Thursday, January 29, 2009

Does it really all matter?


Ministry is tough - so does it in the end really matter and is it really worth it?
2 Cor. 2:14-16 "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?" In spite of everything, Christ wins! Ask yourself: who are the most important people in the city you live in? We may answer and say - mayors, city council members, people who run the education programs. However, that is not how God would answer. He would say that there is a core group of people in every city who influence people for eternity. See we have a profound impact on their damnation or their salvation, an aroma of death or life. None of us could have this strength in and of ourselves and have that kind of impact. This is why Paul was stunned by divine grace and the privilege of ministry and Paul never lost sight of this awesome reality. Paul understood and lived the truth that the world needs the Gospel and God uses God's people to proclaim it. So we matter, it matters - there is no one on the planet as powerful as the people of God, for we preach eternal truths that have eternal ramifications. May we find our hearts encouraged as well as resolved to fight the good fight because faithfulness matters!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We are out of here!

Tomorrow afternoon we are headed to Seattle (a first for me and the kids). Bryan and I have a free night at the Westin Hotel (thank you American Express!) and Uncle David, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Paul (who is living with them right now) have kindly agreed to watch the kiddos! We try to get away at least once a year for our anniversary (January 3) and this year it's for Bryan's birthday too (January 31) :)

Friday includes a visit to Trader Joes (boy do I miss that place!) and then Michelle and I are tagging up with some friends of hers from church and my mom and a couple of ladies from her church to attend a women's conference. The guest speaker is Elyse Fitzpatrick (author of a great book I am reading right now, "Helper by Design: God's perfect plan for women in marriage" ). The topic is "Am I My Sister's Keeper" as it relates to the discipleship relationship we are to have with each other. I am really looking forward to some sweet fellowship.

Saturday, after the conference, we are headed to Bea's house for dinner. She is a co-worker of my sister-in-laws who also happens to be Ethiopian!!! I can't wait spend time over there....watching, asking questions and just becoming a bit more familiar with the foods and customs that Ethiopians hold dear!

I promise to take lot of pictures (or to at least ask Bryan to :) ) and share them with you on the blog when we get back!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Entering the world of music!



Today Micah had his first guitar lesson (thanks to the virtual academy we have signed up with as we home school) and we found out that his $30 guitar is just not ever going to make pretty music :) So we headed to the local music store when the lesson was over to buy a "real" guitar (thanks, once again, to Columbia Virtual Academy)!
Micah is so excited and, for those of you who know him well, determined to have it all figured out in a couple of weeks! :) I believe the Lord will use this to teach him some serious perseverance! Titus was the benefactor of Micah's old guitar (the teacher tried to tune it as best as possible) and we have already had quite the concert going on in our living room! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Need some encouragement to pray?

My desire (and prayer!) this year is to see, more than I ever have, the beauty of prayer and the sweetness of communing with God in this way. So, my radar always goes off when I see the word prayer in a heading, title or anything else from someone I trust and appreciate. Challies did that today and the article (which looks long but will only take a few minutes to read!) was REALLY good! Like dessert for my soul! :) Maybe it will be for you as well! Just click on the underlined "Challies" above and you can read it for yourself!

Psalm 23


You know how there are some passages of Scripture that you have heard so much that the weight of it and the meaning don't hit you anew and fresh? Well, Psalm 23 is one of those for me. But today, as I read, it was fresh and alive and I just want to get my thoughts down on paper...that is, my "blog journal".

"The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want." I long to be able to say that all the time and mean it with everything in me. To truly want nothing else than Christ alone. To echo with Asaph in Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

"He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters." I always loved those verses because to me it ment that God knows we need times of rest and relaxation (ie...reading a book, TV, vacation, etc...) but the more I studied, it doesn't mean that at all (though I think there is a time and a place for those things)! Because those things are not the things that bring TRUE rest as much as I may turn to them for it. As I looked up other verses with the word "pasture" in it...it started to click. In John 10:9 Jesus says, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find PASTURE." Psalms 100:3 says that "we are His people the sheep of HIS pasture". The pasture isn't a book or a movie...it's God Himself...HIS WORD! And the Hebrew translation for "still waters" is "waters of rest". In Mathew 11:28 ("Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest) it's clear that the only way to true rest is found in coming to Christ...not necessarily going on vacation or having a day off!

I am still not done taking a closer look at Psalm 23 but verse one was like a needed 2x4 over my head! And I have some serious self examination to do....when I am weary, what do I turn to? When I am tired of homeschooling, meal making, breaking up fights, etc... is it words of prayer on my tongue or frustration and anger? When I want to "close the door" and get away do I retreat to the the Word, or to my own world of selfishness? And, at the end of the day, do I rejoice that "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end (Lam. 3:22)"?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

To Fundraising and Beyond!

Today I went to a fundraiser meeting...a fundraiser for us :). There is going to be a Potato Feed/Silent Auction/Bake Sale on March 7 to help with the final $10,000 needed for the completion of the adoption. My heart is full to the brim for these dear sisters in Christ who are working so hard to get this fundraiser off the ground. And there are so many others, some who I don't even know, who are giving quilts, desserts and other items to sell and auction off. Not everyone may be called to adopt, but it is a joy to see fellow believers use the gifts and resources God has given them answer the call to help the orphan. It's been beautiful, humbling and has given me much to treasure and to ponder on. As I watch God at work in ways I couldn't have planned or expected, I feel I understand a little more what Mary may have felt (as she watched the Shepherd's come and worship Jesus) in Luke 2:19, "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."

We have been asked to share a testimony about the whole adoption process, what God is doing and how His call has impacted our lives forever. I was more than pleased to pass the responsibility of sharing right on to my husband...I just figured I come up to the front, smile, wave, introduce myself and the kids and then go sit back down :) I am not sure the Lord is going to make it that easy for me...I think it might be good for me to share for a minute from the perspective of a wife and mom. I thought I would do a "test run" on my blog :)

I have never looked at this adoption as somehow completing our family...as if there is some missing piece to the puzzle we call "The Pichura Family". Our life really is FULL!!! If you have ever visited us for any length of time you know that life in our home is pretty busy, pretty constant and maybe a bit crazy too! To be honest, the thought of adding two more children (who don't even speak English!) to our family is, at times, an overwhelming thought.

You see, we are not adopting Samuel and Caleb to make our family complete, we are adopting them because we believe, with all our hearts, God is calling us to do so...and the thought of living outside His will and not obeying His leading is just not an option (we deal with the consequences of our sin far to much as it is!). Now, don't get me wrong, adopting them, just like anytime we truly obey, is in no way a duty but true delight! And the love that He has put in our hearts for those precious boys...boys we have not even met yet....is amazing!

I do not expect the task to be easy. It will require much sacrifice for both of us. And I have a feeling that thoughts of the comfort and ease I am not experiencing might lead me quickly to bitterness or resentment or at least some frustration. But I forget often that the Lord doesn't call believers to a life of ease and comfort. Not only should we not expect it but we shouldn't aim for it as a goal (I know, I know...everyone needs rest...but I hope you are getting my point). Paul compares this life we live to a farmer (not much rest for him), a soldier (always prepared, always ready to fight...not concerned with trivial matters) and a runner (I have yet to see "easy chairs" on the track!). Our "rest" is awaiting us in eternity...but for now, there is work to be done!

I want to stop believing the lies the world throws at me that I deserve this and that (etc...) and instead, cling to the promises of Christ when he says that in this world we will have trials and tribulation but we can take heart because the victory is already won (we never have to live defeated!), that what God calls you to, He will give you the grace and strength to see it through and that we will reap a beautiful harvest if we do not grow weary and lose heart.

This life, those some days seem so long for me, is but a vapor...and I don't want to waste a minute of it!

P.S. Okay, so that was a bit longer than I planned and a bit more "preachy" than I care to be in a room full of MEN and women...so, I guess I have some condensing to do :) But, for those of you who stuck with this post all the way to the end... In the words of Jonathan Edwards, let's seek to "live every day as though it were our last"!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Holding a miracle



I got this off of the "Desiring God" blog today. What a sweet reminder it was of the precious gift life is. My kids loved seeing all the pictures of babies, both inside and out of the womb! Hope yours enjoy it too (Have fun explaining the very first picture, though :) )!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The back corner of the yard


The yard is my domain! This means that Kristin has no say as to how our yard looks and/or functions. This policy is the very policy that preserves our miniature Fenway Park from being dismantled. :) This policy protects the foul poles, back stop, permanent base lines, etc. from being transformed into some daisy flower garden. As head groundskeeper of "Green Field Park" (aka my wiffle ball stadium/backyard) I have always had "the corner". This is a corner that is reserved for those things you can't throw away immediately and that have to be stored until a dump run. Things like big rocks, branches, etc. It's the corner you hope no one sees or asks about. You know it is there but you hope it goes unnoticed. Today our family visited the back corner of our county. It is a place that locals seem to ignore or act like it does not exist. In fact based on some conversations I have heard there are people who actually live on this land and have no idea they actually live on it. This land is an Indian Reservation. It is an area that has many economical struggles, a high rate of unemployment, substance abuse and family dysfunction. Yet thousands of people drive by or even through everyday without even so much as a glance. It's like the "corner" no one wants to admit exists. Yet, unlike unwanted branches, this reservation is populated with people who have souls and their souls will either spend all of eternity in heaven praising Christ or in hell denying Him. Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ". Yet the missionary family that serves on this land just this past summer came in contact with children who had never heard of Jesus! Let that sink in for a moment - that's in America, AMERICA - our own country (my backyard) that they have never heard the Name above all names!!! As shocking as that is, in some ways, I am not shocked. Let's be real,while we all may want to serve God, if we are honest, we also want our comfort and ease. Helping the helpless is not "fun" - helping a bunch of poor Indians won't get you invited to pray at an inauguration; yet, let us not forget what Jesus said about His disciples in Matt 25, "Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these,you did not do it to me." So I will humbly ask this question: What's in the corner of your backyard? Are you ignoring it? Or are you taking the glorious Gospel to the uttermost parts of your own backyard?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It was a great day, indeed!


"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
Proverbs 13:24

Sadly, in light of the verse, this past week has been full of "hating" my children and, in return, I have not been their biggest fan either...I am sure! Sometimes I did not spank out of wanting to show grace, other times it was pure laziness and then there were times I just could not even figure out exactly what had happened and who the culprits were and, after asking multiple questions, I was more confused than when I started! No matter what excuse I try to give it, my "sparing the rod" was really disobedience to God and His plan. And, boy, did we all pay the price....the selfishness grew in all of us, we were quick to anger with each other, the arguing was at an all time high...it was not a pretty sight on many occasions...the fruit of the Spirit had turned very rotten!

In comes the Holy Spirit's conviction and the beautiful wisdom of God found in His Word!!! And, as a result, the conversation at the table this morning with the kids went something like this:
"Have we been living in a way that honors and glorifies God and receives His blessing?" (N0)
"There has been a lot of foolishness in our home and what does God say is the way to drive that foolishness far from us" ( their eyes betray that they don't want to tell me...but then they boldly speak up and say, "Spankings")
"You see, the Bible says it's Mommy's job is to spank you when you disobey and, when I don't, I am disobeying God...and then I usually end up sinning more by yelling at you instead and getting frustrated." (They all nod their head in agreement!) Spanking is God's plan for you right now so that your foolishness can be removed and you can become wise. And when we follow God's plan, we will be a home that honors Him and loves each other the way we should."

I wish I could say the day went spanking free from that point on...but it was full of them, instead. It was also full of prayer, repentance, forgiveness, hugs and kisses, restored relationships and the sweet knowledge that we were doing it God's way and not our own. So, while it may not have been "spanking free," it was a great day, indeed!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Waiting on the Lord

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and grow weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

We received an email on Friday that court dates in Ethiopia are taking longer than usual...10 weeks. Then, once that court date takes place we will be given a date to appear at the Embassy...another 5 weeks later. So, doing the math quickly: 15 weeks. It's a number that is much higher than we thought it would be...but right now, it's the number God is giving us (roughly). At the moment it looks like we will not be going to Ethiopia until the very end of April/beginning of May. We rejoice in God's timing and trust His unsearchable ways.

Today, I was reading in Genesis about Joseph. After being thrown in prison (for a crime he did not commit) and spending enough time there to be given charge of the "inmates"... he must have gotten excited at the thought of getting out when, by God's grace, he helped a fellow inmate, the cup bearer of Pharaoh, figure out his dream. But the cup bearer forgot about Joseph when he was restored to his position. That "oversight" costs Joseph two more years in prison. But, with God, there are no "oversights" or "bad luck". Joseph remained in prison for his good and God's glory and the salvation of the fledgling nation, Israel, as well as all of Egypt.
In the scope of life and eternity our wait right now is small and is, at the heart of it, an issue of obedience. Do we trust God? Do we really trust His plan? I pray that our attitude would daily reflect a joy and trust in the sovereignty of God!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We'd love your input!!!

We have been told we can put together an album for the boys...pictures to help them have a better idea of who we are and where they will be living and what life is like. We are so excited!!! We are going to include pictures of us, the dog, the outside of the house, their bunk beds, the living room and kitchen, the backyard and our van. We'd love to know if you can think of any other pictures that might be something that would help them get used to their new home quicker. We figured you all might think of something we did not...so feel free to comment...there are no wrong answers!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The power of God



"And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light." Genesis 1:3

"For God, Who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. " 2 Corinthians 4:6

When I look around at creation (especially on days like today when the "freezing fog" has covered everything in a beautiful coat of white ice) and I read passages of Scripture like Genesis 1, I can't help but stand in awe of the power of God. He simply spoke and everything we see was created. And the more I meditate on the power of God the more a verse like 2 Cor. 4:6 amazes me. The same power that spoke the world into existence lives inside of me through the person hood of the Holy Spirit! There is nothing impossible for me to do if God is calling me to do it. Cleaning my house, cooking, doing the laundry, schooling my children, shepherding their hearts, seeking to meet my husbands needs above my own...and so much more...God commands me to do it with joy and a thankful heart...and He has given me the power to do it through the Holy Spirit.
Lord, I echo the Puritans: "Nothing exceeds Thy power, nothing it too great for Thee to do, nothing is too good for Thee to give. Infinite is Thy might, boundless Thy love, limitless Thy grace, glorious Thy saving name...I ask great things of a great God."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My own Jerusalem

"...you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching..." Acts 5:28

I read those words spoken to the apostles by the high priest and my heart rejoiced to see how amazingly and quickly God used the apostles to spread His truth to the point that they were accused by the high priest of FILLING Jerusalem with it...no small task!!!
Sometimes I can't help but think that there is so much more I could be doing for Christ and for the spread of the gospel...to the point that I feel frustrated and guilty for not doing more and bigger things.
Foolish woman I am!!! I have my own Jerusalem...it's called my home. And God has called me to fill my home...my kids... with HIS teaching: "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:7
My calling is to live the couple of verses before Deut. 6:7 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart." The only way for me to fill my home with God's precious teaching is if He is the priority of my heart and if I am renewing myself, daily, with His Word. After all, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."(Matt. 12:34)

Retreat to Leavenworth

You can click on this picture to make it bigger....but from left to right it's Steve (elder) and Karen Taylor, Jared (Worship Pastor) and Christi Jensen, Rick (elder) and Amy Lyon (both are in the back), John (Pastor) and Sheri Schubert (right and middle :) ) and us.

This past Sunday through Tuesday we were on an elders and wives retreat to Leavenworth, Washington. The city is known for it's Bavarian (German) flavor and it was really beautiful. We have never been on an elders retreat and it was such a blessing...not only to have times of purposed discussion but just getting to know each other better...in a way that is really only possible through extended time together. Us wives got to spend some extra time together while the men had an elders meeting Monday afternoon...and it was so much fun. It is a true blessing to be able to call these men and women friends!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The Best Birthday Ever!"

That was Faith's response to the exciting news that I wanted to share with all of you, as well....

OUR DOSSIER LEFT FOR ETHIOPIA TODAY!!!!!!!!

It is headed for the "Ministry of Women's Affairs" and the "Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs." They will review our dossier, add any necessary local paperwork to it and then make a recommendation. There will be a court hearing in which CWAE (Christian World Adoption Ethiopia) will represent us and the boys and we will be made aware of the date of the hearing (Lord willing, sometime in the next 2 months). Once we have approval from the judge (court approval), we will be given an Embassy date (typically 5 weeks later from the initial court date) and that is when we will make plans to head to Ethiopia to finalize everything and to bring home the boys.
I still don't understand everything but that is the general idea of how things work....now, how God may choose to work is another matter :) and we expectantly wait on HIM and trust HIS timing...whether that be shorter or longer than the "norm".

"He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Happy Birthday Faith!!!



Today our sweet daughter Faith turns 6 years old! Micah is a little bit of the legalist in our family and so he says that she is not technically 6 until dinner time :) (when she was actually born)...but we love celebrating her life all day long!
She got to open her first gift this morning before Daddy left for work. The pictures show what her special gift is...a digital camera! Before you go thinking that this gift might be a bit extravagant for a 6 year old girl, we actually got this $100 dollar camera for $25 back in the fall when they were running a sale and a rebate on it in the same week!
Bryan and I both feel strongly that we need to be looking for ways that the Lord has gifted our kids and encourage them in that giftedness in hopes that it will benefit them and others for the glory of God in the future. In the last couple of years, Faith has showed great interest in her daddy's hobby of photography and she has a great eye for taking pictures herself. We look forward to seeing how God may use this and to enjoying her pictures and seeing life "through the eyes of Faith".

Faith,
We love you dearly and rejoice in your precious life. We remember the day you were born..the rolls on your chubby little legs and the joy in our hearts that God entrusted you to us. You have brought so many smiles and lots of laughter to our family. The way you see life and the words you use to describe it make us laugh often. And your smile is one of our favorite things to see each day.
We pray that your joy would be rooted in Jesus and that you would love Him more than anything else. We are so excited to see the plan that God has for your life and we are very, very, very thankful that that plan included us being your parents!
We love you sweet Faith! Happy Birthday!!!!
Love,
Daddy and Mommy

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Purposeful and Expectant

For those of you who know me, I am not typically known for being a woman of few words :), but I can sum up my resolutions for this year in two words: purposeful and expectant. Of course, I can't define what I mean by those words without using a lot of words, so here goes:

Purposeful: I want to be a woman of purpose and plan. I don't just want to get dragged along as life flies by, I want to live in a way that leads the charge...planning times of prayer with my children, looking at my calender and making plans to have families over before the days are gone or the calender is all filled up with "other things", being purposeful in my conversations...already having question thought out in my head to be able to ask those that I am around in order to spark true depth and spiritual talk, setting up a schedule for my family life, not so that we can live legalistically, but so that we can "walk as wise, making the best use of our time", and planning opportunities to serve others...whether it be a card of encouragement, a visit to a nursing home or a meal to someone who needs one. The Bible sets out a beautiful example of a godly woman in Proverbs 31. Read it with the word "purposeful" in mind and I think you will agree that it is a word that we should be known for!

Expectant: I have desired to be purposeful for some time now...but this word "expectant" is the new word for the year 2009. A girlfriend made a journal for me for Christmas and I decided to use it as our families prayer journal. Everyday this week we have been writing down prayer request (as they are made known to us) and praying for them each morning. ( I wish I could say we have been doing this all along...but this is the first Pichura family prayer journal.) I have noticed the most precious blessing coming out of this time of prayer.... a sweet expectancy as we wait to see what God is going to do...how He is going to work...what His answer is going to be. The kids and I are more excited about the lives and people we are praying for, more concerned for their needs. And with each answer that has come: a job, a successful surgery, a letter arriving, a pregnancy...it has blessed my heart to see the look of joy on my kids face as they recognize that God is at work and praise Him for what He is doing!

Purposeful and Expectant...that is the way I want to live everyday!

And, speaking of waiting expectantly...our social worker received the "letter of approval" from the superior judge today.Praise the Lord...one step closer to Ethiopia and our boys!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It is never pointless!

I know it's late and I probably should be in bed but my head is still thinking and my heart is feeling heavy and prayerful for some of my friends and family and the trials God has seen fit to take them through. Bryan's brother-in-law has been without a full time job for several months and just yesterday Bryan's dad was laid off along with 14 other men he worked with.
A family very dear to me will be sitting in a hospital tomorrow morning waiting as their husband/dad is having his heart operated on (and he doesn't know Christ).
A family in my brother and sister's church just received word this week that the child they were adopting from Uganda (and had already been to visit...staying with him for one month) was not going to be able to be their son after all.
I read the following quote today by Mark Driscoll and it seemed very timely:

"There is no suffering, there is no affliction, there is no weeping, mourning, shedding of tears, or dark days for the child of God that is pointless, purposeless, and without merit."

Before the foundations of the world were spoken into being the story of our lives was planned out by God, sealed by the blood of Christ, empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit and guaranteed with an ending more indescribable than we could ever imagine. I Corinthians 2:9 puts it this way: " Things which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him."
The problem is that we all are in the middle of our story right now.... and the only thing we see is the page in front of us and, for some, it is not at all what we expected it to be. In times like this (and truly everyday) we must skip to the end...it is already written for us to read!!!

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One last look back at Christmas








We were driving in the car today and Titus asked if we could put on Christmas music and I almost told him, "No, buddy, Christmas is over"...but, to be honest, I love Christmas and the joyful music celebrating Jesus birth and so I was more than ready to oblige! My crazy logic now says that one more day of Christmas music means one more day of Christmas pictures on the blog. There were so many great moments I still want to share! And, as for the Christmas music...don't be surprised if you hear it in my car all year long :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Home Schooling Moment


As I stepped back into the routine of life today (homeschooling, more laundry than I knew what to do with, needing to go to the grocery store..but scrounging for food instead!), I'll be honest, I felt a little overwhelmed and ready for vacation again...and who really needs to go to school anyway :)
I was really fighting the " I can't home school, what am I thinking...this is too hard and my headache has returned...I just want some peace and quiet....they are never going to learn all they need to with me as their teacher...and we are adding two more kids to this equation....HELP LORD" (okay, I think I'll stop as I am sure you are getting the point :) ). I wish I could say these are thoughts that rarely enter my mind...but I fight them more often than I would like to admit. Truth be told, there are many times I feel like homeschooling is an "interruption" and an "unpleasant thing" that I wish I didn't have to deal with. In comes C.S. Lewis with some words of wisdom:

"The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life - the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one's 'real life' is a phantom of one's own imagination. This at least is what I see at the moments of insight; but it's hard to remember it all the time."

At this point, you might be thinking...you crazy woman...put your kids in school then!!! I can't :) As overwhelming as some days are, I believe with all my heart (though I often fight against it with all my heart) that this is exactly what God is calling our family to for right now. Please note: I said our family...not yours. God's plan and calling for each of us is not the same...and He will make His plan clear to you (whether it be home school, private school or public school) and He will walk you down that path whether you go kicking and screaming or with great joy and
anticipation! :)
So, the lesson for me today is that their are no "interruptions" just divine appointments given to me by a loving Savior Who knows what I need most to be like Him! Francis De Sales sums it up beautifully, so I will end with a quote from him:

"Accept His will entirely, and never suppose that you could serve Him better in any other way. You can never serve Him well, save in the way He chooses."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A truly "Happy Anniversary"


Yesterday Bryan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary. It was a day full of travel..taking some of our family to the Portland airport and then heading home ourselves. We are going to try to get away for a night in Seattle (with a free hotel room we have with our credit card) at the end of the month so we are looking forward to that!
As I reflect on our last 11 years it is with great joy. Each memory is not a bed of roses, but the Lord continues to use each situation to mold us more and more into His image and, by His grace, we fall deeper in love with Him and with each other.
I read a quote a few years ago by Lars Gren (Elizabeth Elliots husband) and it has been a needed reminder on many occasion!

"A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy."

I do not do this perfectly, by any stretch, but it is my desire to delight and enjoy all the blessings that come (and they are many, many, many) with having Bryan as my husband and, when his faults seem to become large in my heart and mind, to remember that I too am a sinner and handle many situations in an ungodly way....but we both have a great God, perfectly holy, Who still looks upon us with love and compassion and forgiveness though our sin cost Him His only Son. The forgiveness He grants us does not benefit Him at all yet it changes our lives forever...how could we not follow in His footsteps?!!!!
We also received the sweetest anniversary gift we have ever been given, as well. Waiting for us, in our mail, was a DVD from CWA (our adoption agency) with video of the boys at the orphanage. The are not words to express how my heart swelled and the tears flowed as I watched our boys run, kick a soccer ball, sing a praise song to Jesus, pray before their meal, eat and sleep. They are beautiful!!!!! I wish you all could sit in our living room and watch with us as we will be watching that DVD very often. Caleb reminds me a lot of Titus' personality (and for those of you who know Titus well, the thought will make you laugh as much as we are!) and Samuel seems a bit quieter but FULL of precious smiles!!!
Please pray with us that our request will be read tomorrow by the judge here in Yakima and that our dossier could leave for Ethiopia soon!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Bible reading plan

So, it's the start of a new year and, for me, that means the start of reading through the Bible again. For the last 5 years I have been using John MacArthur's Daily Bible which is an actual book with the Bible reading plan already set up in it. This year, I decided it was time for some variety and so I have settled on following Bethlehem Baptist's (John Piper's church) reading program...plus, I think the bookmark that you can print out it pretty cool. :) The reading plan takes you through a part of the OT, Psalms and NT each day. If you are interested yourself, take a peak at this address:

http://theologica.blogspot.com/2008/12/bible-reading-plans.html

My prayer this year is that God would not allow me to be content with just reading (as, sadly, I often am) but that I would be faithful to study and dig deep into what I am reading!

Check this out!

If you click on the link to the left "A Bushel and a Peck" the gal wrote a great article on starting a family prayer journal. It is a wonderful idea..I think it will be the first "back to school" project we do!

Romans 12:12 "...be constant in prayer."

Bringing in the New Year with Ethiopian coffee


We started the New Year with a twist that we had never done before. David and Michelle bought us some Ethiopian coffee beans ( did you know that coffee beans originated in Ethiopia?) and today we had coffee Ethiopian style (or as close to it as we Americans will probably ever get!). The beans start out a very light color...I didn't know this, but that is actually how all coffee beans look in their original state. It is the roasting that makes them dark brown...and that was the next step...

Michelle spent quite a while roasting them over the stove...no oil or any other ingredients...just heat, a pan and the beans. ( I am in the background making scones :) )

It smelled something like popcorn as it was roasting....and then it started smelling more like burnt popcorn and was smoking a bit :) but the end result was coffee beans that could be ground and they smelled really good! Michelle and David ground them and then (after Michelle put in a phone call to her Ethiopian friend Bee for some quick advice...thanks Bee!!) placed some of the grounds in a pot of water, brought it to boiling for 2 minutes, strained the coffee to keep out the granules....and it was ready for drinking!
The taste was great. Not bitter at all. I am a flavored creamer kind of gal when it comes to drinking coffee, but I drank it black and enjoyed half of it that way! Then I added some sugar to it (which is the most common Ethiopian addition from what I have read and been told) and enjoyed the other half just as much.
So, I do believe we have added another new tradition to our family...one that I pray is a blessing to Samuel and Caleb as well!