Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Birthday Boy and Lemon Cake

Happy birthday, Jake!!  Tomorrow is his 9th birthday.  Whoa...where did the time go?  We are praying this is the last celebration in our family without baby J!!  We received a new picture of J last week and it was so great  to see an updated photo and know that he is well taken care of but we just long for the day when he is here with us!  Things are moving in the process and one of the families in front of us are almost home with their son and another family has a court date!!  We are so excited for these families!! Keep praying for us and  please pray for this sweet family.  It is a gift to have other families to go through this with and this is one of those families. They are such an encouragement to us!  Their son is in the same orphanage as J and they have been waiting longer than we have so please lift them up too!!

Back to the birthday boy...Jake asked for a lemon cake this year!  I am definitely more of a chocolate person so thankfully my Mom had given me a recipe for one and I thought I would share! 

Lemon Cake

1 package of white cake mix
1 package instant lemon pudding
3/4 cup of oil
3 eggs
1 cup of Sprite
Lemon frosting recipe  (or you could just buy lemon frosting)

Grease cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake mix, pudding mix,oil, and eggs.  Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.  Gradually add Sprite and beat until smooth (about 2 min.)  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes if using 2 round cake pans, or if using a 9x13 bake for 40 minutes.

Lemon Frosting
1 teaspoon fresh lemon rind, grated
3 tablespoons of butter
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon water

Add lemon rind to butter, cream well.  Add part of sugar gradually, blending after each addition.
Combine lemon juice and water, add to creamed mixture, alternate with remaining sugar, until right consistency to spread.  I ended up having to add a little more water.

Jake told me the frosting tastes really good! 


Monday, June 27, 2011

Being Intentional

I’m finding that being intentional in parenting is not easy…. for that  matter being intentional in life is not easy.  It takes prayer, planning and thought, but honestly, I just don't want to do that sometimes.  However, the example I have in Jesus shows me that He was intentional in everything.  His ministry, his relationships, the words he chose, the people he healed, the people he touched...his entire life was intentional.  I can't get around that!  So if I am trying to become more like him...I need to be intentional. 

I have been convicted recently about the need to inspire my children. That may sound a little strange, but I don’t mean from a worldly perspective, but to inspire them to see God in everything around them and to actually marvel at His creation.  Unfortunately, I’m realizing that too many times I take God's creation for granted and I have lost a sense of awe of it.  Now, of course, if I am in the mountains or at the ocean it is easy to be in awe of God's creation, but I mean be in awe of the every-day things like spiders, bird's nests and creeks.  Things that we see every day but have lost the wonder of that fact that God made them and he is such a creative God!  Sally Clarkson in her book Ministry of Motherhood says "Walking with God without the moment by moment awareness of our companionship with a divine being becomes just a hard, taxing obligation.  A child who does not have the opportunity to marvel at the bigness of God, the wonders of his creation, and the reality of his supernatural work will tend to measure the questions about "who God is" according to his or her finite, limited perspective."  I so badly want my children to grow up marveling at God...never taking him or his creation for granted!  This is where I’m beginning to see that intentionality comes their Mom it is my job each day to point them back to God, even in the so-called mundane things that we see all of the time.  I have found that in doing this, not only are Jake and Elyse seeing God in a whole new way, I am too.  I love it!!  I love that Jake walks around looking for spiders (even though he doesn't like them) just because he is fascinated with the way God made them. I love that Elyse is obsessed with birds and their nests and looks for them in every tree and marvels at how God takes care of them. 

Paul says in Romans 1:20 " Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made."  It is my prayer that my children not only learn about God through his word but also through His unbelievable creation!  I pray that they see his glory everywhere!

  The heavens tell about the glory of God.
      The skies show that his hands created them. 
  Day after day they speak about it.
      Night after night they make it known. 
  But they don't speak or use words.
      No sound is heard from them. 
 At the same time, their voice goes out into the whole earth. 
     Their words go out from one end of the world to the other. 
 Psalm 19:1-4


Friday, June 17, 2011

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Happy 21 months baby J!!  To some extent, it seems like these months are flying by!  On the other hand things don’t seem to be moving nearly quick enough!  God’s teaching a lot, though, about peace and waiting in Him.  He’s given us a deep peace lately that even though things may not be moving at the pace we would like, there’s a greater purpose behind the process.  God no doubt has a reason for moving like He does, in everything!

 Each month to "celebrate" J turning older we have been buying him a book.  Partly because Jake and Elyse's baby  books have either been given away or were destroyed by chewing etc. and partly because as we are adopting a child from another race and culture, I realized that the characters in the books we do have are predominantly white.  That is a problem!  To solve that problem we have been intentionally adding to J's library (and ours) new books that are multi-cultural.  This month we chose a book that had been recommended by another adopting mom, Lara.  It came in the mail this week just in time to celebrate J turning 21 months!  It is called All Things Bright and Beautiful by Ashley Bryan.

It is a beautiful book based on the hymn by Cecil Francis Alexander. Jake and Elyse have already enjoyed this book and I cannot wait to be able to share it with J! 
Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Leaves of Love

I recently read the book, No Ordinary Home, The Art of Christ Centered Homemaking by Carol Brazo.  In the book she talks about having items in your home that remind you of God's faithfulness in specific seasons of your life.  We may have never seen more of God's faithfulness than in this season of our family’s life!  So, on that note, I have been really thinking and praying about what I wanted to do to document all of the love and support we have received throughout the whole adoption process so far.  I have thought of so many things, but nothing really seemed to hit the mark until I came across Leaves of Love, and when I saw it I knew that was what I had been looking for!  Also, when you purchase from Leaves of Love you are helping another adoptive family bring home their is a win-win situation!  Now we have everyone’s name on a "leaf" on the tree that has supported us through prayers, financially or with encouraging words.  This will be something that our family can cherish forever and be able to share with J as he gets older!  A testament to God's faithfulness! Every time I look at it I can't help but well up with tears thinking of the beautiful body of Christ coming together to obey God's call to care for the orphans.

Here is our tree!  I love it! (Can you make out the continent of Africa in the middle of the top of the tree?)

Please keep praying for speed in the process!  A dear friend who is in the process of adopting called me today to remind  me that God knows the beginning and He knows the end...he has already seen when J will be home and to rest in his provision!  He’s plenty big enough to take care of it all.  Beautiful thoughts…. Thank you, Rachel! So, we are resting in God's provision knowing that He holds every step of this in his hands! 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A goat and the Smelly Cat

Well, it was time to raise some funds to help buy the goat for the Kyengera orphanage (see the Kirabo Seeds post).  Last Friday night we had a plan to set up a table in a neighborhood with some baked goods to sell. In Charlotte, like other cities there are neighborhoods that have their own little main streets with shops and restaurants and it was the plan to setup our sale on North Davidson which is always bustling on the weekends.  We woke up Friday excited about our fundraiser. All the goodies were baked and we were ready to go by the middle of the afternoon.  However, by 4:00 it was clear that there would be no bake sale because of some heavy rain that lasted for a couple of hours.  We had planned to sell near some restaurants around dinner time so that we could catch people as they walked to and from dinner.  It was the perfect plan!  But, now the rain was ruining it. We were bummed.   Having the sale on another night of the weekend was out of the question because plans on the holiday weekend.  So what were we going to do?  We now had piles of cookies and several loaves of pumpkin and banana bread and chocolate chip muffins sitting on our kitchen table, not being much use for anything (not to mention the temptation to us!). 

We decided that I would take Jake and Elyse out there on Tuesday at lunchtime and pray for the best.  We weren’t nearly so excited at our prospects for business on a weekday lunch hour versus a weekend dinner time, but we had to try to get some of these things sold!  So, Tuesday came and we headed out to set up our table.  Of course, it was about 90 degrees at lunchtime and as soon as we set things up, the chocolate chips immediately started melting.  It was hot!  It was really easy at this point to wonder why we were even out there, and why we didn't just eat the goodies ourselves and make more for another Friday night bake sale, but I felt like after praying that this is what we needed to do!  Pretty quickly we had a few business men on their lunch hour walk by and say “Hi”, but they clearly weren’t interested in buying. 

Here’s where it gets interesting.  After about ten minutes, and all of us beginning to sweat, the owner of the Smelly Cat Coffeehouse down the street (yes, it really is named the Smelly Cat!) came by on her way to run errands. She stopped and asked Jake and Elyse what they were doing.  We explained what we were trying to raise money for and immediately she said.."I will buy all of it to sell in the coffeehouse!"...WHAT?  We brought everything over to the coffeehouse and she bought every last bit of it. Now, she never once asked how much we needed for the goat we wanted to buy.  The goat costs $70, and we had about $15 already toward the purchase.  Well, after offering a dollar per bag of cookies and $7 per loaf of bread, she ended up paying….$55!!  Exactly enough for the goat!  How awesome is that?!  This was God's plan all the time.  You see, if we had been able to have the sale on a Friday night I’m convinced we would have made more than just the cost of the goat.  But, if we had done it that way, God wouldn't have been glorified like he was on this Tuesday afternoon.  We got to see God's provision and love for those kiddos in Uganda in the flesh and in a way we could never have imagined.  He used the Smelly Cat Coffeehouse to provide the money to buy a goat for kids half a world away!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  Psalm 68:5

Yesterday I read a post by Josh Via titled Though He is High, He Regards the Lowly.  The scripture he shared was this one from Psalms and I thought it couldn't fit this situation any better.  We are so thankful that we got to witness God's provision for his children.  I will never forget that day as long as I live and I pray that Jake and Elyse will not either!

Though the LORD is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. Psalm 138:6