Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trying again

The Thanksgiving rush is over.
The Christmas craziness is about to begin.

There will be stories of birthday parties, and fun events, and celebrations galore.

It really is time for me to start blogging again. So, here goes...

Sorry I have been "gone". I had to wait until I could blog with a positive attitude. I am never willing to post something that is less then real and truthful. But at the same time, some emotions need to be worked through and slightly contained before they are posted.

On November 19th while working around the house, teaching the boy's school, cleaning up, etc, I had been praying as I worked. If you are a friend of Jesus, you know how it is. "Lay all your burdens on Him, for He cares for you". I had specifically been praying about our adoption. Recently we had hoped to have her by Christmas, but it was looking like it would be bumped back to March, which is her birthday. She will be four.
I had prayed, quite specifically, and clearly "Lord, I would really love to have her here right now, you know that. However, I trust you to do what is best for her. She is your child first."

You have to mean what you say, don't you?

Just a few hours later I got an E-mail telling me that another family, a Dutch family with closer connections to Benin, and a better ability to work with the government there, and an agency that is able to speak the same language - well, they were adopting Gladys.
My daughter.

I have known about her for a year. A YEAR. Technically, I shouldn't have been assigned a specific child that long ago. Only because Pierre knows the director of orphanage personally, and was there - he picked her out for me. He took the pictures, sent them to me. He didn't anticipate any problems keeping her for me.
However, legally, I had no hold on her.
But emotionally, she was mine.

I have mourned a good bit. Several people (Andy being one of them) have pointed out to me that "she isn't dead". She has been placed in a home, which is the entire point of the adoption process.
I think they expect me to just get over it.
And truly, I am thrilled for her. I am excited for that family. She will probably be better off with them, since she is almost 4, and speaks French - they most likely do too.

But that doesn't mean I didn't hurt.

I don't suppose I will ever not hurt, just a little, when I think about her. I still have pain, just for a moment, when I think about Anastasia, and I only carried her for six weeks. I still think about Gifty, not so much with pain, but I think about her, often. She was only a very tiny part of our lives, and the very beginning of our adoption story. (which, by the way, last I heard, she is doing well)
When children touch my life, they touch it forever.

More then anything though, I meant what I prayed. I trust that God has done what is best for her. God has perfect timing, and He was preparing me. He always does.
I am positive that our family is not complete yet. So, when, where and how God is going to complete our family is up to Him.

Right this minute, I am torn. We are still halfway through the approval process with the government of Benin. We just have to wait for another child to be assigned to us. We could still have one by March. Our homestudy expires - here in America - in March. We could just try to adopt here. I keep hearing about all the children in the foster system who need a permanent home.
For now I take it one minute at a time. My fragile heart can't take much more then that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The joy of advertising

Last week was a little rough for me.
Of course, it wasn't all bad, and I am sure I will get around to sharing it, good and bad, eventually. But right now, I am not quite up to it yet. So for now, here is a video instead.

Canaan created an instrument out of the recycling this morning. He decorated it, named it, and with a little help from Daddy created a marketing strategy for it.

Here is their commercial.


video

In case you can't understand what they are saying...
First, Zion says "Action". Then:

The snodzoodle is fun
You can play it on the run
Make music with your spit
You'll never want to quit
When training your poodle
There is nothing like a snodzoodle

SNODZOODLE!!
Buy it now!!!!

A close up of the Snodzoodle

For art a couple weeks ago we studied some famous self portraits. Van Gogh, Monet, Picaso, Norman Rockwell. We also looked at some not so famous, but different, and individual self portraits. Google self portraits - but without your kids - you will want to edit first, because way too many of them do not have clothes on!

Canaan wanted his to be really individual. Yes, that is an orange.

And of course, Zion wanted to try too. Can't you see the resemblance?

Every single day, I am so thankful for my boys. All three of them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Every night before bed I read to my boys. They get to pick a story or two themselves, then we have our "God story". These are read sitting up, looking at pictures, all gathered together on the bottom bunk.
But after they are tucked in, and resting quietly (or not so quietly as may sometimes be the case with Zion... but he is only three after all) I read them a chapter or two of something "bigger".
We read a short mystery based on Sherlock Holmes, only with a mouse as the detective. We read "The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien. We most recently read "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, which I read as a child and loved. I posted a quote from it on my Facebook page while we were in the middle of reading it, but I don't think I ever put it here. Let me share...

"We are all very anxious to be understood, and it is very hard not to be. But there is one thing much more important."

"What is that Grandmother?"

"To understand other people."


Now, isn't that beautiful? Deep? Thought provoking?

I am not sure my children are really old enough to catch the wisdom hidden in his books. Nor all of the beauty of the descriptions. But they are hearing the vocabulary, and soaking in the ideas, and ideals.
But I have to believe that someday, that will count for something. Soak it in, growing minds, soak it in.

We have now started the sequel to "The Princess and the Goblin". It is "The Princess and Curdie", and is the continuing story of the boy who helped rescue the princess... and who she in turn rescued... from the goblins.
It also is full of big words, beautiful descriptions, and these beautifully worded pieces of wisdom.
This is describing Curdie's parents,
"They were the happiest couple in that country, and that was because they always understood each other, and that was because they always meant the same thing, and that was because they always loved what was fair and true and right better , not than anything else, but than everything else put together."

Once again - Isn't that beautiful? Deep? Thought provoking? Don't you want a marriage like that?

I am really enjoying George MacDonald with my children right now.
Of course, I have several books going just for myself also... but that is for another blog.

What are you reading? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Friendship

What defines a friend?

I have had a lot of need, over the last few months, for friends. Being unable to drive has put a pretty big crimp in my style.
We have only lived in this area for about two years. We are still newbies.
So, it would not be that unexpected, really, if people to take care of me were hard to find.

That has not been the case AT ALL.

I get rides to church and bible study. Homeschool P.E. class and the Commissary. People stop and grab a gallon of milk or a dozen eggs for me, since they are out anyway. They take me to doctor's appointments, and dentist's appointments, and out, just because I have cabin fever.

I haven't earned much love yet. I haven't been here long enough to have done much for them. Before I got sick I didn't drive them places, or watch their kids, or drop everything in my life just to run over to their house to keep them from losing their mind.
Yet still, they do these things for me.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

Today, I had a chance to feel like I could reciprocate a little. I was able to do a couple favors for two of my friends here. Things that I am good at, and that don't require driving.
It felt good to "earn my keep". But at the same time, I would have willingly, and cheerfully done them, even if they had never given me a ride anywhere. Even if I didn't owe them a million thank you's, I would be happy to help them. Because,

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

We have moved over and over throughout my life. I have lived in 9 states, visited multiple countries, and am currently living in either my 30th, or 31st house.
Yet, there are people who have kept up with me through all those address changes. Forwarded letters across the country, and the globe. Back before E-mail was a common thing, we wrote our little notes on pink Strawberry Shortcake paper and mailed them back and forth. Two people that I love dearly have know me almost all of my life, despite my moving over and over. They could have decided I was too much work. They could have moved on to more convenient friends, who were close by, and easy to talk to. But they wrote their letters, and later their E-mails, and had me in their weddings, and call me up just to chat even now.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

This weekend while my family was here all of us girls were sitting around my kitchen table, just chatting. Mom happened to ask my younger sister, Kelsey, how one of her friends was. A girl we all know, but that Kelsey sees most often.
She burst into tears.
Not the response we expected, to say the least.
It seems that last time they had been together this friend, and another friend, had been teasing back and forth about how much work Kelsey's wedding had been. She had chosen to go "green", thus had "real" dishes, and cloth napkins, and an outdoor wedding. After teasing her awhile about how much work it had been to prepare for and clean up after, the friend said, "I would never do that to my friends."

"Do that to your friends".... really?

If you have to "do that" to them, then they aren't your friends.

Friends happily, cheerfully, with everything within them sign up to help you when you need it. I think that along with sickness, and deployments, and newborn babies, weddings qualify as a need.

That is friendship.
It isn't earned.
It is given.

So, this Posting is a thank you to my friends. You have given me words of encouragement. Prayers for healing. Rides to doctor's appointments. Phone calls, just to say hi, on your way to Bible study. (you know who you are!) You have given me a lot, even though I haven't earned it. That is how I know we are friends.
Thank you a million times over!

(Side note: I believe that Kelsey's friend really is her friend. Don't judge her too harshly - she probably just wasn't thinking about what she was saying. However, anytime someone makes my sisters cry, I take is seriously! I may have to offer a beat down next time I see her!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend Update

I feel like a newspaper with a post title like that... but it seems fitting.
My parents and two of my sisters came down to visit this weekend and help me have a gigantic yard sale. And, as Canaan explained, quite emphatically, to a young boy who came into the garage to check out his bike, "It's a yard sale, not a garage sale."
We sold A LOT of stuff. Before Andy came home from Afghanistan, when I was still staying with my parents, we had all started cleaning out closets and cubbies. The idea behind this yard sale was to do more then just get rid of stuff that was not needed. We really wanted, and needed, to raise some more money to complete this adoption. The closer we get, the more "extra fees" that pop up - as well as the things we already knew about, like the plane ticket and the food and lodging while we are in Benin.
So, everyone in my family cleaning out their closets for me. We managed to raise $350, which I think is pretty impressive for a yard sale. Especially since we are pretty cheap ourselves, so it is not like we have a lot of name brand fancy stuff laying around.
We also enjoyed some family time. We played Wii, put together a puzzle, and attended the fall festival at our church, where my children got to eat hotdogs, doughnuts, popcorn and cotton candy, while getting their face painted and winning prizes. I managed to not get a single picture of that entire experience... but my sisters did, so hopefully they will E-mail me a link sometime this week.

Here is a picture of our late night project...
A Norman Rockwell painting, in 1000 piece puzzle form.

We're not geeks or anything!

While we were organizing all the yard sale stuff, someone stumbled upon this scrap of paper. We don't know where it came from - I was getting rid of a lot of old textbooks from college, so it probably fell out of one of them.

It says "Happiness is in his smile. All I need is his hand in mine. Every day, more and more, Life is Beautiful, because of Andy. "

So, even though Andy gets all the credit for being the poet in the family (and I am not about to try to take that away - I love the stuff he writes!), I was kinda proud of myself for my ability. This was from "back in the day".
Brings back some very good memories, when life was so simple. Still, even now, all I need is his hand in mine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

No condemnation

Isn't it funny how whenever you finally speak something out loud - or at least type it up where people can see it - God sort of steps in and "smacks" you with something that you should have known all along. My devotional reading for Wednesday, the morning after I wrote the post about perfection and control was on John 3:1-21. I am sure most of you know several verses in the middle of that.
"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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
I was feeling very dumb, very "condemned" for allowing myself to be so concerned about my body. For not being perfect enough to be balanced in all things. For not being perfect enough to trust God in all things.
See the irony there?

It was very uplifting to read that verse, at least for the first second or two. Then I started thinking "I have known that verse my whole life. I am preacher's daughter. Why in the world have I allowed myself to feel condemned, when I know better?"

Once again, how wrong is that?

I read it again, and focused on soaking it in, and not expecting myself to be perfect.
I will keep working on that.

I am glad I have it memorized already - Thanks Mom. I will repeat it to myself over and over these next few weeks.
As well as this one...
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" Romans 8:1

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

More of "The World Through Zion's Eyes"
I suppose it's not really a good picture, classically, but I love it!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Confession time

This portrays me in a very real light. I would like to make myself sound stronger, better - less of a failure at letting God be in control, in several areas of my life. But I have been mulling these thoughts over for weeks. Tonight I had time to organize the thoughts. So, here they are, failures and all.

I have been attending a Monday morning Bible study for the past 12 weeks or so. The focus was on strengthening the marriage, and it was for women only.
I always enjoy getting together and chatting with other women. I think that is part of why I have this blog - nothing against any men out there who happen to read it, but men rarely comment, so I tend to forget about you - this blog is my chance to have a little "girl talk" at the end of a day being surrounded by cars, tools, guns and wrestling.
Today was the last session and one thing we talked about was our bodies, and our husband's appreciation of them.
Now, because this is a Bible study, I suppose you would think that "nap time" wouldn't be something to be discussed. But truthfully, it is a very important part of every marriage - Christian or not. God created our bodies for it, and why should we let the "world" have all the fun?
But here is the thing. We got off on a bit of a tangent for awhile because one woman talked about how she has had both a c-section and a hysterectomy this year, and cannot get her figure back, and her husband is just mean about it. Plain old mean. Now, I don't know if he says it in jest, just playing around with her, but he is still wrong.
We all assured her that she is beautiful, and that of course it takes time to recover your body, and several women who had been in previous relationships with men who were "condemning" about their bodies gave pep talks about letting God give her confidence from within.

I mostly stayed quiet. Because I can't preach words that I fail to live.

I don't have anything to complain about. My Andy would never say anything cruel. He really isn't very good at giving compliments either, but he would never say anything cruel.

And yet, I cannot be happy with my body.

I don't know why I can't be happy.
I can make excuses. I have had diseases my whole life - diabetes forced food, and every aspect of it, to the forefront of my mind from a very early age. My thyroid is overactive, and the meds for that mess with your weight.
Now epilepsy, and yet more meds.
My husband often deploys for months at a time, and I have to do something with all those emotions. Running, and crunches, and P90X have all worked well at pushing the fear away.
I suppose my intake of food, and the push to exercise and tone are some of the only things about my body, and my life, that I have any control over.
But, I am a size 2 for crying in the mud, and was nearly in tears just a few days ago over the shape of my abs.
I think I am finally admitting to myself that there is something wrong with that.

I recently read that the national average size that women desire to be is 8. Men desire a woman with a size 12 body. The actual national average is 16.

A blogger friend of mine, Nikowa wrote a whole series of blogs about body image in society today. She proudly proclaimed her own size and her happiness with less then perfection. She also wrote a fabulous blog about how the way we push for perfection affects our sons. (daughters are always worried about, but since she (and I) have sons, we want to focus on them too)

Soon after this series, another blog friend, Autumn, wrote a post about perfection. Not necessarily about body perfection, but it once again hit me.

So, I decided to do some searching. There is a book that is fairly popular right now called "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters". I haven't read it. I have just been reading blogs about it, and comments about it, and this short excerpt. (please, if you have time, go read it)
That excerpt broke my heart.

Broke it.

Because really what it boils down to is that these women, these "perfect girls", think they have to do it completely by themselves.

Alone.

No wonder they are starving daughters.

I have no excuse. I am not alone, and never have been. Not only do I have a wonderful husband, and other amazing family and friends - but more importantly, I have the source of Contentment. The source of Joy. Absolute Perfection. Because I have HIM, I really don't need to look for perfection anywhere else.
Especially not in my stupid, quite temporary, body.
So I will make a choice to not obsess. Instead,

"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 NIV

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Oh, the joy of parenting!

I meant to post last night, truly I did. I just got distracted by so many things.
The boys did not want to go to sleep last night. Especially Zi-bug. First he needed some lotion. Then, "Mommy, please will you play the piano for me." (only he says "peas will you pay the pinano for me") 10 minutes later... "No not that music, please play the Disney songs." "Mommy, my sippy cup is empty. Please, can I have some more water." It went on, and on, and on. If you are a parent, you know the drill.
It just kept getting later and later. We threatened dire consequences if he got out of bed for anything else. But then, he insisted he had to poo. And really, what kind of cruel parents can tell their child to hold it a l l n i g h t l o n g. So, he got up, one more time.
Would you like to see how he finally fell asleep?

I kept pausing the piano playing to check on him, and he would wake up just enough to say, "I not done yet", then drift off again. I had to go get Andy to show him, and of course, a picture had to be taken for posterity's sake.
No wonder I was tired by the time I finally quit playing the piano and got on the computer. By the time I checked my E-mail and FB, and commented on everyone else's blogs, I was ready to curl up with a book and read myself to sleep.
Tonight, Andy is waiting with a movie.
Perhaps a "real" blog will get written tomorrow? We'll see!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

He never decided WHO he was for halloween - but I sure thought he was adorable!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

I don't have any Halloween pictures yet. I left my camera at home for the big event, and Mary hasn't E-mailed me hers yet.
However, I do have pictures of the pumpkin carving adventure with my boys...

Daddy really doesn't mind getting messy.



Canaan got used to the idea, after a little teasing.

Zion really, really, hated the idea.

As in, burst into tears when Daddy put some in his hand for him to feel, and insisted on going inside so he could get a "wipey" to clean up with.

He stayed a safe distance from Daddy for a while after that!

He recovered nicely with some sandbox time
(which to me seems just as messy, but to each his own, right?)


Andy and C had a blast designing and carving.

And they all took credit for the finished project.

Isn't it beautiful?

An award and a bit of fun


A big thanks to Dawn at Just call me Woman for this fun award/project.
I'm to answer the following questions with one word and then pass the award on to five other bloggers.
1. Where is your cell phone? bedroom
2. Your hair? big
3. Your mother? example
4. Your father? faithful
5. Your favorite food? chocolate
6. Your dream last night? unbalanced
7. Your favorite drink? decaf-green-tea
8. Your dream/goal? J.O.Y.
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? reading
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? open
13. Where were you last night? cuddled
14. Something that you aren't? tall
15. Muffins? homemade
16. Wish list item? Gladdy
17. Where did you grow up? everywhere
18. Last thing you did? serenaded
19. What are you wearing? comfort
20. Your TV? wasted
21. Your Pets? spawning
22. Friends? imperative
23. Your life? incomplete
24. Your mood? tired
25. Missing Someone? daily
26. Vehicle? matrix
27. Something your not wearing? socks
28. Your favorite store? grocery
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? 8pm
31. Last time you cried? 1am
32. Your best friend? Andy
33. One place that I go to over and over? imagination
34. Facebook? occasionally
35. Favorite place to eat? home

Now to the five blogger's I'm sending this too...


Have fun!