Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Good Work Ethic is Hard to Find, and Sometimes So Is a Turtle

It seems that kids these days don't appreciate the value of hard work.
That's why you really need to force it until they do.
Jeremiah commissioned Ethan to help him start scraping the house last weekend.
Get back to work!

Once she heard there was money involved, Charlotte decided she'd like some of that action too.
Daddy's money?
Yes Please.
She's her mama's girl.

Don't they all look nice out there.
What's that, where were Caden and I during all this educational life experience?

In the shade. Doing a little of this.

And a little of that.

After all, it was warm.
See, Caden is too young for physical labor. Occasionally we may refer to him as "The Golden Child" because...well, he gets away with alot and he's cute and cuddly and will sit on my lap for more than 2 seconds and let me kiss him and tickle him.
I don't play favorites, but man is he cute.
Plus, we only have 3 scrapers. So that's why I babysit. Plus I didn't spend hours under sweet sedation bringing these children into the world for nothing.
And I had alot to think about that day. So, get off my back will ya?

Its a lesson the older 2 will remember with fondness when they are not lazy couch potato
25 year old slackers.

Caden, well, he can live forever with us if that's what his little heart desires.

See, already our efforts are paying off. Charlotte asked to make Ethan's lunch!

Unfortunately after lunch, the desire to be like daddy proved too much for my poor wittle baby.

But it was too late. Satisfaction at being useful for once had already set in.

Oh well. I still have these babies. Which do virtually nothing. Turns out turtles need sunshine so we brought them out to give them exercise.

Now they actually don't "do nothing." They've been very busy trying to escape lately. At least Toadtipper has. Long Tail hasn't quite caught on, but I sense a reptilian mutiny on the horizon.

Exhibit A.
And B.

I think its time to let them go.
It will be a sad day for sure.
Not for me. Because they stink, although they are fun to talk to while I cook.
But they are quite difficult to spot and contrary to popular belief, pretty speedy little things.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My take on Proverbs 22:2

Everything, every part of my day brings to mind the suffering in Africa.
When I eat, when I leave the water on while I wash dishes. Doing laundry or reading to my kids. Sleeping with the fan on, driving down the block for a drink at Sonic, going to the grocery store, playing outside, frozen pizza, putting gas in my car, swimming.
Maybe adopting Zoey has something to do with that. Maybe this is how she will come to be ours.

Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia.
It is the worst drought in 60 years. The UN calls it the worst humanitarian disaster ever, and it is expected that 12 million people will die of starvation.

U.S officials estimate that in the last three months alone, 29,000 children under the age of 5 have died from malnutrition.

There are no rains, so there is no water for crops or cattle or drinking. Food prices are at all time highs because of increases in fuel and transportation costs. Its such a heartbreaking decision for many: stay where we are and we will all die, or leave our home and walk days, weeks, miles and miles to refugee camps where some of us might survive.
Of course those roads to help are filled with stories of beatings, robberies, rape, murder, starvation, death and despair.
How do you possibly make a choice like that for your children?

Here, we are safely tucked away from all that. We have clean water at will. We have air-conditioned 24-hour grocery stores, convenience stores, fast food chains. I have two in my backyard alone, three more within walking distance. We have nutrition programs, child health services, prenatal care, weight loss programs, meal delivery websites. We have trucks that come to our doorstep to take away all that we cannot or do not want to eat. We can choose to cook or have someone do the cooking for us. We have air-conditioned gyms so we can sweat away the pounds but still stay comfortable. We have locks on our doors and windows and the police are just three little numbers away. We have state of the art hospitals. We water our lawns for pete's sake.We can turn off our televisions and radios and computers and ipads and iphones if we would rather not see how the other side of the world is doing today.

And oh, how I am thankful for all that we have. I am thankful that my kids can drink from a cup, from a tap in the sink or on the door of a fridge or a bottle of water. I am thankful for the electricity that keeps my freezers running and my fans on. I am thankful for healthcare and regular checkups and toothbrushes and antibacterial wipes. I am thankful for 24-hour convenience and Sonic Happy Hour and debit cards and 2% milk.

I am blessed.
But does that mean that they aren't?

When the cattle dies and the husband cannot provide and he must choose the chance of life over the certainty of death, does that mean that his family is less blessed than mine?
When a mother is attacked on the road to a "safe zone" and her children watch helplessly, does that mean that they are less blessed than us?
When babies die from starvation and the parents must leave them in roadside graves and keep going, or God forbid, abandon their weakest children to save the stronger ones, does that mean that those children are less blessed than mine?

What is the difference between a mother in the Horn of Africa and me?
Certainly skin color, language, and culture. But that is not it.
Take those three things away and what is left? We are the same- the same loving hands made the two of us. The same Savior died for the two of us. He loved us both and loves us both.
So why do I have it so good?
Why is there enough food in the world to feed every hungry person yet millions are starving to death?
It doesn't make sense to me.

If the same God made us,
and the same God loves us,
and the same God reigns over North America and Africa,
and the same Savior gave His life for us,
and the same Savior rose again for us,
and the same salvation is for both of us,
then how can it be that I can live so abundantly and comfortably and excessively here, while I watch them live so poorly and desperately and vulnerably there?
If the same God made us, then we all are brothers and sisters. We are aunts and uncles. We, as the body of Christ, are one. We are family.
I wouldn't want my family here to live in fear and want. And as a Christian, I don't want that for my family there either.
Miles and language and culture cannot change that.

I know that God isn't deficient. He is good, all the time. Here, there. He is powerful and redemptive and He makes all things new.

I know that God can fill every empty stomach, wipe away every tear, and fill the lands with water and green grass. He could, and maybe He will. Maybe our Savior will return, soon, and rescue.

But until then, we, the church, the body of Christ are responsible to act. We know the need.
It's not to sit back and say "that's so sad" and change the channel.
It's not to think someone else will help, so we don't need too.
It's not to say " I can't make a big enough difference, so I might as well not even bother."
And it's not to say " That's not my problem."

I may not be able to GO to Africa, but I am able to DO something.

Awhile back I made up a new shirt design to sell as a fundraiser for Zoey's adoption. It's taken most of the summer to get it going but here it is:

Womens fitted

Mens style

After alot of thought and prayer, I've decided that all of the proceeds from these shirts will go toWorld Vision to help in the relief efforts in Africa. I researched many international charities and I feel that World Vision is one of the best out there in terms of financial stewardship and putting their faith into action.


From the World Vision website:

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.We serve close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries around the world. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.World Vision is a global organization with offices in approximately 100 countries. These interdependent national offices are bound together by a Covenant of Partnership, a biblically based agreement that enables us to work together in a unified and complementary way as we walk alongside those we serve.
We are blessed with staff who are experts in a broad range of technical specialties, ranging from hydrology to microenterprise development to public health. And we are inspired by the ways in which they use their God-given abilities in conjunction with existing community resources.

Of the more than 40,000 staff employed by World Vision, 97 percent work in their home countries or regions. Familiar with the culture and language, they bring to World Vision a deeply personal understanding of how best to assist local children and families.
The millions of people we serve include earthquake and hurricane survivors, abandoned and exploited children, survivors of famine and civil war, refugees, and children and families in communities devastated by AIDS in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Our extensive global infrastructure enables us to respond where the need is greatest, anywhere in the world.
The excellence of World Vision’s work has earned the trust of more than 3 million donors, supporters, and volunteers; more than half a million child sponsors; thousands of churches; hundreds of corporations; and government agencies in the United States and around the world.

Please pray for Africa- for Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and the surrounding countries. Pray about what you can do to help our brothers and sisters there.

There was the story on the AP site today of a little boy in Ghana who is trying to raise a lot money to help. Many would say too much for a little boy to raise.

"This is a moment that mankind can touch lives," he said. "There is no point for others to have so much to eat while others have nothing to eat. It is not right."

Because it's the right thing to do.
Do we need a better reason than that?

**Shirts can be ordered at the sidebar. They are true to size.Please allow about 2 weeks to recieve.**

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Miracle

If you want to see a miracle happening RIGHT NOW, head over to NO GREATER JOY MOM

This little girl is "Lilliana." She lives in Eastern Europe.

Because children with Down Syndrome are not valued as people where she lives, she spends her days in an orphanage lying in a crib, or in a baby bouncy seat.

Because children with Down Syndrome are not valued where she lives, Lilliana does not get taken care of like "normal " children.

Because children with Down Syndrome are not valued where she lives, it is acceptable to her "caretakers" that at 11 years old, Lilliana weighs only 10 pounds.

11 years old.
10 pounds.

Let that one sit for a minute...

But right now, Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom is holding the biggest giveaway I've ever seen.

Adeye loves children who the world says have no chance at being loved.
I think that is why God uses her to bring them families.

Adeye set up the raffle yesterday, August 18. With a total needed at $22,000.
That's a pretty big leap of faith.
But our God is bigger and He loves Lilliana more.

Tonight, not even 24 hours after starting the raffle, the amount raised for Lilliana is


What an awesome God we have!

You can donate here, at Adeye's blog:

There are some amazing prizes to be won.

But really, to be a part of this, is better than anything you could win...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Updates and Birthdates

Well, we got our FBI clearance. Good to know we aren't on any no-fly lists.
Should have been able to mail our Dossier to our agency this week, but alas, the girl that did our homestudy forgot 2 papers and she is working on getting them to me.
Which doesn't at all surprise me, the way things have been going with this.
Maybe next week.

In other news, Caden will turn 2 on Saturday. I can't believe it.