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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's my fake birthday cake

Today is my fake birthday.
I have a real birthday. It's on Saturday. But we will be driving all day and I will just be honest...I'd be feeling sorry for myself having a birthday in the car in my mini-van, handing out snack bags, and listening to one more annoying kids movie.
So we made today my fake birthday! I'm enjoying it very much! I had lunch today with some ladies I love very much at one of my favorite spots, Frittella.
And sweet Jeanna made me my birthday cake already!
I usually have an amazing Carrot Cake that takes about forever to make and produces a sink full of dirty dishes. It's a homemade carrot cake with a buttermilk glaze and cream cheese frosting. It's three seperate recipes from Southern Living. My very own husband who loves and adores me has made this cake for me more than once before anyone reading this blog was even awake. He's so amazing! (He also knows one of my primary love languages is food. The other is service. That combines those two and makes me feel like the most loved woman alive.) But I asked him not to go through the trouble this week. I think it's just evil of me to prefer this cake.
So I am including the recipe for a pound cake that came in as pinch hitter birthday cake this year. Fake birthday that is.
So this is my fake birthday cake. This recipe comes from Ashley Garratt, and I tried it because the name is "Grocery Store Gossip Pound Cake."
I really like good names of recipes, and that was a unique one!
Here it is. It's so easy! You might have these ingredients waiting for you in the kitchen right now!

1 box butter cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
5 eggs
8 oz. sour cream

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a bundt pan. Bake at 350 until brown, about 50 min. - 1 hour.

Tonight I am putting strawberries with it.
Why? Because it's my fake birthday.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Remembering

Today we remember Earl Martin Seay.
This is my Dad's Dad. He's actually an Aggie! If you're a frequent visitor in the Bacak living room, you may have seen our framed newspaper story about him.
My Dad didn't know his Dad. He fought in WWII and then lost his life in Korea. My Dad was just six weeks old. His sacrifice is still felt, generations down the family line, and is not forgotten.
Despite the tragedy of my Dad's parents' death (my Dad lost his Mom when he was young as well; she served as a nurse in the service) God provided for my Dad generously. He was raised by a hard-working Grandpa and Godly, homemaking grandmother. Their imprint is forever left on who he is.
We are thankful today for all of those who have defended our freedom. Our pastor challenged us this weekend not to take for granted our freedoms, especially to worship freely. Week after week, we pray for the persecuted church around the world. That has made us more mindful of the value of this freedom.
We are so thankful!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I can't believe I liked it!

Rusty was surprised, but I am most surprised.
I really liked it. I have always been repulsed by the Star Trek TV show. I think it's those scary, monster-looking people they have. Creepy. They did have one woman in the beginning of the movie with freakishly large eyes. I think I had nightmares about her last night. I just don't like that sci-fi business. It's not for me.
But I had heard that the Star Trek movie was really good, and that J.J. Abrams did it.
That man is a MAGICIAN!
(He's the creator of LOST and Alias- two of our favorite shows ever.)
J.J. Abrams can take a show I HATE and make a movie I really liked out of it.
It wasn't deep, dark, and fraught with religious overtones like LOST, but it was entertaining.
Who knew?
I actually liked it.
I especially liked being on a date with my husband and seeing a movie. That was the best part.
Next stop at the movies: Night at the Museum 2, and then Up!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Newest member of the Bacak household

I know I've written about Jeanna many times. She has been my mentee this past year. We met last fall, as she was looking for a mentor. We didn't know each other at all! Jeanna is on the quieter side at first, so we slowly got to know one another and she got to know this crazy family.
I've written about the rewards of mentoring! Wow! This year has been so much fuller for having her in it! She trained with me for a half marathon. That was amazing.
She was my partner in the Run For Compassion craziness.
And now, she is a member of our household.
Jeanna moved in this past week for the year! So exciting!
If you know us, you know that we have had many people live here. Some we knew, and some we didn't. We have been a shepherding home for New Life, taking in pregnant women and sometimes their kids because they needed a place to stay. I learned about a million things through those experiences! Hard and really good things.
We have had other college girls that we adore, and needed to save some money, come and stay with us. It's only a bonus when they leave some of their clothes behind for me. I'm happy to take college girls leftover clothes, just so you girls know!
And now we have Jeanna! (Who is totally my size, by the way! I've already scanned her closet.)
She is rooming with Emma for now. Emma is way excited! Emma put a J on the wall next to her E, how precious is that? She is working hard to keep her room clean, after much lecturing from us on being a good roommate.
This is such a great teaching point for us and the kids, teaching about hospitality. Our home does not belong to us.
Not just literally, because it belongs to the bank I guess, but because all that we have been given is ours to share. That's what we teach our kids. We tell them nothing belongs to them. It's "yours to share." We don't have Jax's toys, and Justus' toys, and Treston's toys, we have "toys to share."
Well we feel convincted that our home is no different.
I'm not going to lie, sometimes sharing our home has been amazingly fun and enjoyable, and sometimes it's been hard.
These girls get to see the good, bad, and the ugly around here. That is humbling sometimes.
But who are we to hoard the gifts He's given us? Why should our house be an exception? Why do I sometimes find myself with my fingers curled around something tightly as if it were mine, and I earned it? Yuck.
1 Peter 4:9 says "Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay."
The Bible talks many times of sharing our homes, hospitality, and the apostles always stayed in homes. Do you think it's possible that we have become so closed with our homes in the U.S. culture, that it is a place to hide? A place to protect our images, keeping people on the outside periphery of our lives?
All I know is, there's room for more around here. No, we don't have unoccupied bedrooms, but we can always put more kids a room. They're little. We have the space to house others, and we want to!
We are SUPER EXCITED about having Jeanna here all year! She is already such a blessing to our home!
Jeanna will be blessing us by babysitting our kids weekly for our date nights. We have told her, we think this is better than rent! We have a babysitter on retainer. How cool is that?
We're so glad you're here Jeanna! Thanks for sharing our lives with us!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Psalm 19

In my read through the Bible in a year program, we have come to the Psalms. Yay! Leviticus was a trip, but getting to the Psalms has been just nourishing. I feasted on Psalm 19 this morning. It is so good! I just had to share!
Psalm 19
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.[a]
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.

-I want to see God's glory in all things...in all His creation...I want to enjoy the sun and the skies and let them scream "CREATOR" to me. Nothing CAN hide from it's heat, especially here in Texas, and I am not thinking about how cool that is. I'm thinking about how much I HATE Texas summers. I do NOT have a thankful heart when summer approaches. I dread the sweating and scorching days when it's too hot for my kids to be outside. But I'm missing the point. It's true! Without a word, just as He tells us in Romans 1, God has spoken His existence into our world, even evidenced by the sun. No evangelist required. We are without excuse because we can see what He's done. There's great comfort in that.
Stay with me...that's just the intro.

7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
9 Reverence for the Lord is pure,
lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
a great reward for those who obey them.

-Let's make a list of what He's saying God's word is! His Laws are:
perfect, reviving the soul
trustworthy, making wise the simple (Praise the Lord! There's hope for us all!)
right, bringing joy to the heart
clear, giving insight for our lives
true, fair
more desirable than any material thing
a warning
a great reward
WHAT ELSE COULD I WANT!? I'm so thankful for His Word, that He didn't leave us here to figure it all out on our own! I'm pained that there were times in my life when I didn't consistently desire it. What was I thinking? What was I desiring more than Him? I must have thought I could find my own way, and it would be just fine. I was so wrong! I need God's Word so desperately. I regret ever going a day without it. Not because it's a duty that must be done and checked off my list. But because I need it. I want it. I am starved and spiritually anorexic without it. The Bible coupled with coffee is God's greatest gift to me in the morning. Thank you Jesus! He is willing to meet with me and speak to me, and He invented the coffee bean to help make it possible. God is good!
What is more important to us than our time in the Word?
Sleep? Homework? E-mail? Blogging? Our beauty? People? I've been guilty of everyone of these. In those times, I was obviously not seeing His Word like THIS.
And I need to know His Word...for the next part.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
14 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

What a prayer for me to pray everyday! I want to take all of my sin this seriously, and I truly want the words of my mouth AND the meditations of my heart to please Him. That covers just about every sin issue.
Look at all that good stuff packed into one little Psalm. Wow!
I'm so enjoying these Psalms and writing them fast and furiously in my journal. This is good stuff!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bacak family photos by Ryan Price

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I have to tell you about our friend and talented photographer, Ryan Price.
I love these photos so much! We took them out at Carousel Acres where Emma rides horses. It was such a perfect spot! Ryan captured it so well! And let me tell you, it's not easy doing that with four squirmy kiddos.
When did my daughter get so big and beautiful? And what's more beautiful than a girl on a horse? He also got all of the boys and their personalities! I think that's what I love most about these pictures. They're not just still shots of us posing. They're real. Love them, Ryan! You rock! Check out his site at www.ryanpricephoto.com

Sunday, May 10, 2009


(This amazing family photo was taken by Ryan Price- commercial for him coming soon!)

First of all- I praise the Lord today for the mother I have! What a godly example for me and source of wisdom she is! Yesterday, I had the rare opportunity to go to lunch with her just the two of us. It was awesome! The hours flew by while we talked non-stop and I treasure that kind of precious time with her. I love you Mom!

I'm telling you, I think Mother's Day is better than a birthday.
First, because you don't get a year older.
But mostly, because it's just a day to celebrate motherhood. And that is something that I enjoy very much!
Being a Mom is the best job I can imagine.
It's hard to explain motherhood before you're there- it begins quite appropriately with giving birth. What could be more difficult and painful and beautiful and joyful at the same time? It's seemingly so contradictory.
Being a mother is definitely sanctifying, challenging, trying.
But it's brimming with joy and beauty. It's the highest vocational calling I could hope for. It's teeming with purpose and big picture value.
The Lord has heaped his rewards on us through a full house of children. I can only be thankful today!
My day started with breakfast in bed brought in by four beaming little faces. They were so proud of the work they'd done! They had been planning this breakfast all week, and they awoke with a start and a purpose in making me feel loved this morning.
Treston wandered into my bedroom with crazy hair and sleepy eyes and said "Happy Birfday Mama". Seriously! What is cuter than that!?
I then got to watch an old movie I'd had from Netflix for a month but haven't had time to watch, while I cut out my Sunday coupons with little helpers on the bed. It's called "Woman of the Year" and was made in 1942. I just grab all the old, old movies I can find on Netflix because I really can't tolerate movies made in color anymore. I just adore the classics! I didn't know what it was about, and strangely enough it was a poignant statement about womanhood and the feminist movement from it's early days. Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (who I now know I love! I wasn't familiar with Spencer Tracy so much) were the stars, and it's a story of a marriage between a career man and frontrunner in the femininist movement and career woman. Turns out, she is the "woman of the year" in her career world, but not-so-much of a wife and "no woman at all" according to her husband. This is not the kind of statement and real-life conflict you will find in the movies anymore. But it's legit.
In my prayer hour this morning, my heart was heavy for women to value their place in the home. Our roles as wives, helpers, mothers, managers and workers in the home (Titus 2), and servants in the church are all biblically mandated. I want us to see our work as God does! This is more than being a maid and a chauffeur. Under the leadership of our husbands, we are teaching and disciplining and loving our children, and it's all about pointing them to Christ! What is our ultimate goal for them? It is for them to love God with everything in them and serve Him wholeheartedly. What I'm doing with them daily has everything to do with THAT. We are not just washing clothes just to get dirty again, or making meals just to watch them disappear before our eyes, or even cleaning floors that get muddy moments later. Our real work is not futile. All of it is valuable, even the tasks that appear futile on the surface. This is the work God has laid out for us. God knows what is good for us. He has given us these roles based on the skills and gifts He's equipped us with. And in Proverbs 31:28-30, he reveals something vital to our understanding of this role. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he blesses her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Why do we seek reward, satisfaction, and recognition elsewhere? Fearing the Lord and serving our husbands and families is where it's at.
This is not an indictment on women doing any work outside the home. So don't e-mail me ugly things. I know the Proverbs 31 woman turned a profit with her handiwork. But she was an excellent manager of her home first and foremost. She was a blessing to her husband (v. 11-12). She was...well I'll save the full-blown Proverbs 31 Bible Study for another day.
This is simply to say: Today I feel celebrated. I feel that all I'm doing in the home is truly of eternal value and I am overwhelmed with the satisfaction of it all. Remember what I wrote about sanctification and trials? I'm not discounting that. I'm quite familiar with it, in fact.
But God's plan for women is good. And I feel blessed beyond measure to be a wife and mother and manager of this home. When I see these things as being anything but a blessing, I have lost my proper focus and slipped into a selfish and ungrateful attitude.
I recently read an amazing book called "Feminine Appeal" by Carolyn Mahaney. I highly recommend it for married and single ladies alike. I was challenged by so many areas I would like to grow in as a wife and mother! I have much room to grow! I took intense notes while I read this book to discuss it all with my husband. What a fruitful time it was! I want to be humbly asking the Lord, as we celebrate motherhood, what can I do better? This life is a blessing, and I want to be a good steward and make all I can of it.
Happy Mother's Day, Moms!
I hope you feel blessed today too!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Praying for our children

Mother's Day is coming! Yay! I love Mother's Day! I love being a Mom so I think we should get a whole week to celebrate motherhood! What a high and sacred calling for us women!
As I think about my role as a Mother and contemplate what I ought to be doing well, I know that the most important thing I can do as a Mom is pray.
But sometimes my prayer time for my kids seems scattered and unfocused.
If you are like me, you pray for you kids. No brainer. But sometimes I'm overwhelmed by all that I want to cover in prayer for them. And I have a lot of kids!
I want to be a Mom who is on my knees for them, fighting daily in the spiritual realm for the big things and the little things, but I have needed a little more focus in my prayers.
Our church has a prayer guide that we all follow throughout the week. On Monday we pray for a specific gov't leader, and Tuesday, for a specific church leader; Wed. is for a person or individual by name in the church, and so on.
I found, like everything else in my life, I love this structure! I love knowing exactly what we're praying for each day and that our body is praying in unison for these things.
So Rusty and I decided to have a prayer guide as we pray for our kids.
Here is what I've come up with for Rusty and I to be praying specifically for our kids each day of the week.
(Sorry- if I had more time I would list all the scripture references to verses related to what we pray- we do pray scripture over these things, but I don't have them handy! I encourage you to do this though! There is power in praying the Word!)

SUNDAY: We pray that our children would love worship and value their place of service in the body.

MONDAY: We pray for salvation for our yet to be saved children, and for our saved children to share the gospel with others.

TUESDAY: We pray for purity and holiness in their lives! We pray that they would never wander away from the Lord and to serve Him faithfully all their days. We also pray the same for their future mates.

WEDNESDAY: We pray over their education and learning, and for God to give me wisdom as I teach them. I pray over any trouble areas they are having in school work.

THURSDAY: We pray for their obedience. We pray over any obedience struggles they are currently having and for God to give us wisdom as we lovingly correct them.

FRIDAY: We pray for the gifts and talents God has given them. We ask God to help us develop those gifts and talents in them for HIS GLORY!

SATURDAY: We pray for birthparents and related adoption issues.

This is a new thing we are trying out and already I LOVE it!
I just thought I'd share it with all of you!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Emma's horse show

Here are the pictures of one of my proudest Mom moments...I sewed a bee costume.
This was more daunting to me than running a half marathon, and that's pretty daunting!
I don't sew. A few years back I learned how to do some basic sewing, making a square baby blanket and sew ribbon on burp cloths, but half the time I get the thread all tangled up in my machine and give up. So when Emma needed a costume for herself AND her horse for her horse show, and I knew we were WAY too cheap to spend over $100 on the ones I saw online, I knew I had to tackle this task myself. Holy Cow. A costume for a horse? The fitting session was not the easiest, I tell you. In fact, after I'd sewn this thing and we tried it on her, Esplendida totally freaked out and ran at full speed around the arena, completely trampling it! I thought to myself- first, we might all die here in this arena with this horse raging around in a bee costume, and second, I'm not sewing another one.
But there were just a few minor tears and she eventually gave in and wore the costume, begrudgingly though. She acted crazy up until the moment she entered the arena with Emma. And then this show horse pulled it together and she and Emma were the cutest little bees you ever saw!

The costume class (each competition is called a class) was on Friday night and Emma competed in three more events throughout the weekend. The age division is 6-12, and she was the youngest competitor in her class, so we were super proud of the way she handled her horse and competed like a champ!
Who knew when God knit this precious girl together in my womb that she would be so naturally gifted in this? It certainly never crossed my mind as a possibility! Our children, whether adopted or biological, are a complete surprise to me sometimes! God has truly given them unique gifts and talents. Emma was born completely in love with horses and there was no holding her back from them.
This horse Mom has learned A LOT in the last year!!! I was able to care for the horse almost completely independently this time around and that is HUGE for me! I started out in this thing feeling like an idiot much of the time, totally clueless to this foreign horse world. But I am getting there, and let me tell you- being a soccer Mom is much easier! But it's so rewarding doing this with my daughter. It requires a lot of hard work and care, and I gotta tell you, it blesses my heart to see her mucking stalls and doing the work.
Emma added eight new ribbons to her precious horse room and what made Rusty and I THE MOST PROUD, was despite her her great desire to be a blue ribbon winner, she was content with whatever place she got! Praise the Lord! Competition with the right perspective can be difficult no matter what sport or talent your child has! I realize how quickly I could become a psycho stage Mom if I let us get wrapped up in that. But we are intentional in talking with Emma and praying with her about her gifts bringing glory to God, and doing our best is our only goal. She never onced whined or complained when the much older girls took first, second, and third place every time! She gladly welcomed her colorful fourth, fifth, and sixth place ribbons, and that made our hearts swell with pride for her more than a blue ribbon ever could!
Thanks to our friends and family who came out to watch her! I hope you had fun! We certainly enjoyed having you there! It meant a lot to Emma!
Please pray for her teacher, Mr. Brad, who was thrown off a horse on Friday night and taken away in an ambulance. This was scary for everyone, and we were so thankufl Rusty was there. We are thankful he had no broken bones! But he had a nasty fall and we are praying for a quick recovery for him.