Saturday, August 30, 2008

saturday stuff

We started the day with a trip to the university campus to feed the ducks. For M, it was some serious biz-ness! At times he would completely forget that the stale bread and bagels were for the birds, and then he'd stuff some in his mouth. Other times I'd see him start to take a bite, stop, shake his head NO, and then toss the piece to the ducks.

Scott & M hung out today when I went mattress shopping (if anyone has a recommendation for a twin mattress please share because looking at mattresses is almost as utterly unbearable as flying with a baby.....NOT!). They were out on a walk and M started saying "oval, oval"...Scott wasn't sure what M was talking about til he saw a train station sign in the shape of an oval. Funny little guy!

Tonight we walked over to nearby restaurant for dinner and were happy to see they had a band! Matthew was dancing, squealing, and clapping...very funny since he is usually Mr. StraightFace. Our town's annual wine fest is going on, and I was tempted to think M snuck out of the house for a little wine tasting...he was THAT loopy!

Here are some photos from last night at the farmer's market and today at the duck pond.








Mom, if you are reading this....I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

fall fashion for your blog

if your blog is ready to slip into a new style for fall, check out Rebecca's new design site

Uptown Design Studio

and let Rebecca dress your blog in the latest fashions for the new season!

Then head over to Rebecca's family blog to enter a FUN GIVEAWAY!!!

Taiwan Tips #4

Photos from our morning walk:


MY QUESTION: Regarding Taiwan and its culture, would you say there are any "must knows" for an adopted child? Anything that you would consider the thread of the culture that our son should have knowledge about?
HER ANSWER:
To me, I think the 'common' threads are:
1)Taiwan is the melting pot of China and East Asia and Taiwanese. You might find this funny, because most Westerners have the misconception that there is a monolithic Chinese culture. China actually has a very diversified cultures of difference 'peoples' (Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, Mio, Yioa and etc..) However, due to geographical limit, these diversified peoples didn't mix much until KMT retreated to Taiwan after losing the civil war. Of course Han Chinese from Fujian immigrated to Taiwan first and built a dominant culture and language that is more Southern Fujianese centric. When KMT armies arrived, many of the soldiers from all over China brought their hometown's traditions, dialects, and food. Over the years Taiwan has blended these different cultures in the food, and people. This mix is most obvious in a variety of Chinese cuisines that you can get in Taipei.
2) Taiwanese are very hospitable and friendly.. much more so than mainland Chinese or people from Hong Kong. We are just very "busy body" but I love that about Taiwanese. (Even though there is a cruel side of Taiwanese culture, but now I feel this balances it and that is why I still hope to move back to Taiwan one day.)
3) Taiwanese are proud that Taiwan is the 'first' democratic Chinese society. :)
4) Taiwanese are adventurous and very entrepreneurial (after all we are descendants of explorers who crossed oceans or the Taiwan Strait to look for a better life in an unknown Island:). That is how we achieved the economic 'miracle' despite constant military threat from China. Our economic miracle was built by millions of small businessmen who often had very little education and they just knocked on [the doors of] Western companies with a suitcase of samples. If you think about it, Taiwan's situation is very similar to that of the Palestinians: both up against a stronger 'country' next door and is not recognized as a 'country' by the majority of the world. Yet, Taiwan has been practical and were able to find creative and practical ways to co-exist with China which is no small feat. Instead of sinking into a cycle of violence and fight against the stronger 'enemy', Taiwan is a now a thriving democratic society, even though not officially recognized by most nations. Under China's threat, Taiwanese has churned out companies that manufacturing shoes, Tennis racquets, high tech companies that for computers (Acers, BenQ), computer chips (TSMC) and foundry manufactures. A big part of China's current economic development was from direct/indirect investments and factories built by Taiwanese businessmen. Taiwan has one of the highest foreign reserve in the world. I am very proud of Taiwan's economic achievements, also considering that Taiwan is only 1/2 the size of CA! :) Can you actually see that Americans and Taiwanese are actually very similar in our entrepreneurial spirits..:)~
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_20/b3933011.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_in_Taiwan

Thursday, August 28, 2008

zeal

7 years ago he passed away. My Papa.

I don't talk about my grandfather much...perhaps because of shame I feel over one of our last real conversations. Papa was trying to share his faith with me. I viewed his sincerity as weakness and his zeal as judgmental. And I rudely dismissed and ridiculed him.

I thought he spoke in arrogance...assuming his beliefs were the only right way. How dare he think that I wouldn't go to heaven? I was, afterall, a "good person" while he was the one being elitist and narrow-minded.

Months passed and in the wee hours of a midwest summer morning in 2000, Papa stood in my driveway and waved as I buckled into a Uhaul and headed west. It was one of the last times I would see him. My final memory of him was, during a visit back to IL, holding his leathered hand in mine as we sat at his kitchen table. Too weak to speak, he only nodded periodically as I made conversation.

Papa passed away shortly after I returned to CA, and I was unable to fly back home for the memorial services. Devastated, on the day of the funeral I sat on a deflating air mattress in my studio apartment and tried to "be present" with my grieving family. In a silence broken only by my sobs I imagined seeing Papa in his casket, laughing at stories told in his honor, and clinging tightly to those who shared my memories of him.

Little did I know that God would use the emptiness and sadness I was feeling to draw me to Himself. And that He would repeatedly bring to my mind the words my grandpa spoke that day as he shared his faith with me.

Now that I am a Christian I know that my grandfather wasn't sharing his faith in judgment but in humility. He was speaking from a heart humbled by the realization of being a sinner in need of a Savior. He wasn't trying to beat me down but to give me hope. And while I know if he were still alive we would debate doctrine til the sun went down, I truly believe that we would agree on the essential: Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, our Rescuer, our Hope, and our Lord.

The purpose of this long-winded, nostalgic post? I honestly don't know. But the other day my mom called me a "zealot" in terms of my faith (I'm sure she meant it in the most loving way!)...and it made me think about my Papa and his zeal on that night so long ago.

A "zealot" she called me...and rightfully so, I suppose. But so often the zeal of a Christian can be mistaken for condemnation and judgment and narrow-mindedness when, in reality, it is simply a response to the undeserved forgiveness, the endless mercy, and the incomprehensible grace that is daily lavished on a child of God. A truth I believe my Papa understood.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

UPdate

A little late on a 19 month update! M is up to SIX teeth and FOUR words!

His words are
- help
- Dada
- uh-oh
- oval

He also tries to make some animal sounds...and I think we got a "mom" out of him while we were in IL. He also for the first time did a good raspberry/blowing bubbles thing with his mouth on the plane ride home.

I can now write short words on cards, put them on the floor in front of the fridge, and he will find the magnetic letters to place on top of the written letters on the card.

I continue to be amazed at his
- receptive language - you don't really have to change the way you talk to him (i.e., slow down, repeat a bunch of times, etc) - he just gets what you are saying and follows through on what you ask him to do

- memory - when we get together with people, you only have to tell him their names once and he remembers who they are and things about them. Even on the plane ride home I would say a name of someone he may have seen only once or twice, and he would do the action of what he remembered that person doing.

- observation skills - I never realize how much he is paying attention to all that is going on...even if he doesn't seem like he is...until he mimics an action or seems to remember something I had no clue he knew about.

- understanding of "issues of the heart" - for ex, you will see from the photos that my sweet Mom has cancer. M and I have read in his kids' Bible the story of Jesus healing Jairus' daughter. I mentioned Jairus, and M remembered that story. As he and I were praying for my Mom one night before bed, M pointed upstairs where she was and started saying "help, help." I asked if Jesus could help her, and he nodded.

Here are photos from the trip, courtesy of Smooch. I tried to take a break from the camera and just enjoy the moments! Sorry some are a little fuzzy; I think it's a MP issue.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

we did not escape unscathed...

This post could also be titled "Nightmare at 30,000 feet" or "The day the friendly skies took a turn for the worse" or "Hey, flight attendant, get me a triple shot of whiskey...and I don't care if it costs more than my airfare."

Our trip home from IL was every bit as horrible as our trip to IL was wonderful.

A lady was kicked. A flight attendant was cried at. A little head badly conked when tantrum convulsions led to the said head making direct contact with the metal arm rest. Twice.

Oh yeah, and the juice cup...brought out as a saving grace in hopes of calming the storm. I handed it to Mr. Hysterics and, when the top was flipped back to expose the straw, the laws of physics kicked in and juice-under-pressure went spraying 15 feet in all directions. This, of course, only served to fuel the fire of fury in M. So I flipped back the top and frantically searched for the baby wipes. Of course, M couldn't leave it alone and so we spent the next few moments..which in reality was a slow motion play-out of eternity...with M opening the top, getting sprayed in the face, screaming more, and me closing the top, unsuccessfully trying to quiet him, and wiping apple juice off of irritated travelers with my soggy baby wipes.

And that was just in-flight.

Screams of protest coming from the public bathroom. Screams of selfishness coming from the kids' play area. Screams echoing throughout the long corridors...and all erupting from the mouth of my kid.

The words "Flight attendants, please prepare the plane for landing" have never sounded so good.

I wasn't surprised. I knew it was coming. M's sleep while at my mom's was diminishing every day....naps shorter...nights more restless. And so again, on travel day after a night lacking of zzzzz's, he woke too early, took a 40 min nap pre-flight, and never shut his eyes again.

I think the next time we decide to travel out of state, we're walking.

edited2add: Hey Shelly from Nashville! Thanks for de-lurking! Yes, Monical's is always a MUST when I go home. I could eat a whole large pizza by myself. Usually I do the one-two punch and get Monical's AND Avanti's!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

let's talk about sex, baby...

can you read that title without singing those lyrics by Salt-n-Pepa?

A few weeks ago one of our former youth pastors spoke at our weekend services, and the topic was sex. (you can add in a Barry White "ohhhhh, yeahhhhhhh" right here). I've been meaning to post it because I thought it was a great message for both the single and the married, the young and the old. It's also a great reminder to pray for our kids' purity in this area.

So if you'd like to talk about sex, baby, just click here for the video. Once the page pops up, you can jump to "message" on the right hand side.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the Heart of Illinois

Well, we are here in IL...and I have already eaten at Monical's....woohoooo!

Matthew was pretty close to perfect on the trip. I bought some new trip toys (will share about them later) which helped, but I give him the credit for being such a great kid that day. The only downer was that he woke up from his morning nap at noonish and besides a 15 min snooze on the plane, he didn't go to sleep until about 11:30pm (10:30 our time). You may remember that when M starts losing sleep, it compounds like crazy until he is only sleeping like 1 minute every 24 hours...OK, exaggeration....but true to form, he only slept about 5-6 hours last night because he was overtired. Thankfully, he was very easy going today and didn't seem too affected.

Smooch took some pics, but I'm too tired to upload...will try tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a new site (follow up post)

because i've had some questions concerning my new site (for the initial post, click HERE), i thought i'd post for clarification.

even though the title is "Beyond Red Thread and Ladybugs", the site is open to all PAPs /APs regardless of the country from which you are adopting. we may touch on china, but the site is not china-specific. i actually hope that we will eventually have parents representing a variety of countries and programs so that we can all be better informed about international adoption as a whole.

getting down to the "nitty gritty" does not necessarily mean that this will be the Blog o' Doom. there are enough yahoo chat groups for that! true, some of the topics may be heavy, but i hope that the blog will serve as a place for supporting others, sharing ideas, relaying experiences, posing questions, and, yes, venting frustrations if need be at times...and doing so all in a private setting. ultimately, i hope the blog will be a place of encouragement.

if you have further questions, don't hesitate to email me at 1sttimemama1@gmail.com

Monday, August 18, 2008

inevitable

It's inevitable that...

when baby is anywhere within 25 feet of you and begins to fall, he will miraculously turn into Stretch Armstrong and somehow grab your eyelid, hair, or neck skin on the way down

while baby refuses to eat the last of the peas on his plate, like a heat seeking missle he will immediately find every pea that he dropped on the floor and will shovel them in his mouth as if he hasn't eaten in days

when you decide to give baby a bowl of water to wash his toy dishes while you wash yours, he will spill the bowl of water and, before you can grab a towel, he will walk across the water, slip and fall, hitting his head on the tile turning the 5 minutes that it would have taken you to simply wash the dishes into a 30 minute messy, fussy ordeal

Do you have any "inevitables" to share?

Friday, August 15, 2008

a new look and a new site

Muchas gracias to Rebecca for my new bloggy look! While I loved the old design she created, I was ready for a change. And you know how you feel when you take off your nice work clothes and slip into your favorite pair of jeans...well, that's how I feel about my new design! Cool and comfortable!

I also wanted to share that I have created a new forum-like blog called "Beyond Red Thread and Ladybugs." It's a private blog for PAPs and APs who are interested in getting down to the nitty gritty of adoption. If you would like to join in the fun, shoot an email to 1sttimemama1@gmail.com that includes your blogger login name and blogsite address.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Family Anniversary

As we made our way in the front door, my nerves got the best of me. A small-framed woman greeted us with a wide smile as she walked to the crib in the corner of the tidy room. She turned around to proudly reveal the baby she had lifted from the bed, and all I could do was giggle nervously and mutter, "Wow, he's big!"

I think that I repeated that phrase a dozen times as Scott and I sat on the wooden bench holding our son for the first time. Those moments were surreal...I was overwhelmed at the realization of how unprepared I was for motherhood and intimidated to have four sets of eyes on me as I interacted with Matthew. And yet as I look back at photos from that day, all I see is joy on my face.

Today marks a year since we first met Matthew. 365 days...that seems strange to type out. I think I like referring to it in days though...it seems a better way to express the time...

the days of new discoveries
the days of exhaustion
the days of triumph
the days of failure
the days of growth
the days of true laughter
the days of too many tears to count
and, most of all, the days of a love that I cannot describe

So, today we celebrated with lunch at a cafe and a visit to the children's museum! Scott took the day off, and we enjoyed our little family in a lazy, low-key way. We gave M a gift we bought in China...a pig ornament because I THOUGHT he was born in the Year of the Pig. Turns out that you're not a pig unless you were born after Feb 17, 2007 because the Year of the Dog runs Jan 29, 2006 - Feb 17, 2007. M's birthday is in January. Shows how much I know about Chinese astrology. Oh well, we met him in the Year of the Pig! Funny thing is I told him that he could hang it on the Christmas tree this year, and he remembered what a Christmas tree is and where we had ours last year!

Our first look:





P.S. Matthew is getting his fifth tooth....hooray!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

better start saving our pennies!

Matthew went to college, and he LOVED it!

Yesterday we hung out at the university...sharing a slice at a local pizza joint and walking around campus. The destination was actually the campus duck pond, but M seemed to love it all. Bicycles, skateboards, grass, water, ducks, Sonic slushes...they all got his approval.

As we sat on a bench sipping our slushes, I kept asking if he was ready to go home, ready to go back to the car. Each time he would emphatically shake his head NO! This boy who will typically dig the car keys out of my bag to let me know when he is bored and ready to get goin' was perfectly content to sit at college and watch the world go by.

- - - - - - - - - -

SCOTT STUFF:
As we watched the US women's gymnastics team huddled together talking, Scott exclaimed, "Babes, I can't believe they're not texting each other!"

I've been sick and recently asked Scott to suck out my eyeballs with a turkey baster. He declared, "That is beyond my comfort level."

Me: Will you get some plastic cups out of the cabinet?
Scott: Speaking of plastic cups, have you talked to your mom today?
Me: Uh, no...but I plan to. Have you talked to YOUR mom today?
Scott: No, but I'm drinking a smoothie in a plastic cup.

- - - - - - -

We have two baby bunnies in our backyard!!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Taiwan Tips #3

MY QUESTION: We were told by many sources that if our son kept dual citizenship if he should happen to travel to Taiwan between the ages of 19-40 (I think those are the correct numbers), he could be held in Taiwan and forced to serve in the military. Do you know if this is true? Can you share any benefits to a child for keeping his Taiwan citizenship?

HER ANSWER: Yes, there is one-year mandatory military service requirement in Taiwan for man at 19 (or postpone to attend college), then all men between 19-40 are in reserve to fight if a war breaks out which is quite unlikely. However, Taiwanese with expat status on their Taiwanese passport gets a 90-day relief. Therefore as long as they leave Taiwan in 90 days they won't be drafted when they live in Taiwan using their Taiwanese passport. My brother lived in Taiwan for 3 years under this status. He had to travel to HK quite often, so he never had issue with that 90-day rule and was never drafted. My brother wanted to live in Taiwan and enjoy the almost free health care under the National Health Insurance, so that was an obvious advantage to use his Taiwanese expat/citizen status. I can't really think of other tangible beneifts, unless you consider his right to vote and work freely in Taiwan as benefits. :) Taiwan actually makes it very hard to obtain a Taiwanese citizenship for the new immigrants, so the benefits of citizenship will be more for people from less developed countries to be able to live freely in Taiwan.
If the citizenship laws are not changed in Taiwan, your son's Taiwanese expat status can be applied and renewed at anytime. There has been talks of repalcing the mandaory military services with an all-volunteer military, so the draft could be a non issue a few years down the road.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

MORE photo extravaganzaaaa!!!!

Carefully I lined up the white dots, then twisted ever so slowly. As I heard a faint "click," the heavens parted and the angels began to sing. How glorious is a 55-250 zoom lens? Especially to photograph a boy who hates to have his picture taken?

Most of these photos were with the that lens as I was practicing with my flash off.




Hey...anyone know where I can watch a video of the Olympics Opening Ceremony???

photo extravaganzaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Bunch of photos here. Anyone know how to take nice, clear pics w/out the flash on? Mine are almost always blurry even though I try to be super still. This group of photos include:

- playing in the pool on the back patio
- making a smoothie with play food
- watering flowers
- attending a carnival...a church in our town was celebrating a festival this weekend complete with a carnival open to the public. We decided to check it out, and it was both fun and disturbing! M had a blast on a few "rides" and thought the live music was funny, but the lack of safety and quality of both the rides and the prizes really bothered me. You can see from the photos the condition of the rides. On the "ride of death" a chain broke causing a little boy to hold on for dear life so as not to fly out of his seat. Some of the prizes looked like they had been sitting in a Goodwill storehouse collecting dust since 1988. Where's OSHA when you need them?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary baby, I've got you on my mind!

Like many of my post titles, this one was meant to be sung...if you are old like me and know the tune, that is.

August 10 marks our TWO YEAR anniversary since our China Log In Date. Two years. And the wait just keeps on keepin' on. At this point China has matched families through January 25, 2006. Rumor Queen believes that the next group of referrals is only matched through January 27! Woohoo! Two whole days...now that's progress.

We continue to seek God's will in this and, while I would love a brother for Matthew, I'm honestly not sure what the future holds. There are many unknowns with China. Concerning Taiwan, at this point I am not comfortable with the program we previously used. (If you have questions about this, feel free to email me). And I hear the wait is growing for other countries while some programs have completely shut down.

On top of it all is the possibility that God's plan for our family is simply the three of us. Perhaps He is calling us to serve in ways that would be difficult with more children. Short-term missions? Visiting orphanages? Giving more to those in need?

I still keep up with our agency's WC list...looking for that face that says, "You've found me!" And we have no intentions of pulling out of China. But, for once, I don't want to push it...don't want to try to exert my will over God's. He knows the deepest desires of my heart, and I don't. I really don't. But I trust that He is going to amaze me as He fulfills them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

confessions of a first-time mama

Since Scott has Bible Study on Thursday nights, I ususally try to take M out for dinner and an evening activity. I call it our "date," but it would be more honestly labeled my "sanity saver." BTW, mad props to you single mamas out there. If it wouldn't be idolatry, I might worship the ground you walk on.

Last night was the dinner fiasco that included screaming, crying, and a little kicking of the feet...oh, and M threw a fit, too. Relieved to be leaving the restaurant, we headed to a special bookstore. Stuck in a back corner of this store is a toddler-high train set which M loves. As we made our way toward the train, I was suddenly overcome by a strong force...and like a magnet to steel, I was drawn to the magazine section.

I stood in front of the bountiful selection...trying to shield M's eyes from the bountiful cleavage on some of the covers. Walking back and forth along the racks, I weighed my options. Dwell? No, that will just make me question my choices of paint color. Newsweek? Not enough brain power to concentrate on news. Parents? Just.Can't.Do.It.

Ahhhh...here we go...In Style. Pleased with my selection, I began to turn away. All of the sudden, a celebrity mag jumped into my hand, too! I shrugged my shoulders and walked away with magazines in hand.

As M played with the trains, I sunk into mind-numbing bliss...

Oh, Jen, surely you can do better than John Mayer!
Rihanna, love the new hairdo!
Wow, Victoria Beckham actually owns a pair of flat shoes! Who knew?

Of course, when people would walk by I would totally snap to it...

Matthew, what color is that train? Good job!

Can you make the train go down the hill? Oh, I knew you could!

But when they walked away, my attention turned to fall fashion and Britney's new beach-ready body.

As we left the store, I felt a little lighter...less serious...and even good enough to assert the brain power needed to get M away from the train without a tantrum.

And what is M doing as I type this? Watching a video!!!!!!!! Yes, a video. Shame, shame, everybody knows my name. And not even his sign language video or his left brain logical thinking video. Nope. He is watching the Wiggles. Double shame.

Ahhhh, so there you have it...my confessional. I feel better already. Guess it's time to turn off the TV and go make some homemade playdough.

Sidenote: Does anyone know of block-like things that you can put together to create a roller-coaster of sorts for rolling balls down? There is one on his logical thinking video, but I can't find it in stores. Magnetix has one, but the pieces look too tiny for his hands and mouth.

On a roll, baby! After our morning video extravaganza, I thought it necessary to teach M the fine art of dunking cookies in milk. Afterall, how can we expect him to grow into a self-respecting adult if he doesn't master this skill? Besides, I think it is required knowledge for college entrance exams.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle...in stereo!!!!!!!!!

FULL.BLOWN.TANTRUMS.
OK, that is probably an exaggeration. And one day I will look back and laugh at these measly little 18 month-old fits.

I think it is just the recent frequency of them that bugs. Fun things we used to do are not quite as fun when M freaks out in the middle of them...

...baking cookies - the cookies have to be placed in the oven to bake...FREAK OUT!
...washing car - it's mama's turn to use the hose to spray off the top...FREAK OUT!
...dining out - we sit outside instead of inside...FREAK OUT!

It's kind of like a day-long FREAK OUT with little breaks of calm. I know this is all typical toddler...and probably heightened by irregular sleep and new teething (BTW, still only 4 teeth). Sure does make for a long day though!

Salt in the wound...he is perfectly happy & well-behaved when hanging with daddy. And when Scott's at work and I correct him, he starts saying "dadada" and pointing to the door.

Oh, Andrea, you will be happy to know that when M threw his second fit when it was my turn with the hose (after the first fit I talked about taking turns and made sure he had his rag & bucket to keep busy), I promptly turned off the water, told him our neighbors didn't want to hear him scream, and took him inside the house. Hmmm...now that I read that, it is no wonder he likes his dad better. Scott would have worked it so that M didn't even know he had given up the hose...or lifted M up to let him spray off the car. Maybe he should be a stay-at-home dad!!!

On another note, a funny thing M has started doing....if he thinks I did not cut his food into small enough pieces, he will let me know that he wants them smaller.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

today's photos

a walk around the neighborhood and making cookies

redirect

Thanks for stopping by, but now I'm going to lead you to some other places!

Child Trafficking: A young lady named Lana serves children along the Thailand/Burma border who are prey to child traffickers (slavery, prostitution, sweatshops). She recently spoke at a Global Ministry Conference sharing both the problem and a solution. Please note that Lana is not a theologian nor a Bible scholar; she is simply a young woman who loves God and therefore loves others. You can listen to her message HERE.

An issue like child trafficking can be difficult for us to hear. And that may be precisely why we need to hear about it. It is much easier not to think of the little ones being sold into slavery by their parents or being forced into prostitution by their kidnapper. It is a weight that is difficult for our hearts to bear...but nowhere near as difficult as it is for the children living in these conditions. These kids are crying out for help...and you may be the help God wants to use.

How can you help? Perhaps prayer, or finances, or partnering with an organization like Lana's. If God puts this ministry on your heart, then He will use you no matter who you are or where you are at. Lana was a teenage go-go dancer in CA when God saved her...and now she lives to serve the children whom God loves.


The Shadows of Virtue: This film is described as "an introspective look at the actions God's love compels us to take in response to the crisis of global poverty." I have only watched the trailer yet but thought I'd pass along that link for you to view. Click HERE to access the link and then select "small, medium or large" after "trailer" at the right.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Today. 10:00am.

Matthew's 1st real tantrum in a store.

People stopped. And stared. And commented.

And I kept on shopping.

All the time singing "Welcome to the Jungle" in my head.

Monday, August 4, 2008

About time for another "sleep" post

Here are some new pics with the new camera. Just stuff from around the house. They haven't been edited at all...I'm trying to see what kind of images the camera will take w/out doctoring.

We're trying to go to one nap/day. It is not working well. Not well at all. It seemed necessary because he started cranking out some serious napping, but his nights were going back to restless sleep AND he was waking way too early (earlier than his normal early). But...unfortunately he won't sleep longer than an hour for the nap, which means he desperately needs more sleep, hence a second nap that is way too short (today 25 mins), and he wakes up MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD. Once M's sleep gets out of whack and he gets overtired, he seriously cannot sleep. So today I was the prisoner of a very tired, fussy boy. Ugh, sadness depart, leave gladness in my heart!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

This good day

Today is my birthday...and a very good one at that.

I woke up this morning with a heart to praise God, and the words that immediately filled my mind were "fearfully and wonderfully made" from Psalm 139:14. I never like to put words in God's mouth by flippantly saying "God said..." or "God told me...", but I must say that I truly felt He gave me those words as a birthday gift...a loving reminder that I am His unique and wonderful creation. And, I have to add...I felt beautiful all day long!

My second great birthday gift was a new Canon Rebel XTi from my precious husband! I am soooo excited to get going with it, but I must admit the camera is a little overwhelming! Perhaps it is because I, for once, want to take my time getting to know the features and adjusting the settings rather than just plowing forth all willy nilly.

Scott & I went out for a hot date on Friday night to celebrate our birthdays! It was so much fun hanging out with him...and being able to focus just on him! Today Scott's family came over for a little fiesta, and my family called from IL to love up on me. Indeed it was a good, good day!

These photos taken with the new camera...no editing and set on auto:


These pics were taken with my other camera:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Foolish Things

Twins separated at birth. I'm pretty sure that describes Peter (as in the disciple) and I. Not that I could really prove our twinniness with DNA...it's just not necessary anyway. All you need to do is read the New Testament to see that he and I are two peas in a pod...cut from the same mold...yes, twins separated at birth.

Last week I was reading in John 13 where Jesus washes the disciples' feet. Here we see Peter's "extreme" personality when at first he basically tells Jesus "You'll never wash my feet" and then in the very next verse he begs Jesus to wash his hands and head, too.

Ah, Peter, could we BE any more alike? Highly emotional. Over-reacting. Black & white. Kind of like the way Scott describes my driving..."all gas or all brake." Sigh. And...reflecting on my Peterishness, I was a little bummed. In fact I found myself pleading with God, "Will you please teach me how to just shut up?"

But just as Jesus was so very tender with foolish Peter, He is so with me. Last Wednesday when M & I visited Scott's Bible Study, Scott mentioned to his friend that he had been reading about Peter in John 21. In this passage Peter is the only disciple to jump into the water to get to Jesus who is standing on the shore. Was plunging into the sea an irrational thing to do especially since the boat was not far off the shore? Maybe. But that is how desperately Peter longed to be near Jesus. As I listened to Scott recounting this story I was like "Yeah, I'd jump." I would jump like Peter...my twin. And as I left the Bible Study I was encouraged...encouraged by my God who created this highly emotional, overreacting, black & white girl. Because I know that, just as He did with my foolish brother Peter, HE can bring glory to His name through THIS foolish thing.

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29