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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!