parenting

She can’t possibly be 25!

…. but she is today.  Twenty-five years ago today at roughly 4:00 pm, my beautiful daughter, Rebecca Ashley, entered the world.  Today, I’m celebrating the gift I was given then.

We had many conversations about her name, her father and I, but it was chosen because it seemed a strong, but still a beautifully-feminine name.  I remember thinking this will be a name she can be proud to put on a corporate office door some day or on a business card.  Those descriptions of her name now seem to be prophetic, because they are what I would use to describe her today.

My daughter is strong, but perhaps fierce is a better word.  She loves fiercely, and she fights fiercely for the people she loves, the causes she loves and for what she believes is right. She is a fierce champion of the underdog. She is a force to be reckoned with and I mean that in all the best ways.

She is beautifully feminine as well.  She’s strikingly beautiful, both in her physical appearance, but in her personality as well.  She loves eye-shadow, lip gloss, long-flowing red hair.  She has the most hauntingly, beautiful soprano voice, like Charlotte Church or Amy Lee from Evanescence.  She has a cute little pixie laugh that her father tries to coax out of her whenever he sees her. 

A friend of mine, who met her the first time on Thursday, said that pictures just don’t do justice to her beauty. And she’s right.

Neither do my words.

I love you fiercely, Rebecca!

faith

In One Ear and Out the Other

Today’s Readings:  I Sam 3-5, Psalm 77, 2 Cor 8

My verse for the day:  I Sam 3:19 The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground.

I love my parents. They’re awesome!  And as an adult, their words are important to me.  Whether they are meant for guidance, correction or just enjoyment, I hear them.  As a teenager, however, I must confess that I rarely listened to my mother.  (Sorry, mom, but I have to tell the truth.)  Mom was a yeller.  When she was mad, she’d let me know with lots of words at a high volume.  And the reality is, I’d turn down the volume in my head.  She would start yelling, and I’d tune out.  That was never the case with my dad.  My dad is not a yeller.  Even when he was angry, he rarely yelled.  When he was disappointed with me, he would simply say, “I’m disappointed in you…” and explain why.  Man, those words cut me to the core.  I still hate to hear those words.  But they were effective!  I’d hear what my dad was saying and I’d change my behavior (usually with a good dose of being grounded too).

My mother’s words of correction most often went in one ear and out the other, falling off my shoulder, rolling down my back and falling onto the ground.  My father’s were chewed on and reflected on.

Today’s verse says that Samuel did not let God’s words fall to the ground. He meditated on them. He shared them with others, even when they were unpleasant to hear.  Samuel valued the word of the Lord.

I’ll confess, in the past, I often treated God’s words as I did my mother’s corrections.  In one ear and out the other, falling on the ground. It’s easy to ignore the words you don’t like. I could talk myself into not listening by saying “God’s going to love me anyway,” much as I knew my mother would.  The trouble is, God is holy and righteous.  He hates sin, it’s abhorrent to him. God doesn’t just gloss over our sin, he’s not just speaking to be ignored, He is holy and righteous and there is discipline coming if I don’t listen and correct.  In addition, he is the God of the Universe.  Who am I to stand in defiance and say I won’t listen?

My prayer for today is that I will treasure each of his words, pleasant or unpleasant, reflecting on them and letting him change me into the person he wants me to become.

What verse did you choose to reflect on today?

faith

What you will find here…

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and the book that has had the most powerful impact on me outside of reading scripture is Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt.  I’ve also been doing a lot of journaling lately as I mentioned in a previous post, titled “Go In the Strength That You Have” which can be found here: http://wp.me/p11EFS-3b.  Wayne Cordiero’s excellent journal tool, Life Journal, has been an invaluable structure to my daily times with the Lord.

So Platt writes in Chapter 5 of Radical that the central mission Christ gives to his church is to make disciples, and “Yet if you were to ask individual Christians what it means to make disciples, you would likely get jumbled thoughts, ambiguous answers, and probably even some blank stares.”  Jesus gives us the plan in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And sure I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I’ve read that before as I am sure others have as well, but how?

Platt clarified it for me in this chapter. He breaks down Jesus’s command into the three parts and that’s what I have been thinking and journaling about in the context of being a blogger.

“First, according to Jesus, disciple making involves going.  It involves intentionally taking the gospel to people where they live, work and play….A command for us to be gospel-living, gospel-speaking people at every moment and in every context where we find ourselves.” (pg 93) “In every context and at every moment” includes my online presence – my blog and my facebook profile.

Baptism is the second part of Jesus’s command and Platt paints two pictures of baptism. The first is that of the new life we have in Christ – that we have died to our sin and died to ourselves and that we have been raised to life with him.  The second is that “Baptism pictures our identification with one another in the church… Disciple making involves inviting people into a larger community of faith where they will see the life of Christ in action and experience the love of Christ in person.”

And the third part of Jesus’s command is that we teach others.  I like how Platt puts it on pg 98, “We need to be careful not to immediately jump in our minds to the classroom, lecture-style setting we often associate with teaching the Word. Classrooms and lectures have their place, but this is not the predominant kind of teaching we see in Jesus’s relationship with his disciples. On the contrary, the world was a perpetual classroom for Jesus and his disciples, providing opportunities for instruction at every moment.”  On pg 99 he continues, “It’s not that sitting in lecture-style settings is not beneficial, but what if Christ has actually set us up to be the teachers?……What if we began to think, How can I listen to his Word so that I am equipped to teach this Word to others?

For the last three days in my journal, the verses that I chose helped me to gel the purpose of my blog.

So, if you made it to the end of this post, here it is, the purpose of my blog.  I will be musing on three things on a regular basis.  My faith – You’ll see a lot of what I’m learning daily in my journal and how it applies to me. I’d love to hear how it applies to you too, so my blog posts will always have the daily reading assigned out of the Life Journal.  They will follow Wayne Cordiero’s SOAP principle for journaling.  You can read about the SOAP principle on the Life Journal website. Feel free to share what God has taught you in the comment section on this blog.  We can all be learning from each other.

I’ll also be musing on my family and my life.  As you know, our family has been profoundly impacted by adoption.  So, you’ll see posts about my kids and about adoption and about our life as a family.

I pray that my blog will be to you the aroma of Christ, that it will reflect the Lord’s glory as I am transformed into his likeness by his Spirit, and that through it, others will see Jesus clearly and never distorted.

Uncategorized

I know why I’m here… Do you?

OK, the funny thing is that I started this blog really without much of a purpose.  It just seemed like fun to share my thoughts with others.  Last Wednesday or Thursday, though, I found out about learn.wordpress.com which is their tutorial for new bloggers.  Ha, I find it about 7 months after I’ve been blogging.  Probably should have read it back in the day….  oh, well, story of my life!

Anyway, one of the first things learn.wordpress.com suggests is that you decide on the purpose of your blog. They call it step two: Get focused.  And the first step to getting focused is to decide on what you are going to blog about.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing.  Praying about and deciding on a purpose for my blog.

It used to be that I would post random thoughts as they popped into my head, hence the title, Natalie’s musings. I’d write about whatever.  One day, it might be my thoughts on adoption, another day’s post might be on managing my weight, personal finance, or even my faith.

So now I know why I’m writing, but I’m also curious about why you, dear reader, come visiting….

So here’s a quick and easy way to tell me.  Hopefully one of the poll answers works for you, if not, please leave me a comment!  Looking forward to hearing back from you.  Check out tomorrow’s post when I’ll share why I’m here.


adoption

We are Plan A; there is no Plan B.

A line from my husband’s blog today. If you didn’t see it on facebook, check it out at tendollardog.word press.com.

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

If you are a Christian, you’re it. You’re Plan A.

How can you help? There are ten ways you can help listed at Open Arms -Ten ways to care

There is no Plan B.

adoption, faith, leadership

What’s on my nightstand now?

Or more accurately in my Kindle app queue:

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman – The story of the Chapman family’s adoption and tragic loss.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt – A thought-provoking and definitely challenging book asking us to follow Jesus the way he told us to – leaving behind security, money, convenience, everything for the gospel.

Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft – Mike Treneer of the Navigators recommends this as “a book for leaders who want to keep growing in their understanding of leadership, finish strongly, and lead with passion.”

Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control by Heather T. Forbes – An outstanding two-volume work on how to effectively parent children with trauma histories.

And yes, I’m reading all four at once.  Three via my Kindle app and one in actual hardcover form.

faith

Rethinking Splendor

Psalm 49:16-17 Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him.

When I read this verse and chose it to journal on today, my original intent was to discuss how Americans are overawed with celebrity. There are so many magazines and tv shows devoted to exalting movie stars, sports stars and music stars that I can’t even begin to count them.  There’s the whole reality show industry devoted to finding the next star. And there was a story on the Today show this morning about teens videotaping themselves doing outrageous things in hopes of gaining the attention of someone who will put them on TV.

That was the original intent.

Instead, God pointed out that I have a problem with splendor and it needs to be dealt with.  You see, I love jewelry. I mean, I really love it.  And not just any jewelry, but glitzy jewelry designed to attract attention. And I have lots of it, and I want more, and more, and more.  At what point is enough really enough for me?  None of my sparkle-filled jewelry from earth will follow me into heaven.

In fact, I have so much jewelry that I had to buy a floor chest to house it all. None of it is real, but that doesn’t really matter does it?.  I have it because I, well, if I’m going to be honest, I like to show it off and myself.  A lot of this jewelry, I earned for free from a company I used to sell it for.  So, telling people I earned it for free because I had high sales, makes me look like a hotshot salesperson – at least in my head it does. Again, so what? The jewelry itself isn’t the problem, but my attitude towards it is.

Why do I need earthly splendor?  What does it really show? I think it shows my predilection for this world and its riches instead of those not of this world.  When I wear it, do people see me pointing to Christ or to myself?

Today, I’m rethinking splendor.