Monday, July 30, 2012

Adoption Link ups and My Impending Doom

We will be traveling a bit this next week on this. It's not a cruise, it's the death trap that I get to take my kids on while we renew our visas. I will be walking on with floaties. Already inflated. My family makes fun of me and I simply remind them that nobody on the Titanic expected to bump into that iceberg.

While we're gone, I'm leaving you with a few links to some great blogs about adoption.

Russell Moore writing "Don't Adopt!"

If you want your “dream baby,” do not adopt or foster a child: buy a cat and make-believe. Adopting an orphan isn’t ordering a consumer item or buying a pet. Such a mindset hurts the child, and countless other children and families. Adoption is about taking on risk as cross-bearing love.

This is a wonderful blog friend who is honest and grace-filled as she writeI am in are safe.

"I am in charge.  You are not."  Did you know that when you are confident in your parenting, set clear expectations and boundaries and give swift and consistent consequences that this little quote brings so much security to a child that was older when they were adopted?? 

Well, after 10 really hard months this is what we have learned.

Kristen at Rage Against the MinivanParents, please educate your children about adoption so that I don't have to.  At the end of the post, she has some great books and movies that talk positively about adoption. 

I heard one of the kids saying, “That is NOT your real mom.”  I had an immediate pit in my stomach, and tried to check myself.  Surely they are not ganging up on him about adoption, I thought.  I stood up and started walking casually towards them, so that I could hear the conversation and intervene if needed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Charis' Cast is Off!

Here's my girl finally getting her cast off! I waited to post the pictures because I honestly thought she would fall soon after and we'd have to start the process all over again. 

It might have something to do with this picture that I found on my son's camera of his sister scooting herself along on a rip stick while dangling her cast off the side. 

She sat while the bucket of water helped to disintegrate her cast. The doctor put this type of cast on because she panicked while receiving the sleeping gas. What ensued was something straight out of WWF days. She tried to pile drive a nurse, take the doctor against the ropes, and round house kick the anesthesia machine. After all of this, the doctor concluded that a synthetic cast, requiring a saw to get it off, was simply out of the question. Smart man. 

Super proud of this girl for persevering and hanging in there for 2 months. She even did homeschool everyday with her left hand. But I will say that it is nice to have that thing off. And yes, we will be holding off on real rip sticking for awhile. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rock Tea and Sweaty Socks

I don't know why this picture is fuzzy. Let's just rejoice because it blurs out my elbow fat. 

This was the second time I got to sit with this man and learn about tea. This brother is so passionate about tea that he makes you want to chew the leaves. My specialized tea vocabulary is a tad limited, but I did pick up a few selling points to this particular tea that he was making for us.

1. It tastes like the sun shining down on the rocks. 

2. It will make you sweat your socks.

3. It will give you gas. 

He swears that he lost 25 pounds drinking this stuff. We all downed about 15 cups of it until we all had sweat our socks and decided to take our leave. Sitting with this man as he explains his teas makes me so happy because he is living in joy and passion. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sheep Placenta Lotion and Other Treasures from Down Under

A few finds from the past few weeks:

I bought this lip gloss. Lip gloss is actually Latin for "I abhor wearing make-up, and wearing this makes me feel spritely and not so near death." When I first opened the lip gloss, a light came streaming across my face and almost poked my eye out. It also made my head look like Andre the Giant. Apart from applying lip gloss in the Bat Cave or when stuck in the elevator with 25 sweaty cabinet installers, I'm not sure why you'd need lip gloss that glows. 

To each their own. 

Many of the people we love who live within 20 miles of us moved this week. I hate good-byes. I loathe good-byes. But thankfully my friend Kristen gifted our family with a few Jesus bandaids. "For my hand and my heart." That's the motto we gave these at dinner. I like the psychedelic take on the Creator of the Universe. Not such a big fan of Him looking incredibly Caucasian. 

I realize it's just a bandaid, but the whole white Jesus thing has got to stop somewhere. These bandaids were applied to not-so-bleeding-but-mommy-I-need-a-bandaid type wounds. And now I'm back to using scotch tape and toilet paper because again, I am out of bandaids. Am I the only one who seems to never have these in stock? Probably. 

And then finally comes the sheep placenta lotion. The great thing about friends moving is they load all their unwanted stuff at your house. Like an enormous bag of sesame seeds and one cup of flour.

 I voluntarily took this Australian sheep placenta lotion because I had made fun of it previously and now wanted to try it. Don't we all, at some point in our lives, make fun of sheep placenta lotion? I thought so. I have to admit, I'm digging' this lotion. I don't know exactly what's in it, but I'm an "ignorance is bliss" type of gal. I don't want to know what the restaurant kitchen looks like, just bring me the chips and queso. I've always been that girl. 

I'm not sure what is actually releasing in that "24 Hour Time Release" period, but continue to enjoy my "Treasures from Down Under."

 I will say the accidental pun of "Treasures from Down Under" was not lost on me. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Homemade Dr. Pepper

We are talking priorities today. 
We are talking life changing information. 

I took hubs out for a birthday dinner last night. With me, I brought almond extract, vanilla extract, and a cold bottle of Pepsi. 

While we waited for dinner to arrive, I pulled out my bottles of extract and proceeded to dump in 1/2 t. of each into the bottles. I'm sure it looked like I was spiking our Pepsi with vodka. Just another reason for people to think we are weird. Take a number. 

I had this vision of making Dr. Pepper for his birthday, but didn't want to waste the almond extract in trying beforehand. So, we were throwing caution to the wind and tried this on the spot. There was risk, but what great experiments come without a high degree of risk?

It totally worked. I drank mine in 0.23 seconds and then proceeded to pat myself on the back. I realize this dinner was about the birthday boy, but I was stealing his thunder for just one minute while I gloated in this new found concoction. 

Supposedly, Coke doesn't work as well as Pepsi. I haven't tried it, but I will say the Pepsi worked great. 

So for all of you poor souls who live in the States, but north of the Mason Dixon or you don't live in the States and are desperately craving a comfort drink, here you are:

1 bottle of Pepsi
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract

You can adjust these a little according to how sweet you want it. 

Now...go brag to your friends.


Happy Birthday to my man!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Checking My Ego

This here is going to cause people to throw coffee at the computer screen and de-friend me on Facebook. The only reason that I dare to write about egos is that mine has gotten in the way more than once. Upon deciding to date my husband, I quickly told him, "Just because we've decided to date now, don't think that means I want to see you everyday." And he still married me. Ego and all.

While my two friends were here from Texas, we had an ongoing conversation about this ego thing.

I'm sure it was mostly me rambling on and on, but at least they were gracious to listen and contribute to my little theory. 

The ego gets tricky once you commit your life to serving Christ. Especially when that service takes form in full-time vocation. Once you decide to go into ministry full-time, your brain can very easily slip into the same issues with ego that happen outside the ministry walls. But now we get to tag it with a "God's will," card. 

Here's how it can play out:

1. A parent decides to spend countless hours leading small groups, planning studies, serving in soup kitchens, teaching the Word, and discipling new believers. All the while, their children are being siphoned off to raise themselves. They are filling their time with movies, extra curricular activities, and finding trouble simply because they are being shoved off in the name of "ministry." And it's hard to argue with, because you are doing, "The Lord's work." 

The way I see it is that there is a danger in these things. A danger not in the serving the needy, but in needing to be needed. At the end of the day, there can be more accolades given and more pats on the back from small groups and congregants than your 4-year old daughter will ever give to you. Your ego is stroked by being out in the front lines instead of behind the doors of your home, serving your children. It's a much more glamorous way of doing the Christian life. Or so many think. These people like to be needed by others and their ego likes the public attention they get. I know this because I've walked through this. I used to think that being cool would draw people to Jesus, but really it just drew them to myself.

2. A person always attributes "God moving" to large numbers of people coming to events or small groups. While this might be true sometimes, maybe people just thought you had good music. Maybe it had nothing to do with God stirring in their hearts whatsoever. We like it when lots of people come because it makes us feel popular, like we are on the cool kids' side of the dance floor. 

On the flip side, we get discouraged when few people come. We assume failure and wallow in discontent. Bigger doesn't mean Godlier. It can just mean bigger. This little numbers game that we like to play gets in the way of us seeing the Lord move in small things like a woman deciding to forgive an unfaithful husband. To that woman, a mountain has been moved. But we miss it because we are too worried about how our event compared with the turnout at the event down the street.

I need to be concerned with seeing the Lord's fingerprints in today.

 I need to check my ego as I find satisfaction in others vying for my attention when I simply get annoyed at my children needing me.

 I need to examine why I say "yes," when I am clearly exhausted and stretched emotionally. I find that oftentimes I say yes because I like the feeling of being needed by others outside my home. That somehow that validates my existence. We gloat in being busy and then complaining to others about just how busy we have been. I say we just all agree upon the fact that we're ALL busy, then we can move on with more important matters. The only people who aren't busy are homeless or in jail. The rest of us are busy. Life is busy We need to simply get over it, get to the root of why we feel we need to be so busy, and make sure our kids know that they will get my "yes" too. 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Makaria's 4th Birthday

I haven't felt like blogging. I think I've said good-bye too many times this month because I just feel like laying in bed, eating cantaloupe, and trying to remember all the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire." None of those things are blog inspiring. But, my sweet 4 year-old is.

Her birthday is actually today, but we told her it was last week because several people dear to us would be gone on her actual birthday. One of those people being her dad. I hope you appreciate the Cinderella cake I mustered up. I think she looks lovely dancing atop the dragon fruit and kiwi lagoon. Let's just Jesus for bakeries.

We sang, threw the deuce, and totally ruined lunch for the Makaria's entire class at her Chinese school. 

Here are her wonderful teachers. It's tradition for the birthday girl to give the class some type of treat afterwards. We opted for the lollipop variety (which is a fantastic word when said in Chinese).

As we went around the table during her birthday meal, these are just a few of the things that were said that we love about her: This girl is still so joyful, funny, and a delight to be around. She sings, dances, and loves her siblings well. She has an infectious smile and is compassionate to the core.

Birthday girl got to pick her dinner. She chose pancakes and baozi (A meat filled bread. Notice I bought the ones that looked like a pig. Classy.)

Her Gotcha Day is actually also her birthday! So Happy Birthday/Gotcha Day Makaria! I cannot believe she has been a part of our family for 3 years now. 

We love you!!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Book Giveaway on Two Blogs

Two blogs are giving away my book, "Redefining Home: Squatty Potties, Split Pants, and Other Things that Divide my World," this week.

Head over to April's blog here or Jennifer's blog here to enter and win.

Easy and free, no strings attached like those "free" pantyhose deals that I used to sign my mom up for.

Monday, July 02, 2012

You were born when?! Our college friends

This week, we had two college girls arrive to China for the first time. They are doing life with us for two weeks before they head back to the States and vow to never eat Chinese food in America again. These two college guys were on their way out from a 6 month stay in China. We fed them, learned from them, prayed alongside them, and received more joy because of them. I love having college students around because they bring a freshness and liveliness to our lives.

They also have reminded me that I am old. That when I reference the injustice of OJ Simpson's white bronco interrupting the Rockets Championship game, they just stay at us as if we are speaking Elfin.

I realize that we do pretty well on our own as far as craziness is concerned, but these guys also brought beat boxing trains, bike rides, and mad wrestling skills.

My kids love these guys and so do we. We hate saying good-bye. And we will do it again on Thursday when the girls leave. But we are hoping that it is simply, "See you later."

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