Friday, February 25, 2011

God's invitation...



"Come, Follow me"... He said to His disciples

"Go the the land I will show you"... He said to Abraham

"So now, go."... He said to Moses

"Do not be afriad"... The angel said to Mary

"Go now, and leave your life of sin"... He said to the adulterous woman

"Get up, pick up your mat, and walk!"... He said to the lame man

"Come out!"... He said to Lazarus

"Get up and go"... He said to Paul

"Be my witnesses"... He says to us...


Looking through the word this last week, God has truly brought out this idea of "invitation"... He was inviting someone to do something much bigger than THEY could do ALONE. He was inviting them into HiStory. They could have said "No thanks... You know, I really like ____" (except I do NOT think Lazarus would have said that, just a guess) But God's presence in their lives was so strong, it was undeniable... they had to MOVE... to obey... to be changed... to live their lives through the Holy Spirit... and some to die in it.

Maybe God's inviting you to "go" or "come" or "trust"... He's inviting you to a bigger picture. It's one that we cannot get to on our own, and we cannot imagine or understand what it will be like until we hit reply with a "yes." Maybe He's inviting you to...

Be Jesus to your neighbor

Be open to God's design for your family

Move to a "not so nice" part of town

Stay at home with your children

Show your husband respect

Visit orphans and widows

Respond with love instead of bitterness

Invite someone "unlovely" into your home

Give up comforts that you think you need

There are so many invitations found throughout the Bible... God won't make us "say yes"... but He's inviting us to the "other side of the wardrobe" and something miraculous, hard, and beautiful is waiting there for us! Praying we say Yes... when He sends the invite!








Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tim Hawkins on my slick move today...

My friend David passed this off to me after reading my post earlier... too funny not to share...

Why, Yes Dr, I am an idiot...



Today was Z's annual well child check. Because my kiddos aren't in daycare or preschool... they are with me (yes, that's the alternative...ha). I LOVE it most of the time and wouldn't trade it for the world, and I MEAN IT! But, some days it has it's hard spots... like taking all 3 to the Dr. I have my hand sanitizer out and say "DONT TOUCH ANYTHING!" ... especially when we are going for a "well check." I'm really not that phobic about them getting sick, but if I can help it, I try my best.

So, Z was wrapping up his check up and KG chimed in "Dr, my tummy hurts." I look at her like "WHAT?" I then said "She probably just needs to go potty. (chuckle chuckle)" Then the Dr obliged KG and said "Well, open up and lets see." KG does this and the Dr says "Oh my." Then she looks in her ears and says "Wow." At this point I'm getting kinda nervous. The Dr says "Her throat is really red and she has a double ear infection." She is JUST as surprised as I AM! WHAT IN THE WORLD? So, she swabs her throat and, that's right... STREP! LOL... "Yes, Dr... I think she just needs to go potty and all that will clear right up!" I'm really not a rookie... promise! KG is one tuff cookie...

ps... do I have to make 2 co-pays?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Won't God just leave us alone for a little while?"


Yes, I did actually say that to my husband LAST NIGHT! Ok, I admit, I was being funny... kinda. What I meant by that was really a self-righteous statement like "God, I'm serving you... stop asking me to 'do more or harder things' and give me a break." I meant it funny at the time, but God showed me that really part of my heart felt that way. Part of me really REALLY REALLY wants to just cruise for a while. Afterall, there can't be anything THAT BAD about the way I'm doing life. Then today... I opened up my devotional, and here's what it said...

"Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2

"A child of God was once overwhelmed by the number of afflictions that seemed to target her. (now, this is me... I'm not saying I have afflictions, because I don't... but the stretching of my faith... or getting further into the deep end is my "affliction" in this passage) As she walked past a vineyard during the rich glow of autumn, she noticed its untrimmed appearance and the abundance of leaves still on the vines. The ground had been overtaken by a tangle of weeds and grass, and the entire place appeared totally unkept. While she pondered the sight, the heavenly Gardener whispered such a precious message to her that she could not help but share it.

The message was this: 'My dear child, are you questioning the number of trials in your life? Remember the vineyard and learn from it. The gardner stops pruning and trimming the vine or weeding the soil only when he expects nothing more form the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort now would yield no profit. In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you want me to stop pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone?' Then her heart cried, 'No!' " .... Streams in the Desert

So, no... I don't want to be "left alone"... I want to go through the pruning process so that I can bear more fruit... So glad He reveals himself to me even about the silly things that fly out of my mouth... but are apparently deeper in my heart than realized.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why be so intense?

This last weekend we celebrated our oldest son, Z's birthday. I LOVE that kid. He is such an amazing little man! BUT, can I just say... he is one INTENSE dude? Call it what you want... but I will brag... He is crazy athletic. Wish I could say he got that from me, but I'm not really sure. :/ (hey, I have been known to drop some 3s back in the day) But truly, he is great at anything he does... first time ice skating... he went 1/2 a lap holding onto the wall and then took off... WHAT? He loves "boy" stuff... God just made him that way. But please enjoy some of these pictures that I took as we were at Gatti Town with the grandparents... best "game faces" ever!




Not sure what is going on here....

this goes with his quote "when I get big like daddy, I'm gonna get a real gun." great. just great.
The kid even eats a cupcake with intensity!

Although... He also loves intensely... especially his mommy! :)
Love my first boy!! God's got big plans for his intensely loving heart!




Monday, February 14, 2011

A little about Love...

Mother Theresa says this about love:

"Intense love does not measure, it just gives".

"Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go."

"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."

"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home."

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

"Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."

The Bible says this:

"If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Choosing to love well... for the rest of my life...

Friday, February 11, 2011

AND THE WINNERS ARE.......

*Thank you to all who participated in our Getaway Giveaway! We are SO incredibly grateful and can't tell you how much we appreciate each one of you! Now... sit back... relax... and enjoy some
McB chaos along with the WINNERS............


video



Thanks to all... your gifts of love should be on their way to you soon, if not in the mail already!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Changing the World: Reflections on Created for Care...

Last weekend, 250 moms from across the country landed at a retreat center in North Georgia that exuded peacefulness and a place of "quiet rest." Now, notice... i didn't say it WAS quiet. ;)




Besides having the MOST FUN roomies and travel buddies... I'm certain that I burned one million calories laughing... just whatever you do... DO NOT HAWK YOUR TROMBONE!!!! ;)

( Here are the roomies: Courtney, Me, Lara, Kelly Jo, and Hilary)


But... on a more serious note:

I knew God was going to show up, but had NO IDEA what he would do. In my own heart, he revealed some sweet things to me that I didn't expect regarding finding my strength in Him, praying for my children, being vulnerable in my prayers, and having the time to allow him to speak sweet things to my heart that were almost overwhelming to take in. So often times we put God in a box and do not realize it... and God wants to be experienced in all the ways He created us... through all our senses, and all our circumstances. (I'll write more about this another time)

During corporate worship and large gatherings, I was overwhelmed... at the way we worship... at how many stories are weaved so differently, but by the same God... and how He wants to use US to CHANGE THE WORLD! I do NOT DOUBT that God is going to use the women I met last week for great change in this world. "Wasn't this just a retreat for adoptive mommies?" Yes! BUT I see this going so much deeper... beyond ourselves and our families... and our adoption stories. I see women who represent FAMILIES who want to know more about the hard stuff. They want to know HOW to help the majority of orphans who will never be adopted, they want to give back to the countries their children came from: clean water, jobs, give self-reliance, justice, food, identity in Christ... God has used adoption to change our hearts to be more like His.... and because of that... I see families who won't walk away at the end of their adoption story and say "the end." It is just the beginning.

For example, what was going to be a small breakout session on HIV/AIDS and adoption, turned out cram packed full of 50+ moms saying "you know, I need to know more about this issue." What I think is amazing is that they WERE NOT SCARED to learn more... they are willing to know TRUTH and to walk in it. That doesn't mean everyone there will walk away and adopt a child living with HIV/AIDS, but what it does mean is that they will no longer be able to live "not knowing" and will be ready to ask God what role they will play in this "silent" crisis... I believe God is going to use the women in that session to WAKE UP THE CHURCH to "go there" in Jesus' name.

147 Million, Into the Streets, Sixty Feet, The Cupcake Kids, and Wiphan were all there... ALL started or having in leadership adoptive families. These ministries, along with many more, are making a difference on the ground... here and around the world. There is NO TELLING what God is going to do over the next year. I can't wait to go again next year... sit around... and hear the stories that start with "Last year, I sat here feeling God moving me towards......" The truth is, He is moving hearts... and He wants to move yours towards the things that are on His heart. Be changed... and change the world!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tell it LIKE it IS!: Barber Shop Talk

Ok, so... Let's all just admit it RIGHT NOW... E has the BEST hair EVER. (period aloud please)

Really, I'm quite fond of his hair. We've been letting it grow Fro for 8 months now, without cutting it. (I did trim it the other day because I thought it was looking rough) I LOVE to fix it in finger twists, and he looks AMAZING. See for yourself:



I've become NOT the expert, per say, but quite educated on products, how to make his hair look nice, etc. However, there was one little aspect that I have overlooked... intentionally, I will admit. I KNOW that African American males go to the Barber Shop to get their hair shaved. I KNOW that is an important experience growing up in the black culture. BUT, he's so young (not by my African American friend's standards, tho)... I LOVE his curls. I have had many African American people comment on his hair... how great it is! But today... I started thinking a little differently. A nurse... and now friend... because We've practically lived at the Pulmonologist office with E said to me today "Ok now, he has great hair, but YOU KNOW HE'S NOT A GIRL, RIGHT?" And here are my inner thoughts "Oh NO!!! Does his hair scream 'White MAMA?' Should I get it cut? Am I breaking a rule here?" Insecurity all the sudden went THROUGH THE ROOF! ha. Um... Yes, I've noticed he isn't a girl... so what you are saying is his hair is too much? too long? WHAT? Tell me! huh?huh?huh?

She giggles and says , "Mama, it's time for the big boy hair cut." HEARTBREAK! NOOOOO!

Although, I know she is right. He is growing up, and although He certainly has the best hair around... He is a little boy... who I admit needs a little boy haircut. Soo... I called The Fade Shop and had our first barber shop experience! They were GREAT! As for the curls... I left them around, yet significantly shortened.... check out the before and after:

Before: A little on the wild side! The barber said as he was picking out E's hair "Man, look at these curls grow!"






After: The big boy cut (as brave as I could do right now)... check out those edged lines! E is one happy boy... so I am one happy momma!





I LOVE BOTH, and while I can't promise I will never grow curls again... I'm starting to enjoy the feel of the good ol' barber shop!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reading List: 2011



Well friends, I'm still processing and trying to figure out if I can EVEN PUT INTO WORDS our amazing weekend at the Created for Care retreat with so many other amazing adoptive mommies. God is so good! In the meantime, I've been working on my "reading list" for this year. So, I thought I'd put it out here for you to see... make suggestions... and maybe join along. There's a few things you need to know about me as a reader. I do read for "pleasure" ... but I don't really read fiction... RARELY. Although I think one or two made the list this year! Also, I'm a BIG fan of reading with a purpose... I need to learn something about God, others, or myself. So, my main purpose is learning. That's why I read. boring, I know.

So.... here's my list... in no particular order, and some are "read agains" :
1. Lies Women Believe and the Truth that sets the free : Nancy Leigh DeMoss: DONE
2. Generous Justice: Tim Keller (CURRENT READ)
3. Left to Tell: Discovering God in the Rwandan Holocost: Ilibagiza
4. Think: John Piper
5. True Religion: Palmer Chinchen
6. The Way of the Heart: Henri Nowen
7. Forgotten God: Francis Chan
8. Season's of a Mother's Heart: Sally Clarkson
9. What in the World is going on? David Jeremiah
10. Outlive your Life: Lucado
11. Respectable Sins: Jerry Bridges
12. The Shelter of God's Promises: Sheila Walsh
13. Strengthen Yourself in the Lord: Bill Johnson
14. The New Eve: Robert Lewis
15. Hunger for God: John Piper
16. Uprooting Anger: Robert D. Jones
17. There is no me without you: Melissa Faye Greene
18. Cutting the Stone: Abraham Verghese
19. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: Donald Miller
20. One Million Arrows: Julie Ferwerda

So, I have to read 1.5 books per month. I think I can! Come join along... can't wait to see what God is up to!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Day, One Lunch Project is TODAY!

Hey all! My sweet friends over at buildingtheblocks have started a... let's just call it an AMAZING PROJECT via their sweet teenage daughter. Read below... and consider how YOU can make a BIG difference by doing a SMALL thing today! As for me, I'm off with some of the most amazing adoptive mommies to the Created for Care Retreat, so you won't be hearing from me for a while! Happy munching on soup!

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor Proverbs 22:9

Every 5 seconds a child dies of starvation.

And the truth is this, most days; this never even crosses our minds.

Perhaps that is because with a number like this- we don’t even know where to begin.

But what if you knew where to begin? What if you knew what to do to make a difference?

And what if that difference simply started with your lunch?

What if all it took was One day and one lunch- to make a huge difference in the life of a child?

What if all you had to do was simply give what you would have spent in one day for one lunch?

If you are reading this today- yes YOU… I’d like to ask you to be a part of something big. God usually preferred to work through people- people like you and people like me. You have two choice right now- you can click off this page and pretend you didn’t read this and go on with your everyday life- or you can choose to see that God brought YOU here- to read this- for a purpose- to be a part of something big.

Don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to do something you can’t- I am asking you to do something you can. The Average American spends between $2.00 and $8.00 a day on lunch. If everyone who reads this blog post would simple choose- on February 3nd to give up their ‘lunch money’ and then donate what they would have spent on lunch that day to Lifesong For Orphans for the Adami Tulu preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia. Can you image what Jesus could do? A mere $3.00 feeds a child for ONE MONTH. Can you imagine the impact we could make- simply by giving being willing to make a small sacrifice for someone else?

So mark your calendar for Feb. 3nd and spread the word about the One Day- One Lunch Project. Put it on FB, add it to your blog- ask your friends, coworkers and church family to join in. Let’s make a small sacrifice- to make one big difference.

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." ~ Mother Teresa

Donations can be given online here... please indicate it’s to go to the Adami Tulu Preschool.

Or mail checks to:

Lifesong for Orphans

PO Box 40

Gridley, IL 61744

Indicate for the Adami Tulu Preschool

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Greatest Encouragement Spoken...

Ok, ya'll... gonna be completely honest. (whose surprised?...raise your hand...) This week has been hard to wait. I'm not sure if it is because I'm thinking and doing the giveaway, getting ready to head to the created for care retreat or because it's just part of the process. My heart aches for her sometimes. But I know God is authoring this story to His perfection and for His glory. When God gave me the idea of having people do Verses of Hope & Love... I had no idea it would be more honey for my heart than I knew! This morning I woke up to this message... after some sweet friends had purchased a "verse" for AJ. It has reminded me of who holds who in this story, and can't wait for AJ to read these herself. The WORD of God is living... and is the greatest encouragement ever spoken.