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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Justus!

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Do you just feel like the Bacak birthdays never stop coming in the summer? It's because they don't.
Now it's Justus' turn. Our adorable brown baby is turning FIVE!
You gotta admit, this kid is handsome. I can say that because he didn't get it from me. You can see his birthmom, Kathleen, in one of the pictures. He obviously gets it from her! She's beautiful!
He can be a real charmer. He says to me regularly, "Mom, you're so bootiful" which I love, of course, but I find it's usually when he's doing something sneaky or wrong and he's trying to distract me from it.
He's good.
Our boy is wicked smart. He's been doing the older kids' work for years, only when he thinks answering Jax's question will thoroughly annoy him (and it does!) and for no other reason! We can't wait to see how God is going to use Justus' gifts and talents for Him! (Yes, someday He will use all this for good and not evil!)
Justus loves to snuggle at night, which I am trying to hold on to with my boys as long as possible! He can be the sweetest big brother to his "buddy" Treston you've ever seen. And he is absolutely the wittiest five-year-old I know. He's always had a quick-witted response, far beyond his years, that keeps us in stitches around here.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for his birthmom, Kathleen, giving us the greatest gift a human can give. We hold fast to God's purposes in that, and feel blessed to be Justus' parents.
Happy birthday sweet boy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Bacak Nation Academy is now in session!

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I love the start of school. I put a lot of hard work into our school room in August. Work that I rather enjoy, to tell you the truth. I love a place for everything, newly organized shelves, fresh packs of clean paper, art supplies like beans and macaroni in jars, about 30 newly sharpened pencils (which will dwindle down to two in about three weeks- I don't know where they go? It's like my kids eat pencils!) Brand new school boxes, decorated with their favorite stickers, and...well you get the picture.
I had done much preparing, as this year I am teaching three different kids and grade levels. Emma and Jax are in third and second grade, and Justus started Kindergarten this year! Woo-hoo! I love Kindergarten! It's my absolute favorite year. Also, Treston is our three-year-old pre-schooler, and as you can see by the pictures, he LOVES his journal! I think that's precious!
So I lesson planned like crazy, starting in July. I got a pretty notebook and printed my lesson plans for the year. Then I came up with new systems to give me overviews for a week, or lesson plans in a glance, with the older kids and Justus' side by side.
All of this stuff makes me very happy, and my lesson plans have never looked so awesome, so I was feeling good.
But the first day of school, despite my planning, was not what I had envisioned. I had not done enough prepping. That's pre-cutting, printing, etc. for my lessons. (I was out of town with Justus visiting his birthmom over the weekend, which was just poor timing for our first day of school.) Consequently, our first day of school didn't go as I had planned. Actually, it was pure chaos for the most part. Not the parts caught on camera here. I obviously don't pull out the camera to capture chaos in our home. No, these were the good, happy moments in our first day. But the schedule I had agonized over all summer and posted on our wall was not quite accurate. I had never taught this many kids, so I was behind and a little overwhelmed. I was wondering on Monday if I could do this.
But God was so good to remind me that He is the one who called us to do this. Not because it's for everyone, but because as He dragged us kicking and screaming toward homeschooling (which I swore I'd never do, naturally!) He had a good plan for our family in it. And it has been so good! And I enjoy teaching so much!
So Tuesday was a new day, as I told the kids.
And it truly was! It was a thousand times better, and yesterday was a thousand times better than that! I do love teaching and schooling my kids.
It's not easy. On MOnday, I couldn't help thinking about all the parents I had seen standing at the bus stop with their kids as I was jogging that morning. I was wondering what they were doing, as I dealt with a three-year-old tantrum, cleaned up his potty accident, while juggling a reluctant (to say the least) Kindergartener and confused about what was expected of them older kids.
But we are starting to settle into a rhythm, and it feels good. Truly, I wouldn't miss this for the world. I enjoyed teaching little ones when they were other people's kids, and I especially enjoy teaching my own little ones. Besides, I am pretty sure I was totally ignorant before I started homeschooling. I can't imagine how educated I will be when I get up to fifth grade with them.
So The Bacak Nation Academy has begun, and it's going to be a great year!
Here are some first day of school pics.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Rusty!

My sweet husband wanted to skip his birthday.
They are getting less fun, you know, the older we get.
But there's no skipping birthdays in the Bacak house!
Oh no! There is cake, and dance parties, and presents.
We celebrated early because I am in Las Vegas on his birthday with Justus and my Mom
visiting Justus' birthmom Kathleen.
This was sadly, the only date my Mom could go with us.
But here are pics from the party we had already.
The boys made confetti out of construction paper (hopefully not the new pack I bought for our school year) and threw it everywhere for the dance party.
There is nothing better than watching all four of your very different kids bust their moves. Emma was river dancing, Jax was break-dancing (which we decided is somehow instinctive in all boys. Don't know where they would pick that up- they just do it!) and Justus and Treston hopefully are retaining some sort of non-white rhythym that God gifts them with. Rusty is convinced that this house full of white people is sucking them dry of rhythm, but I disagree.
Also, I made a cake.
I am very critical of my cakes, to the point of driving my husband crazy.
If there is something to do wrong with a cake, I've done it. I've learned the hard way. This cake was good but not the best cake, but the very best icing I've ever made. It was my cream cheese icing with real strawberries cut up in it. Divine! The real problem with the cake, however, was that it was three layers, and it leaned very definitively to one side. Not the prettiest shaped cake, but it was good. My husband asked for a strawberry cake, and I made a cake with real strawberries in the batter and the icing. I like that. I intend to make small improvements and develop it into the best cake ever.
But as for my husband's birthday- there's no way we could NOT celebrate this man.
I adore the day he was born, because I adore him so.
He is way more than I deserve, and consistently loving to all of us.
One of my favorite things about him: The kids and I never wonder if he loves us or approves of us. He is so affirming. Did you read the blogpost he wrote about me on our anniversary? Ridiculously flattering to me, and just an example of the way he loves us.
I am thankful for his life and all God has done in him.
Happy Birthday, love! I'll be home soon.

Emma got her ears pierced!

This was Emma pre-piercing.

This is Emma post-piercing.

Emma has been asking about getting her ears pierced for a while. We had decided when she was little that we would wait until she was older and make it a privelege that she looks forward to.
I also wanted her to be able to clean her ears herself and handle the aftercare. So we waited...she would bring it up and I would remind her that it hurts a little. She would drop it.
Then she decided she was brave enough. So Rusty told her she had to prove she was responsible enough by keeping her room clean for two solid weeks.
She did, so we had a special Mommy/Daughter date to the mall, just the two of us.
First, we got her hair cut. It looks so cute, don't you think?
Then we had a pretzel together, just us girls.
She was super excited, and a little nervous as we went into Claire's.
We stood and watched a little girl in front of us get her ears pierced, and she went from a little nervous to terrified.
My girl is pretty tough. She hardly flinches when she gets shots, so I think the anticipation got to her.
But look at her face- she was beside herself in fear.
I'd already stood there with her for a long time and filled out the paperwork, so I decided she was not backing out. We had built up to this day, and what were the chances that I was going to work out another time to go with her alone? So I told her she'd be fine. She was going to do it.
The lady doing the piercing lied and told her it wouldn't hurt. Come on, it hurts a little. We all know that.
But she did it! She said it did indeed hurt, that it felt like they stapled her ears, but not for terribly long, and she was so pleased with the way her cute little ears looked!
She got to pick out some earrings to wear when she can remove the gold balls. She chose cupcakes, the letter E, and bumblebees.
It was a precious day with my growing-up, third grade girl.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What is clean?

What is clean?
Clean is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
I'm not an expert or anything, but in this house, the clean standard is set by me.
So it's not clean until I think it's clean. Am I right, Moms?
In fact, one of the things we heard my Mom say ALL the time, was "Would I think it's clean?"
We would usually have to go back and try to see it through my Mom's eyes.
I think I was a grown woman before I understood that.
One of the things I'm trying to equip my children to do is determine what is clean?
One of the struggles we are having with keeping their rooms clean is not just laziness, but truly "seeing" the mess.
They just don't see it.
So I have to help them see what needs work before it can meet the cleanliness standard.
And it's not fair to ask them to do things that are totally subjective in their eyes, really. They are kids. They need black and white clear directives.
So here is the clean chart for this year.
This has evolved over time.
When they were young, I had pictures of them putting their toys away, and making their beds.
But this clean chart has graduated to higher standards.
The little ones just have to try to keep up.
I put things on the checklist that they just aren't seeing. Like "corners clean", meaning, there's just junk piled up in the corners. And they don't seem to notice. So everyday they have to check the corners of their rooms to look for piles of junk, and I'm teaching them to sort through a pile of junk and make piles, according to where it goes.
(We have just had the summer end Organization/Clean-Out Blow-Out around here, so everyone has had some practice lately!)
I could clean it for them each day, or I could teach the kids to fish, and hopefully end up with kids who know what clean looks like by the time they leave this place.
I am certain their college roommates and spouses will thank me someday.
Each day, when they check off each job (approved by us) and color in the smily face, they work toward an allowance.
My kids have never made an allowance before.
Honestly, we feel like we don't owe them any money. Any work they do around here is to be a contributing member of the family. It's just expected.
But we do want them to learn responsibility with their money on a higher level, and also give them the ability to give generously of their own money to what they feel led to, as well as tithing their own money to the church.
So we explained to them that though we don't owe them money for work done, we are choosing to let them earn allowances with their daily jobs for those reasons.
One task on the chart is Leader Jobs.
Each day we have a leader. The leader gets to choose the cartoon, or the flavor of ice cream, or anything special like that. The leader also has extra responsibilities. Collecting all laundry, sheets to be washed, and cleaning a bathroom.
I love new school years, new systems, new organization, new schedules.
We are doing a lot of that this week, so I will try to write more about it as the week goes on.
We've been doing the charts for two days, and so far, their rooms look great! But the real test will be two weeks in.
I'll let you know.
I would love to hear things you do with your kids to help them know clean, or things your Mom did with you to teach you to clean.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Mosiers

I love this town. I meet so many students that I fall in love with.
The problem with these wonderful people is most of them leave, and I have to watch them drive away.
People I love, who have become apart of the rhythm of our week, who have bared their hearts in our living rooms.
There have been many tough goodbyes in the past six years.
I could list atleast 10 of you that I'm still secretly plotting to find you a job here and convince you it's God's will, and some of you have been gone for years!
This month has been killer.
We have been bombarded with tough goodbyes, and I've tried hard to stay in denial about all of them so I can survive it.
But tonight. Tonight was the hardest goodbye of all.
(Erin, if you're reading this stop right now, because it won't help you stop crying.)
Matt and Erin are such a part of this family.
They started out in our HOPE group, these precious kids, still in college.
I knew they were going to be a favorite of ours when they ASKED us if they could come pick up our kids and take them out for pizza.
They were around when we got our little Treston, and for the whirwind that was for us. They became regulars for dinner, and Sonic dates, and such.
Erin and I hit it off quickly, and she became my mentee for Her Hands and took Countdown at the same time. There are just some people that are so comfortable and easy. That's me and Erin. It's just so easy.
We grew very close to them before they were married, and even more so after!
My children prayed hard, and Matt ended up doing grad school here. It was the power of the pure-hearted prayers of the Bacak kiddos.

Matt and Erin became some of Treston's godparents, and they have faithfully loved, adored, spent time with, and prayed for our little boy.
We went on vacation together that summer, with all Treston's wonderful godparents, Matt and Erin and Nick and Carissa. That will always be a great memory for all of us!

Erin ended up working for us, here in the house with me every morning, and in the office with Rusty in the afternoons. She knows this house like her own. She has watched my kids grow, pray, be disciplined about a million times, read them hundreds of books, and folded their clothes. Matt and Erin have been at probably every birthday party we've had since we met them, and my kids even gave Erin a Bacak birthday of her own.
I remember so well the day she told me they had started praying about starting a family. She came over to lie out with me on a Spring afternoon and the two of us were lying on the trampoline talking.
Shortly after that, Erin was pregnant with Cade.
She called me when she saw the two lines.
I was there the day he was born, waiting in the waiting room.
Watching Matt hold him up through the nursery window with tears in his eyes, and tears in mine...helping Erin nurse for the first time.
I watched our little Matt and Erin morph into parents. Real live grown-ups. They did it so well.
Somewhere along the way...and I'm not sure exactly when...Erin went from being a mentee to just a wonderful friend and peer.
I have been so proud of them!
They are light years ahead spiritually, for their age, and their commitment to the Word and His Ways encourages me so much! They are just solid.
They were never allowed to leave here, as far as I was concerned.
I was certain we could pray that away. We'd done it before.
But God obviously had a different plan.
Matt got a great job with the weather service, and off they go tomorrow to Ft. Worth.
I've cried many tears these last few weeks.
I watched my kids cry many tears tonight, telling them goodbye, and it was hard.
It's going to be hard. I will miss our weekly lunches and the comfort of being with them at church weekly. I'll just miss them in the day-to-day life.
But as Erin and I keep saying, we have to put on thankfulness that Ft. Worth is not so terribly far away! They could have gotten a job in Washington State, so how can we complain?
I love these people.
I would let them move into our house and live here if I thought they would.
But I have to let them go, and I know that God is going to use them where he plants them.
They're going to transform lives as the Holy Spirit uses them to teach others what they have soaked up here.
I can only pray that they have people come under their care that were as teachable and moldable as they have been in their time here.
I guess it's time to share them.
But tonight, I feel incredibly selfish. I don't want to share. I haven't stopped crying yet.
But God is good, and I would be remiss in writing this if I didn't acknowledge how grateful I am for the sweet people and friendships he gives us. It just doesn't get any better than Matt and Erin.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


11 Years ago I pulled off one of those monumental, one-in-a-lifetime, David vs. Goliathesque, 1980 American Olympic Hockey team over Russia type of a feat: I married Jennifer Seay! It was like all of those cheesy 80s movies where the complete dork ends up with the hot babe (which is ironic because I still live in those movies in my head!). See you have to understand the significance of this event (and I am sure knowing and looking at us - it comes as no surprise at all for those of you who know us): I totally "up-married." I highly recommend that for all of the college guys I am around here in BCS - find a wife that is Godly, intelligent, nurturing, funny, and gorgeous and then allow God to pull off something only He can do: make her actually fall for you! God is good! Prov 18:22 says " He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the LORD." AMEN!!! And Prov 19:14 " Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD." And of course Prov 31 let's us know to aim big when it comes to your wife:
" 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. "
Gentlemen: totally up-marry in the Lord (I should write a book - I bet I could make millions: "Your Best Wife Now" - I could put a picture of us on the cover and lonely single guys would say "dang... if that guy can pull that off, there is a God and a hope for me!")
You see my wife is a one in a million find. She is a woman who seeks after the Lord's heart; is incredibly intelligent (blows me away); funny (although her laughing at my same jokes for 11 years may discredit her in this category); caring (she hasn't locked the kids in the closet yet - which is a pretty amazing feat in itself); supportive and encouraging; an incredible manager of our home; a phenomenal mommy to our kids not to mention educator for them; and is hotter every year I know her (an admitted bonus for me!). OK - if you are a college kid who we are encouraging the courtship model to : "do as we say and not as we did"; but when I first met Jenn she was being pursued by EVERYONE! She had stinking 3 dates the first weekend we went out! Yes - 3 dates! I had less dates in the last 3 years of medical school than she had that weekend alone! She was a catch and the fellers knew it. How the heck the Heart of Texas Rodeo and Fair date wooed her away from all of those suitors is totally a God thing (although I did pull out my dance card on the first date - my ace-in-the hole... but desperate times called for desperate measures). So men - count on our God to provide (Go watch "Facing the Giants" or something)! He will! He gave me the most incredible wife, now of 11 years, and Lord willing for another 40 years +. I am more in love with my bride now than ever and can not wait to see what our future holds together. I do not deserve her... but our God is good.
Happy Anniversary Babe!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Our Fall Countdown class will begin this semester, only about a month away, and we still have three openings!!! This rarely happens, so please pass this along to anyone who you think might be interested! Anyone who is engaged, or is about to be engaged, that is. Below I have copied an excerpt from our Countdown blog to give a fuller picture of what this ministry is all about. We are passionate about marriage ministry, and though we've taught it for more than six years now, it's equally as fun and exciting each semester when my living room fills up with these adorable couples on the brink of something great. Read all about it, and if you're a Countdown alum, feel free to stand up and testify in the comment section...

Is Countdown for You?
You're engaged! You have a ring! You are looking at churches, cakes, invitations, and a lot of family tension! Congratulations!
The engagement period is so exciting.
It is a journey between two people falling deeply in love, and going from two to ONE!
This time can be totally consumed with planning the "Big Day," as it's called, but we would like to challenge you...put aside wedding planning for a bit and do some marriage planning. That one day is so special, but it's just the beginning. Having the wedding of your dreams needs to take a backseat to having the marriage of your dreams, so to speak.
What kind of marriage do we dream of? Is your goal to stay married without totally hating each other, or do you really long to be old and gray, and as in love as you are today?
Well, the adventure you are about to embark on is exciting, it's passionate, it will thrust a mirror in front of you that will reflect your selfishness and sin like you've never seen, and it's a new birth. The birth of a family, of a ministry team, of a new YOU. It will change who you are, your relationships, and your view of the world.
Have I scared you? I hope not. But this thing called marriage requires more preparation than any of us realize. We invite you to explore God's Word for what His purpose for us is in marriage, and what the fullness and abundance of His plan for us in marriage looks like.
We want to teach you how to build your marriage, and every aspect of it, on the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Everything else is sinking sand. "When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built." Luke 6:48. You have already started building your house. What is it built on? If it's built on compatability, romantic love, friendship, or shared interests, these are faulty foundations. They are foundations of sand. They are blessings in marriage, but they cannot bear the weight of your house. There is only one foundation that will never crack. Our God.
We say this all the time, but we believe everyone wants a fantastic marriage. But good marriages don't just happen. Desire is not enough. We must be taught. Taught from the Word, the ultimate, flawless authority in our life, totally relevant to our every need and desire. Without being taught, we are floundering for elusive bits of advice to apply to our real lives. It is like water through our hands, trying to grasp the reality of God's gift to us: marriage.

What, When, and Where do we teach?
Countdown is a 9 week class, taught in our home on Thursday nights from 8:30-10:00pm. We teach a class every semeseter. The semester is concluded by an overnight retreat.
We teach a curriculum written mostly by us, from our marriage, incorporating written assignments from us and also from Byron and Carla Weathersbee. They are our mentors in Countdown, founders of our parent ministry Legacy Family. (legacyfamily.org) Rusty and I were students in their Countdown class in Waco, Texas when we were engaged in 1998. They founded this ministry to engaged couples and families in 1995 and have been used by God to change lives since then! We feel blessed to be under their ministry, and to have been trained by them personally.
In Countdown, we will discuss a different topic each week. The topics include: God's Purpose for Marriage, Roles and Responsibilities, Money Matters, In-Laws, Spiritual Growth, Sexual Intimacy, Commitment, and Communication and Conflict Resolution. Each week couples complete their assignments, some seperately, but mostly together, before coming to class. It is an informal, discussion oriented time. Everyone comes ready for dessert first, and we have a great time!
Part of the fun is walking through your engagement and learning alongside other couples. Couples who are experiencing the same things you are. We often see friendships among the couples forming, and we have a few social events for fun. The retreat culminates all we have learned in a semester, and is the highlight for me! We have so much fun, with a few surprise for our couples.