If you have visited here before, you can probably see that I have changed the name of the blog again. I started blogging at 4URuthie to tell the story of our journey to adopt our 1st daughter. I changed it to Mountains for Maggie when we were praying for God to move mountains on behalf of our 2nd daughter. Well now it is no longer just Ruthie’s or Maggie’s stories. It is now our family's story, and the stories of those we share life with, as we Conquer Mountains together. Both ConqueringMountains.net and 4URuthie.blogspot will lead here.

About Me

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I am a pastor's wife, mother of 4 kids (2 adopted and 3 with special needs), physical therapist, and photography junky. This is where it all comes together for me. Feel free to join along as I process life out loud.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Testament Tuesday

I don't know what you got out of this week's reading, but I felt like I saw over and over and over again that we are no longer bound by the old law of the Old Testament, but through Jesus we have the ultimate sacrifice and forgiveness once and for all through faith in Him.  Several times I wanted to say, "Okay I get it."

But do I?

As I was wrapping up my reading on Saturday, the Lord really brought to mind the way I personally handled the news of Jack's condition not being treatable.   My first was thought was to argue to God, "Have I not made enough 'sacrifices' in my life for you to do this for me?"  Then I asked, "What did I do wrong that this would be the fate of my child?"  Even though my heart knows the truth, when in crisis, my mind went back to the idea that I have to atone for my sins personally, earn God's favor, and that somehow I am experiencing God's punishment when things don't go my way.  How ridiculous is that?

As if Paul didn't say it enough different ways for us, I will say this one more time for you and clearly myself.  When God sent Jesus to walk around on this planet, He didn't do that to teach us how to better atone for our sins.  He sent Christ to be the ultimate payment for ALL sin for whoever puts their trust in Him.  Jesus desires a personal relationship with us and if that means my child has to walk a different road in this life so that He can be more real in either my life, Jack's life or someone else's, then so be it.

Gal 2:16 "So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified

Heb 2:17 17For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for[f]the sins of the people. 

Heb 9:15  15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Snapshot- What Happens When Mom Leaves Town

Ni Hao Y'all

I went to Waco this weekend to photograph some families.  Ruthie went with me and Jack went to see his Nana.  Here are the pictures that were waiting for me when I returned a few minutes ago.  This is what happens when I leave Trent in charge of Sam.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photography Lesson- Shutter Speeds

The best decision I ever made in photography was to go from shooting in automatic to shooting manually.  I never realized how much you could control on your camera and I am still learning new things all the time.
One cool thing to do is to set your camera on Shutter Speed Priority (Tv) and see what changing your shutter speed does for your pictures.  I think the best place to see this is with water.  I played with my shutter speed some this weekend so you could see the difference here.   I will show the picture and give you the information on the shutter speed on top.

What you should notice in these first 2 pictures is that when my shutter speed is slower, the water looks more solid.  That is because the shutter is open longer so the detail of the water runs together.  The "f" is the size of your aperture.  It changes with your shutter speed on Tv to help get the right amount of light in.
1/30 sec at f/20

When the shutter speed is faster (1/4000th), you can see more of the detail of the water.
1/4000 sec at f/1.8

OK you can see pretty good detail here in the water Ruthie was spraying in Trent's face.  That was shot at 1/400 sec. and f/2.8

Can you see the difference here?  This picture was shot at 1/6 sec and f/22

And for something in the middle, this was shot at 1/160 sec and f/7.1

Here is my final example for a little something non-water.  I was trying to capture the sand falling out of Ruthie's hand because that is the entire point of this picture is capturing her play.  This picture was shot at 1/3200 sec and f 1.8.  That fast of a shutter speed was necessary not to miss the sand.  Having my f that low is also what made the background blurry for me, but that is a lesson for another day. 

Alright photographers, get out there and practice with your shutter speed. Remember, if you shoot in shutter speed priority (Tv), your aperture will be set automatically by your camera.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Update on Jackaroo

We got the call yesterday that I had been preparing myself for all day. Jack's neurologist said that his cord appears to move fine in the motion MRI so there is really nothing they can do to relieve his symptoms. My heart saw this coming. I think the thing that most confuses/frustrates me right now is why we had to walk through this time of hoping in the first place. We had really gotten alright with his condition until they performed the first MRI and said they might be able to do something. That got our hopes up all over again.

I was thinking about something last night as I was trying to lay this down and be done with it. The last piece of hope I have is that God has related to us regularly over the last few years as a restorative God. I am not sure of a better word. I guess you could also say "after the last minute" God? I will tell you what I mean and then maybe you can think of a better word.

When we got the offer to move here so Trent could pastor this church 4 years ago, we felt God saying "no" so we let it go. Then 3 months later the offer came back around in perfect timing and God said "yes". We had completely let it go. Then when we were waiting on our referral approval for Ruthie, the last batch arrived that ours should have for sure been in and we got the call of "we don't know why but it didn't come". I cried and grieved that really hard for several hours. Then we got a call of "Oh we just found out that it was sent to the wrong agency". Finally, when we were waiting on our Travel Approval we were told that it had to arrive by Friday July 3rd for us to make the July travel group. Well the office ended up being closed on the 3rd so they didn't discover it until Monday the 6th. We were told it was too late. Then China granted us special approval and we traveled with 2 days notice!

My point is that with a history like that, I can't fully release this hope from my heart until we see the Neurosurgeon in 2 weeks. I have to admit that the chances of him saying something different are really slim, but I just can't let go yet. Oh Lord won't you come in at the last minute this time and do what you have done 3 times before?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Testament Tuesdays

The theme of my last week was Jack's MRI and fervent prayer for a treatment option for him. So naturally everything in the readings about healing jumped off the page at me. Did anyone else but me think every single day had a reference to Jesus healing a paralytic?

I think the thing that stood out the most was the regular connection of God's healing to people's faith. If I based my understanding of healing entirely on last week's reading, I could easily walk away with the notion that only those with enough faith could be healed and those who aren't healed are not because of their lack of faith. While this is true in some instances, I believe that healing is much more complex than that.

When I was a teenager, there was minister named Dave Busby speaking at youth camps and events. Busby was not only an incredibly anointed minister, but he was also had Cystic Fibrosis. One year when Busby was speaking under a tent at youth camp, the rain was so loud that the hundreds of kids there could not hear him. Busby stopped speaking and prayed that God would stop the winds and the rain so the kids could hear the message. Would you believe that the rain stopped instantly? It did. Here is my point - I don't think that a man with faith enough to stop a storm still had Cystic Fibrosis because he lacked the faith for God to heal him.

Another example is Jennifer Rothschild. You can google that name if you don't know who I am talking about. She is a blind minister who God is using in incredible ways right now. You know why I think Busby and Rothschild haven't been healed? I don't think it is because they lack the faith. I think it is because God can receive more glory through their conditions than through their healing. God often uses our struggles as a platform for ministry.

Jack's story isn't over and I don't know what God has planned for him, but I do know that I find encouragement in the fact that Jesus stopped regularly to heal the paralytic AND that He uses those He doesn't heal to do great ministry too. How wonderful that we serve a God who knows the desire of our hearts and the needs of our bodies.

If you have a blog and are participating in Testament Tuesdays, please link up here. I would love to read your thoughts. Otherwise, please leave a comment and let me know what God is teaching you through this time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Lotus Effect

Trent and I have new saying in our house and it is "The Lotus Effect". So here is where it came from.

I was pulling out of my neighborhood the other day and I found myself right beside a yellow Lotus. So you don't have to google that, it is a sports car that runs new around $75,000. My first thought as "wow that is a really pretty and really yellow car". My second thought however was to laugh because after noticing its looks, I couldn't help but notice the AWFUL squeeling sound that was coming from under its hood. I know that sound and I know it well. My first car was purchased from an auction (we were pretty sure it had been previously sunk in a lake) and it made that same sound. We replaced every belt and screw we could find but we couldn't get that sound to go away. The entire parking lot knew when I arrived to school each day.

I had to laugh at the irony that was sitting beside me. There was a man who desperately wanted to be noticed driving a WAY OVERPRICED vehicle that on the inside was falling apart. Are we so different? Living in a nicer part of Houston, I am surrounded by people who go to great measures to look the part and they spend a lot of money doing it. The truth is, that we can look like a million bucks but on the inside we are all depreciating assets that apart from Jesus have no real value in and of themselves.

Let me clarify something real quick before you start calling me a hypocrite. Yes I drive a newish car, I buy my clothes new most of the time, and I wear make up at least 3 days a week. I am not pointing fingers at taking care of yourself or caring about your appearance. What I am saying is that what really matters is the authentic condition of our hearts and that can't be changed by any amount of money we spend on our outer shell. We can nip, tuck, botox, and bejewel ourselves until we are completely broke but that doesn't change the truth. What matters most at the end of our road is not how good or put together we look but the state of our heart.

Thank you to the over priced, yet falling apart, very yellow Lotus driver for giving me that object lesson.

Today's Side Note:

When you are playing Putt Putt and can't seem to make contact with the ball....

Just drop your club and go ahead and kick it where it needs to go!

Sunday Snapshot- Birthday Getaway

Ni Hao Y'all

I love Jack more and more everyday. That child is like an onion and everyday I get to peel back a new layer to see a little more of his personality and spirit and I love what I am seeing. His birthday was last week and he surprised us by telling us that he didn't want a party this year, but just wanted to go to a hotel as a family and play. As much as I love planning parties for my kids, I have to admit that I was so relieved at this idea. It has been a crazy few months so some time away together to relax in exchange of invitations, decorations, food, thank you notes, etc. was fine with me! Here are a few pictures of our time away at the La Torreta resort on Lake Conroe

The Birthday Boy!

I had to ask them to show me their muscles to get them to stop moving and all look at me at the same time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

He is Faithful

I am sitting in the waiting room at Texas Children's right now and waiting for Jack to get out of his MRI. We have prayed so hard that they would find something that is operable that would relieve his symptoms. Now I just wait.

I was reading today about Jesus walking on the water. Peter stepped out of the boat to join him and walked on the water too until he saw his surroundings and began to fear. At that moment he started to sink. I can identify with Peter right now. It is easy to have faith when your not emotionally and physically involved yourself. I can have faith for the people of Haiti because I am not them. Having faith for God to heal my son is much more personal and I feel myself sinking. All the "what ifs" start to surface and suddenly I am very aware of my surroundings and all the possibilities.

At times like this, I know I must do 2 things:
1. I will fix my eyes on the one who isn't sinking. Just as the storm and the waters couldn't over take Christ, this won't either. He knows what those images say and He knows what our future holds.
2. I will remind myself that I serve an ever present God who is at work around me. I entered this Haiti project hoping to raise enough money to build a house for one family and since then I have seen the money come in for a duplex and we are now well on our way to having the funds to build another house in the spring. I hoped for one outcome and God has far surpassed that hope with immeasurable blessing. Why should this situation with Jack be any different?

Thanks for praying with me and walking with me through this. I look forward to sharing the results, whatever they might be, because God's faithfulness is the same regardless.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Testament Tuesdays- S.O.A.P Notes

To kick off this first Testament Tuesday, I want to tell you about a method of Bible studying that I am using for this 75 Day Challenge. It is called S.O.A.P Journaling. S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.

So here is what you do...

1. Get a journal or notebook of some form and write the date at the top of the page

2. Write an "S" and beside it, write the scripture or passage that stood out to you from that days reading at the top of the page

3. Write an "O" and beside that write a one or two sentence observation about that verse. What does the verse mean? What is the verse saying?

4. Write an "A" and beside that write a one or two sentence application about that verse. What does God want you to do or believe or receive or say or stop doing or change your thinking on because of that verse?

5. Write a "P" and a one or two sentence prayer in response.

Here is an example of mine from yesterday:
S: Matt 4:4 "Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God"
O: I can't live on "every word" if I don't know them. I must be in the Word to live on it. True living is not just found in believing.
A: I have to stick to the 75 day challenge and not get lazy with it.
P: Lord help me to stay in your word. Bring it to life for me and help me apply it in my day. I want to live daily on your word.

I have to say that another verse stood out for me too- "News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them."

Please pray with us this week. Jack has his 2nd MRI on Thursday to see if we can do surgery to stop the muscle loss and spasticity in his legs. We are so hopeful. May the God who healed the paralyzed in this verse, also heal my son who is getting closer and closer to that. We are so hopeful.

OK so I am trying this link thing for the first time. If you wrote a Testament Tuesday entry, I want to read it. So will you include your link here so we can see what God is teaching all of us?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunday Snapshot Gator Style

Before I start the Sunday Snapshot, I want to remind you that the NT in 75 days challenge starts TOMORROW!!

So onto the Sunday Snapshot...

I actually didn't take these pictures. A good friend of the family took the boys to the Gator Festival yesterday and came back with these pictures and lots of fun stories.

That would be Sam at the mouth of a gator

And Jack playing it safe at the other end

Yes Sam is petting a live gator. Thank you mr gator man for taping the mouth closed. :)

Both boys tried some gator on a stick (Jack said it tasted like sour chicken but Sam has the sour face if you ask me)

...but they settled for a corn dog and and hamburger.

They rode some rides.

...including an air boat.

And yes they even rode a mechanical bull. Anyone else having memories of Urban Cowboy?

Oh no that doesn't look good!!

Not many people can look that cute in a life jacket. Just sayin'

Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, September 10, 2010

Adoption Through The Eyes of Family

My sister is a publisher for a Louisiana magazine and each month she writes a column. This month she wrote that column about Ruthie. I thought it was a beautiful picture of how God works in the hearts family members who may not understand your choices to adopt at first.

Here is the contents of the article:

One Last Thing
September Issue
Johnette McCrery

Several years ago, my sister announced to the family that she and her husband had decided to adopt a little girl from an orphanage in China. At the time, I didn’t understand. She had two healthy little boys and was clearly capable of having more children. So why adopt?
Not long after, she told us she had agreed to take a special needs child, and that really left me baffled. Most of us spend our pregnancies praying for a healthy child with no special needs, and Ginny has volunteered for the task? Did she know what she was getting herself into?
Fast forward to today. Ruthie Mei Henderson has been part of Ginny’s family for a year now, and all I can say is this: I am so envious.
Ruthie’s special need turned out to be her special gift. Ruthie has arthrogryposis, with her case best described as “wrist drop” in both arms with weak elbow and shoulder muscles. Ginny believes that without this disability, Ruthie would likely have spent more years at the orphanage, as many children do, in part so she could help with the younger children. Because she was disabled, we suspect she was adopted out sooner.
Her disability is also her special gift because it made her a perfect match for my sister, who is a physical therapist. Ginny was told by doctors that Ruthie would never be able to bend her arms to feed herself, but because Ginny is so skilled at working with her, Ruthie is already able to do this at just 3 years old.
I believe the biggest mistake God made, which he promptly corrected, was not giving her a disability, but rather having her born in China. This little girl was clearly meant to be an American.
The first meal that Ginny and her husband, Trent, had with Ruthie was in an American hotel in China. The staff at the orphanage told Ginny that Ruthie had never had anything but rice cereal, a bottle of milk, and biscuits, and they warned she might not like traditional American fare.
Well, the minute Trent sat down with a plate full of bacon and eggs, her eyes lit up, and she grabbed a piece of bacon. Trent tells the story she ate 5 pieces in that sitting. That’s when they knew she would fit in just fine in Houston, Texas.
But Ruthie is not just American, she’s an all-American girl. Each night when she climbs into bed she asks Ginny to open her closet door and let her pick out her dress she will wear tomorrow. Ginny then puts it on a chair beside her bed so she can look at it while she goes to sleep. I can only imagine how beautiful her brightly-colored clothes must seem to her compared to what she wore for two years in the orphanage.
Recently I had a flight cancelled while traveling and found myself spending the night in Houston. When Ginny and Trent picked me up at the airport, I crawled into the back seat of the car next to Ruthie. She immediately started hollering “Pink! Pink!” and proceeded to rip off her sandals and expose her toes.
Ginny turned around and instantly knew what was happening. I was sporting hot pink toenail polish, and Ruthie had never seen painted nails. I then insisted we pull over to a pharmacy where I took her in and let her pick out the polish she wanted. That night I gave Ruthie her first pedicure while Ginny looked on, snapping pictures. The best pictures, however, were the pictures of the manicure she insisted on giving me, with nail polish covering my fingers up to the second knuckle.
I have since told Ginny that if she ever decides she wants another girl from China, to check into two-for-one specials. In the meantime, I will revel in the Ruthie pictures and stories and marvel at the little angel who clearly won life’s lottery.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Giveaway WINNER. Make that 4 Giveaway WINNERS!

So I decided instead of drawing and giving away 1 Bible, I would just give one to everyone who entered. I mean how can you decide who to give a Bible to or leave that to chance when you are perfectly capable of sending one to everyone.

If you are Stacy, Shannon, Wendy, or DelawareGirl please email me your address at ginnyhenderson@hotmail.com. Also if you have a preference on translation (NIV, New American Standard, KJV, etc) please let me know.

I hope the rest of you will please still plan on joining us for the 75 Days through the NT Challenge. I have never read through the entire NT at once so I think this will be a great thing. Think about all the other challenges you commit your time to. This one is surely worthwhile!

I am going to update the link with the readings for each day in case you want to get ahead. We are still waiting on the finishing touches of the iphone app but I will send that as soon as I get the link.

Here are a few pics from Sam and Ruthie's 1st day of Mother's Day Out today

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Super Saturday in a Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Y'all

On my way out to photograph a football game on Saturday, I passed this great camp and had to call Trent to bring the kids. They are such good sports. I am pretty sure I will be going back there for some future shoots of other families.

After we got home, the little ones broke out the paints and had a blast. They were supposedly washable, but we are still working on that after 2 rounds. Oh well as my neighbor said, "you can replace clothes, but you can't replace a memory"

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