I am not naive. I know there are alot of people out there- some very close to me- who hear or read that we are considering adoption and think, " they have no business doing that!" or "they have so many struggles they are FINALLY getting through, they shouldn't think about doing that." or "they are irresponsible for even talking about it." and on and on it goes. They are thinking of the time, energy, and of course MONEY it takes to bring a child home and then raise him or her. I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bother me. I'd be dishonest if I said it doesn't make me angry. But not because of what they are saying about me...it's what they are saying about our God that gets me so fired up.
So here's my response:
"they have so many struggles they are FINALLY getting through, they shouldn't think about doing that." - the only way we have gotten through those struggles is being led by God through our faith in him. God never promised us we'd be "comfortable and without struggles." In fact, as a Christian, I am basically guaranteed to face spiritual war... and comfort is relative. I guarantee my life is unimaginably comfortably compared to a crowded orphanage in Africa.
"they are irresponsible for even talking about it." - we're ignoring our Father's commandment if we ignore it. I'm not suggesting that EVERY believer should bring a child home. But I am stating that EVERY believer should help the widows and the orphans.
Obviously, I have gotten pretty emotional about this subject. I think about it all the time. And because I imagine some might be asking how that affects my life with the family I ALREADY have, I will tell you. I have never been so intentional in my interactions with my husband and my children as I have been the last month. I grieve deeply when I wrong them, I pray constantly for them- and nightly with them. I have been given a HUGE gift in my family and the opportunity to show them Christ's light in their day- I want to give everything I can to that end. There are too many kids in the world that will never get to see that light. How can I not take it seriously? It is an easy choice for me. But I also know that God has called me to give that love, to shine that light for another child who would otherwise only know darkness.
I won't even go into the money issue here. read my previous posts if you need proof on how God has worked in that area of our lives.
I follow alot of blogs- and one of them highlighted a family recently that is a huge inspiration to me. They are younger than Joe and I and have 3 kids biologically, and have adopted 6 more, AND just found out they are expecting a child. First, relax. I am not saying I want 10 kids (yet)... but I love their motto, and while I can't say that I envy her laundry situation, I do aspire to her trust in God...and pray that I can raise as many children as God deems mine to love him and serve him and go out into the world with that same understanding.
Here's what she wrote to those who asked the question "WHY???"
I pray that with each day, I can live her answers.
"We are often asked WHY? Why would we adopt THREE kids, more-less SIX kids? Why would we do this? Why devote our lives to this “cause” (if you can truly even call it that).
-Because we believe that this life is not our own.
-Because we believe that in the end, it won’t matter what career ladders we climbed or financial investments we made or what gadgets we could afford. It will matter that six lives were saved.
-Because we have seen hopelessness firsthand in Ethiopia and elsewhere, but believe in all hope that each child is a child of God.
-Because we believe that the orphaned street child who plays street soccer on the rough pavement of the streets of Addis Ababa is no less valuable to the Creator than the polished child on a suburban soccer team here in America.
-Because we see nothing more worthy of our focus, time, resources, and lives.
-Because injustice is a wrong worth righting.
-Because the poor child is still a child.
-Because we know that, while adoption is not the solution in and of itself to the orphan crisis 143 million times over, we have seen with our own lives how it rescues the lives of those who can be adopted.
-Because we believe that Jesus died for redemption, not just for eternity, but for our lives on this planet and we believe we can be vessels of that redemption for children’s lives here.
-Because we know that, if it were our own flesh and blood, we would want someone to love them and call them family, too.
-Because, really, these kids are no different from your own. Not at all.
-Because it’s just not okay with us to say no to a child who needs a home when we have one.
-Because it’s just not okay with us to say no to a child who needs a family when we have one.
-Because it’s just not okay with us to say no to a child who needs room to thrive when we have room and can make room.
-Because it’s just not okay with us to do nothing.
-Because it won’t be okay with them if we do nothing.
-Because it’s just not going to be okay to do nothing."
things I have learned about/because of my faith in 2009
1. God is bigger than ANYTHING I can throw at him. He blesses us directly and through others- who we wouldn't expect. More on this later.
2. God's timing is ALWAYS perfect. I'll admit it- I was FREAKING out when our house hadn't sold and we were getting calls every other day from the mortgage company, and again when the offer was with the mortgage company and they took what seemed like FOREVER and came up with the LAMEST requirements for us. But guess what? I had no reason to worry. It all worked out perfectly. Because of the timing, we found the PERFECT rent house for the PERFECT amount of money. We got back deposits from the utilities at the old house (that we had forgotten we had paid!) that were the perfect amount to take care of the bills generated the few months we were having to pay some bills for both houses.
3. Giving God our first fruits is the ONLY way to give. We decided it was time to finally "put our money where our mouths are" and live our faith out loud. It has been AMAZING! What a feeling it is to say, and experience the words, "God, I trust you with my finances." And what a testimony to God's faithfulness when we are making less than we have in many years, giving more than we EVER have, and in a better financial position than we could have ever imagined! We are so excited at the possibilities this will bring- a family vacation even-something we have never been able to even consider! But so much more important is the opportunity to save and be able to give MORE! We recently committed to supporting monthly a missionary we had the blessing to get to know and who is doing amazing things in spreading the story of Jesus to all corners of the globe. And, as I spoke of in my last post, we are prayerfully considering adoption to expand our family.
4. Joy is far better than happiness. In all the events of the last year, happiness was far to often absent. I cried, and cried, and cried. But I REFUSED to let go of my joy in the Lord. In the worst of moments, I could cry out and thank God that these circumstances are only temporary and I felt so much JOY from that acknowledgement! It was such a relief! Joe would laugh when I would say, "Bring it, Satan!" (mostly because he was worried he would!) but I loved being able to laugh through the tears- something I could only do because I understood what joy really is.
5. God almost never works how I think he will. I will now admit something that I haven't even shared with Joe: When our dryer went out right after moving into the rent house, I was bummed. Major bummed. But after a week or so of hanging laundry out to dry, I was actually more bummed when my dad and Bob surprised us with a new dryer. Don't get me wrong- it was an UNBELIEVABLE gift I was so thankful for, but... I actually liked line drying our clothes. I may actually do it all summer to save money! (for giving, or vacation, or adoption) I didn't expect to LIKE losing the convenience of a dryer and I most certainly didn't expect to receive a brand new one! God gave my 2 gifts in that process- he taught me something I could do without, and provided the dryer as well. (He had to have know that line drying in 20 degree temps just isn't the same.) ;) Another gift came when Joe's dad shared a budget spreadsheet with us he had been using. I expected it to make Joe and I more frustrated at our financial situation, but instead, it has been instrumental in helping us to make the changes in giving I described above. Talk about a stress reliever! While they may not share our convictions or beliefs, their love for us and desire to help us in our finances are a huge blessing from God.
6. Tomorrow doesn't scare me anymore. This goes without saying, really, as a believer in an eternal sense. But here I am speaking more of the day to day things. I was recently told by a close friend, that of all the people she knew, by far, I had the most RANDOM things happen to me. And she is SO right. RANDOM... and often hilarious. I am a drama magnet people. I think it boils down to this: where Satan sees faith growing strongest is where he fights the hardest. If someone doesn't believe in spiritual warfare, they need to read through my last year of Facebook posts...seriously! He does not want God to get the glory, and he likes nothing more than to see us give up and resign ourselves in sorrow and pity. I can tell you that isn't gonna happen to me. I may stumble along the way, but the awesome thing is that God is right there next to me every time- reaching out to help me back up.. and almost always to a step closer to him than I was before.
so what have you learned about or from your faith this last year?
Sunday, January 03, 2010 | | 0 Comments
Anyone who knows me well enough has probably heard me say at some point in the last year that I don't feel like our family is done. Truth be told, there are some days I question my own sanity when I think about it. But, when it comes down to it, I feel like I am supposed to be someone else's mom. For me to "have" another child would mean reversal surgeries and I didn't have great pregnancies, so we would need to adopt. Specifically, I feel drawn to Ethiopia. I decided a long time ago to quit trying to understand it, or rationalize it, or justify it to people- I just came to the realization that God put it on my heart and if he wanted it to happen, it would. The difficult part in that was that Joe, while not outright objecting or yelling "No Way Jose!", didn't necessarily feel the same calling to have more children- biological or otherwise. I will fess up that at first I tried the begging route with him. And of course, there was some emotional outpouring. (My children do not get their drama from their fathers, I am honest about my shortcoming...sorta... hehe) What I realized though, was that if this was TRULY going to be a process God was leading us into, He wouldn't just be leading ME into it. I simply asked Joe to pray that God would make him open to the idea. Now, I'm not going to sit here and say that I stopped talking about adopting completely- far from it! But, I did make a conscious effort to stop talking about it incessantly, and not ask him to commit to something. I want to give God the glory in the entire process, especially the decision to proceed- I didn't want to ever have the thought that I had guilted him into the responsibility of becoming a parent again!
A little over a month ago, on orphan sunday, a group met at our church to start praying about how our church can serve the orphans of the world. I knew immediately I needed to attend, but I purposefully didn't ask Joe. I didn't want to force anything. Just a few days before the meeting, I began committing to getting up and having a quiet time in the mornings- To read scripture or a devotion and to pray over my life and family. What great timing that at the orphan meeting, the host handed out a "40 days of prayer for orphans!" I missed a few weekends, but I always made it a priority to pray DAILY for the cause of the orphan- for the parents that feel the need to give them up, to the caregivers that take care of them, to the churches praying for them, to the families that bring them home- to the orphans themselves. It was life changing. Each day, I prayed specifically that God would use our family in the way according to his plan. I prayed that if it was his will, Joe's heart would be open to adoption, and if not that I would be obedient and find peace in that. (that was the hardest to pray- if I am honest)
Even though the 40 days is over, I am still doing my quiet time, and I am using the prayers in it to continue my prayers for the orphans in the world and how we can be used to help them- even just one of them.
This weekend, I came across some old cd's with pictures of the kids when they were teeny. I spent a few hours just smiling as I flipped through. Such sweet times. And even though we have lots of memorable times these days, there is just nothing quite like the joys of seeing a toddler experience life's wonders.
After awhile, I came back in the living room and snuggled into Joe's arms. We were looking at the Christmas tree, and on a whim I said, "For Christmas I want a bigger family..."
Imagine my suprise when he said, "ok!' Imagine my pure shock when after I asked, "really?" he responded, "sure."
There was some joking that followed and I will admit that the grin on my face might as well have been sewn on, because I couldn't wipe it away. When I finally got the courage to ask for clarification (I wanted to make sure he REALLY meant what I thought he meant), I realized he meant he was open to adoption. We both agreed it won't be happening immediately, but if it is God's will for us, we are BOTH ready to open our hearts to another child- forever. Please pray for use in this journey- there is much to consider and do to prepare.
Sunday, December 20, 2009 | | 2 Comments
I work in the corporate world. This means I am around lots of networking luncheons, summits, meetings and all around schmoozapaloozas. If you know me, you know that I actually enjoy all of these. I enjoy meeting all kinds of interesting people and learning a little about their lives. I am the stereotypical “people person.” One thing you see at any and every business function, without exception, is the exchanging of business cards. Everyone wants everyone else to know who they are and what they do. Yes, it is handy for getting contact info off of, but let’s be honest - it is mostly about telling people who you are.
I was so excited when I got mine in. Being new to this world, when it is time to go to a function, I usually end up either: a) forgetting them entirely, or b) bringing far too few. I think my children were the first people I gave them out to, because I couldn’t think of anyone else who would want or need one. I justified this by telling myself that I am JUST the administrative assistant, but truth be told, I aspire to a higher position, so I should be better.
Another item I received shortly after being hired was a nifty cool golf shirt with the company logo and name embroidered on the sleeve and chest. I see a lot of other people at various events wearing similar shirts, so I know it’s another one of those “corporate world” must haves. As I mentioned, our shirts are golf shirts - really nice ones. But, I don’t golf. And, to be honest, it’s a men’s golf shirt, so even though I got a small, it nearly touches my knees when I tuck it in. I’m not complaining, mind you. I actually like having the golf shirt better than my business cards. Here’s why. When I wear my shirt, everyone who sees me knows I have some relationship with my company, or I wouldn’t be wearing it. The assumption is that my identity is somehow linked with the company I am advertising. I am essentially bragging about being with the company I work for. I know there are exceptions to this thought process going through your head right now, (like the t-shirt you wear that your Aunt brought back from Graceland) but just go with it. I have a purpose.
So, in getting to that... I am reading a new book that I love, and even though it doesn’t even broach this type of thing, it got me thinking about one thing, which led to another, which led to this: Is my faith- my relationship with God through Christ – a business card or a golf shirt?
Now I know you think I am crazy!
What I mean is, do I treat my Christianity and its impact on my life like a business card that is given out as a kind of, “Hi! I am Carrie, and I am a Christian!” Or, is it more like the logo on my golf shirt, so obviously a part of who I am that everyone who sees me makes that connection instantly? If I am honest with myself, the answer isn’t the one it should be. How often do I, for the sake of making myself look more pious, infuse a conversation with a Biblical reference? What about the casual name dropping of my church name or that of the private Christian school my children attended? The list of instances could go on and on. What I realize, looking at these situations constructively, is that I was “giving out” my faith, like I would a business card, so that I would look good. But was I making God look good? Were my actions matching up to my projected self?
How much different would Carrie look if I wore my faith as openly as the logo on my golf shirt? Again, I don’t think I like the answer, but the truth of it convicts me to work hard to get to that point. I consider myself blessed because I know several amazing people who exemplify this transparency that I can turn to for support and more importantly, accountability. It will take time, and prayer, and time in the Word. The Holy Spirit has sowed the seed of desire in my heart, now it’s up to me to tend it and give it the environment and food that will grow it into a living vine, with fruit that I don’t have to point out to people because they will see it all over me.
Thursday, July 16, 2009 | | 1 Comments
In case you didn't know, I LOVE to cook. There aren't many other things that make me as happy. Not many at all. As one of my favorite bloggers/cooks/ranching lady would say, "I'm just keepin' it real!"
So for my first foodie post, I thought I would go simple, yet scrum-dil-y-umptios! It is also a REALLY economical meal for a family- and we all know how important that is in days like we are livin'.
Italian Beef Sandwiches
here's what you'll need:
1 3-5lb rump or chuck tenderloin roast ( I have used both cuts with equally fantabulous results)
3 cups water
1 7 oz italian dressing seasoning packet
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
package of sliced provolone cheese
1 pack of split hoagie rolls
few TBSP butter
1 large onion
Got it? great! Let's go!
I wasn't thinking ahead about posting this recipe, so I kinda missed pictures of the first part, but I know you are all very intelligent people, and well, this isn't rocket science, so I am sure you can hang...
Get out your trusty 'ole crock pot. Sigh at how wonderful it is. Heave the roast into the crock.
Now, in a medium saucepan. (please don't use non-stick. I won't go into how bad nonstick is for you, and I too, once used them for all my cooking, but I can't stand to think of all the icky non-stick contamination so just don't use it. Thank you.)
Into the contaminate- free saucepan add all the seasoning and spices to the water and stir, then heat to a boil. Once boiling, pour over the meat, put on the lid, plug in the crockpot and set the cooker on low ( one would think this step was obvious, but I once ruined an entire blissful dinner opportunity because someone turned it on low, but forgot to plug it in. I won't name names because he would get mad at me, again)then, go enjoy the next 10-12 hours.
Oh, did I not mention this was an ALL day recipe? Hey, guess what?! This is an all day recipe! Cool, huh? :)
Not a big deal, it takes MAYBE 5 minutes to prep, and everything else is done 10 hours later. Anyone can do this before work, I promise- I have!
If you don't have 10-12 hours, or you don't remember to make this until after lunch, just crank it on high and cook for 4-5 hours. I can't help you if it is 6 pm...
Once the time is up, it is time to prep the onions and buns. You don't have to have onions, but you really have to have onions. Just trust me. Sauteed onions make everything better. Especially Italian Beef sandwiches.
so, heat up about 2 tbs butter in a cast iron skillet if you have one. If you aren't cool, and just have a regular one it'll work, I guess... ;)
Yay! time for the first pic! Here is how your onions should look when you put them in the skillet:
I am currently drooling.
Now, I try to use no higher than medium heat, so I don't burn them, but just cook them at a nice slow even pace. It probably took 10 minutes to get them to look the way I wanted.
Some people will stop when they just get translucent. They are missing all the sweet goodness that happens as they brown and the sugars inside come alive. I really think I might just eat a plateful of them when my onions in the garden are ready. yes, I am that weird. But you are the one reading about me...:)
Okay, once they are done, put the onions in a small bowl and keep warm. It is time to get back to the meat. Remove the roast from the pot and juices, and put it on a good sized platter.
Now, take 2 forks and just start pulling it apart. Joe likes some chunky pieces, and I like it more finely shredded, so I do a little of both. a 3 lb roast will give you enough for a hungry family- and even have leftover. Guess what I am taking for lunch tomorrow...?
Once it is all shredded, put it back with the juices. I should note that in this picture, it is obvious that this is NOT my crockpot.
I kinda forgot to start making this until around 2:30 on Saturday, so I took all of it out of the crock after 4 hours, cranked the oven to 400 and let it cook in there for about an hour. Worked like a charm.
Anywho, now I just heat maybe a half tbsp of butter in the same skillet I used for the onions and toast my hoagie. Joe likes his untoasted. You can be weird like him if you are worried about the fat in butter. I happen to know it is good for me, and I also like the crispiness of the roll. Whatever you think works is great.
So now you just slap some provolone, pile on the juicy beef, and top with some onions and more cheese, and you get this: (sorry about the dark pic.. taken on iphone after the sun had set)
this is happiness.
I hope you liked my first recipe! I will try to get more up here in the near future... Maybe I'll even use that Uber-expensive professional camera I have to take some decent photos. We'll see!
Let me know what you think if you make it!
I missed church 2 weeks ago. We had a late evening the night before, and as is typical in my house, the laundry wasn’t caught up. That was our big excuse anyway. Many weekends we have a good excuse for missing- sick child, sick parent, and less frequently, a random baby shower to prep for. I will even admit here, for all of cyberspace to read that there truly have been times we didn’t go to church because someone had no clean underwear. I won’t mention who that someone is because he might get mad and not make me any more crackers or pasta. But on this particular Sunday, we were honestly just being lazy, slothful if you were. I always hate the twinge of guilt and regret that God sends me through the sweet words of a 6 yr old, “Mommy, I wish we went to church today.” Can you hear the sound of my soul ripping?
At a friendly cookout THIS past Saturday, a friend from church mentioned the sermon from the previous week, and how it was one of the most convicting she had heard in a long time. I love our pastor, and on more than plenty of occasions I have too been convicted by his presentation of scripture. To be honest, though, I figured it was just because it applied in her mind to something she was going through. Then she said it was about work, and it changed the way she went about the whole week thereafter.
My ears perked up a little.
Work is not one of my favorite words. It brings a connotation of not being able to rest, and I LOVE rest. Not proud of it necessarily, but I am honest enough to admit it as truth. My friend briefly went on to describe the general theme he spoke on, and right then and there, I decided I needed to hear it for myself. Our church has a page of past sermons on its website, in case you or your child is ill, are out of clean skivvies or as in our case, you just feel particularly slothful one Sunday morning.
I jumped online this morning on the drive to work. (one of the redeeming qualities of my iphone) and listened to the sermon.
No, really. WOW.
I would highly recommend anyone reading this blog who didn’t hear it already take the 40 minutes or so and listen. I think you will find it as thought provoking and convicting as my friend and I did. It is truly that good. I may tie my 11 yr old down to a chair and make him listen. Better yet, I will remove all of his current song selections from his ipod and load it on there. Because I am just mean enough to do something like that. Bwaahahaha.
To give you a taste, I will share my favorite quote from the sermon:
I am not a transcriptionist, so I hereby give myself artistic freedom to NOT type every single word…but I will try my hardest to keep the integrity and meaning intact.
From Gordon Dahl (sp?)
“Most middle class Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship. As a result, their meanings and values are distorted, their relationships disintegrate faster than they can keep them in repair, and their lifestyles resemble a cast of characters in search of a plot.”
That was powerful to me. And, I think it explains so many things that have always seemed unexplainable. Don’t get me wrong, I REALLY, REALLY like my job, but I don’t worship it by any means. My problem isn’t so much what is spoken of above, but the opposite. As I mentioned, I LOVE rest…
So, what does the Bible say about that?
And about how we should look at work?
Listen for yourself… my opening paragraph to this post will seem relevant after listening...hopefully.
(click on the sermon titled “Is Work a Curse?”)
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 | | 0 Comments
I wish that I could actually sing. I imagine lifting my voice high in praise and making a joyful noise unto the Lord. My husband knows that God must have tone- deafness because the sounds that I thrust into the air are not praise worthy, nor are they joyful to hear. This is a sad truth for me to embrace, because I LOVE music. I love listening to the lyrics and applying the words to my life. With a few after-a-long-day-at-work exceptions, my car radio is tuned to a contemporary Christian station. I figure with all the other things in the world pulling me away from my faith, at least I can have something that will bring me back to center when I am out and about. Plus, I want my kids hearing positive music- at least when they are with me! I like this station because there is some more tame praise and worship songs, but there is also some pretty hard core rock. I need to be able to throw my hands up in the air and jump around now and then...okay, quite often, really.
And then there are the songs that convict me and at the same time give me peace about the struggles I am going through. I hear words in the lyrics that I have said or thought, and I know that I am not alone in them. I think certain bands are blessed with this better than others,Jars of Clay seems amazing at it. Here is the newest song of theirs I heard coming to work a few mornings ago...
you can listen to a bit of it, and even buy it at the website of the radio station I listen to.
It's called Air1. it is at 90.9 FM in OKC, or you can listen on the web at www.air1.com
I've been living out of sanity
I've been splitting hairs and blurring lines
I am a house that is divided
In my heart and in my mind
I use one hand to pull closer
The other to push you away
If I had two hands doing the same thing
Lifted high, lifted high
I have a broken disposition
I'm a liar who thirsts for the truth
And while I ache for faith to hold me
I need to feel the scars and see the proof
And if we just keep digging
We can reach the foundation Of our souls
And if we just keep cutting all the chains from our hearts
We'll lose control
Jars of Clay - Two Hands
From the album Long Fall Back To Earth
And it feels like giving in
It feels like starting over
It feels like waking up, and you know it's coming
It feels like a brand new day Open your eyes
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!! Go do something to honor a veteran, or service member and family. They pay the ultimate cost for the freedoms we all take for granted- it is time we all let them know how much we appreciate it!
Make A Difference!
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