Saturday, January 22, 2011

Preschool indoor art.

With the icky weather we've had lately, I've had to start getting creative with indoor projects to keep Eden  and Josiah busy. This is winter icicles, done while Josiah was napping. She was supposed to use the paint brush to apply the glue water mixture, but why use a paintbrush when your hands can do a  better job? :)

It's so funny that some watered down glue and old Chinese noodles can keep a preschooler busy and happy for so long!

 Please feel free to share any other good indoor arts and crafts ideas :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The question of suffering.

Last week was a hard week for me. Pregnancy tends to bring my emotions to the surface. Small things that normally would not bother me seem huge. Large things that should bother me bring forth a flood of emotions. With the anniversary of Haiti's earthquake and the shootings in Arizona, I felt as though I had cried all week. May soul feels assaulted by the suffering of this world. Death and despair have shown their ugly heads in a way that makes me long for heaven like never before.

As Larry and I discussed why I was feeling so sad, i told him about watching the funeral of a nine year old little girl. I don't know her or her family, yet I grieve for them as if she were a child in our community, in our fellowship. Because her death represents the shattered innocence of childhood and the frailty of life. When I  think that way, I realize that my children's lives, my husband's life, indeed  my own life in subject to the same frailty.

My Haitian friends did not know days or even an hour in advance that such a life changing event would happen. Congress woman Gifford and the other victims in Arizona didn't know life would be forever altered that Saturday. They were just going about their lives when they met eternity.

It's so hard to look at this side of eternity and deal with the WHYs. Why do bad things happen? Philosophers have asked that questions for centuries. Men and women much smarter than I, go back and forth with ideas and banter. I was taught long ago not to ask Why, instead ask, Why not? Why not me? Why not those innocent people? Instead we should ask, What is the point of this suffering? The asking is not the issue, the assumption that only good and prosperous things should happen to us,  that is the problem. It is the bad, sad and difficult things that drive us to a deeper knowledge of God.

Then you have to ask yourself, is a deeper relationship with God worth this kind of suffering? Do I want to know and be known by a God that allows these hardships? Can I  say, in the hard times. It is well with my soul!? A friend who's son is suffering with cancer recently wrote "If our obedience to Christ costs others something, then is it really worth it? What if it's your child? Ponder that." Oh how her question pierced my soul!

In all the sadness and destruction we have seen with these two events, have we not seen God using men and women to honor, serve  and love one another to bring God glory? Has God's gospel been brought forth and spoken of? Are people going and serving because of these events? The answer is yes. Out of the ashes and rubble, God is making beauty.

Last week I received an e-mail from Dr. Vlad.  one of the awesome Haitian doctors we worked with. He included this news, "From January 12th (2010) the earth quake in Haiti killed 316000 Haitians and strangers." On the one year anniversary, "The Haitian dedicated that day as a Memorial day, around 70% of the Haitian people went to church and turned their faces to God."

Wow! Can you imagine the eternal impact that 70% of a country's people turning their face towards God, seeking forgiveness and comfort from their creator, what impact that would have! Can you see the beauty in the ashes? If that suffering had not occurred, would that beauty exist?

My heart is still so very heavy for Haiti, and for the loss in Arizona, for all the sickness and death that we suffer with in this world. Yet, I am reassured in knowing that God is a God of comfort and healing. Restoration and true joy can only be known in Him. I long for the day that we will see Him face to face, that our tears will be wiped away and the knowledge behind the suffering will be made known. But until that day, I know my days should be busy, witnessing to my children, to my church, to people in my community sharing with them the Lord that can  make beauty from ashes. Isa 61:3

Starfall and More Starfall

I'm always looking for curriculum and teaching ideas for Eden and Josiah. I'm not sure who shared Starfall with me, but I'm sure glad they did. My kids love it!  We've been using it for about 6 months. For Christmas we upgraded and joined More Starfall. That was probably the best $35 we've spent towards their education so far.

Each morning and evening we get online and go over a category. They have letters, colors, numbers, addition and subtraction, anything you would want to teach a preschooler. Plus they have music that the kids love. I am amazed at how quickly they learned. Josiah isn't even 2 yet and he knows all his letters and most of their sounds, all his colors and most numbers 1-10. It's so cute to hear him counting. Eden has really amazed me with all that she has learned as well. She is starting to put letters together and trying to spell. She is also doing basic addition and subtraction.

More Starfall also has a teacher's lounge that has customizable worksheets that I can print for the kids. Most of it is to advanced for Josiah, but there are a few that I have been able to use with Eden. The good thing about this program is that I can use it now for preschool and it will grow with them for Kindergarten.

Yesterday Eden picked up the laptop, put it her lap and used the cursor on the laptop to run the program. I guess she had been watching me and figured it out on her own. I love that she likes to spend her time learning. This momma is so proud!

Here are a few pictures of Daddy working with Eden and Josiah.
Homeschool Preschool in action :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Haiti- One year later

Today marks the One year anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti. My heart is so heavy for the wonderful people we were able to meet and minister along side. God is doing a mighty work in Haiti. The situation is improving, but life is still incredible hard for the Haitian people.

I received an update from Dr. Vlad this past week and it included totals from the year.

"From April 2010 to December 2010 after we stop working in Hospital at Port-au-prince and look for where the Haitian people has more need and, We start Helping people with their acute and Chronic diseases via Mobile Clinic. We visiting 10 different sites every week from Monday to Friday by dividing team in two, one call ALPHA, the other one OMEGA. We Educated for those 10 months about 80,000 Haitians; see and treated 54,645 Patients. Bring 725 Haitians to our Savior JESUS CHRIST."

What an INCREDIBLE blessing to have been a small part of this ministry. There is still much work to be done. If you would like more information on going to Haiti or if you would like to donate money to help the work of Baptist Men of NC work in Haiti, please contact me for more information. And please take a few moments to pray for the Haitian people.

I was a part of medical team Alpha.
 This is Innocence.
He had done great work sharing the Gospel with the Haitian people.
Larry and he bonded over the Gospel.

 Dr. Vlad, Dr. Merline and I with some of the children in a clinic.
                                            The construction team working on Oscar's orphanage.
                                                      The ladies came to tour the work site.
                                                                      Dr. Vlad and Dr. Merline.
                             I was so impressed with their love for their work, their Haitian patients and each other.

Oscar and his wife took in 16 orphans after the earthquake. Larry and Gary worked on their orphanage

The mass burial site where over 200,000 Haitians have been laid to rest.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Baby #3

A few people have asked how I am doing with this pregnancy. Well, I've been sick, a lot! Some women have wonderful glowing pregnancies that never suffer any side effects of having another person overtake their bodies. I'm not one of them. I feel the result of Eve's sin every day of my pregnancy in one way or another. I'm the kind of woman that is nauseous all day, every day. I enjoy the mental and spiritual aspects of pregnancy, but the physical.... well let's just say I pray these next 27 weeks fly by!

The crazy thing is I've learned to function with it and have done relatively well. I have a mental list of things that have to be done daily. Important things, like feeding the kids and giving out medicine, those things always get done. Other things like having everyone dressed by a certain time, or sweeping the floor after each meal, those things are not as time sensitive to me anymore. If the kids get dressed before we eat lunch, That's good. If they get a bath everyday, that's even better. But the bath thing is true regardless of pregnancy status!

All kidding aside. I am learning that some things don't matter. My kids can watch TV while their momma is sick in the bathroom or recovering on the couch. Their brains have not rotted.  Last night's dinner dishes can soak until the next morning.

Larry has done an exceptional job helping me with some of the household chores. He cleans the kitchen and makes the bed better than I do. It a side benefit of military college. And no one even thought of complaining when I said we were going to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or chicken nuggets for dinner because the thought of touching raw meat sent me running to the bathroom.

A neat thing happened right after Josiah's birth. I read a friend's blog about giving grace to ourselves as we would others. In reading her thoughts on grace, a light went off in my head. I realized that as mothers we sometimes have unrealistic ideas of what we can and  should get completed in a day.  I  try to wear that invisible cape, you know, it's the superwoman cape, the red one with a big W on it. It signifies that I am super mom, wife, housekeeper, friend, cook and cleaner.  What do you mean you never thought I wore an invisible cape before?  :)

If I went into your house, I would never think your house should be spotless or your kids dressed by 9:00am, that every meal on your dinner table should be homemade, have a meat, two veggies and a starch. But I did expect it of myself. I wear the invisible cape after all!  I was sure that if a church member stopped by and saw the laundry unfolded or the floors needed to be swept and mopped that I would get a bless your heart look of pity. Boy do I hate that look! Then they would know, I didn't have a super woman cape after all!

Along this same time, I remembered a conversation that my mentor and I had long before being a wife and mother were even on the horizon. She said, "Angela, never apologize for the way your house looks. Focus on being the best hostess you can for the time people are in your home. Your real friends will never care about the piles of laundry. They just want to be with you.  And your family is also included in the people you should be hospitable to."

It's hard to think of being a hostess to my children and husband, but I am. That's one of my many jobs. To make my home inviting not only to strangers and church members, but to my children and spouse.  I love my mentor, and her wisdom, because she is so right. I was so focused on what others might think and what I expected of myself I was forgetting the most important people I act as hostess to, my family! The stress of keeping up appearance wasn't worth putting my family through a grouchy and sick Momma.

We had lots of visitors stop by around Christmas. And I was sick almost everyday in December. So some things just didn't get cleaned or done. Not one visitor made mention of my dirty floors or piles of laundry. They played with our kids, commented on our Christmas tree and spent time talking to us. Loving us and the holidays that had brought us together. Plus, Mommy was not as worried about things as was more pleasant to be around! Hmmm, There was a freedom and joy that I hadn't expected, but was so very thankful for. But more importantly, I spent time loving my husband and children, taking time to rest when I was sick and focusing on Christ, the reason for the season and giver of grace.

Maybe I don't need that invisible cape after all! Maybe just getting through each day, praying, loving, and  laughing is really all I need to do. That, and feed the kids!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How we told the family :)

Normally we wait until we've past our first trimester to share our news of upcoming blessings. However, with us having the whole family together for Thanksgiving, I knew I would want to share the news. Plus, I knew as soon as my Momma gave me a good look over she would know.

We arrived in Tallahassee from Charleston about an hour before having this photo shoot. Thankfully, I had called Allen and had a plan in place to share our news.

We knew we would want pictures of the cousins. Because as we all know these are ALWAYS the grandparents favorites!

So you can see Shay holding the little sign that said "Cousins"

After a few shots, I told Shay to flip it over and the little blackboard read
"And Baby makes 6!"

My super fast Brother got it immediately. Abbey kept telling Shay to turn it back over, She didn't read it, she just knew it didn't say cousins. I found out afterwards she thought it was from another photo shoot!

In July, this baby will make the 6th grand baby in 5 years for our family. For my Parents who thought they would never be grandparent, glad we could make the past 5 years such a blast!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Kinsey Side

During our Thanksgiving visit, we had the opportunity to have the whole family together for pictures. A first for us. Allen Adams and his lovely wife took on the challenge to photograph our big crew.