What I'm Thankful For Today

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm sure most of you have probably already seen these on Courtney's blog, but I just had to post them myself....new pictures of my most ADORABLE little brother!! We got them yesterday, so that was a wonderful surprise. I am SO EXCITED to finally meet him in person!

(The picture above is my personal favorite!:-)

He looks so old in these pictures to me....so much older than 2. But then, we took his updated measurements and found that he is identical in size to Isaac (within a pound or two), so that made me feel better. He's still a little guy! *Happy sigh*......
Joshua, we have to get you some nicer clothes!! What an interesting outfit.
Look at that sweet smile! Doesn't it just melt your heart?

Well, I am sure you probably alread know what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, right?

Him. Himself. He. His cutie pie-chubby-cheek-sweet-pumpkin-self.

I am so thankful for the oppertunity to bring him all the way over to the United States, to our family specifically. What a privilege to be his big sister! You know, I never imagined I would have the chance to have two baby brothers all over again. Really; after David came home from Korea in 2001, I thought we were done. But what an amazing surprise God had in store for us!
I just love adoption........!

This is our first Thanksgiving with Isaac. And our last one without Joshua. I am so thankful for these two sweet blessings! Our little "Asian Angels" are so perfect!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone....and don't forget to thank God for one of the most important blessings: family. Look at each of your siblings, your parents, and truly thank God for each one of them. They are gifts from the Lord, and we shouldn't ever take them for granted.


How to Make a Thankful Turkey ~ by Isaac

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hi everyone! It's been a long time since I've posted, 'cuz Rachel says the title of this blog says Rachel's Blog, not Isaac's Blog. But she said that, since I was so cute, that I could do a post just this once. (I heard her mumbling something about my cuteness attracting more followers to her blog, but I don't know for sure. )

See how nice it is? After posing for this picture, Rachel told me to stop smashing my turkey. I wasn't smashing it, I was just hugging it.

Okay guys, step one: trace your hand on several pieces of paper. You're gonna need some sharp scissors for this to cut out your shapes. I would have done this part myself, but Rachel said scissors were dangerous.
See the red hand I made? You're gonna need several of these, guys. The hands are what makes the feathers of the turkey later on.

Then, write down what you're thankful for on each of the fingers of the hands you just cut out. I would have done this part, too, but Rachel took over again. (Why do girls always do that? I guess 'cuz they're scared we boys might do it better than them. Kinda hard to tell.)

Huh! I can do it pretty good, I have to say. Rachel has reason to be afraid I might do it better than her - I was pretty impressed with my turky myself.

Good job, everyone! You're doing great. Just call me the Turkey Teacher.

Now, glue all your pieces together. By now, you should have made the eyes, nose, beak, head, and neck of your turkey. I finished mine fast.

Ha! Done! Doesn't it look so good? Rachel said that each of the feathers would remind us to give thanks to God for everything we wrote down. I don't really know what she means. Right now the extent of my prayers are Amen. But, maybe I'll learn here pretty soon.

And there it is, guys! Thanks for listening to me. I like telling people what to do, so this post came pretty naturally to me. Maybe, if I get time, I'll write some more later about how to manipulate your older sister by yelling no.

Uh-oh, here comes Rachel! I better sign off for now. See ya next time!


Interview With Lauren ~ Part 2

Monday, November 22, 2010

5.) A lot of us girls have big families and busy days. What does a typical day at your house look like?

My days begin very early…usually between 4 and 5 am (I’ve always been a morning person) and it is in those first few hours I prepare myself for the day by seeking the Lord in my daily prayer and worship…finding refreshment in His Word and His love. Early mornings hold fewer distractions and after committing myself to Him then, I find my heart even more filled with His ravishing love. I seek to draw closer to my Lord throughout the day, serving Him by serving others, and glorifying Him in everything that I do.

Many aspects of home making are covered on a daily basis and my daily responsibilities include overseeing all of the household chores, attending to the grocery shopping and meal preparations, running errands, taking care of our rescued animals, completing home projects, tending to my family and studies etc. My discipline and time management skills have been challenged and I have also learned to cultivate a servant’s heart and attitude. I’m reminded of the saying the idle hands are the workshop of the enemy…so I want to fill my time with things that are honoring to the Lord and look for opportunities to serve.

6.) Modesty and Biblical femininity are very important issues to me. But, it can be hard to find the "right" kind of clothes. How do you see modest dress as an important part of being a Godly woman? What are some guidelines you use when choosing clothing?

Dressing selflessly is to dress as a princess of Christ instead of a product of this world…“To lay down our pursuit of gaining the approval and applause of this world, and to live for His smile alone” (Leslie Ludy). In choosing what I wear, I always try to prayerfully consider what my inner motives are…does my appearance show others that I belong to Christ or to this world? Am I truly reflecting the beauty of His glory? I want Christ to radiate from me and God has shown me that what you wear is a major indicator of where your priorities lie. Modest dress is a tool that showcases a higher purpose in our lives, which is to reflect Jesus Christ to others. When choosing clothing, I want to reflect the beauty of heaven and guard my femininity out of love for Jesus Christ and honor for my future husband.

It is such an encouragement to see so many young women and blogging friends sewing and making their own clothing…something that I think God also wants me to start looking into, which I’m very excited about!

7.) I read once that Jesus shouldn't be a part of your life, He should be your life. We are to be utterly consumed with Him. How does this play into your daily life?

“To become a true Christian – the one who bears the name of Jesus, our beloved Bridegroom – we must leave behind our own lives and come away with Him” (Leslie Ludy). He is calling us to put aside off all of our selfish desires….He must become our All in all. For me…I have to ask myself what I’m holding onto that’s keeping me from being consumed by Him…and only Him. What is jeopardizing my relationship with Christ? Is it my selfish attitude? Is it my longing for the things of this world? Yielding to Him and abiding in Him throughout the day and seeking to draw closer to Him is when I’m committing myself to Him. It means rising with Him every morning…letting Him take every thought, attitude, action, and word spoken captive. It’s following His lead in everything that I do and leaning upon His strength and power alone. Every moment of my time…I want to lay at His feet.

8.) Have you ever felt "different" from other girls who may not be on the same path as you? If so, how have your dealt with this?

The main struggles that I deal with in living set-apart for Christ begin within me…when I start looking to myself. But when I make it my main focus to live for Him and to seek His applause alone in whatever I face, that’s when I don’t pay any attention to the opposing pressure from the world around me. I want to live with Christ as my only audience…that my identity is found in Him…and in Him alone.

9.) This is a miscellaneous question....what are some parting words of encouragment you could share with us?

Share every moment of your life with God ~ Spend time daily in His Word ~ Rid yourself of things that are not of Him ~ Cultivate your relationship with Christ and search for Him with your whole heart ~ Surround yourself with kindred spirits who can keep you accountable ~ Rejoice in Him always!

Thanks Lauren, for doing this interview! I thoroughly enjoyed all your answers. Wasn't that great, everyone? How encouraging!


An Interview With Lauren ~ Part 1

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hello everyone!

I am excited to anounce my first blog interview! Some time ago, while "blog-hopping", I stumbled across Lauren's blog, right here. I loved her encouraging posts, and thought that she might be a perfect candidate for an interview.

And I was right. Over a series of NINE questions, Lauren shares with us a little glimpse into her life, her family, and her heart. I hope you enjoy reading her insights and thoughts as much as I have!

1.) Tell us a little about yourself.

First I want to thank you so much for this opportunity to share what the Lord has done in my life! I’ve never actually shared some of the struggles I talk about in the questions below, and I dearly wish I could share everything God has done for me but I’m afraid I would end up writing a book! With that said, my name is Lauren and I live at home with my family on a beautiful piece of land set by a glistening lake. In the words of Anne Shirley, “there’s so much scope for the imagination here” and it is in my home that my walk with Christ continues to grow. Please feel free to grab a nice warm cup of hot cocoa or simmering cup of tea as you pull up a chair and take a glimpse into my life…

2.) Tell us about your family; do
you have siblings?

God has blessed me with a wonderful family! My mom always told me that God made the eldest for a reason…and I never understood why He would do that until I got older. Now I know without a shadow of doubt He put me in this family as the oldest for a reason….and it’s such a privilege to be able to honor Him and learn to selflessly serve my siblings, being an example to them in Christ. I hope that by looking at my life they’re able to see Christ…not me…that I’m able to lead them and encourage them in their relationship with the Lord. By being the oldest I have learned so much and it has made me who I am in Christ. My family is comprised of my mom and dad, me, my twin brother (19), my sister (18), my youngest sister (16), and our many pets.

3.) How did you come to know Jesus?

My parents led me to the Lord when I was young…I don’t remember it but I know that it happened. Growing up I always knew He was there…always tried to seek Him. During my earlier teen years, I lived the way many other Christian young women live. I was a “Christian”…but I wasn’t truly set-apart for Christ. No I didn’t listen to the secular music or watch the horrid worldly TV shows or movies….but I was still living selfishly…only seeking to please myself.
In my junior year of high school I faced one of my biggest challenges. Being in high school…my main goal and main focus of everything I did was to go to a university. I was enrolled in the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program in my school and strived after perfect marks and numerous volunteer hours and had it in my head that the only way you could be anything in this world was if you went to one of the top universities, had a successful career, and made a lot of money. I was entrenched in the attractions of this world, only fitting in Christ when it was convenient for me. Everything else in my life was put on the backburner.
At the beginning of my junior year in the IB program…something inside of me changed. I felt something come over me…I can’t explain it…but my life was never the same after that. I didn’t know it at the time but the Lord was calling me away from the high school scene….to lay down that desire to go away to college. The local community college was offering a program called the Early College Program where you attend their classes and receive high school credit at the same time. I felt the Lord calling me there but I slammed on the brakes. The community college?! Who would want to hire me if I go there? I was fighting and wrestling with what He was calling me to do. I cried a lot. When I had to face the IB Counselors and tell them why I was dropping out of their program they slammed me with facts and statistics about how universities won’t want me if I go to a community college. It was so hard…but the high school season of my life was over and I am still filled with so much joy that God did not leave me in my mediocre state. He was asking me to give up control and give my life to Him.
During my first year in the Early College program I remember feeling so lonely. I didn’t know anyone. My classes ended early…usually before lunch, and I spent more time at home with my family. God was teaching me obedience in this time…to obey Him in all things. He was calling me to so much more than what I was living. It was in this time that I began to understand what it meant to have Christ as the Master of your life…I learned what it meant to die to self and allow Christ to live in and through me. God is always faithful…He
blessed me with beautiful sisters in Christ who still lead me closer to Christ in all that they do. I am so truly thankful for them…for the way they point me towards Jesus with their lives. He has continued to draw me closer to Him through them and through His Word. My relationship with Christ has continued to grow and I’m still amazed and humbled by what my Prince has done in my life. God has taken hold of my heart and I am continually transformed and renewed by Him each and every day. He is so real to me…I am now truly experiencing His love and hearing His voice. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with Him for anything!
And you know what? The universities did end up accepting me….but I knew Christ was not calling me to go away and I was filled with such peace in declining their invitations and turning my life to Christ and what He wanted me to do.

4.) Being 19, I'm sure you've already graduated and have run into the "college question". This can prove to be a sticky subject for some. What are your plans now that you've graduated?

When facing this question, it’s so important to remember that we will find immense peace, joy, and growth in Christ when we follow His calling for our lives….whether that is working missions in China, attending a university, or staying at home. If you diligently strive after Him and follow His leading…that’s when we can be confident that He is using us to bring Him glory wherever He has placed us.

From attending the Early College Program, I was able to graduate high school with my AA Degree but a lot of questions surrounded me as to where I should go and what He wanted me to do after that. Even now I still wrestle with this question. My greatest desire is to be a wife and homemaker, to help further my future husband’s vision and to raise princes and princesses of Christ. However, I knew Christ was also calling me to lay this desire at His feet and to use my single years and my time as a daughter to learn to serve and learn from my family. God has been teaching me so much….helping me to develop the skills I would need if He does call me to marry one day. It has also been a wonderful training ground for my relationship with Christ.

I’ve also enjoyed helping out at my family’s business that was founded in 1907, and lately God has been calling me to serve there…I can be confident that this is where He has called me for this season in my life. I love the old-fashioned working environment, how I work alongside many of my immediate and extended family, and all the aspects of a small family-run business. I love everything Christ is teaching me. After much prayer and continuous prayer…God has also been calling me to further my skills in the business field by attending the private university in my home town so that I may further my family’s vision in our business as well. While I only spend a couple hours at my classes a day…I like to consider that my main learning field is at home…that I am still a stay at home daughter who lives in my father’s house. This is where the best training is found.

God works everything out for those who are in Him and it continues to amaze me all of the wonderful things He has brought in my life. I’m so thankful that he has called me to center my life around my home and family and look forward to the day, if it’s God’ will, to becoming an at-home wife and homeschooling mother. But for this season of my life I know that this is where the Lord has called me and I want to glorify Him in everything that I do. Christ never promised me that I’ll be married one day…but He has promised that if I obey and serve Him…He will bless me beyond what I can even imagine.

Stay tuned for Part 2!


Farm Update

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Here on the farm, it seems like we always have new animals coming in....and going out. (For example, we had four brand new kittens a few months ago, and, due to predators, are now down to only two. ) Jonathan just brought in a new horse to train this week, so now it's my turn!

Yesterday, Dad and I went to look at a doe that we were considering buying. (To be more accurate, Dad was considering - I was hoping!) To my great surpise, when we got there and had looked her over, not only did Dad buy one, but TWO goats right on the spot!

This is Ginger - she is 5 months old.

And here is her twin buck brother.....which we promptly named Samson. And yes, there's a good reason for that name.

A very good reason.

Within a day of being here, he managed to jump over our 5-foot fence and break through an electric fence. Needless to say, he's stronger than we thought and the name fits him well!! And now the boys have a new emergency project to work on - a new pen that will keep him:
1) from getting out
2) away from the girls.

We are *planning* on starting up a small business of breeding and selling the babies, so that's what this little guy is for. We've only had goats for about two years now, but I have learned so much about them and feel (hope, really) that I can manage a big buck like this!

Isaac, the future farmer of America. :-)

I am really hoping that Ginger will make a good milker for us in the future. We tried some of her mother's milk and it was delicious. Ginger is so docile and amazingly gentle, so I am very happy about that. She and Samson were born without horns, and I'm even MORE excited about that! No danger of being butted!

Awww...what sweet goats!

(I've been told by numerous members of my family that goats are smelly and yucky and horrible, but.....I happen to really enjoy them. In fact, I asked a *certain sibling* what they thought I should name my new goats, and the suggestion was "stinky". )

Hmmm. Could it be that not everyone is a goat lover like I am?!


Is He Enough?

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."

Do we really believe this promise? Better yet, do we live it out? I have so many desires in my heart.......to be married, to have children, to enjoy life to its fullest, to be happy, etc..
But I have realized that these desires, even if they were fulfilled, would not make me truly happy. These things are all temporary. I know it may seem like things will go on and on and never change. (Doesn't it seem like you'll be stuck at your current age forever?) But when we look at our lives in the scope of eternity, it's so clear that the things that seem "big" right now are really quite the opposite.

Because of this, I can honestly say that the desire of my heart is God. Oh, that desire can be neglected at times, put on the back burner perhaps, but never forgotten. It's easy to let other things distract me from where my focus should be......but at the end of the day, what matters?
God. And my relationship with Him.
He is the only "thing" (for lack of a better word) that will truly last. HE will never forsake me....and HE is all that I need. I may want a lot of other things, but I only need one thing: Jesus. Really! He is enough.
And if it seems like He's not, we have some soul-searching to do. When we are obsessed with something other than Jesus, it's time for a heart check.

Consider these words from one of my favorite authors, Leslie Ludy:

"AM I ENOUGH?" came the gentle challenge of my Prince, and His tender voice drowned out all the clamoring confusion in my mind. My Prince was, and would always be, much more than enough. He did not desire to destroy my life, to leave me as a desolate, lonely failure alone in the woods somewher. He wanted me to put Him first, above everything else - to give my heart, time, affection, energy, and devotion to Him alone.

"...He is enough - so much more than enough......Instead of trying to satisfy the desires of our heart through meaningless pursuits, we must delight completely in the amazing love of our true Prince - as we focus on Him, we will be more than fulfilled.

I know it's so terribly easy to get distracted with all the things that fill our days. BUSY seems to be one of our family mottos right now! But let's not let business distract us from seeking the Lord with all our hearts. HE is to be the desire of our hearts - and He WILL fulfill that desire when we seek Him wholeheartedly.

Jeremiah 29:13
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."


Conversations with Isaac

Friday, November 12, 2010

Isaac's speech has really developed well the past few months. Although he has a hard time pronouncing words because of his former cleft palate, he still communicates pretty well with us, which makes life a lot easier. :-)

Of course, his favorite word at this point is "no", often pronounced "NO!" with some serious temper thrown in. However...he sometimes makes a game out of it when he's feeling silly. Here's how our conversations with him often go:

Me: Isaac, do you need help?

Isaac: No.

Me: How about 'no thank you'.

Isaac: No ee-you. Nee-hul, (Rachel), help!

Me: Do you need some help?

Isaac: Help.

Me: (sniff. sniff.) Isaac, do y0u need a diaper change?

Isaac: No.

Me: Are you telling the truth?

Isaac: No. Neehul, poo!

.....And thus go our days.


Wohoo - I'm Back!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hello everyone - it's me, your long-lost blogger! After a very loooong blogging break, I'm back to regular posting. Of course, what the term 'regular' means is rather debatable, since it's always busy around here, and it can prove a challenge to find spare time. But, I will try my best to keep you all informed on current goings-on around here. :-)

Isaac is continuing to do marvelously. He makes me laugh on a daily basis! His cute little phrases and new words are so simple and refreshing to hear. I can't tell you how much fun having a three year old around has been. :-)

And all of you know we're adopting again, right? The whole process has just sped along so quickly this time, and it looks like we're headed to China again next February/March! This time, though, I am staying home to be with Isaac. A little sad, yes, but I am reminding myself that after taking a trip to China less than a year ago, I have nothing to complain about. :-) I simply can't wait to bring Joshua home!

It's definitely fall around here - this morning it was nineteen degrees. Ugh. But lately I have been getting up early, while it is still dark and everyone else is in bed, to enjoy either a cup of hot tea or coffe while reading my Bible. And that is cozy!

And that concludes this post. By the way, if anyone is interested, head on over here to enter a fun apron / tea towel giveaway!


About This Blog

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

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