Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is going on this week at our Weddington Campus!
I love the actual nights of VBS - seeing the kids, the excitement - it's just simply VERY cool!  This year we are learning that God's word is true, surprising, comforting and life-changing - what great truths for our kids to learn and hold on to!  God's word is the light that will lead them through the rest of their lives!
This year, Wendy Poovey is our Weddingotn VBS director and she has done/is doing an AMAZING job!  We also have an incredible group of volunteers (and staff) who are making this an "adventure to remember" - we couldn't pull this off without them!
Along with VBS this week, our family is also getting ready to head out for Michigan to attend my nephew's wedding and to visit with family and friends - we're so excited to see everyone! 
So... this will probably be my last post this week - but I did want to post a few VBS pictures!
I just have to say that I love when Heidi and the youth lead our kids (and adults) in worship.  Anyone who doesn't believe that kids can truly worship and praise our GREAT God seriously needs to come and visit us at Southbrook!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Weekend

We celebrate special occassions in weekends or weeks - Mother's Day weekend, Birthday week, Father's Day weekend - you get the picture!  It spreads out the enjoyment and allows us to justify eating out and doing extra fun things as part of the "celebration"!
This past weekend we celebrated the best Daddy around!  Jeff is the strong spiritual leader of our family, which in my book, is #1 Dad material!  He makes our girls laugh (ok and yes, sometimes cry) - he encourages them to think on their feet and be flexible!  He makes them feel special, which in turn makes them strong and confident!  He doesn't shy away from uncomfortable or awkward conversations and discussions - which in a house of growing girls is super important!  He's just the all-around King of the castle and we love him so much!
We were so thankful that this Father's Day weekend we also got to celebrate the official start of our journey to sweet Thomas girl #4 - she's sure to steal her Daddy's heart just like the other 3 have!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I am not the same.

I finished the book Radical.  I could go on and on about all that God revealed to me, but instead I'm simply going to encourage you to read the book yourself and see what God will reveal to you!
I am not the same.
We all have a choice.  We can cling to short-term treasures that we cannot keep or we can live for long-term treasures that we cannot lose.
Pretty powerful words.
We will soon stand before God to give an account for our stewardship of the time, the resources, the gifts and ulimately the gospel He has entrusted to us.  When that day comes, I am convinced we will not wish we had given more of ourselves to living the America dream.  Instead we will wish we had given more of ourselves to living for the day when every nation, tribe, people and language will bow around the throne and sing the praises of the Savior who delights in radical obedience and the God who deserves eternal worship.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We got the call...

At 5:00 today we got the call..."Congratulations, you're family has been accepted into our Ethiopia program!"
Thank you so much for praying! 

Application Follow-Up

Yesterday we recieved an email from America World's intake coordinator - she is in the process of reviewing our adoption application!  She was looking for a little more information on how we will be financing our adoption.  Thankfully, America World is a Christian organization - so when we say things like, "we are trusting that God will provide for what He's called us to do" - that makes sense to her.  Still, she is doing her job and making sure that our family is prepared for the financial weight that lies ahead.  So we sent her some more information and explanation about the various adoption loans and grants that we are looking into (what a blessing that there are organizations that make these things possible and available to families that have a heart for adoption) and we are now praying that our application will be accepted and our "official" adoption journey will begin.  Would you please take a few minutes today and pray that we'll get a phone call and they'll say "Congratulations, your application has been accepted"!  Just typing those words brings tears - I'm praying that we'll hear them very soon!
Thank you for your prayers!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Special Day with Anni

Anni and I spent the day together - just the 2 of us - it was so much fun!  We did a little shopping - she helped me pick out a dress - I helped her pick out some shoes.  We had lunch at Wendy's (her choice). 
The most amazing thing is all the talking that happens when we just have one-on-one time. 
Anni's been telling us (and anyone else who will listen) for quite awhile now that she doesn't think she'll want to have children - it looks to her like they are just way too much work!  But what I heard come out of our sweet girl's mouth today made me smile a "that's my girl" kind of smile! 
She said, "Mom, I know you've been kind of worried that you won't have grandchildren (really hadn't crossed my mind at this point, but I let her continue).  I don't want you to worry anymore, I've decided that I'm going to adopt.  I think there'll be a little girl in Ethiopia or maybe China who will need me to be her mom." 
I love, love, love that adoption is now something that is on the hearts and minds of our girls! 
Thanks for a great day Anni!


I started a new book last week - Radical by David Platt.  This book is not a lite summer read - it's one of those books that you can't read without being challenged to change.  I'm not finished with it yet and quite honestly, I need time to process all that God is revealing and challenging me with.  But I want to share with you a little snippet from the opening of the book - We will together explore the biblical gospel alongside our cultural assumptions with an aim toward embracing Jesus for who He really is, not for who we have created Him to be.  We will look at the core truth of a God-centered gospel and see how we have manipulated it into a human-centered message.  We will see a purpose for our lives that transcends the country and culture we live in and we will see our desperate need for His presence to fulfill His purpose in us. 
Like I said, no "lite stuff" here, but so far, incredible!  Ultimately, I want to serve, honor, bring glory and praise to the God of the Bible - not the nice little "American-Christian God" we try to mold Him into.  We live in a society where it's "all about the packaging" and so we try to package Christ in a neat box with a big bow on top - a package that we like and are comfortable with.  But the God that I surrender my life to does not fit in a box, He isn't about making people feel comfortable - in fact, while Jesus was here on earth He made most people very uncomfortable!  Like I said, I'm only about 1/2 way through the book, but it is definitely causing lots of thought and discussion - I love that!  If you've read the book or read it in the near future, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Official Application Submitted

Our official adoption application has been submitted!  The adoption agency we chose is America World, we will be adopting a little girl under 3 yrs old (at the time of referral) from Ethiopia.  Here are some of the heartbreaking statistics that drew us to this country. 
  • There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia
  • One in fifteen children die before their first birthday
  • 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition
  • More than 1/2 the children in Ethiopia will never attend school
For us, these are not just unthinkable statistics - these are lives - each one wonderfully created by our Heavenly Father!

We have great friends who are also adopting from Ethiopia - they have submitted their dossier and are now waiting for a referral.  I saw first-hand the time, energry and resources they poured into getting their dossier ready!  You can read their story at From Heart to Home.
For us, this is just the beginning, we have so much in front of us. Our Home Study will be the next step.
We're praying that God will give our family what we need - we're just going to take it one step at a time!  We're praying that in the end we'll be a family of seven (including Buddy the wonder dog) and we'll have another sweet girl to love! 
When our family comes to your mind, we'd love to have you pray for us!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dinner is Served - Part 2

Tonight was Averi's turn to prepare dinner.  She made turkey wraps, fruit salad and mashed potatoes.  I know, weird combination, but the mashed potatoes were Abbi's special request and being the nice sister that she is, Averi obliged!  Earlier in the day, Anni and I had made raspberry pie (my favorite - and very hard to come across down here in the South).  It was a fabulous dinner!  Great job Averi!

A little side note, my hand-mixer was a casualty of tonight's dinner preparations.  It's quite sad, Jeff and I received this mixer as a wedding shower gift from George and Sophie Ranger many years ago.  It served our family well!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

do, do, do...

Psalm 51:16-17 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. 
These verses struck me this morning.  I'm a doer by nature.  I do for my family, I do for others, I do for God; sometimes I do out of love, sometimes I do out of obligation, sometimes I do because noone else will.  But this morning I was reminded that I can do till I'm blue in the face and never touch the heart of God. 
Here's what God is interested in - Does my will bend easily to His?  Does my self-sufficiency crumble in light of Who He Is and who I am not?  Does my heart break for what breaks His?  These are the things that matter to God. 
I can do, do, do, but if I'm lacking a broken and contrite heart before a Perfect and Almighty God, what I'm doing will never have the impact He meant for it to have!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dinner is Served

We decided this summer to start something new...1 night a week Abbi and Averi will be responsible for dinner - deciding what to have, making the shopping list, preparing a well-balanced, (at least somewhat) healthy meal! Tonight was Abbi's 1st attempt - we had 5 cheese pasta, salad and bread.  It was fantastic! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Anni - 3v3 Soccer

Yesterday was Anni's 1st 3v3 Soccer Tourney.  This is new territory - 3v3 soccer is different than what we're used to, but Anni still did a great job!  Their team came in 4th (out of 4 teams), but I must say that the other teams were all boys!  So...
Way to go Girls!
Way to go Coach Jeff!
Way to go Anni!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Flip Side

"Bad attitudes breed bad attitudes.  Grumpy hearts breed more grumpy hearts.  Ungratefulness breeds ungratefulness.  On the flip side, praising God breeds more reasons to praise God.  Thankfulness breeds more thankfulness.  And a person who daily practices both praising and thanking has a rare joy that very few people possess."
(Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl  Lysa Terkeurst)
Today, I'm going to choose the flip side!

We're off to Anni's 3v3 Soccer Tourney!  I'll post pics later.

Friday, June 4, 2010

GREAT or small

"Great people make others feel great, small people make others feel small."
Praying that God will make me a great person today!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just Words?

I wanted to share with you why I chose 1John 3:18 "Let us love not with words or tongue but with actions and truth" as the verse to "head up" our blog.
Words are really important to me - I love to read words, I love to write words; other's words carry a lot of weight with me and I speak words carefully, hoping that they will carry weight with others.
But God has really been challenging me lately...are the words that come out of my mouth just words or are they tied to actions that come from a heart that really believes what I'm saying? That can be a tough question for me.
I think we all can agree that the word love is pretty over-used. We say we love everything from blueberries to FlashForward (which I really do find entertaining and hope they don't cancel). But when I speak of love I want it to be more than just words, I want it to be a true expression of my heart! I want to be so filled up with the love that God continually shows me, that it overflows from my heart, out of my mouth and into my actions.
When we think of adopting, that's what we think of - love in action. We want to love a child who might not otherwise experience what it's like to be treasured and adored by a family. We want to share God's truth with a child who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be led to their Heavenly Father. For our family, we want it to be more than just words - we want to love "with actions and truth"!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beach Pictures

This weekend we had some sickness, some sunburn and a couple of creepy crawlies - we also had cake and ice cream, walks on the beach, great seafood and fun in the waves!  Most importantly, we got to hang out with a couple of great families!