My Family

My Family
Summer 2015

Monday, November 26, 2012

Adoption/Gotcha Day video finally posted on YouTube

It's taken me a while to get my act together enough to get this video posted on YouTube.  It is our Adoption Video compiled by our amazing friend, David Nobles.  It includes our days wandering in China before we met Lucas and then Gotcha Day and days after in China along with our homecoming.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TBall Reds Fall 2012 a little video

Here is a little video of Lucas and his Fall Baseball Season this year.  His team won all games except one and tied one game.  They won the Championship in FIRST Place!!  We are so proud of him and all he accomplished, learning the game and playing so well.  To God Be The Glory for all He has done.

Monday, November 19, 2012

stories from China

We often get small glimpses into Lucas's former life.  Sometimes I wonder if the details are correct but sometimes I hear things and my heart just breaks.

I wonder why he has such a hard time doing school work.  With homeschooling, there are days I just can't figure out what the deal is.  He gets virtually violent because he doesn't understand something or doesn't want to do something.  Then I have to work through all of that junk and push the "reset" button so he can even attempt to learn.  It can be so frustrating. And can take a lot of extra time.

Tonight, out of nowhere as I was sitting with him, putting him to bed he said a few things...
First he asked me,
"Why do you like me?....Why did you adopt me?"
That's a loaded question for bedtime.  I told him because when we saw his picture we "knew" he belonged in our family and we knew God had him planned just for us.  He smiled.

Then a little while later as he was beginning to dose off...
"You want to hear what happened to me in China mom?"
"One time I was so hungry in school that I stole some food from some kids.  And I got in trouble for it."
I asked, "what did they do?"
He said, "They kicked me out of the school and wouldn't let me come back".
He also said he, "Cheated" from other kids and took their answers in Math class because he didn't understand what was going on.
That explains a lot.
One "problem" with homeschooling one child...he cannot cheat off anyone elses papers.  He has to do the work himself.  Huh!  No wonder he gets so mad!  I told him he may have had problems in China but here, he is learning a lot and getting smarter everyday--he smiled.
I think he is beginning to see that indeed he "can" do this stuff.  Little windows are opening.  He is much farther along than he was last year at this time.  Although we are moving at a pretty slow pace.  I have to admit it is frustrating to me sometimes because we move so slowly.  But, I also think about the things he can comprehend more now.  I read some things to him the other day and then asked him some questions about it.  He could answer all the questions in detail.  That is stunning really--I think simply grasping the English language and also grabbing hold of the many quirks along the way is in a sense enough to keep a brain busy.

I hope he continues to remember his stories and his life and doesn't put it all completely aside forever.  Some things may be good to forget, but others--still important to remember.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Conversation Peace

I just finished leading a study called Conversation Peace.  It's an older study I did several years ago too.  It is so loaded with scriptural references about our tongue and our speech that it's almost overwhelming.

I would say the heart of the study would probably be this verse:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  Luke 6:45

I don't think we realize how important or significant our words are.  But, God is pretty clear that He values them. As much as we may want to deny it, our words are a mirror into our souls.  If your heart is full of "yuck" you may be able to attempt to be kind, but at some point in the journey you aren't going to be able to hold it all together.  And what is truly in your heart will come out.  The opposite is also true, if our hearts are full of:

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Phil 4:8-9

Now, the reality of this? We cannot anticipate being able to do it alone.  It is a blessed thing that He gives us so many resources in His Word to lean on.  I love the reference that was made to Moses who had obvious speech issues.  When he doubted God could use him.  
p. 134
"God made Moses' mouth-and God owned it.  Therefore, Moses could trust God to fill it with the right words."
Luke 12:12
"The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say"
Our only "job" is to stay in tune with Him.  Fill ourselves to overflowing with more of Him so when the challenges come--we are able to respond well.

This is one jam packed study.  There is no simple way to put it in one small blog post.  Even without the tapes, I think a lot could be gleaned from it.  The tapes are good, but the loads of scripture on the topic are all in the actual study.  Oh and if you want a list of verses about the power of your "tongue" read the book of Proverbs (she referenced probably over 50 verses from Proverbs).  This is the one that hit me the most:

Proverbs 26:18-19
Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”


and finally,
"All that remains, then, is for you to go and speak.  He will help you.  He will teach you.  His Holy Spirit-whose mighty power raised Christ from the dead-is with you.  He has promised, "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth" (Is. 59:21)


I do find it interesting when I'm doing I study like this how much the topic at hand gets tested with me.  I have been struggling over the past few months with my words and speech and then just shaking my head and thinking "where did that even come from?"  Then I have to face the reality that my heart really is not connected with Christ in that moment.  I am so thankful that God gives us chances for "do overs".  But, sometimes the words have already done their damage.  I need to recommit to reconnecting with God yet again!  
Today I go forth with this on my tongue: (memorized cuz I am a slow learner and need lots of repetition!!)

"May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight oh Lord my Rock and my Redeemer"  Psm 19:14

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lucas Dreams and Church

Lucas dreams a lot.  And most days he comes to the top of the stairs and I'm sitting in the kitchen and he says,
 "Good Morning mom".
"You know what I dreamed last night?"
I say
"No babe, what did you dream?"
and the story gets told.

I would say for over a year if he dreamt anything about China it was negative.  That makes me sad.  There had to be something good.  Didn't there?  We do feel he was well cared for, but he definitely likes America better and he thinks his entire country is like the experience he had there.  That is unfortunate.
The past few days he has had some very positive dreams about the "aiyi's" there, aunties or caretakers at the orphanage.
Today, he told me he dreamt that he was in China and we were there with him and he told his aiyi's that they were not going to believe this...but He believes in Jesus now.  They were happy for him and told him that THEY believe in Jesus too.  That made him very smiley and happy this morning.  What a sweet dream.

On another note, today he went into "big" church with me for worship time before heading to the kid's area.  It was a baptism Sunday and he was very intrigued by that.  I tried explaining it to him as best I could while the music was playing, but I need to explain it a little more.  The sweetest grin came over his face and he said,
"Can I be baptized?"
 I said we would talk about it some more at home,
but that if he believes in Jesus then "yes".
He was VERY excited about that prospect.  I think it will be a little while before they do it again, but he may be the first in line...=)

It's a strange life in our house though.
I have one child so incredibly eager to be in church and learn about Jesus, singing his praises all day long, and one that doesn't want anything to do with it.
One knows what life was like without God and to live in a Godless country/environment.
And one was raised in the church and had God all his life.  Right now, we can't get him to set foot in church.  He rejects it all.
Not quite sure what to make of that right now, but it is an interesting dichotomy in our house.
One that definitely causes me to shed tears for both of them, tears of joy and tears of sadness all in the same day at the same worship service.

God is Good and Nothing is Impossible With Him!  I will not stop praisn' Him!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Santa Claus

I've mentioned this before, but with adopting an older child (at the age of 7) we get an opportunity to see rapid fire development in him sometimes.  A few weeks ago he decided he wanted to learn to tie his own baseball shoes.  He had only had velcro shoes all his life and even here, I just never thought about it.  So, I sat down with him one day and showed him once.  And he said "Let me do it." And boom!  That was it. He tied his shoes.  Yes, he is 8 years old, but we fly through some of these things so fast compared to raising other children, that it makes my head spin.

The Santa thing is one of those moments.  Last year was his first Christmas with us. He had only been with us about 9 months.  Everything was new.  He was somewhat confused by all of it, but still loved it.  Of course we focused on the fact that it was Jesus' Birthday.  But, with our culture and the movies we love, Santa Claus entered the scene.  I hesitated to make a big deal about Santa Claus because of the Trust we have wanted to build with him.  We often say "You can Trust us, we will never Lie to you!".  Well, the reality is....
Santa Claus is one Jolly Elf of a Lie!
He bought the fun and games of the "myth" (is it ok to call a lie a myth?).  He loved it.  He watched movies about it, we saw "Santa's" at stores, etc.  Logically speaking he could have figured it all out last year, but his logic circuits really weren't quite firing properly yet.

Last night as we were going to bed somehow we got onto the topic of Jesus and Santa.  He saw an old antique German Bible I have from my Great Uncle.  It has a thick heavy cover on it and the pages look old and fragile.  He said that it was "Santa's book".  I think he remembers a book like that from the movie Elf.  I told him that it was not Santa's book it was a Bible...Jesus' book.
 He assumed they were one in the same.  Uh oh!
The discussion evolved into..."but who put the presents under the tree last year?"  My answer? "Who do you think?"  He was not satisfied.  Time to call in daddy for backup...

So, Peter and I sat on our bed and carefully navigated the Santa Myth.
We tried to leave room for an open ended discussion in case he still wanted to believe.
But, he looked us in the eye and said,
"You promised you would never lie to me!"
"Tell me the truth!"

We have always promised our kids we would be honest and truthful with us.  With Lucas we really have to be exceptionally careful to not do anything that will destroy Trust.

Peter was awesome and explained the story of the "real" St. Nicholas.  And that the story of Santa Claus comes from his life story and it has changed over the years.

Lucas had been confused that somehow Santa Claus and Jesus were one in the same.
Shaking my head here...It's that moment when you question these traditions and feel compelled to share the truth.

In the end, gentle tears flowed down his face.  So heartbreaking.
He still isn't quite sure how the presents got under the tree while we were at church!
We told him some things have to remain a mystery and surprise.  =)
So we left it at that and we will see what happens as we enter into the Christmas Season this year.

So just like everything else with Lucas.  We've plowed through another stage of learning and development that every kid has to go through at rapid fire.  We had the Santa myth for One Year!

Although we did tell him that he should not tell Isaac (age 17 1/2) because we don't want to ruin the surprise for him...
We will see if he can keep the secret!

Apparently not telling Isaac was too much of a burden so he spilled the beans today.  Isaac cried out in shock and dismay.  Lucas told him "I's sad"...and tried to reassure him and sort of scolded me for not telling Isaac the truth all these years.  =) precious boy.

Update 2
Nov. 19, 2012
Apparently, Lucas has decided that the Jolly Elf is indeed real and he ain't buying it any other way.  Reminds me of Isaac and his coping with this same issue.  Even though logic "should" win out. Most kids just want to "believe".  Don't we all???? =)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Get Worship in Your Atmosphere"--Louie Giglio

Once again the series we have been in at church has been phenomenal.  The title has been "Believe" but Louie has shared some very intimate details about dealing with anxiety several years ago and how he still battles it.
There is no way to adequately recap it, but a few of the key take aways from last week were
"replacing fear with faith"
"remembering is believing"
"believing is remembering"

During his journey a little song kept running through his mind in the middle of the night that went something like this...
"Be still my soul, there is a healer, His love is deeper than the sea, His mercy is unfailing, His love a fortress for the weak..."
If you are familiar at all with the Christian Music scene this is a line from an award winning song that Chris Tomlin sings called "I Lift My Hands"

What I didn't know about this song, was it originated out of Louie's struggle with anxiety.  
During his message he emphasized the power of Praise and Worship. 
"Worship is our weapon of choice against the lies of the evil one".
"There is no question Jesus is Lord in the dark places.  Jesus always wins against the power of darkness."
He spoke about how all of us have something to remember.  

2 Chronicles 20:12 "...For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you"

Instead of looking at the vast army we should look up to Him.
Sing Praise to Him as we go into battle
"Give Thanks to the Lord, for His Love endures forever!"
Worship shuts down the lies.
Invites God's presence into the darkness.
"What people need most is the presence fo God in our midst"
and he comes when we Praise Him.
Psm. 22:3
"Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel"
but this can also be read:
"Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel"
God is enthroned on the promises.
It is a miracle everytime he carries us through the darkness.
"Worship displaces darkness"
Isaiah 61
one of my favorite passages of scripture
When the darkness comes we should take up the "garment of praise"
"Worship gives us a new narrative. and puts new words in our mouth."
Psm 42

"There is a time and place to start preaching to yourself and not only to others.  God gives us the ability to inform ourselves about Him...We should step up and take the weapon of Praise"

"Get Worship in your atmosphere!"

All of this to say...I have a renewed vigilence to praise and worship and pray for people in my household.  I hesitate a little to talk about it on a blog tho because it sort of is a personal thing and not meant to be an announcement to the world.  My "work" of sitting and praising isn't going to change anything.  It is totally the work of the Holy Spirit in the moment.  My only job is to be obedient to what He has called me to and wait on Him for the rest.  I'm very humbled to sit at the door of my son's bedroom in the morning listening to God's Praises and listening to what He has in mind for prayer.  
He has been pouring out so much.  

Here is a playlist of things God has been showing me:
"Overcome"  Jeremy Camp
"I Lift My Hands" Chris Tomlin
"Mighty To Save" Laura Story
"Always"-Kritian Stanfill
"As the Deer"-
"I Stand in Awe of You"

I think I'm going to start sharing more about how God is speaking during these days...
These are trying days dealing with some real battles in our household.  
But, with Praise---We Will Overcome!
Worship and Praise will be in our Atmosphere!