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My mom came over and took some pictures of the girls. We had a great time, but it was exhausting trying to get them to sit still and look cute!

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This is an excellent article that says what I was trying to say, but way better. I just love it when that happens. Hey, bro- I miss ya.

Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

40 And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

I have been thinking about the pivotal moments in my life when my thinking about the world was drastically and permanently changed. The first time I can really remember was when I was in high school and I read Night by Eli Wiesel. I knew about the Holocaust, of course, but after reading this book, among others, I KNEW. It was this knowing that changed me. I could no longer be the same person that I was before. My thinking about the world, human nature, and God was profoundly affected.

The second time, I have mentioned in this blog previously. When I watched the beheading of an American by Islamic terrorists, my KNOWING grew again. I would never view the world the same again.

This enlarging happened again this week when I read There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene. It is hard to put this book into a nutshell, but basically it is the story of AIDS, Ethiopia, and an ordinary woman’s fight to save a few. I knew about AIDS in Africa, of course. Especially in the last few years, the issue is getting more and more attention on the world stage. Literally. The big 8 concerts were in response to it, the Red campaign is trying to help, and I just read this week about Rick Warren’s church working on a big program.

But, you see, I did not KNOW. Now I do and I will never be the same, I hope. It is hard to put into words how something impacts your very innermost being, and yet this book did. Not the book, actually, but what the book showed me. The plight of the people in Ethiopia and all over Africa, is- well, there are not words. One only has to look into the faces of the children affected and you will understand. It is not my purpose here to explain the issue, yet, or what the book covers, but I feel that I must call attention to this issue in any way I can.

I was thinking last night, that if I had found out that the Holocaust was happening RIGHT NOW, what would I do? Would I feel very sad and even cry? Would I tell my close friends, and us all mourn over a cup of coffee? Or would ACT? I hope that I would do everything I could to make a difference, to help and to save. This is what we are facing right now- travesty on a scale that is too enormous to comprehend. Of course, the issues are different, but in some ways the same. There is no evil empire killing the innocent and filling the world with hatred (well, ok, there is, but it is Islam, not Nazism), but there are millions of people dying horrific deaths, millions of children living with no hope except to die themselves very soon, and it is in our lifetime. We must act.

The problem is, however, that AIDS is not the real problem. It is the absence of salvation. I was so profoundly moved by the stories of the few lucky children that were “saved” into the loving arms of a family. But what were they saved into? The scourge of disease, famine, and war is terrible, but living with no hope for eternity is worse- unbearably worse. I want to change the world; I want to save the children; I want to heal the people. But so did Jesus. He did offer them healing of their bodies, and even food. But more importantly, He offered them TRUE hope. One that does not fade with the reality of death. One that can make a dying person smile with hope for the future. No AIDS program can offer this, nor can adoption. But we must still do these things. We must just offer the real healing and hope of Jesus foremost.

So what am I going to do? Well, for starters, adopt as many children as I can. Next, pray for those that are helping, healing, and teaching about Jesus. But what else? This I do not know. But I will be seeking God’s face on this issue with my whole heart. Will I move to Africa and run a hospice or orphanage? Or will I just raise the ones I can and sacrifice so that I can give to organizations like Samaritan’s Hope of Gospel for Asia- people that are doing exactly what I am talking about? I do not yet know. But I can tell you- I will be beginning AT LEAST these steps today. God help us.

Well, I mentioned that I had read a great blog about a family who adopted and got home on the 8th. Our Adoption Story is the link; you might enjoy reading their experience. I actually read ALL the posts, but even a little will give you a perspective.
Another interesting thing to see is this Youtube look at the capital city on Ethiopia, Addis Ababa- Addis in 4:30. I can’t believe that God willing, we will be going there.
I have bunches to do today, but that should be enough to keep anyone busy for a while…

I had such a nice weekend. On Saturday morning, I spent a nice few hours just being with the girls. E. was working with my Dad building a retaining wall, so we had the morning to ourselves. We made some cards to send out and the girls spent time outside. I have to force them to go outside most of the time. It is either too hot, or there are too many bugs, or it is too cold, or they are bored. I gave them a huge lecture on the fact that they were not being grateful. After hearing how some kids have no people to play with, no coats and gloves to wear, no huge yard to explore, and no arm or legs, they decided I was serious and went out. Eventually they actually had fun. We have this 1.5 acre lot and they only play in the gravel by the back door- hard to understand.
The cats have been hanging around much more now that it has been so cold and I took pity on them and fed them again. I had heard that you should not feed them very much so they will catch mice. So I only gave them a little, and I did see one of them eating something small and animal like. I am just afraid it was a KITTEN that the mother knew would starve because I wouldn’t feed it. So its back to the good life and cat food two times a day.
So back to my nice Saturday. My sister and I went Christmas shopping for seven hours after E. got home. We had a blast and really found almost all the gifts we still had to purchase. I ordered half of my stuff on Amazon this year, and I can’t wait to get it all. I think you can buy ANYTHING on that site. Really it is crazy. E. told someone I had ordered a slave, which I thought was worth looking into…
After my success shopping, I did feel a little weird. I always feel this way after I spend large sums of money. I hate the feeling of greediness that comes over me. I am not being exactly greedy, because they are not gifts for myself, but I think it is the whole attitude of buying so many things that none of us really need. Thinking constantly about our new sons and the conditions they face in Ethiopia, makes the mall seem horribly stupid and unimportant. I do love giving gifts, and it is truly the thinking about what would really bless someone I love that makes me buy things. I wish I was just more creative and could think of something better. I love when people give me gifts that show they love, know, and thought about me, but I wonder if I would feel the same if we did like some do and donate the money that would have been spent of. I know this is a horrible tangent, and I really did have a wonderful time picking out all the gifts for those I love, but still, something gnaws at the edge of my mind that makes me think about this more.
I just spent an hour reading a blog about a family’s adoption journey to Ethiopia. They started blogging about their experience last year, and they just brought their two daughters home on December 7th. I was so touched and amazed that this will hopefully be my story soon. Seeing the struggles they encountered and how the Lord provided for them, and then the pictures of their beautiful daughters, made my heart just overflow with longing. I know that this blog will probably be taken over at some point with our adoption, but then, so will our life.
E. is drinking a beer all alone in the loft, so I think I will go and join him. I am so thankful for my beloved, our family, and the One who gives us breath, and the hope of our salvation. Goodnight.

Well, we have decide it is time to adopt. I hope it will actually happen this year. I have been checking out agencies and think I know who we might choose. We are so excited. I just don’t know how it is going to happen. We decide on Ethiopia, and are hoping to get 2 boys at the same time. The cost is amazing, so I have been thinking about sending out support letters. After we get a home study done, we can apply for grants, but if this will happen-only the Lord knows. We are just going to trust that it is His will for us to care for orphans, and that He can easily provide the money. It is sad that money keeps so many people from doing this when so many children need homes. I am glad that there are organizations out there who are trying to help this, but I think the entire system needs an overhaul. Maybe if enough of us try, we can make it happen.
I am really having a hard time with our kids’ school situation. Since we live out so far in the country, my middle daughter rides the bus for 3 hours every day. To make it worse, the bus monitor yells at the kids and makes her life miserable. I can not take her every day because my oldest gets home before I could, and the ride would be an hour each way for me and the youngest. The situation is bad, and I don’t know a way around it. She loves her school and her teacher is amazing, but I don’t know if it is worth it.
My eldest daughter goes to a different school and does not seem to be getting a very good education. We were doing more advanced stuff this time last year in Kindergarten! And she tells me she has done NO science the entire year. The school is very poor and overcrowded. I know her teacher is trying very hard, but with no help, few resources and 25 first-graders, she is set up for failure. I am amazed my daughter has learned anything under the circumstances. She loves her teacher ( I would too- she is the PERFECT first-grade teacher) and likes being very social, but is this worth it either? I think we will have to go back to homeschooling next year.
My beloved is working on our wood stove AGAIN, and it is getting late. I am getting good at keeping a fire going and we can heat our whole house with the one stove. I feel like Ma Ingels and hope that E. can fix the noisy motor so we can have a snuggly fire tonight. By the way, I have to mention that the best thing I have bought in my whole life is my new flannel sheet set. I love them and look forward every night to climbing into the amazing softness. I am imagining it right now, so seeing as it is late, I am sick, and the sheets are calling, I will go.