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Monday, November 30, 2009

Child Survival Program

This is a short and powerful video from Compassion about the Child Survival Program. This is what Run For Compassion is ALL ABOUT. I can't watch this video without crying. We are so moved by what Compassion is doing through the CSP. The statistics are staggering. We are enjoying the perfect health of so many of our sweet little ones, but the mortality rate of children under the age of five just across the ocean from us is unbelievable. Please join with us in Run For Compassion, and if you're local here, you can partner in with your time as well! Now, watch...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy National Adoption Day!

Today is National Adoption Day. Let me state the obvious. We love adoption. It's a huge part of our lives. It's become a huge part of the lives of families around us. Our sweet friends the Feldmans finalized their adoptions of Catalina and Celeste Feldman today. This day is a day to remember forever for their family! I look around us at church and am in awe of what God has done, moving in the hearts of families we love concerning adoption. He continues to move. The adoption ball keeps rolling around us.
I pray Christian families are asking God what role they play in his ministry to orphans. I pray we are asking God what role we play as professed "Pro-Lifers." I wouldn't presume that adoption is for everyone, but please know that there are crucial roles for all of us. If we did our part, New Life Pregnancy Center and adoption agency would never be low on money. But they are. If we did our part as the church at large, a Christian family would never be deterred from adopting because of finances. But they are. I love my church so much! They are in the process of setting up an adoption fund for church members who want to adopt. That is the body of Christ working for His kingdom! It blesses me to see how much our church cares about adoption and these little ones! I could cry at any given moment thinking about it!
I hope and pray, as people see our family and wonder about us, (because they do wonder about us...of this I'm certain) that they see Christ, and they see that we are no better or nobler than anyone else. But we were called to adopt. We heard that call and we are so blessed because of it! We will continue to listen to the Lord's voice in how He may want to grow this family. It's all up to Him!
Praise God for adoption! Praise Him for these precious children added to our families! Praise Him for the birthparents who are being loved and exposed to the gospel through these families! Praise God for agencies like New Life! I am thankful for all of this that God and God alone has accomplished!
Most of all, praise our God for adopting us as His beloved children through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Adoption is the word used in the scripture for those who have put their faith in Him, and it's irrevocable, it's forever, it's permanent.
Let's celebrate adoption today!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gospel Powered Parenting by William P. Farley

This is the best parenting book I've read yet. I know that sounds extreme, and I'm only through chapter four, but I love the approach to this book and everything about it so far. I feel like I can never say that about a book or writer! There's always a clause, a caveat, some kind of disclaimer. Maybe it's coming. But the title alone speaks accurately as to what this book is all about.
It's about the gospel.
The subtitle is "How the gospel shapes and transforms parenting."
Discerning Reader gave it this rave review.
But let me tell you why I like it...this book proposes that all we need for our parenting instruction is in the gospel. The heart of the gospel, if it drives us, if it informs our theology, if it shapes how we think, respond, instruct, correct, and live life as parents, is our complete parenting manual.
I feel like I could take a deep breath when I read this. I don't need a new method, I don't need to adopt someone else's style, and if our home is gospel-centered, I haven't missed the boat because I was caught unaware of the elusive methods of Godly parenting. It's all there, in the gospel.
However, what we need is to dive deep into the cavernous depths of what the gospel is and means. If you grew up in the church, you may remember the gospel message, when delivered in a sermon or somewhere else, tuning out, thinking "Yeah, yeah, I know this." I knew it was life-changing, but I hadn't done enough "gospel realizing" as Tim Keller puts it, to let it begin to soak in. I love how Farley says we don't need parenting books on technique because we act out of our theology, what we think about God and ourselves, and that is how we parent. What we need is right theology, an accurate view of ourselves before a holy God, and an ever-deepening grasp on what He did for us in putting all of our sin and thus His wrath on His Son Jesus in our place...His infinite love and astounding grace.This parenting book is covering the fear of God (and what that really means), God's holiness, His grace...and I'll have to keep reading to see how he extrapolates these things to parenting further.
He also continually shifts our focus of parenting as eternal. He says "Christian parenting is the process of preparing our children for the day of judgment." Our greatest goal for them is regeneration, where God and God alone gives them a new heart that loves Him and fills them with the Holy Spirit, giving them the power and desire to do what pleases Him. There is nothing, NOTHING, we can do to regenerate our children. But He points out that God chooses to use parents as the primary medium to evangelize our children.
There's so much good in this book, I can't write it all here. But I do highly recommend it, and would love to hear your thoughts on it also.
I'm discussing it with a small group of Godly women, and our discussion was as fruitful for me as the reading. God is using this book and other things to continually bring us back to the truth: Our lives need to be totally Gospel-centered and gospel-powered. There is such peace and joy in this!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This cute idea was not my own. They rarely are. I think this came from Kendra, or Ashley. Not sure which, but they both have a cute thankful tree in their house too.
I loved this idea! We really try to focus on thankfulness during this season. Well, we need it year-round, but thank goodness, there's a holiday that helps us in the discipline of thankfulness.
Our theme verse this time of year is Col 2:7
Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.

I do believe that thankfulness is a discipline that needs cultivating in our lives.
I'm appalled at my own absence of thankfulness in moments of complaining and irritation. I need to put on thankfulness, as we say so often around here.
So we love the thankful tree! The kids each have their own color leaves, and each night we write what they are thankful for today on them and put them on our colorful tree. Rusty and I write ours on the tree trunk. We are kind of the "trunk" of this family...and my hands were crippled from cutting leaves.
Some of my favorites have been, I'm thankful for "monkeys" "I like Emma" "doing homeschool" "a happy family and happy parents".
I love this new tradition! (Thanks for sharing Kendra and Ashley!) Happy Thanksgiving season, folks!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Leader of the Day

(photo above by Ryan Price Photography-check out his website! www.ryanpricephoto.com)
There are a million little tips out there that can help us run our homes smoothly. The more children we have, the more organized and creative we need to be to reduce the chaos. I love those little brilliant ideas that change your life. So in hopes that you all will share yours with me, here is one that we love.
I can't remember where I got this idea. I would give credit where credit is due, if only I could remember who it was due to. I think I read this in a magazine. Once upon a time, in a former life, I read magazines. I had more time to read for leisure then. I used to even have a subscription to Southern Living. Those were good times.
Anyway, I loved this idea and remembered it for years and we started doing it a year or so ago.
We have a leader of the day. Sun. is Treston, and Emma is Monday and Thursday, Jax is Tuesday and Friday, and Justus is Wed. and Saturday.
When you're leader of the day, you get the special priveleges, and special jobs.
For example you could choose the morning cartoon, or you would set the table.
Any special privelege opportunity that might arise immediately goes to the leader of the day rather than the kids squabbling about it.
I also grab the leader of the day when I need something done.
The Leader has daily leader jobs, such as gathering all of the laundry from all the baskets each morning and sorting it, wiping down a bathroom, and taking the sheets off of his bed to be washed (ensuring everyone's sheets get washed once a week).
The kids also get to spend their "nap" time (no one naps but Treston but they are supposed to be quiet and read in their room) in the play room.
The kids LOVE to be the leader, and it solves any dispute over who gets the special priveleges or chores. It's a great system that works well for us, so I thought I'd share it.
One day, and I don't know when, Treston will realize that he only gets to be the leader once a week, and he'll have to be okay with that until God adds another day to the week. For now, this system holds nicely.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Director of Planned Parenthood resigns, Change of Heart!

*This was a recent article in our paper. It seems the prayers of the faithful people on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood have been fruitful! This is AMAZING!

Planned Parenthood has been a part of Abby Johnson's life for the past eight years; that is until last month, when Abby resigned. Johnson said she realized she wanted to leave, after watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure.

"I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it," said Jonhson.

She handed in her resignation October 6. Johnson worked as the Bryan Planned Parenthood Director for two years.

According to Johnson, the non-profit was struggling under the weight of a tough economy, and changing it's business model from one that pushed prevention, to one that focused on abortion.

"It seemed like maybe that's not what a lot of people were believing any more because that's not where the money was. The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that," said Johnson.

Johnson said she was told to bring in more women who wanted abortions, something the Episcopalian church goer recently became convicted about.

"I feel so pure in heart (since leaving). I don't have this guilt, I don't have this burden on me anymore that's how I know this conversion was a spiritual conversion."

Johnson now supports the Coalition For Life, the pro-life group with a building down the street from Planned Parenthood. Coalition volunteers can regularly be seen praying on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. Johnson has been meeting with the coalition's executive director, Shawn Carney, and has prayed with volunteers outside Planned Parenthood.

On Friday both Johnson and the Coalition For Life were issued temporary restraining orders filed by Planned Parenthood.

Rochelle Tafolla, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson issued the following statement: "We regret being forced to turn to the courts to protect the safety and confidentiality of our clients and staff, however, in this instance it is absolutely necessary."

The temporary restraining order contends that Planned Parenthood would be irreparably harmed by the disclosure of certain information, but does not bar Johnson or Coalition For Life volunteers from the premises.

As of Sunday evening, neither Johnson nor Carney had seen the complaint filed against them that prompted the restraining order.

A hearing about the order has been set for November 10.