Food

Thanksgiving

I made a funny on my Facebook page today. My comment was that I now live in a house where there are hardly any uneaten leftovers, even if I eat them to survive. However, it is true. How many times have I told my family that we waste so much food? Of course I add that there are starving people all over the world who would love to eat what we throw out. Now, those people live at our house and eat our food. It is wonderful! They have become a tad picky, but just a tad. Our oldest has been venturing out and trying some different things (survival I think).

I thought bringing two new members into our family would change the family dynamic so much that we would have to struggle for a while. Nope. These guys have brought us even closer together. We are more careful about the money we spend eating out. We eat at home a lot. We sit down as a family to eat more often than not. These times lead into family discussions, reading of scripture (like from our Advent Devotional provided by our church), etc.

Matthew 4:4 ESV But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Oh, if I lived this way. Our church has started an outreach called No One Home Alone. We do not want anyone home alone for Christmas or any other time. We want everyone to know the love of Christ. With Him, we are never alone.

If you are struggling and need someone to pray for you or need someone to talk to, please let me know.

Lori

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Flight

Wow, I cannot believe I actually considered leaving this past Friday! So much to take care of. You would think after all this waiting that we would be ready to get right on the plane. Nope!

Right now we are planning our best strategy to fly there and back. These flights to China just don’t happen at any airport at any time. You gotta fly to the “hub” for that particular airline, then a coastal city (usually west), then China. Either the layover is too short to make the connecting flight, or way too long. So, we will probably fly out the evening before and spend the night in the “hub” city. We cannot afford a flight delay.

On the return trip, a friend advised us to spend the night in whatever city we land in America. The more I think about it, this is wise advice. Twelve hours on a plane with a 7, 2, and almost 2-year-old. Not to mention a grumpy mom and dad. Yep, showers and sleep will be the plan. So, expect us a day later. (Hopefully smelling good and in good spirits).

D made the boys some bears at Build-a-Bear. The koala is D’s. The black bear is Z’s. (Maybe he will be an Ole Miss fan?) The light brown bear is E’s.

Love to you all. We covet your prayers.

Lori

Zephaniah 3:17 For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Choice

Something has been on my mind and heart lately. How do I live this life in light of God’s greatness? In other word’s, is anything in my life meaningful compared to Him? Shouldn’t I sell everything and live my life telling everyone I see about Him? Is anything short of that worthless?

The short answer is, no. I have said this before. God is so patient with me. God has shown me through His Word, through other people, through songs, and through books that our life is all about choices. Small choices that may lead up to a big choice down the road.

The Bible says to pray without ceasing, to live a life of thankfulness, to teach our children about Him, to love and respect our spouse, to serve each other, and many other lessons. These are choices we make. So, when I am working on some seemingly mundane task like sweeping the floor, it does not have to be just that. It can be a blessing to my family or my coworkers and an act of worship to God. All we have is now. We may not have tomorrow. Right now I can worship.

Staying connected can be difficult. There are so many distractions. How do you stay connected?

Love, Lori

John 15:4 ESV Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV  “You shall therefore lay up these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

James 4:13-17 ESV Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin.

The Path

So here I am contemplating this whole blog thing.  I have never done this before, except for the micro-blogging that comes from using Facebook.  I decided “Hey, it is the themoodyblogger.com, why not give a go?”  I probably won’t be as eloquent as my lovely bride, but I will try.  I have been thinking about this for the last several days as to what to say.  Many of you who know us, know about our incredible journey of adoption and our boys E and Z.  It started out as a God ordained quest to get a cute little girl.  The path to it seemed very clear.  God gave us signs along the way.  Some of the ball peen hammer variety, others of the 15 lb sledge type.  In most cases our response was, “Ok, ok, we read you. We are moving on it.” Throughout this long arduous process, I have been the paperwork hog.  Whether intentionally or not, that’s how it ended up.  I think Lori said to herself, “Hey, he handles federal paperwork all the time, so this shouldn’t be too difficult for him.”   All right here we go.

As Lori may have mentioned, we recently both had our 20 year class reunion at our perspective schools.  20 years ….where did the time go? Oh my, what happened? At Lori’s reunion, which was very good, they had a nice program at the banquet.  One part of the program spoke of “The Path” we take.  If I remember it correctly, it was about that over our life we make many decisions that take us down different roads that eventually takes us to where we end up today.  Upon further reflection and a brief conversation I had with the lovely Lori, I believe we should think about it a different way.  We all think that we are in control of our destiny, that we make our decision to send us down the “Our” path.  In reality, we make a decision for a particular path and God takes the control.  There are no coincidences or accidents.  He is in control.  Yes, our decisions do have consequences, but God uses those situations to shape us into what he wants us to be, either through our good decisions or in spite of our bad decisions.  It is now God’s Path.  Dumb decisions are turned into part of the God path for lives.  Smart ones too.  So the path is set before us.  Coming to terms with the fact that it is God’s path for us can be difficult for many who feel that they cannot let go of the control.  It’s a daily struggle.  Can we let go? That’s the challenge.

For us, the path started out for the search for a little girl. God said, “Consider this.” Then, it transitioned into getting a little boy (E).  God then said, “Hey I have something else for you to consider if you are up for it (Z)”.  Now, 2 is the magic number.  If we had decided no on Z, would God be upset with us? Of course not.  Our decision still has God in it and his ultimate plan will still happen no matter what.  I do find it amusing that when a while back we said “We are going for two – boys.”  Many said, “That’s so awesome!”  Now some of those same people are saying “Are you insane?” Nah, … well maybe a little bit.  😉

I’ll leave you with a couple of verses that I think illustrate my point from above.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

On the “What’s the status? When are you leaving?” front, cause I know you are asking.  My best answer is that we aren’t sure.  The Chinese Children Welfare Institute that handles the adoptions has all our paperwork.  According to our adoption agency, it may take 1-2 months to process Z’s papers to get them to where E’s are now.  However, our agency also said that it probably won’t take that long.  Let’s us hope and pray as such.  This last week has been somewhat stressful after hearing that.  You would think after knowing that we found them, the next phase would be quick and painless.  Arggggg!  However, a little “angel” did provide us calming peace, and we have found ways to divert the “wait pain” for each of us.  Lori and D have been studying Mandarin Chinese via Rosetta Stone.  Lori has found it be challenging and D, …well,…he is a human sponge.  Young minds, nuff said.  I, on the other hand, have been painting E and Z’s room (formally, D’s room).  Needless to say, I went with an Asian color theme and scheme.  I hope it’s not too cliché and low key.  I found some images of bamboo decals and projected them on the walls, traced them, and then painted.  I even found the Chinese characters of the boys names and projected, traced, and painted them too.  I think it looks pretty good.  Check it out for yourself.  Until next time.  -Bill

Double portion

It has been a while since I blogged last. A lot has been going on in our lives over the last few weeks. More about that in a bit.

Our process of adopting from China has been a long road. God put it in our hearts in 2006 to adopt from China. We finally got up the nerve to begin the paperwork process in 2007. Our dossier (the mounds of paperwork that we have to send to China that has every bit of information about us) was “logged-in” on March 30, 2008. After that, we have been waiting. For a girl. One girl.

In February this year, we had to update our Home Study (a written report about our family compiled and prepared by a social worker). The line for a healthy baby girl from China is soooo long. God put the burden on our hearts that there are children in China now who need a forever family. With that in mind, we asked our social worker if she would amend our Home Study to say we would adopt a boy or girl up to 4 years old and would consider a Special Needs/Waiting Child. We also said we would be willing to adopt 2 children.We filled out a medical checklist with our adoption agency and waited.

China opened a new program on September 1, 2010. The new program is called the Special Focus program. The Special Focus children are children whose profiles have not been taken by an adoption agency in 2 months or more. They are on a shared list between agencies. These children usually have more Special Needs, may be older, and are mostly boys. Special Focus children may be adopted by a family who has already adopted from China within the last year without the family having to start over with the dossier process. Also, families who are already matched to a child may adopt a child from the Special Focus list and pick them both up with one trip to China.

Back to our process. After our Home Study was updated, my husband was scrolling through the profiles of waiting children online. A sweet little face popped out at him. After much prayer, we decided to pursue the adoption of a little boy that we will call E. A boy. A BOY! Not girl. Really?!?

So then, a few weeks later, our adoption agency called and asked if we would consider adopting a child off the Special Focus list that we will call Z. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Research, research, and more research on his Special Needs. Our immigration status had not been officially changed. (Many thanks to the friends, federal workers, and politicians that helped push our immigration status and fingerprints through.) Our immigration status change finally came in, and yes, we are approved to adopt 2 children up to 4 years old of either sex.

We are currently pursuing the adoption of Z as well as E. They are 3 months apart. Twins, if you will. They live in cities right beside each other. We can send them care packages and pictures. Hopefully, we leave in a couple of months to get our boys. If you want excitement in your life, come to our house!

Whew, when God moves, He moves!

Isaiah 61:7 (NASB)  Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.

Waiting…

This past Wednesday, my husband and I went to the USCIS (immigration) to have our fingerprints taken. Again…We are told that it is a 75 day wait for someone to even look at our file. Waiting is not new for us. God told us to look toward China way back in 2006. The difference is we have a child (Di Di) waiting.

Now, let’s take a different look at waiting. Yesterday, our first child “D” decided he wanted to color a picture for Jesus. He wanted Jesus to come get it. Well, we had a discussion about why He could not come get the picture, but He would see it. He would see it before D even colored it. We talked about how Jesus would come back one day. D started to cry. He wanted Jesus to come now. We are all waiting. Waiting for the second coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. No one knows except God when He will return.

Waiting is hard. Waiting has a purpose. What purpose does waiting serve?

  1. Waiting develops patience.
  2. Waiting develops endurance.
  3. Waiting develops character.
  4. Waiting prepares the way for what is to come.
  5. Waiting softens our hearts.

What do we do while we wait? Well, while the disciples were in the upper room waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, they prayed. Not for a minute. Not for an hour. They prayed for days. DAYS!

Isaiah 40:31 ESV. But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Other versions replace the word wait with trust. If we wait and do not give up, it shows that we trust that what has been promised will come true. What do you do while you wait?

Holy Ground

Over the past week, many of my friends have had close family members pass away. Some deaths were unexpected and/or tragic. Some deaths were so peaceful and calm that time seemed to stand still. Almost as if you should take your shoes off, because you are standing on holy ground. Why can’t all deaths be this way? Short answer, so that God may be glorified.

A pastor friend and I were talking about death, and how at that moment the veil is lifted between the world of the flesh and the world of the Spirit. This side of heaven, prayer is the closest we can come to seeing behind the veil. Another pastor that I follow said that he often prays, writes, and preaches barefoot.

There are several prayer postures that I know of:

  1. Kneeling
  2. Bowing
  3. Folded hands
  4. Raising arms/hands
  5. Prostrate
  6. Shoes off
  7. Eyes open or closed
  8. A sweeping of arms, almost like the person is trying to bring a sweet fragrance to their nose

The next time I go into my prayer closet to pray, I believe I will take off my shoes. Hmmm, not sure I will try it at church yet, but I might!

Exodus 3:5. ESV. Then He said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

1 Corinthians 13:12. ESV. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

What is your favorite prayer posture?