Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

We invited some friends over for dessert on Saturday and decided to carve pumpkins!
I started out carving one, but decided to give our friend, Matt, the knife instead.
Before we started carving, I read the book The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs. It tells the story of a farmer planting pumpkin seeds, him waiting patiently for them to grow, how each pumpkin has it's own special shape and design, and how he carves them to display God's glory. (The parable explains that God takes away our sin--the yuck and gunk like inside the pumpkin, He changes us--giving us a new face, and then He shines His light through our lives!)
Jenna was all about the gross mess on the inside of the pumpkin. Asa, on the other hand, wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. He really dislikes getting sticky! (messy, he doesn't mind, but sticky or sirree!)
Rylee liked pulling out the pumpkin guts. I think she understood the symbolism best.
Matt was showing his oldest daughter the insides. She wasn't so thrilled with the idea of reaching her hand inside either.One rule around our house at Halloween-time--nothing scary. We don't want to focus on the scary stuff. No ghosts, witches, goblins, skeletons, or blood and guts. We don't think it's healthy for the age of our kids and we don't think it honors the Lord. But, we do talk about death. It's a reality. And, for those of us who have placed our hope in Christ, it shouldn't be something that's scary!
After Jenna carved her happy-faced pumpkin, she insisted on kissing it! She was pretty silly the entire night, which is typical if you know Jenna.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chocolate Lover?

I'm not that great of a writer. So, today I'm pointing you to several other blogs and writings. First, I read about chocolate on Heather's blog. Then, I watched the trailer to the movie "The Dark Side of Chocolate" (also on Heather's blog). Then, I hopped over to Mama Manifesto to read her post on chocolate.
Basically, the chocolate we know and love is largely produced by child labor. I'm not okay with that. Heather's writing today really challenged me. I can say "I'm just one person" and go on buying my chocolate as usual. Or, I can realize that every voice counts--including mine.
One commenter on Heather's blog referenced the tuna industry and how some companies were killing dolphins until the public uprising caused the companies to change their policies after they were boycotted.
I know Hershey's well. We lived in Harrisburg, the town right next to Hershey. I've taken their factory tour (a little simulation thing), gone to Hersheypark (an amusement park there), gave birth to my first three babies at Hershey Medical Center, and worked for Milton Hershey School. And, I happen to really like their candy!

But, can I keep eating it? This is hard. I really like chocolate. I like cheap prices. I've been doing couponing for a few months now and sometimes I get stuff FREE. Give up free chocolate?
But, Heather makes a very compelling argument. Now that I know can I just ignore reality?

I think the statement I like most from Heather's blog is this:
I've read a ton about Halloween lately...who is for it, who is against it. Blogland fills up with posts taking sides on this issue. Halloween is as hotly debated as predestination. But I just wonder, if maybe Christians are totally missing the point. Here we are arguing about whether dressing up like a cowboy is satanic when the real issue might be that Christians everywhere will be buying chocolate in mass quantities this month, and the groans and the cries of enslaved children will be filling the heavens. God promises He hears them when they cry out. And who has those children's blood on their hands? Us. We can lick the chocolate off, but the blood is still there. God have mercy on your people, we can be so incredibly stupid.
Thoughts? You can lick the chocolate off, but the blood will still be there. WOW!

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Upcoming Conference

If you're in the DFW area, I encourage you to join us in attending this conference on adoption.

Right now, more than 3,500 legal orphans in the Texas foster care system are waiting for adoptive families. Texas has more than 25,000 churches, and God has given clear commands for Christians to take care of His orphan children.

So if the command is clear and the need is apparent,
why are these kids still waiting?

We want to find out more information and also learn how we can support our friends who are going through the process of adopting a child from foster care right now. I think the members of the church should all learn as much as possible. Scripture is pretty clear on the subject.

Click here for the conference website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What Weight Are You Carrying?

I read this article today about a woman whose job was to carry a huge basket of veggies on her head, going door-to-door to sell them. I cannot fathom having to carry that weight every day!
Even more heavy is the reality of the weight many women like her carry within their hearts as they walk with guilt, shame, and condemnation in a society that doesn't value them as highly as men. They know no hope. Simply because they are women, they will have less chance to hear the life-changing Gospel of Jesus!

But, Gospel for Asia missionaries are changing that! We just uploaded our newest video showing the reality of life for women in Asia. Take a few minutes (three, to be exact) and watch this clip. The realities might break your heart, but the way God is working will give you hope!

The last week has been very busy for me. Along with four other GFA staffers, I worked at a booth during a women's conference in Ft. Worth (Thursday through Saturday).
The arena with Nancy Leigh DeMoss speaking; there were about 4,000 women.
Below, me telling a woman about the reality of life for women in Asia.
We met lots of really neat ladies from around the country. We shared about the ministry, gave out brochures on the plight of women in Asia, gave out free books (Revolution in World Missions), offered ladies a chance to partner their lives with a woman missionary in Asia, and sought opportunities to speak to additional groups.

This woman was telling me a really funny story.
(see, I'm committed to not only posting flattering pictures of myself!)

Below, my friend Clara is giving a woman a free book!
On Monday I shared with a local MOPS group about women in Asia--their issues and how God is meeting their needs. It was a sweet time and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing!
Cari, me, and Cassie
Below, Cassie and Clara...and the woman from Asia.
Yesterday I had to clean up the mess I had made from the past week--returning unused materials, sorting through responses from the conference and the group meeting, and making notes to improve for our "next times".
I have to say, I am one tired lady! But, my fatigue comes with great hope. I'm hoping the women who took missionaries to pray about sponsoring will choose to make the sacrifice and link their lives with those in Asia. I'm hoping I get more chances to share in the months ahead. I'm hoping we can finalize some research/development we've been working on for the past few months. I'm hoping my efforts changed at least one woman's life in Asia!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FREE book

I just spent a few days at a women's conference in Ft. Worth giving away our ministry's FREE book, Revolution in World Missions.
Have you read it?

Do you wonder what exactly our family is doing as GFA home team staff--why we are here? In a simple answer: we said "yes!" to go where God led and read this book.

Get your FREE copy today. Fill out a simple form and one will be sent right away.

What are you waiting for?

Over 150 women from around the country received their copy this weekend. Join me in praying they will now READ the book! One of the ladies at the booth next to us sat and read the entire book while we were at the conference (during the sessions when traffic to our booths was slow). What joy it brought to see her reading it and to then hear her tell others coming to her booth why they should stop over and talk to us!

Be a part of the revolution!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Orange You Glad It's Fall

A few weeks ago the twins and I went to a local pumpkin patch for a picnic and some fun. The best's free!
They have some things for sale, like snow cones and pumpkins. But, those of us who are cheap can enjoy all the fun for free.
They have a horse you can pet and tons of cut-outs all over the place. Jenna found her favorites and posed for me.(she LOVES Strawberry Shortcake!)
Asa even found some he liked. (who are these characters? I have no clue.)
They have a hay maze, hay ride, and bounce houses. They absolutely loved the bounce houses. There was an obstacle course, a slide, a 2-sided climbing wall, and 2 regular bouncers.
They also have a little pumpkin house. It was cute.
Then, last week I went with Rylee's class on a field trip to the arboretum. I have been hearing about the Dallas Arboretum for the past two years, but have never before been.
They had the place decked out in pumpkins. I have decided I really, really like pumpkins! What other things do we decorate with that are orange? And, doesn't orange get the shaft when it comes to colors? I mean, really, not many people say orange is their favorite color. But, it's so vibrant and fun. It can be so rich when paired with browns and golds. I like orange.

I was assigned to watch Rylee and another little girl and two boys. They were all very good and had lots of fun.
They really enjoyed this cute village of little houses called "Texas Town", but we went there just after lunch and I was too tired to take pictures. I just let them run.
They let me snap individual shots when we stopped atop a little hill to sit in a gazebo. They were cute as they posed.
The kids began their day with a class on plants. They learned about the different parts of seeds and each got to plant some for future growth at home.
There are fun fountains - 4 frogs - that shoot water. I let the kids take off their socks and shoes and roll up their pants and splash around. I imagine they would have enjoyed getting completely soaked, but it wasn't all that warm out and they were in school clothes. I also imagine I would have heard lots of complaints about being soaked as we walked the rest of the day.
Fall field trips are the best - with your family or your classmates!

*I didn't include pictures of the other kids here since I don't know their parents. So, you just get an overdose on Rylee with a few shots with friends.

Monday, October 4, 2010

From Riches to Rags

One Woman's Journey to Grace

It was midnight when the sound of crashing glass woke Namisha's relatives. In the darkness, Namisha had bumped into a wall and dropped a bottle of poison she was carrying—and with it, shattered the only way she knew to escape the cancer and despair that were consuming her. But she was about to learn how her quest for grace would transform her future—and how she, a member of India's revered high caste, would spend her life among people she would have formerly shunned.

As a child, Namisha Chettri had a dangerous interest. Her well-educated and curious mind latched onto the ideas she had discovered in some Christian literature she had read. She knew the white smear of ash on her family members' foreheads meant they were set apart—more holy and powerful than others in her village. And her father continually reminded her that their superior social position wouldn't allow her to consider the Christian writings.

"This is foreign," her father warned. "You should not read it."

Still, her interest deepened.

Her family's status was based entirely on tradition, devotion and ritual purity. Every year, Namisha watched her family sacrifice the heads of 100 goats. And she couldn't bring her lower-caste school friends to her house because she knew her family would reject them as unclean. Her place as a member of the Brahmin caste affected every aspect of her life, down to which side of the road she would walk on.

Christianity seemed so different.

(an excerpt from GFA's website. continue reading by clicking here)

Namisha's life and story encourage me. This story, and many more like it, are the reason I'm spending my time developing a way to share with women here in the West. I will be going to a women's conference in Ft. Worth next week to share about the plight of women in Asia and how GFA-supported women missionaries are reaching out to them. Things are moving along. This conference will be a good 'testing ground' for us. I would appreciate your prayers.

Now...go read more about Namisha and other women like her!

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's in a Name?

During our recent gender reveal party, we asked guests to give us name suggestions for the little one. We had pink slips of paper for baby girl name suggestions and blue ones for boys. While we now know the baby is a boy, I thought I'd include both lists for fun.

Girl Suggestions: Anna Carson, Anneliese, Brielle, Buella Mae, Cari Jr., Charity, Chloe (2), Eleanor, Elicia, Flowy, Melody, Micah, Selah, Sophie.

Boy Suggestions: Asher, Aston, Bob, Braxton, Caleb (3), Case, Casey, Casey Luke, Casey Luke Short, Casey Short, Darian, Davy, Davy Crockett, Enoch, Eric (2), Fitz William Darcy, Gabriel, Gideon, Isaac, John (3), Joseph, Luke, Luke Short, Matthew, Micah (2), Phineas, Ricky, Samuel, Short, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Zach, Zane.

What do you think? Suggest away! Obviously, girl suggestions don't really matter to us at this point.