Adoption link

If you've read here for any length of time, you will know how much I admire David Platt.  He's the pastor of a church in Alabama, and whenever I have the opportunity to listen to a sermon online, I choose one of his.  Don't ask me how I stumbled upon him-- some link somewhere led me to the church's website one day and I listened to him then and I think he's an excellent communicator of God's truth.  I read his book Radical last year and loved that, too.

Anyway:  David Platt, his wife Heather and their two boys are in China right now.  They've just adopted a little girl and he has been blogging about their experience.

Today I read his posted entitled The Gospel and Adoption and I just know some of you are going to want to read it.

Here's just a snippet:
In the gospel, you are reminded on a daily basis that there was a day when you were a child of wrath, filled with evil desires, totally unable to control your sinfulness, and desperately in need of Savior, and God reached down His hand of mercy past the depth of your wickedness in order to adopt you as His own. When there was no initiative to draw you to Him, He initiated a relationship with you. So now, when you see a child with minor or major needs, you reach out to that child, simply because you realize you are that child.
and another quote:
We adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued. 
Yeah.  Go read it.

If you're interested in starting at the beginning and reading their entire adoption journey, start here.

Also, for any of you fellow AGCI adoptive mothers, this post in particular reminded me so much of our experience in Guatemala, meeting Isaias' Special Mothers and saying thank you to them- especially this young woman who nurtured him the most while he was at Hannah's Hope.

Good read

This was the best blog post I read all week.

Go read it, and then go see your kids-- really see them.

{Thank you, Tonia~ for the link}

School-to-vacation transition

Each year we take the whole month of December off-- no school at all.  We spend December decorating and playing and resting and singing and reading through all of those Christmas books we bring out once a year.  We wrap and we buy or make gifts and cards and- the month flies by.   Several times over the past few days I have chided myself for not just beginning our vacation time at Thanksgiving.  Why didn't I plan it that way?

{last night, decorating the tree}

This past week was filled with family gatherings and we leapt into vacation mode.  Yesterday we got our Christmas tree and brought the decorations out but today we have to pull back and get busy with school for our final week.  I've decided this was poor planning on my part.  (I keep wondering: has this not bothered me in previous years, or this is new?)  Anyway: new note to self: When Thanksgiving hits, start vacation.

This was my solution this morning:

I took out our schedule and highlighted the "have-to's" for the week and listed them ALL on the board, with a note on top saying: "When you've crossed off everything off your list, you're on vacation!!!"  I'm pretty confident this means we'll have a day or two of school frenzy, but then we can start celebrating already.  (We'll see.  Isaac and Ella are already about halfway done with crossing off their lists, but Isaias opted out of school for the day in lieu of watching The Sound of Music with the little girls (movie.of.choice these days)).

How was your Thanksgiving?  [What was the best thing you ate?  The stuffing was my hands-down favorite this year.]

Good read for adoptive parents

I followed a God into this story who heals and redeems, who
 restores wasted years and mends broken places.  This God specializes in the Destroyed. I've seen it. I've been a part of it.  I have His ancient Word that tells of it.  I love a Jesus who made reconciliation his whole mission. My children will not remain broken.  They are loved by too good a Savior.  I will not 
remain exhausted and spent. I am loved by too merciful a Father.

* * *

Read the entire post, called After the Airport, here.

Blueberry-banana muffins

{what we had for breakfast this morning}

Blueberry-banana muffins
(preheat oven to 350, yields 20 muffins)

Puree or blend together, then set aside:
1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (I set these out for about 15 min so they were slightly thawed)
1 banana

Mix together:
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
berry/banana blend
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup applesauce (I buy this applesauce in bulk and substitute it for oil in all baking recipes)

Scoop into buttered/floured muffins cups and bake @ 350 for 12-13 minutes.

Remembering my life two years ago

I came across this photo the other day and I kind of marveled at this snapshot of my life just a couple of years ago.  This picture was taken when Adelia was 16 months old and Audra just 4 months old.  (And people comment *now* that my hands are full!)  Um, no.  Those were the days when my hands were positively the fullest: two babies, both of them so needy for their mama.  Nevermind three older kids that also occasionally needed me.  ;)  I spent the days juggling these two and trying to determine which child was the neediest at that moment: usually one of my little girls.  So many times it was both of them- they both needed me to hold them, to soothe them, to feed them, or to change them.  I *often* walked around the house like this- one of them in the Ergo, and the other on my hip, or we'd settle on the couch and look at books together.  These were exhausting days, and I felt utterly spent by the end of each one of them. 

I know there are some of you who are in this season right now.  I was trying to think of what I could say to encourage you.  Most importantly, this: God is faithful.  It is He who has entrusted these little ones to *you* and He will be faithful to equip you.  He will strengthen you and help you.

Some practical things: it was during this season when I dropped everything that I didn't absolutely *have* to do.  I didn't intentionally drop these things- it just happened naturally.  Things like getting the kids dressed for the day, going places, sending thank you cards (or any cards, for that matter), organization of the clothes the kids had outgrown, balancing the checkbook, etc.  (The list goes on and on and on.)  You just do what you have to do to make it through these days. 

Try to get as much sleep as you can, accept any help anyone ever offers, try to spend time with Jesus each day, take breaks when you are able (when your husband comes home you can run errands it's dreamy), pray out loud- with your kids, make simple, easy meals (or get take out), and just love your children well.  Find delight in these little persons God has given to you: laugh and play and tickle and cuddle and be silly and read another story and change another diaper- and don't forget to kiss their bare belly when you do- and watch and wait for daddy when he comes home and sing songs together and just love them. They truly are a joy.  Embrace this season.  It goes by so quickly.

I LOVED this book.

You do read Katie's blog, right?   Now that I've read this book, Katie Davis is officially my new favorite person.  You must read this book.  (Have I ever let you down with a book recommendation?)  I love this girl.  I love her heart, I love her dependency on Jesus, I love her simple, pure faith.  I was challenged and inspired and convicted and blessed so much by this book.  Ella (9) is reading it now, and I hope the truths in this book impact her for a lifetime.

While you are waiting to get a copy of the book, go watch this video.  (It's not even 4 minutes long, and it's well worth your time, but my *favorite* thing she says is at 2:52.)  See? -why I love her so much?  You will, too. 

Copywork selections

We're 10 weeks into our school year and it's already time for me to refill Ella's Copywork Jar.  I changed it up a bit this year- there are no longer different categories for different days of the week (Mondays-Poetry, Tuesdays-Quotes, etc); we just have several selections tossed in.  The other change is that I really aimed to make the copywork selections shorter, so that Ella will not get bogged down with a long passage (as was the case last year) and neglect neat handwriting.  Our focus is on quality, not quantity. So far I have had her print each one, but the next "batch" she will do in cursive.  She often draws a little picture to go along with it. It's been going really well!  I've listed her copywork selections below if any of you are interested in using them for your own children:

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November.

January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow.


February brings the rain, thaws the frozen lake again.


March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil.


April brings the primrose sweet, scatters daisies at our feet.


May brings flocks of pretty lambs, skipping by their fleecy dams.


June brings tulips, lilies, roses, fills the children's hands with posies.


Hot July brings cooling showers, apricots and gillyflowers.


August brings the sheaves of corn, then the harvest home is borne.


Warm September brings the fruit, sportsmen then begin to shoot.


Fresh October brings the pheasant, then to gather nuts is pleasant.


Dull November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast.


Chill December brings the sleet, blazing fire, and Christmas treat.


Many hands make light work.


Practice makes perfect.


A man is known by the company he keeps.


A child should always say what’s true
And speak when he is spoken to


O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!


A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea.


Red sky at night, sailors delight;
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.


Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Never let us reflect upon small annoyances, and we shall be able to 
bear great ones sweetly.
    ~Charlotte Mason


All beautiful and noble possibilities are present in everyone.
    ~Charlotte Mason


Kindness is to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable to others.
    ~Charlotte Mason


A grateful heart rejoices not only in the gift but in the giver.
    ~Charlotte Mason


I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
    ~George Washington Carver


Roasted Vegetables

I promise I haven't forgotten about a follow-up to this Four Stages post.  I'm working on it.  I just haven't been on the computer much and when I am, it's easier to post a photo and a few words or go with a post I've already written.

We have been enjoying this lovely Autumn weather.  And- it's notable that my older children have begun teasing me because of my exclaiming over every single colored tree we pass on a walk or bike ride or drive.  It's true- I am always pointing out that tree and those colors and this tree-lined road-- so beautiful! and "just LOOK at all those crunchy leaves on the ground and don't you all just want to go make a giant leaf pile and jump into it?"  I can't help myself.  The other day I heard from the back of the van all these little voices exclaiming about that yellow and those oranges and just LOOK already at that tree! and I couldn't help but laugh.  :)

Speaking of Autumn, here's one of my favorite meals for the season, and our VERY favorite way to eat veggies. 

Just cut up whatever you have in the form of vegetables- in this pan there are grape tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, whole garlic cloves, butternut squash, and some broccoli.  (Anything goes, though- just use what you have.)  Put it all in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil- maybe a tablespoon or two? Sprinkle some salt over the top and stick it in the oven.  Bake on 425 for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender (I always check the carrots; they seem to take the longest.)  If you remember, while it's cooking, open up the oven and stir the vegetables once.  But I usually forget and they turn out fine.

When they're done, you can eat as is or sprinkle with parmesan, smoked paprika or whatever else you like to eat. 

Okay... I'm off to put a chicken in the crockpot for dinner, make some coffee cake for breakfast, welcome a new student to our school for the day (! Ella is having a friend over to join us in our school day-- how fun is that?) and enjoy the rest of the day with my kids.  Hope you have a great day!