Sunday, December 30, 2012

Believing Jesus

I've been reading Kisses from Katie, a book chronicling a few years of 22-year-old Katie Davis.  She loves Jesus and is devoting her life to living in Uganda and serving the people there.  In addition to that, she is in the process of adopting 13 girls!  Talk about faith!

As I am nearing the end of the book, this segment rings true for me as our dear Jackie moved to live with another family last month.

"And God, who sees and knows what is very best for her and for the rest of my family, allowed her to go live with someone else.  For the good of me, for the good of her and the rest of my children, for the good of His Kingdom and the glory that is His.  So I trust Him.  I cling to His promises.  I believe in His goodness." -p. 256

But because I am human, I still grieve over the loss of a family member.  We dropped off our last photo book on the doorstep of Jackie's new home on Christmas night, as we were driving back home from Northern California.  Jadon asked, "When are we going to see Jackie Jeh-Jeh again?"  "I don't know..."  The boys know she has moved out, but don't understand why.  I'm not sure I truly understand why, nor all the crazy emotions that go along with being a foster teenager.  Judah still refers to the empty bedroom as "Jackie Jeh-Jeh's room."  Josiah treasures the memories of biking and playing monopoly with his beloved big sister.

It hit me that J would move out the day we arrived home from our extraordinary visit to North Carolina.  That night we had an adoption appreciation dinner for foster families at Olive Crest.  After dinner, the tears wouldn't stop as I listened to everyone's stories of successful adoptions, etc.  Of course I was happy for them, but my heart was in pain and my emotions were raw and fresh over our family's situation.  I cried for weeks before and after she left.  How can someone I love so deeply just get up and move out?  But it's not about me, or her, or my family.  I have to trust that God allowed this to happen for the good of all of us, and ultimately for His glory.

Jesus taught me how to keep loving even when love didn't come back.  He gave me a daughter.  He gave me a teenage daughter!  Nothing fit "our" profile at Olive Crest except that she was Chinese.  He didn't promise that we would receive love back from others.  His commands are to love God and love others.  So we loved imperfectly and we gave imperfectly.  I still feel like a failure, but I know that we tried our best.

And we will continue our call as foster parents.  Maybe we'll have a baby boy next, a toddler girl, who knows?  We didn't start out wanting to be foster parents, but truly God called us to be, at least for this chapter in life.  And He knows we are weak, unable to do anything without Him.

Thank you Jesus, for dying for me on the cross, and for showing me true love.  Please help us to give our lives to others, too.  We selfishly want to be comfortable and not be inconvenienced.  Help us to move past those desires and continue serving You by loving children who need a home and a family.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Scattered thoughts

Wow, it's been a while.  Our sweet neighbor Ruben is over here hanging out with the boys so I'm typing away.

Summer!  The boys love summer because our schedules are so relaxed.  Josiah loves to ask me why he still has to do homework when it's summer.  :)  You see, I desire to be more tiger mom-like, but I lack the discipline to follow through.  Not that I want to be up at midnight making the boys practice their instruments until they get it right, but to be a little less relaxed than I am.

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I cuddled my 2.5-year-old Judah yesterday in my arms and called him my little baby boy.
J: No, I Judah.
M: You're my baby boy!
J: No, I Judah.
M: You're not my little baby?
J: No, I Judah!
M: You're my little boy.
J: No, I Judah!
M: You're my little boy!
J: No, I BIG boy!

Last night Jer and I heard this comment from Judah for the VERY first time: "I so tired."  :)  Usually he tells us he isn't tired and tries to fight bedtime.

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I've been reading a book called Raising Kids with Character that Lasts, by John and Susan Yates.  I love how the authors encourage us by reiterating that we are all in process.  We are continually being shaped by the Lord into men and women of character.  Do what is right vs. do what we feel.  Training our children by sharing our weaknesses and how we stumble allows them to see that it is ok to fail.  God picks us up and has us move on in His strength.

It's ok for the kids to be bored because they will have to be creative to entertain themselves.  With boys, sometimes the creativity leads to destructiveness.  Hehe.

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Fostering our teen is constant emotional turmoil for the foster child and the foster parents.  We have our ups and downs, but because the natural family has been broken up for her, that hurt is so deep.  Only the Lord can heal those broken hearts.  Therapy and drugs can only do so much to help, but ultimately it is God we all need.

Before lunch, J and I had a calm but slightly emotionally-charged conversation.  It doesn't hurt that she doesn't want to be adopted.  It hurts because she can't hang out with us without feeling pain...so she doesn't.  I feel sad when she excitedly wants to go out with others, knowing that it brings so much sadness to her when she spends time with us as a family.  We were both in tears, as this situation isn't ideal since there has been so much loss to get here, but it is the best situation it can be at this point.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crisis of Caring

The Crisis of Caring is a book written by Jerry Bridges, one that has stuck with me since college, when I studied it with my small group.  He discusses how true love for others is a far cry from what we generally think.  First, we have to be aligned with God, knowing that only through Jesus can we even begin to love unconditionally, and only then can we even begin to truly love those around us.

Instilling in the boys a love for others is so difficult since we are all born with major selfishness.  We started teaching them this verse, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)  Every day is a struggle for us all to be at peace, especially since we homeschool and see each other ALL DAY long.  :)  There are plenty of opportunities to remind them of this verse all the time!

And of course it's the hardest at home, to consider their brothers as more important than themselves.  :)  I pray that the Lord will continually work on my heart to be a good example to serve others.  Home is the place where all of our sins come out and I know they've seen an abundance selfish acts from their Mama!  They are quick to forgive and I am so thankful for that!

Here are a couple of photos for you all.  My boys have a membership to an online educational program that allows them to earn gold coins when they accomplish a level of math, Bible, language arts, geography, or science.  They can purchase pets, furnish their castle, and see their friends' castles.  I'm sure there's a lot more to do on there that we're not aware of yet.

Check out the pets' names:

Josiah's pets:
I asked Josiah to name his pets and left the room.  When I returned to the dining room, this is what I saw and I exclaimed, "You named your dog JESUS?"   My mom was visiting and began laughing hysterically.  I tried to hold it in since I was sitting with Josiah.  Thankfully, I was behind him and he couldn't see me, but he could feel me shaking!  Yes, it's hilarious and kinda sacrilegious, but it's so sweet that Jesus is a name that is at the forefront of my little boy's mind.  :)


Jadon's pet:
Jadon is so different from his brother.  He has no desire to save his gold coins.  Once he has enough to buy something, they're gone!  Josiah has over 1000 and has not decided to purchase much of anything.  The average cost of an item is 60 coins.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Childlike faith

Last night Josiah came up to me before heading to bed.  He asked me to look under his upper lip.  I looked and there was nothing there.  He then ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror, then returned and exclaimed, "God healed it!"  I had no idea anything was wrong but I gladly celebrated with him by saying, "That's so great!"  Apparently there was a red mark or scratch there earlier in the day.

While we teach our children to be thankful for everything, I don't think I would so readily exclaim that God healed me right after everything seems ok.  I would probably move on and just be glad that my illness or wound is finally done with.  But yes, God heals!  I should be just as quick to thank the One who made us.  Thank you, Josiah, for reminding me!

Here's my boy playing in a recital yesterday.  I forgot to record from the beginning, so it's way short.  His posture is awful because he's using the pedal and I don't have one of those fancy pedal boxes made for tiny students.

video


And here he is hanging out in a tree in front of the church, anxious to get some play time after sitting about 45 minutes for a whole recital!



Monday, February 6, 2012

Verbal skills

On the way to church yesterday morning, Josiah was reading street signs.

"Garden Grove"
"Knott State" (abbreviated as St.)

M: "Street"
J: "oh, street"
M: "How did you know the K is silent?:
J: "Because it doesn't make sense."
M: "Yeah, it doesn't make sense."
J: "And because I've seen Knott's Berry Farm before."
M: "Oh yeah!"

The English language is quite strange indeed.  Why do we have silent K's?  Ludicrous!

Here's a happy scene from today.  We're babysitting Brandon and his cousins introduced him to Hungry, Hungry, Hippos!  Now back to homeschooling #1 while the younger 3 nap!

video


And here is little Judah, blocking out the light with his "pay-pay" and finally falling asleep!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Judah's 2-year stats

My boys are all tiny, and Judah is no exception.  He was below the charts for the past year and finally, the doctor was ecstatic today!  He pointed to the curve on the chart and Judah's plot at 7% for weight.  Poor little guy got one vaccination on his left thigh.  He got a Snoopy bandage for his bravery.  (Actually, I held him down and all he saw was my face.)  The nurse quickly gave the injection and Judah immediately started crying.  It lasted only about a minute before he sadly said, "Owie..." as he pointed to his thigh.

7.81% of growth percentile based on weight-for-age.   5th or more is normal. 
12.77% of growth percentile based on stature-for-age.
10.12% of growth percentile based on head circumference-for-age.


Here's my #3 bewildered about having this gown on.


And here he is with his crazy big brothers who like to swipe the items found around the exam room...like the gloves and tongue depressors.  Yes, that's a safety hazard to leave him alone on the exam table...