Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little story

Tonight Scott was at The Truth Project, so I took M to a fast food place for dinner. I usually never go to fast food because it yucks me out. The whole time M was eating his chicken nuggets, I was shoveling sweet potatoes (from home) in his mouth hoping the good would defeat the bad. However, this place has an outdoor play area that I thought M might like (read: wear himself out at).

This play area has those big tube things that you crawl into and slide out of, but M was pretty content putting his car in and out of the shoe cubbies. And I was content watching him. Then...to my surprise, he started crawling up one of the tubes. I figured I better go after him since he has never attempted anything like this before, so I threw the diaper bag over my shoulder and headed his way. I knew that by the time I reached him, he would have changed his mind and headed back out. Shows what I know.

So in I went after him. Now is the time I will mention my claustrophobia. And the suffocating heat that consumes a tube toy in the desert. And M in front of me moving quite slowly...and two little girls behind me squealing very loudly. And a diaper bag strap around my neck.

I was starting to sweat. My eyes darted around the tubes looking for air vents. How much longer til we get to the slide? Where is the slide???? Will the parents understand if I throw these girls out of my way to get back to the entrance? To get back to air? I was inching closer and closer to panic. Who am I kidding....I was sprinting to panic.

And then...the slide!!!!! Relief overcame me. I plopped M on my lap and we slid out into glorious sunshine and fresh air. Matthew had a huge grin on his face as I set him on the ground, and then he darted back to the entry tube.

So I did what any mama would do...took a deep breath and followed him back in.

edited2add: I should note that just because we don't eat fast food doesn't mean we don't eat junk food. We are definitely not health nuts as evidenced by the stock I own in Little Debbie.

Taiwan Tips #2

MY QUESTION: Which Taiwanese holidays do you feel are most important for us to study and celebrate with our son?

HER ANSWER:
For Han Chinese and my family, here are the most important ones we celebrate (but not limited to), but Aborigines have different holiday celebrations:
a) Chinese New Year- most well known Han Chinese holiday.
b) Tomb Sweeping Day- Christians might have issue with this particular holiday, because you probably see it as ancestor "worship". For Han Chinese it's very important to pay respect to our ancestors. I see it less as "worship" but more as a special time to pay respect to people who gave us life. http://www.c-c-c.org/chineseculture/festival/qingming/qingming.html
c) Dragon boat festival- Taiwanese love the Dragon boat festival for the boat races and the food, even though the origin of the holiday doesn't seem to be that relevant in the modern Taiwan. :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Boat_Festival
d) Moon Festival (aka Mid-Autumn Festival)- this is a holiday that started with a romantic story, but has evolved to become a family holiday. Modern day Taiwanese family "reunites" on this day and sit around the table to eat together, just like the moon becomes "round" (round is the same sound as reunite in Chinese.) There are a lot of old Chinese poems about the significance of reuniting on the 15th day of August of the lunar calendar.


MY QUESTION: In regards to extra-curricular activities, like martial arts, are there any you would suggest he learn? Anything that every Taiwanese kid knows how to do?

HER ANSWER:
No, not really. When I was growing up, we had to study so hard for the high school and college entrance exams that most extra-curricular actitivies were stopped as soon as we entered 7th grade. I don't persoanlly know anyone who has studied martial arts when I was in Taiwan, especially when it didn't help with getting better grades at school! Kids nowadays learn a variety of things like piano, English, speed reading and mental math. Because Taiwan in the past 10 years has adopted a college admission system that is similar to the American system, therefore most extra-curricular activities are geared towards helping kids get ahead at schools and improve their chances of being admited to top senior high schools and top colleges. In Taiwan, all these cost money, so kids from disadvantaged families rarely have access to extra-curricular actitivies. I honestly can't think of anything that every Taiwanese kids knows how to do- perhaps playing computer/video games and watching TV...this really shows how Westernized Taiwanese have become!! :)



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Celebration & A Check-up

The Celebration:
This morning M and I stopped by Scott's office where the gang was having Bible Study AND celebrating Scott's birthday!!!! (The big day is actually next Monday). Scott does not like to be the recipient of attention. Ever. Like never ever. And I really want to honor that, but he is dearly, dearly loved by his friends, and I knew they would want to share in the celebration...so a couple of the guys and I worked behind the scenes to have breakfast ready for this week's get together. He was a real sport and even blew out a candle for M's enjoyment.


The Check-up:
At 18 months, M is 25 lbs (45%) and 34" tall (92%)...and his doctor said he has big feet!

But she also said he is brilliant. A couple of times. With her mouth agape and her eyes widened. She laughed and said that she can't talk to him like the rest of her 18 month old patients because he just "seems" older.

We talked about some different topics, including speech, and she gave me referrals to specialists.

He received shots...BOO HISS...and I let him have a lollipop because I could tell it really hurt. But...then I was like "no way are we getting in the car with that sticky sucker...so we sat outside and he sucked and sucked and sucked...and I was wondering how many licks does it really take???...so then I devised a plan and asked if he wanted to go back inside for a drink! He shook his head NO! Then I asked again but described the water fountain with such gusto that he couldn't resist. As he was drinking, I said "oh, look, a bathroom...maybe we could wash your hands!" Before he could respond, I whisked him into the bathroom and immediately pointed out the very- super-way cool soap dispenser...the one that I was going to let HIM try all by himself!!! And as his little hands reached up to get the soap, I sneakily pulled that evil, never-say-die sucker out of his hand and tossed it behind my back into the garbage!!!! HOORAY! Can you believe it took that much mental exercise just to leave the doctor's office without a tantrum? I was thoroughly exhausted, but...

then we went to play PUTT PUTT!!!! It was M's first time, and he really enjoyed throwing the ball into the hole and walking up and down the little "hills."


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

sigh.....

Was it just yesterday that I said the "NO" thing was "funny?"

Taiwan Tips #1

I was extremely fortunate to "meet" a wonderful Taiwanese lady who has been living in the US and who is also an adoptive mama! She has been so gracious to answer my questions about Taiwan...and I ask A LOT of questions...so I thought I would pass on some tidbits for those of you Taiwan APs/PAPs. As I post from our conversation, I will remove sections of her answers that I consider "private".

MY QUESTION: As we consider language classes for him, would you suggest Mandarin? Our Taiwanese guide mentioned other languages in addition to Mandarin, so I wasn't sure which would be best for him to learn.

HER ANSWER: Mandarin is the official language, so that is a must learn language for all Taiwanese nowadays. Only uneducated people...still don't speak much Mandarin. All the other "languages" are "dialects" spoken at home. My mother tongue is Fujianese (very often referred to as Taiwanese), but I had to learn Mandarin as soon as I entered elementary school. The great thing about Chinese is that there is basically only one writing system (whether it's simplified or traditional) so that no matter what dialect one speaks at home we all read and write the same Chinese characters. The writing system in mainland China is the "simplified" version, but in Taiwan we still learn the more complicated traditional writing system. If your son learns at least one whether it's simplified or traditional, he should have no problem picking up the other one fairly fast.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Matthew at 18 months

Ooops.... a little late on this post!

If I could pick one word to summarize the past month it would be "NO." Well, actually not the spoken word but a very vigorous head shaking that goes on all day, every day. M knew the difference between yes and no previously but couldn't express it physically, so he has taken great delight in exerting his independence and his desires. And his desire is NO...even when it is really yes! I think this is pretty much true of all toddlers, but it is funny nonetheless.

Last night I told him to pretend that I was the baby and he the daddy...so he started feeding me his play food. When he offered the last piece, I started shaking my head NO. He looked surprised and then proceeded to nod YES very vigorously!

Matthew continues to develop well...here are just a few examples:
- He tried to step over a cord a couple of times and rather than asking for help over it, he lifted the cord and went underneath.

- He saw a photo of a baby with sores on his body, I said "Yes, he has owies" and M immediately went and found his doctor's kit and then gave the baby a shot.

- He kept pulling at his shirt the other day while eating lunch at the food court and, when I asked him about it, he started pointing to his tray. I then realized he was showing me that his shirt and the tray were both red.

- M is not super social, so he surprised me the other day at the doctor's. He looked into the accounting office and, when the ladies acknowledged him, he went inside and gave some high-fives. I was also happy when I took him to a play area that we have visited several times and he finally went off on his own and played, explored, and had a great time!

I apologize for not posting more photos, but M simply refuses to be photographed. RE.FUS.ES! Here are pics of M and his buddy, the ever-smiling Seth!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

stuff

Ok, so after our trip to the science museum I decided to make a toy for Matthew. We trekked over to the hardware store...which is a little slice of heaven for a baby boy...and picked up the necessary items. It's pretty much just a board with hinges and such on it...but good for hands-on fun!



In a previous post I mentioned the stack o' books we keep at our kitchen table. Here is a photo of our stash which includes 4 real books, a book that M and I made using photos from a Buckner brochure, and the info sheet for the child we sponsor through Compassion Int. We read from/talk about these at both breakfast and lunch. If you have any questions about the books, let me know!
Scott UPdate:
Me: You want a piece of licorice? It's stale.
Scott: Yeah.
Me: Yes, even though it's stale?
Scott: That just means it's aged to perfection.

After viewing a preview of Akeelah and the Bee, Scott declared, "Babes, that makes me not want to use spell checker ever again...EVER!

His Voice (follow up post)

Rebecca left a great comment on my His Voice post...I love discussion!...so I am responding here simply because my response is so long. I encourage you to check out her comment and then share your thoughts!

My response:
I do agree that we cannot use 20-minutes-a-day reading the Bible as a measure of our relationship with God. As you say, that can lead to pride or guilt, neither of which glorify God. Additionally I agree with the vital importance of being in communion with God throughout the day...being aware of His Presence, submitted and guided by His Spirit, and listening for His voice.

I actually think we are saying the same thing, which is the importance of God's Word in our practical daily lives. Some, like you, may prefer to take text read in one sitting and return to it throughout the week. Other people may not have that large a chunk of time (like to read and ingest the entire book of Ephesians) or may simply prefer to read a bit each day and meditate on those few verses. And, for those who lack discipline, they may find that the longer they go in between readings, the more likely they are to put it off completely.

Regardless, the main point is reading His Word on a regular basis. Yes, God speaks to us in many, many ways...we don't want to box Him in by saying the Bible is the only way...but we can always be confident that His Word will not return void. The more you read His Word the more you will know Him, His will for your life, His priorities, etc. And when His Word is implanted in your heart, His Spirit brings it to your mind when you need guidance, instruction, and conviction.

The main purpose of my original post was an encouragement to seek God daily despite our busy schedules. If we want to know His voice, we need to know Him...and a way to do this is by saturating your mind with His Word. This may mean reading it daily OR meditating on a previous reading of it. Just as our bodies need daily nourishment, so do our souls: "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..." (1Pet 2;2)

For any readers who may not understand why it is so important to read the Bible, here are some of the reasons God Himself gives:

It is a main source of God's guidance to the believer:
Deut 17:19 - "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes,

2 Tim 3:16,17 - All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Rom 15:4 - For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

1 Cor 10:11 - Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Matt 22:29 - Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.


We cannot always trust our impressions/feelings or things we hear from others, so we must place these all against the grid of Scripture to see if they line up with what God says:
ACts 17:11 - These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.


We must know what the Bible says if we are to teach it to our kids:
2 Tim 3:15- and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.


We can't obey if we are not familiar with God's instructions:
Matt 7:24 - Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

Ps 119:133 - Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.-

Ps 119:169 - Let my cry come before You, O LORD; Give me understanding according to Your word.

James 1:25 - But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rice is nice!

Saw this on Shannon's blog....go HERE to have fun while helping others!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

His voice

I was reading in John 10 the other morning and was drawn to the following verses:
"and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out,"
"and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice," and
"yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."

This made me think of the story in 1 Samuel 3 when God calls out to Samuel, and the boy mistakenly thinks it is the voice of Eli the High-Priest. In the passage Samuel is just a child and has not yet encountered the Lord in a personal way...he does not yet know God's voice. The scenario repeats 3 times before Eli realizes that it is God calling Samuel, but eventually he directs the boy on how to respond.

The fact that Eli was slow to recognize that God was calling Samuel may be an indication that, although he was the HighPriest of Israel, his spiritual perception was out of whack. I think about my spiritual guidance for Matthew as he grows and how it will compare with that of Eli. If I want to help M know the voice of God, I have to know the voice of God myself.

When I first became a mama I sought advice from other moms as to how to fit time with God into my new schedule and, while I was looking for practical tips, I often received the answer "God knows your heart." And this is so true...God does know our hearts and is compassionate about our circumstances. We are under grace. But...the question is do we know our hearts? Do we really not HAVE time to read our Bibles, pray, spend time talking with God...or are we just not MAKING time for Him?

We need...and our children need...to know the voice of our Good Shepherd so that we may follow Him and not a "stranger." I encourage you to faithfully spend time with God, the Lover of your soul, and learn to recognize His voice.

And for 1st time mamas (and mamas-to-be) wondering how to still seek God regularly with the new demands on your schedule, I advise that you make it a priority no matter what works for you. OK, sleep may be the utmost priority for a little while...but you may never need God more than when you first become a mama!!! This has been a huge issue for me since Matthew has had such crazy sleep. It has honestly been only in the last month or so that I have been rested enough in the morning to even focus my eyes let alone focus on God...or that M hasn't awaken way too early to give me ANY time alone AT ALL (even with leaving him in his crib for awhile).

Here are some possible suggestions that may/may not work depending on your life and your baby! My readers who are veteran mamas may say "DUH!", but first timers may find this helpful. Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section!

- take your shower at night so that you can have extra time in the morning with God

- dedicate the first 20 mins or so of baby's naptime with God (difficult I know when those dishes are begging to be washed)

- after dinner let daddy enjoy some time with baby while you steal away with God

- once a week after the baby is in bed for the night, leave daddy at home and head to a coffee shop for a little date with God

- set aside 15 mins or so each day for reading the Word while baby is awake. You could read aloud while baby plays nearby or eats breakfast. I keep a stack of books at the table, and one is like a topical Bible. So I read to M verses about love and sharing and anger. OR perhaps you want to begin teaching your child that mamas are people, too, and so explain that it's your time to spend with God. Encourage them to look at their Bible during that time, as well. I think this is a great idea because it models for your child a diligence in seeking God.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts...Hebrews 3:7,8

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forgot to tell you...

that Matthew has been with us almost a year, and I was finally called "mama"!!!!...but it was by another little boy! It happened at the museum when a little guy needed my help getting a toy unstuck.

Matthew still only says "help"...although he will show you how to yawn. Precious.

Show & Tell....well, maybe Tell & Tell

Anyone want to share special & fun activities they do (or plan to do) to celebrate their child's adoption anniversary?

Monday, July 21, 2008

In His Element

As I've mentioned before, Matthew can be pretty expressionless when I take him on outings. I know he is having a great time, which he expresses in the car ride home, but he appears very stoic as he "takes it all in." Well, today was quite different. We visited the children's science museum, and M was livin'large! He was quite animated (though you can't tell by the photos), interested in everything, and went off of his own to explore in the "kneehisci" section (totally out of character for him).

We tried to emulate an experiment once we got home, but M was determined that the hair dryer was only for drying hair and not for blowing balls.


edited2add: Ok, while at the museum today I made the executive decision to delay M's naptime because he was having so much fun. I am usually pretty strict about his sleeping just because we have had such a rough go of it. But I was like "Lighten up, it will be fine!" And so we stayed. And so he napped later than usual for his morning nap. And so he wouldn't go to sleep for his afternoon nap but instead fussed and cried. And so he had to go to bed early. And so............

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Flying with baby

Anyone know the safety guidelines for flying with a toddler? I have been purchasing M his own seat (for the sanity of unlucky sucker who gets stuck in a row with us) and, while I have tried to buckle him in at times, it's pretty much a lost cause. I have read about people taking their car seat on the plane...and the thought of that makes me shudder, cringe, and weep for more than one reason. So is it OK that he alternates from my lap to his seat to my lap to his seat..and on and on?

I saw this contraption: http://www.kidsflysafe.com/, and it looks like a great alternative to the car seat but, has anyone been successful at buckling in a 17 month old baby boy for an entire flight???????????

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Rockstar and A Superstar

A Rockstar: Here are pics of M rockin' out (literally) as he found a bunch of rocks to play with outside the restaurant.



A Superstar: Or maybe I should say "Suuupahstaaaah"...I had the GREAT PLEASURE of speaking with Andrea on the phone today and, let me tell you, I will never read her posts the same way again! Andrea has a thick Southern Belle accent that cracked me up from the moment she said her first word. As she spoke I could almost see the passionate expressions forming on her lovely face. Her voice is etched in my mind...a sweet reminder of a sweet woman.

Andrea is a go-to girl. If you have questions, this mama has answers. She is well-read and muy intelligente with an extra dose of common sense...but my two fave things about Andrea are her heart and her humility. Oh, THREE things...and that she's not above laughing at her kids when they're in the middle of a "throw down!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

redirect

OK, I know I keep redirecting you to other sites, but that is because other mamas are sharing some really good stuff! Karen's daughter Elaine has been home one year now, and Karen shares some intimate thoughts and feelings about her precious daughter. Check it out HERE!

refreshing

M and I stopped by the Shaved Ice Shack today to escape the heat and were served by an adorable young lady named Jin. She asked about Matthew and shared her own adoption story. Jin entered an orphanage at the age of 4 along with her younger brother. They were adopted together when she was 7.

While she eagerly expressed her love for her family and her happiness about being adopted, you could tell just from looking at her she is one joyful kid.

So our shack stop was quite refreshing...for the palate...and for the heart!

Perimart

Anybody ever order from this site?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

redirect

Great video at Rebecca's site. I've seen the story before, and it was just as wonderful this time. What a beautiful picture of TRUE LOVE!

Another great video at another Rebecca's site. More about LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!

China's "Wait" Problem

We have been LID to China for just shy of 2 years (LID 8-10-06) and, at the rate things are going, it could be another 2-3 years for referral. Actually, I really don't mind that the wait has increased IF it means that children are not being abandoned, Chinese families are adopting domestically, etc. It bothers me only to think of littles in orphanages just waiting, waiting, waiting.

Scott and I have recently begun talking more about our family...and our China wait. In our minds, we would like to have another child sooner than the possible 3 years we are looking at, but we know that it is all in God's hands.

I was praying about it this morning...seeking God's will...and I realize that while there seem to be so many options (wait for China, switch to China SN, go back to Taiwan, look into another country including the US, etc), I don't want to limit God. He could indeed say M is our only child...or He could have some amazing plan that, at this point, I can't even fathom.

I checked Tami's blog this morning and seeing photos of her sons playing made my heart long for a brother for Matthew, but what I long for most is God's best for our family.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stalker Shout Out

The last time I posted a request for readers to leave a comment introducing themselves, there was a great response and I ended up making a lot of new friends!

So...bloggy stalkers...let us ("us" meaning me and my other readers) know who you are! We are always excited to check out a new blog, encourage a mama who is waiting for that referral, share tips on the best spaghetti sauce, etc....

And...in all honesty...I am a blog stalker myself. There is one blog I read regularly but have never commented, so I am going there right now to leave that mama some love.

p.s. new photos in the post below!

Smooch withdrawals

Today Matthew and I are bummed that Smooch is no longer with us. We got up early and headed to the park to get our minds off our beloved girl. It was great to be out before the sun got too hot!



Smooch and I played so many games while she was here that I am still in game-mode and wondering how I can teach M to play mancala!!! I'll have settle for Old Maid, which he is starting to get the hang of. Besides typical games, we made up our own contest to see who could toss puzzle pieces the farthest with their toes...standing backwards for added difficulty. I'm thinking this could be an Olympic sport one day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More photo fun!

Since Smooch was in town, we thought it would be a great idea to have some family portraits taken...as you can see, they turned out well...not!



In the next set of photos, Matthew is sporting part of the rooster suit he wore for Our Fall Festival. You can tell by where the sleeves hit his arms that he has grown a bunch! In the photos you can also see the new BIG picture of M we have hanging next to the piano. I was able to have a FREE print made from a favorite photo (thanks to the Marbury family)...and then the frame was HALF OFF at Hobby Lobby!!! Sorry for the blurry pics!

Fun with Smooch

I've been having a great time with Smooch this weekend...going to the pool, playing mancala til 1:00am, sitting on the patio at Kelly's restaurant watching the people go by, visiting the aquarium & botanical gardens, and shopping....

Oh, yeah, Scott and Matthew have enjoyed her, too!

Here are photos...some of hers and some of mine so they are all mixed up:


Friday, July 11, 2008

Smooch arrives!

We had a great first day with Smooch...lunch at a deli, playing in the fountain, saying "poke" a lot!

In the evening she and I snuck off to attend my church's special service for college age kids. It's held in an old theatre in the university area and, while I am well past college age, I had a blast. What a great thing to see so many young adults choosing to worship God on a Thursday night rather than getting drunk at a bar. They rock!

So here are some photos...the fountain also lets out crazy steam, so the pics look a little hazy:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

redirect

Want to be encouraged? Check out Angie's latest post at Bring the Rain .

Want to see a miracle? Check out Gwyneth Rose at 6 months old! At the bottom of the post is a photo of her w/ her stuffed dog. To see just how much she has grown, click here.

Daddy's boy

Matthew is a Daddy's boy ALL.THE.WAY. I was folding laundry, and M picked up Scott's shirt and started carrying it around. When I asked if he wanted to put it on, he got excited...and then had to check his look in the mirror. Yes, the mirror that is still sitting on the floor.




And for those of you who would like to hear more about Scott...the other day I was demonstrating for him a temper tantrum that Matthew had thrown that day. After I finished my feet-stomping, face-making imitation, Scott said in stoic response "He gets that from your side of the family."

SMOOCH IS COMING TODAY! We are super excited that Smooch will be here for a little visit. M even picked flowers for her room!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bringin' on the tricks!

Matthew is in serious trick-mode this week. New skills include spinning in a circle, nodding his head to say "yes" (which sometimes looks like a drunk chicken move) and biting! OK, so biting isn't really a trick...but it is something new he has been practicing...on me! He never does it in anger; he just finds my skin between his teeth and goes to town.

This clip is about a minute long...which is really like 3 hours when you are watching a baby spin round and round and round. But I don't have time to do a grandparent video AND a regular reader video. He does nod his head at the end of the clip if you want to fast forward.



On an unrelated but beautiful note, recently I posted in my "About Me" section that when I read about leperous persons in the Bible I wonder if, upon meeting one, I would love so unselfishly that I would give him/her a great big bear hug...the kind everyone needs now and then. A pretty random thought I guess.

Well...in Red Letters there is an excerpt written by a lady who visited two leper colonies:

The lepers bowed to us in humility, clasping their nubbed fingers together in a sign of respect. As we were faced with the choice of whether or not to shake the nubby hands, no one on the team held back. I can't describe how it feels to clasp the disfigured hand of a leper. It feels like love in a way I have never felt before. We all know that our Father would hold these people in His arms. We wanted to be Him to these people who needed to know His love.

BEAUTIFUL!!!! Every time I read this account, I just long for Jesus to love through me. Oh, another sidenote...if you don't know about the Dalits, click here to learn about this people group deemed "untouchable." The "Facts about Dalits" link is a good starting place.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Odds & Ends

Happy Monday, everyone!

Just some quick stuff as I don't have any new pics to post yet.

I met an adult transracial adoptee online and, through a series of online discussions, she has decided to create a blog for APs and PAPs. Despite seeming to love her adoptive family, she is very open about the pain concerning her adoption. I think it is great that she is moving forward to host a blog where APs/PAPs can ask questions about everything from cultural topics to emotional ones. As soon as she is up and running, I'll post her new site.

An issue that my conversations with her have stirred up in my mind is one of corruption in international adoption. I'm NOT saying that all international adoption is corrupt!!! But I think it is something that APs and PAPs should be better informed about. If anyone has thoughts about or experience with this, please share a comment.

ATOPIC DERMATITIS - we've started using Eucerin's new anti-itch lotion, but we won't really know if it works until M can talk! It is definitely more user-friendly than the sticky, greasy Aquaphor. The prescription hydrocortisone seems to be the only remedy for "healing" the bad spots...but, obviously, you can only use steroids in limited amounts.


SCOTT - since I don't post much about Scott, here are some of his latest thoughts:

I was telling S about two cruiser bikes that could be used for free. He listened with interest and then stated to M "Bubs, you better learn to run real fast so you can keep up with mom and dad."

S said something funny the other day and I asked him "Are you trying to bring 'sexy back'?" (AKA Justin Timberlake) He replied, "No, sexy LUMBAR...back is too general for me."

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July!

ok...our 4th of july fun could be summed up as "It's all fun and games til someone pukes in the pool!" luckily, it was no one in our family so we took our rain check and high tailed it outta there!
we never go to mcDonald's, but what's more american than the golden arches and greasy fries? so we had our independence lunch there and, well, that was pretty much our celebration!

oh no...there's more! my family back in IL always gets together for the 4th so while talking to smooch i asked what the big contest was for this year. in the past it has been boat races, baking contests, etc. i was bummed to find out nothing was planned, so i told her they needed to have a "4th of july haiku contest" and they did!!!! she called me back, read each one over the phone, and i served as the judge! now that was really fun!!!!

other items:
xena has a new boyfriend. he's a miniature. haven't asked farmer tony what his name is yet, but i'm thinking he is only here for a short time...a time of sweet love...a time of procreation...a time of us walking into our backyard to see this tiny little burro trying to "romance" an uninterested xena. i'm talking EVERY time we walk outside.....

matthew made a second book. this time i had him choose photos from the buckner orphan mag, i cut them out, he helped me glue them into the book. it's a good one because it allows us to look at the kids from various countries and talk about their differences and similarities.

tinyrockstar.com - is REALLY tiny! not kidding! i orderded a 2T for M, and it's gonna be a snug one. so if you order, go with a bigger size!!!

giving to others - just a reminder that, if you feel uncomfortable giving cash to people you meet on the street (like my gas station story), there are other options. for ex, in my case i could have simply filled up her gas can at the pump i was already using...that way i would have known the money was being used for gas. but in other instances, like people who stand with signs on the street, why not put some food items in your car...the thing that comes to mind are the packages of crackers with cheese...that you can easily hand out. or buy some mcDonald's gift certificates and give those in place of money.










Thursday, July 3, 2008

Walking the walk

This post follows the theme of my sweet heart post.

Last week M and I drove to the west side. (west siiiiide!) I meant to get gas before leaving town but was distracted by 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed, so we were riding on E. As I drove I wondered what I would do if we ran out out gas somewhere on the reservation. Scott was at a Bible Study, so I knew his phone would be off. In my mind different scenarios played out...and I hoped that someone would help us if needed.

Fast forward to the gas station. While filling up, I noticed a lady walking toward me...her hands clutching a gas can. I groaned to myself as it's VERY common in our city for panhandlers to hang out at gas stations.

She asked for money. I said, "No." She walked away.

Immediately my stomach dropped. A kick in the pants from God, I suppose. Had I so quickly forgotten my own desires for help if I would have run out of gas? And now here I was denying assistance to someone in need...someone who, like me, may have been hoping for help as she was "riding on E."

I started digging in my bag to find some cash, all the time watching the lady's unsuccessful attempts to get help. My eyes darted from the disgusted faces of those she approached to hers which grew more pained with each rejection.

With M observing the entire scene, I ran up to the lady, offered her the money, we talked briefly, and she quickly went into the station to buy her gas. Driving away, I watched her fill up her can as I explained the whole situation to Matthew.

This isn't a "Look, I did a nice thing" story, it is a sharing of the true ugliness in my heart apart from God. Now some would say that you shouldn't give money to people like this because you never know what they might use it for. I'm not so sure that's the correct response. Afterall, this lady was using it...was needing it...for gas to get home.

I don't want my first assumption about people to be negative. I want to respond first and foremost with God's love...and let Him give me discernment if needed. I'm not advocating putting yourself in danger or being unwise in the stewardship of your money, but I'm suggesting a change of heart that will lead to a change in actions.

I recently read an excerpt from Red Letters by Tom Davis which drove home what I have been feeling about this gas station situation:

"Would you help me?" he asked.
That stupid voice went off in my head again. The same voice that speaks to me when I happen upon a panhandler back home in the States. He'll probably just buy vodka if we give him money. That inner voice--it's mine. And it could very well be speaking the truth. But it's not the voice I want to hear. I want to hear Jesus. Did he put conditions on the help He offered? A familiar story elbowed it's way past my hesistancy. A story of Jesus helping a woman caught in adultery. Jesus didn't refuse to help the woman because she might sin again. He forgave her and told her to sin no more. She was worth the risk. She was worth helping.

The point of all of this? Walking the walk. How quickly after I was encouraging M to open his heart to those in need did I close my heart to one in need? And why? Because I assumed that she would misuse the money? Because I assumed that her motives might be impure?

I don't want to assume...or to hear my inner voice. I want to hear the voice of Jesus. I want to simply love. And love with the love of Christ.

It can be much easier to give to the cute orphans on the front of a glossy brochure than the smelly, dirty man on the street corner. But the "love your neighbor" command doesn't come with a list of exceptions. If we want our little ones to grow up with big hearts, we must model compassion and giving and love...especially when it stretches us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Face flattening (follow up post)

yes, i totally think the right side of my face is flattening out from sleeping on it . it definitely looks different from the left side. i wake up in the middle of the night and think "switch!" and then roll over.

so after reading all your comments to the original post, i'm basically thinking that nobody else has this problem!!!!?????

Meet the Author

This morning Matthew wrote and illustrated his first book. He had a good time drawing with the markers, but the part he loved most was using the stapler! There will be a book signing at Borders on Saturday....



Last night we had dinner with Scott's family. I was so busy cutting up M's food that I forgot to take photos! And then I spaced it again as he and Layne played in the fountain. Fun stuff! Right before we left uptown it began to rain. One of my favorite things about living in the southwest is that you can be in a total downpour and the sun is still shining! Makes for lots of rainbows!

Yes, I took these pics while driving 70 down the freeway with my baby in the backseat. You can go ahead and put my name on that Parent of the Year nomination form now. I'm pretty sure this has clinched it for me. It's spelled T...I...S........

edited2add: if you are looking for a recommendation on adoption books, check out jenna's comment to this post! this girl is one fierce reader!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Question...but not a 1st time mama one

Does anyone know the answer to this?

If you sleep on the same side of your face every single night for years and years and, in my case, years....does that side of your face flatten out?

Is this medically possible?