Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Family Bracelet Fundraiser November 23, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Etsy - Jewelry — Lori @ 11:32 pm

I have made for myself and some friends and family what I call a “family bracelet”.  You could also call it a “mother’s” or “grandmother’s” bracelet.

Here are some examples:

I am offering these bracelets as a special order for yourself or to purchase as a gift.  I can make a bracelet with three to eight birthstone crystals.  (If you need more than eight, I can make it with less silver and do up to twelve.)  In between the Swarovski 8mm crystal birthstone stations will be sterling silver seamless beads and Bali beads of varying designs.  Each crystal will be flanked with a sterling silver bead cap of various designs. 

I will make it with as many silver beads as necessary to make the design look balanced and for the bracelet to be the right size.  All components will be solid sterling silver, including the toggle clasp.

Here are the month crystal colors:

January – Garnet
February – Amethyst
March – Aquamarine
April – Clear Crystal (Diamond)
May – Emerald
June – Pearl or Alexandrite
July – Ruby
August – Peridot
September – Sapphire (I use a dark color, but I can use a lighter sapphire blue if you desire)
October – Pink Tourmaline or Opal
November – Topaz (I usually use a golden color, but I can use a light blue)
December – Blue Zircon or Turquoise

There are some alternative stones for several months:

My lighting in the photos is not the best – I apologize! 

I like to play with the birthstone color a bit if it helps the design of the bracelet.  If I think an adjustment should be made to your bracelet I will talk it over with you and send photos if necessary.  Some families have multiple birthdays in the same month.  For some months there are alternative color choices, such as November, which is Topaz.  I usually use a golden color, but you can also use a blue topaz. 

Here are the toggle choices:

If you are interested in placing an order, leave a comment or email me at goodbyeordinary (at) yahoo (dot) com.  You will need to tell me the months for the birthstones you want to use, the toggle design you like, and the length of bracelet that works best for you or the recipient of the bracelet.  The price is $50.  I can send you a paypal invoice to pay for your order.  If I need to mail it to you (because you don’t live in the Portland area), I can let you know what I need to add for postage cost when you choose the mailing method. 

The bracelet that I made for myself has my husband’s, mine, and all of my children’s birthstones – including Levi’s which is the opal for October.  Here it is:

Thank you for considering a purchase of one of these bracelets to help us raise money for our adoption!

Lori

 

Adoption Television Show November 20, 2009

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 4:19 pm

I just read an article on Rainbow Kids (dot) com about a new show ABC is putting on the air called Find My Family.  Here is part of the article:

In the most exploitive and disparaging-of-adoption media effort yet, ABC will air a sneak peak’ of their new series Find My Family on Monday, November 23rd. With a sensationalized and soap-opera style, ABC will take viewers into the lives of adoptees and birth families in their Search to be reunited.

With the tagline ” Some people have spent their whole lives searching for the one thing that matters most… Their wish will now come true. Let’s Find Your Family, producers completely discount any worth of the adoptive families who have loved and raised these children. Instead the show emphasizes the loss of a child’s ‘real family’ as the one-and-only central issue of all adopted children’s lives.

The entire premise of this show is upsetting on so many levels. I encourage every family of an adopted child to prepare mentally for the public reaction, and the reaction of their children who may find themselves the sudden center of assumptions about their needs, desires, and personal feelings on their adoption.

This new series is being heavily promoted on ABC. Created by the producer of Extreme Makeover, Find My Family is laden with emotional angst and tearful moments meant to increase ratings and viewership. Unfortunately, the general public’s opinion and understanding of adoption is largely shaped by the media. ABC’s exploitive new series will focus on the most extreme issues in adoption, and is sure to have an effect on how our children’s teachers, extended family, and friends view and accept adoption.

For years, the adoptive community has sought to rectify the past vilification of birth-parents as people who gave away their children. Birth parents are now widely recognized as the First Parents of children, deserving of love, respect, and understanding. It is in no one’s best interest to turn the tables and begin to portray adoptive families as second-class, or less-than’ a family created biologically. This new series is a step back for everyone.

Search and reunion of adoptees and birth families is part of adoption, and always will be. All adoptive families and birth families are connected through our children, whether we accept that idea or not. Our children bind us. It is a precious, priceless connection. This show cheapens and sensationalizes what is sacred. ABC, your show is an insult, and hopefully a flop.

If you are an adoptive family, you may want to check out the rest of the article which gives you ideas about how to talk with your children about the issues that may come up from friends or family who see the show and have questions because of it.

If you want to see a preview of the show you can find it here.

Thank you for reading, Lori

 

There’s More! November 18, 2009

Filed under: Bible Study,Books,Faith — Lori @ 11:50 am

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called Take Up Your Cross.  I didn’t really cover that subject from all sides and wanted to elaborate on it. 

The Lord graciously spoke to me recently when I was watching a DVD called, “The Blazing Center” by John Piper where he delivers a teen version of his “Christian Hedonism” theme (devoting yourself to finding your joy solely in God) from his famous book, Desiring God.  (As a side note, I will mention that many things seem to be on sale at the Desiring God bookstore if you are interested in shopping.)

I was reminded that we are not only commanded to obey God, we are commanded to obey God with joy – or a right attitude.  I demand this from my girls all the time.  Our mantra is “obey right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart.”  That is exactly what God wants of me as well.

Psalm 100:1,2  Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!

Philippians 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say, Rejoice.

Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Doesn’t it seem as though God is commanding us to be joyful and to delight in Him?  It is just another command that we do not obey in our own strength, but with God’s grace helping us.

There is another aspect to joy.  That is that we, as God’s children, are promised a heavenly or future reward.  I think of how the author of Hebrew’s described Jesus:

Hebrews 12:1,2   Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus certainly had a hard road to walk during His incarnation.  He endured it – in part – because He knew the joy that was before Him.  The joy I think He looked forward to is partly what it says at the end of verse 2, “and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  He had joy knowing there was a reward.  Of course, He also had joy that He was obeying His Father and giving Him glory – just as we should.

Do you think we shouldn’t be joyful knowing there is a reward at the end?  The Bible says that Moses did.

Hebrews 11:24-26  By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward

I guess I am trying to remind myself that although I may face trials and suffering in this life, the reward – not just in the future, but even the blessings God has for me now in my trial – are worth far more than any pleasure I might find in living my life for my own fleshly desires.

The most recent part of the Blazing Center DVD I watched talked about our vertical relationship with the Lord and that when we find our joy and contentment in that relationship it allows that joy to overflow out of our life – horizontally – into the lives of others.  That is how the world sees Jesus’ love in us.

Now, isn’t that what the Christian life is REALLY about?

 

Sale a Success! November 16, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith — Lori @ 10:40 am

I just wanted to let you know that my craft/jewelry sale on Saturday was a great success.  And that success was on several levels. 

Yes, I made a good amount of money and that is great.  But, I was so encouraged by those who made the effort to come and had even purposed to do their Christmas shopping at the sale in order to help us out.  Thank you!

I was also encouraged by a friend from church who offered to bring some beautiful wooden jewelry boxes he had made for me to sell and keep the proceeds.  The boxes were well made and all very unique.  We sold quite a few of them!  Thank you so much!

I was also encouraged by a wonderful friend of over twenty years who took lots of her precious spare time to make some crafts for me to sell, helped me with the sale – including staying with me all day, and just constantly lends her love, enthusiasm and support to our family.  Thank you with all my heart!

I will continue to keep my Etsy shop stocked and will do my best to get new things made and posted so that if you are still shopping for Christmas, you can keep checking for new things.  If there is something specific you are looking for, a color, style, or whatever – let me know and I will do my best to make what you want.  If you live in the Portland area, just contact me and let me know what you want to purchase that you see in my Etsy shop and you can avoid the shipping charges by picking it up.  Don’t order through Etsy if you want to do that.  Just let me know what you have seen online and I will set it aside for you.

Thank you also to those of you that prayed for my sale and continue to pray for our adoption!

 

 

Easy Dinner Recipes November 11, 2009

Filed under: Cooking,Life — Lori @ 11:22 pm

I have been buying and cooking the pork sirloin four-packs from Costco for awhile now.  I have come up with several ways to cook them that are tasty and make dinner preparation pretty easy.  One roast will feed the five of us with leftovers. 

I have several combinations I use for seasoning.  1) Cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 a cup chicken stock, and a package of french onion soup.  2) Can of diced tomatoes, sliced onions, 1/3 cup red wine, beef stock, package of french onion soup, sprinkle meat with cinnamon, and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce.   3) Sprinkle some brown sugar, barbeque sauce – cover the whole roast well, and some apple juice.  For all of these recipes (except the barbeque one) I make mashed potatoes because the juice makes a nice gravy.

I don’t put very much liquid in (about 1 cup) because it is kind of like a crock pot in that it makes moisture inside the closed lid.  I apologize for the lack of definitive measurements.  I just kind of throw stuff in.  I am sure you can come up with different variations on your own.  If you do, please pass it on to me!

I put the roast in a Corning-Ware baking dish that has a lid.  If I had a dutch oven I would use that.  (Hint, hint, I would like a Dutch oven for Christmas!  They have a nice looking oval red one at Costco right now. :-))  Preheat your oven to 400 and place the covered dish in the oven.  When you shut the door, turn the oven down to 250 and don’t open the door until you are ready to eat it.  I usually put mine in at noon and we eat around 5:00.  If you want it in longer, turn down the temperature to 225.

My latest creation came from my trying to figure out how to make that great pulled pork that Baja Fresh serves in their pork tacos.  I used green chile salsa poured to cover the roast, about a teaspoon of cumin sprinkled over the roast and in the liquid on the sides, about a 1/2 tsp. of Chipotle chili powder, chicken broth, half a sliced onion, and three minced garlic cloves.  When it is done I pull it apart in the juice and serve it with heated corn tortillas and taco fixings. 

I also found a great recipe online for Spanish rice.  It can be found here.  It is the best recipe I have tried for Spanish rice and makes a great complement to the pork tacos.

This is my handy hint for the year! 🙂  Enjoy.

Lori

 

Coffee Report – A Brief Commercial Break November 10, 2009

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 12:48 am

African Skies (Fair Trade) 16oz.If you remember, we are doing a fundraiser with Just Love Coffee for our adoption.  We have ordered from them twice now and I thought I would report what we have found to you.

Our first coffee order, we got one pound of Selam Tsehai, a blend.  The coffee arrived in about four days from the date of our order.  The beans are fresh and Kevin said that it ground and brewed well.  We use most of our coffee for espresso or french press.  It had a nice smooth flavor.

We recently ordered some African Skies blend and Sumatra.  We received it today so we haven’t tried it yet, but it also arrived in four or five days from the day we ordered.  It smells wonderful!

If you order two pounds it costs the same shipping as one pound – $5.00.  They send it priority mail. 

Craft Sale:

I am holding a craft/jewelry sale at my home this Saturday (Nov. 14) as a fundraiser for ourIMG_9367_1 adoption.  If you are in the Portland, Oregon area and would like directions to my home, leave me a comment and I will email you the information.

IMG_0166_1

If you aren’t in the area, check out my Etsy shop and do some Christmas shopping.  Once my sale is over on Saturday, I will be adding some more jewelry to my online shop.

Thanks for reading.  Lori

 

A Chance to Die November 6, 2009

Filed under: Books,Faith,India — Lori @ 3:35 pm

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy CarmichaelI finished reading Elisabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael entitled A Chance to Die.  It has been a few weeks since I finished it, but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and put together my thoughts about this book until today.

Amy Carmichael was a driven woman.  Her drive was not to be successful or happy.  Her drive was to serve God and bring Him glory while bringing people who didn’t know the Lord to the knowledge of Him.  She must have been an oddity in her time – a woman, unmarried, young, and with an intense feeling God was calling her to be on the mission field in 1892.  She was a true disciple who did not turn away from tough situations.  She allowed God to guide her steps and plans.  She began in Japan, but ended up in India and stayed there for fifty-three years.  She established Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for children in moral danger – children who were orphaned or unwanted and sold to the temple.  She became the mother of these children.

Amy was not a saint.  Amy was a sinner just like you and me.  She had many faults.  I think what sticks most with me after reading this book was her undivided focus on finding God’s will and doing it – whatever it cost. 

One thing I hear over and over from people who have gone above and beyond what most of us do to obey and serve God with our lives; and that is that they are questioned about whether that is really what they should be doing.  “Aren’t you doing too much?”  “Aren’t you too young to be responsible for so much?” “Do you really think God is asking you to do that?”  Why are they questioned in this way?

Perhaps it is because we judge them by our own standards – or our own fears.  But, don’t you think that when things are attempted that are beyond ourselves we are met with the power of God and that is why things can be accomplished that seem impossible to us?  What a blessing it can be to be part of this kind of work!

Amy had to confront the Hindu religion with all its superstitions and many gods.  There is one story recorded in the book about a morning when Amy picked up a hand bell and rang it to gather the servants for prayers. 

“The cook’s small boy, pointing to the bell, said, “It’s a god.” 

(From Amy’s journal)  I looked at the thing, it had a scratched face on the handle, and the face, he declared, was Ram’s.  I think the young scamp meant nothing more serious than a bit of mischief, but I knocked the bell handle off and pushed it into a fire which was burning near.  He could never say that again!  They all looked on, servants and coolies, and nobody said a word.  Would a god let me do that?  I asked them, and walked off, carrying the battered bell.

Another time she was in the hills walking and saw three stones under a tree which her Indian co-worker Saral said were heathen idols.  “To see those stupid stones standing there to the honor of the false gods, in the midst of the true God’s beauty, was too much for us.  We knocked them over and down they crashed and over they rolled forthwith.  Oh the shame of it!  It makes one burn to think of His glory being given to another.”

She has several statements attributed to her that are recorded for history.  In response to a fellow missionary who said that she would not last for long if she lived in huts and among the people she said, “I would rather burn out than rust out.”

Something else she often spoke of was the opportunity she had to give her life for Christ.   This desire is where the title of the book, “A Chance to Die” comes from.

She found out during her time in India that doing God’s work was not always glamourous.  She came to have a small band of women – Indian ladies who had forsaken their earthly wealth and position to serve God with her. 

The women of the Band were learning that if the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples (the job of the lowest slave in an Eastern household), then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning.  To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task, “Could it be right,” Amy had asked, “to turn from so much that might be of profit and become just nursemaids?”  The answer was yes.  It is not the business of the servant to decide which work is great, which is small, which important or unimportant – he is not greater than his master.  (A Chance to Die, pp 182,183)

At a crucial time in the ministry in India one of the other missionaries, Thomas Walker, a man she had come to hold a great respect for, unexpectedly died. 

Excerpt from the book:  Kind people, wanting to console, made the usual observation: “It is very hard to see how this can be for the best.”

“We are not asked to SEE,” said Amy.  “Why need we when we KNOW?”  We know – not the answer to the inevitable Why, but the incontestable fact that it is for the best.  “It is an irreparable loss, but is it faith at all if it is ‘hard to trust’ when things are entirely bewildering?”

Others, with a sigh and shake of their head, observed that it is difficult for us human beings to escape bitterness, even dumb rage, when such things happen.

“It is indeed not only difficult, it is impossible.” Amy wrote.  “There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that come naturally to us – To will what God wills brings peace.” 
(A Chance to Die, p. 220)

I wish that I was more ready to trust God and His providence.  How much more peaceful my life would be if I did.  Too often I still ask God to explain “Why?”  And, he  never has answered that question.  He doesn’t need to. 

The one trait that always accompanies the lives of people who are doing great things for God is a devoted prayer life.  I have always felt that I fall woefully short in this area.  What could God do in my life if I devoted an hour to prayer every day?  Why is it so hard to set that time aside?

Amy had three rules of prayer that helped her “family” to save time and energy in prayer meetings. 

1.  We don’t need to explain to our Father things that are known to Him.
2.  We don’t need to press Him, as if we had to deal with an unwilling God.
3.  We don’t need to suggest to Him what to do, for He Himself knows what to do.
(A Chance to Die, p. 365)

I find those interesting rules – and certainly fitting.  How often I break them!  I always think I know how God should take care of things.  Isn’t it funny that I am NEVER right? 🙂

I would definitely recommend your reading this encouraging and challenging biography of Amy Carmichael.  It could change the way you look at the task – whatever it is! – that God has called you to do.

Have a great weekend.  Lori

 

 
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