I hold her close against my chest long after she surrenders to sleep, cherishing these precious moments with the daughter whom I have only a few more days with…
When we brought baby Jennifer home from the hospital there was every indication that we would be adopting her. The months passed. The certainty grew, as did her place in our hearts. With her gregarious personality and happy chortle she became an integral part of our lives. Then, her parents changed their minds. A terrible caseworker combined with an apathetic lawyer in an overtaxed foster and court system to make a perfect storm of a foster care mess.
But, through it all God protected this baby. He used us to meet her needs in ways which no one else could. Now, we have just a short time left with her, and as I rock her to sleep I wonder: How do you fit a lifetime of love into a few short days, especially knowing that she may never experience it again? How do I let go and trust that God can care for her without my help?
Time passes and the night wears on. Jenn sighs in her sleep and lays her little fist against my chest. I stroke her tiny fingers one at a time trying to memorize the little dimples in each …
We Made It!
One hundred thirty-one days ago my sons suggested, and then we all agreed, to make and sell soap to earn money to buy a well for a village in drought-ridden central Africa. What began as a quick viewing of a few you-tube videos on the crisis morphed into an all-consuming family ministry.
And now, we made it. October 30, 2011- March 9, 2012. 131 days. 1622 bars of soap made. 1300 bars sold. $3900 brought in. $ 1100 spent on supplies. $2800 left. $2600 on it’s way to Africa. $200 ready for the next well. Yes, I said “the next well” because they want to keep going.
When I opened the webpage and saw that we won, I’ll be honest, I was amazed; my eyes grew teary. It seems a little thing. A week at camp. My children had been fervently praying to win since they learned of the contest two weeks ago. Each day my three sons prayed for it, wrote it in their prayer journals, and coached their two and four year old sisters in praying for it, too. Oh, how they wanted that week. And there was my name, plain as day, an answered prayer smiling out at me in simple black and white text.
There is something about the prayers of children. They take those verses so easily to heart, the same verses that we, the older, the jaded, struggle with, verses like:
“But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6b)
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:3)
How often do I truly pray with thanksgiving and expectation?
Who was surprised that we won? Just me. Just the other adults. But, the kids? Not at all. Thrilled? Yes. Surprised? No. Because they completely trust that their prayers are being heard and answered …
As a mom, I feel that providing good nutrition for my children is a top priority. The things that are in our food are not always safe and in some cases are downright dangerous. I feel that it is my responsibility to know what exactly it is that my baby is putting in her mouth. (You know, besides, the usual streamers, boardbooks and small objects) Today, let’s look at trans fat. To me this is the number one “do not consume” item on our food shelves today.
Trans fatty acids are created by forcing hydrogen through an oil at high temperatures, often with a metal catalyst, such as nickel and cadmium. (Wait aren’t those dangerous for the human body?) This causes the oils to solidify, yet they won’t break down, making them an ideal butter replacement in food products where you want a long shelf life.
This process is called hydrogenation. Partial hydrogenation is still hydrogenation. According to the FDA: “If the serving contains less than 0.5 gram (of trans fats) the content… shall be expressed as zero.” Now, let’s think about that. Imagine Bob and Fred, charged with labeling a new kind of salad dressing.
Bob: What should we list for the serving size?
Fred: I think 2 …
Yesterday, I was feeling that if there is such a thing as the anti-Midas touch, where instead of turning to gold, everything you touch blows up in your face, I had it. I more than I had it, it was created expressly with me in mind. I poured powdered sugar into the stand mixer and suddenly the kitchen had a fresh dusting of snow. I went to drain a can of tomatoes, and they all fell into the dirty sink. I tried to turn up the volume on the girls’ video and the button got stuck, nearly deafening the three of us. Showing them a video at all was making me feel pretty guilty. (The anti-Midas touch on my parenting.)
The icing on the cake (and not the one I was making the frosting for) was when I tried to play a parenting cd while cleaning the kitchen. We have been having trouble reaching one of our children. I had read the first part of this book and was excited to finish up with the cds. But, the cd wouldn’t work in the cd player. Then it wouldn’t work in my computer, Joey’s computer, or Matt’s computer. By the time I gave up on it, I had gone from frustrated, to annoyed, to angry, and ended at depressed. I was a failure. I couldn’t even play a cd. Everything I touched …