Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Great Note....

...in honor of Thanksgiving.

What Every Child (or everyone!) Should Know About Thanksgiving
by Newt Gingrich

Second only to Independence Day, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. And as an American holiday, it is rooted deeply -- like our nation -- in faith in God.

The earliest Thanksgivings were celebrated by Americans who were keenly aware that their blessings -- like their rights -- came from God. In times of hardship unimaginable to us today, they took time to give thanks to their Creator.

Throughout early American history, when they suffered from drought, famine or war, Americans paused, not to seek vengeance or to question their faith, but to give thanks to God for the blessings they still had.

At a time when the economic news seems to get worse every day, it’s important to remember the humble faith of these early Americans. They didn’t just give thanks when times were good, they gave thanks when times were bad -- especially when times were bad.

Today is a decidedly different time in America.

Not only have many Americans forgotten or never learned the historic origins of our Thanksgiving -- to pause and give thanks to God for our abundance -- but radical secularists are intent on removing God and faith from our national life altogether.

Many of the entertainment and political elite seem to be threatened by religious faith.

Others seem intent on denying or whitewashing the central role that religious faith has played in American history, such as the attempt to whitewash God out of the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

These radical secularists seek to portray those who acknowledge this historical fact as theocrats intent on imposing their religion on others.

In fact, to acknowledge the centrality of God in American history is to acknowledge America’s great freedom of religion -- the freedom to worship and the freedom not to worship. Many Americans have taken advantage of this freedom by drawing closer to their Creator. They understand, even if so many of our media and political elites don’t, that religious freedom is the cornerstone of all of our freedoms.

The centrality of God in Thanksgiving in America comes through in the words of some of our greatest national leaders:

Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, in 1779:

[I] appoint … a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God … to [ask] Him that He would … pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would … spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth … and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.

President George Washington’s first federal Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.… Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 … that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

President Abraham Lincoln, making Thanksgiving an annual national holiday in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War:

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

“Let Us Be Thankful For a Land That Will For Such Religion Stand”

Our leaders have not been alone in celebrating God’s gifts at Thanksgiving, of course.

I conclude today with a poem by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer, an African-American poet writing at the turn of the 20th century. Her generous, hopeful view of Thanksgiving is made even more remarkable by the suffering and discrimination she endured as an African-American in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you US Government!

Finally.....after what has to be a record setting 4 1/2 months of agonizing waiting, we received our Immigration Approval on Friday. This officially allows us to bring our daughter home as a US Citizen. We never anticipated this step to take so long, but we were some of the lucky people that applied right about the time the Government was changing their procedures for approval and I guess we got caught up in the red tape. Anyway, it's in, we're approved, and we sent our last mailer of things to our agency yesterday. After they compile everything into our official dossier, it will be sent to China. All we have to do now is wait for our "log-in" date. This is the date that we become officially registered with the Chinese government on the waiting list for placement with a child. It helps us figure out where we stand in comparison to others as they receive referrals for children. I think they have just recently placed kids with families who had log in dates of Feb 2006. So....it's going to be a while for us. But it feels great to know that we are almost there in terms of being registered. We know the wait is going to be long, but at least the time we spend waiting will truly be counting for something now. We are thrilled! One more baby step down....many more to go! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us and this process. We know those prayers do not go unheard and we are so grateful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Leaves, leaves, leaves.....

Every year this time, we rake and rake and rake. We get a TON of leaves in our neighborhood so we clean the yard up multiple times. That was the plan this weekend after the marathon activities settled down. The kids had a blast playing in the piles. Too bad the yard is quickly getting covered again already.

video

26.2

Rush ran his 5th marathon on Saturday, November 15th in Richmond. Even though we live here, this was his first time running here at home! His training had been seriously hampered by a back injury and he took quite a while off. His longest training run had only been about a half marathon, so it was a little up in the air as to how it would go. That coupled with a warm humid day could have proven disastrous. However, somehow he managed to set a personal record of 4 hours, 8 minutes! He was hoping to break 4 hours, but it just didn't happen this time. He's already signed up for the National Marathon in DC in March.

His best friend Ramsey and wife, DeAnn came up from Alabama so Ramsey could run too. We had a great weekend with them!


Jonah cheers at our first stop (about Mile 7)!


There he is!! About half-way.

Go Daddy!!

All done! Congratulations!!

Ramsey, Jonah and Rush post-race

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Small adoption update....

I got a letter from Immigration today requesting yet even more info from us. Fortunately, all the info they want has already been obtained, but it needs to be added into our home study narrative. So, I got on the phone with our agency and scanned them the letter so they could get with our social worker and get it taken care of. I was reassured it's a quick fix (although I am not holding my breath!!) so we'll see what that means. I guess I am thankful it's a step in somewhat of the right direction....but it's still another delay nonetheless. I guess hearing something is better than nothing though! I am just ready for us to be officially "logged in" in China!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

There's an organization I love called Samaritan's Purse. Every year, they collect shoe boxes from people that are filled with little toys and things for kids around the world who have nothing, so they can have something on Christmas. It's called Operation Christmas Child. We've filled shoe boxes for a few years now....this year the kids got involved. As you can tell, they were thrilled to be involved and completely understand the concept of giving to others. :)


Or not. Anyway, they also have a catalog you can "order" things from.....not your typical Christmas gifts though. We're talking water filters, health care, blankets, care for widows and orphans or even livestock. That's right....for the rock bottom price of $70, you can pay for a goat for a family! We're going to discuss as a family what to give....I think the kids are leaning towards the brood of chicks...24 in all!!

Now, on to the portion of the blog where I reveal yet even more of my flaws for you all to see. This episode will demonstrate my inattention to my kids at times! This usually revolves around times after I have worked late at night and am tired and prefer to zone rather than parent my children. Hey....don't judge me! Anyway, below you will see nearly every stuffed animal in the house strewn around Reagan's room.....believe me, the picture doesn't do it justice. There's lots you can't see.


And now for the big finish....yesterday Reagan was watching Blue's Clues in the living room while I was cleaning or something (aka not paying attention to her) and I heard someone walk down the hall and open the pantry door.....I assumed it was Jonah after his nap going to get a snack as he often does. After a minute, it sounded like he might need my help. Well, I didn't find him in the kitchen. Instead, I guess Reagan needed a refill on her goldfish. I found her sitting on the floor with a bowl and bag of goldfish, being quite the independent girl. I was a little late with the camera.....I guess it could have been much worse!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween!

Jonah had a fun Halloween Party at his preschool and then in the evening we went to our church's Fall Festival! We had a great time...except Reagan, who seemed to hate the whole thing. Oh well!

Jonah the pirate

A seriously miserable ladybug at the Fall Festival....

Silly girl

MOO!! Hanging with Aunt Sharon.