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, October 28, 2010

Mommy Confession-- I don't want what's best for my kids

There's an attention getter for you!

I have moments where I second guess myself and my choices, recently-- "Should I really be homeschooling these boys?" My boys are smart, and I'm not just saying that because I'm their momma. They pretty much taught themselves how to read and they can soak up insane amounts of information. I'm not saying that they are smarter then everyone else's children, but they are pretty bright kids. So, I have moments when I think are we doing what's best for them? Should they be in an actual school, where people who get paid to teach them and are not constantly distracted by toddler girls and the desire for more coffee. Is this what's best for them?

Then I thought.... I don't care about what's best for them. Ultimately I do care, but as a Jesus-loving momma, I care about showing them Christ and that means me following Christ. And right now I feel like this is where He's leading. So my job isn't to do and figure out what's best for my kids but rather to point them to Christ. Now, don't get me wrong-- this is not a blog post about how homeschooling is best and that every Jesus loving parent should homeschool. It's exactly the opposite, everyone should experience Christ and figure out what that looks like in their family.

Speaking of experiencing Christ. Caleb has been struggling with some fear issues. He's got macho man type tendencies and instead of telling
us he's afraid of something he changes the subject and uses distraction techniques to avoid the issue. Tonight I put the girls to bed then went out with some friends. Before I left the boys were well on their way to snoozeland so I figured they'd be sleeping when I got home. I walk in the door and Michael says "you have to deal with him, I'm done." To which I laughed because I used that phrase many times when comes home from work about any given child. :)...I digress.

So I got Caleb out of bed, sat him down and said let's talk about what you're afraid of. He says poisonous bugs (ok, really?). So I go the route of 'there's no poisonous bugs in our house you are completely safe'. He wasn't buying it so I said 'who made bugs? who made you? who can take care of all your needs?' 'God, God, God.' He knew the answers but I could tell it wasn't going to make a difference in his mind tonight. So I told him to get in bed and that I'd come lay down with him in a minute.

Meanwhile I prayed. What makes the difference in my life when I'm stressed or tired or scared. Experiencing .Christ. makes .the .difference. When I'm stressed I think - the Lord has faithfully gotten me through many crazy times in the past. When I'm tired I think - the Lord longs for me to rest in him.

So I climbed into Caleb's bed and we spent some time remembering the cool things Jesus did while he was on the earth. Healing people, calming storms, loving the unloved, defending the defenseless, feeding the hungry and other stuff. We talked about how Jesus was with Caleb all the time and he's able to handle anything Caleb's afraid of. He's a big God. Then I prayed, and my sweet boy nodded his head the whole time in agreement. When I was finished I said I believe Jesus is going to bless you with an awesome nights rest and good dreams. He said 'me too.'

It was a good moment for me to lead my boy to experience Christ instead of pushing his fears aside. Because in his head those fears are really big. But in my life I've seen how no matter how big the problem, Christ is bigger.

My biggest hope is that my kids experience that too. It's not that they have the best of everything available but that they live in the knowledge of Jesus being a radical guy who is still asking us to live radically with him. I trust that if they are loving Jesus they're getting the best. So ultimately I do want what's best for my kids, it just looks a little different and my decision making process has to reflect that.

Matthew 7:9-11
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, as bad as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sibling joy

Sometimes it's rough having siblings....
you have to share your parents with other little people,
you have to exercise a lot of patience since someone is usually have having a meltdown,
you have to share everything,
while riding in the car you have to wait until your sister stops screaming so your mommy can hear you, the list could go on and on.

Even though having a lot of sibs can be difficult at times. It definitely has it's perks.
I love that my boys love and understand each other in ways beyond me-they have some serious brotherhood happening.
I love that my girls freak out when the other one cries (even though many times the non-crying girl is the culprit for the tears).
I love that when one kid reaches a milestone the others are freakishly excited ~ Nathan riding a bike, Melia walking, Addie pooping on the potty, and so on. Sometimes it's weird things like "wow, Addie can stick a raisin up her nose!"
It's also great that when one sibling is in a bad mood you can always find someone else to laugh with.

All that being said, being a mommy to 4 little ones can be rough at times.
Like going out to dinner or going to Bible study or trying to have a conversation with an adult or even completing a thought.

There are times, like tonight, when little people want me to cuddle them at night because they are scared, and I'm all 'No thanks, I'm kinda done with the mommy thing. How 'bout you hop into bed with your sister.' I recommended the sister because she often climbs into my bed around 4am with a blankie and a boatload of other random things she sleeps with. So I'm hoping she'll feel the warm body and stay in her bed. He does and this happens....

I slept with one sister or another until they each moved out of the house (it's rough being the youngest). The running theory on why my siblings and I married young is because we hated sleeping alone. Good times, good times.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yay!! My new Tom's. Do you see Ethiopia on my foot?
So cool. I love them!

My first cornrows.
Not the best work but my girl did such a good job and was
so patient with me.
It took a long time to do these 6 braids. I'm planning on doing
the back tomorrow.

Where's Toto?

Melia really wanted the wig on then
left it on for 3.2 seconds.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


My friend Trenda took pictures of my kids last spring. Since I haven't put up new pictures in a long time. I asked to create a collage for me and this is what it turned out like. Isn't it amazing?Check out her blog 6 Little Feet.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tea Party

Apparently, clothing was optional at this tea party....

Between the two of them they have a whole outfit on...

By the looks of it, Melia's tea was spiked :)

While the boys were away this weekend, we did some girly things. Mainly stayed in our jammies all morning and just hung out. Addie spent some q.t. with aunt Meg so I could get some homework done, it's amazing how productive I can be with just one little person around. Then I watched a scary movie with my friend, Elena (cause that's the smart thing to do when your husband's not home!) At least I got some exercise out of it. During the really freaky parts I was jumping around like a crazy person..... I hope Elena still wants to be my friend after that crazy display.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm excited about this...

Christ of the Indian Road by E. Stanley Jones

Amazing book written in the 1920's. I'm just going to share quotes that I'm loving. Enjoy....

~The Mayflower that carried the Pilgrim Fathers to religious liberty in America went on her next trip for a load of slaves. The good ship "Jesus" was in the slave trade for our fathers. Is it to be wondered at that race and color prejudice still exists in the West in spite of Christianity? It came in with it.

~It is a most significant thing for India and the world that a great people of amazing spiritual capacities is seeing, with remarkable insight, that Christ is the center of Christianity, that utter commitment to him and catching his mind and spirit, and living his life constitute a Christian.~

That is awesome reminder to me what a Christian is. It's not dependent on what church we go to or what semantics we use. It's about Christ and catching his mind and spirit-- to do that I have to spend time with him.

~As Bossuet says, 'Whenever Christianity has struck out a new path in her journey it has been because the personality of Jesus has again become living, and a ray from his being has once more illuminated the world. ~

All of that was just from the Introduction. I have a feeling I'm gonna love this book. Anyone want to join me in reading it???

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Birthday Fun

We usually don't buy our kids big gifts.
I outdid myself this time- I bought her a package of
ping-pong balls and pretended that putting in different
plastic bowls was really fun.
She had fun with that for a few minutes then decided
shaking them and wearing the bowl on her head was more fun.
She was right.

These two were "helping" me make dinner while the
other ones were at soccer practice. We had breakfast for dinner.
Melia always covers her ears when the blender is on because it's
"too woud"!
Tonight she was busy eating a frozen strawberry so Nathan being the
sweet boy he is covered her ears for her!

Daddy and Birthday girl

Swapping tastes

Happy 2nd Birthday Melia

Bubba met Melia and I at an Ethiopian restaurant for lunch
My girl loves Ethiopian food!

Impromptu birthday party at Aunt Mamee's house,
Melia thought she should try out Micah's new costume.
Cute Birthday Girl!!
Sweet cousins..

I love that just getting part of my
family together looks like a party...
Yummy cake kiss

More to come when we celebrate when Daddy gets home.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The dreaded birth date post

Sounds horrible doesn't it? To be clear, I've been dreading sharing that we officially changed Melia's Birthday. I figured maybe people would piece it together when I posted pictures on Thursday about her turning 2, since she just turned 1 last May.

When we received Melia's referral last September and according to her birthday she was only 4 months old, but she looked much older in her pictures. At that time we were not thinking at all of changing her b-day, we just wanted to get her home and give her lots of kisses!! We also wanted to put some meat on her bones (she only weighed 14lbs.). Hannah Hope got that process started and chunked her up while she waited to come home (she gained 10 pounds in her 3 months there)! Then when she came home all we were thinking about was loving her and bonding with her or "cocooning" if you will. When we broke out of our cocoon every where I went people would comment on the kids (lots of people wonder if I have a daycare!) and ask about their ages. People were always shocked when I would say Melia's age, sometimes they'd argue with me "there's no way she's ___." Really, folks?! I feel the need to say that my friend, Georgia, is often amazed at the advice and crazy things people feel free to say to me, really I could do many posts on the comments I get.

Based on the adoption reading that we had done we knew that it was frowned upon to change your child's birthday. There are a lot of really good reasons for that. A few of those reason are: for adoptive children to get caught up developmentally and it's a date that was given by their birth family. It all made sense to us so we didn't spend much time thinking about switching the date.

Then we had to fill out forms to get her birth certificate and on the form it has a section about changing the b-day. So I started thinking about it and pray about it. After lots of praying, Michael and I decided that changing the date made a lot sense. Developmentally she is tracking with all the other 2 year olds that she hangs with. We really are amazed at how quickly she has developed in the short time she's been home. 10 months ago today we met her for the first time and she was not even crawling yet. She's now a runner, yeah it's a waddly run, but a run none the less.

Then there's the idea that her birth date was given by her birth family..... well folks, the reality is that not everyone is like us Westerners who are a little over the top when it comes to celebrating birthdays (don't get me wrong, I love me so birthday fun but we can go overboard with it). In many parts of the world dates just aren't very important. Things are based more on the seasons than on a specific date and even exact minute of birth. Melia was born in a remote village in southern Ethiopia, it's such a small village it was difficult to find a map while we were in Ethiopia that had her village on it. So I'm guessing that the day that my wonderful baby came into this world wasn't documented and that the documented date came from a social worker who was helping a sad mother as she relinquished the rights to her beautiful baby.

Writing this is difficult for me. So is talking about it when people are insensitive to the topic. Everyone (well, most people) is so good natured with their comments "maybe she's this old" or "wow that's crazy that you don't know her actual birthday". People are quick to say the first thing on their mind without thinking about the people they are talking to. It's hard for me to know that I don't have a specific birthday for her, I don't want her to be different than the rest of our family. It's also strange to have people decide her age in front of me based on her development "she must be older because my kids never spoke so clearly at that age" umm... not to be mean, but maybe she's really smart! Don't get me wrong, I love talking about adoption and I really don't mind these comments too much, but I'm done with dealing with them. It really only bugs me because these comments are always in front of my kids. As she gets older I don't want to feel the way I feel when people say things. I feel like I'm not communicating very well, this feeling. And I can't explain it so I guess that's as good as it's going to get ;)

So we officially changed her birthday to October 14, 2008 and since we changed it we felt such a peace about our decision! It feels right and good and we praise the Lord that He lead us in that direction.

Even though I wasn't excited about writing this I'm glad I did. It's a little like therapy for me. Most things about adoption are incredible but I want to be real about the stuff that is hard. And I also want people to stop talking to me about how old they think she is. hehe :) If I sounded bitter about comments I've received, I'm really not- I promise. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Check out

this blog for information on a give away......

The lovely Lisa is giving away 3 copies of The Connected Child and Created to Connect. The Empowered to Connect site has lots of information on these resources if you want to check it out.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall Fun

Wild Child running down the apple rows singing,
"happy, happy apples"
Tracker ride. Addie started to feel sick while we were there.

Melia loved the apple orchard!

Picking her first apple.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My boys are amazing...

Many times I'm very consumed with the girls. They are alway creating drama or I'm tired from chasing them around so I don't always notice how fun my boys are. I'm trying to notice more of the cute things they do these days. A couple days ago, I walked outside and found this...

and this on the other side of the yard. I laughed and laughed. They are always creating games and are usually oblivious to the rest of the world (which can be frustrating). They were totally entralled in there little world that they barely noticed me, even with my loud laughter.

Here Caleb's making us pizza bagels for lunch. He did a really good job and even cleaned up after himself. I just had to cut the bagels. Oh, and he said he really needed a thing that covers up your stomach before he started. And didn't mind my flowery one that hasn't been worn in years, or maybe ever---good thing my grandma doesn't read this.
Then there's this cuteness.
We just got the boys their own "real" Bibles, not the children's abridge ones. Nathan reads his in the morning while he eats his breakfast, just like his daddy. He's so funny. I was encouraging him to start in the New Testament, but he refused. He's now on Genesis 6. I'm hoping some awkward conversations don't come out of this. The other day I heard him read "and then he laid with his wife" and I ran out of the room! That's good parenting for you.
Cute boys on the soccer field.
Caleb's super competitive and always knows what's happening during the game and where the ball is. I call Nathan our little intimidator these days. His main goal is to distract the other players (usually the other team) by running circles around them and making goofy faces at them and just being as crazy as possible. Hey, I'm just glad he doesn't pee on the field anymore!

I just wanted to share some thoughts about how awesome my boys are! I'm so blessed by them and I'm amazed at how much they love each other and their sisters.