Monday, August 31, 2009

Jakey Photo Shoot

Jakey looked so cute all dressed up for church that I just had to drag him outside for a little photo shoot. There is a semi-trailer across the street that is rather rusty and cool looking--not as cool as an old railroad car, but it will do.

The little kids have been watching the big girls get ready for school. They got their backpacks on and headed outside.

All dressed up and no place to go

But go, we will

On second thought, I think I'll just stay home

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cuban Medicine

A blog friend of mine who calls herself a 100% hot-blooded Cuban, has posted a very important must-read on her blog. There is a video of Congresswoman Watson talking about the amazing health care system that Fidel Castro has gifted the Cuban people with. She wants that for us?? After seeing photos that my friend posted on her blog, I'm thinking that Congresswoman Watson is grossly misinformed.

Would you want to be in any of these hospitals?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Our last week of summer

(Sob) We've tried to make the most of our last week of summer. I will be so sad to see the kids head off to school next week. And the thought of a looong winter strikes dread to my heart. ahhh....

Dancing in the rain

"Mom! You are so annoying with that camera!"

Feeding the geese, fish and turtles

Swinging on the fence gate

"They ate all my bread!"

"Step away from the breadcrumbs and no one gets pecked."

Flap those wings, baby

Digging in the dirt

Little sunbeam

Some funky weeds in our yard

Cool baby Jake helps big brother wrench on his truck

An impromptu ballet show

Ryan's first paycheck...ka-ching!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

God's Gift to Ryan

Since Ryan did not get to leave last week, we have been praying about what to do. He wanted to go back to Michigan and live with my parents--but none of the job possibilities he had hoped for, worked out.

His truck needed some parts, so he looked up the nearest junkyard and headed out with the GPS. He arrived at the spot, but there were two businesses and he wasn't sure which one to enter. He went in to ask and as he was starting to head out, the guy said, "Do you need a job?"


Startled, Ryan replied that yes, he needed a job and the guy told him that he needed help in his shop--which ended up being a car body shop. Then he asked if Ryan had done any farm work, or knew anything about horses! He has a small farm with some horses and goats and needed help there, too. Well, Ryan spent the last two years of high school in a vocational agriculture course, which included a working farm. He was the farm manager for a year, so he definitely has experience.

So, let me get this straight. Ryan walks into a random shop, and gets offered a job out of the blue. The job happens to be a combination of his favorite things--the career he plans to pursue in the mil*tary, and the only thing he has experience doing. He will get paid above minimum wage, and will have about 40 hours of work per week. He started work tonight at the farm tonight and reports for a full day tomorrow.

Um...yeah. This kind of thing doesn't 'just happen.' It has GOD written all over it! I don't know yet why God wanted Ryan here for the next five months, but He obviously has a PLAN. He always does.

Quote of the Day

"Those who never learn to laugh at themselves miss many opportunities to be amused." --author unknown.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How's that Forgiveness Working Out for You?

As usual, as soon as I spout off something about how God helped me with something, I am tested on it. Just like clockwork. :)

My kids got to know some of the neighbor kids today and came to dinner with tales of the comments that were made.

"If I touch your sister, will I get three toes like her? I don't want to get her disease."
"What happened to your brother's ear? Was it from a disease?"

There seemed to be quite a few comments about 'disease,' so I think the neighbor kids thought they could catch a special need. What a great opportunity to introduce them to some wonderful little kids who happen to have some special issues!

I waited to see how my kids were reacting, and was so thrilled to hear them say, "I think they have never seen kids with special needs before. They don't know what to ask."

Apparently they handled it just fine because the neighbor kids came back after dinner. I went outside for awhile and they were all having a blast with the little kids. It's so cute to watch how the older kids want to play with the pre-schoolers. What was really interesting is that Zoey, who has the most obvious special need, soon became the favorite. Gotta love that!

What's not to love?!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Forgive, or Not To Forgive....

The other day, while touring Plimouth Plantation, we were able to visit the Native people area. (According to the signs, they prefer not to be called Indians.) We enjoyed talking to some of the staff but there was one woman who was sharing her opinions of how life has treated her people. I was so sad for her because she was obviously very angry and filled with bitterness.

It made me think about how all of us are handed some difficult things in life...all of us have to cope with injustice and/or hardship directed our way. While not all of us are a minority race, there is no one on earth who has not, at one time or another, been the object of ridicule or thoughtless, hurtful remarks. I have observed that people handle this type of adversity and injustice in several ways.

One is to believe that every little thing is a deliberate insult and to respond accordingly.

Another is to believe that most people mean well, but might be ignorant of the latest politically correct terminology, forgive and move on.

When we were going through infertility, people said some very thoughtless, hurtful things to me. I reacted with hurt and anger. It wasn't until years later that I realized that I was only hurting myself by hanging on to that anger. The people who had 'wronged' me were totally oblivious, while I suffered day after day.

In the adoption community, there are those who take offense to those who use the 'wrong' terminology. One should not say, 'natural parents,' or "they had some kids of 'their own' and then they adopted some." Yes, it can be wearisome to be asked for the 1000th time if my girls 'are sisters.' There are those who advise me to use a snappy comeback to put these 'thoughtless people' in their place. But you know what? The people who ask just don't know how to say, 'Were they biological sisters in their home country?" For Pete's sake... I don't know all the politically correct things to say to people for every possible circumstance, either! I might say the wrong thing to someone who is going through cancer, or has been divorced, etc. because I have not experienced those things. We need to show each other a little grace and believe that people do not have malicious intent.

I have heard it argued that our kids shouldn't have to hear these adoption faux pas all the time--it's so negative, etc. Well, guess what? They ARE going to hear it for the rest of their lives. We cannot train the entire population of our country to use the words we deem correct. Sometimes, I take the time to educate gently, but most of my efforts go toward training my kids to forgive... to let those comments roll off... to appreciate that people care enough to take an interest, and cut them some slack for not using the 'correct' terminology...they do not deliberately use the wrong words. I do not want my kids to carry around a burden of anger and bitterness toward anyone who says 'the wrong thing' to them.

My girls have also been made fun of for being Chinese. We talk about how they feel each time, but it is so important to me that they choose to forgive, so that they do not allow the ridicule to define them. The ridicule belongs to the ridiculer. He/she is the one with the problem and it cannot 'stick' to my kids unless they chose to pick up the big 0l' suitcase that says, 'Pain, bitterness and anger.' Who wants to carry that big honker around?!

I am so sad when I see that some, in their attempt to be free of pain inflicted on them, instead, end up in bondage to their own bitterness. We cannot control others and the world around us. That is why Jesus told us to forgive. It is not for the benefit of the person who has wronged us (although, that person does ultimately benefit). Jesus told us to forgive so that we could be set free! Free to NOT carry around a horrible burden of anger and bitterness. Free to embrace life and enjoy it--forgiving those 'slights' that are handed daily to all of us.

Forgiveness can be hard work, depending on how deeply hurt we are by someone else's actions. God really helped me with this a few years ago by showing me that if I made the choice to forgive, He would handle the rest. My work was to say that I was choosing to forgive, and then each time I was tempted to replay the offense in my mind ('cause let's be honest, we kinda like nursing our hurt and anger), I would also choose to direct my mind to something else. The verse He used to help me was:
"...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

Try it! It works! And welcome to FREEDOM!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Memorial Box Monday

(What is Memorial Box Monday? It was started by a blog friend of mine. She answers questions about it here. Memorial Box Monday is a way to record all the times that God has answered prayer in amazing ways for your family.)

So, as you know if you've been reading this blog for the past week or so, God has sometimes used sunbeams to send me a hug. We have been praying for a long time that once we moved here, that God would lead us to the church that He wanted us to be a part of.

Last week, we attended a church I had driven past on the way to the doctor when Kate and Jordan both had medical issues. We liked the church but didn't have much time to look over the information because we were getting Ryan ready to leave for bo*tcamp. The following morning, God used these sunbeams to hug me.

Later in the week, Jillian showed me something she was doing with the bulletin from the church we had attended. I turned it over, and saw this:

Doesn't it seem as if the sunbeams are shining right over the church--kinda pointing to it? We are still praying about where God wants us...but it 'seems' like He is pointing us to that church. :) It was such an amazing thing. Obviously, I didn't even notice the sunbeams on the front of the bulletin that Sunday as we sat in church. But after experiencing them on Monday, I saw the bulletin and a lightening bolt went through me. So, if God continues to point us in the the direction of that church, this bulletin will go in the Memorial Box.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pilgrims and Native People

We took the kids to Plimouth Plantation on Saturday in the sweltering heat. Last year when we were visiting, we had purchased a family pass that was good for a year. And then my appendix decided it wanted to come out and we didn't get to use the pass. It was expiring, so we had to go on Saturday, despite the heat.

We had read a book last year about a little girl who made the trip to America on the Mayflower, and it included some stories about the first winter in Plymouth. (No idea why they know spell it with a "y"). I was all excited about seeing the exact replica of the settlement that I had read about so much.

I'm sure it would be better in cooler weather.

The kids were all grumbling about how they wanted to go to the beach (that was tantalizingly in sight). I announced that we were all going to have a hap-hap-happy time.

So here we are...having fun...sweating more profusely than I have ever sweated in my LIFE.

Our first glimpse of Plimoth, with the ocean in the distance

My sweet Molly

Main street in Plimoth Plantation

This was the biggest home. Most were only one room, about 12 x 12??

Chatting with Mary and her friend. Mary came over on the Mayflower (cool, how they are in character and talk with you that way)

Leading the sheep to the pen

Peeking at the sheep and lambs

"Tina, you fat lard, come get some dinner." -Napoleon Dynamite (sorry...I couldn't resist)

The girls fed the cows

Inside a Native dwelling

And then it was off to the beach! Thanks to Hurricane Bill, we were treated to some actual waves. Plymouth Harbor is normally very calm. With the waves, came COLD water. It was too cold to swim, so we just waded. No matter what the water temperature, we always have fun. I could really get used to this going to the beach every weekend thing! cute are they!?

"Can I fill your bucket for you, Katie-bug?"

I only posted this photo because of the woman in the background. Um...what were ya thinkin' when you wore a bikini to the beach?

Say hello to my little friend. We found these starfish stranded on the beach.

Castles in the sand

I think these buoys are so cool

Plymouth Harbor

It took many tries to get this photo of my sweeties and their fake smiles.