Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Dalmatian

Every year the church preschool puts on a Noah's Ark program and the kids get to dress like animals and sing.  Ruthie's favorite book right now is 101 Dalmatians so dressing as a Dalmatian made perfect sense and my friend Paige just happened to have the costume. Thanks Paige.




What I didn't anticipate was that Ruthie would love the costume so much, she wore it for 2 days straight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

AWANA Bible Character Night

This week at AWANA was dress like your favorite Bible character night.  My hubby had the great idea of making the kids the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  My sweet friend Holly was kind enough to take a picture for me  since I was at work.

Monday, October 24, 2011

God's Will, Your Will, and God's Best?

Have you ever had a situation (or seen one) where you have a choice or scenario in front of you, everything feels right, you determine that it must be God's will, and then it doesn't turn out at all like you expected?  So then what?

Well then one of three things are true:
1. God isn't really who He says He is
2. Sin or humanness entered the situation
3. We got it wrong and it really wasn't God's will

So let me tackle these in order.  I think #1 is where most of us go immediately.  We question who God is.  Is He really involved in our lives? Does He really care what happens to us?  If we are Christians, this can be a time of searching and better defining our faith and we can actually walk out of this situation stronger than we were to begin with.  If we aren't believers or don't have a good understanding of God's truth to go back to, this can end poorly.  Hear me on something else related to this:  if we as believers boast in our perception of  God's will for our circumstances and then they don't turn out, this gives the watching world something to deny our faith with.  Take Mr. Harold Camping, the guy who has predicted, unpredicted, and repredicted the end of the world multiple times and been wrong each time.  What does that look like to a watching world?  We can actually hinder someone else's understanding of the existence of God by our mis-assignment of His will.  Does that make sense?

I believe #2 - that sin entered the situation - is more common than we realize.  I think we are scared to admit this possibility for two reasons.  It suggests that we may be at fault and we don't like to admit our mistakes AND it suggests somehow that our choices can thwart God's will and we aren't comfortable with that.  Let's remember though that one of the first stories in the Bible demonstrates this.  It was God's will for man to live in the garden forever but Adam and Eve sinned and we are no longer in the garden.  This is where one of my favorite verses comes in.  Rom 8:28: And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes.  God is not going to magically set things back to the way He initially willed them to be but He is going to redeem it for his purposes.  That is a the core of who He is.  He is a redemptive God.

Another example was when Moses was leading the Jews into the promised land.  He desired for Moses to lead them all the way, but the Jews rebelled against God, refusing to enter into what God has promised.  God still led the people of Israel into the promised land but not for 40 more years and not through Moses.

I think we also have to be careful to assigning God's will when a desired end comes out of our sin. Friends God does not need us to sin in order to accomplish His purposes and just because it is the desire of our heart does not mean that it is His will.

*For all who are worried that I think God's not in ultimate control, don't worry.  I know God's ultimate purposes cannot be thwarted.  But I'm talking about the part of God's will that we can understand and relate to.

Okay so now onto #3.  There are lots of books on the topic of discovering God's will and they have some great recommendations like know His word, pray, and seek wise counsel.  But let's face it sometimes we can do all of those things and still get it wrong.  One reason I think we get it wrong is because we have become to casual with the use of the phrase "God's will".  It feels to me like we use this label like a stamp of approval that we give to our own situation in the name of God.   I had a friend once who had it in her mind that she was going to have 3 children of the same gender and then went on to give the credit to God for that vision.  Well she had 2 kids of the same gender but # 3 was not.  Is God still who He says He is?  Yes.  Did sin change the gender of her 3rd child? No.  Did she have a desire that she wrongly applied the stamp of God's will too? Yep.  Every seemingly good and comfortable idea is not necessarily God's will.

So as I wrap this thought up I can give you a recent example of how I walked this out in my life.  There is a house in my neighborhood that I have been watching for 4 years.  I love this house.  I love the yard, the layout, the front elevation, and the location.  I love this house.  It came on the market 2 weeks ago.  After standing in the backyard twice in the same day, I figured out that with the added money I am making through photography that I could make the difference in this house payment.  So then it must be God's will right?  That house feels right.  I technically have the money to pay for it.  It makes me happy, the timing is great, blah blah blah! I could whip out my God's will stamp in a heartbeat and justify myself right into a great new house.  But let's get back to reality and ask an easier question to sort out.  IS IT GOD'S BEST?  Well if I used my photography money for the house then I wouldn't be giving it to all the mission opportunities that I love supporting.  If we moved we would be leaving the community that God has given us where we live now.  Oh and if I used that extra money to make the house payment I also would never have the option to step away to spend more time with my primary calling of my family.  So is it God's best? Nope not at all.

So I think I am going to give God His will back and let Him place his stamp on the big things and I am going to start asking the daily and less theological question of, "What is God's best?"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Family Outing- Dewberry Farms

Last Sunday we left right after church and headed to Katy for an afternoon at Dewberry Farms.



It is basically a farm that is set up during this time of year to be an adventure park.


Take away the heat, and it was a great time enjoying the attractions, seeing the animals. and just exploring the farm.




And my kids were kind enough to let me snap a few pictures along the way.






Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not My Normal Thought Pattern

I had 2 conversations and an object lesson along a similar topic yesterday that got me thinking.  My instinct as a mom is to protect and shelter my children.  I consider things like homeschooling for all the wrong reasons.  I don't feel called to it but I do want to protect my kids from those "other children" who might do them harm.  

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how I have to allow my kids to experience life outside my protection and be exposed to electronics, the internet, "those other kids", and all the things that I wish weren't a part of their life but must be if they are going to function some day as successful adults.  A few hours later I was working with Jack on a pumpkin project that he was dreading.  The boy hates homework and even if it is decorating a pumpkin, he is going to fight it.  What should have been an enjoyable time together turned into me (God forbid) making him decorate a pumpkin while I lectured him about his attitude.

An hour or so later I was venting to a friend and mentor about my frustrations from the pumpkin project and she said something that made me think.  She suggested that maybe I should have just let him do it and if he didn't that I should let him fail.  Can I just go ahead and confess that my first thought was, "but then what would his teacher think of ME?"  Yes I am that bad.

But she has a great point.  In the same way that my instinct is to protect my child from all of the outside influences that might hurt him, do I also protect him from some very important lessons like failure?   She made another good point that it is better for him to fail now then to learn that lesson in high school when it goes on a transcript.

So as I think of this more, I actually think I am going to look now for opportunities to let my kids fail.  I know that is SO NOT MY NORMAL THOUGHT PATTERN, but I think it is good.  You see I am not just going to let them fail, but I am also going to be armed and ready to use that time to teach them about things like humility and how to recover well so when they fail again and I am not around, they will (Lord willing) have what it takes to survive and be stronger on the other side.  Okay friends are you with me?  Let's go help our kids fail and fail well!  :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kindergarten Musical

Sam had Kindergarten Musical this week and like his musicals in preschool, he did not fail to entertain.  You have to forgive the picture quality.  I was sitting far back and then had to crop in too.



You might remember from performances past that Sam has a tendency to go nose diving in the middle of  the show.  Well nothing has changed.


There was one new thing this time and it was the "this is painful" hand over his face. He clarified afterwards that he thought the kids were singing too loud.  I love that kid.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thanks For Praying

Thanks everyone who prayed for our visit to Scottish Rite.  Her surgeon ordered an MRI which will be done next month.  This will give us a better idea of what they have to work with.  I think it will be very helpful for me also just to know what muscle she has and doesn't have.  Again I really appreciate your prayers and I will let you know what we find out next month.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Prayer Request

This week I will be traveling to Dallas to take Ruthie to see her Orthopedic surgeon at Scottish Rite.  About 9 months ago they suggested that we consider a procedure to increase her ability to use her elbows.  I didn't have a peace about another operation so I have put the decision off while I wait to feel right about it.  In this surgery they would transfer a part of her tricep tendon around to assist her bicep.  It would leave a good sized scar, be very painful, and would most likely prevent her from achieving full elbow extension again.  It should however increase her independence and function.

Would you pray that when I see her Dr. that I would get all of my questions answered and get a real peace about what our next step should be?  I want to do the right thing for her and there are not a lot of people in the Arthrogryposis community who have had this procedure done.  Please pray for direction and peace.

Thanks.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Week of Reflection

I have spent most of this week reflecting on how blessed I am to be a part of the communities I call family.

The adoptive community is amazing.  They challenge me weekly to think outside of my desire to be comfortable and view the world from God's perspective.

My church community is one of the most supportive I have ever been a part of.  They love and embrace my husbands leadership and support our family in numerous ways.

My neighborhood is filled with families at the same stage of life as us and they are a super safe and fun place to just hang out and enjoy family.

Finally my kids are part of an awesome school and I appreciate that more with Sam there this year as a Kindergartener.


This week they invited the Kindergarten parents to join P.E. .  It was loads of fun balancing bean bags on our various body parts.


Sam takes in every ounce of life and I know so much more about his school now that I have been allowed to view it through his eyes and stories.


We are blessed to have our kids in such a great educational community and for all of the other communities we get to be a part of as well.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Babe!

This has been a busy 5 days (thus the bad blogging).  My sister got married in Shreveport and then we returned just in time to celebrate the hubby's birthday.  I will have wedding pictures later (after I edit all 500 that I have narrowed it down to) but for now, I do have some pictures from the b-day celebration.



Several of our friends met us at Rudy's to surprise my husband for a birthday celebration.



Good Times!