22 December 2008

The JESUS Haus

Years ago I made a huge JESUS sign to hang in front of our house during Christmas. I bought the wood, sketched the letters, cut them out with a jig saw, sanded it smooth, primed it, painted it Rudolph's-Nose-Red, and sprinkled it with about 6 gallons of red glitter.

People noticed. You can't really blame them though because it was 6 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Kinda big. The neighborhood kids started calling our house "The Jesus House"! Talk about a great name! We absolutely loved it.

Last year the JESUS sign finally bit the dust after being knocked down in a Santa Ana windstorm, and we went the rest of Christmastime without it blazing across the front of our house. Sad.

This year, Michael made a new one for me! OK, so I made him do it, and I bought the wood, and sketched the letters, but he cut it, sanded it, primed it, and painted it. He drew the line at glitter, and I really do understand. Strapping, manly men don't do glitter. I get it. (It does make me rethink the turquoise sequin iceskating bodysuit I got him for Christmas, though.)

So, here it is without further ado. I'm so happy to live in The JESUS House once again!



(If you squint, you can even see Evangeline & Ray Ray laughing at me standing out in the rain and wind just to take a really bad photo.)

18 December 2008

OCEAN Christmas Gingerbread House Party Photos

What a fun night!

I must admit that there were more than a few cheaters (including me) this year... wildly abandoning all gingerbread house making rules and running amok with power tools and glue guns... all for a house that would stay standing! Very very naughty, but it worked!

Thanks, OCEAN families, for a blessed and wonderful evening together. We are so thankful for your friendship!

"Buddy the Elf. What's Your Favorite Color?"



Do you know what today is?

It's International Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day.

"Buddy the Elf. What's Your Favorite Color?"

Are you in? Come on, don't be an angry elf!

And, if you have to ask why? Just remember "I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite!"

15 December 2008

18!



And this is (still) what happens when we try to take a nice photo!

13 December 2008

A Capella Brilliance

OK, since this video currently has well over 3 million hits, I'm sure you've all seen it, but just in case you haven't...

A fun side note: it has been nominated for a People's Choice Award! This is a crazy awesome tribute to John Williams... which we've already watched a dozen times. Ricker has it nearly memorized!



12 December 2008

OCEAN Christmas Gingerbread House Party Reminder!

Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network

If you haven't already RSVP'd for the
OCEAN Christmas Gingerbread House Party tomorrow...

GET YOUR JINGLE ON!

Saturday, December 13th 5:00
At the Hausams’ home

RSVP to this post, facebook, email, or phone.
Just don't be surprised if I answer,
"Buddy the Elf. What's your favorite color?"

As always, feel free to invite other Ethiopian adoptive families.



Here's a peek at last year:



11 December 2008

Visiting The Big Kahuna at His Beach House

Well, after preparing Evangeline & Ray Ray with books, and photos, and songs for the last month for a visit to The Big Kahuna at his vacation home in Newport Beach, I thought we just might avoid the Santa Meltdown...

Not so much.

Both of the babies were wiggly-excited all the way up to the front door, ran straight for him with arms wide open, and then screamed their little baby heads off once they got within white glove range.

Oh well. I finally got them to agree to lower the screeching pitch a notch if the older kids held them for the photo. Evangeline said, "OK, yes, that's a much better idea, Mama. I love you, Santa, but no lap-sitting for me today, OK? Don't be sad! Except for right now, I've been SO GOOD!"

Shoot, my little liar is just so cute! I must add that Jackie was a mensch for agreeing to sit happily on Santa's lap, too.

There's always next year...

10 December 2008

San Diego!

Last week we were in one of our favorite places -- San Diego! -- for a group field trip with friends to Sea World. What a fun day! Ricker's favorite was the Shamu show. Marg loved seeing the penguins' antics. Evangeline had a ball running around with the other kids and seeing the beluga whales. And, Ray Ray went crazy over her through-the-glass smooch with a polar bear! All four of them loved hanging out with a bunch of cool homeschool kids... 19 kids all together. Michael, of course, was happy as a clam being the only dad among the seven moms. And I enjoyed getting out with the girls and having a great time together. (Jackie was under the weather at Poppy & Nana's house. Phooey!)

Many thanks to Tracy Marcus for planning our outing!

The Twelve Days of Sickness


On the first day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Six different antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Eight cans of Lysol,
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Nine party invitations declined,
Eight cans of Lysol,
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Ten sleepless nights,
Nine party invitations declined,
Eight cans of Lysol,
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Eleven shopping days left,
Ten sleepless nights,
Nine party invitations declined,
Eight cans of Lysol,
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of sickness,
My true love sent to me
Multiple infections for Michael,
Eleven shopping days left,
Ten sleepless nights,
Nine party invitations declined,
Eight cans of Lysol,
Seven people feeling icky,
Six antibiotics,
Five sick babies,
Four ear infections,
Three coughing children,
Two stuffy noses,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

09 December 2008

The Man Cold



Those of you who know my Michael know that he's a pretty fantastic guy. He's smart, funny, social, cute, witty, a great leader, above par on so many levels... And, I'm crazy about him. But, there is just one tiny, little thing that is challenging about my man. When he doesn't feel 100%, he's such a man.

You know what I mean. One tiny sniffle, and he stumbles into bed with a quilt and tissues, cough syrup, a thermometer, Tylenol, Chloraseptic spray, a humidifier, a cool cloth, and begs me for my homemade soup, or popovers, or other comfort foods. And, the whining! Holy Kleenex, Batman, the whining is just relentless! Could a woman, a mother, ever get away with this behavior???

Over the last few weeks everyone in the house has been sick. It's been like dominoes over here, one after another. Coughing, congestion, fevers, stomach flu, ear infections, sinus infections, etc. Michael, bless his heart, seriously did not even notice... until he sneezed and then *gasp* coughed. Then, the world as we knew it ceased to exist.

My girlfriend, Liz, sent me this appropriate video.




It only got worse from there. A tummy ache! A back ache! A fever! Chills! And WORSE!

When I told him, "Michael, I made reservations for our anniversary (next week)" he replied "(Moan, whimper, raspy cough) OK, I only hope I'm feeling better by then..."

At this little interaction, the very tragic thing is that my sense of humor, compassion, and sincere desire to serve my man was wearing a teensy weensy bit thin. So, I insisted that he go to the doctor...

where he was diagnosed with a nasty UTI that was progressing into a kidney infection, and an even worse bacterial infection elsewhere.

Oops.

My bad. My really, really bad!

Poor Haus! I guess all that whining was legit.

Moral of the story: When your man gets a Man Cold, be long-suffering. Don't give him a hard time about the whining.

He might actually, brace yourself now... He might actually be SICK!

I'm off to cook another batch of apologies -- I mean popovers!

07 December 2008

Ray Ray the Jabberbox!


Loquacity. That is our vocabulary word for the day, class. It means talkative, garrulous, verbose, wordy. As in, "The Hausams lean heavily towards loquacity."

Princess Elianna Ray, at 22 months now, has hit the verbal explosion stage. She's a royal magpie! Every day she comes up with new and darling things to say and is having so much fun with her discovery of language. You should hear her and Evangeline ("Ya-yin") talk. It's pretty stinkin' darling.

Yackie hazza book to wead to Way Way. May I peez hava some wead to me, Yackie?
I'm aww done and I want down noooow.
Ya-yin need to shaaaare wif Way Way.
Did you hear that? Shhhh... Wisten!
Wetch (let's) go to Poppy and Nana's house today! OK? Wetch!

OK, evahbody, wisten to Way Way!
Oh, wook who wooks so bewwy pwetty! It's me!
Wook who has dwy panties! It's me!
Who wants a wead a book? It's me!

Did you know I want a pancake?
(One of my personal favorites:)
Ummmm, that's OK with me.

Ray Ray's favorite songs are:
The alphabet song
The VeggieTales theme song
The Sesame Street theme song
Itsy bitsy spider
Wing awound the Wosie
Jesus loves Me (hand motions are a must)

Besides being very busy being absolutely adorable, Ray Ray also loves to talk on the phone, go to the park, jump on the trampoline, swing, climb onto everything, play in Sunday school (a big fave), dance, color, paint, help unload the dishwasher and clothes dryer, sneak into Mama's makeup and dig her naughty little fingers into lipstick... and empty out cabinets and drawers faster than you can say boo!

She is such a miracle! When we brought Elianna Ray home we expected a long road of developmental and physical therapy, but slowly but surely, though, she caught up. It blows my mind. Praise the Lord!

So, although she is a whirlwind of activity, chattering, and mess-making out the wazoo these days, Ray Ray is (and all the kids are) a completely miraculous delight. Um, that's OK with me!

05 December 2008

A Very Jib Jab Christmas, part 2

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

A Very Jib Jab Christmas

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

For Julie

Her Purpleness will appreciate this interaction.

This morning.

Evangeline: ...and I like to go to the park and play, and swing, and slide, and run around, and go la-la-la-la. And I want to bring Sleepy Bear, and snuggie wif him, and have a tea party. And, did you know that I like to eat macaroni and cheese and watermelon? And cheescake? And vegetables? And lemonade? Did you know that? And, did you know that I know all of the colors in the whole, whole, whole world? Like redorangeyellowgreenbluepurple, and pink, and purple, and some more purple?

Michael: (laughing) Yowza! When she talks like that it reminds me of so-and-so.

Me: Because she's so verbal?

Evangeline: Yes, Mama, because I'm so PURPLE! I'm so very PURPLE!

02 December 2008

OCEAN Gingerbread House Christmas Party!

Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network


You are invited to

The OCEAN
Gingerbread House Christmas Party!

Saturday, December 13th 5:00
At the Hausams' home in Orange





Sign up to bring an appetizer, salad, side dish, drinks, or dessert.

(Chipping in cash for your gingerbread house and decorative candies is NOT required. So, please don't let that keep you from celebrating Christmas with us!)

Please RSVP ASAP
to this post, facebook, email, home phone, cell phone,
or Buddy the Elf singing Christmas gram!

Cool Christmas Gift + Benefit Ethiopia = Buy Tom's Shoes!

TOMS Shoes


Thanks, Emily, for this great Christmas gift giving idea!


01 December 2008

Let Them Know It's Christmastime

An oldie but goodie...

30 November 2008

More Thoughts on Thanks


Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day
October 3, 1863


The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

26 November 2008

Thankful


I thank God for this day,
For the sun in the sky,
For my mom and my dad,
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!
Because a thankful heart
Is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have,
That's an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares,
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!
~VeggieTales "The Thankful Song"


Well, The (First) Year of Living Thankfully has nearly drawn to a close and I can unequivocably say that it has been an adventure. This exercize of expressing gratefulness to God every single day for the big things and the little things has changed my heart. It has given me a new perspective and actually made me more thankful (What a thought!). It has stretched me when I've felt snarky, and cranky, and sorry for myself, and not the itty bittiest bit thankful. It has also made me dig deep when giving thanks started feeling perfunctory and tedious. Some days, I wrote a lot. Some days, just one word. Sometimes, my heart was bursting with profound thankfulness and happiness, and other times I grumbled out "Thank You, Lord, that today can only last for 24 hours." And that's the truth.

I'll spare you the entire list, all 331 days of it so far. Here's my Reader's Digest version:

1. GOD -- His forgiveness, propitiation (Christ Jesus atoned for my sins with His sacrifice on the Cross and gave me eternal life in Heaven in exchange for my wickedness.), grace for today, the privilege of interceding for others (like Lincoln, Abby, and Abe). That God never lets me get away with one single thing. Never. I am talking not. ever. He has me on His Short Leash List. For grace through suffering which draws me nearer to Him.

2. FAMILY -- My husband, Michael and for our children, Marg, Ricker, Jackie, Evangeline, Elianna Ray, and the precious ones the Lord lent me for a little while, Gwendolyn Grace (Happy birthday, Gwennie.) and Gabriella Joy. For our wonderful extended family: Poppy, Mother, Buddy, Becky, Johnny, Lincoln, Charlotte, and baby Penelope Rose on the way, Lisa, Mark, William, Wesley, Zuzu, Morgan, and Matthew, Papa, Grams, and Grandmother, and all our uncles, aunties, and cousins... for everything they have taught us, for giving us solid roots, for being such dear friends, and for loving us unconditionally.

3. CHURCH -- for both of our church families, Vineyard Newport and Vineyard Anaheim. For worship leaders, youth group, fellowship, friendship, exhortation, and the blessing of being part of the Body of Christ.

4. FRIENDS -- Old friends, new friends, OCEAN friends, for special ones like Karen, Emily, Suzi, Lori, Susan, Xinia the Fabulous Ms. X, Sandra, Amy, Liz, and Deb.

5. GREAT ESCAPES -- My slippers, a bubble bath, my new Bible, going to the spa for a massage or facial, babysitters, housekeepers, and Elizabeth. For going to the grocery store, or any errand, alone... Ahhhh, the wonder of being aloooooone! Days off, the beach and everything about the ocean. For take-out when the last thing I want to do is cook.

6. GREAT READS -- For my all-time favorite authors (Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Bronte, W. Shakepeare, E. M. Forster, Henry James, George Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, James Herriott, Amy Tan, Pat Conroy, Robert Ludlum, C.S. Lewis, Brennan Manning, J.I. Packer, Randy Alcorn, Stott, Cloud, Yancey, Sproul, and Willard), for good brain rotting material (Catherine Coulter, Harlan Coben, and Sue Grafton) and for the one I really read (Danielle Steele... just kidding!).

7. GREAT TUNES -- Sting, U2, Prince, Michael Jackson, Coldplay, Chris Cornell, Elvis, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Patti LaBelle, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Steve Perry, Annie Lennox, Norah Jones, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Mavis Staples, James Taylor, Crystal Lewis, and Chris Lizotte.

8. FAVORITE SHOWS -- America's Funniest Home Videos (my fave), NCIS, 24, The Unit, CSI:NY, Monk, House, Heroes, Criminal Minds, Eli Stone, Numb3rs, and Alias (yep, I still love it).

9. FINE THINGS and "JUST FINE" THINGS -- China, crystal, sterling silver, fine linens, paper plates, plasticware, and paper napkins.

10. GOOD EATS -- Perrier, Diet Coke, frozen purple grapes, In-n-Out double doubles (animal style), sliced apples, mandarin oranges, blood oranges, The QW salad, whole wheat toast, non-fat milk, taco salad, steak and garlic mashed potatoes, and pretty much anything Mother makes.

11. PLACES I LOVE -- Santa Barbara, Kapalua, Carmel, Newport Beach, and Palm Springs.

12. MISC. -- For long walks, long talks, long kisses, holding hands, kind strangers, neighbors who wave, for all the people who love my kids, and that Not-Nice People are few and far between! For Tylenol PM and a glass of zin after a long day.

And, last but not least, this is one of my favorite entries, truth be told:

13. STUFF THAT MAKES MY WORLD SMELL BETTER Thank You, Jesus for wet wipes, carpet cleaner, Fantastic, stain remover, paper towels, Goo-B-Gone, deodorant and foot powder. For all the things that take the Wooftie! out. And cologne, thank You for cologne! Thank You so very much, dear God, for smelly candles and room spray (We call it "Smelly Good"... as in, "What on earth died in here?! Someone please go get another spray can of Smelly Good for the Scotty potty!").

"O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
~Walter Rauschenbusch




And, for your listening pleasure, the amazing Yolanda Adams. (I think I may have posted this before.) When I get to Heaven, I'm going to sing like this...



"You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt You."
Psalm 118:28

20 November 2008

Hold Fast!

"And the God of all grace,
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will Himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Pet 5:10


Why is that? Why "after you have suffered a little while"? The question of why God allows suffering is a weighty theological issue to which I do not attempt to have a simple answer beyond that it is pain that causes our hearts and wills to bend toward Christlikeness. But, I think it is important to dwell upon this subject, to ask God about it, to study Scripture and find out what the Word says about pain.

And, actually, it says a lot.

(Just look up "Suffering" in your concordance and this is what you get... Job 36:15, Ps 22:24, Isa 53:3&11, Lam 1:12, Mk 8:31, Lk 24:26&46,Ac 5:41, Ro 5:3, 2 Co 1:6, Php 1:29, 2 Tim 1:8, Heb 2:9-10& 18, Heb 9:26, Heb 13:3, 1 Pet 2:21, 1 Pet 3:17, 1 Pet 4:1,12&16, 1 Pet 5:9)

If you want a current snapshot of beauty through suffering, read Brent and Tish, who are both walking through very challenging trials resting in Jesus with assurance and grace.

I've had this post on pain brewing for a while, since so many of our dear friends are enduring a season of tremendous suffering. Then the Tea Fire tore through our beloved Westmont College and Montecito, and the LA County and Orange County fires consumed so many homes and lives in our own neck of the woods... Then Poppy preached on it Sunday. (It was awesome. You can get it at VineyardNewport.org.)

What came to mind was the many people I've watched over the years who went through fiery trials of their own and chose stalwart righteousness... and those that didn't.

Michael has been in contact with a dear old friend who has dived completely into sin, bordering on senility it seems, which started when he went through several years of serious pain. One of our long-time mentors and precious friends completely ditched his faith, his wife and his family in a colossally damaging way after going through a couple of years of intense pressure and trial. They failed the test! After so many years of serving Christ... they threw their hands up and just walked away.

(Just so you know, I've certainly been there myself. Failed, I mean. Every single item on my "List of Foolish Behavior & Decisions that I Can Never Take Back and that Relentlessly Haunt Me" - even though I know that Christ has forgiven me - I did during a season of trial, pain, grief, and exhaustion. So, my heart breaks for those who have done equally poorly.)

On the other hand we have many truly beautiful examples in our lives... On Sunday we prayed with a sweet friend who's enduring the nightmare of "amicable divorce" when all he wants is his wife back, and yet he's choosing to be a shining example of Christlikeness. The Alexanders,who recently discovered that their beautiful boy Abe has cerebral palsy. Tish, who lost her mom to cancer last week. The Riggs,whose precious little Abby is fighting leukemia. Our friend S, who discovered that her beloved husband of 24 years has been having affair after affair. The Ramoses, whose infant daughter Darcy Anne died in October from Trisomy 18.

"We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn.'" ~C.S. Lewis

PAIN! Pain shows us what we're really made of. It matures us, softens us, refines us as through fire. It tosses us to our knees before Jesus.

But, it can just as easily make us determined to turn our lives upside down and inside out just to not feel it anymore. It can invite us to make poor choices that we may regret forever. It can seduce us into becoming embittered at God, at our spouse, at friends, at the world.

"You must submit to supreme suffering
in order to discover the completion of joy."
~John Calvin

So, we have to choose what to do with suffering. We have to look square in the face of our worst torment and say, "I will HOLD FAST! You cannot make me wander from the path ever nearer to my Savior, Jesus Christ!" Oh, that makes me cry just to write it down, much less to say it out loud.

HOLD FAST! Do not be afraid! Resist temptation! Dig into the Bible! Do NOT give up!

When your spouse strays toward a younger, prettier model - hold fast! When you lose your job - hold fast! When your friends or family reject you - hold fast! When you have a miscarriage after trying to have a baby for so long - hold fast! Or, when your adoption gets delayed and delayed - hold fast! When your health fails - hold fast! When you lose your home to fire or the financial bottom dropping out - hold fast! When someone you love dies - hold fast! When life goes pear-shaped - hold fast! When your heart gets broken and you feel like you can't even get out of bed much less face the day - hold fast!

HOLD FAST!




19 November 2008

Michael, the Commentator

Occasionally Michael writes OpEd letters to the Wall Street Journal and The Orange County Register that get published. Today, you can read his letter in The Orange County Register in the Opinion section.


"State and Fed Government Lack Business Sense"

I run a small business in Orange County, and I am wondering where I go to sign up for the federal aid that General Motors is demanding. If our business goes under, our 30-plus employees will lose their jobs, their families will lose a previously dependable source of income, and our suppliers will lose a stable source of business and revenue; the same holds true if we file for bankruptcy.

Like GM, we serve a niche business with few competitors and are extremely essential (so we think) in the areas we serve. We think that we are important enough that the rest of the country should fund us.

If it would help our case, we can begin to make truly awful product decisions, ignore our customers, and start paying our management million-dollar bonuses for implementing certain-to-fail ideas, like GM does.

~Michael P. Hausam, Sr.



That's my man!

ShamWOW!

Five sure-fire ways to express love to/irritate your spouse:

1. Email him/her the ShamWOW! Youtube video several times.
2. Every time you would normally say, "Wow!" exchange it for "ShamWOW!"
3. Go onto the ShamWOW! website and sign up your darling one to receive daily ShamWOW! emails. (They're actually more like hourly, which just makes the effort that much more worth it.)
4. Suggest that they rename their new solar energy business SolWOW! In fact, whenever you talk about the business with others, accidentally on purpose call it SolWOW!
5. Occasionally text them with one word... ShamWOW!
(Bonus #6. Shhhh... don't tell Michael! Buy a ShamWOW! for his/her Christmas stocking.)

It'll spice things up for sure.

15 November 2008

Fire Watch

Photos of our smokey skies from the fires in Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills. The majority of the pics were taken from our house. Our phone has been ringing off the hook today with precious family and friends calling to see if our home is still standing. It is. We're fine. It's several miles away. We're just very smokey and ashy. All of Anaheim Hills is being evacuated right now and we live nearby, but we're not in danger because of the wind direction. Praise the Lord!

We're praying tonight for all the families that lost homes today. Michael spoke with a family today whose house burned down and they were just elated to get out uninjured because the fire moved so fast through their neighborhood. Thank the Lord for His mercies! Stuff doesn't really matter anyway.



Map of the fire. News report. msnbc.

14 November 2008

Hasta Luego!

Por favor, oren para que la misiĆ³n Mexico! (sorry for my poor Spanish)

Marg & Ricker are heading south of the border right now with our church youth group for a mission weekend to Door of Faith Orphanage in La Mision. Please, pray for their safety and that the Lord does a great work in and through them!

Gloria a Dios!

The Reagan Library

We all (except Jackie who had a date day with Poppy & Nana) had such a fantastic time at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for Veterans Day! We go almost every year because they have really great demonstrations like cannons and other weaponry firing and exhibits on what it was like for cavalry soldiers, etc. They also have vets in costume of every war era.

The regular exhibits are terrific, too! Going aboard Air Force One is surreal. You can also see Marine One, and cars from Reagan's motorcade. Also displayed are letters, memorabilia and an expansive collection of presidential gifts like paintings, sculpture, and the gazillions of belt buckles he received over the years.

What was also fun is that we heard from Michael's high school girlfriend, Sydney Forest, whom we've stayed in touch with over the years, that her husband Jon and daughters were going to be there at the same time! It was a really wonderful to see them there and catch up on what great things God is doing in their lives and in their ministry. They also happen to be friends with our fabulous friend Julie of Purple House fame, so the world is indeed a small place! I'm volunteering Julie to host a BBQ next time we get together!

So, when you get a chance, you must hit the RRPL . Then afterwards, don't miss the Marmalade Cafe, our personal fave. They make an ambrosial tomato soup with homemade rolls. There, I've planned a fun field trip for you! You're welcome.

Westmont on Fire (UPDATED)



Our beloved alma mater, Westmont College, has been caught up in the fire in the hills above Montecito. Last night we heard that several buildings had been confirmed lost (quanset huts, physics building, math building) and possibly the psychology building and the prayer chapel I talked about in this post. In the photos we're standing in/in front of Clark Hall, where I lived for two years. Now we've learned that Clark is gone, too. Check out these pictures. So sad.

According to an email from Westmont's Office of Parent Relations "the students are safe and have evacuated to the gym where they are well protected and have enough provisions to last the entire community for several days. This evacuation location was chosen in accordance with procedures recommended by the fire department." It remains to be seen if they'll need to evacuate completely off campus.

Please pray for the safety of students and faculty, protection over Westmont and for the residents in the area of this horrible fire.

UPDATE! Westmont's website posted this info:

7:21am

All students and employees are fine. We are assessing damage this morning. Updates will be posted shortly.

No fires remain active on or in the campus area.



Praise the Lord!

13 November 2008

What's the Caption?

OK, my dear Suzi Photo Tagged me. You're supposed to post the fourth photo of your fourth file. I went to my huge unedited group and the fourth file is from the family dinner out we shared for my birthday to make up for my fabulous Happy Barfday. Michael and I were goofing around and so we have a series of about 12 silly shots. This is the fourth photo. I think it needs a title. What do you think the caption should be?


It's your turn now Emily, Lori, Julie, and Liz!

12 November 2008

Conquering the Will



"Though the education of so many children must create abundance of trouble, and will perpetually keep the mind employed as well as the body; yet I consider it no small honor to be entrusted with the care of so many souls. And if that trust be managed with prudence and integrity, the harvest will abundantly recompense the toil of the seed-time; and it will be certainly no little inheritance to the future glory to stand forth at the last day and say, 'Lord, here are the children which Thou hast given me, of whom I have lost none by my ill example, nor by neglecting to instill in their minds, in their early years, the principles of Thy true religion and virtue!'"

~Susannah Wesley


Did I mention to you how much Susie just ROCKS!

OCEAN Dinner Pics

Just a few pics from the lovely evening we shared at the Sherrell's home in San Clemente. I was just not on the ball with the camera at all. Thank you, Brad & Christy, for hosting such a great night!

11 November 2008

Veterans Day







One of the things I love about my darling is that he makes a point to thank and honor every person he meets who serves or has served in our armed forces. He has taught our kids to always introduce themselves to military personnel and to thank them. When he sees someone in uniform in a restaurant, he always foots the bill for their meal with a note of thanks. I cannot tell you how many times I've seen people tear up at his appreciation and be so very blessed by the honor given them. And, as a result, my kids all respect and are proud of our military as well. I just love that about Michael.

We're headed up to the Reagan Library to honor our veterans today. Happy Veterans Day and a heartfelt THANK YOU to every service man and woman past and present!

09 November 2008

I'm All for Sinning Boldly

Edited: Cathleen commented on my book review. Totally made my day!



Here's a snippet I love.

"As I understand it:
Justice is getting what you deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you deserve.
And grace is getting what you absolutely don't deserve.

Benign goodwill. Unprovoked compassion. The unearnable gift.

Scads of writers and theologians have tried to describe grace, but I think musicians usually get closer to capturing it, sometimes with words, sometimes not. Two of the best attempts I've ever heard are both found in songs. The first is from Bono of U2, in the song he titled, "Grace," lest anyone be confused about what he was getting at.

"Grace, she takes the blame, she covers the shame, removes the stain," he sings, in a simple tune that sounds almost like a nursery rhyme. "She travels outside of karma... Grace makes beauty out of ugly things."

Yeah, he nails it. That's grace.

But so is what is described in this short lyric from an old Indigo Girls song that may or may not be about spiritual rebirth. It's my favorite idea of grace: "There was a time I asked my father for a dollar," they sing, "and he gave it a $10 raise."

So on the night before Thanksgiving, I moved back to the couch and the TV with my lovely, cheesy lasagna and my spiritual $10 raise to contemplate the recent happy turn of events. My movie was almost over and Bruce (from "Bruce Almighty") was lying in a hospital bed, having just been snatched from the clutches of death by a team of doctors and a pair of defibrillators.

Bruce, who literally had been playing God for a few weeks, looks up at a bag of donated blood being pumped into his veins, and we know what he's thinking. Earlier in the film, he mocked his girlfriend -- her name is Grace (played ever-so-graciously by Jennifer Aniston) -- for organizing a blood drive.

Bruised, bloodied, and realizing the irony of the situation, Bruce hears a voice and turns to see his long-suffering girlfriend standing in the hospital doorway.

"Graaaaace!" Bruce says, smiling weakly as tears begins to fill his eyes.

Exactly, I thought with big fat tears running down my own cheeks.

Grace has a way of sneaking up on you like that. When you least deserve it."


Gotta love real people. Real Christians with flaws and wrinkles and imperfections. To me there are few things more unattractive than people who pretend to have it all together. If you're "perfect" all by your very own self, you have no need for the grace of Jesus! So, I absolutely love intelligent, funny, real Christians. Can't get enough of 'em.

I also love really great books. Books that make you crawl inside them, live the story, laugh, cry, be inspired, be exhorted and challenged spiritually, and that make you dwell on them at length later. Far too many Christian books are blah blah blah religiosity, blah blah blah here's what I do better than you, blah blah blah, or they're completely impenetrable. Generally, sad to say, I avoid most Christian literature. Snoozeville. Bo-ring. It seems that Christians bookstores are filled with books on "Christian living" which are almost always far too frothy and surface oriented.

Caveat, that criticism does not extend to exegetical or hermeneutical material. Obviously, theological teaching material is tremendously useful and necessary. And, some Christian authors I read every single thing they churn out with my highlighter in hand. I deeply respect them, appreciate their teaching, and would so enjoy having dinner with them some time to pick their brains. Brennan Manning, J.I. Packer, Randy Alcorn, Stott, Cloud, Yancey, Sproul, Willard to name a few of my favorites. Also, I'm related to some truly spectacular Christian authors... many actually. I admire every single one of them. We are blessed to have many smarty-pants, godly authors in our family.

I do wish there was more truly excellent, readable, meaty material in Christian bookstores, though.

Here's my pitch: Cathleen Falsani is wicked awesome. She is clearly a very real, flawed, funny, Jesus-loving, and people-loving Christian. Her book, written in an easy-read, short story format just like you were chatting over the back fence challenged my ideas about God's extension of grace. It made me long for more of Jesus, more knowledge of the Word, and more grace for those around me. Besides that, I think she'd be a hoot on a road trip.

Sin Boldly is a completly new look at grace. Real grace. Read it.

The Cosgroves Are Home!

PRAISE THE LORD!
Brendan and Kendra are home from Ethiopia
with their little rosebud, Maleia!
Check out the trip video here. (Warning: Pull out the Kleenex first!)
Thank You, Lord!
*Edited to correct the broken link

08 November 2008

Advent

This is fantastic! We're guilty of having ridiculously huge Christmases in the past (i.e. gifts galore), I must acknowledge. But, both Michael and I have realized over the last decade or so how much more we just want to be with our beloved family, celebrate the birth of Christ the King together, and skip the gifts. We don't need anything. We have everything.

Last night we were talking about how Americans have had to pare back their spending in the current economic crisis. Here that means possibly not going out to eat. But, America's financial woes affect Africa, too. Here we don't go out, but in Ethiopia they may not EAT! Wow, the thought of how gluttonous and consumeristic we are, I am, America is, considering the great need around the world and even around the block just hit me in the face.

A Wii costs over $300 (and yes, we do have one). That's about the same cost as a fistula surgery that could change the life of a woman living in poverty. It costs around $420 to provide for sponsored child's basic needs through World Vision for a year. That's two lattes a week at Starbucks.

WOW.


07 November 2008

Abe


Some of you know this little guy. Isn't he a treasure? Abe came home from Ethiopia, his birth country, in August. He and his family, the Alexanders, are very dear to our hearts. They need our prayers now. It would seem that Abe suffered several strokes while he was in his birth mother's womb that resulted in neurological damage.

Please, join me in praying for sweet Abe and for Moody, Emily, Wick, Hill, Avery, and Issy, too. The Lord calls us to pray for big things, hard things, real live miracles.

Moody and Em, we love you and we're praying.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

"Oh Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me."
Psalm 30:2

"But Jesus hearing this answered him,
'Do not fear, only believe, and she will be well.'" Luke 8:50


05 November 2008

PRAY for Obama



Randy Alcorn's blog has a fantastic post on this subject. Although I voted heartily against Obama, I cannot tell you how THRILLED I am that very soon we'll have an African American president! What a monumentous day it is!

Now that he's our guy, I commit to pray for him every day of his term and I encourage every Christian (no matter how you voted) to do so, too. We need to pray for him: to make wise and godly choices, to put Supreme court justices in place who value human life(!), and to hear the voice of God.

Completely aside from his political stances, I just think it's amazing that my babies aren't even going to remember life before America voted a black man into the White House! How AWESOME is that!

God bless America, land that I love.

God is in Control

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
or with the breadth of His hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?"
Isaiah 40: 12

"To the only God, our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen."
Jude Doxology (Jude v25)

Hallelujah! God is GOOD! That's what I'm dwelling on today. God is in control. Amen!

04 November 2008

Pumpkiny Things

Is it bad that we've yet to carve our pumpkin? Oh well, here are a few photos of our pumpkiny adventures.

Michael is giving me today off -- GOOD MAN! We went on a family run in the rain at dawn this morning and I'm going to have another long walk with a friend before going to the spaaaaaaahhh. Nice. I hope you have a fantastic day, too!

Remember to VOTE! God bless America!


The Pumpkin Patch



Trick-or-Treating with Uncle Buddy, Auntie Becky, Johnny, Lincoln, and Charlotte! Marg made her dishwasher costume. Ricker is the Muppets' Swedish Chef. Jackie is military. Evangeline is an elephant and Ray Ray is a bumble bee. What a fun night!

03 November 2008

Family Party!

Family fun for our nephews' birthdays! Happy bdays William & Matthew!

Tagged!



I've been tagged by Lori, Heidi, and Heather. Ooooh, I'm gonna get you girls for this later!

1. I can tell how fast I'm going in a car (as driver or passenger) without looking at the speedometer to within 1-2 mph. It's my superpower (well, that and vomiting quietly).

2. My childhood nickname was "Laurz-Drawerz" (long story that I'm not telling) or "Laurzie"... certain family members still call me both.

3. I am deathly afraid of heights. It's bad. At Wild Rivers last summer the kids convinced me to try a waterslide that looked a little high for me. I couldn't resist the double-dog dare though, so I just decided not to look down while climbing the stairs. Up, up, up we went, and once we hit the top and I finally saw how high we were... I immediately threw myself flat on my belly and had to army crawl to the slide. Not cool. My poor kids almost died from embarrassment. Must. Conquer. Heights.

4. I can't listen to Christmas music or put up decorations until the day after Thanksgiving. It's simply impossible for me. At our folks' house every year once we finish eating pie, Poppy & Nana ask all the grandkids, "Is Thanksgiving over?" Everyone yells, "Yes! Merry Christmas!" and then we blast "Joy to the World" and sing along. It's such a fun tradition.

5. Speaking of Christmas, I completely contradict my own No-Christmas-Before-Thanksgiving rule and I have to finish all my shopping before Thanksgiving. It's just my deal. So sue me. It helps me feel a little more sane in December to have everything bought and (usually) wrapped early. Of course, it doesn't actually make me more sane...

6. I have excellent hearing. That's my third superpower. Never whisper around me. I know way too many secrets already...

7. Oh! I also figure out mysteries before the end of the book/show. Almost every time. It makes Michael totally insane. In every other way he's at least 10 times smarter than me.

There you go! Now, everybody in the world has probably already been tagged, but I'll still pass this on to:


Liz, Misty, Carey, Tish, Shelley, Melissa, and Lori!

01 November 2008

Family Maxims

Striving to be a godly woman and to rear children in a godly way in today's world is no small challenge. Then again, it has obviously never been easy!

"It is certainly true that I have had large experience of what the world calls adverse fortune... Yet I dare not presume, nor do I despair, but rather leave it to our Almighty Savior to do with me both in life and death just as He pleases, for I have no choice."

~ Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of Charles & John Wesley




I've been reading a biography of Susanna Wesley and am absolutely transfixed by her excellent example of Christianity, womanhood, and motherhood. Just a few tidbits:

- She bore 19 children and lost 9 to stillbirth or early childhood illnesses.

- She homeschooled the other 10 from the Bible-based, rigorous curriculum of her own creation. She regularly spent individual time with each child questioning them about their personal relationships with God, encouraging them to dwell upon the principles of their faith and to pursue a thorough understanding of the Word.

- She lost most of her possessions and her home twice to fire.

- She wifed a very challenging man who abandoned her for almost a year over an argument and relently worked towards any means of reconciliation for that entire separation.

- She remained faithful throughout every trial, determining to serve Christ no matter what her circumstances. She worked every day to become more and more like Jesus!

What an example!

Mulling over the challenge of motherhood and how I want to be changed by Christ, I realized that I've never shared our family maxims. (I wish I could remember where we got the idea of creating a family credo. If it pops into my head I'll edit this post and add the credit.) Here they are:

In Our Family, We...


1. honor God. All our behavior is measured against this standard.

2. keep our priorities straight which means that we serve God first, then each other, then others.

3. love one another. That means we treat each other with gentleness and kindness.

4. value and respect other people's feelings, wishes, personal property, and boundaries. We take care to build and maintain lifelong, loving relationships.

5. tell the truth no matter what the situation or the consequences.

6. work towards excellence in every area of our lives to please and glorify God, even when there is no visible reward.

7. value and celebrate each other's strengths and have grace for and help each other in our weaknesses.

8. assume good intentions from others.

9. forgive and forgive and forgive. We do not return unkindness with unkindness, but exchange it for mercy and love. We turn the other cheek.


In case you haven't guessed already the list grew from the things we bomb out in regularly and for which we've asked God's grace! I personally fail at most of these daily, but I'm working on it.

Reading about the excellent woman, wife, and mother that Susanna Wesley was has been incredibly inspiring. I want to be like that. I want to be more like Jesus every day!


This is our family coat of arms (which Michael has tattooed on his shoulder) which is emblazoned with the motto "Hold Fast" meaning never ever give up! I think that message of endurance, perseverance, dogged pursuit of Christ-likeness is so inspiring. Susanna probably had a similar tattoo. Hmmm, maybe I do need one after all...

30 October 2008

Cosgroves in Ethiopia!


OCEAN friends Brendan & Kendra are on their way to Ethiopia this morning to meet their daughter, Malia! We love you guys and are praying for a wonderful week in Addis Ababa, a sweet time meeting Malia, a smooth and warm birth family gathering, safe travel going and returning, and that the Lord would be glorified throughout!

29 October 2008

OCEAN Evening of Thanksgiving Photos

Thank you, everyone, for such a fantastic evening! I am thankful for OCEAN!

28 October 2008

The Haus of Many Waters


By the shores of the Irvine Lakey
By the shining Big-Pacific
Stood the wigwam of the Hauswife
Daughter of the Moon, the Hauswife
Right behind it rose the garden,
Rose the prickly bouganvilla,
Rose the palms with fronds upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Pacific


My deepest apologies to Mr. Longfellow. Can you tell that we've been studying Hiawatha, Minnehaha, Nokomis, and the shores of Gitchee Gumee to the point that they tumble around our brains inspiring very silly poetry?

But, aside from the many waters of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth has little to do with this tale of woe.

It began with a new dishwasher, which is a good thing, and a desire to save the $75 removal/installation fee. A good thing too, yes? NO! Nevernevernever try to remove a dishwasher if you're not a plumber! Spend the $75 with bliss in your heart! Do not under any circumstances yank and heave and wrench and hitch the execrable appliance until it is half-way out and irreparably stuck and you are drenched in sweat and mad as a hornet! Because that's when you'll hear a tiny little whisper in your mind wondering if you might have broken something.

Which is why when you step into the dining room two days later and hear, "Squiiiish-squiiiiish-squiiiish..." you will wishohwishohwish that you had spent the blasted $75 instead of broken a pipe in the wall and destroyed the entire kitchen, the butler's pantry (*), and the dining room including the Chinese rug and the piano.

(* Yes, we use the official la-di-da name for the room connecting the dining and the kitchen to the pantry, but we call the guest bathroom with Scottish decor the unimposing name "The Scottie Potty" so the pretention level balances out.)

Three days of roaring dehumidifiers and deafening blowers later you will still be beating yourself up. The knowledge that you have months of living in a house under construction without a functioning kitchen, especially over the holidays, ahead of you will encourage much grumbling and cause you much negative self-talk. It's just not worth the potential savings, folks... even if your wife forgives you later!

Moral of the story: Call the plumber, Hiawatha, or your wigwam will be filled with many waters!

27 October 2008

Acacia Village, Ethiopia




OCEAN families,


Come join us for dinner with
Christian World Adoptions Special Guest Speaker, Louis Fawcett
When: Friday, November 7
Time: 6:00
At the Sherrell's home in San Clemente


Louis is heading up the development of Acacia Village in Ethiopia. When completed, it will house up to 250 children and will include a crisis pregnancy center, mission housing, new parent housing, life skills school, and more.

Let Christy thesherrells@cox.net know if you can make it!

24 October 2008

OCEAN Evening of Thanksgiving TONIGHT!

Don't miss it! Scroll down a few posts for the full details.

We're looking forward to a lovely evening of tasty fall food and great fellowship together at the Yates' home.

As always, feel free to bring your friends who are in the process of adoption or whose children are home with their Forever Families already.

See you there!

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song." Psalm 95:1-2

"I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High." Psalm 7:17

22 October 2008

Out of Order

I'm so sorry that I've been almost completely absent for the last couple of weeks. My computer went AWOL so (except for my phone) I've been in involuntary internet isolation! *gasp*

I know my emails and reader list are stacking up. Forgive me if you've been waiting for a response.

Life has been exciting as usual. I'll fill you in on the flood and living without a kitchen and dining room later. Remember the whole five kids and homeschooling thing? Yeah, it's been a little interesting lately... I'm practicing patience and flexibility!

Who's looking forward to a big home renovation job over the holidays??? Show of hands? Oh yeah, it's me! Actually I'm very excited about it even though the timing could be a little better.

Hopefully, my trusty computer will be back on duty tomorrow. Until then!

"Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11.28-30

12 October 2008

"Fireproof"

Go see this edifying film! It's a two-tissue flick, so bring your hankie.









08 October 2008

OCEAN Evening of Thanksgiving


"You are my God, and I will give you thanks." (ps 118:28)

You are invited to an


EVENING OF THANKSGIVING


with the OCEAN
(Orange County Ethiopian Adoption Network)

When: Friday, OCTOBER 24
Time: 5:30 pm-??
Where: 17491 Parker Drive, Tustin 92780
Given by: Karen Yates & Laurie Hausam

Soups, salads, bread & desserts will be served. Please sign up to bring one to share.

Please say YES! RSVP by October 19.

We LOVE new adoptive friends. If you or someone you know is considering adoption from Ethiopia,
please invite them! We would love to welcome them to the OCEAN.

"I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains.
Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun,
go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God.
Think of the beauty
that again and again discharges itself within and without you
and be happy."
~ Anne Frank

07 October 2008

The Giggle Quad

For a guaranteed laugh:

You've probably seen it already, but it's worth a second viewing. Enjoy!

06 October 2008

A Heart for Worship


A new worship website from Walt Harrah, uncle and friend, is up and running! Walt's resume in the music industry is incredibly impressive, but far more important than that is that he has a passion for worshipping Jesus that spills out into every area of life. He's just all about ministry and leading praise. On this site there are pdf's and mp3's of worship songs, a topical blog written by Walt that will encourage your soul, and it also includes script ideas for song sets for worship leaders. Check it out!

02 October 2008

The N Word

You know the word.

That ugly word.

Wouldn't it be nice if "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me" were actually true? But, we all know that words can make the deepest of cuts that can take years to heal.

Hearing racial epithets of any kind has always made me wince, made me recoil, made me have a hard time feeling any kind of compassion on the speaker of the offending slur. Michael and I have known a few people over the years who don't think using such terms is a big deal; they actually find it funny or somehow clever. But, it is a very big deal. Not funny.

My oh my, how much that has increased since my precious daughter, Ray Ray, entered my life and heart. When celebrity rappers or college athletes or teenagers hanging out at the movies use that word, I want to grab them by the ears and drag them to a restroom to wash their filthy mouths out! I feel that word slicing into my stomach for days afterwards.

WHEN did using that particular word become OK? And, WHY on earth is it considered cool?


It's one thing when it's done by a stranger or someone you expect ugly things from, but recently that word was used by a person I know... and love...

Honestly, my first response was not very Christ-like. Change my heart, o God!

I did refrain from sending an email with Ray Ray's beautiful photo that said "Is she a n*****"? But only barely.

I can imagine some of your comments here: This isn't the last time we'll hear the word so you have to learn to let it roll off your back. (You're right.) We can't always protect our kids from racism. (Right again.) Part of being an interracial family means having the opportunity to graciously educate those who are impolitic and in the process we give our children a valuable life tool. (Totally agree.) What would Jesus do? (Yes, I want to live that way.) Enduring sweetly through unkindness is a mark of maturity. (Enough already! I get it that I'm in the wrong here!)

So what do I want to teach my kids? After giving it some time, praying, and getting some Godly counsel we've made a decision about how we'll respond that I pray will be positive and uplifting and that I trust will bring healing to that friendship.

But, it still smarts. "Sticks and stones" my foot!

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Colossians 3:12-14

30 September 2008

Remember GOD; Forget the Guilt



Last week in my small group we talked about our priorities.

Yikes! The priorities talk! Guilt! But, maybe all moms feel self-reproach for not being able to do everything, though. Maybe all mothers feel weighed down with condemnation because as more kids have been added to the family, the priority list has slowly felt like less about what is eternally valuable and more about what errands, cleaning, and schoolwork absolutely must done and what emergencies must be taken care of today. Oh, the guilt guilt guilt of it all!



"Guilt is the source of sorrows, the avenging fiend that follows us behind with whips and stings." ~ Nicholas Rowe

"Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving." ~Erma Bombeck


It's no surprise what the priority list should look like.

Everybody knows what it's supposed to be, right?

It's actually pulling that off and still knocking out my own hauswife-homeschooler-and-mother-of-a-large-family to-do list that's the challenge. Somehow it feels like my things creep up the chart and God's stuff slips down.

Speaking of condemnation, I read somewhere recently that if we're not spending all day, every day in the Word that we should rethink our priorities. ACK! How disheartening! More fuel for the ol' guilt machine. As much as I would like to be a student of the Word in the original Greek and Hebrew, all day, every day, it's simply not possible for everyone, including me. I truly wish that it were.

So what does making God first and foremost look like?

Well, my Bible study beauties and I learned (again, not a new concept here) that making God our #1 priority means spending time in His presence every day. No excuses! It means giving Him Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication daily. The way to know and be close to God is to be in His Word, on my knees, Bible and notebook in hand, and with worship songs on my lips. Every day.

We talked about the concept of tithing our time to the Lord. Scripture says that a tithe (that 10% of my income -- I say of the gross, many disagree, but I won't digress on that particular polemic landmine right now) already belongs to God. It's holy, set apart, separate... meaning not mine, but His alone.

So, my time tithe, my quiet time, would also be holy, set apart, separate... meaning not my time, but His alone.

Michael and I have a devotional time with the kids every morning first thing. We pray, read the Bible, read a chapter of our book by Josh McDowell, then pray for our nephew Lincoln who has Down's Syndrome, Abby Riggs who is battling leukemia, Firewot, Abeba, and Teyiba, the three girls we're supporting in Ethiopia through World Vision, and then for our family, our church family, specific requests, praises, etc. Later, during our school day, the kids and I have individual Bible studies together.

But, this week I got busted.

None of that counts as my personal, private time with God on my face in worship. Confession: Some days, I have to say, my quiet time lasts about 5 minutes. Some days I don't even spend one minute alone. Ouch. It's high time for me to cut out whatever needs to be cut to protect that precious appointment. I need more time with the Father. BUT, hold the side order of guilt!

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8.1)

So, starting now I'm making God priority #1. Daily quiet time is a must. Guilt's getting flushed.

Whooeeee, what a relief! The luxury of delving into the Gospel 8 hours per day is not really an option at this time in my life, with the things that God has already called me to be and do. Being quietly alone with the Lord studying the Bible, giving him my time tithe every day is.



THANK YOU to those who've been praying for my Grandmother Ortlund this week as she's been so sick. I know she has really needed and appreciated the love, support, and supplication. As of last night she was feeling much better, getting release from the ICU hopefully today. Praise the Lord!