Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lots-o-links for an inspiring Monday!

There's a great post by Russell Moore on older Christians preparing younger Christians to handle life changes (in all stages of life) with Christlikeness: What the Puberty Talk Can Teach Us About Discipleship

I enjoyed Everyday Mommy's thoughts on Too Worldly-Minded and Untaught

At Storing Up Treasures, Courtney has a beautiful, thoughtful, and convicting post on gentleness: A Gentle Spirit

At Domestic Dialogues, Sarah (who happens to be my amazing and talented sister) has a couple of lovely photos to lift your spirits and make you happy to embrace Spring here

Alison from They're All Mine has an enjoyable post on being a transracial adoptive parent here

Noel Piper has been doing a series of posts (many by guest bloggers) on Black History Month, I've enjoyed them all immensely, and this one is no exception.

Growth? No, really, I'm good.

"Knock Knock." "Who's there?" "Control freak--now you say 'control freak who?'" Yes, I am a control freak. No, I don't actually have one iota of control over anything. The fact that recognize both makes me sound a little less than sane, huh? :) Last week was insanely stressful. I spent most of one of the days at the social security administration...nuff' said. Next one of my child had an EPIC meltdown. Then we had our new microwave installed...which didn't fit, and thus had to be uninstalled, packaged back up, and sent back to the store. Then we got screwed over by a reputable company when we tried to refinance our mortgage (we were outright lied to) Then I ended up with a hefty penalty bill on my kids' B-day party, because people who didn't RSVP showed up. Then the cherry on top was receiving a $3,000.00 bill in the mail for our son's dental work a few months ago--a bill that we had been told was covered by insurance...a bill that arrived here labeled 90 days past due and with finance charges attached (no, we hadn't received any previous communication from them) On top of all this, I was in terrible pain when my allergies kicked in from the incredibly windy weather. I was in the car complaining to my husband that I was so happy to say good riddance to such an awful week, and I couldn't believe my allergies were so horrible, when my son asked me if God makes everything happen for a reason, shouldn't I be rejoicing? Darn it, who is teaching these kids these things?? Oh, yeah. I guess if I'm going to have a pity party, it should be out of the earshot of the kiddos, otherwise I'm likely to learn something or grow a little ;) Someone reminded me this week as I was complaining that I am so freaking sick of learning lessons in life, that if I wasn't learning, I wouldn't be growing. I have to admit, this was a week that I would have happily accepted less growth. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay less. Laying about and enjoying the scenery, with nothing happening at all kind of less. I'm real mature that way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beautiful Story

Noel Piper has another gem on her blog in celebration of Black History Month. It's short and it's wonderful, so pop on over and read it here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

All Natural Tuesday

Where have I been lately? I have a couple sick kids, scary plumbing problems, I'm kinda tired...oh, and we're gearing up for the adoption process again, so we're spending time going through the documents we'll need for our homestudy, picking out baby names, trying to figure out what baby stuff we'll need (!) :) The only thing that's been on my mind lately (blogwise) is natual remedies to help with immune function --either to prevent illness (like I've been trying to do while this nasty bug has been hitting the whole rest of my family) or shorten the severity and duration of illness. Here's what we've found really helpful: Kefir Elderberry Syrup Immune Support Tea Vitamin D Zinc Kombucha Raw garlic Vitamin E I hope this helps anyone who may be dealing with sickness in their homes!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Cross and the Jukebox: You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)

Russell Moore has a great podcast on pornography:

The Cross and the Jukebox: You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)

Even if neither you nor your spouse has ever struggled with this, you should listen. Most of the couples you sit next to at church, have or are dealing with it.

Though I despise country music, I found what he had to say on the subject fantastic.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One of my favorite things...

I love it when I find a product that's good for me and the planet, so I was thrilled to discover Wave Free and Clear dishwasher gel. I recently acquired a dishwasher (after 6 years of washing dishes by hand, you have NO IDEA how exciting this was for me!) but then I faced a problem...icky residue from dishwasher detergent, and often chemically odors on my dishes (which was detectable while eating) I tried so many different brands. Some all natural, while others were some of the biggest names out there. They ALL left residue. I was having to rewash my dishes by hand and I was ready to pull my hair out. Then I tried Wave Gel Free and Clear. Voila! No more residue, no icky smell, and my dishes positively sparkle! I use white vinegar as a rinse aid, and between the two, my dishes look, feel, and smell great when they come out of the wash. Wave doesn't contain any phosphates, chlorine or caustics. It's plant-based, has a neutral pH and is fully biodegradable...so no worries about your health or the planet.
I know this sounds like a commercial, but I have not been approached by the Earth Friendly Products company, and I am receiving no remuneration for my review (say that 6 times fast!) I'm just one very satisfied customer. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Black History Month

I saw a great guest post on Noel Piper's blog today. It is written by a woman named Lacey Wilcox, who blogs here. The post is short, but great:

The first year I was teaching, February represented a few things: Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and Black History Month—all things I was required to teach my students.

Unfortunately, Black History Month was just something I checked off my list: “Science, check;” “Addition, check;” “Black History Month, check.”

But after only a few lessons, I realized how this celebration affected my African-American students. They loved school, but this? This was for them. So I began teaching for them, to them. “This is a huge part of their story,” I thought, “I really need to focus on them.”

Then I was struck with the realization: this wasn’t just about them. This was the story of my entire class, a part of all our history. It mattered that I teach it to all my students. And so, Black History Month became a celebration for all of us, of life, hope, and triumph.

I am no longer in the classroom. I traded in my gradebook for a burp rag last year. I am still a teacher, but now my only student is my sweet baby girl. As I think about her future, and the things we have to learn together, I know that an understanding of this month will be one of them.

Now, in writing this, I have been struck with an even greater depth of Black History Month. It’s not just a celebration for one people. Even more, it is a call for absolute worship of the Father. Only He is capable of transforming hearts from hatred and cruelty to acceptance and love. Only He can bring about a change in mindset and lifestyle. Only He allows us the grace to live in a world that is filled with people who are uniquely and perfectly designed.

I regret that I never fully grasped the depths of that lesson to teach my students. I hope it might be one the Lord teaches them as they grow older. But the prayer of my heart is that it might be a lesson I teach deeply and passionately for my baby girl every single day, not just the month of February.

I told you it was good :) I hope to have a few more Black History Month posts in the coming weeks, so check back.

Freedom is never free, but is it worth the price?

Is freedom ever worth the price of a life? You probably think that's an odd question coming from a military wife. I should mention before I begin on the subject of freedom, I see my husband's job as an extension of his job as husband and father...it's just another way he protects us from harm. I see him more as a physical defender for us than a fighter for freedom.

Lately everything that's been going on in Egypt has caused conversations here in the US that I never thought I would hear. People saying that our own government should be overthrown for stomping on our liberty. I am shocked that anyone would find it worth it. Would you hand over your wife, child, husband, great-aunt, father, brother, etc. for the cause of freedom?

Don't get me wrong: I love freedom. I would love to see most government entities done away with. That would be the ideal. But we don't live in my ideal or anyone else's. Government is corrupt, and has blatantly removed our ability to make our own choices in life. It sucks. Is it worth dying for?

From a biblical standpoint, I think the answer is unequivocal that Christians are not to rise against their government for "freedom." In fact, slaves are given instruction to submit to their masters. Most Christians I encounter agree with me 100% on this that Christians should submit to government authority, even in the face of tyranny, unless the government instructs you to behave contrary to scripture.

The murmurings I'm hearing though don't come from Christians. So obviously that argument isn't going to work for them. I wonder though if they have truly considered what it would mean to give a loved one to their cause. To live the rest of your days without your soulmate or your precious daughter, or amazing son. How about your parents? Are you ready to say goodbye to them? I see violence around the world where people have given their loved ones over to their cause for power, and honestly, they look as though their souls are dead. Is freedom worth losing everything you have? What kind of freedom is important to you that you could hand your dear over in exchange for it? Personally, losing my family would trap me in the sort of hell, where only death could provide the liberty I require.

When it comes down to it, that's the only freedom I need. The freedom to be with my loved ones. To love and be loved by my dearest ones in life. I would rather live in a internment camp with my family, than lose any of them. I don't say that lightly. I am of Scottish, Jewish, Irish and Native American descent. My ancestors have known horrible oppression. It is them who make me even contemplate these things. It is they who have gone before me, who make me so grateful for all I have.

Let's say someone comes up to you and offers you "freedom" (be that constitutional rights, or whatever you consider freedom to be) The price? Your second born child. Yeah, I know, you're not likely to have a logical guy come up to you with this option, but if you join a revolution, you are essentially doing the same. You exchange those you love for your version of freedom. As for me and mine, it isn't worth it.

Don 't mistake my words: I'm not a pacifist...and that is another topic altogether.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

I'm happy the Packers won...but I can be a bit of a downer when it comes to the Super Bowl. Excess is everywhere. The whole Super Bowl is about spending and amassing money. Every time we saw sickening excess, I couldn't help but bring up to my hubby how many people are suffering in the world and could truly benefit by all the money wasted at the Super Bowl. Add to that all the underage sex trafficking going on, and I admit, I was close to tears and pretty angry during a lot of the game. Yeah, you really don't want me at your Super Bowl party!

On a lighter note, while we had to keep our kids out of the room for much of the game due to really inappropriate commercials, we did see a commercial that made me laugh until I cried:

Sometimes I'd like to be taken for granted a little more...

This week we celebrated CJ's birthday. He had a wonderful day. He thanked me all day for making his day special. We didn't do anything extraordinary. School was out due to lack of power from our major winter storm. So he helped me make a giant chewy cherry chocolate cookie for his birthday, then he had a special lunch (while watching the Berenstain Bears) then hubby came home so CJ opened his presents, then we all went out for sushi (CJ's request) where we all we adventurous enough to try the Dancing Monkey roll (tempura banana, peanut butter, avocado wrapped in grilled eel) We came home and sang "Happy Birthday" around the giant cookie. It was a simple birthday, but it was fun, and he didn't stop thanking me all day for giving him a fantastic birthday. I have a sweet kid. It never occurred to me to thank my parents for my birthdays...I thought it was owed to me by gracing the world with my presence! I don't know what his previous birthdays were like or how/if they were celebrated, and I imagine that makes a difference too. One night my daughter said to my husband a few months after we adopted her "How can I ever thank you enough for adopting me?" I would never have thought to thank my parents for having me. I've never been without a family. I've never laid in bed wishing at night that I had parents. My daughter has. I'm glad my kids have grateful hearts, but I kind of hope that someday they take some things for granted...like Mamas making birthdays special, parents buying food and clothes for their kids, parents loving their kids. I think we should be grateful for all God has given us, but I hate that my kids have perfectly clear memories of being rejected and mistreated and feeling unsafe. I want them to feel so secure in our love that they take it for granted. I know how bizarre that sounds. I know many of you probably work hard to instill grateful hearts within your children, but I cannot help but see the pain behind the gratefulness with my kids. I know there are so many more children out there who will go to bed tonight wishing for parents. So many children never given the opportunity to be grateful for health, love, and safety. Join me in praying that God will grant them more than they could ever dream of in terms of love, security, and a place to call home.