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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I love George MacDonald

Michael and I are reading The Princess and the Goblin with the boys.  The other night I was so struck by the dialogue between Irene and her grandma about Curdie not believing Irene......

'You must give him time,' said her grandmother; 'and you must be content not to be believed for a while.  It is very hard to bear; but i have had to bear it, and shall have to bear it many a time yet' ...

'In the meantime you must be content, I say, to be misunderstood for a while.  We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be.  But there is one thing much more necessary.'
'What is that, grandmother?'
'To understand other people.'
'Yes, grandmother.  I must be fair-for if I'm not fair to other people, I'm not worth being understood myself.'

I loved these sentences so much I read it a few times before the boys asked if we could keep reading more.
I am striving to be a person who seeks to understand others and be patient about being understood myself.  I am far from that mark most of the time.  But it's a goal I'm aiming for.

Other great George quotes....

~We die daily, happy those who come to life as well.

~Afflictions are but the shadow of God's wings.

~I find that doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.

~It matters little where a man might be at this moment; the point is whether he is growing.

I'll stop now.  But that's some good stuff!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Melia's Adoption Video

One of my best friends, Elena, who now lives in Bangkok, made a video of Melia's adoption.  It's amazing just like her!  Thanks so much, Elena.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Together for Adoption Chicago

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Michael and I got to spend Friday just hanging on in Chicago. We had so much fun walking around. The conference was on Saturday and we had to leave early in order to be back in Lansing for Poppa’s surprise party! So we decided to go early and have a day of site seeing. So much fun.

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My new birthday boots, I really love them and felt like they deserved a picture.  I walked for miles and miles around Chicago and my feet were happy.  Ok, enough boot talk… that was what Michael wanted to say to me many time over the past few days but he’s too nice.

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Here’s the view from our awesome Priceline hotel.  Yup, that’s the Magnificent Mile behind me.

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Here we are on the hotel terrace.

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We met up with our friend, Steve, later in the evening for some drinks and dessert at the Hancock Building.
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Here’s the amazing view from the bathroom at the Hancock building.   The best view in the building.  I took a few pictures so Michael and Steve could enjoy it as well.  
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Now for the conference….

It was awesome.  I think having a day sans kids was a blessing because we were able to sit down and listen and not need to decompress from life with kids (if that doesn’t make sense to you than you probably need more kids). 

Vermon Pierre from Phoenix spoke in the morning session….. The God who adopts. Michael said it was the best exposition on Ephesians 1.  That he’s ever heard.  And yes, he said exposition, he’s cute like that.  Since it was awesome, I’ll share some of my notes--

We can’t speak about adoption until we begin to grasp God adoption of us.
His wonderfully scandolous adoption of us.

Ephesians 1:3-5
God chose us before the creation of the world
He talked about the paperwork you fill out to do foster care.  The page tthat most people pass by that says would you be open to a child who likes to start fires?  Run around with knives?  Act out sexually?  Severely impaired- emotionally, psychologically? These are the files that are in the back of the caseworker’s cabinet.  The ones that scream UNADOPTABLE.
We were like that. UNADOPTABLE.  Full of sin, broken, unruly, we were dead in our sins, He chose us in spite of us.

Within the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) there was perfect family.  God was lacking nothing.  True Oneness.
God broke up His family for selfish people when He sent Jesus to Earth.
God planned the violation of his family for the purpose of our adoption.
God was willing to choose me after looking at my file.

Implications of our adoption-
1. We have a new identity in Christ.  A sustainable identity.
2.  Eternal blessing and acceptance..
.The Holy Spirit  . We are blessed and will remain blessed  .  When he sees us He sees Jesus.
3. Purpose behind our adoption.
-We would be holy and blameless (like God)
-We are placed along side of God – Be like our Father
-Act like God-  Graciously place our love on others as He does.  Have choosing love.

Why did he do it?
-He wanted to.  He wanted to show love and grace towards us.
-The heart of our adoption comes from the very heart of God.
-All of it is God initiative.
-God says to us ‘You are son because I choose you!”
Praise God for His glorious grace!

**We also listened to a great talk on global orphans by Dr. John Fuder…..
Making God Visible
Isaiah 1:17  Defend the fatherless
Psalm 82:3 Vindication of the fatherless
Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless
Psalm 10:14 Helper of the fatherless
Exodus 22:22  He hears their cry
Zech. 7:9, Prov. 31:8-9, James 1:27- Invites us to care for the fatherless too
Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families
-God’s heart is bent towards the broken
James 1:27 don’t let this say you from going into the world.  Light always wins.
The early church in Antioch took compassion on the orphans.

**Then we heard about an awesome ministry to at risk youth in Chicago – GRIP.   Helping youth is all about building relationships with them.  If you live near Chicago you should look into getting involved with this group…

We had to leave after this breakout.  But were so blessed by the day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Melia's new do

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Melia’s got a new ‘do. This is my first attempt at boxed braids. Unfortuntely, I’m not very good at making the parts straight but luckily Melia’s so cute she can make any hairstyle look awesome.

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I got a couple really cute pictures of the kids a last week, so I figured we could take a cute timed picture before we left the park.  Nathan thought he’d make the picture more fun and made this crazy face.  Not sure if you can read the caption…… Class Clown a.k.a. Weakest Link.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blessing Bags

 I have a new love in my life…  I have a long, drawn out excuse explanation as to why I can get sucked into this site.  The short of it is that in the long run it makes me more productive because I do more projects than I used to because of all the great ideas I see pinned.  So who cares that I don’t have time to wash the dishes or do laundry, I’m super busy spray painting random things in my house… tables, shoeboxes, handles (I might need an intervention).

All that to say that I saw an amazing thing on pinned from this site Blessing bags!  And I thought we can and should do that.

Last year we bought a bunch of McDonald’s gift cards and keep them in the car to give to people in need.  It was great and I loved blessing people with the gift cards but I wanted my children to be more involved in the process. 

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The kids were so excited about helping.

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These ziploc bags are filled with things that someone living on the street might find useful, snacks, socks, tooth brush and paste, etc.  I went to a few stores and stocked up on enough stuff to fill 30ish bags.  Then we had an assembly day (thanks for helping, Grammy).  Now we just need to put some cute hand-made cards inside and add some notecards with verses and they’ll be all set to bless someone. 

This was such an easy thing to do and it helps my kids to think of others who are in need.  I hope that the people who receive them will feel the love of Christ.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


My life is fully of teaching my children -- to listen, to love, do right, and more with the listening (and there's all of that school stuff, but that's another story). Well, I realize that I have the privilege of learning from them if I just stop instructing all the time and observe them.  This week I've noticed grace, real grace from my children.

I think I understand grace, unmerited favor.  I actually say to my boys at times, "I'm showing you grace right now by allowing you to do this since you don't deserve a privilege because you did ...."  After the words pop out I am hit with the fact that I'm not really showing grace because I am being huffy about the fact that they did something wrong earlier. Sometimes, it's more of a real grace moment where I am happy to see them blessed by the unmerited favor I'm giving.  Sometimes, not so much.  Regardless, I realized today that trying to teach them with my words what grace is may not be the best way.

Earlier this week, I overheard a very comical conversation Caleb and his friend were having regarding when he's in heaven "I'm going to tell Satan to come here and then I'm going to tell him to say sorry for everything he's done and ask God to become an angel again."  I giggled, thought 'where does he get this stuff' and moved on.  This morning at church that conversation popped into my head.  Singing about grace is much different than experiencing grace.  I realized that Caleb gets grace.  He knows that God gives to those who don't deserve it..... he believes this so deeply that he sees hope for Satan even.  

I started thinking about situations where my children show grace.  Brotherhood is a great example of that.  Wrestling goes bad one kid gets an elbow to the face and then there's an outburst from the wounded one very shortly later there's an apology and an forgiveness.  It's awesome to see as the boys get older how this process often happens without me.  I just get to listen.  The same is true for sisterhood, but with much more drama!  When my girls fight, they love making up.  They love to say "I forgive you" and jump right back to playing house.  

When I think about it the thing that strikes me the most about my kids and grace is that they forgive and let go of the fault they found in the other completely.  They don't say "I am playing with you again but I really shouldn't be because you did the wrong thing before."  They move on.

Another thing I love is being on the receiving end of my kids grace.  Anytime I've apologized to my kids for something I've said or done (I know, I know, shocking- I make parenting mistakes) they are quick to forgive and, unlike me or some other other adult interactions I've had with difficult relationship stuff, I feel accepted by them immediately and like they get the crap that comes with me is just part of the package, a package that they really love.

So that's the lesson on grace that my babies are teaching me.  I'm thankful that I get a taste of heavenly grace daily.  I pray that the Lord opens my eyes more often to the beautiful things my children can teach me, instead of constantly thinking about what I need to teach them.  Lord, may our home be full of grace.  Help me to follow my children's example of grace in action.