Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Religion versus relationship

I started a topic on my online community about a book series that shall remain nameless so that I can avoid going through that again. Many people got hurt by the post, including myself. I absolutely did not mean to start a controversy. I was looking for some people with whom to look forward to the next book in the series. That's it. What I got was a full-blown controversy. For this reason and others, I've given up that group for awhile. It has been a lifeline for me over our years of infertility, and I'm sure I'll be back. For now, though, I wait.

But, I know that some of the people who read my blog are not Christians, that is, have not decided that they believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and to accept Him as their Lord and Savior. So I am going to blog briefly about religion versus relationship. If you don't agree with me, I understand that. I was not a Christian until I was 26 years old, so I have many years of skepticism experience.

When I think of religion I think of rules and regulations. If you are a Christian you have to do x, y, and z. But here's the truth. To be a Christian you have to admit to God that you have made mistakes (i.e. sin), and believe in your heart that you need a savior. No one is good enough, no not one (Philippians 14:1-3, cited in the book of Romans). Not even Mother Theresa! Our standard is God, not man or woman. Jesus was both, which makes him uniquely qualified to be that savior for us.

So for me Christianity is a relationship. Jesus is real to me. No, I can't see him or touch him (who do I look like, Thomas? John 20:25), but I believe that he is real, alive, and at the right hand of God. No other religious figure is alive like that. For a long time I believed in God but could not wrap my brain around Jesus as an actual God-man who literally walked the earth performing miracles. One day it made sense to me (made clear by God's Holy Spirit) and I became a Christian.

As I become more mature in my faith, and as I learn more about God through prayer and His word the Bible, God will teach me new things. I might be convicted to give up some things I am currently doing in order to spend more time with Him. I will do that because He convicts me to out of relationship with Him, not out of law (you must do this, you must do that, etc.). All things are permissible but not all are beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:13). These things might be TV programs, other media, or even church activities.

Some people are convicted not to drink any alcohol. Personally, I enjoy a beer or a glass of wine once in awhile. The Bible is clear on drunkenness, but I know that I don't have a problem stopping with one drink. Someone else may understand that they can't have one drink, because it might lead to drunkenness. So, personally, that person chooses not to have even one drink. There might be something else that I'm convicted of and feel that God is calling me to do, that he has not yet personally called another. That doesn't make either of us a "better" Christian. It means that we are in different places with our personal relationship with God.

The good news, that is, the gospel, is that I don't have to be a perfect Christian. In fact, it's impossible. If it were possible, I would not need Jesus. So while I'm out there on a limb, I might as well give you the whole shebang. It's OK if you don't believe the Bible, many of my close friends do not. I still adore them and don't feel like I look down on them. It is a choice, and I like choices. In the previous post I have shared the gospel with you. Skip it if you like. I'm just sharing something with you that I think is pretty neat.

If all this makes me sound religious, and that's the word you would choose to describe me, then OK. I don't have a problem with the word religious as long as I can suggest the word relationship as being more accurate. If you disagree with me and want to tell me so, do. Just consider that I can't read your tone over the internet. The worst thing that could happen is that I'll cry, feel rejected, and learn some more about God because of it. Maybe that's His point.


The Gospel of Jesus Christ

(This post stems from the above post, "Religion versus relationship," in case it seems like it's comoing out of left field.)

According to the Bible, considered by many to be the infallable word of God, we were created to be in fellowship with God. But through Adam we inherited a sin nature, that is, we don't fully trust and obey God and so err.

Romans 3:23 states that "all sin and fall short of the glory of God."

Because of sin we are separated from God. This is what the Bible means when it says, "For the wages of sin is death...." (Romans 6:23a).

The good news is also in that passage. "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans, 6:23b).

God gave his only son Jesus as the final sin sacrifice for our sins (Romans 5:8), and when we call on Jesus and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior, we are forever reunited with God (i.e. "saved").

Romans 10:13 states, "for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

I paraphrased some of this, but the basic information was taken directly from the Bible, with reminders from and the webiste http://contenderministries.org/romanroad.php.

This made sense to me one day in 1996 when I was 26. Although my ears had heard it before, my heart hadn't. Maybe you've heard it all before, maybe you haven't. It's the truth as I understand it, revealed to me by the Bible through God's Holy Spirit. On that day I prayed, "Lord, I know I have sinned against you, and what I'm doing on my own isn't working. Jesus, come into my heart and be my personal Lord and Savior." (Or something like that - it was over 10 years ago, after all.) And He is. I love Him for it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Our poor yard.

Our city gets a jeer for a recent housecall. Our neighbors had a problem with their water that our lovely Fox Plumbing couldn't fix. So, out comes the city at about 4pm on a Saturday. Not to be ugly, but of course we thought, "At least it's not our water that's out." Famous last words.

We share a water line with our neighbors, I guess, and the city went a-diggin'. Not only were we out of water most of the weekend (we were spared Sunday morning), but the city completely dug up our front yard.

Granted, our landscaping wasn't gorgeous, and we had some work to do, but Houston (not our city), we have a problem. For one, we had some shrubs that we planted soon afte we were married. Randy wanted to buy some a little larger, but I had this romantic idea that we'd buy smaller ones and watch them grow as our marriage grew. They're now gone. Also, there is a gorgeous live-oak tree on our neighbor's property that the workers hacked and hacked away at its roots.

After all the digging, until 3am on Sunday morning and midnight on Sunday night, there was no problem.

Introducing, our new front yard.


I like people. I like "good" people and "bad" people. I like people who have made mistakes, and even people who keep making them. Everyone makes them every day. It's called sin, and thanks a lot, Adam, we got it from you (although we would have gone there ourselves eventually.) Right now I do not love Christians. I can understand why people find us judgmental and unyielding.

I try very hard not to be like that, even when I disagree with someone. I know that not everyone thinks like me, and that's OK. When that attitude is not reflected in the other person, though, I find it hard to accept.

I'm very tired. I also already had chocolate cake so I don't think ice cream is going to fix me this time.

I miss my family. I haven't seen them in a long time.

I've temporarily given up something that means a lot to me. For right now and for various reasons it's not right for me. Not that it isn't right for someone, but not for me right now.

This is rambly, but that's fine. It's VBS week and I'm tired.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Birthday!

My dear husband (DH) turned 44 today. Doesn't he look young? I baked a cake. Don't I look like Martha Stewart?

Happy Birthday, Randy!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Head shots

Baby's been in his little hat for a month now. He's doing really well, and the results after just two weeks were already noticeable. I doubt he'll have to wear it past four months, but I'm really just making that up.

Here are some pictures before, after 2 weeks, and after a month of 23 hours a day in the helmet. Pretty nifty, huh?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Happy Anniversary! (10/12/06)

Here we are the night we got the call about our baby! It was our 4th anniversary.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blast from the past

Last year when we were just about to have our adoption profile shown to expectant moms considering adoption, we went to England. Here is our last dinner in London.

The end.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

"One of those days" by Amy

We had some doctor's appointments today. The first one, chiropractor, was at 11:45. The last time I had an appointment for that time we were in and out of there in about 5 minutes. Not so, today.

Baby is catching on to this separation anxiety thing. He was very fussy at the chiropractor, which is uncharacteristic of him. He'd squirm in my arms, but when I put him down on the floor, he'd cry. We had to wait for about 20 minutes, too, which didn't help.

Our next appointment was for 1:00, so we were going to eat lunch and then run errands. Somehow I got the bright idea that I would just carry Big Brother in my arms, along with my purse containing his bottle. Who do I think I am, an octopus? Well, I'm not, at least not today.

So I order my bagel (Hi, Whitney!) and figure I'll feed him first. He was still fussing, so I figured he was hungry. He had a hard time with his bottle, and it is hard for me to feed him in a regular ol' chair (which happened to be in the middle of the restaurant). So he's crying, dribbling milk, I don't have a burp rag, and I'm hungry and hot.

Because I was trying to be the above-mentioned octopus, I decided to go get Baby a high chair, which I'm going to carry in one arm while carrying him in the other (no, I don't drop the baby as a part of this story, you can relax). Somehow I got to the table without dropping either item. Baby sat in the high chair and happily played with his new burp rag - a paper napkin.

So I'm trying to be all cool, this well-adjusted mom having a light lunch with her child, and I finally began to relax and eat my lunch while BB chews on this napkin. (Can you see where this is going?) The next thing I know, my baby has ingested some of the napkin and is coughing on the verge of choking.

Can I remember the CPR process for choking? Maybe.

So, he coughs the whole thing up, along with a mucosy mound of partially digested formula.

Do you remember that I was sitting in the middle of the restaurant? Well, the single guy at the next table, calmly eating his lunch, witnessed this whole gruesome mess. When I assessed that the threat to my child was over, I put my head down on the table and started to laugh cry. I couldn't decide which to do. He said, "Can I get you some napkins?"

"Yes, please," our heroine said meekly.

Ack! A relaxing lunch, indeed!

When we pulled into the parking lot of the orthopedists office (helmet check up), I saw him get into his car and drive away. This could not be good. He got called away to the hospital and we had to wait for 30 minutes past our appointment to see a different specialist. This is where the story gets anticlimactic. Baby was pretty cool during the wait, smiled at the nice ladies, and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

A day in the life!

It's a surprise!

We've decided (well really, I decided) not to find out the sex of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Our file knows now, but we don't!

I've always sort of pictured hearing, "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" and being totally surprised. With everything we know about conception and pregnancy after infertility and treatments, I want to be innocent about this one thing.

Today I think it's a boy because when I was feeding Baby #1, Baby #2 was kicking him in the butt. I'm not sure a little girl would be so aggressive! Recently I've thought girl since many people say, "I think it's a boy," and I like to prove people wrong. So, who knows.

My nephew said we should name the baby Larry if it's a boy, and my friend Connie thinks LuLu for a girl. We're honestly not sold on either of these names, but in the meantime Baby Larry or Baby Lulu it is!

Thanks for asking, Liz!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Picture updates

I really was on a roll there with the blogging, wasn't I? Here are some pictures to spice things up a bit until I have words again:

Sorry about the sideways picture. I'll fix it someday!

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's final!

Whoopee! We had a great morning at the courthouse. Remember the expectant mom we spoke with before K who chose another couple? Well, we finalized with her baby's adoptive family. It was a special treat. Baby got a teddy bear that he loved immediately, and now he is rolling all over the floor in excitement. The only problem is he can only roll one way so he's stuck.

Here are a few quick pics! We're so pleased.

Some comic breaks from our process:

On the way here DH realized that he had left his dress socks at home. He was slightly frustrated about it, but I couldn't stop laughing because I just pictured him walking into the courthouse with no socks. So Miami Vice! So at 9:45 we stopped at Kohl's for some new socks! I was sent in to get them because I had to use the facilities. As I stared at the socks on the wall I lost my color vision. I had to ask a fellow last-minute shopper, "Are these blue?" I had to ask the clerk, too. They were blue enough.

We got to the courthouse without issue, although on about 4 hours of sleep, and somehow found our way to the correct room. We didn't know the judge's name but fortunately saw the other couple on the way in and followed them. When we went to testify (Karen, you'll especially appreciate this) our attorney asked if we'd crossed state lines with the baby. Randy said, "No."

I thought, "What? Oh gosh, yes we did, oh no, what do we do?" The question wasn't phrased correctly. I decided to try not to worry about it. Then she asked, "Is there any criminal background in either your or your wife's history that would cause an issue in parenting this child?" Well DH was still thinking about the previous question and didn't hear, so he hesitated for a few seconds.

"Could you repeat that?" he said.

"Uh-oh," I thought again, "Is there something I don't know?" This time "no" was the answer. Survey says..."Good answer!" (And true, by the way.)

So next I answer a few questions and the attorney said, "Do you agree with the previous testimony?"


"We did travel out of state to Colorado for the holidays," I said sheepishly. Oh man, have I just accused my husband of perjury? Are we going to be taken downtown? Wait, we were downtown - was this the end?

The question should have been, "Have you taken the child across state lines for the purposes of this adoption?" The other couple verifies that the question was worded differently, too. I'm not in trouble with my husbadn for clarifying!

What is a formal proceeding without a little humor, right? It's fun to laugh about this now, and maybe we lent some comic relief to a family courtroom in which all cases are not adoption finalizations.

Thanks for tuning in!