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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Adoption from the Hubby part 1

It has been another crazy week that has left me with very little to say here and then I found this. It appears my husband has had a lot of good stuff to say over at his blog this week and I have been to absorbed in my own to do list to even see that. He has 4 posts on adoption this week that I think are worth sharing here. I will post the next ones on Fri and Sat.

Here You Go... Adoption from a my hubby's perspective part 1

Since I brought it up in yesterday's sermon (audio should be available here by Wednesday or on iTunes), I thought I'd post this week about some reflections on adoption. First out of the box and hot in my heart right now is adoption is a calling.

What I said yesterday in the sermon and I've blogged on before I stand behind: I think every Christian couple should ask if God will let you. But throwing the door open like that doesn't mean there's not a massive, weighty, spiritual piece to it. Quite the contrary. Should God allow you, you'll find yourself caught in this gravitational calling and actually depending on it. We did.

I remember when it clicked for us. I remember eating italian food with Ginny and talking about entry into this process. I remember all the waiting.

We waited a year to get a match.

We waited a long time for our PA.

We waited forever for our RA.

We waited longer than anyone under the non-Hague rules for our TA (over 150 days).

We cried while waiting.

We fussed with God and our boys and one another.

We got promises from God. None more precious than 1 Thessalonians 5.24: Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass. We clung to that truth like a kid to a lollipop. Multiple times, I'd tell myself and my wife that we weren't going to stand before Jesus someday to give an account for our lives and tell Him that we quit just because the wait was long and too hard. The temptation to give up was there. God's promises are stronger than the promises of temptation.

I received what I thought was a word of knowledge from the Holy Spirit: January. Turns out that's the month in which she was born and that's the month we got matched.

We saw God move in the last minute on both our RA and our TA (posts on my wife's blog here and here).

We rode roller coasters of unbelievable heights and depths.

None of it - NONE - could we have endured without the sense of calling. It's what sustained us. And that sense of calling is that gravitational pull toward something, giving weight to what you do and keeping you together when everything else is going supernova around you. We have some friends in the process right now enduring quite a bit of opposition from their family. Harsh words. Sinful attitudes. Guilt. Frustration. Prejudice. You don't endure those kinds of things (especially from family) with eyes on God without that settling, focusing, steadying weight of calling.

Adoption is a calling. No denying it. But it could be a calling for a lot more families than you know.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall

Sometimes living in the Houston area, I feel like a small town girl trapped in a big city.

I try to make it feel smaller by keeping my world small and existing primarily between 4 interstate exits

In the process of trying to make Houston small, I missed a really cool nearby town called Alvin.

I have a coworker from Alvin and I had heard rumors there was a strawberry farm there where your kids could pick strawberries and pay for them by the bucket load.

So we headed out there last week and 3 buckets and a whole lot of fun later, we had 15 lbs of strawberries to bring home.

It was worth the $30 in strawberries to get out of the smog and enjoy the country life for a few minutes again.

The kids had a blast picking strawberries and this camera totin' mama had fun with all the colors and rows.

They are ready to go back.

But first, I still have to figure out what to do with the freezer full of strawberries I already have.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Our Freedoms Entrap Us

Galatians 5:13   You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 

I have been thinking lately about all the "freedoms" Christ has given me and how I relate to them.  When I speak of "freedoms", I am speaking of all the things that God allows us to enjoy that when handled  improperly, can control us.   This might include things like our relationships, the internet, food, our hobbies, our work, etc.

I have been thinking on this because I have been struggling with one of my freedoms the last few months.  God gave me a passion for photography and then an opportunity to use it to bless others.  However, I said yes too many times and am just now starting to get out from under the weight of my overcommitment.  This God-given passion became an obsession that took my time away from the things that matter most.  My response is not to run from my freedom but to align it with God's will for my life and my time.  For me that means placing some parameters around it that help me control how much time and energy I give to it.  Before you give me credit, you should know that it was that or my husband wanted to become my scheduler.

Don't we all have things like that?  Now that I am aware of it in my own life, I see it more clearly all around me.  I know people who can't stay off of their iPhone apps or who live primarily for the next episode of their favorite TV show.  I know teenagers who obsess over a boyfriend and parents who worship their children.

Galatians 5:13 says that we should not use our freedoms to indulge ourselves but to serve others.  I think sometimes we forget that good things can even be bad when they become an obsession.  For example, you don't have to be looking at something bad on the internet for the internet to take you away from where your attention need to be.

What freedoms are entrapping you?  Can I go ahead and confess that a few years ago I was entrapped by the freedom to adopt.  I spent WAY TOO MANY hours reading China Adopt Talk and obsessing over when it would be my turn.  Satan is a perverter and his goal is to take our attention off of Christ and direct it towards ourselves and the things of this world.

I am going to work on keeping my freedoms in right perspective.  I hope this encourages you to do the same.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Black and White-ish Wednesday- Fried WHAT?

When we were at the rodeo the other day, we came across this.  We are a "wherever you are, be all there" kinda family so we decided to go for it.

We let the kids decide what they wanted to try and hoped it wasn't fried mushrooms. Then we waited for them to prepare our experiment.

The little ones chose fried Oreos and Jack chose fried Smores. They came out looking like this.

And this.

We all sampled the concoctions.

And decided it was not that bad.

If you are feeling a little nauseated right now, you will be encouraged to know that we did not try this...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Ni Hao Yall

We took the kids to the rodeo this week.  You can see pictures of Sam winning Mutton Bustin in the entry below this one.   

They had a blast on all the fair rides...

...and pony rides

They even learned how to milk a cow...

...and ride a tractor.  I am starting to think that Sam believes farmers are angry people.

Yep it was a fun day for sure.  I will have a few more pictures for you on Wednesday that just might make your stomach turn.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Black and White Wednesday- Mutton Bustin'

In the south, we have a rodeo "sport" called Mutton Bustin'.

It is where you pad and helmet up your small child.

Then let some cowboy you don't know place him on top of a trapped sheep.

Then they open the gate and your little one holds on for the ride of his life.

Eventually, they fall off but we told Sam that if he rode all the way to the end, he would win a prize.

That is all it took and that child held onto the side of that sheep twice as long as any of the other participants.

Until he finally fell off and another unknown cowboy rushed to his rescue before the sheep could return and step on him.

I agree it all sounds a little ridiculous.

But this 5-year old had the time of his life and HE WON!  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Defining Normal, Part 2

So just to recap from a couple of days ago, there are basically 2 normals:
1. Our personal normal that is based on our own experience
2. A societal normal which is defined by the outside world

I believe that most children have a strong sense of their personal normal and don't start to question that until the outside world tells them something different through exposure to societal norms.  My 5-year old is begging for a Nintendo DS right now because he sees all the big kids in our neighborhood have one and so he thinks he is lacking.  If we lived in an Amish community, I would think he would be much more content not having a DS.   Our role as parents is to try and speak into our children's lives into lots of areas including, but not limited to, how they perceive themselves and how they relate to their stuff and environment.

I think the Bible has a lot to say about both of these.

1. On personal normals I think the Bible instructs us to find our identity in Christ and not in our earthly form. I am not an individual with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia waiting on the day I become disabled.  I am the daughter of the King (1 John 3.1).  A sinner saved by grace (Ephesians 2.8-9).  A chosen one created to live my life in a way that brings Glory to God (Ephesians 1.3-6).  I am created in His image (Genesis 1.26-27).  I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).  I am called to a greater purpose (Colossians 1.9-12).  I am His workmanship and He has work for me to do (Ephesians 2.10).  Sure, I may have a few struggles in this world.  But those struggles do not define me.  And my acceptance of it is not defined by the world around me but by Him who created me.  Does that make sense?

2. On societal normals, I believe it is our responsibility to help our children relate rightly to their stuff and to the world around them.  For Trent and I, our societal normal reaches around the globe as we evaluate how to be good stewards of what God has given us.  For my children, it doesn't reach far beyond their neighborhood and school except for what we intentionally expose them to.  So with my kids I want to expose them to truths such as God is good provider (Ps 34:9), every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1.17), it is not good for us to covet what others have (Col 3:5), love of stuff is incompatible with following God (Matthew 6.24), we are to use what He has given us to bless others (Gen 12:2).  Sure there are things that we would like to have and there is allowance for that as long as we relate rightly to it (as good stewards), it is God's best for us, and we continue to hold it with an open hand.  We can't allow societal norms to infiltrate our family unless they first pass through the truth of God's word.

You know what I think is going to be the best illustrator of both of these for our kids?  How they see us walk this out in our own lives.  If I live a pattern of making excuses for my limitations then Jack is going to incorporate that into his normal and do it as well.  If live a pattern of giving and sacrificing to help others and not buying everything that catches my eye, my kids will incorporate that into their normal too.  Just a thought.

So I mentioned the other day that I actually did end up getting some good wagon shots in my practice session with the little ones.  Here are a few of those for fun.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Snapshot- Boots

Ni Hao Yall

Ruthie wore her cowgirl boots to rodeo day at preschool on Thursday.  Since then I have not been able to get them off of her.
She loves these boots and I can see why.  She looks precious in them!

Here are a few pictures from our adventure in boots this week. Forgive the lack of color coordination. Remember she picked the shoes.

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