Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving, etc.

Thanksgiving was so much fun.
I'll admit it, I was a little nervous to be roasting a turkey for the first time with a bunch of other rookies, but it all turned out great, and we actually had a really good time making dinner. I think the fact that none of us knew what we were doing made it even more fun, because it was a kind of adventure.

5 things I did that I never thought I would do to a turkey:
1. Massage it (with butter)
2. Pour hot water up its butt (to melt remaining ice)
3. Pull its organs out of its butt
4. Put them back in (okay Kelli did that part, but I watched...haha)
5. Shove onions, celery and parsley up its butt

I think that about covers it.

At dinner, we went around the table a few times and had everyone name some things they were thankful for. It was nice. Here are some highlights:

Some things I am thankful for:
1. My siblings, especially my sisters. Having sisters is such a privilege.
2. My parents. Not many would let their 25 year old (with husband and son) move in with them and their 7 at-home children, even if it is temporary!
3. The few friends I have that I know I can trust 100%. They are few, but they are worth a trillion fake friends.
4. The fact that God loves us so much, despite the darkness of our evil hearts.

Fedila and Temima both said they were thankful to be celebrating their first Thanksgiving, and that they were thankful to be in our family.

My mom is thankful for all her kids.

Jack is thankful for Sam. "Yayyyyy Sam!!!"

Rachel is really, really thankful for her older sisters, especially Caitlyn.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Jack's Second Bday

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jack's 2-year Pictures

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Need is the Call

"Not everyone is called to adopt."

This is the most common response that I have gotten to any kind of comment about orphans or adoption. It is true, but it is often so obviously said out of defensiveness that it can be very discouraging and frustrating.

It is true that not everyone is called to adopt. But it is also true that every Christian is called to care for orphans, widows, and strangers. Adoption is not the only way to help them, but we are called to help. God speaks at great length on the subject of strangers, orphans, and widows; it is obviously very important to him. In fact, James 1:27 says this:

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, [and] to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

I don't know about you, but I think it is pretty awesome that God actually spelled out to us what He accepts as pure and undefiled religion. I mean, that is something pretty valuable for Christians to know, if they want to please the Lord!!

There are so many ways to help. There is adoption, obviously. There is foster care. There is international relief, which can take an endless number of forms: medical aide, sponsoring a widow, sponsoring a child, buying sheep for poor people of the world, donating shoes, donating food, donating money, going on a short-term mission trip, volunteering for respite care for foster families, etc., etc., etc.

There are 143 million orphans in the world.

God wants us to care for them. Every Christian is called to care for them.


I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Check it out:

A better way to spend Christmas.

143 Million

143 million.
That is the number of orphans in the world, and that is why the OLIVE Tree Alliance is having a benefit concert and orphan care seminar this weekend.

Check out this video:

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gettysburg Address

I was very moved by our recent trip to Washington, DC. It was a good reminder of our country's hard-won independence, and the various hardships we have overcome in order to keep it. I was especially moved by viewing the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I was also very moved by the Lincoln Memorial, especially by the Gettysburg Address, which is carved into the one wall (Lincoln's second inaugural speech is on the other).

We are all familiar with this speech; we have all heard it or read it. Some of us have even memorized it, but for some reason I was struck by it this time. It is a beautiful, eloquent, meaningful speech, and it helped me to remember why I do love America, no matter what.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Visiting the Schwenzers

Regan's "butt"
Regan and Jack playing together

Bo's first too-er of DC

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I wish I were more interesting!

Not a whole lot happening here in Mechanicsville these days. Bo and I did get to go to our new missional community last night, and that was nice. There were 3 other couples and 1 single there; they were all very awesome and we are excited about this community! It is going to be a great way to not only get to know the people in our group, but to get to know the people in the community surrounding us.

Tomorrow Bo and I are going to DC with Casey and Dell. Bo is really excited; he has never been there, so it is all new for him. It should be fun! I haven't been there in years, so I am looking forward to it too.

We are also getting excited because next weekend is the OLIVE Tree Alliance's benefit concert for orphans and orphan care seminar. We are really excited to attend!

For more info:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fun times

Jack eats a bagel with peanut butter on it:
Jack dresses up as a giraffe for the West End Assembly of God's fall festival:

Jack plays in the toddler area at the fall festival:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Eating my words

Okay, I admit it: the outcome of the election has me nervous. Of course I trust that it is part of God's plan. HOWEVER: that does not mean that it won't bring suffering. It is clear to most Christians that the end days are upon us, and those days, as the Bible states, will not be pleasant.

I must remark that our president elect has questionable feelings toward Israel, and that is the biggest tell-tale sign of all. I believe that the people of Israel, as the Bible states, are God's chosen people, and He protects those who support them.

We are in for a wild ride, but I am fastening my seat belt and I am ready.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Calculated Reaction

As election day enters its final hours and an end draws near, most people are spending the day wondering what the outcome will be. I count myself among that number, but at the same time it is easy to let that uncertainty turn to concern, and concern all too often turns to worry.

Let me be radical for a minute and suggest that worry is offensive to God. Not only is it futile, it shows a remarkable lack of faith. Any Christian will agree that God is all-powerful, but does every Christian really believe that? If so, then there would be no worry.

As election day closes and the fate of our country is revealed--not decided, for it was decided before any of us ever saw the light of day--let us all remember that God is in charge. Whether the White House becomes blue or red, let's remember that no one comes to power apart from God.

The God who has His eye on the sparrow has His eye on the White House of the United States of America today and always, so no matter the outcome, do not lose heart. This country is His, and He will do what is best for those within this country who serve Him. I choose to trust in the vision of the One who sees the whole picture.

And no matter how the election ends, we all as Christians should--MUST--gather behind the new president, no matter his name, and pray for guidance for him and all of our government officials. They are only human and they need God's help, just as we all do.