Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Proverbs 14:1

I find myself returning now and again to The Nonsuch Professor in his Meridian Splendor, written by William Secker.  How's that for a mouthful of a title?  I referred to this book once before here.   This morning, I found on page 99 a much needed reproof to this sinner who, more than usual lately, leaves "more work to be undone" when correcting my children...

"How many are there, who check passion with passion; and are very angry in reproving anger!  Thus to lay one devil, they raise another; and leave more work to be undone, than they found to be done.  Such a reproof of vice, is a vice to be reproved.  In reprehension, we should always beware of carrying our teeth in our tongues; and of biting while we are speaking.  A surgeon would not be justifiable in dismembering a body, if he could effect a cure without it."

When the need to reprove others is before us, may God empower us to do so with gentleness, skill and a spirit of meekness instead of anger and personal irritation...let us be building and not destroying...let us be seeking His glory and the good of others.  Mr. Secker went on to say, "Reprehension is not an act of butchery, but an act of surgery."

Friday, October 22, 2010

seeking comfort in the Comforter

Yesterday, while we celebrated my son's six years...
we also tearfully gave thanks for the 19 weeks in the womb of my great-nephew who went to be with Jesus.  Please pray for my nephew and his wife (God knows their names and their sorrow) as they grieve the loss of their first child. For my sister and her husband as they mourn the death of their grandson.  And for the rest of the us who are weeping with them.

Father, You are the author of life and we thank you for the life You gave this little one and ask You to receive him into Your eternally loving arms.  We ask You to draw his parents very near to You that they may be comforted in their deep sorrow and pain.  Be the Light in their darkness. Thank You for Your promise to never leave us nor forsake us...Be the Comforter for us all as we mourn the brevity of his days and submit our hearts to Your sovereign hand, trusting that You are wise and good even in this bitter providence that passes our understanding.  Please grant us Your all-sufficient grace in our time of need.  Amen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My "baby" is 6 today!

we are happily celebrating
the life of an adventurous, 
little man in the making...
my son, Paul 
who is now 6 years old.
We are so glad God has grafted him into our family!

Here are six fairly recent pictures of him for you all to enjoy today.
Me? I'm off to enjoy him in person :-)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

food fun

One of the great things about having so many readers in the house is that we can all share with everyone else what is being learned along the way, which has a way of increasing the joy.  Sometimes, which you can interpret as just about as often as I'll let them, my young readers find some craft or recipe that "they just have to try."  That is how we found ourselves in the kitchen making apple empanaditas recently...they were pretty, but after the taste test we all agreed that we prefer our regular old yummy apple pie recipe which is a lot easier to make.  That being said, we had a lot of fun in the kitchen trying them out just the same.

 Bekah, rolling out the dough
MJ and Paul working on filling the crusts, forking them closed, 
"painting" them with egg whites and sprinkling sugar on top.

If your family has a favorite easy kid-creatable recipe, we'd love for you to pass it along to us.  We're looking for ideas as the cooler weather invites us to more experimentation in the kitchen.  If you write them in the comments section, anyone else who is interested can swoop 'em up and try them with their kiddo's too. 

Looking forward to what shows up...thanks, Connie

Monday, October 18, 2010


Fall has definitely arrived...the mornings have a chill, the leaves are changing colors, and darkness is lingering longer.  Doesn't that mean it is time to curl up with some good books?  The girls in our family seem to think so, but one of us has taken a new position for reading...I walked around the corner the other day to find my oldest daughter reading like this:
I'm happy to report that she has decided 
this is not her favorite way to read a book 
after having tried it, 
but I was glad for the laugh it gave me 
and the opportunity to record it for posterity ;-).

Recently we had the privilege of having this extra little guy hang out with us for 4 days/3 nights while his Mama recovered from a surgery...he is a terrific two year old and we had so much fun having him here with us.

We have been studying "flying creatures" in science this year, using the Young Explorer series by Apologia (which we are loving!).  Going back a bit, here are a couple of pics of us setting our butterflies free.  What a fun experience that was to watch the caterpillars transform into butterflies...it provided many opportunities for us to talk about our own metamorphosis as God transforms us too.  We had two of our neighbor girls over, flanking my three in the middle.


One of the things we like to do here is make our own pepperoni and beef jerky using a food dehydrator.  Here, Paul is showing us how to use the "gun" to make pepperoni ropes...it is pretty darn easy!  
Less than a day later, the kids can be wearing 'em as mustaches, smoking them or nibbling away...the fun just never seems to end (yes, we have an extra in the pic again...the pink-panted girl is our neighbor friend who considers our house her other house...she's a welcome addition whenever she is here).
Have a great day LIVING the life God has given you, sharing your joys and resources with those He puts in your path, building community, loving others, and making much of the sweet mercies of God.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This Kind of Loyalty

Acts 21:10-14 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit,'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered,"What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."  So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The will of the Lord be done."  

My kids and I sat at the table after reading this, talking about how we desire to have the heart of Paul who was unswervingly loyal to the Living God.  Then we prayed knowing we cannot muster that kind of loyalty.  We totally need the Spirit of God to work in us.  Father, please work in us to unite our hearts to fear Your name for we are still so fragmented in our loyalty, preferring our safety or sense of security in wealth or personal comfort or pleasures that we somehow convince ourselves we must have.  You instruct us to love others, to die to ourselves that we may live, to serve rather than be served...Paul "got" this.  He understood that his life was entirely in Your hands and at Your disposal and that the light and momentary afflictions he would suffer were working out a far more exceeding glory (2 Cor. 4:17-18).  Grant us, Lord, this kind of loyalty to you.

We also want to come alongside people "doing hard" and say, press on, fight the good fight, Jesus is worth it all.  Today we want to highlight our blogging friends, the Masers.   After months of tedious paperwork and hoops to hop through, they just found out they made it to the waiting list to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia.  To celebrate, they are providing the opportunity for those who are joining them in their journey of adoption to win $150 cash.  That's right...go here for details, and join the fun.

The will of the Lord be done.

Monday, October 11, 2010

And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing...you made my first giveaway on my blog a lot of fun.  I wish I could send a copy of The One Factor to everyone who entered, but lo, I do not have that many copies on hand so we had to pick from the hat. 
And the winner is...
Amber...you won!  Yippee!  I will get it to you asap ;-).

PS...My local peeps who did not win are welcome to read my copy if you like.  Those who live nearby Erica, and you know who you are, she has a copy that she just might be willing to share.

Spreadin' some news

Later today we will draw the name of the winner for The One Factor...what fun it has been to see the interest in this book.  Stay tuned. 

One of the families that our family is walking alongside in their course of adopting a second time is the David and Erica Shubin Family.  They live in Florida, and we live in Oregon, but 3,000 miles doesn't keep us from being in regular communication.  I go to church with a good portion of David's family...the connection goes way back, but a couple of years ago when Erica brought her kiddos to our church's family camp, we shifted from being mere acquaintances to forging a friendship that has grown and blossomed.   I love these peeps.  They are now officially a waiting family (woo hoo!).   Recently they got some good news  and I want to help spread it...

Erica, in her own words: "we received incredible news that we were approved for a matching grant. This grant was given through The James Fund in cooperation with Lifesong for orphans! Both amazing ministries providing grants to offset fees to unite families through adoption. We are in humble awe of our King and His gracious provision. In order to receive the matching funds we are asked to send support letters out in which donors are asked to send the funds through LifeSong who will then disburse them to our agency. We're working on this now. We have until November 9th to raise $3,000 in order to have it matched for a total of $6,000! This will complete our referral fee needs and put us a bit over towards the remaining $10,000 needed for our two trip travel expenses to pick up our little girl. Isn't that amazing?! God has provided just over $11,000 towards our adoption in the last five months. A huge amount. That's my King. He is faithful. We're humbled, grateful, and blessed beyond measure.

If you would like to be apart of this incredible provision doubling any donation we are adding an online donation link to our blog that will direct you to Lifesong and their paypal link - you can make online donations, noting your preference for our adoption by adding Shubin #1512 to your paypal payment or you can mail (write in the memo Shubin #1512) your donation to:
      Lifesong for Orphans
      PO Box 40 / 202 N. Ford St
      Gridley, IL 61744
(all donations are tax deductible whether made online or by mail)"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Who will the winner be?

Here in Oregon, where I live, the temperatures are dropping and that is my signal to begin curling up with good books and flavorful cups of tea.  How about you?  We're giving away a free copy of The One Factor and getting your name in the drawing is a cinch.

Here is how:
1. Become a follower of this blog (if you are not already).
2. Tell me you'd like to be in the drawing (you can email me, FB me, or leave a comment below).
You're in. It is THAT easy!

To get you name in the bucket more than once, you can:
*  Facebook about it. For each day that you do it (and you let me know you did), you get an entry.
*  Blog about our giveaway (again, let me know that you did this).

One of my darling children will draw a name on Monday, the 11th, and we'll let you know who gets to curl up with this delightful collection of short real-life stories related to kids in foster care situations that will inspire.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Giveaway: The One Factor

The One Factor, by Doug Sauder, is a series of short stories that make it clear that our lives impact others.  There is no escaping it.  We will all leave many a mark that will carry on with ripple effects for generations.  The power of this book in our frenetic-paced society is to help us grasp the concept the title gives away, with the encouragement to make a God-glorifying impact in the lives of others.  The stories are heart-warming, gut-wrenching, motivating, clarifying, delightful, maddening, and more.  After I read The One Factor, I found my 9 year old daughter curled up in bed reading it...we both found it compelling.  We have an extra copy we'd like to share so we're going to do a GIVEAWAY...I'll send the book to whoever wins after gathering snail mail info (if I don't already have it).

Here is how you can get your name in the drawing for a free copy of this book:
1. Become a follower of this blog (if you are not already).
2. Tell me you'd like to be in the drawing (you can email me, FB me, or leave a comment below).
You're in. It is THAT easy!

To get you name in the bucket more than once, you can:
*  Facebook about it. For each DAY that you do it (and you let me know you did), you get an entry.
*  Blog about our giveaway (again, let me know that you did this).

We will aim to pick the winner on October 11th so you have one week folks...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A banquet of grace, part 7

Much is still weighing on my mind, but it will have to wait for posts with different titles, or find a resting place someplace else.  We started this study with a number of questions relative to what adoption is about and who should pay for it.  Here is my overview for now, without regurgitating all that has already been written.

I see throughout the Scriptures that God exhorts us to care for the fatherless within our gates via gleaning and tithe provisions, but how that works itself out in the present day I do not know.  I think, by implication, we could say that there is a general responsibility upon us corporately to uphold justice and to do what we can for the stranger, the widow and the orphan as we remember who God is and what He has done for us.  There are oodles of opportunities (if you need suggestions, feel welcome to contact me).

I see nowhere that we are commanded to adopt, though I believe God puts it in the hearts of many to do so. Adoption, one by one, eliminates the fatherless by grafting them into families, thereby reducing the number of fatherless for us to plead the cause of.  Paul is the only writer that uses the term "adoption" and as I've said before it relates to God adopting those He has chosen to be His.  Adoption has been practiced throughout time in different ways and for varying reasons, but where God is concerned, it is redemptive in nature, with a price to pay, rooted in compassion and born with great patience.  When we engage in this work, in imitation of our Father, it should not surprise us that there is a price to pay, that we will need to exercise much patience in the whole journey from application through all the years of parenting, that the recipients of our compassion may not be overflowing with gratitude and sweet spirits any more than we are, and that in the end God will complete the good work He began in us all.  It is a journey some are called to and equipped for, and those who are must walk daily trusting that God's grace will be sufficient as the experience plays itself out somewhere on the spectrum of immeasurable joy to seemingly life-toppling difficulty.  If you are aware of anyone God is calling to walk this road, it is a good work to support them in it as God grants you the opportunity and ability.  If you are the one on the road, be encouraged that He who calls will also provide for all you need in the journey in His time and according to His wisdom...if He leads you to ask for help, do so humbly without shame in a fashion that honors Him, and trust Him with the answers as He works in the hearts of others.

Kerri left a comment under part 4: "the raising of a child isn't totally JUST for the benefit of the child and our own pleasure, but because we can be an answer to the prayer 'Lord raise up workers for Your harvest.'"  And under part 1, she said this: "Adoptive families are an encouragement to those around them in ways they may not be aware of. The whole family of Christ is blessed by your and the other adopted children. They are truly part of all of the body."  Great points.  Our lives really do intersect by God's design.

I'll end with summarizing the Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37.  A lawyer tested Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus asked him to share his understanding of the law, which he summarized as loving God and loving neighbors.  That's right said Jesus, do that and you will live.  The lawyer, wanting to justify himself, asked "Who is my neighbor?"  Jesus answers with a story of three men and a person in need; two men pass by and one gives aid, and Jesus asked, "which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?"  And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." 

The end.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A banquet of grace, part 6

This series, as all series eventually do, must come to an end so I plan to give you today's post and one more next time to wrap it up. 

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah weeps over Jerusalem, a once great city which has been laid low by a Babylonian invasion.  Why was it laid low?  We're told repeatedly through the account that God brought this about because Jerusalem sinned gravely.  What does being laid low look like for Jerusalem?  In chapter 5:2-3, Jeremiah cries out, "Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners.  We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows."  He continues to describe their lives..."we get bread at the risk of our lives...our skin is hot as an oven because of the fever of famine.  They ravished the women...boys staggered under loads of wood...the joy of our heart has ceased; our dance turned into mourning"...etc.  Here are a few of my thoughts and implications.
  • God who is rich in mercy and compassion is also just and hates wickedness and will lay nations who are stiff-neckedly in rebellion against Him low in His fierce anger (including the children of that nation).  This should be a wake up call to our nation which has turned away from the Living God to pursue whatever seems right in our own eyes (nationally speaking)...this great nation is not so great that God cannot lay us low just as He has many a nation before us.  We should be trembling, but instead we go on our haughty and naughty way.  In the book of Jeremiah we're given more information about what we find in Lamentations.  We're told that God sought after this people with warnings and corrections over and over again, but they (5:3b) "made their faces harder than rock; they refused to return."  We're also told  they were guilty of not pleading the cause of the fatherless (5:28).  This is one of the few specific forms of wickedness mentioned so it just might be a big deal.  I care about my country...I care that nationally we have multi-billion dollar pornography and abortion industries which stand in stark contrast to caring for the fatherless...I care that our divorce rate is higher than our marital faithfulness rate and premarital/extramarital sexual encounters are seen as a shameless norm (which creates more fatherless for us to care for, among a host of other problems)...I care mostly that all this indicates a hatred of God rather than a love for Him.  God is calling for us to wake up America.  One of the indicators that we have returned to Him will be a renewed faithfulness in pleading the cause of the fatherless...this is, to a large degree, why I am so passionate about this topic. 
  • Jeremiah wrestles...on one hand he recognizes that it is God that has brought this about.  He bows to His sovereign hand.  He says in Lam. 3:37-38, "Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?"  On the other hand, he cries out (2:20a): "See, O LORD, and consider! To whom have You done this? Should the women eat their offspring, the children they have cuddled?"  These are Your people, Your image bearers...he reasons that surely this is not how things should be.  In the midst of horrific calamity, he writes (3:21-24): "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I hope in Him!'"  Jeremiah, in the thick of it, struggles to make sense of the scenario he is both witnessing and living in light of what he knows about God who reigns with justice and mercy.  As we wrestle to understand the plight of those who suffer greatly, we're in good company, but let us follow Jeremiah's example of upholding the righteousness of our God in all He does and placing all our hope in Him alone. 
  • Notice the description of orphan life...loss of inheritance, joy ceased, staggering burdens, etc.  I read a beautifully written post this week that I encourage you all to read to see how God can restore an inheritance and joy to the fatherless.  It is well worth your few minutes.  I LOVE to be a part of this kind of story!  The beauty of redemption, the sweetness of joy replacing sorrow as we see God at work in people's lives, is another reason why I am so passionate about this topic.
  • Nations rise and fall in relationship to God and what He purposes to do, and when they fall we see a couple things happen...we see His enemies destroyed and His children cared for.  Lot was told to flee Sodom before it was destroyed, for example.  Relative to the fatherless in nations that are being laid low, I believe adoption is one of the ways God plucks the little ones He chooses out of the fire, so to speak.  So are ministries to widows and orphans that proclaim Christ and help them stand again in the context of their own countries as they rebuild (Children's Hope Chest and New Hope Uganda are examples of this sort of work).  As we engage in these kinds of works, we should do so in a way that makes plain that God is mankind's hope; that He is good to those who wait for Him (Lam. 3:25).  The REALITY is God is holy and He governs all the earth...there is reason to fear Him when we turn away, and there is reason to rejoice when He draws us near.  Nations that have fallen, when they return to God, will rise once more.  We are part of a big redemption story...every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Christ is Lord.  Oh may God in His mercy draw us near!
So ask yourself, do you do what you can to uphold justice for the stranger, widow and orphan or do you conveniently ignore their plight?  I've heard it said "they're not my concern"...this sentiment should cause those who hold it to tremble before the Living God to Whom they will give an account.  Jerusalem, that great city, was laid low in part because of their failure to plead the cause of the fatherless and when God laid them low, they themselves became orphans and waifs, their mothers like widows (Lam. 5:3).  I suggest we make them our concern.  We can pray.  We can offer the resources God has blessed us with such as time, words of encouragement, and finances as God makes us aware of opportunities in our circles.  God doesn't ask us for what we do not have, but He expects us to manage well what He has given, that the glory of His name might be made known in all the earth.

There are an estimated 147 million orphans (not to mention widows and strangers) in the world...that number paralyzes us because we are powerless to plead the cause of that many, but God may give us opportunities to help one at a time and when those opportunities come, do we do what we can?  Sometimes we don't help because we think we cannot do enough to make much of a difference, but God has knitted us together into a body that is designed by Him to work together to spread the fame of His name and doing nothing does not = working together.  DO what you CAN, and trust God to orchestrate the whole.  America is stinkingly independent...we have lost the beauty and joy of community living.  As we work together, we begin to regain community...it is in the context of community that love is made known, and the world will know we are Christians by our love. Don't you see?  We're little stories that are designed to intersect and be wrapped up in a great big story.  God's story!  In God's story, there are many villains (all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God)...The Great Hero destroys some villains (He puts His enemies under His feet), and others He graciously transforms into little heroes who are sanctified to be like Him, representing Him as He redeems the world for His glory.  How well are we representing Him?  Oh how we need His grace to overcome the villainy that remains!  But at the same time, oh the joy of His redeeming love at work in and through us!  Let us pursue God and the pleasures that are forevermore at His right hand.

To be continued...