Thursday, January 31, 2013

I'm A Dolphin

We just adore Slugs & Bugs. No, not the ones that you find in the garden. The ones that you find on CD. Like Slugs & Bugs & Lullabies, or Underwhere?. 

What? You've never heard of this before? Oh my...

If you have children, and you do not own these CD's, you are seriously depriving them of the hysterical, side-splitting comedy that only Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson can offer.

There is one (not-so-silly) song about adoption. It's really fun and upbeat, and we love the picture it gives of God adopting us into His family. The chorus is this:

"I'm adopted! I'm adopted!
Love came and found me,
Wrapped arms around me.
I'm adopted...
Love made right the wrong,
Now I know where I belong!
I'm adopted!.."

We noticed a few weeks ago when listening to this song in the car, JoyAnna was singing (rather jubilantly, might I add!) "I'M A DOLPHIN! I'M A DOLPHIN!..."

And that was BEFORE our trip to Sea World! 

It's pretty clear adoption is a concept that is very difficult to grasp when you're 3.
Of course, at 3, the idea of being a dolphin is much easier to understand.

Here is the story of how and why the song was written:

Here is the music video for the song:

If I can ever capture JoyAnna singing her own revised chorus on video, I will have to update this blog with her very own "Unofficial Music Video".

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Even The Small Things



 I am always amazed at how God cares for even the small things in our lives. I remember once during a small group book study we were participating in at church, the leader mentioned that if we pray to find a parking space and one opens up, we shouldn't believe that God orchestrated the event just for us. Why not? He does care about even those small things. I have seen it more times over the past few months than I have perhaps over my entire 29 years in this world. The first time I noticed this when rare (at least to our family) bird species began showing up in our backyard after we began birding. More on this later...

Last Wednesday our family visited Sea World in Orlando. They have a wonderful play area for children with all sorts of carnival-like rides and games. In the very center is a four story rope play area called the Net Climb. This thing really is enormous...it has slides, tunnels and tire swings inside and multiple entrances and exits. Josh took the kids up to play while I sat below on a bench to nurse Lydia. 

After awhile I walked over to meet up with them. I stood for a while underneath it, gazing up into it's stringy bowels. When I couldn't see them I thought maybe JoyAnna chickened out and they left to go on a different ride. So Lydia and I walked all over looking on the other rides. Nope. I walked around for a long time feeling very lost and all alone in the world. Okay, all kidding aside, I was getting upset at this point. I really did not like the idea of being lost at sea...world.

I wished I had brought my cell phone into the park so I could call Josh. Bingo! I'll ask someone if I can borrow their phone to call him! But then I thought about how that conversation might go:

"Excuse me, I lost my family. May I please borrow your phone to call my husband?...No, why would he leave me here intentionally?... Hey, come back!"

I had to think of an alternative. Lydia and I were making our way back toward the Net Climb when a light bulb randomly appeared over my head. (Strange, I know!) And it occurred to me that there was Someone who knew exactly where my family was at that very moment. And all I had to do was ask for help. So I quickly whispered a prayer, "Lord, please help me find them. Thank you for knowing where they are and taking care of them always."

Not more than 3 steps later I heard the sweetest little sound, "I found Mother! Hi, Mother!!"  I looked up to see James standing at the side of the 3rd story in the Net Climb with JoyAnna and Josh crawling through a tunnel just next to him. (For those of you who aren't aware, James has begun calling me 'Mother'. He used to call me 'Mama'. I guess he's too sophisticated to call me that now that he can read.) "Wow, thank You!", I prayed. 

The next morning at breakfast I was talking to James and JoyAnna about how faithful God had been to me at SeaWorld. I told them how even when I didn't know where they were, God did. And He was taking care of them all the time. He planned to have James notice me just after I prayed to say to me, "See, My Child, I love you and listen when you pray." They both were as amazed as I was that God had answered my prayer so directly. When I mentioned it to Josh that night he said, "You know, every time we get separated in a store or when we're out somewhere and I pray, God has always immediately answered by bringing us back together. In fact, I can't remember a time He hasn't." How that has increased my faith. 

So often I think, "This is such a small, insignificant thing. I'm not going to bother God with it." But isn't that really doubt? Aren't I really doubting His kindness and love? 


What amazing love He has for His children! Lord, help me never to forget it, never to doubt it again!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Learning To Read

Ever since they were babies, I have been longing for the day that my children could read by themselves. A whole new world is available to someone when they can read! Our children know that when they finally learn to read, they will be given their very own Bible. This is a great incentive for them, because one of the things they love most is reading and talking about those faithful (and sometimes not so faithful) men and women who have gone before us in the Bible. 

I've been working with James, and sometimes JoyAnna, with a book called The Reading Lesson: Teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons. I have borrowed it from the library a couple of times over the past few months and have used it to help teach James how to read. I really like it. We tried another book at the library that is similar, but he just didn't take to it like he did this one. This week he's really been learning by leaps and bounds, which is so very exciting! 

After today's lesson, which ended with us doing a crazy reading dance around our living room in celebration of his success, (it's okay, we're not technically Baptist anymore) I asked him to read the short story again for me so I could take video to share with you. He was very happy to oblige:



  video

It's really great fun! It is such a blessing to have a husband who supports and allows me to stay home to teach and take care of our children.  :) I can't imagine not having the joy of watching my little ones take their first steps, or say their first words, or write their name or read a little story for the first time.


UPDATE: 

Josh was so impressed at how quickly and how well James is reading after only 6 weeks that he insisted we purchase our very own copy of the book!  I am going to be looking into their Big Words for Little Kids book as well as their Verbal Math Lesson book to possibly use for next year.



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Farm Day!

What could be better than snuggling some fuzzy bunnies on a Friday afternoon? Not much... 
We spent some time yesterday afternoon visiting Flowers Rabbitry in Punta Gorda. Mr. and Mrs. Flowers were most generous with our family! We were quite impressed with how knowledgeable they were in everything we asked them about. They knew so much not only about the breeds of animals they own, but about many other breeds too...and not just bunnies! 

We went to cuddle and learn about English Angora rabbits. We left having pet, fed, kissed and plucked eggs out from underneath various other farm animals. (Well, the eggs only came out from under chickens). Mr. and Mrs. Flowers sent us home with a dozen farm fresh eggs...which I served alongside some sausage and french toast for dinner (courtesy of Publix)! 


James and JoyAnna made cards to bring along to thank Mrs. Flowers for letting us come visit.


 They also baked and iced some sugar cookies that they cut out into rabbit shapes. They had so much fun, and I think they turned out pretty cute! We made the white icing for the face thin enough to paint on with a pastry brush, which worked pretty well and was lots of fun for the kids to do. I helped guide their hands when they did the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.






















I made my herbal foot bath to take along. I always have such a hard time trying to tie the yarn around the lid to secure the fabric. There MUST be an easier way! Of course, it fell off twice before we got there. Once on the way to the car, when a certain bouncy boy was carrying it, and the second during the car ride when unprovoked. Oh well! It's what's inside that counts, right?
 
James and JoyAnna really liked the bunnies. But I LOVED them! They are so soft and warm, and oh so cuddly! Really, they are sort of like little, breathing pillows of love. I had dreams last night of turning our playroom into a rabbitry! I wish I had taken more photos...when I got home and looked through I couldn't believe that I hadn't taken any of the little babies in their cages, or any of the mama and daddy bunnies. We will definitely be going back to visit and I will get some more pictures then.





















When we left the rabbitry, Mrs. Flowers brought us outside to show us the rest of the farm. We met three horses, one pig, other types of rabbits, including New Zealand meat rabbits which were enormous! (And as Joshua said, "Quite tasty!") There were also many different types of chickens, which they show, and there were even a few turkeys. James and JoyAnna were given treats to feed to the pig and the horses each got one too!

 
That's one big pig!


Mrs. Flowers brought us inside, where we met a beautiful macaw, a sweet dog, and a skinny pig. All of which, unfortunately, I failed to photograph! James, my sweet boy who is forever smelling EVERYTHING, of course smelled his hands after he touched the skinny pig. How embarrassing! 

Mrs. Flowers lent me her drop spindle, some sheep's wool and some angora fiber to practice spinning with.Then, Mr. Flowers took James and JoyAnna out to the chicken coops to collect the eggs they sent us home with. 

On the way home, I asked the kids what their favorite part was. JoyAnna said, "Holding the baby bunnies!" James said, "Getting the eggs with Mr. Flowers! Oh! And holding the bunnies too!"
Joshua loved everything! The horses, the pigs, the chickens, especially the turkeys. And my favorite, of course, were the angoras! 

Some day we hope to have our own little farm. But we will wait and see what the Lord sees fit to give us. And, Lord willing, we will be content with whatever He chooses, knowing that He always gives according to our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)



Sunday, January 6, 2013

To God Be The Glory!



 "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord."
-Job 1:21

“All that I have has been lent to me by the Lord so that I may glorify Him with it. It is not some inherent right for me to have good health, a beautiful family, a safe home or the freedoms I currently enjoy. How is it that I may glorify Him? By doing good works in my good health; to serve my family by teaching my children to love and honor God and to encourage my family to love and honor Christ with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.”

I just stumbled upon this note, which I had written sometime over the last year. It was sloppily tucked underneath the computer monitor. How could I have known at the time I wrote it just how much I would need these words right now? And how did it stay tucked under the monitor for a whole year without getting “tidied up”? Divine providence, no doubt. “All that I have has been lent to me by the Lord so that I may glorify Him with it.”

Today we received some bittersweet news. Our fourth child, whom we excitedly learned we were expecting just days before Christmas, has preceded us to Glory. While we grieve the lost opportunity to love and nurture another sweet child in this world, we are overjoyed to know that he or she is blissfully at home with our wonderful Jesus!

We find it a tremendous comfort and, yes, even a joy to have been counted worthy to suffer for our Lord. And yet, it does not seem right to call it “suffering”. How can it be suffering to know that this child is free from the cares and entanglements of this world, never having to wage the deadly battle against sin, and is now free to worship Christ and rest in him for eternity?! And how good it is to remember that our God is a God who knows and understands the pain and loss the death of a child brings - Who knows it better than we ever could! What solace we find in His loving arms!

I have been wondering lately: Do I love Christ above all other things? My favorite hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, wrote one of our family’s most loved hymns, “To God Be The Glory”. As I consider those words she penned, I believe I have my answer. Do I love Christ more than this little baby who has left us so quickly? Yes. Do I love Christ more than the children that remain? Yes. Do I love Christ more than I love my husband? Yes. Do I love Him more than my own life? Yes. “But purer, and higher, and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.” Oh, just to glimpse His face! Every other joy, every other love, every other delight I have known pales at the thought of seeing my Savior’s face!! And, oh! our sweet baby, even now, does behold Him!  And like our dear baby, when He calls me, I shall go, like a bride goes to her groom!

May we bring glory to God by remembering and rejoicing in this little life that He has lent to us for such a short season!



“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:28, 31-32, 35, 37-39