Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Good Season for Missions

John Piper has some encouraging words for missions minded people....

The worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.
  1. During an economic downturn we are more dependent on God. That is the most fertile soil for creating missionaries.
  2. During an economic downturn unreached people around the world do not expect you to come, but to look out for yourself. So they may more likely see your risk as love rather than exploitation.
  3. During an economic downturn those who need Christ around the world may be less secure in earthly things and more ready to hear about eternal life.
  4. During an economic downturn people at home may be wakened to the brevity of life and the fragility of material things, and so may become more generous not less. And when they give under these circumstances, it will make Christ look all the more like the all-satisfying Treasure that he is.
And so it may well prove to be that the worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Safari Dreams

I want to return to the Kruger National Park and take my kids with me. I want to spend endless days exploring this magnificent park. Bird watching. Animal sightings. Sun ups. Sun downs. Curfews. Brai parties. Identifying spoor. The sounds and smells. The night sky with the Southern Cross. Take it all in and in and in. This park is a jewel. Forget Disney, I'll take safari.

I have been following a couple of safari bloggers to inspire my savings account. I ran across this post and couldn't take my eyes off of the video. I had to share it with my kid crew. They loved it too. The cape buffalo is underestimated by tourists. They are part of the "Big Five" for a reason after all. They are mean. They are dangerous. They are also very, very yummy and my favorite steak in the whole world.

This video is amazing. Absolutely remarkable and just plain luck to catch it on tape. It is all drama, the best kind with a surprise ending.

(I'm still trying to order Cape Buffalo steaks in the US but haven't had any success. If anyone has any tips on Cape Buffalo suppliers, please let me know. Mouth watering here.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Organizing and Inventory of Children's Clothes

My Challenge.

1. We have micro closets.

Evidently in 1924 people did not own clothes. At least not the family that built our home. Our closets dictate that we must put non-seasonal clothes in storage.

2. My short term memory.

In our town we have consignment sales twice a year and I try to purchase the bulk of my children's wardrobes at these sales. But, the sales are BEFORE the seasonal change and before I've unpacked our wardrobes for the new season. So, twice each year I "over purchase" clothing for our kids because after 6 months I've forgotten what they own. (Memory Issues!) And, um, the little monkeys won't stop growing and then they've outgrown some, or not grown enough to fit into the hand-me-downs. Whatever my problem is, I just end up over purchasing and the makes me grumpy! Grumpy because with micro closets, you can not fit in the extras and grumpy because it's a complete waste of money to have too many clothes.

3. Laundry.

Laundry for a family of 6+ can be a challenge. I can not tell you how much easier it is to do laundry if you do not have a mega wardrobe. I need to stay on topic here. Laundry tends to entice me to tangent. I love laundry. Laundry is fun. IF you don't have too many clothes. I used to hate it just so you don't think I'm a freak or something.

My Solution.

A digital inventory. I have tried written inventories in the past. They did not work for me. I would write something like 3T yellow dress, but then forget it's style/fabric or some other important detail.

What I used:
Digital Camera
Marker and Index Cards
Label Maker
Clear Plastic Boxes (clear so I can see in them and tight lids because of arachnophobia)

My daughters helped and we had a little assembly line.
First we pulled out all the summer clothes or anything outgrown into a big pile.
Second we laid an outfit on the floor with index card of size next to it. (Sometimes we had multiple sizes since I like to dress the critters in matching outfits.)
Third, we put the item in clear boxes labeled for size.

This was so quick and easy!
Finally, I organized the photos on my computer by creating folders by size. Examples: Girls 3T, Girls 4T, Mom's Summer Dresses I just click and drag the photos into the folders.

Disclaimer: OK, let me say that this is my solution for this year. I do not want to imply that I have solved this challenge once and for all. I give myself permission to later declare it an utter failure and revise. I will evaluate in the spring when we begin shopping for the summer season and unpacking/packing the closets.

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Is Caught Than Taught

Tonight I was poking around in blogland and stumbled onto this post at Shell in Your Pocket. This one really struck an emotional note for me.

More is Caught Than Taught.

I don't know where I heard this. It's been so long ago that I can't credit the phrase to anyone. Wish I could because I'd like to meet him or her again so I could beg for more pearls of wisdom!

Our children are little sponges and they just seem to absorb us. Despite my best efforts and intentions in parenting, it really boils down to what I live out in front of my children. What I live out is really what they reflect.

Shell in Your Pocket has this lovely and sweet story of how Shell lays out her daughter's clothes at night in preparation for their morning routine and how her daughter lays out the clothes for her doll. She is "catching" her mommy's parenting and love. She is reflecting her mommy and absorbing all of it.

My youngest daughter turned 5 this week and reading this story brought to mind a memory of my sweet daughter and her doll. My daughter would send her doll on foster visits. Off with an imaginary stranger (visitation worker) to a supervised visit with the doll's other daddy. Then her dolly would return and she would care for it and love it. She did all the normal dolly play....just insert foster visitations. You see, our daughter came to us at 13 months old as a foster daughter. All attempts at reunification with either birth parent failed and we were pleased and blessed to adopt her 2 years later.

I remember watching this and it would break my heart. My mind would flood with so many thoughts of which I can summarize....children should not have to go through this. I must admit that I felt both sorrow for my daughter and anger toward the adults that failed her and forced her to enter foster care.

But, somehow after reading Shell's story of her daughter and her doll clothes, I am reflecting on my daughter's story in a different light. I have read many books on parenting and adoption and have attempted to apply various parenting techniques and tips gleaned from these books with varied results. In the end, my children just seem to "absorb" me....little sponges that they are. All of it...the good and the bad. (Yikes!) Previously I thought my daughter was absorbing all the ugliness of foster care and that despite my best efforts at being purposeful in my parenting, I was failing. Wow was I wrong! She was learning to be a mommy with a heart big enough for loving on hurt children and their families. In her little girl and dolly way she was playing out the best side of foster care....she was reflecting my love.

I love her and pray she never loses her optimism and resilience! I have a brave little girl!

PS....She never did play out the "ugly".... her dolly never suffered...she just loved her when she came home from visits.
Picture of our daughter on the morning we adopted her. She received an Bitty Baby as her adoption gift from us. She's such a little mommy. She immediately stuck a bottle in her new baby's mouth!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please Consider Adopting These Children

These 3 beautiful children need a loving adoptive home. Would you please consider adopting them? Would you please pass this on to anyone you know that would be willing to open their hearts to these precious children?

These 3 hold a special place in my heart you see, because they are cousins to my daughter. I would like to know that they had a happy ending to their journey through foster care. I have been loosely following these children during their trek in foster care. My daughter still remembers afternoons playing with Adrianna and holding the baby Joseph. So, if at all possible, I would love to preserve this connection for my daughter. Being adopted myself, I am an advocate for maintaining safe and healthy connections for my children.

Please, please, please consider this domestic adoption. Truly, you do not have to travel the globe to find orphans that are in search of a family. They are right here, in our own hometown.

If you would please follow this link to the Nebraska Heart Gallery, you will find more information not only on these children, but others as well.

And Now Woodpeckers

Add 'em to the list.

This afternoon I had a few minutes of peace and quiet in my home. It's something that I guard tenaciously and is very rare with 2 preschoolers and a toddler at home. In the quiet I kept hearing a repetitive knocking type sound. Now, I know what woodpeckers sound like. This had the rythym of a woodpecker....but, something was just a bit off. So, I go around to the windows like one of those old women that spy on their neighbors. Nothing. But the sound is louder near one corner of the house. More back and forth to windows. Still can't see it. So, I go outside. The woodpecker is pecking at my HOUSE! What? So, I did what came naturally, I scolded him like he was a preschooler. Notice how I refer to the woodpecker as a male. That's because I could see one of my boys pecking at my house with, well, with like any tool or stick they could find. My girls would never do this. They would decorate the house. Naturally. Actually, come to think of it, I'll bet my Tony was in on this with the woodpecker. Excuse me, I need to go put Tony in the corner.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Smashed Potatoes

Tonight I made a pork tenderloin roast made in Mr. A.C. For our side dish we has smashed potatoes, a recipe from Pioneer Woman. The kids ate an entire bag of petite red potatoes and were asking for more! Greg missed this meal but we will be repeating it soon because the kids want more of these potatoes. Gabriella turned to me while we were eating dinner and thanked me for making such a good supper. She is growing to be a thankful person. Aaaah. So much better than when Griffin whines about dinner. Could the boy be any pickier??

Ok, I'm gonna be the first to picture doesn't look appetizing. But, trust me.....that's a fault of my photography skills. I mean lack of photography skills. My culinary abilities remain intact...not overflowing with skills, but intact. Just try the recipe.

My variation: dried chives from Penzeys.
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