We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Mornings

Sometimes Sunday mornings are difficult for me.  I'm sure we have all been there - some of us more than others - but I would think that it is a problem not unknown to anyone.  You wake up Sunday morning, and you REALLY don't want to get out of bed.  It's been a long week and you just want to stay in, snuggled under the covers.  I really think that Satan plays into this a lot - the bed just feels more comfortable on Sunday mornings, the air just seems a little "crisper" making you want to stay snuggled in, your head starts to hurt (or at least you think you can make it start to hurt, if you stay in bed long enough and then you will have a legitimate excuse not to get out of bed) - the last thing you want to do is get out of bed, get ready, and GO TO CHURCH.

Even when I feel like I'm committed to serving my Lord, I still feel this draw on Sunday mornings to not go to church.  Even when I get up and go..sometimes it's forced - I go because I know I need to go, and when I get there, I'm blessed.

Today, something was different.  I was up early and in the shower.  I HATE, HATE, HATE rushing around on Sunday mornings getting everyone ready for church... it just adds to my bad attitude when I'd rather be in bed, or trying to tell myself that the headache I'm feeling coming on is really not a headache, but Satan keeping me at home.  Today was different though..... I got up expecting something.  I wasn't sure what, but I expected SOMETHING.  I got up and got ready so I would not be rushed, marring my attitude of expectation.

I've grown to really love our church.  It's not an instant "love" relationship for me with a church.  Sure, I love the body of believers around me, I love the praise and worship music - but it takes me awhile to feel like I belong there.  I finally feel like I belong.  Cornerstone is "our" church now.  I didn't know what I was "expecting" today - maybe some good preaching... our pastor was back from the Philippines and would be preaching today after being gone for two Sundays.  Now the past two Sundays the preaching has been wonderful as well... so, I guess it wasn't that.  Maybe I was just expecting to hear something encouraging.  I definitely thought it was something that would benefit me - and it did - just not in the way I would have expected.

So, we get the kids in the car (all of them, including my semi-adopted son Christopher :) and head off to church.  Since we were ready early, we didn't have to rush and were there early.  We got our "normal" seats - we move around a bit, up a few rows or back a few, but are typically in the same general area - towards the front, middle section.  We are always in that area.  So, we get settled in our seats and the music starts - time to greet those around us.  I don't usually like this time.... sounds like I'm not a "people person", I know, but it's not that - it's just extremely uncomfortable for me.  The lights are still dim at this time, and I don't see the people around me well.  They can be sitting there holding out their hand, and I completely miss it.  Well today, I got up and boldly turned around (not like I was going to jump over the seat and tackle someone, but I typically don't "engage" others... I just wait for someone in front or beside me to shake hands).  Again, it's not personal, it's just a difficult situation for me.

God had other plans for me today though, and turned me around.  I shook hands with ONE - yes, ONE person today.  And to that ONE person, my handshake meant something.  It's amazing how God will turn your fears around, direct you, and use you to bless someone else when you had NO intention of doing it on your own.  

So, I shook hands with this ONE person, and she introduced herself - her name was Cheryl.  Don't ask me why, but I knew I would talk to her at the end of the service.  In fact, I was kinda feeling uncomfortable about it all through the service, because while I knew I was going to talk to her, I didn't know what I would say.

So, the service ended.  I gathered up my things, and as I went to say good-bye to her, she started talking before I could say anything (God must've known I had nothing to say, but blessed me in my obedience by having her open her mouth:)  Anyway, Cheryl thanked me for greeting her this morning.  It was their first visit to the church, and she said NO ONE ELSE had greeted them.  Cheryl, her husband Mark and their children just moved to the area from Connecticut (one connection - I'll explain later) a month ago.  I'm not sure how they found the church, but they decided to drive here this morning for the service.  They commented on Anna and Sara (Cameron and Chris were not with us, they were in youth) and how Sara's eyes reminded them of their daughter.  I told her how Sara was adopted (second connection) from Ethiopia and when we brought her home.  As we chatted a bit, I explained to her how I was disappointed that I would not be in church the next few weeks to see them again, because I had to leave on Saturday to go to Florida to train with my new guide dog (third connection).  So, here are the connections:

Connecticut - They are northerners!!!  I love it when I hear a northern accent.  Of-course they have the east coast accent, while I have the mid-west, but north is north and it was great to have some fellow Yankees in church!  Plus, my mom and Denis are from Connecticut.  I'll have to talk to them more about the area they moved here from.

Adoption - Cheryl and Mark have adopted children.  They said that the little girl that they had fostered had eyes just like Sara Joy.  At least one of their other children is adopted - I for the life of me can't remember which one.... maybe their two year old.

And the final connection - When I told Cheryl that I would not be at church for the next few weeks because I was going to Florida to get my guide dog, she got a smile on her face and said "Oh really".  She said that her mother in law raised guide dogs!  It sounded like she was a puppy raiser, but I'm not quite sure.  Anyway, she said that her mother in law raised black lab puppies for Guiding Eyes.  I'm not getting my dog through Guiding Eyes, but it was neat to have that connection.

I gave Cheryl my contact information and I really hope that she does indeed contact me.  I really enjoyed talking to her.... in fact, we were talking so long that the next service started (with their greetings to one another - where I shook Cheryl's hand initially) while we were still standing there chatting.  We had to scoot on out real quick.

Sometimes you don't know how God may use you.  I don't know what would have happened if I would have had a "headache" or given into the temptation of staying snuggled under the covers, but I'm glad I'll never find out.  It blessed me to see that God can use me to encourage others, even when I don't even know I'm being used... and in the meantime, He is planning a great blessing for me.  God could have used anyone in that church to shake her hand and make Cheryl feel welcome - instead He used me.  He took me out of my comfort zone - I don't do well "chatting" with strangers - and planned this great introduction between two people, who at first glance, have a whole lot in common.  God does things like that :)

So, next time you (or I) are tempted to stay in bed on a Sunday morning rather than head on out to church - take a minute to think about what you might be missing.... you might be missing a blessing God has in store for you, and you also might miss being used by God to bless someone else.  

In Christ,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sneak peek - Father / Daughter Dance

Every father should have the honor of taking his daughter to a father / daughter dance!  I really, firmly believe that.  It gives the dad/daughter pair time to spend some quality time together - just the dads and daughters, and it gives dads the opportunity to really dote on their daughters.  They get to get dressed up, buy them a corsage, take them to dinner then off to the dance....where I'm sure the dads have a SPLENDID time dancing to Justin Bieber, Brittney Spears or whoever they dance to these days :)

Tim and Anna are going to a father / daughter dance next week that is being hosted by our church.  If you follow me on F@cebook you know that I love our church - the preaching is great, the Journey groups are wonderful, the fellowship is excellent - and they do stuff like this to foster family - and continue to build relationships within the church... because I'm guessing those dads will have plenty of time to chat while their daughters are hitting the dance floor :)

Anyway, since Tim and Anna are attending this event, we decided she needed to be able to pick a new dress.  Now, Anna is 8, so her taste in attire is starting to mature.  She's not about frilly dresses, she likes the more grown up things.  Finding a dress for her is difficult.  She is so thin, that many dresses just HANG on her.  Also, the cut of the dress can't be too low - even fairly high-cut necklines end up looking low cut on Anna because she really is so thin.  So, we took her dress shopping last weekend to find a dress that she loved and that met our criteria for modesty.  Many of the dresses out there for girls her age seem more appropriate for a 20 year old than an 8 year old.  Anyway - she found the dress that she loved.  So, we decided to get it.  As we were checking out, I noticed something - the trim on the dress is BROWN.  I originally thought it was black.  So, I asked Tim - is that BROWN???  Yes, indeed, it was.  

Well, Anna wanted this dress so I was bound and determined to work with it.  I didn't know what shoes she was going to wear with it.  I began to get immediately frustrated.  We looked for brown shoes and we couldn't find any.... seriously, does NO ONE make brown shoes for little girls anymore?  Everything that we could find was black - even in a boot.

So, my mom and I were going shopping this week and I made it my mission to find her a pair of brown shoes.  After exhausting nearly all of our options, we FINALLY found a pair of brown shoes that were nice.  So... here is a sneak peek of the dress that will be worn to the dance.  My Ms. Anna Clare will look beautiful in it, and I can't wait to share pictures of their big night out!

 the front
 the back
the beautiful, colorful pattern
I remember when she was wearing little sun dresses and mary jane shoes - now she is growing up so fast.  I love the color on her and I love the asymmetrical cut of the bottom..... can't wait to share pictures of their actual night out!

In Christ,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IB Program and "Homeschooling"

There are a LOT of changes going on in the Roach household.  It started about 5 months ago with me staying home from work.  I can't believe it's been five months already.  I didn't feel "settled" for awhile, because I didn't know if my long term disability would be approved and if I'd be home for good.  Now that I know that I'm home for good, I'm starting to get settled into a routine, and now that I've started to get settled into a routine, I've decided to change it up a bit.

Let me start with the IB program first - Cameron and Anna go to a private, Christian school.  They go there because I wanted them to have a Christ-centered education as well as a challenging curriculum.  It has been just that for Cameron since he was in 5K, and it has been that for Anna since she was in 3K.  I have been very pleased with their education.  This year though, I've been noticing that Cameron needs a bit more of a challenge.  He is getting straight A's (without hardly any effort at all) and needs to be further challenged.  So, we started looking into the IB program.  The IB program is the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.  It's a highly regarding, very challenging college prep program.  We have all of Cameron's documentation together and are attending the informational meeting this week.  I'm thinking that it will be something that we will seriously consider for Cameron.  He has already written his essay for the application and I guess we will see how it all goes.  He is looking forward to the challenge.  I don't think the program is for everyone.  I think you have to look at the needs of your kids on a case by case basis, but for kids that need a challenge, I think it is a great opportunity for those kids to meet their full potential.  

I'm kind of torn knowing that I will be moving Cameron (potentially) from the school he has attended for the past 8 years.  I'm also torn knowing that the biblical based education will not be part of his studies.  No more bible studies, no more verse memorization... but for Cameron, I truly believe the pros outweigh the cons or else we would  not be considering it.  On the other hand, it's kind of exciting.  I think it's a great opportunity for Cameron and I'll be happy to see him challenged in this program.  Also, his best friend (and a kid I call my own son) is going to the program as well.  Cameron and Chris are two peas in a pod - smart, funny, sarcastic, witty and the BEST of friends.  They spend pretty much every weekend at each other's house... I joke with Christopher's parents asking them who has custody of the kids for the upcoming weekend (this weekend is mine - YAY!!!  Love having Christopher over!).  I would really hate to have these kids separated.  They are such close friends - and they will be able to encourage one another through the program!  We haven't made a final decision on the program - also, Cameron will have to be accepted into it, but it's something that we are strongly considering.

Homeschooling - OK, so I'm not really a "homeschooling" mom.  My daughter Sara is only 2 1/2.  As for Anna, there is no way I would take Anna out of the school that she is in.  But, as part of my changing up my daily schedule, I decided Sara would have "school" everyday.  The best part of our "school" is that we don't  have to have it if we don't want to.  But, I decided that I wanted to make good use of our time together and give her a bit of a head start for when we decide to enroll her in actual school.  So, for now our "school" will consist of coloring (where we will learn colors), puzzles (wooden puzzles which will not only develop her spatial orientation skills, but will teach her farm animals as this is what the puzzle is), we have a "bible stories" coloring book so we will be able to talk about bible characters as she colors, I bought flashcards to learn letters and letter sounds, flashcards to learn numbers and counting.  We even bought a "treasure box" that I decorated with stickers to make it look somewhat interesting that she will get to pick a prize from when she has good days.  We're looking forward to starting "school" at home.  

Cameron said it's not school because I don't have a curriculum, but I say any environment where you are "learning" can be school.  We have a book of zoo animals, so maybe once we get those mastered, we can have dad take a day off of work so we can have a "field trip" and go to the zoo.  

I give home schooling moms a TON of credit.  I really don't think that I could do it.  I don't know that I have enough patience.  When I'm explaining something and it makes complete sense to me the way I'm explaining it, it gets me frustrated when I can't get the idea across to the kids.  Not the best attribute for a "home schooling" mom.  So to all of the home schooling moms out there, who have all the patience in the world - I give you a ton of credit.  To have such patience with your kids is absolutely wonderful.  I think I can do it at this age (2) but I'm sure I won't be a long-term home schooling mom.  For now though, I think I'm going to enjoy our "school" time:)  We will officially start our school tomorrow - maybe I'll even get a picture of our first day of school!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bragging on my son...

I don't do it often, and I think he would KILL me if he knew I was doing it at all, but I just HAVE to brag a bit on my son today.  Cameron's 12... if any of you have a kid - a son at least - that is 12, you may know, just by my writing those two words "Cameron's 12" that things can be difficult at times at our home.  Not every kid hits it at the same age, and some are better than others, I'm sure..... but I think every kid eventually makes it to the "Cameron's 12" stage.  If you have a kid this age - or if you HAD a kid this age, you know the stage.  The kids sound something like this:

They know everything and you know nothing.
They are experiencing things that you could have never experienced before.
You wouldn't understand mom, because things were so much different back then.
All you care about is me cleaning my room (or any other thing, just fill in the blank), you don't care about me.
Why do I have to do everything?

Reality is more along the lines of:  I love my kid to death, seriously, I do.... but lately, I've kinda been leaving him alone.  When I see a glimmer of a normal, loving human being, I cling to him like there's no tomorrow.  I really want to be around him then - but that moment (and literally, it's just a moment) soon passes and he is grouchy again.  At that point, I back away and wait for the grouch to leave again (for that fleeting moment).  We have had HOUR long discussions (which sometimes get heated, I'll admit it) about being respectful and having to do what Tim and I tell  him to do.  If I ask for help with something, even the slightest thing - ugghhh..... it's like I asked him to clean a sewer or something.  

We've had talks about his attitude, but it didn't seem to get through..... until today.

I have NO IDEA what happened today, but I. DON'T. CARE!!!!  If an alien took over my son's body - that is fine.  The alien can stay.  If he fell down the stairs and somehow knocked himself silly - please don't fix him.  I LOVE the kid that was at my house ALL. DAY. TODAY.

Obviously I'm writing this, because it's something amazingly new at our home.  If this were how life looked everyday, then I would have nothing to write about - but something great happened today.  I got the kid back that I have always loved.  I can remember when he was younger (before this hideousness of being a pre-teen hit) and I would be so happy with how he would help me and be so kind.  Then the pre-teens hit.. I wondered if I would EVER see that loving child again.  He appeared at my home today.

When we came home from church, he asked how he could help me out.  Seriously?  Really?  He said yes.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that last night we were talking about contracts, and he wanted us to write up a contract regarding his allowance.  I said sure.... the way I looked at it, it was more of a benefit for me than for him, and I actually explained that to him.  We would write out the terms of the contract and if he didn't meet the terms of the contract, then he wouldn't get his allowance.  He was fine with that.  Somehow he thought this was protecting HIM (not sure why - he's always gotten his allowance, even without a "contract")  but whatever.  Write it up!  I told him Tim and I would have to agree to the conditions of the contract and he said that was fine.  So, he got to working on the contract, even putting in there how long his allowance at the current rate was effective (until the contract was renegotiated).  Tim asked him when he would be asking for a raise.  He said "I can ask for a raise?"  Sure, you can ask for a raise.  As soon as we see  your responsibilities increase and you maintain that increased level of responsibility for awhile. 

So, back to getting home from church - he asked if I wanted him to clean the upstairs bathrooms (two full baths).  Sure!!!  I asked him if he knew what he needed to do, and he said he did.  To be sure, I asked him to tell me everything that he would be doing - sure enough, he knew what needed to be done.  So, up he went and cleaned his bathroom.  Before he could get the second bathroom done, we ran out and did some shopping.  He came with us and didn't complain about anything (we were looking for a dress and shoes for Anna - which would normally bring about complaints of boredom).  Even when we had to run to a second store, he didn't say a word.  When we got home, he said he was going up to clean the second bathroom.  EXCELLENT!!!

After that, I was down in the den folding clothes and getting ready to iron the kids' uniforms for school.  Cameron asked if he could help.  Ummmmm.... sure....  He said he would fold all of his stuff.  He separated the school clothes from the every day clothes and put his everyday clothes away, leaving school clothes for me to iron.  He folded TWO laundry baskets worth of clothes and put them away - some of them weren't even HIS!!!  

So, I started ironing and he finished up his homework - he did it in the den by me (which he NEVER does, it's always done in his room...).  When he was finished, he asked if he could iron a shirt.  Yep, sure can.  He wasn't real thrilled with doing that, which was fine with me, I really didn't want him doing it anyway, so he moved on.  He asked what else I needed to have done.  I asked if his room was clean and he said it was - but he was going to go up and check.  He came down carrying a sweatshirt that was too small for him and asked what to do with it.  This means that he actually looked to see if anything needed to be tidied up :O)  I went up to his room later and it was actually really clean!!!  

Right before dinner, the garbage needed to be taken out.  Cameron jumped up and said that he would do it.  SERIOUSLY???  But, he did!  Took the bag out to the outside garbage bin AND put a new bag in the garbage can!  He was even getting along with his sisters well today.

Maybe this is just a fleeting moment - or maybe I can find a way to keep this kid around.  I did tell him that if he kept up this level of helpfulness, I would have a hard time telling him no when he wanted something or wanted to go somewhere.  I know, I know, it sounds kinda like a bribe... and it is... but I'm ok with that.  At this point, whatever works to keep this kid around, I'm willing to do it :)

When the "pre-teen, raging hormone, argumentative, moody" kid comes back, I probably won't post about it.  I'll let you all think that my perfect child has remained with us.... in the meantime I'll read this blog post over and over and pray that this child comes back - or that the alien that took over his body, takes it over again!

Love you to death Cameron!  Thanks for being so helpful today - even when you're the "pre-teen, raging hormone, argumentative, moody" kid, I still love you to death!

I just had to write this so I'd remember this wonderful day!

In Christ,

Monday, January 16, 2012

Full Confidence

Proverbs 31: 10-11 
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

I've been sharing with some of my friends this desire of mine to study the "Proverbs 31" wife... the "Wife of Noble Character".  I get many of the same responses as I had initially - That woman is SUPER WOMAN... I couldn't be her if I tried.  After reading it, I know that I am NOT her.  Not. even. close!  I think that God wants me to consider what I CAN be, based on the description of this "woman" - who again, I don't think is ONE woman, but characteristics of a woman who would make a good wife.  The wife of noble character doesn't have to have all of these characteristics - although some I think are required, like the one I am focusing on this week - but not all of them.  There are some things that are described that women today just don't do.  We don't buy a field and plant it.  We don't make our own linens and sell sashes - but we do some equivalent things, and I guess I will consider those as I get to them.  But this week, I focused in on the word "confidence".  Not just confidence, but FULL confidence.  I started just by looking this word up in the dictionary, and I got this definition:

full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliabilityof a person or thing: We have every confidence in their ability to succeed.

I feel like my husband has confidence in me, considers me trustworthy.  I just sent him an e-mail to work though, with the definition from above and we'll see if my "feeling" is accurate.  I'll let you know what he says - seriously, I will.  If I want to be the wife that God wants me to be, I need to be honest with myself, and my opinion of my abilities really doesn't matter.  It's a matter of what my husband thinks and if I'm striving to meet God's standard.  

When he tells me something, and asks me not to repeat it, I don't.  Or, if I feel like I need to tell someone what he has told me, I ask him first if I can.  But "full confidence" is much  more than that.

"full trust" - does my husband trust me.  With EVERYTHING.  That, I'm not so sure about.  I think that he trusts me to be true to my word.  But does he TRUST me with everything - I doubt it.  There are a couple areas of life that we have a difference of opinion on - well really, only one.  And it's not that we really even have a difference of opinion, we just have a different perspective.  I have a hard time talking about this one particular area - why?  Because I think I'm right, of-course (I know, it's a pride issue).  So, since we have a hard time talking about it, we tend to avoid the subject - which I guess is fine.  It's not something that we have to talk about on a regular basis - but when something comes up where he might like to talk about it, I don't think that he feels that he can.  In fact, I KNOW he doesn't feel as though he can.  We've even talked about that before.  Rather than go into the full details about this one area, let's just say, it's a matter of opinion, and my husband should be able to state his feelings / opinion to me, without me getting all defensive.  It's an area where I can learn to improve.

Ok, so Tim just responded to my e-mail.  He said yes, he has full confidence in me, that I'm reliable and trustworthy.  I guess off the top of his head, that is good enough.  He is  not a man of many words :)

My trustworthiness needs to go beyond my relationship with my husband though - or else it's not my TRUE character.  Do my friends consider me trustworthy?  Does my husband think I gossip?  Do my children trust me with their feelings?  When I make a commitment, do I keep it (I think that would be more about reliability, but still the question fits).  

I have recently encountered a pretty difficult situation with work.  I'm out on medical leave, but still, I'm caught up in the middle of it all.  It is a very emotional situation for me, and I get very upset about certain things that have taken place.  There are people at the center of the situation that I disagree with.  When I'm around people from work, I tend to talk about it.  And I don't speak highly of the people who contributed to the situation.  I feel as though I gossip.  I've felt convicted about it, and I'm working on it.  The fact that it's an emotional situation where the stakes are high, a very stressful situation doesn't give me an excuse to gossip - and I have been using it as an excuse to gossip.  I truthfully think God used this situation to point this out in me.  I've found myself an accountability partner (one from work, who I normally talk about the work situation with - so she would know when I'm falling into this habit) and told her about my struggle and asked her to help me with it.  I need to learn to do better.  Speaking the truth is one thing, but sharing information above and beyond that is gossip.  It, in my mind, would make me not trustworthy to my friends.  

Reliable.  I think most people you talk to, who know me, will tell you that I'm reliable. If I say I'm going to do something, then I do it.  If I make a verbal commitment, then I follow through.  If I tell Tim I'll do something, that I'll take care of something, then I do.  Sure, there are times that I forget, but that I don't think makes me unreliable.... because I think that is the exception rather than the norm.  Everyone forgets at times. I have always considered "reliability" as an important personal characteristic.  If you are unreliable - you are not being considerate of others.  You are putting yourself before others, being inconsiderate of their time, or their needs.  To be unreliable means, in my opinion, that you have turned the focus onto yourself.  Reliability is really about others... the expectations you have given others about yourself.  It's not just in terms of commitment, but in terms of character.  Is my character reliable?  Is it consistent.  Do I say one thing and then do another?  If so, I"m not reliable.  Do I make commitments with others and then not follow thru?  Do I over commit so I CAN'T follow through?  If so, I'm not reliable.  I think this is one area where I can say yes, I am doing well in this area.  Could I do better?  Sure, but I think I've worked hard to have others consider me reliable.  My husband considers me reliable, I would guess that my friends and family do as well.  Again, things come up, but they are the exception and not the rule when I have to fall back on a commitment.

I think I'm going to enjoy my walk with the Proverbs 31 woman.  I think taking apart the verses and then pondering on one area a week is a good thing.... not too much to chew on, and not too much to beat myself up about.  What I think I will find is that I'm good at some things, really bad at others, and some areas just need improvement.  I guess it's not really "beating yourself up" about it, if you are just discovering the truth of the word and doing an honest assessment against it.

In Christ,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Recipes and Proverbs 31

So, some friends and I were on F@cebook the other day.  The discussion started around menus.... what was everyone fixing for their family for the week.  Sometimes, it's hard to come up with different options for your family, and as hard as you try, you can't think of new things on your own... so you stay with the tried and true (aka - eventually boring!).  So, Rebekka posted her menu plan for the week.  We all chimed in and started talking about how we need to share our menu plans so we can all have new ideas to share with our family.  Then came the idea that not only do we need to share our menu plans, but obviously if there is something on there that we like, we will want to know how to make it, so we will need to share our recipes too.  I was ALL about that.  So, I asked if we could start a blog - AND WE DID.  

Rebekka set up the blog (I had volunteered to, but didn't know how to set it up where multiple people could be contributors - she did - THANKS REBEKKA) and named it Proverbs 31 Cook .  What a great name - I mean, ideally, isn't the Proverbs woman what we all want to be?  What we all should aim to achieve?

We just set up the blog, but there are already a bunch of recipes on there, and I'm hoping the catalog of recipes becomes HUGE.  I dream of holidays where we all put our favorite cookie recipes on there, or treats for hot summer days... whatever - just a place where we can all meet, share and provide a larger variety of good, home cooked meals for our families.

But then I got to thinking.... for me at least, maybe it should be more than just a blog - more than just a place where I can go get recipes for my family.  I felt convicted that for me, it needed to be something more.  So, I opened up Proverbs 31 - and read the section on "The Wife of Noble Character".  Ok - this woman does EVERYTHING!!!  She has like 120 hours in a day, she cooks, cleans, sews, sells, serves others, grows her own food, does the laundry, mends clothes, makes comforters, knits, takes care of her children - oh yeah, and about her children - they arise and call her blesses and they praise her - her husband also.

Now mind you, I'm not mocking the bible.  NOT.  AT.  ALL!  I don't think that what the bible was writing about with regard to this Wife of Noble Character - was something that this wife does every day.  One woman may not even do all of these things.  I think that this is just something that women should strive to do.  Maybe they can't master everything, but women can master not being idle.  And when you master not having idle hands, then you learn so much more about what you CAN do!

So, what started out as a way to share recipes and menu planning has now become a personal bible study for me.  I'm going to delve into the qualities of this "Woman of Noble Character" and see what can be done, in my life, to make me just a bit more like her.  I know I can't do it all, but there are changes that I CAN make and as I slowly take apart the traits of this woman, I may learn something about myself that needs to be changed.  

So, that being said - if you are offended by the idea of how women are portrayed in the bible, then you might not like my posts for awhile, because I'm going to start writing weekly about what I have learned about this woman.  I'm going to make changes in my life, where necessary, to achieve more of what GOD wants me to look like, rather than what I or the WORLD want me to look like.  Some look at the woman portrayed in this passage as "domesticated".  She is pretty much a servant to her family.  I don't think this is the case at all.  She is a CRITICAL part of the success of her family, of the stability of her family.  She is a woman with many talents.  It will be interesting to see how God prompts me to change my life, my habits through this study.

I'll start on Monday - the first verse I'll be looking at (and I'll just take them apart, in order, in chunks that are good for me to swallow) is as follows:

Proverbs 31: 10-11 
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

That will be the verses that I will meditate on this week.  I'm sure I'll have plenty to say about it and plenty of examples of how I can modify my ways to greater glorify God through what I do in my home!

In Christ,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A new year, a new JOURNEY

Before you start to get your hopes up and let your mind wander as to what type of JOURNEY we are on.... I'll just clear the air right now.  It's not another adoption journey (not as of yet anyway.... :)

I wanted to share with you all (the few faithful followers that I have) the new JOURNEY we are on.  It's a Christ-centered, relationship-building, experience-sharing, unity-forming, friendship-developing, family-resembling, wisdom-seeking, growth-encouraging group of people, assembled together, each Wednesday night - to JOURNEY through life together - with a few simple goals in mind... focusing on Christ, ministering to each other and ministering to our community.  It's a new group and I'm so excited that Tim and I are a part of it.

We joined this "small group" or "Journey group" through our church.  We have been in and out of this church for quite some time, but have not found ourselves "planted" there.  It is a big church and it's easy to get in and get out - unless you have a reason to stick around. I've developed a relationship outside of the church with a mom of one of Cameron's friends.  Her husband leads our Journey group.  We decided on the Journey group as a way to be "planted".

The Journey Group is a new concept to this church.  Basically, it's this.  It's seven defined couples, who meet together weekly (the couples never change), hopefully develop trust and friendships amongst one another and we meet each Wednesday to discuss the message from the previous Sunday, touch base mid-week, do some application, and finally for fellowship (and of-course, some good food).  Besides growing in God's word, the goal of these groups is to really develop a "family" within the church... a small group of people who you can really get to know, share with and rely on.  

How many people can you call at 3:00 in the morning, because you have a prayer need that is really bothering you and you need someone to talk to, or to just pray with/for you?  Maybe you find yourself in the midst of some temptation that is going to take you off of that straight and narrow road, and you need someone you can trust to talk to... someone who has taken the time to get to know you, who you know CARES about you, and who you know will pray for you.  Your Journey family is that group of people who you know you can call in the middle of the night.  Sure, in a real emergency, I guess you can talk to the pastor, give him a call - but maybe you want to call a FRIEND... or maybe your concern is not "pastor-necessary" just "faithful friend" necessary.  You call your Journey family.  

It was day 1 of our Journey group today and I really don't think I've ever felt more at home.  Now, mind you - there were five at least partial couples (some "better halves" were missing from a few groups due to illness) that I had never met before in my life.  I've probably never even seen them at church - and somehow, instantly, I felt comfortable in this group of people.  They are all distinctly different people.  Some have small children, some have grown children, some have grandchildren - but they were all there for one purpose and one purpose only - to meet, and to establish relationships to unify the body of Christ.  

I personally have a hard time establishing relationships in a large, group setting.  Having this small group meeting, at someone's house, with seven couples that NEVER change, is perfect for me.  When I was first learning about these Journey groups, they were described to me as "life groups"... a group of people you journey through life with - people you can share the ups and downs with, people who you will be comfortable when they, as Christians, walk through the valley with you in times of need, and who stand on the mountain top with you when you celebrate life's victories!  I'm really looking forward to learning more about each of the couples in our group, getting to know their families, ministering to each of them and sharing God's Word with them!

If I've learned one thing recently, it's that God speaks to people differently through His Word, and that you can learn something from each application that someone shares with you.  Something you never thought of, becomes clear through sharing God's Word with a friend.  With 14 friends, the applications are endless!

I'm really looking forward to what God is going to reveal to me through this group!  Looking forward to all 2012 has to offer and seeing where this "Journey" will take us!

In Christ,