Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What love is.....

The Bible tells us to love God above all else, and then love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our pastor has been focusing on this theme for a few weeks now, and it really has hit me in a new and profound way. He explained that loving others is like loving God... because mankind was created in His image -- and he loves all people...regardless if they are deserving or not... His love comes free..without a cost to us... because Jesus has paid all the cost for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.... God loves us just that much! Now we know that our family ALREADY loves Lauren, because we have claimed her, she will be ours...and we will be hers, we are anxiously anticipating her arrival, and are committed to making her a part of our family. This post is beyond loving a child that you are planning to bring into your family.... this post is about love beyond the walls of your home.... a reaching out to others kind of love.

So this week as I was going to the grocery store - it occurred to me - that our society is so focused on self - that we don't even think of others. Imagine in your mind the grocery store.... it's about, "my cart, I need in the milk case, please step aside, you are in my way, please move your cart so I can get through, I should get the shortest line - because I was here first," and our behaviors go on, and on. We are soooo consumed with self. And another revelation - we rarely look anyone in the eye! Not meaning we should stare someone down, but I'm reminded of Brandon Heath's song, "Leaving Eden"... that says "I waved to a stranger, he didn't wave back" - do we say hello to strangers, do we even smile at strangers? Do we acknowledge a person holding the door for us? ....or do we stay in our own little world of "one"?? I think God calls us to "go out" of our own little world and reach into the hearts of others. To love others. We have a choice to continue living in "the world" by "the world standards"...or to live "in eternity" here on earth... "living on the path for God -- in his will, seeking the things He desires, loving people... serving in our purpose"

Section of "Leaving Eden" - Brandon Heath
(One more step away)......
Headlines read like a warning, we're under attack
(One more step away)......
I just waved to a stranger, he didn't wave back
(One more step away)......
And if it weren't for my TV I wouldn't know what is real
(One more step away)......
My doctor can't do a thing for how I feel

Feels like I'm leaving Eden
Feels like I'm leaving Eden


So as I stew on these concepts in recent days, I'm challenged to make a difference in the lives of others. I don't know exactly how to do that, but I know God is faithful and will show me the way. Funny thing is... a teenager (stranger) last night in the food court at the mall was engaging with Joshua in a very kind and sweet way .... he dropped a quarter and Joshua ran for it ... (Joshua's class is learning about money - so Joshua found it quite interesting...) When I asked Joshua to give it back to this kid, the kid replied, "he can keep it"... so Joshua ran to our table and continued to eat with his quarter in his hand. I asked Joshua if he wanted to return the quarter, and after quite a bit of conversation - he decided he would. But in the meantime, Joshua was working up the courage to return it. This kid was sitting with two other boys ... so the approach was intimidating. He eventually did - and these boys were so sweet to this little 6 year old. (Young people today sometimes get a bad rap - but I think we adults could also learn a thing or two from their accepting spirit). So I ask, when was the last time you engaged in conversation with a stranger? When was the last time I engaged with a stranger? Ouch!

Ran across this verse on a poster this week.... love it.
1 John 3:18 - Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

So now what God? Show me the way.....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snack, Play, Love adoption webinar

Ok, so we all know that Dr. Purvis is a national treasure. I mean really, she is an amazing advocate for orphans and children in general. She's traveled the world and helped so many families connect to their "child from the hard places". Her education is impressive, he approach graceful, but what I enjoy more than anything is her love is God-sized! I mean really, she loves children....she sees the best in them, no matter what... and speaks truth into their little hearts of how God loves them, and she loves them...they are a beautiful child of God. What an inspiration!

So you can imagine - whenever we get an opportunity to learn from Dr. Purvis, we are excited. At a conference last year we got to see her live for two days solid..it was wonderful, we took so many notes and by the time we left our head was spinning with information. We bought the DVD set - because this stuff can never be watched too many times.

Our adoption support group is sooo fabulous at sharing opportunities. So I thought I'd share this with all of you. Adoption Learning Partners is holding a webinar which of course is being taught by Dr. P -- it's only $15 which I think is a fabulous price for such learning. It's titled Snack, Play, Love and plans to discuss the connection between nutrition and your child's behavior.

This I find VERY interesting. I was just telling my mom the other day, you know, if we were to think back hundreds and hundreds of years in America, and eat what the people ate then, we likely wouldn't be over weight. You know, meat (protein), fruits, and vegetables. We are putting so much JUNK in our bodies with processed foods and sugar, sugar, sugar -- it's in everything.... and if it's low sugar - it's high FAT! Doing this Made to Crave study with ladies from church has opened my eyes so much to treating our bodies as the temple of God they are. (1 Corinthians 3:16) and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). When we read these passages, why do we exclude the food we put into our bodies as something outside of the bounds of these spiritual truths? We are so quick to find comfort in food, or find ease in the fast meal. I've currently lost 40 lbs and I feel great - as I'm studying with these ladies, eating healthy, and exercising... God is right there with me, helping me melt away this excess weight! (I'm not great at getting the family together for a picture of all of us, so I really need to work on that to update our blog photo) :) - Here's a challenge - what if we were to find comfort in God and find greater family time and connection in cooking together? (Joshua loves to cook.... most any meal, he's a great helper ... but LOVES to bake brownies :) (well, we'll see if Purvis addresses sugar (brownies) in her webinar)...maybe brownies only on special occasions :), right??

Here is the link if you are interested -have a blessed day!


If this great big-o long link doesn't work go to http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/ on their first page is a link to the webinar.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

So how do you fill your time waiting for adoption news?

My head is spinning..... why is it so that I LOVE being busy?? Project after project, I love to complete things and move on to the next. Here is just a bit of what we've been up to....

-refinanced the house -- with rates this low, who can pass it up! Plus we drastically were able to reduce our loan terms, etc.... gathering more paperwork, pay stubs, tax returns.

-priced home and car insurance - one great way to save some money to cover the higher house payment -- (given the lower term)! - Talked to several insurance people...finally got a price and policy we liked... (did you know many policies have coverages for things you DON'T own...like a golf cart or rare coins...really?? - and they say - "oh, that's just part of this premium policy"....but I don't want to pay for insuring things I will never own.

-spent about 6 weeks looking for a car for Brad. Our old car had over 200,000 miles and it was time for a switch.... almost every night after work we drove every car known to man... finally did decide on a used Acura with low miles and great price --- BUT had to go to Indianapolis to buy it! (4 hour drive)

-sold our old car to a wholesale dealer - after getting several bids from others - running around Lex... talking to people that might want to buy it.

-updated home study -- paperwork, paperwork, paperwork - means, gathering tax forms again, filling out financial info., had home study visit with social worker - as paperwork comes in on background checks...scan to social worker... visit doctors AGAIN - you know they won't sign you are healthy without seeing you....even though you've had NO reason to visit them in the last year... so you more than likely are quite healthy.

-working on ladies small group at church... we are studying the book and video series "Made to Crave" -- it is absolutely fabulous -- totally enjoy spending time doing this... reading scripture - making handouts, and also mirror words of encouragement for the ladies.

-couples small group once a week - working on disciplines of prayer and bible study -- this takes time folks -- needs to make the priority list of our days.

-volunteering at Joshua's school - love this too - don't get to do it every week - but every other Tuesday is great fun.

-oh yea, and my mom is considering buying a house or renting -- to get a little closer to us -- now she's about 15-20 minutes away -- and although it's still in the same city - would be nice to be a bit closer -- no one wants to drive over for a quick minute when it's 30 minutes round trip. -- so looking at houses, researching auctions, foreclosures (you know we are Dave Ramsey people - and LOVE a bargain!)

-did I mentioned Joshua being sick?? oh yea, in bed...throwing up -- so extra laundry, extra trips to the grocery for foods and drinks we normally don't carry - like gatorade, sprite, saltine crackers, etc. Doctor visit - the one that always says, "it's a virus...do the BRAT diet" - ok, here is $60....ugh! (although we love our doctor...it's frustrating)... THEN he goes to school after being out for 4 days...is at school about 1 week and 2 days...and guess what, he's sick again with the same thing....and we do it all over again... more cleaning up in the middle of the night -- more laundry.

-trying to fit in walking at the YMCA every night! - this is SOOO beneficial to my head clarity -- can you tell it's been a week or so since I've had a chance to go????

-BSF Bible study - love this - but it seems it get a rush job - right before the next week when we share answers and discuss...lectures by Teaching Leader is what keeps my feet on the ground.

-Monthly adoption support group meeting - wouldn't miss this for anything - it is great to learn from other parents. This month's topic was Transracial adoptions... was fabulous - and got a GREAT tip - one family had an electronic picture frame scrolling of pictures from Ethiopia when they got home - her children (yes, that's multiple adoptees)... would go up to the picture and watch pictures from home... she said it was a great way to give them something familiar. Plus she said they loved seeing the pictures from there too.

-reading adoption blogs - trying to keep up with friends - praying for other families in the process

-sharing the days "highs and lows" with my hubby - and trying not to let life take over our marriage

-reading books and playing with Joshua - family game night, puzzles, reading for school, practicing sight words, tracking down library books, making sure books are in backpack when needed to be returned to school, separating school library books from the public library books..... we do alot with books, managing books, sorting books, stacking books, reading books - Joshua doesn't leave the public library with fewer than 10-15 books---- we love books :-0!

-did I mention laundry???

-plus we both work full time! Seriously, are we crazy or what??? I'm sure I'm missing some things - but putting things all on paper (computer :) - like this, really makes me think..... is Satan dancing??? - because a family THIS busy surely can't be also maintaining a minute by minute realtionship with God, can it? We really need a period of quiet....and while this all helps pass the time of the adoption wait...the best thing for us right now is finding a structure that simplifies life. Thankfully most of the items above are over and are not part of our ongoing routines... but seriously, we need to be guarded that something else doesn't take its place.

Soooo on this cold and rainy day, I plan to throw in some laundry, do a bit of Bible study and small group prep, and hang out with my J-man until Brad gets home from his men's retreat this evening. Tomorrow - the day of Sabbath - I love my afternoon Sunday naps.

Little Miss Lauren, I can't wait to have you at home...when I can take my leave from work and do NOTHING else other than be your mom!