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Saturday, January 31, 2009

He Asked. I Said Yes.

January 31st, 1998, Rusty asked me to marry him.
He washed my feet, read Ephesians 5, said lots of sweet things, and gave me a ring.
He got on his knee, and asked me to be his wife.
Without hesitation, I said yes.
I stared at that ring, and solemnly vowed to never replace it, upgrade, or alter it. This was going to be the ring I would wear happily, everyday, as long as I live.
Single girls, I didn't earn this man. I am not worthy of his love.
He didn't come the first time I wished for him. Maybe around the millionth.
He wasn't what I expected, exactly. I didn't have that good of an imagination, obviously. He is WAY better.
Our story is not like a chic flick.
It's more real. It's deeper. It's flawed. It's lasting.
He didn't arrive on the scene at just the moment I got my act together and was totally content. That would be works driven. He was a gift of grace, despite myself. (I did have to get rid of the WRONG guy I was hanging onto first!)
I remember the euphoria of that day! I can only reflect on God's goodness and His good plans for me, though I am undeserving.
He has good plans for all of us, despite ourselves, and those plans seldom look like what we hope for. They are not always what we expect.
Single women, I know Valentine's Day is approaching, and I'll talk about that more soon, but please...throw off disappointment! Defeat discontentment!
God is good to you. Recognize His goodness and His gifts to you.
I am thankful today.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Yeneneh!

One of the newest Seay family cousins...Yeneneh (Yu-nee-nuh) turns 11 today!
That makes him the oldest of the seventeen grandchildren.
My brother Brian and his family are flying home very soon, as we speak, with beautiful Yeneneh and little Sosy. It's an exciting time for our family!
I can't imagine what it was like for them to say goodbye to Ethiopia, but I know they'll be back. I have a feeling we all will. Other members of our family are currently there, doing on-going mission work, and after reading "There is no me without you" (the life-altering book I just finished and told you all about) my heart is there too.
Yeneneh, Aunt Jenn, Uncle Rusty, and this house full of your cousins love you! We can't wait to hear your voice, your laugh, and watch you play soccer (which, according to his Dad, is pretty amazing!) We are so excited that you celebrate this birthday as a Seay!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Biggest Loser Blueberry Crumble Pie

Is it wrong for me to make dessert and sit down to watch the Biggest Loser? Because that's what I like to do. I almost cried last night when I realized our DVR had a brain anneurism and didn't record it. Luckily, the episodes are online, so I can watch it tonight. But I did make the Blueberry Crumble Pie for the second time, and I really like it! I had to share! Fresh blueberries have been on sale lately, and they are begging to be in this pie. It's from Cooking Light so it's not so bad. (Although I don't know where you find a low-fat graham cracker crust? I guess you can make one yourself and alter it? Don't know.)

Blueberry Crumble Pie (from myrecipes.com)

5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I buy two little baskets)
1 (9-inch) reduced-fat graham-cracker crust
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place blueberries in crust; set aside.

Combine brown sugar, flour, vanilla, rind, and sour cream; spread over blueberries. Combine breadcrumbs, granulated sugar, and margarine; sprinkle over sour cream mixture. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until set and crumbs are lightly browned.

Nutritional Information
Calories:312 (24% from fat)
Fat:8.4g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.8g)
Cooking Light, JUNE 1997

Friday, January 23, 2009

Her Hands

One day, a while back, Heather and I were jogging together.
We were huffing and puffing through our neighborhood, looking our awesomest. (not really.)
We happen to pass two younger girls on the same side of the street.
They were deep in coversation as we were, and as I put my hand up in the obligatory we-live-in-the-same-neighborhood wave, they didn't seem to notice us at all.
I burst out laughing, and Heather seem to catch it at the same time.
Here they were, younger versions of ourselves.
Jogging along, huffing a little less, wearing much less, bodies unmarked by the ten...okay fifteen years we probably had on them, and the brew of children we'd collected.
We were both deep in conversation, but I couldn't help but wonder what they were talking about, and even MORE, what we would have been talking about fifteen years ago! We laughed when we wondered that aloud.
Now, Heather and I could have been, in that moment, in a deep discussion about who we were on LOST, Claire or Kate? Or something super immature. But we happen to be discussing grace, and something about teaching our kids about God. (Not every conversation we have glimmers with that much maturity.)
But fifteen years earlier? The topic easily could have been boys, boys, or gossip about girls. Those were popular ones during that era.
I think we both had the overwhelming urge, in fact, Heather did turn around and mock-yell "It's fleeting! It's so fleeting!" While they may have smoother faces, and look good in sports bras only right now, we know exactly how fleeting that is. (The Bible warns us of that of course.) And what we know about life and God in fifteen years of hard learning, we wish we could shout it to every passing college age girl. In fact, we do shout it. Every spring we have Her Hands. We basically shout out every hard lesson, every real truth, every biblical principle we wish we'd known when we sat where they sit now. Even though our bangs are not as big and we have houses packed with kids now, we remember it well. We remember our intense foolishness and pridefulness. We remember relying on our peers for "wisdom" who were in the exact same boat as us, struggling and failing with the exact same sins. We remember proof texting the Word to make it say what we wanted it to say so we could justify sin. We remember the fear of never getting married, and never having babies. We remember the utter distraction that boys were in our lives and the disastrous effects of dating relationships, dealing with the wreckage of break-ups constantly.
We remember.
And while those cute little girls who passed us in my neighborhood will never have to hear us shout it all at them, about 60 new girls this semester will.
(We really don't shout, though sometimes we'd like to.)
We're desperate for girls to walk in intimacy with the Lord, without distraction, throwing off foolishness. We're desperate for them to love God's Word before we did. We're desperate for them to say no to foolish dating relationships, heartbreak, and sexual sin.
So desperate, that Heather has written this amazing material called Her Hands.
About a cajillion hours have gone into this. Heather is a brilliant writer. The end-result is amazing!
We love college girls! They make our lives great! We love seeing them learn things before we did. It blesses us.
So we embark on a new semester. A new pack of 60 precious girls. New hope for them and their futures.
We hold nothing back.
If you are a woman, married or single, I highly suggest reading this material online.
It's free! And God has been using it as a tool to change women and make them look more like Him. It will be nothing short of challenging.
So here we go, Her Hands girlies. Let's get started!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This is a great Pro-life Ad!!!

I got this from my father-in-law in an e-mail. Rusty and I think it's an amazing Pro-Life ad. Check it out- it's short!
BTW, the kids and I enjoyed some historic TV watching today. We took in the inauguration of the first African-American president! No matter what you think about him, that is huge! Click link below!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK day

We are a multi-racial family.
Not just black and white, either. We represent many nations here within the Bacak Nation.
Czech, British, Irish, Korean, African, American-Indian.
I'm telling you. We're like the UN in one house.
We're all multi-racial, but the fact that we are multi-colored in this house tends to draw attention. People often look more than once. Sometimes politely, discreetly, and sometimes not. Today, I think a woman actually had her mouth open in bewilderment as I pushed my stroller and brood of children across the school yard at the Community MLK celebration. That was funny.
*By the way, I have a new dream for my brown boys. We saw a stomp group perform at the ceremony today, and they MUST be in one of these someday. They MUST.
We enjoyed celebrating with our community today. It was good for us to be there.
I'm glad we had today to stop and reflect as a family on what God has done in our country. Great strides have been taken in the last forty years! My goodness, we will inaugurate a bi-racial man as our President tomorrow! I want my boys to look hard at that tomorrow, and while they can't appreciate the bigness of this fact, I want them to take that in as best they can.
I'm thankful for the healing that has taken place.
It's not done. Racism is not over. I'm well aware of that.
But I'm grateful, for Martin Luther King and other great people that fought for the rights of my children and generations to come.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We're leasing a horse.

Some people lease cars.
furniture, maybe.
But we're leasing a horse.
This specific horse in the picture with my Emma, actually.
My daughter is amazing on a horse. She was born for this. Her teachers tell me often "she's a natural" and I know that to be true, despite my discriminating eye for riding technique, because she was in love with horses before she could talk or walk.
Emma loves to ride and has been riding since she was three. She has been competing for the last year in Peruvian horse shows, and it's such fun!
There are lots of kids who like horses. They have an interest in horses.
Some kids start taking lessons because, as one Mom told me last week, they'd already tried dance, karate, gymnastics, and cheerleading. None of them took. (Dear goodness.)
And then there are horse people.
Somehow, my daughter was born into this group of people.
This is a foreign world to me that I'm trying to be acquainted with.
She's not alone. There are lots of horse people! I can spot them a mile off now. They love horses like Emma does. They sometimes prefer them to people. They are gentle and kind people. Laid-back, easy-going. They run on their own timetable. They could be quiet, unless you ask them about their horse. Then they're on. They're generally just really nice folks, seemingly untouched by the carnal world. They don't have time to be corrupted by society. They're too busy with their horses. I'm happy to embrace the wonderful world of horse people!
So I'm a horse Mom. Horse Moms have responsibilities. Horse responsibilities.
I try desperately to fit in with the horse people and look like I know what I'm doing. But I don't. And I stick out like a sore thumb. I feel dumb more than half of the time. I wish I could tell people, I'm really a fairly intelligent woman. If my daughter were in the music world, or almost any other world, I would not look ignorant all of the time. But I'm just new to this horse world. I'm an alien here.
I sometimes explain to people, Emma is a first generation horse girl. It's not her fault I'm clueless. Most people do this, and their parents did it, and they come from a whole family of wonderful horse people. Some of the girls she competes with live on horse farms. Their parents are full-time professional horse people, and they ride daily.
Then there's poor Emma. She has a clueless horse Mom, who drags all four kids to the stables once a week only and still can't put a bit in the horse's mouth by herself. I stink at that!
Emma has a local show this Spring, and we decided to lease a horse so she could practice on one horse all the time and ride that horse in the show. It's the same horse she showed on the last two shows. This thrills her! She wants more than anything to own her own horse! Most girls do. But this is crazy expensive! (To get a show quality Peruvian horse. Not just any horse, mind you. Maybe she'll get a horse instead of a car someday.)
So we're leasing. It's kind of fun. We can pretend we own this horse for a few months and I can pretend to be a legit horse Mom.
I can tell you this: it bring me pure joy to see my child doing something she loves so much and is so good at! It's just fun.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

There is no me without you

Sometimes it's hard for me to write about things that are overwhelming me. My thought haven't organized themselves in a nice and neat fashion in my brain. I can sit at the keyboard, and type and delete, type and delete. Overload.
This is one of those things.
But my urge to tell you about this books is too strong. I have to try!
So I got this book recommendation from my brother Brian and his wife Amy who are RIGHT NOW, as I type, in Ethiopia, adopting the newest Seay kids.
This book is BIG. I was intimidated. Not because I don't like to read. But because my reading time is limited to after I get in bed at night and am exhausted. So I read things very slowly these days.
But I could tell five pages into this book it was going to change my life.
It is. I am thinking about what I've read about half of the time. I'm dreaming about it.
It is so well written, pouring out the personal story of a woman who rescues AIDS orphans in Ethiopia, but is laced with a wealth of information, most of which I did not know.
I can't believe how ignorant I was about the AIDS crisis in Africa. I'm ashamed that I participated in the indifference by ignorance of what was happenning in real life for millions of orphans.
It's too easy to read statistics and feel disconnected from them.
But it's real now. My niece and nephew live in the city that this book takes place in. What is happenning in Ethiopia is personal to me now. I wish it didn't take that for me to get here, but it did.
You can click here to read a book excerpt. I know buying a book, especially a big one, it's kind of a commitment, and it's a longshot that anyone is going to after reading this post, but maybe if you read this amazingly-written excerpt from the book, you will be won over.
Someone, share this journey with me! There's so much to digest. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Please Pray...

Go to Brian, my brother's blog, and catch up on their stay in Ethiopia, adopting beautiful Yeneneh and Sosy. They have a major prayer need. International Adoption is way complicated. I think you could get a PhD in international adoption and still be stuck with paperwork issues. They are having Visa problems, by no fault of their own, and they need your prayers! If you pray to the One and Only Living God- take 30 seconds to read his brief post about what they need us to pray for. The Bacak family is in constant prayer on their behalf!

It's Gatorade Season Again!

I think I wrote last year when I did my half marathon that it might be like child birth. Intensely painful, and yet after a short while, amnesia sets in. You kind of forget. And then you're back, running until you knees want to explode, guzzling Gatorade, and planning those long runs on Mapquest.
Well here I am.
Cold weather runs. It just makes me want Gatorade.
But I never felt worthy of Gatorade until last year when I was training.
Gatorade was for athletes. Nike commercials. Not me.
So I abstain from my favorite Berry Gatorade. I think there's a five mile minimum before consuming it. If I've run more than five miles, then maybe...
Well I've decided to train again this year for a half marathon.
NOT the Armadillo Dash. First of all, Armadillo is in the name and on the t-shirt. Nobody likes roadkill. I'm sorry. It's disghusting.
It was quite an achievement in my life, but honestly, the route was boring, there are no cheerleaders on the road, parking issues so that my own cheerleaders couldn't make it, and my press conference at the end was non-existent.
If it's too much trouble to travel for a race, it works well, but not for me this year.
I'm trading up to the Music City Marathon in Nashville! YES! This is the perfect race for me! There are bands set up along the entire route. How cool is that? And I'm running it with my brother Brian, even cooler! (We'll have to see about the press conference.)
Plus, I'll have a lot more time to train. It's not until the end of April.
So if my knees explode and I have a near death, bright light experience, at least good music will be playing. That will be enjoyable.
So bring on the Berry Gatorade! I'm training again!
*If you want to run with me, I would love it! Running with friends makes it so much more fun, right Jen Crouse?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacred Life

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
It's a day where the church acknowledges that life is important. Important to God, so it's important to us. We should value life as our God does.
So what does that mean?
We're PRO-Life.
But it seems like we're mostly against things and people, rather than pro anything.
What does PRO-Life mean, practically speaking?
We vote pro-life. (Check.)
We have a bumper sticker. (Check.)
That's about as extreme as most people get.
But where's the Pro?
What do we do FOR life? (That's what PRO means!)
Voting Pro-Life every four years is NOT ENOUGH.
We have to want more. We have to do more.
I fear our hearts are hardened, like the Israelites were, to the war going on around us for life. We are numb to the numbers. We're asleep. We're apathetic.
My heart was heavy and broken this morning in church for this reason.
We say we care. We're willing to debate Christians, non-Christians, co-workers, and classmates over this issue during an election year, but after we have cast our ballot, the fire dies. We're not changed. We're still just viewed as anti-things and not PRO anything.
This morning particularly, it struck me deeply. My brother and his family are in Ethiopia meeting their children for the first time. They spent their first day at the orphanage with Yeneneh and Sosy, and their other four kids. This was a monumental day in the life of our family.
Yesterday Yeneneh and Sosy were orphans. Today, they know they are no longer. (God knew all along!)
I looked at my boys in church with me, and the tears came again.
Thank you Jesus that my kids' birthmoms went to New Life and received the care, the mothering, the counsel, the encouragement they needed to endure an unplanned pregnancy and make the most selfless decision a mother can make.
Their lives are precious.
Would we have adopted had we not been believers? No. I'm sorry to say, no. Because the only thing good in us is Christ, and it's just too easy to stick to loving your own biological kids and not worry with loving someone else's.
So where does that leave the church at large, predominantly PRO-life, sleeping soldiers in a war we don't care nearly enough about.
Rusty and I are still asking God to search our hearts. How would He have us care for orphans? How would He have us further the good work He's already doing to save babies?
All we know right now is we love adoption. If He puts it in front of us again, we will say yes.
We love New Life, and other organizations doing the real battle. They are front line soldiers. I know what my Mom does in a day at New Life and it's legit. But they struggle financially, they don't have all the resources they need, families who want to adopt don't have the finances, and this is all just domestically speaking. We will continue to support New Life and adoptions like my brothers' family because life is precious.
I desperately hope the church wakes up. When we do, we will feel ashamed at our apathy, at large, and for saying with our mouths we are PRO something, but not following through with our lives.
I pray today is that day.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Today is the Day

Today is the day my brother, Brian, his wife Amy, and their four kids get on a plane. They will begin their long journey to Ethiopia. I can't imagine being patient enough to be on a plane this long, so I'm praying for my nieces and nephews! (Brian does this all the time, he's a pro.)
Sunday they will come face to face with Yeneneh and Sosy. From what we hear, Sosy has been starting her sentences this week with "When my Mommy comes..." or "When is my white Mommy coming to bring me chocolate?" (Amy packed the chocolate then!)
This is unknown territory for everyone. It's climactic. It's the beginning of a new life, for Yeneneh and Sosy, and for the Seay family. It's scary. It's beautiful.
Would you cover them in prayer with me? As Brian said, he feels sometimes like they're adopting mountains of paperwork. There are so many details that have to fall into place. There appear to be some delays on the Ethiopia side of things, and this could delay their stay. That would cost a ton of money! We need to pray everything happens right on time!
And pray for the hearts of the two new Seay kids. I can't imagine what this will be like. They will be learning English. They will have parents, four siblings, and they will have to adjust to American culture. (From what we hear, they think America means everyone has an ipod and they will get one.) God is doing big things through this adoption, things we can't even articulate yet. Be in prayer please!
Homecoming pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Family Worship Bloopers

Just a few crack-ups from the last two nights of family worship.
If you are wondering what I mean by family worship, I mean the Bacaks, gathered in the living room, Bibles open, (using the Voice translation now! Super cool! It reads like a script even) singing worship songs, and Daddy bringing the Word.
We are going through the book of Matthew, little by little. Tonight we acted out our story. We do that sometimes. Peter walked on water.
So last night, Rusty was talking about how Jesus got the news that John the Baptist was killed. Justus asked immediately, with sparked interest in the "killing", "how was he killed, Daddy?"
Rusty: "Actually, his head was cut off."
Justus, quietly, almost to himself: "AWE-SOME!"

What the heck!!!

Tonight, we reviewed last night's story, and Rusty asked who Jesus' first cousin was. Justus answered, and we're pretty sure he was dead serious, "Pastor Butch."
I guess when you're four, it's totally plausible that your Pastor is Jesus' first cousin.

Our house is full of craziness, and chaos, but we're never short on comedy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

You could die!

Boys...there's so much I don't understand about the testosterone driven breed.
I have learned a lot being a mother of three boys.
I had a little bit of Pre-Mom schooling having three brothers growing up, but I'm not sure anything can really prepare you.
Boys love to do things that I would never think of.
They show love by wrestling with you.
They disassemble whatever they can find. No reason.
They collect random things and carry them around in Ziploc bags.
They run toward danger, instead of away.
In fact, they seem to be born with no internal radar for danger. At least that's my boys. I feel like I'm CONSTANTLY saying "You could die!" And not to be dramatic. I'm for real.
You could die if you stick things in the light sockets.
You could die if you meander into the street on your big wheel.
You could die if you break into the medicine cabinet, laugh at the child locks, and have a taste test party with your brother.
I feel like I give that speech at least 10 times a day.
Well, my boys are also fairly skilled at needing stitches.
That's another speech I give almost daily. "No stitches today, PLEASE!"
Justus has had about 18 of them. Twice, grabbing sharp objects, cutting his hands, and he was once attacked by a dog and needed about 14 in his face. That was horrific!
Jax only had 3 to his name until this past Sunday. He racked up five more.
He went ice skating with Emma and Rusty. He was doing quite well, but bit it on the ice, and voila! Wide, gaping hole in his chin. (He also knocked out his front tooth a long time ago, but that doesn't count for stitches.)
Rusty calls me and says "I'm bring Jax home and we're stitching him up."
Yes, we're very blessed to skip the whole ER nightmare and do stitches at home. I may not be his best assistant, but I try.
But looking at that open wound on Jax's chin made me feel a little sickish. And I'm not easily sickish.
So we hold him down...Jax is not our most stoic boy...Treston probably wouldn't even look up...but he was pretty big about it. He held still, and Daddy numbed him up and stitched away.
My new mentee, Jeanna, was coming over to jog with me, and she walks in while we're sewing up the hole in my kid's face. She feels faint at the sight of needles, so that was probably fun for her. We're not a normal family, I suppose.
Well, lucky for my boys, chicks dig scars.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It's a New Day...

Kind of reminds me of a song...anyway.
Something very exciting has happenned in our family!
My husband is a Family Practice Doctor. He has his own small practice here in town, and the history of it is...well, interesting...and not at all what we expected.
It's been a rough road, to make it short. We never intended to go out on our own. We never intended to inherit a practice that was a total mess, and we never really had time to stop, take a breath, and make it all our own. We've been trying to keep our heads above water and make it work.
In the meanwhile, God has taught us truckloads about obedience, honoring Him with our business, the ministry of medicine, and reaching out to people in need the best way we know how.
We had the opportunity over a year ago to move our office to a brand new building going up exactly one minute from our house. We prayed about it, and felt God's blessing on a new location, a new start, a new day for Abundant Life Family Practice.
So we watched the slab being poured, with anticipation.
We watched every beam, every element of this building rise up.
We've driven by it and jogged past it hundreds of times, praying over it over and over again.
The building rose and our hopes followed, anxious to start this thing from scratch.
And we did. I chose every color, every surface, every piece of furniture, everything in that place. (More than a little nerve-racking for me. I'm so thankful for the friends who helped me.)
Last weekend, during Christmas break, we moved our office. Moving in December- definitely the twelfth best month to move our office. It's peak season for us. It's the busiest time of year. We couldn't afford movers. This move is a stretch for us financially in itself. Who in the world was going to help us? Rusty, me, and our four kids weren't going to cut it!
But Wow! Saints starting pouring out of the woodwork. Friends and patients who care about our practice and us offered to help, bring their trailers, pack and unpack with us...I couldn't believe it! Who has time for that ever, especially during Christmas break!? But they came, and God knocked us over with His provision and goodness in these people.
So we did it. We moved our office, and we've never felt so loved. Praise the Lord for every person that poured themselves into this with us. The product has exceeded our expectations. Our new office, conveniently a hop, skip, and a jump from home, is up, running, and beautiful! It's our own. It reflects who we are. It screams we love Jesus and we are all about family. (Which is a good thing for a Family Practitioner.)
If you are our patient, don't wait until you're sick to come by and check it out! But if you need an appt., our new number is 695-3570.
If you're not our patient, think about checking us out. (By the way, we accept Scott and White now.)
Needless to say, I'm incredibly proud of my husband. He is bold, like crazy bold with the Gospel in his work. I have witnessed it a time or two, and it makes me nervous even how bold he is. I'm challenged by this amazing man I'm married to! I'm blessed by his faithfulness. He's not perfect, but he truly desires to honor and serve the Lord with all he has.
Best of all, he had breakfast with us yesterday!!! That's never happenned. He did the morning devotional with the kids. Starting our day like that is going to be life-changing for us. Having him so close to home that the kids can seriously ride their bikes there is awesome.
We are thankful. We are full of hope for the new day God has given us in our practice. We hope not to miss any opportunity to fulfill God's design for us in it. Thank you, sweet friends, for sharing in this journey with us!