Sunday, October 31, 2010


Things I love about Texans:

1. They wear scarves like accessories. I just saw a girl with a tank top and 2 scarves. Those who have actually lived in the cold, know that scarves are no joking matter.

2. All soft drinks are called "Coke" and they are all drunk in cups at least the size of your thigh.

3. Texans like to hunt all types of living creatures. And they will bark at each other as if it's a sport to sit in a big stand and shoot the creatures that have been trained to come to that exact spot and eat corn. If you hunt with a bow and arrow, I will grant you the word "sport". If it's with a gun and a feed stand, I'm gonna have to call a spade a are doing a "drive by" on a dear.

5. We put bumper stickers on our cars that talk about guns, being a Republican and expressing our right to secede from the Union.

6. We feel sorry for real Mexican food because it's infinitely inferior to Tex-Mex.

7. We talk about football like it's a matter of life and death. And we tell our sons to "man up" in hopes that one day they will be big tough football players and buy their moms a home.

8. Allowing your infant child to take their first sip of Dr. Pepper is a rite of passage.

9. We complain when it dips beneath 32 degrees because we don't know how to drive in freezing weather. So we cancel school, stay home from work and buy canned beans so we can "hunker down" for the night.

10. Texans wear boots all year round. And oversized belt buckles that have the initials KT on it. We make up for it in our undersized jeans that lead to blood clots in our shins.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Poem of Much Delight

I never thought, I never knew
what life was like before there was you.

But one day I spotted to the left there did sit
My new found friend named "Mint Chocolate Chip"

I realize our friendship is shallow and new
But from the very first bite, I simply knew.

We are friends for ever like Michel W said
Thoughts of your leaving, I dare not tread.

You are consistent and sweet and loyal and true
you add skip to my step, make my skies blue.

Some might say my feelings are dumb
but I say it's fine to be in love with your gum.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Intentional celebrations

As I'm driving around this morning, I am still in shock at how big Halloween has gotten here in the States. I'm just gonna say it: Halloween is the dumbest holiday on the calendar. Christopher Columbus day ranks up there pretty close, especially considering history is not on his side. I passed a Presbyterian church with ghosts, pumpkins, spiders in their webs. A church. Exalting Halloween. I pass Christians saying to one another "Happy Halloween!"

People say "well, we don't do the scary stuff. We keep it light." But aren't we still celebrating the idea of Halloween? Just because we have a costume party the day before Halloween doesn't mean we aren't celebrating it.

Then, we get to Thanksgiving and we celebrate "family". "Family" becomes an idol during Thanksgiving and we accept it because just say "we're so thankful" We get together, eat till we're sick and watch the Cowboys loose again. I'm not sure the Pilgrims did any of that. Except watch the Cowboys loose. They've been doing that for awhile now.

The pilgrims were desperately thankful to the Lord of Lords for saving them from starvation. For providing a place of worshipping in freedom.

Then Christmas. Don't even get me started on Christmas. I've already ranted and raved about the whole fat guy in little red coat thing. We don't do Santa and this year we're not doing presents. I'll blog on that later. And you know what, most of the people that give us a hard time are professing Christians. They say that we are denying our kids some magical moment. As if the "Polar Express" is supposed to careen through our hearts and help us believe in this mysterious thing called the "Christmas Spirit." The whole thing is ridiculous, really.

We don't admit to having arrived in this Christian walk. But as believers, we are to question the cultural norms. Why do we celebrate the things we do in American culture? Should I also celebrate them? Do they butt up against any of my beliefs as a Christ follower?

Too often, we just accept the cultural norms as the standards for our family. We are far from perfect parents. But one thing we can give to our kids is a mind that thinks through these types of things. To not just blindly pummel through holiday after holiday without examining what that means for us as believers. Sometimes I think we forget that as Christians, we are weird. We will stick out. We will make decisions that our friends and family might not understand. But if we are seeking scripture and communicating these things in Grace, then God is pleased.

I see too many parents concerned that their kids fit in and are popular. Ya know what, if they are striving to live like Christ, they aren't going to fit in. Jesus made decisions that were constantly pulling him apart from the culture at hand.

We need to step back and examine why we do things as believers. To be intentional about what and how we celebrate. And to make sure that striving to be like Christ supersedes our desires to be liked and needed.

I'm sure this isn't going to be my most popular blog post. But, I'm tired of Christians sitting on the sidelines, accepting culture as normative and in all these things, becoming a fainting, flickering light, destined to be extinguished.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Memaw time

Ok, friends, here's the deal. I've got blogger brain. It's where you cannot possibly think up anything pithy, intelligent, funny or interesting to post on a blog. Since we're going to be here in the States a tad longer than we had planned, we've begun real life. We are now homeschooling 5 days a week, cleaning our rooms and buying toilet paper. So, I'm going to have to be cut some slack. Or at the very least be treated to a non-fat, extra hot, pumpkin spice latte. No whip. Because then, maybe, just maybe, I could come up with a blog. And then simultaneously stop using so many commas in my sentences.

I even went to Wal-mart last night in search of my muse to write. And to buy food for our tribe. My muse apparently went to Target instead. Smart muse.

Here's what's going on in our world:
Brad's mom, sister and her sweet baby, Cheyenne came over last week and brought some gifts for our kids. They had a blast opening them and sharing the afternoon with Memaw and Aunt Jenny.

Kesed was so happy holding baby Cheyenne. He kept telling me that she was so cute. Just remember... she's your cousin, buddy. She is a cute little thing. She's only a month or so and look at that awesome hair.

Memaw brought toys, books, coloring supplies, hot wheels and these snazzy get-ups. I love these hats. Oh, the captions I could add to this here photo.

Here we all are. I'm bummed that it's so dark. I tried lightening it and we just ended up looking like Atari game characters.

We had a great time and are blessed to have so much family around!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What Christians Should Learn from the Juan Williams Controversy

It was brought to my attention this recent controversy regarding NPR's firing Juan Williams over his comments about Muslims. (Disclaimer: I don't tend to follow political news because I find it often becomes as much of a waste of time and brain drain as the rest of TV, but justified under the rubric of "being informed".)

Most people are focused on the merits of his firing and the political correctness involved. For Christians, I think a more fundamental issue should be raised about his comments, one that no one seems to object to because it is almost assumed in America, whether by conservatives or liberals.

In the interview, Juan Williams spoke of people on planes who wear "Muslim garb": if they are "identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." The premise here (as held by many others) is that you should not be obvious about your faith convictions, that you should not "wear your religion on your sleeve". A friend of ours this morning said a Hasidic Jew once expressed bewilderment as to why Christians are so eager to blend in, to not be noticed.

In America, it is very typical for people to, in practice, identify themselves first as Americans, then a Christians. This is seen in what they talk about, the activities they do, the excitement they show, and in ideas like this one: we should not be so "public" with our faith; it is a private thing. Would anyone say patriotism is supposed to be equally private? (This would certainly exclude military service, if not cancel various holidays and silence our political debates with friends and family.)

We should commend people who"identify themselves first and foremost" by their religion. That's the very essence of "religion". It refers to that which is of uttermost importance. This does not mean we agree with all they believe; but we do affirm the fact they get genuine commitment. What and who you identify with shows what you are loyal to, what you live and die for. Anything is pure hypocrisy.

A great danger to the the name of Christ and the world are Christians who identify themselves first and foremost with any country, state, or political party (even if not consciously). In contrast to Juan Williams, each of us should say, "If Christians don't identifying themselves first and foremost as Christians, I get worried. I get nervous."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Holistic Ministry?

D. A. Carson has a great response to the question, "How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism?"

He says,"By doing evangelism. I know numerous groups that claim to be engaging in “holistic” ministry because they are helping the poor in Chicago or because they are digging wells in the Sahel, even though few if any of the workers have taken the time to explain to anyone who Jesus is and what he has done to reconcile us to God. Their ministry isn’t holistic; it’s halfistic, or quarteristic."

For the rest of his response, you can read it at The Gospel Coalition Blog

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Inner Rockstar

I have several friends who are amazing artists. Either they can paint these incredible murals, write poetic songs, play an instrument wonderfully, create sculptures, etc. I often feel like an artist on the inside, but the final product never satisfies this inner artist in me. If I had to pick one area that I would love to be good at, it would be singing. I even taught myself how to play guitar. But then, ya know what?! When you play guitar, people expect you to sing. By.yourself.

I've even had dreams where I was a rockstar. I woke up in the morning and told Brad that I had a prophetic dream. He said it was "pathetic" and that I should just wait for heaven.

There have been several occasions where I misheard things and I just kept on signing...confidently. One of them was a Third day song. It's an old one called "Consuming Fire." The chorus goes like this:

Our God, He is a Consuming Fire.

I heard (and sang) :

Our God, He is a Kung Fu-ing Fighter.

Even as I sang, I thought, "That's weird Mac. (Cause Mac is the lead singer's name. And remember, in my head, I'm friends with all the big names) But I guess it's not totally inaccurate to think that God might want to Kung Fu somebody. He kinda did that to Sodom and Gomorrah. Almost did to Ninevah, til big man Jonah showed up. "

I sang it this way for quite a long time. As in, let's count in months, not days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

little update

Here's a little update on our world.

Makaria has another appointment with the doctors downtown at the end of Oct. At that point, we should have most of the tests back and be able to assess things. We are praying for a diagnosis so that we can start treating things. That's about all we know. Makaria is feeling totally fine externally, so we'll see what comes up in these tests.

On another note, all of our wonderful friends at home are having to deal with our apartment. We were supposed to be moving this week. Instead, our friends are dealing with a very frustrating landlord and figuring out what to do with our stuff. Pray for them as they work very diligently on our behalf. There will be definite treasures in heaven for this one.

And then pray that we figure out what is going on with Makaria. For wisdom, patience, and joy.


Friday, October 15, 2010

A few family fotos

I've mentioned how fantastic my sister is a few times on this blog. She took some pictures of our family and I wanted to share a few. I'm sure there will be many more to come as she finishes up the editing. Even if she weren't my sister, I would totally hire her to take our pictures, she's amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Together for adoption conference

So, my friend Laura and I made our way to the Together for Adoption conference this past weekend. I've been avoiding blogging about it simply because I feel like anything I put down will simply be inadequate.

If you have ever thought about adoption, wondered why it's talked about so much in Scripture, know someone who is adopted or adopting, or you are trying to procrastinate on cleaning out your pantry, click on that link above and look at their site. The thing I love most about this group of people running Together for Adoption is that they are keeping it about Jesus. Every speaker that got up there kept the cross at the center of the adoption discussion.

When we went through the adoption process, I understood intimately Christ's redemption and adoption of me as His daughter. The ways that he was working behind my own reality to work to save me. The ways that He put people in my path, He spoke to me in prayer, drew me to Scriptures, put me in a great church, and on and on. He did this to display His glory through the salvation of little ole me. Because even the cross isn't about me. It's about Christ. This was the theme of the conference. We cannot minimize adoption to some philanthropic act. Because Christ first loved us, we have the ability to love the widows and orphans.

The challenge that I give to the Church is that taking care of widows and orphans is not something that should be a side note to our Christian walk. It enables us to have a "pure and undefiled" religion (James 1:27). It displays to a world that as a Christian, we do things that don't make sense. Why? Because the cross doesn't make sense. At least from our earthly sight. And we do things that bring no glory to ourselves, but to Jesus. Because He is worth every second of pain and victory that we experience in adoption.

This was an incredible conference. Next year, it's in Phoenix. I would HIGHLY recommend going. And who wouldn't want to go to Phoenix, really?! You can tell in that picture above that I had cried....a lot. Brad sent me for my birthday and I have to say it's one of my favorite presents from him so far.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Key Insights from THINK

The media for the latest Desiring God Conference has been posted. The theme was "THINK". As far as I am concerned, the talks by Francis Chan and John Piper were most impacting.

The Conference had many goals. One is to help people to see that the goal of thinking is treasure Christ. Thinking about God is not equivalent to loving God. Thinking has relative importance, not absolute importance. Thinking is a means to treasuring. Yet, God is not glorified by our ignorance of Him. Second, these reflections should spur us to greater intentionality in our thinking, dispelling subtle or overt forms of anti-intellectualism or even anti-theologicalism. (Some of the most Bible-focused people you meet may still be "anti-theological").

Let me offer one text for your consideration, 2 Timothy 2:7, "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything."

First is a command: Think over the truths being given to us. God is infinite; the mysteries of God will never be easily grasped. What we think most earnestly about reveals what we worship. As Piper well said, Do not romanticize the benefits of ignorance about Biblical things. How many of us are relative experts when it comes to politics, sports, current events, or our professions yet come to Scripture and in false humility give no effort and say, 'I can't understand this stuff'?

Second is a promise, "the Lord will give you understanding in everything". There seems to be a tension in the first and second halves. Which is it? Do I think hard and solve problems, OR will the Lord give revelation? Christians tend to fall on one side of the line or the other...thinking either we have to get a lot of education and read many books to get Biblical insight, or we can put aside such effort and just let God tells us directly what he wants.

Therefore, notice what links the 2 parts.... the word "for" (meaning, "because"). The reason we can labor with all diligence, joy, and hope in hard thinking is that God has given a promise to reveal truth. Our effort expresses our faith in his promises. It is not an "either-or". We cannot excuse intellectual laziness to "higher spirituality" nor can we presume that only someone with a PhD can teach us anything about the Bible.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Today was different

Today was a strange day.

Today we were supposed to wake up early, hook up our IV to the coffee bag, cram into economy and head back to China.


Today, we went downtown to the Houston Medical Center to get blood taken. Twice.

Today, we talked about what we are going to do for a car as we stay in the States. We can't leave until we figure out what is going on with Makaria's blood.

Today I prayed for healing, patience, faith and joy.

Today, I read Psalm 34 with my kids.

Today, I found Mint Chocolate Chip gum at Wal-Mart.

Today, I broke my winning streak of cart pushing. I stand about 15 feet away from the "cart stalls" in the Wal-Mart parking lot and I thrust my cart into them. I've been flawless in this little game of mine. And every time, I get to fist pump at my successes. Just. Like. Tiger. Woods.

Today we will go to sleep and tomorrow we will wake up, still in America.

Today, I can feel my faith growing as we trust the Lord with this all.

Today, I am reminded that God is good.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Reasons for Divine Judgment

People are very uncomfortable talking about God's judgment. While it's not "fun" to talk about, to avoid it is to minimize the words of God revealed to us. In plain language, God condemns sinners to show His glory. The severity of hell is to show with clarity the worth of His name. To the degree we minimize hell and judgment, to that degree we make little of God's majesty and beauty.

Hell is as awful as it is because God is as awesome as He is.

Listen to Psalm 83: 16-18,

Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,
that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.

Also, see Romans 9:21-23,

21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

Or see 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10,

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction that comes from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
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