Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Water and Racial Slurs Flying at the Park

The sprinkler park is pretty close to our church so we packed all our bathing suits this morning and headed there right after church. The boys had such a blast (even though Caleb got stung 2x by a wasp). I gave Addie her first whole chicky nugget and she was entertained for a long time.

While Michael was playing with the boys on the play structure and Addie and I were lounging, there was a group of people very close by and one woman was talking loudly, I unfortunately heard her conversation. She was talking all this smack about how there so many Indian people in the area and on and on with lots of other racial ignorances (I know I just made that phrase up but it seems right). It was one of those strange moments where I wanted to say something but a. she wasn't talking to me and b. her comments were ridiculous but subtle. I ended up walking away from the area because I couldn't handle it anymore. Later I was thinking about how most of the time when people make racial comments it's pretty subtle. I feel like I need to be prepared by having a good response. Like when crazy lady says: "There are just so many Indians around, the whole neighborhood has dark skin" or "They don't even speak English well" or "Canton's becoming like Dearborn." Now that those comments are written, I guess they really aren't subtle. Any ideas out there about how to respond to blatant or subtle racial comments?

Just a little bit of organization

I'm not super organized, I should be and I'm sure my life would run smoother if I was, I just don't have the energy to do it. But, I love organizational things. Angel posted many great ideas on her blog. Here's my piddly 2 cents.

--I got this idea from my sister, Megan, not Aimee. It has made my life sooooo much easier. Instead of using dressers in the boys rooms I use these crates in the laundry room. Now I just fold laundry and pop the clothes right in their bins. It totally eliminates having to pack them in the basket, carry it up 2 floors and unload it in their room. It's really great because I usually do laundry while watching some pointless tv show when the kiddos are sleeping. Before I never wanted put their clothes away at night, for fear (and I mean fear) of waking them up. Now I don't have to worry about that.

--I put everyone's bathingsuits and towels in a bin, so when we're going swimming I can quickly grab everything.

--My other favorite thing is our devotions system...For a long time, meal time way my nemesis, the boys were always silly and messy and I would be cranky...I came up with a little devotion packet. Each day of the week we have a Bible verse, song, and we pray for specific people and a country. I try to do this with the kids at each meal. It really has made mealtime more calm and I'm less cranky:) It's also fun to see how quickly they pick up on the verses, too. Caleb knows how to spell the days of the week from reading the cards everyday.

My cudos to Sarah and Sams

2 Real cool things happened on Saturday:

1. Sarah, one of my closest friends, came to hang out with me Saturday morning while Michael was at Bible study. Just a visit from her is fun enough, but she came bearing loot for me. She accidently shrunk a new pair of pants and shorts, her loss became my gain. I'm super excited because they're both real cute:)

2. Caleb has been begging Michael to build him a clubhouse. Since Michael has been super busy teaching summer school and coaching soccer he hasn't found any time to do it. Months ago a found a really great playhouse at Costco but, it was crazy expensive. Yesterday, while my sister and I were at Sam's we found the same great playhouse on clearance. We were told it had just been marked down that morning. Apparently one box was missing parts and the "midnight crew" mixed up the boxes so they had to mark down 3 boxes that were opened. I was so excited about the whole thing. I have been praying for a good deal on a swing set or playhouse!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Book Thief--Book Review

Since I can't remember anything anymore, I decided to start blogging about the books I've read. So many times I totally forget what a book was about. So here's my first review:

The Book Thief is totally different than any book I've read. It is a story about a young girl in Nazi Germany, told by Death. Yup, that's right, death is telling the story. Sounds eerie I know, but I really enjoyed it. Reading about Hitler's craziness through the eyes of a German citizen was interesting. Those poor people were punished if they supported Jews in anyway. There was an awful part in the book about "the parade of Jews." So ridiculous that stuff like this happened and is still happening in parts of the world. Check out what's going on in Darfur.

So pretty much, it was a good book and I'd recommend reading it. Good pick mom.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Here's Tom Davis' article again, it's really good:)

Why Christians S**k
Jesus might have harsh words for Christians today. Here's why...and what you can do about it.
By Tom Davis

Each Sunday, millions of Christians in America gather to worship the God who commands us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We belt out praises to the God who tells us that “pure and undefiled religion is caring for widows and orphans in their distress.” We kneel in pious prayer before the Almighty God of the universe who describes Himself as loving, gracious, merciful, and generous.

Then, we walk out the back door of the church, step into a world in need, and proceed to withhold the love, grace, and mercy that’s extended to us.

We might as well give God the middle finger. Outside of a tiny minority of Christians, we have become a self-centered group of priggish snobs.

In short, we s**k.

Before you pick up a rock and throw it at me, think about this: I could have used other words that aren’t as nice as “s**k.” Like “white-washed tombs,” “brood of vipers,” “fools,” or the ever ego-inflating, “Get behind me Satan!” Jesus used all of these choice phrases to describe religious leaders and some of his closest of followers.

But calling someone a white-washed tomb just doesn’t cut it anymore. "We s**k" is a much better choice for our cultural context. Poverty s**ks. Divorce s**ks. And, unfortunately, some Christians s**k, too.

Here are the facts:

Eighty-five percent of young people outside the church who have had connection to Christians believe present-day Christianity is hypocritical. Inside the church, forty-seven percent of young people believe the same thing.

And why wouldn't they? We’re pretty stingy with our money:

- 80 percent of the world’s evangelical wealth is in North America.
- Giving by churchgoers was higher during the Great Depression than it is today.
- Christians give an average of $13.31/week to their local church.
- Only 9 percent of “born-again” adults reported tithing in 2004.

And let's take a peek in on our neighbors:

- More than 1 billion people live in absolute poverty.
- 500 million people are at the edge of starvation.
- 200 million children are being exploited as laborers.
- Half of the human beings on the planet live on less than $2/day.
- 1.5 billion people do not have enough money to buy food.

This is information that anyone can collect from the Internet, just as I did. Any reasonable person could make this simple conclusion: Most American Christians do not care about what God says in the Bible.

Need some Biblical evidence? Check this out...
We pick out the scriptures we like, as if we were dining at a five-star buffet. We conveniently ignore the scriptures that talk about caring for the poor, giving away material possessions, and loving money. Scriptures like:

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” (James 1:26-27)
Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? (James 2:15-17)
"If you have two coats, give one away," [Jesus] said. "Do the same with your food." (Luke 3:11)

When Christians care about their political views, what sexual preference someone has, or their bank account more than they care about the millions of people who die in the world because they don’t have five dollars to buy the medicine that would cure them, something has gone drastically wrong.

These kinds of Christians s**k.

What can we do to stop s**king? I think the answer is relatively simple. It's found in the Bible: “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

Give away material possessions to those in need, love the unlovely, take care of the widow and orphan. This is not rocket science. It just takes a heart committed to doing the things God said to do.

Want ten simple steps? You got it.

Christians, listen up: People are tired of being criticized, judged, and listening to the lip service we are so great at giving. Instead, why don’t we commit to making the changes we can make?

Christianity needs a renewal of the principles that made it great. It needs to be more like Jesus—compassionate, self-sacrificial, unconditionally loving, and caring for those who are most in need.

That kind of lifestyle allowed twelve men to change the world. It will help you change yours, too.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rocking our money blues away

Aunt Amy and Uncle Zach came for a visit on Friday night. The boys absolutely love hanging out with them. They get all wild crazy and run around like lunatics! It's fun:)

We were feeling bummed on Friday about all the money we have to come up with. Amy and Zach provided a good diversion. We had borrowed Rock Band for the Wii earlier that night from my sister. After we put the kids to bed we "rocked" into the wee hours of the night (I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but Michael is wearing a tie on his head). On Saturday we stayed in our pjs and just hung out and "rocked" (I'm totally not musically inclined and I'm not at all good, but I like to pretend).

Amy and Zach also blessed us with a gift of money, which was so encouraging, especially timingwise...Lots of tears flowing...The Lord totally used them to give us a little faith boost!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Orientation Call--Completed, Financial Stress--Begins

We had our Orientation call today. It went well and we are so excited about starting the process.

I must say I'm overwhelmed with the financial aspect. When we started looking for agencies in March we really like AGCI. After researching it a bit we were pretty much sold on it. One of our only issues with it is that so much money is due at the beginning. Much time passed from the time we decided to go with AGCI and we sent our application in on June 25. During the call today we realized that we don't have all the money we need to fully start the process. In order to start our dossier we need to have a huge chunk mulah. We need this money within 3 months of our application so we don't have to pay another processing fee. So here's the time to exercise that faith that I was talking about...much easier said than done. We are hoping to be able to come up the money before the end of September. At this point my head is swimming with jumbled info that I'm sure will all be figured out.

So the plan is to get the homestudy done, then apply for grants and loans.
My goal mentally is to keep from stressing about being broke and how to come up with money and trust the Lord will complete what He has started in our hearts. That's a real challenge for me. I'm feeling a little stressed at this moment:(

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blog Buzz Question

“How do I do this, moneywise? I want to adopt, but it seems so overwhelming. We don’t really have $20,000 in the bank, ya know!” Please blog about your experience, ideas, insight, fundraisers and other ideas that worked for you while raising your adoption money.

This is a great question and my answer is really simple---I have no idea! It's pretty scary when I stop and think about it. The tax credit is a bonus and we'll apply for some grants and low interests loans, like the Abba Fund, that are out there to make the adoption feasible for people like us.

I'm doing a Beth Moore study right called Believing God. I'm learning about how little I truly trust the Lord. Michael and I both felt as we started this adoption that the Lord was calling us to step out in faith and he would meet us. So here we are! We really feel like he is going to provide for all of our needs in this adoption. Not to say that I don't completely freak out at times when I think about the financial side of it. But as Beth Moore says, "I'm believing God!"

Rock on, Tom! You have to read this article...

Tom Davis is a great writer with a God given passion for the poor. I read this article today and was blown away by the truth in it. Jesus is calling me to be truly religious and take care of the widows and orphans in my daily life. How often I miss opportunities that are given to me and I don't make the effort to care for the needs of the poor. I could go on and on but what I'm pretty much saying is read it!

Tom's Blog is also a good read.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ha Ha--It's here

While I was writing that post I heard a knock on the door....the packet arrived. My sister said that she's really scared of the waiting time that's in store, if I'm this crazy about an information packet.
Our next steps are to schedule the orientation call and start the homestudy.

Already learning patience...

We've been waiting for a week just for our information packet. AGCI informed us that there was a problem on the UPS end. I hope it comes today. I'll feel much better when we are actually in process. Maybe there will be a late delivery today...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just when I thought it was safe to do laundry...

So I was in the basement doing laundry when I hear Nathan frantically yell "Mommy, get Addie!" (In my defense I hear him say this so many times a day, usually while she is being baby Godzilla to his train set.) After I finished switching the loads I went upstairs and to my dismay see them both in the bathroom. Nathan was standing next to the toilet stressed out while Addie was happily playing with the pee water. Addie had followed newly potty trained Nathan into the bathroom and taken advantage of the opportunity to play with the water. Groteeee!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We're Expecting!!!!

Yippeee--we've offically been accepted by All God's Children International for the Ethiopia program!
Our next step is to start our homestudy and do all the paperwork. Then lots and lots of waiting:)