Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Tee Shirts!

Just a quick reminder that we are selling tee shirts to "Help Bring Hudson Home". Shelby is wearing one of my favorite tees in the picture above. We have recently added 2 new designs to our page so please stop by and take a look. With spring right around the corner, now is a great time to purchase one for yourself, your child, or maybe as a gift for someone. Thanks for looking @ .

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hudson!

Lilly's present to her baby brother. This child is destined to be an artist. She draws all the time. This is a drawing of her and Hudson each holding a balloon. Notice his name in the picture below- Lilly asked us to spell it, and she did the rest!

Today is Hudson's 2nd birthday. This is the first time we have ever had a child in China celebrating a birthday without us as we waited for travel. It is certainly difficult because you wonder if someone will celebrate his special day with him. I know he likely will not receive a single gift unless our package arrived in time. With Chinese New Year being this week, it likely has not made it to his orphanage yet. That makes this mom's heart sad. I hope someone sang to him, hugged him, kissed him, and said "Happy Birthday Zhe Zhe" (Ju Ju) My only comfort comes in knowing that this birthday will be the last birthday he celebrates as an orphan. Next year he will have a yummy cake, ice cream, and probably too many gifts. . . but most importantly, he will be surrounded by a family who loves him.

Our bake sale was quite a success today. Thanks to the generous donations of delicious baked goods from family and friends, we made $316. Thank you all so much for contributing and thank you to the many kind folks who stopped by our table to purchase some yummy treats or to simply offer a donation to help the orphans at Baotou Social Welfare Institute. Our family's goal was to raise $200 during the month of February. Here is an up-to-date look at God's provision:
Valentine's Babysitting Event: $100
Bake Sale: $316
Donation Can at David's office: $12 and some change
Donations from Shelby and Katie (after babysitting jobs): $8
Donations from Emily: (a sweet friend of Shelby and Katie's): $5
To- Date Total: $441
The "Show Crazy Love to Orphans" Campaign for February is still underway, and we have about 15 people who are fundraising on our behalf. We have several others who have pledged donations. Our goal was $5,000. We may or may not meet that, but we are so thankful to be on this journey to Hudson and to have supportive friends to help us along the way! Thanks to each and every one of you who have helped in some way - big or small - we appreciate you all!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow, snow, snow!

Where we live, snow is a rare occurrence. Boy, were we glad to look out the window Friday afternoon and see flurries. What a welcomed sight for us southerners!
A little early for a snow angel, but Katie was determined to try.

Ellie was not thrilled with the snow. She said "I don't like being messy!" She knew better than to attempt a snow angel - unlike her sister Lilly - see below.

Ethan with our new dog, Bandit (from Little House on the Prairie - anybody remember good ol' Bandit? Only name we could all agree on!) He was quite the find at the local animal shelter. Thankfully he does not roam as Wags did but because he is mostly Golden Retriever, he does like to dig - not cool! A sweet dog who plays catch really well which our kids think is so cool. Wags and Lucky never got the hang of it.

Lilly has been talking about making a snow angel all winter - she finally got her chance. She decided that snow angels were way overrated as she did not like being cold and wet - obvious result of making a snow angel. Live and learn!

Please note that Ethan willingly chose to take his coat and gloves off when we left for our walk - despite his mother pleading w/ him to wear his coat w/ gloves in the pockets. He insisted he was not cold! Well, at this point, he was crying saying he was cold - not sure what he expected. Let's just say he is one stubborn little boy!

Sledding behind the golf cart - by far the most fun for the kids. They loved it and did it all day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What Has It Cost You?

A few Sundays ago, our pastor preached a sermon from Mark 1:14-20. In this passage, Jesus is calling His first disciples.

Jesus said "'Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of me.' At once they (Simon and Andrew)left their nets and followed him." Mark 1:18.

Our pastor spoke about how we do not have to leave where we are today to "follow Christ". We can stay right where we are, be changed by Jesus, and bring His kingdom to where He has placed us. He had me thinking at that point because so often I do long to sell all of our wordly possessions and move to a 3rd world country. In many ways, I do believe it would be "easier" to follow Christ there. I'm sure you can see what I mean. We have so many distractions here in America and so many pressures. Even though we homeschool, and therefore we do not have the pressures that children encounter at school, we still are faced with many - to play baseball, basketball, music lessons, to be in the theater play, to do this and that. In Uganda, I don't think Katie and her 14 children are dealing with all of those distractions ( Now certainly, Katie is faced with distractions that I can't fathom here like an elderly woman w/ AIDS and no one to care for her. Life just seems simpler there, and I know that it is likely more of a necessity to keep your eyes on Christ when you are living in that environment. But for the forseeable future, God is not calling me to a 3rd world country. He is calling me to "lay it all down and follow Him" right here and right now. What does that look like? Is it costly? You bet it is! Does it involve sacrifice? Most definitely!

Our pastor even asked the congregation this question which has really had me thinking: "What have you given up to follow Christ?" I don't want this post to turn into what I have given up because I will declare right now that I have not given up enough! But I do want to share with you a few of my thoughts.

Someone recently asked me if I was tired of homeschooling. She said "Aren't you tried of that by now?" Yes, this is my 7th year, and to be honest, I am quite tired of it. In all actuality, I have been "tired of it" since the first year, and I have tried to quit numerous times before. I have dragged my husband to almost every private school in our area. I always prayed before our visit, "Lord if it is your will for me to stop homeschooling and send these precious gifts, whom you have entrusted to me, to school, please grant me peace." I never once for a moment had peace. I was disappointed for I wanted to feel peace so I could send them to school! However, each and every time, I knew that it was not God's will for me to quit - on Him. I believe and know with all of my heart that He called me to homeschool so for me to quit just because I want to, would be disobedience. Daily I have to deny myself - not just as a mother- but as a homeschooling mother. It is my calling. I rebel and complain and grumble - all sin. I do not have this "follow me" thing perfected, but I know He is at work in my heart so I keep praying for help and strength each and every day.

Last thought of the day - adoption. Recently I had a conversation with a friend about our fundraising efforts to help lessen the financial burden of Hudson's adoption. She said "If you want 7 children, then I think that's great." I interrupted and explained that it is really not that I want 7 kids. My life would be ALOT easier if we had never adopted. We would have only 4 children with the youngest being 6 1/2. We would have well over 50,000 dollars more than we have right now. We could have taken our 4 children to Disney World or to Williamsburg, Va. for a costly field trip (I really wanted to do that this year as we are studying this time period in history). David and I could have taken that trip that we talked about on our honeymoon - where we went back to Young Island in the Caribbean for a week to celebrate a big anniversary. But, no, that was not God's plan for this family. It was His plan for us to deny ourselves and "follow Him" . . .to China. . .not once but twice and soon to be 3 times. Why? Because He commands it in His word.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

My life is not easy and many days it is downright hard. Yet, I thank Him for it daily. I am so thankful that God has chosen to put me "right here, right now". I am so thankful that He chose to call me to homeschool my children, and I am so thankful that He called us to adopt Lilly, Ellie, and now Hudson. I am so grateful that He did not leave me where I was - a lukewarm, self-centered child of God. He used many people along the way, and I have thanked them too!(thanks Gabe & Kim and Josh & Betsy) It's amazing how God works, He led us to homeschool and then to adopt. If we had sent our children to private school like we were planning, we likely would not have been able to even contemplate adoption due to the overwhelming costs. So on this day, I give thanks and praises to my Father in heaven for doing more with my life than I could have ever dreamed of! And I look forward to seeing where He leads us next. Back to China again. . . Haiti. . .Ethiopia . . .only God knows! But I do know this, when He asks "Who will go?" I will gladly say "I will!" For even though the road may be difficult and people may call us crazy, His plan is always better and richer than anything we can imagine! May His name be praised forevermore!

And now back to the original question: What has it cost you to follow Christ? What more does He want you to do? What more does He want me to do? Questions that deserve some serious pondering.