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Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Few Highlights from our Christmas 2006

Highlight #1...
Studying the Christmas story with my kiddos. It was different this year...maybe because Emma knows Jesus, and is just that little bit older. But we studied the scriptural account of the story all through December, chunk by chunk, and some days they journaled about it. Emma's journal pages about Christmas have been priceless! Seeing them grasp Christmas for what it really is, even just a little, has been awesome! This is us making our Happy Birthday Jesus cake for our party on Christmas Eve.

Highlight #2...
On Christmas Eve, we go to Santa's Wonderland for a little family fun. We drive through the lights, and then get out, EVEN in freezing rain and lots of mud. (Getting out in mud means 10 muddy feet coming into our house!) But it was still fun! I had a moment, standing by the fire because it was stinkin' FREEZING, trying to keep Treston warm. I was watching Jax dance around in the fake snow. Emma and Justus ran off to the petting zoo, but Jax would not leave the fake snow. He danced to the down-home country Christmas music, which was quite pitch offensive, but still fun. It seemed to be the happiest moment of his life! He was having so much fun, and I couldn't have been more content myself watching him. I love Christmas!

Nothing completes family fun for the Bacak kids like a petting zoo. Seriously.
It kind of grosses me out. I want to bathe them on the spot, instead of bringing in barn-like germs to our house, on my children, but I have to stifle this urge for the joy of my children.

Christmas P.J.'s. How I love them. We all sleep in brand spankin' new Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve. You can see that Justus and Treston are wearing the cutest matching firetruck pajamas. So darn cute!

Can I interrupt this Christmas story, mainly because I got this picture in the wrong order, and say that this was me and Rusty's 10th Christmas to celebrate together! 10!!!! Years!!!!! How old are we anyway???
We were up late one night, wrapping some presents and watching "A Christmas Story" which has been a tradition since year 1, and a movie that we love to the point of obsession, and I asked him, "Could you have imagined ten years ago that we'd be here, celebrating Christmas with our four kids?" But we both kind of went..."yeah!" It's exactly where we wanted to be. God is good.

Santa brought a trampoline. But Santa could have dropped off some elves to assemble it in the freezing rain, right?
Seriously, Rusty and a Christmas angel we call Willis, who hardly knew us but still volunteered to assemble a trampoline in the dark, freezing rain, worked for four hours, and when they were done, they could not feel their hands. I did the very last part with Rusty after we sent Willis home, thanking him profusely, and offering him Happy Birthday Jesus cake and it was really, REALLY cold. Rusty took a hot shower, and still came out with cold hands. However, they both survived, thankfully, without losing any fingers to Hypothermia, and we now have endless bouncy fun in our backyard! Turns out I can still do Cheerleading jumps with the help of a trampoline. The kids are loving it! And girls, you'd better stand in line to meet this guy Willis, because I know what it's like to be married to a true servant, and it makes my life blissful. SERVANT HEART- #1 on the list, ladies!!!! Not kidding!!!

Turns out Justus is the sweetest big brother ever! He is always loving on Treston, which is almost always resulting in pain for Treston, but he is so loved by his siblings, it's crazy!!!
Justus, the music-crazed two-year-old, got his own headphones and immediately shared them with Treston. He did this with all his toys. Precious.
Treston got this Bumbo seat, which is so cool!
And fun to say!

And Lastly, because I've lost count, because it's really late at night, and I only blog well when pumped up with caffeine in the daytime, I conclude our Christmas highlights with cousin time.
We had a blast with our Bacak cousins, though I'm lacking in the photos to prove it.
We also had a blast with the Seay fam cousins. There are 150. Okay, just 15, but look at them!
(They are wearing their Cousins Club t-shirts from Aunt Liz and Uncle Robbie.) Imagine sleeping 15 kids and 12 adults in one house for three days. Add a few more to the dinner count, if you will. It's so much like going to camp. I pack for an entire day before going. I label all of the kids' socks, and anything else I can stick a label to. The excitement of being all together is great, life-long memories are made, there are fireworks shows, bonfires, roasted marshmallows, a chocolate fountain (new this year, and quite messy), huge dinners, which look more like mass feedings for the kids but taste nothing like camp food, politics talk, church politics talk, and late night laughter. But by the third day, you're so tired you just can't wait to get home and SLEEP.
Christmas is so wonderful, but it truly couldn't come more than once a year.
However, I hope we spend this whole year with this same excitement over what Christ's presence in our lives means.
Hope you had a wonderful holiday too!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

We're Savin' Trees!

We're saving trees...no paper letter this year. That's why God made blogs. Let me give you a quick year update on us.

And then there were four...
Everybody meet Treston. He is new in the Bacak household. You can scroll down on this blog and read about how this unexpected journey began not even one month ago. God is so amazing!
Treston is our foster son, and our intent is to adopt him the moment that becomes possible. The last thing we thought we were getting for Christmas this year was a beautiful four-month-old baby boy, but God exceeds what we could even imagine to wish for!

He was placed in our home on December 6th, and he's fitting in beautifully with this crazy group.
We are all crazy in love with him!
Please pray for Treston, and what the next year holds for him.

Emma is 6, and in Kindergarten.
Jax is 4, and in Pre-K.
Justus is 2, and in full-blown toddler mode.
Treston, 41/2 months.

What's new this year? HOMESCHOOLING.
I would not have believed you had you told me one year ago that I would be embarking on this adventure, but here we are! Again, God's plans for us are so much better than our own! He made it clear that this was right for Emma and Jax this year, and I'm so glad we listened. It's been awesome! Watching the light go on as they learn is my joy! We have taken many, many fun field trips to art museums, the Fire Station, Police Dept., a cotton field (and picked cotton), a plant nursery, a Veterinarian office, Doctor's office, (good thing I knew one), and many more! Hands-on learning is our favorite. Doing school in our pajamas while Mommy drinks coffee is also our favorite. I'm busier than ever, but feeling more fulfilled than ever in my role as their Mom and teacher.

We got away to Mexico in May...heaven on earth. This is our happy place. This was our second time to this wonderful resort called X-Caret in Playa Del Carmen. We highly recommend it. We don't know when we'll get to go back, now that we have another baby, but when we dream, it's in Spanish, at this beautiful place.

Another highlight this year was flying Kathleen, Justus' birthmom, here from Las Vegas for Justus' second birthday. Don't they look alike? Which is great, since she's so beautiful. We had a wonderful weekend visit with Kathleen! We wish we saw her more. Kathleen is Muslim, and we got the chance to talk to her about Jesus. We are praying daily for her salvation.

Another highlight of the year...my sweet Emma came to know Jesus. She has had countless talks with her Daddy about spiritual things, and Rusty knew when she was ready. (I prayed that we would know.) And boy was she ready! She prayed that prayer, and the Holy Spirit came in and made a change! She loves the Word, and can't get enough of it in our daily Bible Study and prayer time! Her heart is so sensitive to the things of God, and she has a heart that desires to please Him. Seeing my baby girl come to salvation was the sweetest moment I've experienced as a Mom yet!
(This is our wonderful Pastor Butch at our home church, WHICH WE LOVE, Living Hope Baptist. You can see the link here on the blog. We are overflowing with gratitude to the Lord for this Body of believers, where we feel so at home.)

So that's it. 2006 for the Bacaks in a nutshell. Thanks for reading, and we hope you experience God's love like never before in 2007!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Confessions of a Coffee Diva...and other possibly little known facts of Jenn and Rusty

Yes, we've been tagged, like everyone else. I don't know how to define "little known facts"...known by whom? That entirely depends on the reader, and because I don't know who's reading this, you may or may not know these things about us. But I will do my best to dig up the only 5 potentially interesting things about us.

1. This is not interesting. But I'm a coffee diva. I hate to use the word diva in a sentence that describes me at all. Rusty always likes to say how I'm low-maintenance. And I am! I'm pretty easy to please. I don't require too much. But I do require good coffee. Possibly the most romantic thing Rusty ever did for me was buy that espresso machine for Christmas last year. I have a hard time remembering life before it. (I didn't have enough caffeine I'm guessing.) I didn't start drinking coffee until Justus came along. I was sleep deprived, and had no caffeine restrictions this time! (I was not pregnant or nursing, as I had been for many years prior.) So my survival began to depend on coffee. But when we got this machine...a new world opened up every morning. We are without it this weekend because it's being used in the church Christmas play, and we are walking around in a fog...where's the good coffee? We tried brewing some of that old-fashioned kind, but it just came out like muddy water. It's no good! This may be the most sacrificial gift we've ever given to the church. No dollar amount could equal this. I have completely blown the whole Matt. 6 command, of doing your good deeds in private...you know, don't let your left hand know when your right hand has lent out your heavenly coffee machine. My reward in heaven is blown.

2. I had brain surgery. I had a brain tumor when I was seventeen years old. I had brain surgery to remove it the summer before I left for Baylor. This was fun, because in all those "get-to-know-you" games you play when you start at college, I had a fun and memorable fact to throw out...I had brain surgery 6 weeks ago! No one forgot that.

3. I have a permanent hole in my right ear drum. I busted it for the first time when I jumped off a cliff in 1996 at Lake Powell. It was a very high cliff. But all the boys were doing it, and having three brothers, that immediately brought out the "I can do it too!" feeling. I've outgrown that by now...I hope. My daughter may have inherited it. You'll never find me swimming underwater, because I would spring a leak. And it would hurt.

4. I know American Sign Language. I am an interpreter for the Deaf, and also used to teach Deaf Education. That's what I did for money before I became a Mommy. My kids are now learning to sign, and they're awesome!

5. I do this weird typing thing in my head compulsively. I've done it since 9th grade when I took typing class. (Yes, on real typewriters! Some of you people born in the 80's have never seen one.) Anyway, if you know anything about typing- (this totally excludes my husband) your fingers go on the homerow keys- asdf jkl; - and all the keys are reached from those. Well, in my head, when I hear a phrase, or sentence, or read something, I instantly compute what homerow keys are used, and then put them in order from left to right on the keyboard. Ex. the phrase "Starbucks coffee" would then be asdfgjk. This is hard to explain, but I used to do this so much, my brain would never stop, it would drive me crazy. I'm better now.

That's it for me...You may be feeling very reticent about being my friend, so let me legitimize myself by telling you things about my husband! He has been tagged, but a blizzard will blow through Texas before my husband will get on this computer to post something, so I told him I was going to. I love to embarrass him! He asked if he could pre-approve these embarrassing facts, but I said of course not! So here we go...

1. This is my favorite thing to tell people that embarrasses him...he's brilliant. He made a 4.0 here at A&M as a Biology major. He made a 1400 on the SAT. He graduated at the very top of his class in Med School. Baylor Med School was actually very unhappy with him for choosing Family Medicine. It makes them look better when their Smarties choose some prestigious specialty. Anybody could go Family Medicine. But this was always my husband's desire. To treat the whole family. He loves doing Pediatrics, and he loves getting to treat such a broad range of things. He's so smart, and if you're his patient, this is to your benefit to know this. You want to know this about your doctor! He is going to kill me for this!

2. Rusty LOVES meteorology! He is totally obsessed with the weather! The radar is his favorite. His biggest dream for his children is NOT med school, it's the Weather Channel! Storm Chasing! It's his passion.

3. At one time, Rusty thought he was supposed to be a Catholic Priest. He was hearing the Lord's call on his life, but luckily he realized that was not it. (Praise the Lord!) He was just realizing he needed a close, personal relationship with the Lord. God had something else entirely for him. The kids and I are so glad!

4. My husband loves to decorate for Christmas!!! We love Christmas around here! We figure the whole neighborhood should know how much we love Jesus...so our house glows. I mean, it really glows! Rusty lives for the one day of the year he gets to climb on the roof with a staple gun and execute the master plan he's been concocting in his head for an entire year. Every year, I pray really hard that I won't be a Christmas light widow. Him on the roof scares me, but so far so good. He's like a little kids when it comes to decorating for Christmas, and this brings me immense joy. Plus, we don't have to give out our address around this time of year. You just follow the glow.

5. Rusty loves to do circumcisions. He prides himself on his ability to do so. He is a self-proclaimed "penile artist." Not many people like to wear this title. I believe it sets him apart.

6. BONUS: Rusty used to be a d.j. He d.j.ed junior high dances, weddings, whatever. That's why we have every CD made in the 80's and early 90's. I brought his d.j.ing career to a swift stop after I helped him with a "gig" on our fourth date (Rusty was an intern in residency.) He d.j.ed a friend's wedding in Waco. We lugged heavy speakers up 4 flights of stairs, stayed for 3 hours after the bride and groom left the reception, where the relatives stayed to dance and kept demanding we play the song "Trashy Women." We got payed in a $15 gift card to Dillard's, which amounted to socks. We got payed in socks! Anyone calling to inquire after a d.j. after that, I promptly told them Dr. Bacak was out saving lives and didn't have time to d.j. their wedding.

That's it. If you still want to be friends with us, let us know.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Treston is here...

Here he is.

He's so perfect.

I have some really great ones of him smiling that I haven't downloaded yet. You have to see him smiling. He lights up the room! And he smiles all the time.

He's an amazing baby. We had a wonderful first night. He's fitting right in with this crazy family. I am bracing myself for my first real day with four kids (FOUR KIDS! When did we become such a gi-normous family!!! Who hung up these thousands of stockings on our fireplace??? This is crazy!), but the house is quiet right now (it's early in the morning), and I am feeling euphoric. I could not be more grateful that God chose us to bring this baby into our family right now. What a blessing he is already! What a miracle! Part of the miracle was that my husband said yes! I want to testify to a few things with that...

A. College girls, do not marry a man who will not lead your family by listening to God's Voice in your lives. If he is not seeking the Lord all the time, but instead seeks his own desires, I can't imagine the uncertainty a wife would feel! I don't believe you could experience the fullness of ministry and life that God calls us to. It's so good, and I"m so proud of Rusty. He was adament we didn't need any more kids in this house. He made a point to tell me, usually at the most chaotic point of the day, that we were done. We were maxed out. This was it. But I could rest easy, because I knew that when it came down to it, he would make that decision based on the Lord's leading, and not on his own feelings. The last two weeks his feelings have changed 100%! He is so excited about this baby, and from Day 1 has taken care of every tiny detail QUICKLY to get this baby here ASAP. What an amazing man I married!

B. When we talk in our Countdown class about God being the Planner of our families, this is what we're talking about. This is a risky situation. Our hearts are on the line. Our kids' hearts are on the line. People keep calling us brave, and I don't know if that's a euphemism for stupid, or if they really mean brave. But this I know...true ministry will break your heart sometimes. We know this firsthand already! It's not safe! But, and my kids need to know this too, it's not about us. We cannot be self-preservasionists and real Christians at the same time. (You may all need to remind me of these words in the future. I would appreciate that.) If we are going to be a family that lives out Phil. 2 everyday, God's going to teach us more sacrifice than is comfortable, and I'm glad.

I can't wait for all of you to meet him. He's a super good baby! He's SUPER BABY! And I don't think we're making this up...he's darn cute. Seriously.

We appreciate your prayers and love!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Rosa Parks Day

Today is Rosa Parks day. (You gotta' love Kindergarten, otherwise you would never know.) What a brave woman!
As I taught my kids today about who Rosa Parks was, and what she did,
I had to introduce them to racism.

This was a sad moment.

They had no idea. Before I got two sentences into Rosa Parks' story, Emma grabbed Justus and hugged him with a look of terror on her face.

The thought that people could hate people for having darker skin is unfathomable to their pure and innocent minds. They are so untainted by the world sometimes. I hated to even introduce them to this idea. People still today would show hatred or unfair treatment to their brother because he is brown. This is unthinkable.

It should all be unthinkable to us as Christians. But unfortunately, racism still lives on, even in the church today. I pray that we would ALL examine our hearts, and find where the racism lives there. I know, that with the power of the Holy Spirit, He can change hearts. But we have to be willing to go there. We have to be willing to break the power of generational sin. We have to be willing to look for the deeply hidden, ugly roots of racism in us that we have buried. The jokes we have laughed at...our earliest memories of how our grandparents or great-grandparents spoke of black people...our distaste for the culture of the lower socio-economic class mixed with our basic feelings and assumptions about people based on their skin color alone.

This is not okay.

How would you feel if my son wanted to marry your daughter? Does the thought bother you, somewhere deep down, even if you don't want to say it outloud? Is my baby considered to be of lesser value in this world because of his gorgeous, coffee colored skin?

Sadly, I know the answer to this question. The fact that people are lined up around the block to adopt white babies, and only a handful of people want to welcome a black baby to their family answers that question. I know firsthand...I've heard responses from prospective adoptive parents' very mouths...the thought of getting a baby with even a HINT of African-American descent...or even the appearance of it...is totally unacceptable to them. You may be shocked to hear some of their responses. You may not.

I was just very, very sad. And sometimes angry.

As a Mom, this is difficult for me.
I want the Christian people of today to celebrate how far we've come concerning racism. We should all recognize and commemorate the dates like June 19th, (Jax's birthday...I've had some very weird comments about this) the day slavery was abolished...the day our country outlawed treating beloved children of God being treated like animals and owned, abused, killed, without a thought.
If that day was celebrating this kind of victory for white people, we would all celebrate.
But we don't. We ignore it.
Martin Luther King Day. What a brave and amazing man who changed history.
He was martyred for this reason. He was a Godly man.

I don't think many white folks show up for his parade.

If we truly see each other as humans, created by God, loved by Him with the exact same love, why is there still such a division in our minds?
Why is interracial dating and marriage still such a hot topic?

I know this is the rantings of a mother today. But I hope it will stimulate thought and conversation among even just a few people. Rusty and I have searched our hearts on this. The Holy Spirit had to clean us out before we could add Justus to our family, and I'm so glad!!! I want this ugliness out of us! And as we are about to welcome another brown baby to this home, it weighs heavily on my heart.
I hope it will on yours too.