The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
-Buechner

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Scrooge

Yep. That pretty much sums me up.

Today marks Noah's 4th Halloween and Tait's 2nd. It also marks the 4th one in which we have not taken our kids trick-or-treating.

I've had several family members and friends ask if we are dressing the boys up and taking them out this year; if they are looking forward to Halloween; what they want to be this year.

"They don't know what Halloween is", I reply each time. "They don't get candy and sugar and don't know what most of it is."

It's not that I don't have fond memories of my Dad driving us to many of their friends' houses when we were younger, knocking on doors in our cute little home-made Clown, Ragetti Ann and Andy, Bunny, Two Headed Monster (a classic, may I add!) costumes. Then, when we were older we sported the "in" costumes such as "Punk Rocker" and the like. I remember my costume included heals so high once, my Dad had to run home partway through our "route" to get me something practical. I even remember standing on our bathroom scale to weigh myself. Then, hop off grab my pillow case of candy and re-weigh myself to see how much loot we brought in that year.

It's not that I don't think that little ones dressed up as pumpkins, supermen, or cats aren't adorable.

And, it's not that we don't have 2 sweet costumes handed down to us a couple of years ago sitting in the boys' closest upstairs. Actually, they wear them frequently...just for fun.

It's not that I am disturbed by the evil or demonic portrayal that can become evident among some Halloween circles.

Nope.

It's simply the fact that, in this day in age where, as of 2008 The #1 Leading Cause Of Preventable Death In The USA Is Obesity, I am concerned by the amount of necessary junk our kids take in. (Canada is not far behind on that stat, by the way.) Yes, we now choose to harm ourselves, end our lives even, by what we consciously put in our mouths.

I don't believe that my kids fall into that classification. I don't think that one evening of going around and being given candy is going to push them over the edge either. However, I do think that each action has a consequence. Each decision does make a difference.

We choose applesauce and an extra banana, over the sugar and oil in our Banana Bread. We eat red peppers before supper instead of ritz or gold fish (they're not to be found in our pantry anyway). We make our pizza dough from scratch and top it with mushrooms, onions, meat and cheese. We lace our food with flax...and grate carrot finely into grilled cheese sandwhiches.

Why?

Why not.

While I look forward to my kids choosing their own costumes as they grow older. I want to preserve these years of sugar-free living. I think it can be fun but right now, for us, I don't see the point.

So tonight when our 5 camp staff kids come trick-or-treating - and they will be our only ones...because we live on "old folks road" in the middle of "rural-ville" with only 2 street lights...it's a waste of time down at this end of town- we will be handing out a sweet but healthy homemade treat:

Honey Butter Crunch.

A Cheerio, Popcorn, Walnut combo. Clustered together thanks to melted honey and butter...with a few Candy Corn thrown in for festive colour.

Yum.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Grace

The dictionary defines grace as:

- a noun
1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
3. favor or good will.

The bible defines grace as:
1. God's free gift.

That's it. We don't deserve it. We definitely have not earned it. But, it's ours. I find this concept incomprehensible. I do not give this belief enough thought or time. What seems a small word is an idea and an offering so great that it actually leaves me speechless.

How do we accept something that rightly shouldn't be ours?

Grace.

Undeserved.

Unconditional.

For Me.

Saving.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Waiting Game


At the beginning of our adoption journey, we were often stunned at many of the long waits.
  1. The wait to be accepted by the Ministry of Children and Families to adopt.
  2. The wait to be matched with our child.
  3. The wait to pick our child up after acceptance.
Through reading, asking questions, and other mediums, we have found some of our answers to the "why so long" questions. We received an email the other day from our Facilitator in Ontario, which explains even more of the reason behind what often seems like an endless process.


We as an agency are accountable to both the Canadian and Ethiopian Governments, as we serve the best interests of the child at all times. We have an obligation to ensure that every child is legally adoptable, and that all documentation surrounding this child’s history is in place for the protection of the child and the adoptive family.

[...] 'Why does it take so long to refer a child to a waiting family, given the millions of orphans in Africa?' When children are placed into orphanages the onus of responsibility falls to the Orphanage Director to prove and ensure that the child is legally free for adoption. He/she begins by obtaining a written consent from the biological parent stating that they cannot provide for the basic care needs of the child. The biological family is also required to obtain governmental consent to place their child for adoption from the local authorities (a local municipal [...] office, as well as the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.) When a child is abandoned, it is imperative that the Orphanage Director obtains a hospital record and/or police certificate, together with governmental approval following a police investigation, in an attempt to locate the child’s biological relatives.

These documents can often take weeks and sometimes months to obtain from the various authorities, depending on each child’s situation. Once we have been satisfied that all documentation is in order, the child will then be moved from the orphanage and brought into our transition home. At this stage we attend at a local clinic/hospital to have the child’s full medical completed and we have all blood testing for HIV and Hepatitis conducted. If the children are provided with a clean bill of health, they can then be referred to waiting family. However, if it is determined that a child is ill, we spend the necessary time monitoring the situation while nurturing and loving them until they have been restored back to full health.

There are indeed many children in the developing world in need of a loving family. These children themselves are the centre of our world, and at the core of our existence. [...]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

For The Thousandth Time

We all experience those "once in a lifetime" happenings. The ones we talk about over and over. The ones that have us in stitches of laughter, sobbing in tears, or just in reminiscing mode. These monumental events and happenings are the ones we believe help shape us into the people we have become...or are becoming. They are those little dots on the time-line of our life.
  • We are more vulnerable because...
  • We are more sincere because...
  • We gossip less because...
  • We place more value on friendship (whether family or friends) because...
  • We take more time to play outside with our kids because...
  • We spend less time focusing on the mess of the house and more time focusing on the play that made it such a disaster because...
  • We pursue more meaning in our life because...
Part of the application and preparation process for the homestudy part of our adoption was to complete an exercise such as this. "Draw a line on a blank sheet of paper and indicate important events with a dot to mark where they occured in our life."

A Dot.

The important events, those that formed us into the (potential) parents the adoption agency and social worker were looking to find, were denoted by several dots. Events such as the death of our grand-parents, the birth of our children, major moves, completing a 1/2 marathon, marriage; these events were to be represented by a mark on a blank sheet of paper. Honestly, I found this a challenging exercise, simple though it may sound. I don't actually believe that these monumental events in my life are the ones that have played the role of shaping me. I think it is the culmination of the little things. Sure the big events are important and necessary but I don't think they, in any way replace all those little "things" that manifest.

The weather in our area has been beautiful over the past couple of weeks. Sun shining, blue skies, warm-ish weather. The boys have asked on several mornings, if we can go to the dog park. This is a piece of grassy land, an off-leash dog park located behind our house which separates us from the camp. I am one who can't handle the thought of being cooped up all day with stir crazy children...(it only makes me a stir crazy Mum). So, whenever they make the request I am more than happy to oblige.

Shoes on. Jacket on. Vest on. (Not cold enough for the tuque yet.) Up we trek (more like saunter) to the dog park. Tennis ball and foot balls in hand, dog leading the way...up we make our way.

We open the gate and enter the wide open space, (as if everywhere isn't wide open space around here). The pup runs, Noah throws his tennis ball and chases after it, and Tait sweetly works on his running-while-simultaneously-throwing-the-football technique. I love this. All of it.


Now understand, we either walk through or past the park at least 4 times a day through the summer and at least once or twice weekly throughout the rest of the year. We know it well. We even take it for granted most of the time.


Today, however, Noah suddenly looked over to a set of 2 tall cedar trees clustered together and surrounded by tall, dry grass. They grow pretty much in the middle of the park...a little off to one side, but they stand alone.

Look Mama!! Look at those tall trees...look, Tait! Can we go over there?!

Of course I reply yes. And we play for almost an hour.

And the next day.

And the one after that.

Three days in a row we played around and in these 2 tall trees and this tall, hay-looking grass. Trees decades old are suddenly discovered. They've always been there. They've not grown taller since the last time we were at the park. They've not been transplanted over the past week. But they had always blended in with the rest of the scenery. Until this one day last week. They are huge. How could he have missed them until now?

But I think we do that a lot. We see these big things daily but they become so commonplace, so small, that we don't notice them for the other happenings around us. And inevitably, they pass by us, all the while morphing us. Yet, we don't even take notice. These giant "trees" stand tall in front of us and we can't even see them for the busyness, the activity, and the stuff with which we surround ourselves.

Lately - since that "tree epiphany"- I have been looking, seeking even, for those tall, steadfast trees in my life...

...finding out what makes me, Me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

1 Month!

One month ago today, DHL dropped our file on the desk in the Transition Home (orphanage) in Addis Ababa.

One month ago today, our little dream took one step closer to becoming a reality.

One month ago today, we (actually I think it was mostly me - Ben's a little more laid back) took a breath and felt that we had done everything we could actively do...for now...on this side of the world.

Now we wait.

We pray.

We hope.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Red Letters Campaign: Project Ethiopia







I've headed to the Red Letters Campaign (RLC) on and off over the past many months. Project Ethiopia of course holds the most impact for us.

Parts of an article, (All I'm Offering Is Truth...Nothing More) from the online RLC magazine, Serious Living, struck me. How insightful the author, Ross is. I put this down to his personal experience but equally, find his thoughts easy to relate to.

Ross discusses the scene from the Matrix, (ever seen this blockbuster?) when Neo has the choice between taking the blue or the red pill. Honestly, I am not a fan of this movie. I don't like anything with a touch of sci-fi...but this analogy is striking.

Choosing the blue pill would allow Neo would wake up believing that his visit with Morpheus had just been a dream. The red pill would open Neo up to see the world as it truly exists. As Morpheus tells him, “All I’m offering is the truth … nothing more."


How often do we make this choice? Choosing truth over anything else...

Some. Thing. Else. Any. Thing. Else.

And then Ross reminds us of something else:

These are the moments that shape us. With the truth lying before you, the only decision that remains is what you will do with that knowledge - accept it or hide from it.


We make dozens of choices daily. Sometimes trivial. Sometimes life changing.

I remember the day we chose to take the Red Pill...the path less known, less beaten down. The one, however, with a light so gleaming at the end, that we would have been remiss not to have taken it. No longer a dream, the path of adoption was now a reality. I can't imagine having chosen the other, blue pill. Seeing the dream as nothing more than that. A dream. Simply something "others do". Something to regret in a couple of years.

The choice has strengthened our faith. It has opened our eyes to the realities of the world. Extreme Poverty. Child trafficking. Illness. Disease. Hope. Love. Grace. Faith. Selflessness. Sacrifice. Truth Of What Happens At The Foot Of The Cross. It has brought us closer to real truth.

Now, while I don't necessarily think we are doing absolutely everything that we can. I know we are doing more. More than 1 year ago. More than even 10 months ago. Right now, that is enough. It won't always be, but for now we take one day at a time.

So, when presented with two pills which one will you take?

The Blue - dream - Pill.
or
The Red - reality - Pill.

The Red Pill stirs up Passion. It seeks Knowledge. It provokes Action. It may accompany (or better yet) trigger a Turning Point in your life. It encourages Growth. It enables Truth through Restlessness - the desire to no longer let the world pass us by.

I want to be the change that I want to see in others. This is how I will begin.

I've never grown into a better person through dreams.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Little Things Are Actually Big Things

We have had a couple of generous, kind, souls go about some fundraising on their own to help out with our adoption expenses. Through home business sales (PD), bake sales (TD, BW, LW), one day's wages (CH)...these gifts have accrued! Each time, when being presented with a financial gift the comment, "it's not much but..." accompanies the giving.

But herein lies the kicker: It is much. It is very very much.

Without the smaller gifts, larger amounts would never be attained.

Also, there are a lot of smaller fees. Those smaller costs are all tantamount to our adoption. Simply because one fee is larger than another, doesn't mean it is more important by any stretch.

This morning, Ben and I shared with the church where we are in our journey and what is to come. And on that note - welcome to our blog, if you are new! - it's all very exciting. I was blessed to have engaged in a short conversation with one of these kind people today at the end of our service.

She gifted $265 to us, raised on her own through a home business. The giver told me that compared to what has been raised, "it isn't much". But it is!

Here are a few of our "smaller" costs...to name only a few:
  • TB Tests (Ben & Ashleigh): $40
  • RCMP Fingerprinting (Ben & Ashleigh): $50
  • Interpol Ottawa Fingerprinting Fees (Ben and Ashleigh): $50
  • Notary Fees (initial): $25
  • Ethiopian Visa Photos (Ben & Ashleigh): $25.90
  • Immigration & Citizenship Initial Application (for child): $100
This totals $290.90. What a difference the gift offered today will make in helping us. The "little fees" here and there really do add up.

So, Thank You.

Yes, You.

From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You.

More Notes On Thankfulness

I love this poem sent to me from a friend...thank you, Andrea!

I am Thankful For...

... the mess after a party because it means that I am surrounded
by friends,

... the taxes I pay because it means I'm employed,

... the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means that
I have enough to eat,

... my shadow who watches me work because it means that I am out
in the sunshine,

... a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and
gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home,

... the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because
it means that I am capable of walking and have been blessed with
transportation,

... my huge heating bill because it means I am warm,

... all the complaining I hear about the government because it
means I have freedom of speech,

... the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it
means that I can hear,

... the piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have
clothes to wear,

... the alarm that goes off early in the morning hours because
it means that I'm alive,

... weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because
it means that I am capable of working hard,

... and ultimately I am thankful for Jesus and the horror of the
cross because it means that I can spend eternity in heaven.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pre-Occupation

After a rather incredibly awfully sad week, we had the pleasure of being invited out on a field trip. The boys and I got an early start to our Saturday, left Ben at home to work around the house, and joined a friend who quite possibly had an even more sad week. And, while I am convinced that we all need to work through our sadness and "change" in order to adjust to our new routines after a loss, I am equally confident in the fact that we need to pre-occupy ourselves with fun.

New Adventures.

Happiness.

Change of Scene.
Peace.
Today we found these elements - crucial in the healing process - at the Goldstream Provincial Park and in the friendship of the world's sweetest friend, Tracy.

Oh - And A Little Ice Cream Never Hurt, Either.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Being Thankful

I debated posting something Thanksgiving-ish. Life has seemed a little bleak over the past little while:
  • About 2 weeks ago, Ben's wedding ring was lost/stolen. It's good and gone, we're quite sure.
  • About 1 week ago the charger to our (really great) baby monitor went missing, ah hem...was misplaced. I'm not blaming anyone, (you know who you are - little people). Now, this may not seem like a big deal but it was a really nice one and a gift from special friends when Noah was born. (I also loath buying anything not really needed, but with another one on the way sometime in the not-so-distant future, it was necessary. We went cheap.)
  • In less than 2 days a friend whom I have come to love, to confide in, and whose friendship I have found much depth in, will be gone. This kind of friendship isn't one I seek out often, or take lightly. The boys will also be saying good-bye to their very good childhood friends.
And while some of this may seem trivial, superficial, and materialistic to many, it is my life. After a not-so-stellar long weekend, (though it was filled with some great moments with friends!) a couple of thought-filled morning runs, one very thoughtful and thought-provoking message from a friend (thank you, CM), I have come almost full circle and tried to give myself a kick in the butt...fill the glass until it is half full..instead of draining it until it is half empty...and have realized that I am truly blessed.

Yesterday, I was thinking this "thankful" thing over while working my way through five loads of laundry.

Urgh. I hate doing that much laundry. I try to keep it to three loads a week, sometimes four...done all in one day so it doesn't bog me down. Then I got to thinking: we have enough clothes that I can do five loads of laundry, and there is still enough upstairs to dress for several more days. Glass half full.

I've been pretty down about our friends moving on Friday. The lump-in-your-throat kind of down. I'm not sure if I get more upset about the thought of me not having that incredible friendship just around the corner, or the thought that the boys are losing their two favourite partners in crime. Then I got to thinking; How blessed have we been to have this family in our lives. How changed am I for having experienced this friendship for the past year and a half. How much better am I, for having known these people?! Glass half full.

Then, as I listened to the screams of our children - not necessarily the happy, joyful screams but more the (ah hem) "brotherly love" screams - in the background while doing those five loads of laundry, I got to thinking: At least they love each other enough to fight. At least they are healthy enough, agile enough, strong enough, and resilient enough to fight. And how blessed are we to have been able to have two children? We know all too well that there are hundreds of loving couples in the world pouring thousands of dollars into the hope and idea of having just one child. There is a dress hanging in the bedroom window constantly reminding me of our third child...either near birth or just born. We will be parents again. We will have the privilege and responsibility of raising another human being. Glass half full.

So here I sit. Seeking the blessings and the silver lining that we sometimes miss in the disappointments and short comings of our lives. I am reminded that we're going to be let down. Life is not fair. Yet, I am also reminded that everything I have and everything that I am is a product of ups and downs in life. It is the stormy days that grow our souls, that bring out our "true colours", that teach us. There are clear skies after storms.

I will wait this one out. Be thankful for what it is teaching me, for what He is teaching me...for how I am growing. I hope the moments of despair, the days of elation, and the hours in between mold me into a better human being.

And through these times, trials, I will look forward to a Clear Sky.

I will be Thankful.

video

(Noah and Tait are also thankful for the "little things".)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Adoption 101

Throughout our adoption journey we have spoken with many many people and have answered many many many questions! (Inappropriate) Adoptive terminology that I wouldn't necessarily have thought about in the past is now a pet peeve of mine. I am often engaged in a conversation with a friend or acquaintance about our experience and questions come up that are worded so inappropriately. I realize this is just something that I have learned and that there is no reason others should have a grasp of many of the concepts but let's consider this Adoption 101. (Some of these will be serious, others may make you chuckle!) They haven't all specifically been asked to us, but they float around out there, I assure you...

1 - Will our Ethiopian daughter be: real natural biological ?
  • None of the above, she'll actually be a figment of our imagination.
  • (Seriously: She will be our real daughter. Noah and Tait are our biological children. She will also be our adopted child...just as Noah and Tait are our biological children...but, why is adoption not natural? Adoption is legally binding so just as our biological children cannot be returned, neither will our Ethiopian child. So please, when you are referring to any of our children, you can consider them all natural & very real.)
2 - Will she be your daughter?
  • No, we figured we would get her from the Rent-A-Kid Centre in town.
3 - How much did she cost?
  • Well, we've had to sell Ben's legs...he should get his prosthesis sometime next month. They wanted mine too, until they realized my height problem.
  • (Seriously: she is not costing anything. We are not paying a cent for her - though her life is priceless - it's the legal fees that accrue quite nicely.)
4 - Where are you getting her from?
  • Aisle 3 at Toys'R'Us. They're having a great sale right now. Geesh!
  • (Seriously: She was born in Ethiopia.)
5 - Where will she sleep if you only have 3 rooms?
  • Heck, the basement's big.
6 - Can you pick the one you want?
  • Yes, I actually grabbed the Toys'R'Us catalogue last week so I knew which one to pick up when I head down aisle 3.
  • (Seriously: There is a very structured "matching" system at the orphanage...hence our 3 month homestudy. Families are matched with children by age, personality, health concerns, family history.)
7 - Where are her parents?
  • Uh, Oprah hasn't revealed who the mailman is yet. Maybe Maury can help investigate.
  • (Seriously: We may or may not have the privilege of meeting one or both of her birth parents when we go to Ethiopia.)
8 - Will she have anything contagious that she could give to my kids?
  • Yes, I would suspect she will have Intelligence, Inner Beauty, Incredible Heritage.
  • (Seriously: We don't know what her health status will be. We are praying for a child who is as healthy as possible. Just as we had no idea what the health status of our biological children would be, prior to their births.)
9 - How long does it take to get one?
  • We opted to use DHL, so we're hoping they follow through and ship her Express Int'l. Our other option was "Eeni, Meeni, Mieni, Mo" at a sketchy hotel in a city who's name we couldn't pronounce, but we figured DHL is pretty reputable.
  • (Seriously: Our dossier has been in the orphanage now for a couple of weeks. Wait time for a match is usually 6 months and then once we accept our match we will wait another 3-6 months for court dates, visas, etc.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweet Pea Skirts Are Here!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to be busy. Not the stressful busy, not the never-ending list of chores busy (though most days I have one of those), not the busy but never doing anything busy. I love the multi-tasking, the feeling useful and the productive busy.

This desire to be a good kind of busy has enabled me to turn my latest "daydream" into reality. I have created a kind of mini-business (as I like to call it).

Sweet Pea Styles is a little project that allows me to create, sew, and share.

If you have a little girl, or know of someone who does, these are each unique and individually hand- sewn skirts, by yours truly. And, because I am a young Mum who knows the value of a dollar - they are also inexpensive! Sold locally, I would like to network personally also!

My goal is basic: Sweet & Simple.

Please check them out: www.sweetpeastyles.blogspot.com

And spread the word...new designs and prints are added weekly!!

Kiddo, You Made Me Proud: Part II

What started out to be a post about Noah the other day, turned into a tangent (albeit an important one, I think). It all started out with a brief description of our Sunday Morning Celebration Service. This is where I intended the entry to head:

...Upon arrival at church, either Ben or I always take the boys downstairs to their Sunday School class. Up until about 3 months ago (Noah's 3rd birthday), they were both in the infant/toddler class. During our service upstairs, the boys would play mostly...sometimes a story would be read, or they would colour or play with playdough. However, June 17th (Noah's 3rd birthday) marked a very important milestone for our little guy. He was a Big Boy. This meant he could now attend the Big Boy Class at church (3-5yrs).

Two weeks ago, our Children's Ministry structure changed and now the 0-4yr old children are back together. There is a little more structure: a story and deliberate colouring time for the older ones. Many of Noah's little friends returned to the younger class. Noah agreed the first week. This past week though, he really wanted to be back in the Big Boy Class. Now, understand that all but 1 of his friends are back with the younger children. Even those kids who will be 4 in only a couple of weeks are back with the younger kids.

Noah was firm about being in a class with the big kids. He didn't care who was there. He didn't care that not only would he be the youngest but by far the smallest, too. Nope. All that mattered was that he got to be with the kids who rotate through stations: story, craft, snack, game...

...So, after trying to convince him that the younger class was probably a better idea (and failing), after talking with our Children's Ministry Leader (who strongly encouraged him to go join the younger class), we walked hand-in-hand over to the name tag table, wrote his name on a little seahorse name tag and lined him up (alone) under the sign labeled, 4-5yr olds: Seahorses.

I let go of his hand, bent down, and asked him again if he wanted to go with Tait and all of his other friends, to which he confirmed "no Mama, I a big kid now". Then he opened his arms, gave me a huge hug and a kiss on the cheek and I left him standing there under his Seahorse sign, waiting for his Big Boy class to begin. I turned back and looked at this tiny blonde haired boy, standing under a colourful Seahorse, surrounded by kids aged 4 to 10 years old. He didn't look nervous. He didn't start to tear up. He just waited patiently for his Big Boy Class to begin.

Fast forward an hour:

After our service, I headed downstairs to get the boys. I half expected to find them both in the younger class but there was Noah, standing there at the bottom of the stairs, craft in hand, grin on his face. He was so proud of himself...and I of him! "We read a story about God today, Mama. And look I sprayed my own, too". (He presented me with his spray painted craft.)

Interestingly, I know that our Children's Ministry workers really try to keep the kids segregated in their own age groups. It makes it a little easier to ensure the older kids are engaged and taking in the lesson being taught. It ensures the lessons are age-appropriate. However, I'm not sure I think we can categorize our kids based solely on their age. I think generalizing that one 3 year old is just like the rest is naive, to be honest. This happens in our schools systems all the time too, and I sometimes wonder which kids would excel given the opportunity.

I thought about this quite a bit throughout the morning and the rest of the day. I was very proud of Noah for wanting to learn, wanting to be a big kid, wanting to do something that was likely intimidating.

Is it wrong that I didn't "make" him go to the younger class; That I "broke the rules" so-to-speak, by allowing a little one almost a year younger than his peers, stay? I felt a little guilty that maybe he would be little more immature than his cohort (though this has not been the case in the past); That I was maybe abusing the system a little bit by asking for my son to be the exception.

And then I thought about it some more. He came home that day talking about what he learned. Not "we played with tools" or "we did drawings" but rather, "We read a story about God".

He'll be with the big kids this week.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Actual Number

I love this ABBA article by Jason on how many orphans there are globally, the fact that this number is substantially lower than last year, and how we can use this new knowledge to noticeably help make a difference.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Kiddo, You Made Me Proud: Part I

Every Sunday morning we get up and get ready to go to our Celebration Service. Yes, that's what we call our Sunday church service. A Celebration Service. It's not another boring service with an old crochety minister reading verbatim out of his King James version of the bible.

Nope, we have a mid-thirties rather goofy kind of guy who includes relevant video clips in his messages, pulls names out of our offering bag for a Neil Diamond concert and who, next week, when our Sunday Celebration Service is at a dairy farm, will judge a pie eating contest. (...or maybe he'll be a contestant?). So truly, this Sunday service is in every way, a Celebration. It's not all fun and games, our services get down to the heart of the matter. (Sorry to be so cliche but it's the truth.) Yesterday, we were touched by a video about the love of a father. And, as we watched this clip (I know there wasn't a dry eye in the house), I found it hard to believe that our Father in Heaven loves us more than this father loves his son.

For those of you who don't know the story of Dick & Rick Hoyt, they are a father-son team. Their relationship is anything but ordinary and together, they have accomplished the extraordinary. Born with no ability to walk, talk, or communicate (or so most Doctors thought) Rick's parents were told to simply institutionalize their son. That he would never enjoy quality of life. Dick couldn't imagine simply disregarding his son, pretending he never "happened". He knew his son was "in there". There was a beating heart, a soul, a passion for life. Somewhere in the darkness of Rick's eyes, Dick saw hope.

There was a spark. And, like an old, damp match, he kept striking and striking until the flame was lit and the fire burned strong. And now we see - together, they have conquered the unimaginable. Marathons, Triathalons, a University Degree...many of these feats not Dick's ideas but rather his son's. Can you imagine what would have happened if Dick had never given his son this chance at life? If he had simply and apathetically, (though I'm sure it would have been painful) signed his son over to an institution. How much easier would it have been to let him sit there between four white walls, watching cartoons day after day...

And On The Menu Today...

...Heart Peanut Butter Sandwiches.


Because heart sandwiches just taste better.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

She's Running...I'm Using Cloth

We all have unique methods to our madness and the old cliche saying "It's Our Childrens' Future" rings louder with each smog filled day...

...well, maybe not here in rural Crofton with a booming population of 2,500, zero traffic lights and only a couple of local "essentials" stores. Yet, most of the world is emanating this "oh crap what is that smell and why does my child have asthma already?" sentiment and fear.

While Steph and Matt are running around North America to raise environmental awareness (that's the condensed version) I will do what I can here in my humble abode. After all, each little action adds up and more importantly - the example I set for my children will impact them more than my words ever will. I admit to trying, truly I do.
  • I turn off lights when not in a room.
  • I don't leave water running unnecessarily.
  • I recycle...well, not as much as I should but I'm working on it.
  • I walk and don't drive, when at all possible.
  • I do not buy pre-packaged.
  • I don't use my dryer unless it's absolutely necessary.
I have done what I believe to be a good enough job. But my Dad has always taught me that "good enough" simply isn't "good enough".

My Action for you, Steph and Matt;

My effort to teach my children;

My desire to make the earth a greener and cleaner place to live;

My need to be a better person by caring about the earth's problems;

For those reasons, I present to you my newest endeavor and serious goal. A casual attempt made in the past. Now taken to a whole new level...

Cloth Diapers
  • Bought on Consignment...
  • Never bleached...
  • Never tumble dried...
  • Never (to be) thrown into a landfill...
Hung To Dry On The Line, Thanks To A Beautiful October Day
And Don't They Make Little Bums Look So Cute