Thursday, March 18, 2010

i don't want my kids to be happy......

this is a repost from another blog and i LOVE it!! this is for all my fellow NON college-savings account moms....


Dear Eden and Haan:

Recently we were told by people whom we love and respect why they oppose our plans to adopt. One of the reasons given was that we would not be able to pay for your college education.

It's true.

You all have college funds - college funds which recently took a terrible hit - but "they" say that by the time you're 18, college will cost anywhere between $200,000 to half a million dollars each. You might as well know now, we won't be covering that. I'm telling you now, babies.

The people said that the day would come when you would look at us with resentment because you had to apply for school loans while many of your friends got a free ride from their parents.

Maybe you will. Maybe you'll resent us. I really hope not. But maybe I should tell y'all now why your dad and I have decided to do what we are doing.

I know you're going to think I am going off topic (I do that a lot) but several years I saw a story on a TV show about how the latest trend was for parents to give their daughters boob jobs for high school graduation (I don't know what they gave their sons.) When interviewing one of the moms, she said, "I just want my daughter to be happy." And as I tossed a throw pillow at the television, this really huge thought occurred to me: I don't want my children to be happy.

My goal as your mom is not your happiness, sugars. In fact, I spend at least half my day making you unhappy. If I had a nickle for every tear that falls in this home on a daily basis, we wouldn't need to worry about college tuition at all.

Happiness is fleeting, sweet babies. That means it doesn't last. It's a quick feeling that comes from a funny movie or a heart shaped lollipop or a really good birthday present. It's great. I love to be happy. But happiness is a reaction that is based on our surroundings. And our surroundings are so very rarely under our control. Even when - especially when - we think they are. So no, I absolutely don't want you to spend your life chasing something that has so little to do with your own abilities. You'll just be constantly frustrated.

There are two things I desire for you, precious loves. There are two things that I spend most of my time as a mother trying cultivate in you. Happiness ain't one of them. (This means, sorry, no boob jobs for you.)

The first is, I want you to be content. Being content is so much different from being happy. Being content is not based on your surroundings. Being content comes from within. Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.

Being content and grateful leads to consistent joy.

As you know, because I've told you lots of times, Paul talked about being content. Paul said that he had "learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." And Paul was in some rotten situations, kiddos, really rotten.

How could Paul be content whether he was in prison or if his life was literally a shipwreck? Because Paul was constantly seeking to be in the will of God instead of his own, was constantly sacrificing his own comfort for the sake of the gospel, and was constantly being confirmed, strengthened, and blessed by God because of his obedience. He was given a supernatural power - that means something kind of like magic, God magic - to do things that most other humans could not do. And guess what? The bible tells us (in Ephesians 1) that God will give you the exact same power! If you want it!

Which leads me to my second desire for y'all.

I don't want you to be happy. I want you to be holy. That means, I want you to seek that God-power to make you content. I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with the achieving the perfect birthday present!

This means you may be poor, 'in want' as Paul said, and that's okay. It will never, ever be okay with the world for you to be poor. So you'll be up against the world. But not your dad and me, loves, because it was never our goal for you to be wealthy - at least not in the way that the world considers wealthy.

Darlings, we love you so much. You will never even grasp how much we love you until you have children of your own, and then you'll get it, and then you'll apologize for the ways you treated us ;) But our goal is not to please you. Our goal is to please our Heavenly Father. And nowhere in the bible does the Lord command that we save our money to send our kids to college.

But the Lord does command us to care for the orphan around fifty times. He does tell us to care for the poor around 300 times. He does tell us that when we care for the neediest, we are caring for Jesus Himself. And in chapter six of the book of Matthew, He tells us to seek His kingdom first, and let Him worry about the rest, like college tuition. Because it's all His anyway.

They said that one day y'all would resent us for using 'your' college money to go and get your sister out of an orphanage in Ethiopia and bring her home to you.

But I know my babies. Even at your tender ages, I know your hearts, and I have already seen you weep for the least of these. I know the prayers I offer up to God that He and not the world would shape the desires of your hearts. I am trusting Him to answer those prayers.

So, sugarbears - I just don't believe those people.

Love,
Mommy

Monday, March 15, 2010

let's do something POSITIVE (HIV positive, that is...)

well, i am back (after an extended abscence). let's see, in the meantime, E has turned 2 and is doing great. i will try to get some recent sweet potato pics up in the next post...

last weekend, i went to Atlanta with my dear friend Carolyn. we had a great being together and weekend strategizing for Project Hopeful!!!

i wanted to use this post to share a couple of small ways YOU can make a difference in the life of an HIV+child in Ethiopia. here are my favorite things lately. i have been rocking them all the time and know you'll love sporting them too! the first tee is from 147millionorphans and half the proceeds to directly to Project Hopeful. it has a great fit and is a tissue tee. the first photo is of the back and the last two are of the front. you will love it!

this is one of the Project Hopeful tees (front below and back above)

i have both of these necklaces. the bottom one also comes on black leather and you can purchase them here.

lastly, i wanted to let you all know about the NCAA bracketology contest that also benefits Project Hopeful. please pass this along on your blogs, facebook, or wherever. just copy and paste the info because the more people that play, the more orphans we help!

here's how it works: YOUR purchase (10 dollars people) will help set an HIV+orphan into a permanent and loving family--restoring HOPE to the HOPELESS!!!

Donation: $10 per bracket. multiple entries accepted....the more brackets you enter...the more orphans you help!

Overall Winner gets a TEAM 147 Kit

Each Age Group Winner gets a Team 146 shirt or sweatshirt of their choice.

Age groups are:

Boys pre-K to Grade 5, Girls Pre-K to 5th, Boys Middle School, Girls Middle School, Boys High School, Girls High School, Men 18 & over, Women 18 & over.

Fun for the WHOLE family...let each member play and benefit an HIV+orphan!

CONTEST DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill out your bracket--print any bracket online or click the below www.ncaa.com/brackets/basketball/men/

2. Send a copy of your bracket to Team 147 Bracketology Commisioner. Be sure to include: name, age group, contact info., AND tie break: final score of Nat'l Championship Game. Send to jenny@myeliteloans.com or efax to 615.296.9696 or mail to Team 147 Bracketology c/o Jenny Williford 300 Upper Mill Drive Cane Ridge, TN 37013.

3. Pay the Fee via paypal or mail check to same address ($10 per entry). Paypal: http://www.147millionorphans.blogspot.com/

ALL Brackets and Fees must be received or postmarked by March 18th--so ACT FAST!

This contest will follow the rules of the ESPN Tournament Challenge. For complete rules, go to www.games.espn.go.com/tcmen/en/story?pageName=tcmen/rules

Copy and Paste this to everyone you know. The more that play, the more orphans gettin' some lovin'!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

does anybody even read this anymore?

i did promise myself that i would post at least a couple times per month--not sure what happened there....... since the last post, let's see, what has transpired?



well, E turned 22 and now 23 months old!! i am getting seriously sad that she is almost 2 years old (she turns 2 next week). it has gone so much faster than i ever wanted it to. i just wish i could freeze time. both of my kiddos have january birthdays. haan will be 7 and E will be 2 all within 9 days of each other. they are getting to be quite the pair--very good buddies as long as haan does EXACTLY what E tells him to do (which he almost always does).



also, since my last post, i made another trip back to ethiopia. it was a very quick one (by my standards--only one week instead of my usual 3 or 7 weeks!), but a great trip in many respects. we got to to check on the orphanage that our church is sponsoring, had some meetings, and visited all the orphanages that our adoption agency works with.


of course it is always difficult for me to readjust home after being in ET, but especially so during the holiday season. don't get me wrong--i LOVE to get and GIVE gifts and i fully intend on doing both :) i also don't think you need to live like a pauper to change the world. kirk and i try to live a simple life--that is not to say that we don't enjoy blessings that we know 90% of the world doesn't enjoy--such as having an actual house (along with another "house" called a garage to park our car in) and multiple other blessings. this year as we think about simplifying, i am challenging myself not only to simplify my material possessions, but some of the other "clutter" that life throws my way. it comes in different forms for every person.



recently, in yoga class, the instructor read us some of the "essential yoga sutra" on attachment to distraction. here is a little bit that i wanted to share:



"it is our destiny, each one of us, to save the world. yes, we can, and we will. depp insdie of us we know this is what we want to do, and why we came to this world in the first place. on some level we dream of this all the time;it is why almost al the novels and movies created by our culture have a heroine or hero who saves the day. because we ourselves want to. we need to.

and so we step onto the first of the five paths. it's called the path of accumulation-piling up enought goodness, enought power, to change ourselves and our world. we take this step by deciding that we can no longer bear the pain all around us.

now we will no longer have any time for the meaningless distractions of life--we must simplify our lives, concentrate on what's really important. no more time to only work and eat and sleep, and die-no more time to waste on newspapers and television to hear about how others wasted their time."

i have tried to upload new photos, but for some reason blogger isn't letting me do it.... (i will keep trying).
love to you all this coming year (if you are still sticking around to read my infrequent posts)

Monday, October 5, 2009

21 months (and t-shirt giveaway)

i know. a month since my last post. that has got to beat some sort of lame blogger record. E will be 21 months tomorrow.... it makes me a little sad how fast time has gone since she came home. tomorrow her early childhood intervention specialist is coming to discharge her as she no longer qualifies for services. she has caught up developmentally and is actually at almost 3 years in some areas (what can i say the girl is SMART).

one thing that has remained exactly the same since the day we laid eyes on her in ethiopia is the "finger suck." she sucks her right pointer finger to the point where it looks waterlogged all the time. she has to suck on it to fall asleep, while she is asleep, and will continue to do so until we get her out of her crib in the morning or after nap. i guess at the orphanage, she sucked her big toe until she sucked her toenail completely off (it is gone to this day--don't think it is coming back....) so they taped a sock on her foot and then she switched to the finger....
here are some pics of the infamous finger and one from Ethiopia last summer also highlighting the finger suck....
the ethiopia finger suck-sooo cute
the water logged finger--close up....
on an unrelated note: who wants to win this project hopeful t-shirt? you can!
just guess where i am going in november and leave your guess in the comments section. the first person to correctly guess will be getting this in the size of their choice!

Monday, September 7, 2009

20 months







seriously. what can i say? if you are still reading this, thank you! i have been a terrible blogger this summer, but will try to be better now that school has started...

anyway, our ethiopian sweet potato is now 20 months old (yesterday)!! she is still so full of life and spunk and very much still a tiny diva. she is still talking up a storm. her most "signature" lines are commands, with some of the favorites (and most charming) ones being:
"mama (or daddy, or haan) , sit down!!"
"don't DO that"
"gimme that"
"I do it"

she is also OBSESSED with "Barney." i am not quite sure how this happened as haan managed to go an entire 6 years without watching an episode, but somehow she saw it and now demands to watch it anytime we are in the car. i caved and bought like 6 "Barney" DVD's. i know, i know.... the rules are seriously different for the sweet potatoe...
in other news, haan started FIRST GRADE (you never think your child will really be that old) and seems to be loving it. he is also doing tennis, soccer, and piano this fall. E and i will be starting our toddler music classes together in about a week, so that should be interesting, as well.... we have been trying to get out every weekend and do some hiking so that we can instill our love for it into haan, and so far, so good. these pics are from yesterday's hike (which was also E's 20 month birthday). PLEASE ignore the hair. the weekend was nuts and somehow we went like 2 days without combing or conditioning her hair and she looks like a mad (totally cute) scientist.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

homecoming anniversary






one year ago TODAY, i arrived home with baby E after an almost 7 week trip to ET!!!!

the ordeal from last summer almost seems surreal to think about. fortunately, i met one of my dearest friends/fellow orphan junky/partner in crime from the trip and also got to bring home the sweetest baby girl. she is such a treasure to us!
this year has blown by for me. i have lots of exciting things in store for the next year to come too (stay tuned)...
if you haven't had a chance to enter the quilt raflle, please go below and "donate"!!! we are over halfway to our goal of building fence for the "almost homes" for HIV positive children. your donation is tax deductible!!!! you can make a difference for HIV+ widows and children!

"this world is too dangerous to live in-not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who sit and let it happen."
Albert Einstein

Saturday, July 25, 2009

quilt raffle!!!










DRAWING AUGUST 15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL proceeds to go toward the fence for Covenant Village/ALMOST HOMES (see post below)....

Tickets are $5.00.

This was made by Chanda Skelton and her Mom-in-Law Peggy specifically to raise funds for Project HOPEFUL!! It is BEAUTIFUL! Perfect wall hanging size...VERY AFRICA....
Please feel free to share this raffle with EVERYONE....Lets get this fence UP!!!!
I have ANOTHER one after this one!!

PLEASE help us raise this fence...to RAISE a village... If you would like more information about the vision for this village e mail me at Barkleysmom@gmail.com or Carolyn at carolyn@projecthopeful.org

....to be blunt...we NEED the funding . We need help...JOIN US...to any capacity...WE WELCOME YOU and WE NEED YOU!! Let this just be the beginning!!!

It is GREAT that so many of us are adopting or have adopted...BUT....HELP US help the children left behind....HELP US to help the women PRAYING that WE MOVE on behalf of them and their kids....HELP US SHIFT PARADIGMS!!!!
PUUUUUULEASE!!!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

lately...

i know that i have been a bad blogger lately.

july has been a whirlwind, and i have been super busy (see post below).

haan has been taking simming and tennis lessons for most of the summer and is doing great at both! E is 18 months old now--running and climbing everywhere and talking like crazy. the only thing she is not still doing is eating.... here are some recent photos to make up for my bad blogging behaviour...
pajama time



fireworks on the fourth in red lodge

all aboard "thomas the train"--their first train ride





my soon-to-be first grader...