Friday, October 30, 2009

JJ & Jayla Update

JJ and Jayla are so much fun right now. Can life with 2 red heads under the age of 3 ½ ever be dull? Um, no. Let’s start with a JJ update. Since the weather has turned colder, I’ve been taking JJ to the gym during practices a couple of nights a week so that he can hang with Jake as he coaches. JJ just LOVES being at the gym and running around with the little brothers and sisters of the players. He easily makes friends these days, and is a frequent customer at the concessions area where he dishes out Jake’s change for starbursts and Gatorade. A few weeks ago JJ started practicing dribbling one night all on his own – of course Jake has tried to show him how to dribble before, but JJ usually won’t show interest in something unless he ‘thinks’ of it on his own. It’s so much fun watching how JJ is really starting to not be so reserved/shy/whatever you want to call it when people ask him questions or interact with him. He is starting to answer people back and hold conversations, which he hasn’t done until recently. JJ is very, very, very interested in the older players during practice and often imitates their actions, or talks/acts out the things he has heard them say. When Jake and JJ get home from practice Jake usually has about 3 or 4 funny stories from the night about something JJ did, or who he played with at the gym, or what basketball skill he practiced on the side lines. JJ continues to prove that he is very observant and always listening. :) The other morning I was headed out to get groceries with Jayla and JJ was staying home with Jake. As we went out the door JJ said, “Bye Mommy, see you soon, hurry home, if you see a deer turn left!”

Now for Jayla. Let’s just start by saying that she has this pesky little sister role all figured out already. She actually teases JJ if you can believe that!!!! At least a few times a day she will grab JJ's blankey (if he left it laying somewhere) and then she will run from him and yell 'mine' (and then she will hide behind the curtains). She has this grin on her face that tells us she knows EXACTLY what she is doing!!!! Jayla is constantly pestering JJ as he plays….taking a piece off a nicely built tower, grabbing the box of crayons during coloring time and making a run for it, running to sit in JJ’s spot right when he gets up, stealing puzzle pieces, taking his sippy cup of milk and drinking out of it…..and on and on. Oh she is a crazy one! Right now they are kind of going through a stage where they fight and bicker a lot….but then they will also have moments where they both get the giggles about something, or they get into the ‘chasing mode’ where they laugh and run after each other in the house. Yes, never a dull moment. Jayla is also in love with our cats. She probably spends a total of 1 hour a day running after our two cats, or petting them, or pulling their tails, or cornering them and trying to talk with them. She likes to smack the cats on the back (while saying 'be nice') and she also likes to put her face into their fur and feel how soft they are. An unlovely trait about Jayla right now is that if she gets to crying really hard she will gag herself and throw up. It’s mostly if she is really, really, really mad. She’s done it quite a few times recently. Our church just built a new extension for the sanctuary and all of the kids got new classrooms as well. Of course, this threw a lot of the kids for a loop on the first weekend of being in the new rooms, and Jayla was no exception. She cried so hard about being in a new room that she gagged and then threw up. She wasn’t sick. Just very mad. I was talking with another parent after church about it and she said that her nephew used to do that, but instead of throwing up he would pass out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am thankful that she is not doing that!

Enjoy the pictures!

Go JJ Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These first pictures of JJ dribbling are pretty blurry because my camera doesn't take action photos...but I still wanted to post them so that you could see him in action!



This is a typical scene at the gym. JJ has talked one of the older players into holding his blankey, ball, and snack so that he can drink Daddy's pop which he snuck off the sidelines!

Quite the outfit #1.

Quite the outfit #2. JJ has been wearing his Halloween costume around the house a few times a day! Notice the orange and brown pajama pants, one white sock and one black sock, and that Hawkeye keychain!

Quite the tower builder.

My grocery helpers.

Jayla should be the spokesperson for cheez-its.

Look really, really close...can you find Jayla? This is her book reading spot in her room that she always sits at and flips through her books.

Our friend Stacy (Nyla's mommy) took our family pictures a few weeks ago. She got some really cute ones of Jayla that really show her personality! Doesn't this one make you think that she is up to something?!?!



"I didn't do it."

Going after Grandma's kitty.

And here is a short video clip of JJ practicing his dribbling!

video

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adoption Thoughts

Nothing new so far on the adoption front….just waiting on word from Bernice’s family this week to see if they have any leads to share, or potential children that would be a good fit for adoption. God has given me an awesome peace about just waiting and praying. I am hopeful that we will be able to work on the adoption during our upcoming trip to Ghana this December, so that has been at the center of my prayers….that we would have a child identified by then and that we would be able to work on the adoption in some way during our trip.

I was talking with a parent in Jake’s program the other day about our adoption and she gave me some awesome encouragement that I wanted to share. She had asked me if we had any adoption updates so we were just talking through the latest details. She and her husband have adopted 8 TIMES (!) so she is quite the veteran and she always has great insights for me. She was telling me to think about this period of waiting to find out who our child is as ‘pregnancy’. She said that for adoptions, this part of waiting, wondering, praying, hoping, and going through the hiccups/hardships/worries of the adoption process are all part of God’s way of emotionally allowing us to connect with our child – even though we don’t know who he is yet. Although the physical connection is not there as in pregnancy, through this waiting period is when the emotional connection is growing. For us, the past year of being in this adoption journey is step by step etching out a spot in our hearts for whoever our child may be. It’s all preparation she said, because once you have that photo of your child, and meet him for the first time, you are already in love with him and can picture him as your own….because you are already emotionally invested in him. This is similar to what happens in pregnancy….. as the months go by and your belly grows, your love for your child grows, and a mother already feels a connection with her child in her heart, even though she hasn’t met her child yet.

I remember back to when we first started in on the adoption, and I wondered how it all worked….this emotional part. I wondered how adoptive parents loved their adoptive children as much as their biological children. I knew that they did. I saw so many examples of it, but I just wondered how it would come to be? And now I have my answer. It’s all about how God prepares our hearts for what is to come. I felt how this worked with Solomon. And even the heart ache of that entire situation still had a purpose. It was a piece of God’s workmanship to continue to deepen my love for this adoptive child….whoever he may be.

A friend had this quote on her blog a few weeks ago and I saved it because I loved it so much:

"Waiting is one of God's most powerful tools of grace. God doesn't just give us grace for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait." -Paul David Tripp-

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I came across this picture the other day.......

I know I shared it before on my Reiman Gardens post, but when I saw it again I started laughing about it again! This picture expresses anything and everything that words almost can’t explain! It reminded me of the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Below is my other picture that is worth a thousand words to me. At first glance, you won’t know why, but I’ll explain.

When Jayla was born (and during my pregnancy) I felt extremely guilty for JJ….I was worried constantly that he would be mad at us for having her, and I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough precious time with him any more…..you mom’s know what I mean. Well, once Jayla was born, JJ was very jealous of us spending time with her, and he went through some emotional episodes - the first few days she had come home JJ was acting out in his behavior in ways that he never had before. I remember feeling like I was constantly holding Jayla or changing her diaper or feeding her or trying to get her to stop crying. When Jayla was 3 days old I remember rocking JJ right before his nap and just sobbing…..I could hear Jayla crying in her infant seat in the living room, and yet I just wanted to hold onto my sweet alone time with JJ a little longer. I just felt so bad for JJ and that he had to now share his time, and I felt like I never really got many moments to just hold him anymore. Well, this picture above was taken 1 week later. Jayla was about a week and a half old. I remember that dinner was cooking, and I was putting some of Jayla’s clothes away in her drawers. Jayla was laying on the floor, and then in walked Jake and JJ. JJ had told Jake that he wanted to show Jayla his tractors! For the next 30 minutes JJ rolled those tractors all around Jayla, and told her what colors they were. Oh my word, I could feel the heaviness just being lifted off my shoulders. It was in this moment that I all of a sudden had a peace that it was all going to be okay. Little JJ was going to adjust to being a big brother (just like everyone had said that he would) and having two kids wasn’t going to send me to a mental ward! This picture makes me smile every time….I remember this exact moment like it was yesterday.

Well, that wasn’t quite a thousand words, but I think I could have written more! Now you know what that picture means to me. And, now, bloggies, what picture stops you everytime when you come across it in your photo book? What picture were you thinking of as you read this post? Let’s see ‘em…..your pictures that are worth a thousand words and why!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Love






Don't you love how little girls adore babies?!?! These next few photos are of Jayla being very interested in baby Malia......our friends', Todd & Jess's, baby. Malia came by for a visit, and right when Jess set her infant seat down, Jayla went over and kneeled down in front of the carseat with her hands on her knees, and peered in. It was so cute! Where did she learn to do that? Of course I didn't have my camera to catch the moment, but I got a few good pictures after that.




Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday on My Mind

Don’t forget that if you are looking for Jake’s Thought for the Week, they will now be on his own blog each Monday at:

http://kingdomhoops.blogspot.com/

I hope you take the time to read his post today….I’ve been begging him for a long time to write a post for the blog on Obsessive Compulsive Order (OCD) which is a psychological condition that he has. Jake is very open about it, and he has shared a bit about it today within his own ‘God Story’.

Anyways, now that Jake is posting his TFTW on his own, I thought it might be fun to start Monday posts called ‘Monday On My Mind’. Of course everything I blog about is ‘on my mind’ but I thought on Mondays I might just share something that was on my mind from the weekend, or something I am thinking about for the week ahead. Please join in the fun if you want! I would love to know what’s on your mind too in the comments section! So, I’ll see how this goes….I don’t like being tied down to blogging themes for a certain day, but this might be fun. :)

Well, to start, today I am thinking about reflecting on the past and specifically past trials. I do a lot of reflecting, especially in some of my more serious posts. I do this because I don’t think we should be so quick to leave our past in the dust and block it out of our minds. I know a lot of people are burdened with things in the past – mistakes/bad decisions, hurtful circumstances, abuse, etc. Certainly with some circumstances you don’t want to relive specific memories of the situation you were in (such as being in an abusive relationship)…..and you certainly shouldn’t. But, I also think, that we shouldn’t forget, or be ashamed to share, what we learned about a certain time in our life, how we grew in our faith, or how our character was strengthened through a trial. Each of us has past experiences that have made us all who we are today…..individuals. At least for me, it has been good to take the time to reflect on the past and think about what I learned, or how I’ve grown spiritually from a situation that God put in my life. This is not to say that we should live in our past and never move on, but to reflect and learn.

Furthermore, being open to sharing with others (in the right time and setting) often has great benefits in that you will most likely find someone who has gone through a similar situation that can relate to you or that you can help. And, who doesn’t want someone that can relate? It’s comforting, reassuring, and is often the beginning grounds for a new friendship. In our kids ministry at church they often talk about being open with our kids in this way. For example, if we catch our child in a lie, we can talk to them about why lying is not a good choice, and then maybe share a time in our own life when we lied, and then share the consequences of what happened because of it. Having this sort of ‘spirit of openness’ with our children is often a good thing because it gives a way that they can see that mommy and daddy have messed up too and that m & d might actually have some good insight about things because they have also lived it. In general, in life relationships I think that having a spirit of openness about your past trials is a good thing. You just never know who might come into your life who needs to hear your thoughts and perspective on something that you’ve gone through.

The book of James in the Bible has a lot to say about trials that I find extremely helpful. Here is an excerpt:

James 1:2-3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Life Application Study Bible notes from above verse:
James doesn’t say if you face trials, but whenever you face them. He assumes that we will have trials and that it is possible to profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face pain, but to have a positive outlook (“consider it pure joy”) because of what trials can produce in our lives. James tells us to turn our hardships into times of learning. Tough times can teach us perseverance.

And, that’s what’s on my mind for this Monday!

Friday, October 23, 2009

What I Used to Think

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my testimony of how God has changed my life. Our church calls this a ‘God story’ and explains it as events leading up to and after the point of intersect…when God intersects your life ….you were going one direction and then suddenly God opens your eyes to truth and your life starts on a new path. It is this intersect point in a person’s life in which many put their faith in Christ for the first time. It is often referred to as when they were ‘saved’, or the moment they first believed. The events and feelings after this point are often called being ‘born again’. Maybe you’ve heard those terms tossed around. Well, let me tell you what I used to think.

My beliefs used to line up well with what our American culture tells us. I believed in God, and I thought that when I died I would go to heaven as long as I was good. I pictured judgement day as me coming face to face with God and handing him my resume of my life. I thought that as long as there were more good things on it than bad things, then I was in. These beliefs seemed to be confirmed on TV shows, movies, and even at funerals. Almost everyone goes to heaven I thought. As long as they are good.

About the same time that my friend Steph and I started meeting (I shared about her in an earlier post click here) I remember being in church one day. I will never, ever, ever forget this day in church. I sat there listening to the sermon, and at the very beginning our pastor asked the congregation ‘What is the one way to heaven?’ After he asked I began thinking and answering the question in my head. My answer of course was: as long as you are good…you know, don’t murder anyone, try not to cuss, try to do random acts of kindness, be a good person. The sermon went on, and I hung on to the end for the answer to his question. Toward the end of the sermon the question was asked again, and then our pastor gave us the answer: Jesus. What on earth does that mean I thought? Our pastor went on talking about having a relationship with Jesus, and what that looks like….and that through Jesus, we had a gift. A gift of eternal life. Although I maybe had been told this many times previously, apparently I hadn’t been listening or maybe I never cared, because it sure didn’t sink in until that day. This was the day that the song ‘Amazing Grace’ is referring to in the lyric ‘I once was blind, but now I see’. This day in church was my intersection point – the point that God intersected my life. This was the day that I began to understand who Jesus was, what he had done for me, and that I brought absolutely nothing to the table in order to bring about my salvation. It was only through Jesus that I would be in heaven one day.

After that day I constantly searched my newly opened Bible to ensure that this matched up. Was Jesus really the only way? I needed to confirm this. How could I be sure? What about my cherished resume belief? That had to come from somewhere – was any of that true? At this point I had begun reading in the New Testament and I came across verses like this:

If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 10:9-11)

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (Romans 5:8-9)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

This is often termed as the ‘good news’. But, here is the hard part - for many of us in our minds it starts off as bad news in that we have to recognize our sin. We have to know what Jesus died for to understand the beautiful importance of his death which cancels our debts and brings us into a relationship with God. It’s hard to come to terms with our sin. Trust me, I fought it. But if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There must be a point in which we recognize that our sin separates us from God. If we can’t ever get past this part of the news, then we will always feel offended, stand-off-ish, and defensive any time the gospel is brought up. Once I was able to let down my pride and realize my sin, I understood the amazing grace of God. And, my resume belief was gladly released. I am so thankful that my admission into heaven doesn’t depend on my own works. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-10)

If you believe in God have you taken the time to ensure that your beliefs match up with the word of God – the Bible? Mine didn’t. Have you read the Bible? If not, just start. Start in Matthew of the New Testament and read until the end to Revelations. Then, once you have a grip on the New Testament, go back to the very beginning (Genesis) and start reading the Old Testament. Some verses are confusing though, so it will help to have a study aid, or a life application bible in which you can get additional insight and explanations for the verses. Or meet with a friend that can help you through the verses. Hate to read? Catch some sermons online. Start listening to some awesome ones here: http://www.harvest.org/radio/a-new-beginning-radio/home.html Either click on A Time for Harvest for 2 minute sermons, or go into the archives for longer ones. Here are some of my other favorite evangelistic preachers that have online sermons: Chuck Swindoll, Max Lucado, John Piper.

Well, to some this might sound like a bunch of hodge podge and you may have wished that you didn’t take the time to read this. But, I know I am not wasting my breath. I know that there are people out there who believe what I used to believe, and think what I used to think. But, the Bible does not back up the resume theory (or whatever you want to call it) for entrance to heaven. It is in Jesus alone that we find the promise of eternal life. And, in Jesus alone we find the promise of new life here on earth.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When Daddy Babysits

On Wednesday mornings Jake stays home with Jayla while I take JJ to his Kindermusik class. Well, yesterday when we got back I no sooner walked in the door and Jake said, “Guess what your daughter has been up to…” I glanced over at Jayla who was sitting on the couch with a big smile…she looked all in one piece. I looked back at Jake for an explanation and he said, “So, I wanted to check my emails while she played in the living room. I was at the computer for like 2 minutes…..and, then I noticed it had gotten really quiet…. and then, well, just look at the pictures on your camera.”

I turned on the camera and this is what I saw:

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Yes, it was a mild version of marker make-up, but still so classically funny since it was under daddy’s supervision! I would have never known this all happened because Jake had her face completely washed off by the time I got home. Well, at least I thought that until I noticed the marker on her tights, her boots, her neck, and scribbled all over her baby doll. I think Daddy may have been checking his emails longer than 2 minutes?!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Few Random Things

Let’s start with a table runner update!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here is how my glue gun runners turned out on the tables:
The cool thing was that the caterers had actually upgraded us to the floor length black linen cloths (originally we were getting the usual white ones), so the table runners looked even better up against the black than they would have the white. Next time I wouldn't have made them quite so long, but they worked out. And now, to put my trip to the fabric store all in perspective, check out the tulle that we swayed from the poles….


That, my friends is what 80 yards of fabric looks like. Almost goes the entire length of one basketball court. Uh, yeah, that is a loooooooong time at the fabric counter.

As for the fundraiser, it went beautifully. Jake was able to clearly share the vision of the project to a very, very excited crowd. Shortly after the fundraiser we received an email from Bernice (she is originally from Ghana and attended the fundraiser) and she said she is IN on the vision. IN was written with a capital I-N, bolded, and highlighted. So, it was exciting to have her completely on board……I know it was nerve-racking for Jake to be doing an entire presentation on Ghana while Bernice, the lone Ghana native in attendance, sat and listened. But, I knew he had done his research and planning well, and it was exciting to get the confirmation from Bernice that this project would now be in her prayers and she was IN! :)

And, now, excuse me while I have some business to attend to....

Dear fellow Huxley-ans,
It appears that one of you may have dropped, lost, or misplaced a certain men’s athletic undergarment in our yard. If this is yours….

You can come pick it up. We haven’t touched it. It is not any of ours. If you come to get it between the hours of 4:30-6pm we will not be here, so you can be sure that your retrieval will be done without onlookers.

Ahem.

So, what’s your latest ‘mommy moment’? You know, that moment in time when something happens and you think, this would only happen to a mom. Well, mine was yesterday morning when I was fishing for my keys in my purse, and I pulled out a wet, soggy, 2 day old, half eaten chicken nugget. Wet and soggy because a sippy cup of milk was also spilled in my purse. About that time I smiled and showed Jake the nugget and said, ‘this would only be in the purse of a mom.’ He smiled and held up his hand to show me his cut that was now covered up with a bright, shiny, hot wheels bandaid. ‘And, only a Dad would be wearing this,’ he said. I guess Daddy moments happen too. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Things

10 Things I Luv About Fall...

Smell of burning leaves and brush piles

College football Saturdays

Footed pajamas on the little ones
Apple cider time

Starting the fireplace again (which for us means lighting the pilot so that I can flip the light switch to turn it on) :)

Beautiful sunsets


A 7:15AM moon
Return of pumpkin pie blizzards @ DQ

Making chili again

And, taking our annual trip to the orchard....








Why do the horse and I have the same hair-do?


Jumping pillow!

Hayride to the pumpkin patch


Take yer pick JJ!

"Daddy, let's get the biggest pumpkin ever!"

Proud of their 36 pound pumpkin!

You have to watch this video of Jayla! She had never seen goats or sheep in person before!

video