Friday, February 29, 2008

What if His People Prayed?

New Camera and ATF

It's been a long time since my last post, but nothing much has been going on. Jory has been really sick, running a temp of 103. I think he's finally getting better, but still not 100%.
My camera that Jack bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago had bit the dust. It will no longer charge. I took Jadeth's camera to Casting Crowns and wasn't happy with the pictures at all. So I bought a new one! I'm really anxious to try it out this weekend.
This afternoon we are leaving for Acquire the Fire at Kemper Arena. This is our 3rd year going and I cannot wait! It's always such a great time of worship and learning. I'm just praying that God will change some lives this weekend. But Satan is already at work and there's a lot of grumbling going on already. I'm praying God will just bind Satan from our teens for 24 hours and let them just be enveloped in His awesome love, mercy and power. I pray we all come back different people.
The Newsboys and Superchick are scheduled to be there. I've seen Superchick a few times, but I'm so excited to see the Newsboys! Oh, and we bought our tickets last year when we were there and we are front, center, floor! Our section is the first 10 rows, so we will not be any further back than that! How cool! I may be a little old for that, I don't know!
Anyway, God is amazing and continues to thrill us all. We've recently started a new bible study on Sunday night called "when God's people pray" by Jim Cymbala. I'm looking forward to it. I always want to close with the song by Casting Crowns, "What if His people prayed" as sort of a Rocky type thing to get up all pumped up! "What if the family turned to Jesus, stopped asking Oprah what to do?" How different our world would be!
Hopefully I'll get lots of pictures this weekend to share!
His... JMS

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Casting Crowns

For Christmas 2007, I got Jack 2 tickets to Casting Crowns at Kemper Arena. The concert was Saturday and we had such a great time! We dropped the boys off at my moms about 11ish and actually spent the rest of the day together in KC. The last time we spent the day together, just us for the entire day, was when we had to get fingerprinted at the DHS for our adoption. Those fingerprints are almost expired!:-( I just wanted to share a few pics of the evening. Enjoy ~JMS

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Welcoming the Year of the Rat

Happy Chinese New Year 2008. This is the Year of the Rat.
It just so happens I was born in the Year of the Rat! Will my daughter? Could be! Exciting stuff, I tell ya!
Read more about the Year of the Rat here:
"If you were born in the year of the Rat, prepare for a double dose of good fortune throughout the Chinese New Year!(now we're talking!) No matter what year you were born, you will make progress with new ventures. But be patient, as they will take time to grow to fruition." (tell me about it!)
May the rays of happiness shine on you always... and take you to greater heights.
Happy New Year -JMS

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today is the 1 year anniversary of our Log In Date with the CCAA in China. This is the date that our dossier was officially received in China and added to the pile.
Why adopt? Way back in 2005 our oldest son kept telling people we were adopting a baby from another country when he graduated. I have NO idea where this come from. I don't know anyone who adopted, it's not anything we had EVER talked about. So I don't know why on earth he started saying this!
Then Christmas 2006, Jacen wrote a letter to Santa asking for a baby sister! WHAT??? Where did THAT come from?
It would help if you knew that I was adamantly against having more children, especially a girl! I was so happy with my boys and they could go out to the garage with Dad. I would go to makeup parties and spa parties and all my friends brought their daughters. I would be so aggrevated wondering why they couldn't leave them at home and we could just have a girls night. I didn't get it! I was selfish.
Then this amazing thing happened... God started working in my heart. Things just starting lining up. We went to a Compassion concert and heard Geoff Moore talk about China adoption. Some friends at church brought their granddaughter one Sunday, adopted from China. We met a couple who are now some of our best friends and they had adopted all 4 of their children and kept planting seeds about adoption. Finally I asked our church friends what agency their daughter had used and just sent off for information. We talked about it and prayed about it and decided for our anniversary, May 1st, 2006, we'd just send in the application and see what happened. We were accepted and the paper chase was on.
The verse that sums this all up is from Matthew Chapter 6... This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. (The Message) God knew the desires of my heart, even before I did. He had this planned all along and He's gracious enough to let me think this was my idea! He didn't force this on us, He simply and tenderly guided us down this path. How awesome is He? How much better are the things He has planned for us than anything we could ever plan for ourselves. How wonderful it is to be right in the center of His will and let Him have control. Adoption is something I NEVER would have considered, if not for God's gentle hand shoving me in that direction. Thank You Father.

Monday, February 4, 2008

God's Mission: Adoption

God's Mission: Adoption
by Max Lucado
When we come to Christ, God not only forgives us, he also adopts us. Through a dramatic series of events, we go from condemned orphans with no hope to adopted children with no fear. Here is how it happens. You come before the judgment seat of God full of rebellion and mistakes. Because of his justice he cannot dismiss your sin, but because of his love he cannot dismiss you. So, in an act which stunned the heavens, he punished himself on the cross for your sins. God’s justice and love are equally honored. And you, God’s creation, are forgiven. But the story doesn’t end with God’s forgiveness.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:15–16 NASB).

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4–5 NASB).

It would be enough if God just cleansed your name, but he does more. He gives you his name. It would be enough if God just set you free, but he does more. He takes you home. He takes you home to the Great House of God.

Adoptive parents understand this more than anyone. I certainly don’t mean to offend any biological parents—I’m one myself. We biological parents know well the earnest longing to have a child. But in many cases our cribs were filled easily. We decided to have a child and a child came. In fact, sometimes the child came with no decision. I’ve heard of unplanned pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption.

That’s why adoptive parents understand God’s passion to adopt us. They know what it means to feel an empty space inside. They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future. If anybody understands God’s ardor for his children, it’s someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us.

God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Snow Slams China

Snow slams China; half million stranded at train station
Chinese officials say as many as 67 million people affected by weather

Heavy snowfalls put the nation into lockdown ahead of busiest travel week

There have been 24 deaths and 827,000 evacuations

Up to 500,000 stranded at a train station

By Jaime FlorCruz
BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Chinese workers and army soldiers were racing to sweep snow-covered highways and unclog railway routes for millions of travelers trapped by cold weather.

More than 67 million people have been affected by the weather and economic losses are expected to reach as much as $3 billion, Chinese officials say.

Blizzards have snapped power lines and destroyed houses and farmland, prompting fears of food and energy shortages. Twenty-four people have died and some 827,000 people have been evacuated in 14 different provinces, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday.

In the past week, the snowstorms have hit the provinces in central, eastern and southern China -- places that are used to mild winters, not extreme wintry blasts.

"We've never seen such a cold weather lasting for such long a time," said Tang Shan, a man in his 70s in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. "The last time we had one here was over 50 years ago, and not this bad."

The snow and sleet have paralyzed roads, railways and airports, leaving tens of millions of travelers marooned, officials say. Many of them are bound for home ahead of the traditional Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, which falls on February 7.

For several days before and after that day, an estimated 178 million Chinese will travel by train, and 22 million more by plane, officials say. Millions more will take long-haul vans and buses.

The Lunar New Year travel is China's busiest travel period of the year. But the cold snap is hampering travel plans. Railway and highway routes have been brought to a standstill, several regional airports have been closed and many provinces have imposed power "brownouts" to conserve energy.

On Hunan's major highways, more than 60,000 bus riders were stranded because of icy roads.

In the southern city of Guangzhou, as many as 500,000 train passengers were stranded the past few days when a power failure in neighboring Hunan province crippled the regular train services, local officials said. About 100,000 passengers packed the square in front of the train station while others found shelter in schools and other public buildings while waiting for their trains.

Even the local stock market seems affected by the nasty weather. The Shanghai composite index dropped by more than 7 percent on Monday, dragged in part by investors' concerns over the damage caused by the foul winter weather. Worst hit were transport and power stocks.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao has ordered urgent measures to unclog the transport jam and ensure a steady supply of food and energy.

"Let us mobilize urgently and work as one to wage this tough battle against the disaster," he said in an emergency meeting. "Let's ensure that the people enjoy a joyful and auspicious Spring Festival."

But more miserable weather is expected. China's weather bureau Monday issued a rare "red alert," warning of more severe snowstorms in the coming days. If so, the number of stranded travelers will surely swell.

Tang Shan, the retired official in Hunan, is staying put instead of joining the holiday exodus. Even so, he finds the frigid weather a big nuisance.

"Hospitals now treat children who caught colds and old people who sprained bones after slipping and falling," he says. "Even just walking in the icy street is perilous."