Sunday, June 26, 2011

phil's icehouse...

our kidstuff team eating amy's ice cream after lunch at phil's.
phil's icehouse is one of my favorite burger places here in austin. and it is especially great if you have kiddos because there is a big playground and an amy's ice cream right next door.  most of the seating is outdoors - so if it is rainy or cold, you might not want to go.  also, be ready for a crowd because everyone loves this place.  all of their burgers can be ordered with chicken or a veggie patty (which is actually really good!).  you also get a mix of regular fries and sweet potato fries.  oh my mouth is already watering.

Friday, June 17, 2011

the least of these...

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
(James 1:26-27)

    Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
(Matthew 25:34-46)

you might think adoption is a trend these days.  with celebrities like angelina jolie making a statement, churches preaching this message and even movies like kung fu panda 2 addressing adoption, it seems to be what everyone is talking about these days.  but the reality is, adoption and caring for the orphan is not a new trend, it has been part of god's plan all along.  you see god knew that through the fall of man, relationships were going to be broken and people were going to be in need of help - orphans being one of these. so he told his church to take care of them. this is and always has been the church's job. just beccause it is resurfacing today, does not mean it is a trend.  it is god opening the eyes of his people to start doing the work he commanded them to (caring for orphans and widows is by no means all of the work - just some of it).

now i do no think that caring for the orphans means that everyone has to adopt.  everyone is not called to adopt - just like not everyone is called to go overseas.  BUT everyone is called to live on mission - be it here or over there.  the same applies for caring for the orphan.  you may not be called to adopt, but as a child of god, who has been adopted into his family, you are called to care for the orphan.

so what does this look like then?  how can you care for the orphan if you are not adopting?  here are some ways that people around me have been helping and are getting involved in orphan care.
  • go to this website (it will break your heart beware) and pray over these children. these are children who are in the foster care system here in texas right now and they are legally free for adoption.  you can search by age, area, etc.  these are ready to be adopted, they just need a home. pray for them. pray that they will be adopted. pray that god will draw them unto himself.
  • you can get certified to help those who are fostering.  to babysit for someone who is in fostercare, the state requires you meet some qualifications (TB test, background check, CPR). this is a HUGE help to those who are fostering, since not just anyone can babysit for them. you can also get certified for respite care or family support.  these certifications require some classes as well as things done to your home, but they allow you to keep a child in your care longer.  for example, when i am fostering a child and i need to go on a trip for work, i will need someone who is certified that can watch my child for the few days i am gone. i have a few friends around me that are already certified, but if you are interested in helping out, let me know.
  • you can volunteer at a local children's home.  there are at least two that i know of here in austin - the texas baptist's children's home and helping hands home for children.  you can play with the kids, help them with homework, read them bedtime stories, etc.  simple things that go a long way.
  • you can also pray about how to financially support those around you who are pursuing adoption, whether international, domestic or out of foster care. Sthe lord has done this with a few people in my life lately.  out of no where, he has led them to support me. i have been able to use their money to buy furniture for the kid's room as well as buy what i needed for my home inspections.
  • you can sponsor children through world vision or compassion.  this is also a great opportunity to teach your children about caring for the orphan.
caring for the least of these is not an option - just like missions is not an option.  it just looks different for each person.  i know my list is not comprehensive by any means, so i would love to hear more ideas or ways that you and your family are caring for these little ones. leave a comment with other ideas for myself and for others.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

latest adoption update...

i am getting so much closer to getting my foster license.  i only have my health inspection, fire inspections, TB test and evacuation plan left to do!  i cannot believe it.  my goal is to be licensed by august and i think that i am going to reach it, maybe even before. 

about 2 weeks ago i had the actual interview part of my homestudy. someone from my agency came out and did a walk through of my home and then sat down and asked me about all of the paperwork that i had previously filled out - clarifying what i said. this really was not as scary as i thought. i just felt a peace about it.

i have not received the bunk beds that i ordered yet, apparently they are on back order still.  i know how to choose the popular ones.  i bought a fire extinguisher and have covered every outlet with safety plugs.  i bought a key lock handle to put on one of my closets to lock up my medicines and cleaners, but still need to install it.  anyone want to help?  i also need a locking cabinet for the garage, so i can lock up my gasoline, wasp spray, ant killer and WD-40.  so much to do, but i really am so close!

thanks for your prayers and for your support! hopefully in about 2 months, my license will go active!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

barton springs pool...

barton springs is a natural cool springs pool right in the heart of austin.  this weekend was my first time to head out there.  my old roomie and dear friend, olivia, could not believe that i had not been out there, so she insisted that she be the one to take me out there.  it is such an austiny place. we took the kiddos, which was fun, but not my favorite place to take little ones.  we still had a blast and the people watching is awesome. the pool also felt incredible today because it was 100 degrees out. so grab a towel and $3 for parking and $3 for your entry fee and head out to this pool this summer. oh and you can't bring a cooler - which is a bummer - but you can't be this scenery!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

a new car...

before you read on, imagine that title being said bob barker style.  :) a few months ago i was given a new car.  well new to me.  as you may remember my car, lafonda the honda, died in my friend angela's driveway right before the 4th of july last year and god called me to trust that he would provide.  i think in the span from july until march, i was without a vehicle to drive for only about two weeks.  and during that time, i was able to catch rides from my roommates and friends.  i drove rav 4, a honda fit, a nissan xtera, and a honda accord much like my dear lafonda, but 4 door.  the couple who was letting me drive the honda accord took me to dinner one night at chick-fil-a and they totally surprised me with this box.

inside the box was the title and the paperwork to transfer the title into my name. i was in shock!  i could not believe it. so this beauty is mine!

back in july, god told me to trust him, to trust that he would provide a car for me.  i prayed for this. literally, while i was going through the book "a praying life" with some other women we all chose one big prayer request, and mine for a car. and now 9 months later, i have a car that runs well and with no payment!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

summer family fun in austin...

here is a link to some fun FREE things to do this summer with your family in austin...  

if you don't live in austin, use this blog as an excuse to come visit. :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

setting their hope in god...

i recently came across this book as i was blog hopping looking for new children's resources.  i have not read all of it, but what i have read, i love.

it is a book of prayers, similar to the valley of vision, but they are prayers of a parent for their children.  there is nothing magical or more powerful about these prayers, but they are great resource of what and how to pray for your children (and great prayers for yourself -  or maybe that is just me)

if you are a parent, you are going to want this book.  if you know someone who is becoming a parent, you will want to give them this book.  if you work with children, you will want to pray through these for your kiddos.  just to give it more credibility, on the back it has recommendations from russell moore (author of adopted for life), sally lloyd-jones (author the jesus storybook bible), david and sally michael (pastors at children desiring god) and others.

here is a sample prayer:
blessed are those who fear you, who greatly delight in your commandments! please continue to mold my children into such men and women. 
make light dawn in the darkness for them; you are gracious, merciful, and righteous. grant that they deal generously and lend, conducting their affairs with justice. let them never be moved, remember them forever. 
may they not be afraid of bad news, but make their hearts firm, trusting in you. give them steady hearts, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting they will praise your glorious name. 
my children, trust in the lord! he is your help and your shield. i admonish you a again my children, trust in the lord! he is your help and your shield. you who fear the lord, trust in him! he is your help and your shield. may you be blessed by the lord who made heaven and earth! we will bless you o god, from this time forth and forevermore. praise the lord! (psalm 112, 113, 115)
and another...

our father in heaven, 
hallowed be thy name. please keep your name holy in the lives of our children. cause them to consider it reverently in their minds and hearts, treating it as sacred by their words and conduct 
may your kingdom come, and may they long for the day of your fullness far more than anything else in this life. stir their hearts to seek first your kingdom.
your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. perform your good pleasure in them - use them as vessels to magnify the beauty of your son. give them this day their daily bread, providing for their physical needs, for you are a loving  merciful father who gives good gifts to his children. teach them to trust you, being not anxious about whether they will have enough for tomorrow. 
forgive them their debts as they also forgive their debtors. forgive them when they fall short of your glory. and form in them pardoning hearts, forbearing in everything.
lead them not into temptation but deliver them from evil. rescue them from the deceitfulness of sin. but your undeserved mercy keep their hearts from being darkened and led into foolishness. for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever! amen. (matthew 6)