"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Friday, September 27, 2013

I’m a book critic…

Ok, not really.

BUT, my friend Janie has book/media reviewing blog called Lector’s Books. She also offers her proofreading services if there are any writers out there who are interested. She is an old friend from high school and one of those people that I feel so lucky to be friends with. I mean I really think “I CANNOT believe this girl likes me so much.” She is sooooo smart, she was a math and economics major in college but those were her WORST subjects, and she was still better at them than 99% of the world. Her SAT scores were ridiculous. And she’s so funny.  Really funny – kind, witty funny – not the mean, sarcastic funny that passes for humor these days. I have been enjoying her blog so much these past few months – I get so excited whenever she post something new.

Anyway, she asked me if I wanted do a guest post on her blog. I’ve always been a reader too, and we always bonded over books, especially science fiction/fantasy books. She’s the girl who introduced me to the Dune Series by Frank Herbert, a genre classic and one of my favorite series that I have read over and over. In turn, I introduced her to the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan that we wasted countless hours reading – hours that we will never get back (and she’s still friends with me so add forgiving to that list above because those books suck).

So far I have only managed to write one post for her while she is away on vacation. It was really hard – I haven’t had an English class or written about fiction since I was a junior in high school… that’s my way of begging you to please be kind. I also started small with one of Isla’s and mine favorite children’s books since Janie reviews all age levels. I am working my way up to a rebuttal to her eviscerating review of the Song of Ice and Fire series… that will come in time.

Anyway, if you don’t have anything better to do and/or you are looking for some new and adorable books to read to your kids, take a few minutes to stop by Lector’s Books and read my review of I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin!

You can find my review HERE.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Angel Eyes

Its that time of year again.

Angel Tree time! I have committed to raising $1000 for a child listed on Reece’s Rainbow between Nov 1 until Dec 31st of this year.

This is my third year to do Angel Tree. I feel like an old timer in the group.

My first boy Kai has a family and they are in the process of bringing him home! Its glorious to think of!

Kai-Asia.jpg.pagespeed.ce.mK-Ho2bznV

My second precious boy, Sonny, is currently locked away in a mental asylum inside a closed country with no hope of redemption. Please pray for my boy.

sonny after

Meet my new boy, Asher.

Asher-Photo-2-May-2013-261x300

What a little love, don’t you agree?

The first year Kai was one of the few children left by the time I signed up for Angel Tree and I picked his name because he had the same name as a dear friend’s son. The second year Andrea asked me if I wanted to be Sonny’s warrior, and I wanted to, very badly. Sonny needed out.

My inclination was to pick a boy who desperately needs out again this year and I may try to pick up a second child, but I decided on little Asher because of his name. My dear penpal’s boy and LTY epicutie is called Little Asher and we want to do an LTY giveaway for Angel Tree. The second reason is that that name always makes me think of a dear friend who lost three babies to miscarriages, and I know she had always wanted to call her boy Asher. Its nice to think that I can help an Asher.

I am glad that I chose Asher. He’s still so tender. I hope that someone snatches him up while he is still so little and tender and saves him years of neglect and abuse.

Like Kyle.kyle before

And like Sunny.sinny before

I am always a little uncertain how to blog during Angel Tree because this stuff is heavy. Nothing sobers me quicker than reflecting on all of the ways that human beings are ugly to one another. I think about it a lot. Perhaps too much and walking around my house all day I get these random fits of melancholy just thinking about all of the human waste – people thrown away by others or who let themselves be thrown away. Every human being has so much potential for good.

The thing is, this blog is for my family first. What we do for Reece’s Rainbow is a part of that big, happy, joyful, complicated, busy but occasionally lazy and usually very messy picture. We are a happy, blessed people who feel that we are called to be a blessing to others. I really love my life – some days I could pinch myself I love it so much.  I have a tendency to not blog about our lives during Angel Tree because I don’t know if people will understand the joy that flows out onto this blog, as if it means I am not taking suffering serious enough.

I take suffering seriously – but that also means that I take the cross seriously and what it was meant to do.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ Jesus

The thing that I always come back to after all of my glowering is just the command to be joyful!

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” ~ Phillipians 4:4

Sin has been conquered, so rejoice! Smile I have seen the power of the cross at work in my life. I have tasted and see that the Lord is good! How can I not be joyful? God knows and sees all evil that happens in this world and still commands us to rejoice… I won’t let the thief steal my joy.

So over the next few months, I will share with you about sweet Asher, and I will continue to share about our lives and the great things God has done!

This year I am going to do my fundraiser a little differently than before. I offered some big prizes, but I don’t know that that was the best use of my funds. I think that perhaps people want something more tangible for their donation.

PLUS I am only going to focus on getting Asher to his $1000 goal in addition to the rest of the Angel Tree children. We have accomplished that miracle for the last two years and I am praying that we can do it again! I don’t think offering a big prize just for my boy is the best way to accomplish that.

Given that – I have seen many people have successful online bake sales and I make pretty amazing cookies and brownies so I think that I will go that route for Asher’s fundraiser. Hopefully some people will offer to buy my baked goods.

I also feel like I need to do something I don’t enjoy as a sacrifice so I am going to do a garage sale with all proceeds going to Asher’s fund. I really don’t want to do this. I would much rather just donate everything to Good Will – get it out of my house and be done with it. But I have always believed that there is no love without sacrifice.

Doing those two things, I will work to get Asher as high as I can get him.

As for the rest of the Angel Tree kids. I am going to do a giveaway on LTY to benefit all children listed on the Angel Tree. I also have a few other ideas up my sleeve.

If you are interested in becoming a warrior along with me, check out Reece’s Rainbow’s Christmas Warrior page – HERE.

And please consider praying for the success of the program and that Asher's family finds him soon, hopefully before Angel Tree.

I don’t want to see pictures of Asher with scabs on his forehead.  Help me fight for this boy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Redemption Symphony

So I did end up deleting my Redemption Song post. I think that it was very therapeutic for me in many ways, but not necessarily edifying for others. I want to speak on behalf of the orphan, and not let my voice be drowned out by negativity.

I didn’t know how to proceed until something happened today.

A clarion call came to those of us who care about the special needs orphans. If this does not band people together to move on behalf of the orphan, then I don’t know what will.

Do you remember Kyle? I shared about him in my Redemption Song post?

kyle-before_thumb5kyle-after_thumb6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle has been healed. He is in heaven now. We found out this morning.

Kyle’s head is no longer shaven because no one can be bothered to brush his hair. His head is no long scabbed from repeatedly banging it on the bars of his crib, where he spent his lonely days, in order to feel any sensation at all. No more diaper sores are on his body because no one could be bothered to change him more than once, maybe twice a day. The extra hair growth from receiving almost no human contact is most certainly gone – I know right now he is in Jesus’ loving embrace. And I like to think that his face is full and round and healthy now, not like when he lived here on earth and was only fed once a day, quickly and roughly so as not to take up too much time from his resource limited caregivers.

Friends this is why I do what I do. Why Reece’s Rainbow does what it does.

Voiceless, powerless children are sent from the relative warmth of a baby orphanage to adult mental institutions at the age of 4, 5 or maybe 6 where they suffer from criminal neglect and most of them die within a year of being transferred.

We can do something about this!

The kingdom of heaven is among you. The kingdom of God has come to earth. Through us. The church. Its time for us to live like kingdom people – who believe that when Christ came, he came to redeem and he left us, not just with a free pass for eternity – but with a MISSION. He expected us to live like we believed that the time for the kingdom was NOW.

This is our time to be like Jesus. To spend our time, money, sweat, and tears for someone who can do NOTHING for us in return.

In honor of Kyle – please consider helping FOUR lost little boys get out of hell on earth. Like Kyle, they have been transferred to a LEVEL FOUR ADULT MENTAL INSTITUTION.

Remember Heath? I shared him with you exactly one year ago today.

heath_thumb[4]

Guess what? Heath has a family coming for him!

God has set the lonely in a family for Heath. He will be rescued! Every little offering that you gave, not just if you gave him money, but prayers or good thoughts as well – God used. Nothing was wasted and it is all being woven into Heath’s glorious redemption ON THIS EARTH through us, the body of Christ.

There are four little boys from Heath’s very same LEVEL FOUR MENTAL INSTITUTION featured in a beautiful symphony of redemption, the September Symphony, who will receive a 2:1 matching grant to go towards their adoptions. For every TAX DEDUCTIBLE dollar put into their grant accounts, an anonymous donor will donate TWO DOLLARS.

Meet these precious souls.

Meet Grady.Andre

Meet Pearson.30520132428

Meet Porter.Porter 2013

Meet Dagmar.30520133548

If you are a follower of Christ. I don’t have to tell you what Christ has promised to those who give, who care for the orphan and the needy – the least of these. THOSE WHO CAN DO NOTHING FOR YOU IN RETURN. You have heard the verses your entire lives. Now is the time to act – to store up your treasures in heaven and not on this earth.

There are families who will come for these boys. I have seen family after family step forward for children who in my small mindedness, I would have considered unadoptable. But God sets the lonely in families, not me, let’s help these boys’ families a little with the cost of their international adoptions. As you know, the cost is astronomical, much more than the average person has lying around. If you want to know more about the hell that the boys must be recused from – contact my friend Julia, she would be happy to tell you. Or you can read about her son’s experiences at that same mental asylum HERE. This is no place for anyone, let alone children.

And also, consider giving to a fifth boy. This little boy has already met his match (but don’t let that stop you from giving) and is not at the same place as the four boys above. But his situation is desperate. He has less than TWO WEEKS to find a committed family.

And he has so much potential. But even if he didn’t have potential – he still deserves to be LOVED and cared for. These children truly are the least of these.

Meet Brenton.brenton-update-cropped

I just love his face.

Please consider clicking on any one of those boys’ names and donating to help raise their ransoms! Let’s get these boys funded and HOME.

For a minimum donation of $10 to any grant account. Your name can be entered to win so many cool prizes! You receive more entries to win the more you give so don’t let the $10 number stop you. You can also gain additional entries by sharing on Facebook, your blog, email or Twitter.

  • A 2nd GENERATION IPAD 16 GB PLUS a  BRAND NEW OTTER BOX
  • $500.00 GIFT CARD!!!
  • Canon Power Shot SX50 HS Digital Camera
  • IPAD MINI
  • WINNER CHOICE OF EITHER...
  • A Kindle Fire (159.00 value) OR Nintendo 3DS (178.65 value) OR 150.00 Pick a Child or Family on Reece's Rainbow
  • Used Kindle Keyboard WiFi 6"
  • Très Riches Heures (Months of the Year) 04 "April" Limited Edition 1992
  • A HENRY DOBROVITS ORIGINAL
  • Set of Framed Vintage Floral Prints Signed Carle
  • 50.00 J.C. Penny Gift Card
  • 50.00 Visa Gift Card
  • 25.00 Barnes and Noble Gift Card
  • 25.00 Visa Gift Card
  • AN "OUR ROOTS LIE HERE" MAP
  • Mint-Colored Bead Necklace
  • Faux Turquoise Necklace
  • HANDPAINTED WOODEN KEEPSAKE BOX
  • BEATIFUL EARRINGS
  • Set of Matryoska Dolls
  • All Chalked Up
  • MICAH SIX EIGHT NECKLACE
  • FOREVERMORE NECKLACE
  • $18.00 Hooked on Hope Gift Certificate
  • Adoption T-Shirt of your choice
  • Adoption T-Shirt of your choice
  • Adoption T-Shirt of your choice

WOW WOW WOW! Helping orphans is enough of its own reward, but so many wonderful people have donated prizes for the love of these boys!

  1. Once you have donated to any one of these boys, please go to Julia’s blog and leave a comment stating how much you have donated, HERE. There are also other families that you can help, but these five motherless boys are the ones closest to my heart so that is why I shared them with you. You can probably also leave a comment here if its easier and I will forward the information onto Julia.

Please do this in remembrance of Kyle.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~ Jesus Christ

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Wann Girls

I feel like doing a potpourri post on the girls mainly just to get my first little point out and into permanent world wide web history, but also I just have a lot of random stuff rambling around in my brain.

  • Today on the way to preschool Isla and I were discussing her favorite books.  She said that her favorite books were the Llama Llama books, but “I don’t like Llama Mad at Mama, just Llama, Llama nice to Mama.”  Super cute.  She is my sweetheart.
  • Also, Isla is crazy about her preschool. Crazy. I asked her if she wanted to stay at home today since she slept in so late, but she jumped up and raced to get ready.
  • Gemma had strep throat on Monday and Tuesday. This is the second time in less than a month! She got it really bad this second time. She only wanted to be held and when I put her down she would army crawl after me calling “mama, mama” in the most pitiful voice. Our little GI Gemma looked like a dying soldier. This was such a change from Isla who almost NEVER gets sick and is so stoic when she does. Here is Gemma sick and miserable…photo (14)
  • My hypothesis (yes, we have been watching too much Dinosaur Train) for Gemma getting so sick so frequently is that she does not get enough sleep.  I have not lived up to the “Sleep Nazi” title that I earned with Isla.  Sometimes I feel like we run Gemma ragged between trying to make friends and Isla’s things… well not anymore. Fuhrer Mommy is back!
  • I am babysitting a little 3 year old girl named Gabby on Mondays and Wednesdays for 5 hours each day while her mom works.  I really enjoy it. She is a sweet little girl and Isla enjoys playing with her, and it’s a good excuse for me to stay home so that Gemma can get some rest!
  • In addition to Gemma being sick, everyone else is under the weather! It is bad.
  • I have been kind of obsessed with beets! I had never had them before a month ago. Today, I tried to give some to Gemma mixed with banana. She hated them, but this picture is so scrumptious of her. She is so happy and sweet. All. The. Time. She just radiates sweetness.photo (15)
  • Today I went to get Gemma from one of her naps and she had figured out how to get TWO binkies onto her hands. She has been an expert at putting a Soothie onto her thumb for at least month now, and today she got the second one on. My mom said that we have another Aggie genius in the the family. She’s engineered herself a spare.photo (16)
  • Don’t laugh, but I am dying for a minivan. We have decided to get one, but Nick is making me wait until December for one. That’s just so mean of him.
  • Every time my mom or Nick’s mom gives us money to buy the girls a present, I put it into their own little bank account. Now that we have two kids, we finally decided to put that money to good use and buy a wagon.  We love it! Its such a great toy. (Yes, we have Frodo back and we are sooo happy!)photo (17)
  • Babies doing grown up things, say it with me folks… awwwwww.photo (18)
  • We have been letting Isla come and sleep with us at night. She has to start in her own room, but we let her get into bed with us if she wakes up. I almost can’t believe that we are doing it, and we have had lengthy discussions on the pros and cons of it, but in the end – we decided it was ok. Our parents always let us come and sleep with them if we were scared and we going to pass that legacy down to our girls. If Isla is scared, then I don’t want her to be alone.
  • One of the cons for her coming into our room was that our mornings get so off and I get less sleep. I have to stay awake and make sure when Gemma wakes up over the monitor it doesn’t wake Isla up. I also can’t really get up and get ready without waking Isla up and my day gets so off. I decided to turn the con into a pro. Now I just lay in bed until Isla wakes up around 8, run and grab Gemma, and nurse her and cuddle with Isla while she wakes up all the way, usually while reading them a book. It’s the best part of my day. Once the former work out of the home woman in me would have felt guilty for my laziness, but now I just view it as one of the perks of my current job Smile.photo (20)
  • Isla has been to three petting zoo/county fair type deals this past month. I want to do a separate post on those. If I were rich, I would totally buy these kids a pony.
  • I love my girls!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Isla in Preschool

So I am finally getting around to my little gal’s first day of preschool!  Life is busy in Midland, delightfully busy, and my busy little 3 year old absolutely loves life in “Midland, Texas”*.  I am so happy for all of the great experiences she has had so far here, and I am delighted that she has taken so well to her new school.

Before class started her teacher, Miss Bridgett, went to all 12 of her students’ homes, which I thought was really cool and and thoughtful and.. dedicated because that’s a lot of driving all over town (even though it’s a small town).  Not that regular teachers aren’t dedicated or anything, but I was just surprised that she would do that. Her reasons were that the kids would know her before the first day of class and be more comfortable being left by their parents, which is just so sweet.

Miss Bridgett brought a copy of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?” by Eric Carle to read to Isla and then she took Isla’s picture.  Her plan was to make it into a little book with all of the children in class seeing one another until Miss Bridgett was the “Teacher” mentioned in the book.  Very cute.

Anyway she sat down to read the book to Isla and Isla said “I have that book.” And Miss Bridgett said “Well maybe you can help me read it?” Isla then began to recite the book verbatim, from memory!  I was blown away for several reasons.  One – I don’t really like the Eric Carle books, beside the “Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar”, and I REALLY don’t like “Brown Bear” so I almost never read it unless she asks me to.  Two – We had not read the book in at least two months since it was sent in our sea shipment, which we had not received at that point. Three – she had only just recently started reciting books from memory about a month before.  Who knows what else she has stored away in her young mind?

Anyway, I am pretty much blown away by my smart, sweet, funny, BUSY little daughter.  I am super blessed to be her mommy.

The first day of school my parents were visiting so they stayed at home while I took Isla to school.  Nick couldn’t come with us because of a business meeting, which was a bummer because he hates missing things like this. It was pretty uneventful.  I walked her to her room, showed her her cubby and found her her seat and said good bye.  She is so confident in almost any situation and is fine whenever I drop her off and leave her, new church, new school, new friends house – so not like me at her age.  I always hated going to school, and I am so happy that she did not inherit that trait from me.

photo (10)photo (11)

So far she loves school!  In fact she is very helpful in the mornings and gets ready without much trouble.  I do need to work more on her morning independence.  She was really good about dressing herself, but regressed when Gemma was born and I indulged her.  We will work on that in the next month or so.  I usually get her ready and fed by 8, and then I get up Gemma because it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to nurse, feed and dress Gemma and then we need to leave by 8:40 AM to be at school by 9.  The whole time she asks me “Mom, can we go to school now?” Then one time on the way to school she said “Mom, I like my school better than your house.” Sad smile I’m not so sure how I feel about that but I know she loves me a bunch.  I just try to focus on the fact that she loves her school!

For now she is happy so we are going to stick with this preschool, all of my apprehension aside.  I am still checking into Classical Conversations for next year.  While she is little the best time to test out the waters and figure out what education style works best for her and us as a family.  So far the school setting is looking pretty good if she is so happy!

*Side note: lately Isla has been asking us what “Texas” people live in.  Like, “Which Texas does Aunt Tiffany live in?” “Pearland, TX”. "What Texas do Boo and Grandpa live in?” “Temple, TX.” Etc.  Its very cute.  I love the way her mind problem solves at this age.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Preschooler

My big girl started preschool this past Thursday!

One of my updated blogging goals it to do a little more editing in addition to my usual facts-of-the-family posts.  I have realized that part of the reason that I was losing my passion for blogging is that I just stopped writing my thoughts, opinions, and feelings down in the blog, and the result was, well bleh for me.  I figure if people don’t like what I have to say or I am boring them or writing too much, then they can scroll down or not read it.  I feel like my brain was broken with pregnancy, but now that Gemma is six months old and not exclusively breastfeeding, I am getting a little bit of my old spit and vinegar back.

So I have shared before that I have frequently been preoccupied with the how of Isla’s education.  My views have changed somewhat since she was a little blob of a person that could not object to my best laid plans. Like most first time parents of a small baby that I had already managed to make sleep through the night, I thought that I had every step of her childhood planned and figured out, from birth to the time she left for Texas A&M (maybe Stanford, maybe) at the age of 18.  I just didn’t count on ISLA in all my planning. Somehow in all my educational scheming, I completely forget that she was already a person formed by God with her own little bent exactly as He intended (and as long as that bent doesn’t involve t.u. I am going along in 100% obedience Smile ).

Isla has becoming nothing like I expected. Yes, she is very smart little girl, but she is also a little force of nature, my mom compares her to a hummingbird.  She is constantly moving, constantly happy, constantly thinking, constantly talking, constantly observing.  She is so active. Sometimes I don’t know if a traditional school setting is right for my busy little girl. I still want her education to be rigorous, and I still want her to develop her critical thinking skills, but I also want her to be always learning and have a passion for learning, even when she is done with her pre-k through senior year school, and I want to honor the person that God made her to be, not try to cram her into who I or ANYBODY ELSE thinks she should be, which means that I want any external educators and teachers that she has to share my point of view and goals for her.

I also always thought that I would very much enjoy having her out of the house at the ripe old age of FIVE.  I had big plans that involved Bikram Yoga, church volunteering, shopping, decorating, or sometimes they involved maybe going back to work.  I was so wrong.  I love having my little person around.  Love it. I’m even considering a homeschooling coop or at the very least a university style school (either way only classical). We put her in a Mother’s Day Out program this spring and it was perfect for then. I was so pregnant and/or recovering from the c-section, my mom was recovering from her foot, my dad and Nick were gone a lot.  She needed an outlet for all that Isla energy besides us, but that was then.  I started to think that maybe I didn’t want her to go to school now that we are in Midland.  She’s only three for crying out loud, and I make sure that she has plenty of play dates and doesn’t get lonely.  But Nick and everyone else thought that it was a good idea, and so I went along with it, but I vehemently did NOT want her in a preschool, only a MDO program.

I eventually decided on either the Lutheran or First Presbyterian MDO programs, both were highly recommended.  I really wanted the Lutheran MDO as I had become acquainted with the Pastor’s wife and 3 year old teacher, but Isla’s best little friend Kaylin goes to 1st Pres.  I was told by both that the MDO was very full with a long waiting list, but the list for the preschool was much shorter… I didn’t know what to think of this.  Both schools said that there wasn’t much difference between their MDO and preschool programs.  The Lutheran school laughed when I put her on the waiting list though and told me it was long. It didn’t take long for 1st Pres to call me back, so I went and paid the fees and Isla was signed up.

Then of course ONE WEEK LATER, the Lutheran school called me back with a spot.  I was so conflicted – I wanted to put Isla in the Lutheran pre school since I had heard it was less structured than the 1st Pres pre school and everyone loves it, but I had already paid the deposit and monthly tuition at 1st Pres and didn’t want to lose it. I agonized over it.  Nick pointed out repeatedly that Isla is only three years old, and I know that we can always move her or just pull her out or get added to another school’s list.  Finally we decided to keep her at 1st Pres for now.

Next year I may start Classical Conversations with her to test the homeschooling waters if I don’t like the preschool. I don’t know.  There is a wonderful classical, university style, Christian school here that starts at kindergarten that Isla will attend if we decide to go that route.

This post is already way too long, but clearly I am feeling slightly conflicted and stressed over the subject.  Don’t worry, the part that everyone really wants to see is coming.  The part where I brag on how well she did and how smart she is and show lots of cute pictures of my daughter. I am so proud of her.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bye bye Facebook

So I finally did it.  This might not be a forever thing, but this is definitely a TTFN situation.

The final straw…

Isla preschool

This cuteness you see above only got ONE LIKE.  And that was my husband.  And my mom left a comment.  Both happened only after I mentioned to them that no one liked my adorable daughter on Facebook. What’s wrong with people? I mean there’s something for everyone – first day of school pics, Aggie references, childhood college ambitions, the cutest little girl in the world smiling…?  I just don’t get it.

The thing is – in real life, I have many friends who I know love me and also what I think is a fairly healthy, at times bordering on overinflated ego.  But occasionally I turn into a 14 year old when it comes to cyber high.  I am just not mature enough for Facebook.

Plus I think my brain is in a state of atrophy.  I need to start spending my online time doing something that I can engage in, and stop passively scrolling through comment after soft core porno selfie after quote after Farmville invitations after… its nice when life is stressful to just shut down and let other people amuse me and feed me news, but right now I need something more challenging to do.  Like blogging. Or parenting. Or practically anything else that a person can be doing other than looking at Facebook.  I have spent way too much time the past couple of months on Facebook.

I may be back in November/December for Angel Tree, but other than that.  I am done.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” Proverbs 29;25

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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