Thursday, April 30, 2009

Straight from Twitter

Jody is at an orphan conference in Texas. (sidenote: hoping she doesn't get the swine flu!)
Anyway, she's on Twitter and is tweeting her way through the conference. 2 tweets that struck me already today from her...

"0.1 percent of American household would have to adopt to leave no orphans in America"

"we r never closer to the heart of God then when we care 4 those who can do nothing for us".

Every single life

The other day I was out on our front porch and I glanced over and noticed Phoebe's tree. If you haven't been reading long enough to know who Pheobe is, you can read about her here. Go ahead, go read about her. She's beautiful. And then read about what happened to her.

Anyway, I looked over and noticed the tree we planted in her memory last year was starting to bloom. I thought to myself, "Oh, it looks kind of pretty!"

And as I started to walk a little bit closer, I began to see how many blossoms there actually were on the tree. Hundreds of them. Maybe thousands. On this small little tree. Suddenly, it became even more amazing to me.

And then I was right up by the tree. And I could see on each branch there was a few small bunches of little blossoms. From far away it just kind of looked all white. But as I walked closer, I could see each individual bunch, all clumped together. And I could begin to make out their yellow centers.

And then I was right up beside the tree. I could see the detail of each individual flower. The veins in it's petals, the delicate yellow center. Through my camera lens I could focus right up close on one individual flower. And I was in awe of how intricate it was and how perfectly it was created to withstand the weather and the Iowa climate changes. How does that happen? :)

And my mind came right back to Phoebe. And the fact that we had planted this tree for her. How everytimes we look at the tree, we talk about her. How Brigg and Nalani know her name and that she mattered not only to God, but to us. How she changed us.
See, we talk about the Earth and what we need to do to preserve it and keep it alive and well. And we stress the importance of that with them. And we truly believe in it's importance. And how we treat this earth affects people on the other side of the world.
And we talk with them about other cultures and how we need to embrace all people. And their culture and their lives. Although these groups of people are not like us, we still need to love them and respect them. And pray for them.

And most recently, we have really started to comprehend the value of an individual life. One person. With a name. And how one person can change us. The importance of entering into relationships with people. Taking care of those around us. Our neighbors right her in our little world AND our brothers and sisters across the ocean. Entering into their lives and loving them the way Jesus taught us to love. The way he exemplified love.
Because every single person matters. And we can stand back and look at something from far away and we can make cute little comments or judgements, but until we choose to draw close to something or someone, we will never get the full picture. We may have to enter into some sadness and suffering to get close enough to see the real beauty in it all, but once we get there, we will be amazed.

Every single person matters. I don't know if Phoebe knew how much she mattered. To us. To HIM. In my heart I know the difference she made in our lives. And through faith I know how much she means to God. He know the number of hairs on her head. And he loved every single thing about her.

We now sponsor 2 children. One through Children of the Nations and one through World Vision. We know people that have actually met our sponsored children. Touched them, loved them. And I have complete faith in these organizations. The past week or so I have been reading another bloggers story from India. She is on a compassion trip. Compassion also has a sponsorship program. I feel like I need to put a plug in for these organizations. If you do not sponsor a child, you should consider it. Read about Compassion and Angie's story from yesterday. You will see the difference Compassion is making in India. And follow along as she finishes up her trip. You will get a glimpse into what a difference they are making.

$32 a month. Really? To change a life. To bring hope to a child. Or a family.

It truly is simple. And you will be blessed.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

She's growing up

Ok, I have to share this story.
Today at Lani's program, Ayla showed self-control.
I was so proud of her.
I look at this photo and it tells a story in and of itself...

Lani's program was in a church. We were sitting in pews.
Ayla was sitting on Paul's lap.
See that little girl's hair in front of them?
See that butterfly hair tie??
It was killing Ayla.
Teasing her.
Calling at her to grab it and rip it out of the little girl's hair.
She was nearly shaking trying to contain herself.
Paul was reminding her not to pull it.
And she slowly turned her face towards him and gave him the above look.
I have a feeling we'll see that look a lot in the future.
But I am very proud of her for practicing self-control for the first time in her life.
I love her.
It makes my heart hurt.
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The final preschool program of the year

Today was Nalani's last preschool "program".
She loves wearing a dress, and I rarely put her in one.
So today was a happy day for her!
And she was beautiful...

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More of the many faces of Ayla Lyn...along with a little bed head action

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Begging to go outside.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well I made it through Monday! And Tuesday has arrived.
We are having an open house on Saturday, so I am planning on starting to get some projects going today. We'll see how that goes.
Yesterday I made granola. Yes, homemade granola. It is awesome.
Paul and I ate it this morning with fresh berries and soy milk on it and it was so yummy!
Want the recipe?
Ok, here ya go. By the way, I found this on another blog. She had a whole blog about making homemade granola and how she's been working on finding the perfect recipe for a long time. And she had decided that the trick was to use rice flour. So I need to comment here that that seems to be an important part of the recipe that you may not want to substitute. And rice flour can be found in the health food section of you local grocery store. Or you could just come on over here for breakfast every morning...because I plan on having this on hand most of the time. It's good!
Oh yeah, and I doubled the recipe and gave a little bit of it away...

The Perfect Granola
(Makes 1 batch)

Mix together in a large bowl
4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a medium size bowl, mix until smooth:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix very thoroughly. Spread onto a big cookie sheet.
Bake at 315 degrees in increments of 10 minutes. Check every 10 minutes but Do NOT stir. If you make a double batch, switch yourtop and bottom baking sheets after each 10 mins.
Bake until golden. Mine usually takes around 40 minutes. Let cool and then turn onto a sheet(s) of wax paper.
Break up the clumps as desired.
Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy this perfectly delicious granola!

And have a great Tuesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

A blog I follow

I follow this blog of a woman who lost her baby at birth. (which may seem completely unrelated to this post, but I find it amazing that through all her sorrow and struggles, she is still choosing to live outside of herself!)
She was recently invited to go to India on a trip with Compassion International.
She was at the place where Mother Teresa lived yesterday.
I read her post and literally wept.
My heart resonated with this:
"It's almost easier to ignore the water than to dip your toe in it. Because as soon as you do, you become acutely aware of all the eyes that are looking at you, needing help, and it feels impossible."
That sense of feeling overwhelmed at helpless.
It brought me back to our first day up in the village in Guatemala. We came across this older woman holding a baby. She was so sad. Dr. Hugo was translating and he told us her story. She was now raising this child because the baby's mother (the older woman's daughter) had died shortly after childbirth. Something that would have never happened with appropriate medical attention. They could not get her to a hospital in time. The grandmother was weeping as she shared her story. Dr. Hugo asked me if I'd pray for her and the baby and the rest of her family. I remember barely being able to get the words out. I was sobbing. And hugging her. And just wishing I could go my comfortable house with my healthy children and a hospital close by. I remember saying, "This is the first day. I don't think I'm going to make it through the week." It was overwhelming. And I felt helpless. And the needs seemed so so great. I didn't want to dip my toe in. But it was too late.
To read Angie's whole post, go HERE.
They have names. They all have names. And once you realize that and experience that, you cannot go back. You have to help.
Every one of the 4500 children dying from lack of clean water today has a name.
Every orphan has a name.
And sitting back and pretending the water isn't there is no longer an option for me.
So as she closed her post, I resonated with this, too:
"It has been really easy for me to stay out of the water in a lot of ways, and my own cynicism has kept me safe there. But today, as we stood in a house made of bamboo and clay bricks and watched a woman tell us how Compassion had changed their lives, something in my soul settled.
As we left the second house, I got a couple pictures of the family and I fought back tears as her father adjusted her name tag to make sure her Compassion information was showing.
She had a name.
Compassion International is more than what I imagined. More than my mind would have let me believe. More than I can express to you in this moment of exhaustion."

We can be more, too.
No matter what we choose to do, as long as we choose to do something, we can be more.
I want to be more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pre-bed soccer game

After milk shakes, the kids played some soccer.
And they were just so cute, I couldn't stop snapping pictures.
LOVE them!

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It was hot today.
Hot liked we just skipped over spring.
Straight from winter to summer.
And it was so so frustrating that I felt so crummy.
Lani had her kindergarten visit.
Brigg had soccer practice.
And I had a sore throat.
All of which called for an end of the day milkshake.

Here's to
rosy cheeks,
tank tops,
flip flops
and milk shakes...
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It's not really me...

Apparently many of you are getting fake emails from me. It's some sort of spam or something.
Don't open them! I don't know why they are sending from me. I am getting them myself in my other email account. They are being sent from my hotmail account. And i am receiving them in my machlink account.
I apologize.
Anyone know what I need to do to stop it?


That's what I feel like.
Achey, sore throat, weak, tired.
And it's getting worse by the minute.
Not fun...hopefully it's a quick one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Gift

Found this in Brigg's back pack yesterday.
Note #1: His birthday is in July. So this gift was given 9 months ago. He must have really loved it!
Note #2: Seriously, I think we need to change the spelling of "special" to Brigg's version. It just makes more sense.

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What kind of person do you want to be?

In different times and in different ways, our heavenly Father offers us a
simple proposition: Follow me beyond what you can control, beyond where
your own strength and competencies can take you, and beyond what is affirmed or risked by the crowd--and you will experience me and my power and my wisdom and
my love.
Jesus beckons me to follow him to that place of weakness where I risk
the vulnerability of a child so that I might know how strong my Father is and
how much he loves me.
But truth be told, I would rather be an adult. I'd rather be in a
place where I can still pull things together if God doesn't show up, where I
risk no ultimate humiliation, where I don't have to take the shallow breaths of
desperation. -Gary Haugen, Just Courage (you should read it!)

I often find myself asking my kids, "What kind of person do you want to be?"

Maybe I need to ask myself that same question...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The movie was amazing.
The photography was out of this world.
And it will give you a whole new perspective on the planet.
You really should watch it if you have the opportunity.
Also, on Earth Day next year, they are releasing a movie called Ocean...and it looks like it's going to be even more amazing than this one.
As expected, I was in complete awe the whole way through.

i think it's here

Spring, that is.
It's beautiful outside!!
Lani got a shirt for Earth Day...

And we spent the whole morning at the park.
Perfect out!

Now Lani's at school
and Ayla is napping.
I am going to try and get some things done before we head out of town for the afternoon movie!
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DisneyNature EARTH

Tomorrow is Earth Day.
We love earth day around here!!
So we will be celebrating Earth day by planting some plants...just like last year.
AND we are going to the movie Earth.
You can purchase advance tickets HERE and they will plant a tree in your honor!
Just purchased ours.
Watch the trailer.
Cannot wait for tomorrow!

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Monday

A new week.
A 4:00 showing.
I'm scurrying around, cleaning, laundering, and kind of panicking.
I try not to, but it must just be my genetic make-up.
I'm ready to get this place sold! :) (bet you didn't know that!)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm pretty sure she could have fit IN the bag

She was loving having full access to the bag of Doritos.
She is such a little peanut.
I'm sure she could have crawled in the bag if I'd let her.

We are having our third 2nd showing on Monday.
This will be the third couple that has come back for a second showing.
Please let this be it!
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Me and my boy

One more from the baseball game last week.
Thanks for sending the photo, Heather!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Day Trip

Late last night Lisa mentioned in an email that she had today off.
I wrote back that we'd love to come visit for the day.
She thought that would be a great idea.
So we dropped Brigg off at school and the girls headed out on a 2 hour road trip!
Lani and Macy played and played and played.
For 4 hours.

Ayla whined and whined and whined.
For 4 hours.
Oh, and she ate a little bit, too.

And acted like a wild woman here and there.

We spent the whole time out in the backyard.
Talking, playing, eating and laughing.
It was a great, spontaneous trip.
Another good day for the soul.
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