3.27.2015

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Most of the time we lead a pretty slow-paced life. This week has been a huge exception to that rule!

Monday- I had an appointment to get my eyes checked. This is something I have to do pretty regularly thanks to some of the medicines I'm on. Unfortunately my left eye has gotten dramatically worse in the past year. So the optometrist wanted to schedule a few more tests.

Tuesday- I went to New York City for a meeting. (Now doesn't that sound all important! Off to the big city for a meeting!) My friend, Esther went with me for the day. I'm glad that I proved to myself that I can navigate the trip! It was a good but exhausting day.

Wednesday- Piano lessons for the tribe. Then a chiropractor appointment in the afternoon because I'm trying to be sure my back is in shape for going to China.

Thursday- Another appointment for my eyes. Sigh. Supper out with my sweet husband.

Friday- I spent part of the day with Nancy from Ordinary Miracles Photography. She has been my photography mentor from the day I decided to buy a "nice" camera. It was so very super duper fun to meet her in person! And to get some photography tips. And to try out a couple of her lenses. Nancy is in the area from Arizona, so it isn't like she lives just around the corner!

153mm

16mm
Saturday- Keith and I plan to attend a retreat for adoptive couples called Together Called- but I'll have to tell you more about that next week!

3.19.2015

It Is That Time of Year...

This morning I had difficulty keeping my children's minds focused on their school work. The sun was shining brightly outside. The snow is almost all melted.



And...


Yesterday we made sure all of them have bikes that are in good working order.



They have roads drawn on the driveway with sidewalk chalk...



And they could not wait to get out and ride free...



After months of spending so much time inside, they can't get enough of the freedom!



Never mind that it is supposed to snow tomorrow. Today we enjoy the freedom and the sunshine!

3.18.2015

Why We Do What We Do {Television and Movies}

We don't own a television. And we like it that way. We do, however, watch certain movies and television shows on our computers. So how do we make these decisions and why do we draw the lines where we do?

Well... First of all, I know quite a few people draw this line at a different place than we do and yet have very similar goals for their families. This just is not an issue that you can nail down in a black and white type of way. We all need to pray and seek God's way to guide our families and keep their hearts and minds pure while still living in the world we live in.

So, we don't have a television because it is very difficult to find wholesome things to watch, and even when you do, you can't control the ads that are shown. We prefer to know what is going into our children's impressionable little minds. Television watching tends to become addictive. People tend to spend more and more time watching, which leaves less and less time for other, more important things. It tends to trivialize life and cause people to live in an unreal world.



But, there are wholesome, educational, and innocently entertaining movies available. Just as there are books that fall into these categories. We enjoy allowing our children to watch movies that fall into these categories.

So our goal in all of this is to provide things for our children to watch and read that are appropriate for their age and maturity. We want them to be constantly stretching their minds and learning, but also to be gaining maturity and the ability to decide for themselves what is wholesome and up building.

 Some people draw the line at no movies whatsoever. I feel this can be a dangerous position because children and young adults can tend to lump all movies into the "bad" category. They do not learn to be careful and discerning about what they look at. I've known of many young adults who have been drawn in to watching things that they should spurn watching simply because they have been taught that movies are bad, so they feel guilt whether they are watching "Little House on the Prairie" or "Fill In the Blank With Something You Consider Inappropriate".

Our end goal is to raise children who know boundaries in all things, and who are equipped to make good decisions about recreational activities.

Of course I haven't even mentioned the negative aspect of watching too many movies, be it on the computer or on a television. We all know that there is nothing like real life activities to fulfill children's needs for recreation and education. This is something to do in moderation, obviously. But I do believe that this is just another area where we can teach our children to be careful and God-honoring in their decisions.

I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless... Psalm 101:3 


3.13.2015

Superkids-How Can We Help?

I have so many people ask what they can send for the children we will be visiting in China that I thought I would share a link to a post of suggested items that we want to take with us. One of the things I love so much about these trips is how so many people come together to make it happen. The simple act of sending a little credit card size mirror can bring so much joy to a little one! And, hopefully, can also help them to see how precious and beautiful they are! So thank you for wanting to help and be involved!





You can read a little about Superkids, who we are, what we do, and what we need here.

3.05.2015

The Drop Box


Keith and I, along with another couple, went to see the newly released Focus on the Family film, The Drop Box, on Tuesday evening.

I had high expectations. I wasn't disappointed. It rang true.

It was intense and emotional. I laughed and I cried.

It shows Pastor Lee and his wife as being involved in a life and death struggle. A struggle that leaves them exhausted, and is ruining his health. The never-ending demands on them was very evident. Their work is thankless, and controversial.

I loved that they aptly presented the debate as to whether the baby box is actually good for society as a whole. And I believe they also aptly showed the importance of the work that Pastor Lee is doing, but did so in a way that respects, rather than trying to silence, the other side of the debate.

At one point in the film the pastor says, "God, if this is what it means, I can't do this job!" But he continues on, because he believes in his calling. And because babies are dying on the streets.

I guess I just loved the authenticity. It isn't glorious. It is messy and hard and controversial. But it is necessary. And one family is doing what they can to make a difference. That is what I loved the most.

3.03.2015

Why We Do What We Do {Modesty}

One of the best known Bible verses on modesty is 1 Timothy 2:9 which states:

"I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God."

I believe that modesty in dress sends a message of purity and honor. It puts the emphasis where it belongs, on the real person, rather than on outward attractiveness. There is a depth of character in all of us that rises above what people see when they look at us. When I dress modestly, I am requesting that people see and value me for who I am. It frees me from the social expectations of fashion to really be myself. 

And I am a Christian women. I believe people know that when they look at me. And hopefully they only have that confirmed as they learn to know me.

But here is the problem. Again, this beautiful, freeing teaching on modesty can become so distorted and legalistic. When we begin prescribing exact lengths, patterns, and colors we lose the beauty and dignity and are left with the "how close to the line can I get and still be okay?" mentality.  The focus again becomes on the clothing when God is asking us to dress in such a way that the clothing itself is not the focus.

Now, I know that modesty looks very different for different families. In our family the girls and I only wear skirts or dresses. Part of our reason for doing this stems from this verse: " A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing..." (Deuteromony 22:5) I know, we live in a unisex culture, but I believe God made men and women with certain distinctions. And I believe it honors Him when we recognize those distinctions. 

I haven't always worn only skirts or dresses. I was about 14 when my family made this change. I remember it well. It seemed so strange to do everything in a dress! I mean, who feeds cows in a  dress?! But it is amazing how quickly I realized that it was actually quite doable. And quite comfortable. And, contrary to what many believe, even quite practical. 

One of my favorite definitions of modesty is: "Modesty is humility in clothing."

I often think that people assume we dress the way we do because we are part of a Mennonite church, but the fact is, for me, dressing modestly and wearing a head covering preceded joining a Mennonite church. My family was convicted to make these changes simply by reading the Bible. And I carry these convictions in my heart. 

Here are a few practical points on modesty: 

1. If it is difficult to get into or out of, it is probably not modest.
2. If you have to be careful when sitting down or bending over, it probably isn't modest.
3. If people look at another part of your body before looking at your face, it probably isn't modest.
4. If it accentuates your most private body parts, it probably isn't modest.
(my summary of a list written by Michael Hyatt)

For me, dressing in skirts and dresses makes me feel feminine and free from all social expectations. It frees me to be the woman I want to be. It directs people's attention to God and God's work in my life. That is why I dress in the way that I do.

2.26.2015

Going Back to China!

It's that time again! Plans for another Superkids trip are well underway. The last two years the trips have been in June but, as we move toward going twice a year, we have moved the spring trip to April this year! So, six weeks from now, on April 11, I'll be getting on a plane again, China-bound!




Things are going to be a little different this time since Superkids has seen some changes in the last few months. Only two of last year's team of five ladies are returning. One thing I'm super excited about is that April, the caseworker we worked with when we adopted Eliana, is going. We love her so much and I am thrilled that I get to travel with her as she experiences China for the first time!



I can't wait to be there again! The sounds, the sights, the smells, the glorious hotel breakfasts...





But mostly I think about the children. I can't wait to see the children I've seen before! I can't wait to deliver care packages. I can't wait to send photos and updates to families who are anxiously waiting at home. I can't wait to meet new children! That is what I look forward to the most. That is why I go back. I love those kiddos!

And this year I have the added blessing of staying an extra day so that I can go to Beijing and meet the Stuart Weaver family! I'm very excited about this and can't wait to see them and to get a little taste of China from their perspective.


 
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