Thursday, September 27, 2007

I can't just stop at one...

In my last post I gave my John Piper recommendation, but I have to add another...

Go here and read the reviews on Desiring God-Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.

You'll see why that just has to be on your fall reading list. In fact, I'm going to get it out and read it again myself. Many people site this book as one of the most important books they've read, other than the bible, in their Christian walk.

For me, this book answered many questions I'd had for a long time.

***Update*** I forgot to mention that many of John Piper's books are available on-line, for free, here.

Name that bedside table

I bet you can't tell whose is whose, or maybe you can. I know it could be worse, but it does drive me somewhat crazy that Scott reads so much.

Don't get me wrong, I love to read as well, as you can see from the picture, but I also like to be able to enjoy me some webbed-toe girls on The Bachelor without feeling sooooo guilty about it.

Knowing your husband is spending The Bachelor hour sifting through C.S. Lewis just takes some of the fun out of it.

I know some of you are just aghast right now, and really, I don't blame you.

I'm just say'n....

Anyway, my friend Julie over at the Peapod Four posted her fall reading list, and well, let's just say I don't think she spends a lot of time watching The Bachelor.

She asked me what John Piper book I would recommend, and I'm having a hard time deciding. There are so many great ones, so I'm still thinking about what would be a good introduction to the world of John Piper.

Really, after reading this post, I doubt she'll be taking my advice on anything important.

But just for the record, I've heard John Piper say many, many times he doesn't watch much TV at all b/c there is really nothing worth watching. I totally agree with him in theory. So just b/c I happen to love him and have, on occasion, watched The Bachelor, please don't hold it against him. You can pray for me now if you haven't already.

For thoses 2 of you who also, on occasion, catch The Bachelor, by accident of course, you have to go here for the recap.

I doubt I will hit Publish on this post, because the guilt feelings associated with posting about The Bachelor and John Piper in the same post are almost too much to bear. I am going to need major therapy, well more major therapy than I did before. It's almost too much to take.

Okay, I think I've come up with my book recommendation....
Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper

Now how's that for irony??? Read this book and you will be shocked at the irony. Let's just say this, I am a work in progress. Some areas need a little more work than others, but John Piper has been a huge influence in getting me going in the right direction. Thank you, John Piper, you have helped God begin a good work in me. May no man, or should I say Bachelor, lead me astray!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LOOK! Good decorating blogs!

I've recently found some great blogs by decorators that post great pictures. I love looking at pictures of other people's creatively decorated homes. They give me inspiration and help me to form my own style, by sorting through what I like and what I don't.

So here's my list of sites that I've been enjoying lately:


The very same moon

I distinctly remember this time last year. I stood outside in front of our house and soaked up the beauty of the Harvest Moon. I pictured that same moon filling up our soon-to-be daughter's room in her orphanage with it's light. During that time, looking at the moon made me feel more connected to her than anything else. It sounds weird, but just knowing we shared that very same moon, comforted me and made me miss her at the very same time.

We got this message from our wonderful China guide, Xixi(she-she) a few days ago:
"In two days, it will be our Full Moon Festival, like your Thanksgiving, we have to eat the moon cake( normally it is sweet cake) to celebrate.Our moon here, every
night getting rounder and brighter at this full moon festival. Soon it will be the biggest and shiniest among the whole year!!"

Last night, we went out after dark and soaked in the beauty of the full moon. It's reflected light was so bright, and my heart was full knowing this year Piper is home with us to see it. I still think of China when I see it. I can picture so clearly the places we experienced and the people there. I wonder if Piper's birth family is celebrating the Full Moon Festival. It's a very big holiday in China, so they most likely are.

Next year, we have decided we'll have our own family celebration complete with moon cakes and make it a family tradition. In researching the Full Moon Festival, we found out that next month the full moon is called "Hunter's Moon". We now have one very excited 7 year old boy around here! Hunter loves studying about God's creation more than anything else. To have a moon named after him - well, pure delight is an understatement.

So, go outside tonight and soak up the beauty that God has made. To quote John Piper,

"For myself, I think I can say that I never really felt what it meant to love God until I had the experience of delighting in some awesome natural phenomena—a night sky, a waterfall in the mountain woods, and a sunrise through an Appalachian mist. I believe nature is the prep-school of our affections, readying them to delight in God."


Psalm 19

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;

And their expanse is declaring the work of his hands.

Day to day pours forth speech,

And night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

Their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth,

And their utterances to the end of the world.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Extreme Home Makeunder...Revealed!

Here's the thing about dark wood floors....

They are dark.

I have wanted dark wood floors for as long as I can remember. I have coveted them in my heart. I have spent countless hours staring at magazine pictures of them.

Now, I have them.

Not super expensive ones, but they are wood and they are dark, and they are mine.

So you would think I would be in dark wood floor bliss right about now. You would think.

This is why I am so terribly frustrated with myself. I do think they look better than the cheap, stained carpet that was there a week ago. But....but they are very dark, and they show every little bit of dust. The same dust that the cheap, stained carpet just took on as it's own and absorbed.

This has been a big lesson for me (I hate learning lessons the dusty, expensive way). Those pictures I drooled over were a mirage. They do not show the people who have "people" who clean those floors. I am the only "people" this family has that would do something like dust 1.000 sq ft of dark wood flooring.

Now, I think the couch looks too dark. I've spent the last few days staring at it, with my head cocked to the side, squinting, trying to convince myself that it looks good.

The funny thing is, I was quite content with my house before we got the much coveted wood floors. Can you see why I am so frustrated with myself? Contentment is a fragile thing. And when you base it on something like wood floors, it's beyond fragile.

Well, I've got to go dust now.

Be careful what you wish for...

(I have pictures, but blogger is not letting me post them for some reason. I'll try again later, after I dust of course.)

Oh, and Piper's eye is getting better. Today she just looks like she is continuously winking at you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Insects & and our family just do not get along

Piper's eyelid is just a wee bit swollen from a mysterious bug bite.

Our family just does not mix well with the insects.

First there was the bee incident.

Then the ant incident.

And now, apparently the "I've got a pink golf ball in my eyelid incident".

I took her to the doctor today b/c I was just a bit concerned about the thing growing in Piper's eyelid. Sure enough, he could see where she'd been bitten by ?something?, probably just an allergic reaction to a mosquito or something he thought.

Fortunately it doesn't seem to be bothering her. And the site of her walking around in princess high heels, her diaper, and golf ball eyelid is giving me much needed comic relief today.

Transracial Adoption

Newsflash: Piper is Chinese. We are not.

We gave considerable thought to this fact before we adopted her. We read a lot about what others had to say about transracial adoption. We prayed. We read the bible and found themes that we had missed before about unity and showing love and kindness to 'aliens' and 'foreigners'. At one point it occurred to me, 'wow, I am really glad that God is in favor of transracial adoption, for if He were not, I would not have been adopted into His family.' His family is Jewish. I am not. For the first time, I found myself in the verses about 'aliens' and 'foreigners'.

Here's a sampling:

Exodus 22:21-24 "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless." (Whoa)

Deut. 10:17-19 "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt."

Deut. 14:28-29 "At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." (There are lots and lots of verses that say basically this same thing- see Deut. chapters 24 - 26)

Psalm 146:9 "The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow"

Ephesians 1:5-6 "he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

Ephesians 2:19 "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household..."

Romans 9 Paul is agonizing over the people of Israel, "those of my own race" v.4, how they are God's people, the human ancestry of Christ, and how many have not accepted Him. He goes on to say in verse 8 "In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring."
(Check the context - I can't write out all of it here)

All this to say a wonderful pastor, by the name of Thabiti Anyabwileo, has a short interview on transracial adoption that succinctly states the same conclusions we came to on the matter. The approach he talks about, here, will be same one we will pursue with Piper on matters of race, identity, and adoption. I ask anyone who is a part of Piper's life to please (pretty please) take a few more minutes and read what he has to say. Thank you in advance!

Even for those not touched by adoption, he gives some insightful words on parenting that apply to all of us.

Click here...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Well now, it's been almost a week since my last post. I have so much ruminating in the spacious place that is my mind, but as with my daily to do's, the question is where to start. There's always the list, when in doubt make a list.

1. 1,000 sq. ft. of new flooring = 3 days of keeping Piper away from the nail gun and from flirting with the workers

2. New dark flooring = spending 2 days ruminating on how to lighten up the furniture which now looks too dark

3. LOOK! Piper has new words! She has started going around the house looking for me saying "mama, mama". She can copy a lot of the words we say, but is starting to use them on her own more. Her favorite right now is to say "tickle, tickle" as she laughs and "tickles" us.
Today I was getting clothes out of the dryer and she grabbed a pair of Hunter's shorts. All excited, she went looking for him saying "Hunter, Hunter....Hunter, Hunter"! How do you explain to a 17 month old that Hunter is at school and will be home in, oh, about 4 hours?

4. In the middle of wood floor mayhem, Piper decides she's up for a little xtra bonding time. Lots of holding, talking, singing, holding, holding, holding.

5. Just started a Beth Moore mini daily bible study "Jesus - 90 days with the One and Only".
at the suggestion of Beth's daughter, here.

6. Why, oh why?
Buying the big fat 90 day devotion book at the Christian book store - Piper on one arm, big fat book, keys, and wallet in the other.
24 year old 'gentleman' working at the counter (he mentioned in passing he was born in 1983, I kid you not) chides me for putting my big fat book (437 pages) on the counter before my turn!
Mind you, I put it on the counter next to the counter being used, at least 6 feet from the poor 80 year old customers attempting to make a purchase in front of me. This poor couple had to endure more in that 10 minute transaction than one should have to in a lifetime.
Between this guy and the people who work the cash registers at Hobby Lobby, I have had it up to here with businesses who are very clearly "Christian" and have the worst customer service one can imagine. The only word I can think of right now is Dufus - is that a word?
"Mam, could you remove your book from the counter, it's not your turn."
I can tell you the words going through my head cannot be found in either the old or new testaments.
Maybe it's just in our area, I surely hope so, but I am embarrassed for the some of the Christian book stores around here. I can see why people make fun of us, I really can.

Ok, got off my list onto a major tangent there...

7. My husband is on a huge, gigantic, massive, huge, enormous, major, did I say huge? proposal for work and we miss him dearly, oh how we miss him. Honey, I am showing your picture to the kids so they won't forget what you look like. (He does really well with guilt messages)

8. Allergies - OH MY! Poor Hunter(7) has inherited my allergy to Ragweed and we are suffering - sneezing and itching and going through Kleenex like it's goin out of style. There is just nothing that makes me feel more attractive than a big, red, runny, swollen nose.

9. What else - my dad is doing pretty well, still taking chemo, putting on some weight. He says he's looking so good now, the women are starting to take notice!

10. Ten is a good number to end on, but I have nothing. This allergy head is all out.

Hope to have some pictures up tomorrow of the Extreme Home Makeunder.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday, ELLA!


5 years ago today Ella gave us the biggest surprise of our lives when she was born a girl! We didn't want to know the sex of our baby, but thought the doctor forgot during a sonogram near the end of my pregnancy. He kept referring to the baby as 'he' and 'brother', so we just thought he'd forgotten that we didn't want to know. I went home and got 'his' closet ready, getting out all of Hunter's baby clothes and hanging them up, ready to go.

At about 32 weeks I started having contractions. The doctor eventually put me on medication to get them under control. At 38 weeks he stopped the medication. We prepared for me to go into labor at any moment.

We waited.

We waited some more.


My due date was September 15th. It came and went.

September 16th, a Monday morning, I went in for a checkup. The doctor did another sonogram, again calling the baby 'he' and 'brother'. He decided I needed to be induced and sent me upstairs to the hospital. Scott was at work and I had Hunter (then 2) with me. Not the ideal conditions to have my IV started so I could go into labor. After about 30 minutes of trying to get a hold of someone to come get Hunter, my dad came up and got him and the induction began. Scott came about that same time. That was about noon. Then came the pain, I mean the PAIN! They say you forget once you hold your bundle of joy. I haven't forgotten.

And then at 5:17 p.m. on Monday September 16, 2002...

It's a GIRL!

A what???????

A GIRL!!!!

But you said....

Oh, I always say that no matter what it is.

That is the most shocked I've ever been. I will always remember that feeling of trying to grasp that we had a girl, a beautiful pink baby girl!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl! We love you so very much! You bring light and fun and life to our family.

I think we surprised Ella on Friday at her party almost as much as she surprised us! It was a great party. The kids learned how to make their own pizza and then got to eat it. All of her friends and nearby cousins were there and she seemed to really love every bit of it.

I'm going to try and post a slide show later...

Friday, September 14, 2007


Totally regretting making this bday party a "surprise". You just don't realize what kind of capital an upcoming bday party offers until you can't use it.

Ella woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and has been challenging my every attempt to get her bum in gear.

Of course this morning the whole fam needed to be up at school by 8:05 to see Hunter stand up in front of the whole school to be recognized for being respectful, responsible, and ready to learn. (We were sooooo proud!)

We did get there, but not without tears and gnashing of teeth. It took every bit self discipline I could muster not blurt out "We're going to be late for your party if you don't get moving, young lady." Yes, her party was 10 hours away, but she has no concept of time. It would have worked. And now the bath. She doesn't want to take a bath in the morning, she says it's not normal. "Do you want to be smelly for your party?" I want to say.

But, I can't say that b/c it's a, you know, SURPRISE party. Now whose idea was this anyway?

I do have to give Ella credit. She did apologize on the way to school for being difficult. Then followed it with, "now mommy, do you have something to apologize for? I will forgive you if you ask."

"What do I need to apologize for?"

"Well, you haven't been very friendly to me this morning."

"You mean as you were crying because I told you needed to take your allergy medicine and put on your shoes."

"Yes, mommy, you got it right! Good job!"

That's vintage Ella. Mad as hornet one minute, smiling and encouraging the next. Hunter and I tend to hold onto our anger for a while, but Ella lets it go just as fast as it comes on. She can change the mood of our family in seconds, I do love that about her.

Birthday pictures coming soon...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Party Alert!

It's party time around here as we prepare for Ella's BIG! DAY! She has wanted to be 5 for as long as I have known her. Her big day is Sunday, but shhhhhh we're having a semi-surprise party for her on Friday. Only a semi-surprise party b/c she insisted on planning every detail, while at the same time insisting it be a "surprise"! She has no idea when the party is and has never been to the place we are going.
Let the fun begin!
Of course, pictures to come soon....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Hello, this is the principal, I have your son in my office..."

Hunter's principal sure knows how to get our attention! This morning she called and Scott answered the phone while I was at the store. It's amazing how many things can run through your mind in a matter of seconds when you've been informed that your 1st grader is sitting in the Principal's office.

Well, it turns out that our firstborn is one of the first kids in his entire school to be chosen for a special award which he will receive on Friday at a school wide assembly! Scott didn't quite get what the award was for exactly, something about being responsible, respectful, and some other r word - radical maybe, no that's not it.

Anyway, we are bursting with pride today, and I just had shout it from the cyberweb thingy!

Friday, September 07, 2007

What's wrong with you, do have ants in your pants or something?

Why yes I do, thankyouverymuch.

It's only 10 am and already I've hit an all time low in parenting. I know I've blocked out some really bad ones from my conscious mind, but this one is definitely in the top 3.

This day really started last night when Piper decided she didn't like having shots after all. Lots of fussy whining and needing me to hold her all evening long. Thankfully, she did go sleep about 9 after a day of no naps. NO NAPS, I meant to say.

For the last couple of days Piper has been trying to escape from her crib, and in the process keeps getting her chubby little thigh stuck b/t the rails. By stuck, I mean STUCK. She has a special cry she uses for the occasion that I have come to recognize after about 20 repeat performances. She is so gracious to give me so many chances to learn it.

I had just stumbled to the coffee pot at about 6 am this morning when I heard 'that cry'. Sure enough, same ol same ol. Big tears, panic, thigh completely STUCK. At one point I thought about having Ella try to find some Crisco in the pantry. I knew I had some from the last time my mom in law was here. I think she was in shock that I didn't keep any in my pantry and went and bought some at the store. The crib rails finally released their death grip and the day started!

I picked Piper up to find that she was burning hot - almost 103 degrees hot. Darn shots. Motrin and some lovin took care of her fever, but she stayed glued to me and wasn't letting go for nothing, no way, no how, not all day.

At one point I attempted to put her down for a nap. Withing minutes of putting her down, I heard 'that cry'. I walked in to find her sitting on the top of the crib rails just about to go completely over. I literally caught her in the air.

In that moment, I knew things had changed and we weren't going back. At 16 months she can climb out of her crib. Had I not walked in when I did, she could have really been hurt. I took her downstairs and as I did, I felt a strange, unpleasant feeling...on my bum, as Ella would say. I believe something just bit me! I'll spare you the details, but yes, I did have an ant in my panties - and it bit me 3 times.

This was just not my day.

I think I know where the ant came from and it's deeply disturbing to me that I believe the ant was there for at least 10 minutes - you can squirm and say "oh yuuuuuck" now. I had been sitting on the floor with Piper when Ella noticed a line of ants right next to where we were. Little did I know, but one of them was marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah, right into my underwear, hurrah, hurrah.

So what to do about Piper Grace and her sleeping arrangements? That will have to wait for another post. I've already bored myself to sleep with all of this. I wish I could give a treat (once a 2nd grade teacher, always a 2nd grade teacher) to each person who actually makes it to the end of posts like this one. All one of you, thanks dad!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Check out PBS tomorrow

Tomorrow on the PBS kids' show, Arthur, Binky's family goes to China to adopt a baby sister. We are excited to check it out.

This morning Ella said, "Mommy, you are the best mommy in the whole world because you did what I wanted you to do!"

I asked her what that was.

"You adopted my baby sister from China."

With that she gave me a big hug and skipped away in her shiny red boots.

You can go to China Adopt Talk to get more details on the show, or scroll down and follow links to see the beautiful faces of the babies who were just matched with familes.

Our Girl

Piper had her checkup and 4 shots today. She cried for less than a minute and then was fine. Hopefully she won't break out in spots this time.

She is 25th % in weight and 75% in height on the American charts. The doctor looked in her crystal ball and said she will be at least 5'6".

According to Dr. H, she is smart, ahead in every category, and I'd better watch out b/c she predicts the Terrific Two's will come early based on her development. The last time this doctor made a prediction about Piper, it came true within 3 days - Eeeek!

This doctor is a very beautiful Chinese woman with a warm smile. She kept telling Piper how proud of her she was. Something about that exchange made me almost tear up, don't know quite why, other than an extreme case of the hormones.

Any hoo, that's our girl. Is it weird to be envious of your 16 month's old figure? I mean, come on, 25% in weight and 75th % in height. In my dreams...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We interrupt the regularly scheduled dusting to bring you some girly goodness..

Ella, SO! EXCITED! for her first sleepover with Grandma and Papa
1st day of Pre-K
Can I go too?

It is NOT as easy as it looks on HGTV

Have you ever wondered what hell is really like? Well, I think I can help answer that question after our home improvement project yesterday. I think I can picture it rather well now. I see a 10x10 ft room covered in tile, tile that you must get up using a miniature jack hammer type thingy. And before you can rest you must completely clean up the mess. OH THE MESS...
And when you wake up the next day, you have to do it all over again.

You may not hear from me for a while, as I will be dusting for the next 48 hours straight. As I am typing this, I realize there is a layer of dust on my laptop which was at least 50 feet from the scene of the crime.

A little bit o hell I tell you.