Monday, February 28, 2011

Children in church

Here's a quote about children in church from Voddie's Baucham's church Grace Family Baptist Church's website....

"Nurseries tend to hide problems that need to be corrected. Children who cannot sit through a service need training and discipline, not isolation. Moreover, if these children cannot sit through the service, they are probably giving their parents fits at home (thus their desire to dump them off at the nursery on Sunday morning). We patiently teach inexperienced families how to walk with their children through this process and it blesses their home, their marriage, their relationship with their children and the testimony of the church."

Amen, amen, amen!

As I've been broaching this sensitive (almost as sensitive as when you mention that you homeschool!) topic with friends, these are basically the defenses I keep hearing:  1.  you don't know MY child, he would never sit there, 2.  I wouldn't get anything out of church, 3.  children need to hear a lesson on their level and be around other children their age, etc.

You're right, I don't know your child, but God does!  What better lesson than to hear God's word preached from the pulpit?  I would rather my children receive the gospel from a pastor that God has chosen to lead our local church than someone filling a time slot.  (I understand that many/most of them are loving adults, I just don't feel that they all have the gifting and annointing of teaching/preaching...) If we go to church to worship God, get a message from God; are our children any different?   Can't they worship God and get a message from God?  I also don't see how children being around other children will encourage them to reach higher and press deeper into God and not stay at the status quo.  By being around the adults of the church, they have a higher exposure to the Titus 2 principle--to be mentored, exhorted, and encouraged by Christian men and women.

As for getting God's word for us at church, church isn't all about you.  I also believe that it is just a season, a season of training.  God is the God of seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  I believe the effort we put forth for this season will reap such benefit and dividends!  What a legacy we can leave our children.  I love how this paragraph from The Family Worship Book discusses the importance of children being in church with us as a family:

"How does this commitment to public worship relate to the family's spiritual well being? The effect upon parents is clear enough.  Spiritually nourished parents make for better families.  But the "family pew" has more in mind than sanctifying parents.  When your children are brought with you into public worship, they too are sanctified.  Your children, from their earliest years, will be ushered along with you into the presence of God.  They will be brought under the means of grace and will experience the fellowship of God's people week after week as they mature through childhood.  Beyond this, they will sit by you Sunday after Sunday, watching you publicly humble yourself before God and submit to His word.  Among their earliest and warmest memories will be those of holding their parents' hands during church, sitting close to their sides, following along in the hymnal, placing money in the offering plate, and bowing their heads in prayer.  Do not underestimate the cumulative effect of this witness upon covenant children.  No doubt it is considerable, even incalculable."
I don't think I can say it any better.  Isn't that what we want for our children?  

{Two books in particular that I have been reading on this subject are Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God by Voddie Baucham Jr. (Especially from chapter 9 on) and The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson.  They discuss the correlation between the rise in the children's ministry movement and the rising loss of our youth from the faith.  From Family Driven Faith, "According to researchers, between 70 and 88 percent of Christian teens are leaving the church by the second year of college." (Report to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee).}  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A special visit from our China sisters!

My great friend Dawn and her 2 girls, Bekah and Leah, flew down to visit with us this week.  (They're not really my girls' sisters, it's just become a sweet term that the girls in our group call each other.)

 Here we are at the airport waiting for them to arrive.

 Leah has taken a liking to Jacob.  

We took them to see the house in BLR today.   It appears to be lady bug season again.  There were MANY inside the house.  The girls decided to capture them.  Here they are letting them crawl all over them.

Leah took this stunning picture of Shaoey!  What a photographer!  Of course she also had a beautiful model to work with...

Our 4 Chinese girls:

Bekah and Shaoey

 Shaoey and Leah

Marveling over the popcorn maker!  The joys of childhood.

 Bekah playing frisbee with Troy.  

Dawn and Bekah

OH MY--How stunning!

Jacob enjoying being taller than Connor!

Bekah has attached herself to Connor and seems quite smitten with him.  She is beside herself with joy to be playing with the Nerf guns. 

We are having such an awesome visit.  The girls are getting along fabulously.  The boys are being awesome big brothers to ALL the girls.  And Dawn and I are having so much fun visiting in person.  Thanks to our wonderful husbands for allowing us to arrange this visit.  We are so blessed!

Monday, February 14, 2011


I'm so indebted to a family that was just at SFCV.  These pictures are my lifeline and my heartache.  I love to see photos of our sweet girl.  She is growing so big and even more beautiful, but my heart aches for her.

Hope you enjoy them like I do:

The love of my life....

The love of my life....
He just keeps growing more and more handsome and irresistible as the years pass....

It's with such fond and precious memories that I look back on our first Valentine's day 24 years ago.  We thought we were so grown and wine coolers at Mr. Gatti's.  It's a tradition that, like our love for each other, has stood the test of time.  To this day, we still celebrate with pizza, only now it's home made and one little heart shaped pizza wouldn't feed our crew!  (This picture from January 1987 was the closest I had to our first valentine's day.  Isn't he just adorable!)

(Wedding day, June 1993)

Who knew God would lead us on such a wild roller coaster ride to where we are now.  I thank God for such an amazing husband.  I am so deeply and richly in love with you, honey.  I am honored to love you, serve you, and be your helper.   

I love you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Happy (lunar) New Year!

[For some reason, I never really gave much thought to the fact that it's not just Chinese New Year, there are other countries that also celebrate the lunar new year.  Thanks to a new friend for making me more aware of that!  Obviously we've celebrated it as Chinese New Year with out 2 Chinese princesses, but I am always glad to learn more about the asian culture.]

But I digress..

We celebrated the new year yesterday.  The girls wore their Chinese outfits: 

atleast until Grace got sick all over her's before I could get a picture.  She ended up napping ALL day until about 2.. (no wonder she was up at 3:30 this morning, sigh.)

eating a popsicle...the first thing she kept down all day

The kids decorated the table with red paper lanterns, panda bears, chopsticks and all!  

I cooked one of the kids favorites--pork fried rice.  I thought I'd show you our recipe.   I think they liked it---they asked me if I could cook it every night!  (recipe is at the bottom of this post)

Rice is obviously an important ingredient in fried rice.  Did you know it comes out better when you cook the rice the day before?  It's true.

Some of the other ingredients--
It really helps to have everything ready to go because the cooking stage moves rather quickly

Grace decided she was ready to eat.  Here she is in outfit number 2.

Here's the finished product.  We also had potstickers and pork buns.  (BTW, the pork buns were not yummy.  We bought them at our local oriental market--don't think we'll be buying them again.  We loved the ones in China...)

 And our grand finale..........................Chocolate Wontons                                                                                                                                  (from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook)

These are so easy and SO yummy!
All you need is one egg and a tbs of water mixed together, wonton wrappers, 12 pieces of chocolate (like Hershey's nuggets), oil, and powdered sugar.

Lay out the wrappers, place a piece of chocolate on each one (more on one half than the other), use your finger (or pastry brush) to put the egg mixture around the outside of the wonton, fold it in half and press to seal.  Heat about 2" of oil.   Slide a few of these in at a time.  Cook about 1 1/2 minutes per side until golden brown.  Remove and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Ta da!  The kids LOVE these!

Pork Fried Rice Recipe:
2 cups long grain white rice
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
3 eggs, beaten until just blended
2 tbs peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
3 scallions thinly sliced including some of the tops (about 1/3-1/2 a cup)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 cups cooked pork (or chicken or shrimp...)
Sesame oil

Break up any clumps of cold rice.  In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce and the oyster sauce.

Coat a wok (or large skillet) with nonstick spray and heat over medium-high heat.  When it's hot, add the eggs, swirling them around to make sure they coat the pan.  Cook without stirring (I just continue to swirl around) until the eggs are firm and cooked but not browning then slide onto a plate for cutting.  

Add the oil and return the wok to high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the peas and scallions and cook, stirring constantly, until the scallions are limp (a minute or 2).  I then stir in the meat and bean sprouts and stir and heat a moment before adding the rice, sauce mixture, and eggs.  Continue to cook until the rice is heated through.  Drizzle with sesame oil to taste (it doesn't take much!)