Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adoption Season for Evangelicals

Anyone who knows us well, knows our heart for orphans. We do not have any kind of definite plan for adopting but are definitely seeking God's direction in our life for that. We have many friends that we know who have adopted. Some we have walked through each little step of the process with and some that we have gotten to know after their journey began. We have seen the gospel on display in these families and it challenges us in our walk as well. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article that came out about adoption and the increased attention from Christian families. Check it out:

Adoption Season For Evangelicals
By Naomi S. Riley

Last Saturday at Grace Chapel in Denver, Focus on the Family (in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Human Services) hosted an information session for parents interested in adopting children out of the foster-care system. More than 150 families were represented and 55 of those have already begun the process. It was a successful and fitting end for the summer of 2010, which turned into a season of adoption for evangelicals.

In May, megachurch pastor Rick Warren held a "civil forum" on the subject. An audience of 800 attended and thousands more watched the webcast from their homes. "Orphans and vulnerable children are not a cause," said Warren. "They are a biblical and social mandate we can't ignore. A country half the size of the U.S—that's how many orphans there are in the world. We're not talking about a small problem."

Adoption was the cover story of Christianity Today in July. It included a feature by Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in which he described in heart-wrenching terms the circumstances of his own adoption of two brothers from a Russian orphanage.

Mr. Moore, the author of a book called "Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches," has become a sort of go-to person for evangelicals on the issue of adoption. In trying to explain why Christians have a particular duty to adopt, he told me that "every one of us who follows Christ was adopted into an already existing family."

Which is to say that unlike Judaism or Islam, faiths that one is born into, Christianity requires each member to have an individual relationship with Christ. And so, in that sense, it is as if each Christian is adopted.

Yet it is the efforts of Focus on the Family, a group which has previously been most known for its political involvement on issues like abortion and gay marriage, that have produced the most striking results so far. The group announced two years ago that it would be devoting a considerable amount of its resources to a new initiative called "Wait No More." Focus is partnering with different state governments—six so far—to reduce the number of children on foster-care roles.

In Colorado alone, Focus has moved about 500 of the 800 kids in foster care into permanent homes over the course of less than two years. The group has had success helping infertile couples desperate for families, but also in placing children with couples who are older, some of whose children have already grown up and left home.

The Focus efforts are particularly interesting because foster kids are typically not young, and often have emotional or even physical problems as a result of a lack of prenatal care, or neglectful birth or foster parents. Sometimes they can only be adopted with siblings, and so a family must take on two or more children at the same time.

Foster children are also likely to be of a different race from their new adoptive parents. As more and more evangelical churches take up the cause of adoption on a large scale, their congregations have begun to look like the multiracial sea of faces that Christian leaders often talk about wanting. But it does involve parents giving up on having children who look like them.

All of this makes the growing evangelical interest in adoption seem particularly countercultural. With the widespread availability of artificial reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization, many couples who previously would have chosen adoption can now use surrogates, donor sperm or donor eggs to have a baby who shares their DNA (or whose DNA they have carefully chosen), and whose prenatal care they can closely monitor. Taking a child as he or she comes to you may be a difficult choice for some parents to make these days.

The contemporary cultural message that we can have complete control over our children goes beyond making sure our babies are healthy and our children are given good moral direction. We take yoga classes with our infants, we attach GPS devices to children's backpacks and we call our kids in college on a daily, if not hourly, basis. There is no doubt that the world can seem a more dangerous place, with too many other influences, particularly new media, trying to exert control over our children. Now that Americans are having fewer children, we fret more over each one, too.

But how much control can we have? A Christianity Today cover story earlier this year on "The Myth of the Perfect Parent" discussed the sense many religious parents have that they've failed if their child strays from the church. Given this backdrop and the wider cultural messages about parenting, one wonders how these evangelical adoptive parents overcome their own desire for control, bring a stranger into their home, and then take responsibility for raising him.

The most persuasive explanation comes from the author of that article, Leslie Leyland Fields, who exhorts her readers: "We are not sovereign over our children—only God is. Children are not tomatoes to stake out or mules to train, nor are they numbers to plug into an equation. They are full human beings wondrously and fearfully made. Parenting, like all tasks under the sun, is intended as an endeavor of love, risk, perseverance, and, above all, faith."

Ms. Riley is an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values.

Day 4

Praying for his role as husband

Today, let’s focus on our husbands as just that, a husband. If you are not yet married, pray for your guy as he steps into the role of husband. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. Your husband, my husband, is the leader. Already. It’s settled. You don’t have to negotiate it or loose sleep over it, they are the head of the home. Christ appointed them to that role.

Our focus:
· Encourage him in his leadership of me, his wife.
· Continue to develop him into a man that always makes marriage a priority.
· Give him a deep love for me, his spouse.
· Give him a new revelation into your heart for marriage.
· Guard his eyes from satan’s attempts to steal his affection from me.
· May he be a model of submission as he submits to the Lord.
· Give him wisdom in leadership.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 3

Praying for his job
Today let’s pray for our husband’s job. Whatever it is that he does to ‘bring home the bacon,’ let’s ask that Jesus meet him there today.
We all know our husbands’ jobs well, so spend some time today personalizing your prayer in the way your husband needs them most. Try to take yourself out of the prayers. Don’t pray for what you would be pleased to see happen, but rather things that would bring growth to your dude.

Our focus:
· May his workplace be/become a place where he has freedom to show his creativity and use his gifts.
· That he would gain encouragement, specifically today, from his co-workers.
· That he would be effective.
· A thankful heart for a job that provides.
· Give clarity to any callings that the Lord may be placing in his heart.
· Professional growth.

Take a few extra moments to thank Jesus for giving your husband a job. For those of you who have the joy of staying at home with your kids make sure you have your heart right. Rather than comparing your life to the lives of others or wishing you had more to “show” for your life or sulking in the career you used to have, give thanks for a man who works so hard so that you can be a full-time mommy.

If your husband is between jobs right now, while your praying for direction, open doors, and new opportunity, also pray for his emotional state. That he would feel valuable, significant, and loved.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sites I love

Here is another installment of sites that I love. Hope you enjoy visiting them as well

  • She Worships- This is a blog written by a friend, Sharon. We met Sharon through the Summit. Her blog is basically a place she can share her thoughts on theology and women. She uses it as she is walking through life and learning more from God. She has some great insight on women and I always enjoy reading her thoughts.
  • Leading and Loving It- This site was actually introduced to me by Sharon. It is pretty cool. It is a collaboration of some pastor's wives. There is a blog, virtual community groups, resources (like the prayer guide I am using this week), and virtual conferences. I am still digging into this one, but am really enjoying what I am gleaning.
  • Totally Tots- SUPER cute site. It is totally up my alley. It is incorporating great books with lessons that center on God. This is something I am looking for with activities I do with Zeke. I don't want our Bible time to be the only time we talk about God during our day. I want to look at everything through the lens of Christ and then filter everything down through that. This site has lots of cute ideas AND they keep a running list of giveaways going on, SCORE!

Day 2

Praying for his worship

Worship, as you know, is a matter of the heart. So, let’s begin by praying for his heart. I know what it feels like to have a heavy or burdened or uneasy heart. Don’t you? Let’s come together against this for our guys.

Our focus:
· Take the burdens from the heart of my husband.
· Replace them with freedom.
· In that freedom, begin to teach my husband what it truly means to worship You in spirit and in truth.
· Come and meet my husband where he is.
· Allow him to find rest in his home and in his current circumstances.
· Begin to lay new words and encouragement on the heart of my husband.
· Develop him into a man who is capable of being in a constant spirit of worship

Monday, September 27, 2010

Take Your Man to Jesus Day 1

I have been checking out this site. It is a resource for pastor's wives. They have these virtual conferences weekly with speakers. It's about an hour and generally three women speak on a topic. I have pros and cons about the conference. It's definitely not scripture rich. Last week two out of the three speakers did not even mention a single reference. But then Kay Warren came in and knocked it out of the park. A lot of the advice is more practical, like ways to protect your marriage from an affair or how to spend quality time with your kids. They also have virtual small groups. I haven't taken part in one of those. I'm actually not too sure about them, but am considering trying one out. Something that they have in one of the resources is the 10 Prayer Challenge. Basically it's the idea of praying intentionally for your husband. I am committing to do the 10 day plan that they have shared here. I will post the plan for each day on my blog for the next 10 days. Wives, would you commit to pray with me for your husbands? I am eager to see how this is going to change me, Spence, our relationship, and our family. I can't wait to hear stories from ya'll of your experience as well. And now,


Praying for his leadership
All of our men are leaders in one way or another and most of them lead in multiple areas. They are all the leaders in our relationships and homes. Many of them lead multiple people in their place of work. And whether you realize it or not, many of your husband’s friends look to your husband as a leader in their friendship. For those of you who have been in leadership roles yourselves, you know the burden and pressure that can come from such roles. Recognize that your husband is a leader to many people, even in situations that you may be unaware of. Let’s ask the Lord to bless them in this role, to teach them through leadership and to use them to influence others.

Our focus:
· Increase his wisdom in making decisions for those he leads.
· God would give him confidence as a leader.
· Call him to step out in his role and calling.
· Give him influence in the lives of others.
· That he would view his leadership as a way to lead as the Lord has lead him.
· Teach him through leading others.
· A teachable spirit.

Use the next twenty-four hours to focus on your husband’s roles in leadership. Take him before the Lord, specifically as a leader.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random cute pics of Ben

Ben's personality continues to just explode. He cracks us up all the time. I can't believe he is going to be a year old in a couple weeks. Here are some recent cute stories from Ben:
* He has learned to sign bird (same first sign as his big bro, what is it with these boys?!) and when he saw his new cousin Jace this week he kept signing it at him.
* When he wants to be cute, he puts his hand against his cheek and kinda leans his head
* He has learned how to shake his head no. The other night in the tub, he stood up, I asked if he was all done and he slowly smiled at me and shook his head. I told him to sit back down and he continued to shake his head as he slowly sat down.
* He has Spence WRAPPED around his finger

And here are some cute pictures:

Am I cute or what?

Do I have something on my face?

How did I get into this? And how do I get out?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hapy, happy birthday! What a fun birthday this one is. For those that haven't heard, Amber, my Amber, is engaged!!!! I haven't gotten the whole scoop, yet (give me some time people she has been in the bush with her family and fiance!), but I can't wait to hear! This is a picture of Amber and Trent that I stole from her blog.

In honor of your 29th birthday, I have 29 facts that I love about you, Amber. As a fun way to show your love and excitement for Amber, please leave a comment about something that you love about her.
1. She has my back no matter what
2. She made a bib for Zeke that says I love my Awesome Auntie Amber
3. Her favorite color is purple
4. She went to NC State
5. and she is a Duke fan
6. and somehow we are still friends...
7. When we met, she could have cared less about me (she doesn't even remember it)
8. She has attended Homestead Heights/The Summit FOREVER!
9. She was a horticulture major
10. When she applied to work at the church, she told Angie Field that she didn't want to be "a glorified babysitter" and still got hired
11. When I told her we were pregnant with Zeke, I'm pretty sure she was as excited as me
12. When I told her we were pregnant with Ben, I'm pretty sure she was as surprised as me :)
13. She wears fabulous earrings
14. She has great boots that she had to hide while working at the church for fear of mockery
15. She L.O.V.E.S. Africa
16. If given the choice between Wendy's and McDonald's, she chooses Mickey D's
17. She looks good wtih short or long hair (not sure if this is really something I love or am jealous of)
18. She can't watch The Office, it's too awkward for her
19. She A.D.O.R.E.S. kids
20. She can use a flipper flapper like nobody's business
21. She has a great God story about how He brought her and her soon to be hubby together
22. She is my very best friend
23. She has a Master's degree from Southeastern
24. She plays the violin
25. Whenever I needed chocolate, she always had some
26. She goes to Cookout and gets an unsweet tea with a little sweet
27. She is an encourager
28. In times of crisis or joy, I still pick up the phone to call her
29. She is my very best friend (yeah I know I said it already, but it needs to be repeated)
OK, now tell me what do you love about her?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spence's belated birthday celebration

We had to delay Spence's birthday celebration until this past week. I booked a night in Chapel Hill for us. We stayed at The Franklin Hotel. We walked Franklin St., ate yummy pizza, and had dessert. We thought we were going to get a great night sleep, but instead the fire alarm went off at 5 am. I guess this was just to remind Spence of his college days :) We did get to sleep in and have a DELICIOUS breakfast. We got a complimentary breakfast, but it was made to order. I had french toast and Spence got a waffle. Then we headed home to our sweet boys. It was a wonderful short get away. Thanks, Don and Julie for keeping the boys for us! Happy late birthday, babe!

Our terrace

RIP Ham's :(

Looking down Franklin St (back towards campus)

Looking the other way (towards Carboro)

Spence enjoying the tv and comfy bed in our room

I ADORE a King size bed :)

OH YUMMINESS of Sugarland!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Promotion Weekend

Promotion Weekend was a couple weeks ago. If you don't know, this is when all the kiddos move into new classes at church. Zeke has moved a couple times since he was born based on his age and abilities (like crawling or walking). This move was a HUGE one in my book. This is his last move before he goes into the preschool department. His class does lessons now. He has a worship time. When I picked him up, his teachers told me what he had learned and he brought home a coloring sheet. During dinner Saturday night, Zeke told us about his lesson. I have decided that I am going to use his weekend lessons to kick off the theme for each week that I am going to teach.

Proudly hanging on our wall

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daddy's first trip to the Mueseum of Life and Science

We got our membership to the "mueseum-N' as Zeke calls it. Spence had not been yet so we ventured out last week. The boys had a blast and Spence enjoyed getting to see everything

"Lemme see!"

Zeke LOVES the dinos and digging for fossils

God's creation is so amazing

You can't see it, but Zeke chased a butterfly all over

You can't tell but Ben is squealing and cackling at the cow

Monday, September 13, 2010


This is the newest phrase around our house. (well, that and “DINOCO BLUE”- name that quote and I’ll give you a cookie)

We are so very proud of Zeke. He has had an excellent first week of training. And I would even venture to say that he is daytime trained. The real test will be next week when we take him to church in his undies. This week I am going to work on taking little short trips out with him. Places like running to Target or going to visit dad at work.

Because I will want to remember here are the details of this past week:
Tuesday- 8 accidents, 4 successful trips to potty
Wednesday- 4 accidents, learned how to go on command
Thursday- 2 accidents, but one was because he was playing in the bathroom instead of sitting on the potty and one was at our neighbors
Friday- 0 accidents, and he asked and went at a neighbors
Saturday- 1 accident (with dad)
Sunday- 0 accidents

Big Boy Underwear!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Zeke and friends

Zeke loves playing with his friends. He enjoys naming his friends and telling Spence when we have a playdate. Here are a couple recent cute pictures I snapped.

Please check out the ankle deep water that the boys were splashing in
they had some help filling up the house with water, I just didn't catch that part

Zeke and his bff Isaac enjoyed the Museum of Life and Science
to celebrate Ike's last day before school started

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Picasso in the Making

Zeke loves anything crafty or arty. We do markers, stickers, playdoh, painting and so much more every week. Benjamin generally just watches, but I decided to let him have a try one day.

Those marks are from me trying to demonstrate for him

He decided to taste things out

When the paper didn't work out he moved on to tasting the crayons.
He had blue on his tooth for most of the day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Sweet, sweet Benjamin. I have one more month to savor all these bitty baby moments. He is quickly transitioning into a toddler. Here are some things that have changed over the past month:

*He gave up breastfeeding a week and a half ago.

*He isn't great at drinking anything ever, which has brought lots of worry to Spence and I. But we are working through it by tricking him into drinking anything in anyway that we can- using a straw, open cup, or different sippy cups.

*He cruises regularly and can stand on his own. He could totally walk. When he realizes that he isn't holding anything he slowly lowers himself down very controlled.

*He uses the signs for more and all done semi-regularly.

*This past weekend was his first overnight away from home with out us (something Zeke hasn't even done yet)- I'm pretty sure we struggled with it more than he did

*He still only has four teeth

Check those teeth out

Serious face

Loves his mommy

getting into trouble

Little photo shoot at my parents' house

Sweet country boy

Monday, September 6, 2010

Between sickness

this is what we did:

fed piggies

spent little bursts of time together

collected eggs

counted eggs

and recounted them

pitched to daddy

taught daddy how to be a country boy

explored the farm

climbed a fence

and hung out around the barns

Sunday, September 5, 2010


We got a membership to Marbles museum for Zeke's birthday. We were able to go for our first time member visit the other week. It was a blast. We played a ton, ate lunch at the picnic tables outside and the boys fell asleep in the car on the way home. This was Ben's first time really getting to play there and he had a BLAST. Zeke continued to love driving every vehicle he could.

climbing up in the firetruck

driving the bus

driving the ambulance

GOSH isn't he cute?!

Zeke was so cute and wanted Ben to ride with him.

playing in the submarine

They were surprised to see each other through the fish tank.

Ben's new wave

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

What we have been up to

So, we aren't full on potty training yet. BUT Zeke asks to sit on the potty everytime he goes in his diaper. If I could just catch him before he actually goes I think he would get the hang of going on the potty pretty quickly. I am planning after Labor day to put him in underwear and see what happens. Until then though, this is where we are hanging out singing out ABC's and reading books...