Archive for April, 2010

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

The books are better

Talitha is a veteran when it comes to Narnia productions. She’s seen one stage production and several different movie versions.

Tonight, out of the blue, she said, “I can’t wait to talk to C. S. Lewis.”

“What will you tell him?” I asked.

“I’ll tell him I like his books a lot more than any of the plays or movies. They’re good, but the books are so much better.”

(And I’m partial to the versions of the books with Pauline Baynes’ illustrations.)

narnianarnia dvd

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Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Orphan Summit VI

Most of today and tomorrow I will be at most of  Orphan Summit VI sponsored by Christian Alliance for Orphans.

I plan to be tweeting in case you want to follow that way.

Here’s a taste from one of the organizations that will be there.

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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Just the Way I Am — win a book

just the way i amI have a friend named Krista Horning. She is an amazing young woman. One of the amazing things about her is that she has created a wonderful book praising God’s providence and sovereignty in a life affected by disability.

I want so many people to be blessed by this book. And I’m asking you to help me and perhaps win 2 books. Here’s how:

1. Please take a moment to think about who should have a copy of this book: Sunday school class? Grandparent of your own child? A friend preparing to be a physical or occupational therapist? Your doctor? A neighbor child?

2. Then, via the comments below (no emails) complete this thought: If I had 2 copies of Just the Way I Am, by Krista Horning, I would give one to ______.

3. Please enter this contest only once and only if you promise to give away one of the 2 books you’d receive as a winner.

4. Post your comment by the deadline of Friday, 4/30, midnight.

Mostly I’ll be choosing randomly from amongst all the comments, but if any of them catches my attention particularly, that one might automatically become a “random” choice.

Each winner will get 2 copies of Krista’s book–one to keep and one to give.

horning family
Krista and her family serving at
Joni and Friends Family Retreat last summer

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Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Andree Seu doesn’t speak. She talks.

Andree Seu says she’s not a speaker. But I don’t think anyone at our church’s women’s conference this weekend would agree with her.

In front of 700+ women, she spoke as if she was sitting in the living room getting acquainted with a handful of women in a totally natural, conversational, disarming way.

In other words, if you’re familiar with her regular columns in World Magazine, this is just what you’d expect. And if this conference was your first encounter with Andree, you have an idea what you’ll find in her writing.

Most of us came away with appetites whetted, wanting more. We can find it in her regular blog at World Magazine online (click on “blogs”) and in her books, which are collections of her essays.

They’re short pieces, in other words–ideal for the moments waiting in the car pool line-up, or while nursing the baby, or wherever you do your short reading spurts.

we shall have spring again

normal kingdom business

won't let you go unless you bless me

I’m not saying anything about the content of her talks because I want you to listen to them. I’m not sure exactly when, but they’ll be available for download at the Bethlehem website. I’ll let you know.

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Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Earth Day every day


For Craig and Tracy Sorley, every day is Earth Day. Their calling and life is to teach and demonstrate that we are stewards of God’s creation, for the sake of the name of Jesus. That’s why Craig wrote Christ and Creation: Our Biblical Calling to Environmental Stewardship.

We first knew Craig and Tracy when they were college students attending our church. Later they were sent out from Bethlehem to Kenya as missionaries with Care of Creation. The importance of the Sorleys work was recognized by Time in 2008 when Craig was named a Hero of the Environment. Last year, he was also featured in The Guardian in the UK.

I’m praying that some of you will be inspired to contact Craig for more information about how to be involved personally. At least one of you is an environmental engineer or a ground water specialist or an agriculturalist or otherwise interested in community development, and you are at loose ends wondering what God wants you to do next. Email Craig and ask for his ideas.

Some of you have been wondering how to promote good stewardship of the creation and want to be sure your money is also being used for the sake of the Kingdom. I hope you will pray about helping Care of Creation.

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.

(You can follow Care of Creation at Twitter.)

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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Earth Day–not just a slogan

Earth Day is a good time to remind myself that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (1 Corinthians 10:26). But there are many places on earth that bear the ravages of not being overseen with stewardship worthy of the Lord.

A couple of years ago, Talitha and I visited Kenya for the purpose of thinking about just these things. Our hosts were Craig and Tracy Sorley, missionaries from our church who serve with Care of Creation.

I met a man in Old Kijabe Town who says he cries every day remembering how today’s bare hills used to be green and covered with trees.

We had the totally humbling experience of trying to trek into the Rift Valley with women who spend an average of 40 hours a week just finding and hauling water and wood–necessities for their households.

Talitha was 12 at the time, but her thoughts about life there were amazingly mature.

What we saw was not all hopeless.

I sat with a room full of farmers in a  Care of Creation seminar about Farming God’s Way. We spent a day in Nairobi, where we visited a seminary and college that, at the time, were teaching or considering adding a course about caring for God’s creation. There were also visits to tree nurseries and a school and church where water is being collected.

When it came time to leave, Talitha’s goodbye to Kenya was sweet and thoughtful.


You can read more on this topic in Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation, by Ed Brown, Director of Care of Creation. You might also like to visit Ed’s blog, also called “Our Father’s World.”

Our Father's World

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Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Finding free ebooks for Kindle

Thanks to Justin Taylor for pointing me to this blog with instructions for finding free current Christian books for my Kindle.

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Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Love is not enough . . .

. . . or a better way to say it: Real love is not just sweet and easy. Look at what Jesus’s love for us cost him.

An easy, sweet love is not enough to raise any child, whether born or adopted into a family. And the love that some adopted children need is gritty, painful, agonizing, uncertain, and maybe a lot like death.

Jason Kovacs at The Abba Fund writes:

While more and more churches are calling their people to step out in faith to adopt and foster there is just as much need for them to call their people to count the cost and to provide the care they need when the child is home.

I see this included in the very passage we use to call people to adopt – James 1:27 says that “pure and undefiled religion before God the father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”

We do a disservice to adoptive and foster families if we are not helping them understand what that “affliction” means. We further disservice them by not doing everything we can to learn and understand and support them in entering that “affliction.” They cannot do it alone.

I hope you will read it all. And don’t overlook Jason’s links to a series of very helpful, thoughtful short videos for anyone who has adopted from a difficult place or is considering it.

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Monday, April 19th, 2010

More photos

Our talented tenant, Jenny, has posted a few of the photos she shot of Johnny and Talitha before the Father Daughter Tea on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Mighty Acts of God

mighty acts of godThe other day, Orison pulled a Bible storybook off my children’s bookshelf. He wanted Jonah. Then he wanted the ten plagues, which reminded me that Moses shows up in the New Testament as well. So we also read about the Transfiguration.

Mighty Acts of God, by Starr Meade, is written for children just a bit older than the usual Bible story book crowd. And in fact, it’s not really the book you want if you’re looking for the details of each story.

This is more of a commentary for grade schoolers–and an excellent one–using aspects of each story to draw out truths about God.

Each story in Mighty Acts of God is retold in lively, modern-day language from a Reformed perspective, and is followed by an application section with several discussion-sparking questions and prayer points. By moving chronologically through both the Old and New Testaments, parents and children glimpse the person of God as one of consistency, vibrancy, passion, and love. (Publisher’s notes)

This would make a good book for family devotions or for an older child to use for his or her personal devotions.

Might Acts of God is also available as an unabridged audiobook.

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Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Cut once, sewed once, dress done

I finally pushed through my silk-terror and cut out Talitha’s dress for the Father-Daughter Tea. And I worked with my procrastination perfectly, getting the fasteners sewed onto the jacket 45 minutes before Talitha needed the dress this morning.

At this moment, father and daughter are in a festive hall filled with  glittering daughters and proud fathers.

Talitha's red silk dress

Talitha's dress with jacket

johnny and talitha

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Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Adoption may be grueling, but it is good

I’m not going to defend the woman who put her adopted son and an airplane and sent him back where he came from.

But I’ve known enough tragically difficult adoption situations to make me wonder if more knowledge of the situation might not make it easier to have a little empathy with her. Not that what she did was right, but that we might see how she felt driven to an extreme solution.

What we can say for sure is that she got in over her head and made a very bad decision.

This video gives a helpful overview of the situation and beginning at about minute 3:45 asks most of the questions that are at the front of my mind:

  • Did this woman not receive adequate information about the child?
  • Did this child receive good treatment in the orphanage?
  • Did this woman get properly vetted ahead of time?
  • Did the agency examine her home study and other information carefully enough to make sure this was a good fit?
  • Did she receive training?
  • Was there ongoing support?

I’d also ask:

  • Was there adequate professional help available when she needed it, including from the adoption agency?
  • Was thought given to the difficulty of single parenting, especially with the adoption of an older child, which everyone knows is likely to be more stressful?
  • Were there a church and friends who were part of a personal, unofficial support network?
  • Was there sufficient language translation help so mother and son could communicate and to help the child make the difficult transition into another culture and language?

In an ideal world, every child would have a loving home. In an ideal world, raising children would be easy.

In the world we live in, parents and children in a loving home–whether born into the family or adopted– may have the “just the normal” stresses and joys. Or they may face the realities that one friend writes about, regarding children with attachment disorder or other disabilities, including fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Joint Council On International Children’s Services has asked that bloggers talk about the truth–that adoption is a good thing. Here’s a list of some families that are posting thoughts about their adoption stories.

Our own adoption story begins here and each post links to the next.

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