Sunday, November 28, 2010

Like Herding Cats...

It's true...
 ...trying to take a picture of two kids that are both looking at you and both smiling (or at least half smiling) is like herding cats.  I don't think it can be done.  But I still try.  Although I think it's extremely cute when brothers are dressed alike, I'm not going to do it.  Simply because I don't have the money to go out and buy matching outfits.  I will however dress them similarly every once in a while.  So this morning when they both had on their button-up shirts and sweater vests I thought it would be super cute to get some pics of the boys. are the results...
 Oops, no flash...didn't matter anyway.
Even tried to get dad to get in there and help.  Still a no-go.
Seriously, what do I expect?  Will's three and as soon as you try to pose him he becomes Mr. Impossible.  Micah...well, he's a baby and really only has a few things on his mind.  Smiling for the camera is not one of them.  Oh, well.  There will be plenty of chances for some super cute candid photo ops...I just have to be ready to catch them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bead For Life

Bead for Life...what a cool organization.  I had only vaguely heard of them prior to last month.  In our small group Bible study we are doing a book that teaches the essentials of discipleship.  One of the lessons last month was on the topic of justice (or the lack of it) to be more exact.  It brought to the forefront some issues that have been going through my head for a long time...a LONG time.  What am I really doing to help the poor, the needy, the down trodden?  I came across this verse in Ezekiel that really hit home for me: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." (Ez. 16:49)  Jesus has a heart for the poor...we should too.  So we started to talk about ways we could do just that.  What does it look like?  Sometimes it may be going to serve at the local mission or the local Crisis Pregnancy Center.  Or volunteering your time to help a struggling family with whatever.  Or it may be adopting or assisting with an adoption. 

Sometimes our focus is too local, though.  I absolutely believe we should be looking locally for opportunities, but we should also have a global outlook as well.  Many times we think we can't do anything because we're stuck here, right?  Not so.  There are plenty of things we can be doing to help the poor and the oppressed across the oceans.  What are some of those ways?  Support a missionary...this is a little indirect, but extremely important none-the-less.  You could also check out a few websites that offer "gifts" to buy for individuals in rural communities all over the world.  Samaritan's Purse has a catalog that allows you to purchase things like chickens, goats, and donkeys for people in need.  Then one of the ladies in the group brought up this organization Bead for Life and how it helps Ugandan women work their way out of poverty by selling their product.  So the ladies from my small group decided to do a party to sell their products today.  Let me tell you, their work is absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  They make all the beads by rolling recycled paper, and it really is amazing what they can do with that.  The really cool part of it all is a certain percentage of each sale goes STRAIGHT to the beader and another hefty percentage goes towards supporting programs in their communities to help eradicate poverty there.  If you have never heard of them check out to learn more.  Here's just a couple a pics from our party today.  Props to Alisha and Anna for laying out the jewelry.  It looked awesome!

So, back to the point.  I just encourage you to take a look at what you can do to help the poor and oppressed...both around you and many countries away.  It doesn't have to be doesn't have to be many.  There are lots of opportunities...we just have to take them, doing it all with a generous, grateful, and loving heart.

-You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.- Luke 11:40-42

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Little Helper

I am so thankful for my little helper.  Today Will decided he was going to help me make some bread to take to Thanksgiving dinner.  Most of the time he's pretty uninterested...only wanting to partake in the finished product. But today he waltzed into the kitchen and announced that he would be helping.  And help he did!  He wanted to be involved in all the mixing, sifting, and pouring.  He even decided he'd rifle through the spice rack and find extra ingredients.  "How 'bout this, mom?"  No, sweetie.  I don't think oregano would go well in our lemon poppy seed bread, but thanks anyway.  :)  He was so proud of himself because "I helping."  Cute little man!

Waiting for the bread to be done, he decided he had to play a little dress up in dad's snow boots.  Those babies look COOL!

And finally enjoying the fruits of our labor!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Love My Sister-In-Law...

Really I love all THREE of my sisters-in-law.  I have learned so much from each one of them and I look forward to many more good times with each one of them.  This post, however is about April.  She is the only one I have in town and I am SO thankful to have her close.  I am extremely sad to say that I have not always had this attitude.  Before coming to Christ, I was extremely self-centered (aren't we all?) and pretty much thought my opinion was the be all, end all of everything.  When my brother met April and they decided to get married, I didn't think it was a good idea....they were too young, it was too fast, it was get the picture.  Even on their wedding day, when they had their first baby...I was not supportive, not loving, not welcoming.  God has really opened my eyes over the past few years to this, and it has really made me re-evaluate some things. 

Living close to her, I have been able to witness what an awesome witness April is for Christ through both her words and actions.  The thing about April is she lives what she believes.  Her words are backed by her actions.  She is a wonderful wife...a gentle and loving wife.  She is an awesome mother.  She is a great friend...a wonderful, forgiving friend.  She continues to challenge me in my walk with Christ just by the way she lives.  I am so thankful to have her in my life and for the grace and mercy God (and April) has shown to me through all this.  She didn't have to be my friend...she could have returned my nasty attitude...but she didn't...she never did.  She chose to be like Christ and forgive.  Thank you, April!  Love you loads!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

So Thankful...

I have been doing a lot of complaining lately.  Mostly with respect to my job.  I was going to title this entry "Trapped" because I feel like I'm trapped at work.  Not at this job in particular, but just the fact that I have to work.  The fact that it takes time away from my boys and my responsibilities around the house.  My attitude has been horrible regarding the whole situation.  But God has been doing A LOT of work in me in this area.  I feel He has really been convicting me lately and I have had a lot of time to reflect on it this week.  I have been able to come out of it extremely thankful for what He has given me and allowed me to do.  He has provided me with a wonderful family and a job that allows me to work less than full time and odd hours so I can be home a lot with my boys...especially during the week when Gregg is at work.  Because of this they can spend less time at daycare (although I LOVE my daycare providers) and I can spend more quality time just enjoying them...dancing around the kitchen with Will to the Cars soundtrack or "talking" with Micah as he explores his newly found voice - so sweet.

I mean, just look at these boys....
...aren't they sweet?  And it's doubly sweet to watch Will grow more and more attached to Micah.  It is going to be so cool to watch these boys become friends.  Makes me smile just thinking about it. :)

Just a few small updates on the boys here...
My big boy Will...he's 3&1/2 and in preschool.  He LOVES his teachers and loves learning.  Although he's speech and language delayed and possibly somewhere on the Autism spectrum (still too early to tell), he is incredibly smart.  I love to watch him grow and develop.  He is Mr. Independent, wanting to try everything for himself.  We have been having some great afternoons at the parks around town, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.  I love this boy!
And Micah...this boy is so sweet.  Always smiling...okay, almost always smiling!  He's been looking at his hands a lot lately...trying to figure out exactly what they're there for.  Most of the time they end up in his mouth where he shoves them so far back he gags himself.  Even that is cute!  I forgot how much fun and amazing it is to watch them reach little milestones.  Anyway, that's enough raving from me.  I am just so thankful for how God has changed my perspective this past week.  Please pray that I continue in this line of thought and I "do everything without complaining or arguing, so that I may become blameless and pure, a child of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which I shine like a star in the universe."  -Phil 2:14-15

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween...or Happy Day We Get Dressed Up Just To Take Pictures And Get Candy!  Whatever you want to call it!  We went over to some friends' house and had a good time getting to know some people from church we didn't know very well.  We gorged ourselves on appetizer-type food then took all the kids (10+) trick-or-treating to a few houses.  It was fun to watch Will run from house to house in pursuit of loot.  It was such a big difference from last year when we practically had to drag him to the next house, and then use almost all our force to keep him from entering every house we visited.  This year it was all business.  Get up to the door, ring the bell, grab your candy, say "thank you!" (made his momma proud), then run off to the next stop.  It was hilarious to watch all the little bottoms amplified by padded costumes wag as they made their way from house to house.
It was also incredibly amusing when all 10 kids gathered around one door, patiently waiting for their candy, then after a few moments one of them blurts out, "Oh, my gosh!  Did someone ring the doorbell?"  Critical step in the process!

A you can see Micah was incredibly amused with all the happenings.  By the time we were done, it was well passed his bedtime and he was one cranky dragon!  But a cute cranky dragon as you can see!