Monday, June 30, 2008
Luke just called to fill me in on an update from our adoption case worker. She spoke with the orphanage director at length this morning about last week's court date and our next court date (July 25), which they feel really confident about.
Frankly, after last week my brain is tired of thinking of court dates, "if-only's", "how-many-days-until's," and possible travel times. I'm weary of wondering what will happen next and when we'll hear anything. But what my husband relayed to me after that was just what I needed to hear: M's reaction to the news that he has a family!!
Our orphanage director is a precious, godly woman. She has a HUGE heart for these kids, and has developed a close and loving relationship with each one of them. When she was here a few months ago she was moved to tears as she talked about each of the older boys. It is obvious that she loves them very, very much. Knowing that helps me to imagine not only the excitement she brought to the conversation, but also the tenderness with which she must have shared this joyful news with him.
And, apparently he did, in fact, receive it with great joy. She said that there were many, many smiles, as well as tears of relief, release, and yes... JOY. He was indeed, very, very excited and happy (as we had heard). He has not received our care package yet which contains our DVD message to him, but he does have a book of pictures of us. She said he looked and looked at each picture, asking, "So, this is my family? This is my house? This is my brother? This is my sister?" Smiling... crying...smiling.
Then... she said he lingered over the page that had this photo:
Finally he said, "This family will love me very much."
Oh, my precious boy, you have no idea how much we already do.
Another Monday! And the last day of another month. I don't know about you, but I can hardly believe June is already drawing to a close. This weekend will be 4th of July weekend and then all of the back-to-school stuff will be out at Target. Ack!! A friend of mine said she saw Christmas wreaths at Hobby Lobby the other day. I'm glad I didn't see that. My head just might explode.
Each summer I pull familiar books off of the shelf and read through them at the pool or when I get some "down time." I love it because these are books that God has used to speak into my life, written by authors who have shaped who I am as a wife and mother. It's so great to read through them again and refresh myself on some of the advice and do an inner "check up" and see how I'm doing. It's handy because they are already highlighted (high-lit?) by a much younger woman, dealing with younger kids and different issues... but the truths are true nonetheless.
This summer I'm reading back through A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elizabeth George. Last night as I was winding down, getting ready to go to bed I read through her principles regarding home management. The third one is what I read last night, but I'll list the first two:
1. Understand that home management is God's best for us.
2. Decide to take home management seriously.
"Third, live as though you will be held accountable for the condition of your home and the use of your time because you will! In fact, when our husband (or anyone else) walks in the door and looks around the house, we have just revealed what we've been doing in response to God's call to us to manage the home. What do people see when they enter your house? Do they find calm- or chaos? Peace- or panic? Palace- or pigpen? Evidence of preparation- or procrastination?"
Ouch. that last sentence is what gets me every time. Preparation or procrastination? I have shared before how I tend toward procrastination. I always have. I love to plan and think ahead, but I don't always kick it into gear and execute those plans. In recent years that has been something at which, by God's grace, I have gotten better. Meal planning has been in that category for me. I had to go from procrastination to preparation in the kitchen. And it has made our life so much better!
She then uses a great example: a hotel. George says, "Think for a moment about the feeling your get when you enter a hotel room. What greets you? Order. Quiet. Cleanliness. You can still see the vacuum tracks in the carpet. The bed is made (and remember it occupies 80% of visual space of a room!). The last sheet of toilet paper has been folded to a point. No TV or stereo blares. Order reigns. Someone has done the work of effective management, and their efforts make the room a sanctuary."
I am hardly an example of someone who's home is always a "sanctuary," believe me. Especially during the school year. There have been many days when my husband has come home to piles of laundry, me with my hair piled on my head and wearing either all or part of what I slept in the night before, and an exploded science project still awaiting cleanup. So, anything orderly I post on here needs to be seen as an example of God's grace being sufficient for me in my weakness!
But, through all of the chaos that ensues at our house (or at anyone's house who's in the business of raising a family in the home all day every day) there can be preparation rather than procrastination. When my cute husband gets home there may be piles here and there, but also a single candle lit on the kitchen counter and some sort of dinner either ready or almost ready -- evidence of preparation. Something that says, "I've been expecting you."
I love thinking of the hotel example. I LOVE walking into a hotel room (okay, a nice one) and taking it in... the feeling that someone prepared for me to be there. I've been working on doing that for my family. I heard many years ago, "Treat your family like guests and your guests like family." We may not go so far as folding the toilet paper to a point, but there are big and small ways we can prepare for our families and give them that feeling each day. The feeling of being anticipated, expected, and desired.
This morning I've got muffins ready for my kids and the devotional book ready on the table. That says to them, "I've been expecting you." I've got my menu planned for the week and the ingredients in the pantry. That says to me when it's time to prepare the meal, "I've been expecting you." Each evening when the meal is on the table for my family, they will know I was anticipating them. Every morning the coffee pot comes on (because we made it the night before!), I can come in early for a great cup of coffee and that says to me, "I've been expecting you." I can take that cup of coffee, grab my Bible and have time with the Lord Who says to me , "I've been expecting you." In our home we are in the midst of preparing our home and family for our precious new son whom we are adopting, and in many ways my entire life right now is gearing up for one big, "I've been expecting you."
Isn't that what meal planning is? A way of saying to our families, "I've been expecting you?" And it doesn't have to be that hard, really. Think back to the hotel example. I love staying at one that's got the continental breakfast bar waiting in the morning. All it really is is cereal ready to pour, fruit that's already been cut and washed, juices available and bagels cut in half. (Oh, and coffee, don't forget the coffee.) It's not expensive or time-intensive, but we can do the same for our families. Just have it ready and show them that we've been expecting them. I think any area of our homes in which we can do that (laundry, craft activities, games, etc.) will really bless them. The kitchen is a great place to start!
So, here is my menu plan for the week. I just joined a great farmer's market co-op for the summer, so I've got some wonderful summer fruit and vegetables to use this week. To use some of the plums I received in my basket, I found this plum pie recipe that I think I'll try. Yum!
Monday: grilled pork chops with grilled lemon-pepper zucchini
Tuesday:Mexican Stack Dinner
Wednesday: Georgia Peach Chicken Sandwiches
Thursday: YOYO ("You're on you're own"/leftovers)
Friday: Summer Squash Chicken Alfredo (unless we make other dinner plans... I may bump this to next week)
Since Laura is on vacation, MPM is being hosted at Heavenly Homemakers this week, so head on over there to read more menus and some great homemaking tips. Have a terrific week and a fun Fourth!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Since we are awaiting news in the next day or so regarding our court date, I will keep a "sticky post" here with adoption updates. Other (new) posts will be below, if you want to scroll down...
(Fri. June 27, 8:00 CST) So. This is what it feels like to be a "pioneer."
By that, I mean that our family is one of the first 5 families in our agency to help them "pioneer" their program for this country. The positives of that role FAR OUTWEIGH the negatives (We are so incredibly blessed to be part of this agency and this program. SO blessed. Someday I will try to put into words how blessed.) But, this is one of the negatives. What our case worker was told would be the court date where everything would be finalized, was actually the initial court hearing. I spoke directly with Getahun in Africa just a few moments ago and he excitedly told me it was "successful"... that the papers have now been filed successfully. Our court date is July 25. Another month. He called to give me the good news of a successful filing. Not at all the news I expected or wanted. But it IS good news! We are closer!
What is also good news- the BEST NEWS- is that he said they told M about us and that he is "Sooo very happy. Very, very excited." (<--- I wish I could write that in the same African accent and warm tone of voice that I heard it in. It would make it so much more meaningful!) So he knows. He knows.
And now we know.
And we can move on, pressing on toward July 25. Thank you SO much for praying. Your prayers have been heard, and as a result, grace has been apportioned for this day as well as the court date for which we have been praying. Thank you. (This experience wasn't wasted. I encourage you to read the prayer I posted below.)
And He is good, all the time.
(Fri. June 27, 6:30 CST) We were not able to get through to Africa when we called during the night (our time) be we called this morning and found out that due to power outages yesterday our court proceeding didn't happen. Our lawyers are at the courts NOW. If you are reading this early this morning, there is a reason. Please pray with us! I know God is in control. Thank you so much for checking in. We love y'all!!
(Thurs. June 26, 10:00 PM CST) Well, not long after my last post we accepted the fact that we would not hear any news today. We were disappointed, but somewhere in the back of my mind I was prepared for the fact that we might not. Although I've not been in that particular country, I have been in a part of Africa where we were not able to get calls out or have access to the internet. That's just how it is. So, tonight while I was cooking dinner I cranked up my Chris Tomlin playlist on my iTunes and decided to simply praise God for Who He is. Have you noticed how praise seems to put things in their proper perspective? It helped me so much. (Well, that was 5 hours ago. Now I'm discouraged again. It's time to snuggle up with my Bible and my 31 Days of Praise book.) We are actually going to call there ourselves sometime around midnight or a little after, I think. We have been working with the orphanage directors for some things that have to do with our non-profit, and we have cell phone and office numbers, and we are never without an African calling card! So, I think we'll try to get through. But, I'm not hanging my hat on getting through! And now doubts are creeping in that our court did not pass. For no reason, really, just a couple of things I read. But it's okay, I am reminding myself of how big God is! He is sovereign! Thank you for your prayers.
(Thurs. June 26, 3:10 PM CST) Still no news. We spoke with our caseworker awhile ago who was able to contact one person this morning who didn't know yet. The person who *does* know was still out. And that person is supposed to call here. But all subsequent attempts to call or email have not gone through. "Iffy" phone and email connections and power outages make getting information from there difficult at times! Whatever happened in court today has already happened. We just don't know what it was. Hmph.
It's a little after 11 PM there, and they could still call. Please pray for a connection to open up!
Thanks for checking in!
(Thurs. June 26, 11:30 AM CST) We are still waiting for news. We received word yesterday that the two other sweet families from our agency with court dates this week may not go through. One family for sure did not pass and has been given a new court date of July 8. The other family will go to court today, despite the fact that the judge has asked to see their daughter's birth mom, whom they have yet to locate. We have all been praying that she would be found at the last minute and appear in court. There are a different circumstances surrounding M, so this particular issue won't come into play for us... but we are just waiting to see if there are any other bumps in this road. Luke was home half the morning with the air conditioner repairman. I've packed M's suitcase, just because. (Many thanks to my Mom who has outfitted him for his trip home!) I am also organizing receipts and bills, folding laundry, researching ESL instruction, and otherwise trying to keep myself occupied. I'm about to run the kids to Blockbuster to rent some movies and Wii games (as we are all trying to find something to do... today is a bit of a "different" day) and then it's back home to stay glued to the phones and email. Oh, and yes, I realize we may not hear anything today... ;) Thank you SO MUCH for checking in on us, and for your prayers!!!
(Wed. June 25) Today we are praying for tomorrow's court date. They are 8 hours ahead of us, so it is already evening. More than likely he has been told about us! I can't even imagine! This morning God gave me Proverbs 25:25- -
Anyway, thanks for your prayers! I know that God is not constrained by time, but please keep the time difference in mind, and maybe pray about it as you're going to bed tonight!
It is evening there now. In just a little while a little boy will be laying his head on his pillow, perhaps still trying to process the news of his new family... maybe even holding the book of pictures we sent him. I have been praying that God will be knitting us together as a family even now...
Your prayers mean more than you know!
"I magnify You, O Lord, I exalt Your name, for You are great and highly to be praised. I praise You for the glorious splendor of Your majesty and the power of Your awe-inspiring acts. Your power is unlimited...absolute...beyond imagining. You are able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or dream of. "There is nothing too hard for You." Who is like You, "majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders"?
O Lord Most High, You rule over the heavens and the earth, for You made all things by Your great power, and You keep them existing and working by Your mighty Word. You are exalted high above every star and galaxy in the entire cosmos... yet You are also "the God of all mankind," the great, personally present, personally involved God who love, rescues and takes care of all who trust You. You exercise Your gracious authority over all nations-- and over each individual in all the world. There is none like You, the true God, the living God, the everlasting King.
I praise You for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power, both to me and to others looking on. Thank You that I can move into the future nondefensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age... and through all eternity."
Amen and amen.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
A psalm of praise. Of David.1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b]
6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
your saints will extol you.
11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made. [c]
14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.
16 You open your hand
and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and loving toward all he has made.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
- Psalm 145:1 Chapter 145 This psalm is an acrostic poem, the verses of which (including verse 13b) begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
- Psalm 145:5 Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac (see also Septuagint Masoretic Text On the glorious splendor of your majesty / and on your wonderful works I will meditate
- Psalm 145:13 One manuscript of the Masoretic Text, Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac (see also Septuagint most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text do not have the last two lines of verse 13.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I just nearly lost it, holding that shirt and imagining the precious little person who we pray, by God's grace, will soon wear it. And the flip-flops. I just love them. I have been watching his DVD repeatedly, watching him play, dance, and sing in pink plastic slip-on shoes, imagining how much he might love some comfortable tennis shoes or soft flip flops. SO, when we put together a care package on Friday, the flip flops went in it.
We mailed this off over the weekend. We are praying it gets to him next week. (Or really, at all. :) As I posted in our news about our court date, they will be telling him about us soon. Probably today or tomorrow. I KNOW!!!!! Can you imagine???? So, we made him a DVD of our family, each of us taking an opportunity to talk to him, show him around the house, tell him how much we love him, etc. Let me tell you, that was a challenge. I just wanted to crawl through the camera lense. I also wanted to pack myself in this box! What I did pack was his flip flops, a couple of story books that are written both in his language and in English (I have additional copies here in case something happens to those, and I also have extra copies to take to give to the orphanage). I was thinking it would be helpful to have something familiar here that he remembers reading there. And something we can both understand. :) We also sent him a mini- Magnadoodle with a message on it, some puzzle flash cards, some some candy and stickers to share with the other children, as well as some of those "magic towels" that expand when you soak them in water. We found those at Dollar Tree and thought they could always use more towels at the orphanage, and that would be a space-saving way to send them. Also they are cute African animals. Fun! I included a new t-shirt with a picture of a soccer ball on it (he LOVES soccer). I washed the shirt with our detergent and dried it with our fabric softener sheets, then I sealed it up in a zip-lock bag... so maybe it would "smell like us." I also wrote him a note from me, leaving space for translation in between the sentences so he can read some words and thoughts from his new Mom. Oh, this is such an exciting time! PLEASE be praying with us for Thursday to go smoothly.
We are very prayerful today for another family from our agency whose court date is *today*. We had a support group meeting this weekend at our agency, and it was so meaningful to be with a couple of the other precious families adopting from our same country. God is really knitting our families together in a neat way right now. And it's so exciting (and overwhelming!) for things to be moving so quickly!
In the midst of everything, yes, we will be eating this week! In fact, after our agency called last week with the exciting news, I was desperately trying to reach my dear husband who was on a golf course somewhere in south Texas with no cell signal, so my daughter frantically hit "redial" on her phone for a solid hour and a half. While she did that, I did the only logical thing I could do... I baked a cake. A yellow cake with this chocolate sauce recipe. SO good. And obviously easy, since I did it while my mind was divided between South Texas and Africa. Once I finally did get him on the phone, I was much better. And later we had a lovely dessert. :)
Speaking of desserts, this week I will be making this fruit pizza. It is such a great recipe because it has a yummy glaze that goes over it. We love it!
Okay, here's our week in food:
Monday: Crock Pot Lasagna (from FIFI but similar to this) green beans, caesar salad, garlic bread
Tuesday: Left overs or YO-YO (You're On Your Own)
Wednesday: Orange Glazed Pork Chops, Skillet Lo Mein
Thursday: turkey burgers on the grill
Friday: Crock Pot BBQ chicken, potato salad, peas
For more recipes and some great organizing tips, visit Laura. Have a blessed week!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Our adoption court date is NEXT THURSDAY!! June 26th!
We are beyond excited with this news. We had no idea it could be this soon! Our paperwork has been in Africa being translated for the past couple of weeks. We estimated that they should be about done with that part and that it would be another month or so before we had a court date. But... it's NEXT WEEK!!!!
So, here's what's the deal (as I understand it...) As part of our adoption paperwork, we have given the attorney and orphanage director our powers of attorney to act on our behalf in the African court. They will appear in court on our behalf next week, and if everything is in order (the judge doesn't need any further clarification or we don't need to submit any further paperwork) M will be OUR SON!!! And I can post his picture! And we can make travel arrangements! And we can GO BRING HIM HOME!!!
One of the most exciting things is... in the days ahead they will be telling him about us. (He doesn't know yet!) We have sent him a picture book full of photos of our family, extended family, house, etc. I can't WAIT for them to tell him about us! But, I'm nervous as well. SO many things are going through my mind.
I have been watching this video over and over. It is so incredibly touching, and the song is one I listened to repeatedly this past Christmas. These older boys in the video are precious! And at the end, their sweet mom... Oh, you've just got to watch. The boys are around the same age as M. About 2 minutes and 10 seconds into the video, it shows them telling him he's been chosen by a family. The look on his face is priceless... I have watched it repeatedly, imagining what was going through his mind as he found out he has a family. That will be happening to our sweet boy very, very soon.
Oh, would you be praying with us? Would you pray that our court date goes smoothly next week? Many times the first court date doesn't go through. (But more often than not, it does, and I need to focus on that!) Would you pray that God would be preparing M's heart for the news that he has a family? Thank you, THANK YOU for your prayers through all of this. They mean more than you know.
And, I've got so much to do! I am so, so ready for him to come home, but I'm not totally "ready." Oh, he has a room and a nice new bed, but we have only bought two shirts for him. I've bought a few books in his language. No other clothes, toys, etc. I feel so unprepared! I told a friend today when I was still processing the news of the court date, "I haven't even bought him any underwear yet!" (It's a mom thing, I guess...)
How do you start a life from scratch at 9 years old? Oh, this is quite a journey.
Thank you so much for reading this, for walking this road with us, and for praying him home.
God is so good.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Another Monday! How can it be? The days and weeks of summer are already clicking by! The "heat is on" in the Lone Star State, which always seems to sap my energy. It's also Vacation Bible School time! We have a L-A-R-G-E church, and will be having over two thousand kids at our VBS this week. Isn't that incredible? I've served in various capacities over the years, but this year my fun son and I are leading a small group together. (At least I hope it's relatively small!) My daughter is old enough to lead a group herself. With our involvement in VBS, and my husband taking another business trip this week, the keyword for dinner at our house this week is simple. I tend toward simple anyway, but during a busy week like this, it's even more so!
Speaking of simple, I made this Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake last week. SO yummy, and it goes with Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream just perfectly. Tastes like summer!
Also simple (and becoming a family favorite) is this corn casserole recipe I made last week that Susanne asked for. I got it from a cookbook that our MOPS group put together years ago. (If it was shared in a group of moms with preschoolers, you know it's easy!) It's also yummy!
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter
1 (8 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (8 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 oz.) pkg. corn muffin mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in bowl in order listed. Mix well. Pour into greased 9x9 inch baking dish. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
Here's what's on our menu this week:
Monday- Southwestern Fish Tacos (We didn't have these last week. This has become a favorite with my kids, and it's easy and *fast*) with corn and black beans
Tuesday- Pizza, salad, fruit
Wednesday- Chicken Pesto Paninis (my simplified version with shaved chicken and done on the George Foreman grill), salad, fruit
Thursday- turkey hot dogs on the grill, deviled eggs, baked beans, fruit
Friday- crock pot teriyaki chicken, rice, stir-fry
For more menus, visit Laura at Orgjunkie.com. Have a yummy week!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Luke III with his dad (Luke Jr.) and his dad (Luke Sr.)
"As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him."
So now this week we tackle the other "s" word! Submission. Equally as off-limits in some circles, and a subject that I know many women don't want to discuss. (I'm sure a movie titled "Submission and the City" would not sell as many tickets as the current movie is selling, LOL.) I have already written some of my general thoughts on the topic of submission here, so I won't give any other background in this post. But in case you don't have time to click over and read what I already wrote, I'll summarize in one sentence: You cannot and will never be completely in God's will and plan as long as you remain outside of His protective authority by submitting to your husband. There. I said it. As Seinfeld would say, "That's a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there."
And it is! But I believe it's true. Thankfully we have authors like Martha Peace who not only write about this truth, but expound on just exactly how to do this. But we'll have to wait for the next section of the book to get to the "how." In this week's chapter titled "Submission: The Wife's Joy" she mainly talks about the "why." The overarching "why" is because that's the way God (a God of order) has chosen to maintain order in His creation. And there is JOY in following God's plan. It's that simple! (For a complete synopsis of this chapter, and a listing of Martha Peace's main points I encourage you to read Leslie's post here, or even better, pick up a copy of the book, The Excellent Wife and join in!)
This week, particularly today, I have been struggling with back pain. I am not completely immobile, as I have been in the past when my back "goes out," but I'm close! I've been having this problem for over ten years. What I found out when I first experienced this excruciating pain was that something was "out of alignment." The doctor discovered that I have one leg that is slightly shorter than the other. It was amazing to me that something so slight could cause me to be completely immobilized by pain! In fact, this morning it hurt so badly I could not even lift the carton of milk out of the refrigerator. I didn't share this so that I would garner your sympathy (though I could use your prayers as my son and I are leading VBS group this week and I can hardly walk!) but rather because it is a very vivid example to me of what happens when our lives are "out of alignment" by our coming up short in a very important area of our walk... submission to our husbands. I can be obedient in every other area of life, endeavoring to be a "doer" and not merely a "hearer" of the Word on every point but if I don't follow God's plan and be "subject to" my husband "as to the Lord... in everything" as Paul says in Ephesians 5:22-24, I will not walk in fullness of joy. Something will be missing, and I will know it. By God's grace, that "something missing" will be joy. It's His grace not to allow complete joy in a believer's life when one is not following His plan, otherwise you might not be prompted to make the necessary changes in your life.
In subsequent chapters, Peace will outline the "how-to's" and "what-if's" associated with submitting to our husbands. I look forward to that discussion. But for today, let's consider the fact that it is simply God's command for wives. According to 1 John 5:3 His commands "are not burdensome." This command seems particularly burdensome for many women, including me for many years. And that need not be. In fact, I have found it valuable in my own life in recent years to take time to examine why certain commands feel particularly "burdensome" for me. (For an excellent treatment of 1 John 5:3 as it relates to marriage and other relationships, read John Piper's sermon here.)
I encourage all of us to long to experience the true joy that comes from a life yielded to God's plan.
For some great reading on this chapter and links to others who have posted on it, visit Leslie at Light Came.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sorry. That was me. That was the sound of me trying to wrestle my stock pot or frying pan out of the cabinet under my stove. I'm sorry to have disturbed your peace. :) I love, love, love my kitchen, but it doesn't have a lot of cabinet space. For the past 7 years whenever I have needed a pot or pan, there has arisen such a clatter everyone knew what was the matter! And I've needed to wear protective footwear.
I don't know what took me so long to do this! I decided a few weeks ago to begin searching for a pot rack to hang over our island. There is no shortage of them out there. And for the price of some of them, I could have simply added on to the kitchen! But I found a relatively inexpensive one. Here's the one I found at allpotracks.com.
Love. It. All of that used to be in a cabinet! And now it's not! Hallelujah!
And since I was in the mood to get things out of the cabinets and clear up valuable drawer and counter space, I decided to purchase a utensil rack. Not only does it help storage-wise, things are much more handy now!
I know this storage solution may or may not work for everyone based on the architecture of your kitchen (though I saw some low ceiling pot racks, wall pot racks, as well as freestanding ones). But, I have been loving this solution for our kitchen. And finding this one for WAY less than $100 with free shipping definitely worked for me!
For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Monday, June 09, 2008
Menu planning? Even in the summer? Yes! Today I decided to share some great reasons to plan your menu, even during the "lazy days" of summer. I have found in recent years that planning my menu for each week helps me to "look well to the ways of my household." There are many things that may or may not happen each day in my family, depending on the day or the schedule. We may or may not have a sports practice. We may not have a science lesson. We may or may not have a doctor's appointment, a haircut, or have friends come to play. But the one given in my home every single day, 365 days a year is that everyone will want to eat that day. Sometimes ::gasp:: even multiple times per day! Days have a way of being nutty enough while raising kids, so why punctuate your day- 3+ times per day- with indecision? I found that as a mom of young children years ago, I had to "think on my feet" enough, making decisions about discipline, play dates, activities, phone calls, and the myriad of issues that come with raising children. "What's for dinner?" was something I could settle early on and then free my mind to deal with other things!
In the summer I think it can be even more valuable to have a plan. It's so nice to be out and about, at the pool, or at a movie knowing that back at home dinner's in the crock pot (which I use a LOT in the summer because it doesn't heat up the kitchen) or the hot dogs are ready to go on the grill. When we all tumble in the back door shedding swim towels and flip flops, and stomachs are growling, it's a gift to myself and to my family that I have already thought ahead about what we are going to eat. In the summer it's as important as ever! But I have also found that summer is also a season for flexibility because life seems to be more spontaneous. Last week one night I had dinner in the crock pot and our day took a fun turn and we ended up meeting some friends for dinner. So... into a container in the fridge it went and we enjoyed it over the weekend. Planning doesn't prevent spontaneity.
Meal planning is just that: a plan. It doesn't mean a gourmet menu. You can start by seeing what you already have on hand. If you know you have chicken nuggets in your freezer, then you can start right now by planning to have those tomorrow night. There, that's a plan. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a can of soup tonight? That's a plan. It feels so good to have a plan! I used to just jot down on my calendar what I was planning for dinner each night of the week. Then, it morphed into listing it on a note card which I would put on the side of the refrigerator. Then I found these menu planning forms at Donna Young's site (a site that helped me get organized for school as well... LOVE this site.) Now I have a whole binder.
Now that I've rambled on about planning, here's our plan for the week:
Monday: grilled pork chops, broccoli cheese casserole
Tuesday: chicken enchiladas, corn casserole, black beans
Thursday: Southwestern Fish Tacos
Friday: Crock Pot French Dip sandwiches
For more menu plans and some great advice on organizing (and menu planning!) visit Laura at Organizing Junkie.
I hope your summer has gotten off to a great start! Have a great week!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets
So, how long do you think you could survive "trapped" in your own home? If you had no way to leave, would you feel trapped? I might relish it for a few days or a couple of weeks but... 70 days? What about 370 days? That's how long Noah was on the ark.
This was my reading from the Spurgeon Archive this morning. It is from the story of Noah and based on Genesis 7:16, "The Lord shut him in."
Was Noah "trapped" in the ark? He had no way to leave, so I guess we could see it as trapped, but in reality that was the safest place for him. I love the whole entry, but these words spoke to me so clearly through their imagery:
"Noah was so shut in that no evil could reach him. Floods did but lift him heavenward, and winds did but waft him on his way. Outside of the ark all was ruin, but inside all was rest and peace. Without Christ we perish, but in Christ Jesus there is perfect safety. Noah was so shut in that he could not even desire to come out, and those who are in Christ Jesus are in Him for ever. They shall go no more out for ever, for eternal faithfulness has shut them in, and infernal malice cannot drag them out."
Many people who are not Christians might view the Christian life as being "trapped," or "shut in." Too confining. Too narrow. Not open enough to new ideas. Too many "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." Too closed off from mainstream society. To be sure, humans have added to the Bible in ways that are legalistic and we need to guard against that. But, according to the Bible, it is through the narrow gate that we find salvation, ultimate safety and freedom. Outside the confines of the ark was where the destruction was.
I love how he says that Noah "could not even desire to come out, and those who are in Christ Jesus are in Him forever." What security! Earlier in the entry he points out that God had said to Noah, "Come into the ark." Come. Implying that He Himself was inside as well. You can't stand outside of something and tell someone "Come in." God Himself was with Noah, just as He is with us. So, we are "shut in" with Him. We are safe with Him, and anything that tries to get to us only pushes us heavenward.
I just loved these thoughts today. Whether we are in fact, homebound for a season or out and about wishing for more time at home, let us remember that if we are in Christ we are gloriously "shut in" with Him. We are safe!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
That's what my mom used to say, anyway. So, of course, that's what I hear myself saying to my kids when I hear, "Mom, I'm bored!" Although that's not something I've heard them say much over the years, because by the time they finish that sentence a math book, toilet brush, Swiffer duster or Bible has been thrust into their hand.
This is "Mom, I'm Bored!" week at WFMW. It didn't take me long to think of something (besides the toilet brush and the Swiffer) that keeps boredom at bay at our house.
A few years ago I bought a book called "The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions." I thought it looked like something we might enjoy. I had no idea. One day, I asked the to look through it and mark some of the concoctions they thought looked fun. Here's what our book looks like now... Do you see all of the post-it markers sticking out all over? We have enjoyed this book to death!
We have made the spray sidewalk chalk (pictured), used the salt dough recipe for our salt maps, made numerous batches of silly putty, volcanoes, coffee play dough, flavored lip gloss, and so many others I can't remember them all. I just picked up the book to thumb through it to remind myself, and the cover fell right off! It has been well-loved! Recently I ordered Super Science Concoctions, but there is also an Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions 2 . While I was searching for the title on Amazon just now, I came across Kid Concoctions of Biblical Proportions which ties in Bible themes. (That one is currently residing in my Amazon shopping cart.) Apparently there is a whole series of these books. There's even a Kid Concoctions website. Fun!
One thing I like about the book is that it uses common, inexpensive ingredients and household objects. When the kids decided which ones they wanted to do, I made a list and went to Walmart and the Dollar store and stocked up on what they would need, and then kept it all together so it wouldn't be a big deal when we decided to make something.
So, for some relatively cheap, somewhat educational, boredom-busting fun this summer... try "Kid Concoctions." It works for us!
For more ideas, visit Rocks In My Dryer.
Monday, June 02, 2008
It's hard to believe it's JUNE! Time flies, doesn't it? It's time for summer and all that comes with it. We still have some school to complete over the summer at our house, but we'll be taking plenty of time for lazing around the pool, seeing some new summer movies, spending some time with friends, and whatever fun we can find!
Speaking of fun... is mealtime fun in your home? When we were building our house, we wrote scripture verses on the framing of the walls before they were sheet-rocked and textured. We wanted God's word to be part of the very foundation and structure of this home. The verse I chose for the wall in the kitchen, where our table would be, was Proverbs 17:1~
What that says to me is that it doesn't really matter if I plan creative and wonderful meals if they are served around a table characterized by conflict, discord, or quarreling. Who wants to show up for that dinner? It would be better to eat crusts of bread in harmony and peace than to feast amid strife.
Elizabeth George, in her wonderful book A Woman After God's Own Heart, says this:
"...to have a happy home, be sure to make mealtime fun... We can learn a lesson from how and when our resurrected Lord spoke to Peter, the disciple who had three times denied knowing Him. Rather than confronting Peter before or during the meal, Jesus waited until after the meal. He let the meal be a time for physical refreshment and pleasant fellowship (John 21:15). Are we doing the same in our home?"
Mealtime is often such a struggle. I can remember when mine were younger, just getting them to sit still or eat their vegetables created "strife." Now that they are older, it's tempting to want to settle issues during that time, especially since Dad is home and we're all together at the end of the day. But these wise words remind me to model Jesus and choose a more appropriate time to tackle certain issues, letting mealtime be a positive time.
Okay, so here's our menu for the week. My cute husband is traveling until Wednesday night, so it's tempting to not cook. Recently I realized that 75% of us are still here when he's out of town (duh!) We still need to eat! Now that our daughter is back, I'm looking forward to cooking for her and making some of her favorite "comfort foods."
Monday: chicken pot pie
Tuesday: pasta with cream sauce, green beans, garlic bread, caesar salad
Thursday: Crock Pot chicken tacos with all the fixin's, corn, black beans
Friday: baked potato soup, crusty bread, salad
To read more menus, share yours (or be inspired to get organized!) visit Orgjunkie.com.
Have a blessed week!
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
A bit of background about this hymn can be found here.
You can listen to this hymn here.
Two of my favorite recordings of it are by Selah, and by Sandi Patty on her new cd, "Songs for the Journey."
Information about the photo is in the comments.