunglasses to reflect the golden sunrays bouncing off my wind swept hair, I can see it. I can totally see why they think that we resemble each other.

Honestly, I think that I am a white mom with a cute black baby that has crazy, fun hair. That's about it.

And I'm totally going to start wearing big sunglasses because it will hide the tired bags under my eyes. Good idea, Ange.

I can call her Ange, we're close like that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kesed's (almost) 3rd Birthday!

Kesed doesn't officially turn three until Sept. 19th. But that didn't stop me from having a joint birthday party for him on July 29th. You see, about 2 years ago, I decided to boycott big birthday parties. I saw that they were becoming more about me validating my worth as a creative, hip mom who could build these enormous cakes and meet all the birthday fantasies that my 4 year old could dream up. It got too overwhelming, so I announced my resignation. Now, we just do small family gatherings and our own traditions that come along with the occasion. And with 5 kids, I'd be doing parties every 2 weeks.

BUT, this year we got to go to a place called "Incredible Pizza" to celebrate Kesed's 3rd birthday! You know that if there are a line of high chairs in the front of the restaurant, it's going to be a perfect place for our family.

He's a very determined (albeit stubborn at times) little guy, so he spent the entire time in the little kid's area rotating between three rides.

It was so much fun to see him having fun. We rode go carts, ate pizza and ice cream, rode trains and opened gifts. It really was a blast to have cousins to celebrate with.

And he got a new "Ooo Ooo Eee Eee". He laughed and laughed the entire night. His laugh is the greatest and makes me smile. Lots.

Our little buddy has been such a joy. He's funny, thoughtful, caring, independent, determined, and a great brother. We love you, little bud!

Taking his sister for a ride on "his" train.

I'm sure we'll hit this place again before we return home. But, I'm glad that we got to celebrate with our family. And in just a few weeks, he will actually be 3!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Nights

While at times I am prone to slight exaggeration, I wanted to show you evidence. Evidence of why I needed to inject some silence into my surroundings. This is a picture taken in Nanjing, China during the hot summer months. And the smiles would seem to indicate that these people are enjoying themselves. I'm not sure I'd be smiling. Although I might be pinching unsuspecting people and selfishly smirking.

While there is a little more personal space, I fear it's only because they are swimming in the OCEAN. They wouldn't be able to spot a tar ball if they were trying.

And just for the record, I have never seen a public restroom at a Chinese public beach. That, my friends, is an equation that yields only disastrous results.

And while we're at it, America should bring back the Speedo. Look how confident. How suave he looks as he waits to jump into those murky waters. Let's pretend that "Jeremiah was a bullfrog..." is playing in the background. It will make you smile instead of stare at the lack of bathing suit covering the young men climbing the a speedo.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why We Look Like Liars

These are just a few reasons why October might be difficult for our family. And also why when we tell our kids that America is not just about fun, games, and good food, we look like complete liars.

They have made forts in the pool with cousins.

Rode in go carts with mom and maybe, just maybe, talked trash with 12 year old boys.

Made frogs for homeschool out of cake and lots of candy goodness.

Have a blast with a house full of our college friends and their kids. And tell stories of when we were college punks.

Have a huge bouncy moonwalky thing set up in the back yard during a family party.

Wrestle Uncle Mike in the pool. Doesn't every kid love the "Uncle Mike" in the family that wrestles and tells jokes and frequently reminds us that "Whoever smelt it dealt it!"

Had sleepovers with a cousin that you haven't seen since you were both 5 years old.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

DC in summary

When you're only in Washington, DC for 5 days, this is what you can do:

Take pictures of the beautiful area in which you are staying. Simultaneously pretend you are the Huxtables and reminisce about the time Theo decided he wasn't going to college. That Theo. So rash. So impulsive. So trendy in his silk shirts and kid 'n play haircut.

You take a family picture in front of the White House and wonder just how much time Michelle Obama actually spends in her "First Lady Garden" that she planted with the underprivileged elementary school kids this past Spring. You also talk about how long it would take for you to get taken down if you decided to jump the fence.

You gaze at the capitol building after your tour and blatantly stare at all the nationalities represented in America.

Then, you head out to gorgeous Mount Vernon for a tour. You enter the children's section while the kids dress up and learn all about George Washington and his family. You also contemplate how many other people will think that one of our children looks like the kitchen help in the above picture.

You let your kids play with Madagascar roaches and tell them that it's really fun to find them and kill them. Another task now officially delegated out.

You talk to one of the last Holocaust survivors and become both humbled and amazed at her story and bravery. You also stare at the picture you took and laugh because it looks like the sweet lady has really gangly arms that are hugging your son.

You do a scavenger hunt around the monuments. One of the tasks is asking your grandfather about the Vietnam War while doing a rubbing of some of his friends who did not make it out alive.

I love DC. Everything is free and amazing. We did a month long unit on DC before going and I'm so glad that we did. The kids really a great job walking in the heat. We all learned a ton and cannot wait to go back in a few years.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tilt. Compress. Pump. Release.

Wow, it's been awhile since I've blogged. This is gonna be stream of consciousness because that seems all my pion brain can muster up at the moment. Since being in the states, I've felt rather disoriented and uncomfortable. Like when you sit down on a public restroom toilet and it's warm. Uncomfortably warm. And it has nothing to do with all the wonderful people we've gotten to see since we've been here. They have been, as one of my favorite sandwich places says, "a shady island in a sea of rice." People have been the highlight for sure.

And this whole driving thing. I find myself driving like a grandma on bunko night. Slow. Abnormally slow for someone not yet pulling social security. And I also find myself saying "these people are driving like maniacs! Who do they think they are zipping around here?!" All I need is to make tapioca pudding and head to Branson, Missouri and then maybe I'll feel at home.

And then, I get to the gas station. Sometime post 2007, a new law was passed that changed the way gas pumps work. The label on the nozzle reads "Tilt. Compress. Pump. Release." Ok, did that. Gas comes sputtering out to where my kids can practicing their counting on the pump because the numbers are going one by one...slowly. And then it stops completely. So, I tilt, compress, pump and waited on the release part till I was done...again. This happens no less then 20 times while I fill up half a tank. All I'm saying is that I have had four other experiences where I was told to "tilt, compress, pump, and release" and I found that just as maddening. Especially because these actions were required of me in public restrooms. And let's just say that I reeked of dairy by the end of it all.

Because I cook everything from scratch when we're at home in China, I'll just admit that I've loved processed foods! I never thought I'd say that. But, to go to the store with frozen food and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes and have dinner is a welcomed treat. And for the record, cooking from scratch is only glamorous in magazines and in your head. While it's healthier, it's a pain in the tail. Let's just be honest.

Americans are also busy. Busy and tired. I don't think technology is helping at all. There have been times that I've wanted to run into the woods and forage berries just to get away from our crazy schedules. But, for now, I will eat granola. From a box. And we will get to meet with awesome people and eat amazing food.

Oh ya, I got my haircut. I was sporting the wind blown look, but without the wind and without the style. So, here it is. I love the cut. But, the color is crazy dark. I don't want to put color in it, but I will say that it's "bad toupee" brown. Oh well.

And here's my sweet Charis who also got her mullet cut off. The Billy Ray had run it's course.
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