Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teach Them Diligently

Kyle and I have been watching this Food Network show that teaches the worst home cooks how to be fabulous home cooks. As it turns out, their family and friends nominate them as the worst cooks. How humbling!
So, the show starts off with each of these culinary dunces explaining why they're so awful in the kitchen. Really it all boils down to one thing: they were never taught. One young lady said:
I'm well-educated. I went to college for four years. I got my degree. But somehow I never learned how to cook.
I thought she summed up the problem very well. How many of us were prepared to write research papers, could type well, knew how to give a presentation, but had no idea how to plan a menu when we married?
(Raising my hand)

As moms, it is our job to teach our children how to cook. Do your children know the names of the vegetables you consistently cook with? Do they know how to use spices and herbs? Do they know how to read a recipe?

It's our privilege to teach our children these things.
Schools prepare children for academics. That's not enough! As moms, we need to prepare our children for life.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Trimester Tutorial

I've learned a thing or two about herbs that help during pregnancy. Here's my first trimester survival guide:

Milk Thistle - cleanses the liver to reduce or in my case eliminate nausea. Solaray makes a One-A-Day which means less pills to take. Sold!

Bentonite Clay capsules - also good for morning sickness if milk thistle doesn't cut it for you. Take 2-3 capsules/day or 1-2 tsp daily. Drink plenty of water with it. 

Cod Liver Oil - good for baby's developing brain and lots of good Omega 3 fatty acids for you too. 3 capsules or 1 tsp. daily.

Raspberry Leaf Tea - strengthens the uterus and bladder so you don't have to get up so many times in the night ;) Drink 2-3 cups/day. Sweeten it and drink it cold, trust me. Raspberry Leaf tea is also great at the end of pregnancy to tone the uterus in preparation for delivery.

Cayenne - increases gastric acid to eliminate indigestion. Increased progesterone in the first trimester reduces gastric acid and relaxes the smooth muscles, causing indigestion. Cayenne kicks the stomach back into gear. Take one capsule with a meal once a day, as needed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God of Miracles

Do you remember this sweetie?

His adoptive parents, on a long roller-coaster of an adoption process, went to pick him up to bring him home. But when they went to court, the judge denied his adoption. She said he would would be better off in an institution.


Well, yesterday, the Davis family went before the Supreme Court in Moscow and the judge overturned that ruling and little Gregory Kirill is going home!!

They are on their way to pick him up and take him home for real.

Our God is a God of miracles. He sets the lonely in families. (Psalm 68:6)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Power of Thoughts

I tend to rehearse the negative in my mind. It's what comes naturally to me because I'm a sinner.
I think:

  • He never remembers to brush his teeth. We do it twice a day every single day. Why can't he remember that?
  • She's complaining again! She is always complaining about something!
  • Why does she always get so emotional when she does math? Good grief, it's just math!
  • When is she going to remember the vowel sounds correctly? Why is reading so hard with her?

Here's what I could be thinking on instead:

  • That boy is so precious to me. He's so affectionate and loving!
  • She is so encouraging! It just comes so naturally to her! She's going to be a great mommy one day!
  • I love her sensitive spirit. She's always the first to notice when someone's feeling left out.
  • That girl's tenacity really impresses me. It must be so hard for her, but she just keeps working at it!

As moms, we have a choice: We can focus on the things our kids don't do well and thus think the exact same way as the world: Kids are burdens.
We can focus on the traits God is developing in our kids and thus think the same way the Lord thinks: Children are a blessing, a gift, a reward.

We destroy arguments and every opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
2 Corinthians 10:5

Friday, May 20, 2011

They Act Like Who They Are

I was reading an adoption blog recently when the mom posted her confusion over why some people say such hurtful things about her family. She was shocked that anyone could say anything so awful and hateful. I have also heard the same sentiment expressed by Christians on any number of horrible things that people say or think.

But how else could we expect a nonbeliever to act or speak?

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Psalm 51:5
Why do people say and do such wicked things??

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

"Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

"The mouth of the wicked pours out evil things." Prov. 15:28

People say evil things because of the evil that is inside them. Apart from Christ,
"there is none who do good. None who seek God. No not one." Romans 3:9-18

The only righteousness we have comes from Christ. Romans 3:21-31

It is time we as Christians stopped being so shocked by the sinful behavior of sinners and started having compassion for them in their lost state. It is only when we have a heart of compassion that we will be moved to share the gospel with those who so desperately need it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Boy Brains

I have been reading a book called Boys which has answered a lot of the questions I've been asking myself about our sons. Questions like: What goes on in that boy's brain?, What was he thinking when he decided to _____, Why can't I get that kid to talk to me?!

Questions I've never asked about my girls because they tell me everything that's going on in their brain and I never have to wonder. But boys think radically differently than girls.

A couple months ago, I was in the garage painting cabinet doors, when Daniel came out there to get the trash can full of old paint gunk. (His chore at the time was to collect the trash cans, so Isaac could take the trash out.) When Daniel opened the door, Misha (our cat) saw her chance at freedom and ran for it. I yelled: Quick, Daniel, get her! It's not safe out here for her.
A look of panic came over his face as he stood stock still.
He said: I can't! I've got the trash can in my arms!
He couldn't figure out how to hold the trash can and Misha.
I tried not to fall over laughing. I didn't want primer in my hair.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Daddy Time

There is nothing more precious to me than seeing the love of my life loving on my children. (Or just laying down and letting one of his lovies examine him.) So sweet!

Daddies have such a unique role in the lives of their children. They are there for all the physical affection. And the kids love it!

Of course, Daddies are also there to teach their sons how to grow up to be men. They teach them how to work hard, protect their sisters, and develop their passions. Isaac's passion happens to be electronics.

Did I ever tell you about the electric feather duster he built for me out of parts he found lying around? He's a genius I tell you. And he was in hog heaven getting to share his new love with his favorite man. Brings joy to my heart.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Beloved Library

Every Tuesday morning, we wake up, eat breakfast and do our Bible study, and then get ready to head out the door to our favorite library - the church library down the street. When they first opened a couple years ago, they put a sign on their marquee: Library open to the public.

Not one to miss out on something free, I loaded the kids up and we went to check it out. I have been so impressed with this church library.
There's an older lady who is always there on Tuesdays when we go. She loves my kids and me and we love her. She even calls me when she's not going in. I just love that. So thoughtful!

Recently I noticed they had a 12 DVD set of Rob Bell teachings. I was so crushed to see them there!
I prayed about what I should do about it and didn't say anything that week. The next week, I went up to my librarian friend and I said: I noticed you have these DVDs of Rob Bell. He wrote a book recently called Love Wins in which he explains his belief that hell isn't real.
She looked confused. "What's the alternative?"
I said: Everybody goes to heaven.
She looked a little stunned. I said: It's pretty well known now in the Christian community that he's a heretic. I just thought you'd want to let someone know.

This week, as I was looking through the movies, I glanced over to see that all the Rob Bell DVDs were gone. Yet another to reason to be impressed with my library. They didn't take my word or it and just get rid of them. They did their research.

Love that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Arduous Task of Baby Naming

So, we've been talking about baby names. We've used up all the ones we had! We haven't come up with a single name we like (or agree on).

Our baby naming history:
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I just knew it was a boy. He would be Isaac. But he was a girl, so we went straight from the sonogram clinic to the bookstore to find a girl name. I needed to take ownership of my non-boy, so I named her.
When I was pregnant with Chloe, I just knew she was my Isaac. But surprise, surprise, she wasn't and I was actually thrilled that Elena would have a sister. Kyle named her and I loved his choice.
With Lydia, we didn't have a sonogram. I was confident she was our Isaac. I didn't need no stinking sonogram to tell me that! But as her birth neared, I started to get upset about not using our girl name. I just loved the name Lydia. After the shock wore off, I named my precious girl the name I had fallen in love with.
When Pedro joined our family at 17, we all decided together that he would keep his name.
I have always liked the name Maya, but when I read about our soon-to-be daughter, I knew it was the name for her. Maya means motherly. A perfect fit!
In every pre-adoption picture we had of our son, he had a huge smile on his face, for which he is now famous. We knew we finally had our Isaac. His name means laughter.
Daniel is a name I have long loved, because of the integrity of the man of the Bible. When we found out our youngest African was named Daniel, we quickly decided to keep his name.

  • So, here's the thing: All our kids have short names.
  • When your put all our initials together, we have: C, D, E, G, I, J, K, L, M, and P. All we need is F, H, N, and O! We think that's pretty funny and no we have no intention of planning our family around the alphabet!
  • I like names that aren't difficult to spell.
  • I don't like inventive names. I like well-established names.
  • I'm all about the meaning. I strongly prefer the name Leah over Rachel, but Leah means fattened cow, so we've ruled that one out.
So, give me your best ideas!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why I'm Still Nursing Julia

I've had a few people seem quite surprised that I'm still nursing Julia at (Gasp!) 15 months. And especially since I'm pregnant.
Can I just tell you that I LOVE nursing my babies. I love holding their chubby soft bodies against me. I love that it is the one time I can get a good long hug from them. They're so quick to get down and play any other time, but when I'm nursing, they're still and quiet and syrupy sweet. And with my go, go, go personality, I really love that nursing slows me down.

With Julia, it has been a very different experience. She's my first baby since having a big family. With her, nursing is really the one and only thing that I alone can do. Her siblings want to feed her, they want to change her diapers, and get her dressed. Nursing is my quality time with Julia. I cherish it.

All my babies have nursed for at least this long. Lydia nursed the longest. She was just a couple months shy of two. If you've never nursed a baby past a year, let me just tell you, you're missing out! Nursing becomes so precious when you have a little communicator. When they stop nursing for a second, just to look at you and smile their thankfulness-- bliss! When they pull off and lean into you for a loving hug-- priceless!

I will miss these days when they're gone.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Unplanned Giveaway Winner

By random selection, the winner of the Unplanned DVD is. . .

Congrats, Stephanie! Please email your mailing address to clarkchatter@yahoo.com and Tyndale House Publishers will ship your DVD to you ASAP.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Twins: How Their Relationship Began

This picture just popped up as my screen saver and I was taken back to those first few months after the adoption. My 2 two-year-olds. I took this shot of my unhappy twins as we waited in near 100* weather for the 4th of July parade. Even when they're miserable, they're miserable together.
Last month, Daniel and Lydia turned 6! I am shocked.
When I look back on all that has changed in these past four years, it amazes me.
I remember when Lydia bullied Daniel and I couldn't leave her alone with him. I remember when Daniel wanted to be picked up, and so did Lydia (and neither one of them were light!) I remember the first time I noticed that Daniel is always protecting Lydia. He's her little knight in shining Armour. No wonder she wants to marry him one day!
Last week, Lydia asked me if she was in my tummy when we adopted Maya, Isaac, and Daniel. She doesn't remember ever living without them.

And I love that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: To Be Perfectly Honest

I received this book from Multnomah Publishing for my honest review.
I really try to be discerning in selecting books to review. I don't enjoy giving a lot of negative book reviews, although I do see purpose in reviewing books biblically. Phil Callaway is an author I hadn't heard of before, so I looked up some videos of him. He has a sense of humor but also seemed sincere in his faith.
This book was disappointing and frustrating. First off, the title is very misleading. The subtitle says: One man's year of living truthfully could change your life. No lie.
The concept of the book is to see what would happen if a Christian decided not to tell a lie for a whole year. This book seems to have very little to do with that goal. It's more of a day-to-day journal of a professing Christian; what he thinks and how he lives. Quite a bit of it seems to be made up for the purpose of humor, and plenty of lies are told-- some brought repentance, but most seemed to just bring jokes.
Based on the author's admissions in the book, I had a very hard time believing his faith to be real. 1 John (the book written so we may have assurance of salvation) makes it clear that true believers love being with the brethren, but Mr. Callaway frequently jokes about how little he enjoys being in church; saying there are a million things he'd rather be doing. 1 John also makes it plain that true believers love and hunger for God's Word, but when Mr. Callaway reads the Bible, his wife asks what's wrong because he only reads it when something is wrong.
Mr. Callaway pretends to be deaf to avoid a discussion with a Mormon; he has frequent conversations with an Atheist, none of them including the gospel; and ditto that for his agnostic friend. How can a believer in Christ know that someone is deserving of eternal punishment and not share the Good News with them? Not only did he not share the gospel with his unbelieving friends; he never seemed broken over their spiritual state or sad at his lost opportunities. That saddened me to the core.
I was hoping that at some point the author would realize that this exercise in truth-telling was pointless, because as sinners, we are all too depraved to be able to tell the truth perfectly even for a month. If we could just decide not to sin, for any length of time, we wouldn't need Christ at all! And in our depraved state, we desperately do. We are all deserving of hell for the sins we commit against a holy God. And we all need Him in order to do anything with virtue.

Monday, May 2, 2011