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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Chick-Flicks...are we affected?

Emma, Jax, Matt & Erin and I went to see Enchanted yesterday.
It was pretty good. We liked it.
But I have to tell you...the affect it had on my daughter was startling...almost disturbing.
If you don't know Emma, I'll give you a brief summary. Tomboy. She adores climbing trees. She loves animals maybe more than people. She rides horses. She runs around on all fours like a horse most of the time (at a freakishly amazing speed, I might add. It's pretty remarkable.) She plays well with boys and girls, but she plays with brothers all day, and is like a kindred spirit to Hayden Hendrick. Oh, and she hates dresses.
So my Emma is watching this movie, with every Disney princess rolled into one personified in this character. (Played very well too!) It starts out as animated, but becomes real life. It's almost completely about finding true love, "true love's kiss" which is said about 100 times, dating, and marriage.
I noticed during the movie, Emma was swooning, for lack of a better word.
She was intent on the "true love kisses" and this started the barrage of questions.
During the movie, and after, she is asking us,
Can I go on a date before I get married?
How many dates? 1? 5? 364?
Daddy, do you like kissing?
Will God give me a husband?
Can I kiss him?
Will he be my one true love?
Can we go home so I can put on a dress?
That's when I stopped in my tracks. A dress? What?
I was saying before we ever left the movie, let's talk about this later with your Daddy.
There were so many things to address after this movie!
This well-made chick-flick combined with Disney princess fairytale had a powerful affect on my little girl's mind!
First, as soon as we got in the car, I let her know that she didn't have to find a husband to have the "Happily Ever After" (another frequent phrase in the movie.) She could have that with the Lord without ever getting married. I know she doesn't understand that yet, but she needs to hear it.
She said she really hopes God gives her a husband.
Then we talked about True Love's kiss could be on her wedding day. Those people going around kissing people before they're married is not the best idea.
I know this sounds crazy to some, or totally unrealistic, but you can go back to some of my dating posts to see a lot of thought and consideration of scripture goes into that idea. We are going to teach our children from a young age what it means to flee from sexual immorality. It's going to seem extreme to the world, but if they truly choose this way, I'm 100% positive they'll never regret it. I can garuntee heartache if they don't, however.
Then we talked about how Daddy is my one true love, and yes we really like kissing, as MARRIED people, but that first our joy and contentment is in the Lord. People are searching for something that only God can give them.
But she could wear a pretty dress, and dance around, and kiss on her wedding day, if God plans that for her. But God's plans would be the best for her, we can rest assured.
To see my seven-year-old daughter so affected by this chick-flick, it reiterates to me how we as women are all affected by them.
I like chick-flicks a lot! Maybe not some of the super, super cheesy ones, but the semi-cheesy ones I enjoy.
But as a married woman, I have to keep in perspective that my amazing husband and our relationship does not have to be like a movie. In fact, I think these movies could easily breed discontentment in relationships if a woman let it. I'm incredibly blessed to have a beautiful love story of my own! And I'm not kidding! I have an amazing husband that I am still completely enamored with after 10 years! He's everything I could hope for and more!!! But our day to day interactions don't look like the closing 10 minutes of Notting Hill, ya know? More like Cheaper by the Dozen.
For single women, I've heard some say they have to avoid the chick-flicks. They can't fight the urge to fixate on those things they don't have yet. Again, discontentment could easily set in. I think it's wise to assess your heart first and make sure your contentment, joy, and thankfulness is not obliterated in a 2 hour span.
I will honestly be a little more careful about these movies for my daughter. I like this movie. I think I would just rather my Emma watch movies about animals and horses and silly kid stuff than kissy face, adult relationships that are not in her reach for another 15 years (let's hope.)
Oh, one proud moment during the movie was when the Princess was wearing a wedding dress showing cleavage, and Jax leaned over and told me she wasn't dressed modestly! Wow! Hey girls, if we ever wonder what is modest, ask my kids. They recognize it immediately.
Thoughts on the chick flicks?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Advent Conspiracy

Merry Christmas! Bacak Christmas pics will be up soon, but I wanted to link this article in the Houston Chronicle Religion section featuring my brother,and his church, Ecclesia. Check it out! Advent Conspiracy has been something inspiring to Rusty and I both this Christmas! Giving more, spending less, worshipping the most!
I definitely wouldn't say we've arrived yet, but this Christmas has been closer to that than ever. I will share.
We spend a LOT less on gifts for the kids, and my living room is still littered at this very moment still with gifts. The kids bought each other gifts at the 99cent store, and that was great! I don't think they really know the difference between $10 gifts and $1 gifts! A wrapped up toy is a wrapped up toy, and they bought and wrapped them for each other personally with their own money! They loved that!
We focused on giving through our project that was already up and running, selling salsa for Living Water. (Read more about Living Water if you haven't already!)My parents also decided to challenge us with the $50 project. They gave each family $50 and asked us to come up with our own ideas to raise money for the Child Survival Program through Compassion International (an unbelievable program saving lives of little ones, enriching the lives of babies and mothers, and sharing the gospel in doing so; check into it!) My brother Brian works for Compassion, so he has his hand in some of these amazing projects around the world! Our idea was to sell water and hot chocolate at the mall where people board the buses for the A&M and UT game the day after Thanksgiving. Hundreds of fans board there over a two hour span, and we set up our table at the mall, on the busiest day of the year, right in front of them. Good idea, hu? We had our kids helping, with pictures of the children from Ethiopia that we would be helping. We made signs, a huge dispenser of hot chocolate in styrofoam cups with lids with labels we made on them, and iced water bottles. (A lot of work! Rusty did it since I was doing my annual shopping trip with the girls in my family. Go Rusty!) However, we only profited $96. We were a little disappointed, but we worked hard as a family, and that's what we were supposed to do. You should check out my brother Brian's blog where they had a 12 hour walk in their neighborhood and raised $900!!!! Wow! They are also in the process of adopting children from that very area of Ethiopia. I just love my family!
We made homemade gifts for family members. For example, I'm way into making cute bookmarks with my awesome new laminator! (Thank you Shelby! It's one of the greatest things ever given to me!!!) I know, you're thinking homemade gifts...stinky! But for my parents' gift, I am making frozen meals for them. It's just the two of them now, and they tend to get home late, not wanting to cook. So I have frozen two meals already for them; Chicken Pot Pie and White Chicken Chili- definitely in my top 10 meals we have! I gave them everything they need to go with it. The rice, measured out with directions on it, a block of cheese to grate over it, etc. I have one more meal to bring to them. But the gift of homemade dinner and NOT cooking is meaningful to them (I hope). We are looking for ways to use our talents, time, and resources to give, while spending more money on our giving endeavors, like our church, missionaries, Living Water, etc. The whole Seay family is in on this. It's pretty fun!
We are also spending more time doing ministry as a family. I think I have written about our weekly visits to Crestview Nursing Home. We love it there! We are praying for our sick friends, sharing Jesus, and just loving on people who are lonely. We were there yesterday, and one of our elderly friends told us "Christmas is lonely when you're old...some people don't realize that." I told her we did, and that's why we were there! The kids and I so look forward to going. This particular woman has told me she was a school teacher for 50+ years. I just want to sit and soak up the knowledge! There are so many interesting people there! It was unusually crowded with visitors yesterday; some visiting their relatives for Christmas, and some just making a friendly Christmas visit. I think that's great, but I want to be mindful that we don't just do ministry during the Christmas season, and then go back to living for ourselves the rest of the year. I always find it a little hypocritical to give to needy families, visit nursing homes, etc. JUST at Christmas time. I know people have particular needs or feel especially lonely at Christmas time...I understand that. But shouldn't we be doing those things all year? So this is something we are committing to do as a part of our lives. BECAUSE of Jesus, our Christmas gift, we strive to live like Him, and focus outward in the ways He leads us.
PLEASE KNOW...we are learning how to do all of these things. I am learning and being challenged by so many of you! I'm sharing, because when you guys share, it encourages me, spurs me on, prods me to do what I know I should. So realize, we have not mastered these concepts, but are in the learning process, both failing and succeeding as we go. But praise God for the learning journey!
Merry Christmas! It's 1:40pm, and I'm still in my PJ's. That's the kind of Christmas I love!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let's Be Salt & Pepper

I have been studying the most amazing passage this week. It's so good! Let me share it! (Don't skim! read!)
Col 1:9-14
We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness, and he has brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. 14 God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.

What an amazing prayer Paul was praying for the Colossians! Wouldn't you like to have Paul praying this for you? Every sentence is something I desperately want! It's the burning desire of my heart!

1. To have a complete understanding of what He wants to do in my life. Anyone else want that? Raise your hand...

2.That he would make me wise with spiritual wisdom. That's the only way I'm going to be wise. I don't feel wise, and yet in James 1:5-7, it says we only have to ask for wisdom and BELIEVE He will answer! "If you need wisdom- if you want to know what God wants you to do- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord."

3. Then the way I live with always please the Lord! Rock on!

4. I will continually do good and kind things for others. I won't miss out on opportunities to bless others, which I undoubtedly often do. We will be fulfilling His desire for us, as in verses like 2 Timothy 3:17, that He's equipping us with His Word to do good things. In essence to be salt and light for Him.

5. I will know God better and better! Yes!

6. I will be strengthened by his glorious power, with more than enough patience and endurance. Hello!!!! I have four little ones!!! Please pray this for me!!!

7.I will be filled with joy, and always thanking the Father! Wow! I want that. That would solve a lot of my sin issues.

If anyone wants to get my family something for Christmas, just pray this prayer for us. This is amazing. I want it all so much! Can you imagine what our lives would be like if we had all of this all of the time? Amazing!
When it talks about continually doing good and kind things for others, that reminded me of a talk I had with Emma recently. She heard a lesson in children's church by Mr. Howard (who by the way, Jax calls Mr. Coward...ha! He is not slamming Mr. Howard. He's just mixing up his words in the cutest 5 year old way! Who can correct that?) He talked to the kids about being salt and light to the world, from Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5. This made such an impression on her! First of all, she didn't understand the analogy of salt. That was confusing at first. I think she raised her hands several times during the lesson. But when we got in the car, she actually told us about it, and you could tell, God was speaking to her heart. (Remember, Emma knows the Lord!) We talked about it again a few days later, and she wanted to know how SHE could be salt and light, except she kept mixing it up and saying "salt and pepper." (Again, so cute!!!) She and I stopped and prayed that God would show her how to be salt and light to the world in specific ways. I told her, because the Holy Spirit lives in her, He would nudge her heart when there was something He wanted her to do. (She had also been asking me good questions around that time about how do you know when God is speaking to you? Yes, she keeps us on our toes.) Then she gave me an example of a time God spoke to her heart about how to bless someone else. We started going to Crestview Nursing Home around that time. Rusty has patients there, and we took our HOPE group there one night to sing for them. Well, turns out, my kids are AMAZING with old people! I really love them too, so we have been going there once a week for most of the semester to visit with them. Emma felt the urge to go talk to one particular woman sitting in the lobby, and she did. You should see God working through her at Crestview! I wish you all could witness it!
This has been our way to be salt and pepper to the "widows", the often times forgotten, talked about in James 1:27. ("Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us." Our family in the past few years has taken this call to orphans and widows more seriously than ever!) I may not have found all my kids niche in their sports abilities, or their hidden talents, but I have found an amazing ministry ability in them in ministering to sometimes very sick, older people who will face eternity soon. We have prayed over some, and last week got to ask one of our favorite of Rusty's patients if she assuredly knew Jesus. She was sure she did, and she has been very ill in the hospital this week. What a blessing to know that when she dies, my kids and I can celebrate her being with Jesus and that we'll see her again!
I will try to post some pics of my kids with our friends at Crestview. And really, if anyone ever wants to go with us, let me know! We would love it! Come be "salt and pepper" with us!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007


This is so stinkin' exciting! My brother Robbie's song "Rise" is being featured on this season of American Idol. We're not sure exactly how they are going to use it, but click here to go to the site to see the commercial it's already on.
Awesome! Oh, and if you haven't bought his CD yet, go! It's so good!

Barbie and modesty

We had a humorous incident with Barbie the other day.
I don't know what to think about Barbie sometimes.
Some people have super, strong feelings about Barbie dolls.
I probably haven't fully thought it through, because my daughter is mostly too busy playing with animals to think about Barbies. (I fear she prefers animals to people sometimes.) We've never actually bought her one, but other people have, so we have a few around the house.
Well this particular Barbie had on a long sleeve top that was cute, but a super short skirt. It was a rare occasion that Emma was playing with it, and I asked her "do you see anything wrong with Barbie's clothes?" She looked for a minute, and then I pointed out that Barbie didn't have much of a skirt on. So Emma went in search of something to make Barbie more modest. She tried to change her into some pants off of another Barbie, but the pants wouldn't fasten at the top, so Barbie's bottom was completely showing. We were on a quest to make Barbie modest now, so that wouldn't work. So Emma put the skirt over the pants, and put together a stylish outfit that was modest. Way to go Emma!
Emma and I have been talking about modesty a lot over the past year. Especially when it came to swimsuit season last year, and we even talked here on the blog about modesty during swimsuit season,and had a great discussion! But I am trying to instill in her the Godly quality of being modest for the purpose of obedience to God's Word and godliness.
How do I show her this in practical terms, without sounding judgmental of everyone we see dressed immodestly?
Well we dont point people out in the grocery store and say "SEE HER? THAT'S HOOCHY-MAMA! NOT MODEST, NOT MODEST!!!!!"
But I do make observations on TV with her, clothes in a store, and even dolls like the dreaded Brat dolls who are all dressed Brittany Spears, or Barbies wearing bikinis, showing their middle, or wearing not much of a skirt. Emma knows we are not going to show our middle, no matter what age she is. She purposefully changes clothes if something gets too small for her so that her belly won't show, on her own! She also often puts legging pj pants under her nightgowns so that they're not too short, on her own. I am trying to carefully show her what modest choices of clothing are, as I am prayerfully figuring it out on my own! God has been teaching me, and is still teaching me about modesty! I am pretty sure that Emma would call me out if I wore something inappropriate at this point. Cleavage, IF I had some, never okay. I was the most modest I'd ever been this summer, and I enjoyed swimsuit season like never before because of it. (I work a tank top and a cover-up skirt over my swimsuit all the time.) I took the wise advice from my Mom to NOT wear a swimsuit, even a modest one by the world's terms, in the presence of other men, and as confining as that may sound to you, it was so FREEING! I never worried about how I looked! I enjoyed our beach vacation so much more! Thank you Mom for shooting straight with me! I became much more careful about my work-out clothes. God is surely not done teaching me about this, but I am SO glad for what He's taught me already. In turn, I can teach my daughter at a young age.
Anyone else have ideas about teaching their kids about modesty? How are we dropping the ball on this, like allowing our little girls to wear things that we would definitely not wear? I'm even mindful of certain websites for girls, like the Barbie website, and these "fashion for girls" websites. (Praise God, that's SO NOT my daughter's interest anyway!) Thoughts?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Quick! Make this hot chocolate recipe before it gets to be 80 degrees again! Cold weather only comes in brief windows of time, so as soon as it drops under 50 we build a fire and make hot chocolate.
This is a GREAT recipe for hot chocolate. Hot water and packets of cocoa just don't compare.
This recipe makes 2 cups. I doubled this and still didn't have quite enough for my whole family.

1 T sugar (I was out of sugar last time and used Splenda, and it was great!)

1 T unsweetened cocoa

1 3/4 c milk

2 T (or however much you want to put in) caramel topping

A little bit of coffee creamer, like chocolate caramel, vanilla caramel, or Peppermint Mocha! I added this, and it makes it fabulous!

Top with whipped cream, like the kind you squirt out of a can. That's fun! My kids loved it!

Combine sugar and cocoa in a saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir CONSTANTLY over med. heat until mixture is thoroughly heated and caramel dissolved.
Enjoy by the fire.
Yay for cold weather!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My $2 bike!

I got a bike for me for $2!!!
I went to a friend from church's garage sale this weekend.
I got there at around 8:30, which is after the hard-core, serious business garage salers have gone, and taken the really good stuff, but before the total slackers.
So there wasn't too much left, except...
my wonderful bicycle.
Just sitting there, waiting for me.
I walked up, and said "how much for the bike?"
Wow! That bike had been hanging out for years in a garage with flat tires, just waiting for me, ready to hit the road again. New adventures to come.
But I haven't had a bike since my pink huffy in 3rd grade.
I loved that bike!
I had a basket, AND a nameplate! You're jealous!
I literally don't think I've ridden a bike in my adult years. I can't remember when?
So Rusty was a little nervous after he aired up the tires for me and sent me out to ride with Emma.
But it was great! I didn't throw myself over the handlebars. I didn't fall at all! I took a ride with Em, and I really felt like a kid again. Emma likes to go up the steepest hills and ride down fast. Surprise! The child who will do a 50 ft. zip line at age 4 is really not afraid of too much. So I went with her, and I gotta tell you, I was a little nervous.
But it was so fun! I want to ride everyday with my kids!
Emma couldn't really figure out why I was so excited about this bike.
She said "Mom...it's not that pretty, but...at least it's not broken!"
I know it's not that pretty. It's speckled with gray paint...on purpose.
But it's my bike, and it cost- that's right- $2!
I'm pretty sure I need a basket and nameplate now.
I'm positive that Rusty needs an old, ugly bike to match mine now.
Does anyone have any insight on attaching baby seats to bikes?
Can you really do that?
Is it legal? Safe? Child abuse?
Someone let me know.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How do you know if you have the flu?

I figure we can offer you a few practical tips as we enter the flu season, as well as some interesting history about the flu.

How do you know if you have the flu?
A lot of cold viruses are mistaken for the flu. Some people don't believe in the flu virus because they say they were vaccinated but still got the flu. Rusty has actually just seen his first real case of the flu. (There's a test for the flu virus.) Flu season actually usually starts around January, or even as late as February, like last year. We may be seeing an early season this year.
Flu symptoms are high fever (Over 101 degrees), achiness, extreme runny nose, and cough. I had an achy, cold like-virus recently, but no fever, so it definitely wasn't the flu. Rusty says that the flu often shows up suddenly, like you feel fine, and then twelve hours later, you are miserable with those symptoms.

What should you do if you think you have the flu?
Would it be wrong to put our office number here? Who cares! (979) 776-5191.
You should call your doctor and if he thinks you have the flu, you can get on Tamiflu. This shortens the duration and intensity of the flu considerably! But you must get on it in the first 48 hours of the virus.

Is it too late to get my flu shot?
There may still be places that have shots in stock. We are out of adult vaccinations. We still have a few kids' vaccinations left. They are approved for kids ages 6-36 months. We vaccinated ourselves and our kids. We obviously run the risk of high exposure in this family because of Rusty's job, and my kids actually play in a doctor's office when we eat lunch with Daddy.

Is the flu dangerous?
It can be. But I think the best reason to vaccinate or protect your family from the flu is we never know when a particularly nasty or deadly strain of the flu could occur. I believe the strain is always changing.
Here's for the history lesson. Do you know about the flu epidemic of 1918? For some reason, it's not a well-known piece of history. Rusty says that it has been lost in history because it coincided the end of WWI. Read these few factual paragraphs I got off of this website. You will be amazed. It is the greatest epidemic of all time. I saw a documentary on it years ago, and it was heart-breaking. Most families lost at least 1 family member, or even multiple family members died within days of each other because of the flu virus. Check this out.

World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.

The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever," appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe. Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not identify this disease which was striking so fast and so viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some victims died within hours of their first symptoms. Others succumbed after a few days; their lungs filled with fluid and they suffocated to death.

The plague did not discriminate. It was rampant in urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East coast to the remotest parts of Alaska. Young adults, usually unaffected by these types of infectious diseases, were among the hardest hit groups along with the elderly and young children. The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United States dropped by 12 years.

It is an oddity of history that the influenza epidemic of 1918 has been overlooked in the teaching of American history. Documentation of the disease is ample, as shown in the records selected from the holdings of the National Archives regional archives. Exhibiting these documents helps the epidemic take its rightful place as a major disaster in world history.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Treston's story in a nutshell

I wrote this last December, marking the one year anniversary of Treston's placement in our home. In November of 2006, our adoption agency, New Life, unexpectedly called us asking us to pray about taking a baby who needed a home. It would be a "foster-to-adopt" situation, meaning we should be willing to make it forever, but we could have to relinquish him at any time. Wow. We weren't expecting another baby, although I think I'm ready for another at any time...my husband, not-so-much. And I certainly didn't like the idea of taking him in and letting him go. But my Godly husband prayed and searched the scripture and was drawn to James 1:27. "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our father means that we care for orphans and widows in their trouble, and refuse to let the world corrupt us." God had made plans for our family that we were unaware of, and as always, His plans rock. So we got on a scary faith ride that took many twists and turns, but in the end, we knew our Father better, and God filled a hole in our family we hadn't even been aware of before. I'll let you read this post now...if any of you have questions about adoption, contact us! We love to share with people about adoption, and especially trans-racial adoption! Comment below if you need our e-mail address. So thanks for reading. We are thrilled to share the news of Treston's adoption with you...more than you can know! God bless!
Treston came to the Bacak house.
One year ago today, we drove all dressed-up with an empty strapped in baby seat, and a reconfigured seating arrangement in the Bacak mini-van.
We stood in the New Life building...a building I have know more than half of my life, and is probably the place my children think all people get babies from.
We stood and waited. Nervous.
We signed paperwork.
We talked about that this could be for forever, and it could be for two weeks. No one knew.
Foster-to-adopt? What did that mean?
It meant uncertainty, and faith, and risk. A great big risk.
I couldn't make any promises to my kids. We didn't know.
And in came the baby who was well worth the risk.
God went to great lengths to place him in our arms.
His loving foster Mom placed him in my arms, with tears in her eyes.
Rusty and I looked at him. (Actual picture above.)
We had a baby.
We hadn't been in the process of waiting, and praying, and preparing...this was all so different...unexpected...scary...WONDERFUL.
I was head over heels in love with this little guy already.
You know, just like many of you Moms felt when you laid eyes on the baby that you birthed? Same feeling. Minus blinding, life-threatening pain.
We circled up with granparents and Sara and prayed for Treston.
Then we drove home.
New beautiful brown baby in the formerly empty seat.
A baby bag stuffed with his few belongings in tow, as well as his favorite swing.
We came home, and Melodi Henry and Kaycee brought us tortilla soup.
We ate it, and watched him in the swing.
We had a baby.
We didn't know how long he would stay, but it sure felt like he was mine.
That's because he was.
He was ours before we brought him home.
He was ours before THE phone call and we knew he existed.
He was ours before he was even born.
He was ours because God planned it before time began.
We didn't get to send out a birth announcement.
We didn't have "It's a Boy" balloons.
There was no celebrating, but we had a baby.
(That's why when the celebrating day came, we've been serious about it!)
We went to church and showed up with a baby, and confused people.
We saw the brilliant Christmas play at church, and I cried a lot, mainly cause we had a baby.
And then they announced baby dedication, and I ached to get up at church and hold him proudly and dedicate him as his parents, but we couldn't.
I love baby dedications!
The last one we had at church on Mother's Day was very difficult for me. We still didn't know how this story would end up. I wanted to be up there so bad!!! I bawled, like embarrassing cry, right there in my seat. Rusty had to go chase down some tissue. I was a mess.
But our dedication day is coming. He is ours!!!!
December 15th we get to stand before the church and make a commitment as his parents to raise him to know and love the Lord.
God has big plans for Treston. He didn't do this for nothing.
We praise God for this day a year ago, Demeber 6th, 2006.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jax and heaven

This is one of my favorite pictures of Jax. I tried looking for a semi-serious picture of him, but there just aren't many. He's so fun!
I am overjoyed to share the news of Jax's salvation!!!
We knew that Jax was getting nearer to accepting Christ. He has known the facts for sometime now. Being around Emma helps! AWANA verses every morning really helps! He has memorized so many verses about salvation in two years of Cubbies and this year as a Spark, it's awesome! We talk about the verses, and what they mean each morning. He understands. He came to the point where he grasped his sinfulness and need for a Savior. But we were waiting for it to reach his heart. Well suddenly, it did! There was no stopping him! As much as we wanted to slow him down to be sure, he was adament that he would have Jesus in his heart! Today! I think I knew for sure when he overcame his long-term fear of baptism. Baptism has just freaked him out. But suddenly, he wanted to be baptized! (He's not one who likes to be the center of attention, so to say this, without fear spoke volumes!) Praise the Lord that Jax's eternity is secured in his accepting the gift of salvation that Jesus offers us! I am praying boldly for his life to reflect holiness and purity, and that God would do unimaginable things through him! My heart burns with a desire to see my kids passionately serve Him with all of their days. The Holy Spirit has come in and taken residence in his life. His prayers already sound different to me. After all, the Bible says we are NEW creations! This happenned right before church on Sunday night, so when we got there and started singing songs about forgiveness and salvation, I just wept! My sweet little boy now knows that salvation!
After Jax prayed a sweet prayer with Rusty and I, he then promptly asked when we were going to heaven! I love that!
In fact, just earlier in the day, Emma asked me the same thing. Her little friend Suki the fish died. She was of course, devastated, knowing Emma and her overwhelming love for all animals. (At least this time Justus didn't murder her fish. That was bad. Remember that post?) She was in my lap, crying her eyes out, and asked if Suki would be with her in heaven. I said I thought so. And she said "Mom, when are we going to heaven??? I've been waiting SO LONG!!!" How precious that my children already long for their real home. Do we ache for heaven like this? Or are we too busy loving this world? That got me thinking.
Then at Sunday night church we studied Romans 5, which talks about our hope that we have, in sharing in God's glory, and persevering through trials by clinging to this hope.
That directed me over to one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Colossians 3. These words have always pricked me heart, but I don't think I'd given them their due thought process in my mind.

Col 3:1-4
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. 3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Most other versions say set your mind on things above. The King James Version says "set your affections on things above."
So what does it mean to set our mind, heart, and affections on things above? On heaven? On the eternal?
I like part of this commentary I read by Matthew Henry.
(v. 2): Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Observe, To seek heavenly things is to set our affections upon them, to love them and let our desires be towards them. Upon the wings of affection the heart soars upwards, and is carried forth towards spiritual and divine objects. We must acquaint ourselves with them, esteem them above all other things, and lay out ourselves in preparation for the enjoyment of them. David gave this proof of his loving the house of God, that he diligently sought after it, and prepared for it, Ps 27:4. This is to be spiritually minded (Rom 8:6), and to seek and desire a better country, that is, a heavenly, Heb 11:14,16. Things on earth are here set in opposition to things above. We must not dote upon them, nor expect too much from them, that we may set our affections on heaven; for heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, and a supreme regard to both is inconsistent; and the prevalence of our affection to one will proportionably weaken and abate our affection to the other.

I especially like that he says things here on earth are set in opposition to things above. We can't love both. As Jesus said, we can't serve two masters. The more we love God and the things that have eternal value, the less we love this world and the things that are fleeting.
So being the practical girl that I am, decided to make a list in my journal of the things in my day, my life, that are eternal and that are temporal. When am I pouring my energies into something that is wasted? More than anything, I want my kids to spend their lives on the eternal; to be passionate about the things of God. That means I have to set ALL my affections on those things now.
This has been challenging for me. I am still asking the Lord what it looks like to let heaven fill my thoughts, and to set my affections on things above. I think He might still have a lot more to say to me about it. Rusty has read the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, and recommends it. I hope to read that soon. I read his book "Safely Home" and it totally changed the way I thought of heaven, and definitely about missions and awakened me to persection of the church today in other countries.
I hope heaven and eternal things will fill your thoughts and consume your affections today! Mine too!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Peeling back the layers of Christmas

We love Christmas. LOVE IT!
If you didn't know that, you've obviously never seen our home during the Christmas season. We celebrate Christmas big!
But there are things about the Christmas season that many people dread. To name a few...
1. Commercialism
2. An over-booked month
3. Spending too much
4. Shopping
5. Greediness
So Rusty and I have been searching for the way to de-stress, de-clutter, and de-secularize Christmas for our family.
Our goal is just that Christ would be the focus, and we would truly worship and celebrate during this season!
So we decided to spend less. I think we've made that decision each year for several years now, and we're starting to get the hang of it. We are giving more than ever as a family, and spending less and less on stuff. I don't say that to bring glory to us in any way, but to give all the glory to God for teaching us how to give Him more glory with all of our resources.
Shopping for parents, grandparents, my kids' 13 first cousins, and close friends overwhelms me! So this year I decided to get the bulk of our Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. This has been GREAT! I feel NO STRESS right now about shopping, which is miraculous. I have never liked to shop, and shopping with four small children is a very real form of torture. I bought several things on-line, and Rusty and I did a lot of it while on date nights. Even Wal-Mart is enjoyable when I go with Rusty on a date night. It was even fun!
We are being very careful in guarding our children's hearts from the "Gimmies", the greedy spirit we find acceptable for children to have at Christmas time. We instead are focusing our fun and creative energy on what they are giving rather than getting. They have told us one thing that they want for Christmas and that's more than enough. They need NOTHING! They have a playroom full of toys! God is teaching us contentment and thankfulness, and I just can't see that we can have those things, commanded in scripture, when we have a long list of things we want and will be disappointed if we don't get on Christmas morning. That definitely shifts the focus off of Christ. Gifts are not bad! But wanting things to the point of discontentment or lack of thankfulness is, for sure! My kids are responding beautifully to this so far. I am so proud of them! They are so excited about getting each other special little gifts.
Another thing we do to de-stress Christmas is stay home for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Being with extended family is definitely one of our favorite things about the holiday, but travelling is difficult with lots of kids, and stressful even under the very best circumstances. We decided a long time ago that we would go to our own church Christmas Eve service and our kids would wake-up in our house on Christmas Day. Christmas day is very relaxing! We have many traditions to keep, like eating monkey bread for breakfast and Christmas Chili for lunch. We stay in our pajamas all day and play! It's wonderful! We celebrate Christmas with both sides of our family either before or after Christmas, which works best anyway when you are coordinating so many family schedules.
We are not anti-cultural traditions when it comes to the holidays. We really enjoy a lot of the Christmas-y food, movies, decorations, etc. But in everything, we remind our kids that everything special about the Christmas season points to the reason this season is so special. Did you have to read that sentence twice? I mean Christmas is and should be a BIG deal to us as Christians, because Jesus is everything to us. We ought to let people know that we celebrate and worship during this season in many fun, festive, and even reverent ways because it's a big, fat, stinkin' deal!!! We have a cross as our tree topper, and I love that because Jesus' birth points us towards Jesus' death and resurrection, and that should bring us to our knees in thankfulness for our Savior! As we put the Christmas lights on the tree, we talk about how Jesus is the light of the world. When we put the cross on, we talk about the significance of the cross at Christmas. And when we were done decorating the tree this year, Emma went and put baby Jesus at the bottom. (See picture in the post below.)
So we are trying to pull back all the layers of junk on our Christmas and make it truly enjoyable and worshipful. For each family, I do believe that is going to look different. We must examine what draws our hearts and eyes away from the Lord. That's going to be different for each adult, and for each child. I hope that our kids see Rusty and I fixed on Jesus during the Christmas season, and not stressed-out and too busy.
Hope this season is off to a good start for all of you! I treasure every day that our Christmas tree and lights are up. I adore sitting in the living room with the lights off and the tree on. I also love the new p.j.'s the kids get on Christmas Eve, the Christmas candy and bread baking I do, and I like driving through the lights at Santa's Wonderland with the kids. We already went once this year, and Treston, a man of few words, kept saying "Wow! Wow!" That's fun!
What are things that you and your family love at Christmas?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

1st Grade is fun!

Emma loves first grade. So do I!
I love teaching my kids! I love seeing their faces as they figure something out, hearing their responses, and I really love their artwork. I love that our house has become "nerdy" as Rusty puts it. Emma got really excited about the History channel today. What?
Drama seems to be a big part of our learning. When we learn about something, the kids like to act it out. There are only three of them, (Treston's not quite ready for the productions) and that's if Justus will do what they say (which is not often) so sometimes stuffed animals have to play parts too. Like a few weeks ago, when Sir Walter Raleigh got married, Jax was married to a huge stuffed bear with a skirt on.
This is a picture of Emma as Queen Elizabeth. She looks regal, doesn't she?

And then, can you guess? Pocahontas. Did you know she married John Rolfe, NOT John Smith. She never had a thing with John Smith. Disney lies. My kids will be happy to set you straight.

And when we decorated the tree, Emma put baby Jesus in a basket at the bottom, and she became Mary. She can become any character with whatever is handy. It's pretty remarkable! I love it!

This week we are learning about the American Revolution. But first we had to cover slavery. You may remember my post about Rosa Parks and racism today, when I had to sit the kids down and explain racism to them. They were appalled! They were confused! Emma has never forgotten that conversation, and brings it up often. Well, learning about slavery has been very disturbing to her. Which is hard to teach, but it ought to be disturbing! We talked briefly about the Civil War, and she was not happy the South was on the wrong side of that one. I love the South! I love Southern people, food, and culture, but I hate that our ancestors fought for slavery. I hate seeing Confederate flags in the back of trucks, as if we had anything to be proud of in the Civil War! Here are the journal pages about slavery from Emma's journal. She knows very little about what slavery was really like, but she is still very upset by it. She takes great comfort in the fact that slavery is against the law now. That makes her feel better.

It says "Slayv Trayd that's rong" translated "slave trade, that's wrong." (In their journal, they can spell things however they think is correct. On other work, I correct it, but their journals are a free expression of art and writing.)

When I see my kids' responses to sin, I can only hope that I am still appalled by the things that God hates. And yet, as Emma and I talked about today, God still loves all of us, despite how yucky our sin is! He sent His Son to die for us, knowing full well the bad things we would do.
I love teaching my kids, and I love even more filtering it all through the lens of God's love and His Word. These are precious days with them that are going too quickly. Even though I have been so sick and miserable with an evil virus, I still enjoyed teaching them today. I am so grateful for this crazy, wonderful time in my life. 1st grade is fun!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Magic...pure magic

Breathing is good.
I mean nose breathing, because mouth breathing sucks.
There's nothing worse than trying to sleep, but you can't find a millimeter of a space in your stuffy nose in which to breathe so you can sleep.
Last night it was reaching 1am, and I still couldn't nose breathe (the superior way to breathe versus the gross mouth breathing) OR sleep.
There's not much time between 1am and 6am, when I must be up.
I start to panic at that point.
So I got up and started rummaging through all the medicines we own, which is not very many, even in a Doctor's house.
However...I found the MAGIC.
Afrin. Have you tried this? It really is magic. One minute, no matter what you do, you can't get an iota, or however you measure oxygen, into your nose for superior breathing's sake.
Then you squirt this disghusting stuff into your nose, and I DO MEAN disghusting, and
(you get the picture)
You can breathe!!!! It feels like a miracle to me. Whoever invented this stuff was genious. I wanted to find them and hug them last night at 1am. I didn't know if it was working at first, so I squirted a lot in, and I think maybe burned the inside of my nose a little, but who cares?
I could breathe!!! It really was magnificent.
But Rusty was not happy to see the Afrin out this morning.
Well, maybe cause I had a little problem with it when we first got married.
I had a super bad cold that wouldn't go away, and I discovered the magic.
But then I had to use it everynight for like a week to sleep.
Maybe it was two weeks or longer...I don't know.
But Rusty planned an intervention, and he cut me off.
He wouldn't allow me near the stuff after that. The magic really is highly addictive.
Who wouldn't be addicted to magic breathing potion?
I've known a few people close to me who were addicted for years.
You know who you are. You can leave anonymous comments if you like.
So I haven't gone near it since then. I knew I had a problem.
But last night...when I was rummaging...I was never happier to find the magic potion spray. It was disghusting (because anytime you spray something into your nasal cavities, it's disghusting) but thrilling at the same time!!!
Oxygen in the nose. It's good!! Sleep. Even better!!!
When Rusty saw it out this morning, he gave me a stern "What's this, little missy?"
I said "Magic. It's my new best friend."
Don't be surprised if you are asked to attend an intervention for me in the near future.
I am a person prone to addiciton. If I didn't know Jesus, I'd probably be addicted to several things by now.
Like Magic Breathing Spray.
It's magic.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Watch This...

My awesome brother Brian works for Compassion and he is in Ethiopia right now. He is chronicling his trip on his blog, and it's amazing. What makes it even more moving is that his family is going to adopt from Buckner's orphanage there, and he is right there near it. His future children are right under his nose! I can't imagine what all he is feeling on this trip. Getting to see the pics and read his words is a gift.
He is travelling with his brother-in-law and dear friend Shaun Groves, who you may know, is a Christian artist. Brian posted this short video of Shaun's footage of this trip. I just watched it, and I'm still trying to type through the tears.
Take a quick look at a fraction of what Compassion is doing in Ethiopia.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Do we want Jax to be David Beckham?

Jax just finished his soccer season.
It was fun! It was interesting! It was entertaining!
But Jax wasn't that into touching the ball. He was really into socializing on the field. He wasn't into scoring goals (he didn't), but he was into smiling and waving to his fans on the sideline, giving them the thumbs up as the ball passed him by.
I love this boy!!! He has such a way of melting my heart.
Jax has played one season before, and it was pretty much the same.
He asked if he could play again, so we agreed. But I'm pretty sure he was solely into it for the snacks. Anytime anyone asks him about soccer, that's what he talks about. There were some pretty elaborate snacks last year when we played, so that could explain it.
I know that Jax is gifted by God. He will be really good at something, and it will be useful for the Kingdom. I don't know whether team sports is his thing. But I have observed the children's sports culture a bit, and it makes my stomach churn.
One game this season, we had a serious soccer Dad on the other sideline, coaching his son the entire game. He wasn't the team coach, just his son's personal coach. He yelled instructions the whole game, strategies, gave one-on-one pep talks at every break, and despite the fact that this kid scored about 16 goals on our little group of soccer misfits, he had to run plays with him on the field afterwards to correct his mistakes.
I'm not kidding.
This is the league for five-year-olds.
I don't think I was hiding my disghust very well. I felt sorry for this kid beyond words. I think we hugged Jax all the way to the car and told him how proud we were of him for having fun out there, and being a good sport.
I watched the poor boy look to his father's face when he did something good for the nod of approval, and did not get it.
I wanted to cry! And then chew this guy out! And then disband the soccer league until further notice!
I know this guy surely loves his son, but this was the worst possible way to show it.
It got my brain going fast. It's not something I haven't thought about before, but want to discuss further with other parents.
As Christians, what do we want for our kids?
Truly, what do we want?
There are some Sunday School answers here. But I think as God has grown me over years past, my answer has definitely changed.
If we could choose professional athlete, which seems to be the driving force behind so many American families, or missionary to the nations, which would we choose?
If we would say missionary, making his whole life about sharing the gospel, how are we expressing that goal into the translation of our time spent, words said, the "I'm so proud of you's", the activities we commit to, etc.?
I think looking at what I know about professional athletes, I'd rather them be anything else in the whole freaking world. It's scary. I think maybe we ought to ban sports in our home on the off-chance that they COULD become too good at them, and end up running dog fights and have many STD's.
(Obviously, those are two polar opposite choices. Our kids could be a million things in between that honor God and fulfill His purpose for their lives.)
I know I haven't finished thinking about this.
I don't think extra-curricular activities outside of the church are wrong! Of course! I don't think our kids enjoying activities they are passionate about is unspiritual!!! Quite the contrary!
Like Emma is in love with horses. She was born in love with horses. We let her start riding, granting her the joy of her heart, a little more than two years ago. It's been so perfect for her! The whole family goes together on Wed. afternoon and enjoys watching her. She's getting so good, and it's amazing to watch her skills progress.
When does it cross the line from that to crazy soccer Dad?
When do we parents lose control and perspective?
How much time is too much, especially when it gets to older kids, tournaments, weekend trips, etc?
When we choose sports over church on any given Sunday or weekend, what are we saying?
What do you guys think?
Parents and former children alike, what are your thoughts?

Monday, November 12, 2007

They're coming!

Oh, how I've missed them.
Just a year ago, I got hooked on the Girls, and I watched all six seasons available to me over a series of late nights where I just couldn't stop watching...the quick wit...the banter...so much coffee...the weather and seasons that are all too absent here...the beautiful hair! Could someone please do my hair like theirs? It's so dad-gum shiny!!!
I have waited and waited. By some sheer glorious miracle, I don't know how this series ends. I have one more season to go; season 7. I am incredibly impressed that no one has spilled the end to me. Not even a hint. (Way to go Amanda!) Will Lorelai end up with Luke? With Christopher?
I'll find out soon. Season 7 is released tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th. It's been reserved on my list on Netflix forever. Finally, the big day has come. I got the e-mail confirming it. Netflix...WONDERFUL NETFLIX...is sending them to my house on Wed. My super friendly mailman (called a man-mail by Justus) will put them in my mailbox in a incredibly exciting red envelope. Even the mailman knows we love the red envelopes! This will be my favorite one yet! After months of silence...months with no banter...no good hair...no coffee at Luke's...they'll be back. Right in my bedroom, with me tucked into bed, and my husband rolling over, with a complete lack of interest in these girls. That's so okay. They're coming over. I can't wait.

Friday, November 09, 2007

We're all adopted

We are in the midst of celebrating Treston's adoption. It's so great! I think we say his full name all the time, just for fun. We are celebrating that nothing could ever make him NOT a Bacak from now on...that he is in every way ours, just like if I had given birth to him myself...and even though we didn't know Treston existed just a year ago, God knew this before time began! It's big!

I've had many interesting discussions with strangers about adoption. We wear adoption on the outside of our family, so people who are interested in adoption or who are just plain curious ask us questions. It's always a great opportunity to bring up the Lord's name with someone who I other wise would never get a chance to talk to! But one of the most heartbreaking conversations took place a few years ago, before we got Treston, and Justus was a baby. I took my kids to McDonald's for breakfast before Emma's school. (Pre-homeschooling) Another Mom and her two boys were there too. Our kids were running around, playing together. She and her kids were black. My kids are white and brown, so they were all swirling together in the McDonalds play area. I love that! She was obviously curious though, and was doing the mega-staring thing. Finally she asked me if Justus was mine. I answered yes, and she asked me how? I told her he was adopted. She waited a minute, and then asked me "How long will he stay with you?" This question threw me off. No one had ever asked me that, and to tell you the truth, it stung a little. I kind of stammered, "Forever! He's ours forever!" She didn't seem to understand that. This really shook me up. I gathered up my kids after a moment and piled them into my mini-van and drove away, crying. I know this woman meant no harm, I just hated the idea that anyone could think that my kids were mine temporarily! That I might just give them back someday. Adoption is forever! Didn't everyone know that? The thought that it wouldn't be was apalling to my spirit as a Mom.

I love that God uses the actual word adopted to describe believers in the Bible. Adoption is forever, so the Bible's use of this word feels so good. When we commit our lives to him, we become His Sons and Daughters, permanently! Why would he use the word adoption? He didn't use a word that means foster care, or respit care or temporary provider, he said ADOPTION, FULL HEIRS, SONS. Doesn't everybody know that means forever? Evidently not, because there are still many schools of thought that assert that we can become a child of God, and then back our way out of it by messing up again. No matter what my kids do, whether they like it or not, they are Bacaks. They are Czech, kolache-eating, music-loving, Jesus-worshipping, Bacaks. Nothing can change that.
I've been dissecting Romans 8, a great chapter, where the word adopted is used. (In Romans, in the NIV, the word Sons or Sonship is used, but the root word is adopted.) You can find it in the New Testament at least four times. Here's a few:

Eph 1:5
5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.

Rom 8:15
5 So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family — calling him "Father, dear Father."

Gal 4:5-6
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

I love that in Ephesians it says he always planned to adopt us, and it gave him great pleasure! (It gives us great pleasure too!)
In Romans it says we can call him, very intimately, Father, dear Father, just like our little ones call us by name, and we are their everything.
And in Galatians, it says he bought us. We too bought our adopted kids, but it was just money. God paid for us with His very own beloved Son, and He sacrificed Him on a cross. As parents, doesn't that mean something altogether new to us? It's unimaginable, how God loves us.
As we celebrate Treston's adoption, I want to celebrate something even bigger; all of our adoption as believers. I want every lost person to know they are available for adoption by the King of Kings! What could be better news than this?

Monday, November 05, 2007

You're Cool, Craig.

My friend Bethany always gives me useful information.
I just love her!
She told me about Craig's List.
You all probably know about it already, but I'm slow.
It's a local forum for buying and selling things...kind of like e-bay, but without the fees and no shipping issues. Everyone lives in your area!
That's brilliant!
My brother Robbie just bought a trampoline for his kids on it.
I have posted a few things on it already.
I want to buy the Star Wars trilogy on DVD for my boys for Christmas.
So I posted a WANTED on there. I'm also going to sell our train table.
I may just sell enough stuff around here that we MAKE money on Christmas this year!
Who knows?
My question is: Who's Craig?
Did he have this great idea?
Was he trying to sleep one night, but couldn't, because he had too much caffeine after 4pm, and it hit him!
Is he somehow making a profit off of this?
And why can I not have a brilliant idea like this when I can't sleep?
(Yes, the story about caffeine and not being able to sleep is really about me.)
The brilliant idea I'm waiting to hit me is how to attach socks together and wash them so that they never get lost.
Can you imagine?
One sock never wanders off into the black hole called Sock Funland beneath your house ever again.
Wouldn't I make millions?
Wouldn't you buy this, ladies?
Well, hats off to you Craig.
You're cool.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's Back!

There are MANY wonderful things about Christmas time.
Celebrating Jesus- right at the top of the list!!!
But one of the little things that makes me happy is this creamer.
Peppermint Mocha.
Only available during the holidays.
I know, the fact that I look so forward to this in the morning speaks of my addiction to coffee. But I would like to propose that there are some addictions that aren't so bad!
Addicted to the Bible? Great!
Addicted to coffee so you can read the Bible every morning? Super!
And the Peppermint Mocha is out already at HEB!!!
Good news. I'm drinking some now. I love the holidays.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween Fun!

We have had a great week! It started with our perfect adoption day! Then we did fun school activities and crafts on Wednesday, like a scarecrow craft, and Halloween math and reading activities off of Enchanted Learning. (a great web site! It requires a subscription to print off of it.)

We started our evening with Mummy Dogs. I got this recipe from an e-mail from a friend. The kids loved it, considering we recently studied Egyptians, Pharoahs, Mummies, etc.

Then we were off to trick-or-treat on our street! Emma and Jax literally ran from door to door!

Heather said he looks like an Anne Geddes picture. He does! How cute is this little lion?!

The little ones rode in the wagon, and Treston totally loved the ride along, as long as we didn't make him wear that hood. He wasn't fond of it.

It was great! Then we went to the Hendricks house for a little birthday/costume party. (Happy Birthday Megan Birkenfeld!) You can go to Heather's blog I'm sure for all those pics. Rusty and I went as characters from the show "House." (A doctor show.)
Wednesday was fun for my kids! Two things they love: costumes (which are worn daily around here) and candy (they would like to have daily.)
It was great fun!

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's Adoption Day!

Today is the day.
Today he wakes up with one name, and will go to bed with a new one.
Today, the law catches up with what's been done in our hearts for a long time.
Today is the day that we celebrate Treston, and what God has done in his life!
There has never been a party or gathering to celebrate Treston's birth.
Well, it starts today.
We might just celebrate for a few months straight.
Today almost feels like the day I give birth, as weird as that sounds.
Just like the day a baby is born from your body is the day that baby is born into your family forever...this is that day for us!
We want you to rejoice with us...we need you to rejoice with us!
I want a stinkin' "It's a Boy" sign in the yard!
Treston has belonged to us for a long time, but there was always that possibility that someone could take him from us...that he would not stay...that we would have to become fugitives and run to Mexico and live under the assumed names of Lance and Katherine-Zeta. (Those are the assumed names we chose.)
But those nagging possibilites end today. There is no other possibility, no other scenario, no other option, except Treston living as our son forever.
This feels so good. It's like, we can finally breathe deep. We can stop hoping, and revel in God's fulfillment of something wonderful.
What God has done, in Treston's life, and in our family, is more than I can articulate. I could never convey to you the thankfulness in our hearts to God for what He's done...to rescue Treston...to fill a hole in our family that we weren't even aware of a year ago...to faithfully be the Planner of our family in ways we didn't imagine...for taking us on a wild roller coaster ride of faith-building and clinging to Him, knuckles white, not sure what's around the next corner.
Today, we get to throw our hands up and scream! We get to bask in God's goodness to us. We get to share with ANYONE who will listen that God is faithful, He cares for the needy, He wants to fulfill our needs and desires! We could never have concocted this whole chain of events before this. But God does things we can't imagine to get us where He wants us.
My words are so inadequate so I will share a Psalm that has been a faithful companion to me. I have been meditating on it for months. Don't skim it! It's so good!

I will praise you, my God and King,and bless your name forever and ever. 2 I will bless you every day,and I will praise you forever. 3 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!His greatness is beyond discovery!
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts. 5 I will meditate
on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. 6 Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;I will proclaim your greatness. 7 Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;they will sing with joy of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is kind and merciful,slow to get angry, full of unfailing love. 9 The LORD is good to everyone.He showers compassion on all his creation. 10 All of your works will thank you, LORD,and your faithful followers will bless you. 11 They will talk together about the glory of your kingdom;they will celebrate examples of your power. 12 They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. 13 For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.You rule generation after generation.
The LORD is faithful in all he says;he is gracious in all he does. 14 The LORD helps the fallen and lifts up those bent beneath their loads. 15 All eyes look to you for help;you give them their food as they need it. 16 When you open your hand,you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in everything he does;he is filled with kindness. 18 The LORD is close to all who call on him,yes, to all who call on him sincerely. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;he hears their cries for help and rescues them. 20 The LORD protects all those who love him,but he destroys the wicked.
21 I will praise the LORD,and everyone on earth will bless his holy name forever and forever.

This is who God is. This is the God who deserves everything we've got. He near. He's a Provider. He satisfies us at just the right time with what we need.
He's been good to us, and we celebrate Him today!
We will stand before the judge, as a family, at 1:30. Treston will get a new name with a new birth certificate today.

Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world."

God knew Treston before he was born. He knew he would be Treston Jeremiah Bacak. We believe He has set him apart for great things.
Thank you God!
And thank you, friends, for praying for him and sharing this journey with us.
Let the celebration begin!
It's Adoption Day!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Distribution of Justus

Each of the kids has a money jar.
They earn a few dollars allowance each week. They get birthday money, and they save it in their jar. (We started this because it was just getting too easy to steal their money when it was given them.) Now they save for things themselves. Like yesterday, we went to the Rennaissance Festival for School Days, and they each brought $10 out of their jar. They picked what they wanted to do with it, and when it was gone, it was gone.
But this picture shows how Justus has been viewing the distribution of the money jar. Emma had a birthday in Sept. and her jar was full. Justus' jar only had change. But suddenly one day, Emma's jar was completely empty, and his jar was full! Amazing! Usually, when Justus does something sneaky like this, like stealing the other kids' french fries or something, he leaves a little so it's not so obvious. He's brilliant! But this time, he just took it all! We had to have a little talk about this. Look at his face on the jar!? He even looks sneaky there! But this little guy keeps us entertained! When God harnasses his talents for good and not evil, he's going to do something AMAZING for the Lord!!!
I haven't updated everyone on his speech lately, but he's doing awesome! He is speaking so much and more clearly than ever! He still needs sign, but we are proud of how he is changing and even becoming more obedient. He is a joy to us! He is the comedian in the house, and says some of the funniest things! Everyday he tells me "When I wake up, I be a firefighter." Cute thing. Life is just too boring without a three-year-old in the house, you know?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Favorite items at HEB

Butternut Squash:
How I love it! It's by far my favorite vegetable, and it definitely does not get enough press! Many people who come to eat at my house say they've never had one! This is a travesty! It must stop! They are in season, and should be readily available at HEB. If you've eaten at my house, you've probably gotten my commercial for butternut squash, because I love it so!
Just a few tips: they can be expensive, just so you know. They are EXTREMELY dense, sort of like a sweet potato, and I am a wimp, so Rusty cuts them for me, or at least gets them started, a lot of the time. (He's the bomb.) I use them many different ways. I cut them up into pieces and put them in my steamer with some broccoli. Serve that with some grated cheddar cheese on top! So good! I also but it in my Chicken Pot Pie. It totally makes it! I just recently put it in my Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup. So you can do lots of things with it. If you use it in something like that, make sure you cook it a long time, or saute it a little before-hand because it takes them a while to get soft, because they're so dense. I have a recipe, if you're interested, for a Butternut Squash and Sausage soup where you puree the squash. That might sound weird...but it's really awesome!
Go get yourself a butternut squash. But leave some for me.

Bread Machine Ready-made mixes:
These are brilliant. Seriously. You can simply pour the contents of the box and some water into your bread machine, turn it on, and voila! Your house is filled with the smell of bread for hours, and that is worth it all to me. I feel so domestic when I bake bread, and all I did was pour the box in!!! I love fresh bread. I buy the Hawaiian bread mix often. It's so good.

Canned Chicken (in water, NOT oil!):
This might sound kind of gross...I was scared of it for years...but it's become a dear friend to me. Erin and I like to whip up chicken salad using this just about every Friday. All you do is mix the chicken with 1-2 T of mayo, and add some sliced almonds, grapes cut in half, and a little sugar. This is so good! Erin likes it on toasted bread, and I like it with Ritz Chips (kind of like crackers, but less crumbly.) This is so easy, and so good! I make it for lunch company (Shannan Feldman!) and when we go to the pool.
Believe it or not, I actually experimented and put the canned chicken in my Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup to see what would happen. It was great! I totally skipped the time consuming step of boiling and cutting up chicken, and just put it in the crock pot, and it was so easy!!! Again, this probably sounds gross, but it's just so easy and good I have to pass it along.
These are some of my favorite items on the Bacak family grocery list. I would really like to know some of y'alls!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fall Family Fun Day 2007!

Last Saturday was our long-awaited, most festive, Fall Family Fun Day! This has to be one of my favorite Bacak traditions. This was the fourth annual FFFD, and yes, it's known as FFFD!
We start with a trip to the pumpkin patch. There are no better pictures than pumpkin patch pics. The color + cute kids = precious.
Every Bacak child gets to pick their favorite pumpkin to take home.
They look at them, touch them, sit on them, talk to them...this is serious! You only get to pick one!
Then we take them home and we carve them. Yes, the kitchen is covered in pumpkin guts, and it's pretty gross, but the result is spectacular. Rusty is the designated super-carver, because he's gifted, and because it's against my religion to touch pumpkin innards.
Then...my favorite part...because it involves food...CARAMEL APPLES!!!
By the fourth year, we have just about perfected this. It's super yummy, but it's also glue-like. We brush the children's teeth three times that night. We budget more for dental bills each year because of this one day.
But it's so fun!
This year we even had a FFFD pumpkin parade, put on by Jax and Emma. They are too cute. We think every special day deserves a parade around here. They made banners, homemade instruments, and chanted F-F-F-D!
There were so many cute pictures I made my first slideshow. I feel almost as cool as Lynsey Kramer, who has super cool slideshows on her blog all the time.
I hope you enjoy it!
Long Live FFFD!!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Scriptural Rebuke from Emma

My seven-year-old rebuked me with scripture yesterday.
It was awesome.
We were searching for the lost remote. This is a constant problem in our house. Why are remotes so fascinating to babies and toddlers?
We just got a new satellite system (saving us a lot of money each month versus the cable thing) and if you lose the remote, you cannot operate the satellite. So when I couldn't find it, I was kind of annoyed. I was muttering worried exclamations about not finding it, and searching everywhere.
Emma stopped me and said "Remember the verse, Mom? Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything?" (Phil. 4:6)
I love this girl! She was not afraid to stop me in my tracks with scripture! I was getting worried, and thus sinning. I told her she was absolutely right, and I was absolutely wrong, thanking her for the reminder.
So of course, I did pray, and of course, we not only found the remote shortly after (in a random desk drawer ???), but also found a lost library book I had been stressing over. So I went back in to the kids and "thanked Him for all he had done." (the rest of Phil. 4:6) We praised God for listening to our every prayer and taking care of our needs.
God is good, and hearing truth come out of my little girl's mouth, is SO beautiful!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"The Line"

I want to continue the discussion about sexual purity and dating. It's been so good and thought provoking!
I want to discuss this idea of being physically involved while dating.
I said in a previous post that I want to throw up when I think about the fact that I kissed or held hands with any other boy besides Rusty. I truly mean that. I had no right to be that close to someone else's husband, nor did anyone have the right to my husband.
Where did we get this idea that we can try people out physically for a while?
From the Bible...hold on let me get my Bible...NO!
In fact, everything I can possibly find in the Bible pertaining this subject says RUN, FLEE, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH sexual temptation. Don't flirt with it, don't see how close you can get to sex, get yourself going like a freight train and then try to slam on the brakes. (How's that for an analogy?)

2 Timothy 2:22 says "Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust."

1 Cor. 6:18 says "Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does."

We can not be running away, and flirting with it at the same time. Girls, I think all married women can testify for you that we now understand that the process of sexual stimulation was not meant to be stopped. (I told you that we were going to have to get specific and embarrassing if we were going to talk about this!)
And a valid point was brought up, that we don't want to instill in our kids the idea that sex and sexual feelings are bad. They are not! They are meant for something so beautiful, sweet, and holy! But when we allow dating relationships where physical involvement occurs, they will soon learn that everytime they engage physically, they get into trouble, they sin, in thought and in actions, and they feel they are slaves to those feelings. They toe "the line" and that line starts moving, inch by inch, and the failure rate is through the roof! THEN, those sexual feelings are bad, and they are the enemy. That is NOT what I want my kids to understand about sexuality. I want them to know that all of it, ALL OF IT, is meant for their joy and intimacy in marriage, and it is a gift from our Creator. I feel like so much of the struggles with sex in the early years of marriage that I am counseling girls through is trying to de-program their minds from this mentality.
This idea that there is a "line" that we must tip-toe up to, try desperately not to cross, so often in vain, is not of God. He never said we ought to toe the line. He said RUN. Remember? He said FLEE! Right?
So where did we get this idea?
From the world.
It's SO from the world, and we have been trying to stuff the world's ideas about dating into the Bible and make it fit, and it doesn't.
If you are in college, and you are physically involved with someone, I beg you to stop. Nothing, and I seriously mean nothing, good will come from it. If you have children and you are letting them have boyfriends/ girlfriends and they spend alone time together, I beg you to stop them!
I am not referring to sex. I'm referring to all of it. I know you might think this is crazy, but I am pretty sure it's just crazy by the world's standards, not by God's standards.
Whose standards are we going to live by?
Who is ever going to meet their mate, tell them that they've never made out with anyone, and they won't make out with them, come to their wedding day and night with 0 experience and feel bad about it? If by God's grace, that could happen with my children, PRAISE THE LORD! I can't imagine how joyful that day would be! And if that doesn't happen, Rusty and I better know for certain that we did everything we were supposed to do to guide them in God's perfect way for them. We know it's up to them to follow.
On the other hand, to play with fire and be physically intimate with people who in no way belong to you, so many negative things can come from it, I can make you a list as long as my arm and give you specific names, numbers, and e-mail contacts to prove it.
It's not just my own experience. It's not just my opinion. The longer I work with college girls and engaged couples, the stronger and stronger I feel about this.
Here is a blog with some great discussion on this topic for you to check out if you're interested.
Thoughts anyone?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Dating- Are You Crazy???

I started to leave the world's longest comment in response to the excellent discussion and questions raised on my last post here about "True Love Waits", and then remembered...this is my blog. I could just start a new post!
I know I've opened a door here with the no-dating thing...Obviously, I don't have all the answers to this question! If I did, I wouldn't have posted the question on my blog!!! But here are our thoughts.
It's not a topic I think is easily tackled. It's one that we have been thinking about for a couple of years, and really examining in the scriptures and in my own life. I've also heard some amazingly wise things from people at my church who have been thinking about this longer than me. It's hard to summarize here, but here's a few questions.
Really and truly, honestly, are you glad that you dated anyone besides your husband? That you gave your heart to them? Kissed them? Were intimate with them in any way (emotionally or physically)?
Obviously, as many have shared, those who were sexually intimate, even with their own husbands before marriage, have shared that they wish they hadn't been.

Why do we allow high schoolers to date? What's the purpose? To find a mate? Well, we wouldn't allow them to get married in high school, so that's silly. To learn how to form relationships?

I fully believe they can develop those skills within the context of good friendships, like we had in our youth group.
My husband never had a serious girlfriend before me. He was in no way ill-equipped to be a husband. He had never given his heart to any other girl, and his dating experience was very casual. He came to our relationship with almost 0 baggage.
I, on the other hand, had bounced from one serious relationship to another. I had a super-serious relationship in college that was incredibly damaging to me emotionally. I came to our marriage with TONS of that baggage. My sexual purity was intact, but I had been way too close to the many boyfriends, and that produced consequences for me emtotionally, and also for Rusty.
Even though when I first started thinking about this, I wanted to quickly run to bat for this idea of American, Christian dating, when I stopped to examine my reasons, they were faulty. I truly do regret all of it. I think having friendships with guys before marriage would have equipped me fine to relate to my husband when I met him.
Also, every time I had a boyfriend, and then later a break-up, it was ALL a distraction from my relationship with the Lord. It did NOT draw me closer to the Lord, it pulled me away every time. EVERY TIME.
And the time I wasted!!! I should have been focusing on God wholeheartedly, and spending all my free time with my girlfriends, like you Laurie, going to Taco Bell and the $2 movies in Tomball!!! (ha!) I regret that I wasted time on boys in high school and college that were distracting, temptations to sin, and that's it.
I didn't learn anything valuable from those relationships, because I continued to make the same mistakes over and over. I was not lost. I was saved, and I truly, truly had a passion for the Lord. But I was not wise. I did not make wise decisions. And I regret how hurt I was, how I hurt others, and when I think of holding hands or kissing a boy that wasn't my husband, I want to throw-up! I shouldn't have done that! Seriously, it turns my stomach. Where in scripture do we get the idea that trying other people on first is okay? It's so totally acceptable to the world, and we clean it up a bit for the Christian version, but I think the results are often tragic. Again and again, I hear stories like these lovely ladies have shared about being a Christian couple, who fully intended to wait for marriage, had the ring and everything, but were given the freedom to date, and they were sucked in by the powerful tornado that is sexual sin.
As for me, I just felt like I had been beated down my tornado winds by the emotional damage and various forms of sin dating produced in my life.
We could allow our high schoolers to date within certain confines, but why? If dating is to find a mate, they can't do that in high school, and I don't think they need the practice.
I want them to develop real friendships with guys and girls alike, go out in groups and have fun, and be free when they are a little older to find their mate without the baggage.
Should we trust high school guys and girls to be alone together?
No. I think everyone knows that is probably a temptation too great for them, whether we like that truth or not.
I don't want to communicate distrust to my wonderful kids, but I want them to know that dating was altogether unwise and we are going to protect them the best way we know how.
We counsel couple after couple in Countdown who are struggling physically, and the bottom line is they just can't be alone together, and they can't kiss without it progressing.
So Rusty and I HAVE TO listen to this, and look at the scripture about running, fleeing, having nothing to do with sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6, 2 Tim. 2), and practically applying that for our kids, as well as guarding their hearts (Proverbs 4:23), and not arousing love before it so desires. (SOS) High School is not the right time. It's arousing love before the appropriate time. I truly believe all physical intimacy should be kept for marriage, and that is part of keeping the marriage bed pure. (1 Cor. 6)
Emotionally I want to protect my sons and daughter from giving their hearts away to anyone before God brings them their mate.
Of course, I know that if my kids are not on board with this, they could rebel, they could hide relationships from us, they could be sneaky. We don't want that. But I'm encouraged by the fact that I see families like our pastor's family who has teenagers who have just known all along there would be no high school or casual dating. I can't attest to their every feeling about it, but they seemed to have accepted that fine and those kids are serving the Lord and the church wholeheartedly, making great friends, and waiting for the right time in their lives.
My sister has survived her high school years without any boyfriends, and I'm SO GLAD@

What does the right time look like?
Now granted, again, if I had all the answers to these questions, I wouldn't have posted the question on my blog. So these are just the thoughts of Rusty and I, what we've observed among some wise families and college students we know, and how we are applying the Word to the idea of courtship.
But dating for the purpose of finding a mate, when you are of the right age and stage in life, is intentional. It is incredibly purposeful. There should be a lot of observing and getting to know one another before a guy even pursues a girl for the purpose of marriage. I see college students at our church hang out together, serve the church together, go to movies, go to dinner, watch the Office together, WHATEVER, in groups and really get to know one another before a relationship is pursued. (Instead of starting a dating relationship and THEN getting to know the person.) And then they are purposeful, and wise about not spending alone time together, watching movies in their apartments with the lights out and no roommates home. STUPID!!! They are careful not to treat the relationship like a mini-marriage, which is how I treated just about every relationship I had, so that if they determine they are not right for one another, they don't have to go through a mini-divorce. I've actually seen this! When they decide not to date anymore, despite the disappointment, I've seen them remain friends, and still be able to stay in the same church and circle of friends, because they haven't been physically entangled, and they haven't named their kids together, and put down a deposit on the church.
I don't know all the answers to this.
What if you meet and live in different cities? I don't know.
What if, what if, what if? I don't know.
I just know there is great wisdom being exhibited by these young people that I desperately wish I'd had an ounce of when I was their age.
It's so encouraging! And I want that for my kids! There's no reason for them to make the same mistakes we made. That would be foolish.
I do think that training their minds about dating, marriage, and the wonderful gift of sex, needs to start super early, so I want to hear from more women who have thoughts on this now.
Thanks everyone, for engaging in this discussion! Let's keep it going!!!