Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Know I am Loved by the King

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Curse---A Female Blessing

First off, those of you who only know me sort of and don't want TMI about me, stop reading now (NATE!) although, I think these are good things to think about, and if you can stomach it, you SHOULD keep going...

Today's blessing is the American woman's access to an ABUNDANCE of feminine products at a relatively low cost.

Not only can we choose pads or tampons, but we can choose wings or no wings, light or extra absorbancy (men, I behoove you to stroll down the feminine products aisle at any store and just take in the mind-boggling choices. As my dear, sweet husband can attest (thanks, Honey!) attempting to select the right product (especially when you have a list!) is enough to send a person into toxic shock (ha ha, that was a girl joke)).

Anyway, not only can we choose pads or tampons, but also wings or no wings, light or extra absorbancy, mini, regular, long, super-long AND all these things are disposable and they stick right into your undies! Oh, the hassle for our grandmothers with belts and other doo-dads I really know nothing about.

And did I mention that if you have issues with dioxins (which I do) ---FYI: dioxins come from the bleaching process of the paper--- then you can purchase organic products (for a lot more money, of course)

And if you have issues with filling landfills with all this jazz (which I do) then you can purchase reusable products---cotton, flannel, fleece, organic or not, all with the same choices: wings or not, mini, long, super.

AND, there are those nifty (Nate, look away) little cups for collecting your menstrual blood.

Can you even fathom how very many choices this is?

Here is a funny aside....when I was 10, I was, of course, fascinated with the whole idea of becoming a woman, blah, blah. And I had a best friend the same age with whom I shared what information I had and she shared back.

One day, we had the bright idea to check out what products were available to us, so we started a collection. She went through her bathrooms and I went through ours and we came together with a sample of each of the products we'd found. A couple of different pads, 2 or 3 brands of tampons. And we put them in a shoebox under my bed. Each time either of us visited a house anywhere, while in their powder room, we'd shoplift a sample for our collection.

Well, after about 2 months of this, I began to have nightmares about my mom finding our box and me being humiliated (I'm over that, as you can tell, since I'm sharing the story with the world-wide web). So I hatched a plan one Saturday morning to be rid of the evidence.

Here is where the logic goes all fuzzy. I tiptoed into my mom's room, WOKE her (about 7 am on a Saturday) to let her know I was going to take out the garbage. I always was a really GOOD kid. Trustworthy, responsible. Honest.

After a couple of blinks in the sunlight, her mom-radar kicked in and she was fully awake. WHY exactly was I taking out the garbage? (not normally my job, especially at 7 am on a Saturday).

Uh. Um. Yeah. Out came the whole story and the shoebox and my secret was out. I don't remember exactly what happened, but I'm sure it was all my mom could do to hold back gales of laughter. That's where I'd be, anyway, if it were one of my kids. (MOM, do you even remember this? Betcha $10 you don't)

Where was I? Oh, the myriad of choices for American women. You knew this had to be going somewhere, right?

I'll let them explain it as they can do best, but here is an organization looking out for young girls in Africa. You see, these girls face all sorts of obstacles to getting an education, and once they are older, one of them happens to be their period. I was impressed by Goods4Girls in that they are careful to make sure that girls who receive the reusable products have access to water for washing them and instructions for using them properly.

It's such an American we'll-fix-it-for-you attitude to dump a bunch of what-works-for-us onto people who don't have the knowledge, resources, money, etc. to make it work for them.(don't get me started on baby formula)

But this group is thinking about that and they aren't just giving people in a drought-stricken, AIDS-ridden area washable pads and saying, "Have at it. Have a good life now."

If you bum around on their site, you'll come upon LunaPads, which is where I shop. If you're looking for reusable products, this is a great site. I've been thrilled with everything I've ordered here and their customer service is top-notch.

LunaPads has also put together a kit you can donate to Goods4Girls if you want to be more specific than just donating cash.

And thank you, Father, for the freedom, the financial resources, the big business capitalistic greed that provides me with so many, many choices so that what many consider a curse, can even be a blessing in my life.


PS: If you are looking closer to home, every time you visit Target to purchase your monthly supplies, throw an extra package in your cart to donate to your local food pantry. You might not think about it, but even in this country, the curse is truly a curse and a source of panic for some women.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Luke 24:36-49

36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.

44He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

Happy Easter from us to you!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are you blessed with family?

You may or may not consider your family a blessing, but consider if you had no family. What would it be like to not have anyone? Think of the panic you'd feel if you were a child and suddenly were without family. Or the fear of the thought you might never have a family. Or the terror if you knew you had no permanent place in this world.

Watch this video. Read Renee's post in her blog.

Renee's wonderful blog, Steppin' Heavenward

I'm not asking you to be like Renee and parent 11 children. She has a special gift with which God has blessed her.

But can you pray for the orphans? Can you share with the orphans?

For $30 a month, you can sponsor a child through Holt International. That's one dollar a day.

Do you drink a soda every day? How often do you stop at Starbucks? Do you have a fast food meal every other week? Do you get your nails done? Where are you spending $30 a month? Would you be willing to share that with an orphan?

I take the kids out to lunch once a week ($20 or more). I buy dinner at work 4 nights a week ($3 each time). I treat myself at Starbucks every other week or so ($5). I buy something I have to have on ebay once a month or so ($20) I buy one or more of the kids a cute something on clearance about once a month ($30). I live a life of disposable luxury.

I sponsor 3 kids through Holt. I could do more.

I could pray more. I pray that God will protect the orphans, let them know they are loved by the King of Kings, that they are not orphans if He is their Father. I pray that they know human love and kindness, that they live free of fear and pain, that they are not hungry, that they someday will will have a family of their own who will love them forever.

And if God is speaking to your heart about adoption, hear that voice. Not everyone is called to care for orphans in this way, but if you are being called, know that God will make a way for it to happen if you will trust him.

It doesn't take a hero to love a child. I am not a hero. But I am blessed daily by the love of my boys, the things God is teaching me through them, by the joy they bring me every day. They are my heroes.

Be blessed by a child.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

You Never Know How Your Day Will Bless Others

So my mom babysits for us a lot. A LOT. And often it wears her out. But she's always cheerful about it, even if she has to go home and take a nap afterwards.

Wednesday I had a doctor appointment, so the plan was for her to babysit at our house. Since she was coming, and since I get out so seldom, I jumped at the opportunity to have her come early.

And because she was willing to help me out, the following people were blessed...

I took a baby gift and a package of soup mix to a friend with a new baby (THE most beautiful baby I have ever seen! Oh, my gosh!) She was blessed with a gift and a dinner and some company in those hazy first-week days when you're stuck at home with your other kids and the new baby and no sleep, when the only time you get to leave the house is to take the baby in for a check-up.

I stopped up at the hospital to visit my 2 yo god daughter and her mom, my best friend. Baby AK has been on an NG tube for feeding for the last 6 weeks or so because she has severe food allergies. Now, it turns out, she is allergic to the formula they've been giving her all this time in the tube. So she's ended up in the hospital for the second time while they try to figure out what she can eat.

I brought AK a present of teeny tiny little plastic animals and we sorted them all out--the chickies and the horsies and the goats and the dogs and she knocked them all over so they were sleeping. Her mom got to go down the hall and eat something--because AK isn't having anything by mouth right now except that which she's been deemed not allergic to (aka: pears) no one eats in front of her. I was able to bring socks up for them which they'd forgotten to pack. And her mom appreciated the company.

Both the nurse and my doctor were in great moods and I was glad to bless them with a great mood back. It's such a drag to be around surly people. I was glad to be a happy patient for them.

I gave all the receptionists a smile and a "Have a great day!"

The salesclerk at the Chinese restaurant where I bought my lunch also got a big smile and a greeting.

I'm not sharing these little things I did to brag about how nice I am (because I certainly have my surly moments!!!), but rather to remind myself how the little things I do as I pass through life can bless others in a big way. Kindness and a smile go such a long way.

And by cheerfully babysitting for me at home, my mom allowed me to go out and spread my sunshine around town, which blessed me, too.

Thanks, Mom! I hope you were blessed, as well. Love you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Baby Blessing

I just wanted to share some of my favorite Sunshine things.

When I put my socks on, I always brush off my feet since we have hardwood floors, 5 kids and 2 cats. There is always grit and dust stuck to the bottoms of my feet. Anyway, I don't like the crud inside my sock, so I brush off my feet with my hand. Sunshine, who always seems to be nearby when I get dressed (hey, he's nearby all the time, really) always gives me a little foot rub. He sees me rub my foot and wants to do it too. It doesn't come across in words the right way, but it is so sweet!

When I put him down for his nap, we do the same thing every day. We change his diaper, kiss all the other kids, get a drink, then go to his crib. Next we have to turn on his music (Christian radio, except he always manages to put on the country station when he turns the radio off after his nap), turn on the monitor and then I dance him.

I hold him and sing, "Tired baby, Tired Baby, Tired baby, It's time to go to sleep, boom boom boom" repeat. The first 2 or 3 times through the song he's all about fooling around and trying to squirm away. But by about the 3rd time, he snuggles into me and wraps his little arms around my neck. I could just eat him up! I treasure those hugs!

At night, he sleeps in a twin bed smooshed between our queen bed and the wall. But at some point every night, he slithers over next to me, hunkers down on the edge of my bed and mumbles, "Unner, unner" so he can get under my covers. He snuggles up next to me and goes right back to sleep. Yeah, he kicks me half the night, but who can resist a little soul so comforted by warm covers and a warm mommy?

He also has a thing for my stomach. I guess that's's so soft and squishy. Moms make such sacrifices for their kids.... Anyway, he loves to lift up my shirt and lay his head on my stomach when we snuggle before bed. He also loves to run his hand across my tummy and over my back. Think he craves skin-to-skin contact??? It reminds me of when Rose Bud was a baby and would run her hand up and down my side while she nursed. Moms who fear that by adopting a child you'll miss out on those biological moments--it isn't true!

I am so blessed to have this little bundle of love as a son! He has brought me immeasurable good things and I'm so glad God chose us to be his parents!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Today Banana Boy felt REALLY blessed...

I took the kids to Culver's for lunch. As he was sitting across from me eating his ice cream cone, he looked at me with such love in his eyes and said:



Batting his beautiful eyes at me and with all sincerity and gratefullness: "Thanks for letting us out."

I almost spit out my soda. I didn't know he's felt so imprisoned this winter!!! LOL

I guess we need to get out more.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Five Little Blessings

Today I'm just going to share a photo shoot with you of my five blessings. We needed a pic to send off for Sunshine's 6-month post-placement report. You can view the blessings in various stages of cooperation :D

Sunshine, smile! (Rose Bud, put your arms down)
Rose Bud! Put your arms down!
Sunshine, look at the camera! Banana Boy, can you smile for real?
ROSE BUD! Put your arms down! Sunshine, stop touching Rose Bud
Good job with the arms, Rose Bud! Sunshine, smile nice. Banana Boy! Look at the camera! Daisy, open your eyes!
Mom ruined this one...
Almost there (what is Pepper doing??)
This one is cute
I think we're done here...
Oh, yeah, definitely done...
Banana Boy! Look out!
Giving up