OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Radical by David Platt
Here's a thought provoking paragraph from chapter two:
Jesus' words at the end of the Sermon on the Mount:
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you, Away from me, you evildoers!"
Jesus was not speaking here to irreligious people, atheists or agnostics. He was not speaking to pagans or heretics. He was speaking to devoutly religious people who were deluded into thinking that they were on the narrow road that leads to heaven when they were actually on the broad road that leads to hell.
We have been told all that is required is a one-time decision, maybe even mere intellectual assent to Jesus, but after that we need not worry about his commands, his standards or his glory. We have a ticket to heaven, and we can live however we want on earth. Our sin will be tolerated along the way. Much of modern evangelism today is built on leading people down this road and crowds flock to it, but in the end it is a road built on sinking sand, and it risks disillusioning millions of souls.
I'm sure I'll have more to say in the coming days about the book, but I already highly recommend it. It is a small, easy-read in spite of it's thought provoking message!
Friday, July 30, 2010
A Trip to See Big Rat
Julia waited and waited for her turn to take a picture with Chuck E.; she and Tori have always loved dressed up characters.
Birthday is officially over today.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
More Birthday, More Tomatoes, More Watermelon AND a Salsa Recipe
We eat 3-4 watermelons a week around here; we could actually eat more, but that's all I buy. I definitely am planting them in the garden next year!
For those that are interested, here is the salsa recipe that I use. It came from a friend of JD's at work and I've used it the last three years:
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Birthday Times 2
Elijah was being very serious and telling me about the butterflies in the flowers.
When he decided to present me with a big cheese, I didn't have the camera ready, so it's a bit out of focus.
Julia was more than happy to stop for a few pictures.
She has grown so much; it's hard to believe that only three years ago, she was a one year old wearing size three months clothes!
She has a flair for fashion and loves her red high-tops - even with sun dresses!
When I suggested that I take a few pictures of them together, they both thought they had better things to do. Here's Elijah chasing James and Ben as fast as his little legs can run.
Here's my babies exactly two years ago. I look pretty rough, but I had just given birth and had my just turned two year old and my 3 1/2 year old climbing on me and newborn Elijah.
Monday, July 26, 2010
2010 Salsa Event
I don't grow enough tomatoes to support this project, but I bought 75 pounds from a local farmer for only $30.
Salsa complete - I still have tomatoes to can for vegetable soup and winter chili, but tomorrow is Julia's and Elijah's birthday and I'm taking Alei for a MRI, so they will wait until Wednesday.
The best part of canning is when they are cooling on the counter.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Today and Tomorrow
Now, Julia is worn out.
My next big today project, other than clearing the living room floor and shuffling laundry, is to finish Gabriel's transcripts. I'm not enjoying that job right now, which is why I'm blogging to procrastinate.
Tomorrow, after church, and after the water park, I pick up 50 pounds of tomatoes to start this years salsa making. We made 40 jars last year and just finished the last jar last night! It's a lot of work, but tastes way better than bought!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Guinea Crises #1 - (I'm Sure There Will Be a #2 at Some Point)
Good night. I'm hoping for a better nights sleep and a calmer morning tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Vehicles and Guineas
Later in the day, JD needed to get to work on the base and the base won't allow the truck on (due to farm plates) and won't let the Toyota on until it passes inspection. Virginia law allows you to drive a vehicle with a rejection sticker for 15 days, but not the base. So, I ended up trading the van to JD and driving the truck home. Now, mind you, this is a big truck - you know the kind with the four tires across the back instead of two. It also has no air-conditioner and scares me when it shifts, but back to my story......
I came home in the truck, but needed the van in time to take the children to VBS. JD had to juggle his schedule but made it home just in time for me to load them up and head for the church. I noticed a few miles down the road that the radio quit working. Then a few more miles down the road, I looked down and the speedometer wasn't working. Then I heard the engine die and I had to coast that bad boy off the side of the major road we were driving on. It wasn't going to start either, so I called JD and told him of our predicament. It was nice and hot sitting in the heat of the van, but I wasn't about to unload my crew beside the busy road or cross the big ditch next to the road. (I only removed Tori and Julia briefly to let them go potty next to the road!)
JD towed it to a church parking lot and made a few attempts to get it started, but that wasn't happening. We then brought the children home and we headed back out. First we waited for the lock-smith to break into the Toyota, since JD let the repair shop lock the key in thinking that we had a spare to open the door (it's been missing for some time.) Then, he waited for the tow-truck to drag the van home.
Today, JD is attempting to fix the van; the Toyota is going to have to go in the shop after he drives it 13 hours on Saturday to take his Mom home. In the mean time, I drove the Toyota to take Alei to the Dr. this morning and wouldn't you know it, I got pulled over. Thankfully, she was only checking on the date of the rejection sticker and it's reason for being rejected. When I told her that it had to go to the dealer for the air-bag, she said, "I bet that will be expensive." Yep, that's what we are thinking.......I'm glad the house rented.
The best part of it all was watching how thrilled Elijah was to have a tow-truck deliver the van. He has talked about it all day.
I was happy that none died in transit and the kids were elated to add some guineas to our chicken assortment.
They are happy out in the brooder in the chicken shed. Hopefully, they will grow up to be champion tick-eaters, which is the reason we got them.
Julia asked if we got to go to VBS tonight, instead of sitting by the side of the road like last night. I told her that I was going to take her in the truck. She asked if Dad was going to drive; I told her that I was. She looked alarmed and asked, "Does Dad know this?"
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Update and a Book Review
So, the last few days, I have been trying to wrap up lots of loose ends; everything from scheduling Alei's wisdom teeth removal to preparing the guinea keet cage. Once I work through this list, I'm going to update Gabriel and Alei's transcripts and order my homeschool curriculum. Then, while I wait for it's arrival, we are going to do a deep clean and organize house campaign before we start school.
Grandma is here until Saturday; yesterday she read Julia to sleep, which was great since she has VBS every evening.
On a separate note, we had a HUGE blessing with our rental home. This month marks the one year anniversary that our nightmare renters moved into our house. They lived month after month paying nothing, or very little, and conjuring up lie after lie. We finally evicted them in the spring. We had friends move in for three months - the only three months of dependable rent the entire year. The house has been sitting empty since they moved out. We have had three different people commit to the house and back out for three different reasons. The third was not supposed to move in until the end of August, so we still had 1/2 of July and all of August to pay the mortgage, utilities, water and lawn care. They backed out Saturday night; Sunday morning, we showed it to a military family just moving to the area. They took it, PAID and are moving in today. As an added blessing, they signed a three year lease. I can't even tell you how wonderful it will be to have dependable rent-payers for three years!
Lastly, I have to recommend this book -
It is a true story about the International Justice Mission (IJM.) They are located in the D.C. area but are a Christian organization that is devoted to freeing human slaves around the world. This particular story is about a little girl brothel in Cambodia. It sends chills down my spine that people will exploit little girls for money, but it is happening in abundance all over the globe.
One more reason that Christians have to stand up for widows and orphans; to prevent them from being sold into a life of slavery!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Quick Sunday Funny
Last night I was out sweeping the front patio. Julia came out, put on roller blades and was skating around. At one point, she almost fell, caught herself and did her traditional angry "AAAHHHH" yell. I said, "What's wrong, Julia?" She replied, "You should have taken these away from me!"
That's my girl.........
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Adoption Things Too Good to not Share
Natural child - any child who is not artificial.
Real parent - any parent who is not imaginary.
Your own child - any child who is not someone else's child.
Adopted child - a natural child, with a real parent, who is all my own.
(Rita Laws, PhD)
This reminds me of an episode that I had at a photography studio shortly after bringing Ben and Julia home from Liberia. The photographer was very interested in our family, but was feeling a little too free to quiz us down in front of the children. Since Ben was hanging out with James, and obviously adopted, she pointed at James and asked, "is he your real son?" Both boys stopped and stared at my answer, so she definitely wasn't going to get the information that she was prying for. I answered, "they are all real; I don't have any imaginary children." She replied with, "you know what I mean." I corrected her that the term was biological, not real. I also told her that James was a chosen treasure, just like Ben. I hope it made her think.....
My two least favorite questions that I commonly get are: is he your real son and are they real siblings. I guess the word real should be avoided in adoption questions!
I know a lot of people struggling with adoption related behaviors in their children right now, just as I've had struggles lately with Julia. The following quote was a real (there's that word again, but in a better context) comfort to me. I took it from a blog, who took it from a blog, so I am just crediting the original blog."It isn't that the enemy is attacking you...it is that by helping the orphans we are going behind enemy lines...we are attacking the enemy and he is simply defending his territory. So, when things go wrong, just keep in mine, YOU are making a difference and are a threat to the enemy or he wouldn't feel the need to defend himself against you."
Dressed for Success
I love kids around the age of two; they are always so entertaining.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Grandmas, Gardens and Chickens
Here's the white-haired Grandma trying to enjoy her morning tea with Elijah's help.
Elijah and I made an early morning trip to the garden to pick a few things. I can't get over the cantaloupe - they have totally taken over the 20 foot long bed, but that's OK since my blueberry bushes have died and my kiwi have never grown!
I think we are just days away from having our first ones ready to pick.
Elijah likes his mud-boots now. It cracks me up how you can't see any of his legs between his shorts and boots.
Lastly, we got eight more Rhode Island Red hens the other day from a local family. (We also took their two roosters that they assured me are nice - so far, so good.) We moved our afro and silkie babies in with our big chickens, they are all getting along fine after living side by side for so long and put the new chickens in the far side alone.
First, we clipped their wings, however, so they wouldn't fly out and become fox food.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
We had to tote all these peas in and out of the hotel room to keep them cool.
I had lots of little pea workers. They are all now blanched and in the freezer.
Today I am hoping to can some pickles; I am just having a hard time finding the needed mix without driving to "town."
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I'm Beached Out!
The reality is that while we had a lot of fun moments, it was tough to be there without JD hour after hour with seven kiddos. Gabriel and Alei stayed home because of work and school, so I was a bit overwhelmed at times. The worst is usually when Julia hits her high-pitch scream and it's incredibly difficult to calm her down. Elijah has also taken up high-pitch screaming just for fun, so I exert a lot of energy just keeping the two of them from screaming in the hotel and at the pool!
We did have a wonderful time visiting with two long-loved families from our days of living there and my friend, Wendy, blessed us with tons from her mega-garden that we are eating and freezing. We did cut short our last planned visit due to our AC at home leaking in the basement and me straining my back lifting the cooler. I'm OK now as long as I don't look down, lean down or lift anything or anybody. It could be worse, but not fun never the less.
Here's a few beach shots -
Elijah and I had a hundred conversations about the King Neptune statue that went like this:
Elijah - "MOOOOMMMM (grabbing my chin and turning my face so I'm staring right into his eyes) - THAT?"
Me - That's King Neptune
Elijah - "I scared, BAD Neptune, BAD!"
Me - Don't be scared. He's just a big rock.
Elijah - "I scared, BAD Neptune, BAD rock"
Then we'd play for two minutes and repeat the above.........He did like the blue slides, however, when the sand wasn't too hot - like at 9:00 p.m.
One of our trips to the beach, Julia found a few friends and they spent hours gathering little sand crabs. They must have had 100 in the bucket. The one little girl would get mad at Elijah anytime he came near the bucket. I saw the little girl's parents eye-brows shoot up when Julia announced that Elijah was her brother. I always find it humorous to watch people's reactions to my very African and very blond children. (You've got to entertain yourself somehow so many hours at the beach!)
I have some okra to freeze (never mind, I've never even eaten it - Wendy told me how to freeze it for stew this winter.)