Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sweet Moon Baby!

At the beginning of March I ordered a few books from Am@zon ... a devotional for the boys that Jeff wanted, a book for me and two children's books that had been on my Wish List and a few things for my favorite Foster Home in the Far East. When the package arrived it was a warm day and I opened it on the front porch while Nolan was riding his bike. It didn't take long and he was at my side oozing with excitement about what the package contained. As I pulled out each book he stood in anticipation for the next item. When I got to the very last book, Sweet Moon Baby, he announced triumphantly, "My BOOK! It's Baby Moses!" (Probably his favorite Bible story right now. He loves babies.) --So sorry for the other children's book that I ordered ... that one apparently didn't speak to him. It just simply paled in comparison to this one!
Sweet Moon Baby speaks to the heart with its BEAUTIFULLY written parallel to the Moses story (Nolan was so on target with that!) The theme of adoption and a journey of a sweet and perfect baby girl from China down a river to new life is balanced with the wait and journey of her forever family who long to find their daughter. The book, written by Karen Henry Clark and illustrated by Patrice Barton, is sure to become one of your favorite books, even if you are not a family built through adoption. I cannot say enough about the illustrations and the story! They are outstanding and it is a beautiful book!

Funny thing was ... yes, I wanted Nolan to like the book, we had viewed it together online before adding it to my WishList ... but I kinda wanted to give it away on my blog too!
I was torn.
He was claiming the book for his own and quite honestly, I loved that!

We read it and I put it up thinking that perhaps it was the excitement of the moment and it would wane and I could still use it for my give-away.
He asked to read it again and again. He loves the story. He loves the pictures. It is HIS book.

A few weeks ago a blog-friend of mine posted a book give away for this INCREDIBLE book. The idea resurfaced in my mind again about how much I wanted to share this book with others, especially now that it was so special to my little boy.
I visited the author's FB page and saw that she was looking for someone with ties to the S and SW who might be interested in a give-away. 
(only God I'm thinking would make this happen right when I'm thinking it)
I have many readers from the Texas area ... maybe that was S and SW enough? I wondered.
I left her a message and sure enough, in my mailbox yesterday arrived a beautifully red ribbon-tied book straight from Karen Henry Clark, the author, for a give-away! (So if you live in the S or SW make sure that you enter ... and if you don't live in that part of the country ... make sure to enter too!)

If you could "LIKE" this book on the Am@zon sales page Sweet Moon Baby  (the little thumbs up "LIKE" right at the top in the orange box) that would help her book remain in print and available for even more sweet, little fingers to enjoy it's words and pictures! And believe me ... we want this book to stay in print and at the top of the charts! (And a simple click of a "Thumbs Up!" can mean the world to the author in the marketing side of things!)
AND You can win your VERY OWN hardcover copy of this book!
With just a few Clicks, you are in on this give-away!
1.) Leave a comment here on this post. (even if you live in Canada ... the shipping won't kill me.)
2.) Become a fan by Liking  Sweet Moon Baby 's FB page

AND for an extra entry:
3.) If you Link to the Sweet Moon Baby Amazon book  page or share this post from your facebook wall or blog, tell me in separate comments below on this post and your name will go in an additional time!
The drawing will be in under two weeks, Sunday, May 6th! (Our 12th Wedding Anniversary)

I think I'll have Nolan do the honors of drawing the name the ol' fashioned way and announce it on Monday, May 7th ... my mom's birthday!

Here's the Am@zon Blurb ... but of course you are also going to GO to the actual page and "LIKE" the thumbs-up icon, RIGHT?!!: 
A lyrical fantasy about a Chinese infant’s magical trip to her adoptive parents. Her birth parents declare her “perfect,” but are unable to provide for her. Thus they place her in a basket and set her adrift: “We must trust the moon. Only good things will happen to our daughter.” Helped by a variety of animals as well as a beneficent-looking moon, the baby girl floats down the “winding river” to her adoptive parents, who have been preparing for her arrival by planting vegetables and trees, building a new bedroom, and buying books. Their hands are shown parting reeds to reveal her smiling up at them from her basket. The vibrant watercolors capture her journey and her delight in her new family and home. Although most youngsters will understand that the journey on the river is a fantasy, adults should be prepared for questions from literal-minded children who may wonder why a baby had to make a solitary voyage and depend on the kindness of wild animals in order to reach her destination.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ten Trees: A Boy and His Shovel

Ten Trees and one small boy ...

And his little shovel ...

And his pails of water ... 

And his flags, with one tree ready to go in the hole already dug! ...

One little boy and his mom ... planting 10 small trees ... which will someday be big trees ... like this small boy will someday will be a big boy ... a man ... planting 10 small trees with his little boy ...

What a blessing to spend yesterday afternoon planting 10 blue spruce seedlings from Grandma LaVerne's Arbor Day Membership that she gifted directly to us. Three generations, a grandma who gifted, a  mom who dug the holes, a boy who placed the trees ... all going forward in hope that the trees will hopefully grow for many generations to come.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Deep Cuts and Deep Waters: Should We Really Be Surprised?

As you could probably tell from our Easter photo yesterday... the boys' hair really was at that point of needing to be cut again. Especially Brayden was starting to look like the Quaker Oats guy. Ug. The continuous saga of the hair-wars.

You may remember the before and after shots from a couple of months ago. Well, the school had SPRING photos this week ... and as I reminded Brayden, he had the choice between a fall and spring haircut for photo day ... and since he refused a trim by the fall photo day, the spring photo day WOULD show nicely trimmed hair. End of discussion.

All was well and good as they honored their word and climbed onto the clipping perch during their "Spring Break" this past week (Good Friday and the day after Easter--call it what they will, it was an Easter Break in my mind.)
Well, that was until it was Nolan's turn.
Oh yes ... this is him now (Van Gogh after his ear was cut off)
Okay, no I did NOT cut off his entire ear ...
But I DID snip it in a nasty little nip way right at the very top! 
That would describe most accurately how badly I feel--especially because it was at the ONE moment he wasn't dancing around like a butterfly. 
It totally should not have happened.

It's looking better, but he still reminds me that according to him,"it's still bleeding mom."
(it's not btw, but I'm sure it's still tender.)

In other news--and this should probably be TWO posts but I'm afraid that if I don't do it now it just won't get written.
I wish I could write a DEEP post on this and maybe someday it will come ... but that is doubtful as I just don't feel qualified to give DEEP posts right now. So many of you are so good at pulling in appropriate scripture and really good overviews that make sense of it all--I'm just not there in my comfortableness level to go out on that limb and try to share to that extent. But know that in my heart I savor these things ... maybe like Mary (but in a much smaller way I'm sure) I treasure these things up in my heart. So I'll just share the observations of my life I guess and let you connect the dots. 

We've had an unusually warm Spring this year. Well, this week, the temperatures have been colder overnight producing hard and killing frosts. Bummer for the blooms and leaves!

*We all knew this was coming and yet we always seem so shocked and horrified when it happens*--like it should be 75 degrees in March? NO! It shouldn't, not here in the MidWest!

Well, after running the garbage cans out to Jeff's car yesterday morning so he could drop them off at the end of the driveway on his way to work--I was still in my robe with shorts on--I came in FREEZING and just UNLOADED my deep dislike of Spring into Jeff's ear. (of course I didn't mention the fact that I was underdressed for being outside.)

Yes, I am probably the only person in the world who doesn't like Spring. It looks like it's so beautiful out and then it's freezing cold, or it's crazy-windy ... or wet and muddy and cold ... give me Summer or Fall or Winter and I'm happy as a lark ... Spring ... and I grumble. 
After Jeff left for work minutes later, I sat down for my 20 minutes or so of quiet time before the boys get up to catch the bus (although they tend to get up earlier and earlier every day it seems! Today they were up before 6am! HELLO?! I'm sure this will wane by their teenage years when we want them up at the crack of dawn.)
So, back to my quiet time--I cracked open my Sarah Young devotional and the word for yesterday read:
THIS IS THE DAY THAT I HAVE MADE. Rejoice and be glad in it. Begin the day with open hands of faith, ready to receive all that I am pouring into this brief portion of your life. Be careful not to complain about anything, even the weather, since I am the Author of your circumstances. The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank me for them. This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.  ... (Psalm 118:24 and Phil 3:13-14)

Talk about stop me in my tracks.
I am utterly ashamed at how many times I say that I am following God and trusting in Him ... and then I'm still speechless and shocked when He is literally WITH me 
right. where. I. am.   right then in my day-to-day.

And this has been happening over and over for several months in the passages I've been reading. I'll be thinking something, wrestling with things in my mind and the verses I'm reading are SO applicable to exactly where my thoughts are stuck. {the overriding theme over and over again lately is WAITING IN THE LORD and NOT GROWING WEARY} And yet every time I am amazed (sometimes ashamed as he redirects me back to his path and away from my wanderings) but always humbled that he could be talking so specifically to me.

Do I leave my hands open to receive what He is pouring out to me? As yesterday's devotional reminded me? Or do I keep them closed asking for other things and missing the blessings that He has portioned out for me TODAY. This is such a brief portion of my life it is true and I don't want to cling to it down the road in retrospect having not appreciated it in full today.
Even if it's appreciating a cold Spring day.
I love the reminder that God frees us from having resentment build in the things that we don't have or that we cannot grasp through our being thankful for the things he HAS put in our lives, even the mountains and challenges ... knowing that He is with us through it all, drawing us closer to him because of them and us focusing on the positive and in the hope that He is faithful ... and His ability to work His way through ALL things--not just the neat and tidy and good things, but also the black, ugly, yuckiness that life sometimes dishes out. And not just for His Good but for the good of those who love him--for OUR GOOD
"in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
after all--yes, even after all of what we bring to him as we wade through the mess this life sometimes is,
"He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us ..." (Eph 3:20)
For, "God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:19)

And those are pretty AWESOME thoughts!
Did I just quote some verses?
Oh my ... I hope I can swim in these "deep waters."

"I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him." --Psalm 39:7

Monday, April 2, 2012

Let God Use You Where You Are

There seems to be many people around us going on M-trips, adoption trips, fund-raising for surgeries for orphans lately! It is SO cool to see The Spirit moving so passionately in them to do His Kingdom Work! Here's one FUNDraiser that came to my attention first thing this morning and you don't want to miss out!

My friend Kelly has a give-away going on at her blog! You simply MUST check it out!!!
Look at these prizes--worth over $250!

And there is a second part of the give-away too ... if you share or link her give-away via your blog or FB you can leave her a comment on the post letting her know and then be entered for a chance at THESE prizes too!
Maybe God isn't calling you right now to go on a M-trip, or adopt ... but no doubt He is preparing you for His plans for you ... with an open and willing heart, He plans to use you where you are right now.

The family

The family