Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Does God Read His Horoscope?

A few days ago, Patrick bought a new pack of silly bands. 

If you don't know what silly bands are, I am sorry to inform you that you're living under a rock. 

Silly Bands are all the craze in kid trading these days--little rubber band bracelets that come in various shapes and colors.

Patrick chose a pack featuring zodiac symbols and this grew into a discussion. 

Patrick:  "Hey Mom!  What's my astrological sign?"

Me:  "Hmmm.  I don't know."

Patrick:  "Do you know yours?"

Me:  "Me?  I'm a Capricorn"

Patrick thinks about that for a minute, then he shouts out:  "Cool!  That means Joe was a Capricorn too, because he had the same birthday as you!"

Me (wave of sadness):  "That's true."

Patrick thinks again for a bit, then makes another, even more exciting connection:  "Hey Mom!  That means JESUS is a Capricorn!!!!!"

Me:  "Oh . . . Well . . . YES, I guess that would mean that Jesus is a Capricorn!  I never thought about that!"

Patrick thinks just a bit longer and comes to his most important conclusion of all: 

"Then that means that GOD IS A CAPRICORN!  Because if Jesus is a Capricorn, then God has to be a Capricorn!  Isn't that cool!  Wow!"

Wow indeed. 



This is one kid who knows how to make connections!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Praise Him With Thanksgiving

Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.



Praise Him for a warm home, good food, and a loving family



Praise Him for snow and sleds




And delightful boys eating icicles



And a wonderful mother and daughter who cook delicious treats (including turkey cupcakes from Hello Cupcake! and I promise I do not get any royalties from mentioning the book--again)





And another beautiful daughter with her beloved big hairy beast--and naps

Praise Him for the love and laughter of siblings


For the patience of an older brother


For gingerbread houses that come with the base all assembled (this sooooo beats trying to make the pieces by hand and then spend the next three days trying to cement them together)


For a husband who loves his wife and his children with all his heart--and for games of cribbage



Praise God for the children who were not able to join us at the table but are always in our hearts--Will, Rose, and Joe.  Praise Him for all our family and friends.  And for teachers, doctors, neighbors, and all who love our kids with open arms.  Praise God for all the blessings in this life.

Praise Him with a grateful heart.  Praise Him with Thanksgiving.



Friday, November 19, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God."        ~ Bob Pierce, World Vision's founder


I read The Hole in Our Gospel in response to my friend R's fundraising request.  (Feel free to blog hop over and help build a well in Ethiopia simply by leaving a comment about the book.)

As I read the book, I found myself constantly marking pages.

But now that it is time for me to write my comments, I find myself nearly speechless.

New thoughts. Old thoughts. Inspiration.  Painful and refreshing words, verses, and insight. New understandings.  Compassion. Uplifting convictions and beliefs.  Disbelief.  Invitations.  A call for change.

It's a book that shows how change is possible--how each of us can make small changes leading to big hope for our broken world. 

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."                     ~ Mother Teresa

Yes.  It's a life changing book.  It has challenged me in ways I didn't necessarily want to be challenged.

And yet I do want to be challenged.

And I am challenged.

And I will forever be changed.

"The kingdom of God is within you." ~ Jesus Christ  (Luke 17:21)

Deliciousness

Fall brings about cravings for caramel apples.  Yum! 
Patrick was more than happy to break up the candy toppings--his father put an end to the hammer on the hardwood floor and headed him toward the garage (his father is less tolerant to destroying the house smarter than me!)



Then the kids all commenced with dipping and rolling.






Time for eating!  Notice we didn't have sticks so we used plastic knives.  My children's creative juices get flowing when food is involved!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Don't Speak Chinese Very Well

I have been trying to learn to speak Chinese.  It is painful.  And slow.



Altho one side benefit is that it gives my children another thing to laugh about.  Vu, especially, can hear tones that I cannot and he hoots at my pronunciation.

I have an "In-flight Chinese" CD that I play in the car every day.  It promises to teach me to speak Mandarin "in flight."  I think I have listened the equivalent of flying around the world 40 times and I'm not much past "Ni-hao."

I do have to laugh at some of the phrases they teach.  One is, "Do you speak English?"  I am quite certain they will understand my question in English if they do.  I am also quite certain they will NOT understand my Chinese translation.

Another is, "I don't speak Chinese very well." 

Duh!  No doubt all the Chinese people I interact with will know this from the first utterance I make.

If this language learning is anything like when I learned Vietnamese I will learn lots of words and speak it well--but there won't be a single soul who will understand what I am trying to say.

Still, I am trying, and will continue to do so until we bring our sweet Rose home. 

Zaijian!  再见

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Scene Where The Policeman Says A Bad Word

Lizzy recently celebrated homecoming in full style! 

She had a beautiful LBD (I was also wearing my LBD for another function but I think mine is a BLBD (bigger little black dress!).



Lizzy also was sporting an amazing set of wheels for the event:



Yes, that is our 15-passenger van she is driving.  She decked it out in twinkle lights, window paint, decorations, and a vanload of teenagers!  It was quite a sight!

Apparently, a police officer thought so too.  If it was put in a movie-script it would read like this:

Scene at the bowling alley:  Several teenagers sitting in a monster van sporting twinkle lights.  The parking lot is nearly deserted, it is very dark, and it is just after midnight. 

A police officer sees the unusual vehicle and cruises slowly toward the vehicle, deciding to investigate.

Lizzy:  "Uh-oh!  Guys!  Here comes a policeman!  What do I do?  What do you think he wants?"

Dumb Kid in van:  "Just drive away."

Lizzy:  "No!  He'll think we're trying to hide something!"

All the kids look towards the police cruiser as it inches closer.

Lizzy:  "Don't look!  It makes us look guilty!"

Smart Kid in van:  "Crap!  I think he's going to bust us for curfew!"

Wild Kid in Van:  "Uh-oh!  That's the same guy who busted me for speeding!"

Lizzy starts to break out a sweat even tho her homecoming dress is lacking (according to her father) nearly enough coverage to cause her to sweat.

Officer pulls up to the van with his window facing Lizzy's.  Officer rolls down his window.  Lizzy nervously rolls down her window.  Lizzy is ready to pee her pants but puts on her cool, calm, collected look.

Officer (craning his neck to see into the van):  "So, what are you kids up to?"

Lizzy (in an overly friendly manner, putting on her best smile):  "Oh, Hi Officer!  We're just out for homecoming!  We just got a snack at the bowling alley and are heading home!"

Officer (looking down the length of the van):  "Oh!  So, WOW!  I knew kids rented limos these days, but I didn't know the new thing was to rent a VAN!"

Lizzy (a little surprised but as cool as a cucumber):  "Oh no Officer, I didn't rent this--THIS IS MINE!"

Officer (looking SUPER confused).  Long pause: "This is YOURS?"

Lizzy, preparing to clarify that it actually belongs to her parents, but before she can do so--

Officer,with a look of shock, looking down the length of the van again, and then loudly exclaiming: "NO SH*T!!!???"

Lizzy, not sure what one is supposed to say when a policeman swears.

Lizzy finally eeks out: "The van is my parents.  (long pause with officer laughing)  We have a lot of kids!"

Officer:  "Well I guess so!  Wow!  Just WOW!"

He starts laughing hysterically and finally recovers enough to shake his head and say, "Well, okay!  Ha-ha-ha!  You kids have a good time!" 

Good times people!  Good times!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans

Thank you for your service and your courage.  I am especially proud of my Will today--for willing to endure, to be separated from those he loves, and to serve this great country of ours--to make that choice above all the many others he had.  He serves because he loves his family and he loves his Country--just as his father served, his grandfathers, and many more before them. 

I am also very proud of several nephews, currently serving this great Country of ours, leaving their families behind in order to protect us all. 

Here's two of my favorite military guys!


We truly are the home of the free because of the brave. 

Thank you!  Thank you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orphanage Ghosts

In honor of Orphan Sunday I wanted to share a passage from Jeff Gammage's book China Ghosts.  Gammage speaks of the experience of visiting his daughter's orphanage and how nobody ever tells us that we will forever be changed. 

It's true. 

"They never tell you what it might be like to venture inside an orphanage . . . To confront the life that your child, the person you love most, would have been left to lead in China.  To see the life that children just like her--every bit as bright and beautiful, every bit as deserving--are living now.

They don't tell you that the children of the orphanage are all coming home with you.  That these kids with their wan smiles and growling stomachs are going to follow you across the ocean, move into your house, inhabit your dreams.  They don't tell you that from now on you'll never push back your chair from the dinner table without thinking of small children--just like your daughter--whose ribs are tight against the skin.  That now, when you saunter through Toys 'R' Us, your child happily choosing a prize from among rows of pink-boxed Barbie dolls, you'll recall that during a morning-long visit to the orphanage, you did not see a single toy. . .

They don't tell you that on Christmas morning, your girl's gifts piled halfway up the wall, the extended family delighting in her presence and her excitement, your thoughts will turn to the children who will never see so many toys or experience such an outpouring of love and affection . . ."

Gammage then goes on to say, "From now on, wherever you may go and whatever you may do, the faces of the children left behind will come to you, unbidden, glimpsed in the eyes of a child scampering across the street in front of a crossing guard and in the smile of a girl skipping rope on a playground."

The reality of what Gammage says is so true.  I know I will never forget those left behind.  I will spend my life advocating for these invisible children.

I can never forget those left behind.

And, as painful as it is, I wouldn't want to. 

For Orphan Sunday I invite everyone to find a way to reach out to orphans through a donation, sponsoring a child, promoting child welfare and even adoption.

These two used to be cribmates in an orphanage.  Invisible.  Now they are best friends in America, reaping the love of families of their own.



 One hundred forty-three MILLION orphans are still waiting. 

One by one, we CAN make a difference!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vacuum Advice Please

Our vacuum has just about taken its last breath suck.

It is actually the combination of two vacuums at this point, with a short in the powerhead, missing pieces, and now . . . a crack underneath (currently being somewhat remedied with a large piece of duct tape).



I have a houseful of kids.  I have a big hairy dog.  I live in a rainy, muddy, leafy, pine-needly environment.

I cannot live without a vacuum. 

A vacuum is the first thing I'm going to buy, once our 60 days of nothing is over (update coming soon).

ADVICE NEEDED--What vacuum to buy? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nightmares

Vu told me he had a nightmare last night that all his Halloween candy started to fly around the room and then it all turned into rocks! 

Maybe that's why he's gorging on his candy today!



While I can laugh about his dream last night, the fact is, Vu has nightmares frequently.  By the time the sun comes blaring through our bedroom window in the morning, we usually have a 50 pound weight snuggling in, half hanging off the edge of the mattress. 

Honestly, I know it's a good thing that he can get his past trauma out through dreams.  He rarely talks about the truths behind them during the day.  But my heart aches for him and the mama-bear inside me wishes I could protect him from his past.  Every child deserves love!  Every child deserves protection!  And the truth is, sometimes my son lacked both.

I thank God he now has a Mommy and Daddy to run to in the night.  I thank God I get to be  that Mommy.

And yet it breaks my heart that he needs to run to us in the night.  Sigh.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thinking Of Adopting An Older Child?

Follow my friends blog here and see what they say about adopting an older child. 

Sean's words are moving and profound! 

We are enjoying living our own adoption through their Chinese travel blog.