Saturday, June 20, 2009

an hour of your time

And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4
Recommended Reading
Matthew 11:28-30
A man came home late from work to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door. The first thing out of the child’s mouth was, “Daddy, how much money do you make in an hour?” “If you must know, I make $50 an hour” said the man. “Well, can I borrow $25?” the boy asked. “For what?” replied the man. Without saying a word, the little boy went to his room, removed some crumpled money from under his bed and added it to the money his dad gave him. He came back and said, “Daddy, now I have $50. Can I buy an hour of your time?”
Sometimes, balancing the responsibilities of providing for our children and making time to invest in their lives can become overwhelming. Being a godly father is a huge responsibility. But it is also one of life’s greatest joys. As we raise our children in the love of the Lord, may we not become discouraged as the pressures mount; rather, let us look to our own Heavenly Father for the strength, love, courage, and discipline needed to carry out this high calling.
“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Billy Graham

This was from my daily devotional here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

bathroom matters

I've thought about whether to post this but keep coming back to being so very thankful we live in America. Kelly's Korner is hosting a 'tour of homes' and this week it has been about the bathrooms. I sometimes grumble when I enter a public restroom and try to make our children wait until we get home to go to the bathroom (aren't they sometimes sooo nassssty?)

My perspective changed one day in Central China as we were visiting our daughters finding spot. We were in a group of about 6 families traveling about 2 hours outside of the capitol of Hubei China. As far as China was concerned, it was a "small village" of several million. On the way back to our hotel, the bus made a stop. It was a bathroom break. As you could imagine, everyone was thankful for the stop... until we walked into the bathroom.

This is what we saw:

The smell was beyond anything I could ever describe. After walking in, I simply couldn't bring myself to go further. I returned to our van without participating in the rural China squat potty experience. Dave on the other hand decided he would participate and to make matters worse, the water from the sink was filthy. It was a brown murky color with another kind of odor, and of course no soap, towels etc.. (or toilet paper)

Prior to this, we were at a popular tourist spot a few days before and I thought I lucked out when a local sandwich shop had a public restroom! It was a unisex one, but hey... The sandwich shop reminded me of a Chinese Panera Bread and was relatively clean looking from the seating area. Well,, I walked to the back and down a narrow hallway. Once again, there was "that odor". I opened the bathroom door and was feeling the wall for a light switch. Suddenly I realized I was standing in the dark and felt something squishy under my shoes. It was a 1/2 inch or more of human waste from the overflow of the facility. It made me so queasy that when we got back to the hotel, I took off my shoes in the lobby and threw them in the garbage can.

Maybe this is where the custom of taking off your shoes at the door in Asia came from?!

I noticed from the very beginning of entering China that there was an unpleasant odor throughout most of the outdoor areas we walked around. It seemed to be everywhere - in every Province we visited. I suddenly realized why:

I can't say I blame anyone for not using the public restrooms in China! :)

When we experience the comfort of our home bathrooms and enjoy the warm clean water of a shower in the morning, I often reflect back to our time in China and remember the most basic things are extreme luxuries to many others in the world we live in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At first, I thought this was a joke... it's not.

Tue Jun 16 2009 08:45:10 ET

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.


Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:

Dear Mr. Westin:

As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

Ken McKay
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the Mother of all comments to date.. UPDATED w/ my response below

A young man probably in his early 20's came up to E'beth and I this afternoon and started chatting. He was very curious and inquisitive about "us" and so we talked about how Elizabeth is adopted from China and now she lives in America with Mommy (me) Daddy, and her brother John. The topic of traveling to China for a cultural visit someday eventually came up and this is what he said directly to Elizabeth (age 4):

"You better not ever go back to China because you will break your Mother's heart when she sees how pretty and polite you are now".

I'll post my reply, but would love to hear what YOU would have said before I tell mine. I have comment moderation on, so if your comment doesn't show up right away it's because I haven't had a chance to see it yet. Please leave your thoughts on this one.

Thanks friends for taking the time to respond with your thoughts on this.

Obviously, the comment took me completely by surprise and I only had a few seconds to "think" about my reply. In those few seconds I was staring at a young man that was still in that crossover period of boy to man IMHO. I decided to put his "youth" and lack of polish in other areas I was staring at in my main thought process over those few seconds. I realized that his lack of social graces was something that perhaps I could excuse because 1. his age, and 2, his gender.

Most young men I know are not as savvy in the world of adoption comments made to families as are women aged 30-90. Why should they be? They are busy with so much more at that time of their life... OK, I digress.. so I simply said..

"*I* am her Mommy, the one and only"- as I gave him a stern gaze with wide eyeballs that E'beth couldn't see.

He continued to follow us and would jump from behind things and scare and tease E'beth. I really don't think he meant to scare her but it was. We were in an art supply store and each time I would go to the front to pay for our items, there he would be. I would walk back so that he would leave the store, but he kept following us. I was determined not to leave until I was sure he was gone. It took about 30 minutes.

Very weird.

Sneaky kitchen and baths

I'm always looking for ways to hide great nutritional foods and incorporate them into ordinary meals. We have come up with a few tricks that work such as grinding whole flax seeds and mixing them with foods such as peanut butter, applesauce, cereal, etc..

Tonight we had organic ground beef that I made taco's with and sprinkled the taco meat with nutritional yeast. The kiddos never missed a beat. They had no idea what was in it. Check out the back of a nutritional yeast container the next time you are in the grocery store if you haven't already. The funny thing is, if they *see* me grinding flax seeds, or sprinkling the nutritional yeast in something, suddenly they TASTE it.. but if I manage to get it in without them seeing all is good!

In addition, now that Summer is here we also wanted to continue the interest in reading that John (7 yrs.) has developed. Rather than constantly pushing a book under his nose, I've decided to leave "interesting" books in strategic places.

I've put them in front of the toilet in the bathroom, on his booster seat in the car, on the kitchen table, and so on. At bedtime sometimes we give him the choice of "going on to bed" or being able to stay up an additional 30 minutes to read a chapter book.

So, if you ever come visit, you have a choice of reading Veranda mag. or Shark preditors if you wish when you are in the bathroom. :)

shhhh. It's working!
here's a great fake cheese popcorn recipe!
air popped popcorn
place it in a paper bag
spray it with Pam OLIVE oil spray
sprinkle nutritional yeast all over and shake well
This is actually so good and tastes very much like
cheesy popcorn!