Thursday, June 30, 2011

the gift of grace...

***Disclaimer***Can I just say that grace-giving isn't one of my strengths? I so often times find myself missing the opportunity to extend grace to others.

I don't know if you know what I'm talking about here, but if you have a newly potty trained little boy... this one will be up your alley.



Recently, E has been having... ahem... let's say "challenges" with getting to the potty fast enough. Not sure what it is with little boys, but they wait until the LAST.POSSIBLE.SECOND. to go potty. (i'm not terribly sure they outgrow this) There are days that it DRIVES ME BATTY! Afterall, "How many times do I have to say this?" or "Are you seriously doing this again?"

Yesterday, I heard a scream coming from the bathroom followed by crying... and sure enough it was E. I opened the door and he stood there... half dressed.. and soaked! The bathroom floor was a puddle. His face was covered in defeat, once again.

For some reason, I was overcome with GRACE. I closed the door, wrapped a towel around him... sat him on my lap (he's still crying pretty good here) and I grabbed his face and just said "I love you." over and over again. And in just a few seconds he stopped crying. His eyes went from fear to relief. He saw that my love had NOTHING to do with his ability to aim. ;) He grabbed my face back and said "mommy, i love you."

I could have missed that.
I could have responded in harsh judgement or frustration.
Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't.

God used that moment to teach me about HIS GRACE. When i find myself in a mess... spiritually
emotionally
physically
relationally
He grabs me, wraps me in HIS love, and says "I LOVE YOU."

I'm so thankful he doesn't say "seriously, you are struggling with THIS again?"

When I mess up, He gently brings me back in with His grace. He brings me back to relationship with Him. His purpose for discipline is right relationship. And thus... my response to others requires the same.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Is He safe?"

One of my favorite authors of all time is C.S. Lewis. His writing speaks and challenges me like no other. Recently, I started reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with my oldest son. (and he's hooked, btw) Today we got to one of my favorite parts. What's so funny is that Z was asking some of the questions that I was about to read... only before I got to it.. "Who is Aslan?" "What's he like?" "Is he a man?"

This part of the story gives me chills each time...

" 'Then is he safe?' said Lucy. 'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you?' Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King I tell you.' ' I'm longing to see him,' said Peter, 'even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.'"



I needed to read this today. I've been struggling as reality sets in, the house gets emptier and emptier, and the letting go begins... I've found myself thinking "Are we crazy? I'm pretty sure we are crazy" I've found myself longing to just be "normal" and live a "respectable, stable, and secure life." Afterall, that's the "right" thing... huh?

BUT "Who said anything about safe?"
Following our Jesus will certainly bring about the exact opposite of what we strive for. Our God isn't safe. He doesn't promise safe... He is full of adventures that bring about His ultimate purpose and glory... and sometimes that means we aren't "safe."

BUT HE IS GOOD.
"Taste, and see that the Lord is good." That's an invitation to COME and SEE for yourself... take action...

As we experience God... we step out of our "safe zone" into an amazing adventure that allows us to see that, indeed, He is GOOD.

And, oh... I so want to be like Peter... I LONG to see God... to see Him "on the move" in a powerful way... even if I'm frightened a little... ok... a lot. ;)

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Monday, June 27, 2011

AND the winners are.......





Well, I was going to video the big drawing... but honestly, I'm sitting in my PJs and just don't want to get dressed... ha!

I'm super PUMPED about the sweet winners of our blog giveaway! But first, I just want to thank everyone for your sweet words of encouragement and for joining us as we begin our life in Zambia SOON!

So... without further ado.... Our winners!!!

For the 1st LOOT bag: The Large bag, Africa Boxers, and The Connected Child book set

WINNER: ALISON from Lovin' Much!!! YAY! Alison!!!

For the 2nd LOOT bag: The medium bag, Africa onsie, and Blog facelift

WINNER: KIM HEATON from A Mother's Ramblings

Congratulations on your Win!! The rest of you stay tuned, you never know what kind of fun stuff might pop up again! (I might give away my minivan if no one buys the silly thing... lol)

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweet reminders...

One of the things I love most about being a mom is just talking with my kids. I love to hear their questions and what's on their mind. Often that comes out in form of a song, or some other theatrical move... but today, it was just nothing but, well, sweet.

On the way home from church today, Z says "Mom, baby sister is asleep right now." I said, "Yes, baby, I bet she is." I then reminded them that we do not know WHEN God will bless us with a baby sister (or brother for that matter)... (for those of you who don't know, we withdrew from an Ethiopian adoption as God made it clear Zambia was in our future... you can click here to read that ).

Z then said "Mom, I'm afraid." I of course inquired, and Z said "I'm afraid she won't make it. I'm afraid a snake is going to get her before we can bring her home." *sigh* (compliments of the venom extractors we bought??)

I tried my best to assure him that God has this whole thing rigged. That God knows exactly who will be a part of our family, and who won't. That HE knows her name... where she is... and that He cares for her just like a Father.

He then said "Ok, well... I want a brother too, and actually, all the kids in Africa that don't have mommies and daddies." I chuckled and said, "Well, I guess we will need a bigger house for that!" Z said "Yes, and another van."

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There is so much I love about that conversation. Not only is God showing me the heart HE has given our oldest son for the fatherless, but He is reminding me that HE has not forgotten about the desires of my heart.

HE will not waste an experience

HE will not waste this time of waiting and uncertainty

HE will not forget HIS children

And certainly...

HE is the one who builds a family.

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Prov 16:9


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*today and tomorrow are the LAST days to be entered into the GIVEAWAY!*

Friday, June 24, 2011

"But God makes it grow..."

***(4 More days to get entered into our giveaway here)***

When we were in Zambia the 2nd week of April, one of the big projects going on there was the "Strawberry Project." Luke, the farmer extraordinaire, was working with a consultant from South Africa, along with some amazing and generous people here in the States. SO MUCH WORK went into getting these plants from South Africa TO Zambia. They then drove 4+ hours from Lusaka in a van with ALL OF THESE STRAWBERRY PLANTS... with the AC cranked down... ha. It was like a fridge in there so they say!

They worked on this planting project ALL day EVERY day. Luke, Brian, and the amazing Zambians : both men and women. I saw them learning how to plant strawberries. I saw them take great care of watering... trying to get just the right amount. And to be honest, when I saw the plants... they looked a little... um... peak-ed (as my mom would say)... This is the field as they were being planted....




And now, not even 3 months later, there is this:






And if you want to see MORE... Click HERE





Praise God!! The first harvest is in! What's the purpose of all this, you ask?

on the basic level:

Jobs

Economic Development

Sustainability for the school project

but on a deeper level:

Self-worth

Pride (the good kind)

Hope for the future


Sitting back and watching this reminds me of Paul, in 1 Cor 3:6 when he says "I have planted, Appolos watered, but God made it grow." (now, I realize he was actually lecturing and giving some conflict resolution at that time) I read that scripture and it just seemed perfect. There were so many hands "planting" and "watering" in this project... working with both their knowledge (through consulting) and their hands (those on the ground). BUT... in all this, God made it grow. Here's to the body of Christ working together... and God's gracious growth!


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Regression... coming right up!

*** Giveaway Details are HERE***

Today I wanted to write about something I don't write as much about as of late... but our current season has certainly demanded it.

For many of you, you are unaware of the transition struggles that we had as a family for at least the first 6 months after bringing E home. Our blog went private for almost a year afterwards. It was a sweet time, and a hard time. All day today I've found myself wanting to reflect back... maybe because currently some things feel the way they did then.
Maybe because I know some of you are in the heat of things right now...
Maybe to just remind myself, and you... that this will get better and that there is so much hope for our sweet and amazingly strong children...


I have to confess the thoughts that I've had JUST TODAY... Today, as I saw KG and E running down the hallway holding hands and laughing together I thought "wow, we have come SO FAR from where we started. " I never thought I'd see the day. For the first 6 months after bringing E home I cried at night truly believing I had "ruined KGs life." So for all the moms out there who are newly home (especially with a toddler)... hang in there. It takes a LOT of intentionality, but it gets SO MUCH BETTER!!


Sleep... Oh Sleep. UGH. Our largest issue... which resolved at about 9 months home. However... recently... it has snuck back up... looking different, but I've seen that face before. I am fully aware, and expecting, regression to come our way.
We are moving.
Our environment is changing in a major way at home.
We have sold a ton of things.
And all the talk about "Africa" has E's ears perked. He is WELL AWARE of what is going on Insecurity starts to creep in... and OH REGRESSION.

Just tonight, I laid E down and snuggled up with him. He stared me in the eyes and rubbed my face... we just shared sweet words and hugs and kisses. My thought was "wow... I'm so in love." 30 minutes later I'm ready to "hurt somebody" (figure of speech of course)... He's not wanting to stay in his "sleeping area"... He's crying at everything... total breakdown in communication and security. UGH. "ARE WE HERE AGAIN?!?!?!" I try to pull out my KP (Karyn Purvis) moves... and I try to elicit what little compassion I have left and recognize that he is going through a lot... we all are... and I pray for patience. He's now sleeping soundly in his room. I'm reminding myself a 40 minute episode is NOTHING compared to the 3-4 hours it used to take to get him to sleep when we were first home. And to beat that, this hasn't happened in a LONG time...

In all of the mess (and it's a mild mess in comparison), I'm reminding myself to keep focus... be less motivated through my own emotional reaction and more motivated by grace.

I'm reminding myself to be less occupied by my to do list and more occupied with being present for my kids.

I'm reminding myself to balance my structure with nurture... and do all I can to give them a positive and low stress environment... (which means I have to talk to Jesus A LOT during the day!)

Ultimately, I'm falling at Jesus' feet and asking HIM to minister to the hearts of my children beyond what I can see...

In all reality, they are doing UNBELIEVABLY well with all the transitions. We knew this transition would be tough on everyone, especially E. But all in all, even he is handling it like a CHAMP! Afterall, sleeping on an air mattress is good cause for sleep disturbances, right? ;)

It's just a good reminder that we are never really "finished" or "settled"... i suppose that's why they call it a journey...


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Monday, June 20, 2011

"Blog Party... a BIG Blog Party!"

Ok ya'll... I've been saying there was some fun things coming this way... BUT before I get into the giveaway details, I wanted to say this first:

What I'm about to do, I said I would never do. I truly HATE self promotion. HATE.IT. And I don't want this giveaway to be that. I struggled with the idea of "followers" because I just hate that word first of all (unless it pertains to following Jesus, of course). I dislike promoting the blog, because I don't want to promote myself or my sweet family.

The reason I want to do a giveaway is 3 fold.

1. To celebrate what God has been doing, and to say "thanks" to the people who have been reading along. We are starting a new chapter in our lives and what better way than to have a little "blog party! a big blog party!" (what knock off is that from? moms, you know this)

2. I truly believe that God is doing amazing things through LifeSong overall... and through their work in Zambia. I believe God is about to knock us to our knees with experiences that I can't even imagine at this moment. But what I know now, is that I'm so in love with these kids, the people, and that place... and I want to share what GOD is doing there with as many people as I can... because our God is mighty... and HE deserves to be praised... right here on this blog.

3. Our heart is to mobilize believers... we want to educate and give a way people just like you can be involved in loving orphans, vulnerable children, and their families... so stick around, because I'm certain that we will need people just like you to pray, love our kids, and maybe even come visit someday!

With that said... we want to CELEBRATE and ENCOURAGE you to sit with us and watch what amazingly BEAUTIFUL THINGS He does in our lives and the lives of those we serve in Zambia...

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

To Enter:

*Become a Follower of my Blog via Blogger or Email subscription just to the right (1 entries)
*Grab our button and place it on your blog (2 entries)
*Blog about the giveaway and/or Share on Facebook (2 entries)
*Please leave me a comment to let me know when you do each one to make sure it gets entered. Thanks!

The LOOT: 2 WINNERS!!!

LOOT Bag #1:

This amazing large size bag (begging for the beach) from my sweet friend Hilary!



This Super Cute pair of Africa Boxers for Women from AddisAbaby Art

The Connected Child with the Created for Care Study Guide(because it's a McB fave)



LOOT Bag #2

This handy medium size bag from Hilary


This sweet little Africa onsie from AddisAbaby Art

AND

$25 of BLOG MAKEOVER from Designs by Jenn!! (because she's awesome)


*We will take entries until 9pm CST on Monday, June 27th. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, June 28th!*

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Another week in the life....

WHAT.A.WEEK! Wow.

1. VBS!! WOOT! My kiddos all 3 were in VBS during the morning this week... learning about creation and dinosaurs. Pretty awesome. Straight up, KG is the queen of VBS. Songs... dancing... crafts... snacks...

2. Dentist Visit... We found the most awesome dentist office, McKinney Pediatric Dentistry. They kids did great, minus KG's little kicking and requiring a restraint from me... ha. (It did make it easy to see her teeth) The unfortunate part is E has 4 teeth that need to be capped (luckily in the back or I would request gold ;) ) The development was poor and they are in pretty bad shape, which we knew... thus... the dentist. :(




3. We did have a silly string "fight" to commemorate Shane's last day working with Hope for Orphans and to celebrate all God has done in our lives through our time there... (more to come on that later)




4. My parents are in town!! WOOHOO! My mom is the "organizeanator" so things are getting DONE! And... once a Daddy's girl, ALWAYS a Daddy's girl... so my daddy bought me these boots for Africa for the "farm" and rainy season... (Happy Father's Day to me! ???)



5.RODEO... E found himself in the right place at the right time... and was dubbed the 1st place Sheep Chasing rodeo Champ! Awesomeness... and We ate at one of Fort Worths best BBQ places... Good times...




6. Awesome Birthday Party for some of our favorite twins! (E fell in the pool without his life vest and the Mr. and another great friend jumped in to save him... *neveradullmoment)



7. HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!! WOOT!


Up for next week... Lots of stuff that really isn't "blog-worthy"... paperwork, phone calls, newsletters... BUT the most blog worthy is this : GIVEAWAY!!! We wanted to do a giveaway to celebrate a couple of things... so.. YAY! Stay tuned because on Tuesday we will be posting the details! Whoop!


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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jesus and Richard Mark Lee

For those of you who don't know, our amazing church has been without a pastor for almost a year now. Recently, our church announced that the search committee had found a pastor and ultimately our church voted that this was the man to lead us... Richard Mark Lee (now referred to in this blog as RML). The buzz of excitement started around the church... and honestly in my heart!

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Here are some reasons I already love this guy and his family:

1. They're from Georgia... and while the VOLS and Bulldogs don't mix... when it comes down to it... SEC ROCKS + It's nice to hear his extreme southern accent... yes, it's different than Texan.

2. He doesn't speak to impress... He speaks to teach truth...

3. He's real... you can just tell it.

4. He's mission minded

5. And Last but not least... He CLEARLY loves orphans and children in foster care.

So... there are the reason's I'm already excited about our new pastor. However... that's not the reason I'm writing this post.

The Lesson learned from RML and Jesus...

Our church held a "meet and greet" reception with a "gift card" pounding for their family. (the whole "pounding" thing is old school, but I'm a fan of old school AND loving our pastor's family)

So... the week before, I kept thinking "Ok, this is our first impression... the gift card... what should we get? Our favorite restaurant? Go simple and do grocery gift card? Gas gift card? Ice cream? (bc it's hot as blazes here) WHAT SHOULD WE GET HIM?!?!?!"

I was out and about during this tornado in my brain and I happened to look into my purse where I saw a "used" gift card from the week before. A gentle voice came to me... "What if you gave him that? That used up gift card? That's certain to make an impression. Only, that's what you are giving me. How many times have you thought today 'Lord, WHAT SHALL I GIVE YOU TODAY?' My time? My love? My thoughts? WHAT?"

I think that so often we can get caught up in man... the impression of man... the appearance of man... to work for man... not God.

So, I had to cleanse my heart and ask God to forgive me where I have put man over God. RML is just another man.

A good man.

A good family.

But still man.

Not God.

My worship must come from a love for God. My church attendance must come from a love for my Savior. And even the love for my pastor and his family must come from an overflow of my love for my sweet Jesus.

So... while our church is celebrating this time of newness and anticipated ministry... My prayer is that our true worship is of the purest form... pointed at our Savior who so clearly blesses us, whether we have a pastor or not...

*Oh, and BTW... we went with the ice cream gift card... and the kids had cheeto hands while holding the card... not exactly the impression I was hoping for...lol


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Know You're moving to Africa when...

You Know You are moving to Africa when these 3 things happen within a 24 hour period:

1. You have screaming children after receiving their Yellow Fever & Typhoid Shots... (on a side note: I'm pretty sure the nurse was giving the Mr. the bill at this point in the snap... his face is *almost* as painful as KGs)







2. When you get 7 venom extractor kits in the mail... watch out black mamba, the McBs are COMING... (I guess the Mr. is planning on a few snake bites or he's using the perfect # 7... hoping for the latter)


3. When ALSO in the mail you get several letters from a 1st grade Sunday School class from your home town... (insert *Awww* here) My fave is from Abby who says "thanks for *beaning* a witness for Jesus"... super sweet!





Enjoy your Thursday! I'm off to pick up my parents from the airport!!! YAY for amazing parents!!
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Beautiful Things...

Welcome to the "new" look! I'm super excited about it, myself, and think Jenn did a FAN-TABULOUS job!
This makeover has been a while in coming! I wanted to do it myself, but I realized I have some MAJOR limitations when it comes to graphic design. (along with many other major limitations...ha!)

When I started this blog, it was a place to share some ministry with Hope for Orphans, life in the McB house, and the pursuit of our adoption of a little girl... (which, btw, we know God is going to orchestrate in His timing) but we NEVER anticipated MOVING TO ZAMBIA!!

The only way I can describe what God has done in our lives... and what we witnessed in the lives of the amazing children we will be living life with... is the song "You make beautiful things out of the dust"...

Truly, We can't believe He has redeemed our lives in such a way that He would use us like this. And when we see the hope that comes out of the dust in Zambia... We are simply in awe of our creator! I hope you will browse through all the new "places" on the blog. My favorite is "Meet some Beautiful Things..." They aren't a statistic or just a face... but real kiddos... whom I can't wait to be with. My mother's heart is already LONGING for September! (and Jealous of the Mr. who leaves in 5 WEEKS!!!!)

Hope you like the new look...
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Monday, June 13, 2011

A new face....


Hey ya'll!!! I'm so EXCITED to announce that this blog is getting a makeover by the most amazing Jenn!! You can check out her work here. Tomorrow there may be a period of time that you can't quite view the blog... but soon afterwards there's gonna be the big "reveal!" I'm so excited with the job Jenn has done and she couldn't have been more amazing to work with! In addition, stay tuned, because next week there is some exciting news!!! (maybe some good stuff and all) So for now... goodbye ol' blog look... you've treated me right nice like....

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another Week, Another Highlight....





While I truly want to "skip" the highlights of the week, I just CANT! I want to jump on to another post I want to write... but we will do it another day!

This week was great! Just the right amount of good times mixed with productivity!

1. Friends and waterslides...

2. I started working with a GREAT gal to give my blog a "makeover" ... and all I can say is... SHE. IS. AWESOME! Can't say much more than that... there's gonna be the big "reveal", including something super FUN!! Stay tuned...

3. Garage Sale: Preparation, and the execution of it! Good times... Friday STUNK! Saturday ROCKED... so I guess we did pretty good! That's the last of our things, and an organization is coming to pick up the left overs in the morning. They pay $.15 per pound and allow us to choose an organization to donate the $ to. We chose to donate it to Walking in Grace Ministries here in our town. They helped widows and their families. It was nice to have their help to get rid of our stuff... and feel good about helping widows, also.






4. STAR WARS: The Mr. felt that it was "time" to introduce the kids to STAR WARS. I was hesitant at first, but I have to say it has been fun. The unexpected part is that there have been some spiritual applications surrounding Anikan Skywalkers big fall into the dark side....

5. Our house is officially "a mess"... and today Z told someone "I don't have a bed anymore, I get to sleep on a blanket." They don't seem to mind! (don't worry, I'm borrowing air mattresses this week)





For next week? AWESOMENESS with a splash of nasty. VBS... All 3 kiddos for 3 hours per day... I have to say that is going to be GREAT all around! Monday the dentist... Wednesday afternoon we go to get our travel immunizations. (that's the splash of nasty). AND then my parents come in town for 5 days!!!!!!! WOOOHOOO!!! Here's to a good week for us all!!

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