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Friday, April 27, 2007

It Will Change Your Life...

My husband is always re-inventing my life...for the better...with gifts.
Several years back, he got me this scrapbooking software.
I used to scrapbook by hand.
It was fun. But it was messy. We couldn't eat off of our table for weekends at a time, because there were papers, glues, scissors, and pictures spread everywhere. I would cut, stick, and create every free moment on certain Saturdays, and would literally be sore the next day.
I was headed for a terrible chronic scrapbookers disease, that has yet to have been diagnosed in the medical community, but just wait...it's coming. It will be known as CSD. It will consist of crippled hands, necks, and backs. Not good.
The software is still fun, creative, and best of all, sticker and glue-free. I can sit in bed at night with my laptop and scrapbook. I never pay for scrapbooking materials anymore. (Ch-ching. money saved.) I only pay for photo paper and page protectors. And ink cartridges of course. (You have to have a decent printer to pull this off.)
I do less pages, because you can fit more pictures on a page. Instead of 6 pages on a trip to the zoo, it's more like 2-3. You can make your pictures as big or as small as you want, change their shapes, coloring, add effects, crop, etc. I usually just pick a background or border, add my text, and I'm done. Voila. No chronic scrapbookers disease. Easy.
So this begs the question, why was I nearly two years behind on scrapbooking?
There is an answer.
We were cruising along, totally up-to-date each month in my books, chronicling our lives. Then a few years ago, my in-laws got us a SUPER COOL digital camera. We love it!!! It's awesome. But it was not compatible with my scrapbooking software. So I stopped. I didn't know what to do. I refused to go back to the old way. I refused to get pictures printed and payed for. So I just stopped. I became a delinquent scrapbooker. That wasn't me!!! I was so on top of things! I was so proud of my books! How did this happen to ME?
I would lay in bed at night and worry about how I would ever catch up. Almost a year and a half passed. What could I do? Rusty had bought me a different software to try to remedy the problem, but it was no good. My motherly self-esteem plummetted. You all know, we Moms don't need extra cause for the "mother guilt," as I call it.
Well this week, all has been set right. The 'lost years' have been restored. I have been a woman CRAZED! On a mission! Ask anyone who's been in my home this week. I have been eating, drinking, sleeping, and breathing scrapbooking. First, Rusty and I went and got the NEW Scrapbook Factory...but not the old program I had. No...it's DELUXE. They're not kidding about the Deluxe. It's so much better! Then, I just gave in and took all my CD's of pictures and stood at the machine at Target until it practically exploded. I printed out all the pictures over the lost years, and slid them into books. Not creative. Not fun. But done.
Then I scrapbooked starting with November 06, almost to the day we got the call about Treston, for our family book, and started Treston's life book. I'm in February now. I'm getting there! It feels so good!
I will sleep better at night. My inner Mom rating, which will always find a reason to be low, is on the rise. I think this is God's gift to the over-weary scrapbooker. Especially those with many children. And cute children! Come on, who can resist pictures of these kiddos!
So come over anytime and look at my books. I don't know if you'll think they're as cute as books done by hand, but you have to factor in the time, money, and energy saved.
My husband is a genius.
Mother's Day is coming up. Seriously, this will change your life!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Modesty and Quaker Jane

Modesty has been a topic in our "Her Hands" class at Living Hope recently. Heather has written about it on her own blog allthingshendrick.blogspot.com and you can check out herhands.blogspot.com also. There were some amazing insights and comments that made this topic even clearer!
I guess I am not done thinking about it, so I want to hear from even more women on this. And men too, if there are men who read this blog. (I have no idea?)
I Googled "Modest Dress" and I came up with several websites. One being quakerjane.com. I guess you can purchase a lovely outfit such as this one, if you so desire. There were other websites with long-sleeve swimsuits and prairie dresses as well. I don't mean to mock these sects of people, because they may have a handle on this topic that we simply don't have. But I must wonder...why are we still so off-mark on this, women?
Are we so reticent to just give up articles of clothing to be obedient?
Have we not heard explicitly enough from men about their struggle with lust, and how just a glance in your direction "showing skin" causes them to think impure thoughts, out of pure reflex?
Are we so prideful that we won't let anyone tell US what to wear!?
Or have we exalted ourselves and "looking cute" so that we can compete with other girls, in order to feed our very poor and distorted self-images?
I really think it is a compilation of all these things, more some than others, varying from woman to woman. We had an honest conversation about this in our HOPE group last week. I think we need to keep re-visiting this topic again and again. We are slow. We are rebellious. We are ignorant.
Our pastor will talk about this very thing, even giving specific examples of things that are inappropriate to wear (which is probably not so easy to do, for a man) and I see girls wearing those exact things to church the next week. And as discussed on Heather's blog, these were in their "church clothes" category! (Which is a category Heather and other women pointed out should be eliminated!)
I can't just point the finger though girls. I'm in my 30's (that still pains me to say) and I am still finding things in my closet that need to go!
So what's the problem?
Well, one thing is for certain. I think we as older women need to be teaching the younger women very explicitly on this topic. I have decided that this topic and the issue of sexual immorality cannot be taught vaguely, with broad strokes of what it means to sin in this area. We need to be SPECIFIC! And with modesty, that is hard, because giving rules doesn't seem the most effective way to do this. But the Enemy is too good at convincing us, as we stand in our closet, that what we are putting on is okay. It's being worn by everyone. We're not doing anything wrong.
Women, what are the solutions here?
How do we bring our younger sisters along, gently but firmly?
As swimsuit season approaches, what needs to be said?
I plan on writing an article about this for Lily 7, so you all are my research.
Bring it.
Speak plainly. We need to hear it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Signs for the week!

It's time for new signs! Some of you are already asking for them, so good for you guys!
My Mom, the wonderful Nana that she is, is learning quickly, and reminded me how important it is to learn the alphabet. I didn't really think about it, because Justus is not fingerspelling yet, but many signs use the hand shape of certain letters, and it's easier to learn the signs if you know them.
So if you don't really know the alphabet yet, that is a good place to start.
As for a Justus update, he's a super signer. I'm trying to include plenty of signs that he uses daily so that when you visit the Bacak household, you can freely communicate with our little guy. Some of you already are! It blesses my heart like you wouldn't believe!
New Signs:
get dressed ( it's the sign for clothes 1X, 2X for actual clothes)
popsicle (look at the sign for ice cream, but put up your pointer finger, like the stick in a popsicle)
like (as in "I like bananas")
swing (One of Justus' most commonly used signs lately. It's the sign for sit, but you move your hands back and forth, like you're swinging.)
Practice Sentences:
Where are your shoes? (where shoes, eyebrows raised)
I want a popsicle, please. (I want popsicle please)
What color is the apple? (What color apple, what, eyebrows furrowed)
The apple is green. (apple green)
Where are your pajamas (sleep clothes)? (Where sleep clothes, where, eyebrows furrowed)
What color is the truck? (what color truck, what, eyebrows furrowed)
Do you want to jump on the trampoline? (You want jump, jump, jump, eyebrows raised)
I like to swing. (I like swing)
Happy Signing, people! Let me know of any questions you have.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dancin' Like David

There are many instances in our culture in which it is acceptable to dance.
An organized dance function, (Baptists, cover your ears, or eyes in this instance) a concert, where one might even bounce around, scream, and do a little mosh-pit business, any kind of sporting event, in which your team does something exciting. I've seen my husband bust some moves during the Aggie football season. There was probably a good bit of dancing and screaming when they beat UT this year. A wedding celebration, New Year's celebrations, and so on.
There are plenty of things that get us excited, and cause us to want to move our bodies because of it.
Church is not usually one of them.
No, in church, sometimes we act like we're at a funeral. Having sung on the stage during worship at many churches, people truly looked like someone had died. Like they'd rather be anywhere than in worship. Some can't even be bothered to open their mouths to sing, or stand up. It has always made me sad.
Our church has such amazing worship. I love that people come, and sing outloud praises to God, kneel at the altar when they feel the need, even raise their hands in adoration of the Lord. That might seem a little weird to some. I don't know. But when you are so moved by worshipping the Lord, you feel the need to respond, and I'm so encouraged by being in a church where people do.
However, there's usually not much dancing. Sometimes, we get to moving a bit...while in place... careful not to move our feet too much...containing ourselves, of course.
But why?
Why do we "contain ourselves" so?
We would not wish to be undignified, right? We don't want to seem strange to others. Besides, dancing would push our church into a whole other weirdo category, that is NOT widely acceptable.
Well, Saturday night's Easter Service at Living Hope was one of the best worship experience for Rusty and I! Wow! What freedom! What a spirit of gratefulness to the Father for sacrificing His Son, FOR US! Gratefulness to Jesus for paying the price for OUR sins, when He knew what was coming, and He knew how painful it would be. We watched clips from "The Passion of Christ" and having to visually appreciate what Christ did was moving. We celebrated what God has done for us! We celebrated that we serve a RISEN Savior! And it was good.
I was most moved by a member of our church, who I am not looking to embarrass by any means, but his actions spoke to me. I don't know him very well, but he is a young professional, super-nice guy, rather poised, maybe reserved, soft-spoken kind of guy. He came to the altar to pray during our celebration time, and suddenly started to dance. I mean DANCE, and BOUNCE. Praising and worshipping with his whole body. It was so beautiful. It was just like I've always wanted to, on the inside, but never have...dancing before the Lord. He shouted and praised with complete abandon, and a pure heart.
There is a passage of scripture that was immediately brought to mind...when David danced before the Lord in 2 Samuel 6. The Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Jerusalem. There was much rejoicing! It says in verse 14
"And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly tunic. So David and all Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with much shouting and blowing of trumpets."
His wife, Michal, looked out of her window and saw David going nuts in celebration to the Lord. It says she was filled with contempt for him. She later chastised him, ridiculing him for acting a fool right in front of the servant girls. In verse 21, he answers her:
"David retorted to Michal, "I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord. So I am willing to act like a fool in order to show my joy in the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, but I will be held in honor of the girls you have spoken!" So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her life."
What an example for us! He was the king, and he was willing to abandon his dignified persona to "show his joy in the Lord." Easter is definitely a time worthy of such a celebration. Everyday we live as the redeemed from our sin is, actually. I have often thought of the songs we sing, declaring we will dance and shout before the Lord, taken straight from the Psalms, and yet we do not dance, and we do not shout.
Are we unwilling, like Michal, to look undignified, or to appear foolish?
She was severely punished for this, by the way.
I was so blessed by this on Saturday night, and encouraged by the worship of others. I was singing on the Praise Team, so I was privy to the worship of everyone there, and it was beautiful. Thank you, Church, for encouraging me. That is just one reason why corporate worship is so essential to our faith.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Four Months Today!

I wait for the 6th of every month...it marks a special day. Every day, every month he's here gives us more legal standing. Today is four months! He arrived in our home on December 6th. That seems like a long time ago, because I'm having a hard time remembering life before him now. But I can't believe how fast he's growing! He is finally sitting up, and feeling rather proud of himself. If you haven't seen his dracula teeth, they're pretty funny! And he's got his top two teeth ready to bust through any minute. He's rolls and rolls of our sweet boy, and this smile lights up our house.
Keep praying for Treston to officially become a Bacak! We are in the homestretch of our waiting period- one more month to go! Woo-hoo! And we need your prayers. In one month, we can start taking steps toward adoption. We have no idea how long this process could take, or what it will be like. It is unchartered territory for us. (This is absolutely NOTHING like Justus' adoption.) But we love this beautiful boy! We can't imagine life without him now. We appreciate your prayers, and will throw a huge celebration, if God allows us to adopt him, come adoption day!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Want My Life Back!!!

This guy represents pretty accurately how I've been feeling.
I've turned into the Grinch. I've been...
Sicker than sick.
We presume it's just a yucky virus, but I think it's one that could be released by bio-terrorists. Like on 24.
This is the longest virus I've ever had.
This was not the weight loss plan I had in mind.
I just want my life back!!!
I have realized how very much I love my life. Wow, I am thankless!!
If I ever complain about my life again, please knock me out.
I'll deserve it.
Being healthy, energetic, and able to be a Mom and teacher to my four kiddos is such a blessing! Seeing my poor husband, who is a superhero, take over, with the help of Becky (also a superhero), and a few others, broke my heart. I love being a wife, Mom, and teacher! I want to do it everyday! Every day that I can get up and do my job is a beautiful day!
Everyday I get to wake-up and drink coffee,
read my Bible,
turn on Curious George for sleepy-eyed children,
fix breakfast,
teach a Bible Story at the table,
hear the sweet and sincere prayers of my little ones,
teach Math,
do dishes,
wipe noses,
change diapers,
tie shoes,
administer spankings,
read books and sing songs,
kiss their ow-ees,
teach about birds, and watch their eyes as they learn something new,
find pacifiers,
rock and sing,
lay down and rub backs at nap time,
cuddle up next to a little boy who will be grown up and too big to snuggle after I blink my eyes,
braid hair,
fold laundry,
kiss my husband and ask how his day was,
make something for dinner that I can't convince my kids to eat,
give baths,
watch Rusty tickle, chase, and wrestle as they giggle and run,
and put little p.j.ed kids in bed.
I want this life forever.
I am so happy to be out of bed and trying to re-claim this life that I love so much. I am so thankful for it!