Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fall Festivities!

In case you've been wondering....YES, we do have fall here in Texas! Unfortunately, there is no brilliant display of fall colors, but there is most certainly a change in the air - that crisp, freshness that moves in, replacing the much heavier air of summer. Thankfully, this fresh air is for the most part still warm air; however, it's hard to believe that high-70s and low-80s can feel downright chilly at times.

Homeschooling, high school, hockey, and our preteen's and teenager's social lives keep us constantly in motion. I could write a page about the blessings of the awesome homeschool group we are a part of here (it's called SHINE). From the very first day we stepped into this group, they lovingly embraced each of us and made us feel like we belonged. We honestly never felt like outsiders. It is a very unique group of people like none I've ever experienced before...and they are so much fun! Trust kids are not missing out on anything being homeschooled. As a matter of fact, I can't keep up with all of the social functions and opportunities in which they can participate.

Our SHINE group hosts an annual fall "Hoe Down". The kids dress up in western apparel and meet for a Country Line Dance. Brittany had a BLAST and can't stop practicing the dances she learned.

Our Texas "star":

Below is a slideshow of some more fall festivities. Brittany was in another SHINE Radio Drama performance, "The Tell Tale Talent", and performed on Halloween night at a church fall festival. SHINE recently had a "Roaring Twenties" Mystery Dinner, so you'll see several pictures of our resident flapper and friends. Watch for our little chicken, too!

"You are God's Plan for the Orphan"

November is National Adoption Month. Last November, I was thrilled to find out that three major Christian ministries — FamilyLife Today, Focus on the Family, and Steven Curtis Chapman’s ministry, Shaohannah’s Hope — formed an alliance to speak out for orphans and to challenge churches and believers with this message: "You are God's Plan for the Orphan". Their Cry of the Orphan campaign is this year's attempt to do just that.

The following is taken directly from the Cry of the Orphan campaign's website at:

The 2007 Awareness Campaign, Cry of the Orphan, marks the second annual unified campaign to heighten awareness of the plight of the 143 million orphans around the world. The scope of this problem is too big for any one person or organization to solve. In the midst of this crisis, organizations from around the world are joining forces to make a difference. The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAO) seeks to “motivate and unify the body of Christ to live out God’s mandate to care for the orphan.” With over 75 members, the Christian Alliance for Orphans desires to see “every orphan experiencing God’s unfailing love and knowing Jesus as Savior.”

“[Many Christians] do not realize that caring for orphans is central to our call as God’s people. Churches so rarely talk about this issue. We are to be his hands extended in caring for the orphans just as God himself would. God’s plan for his people has always been for us to represent him to the world."
Kerry Marks-Hasenbalg, former executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
“We have been blessed with so much, yet too often we squander these blessings on our personal pursuits without a thought that God gives us these things to use for his Kingdom. Yet I believe the adoption of orphans is one of the greatest opportunities today for fulfilling the Great Commission. When children are received into families where they are introduced to the Savior, and grow up in a secure and loving environment, they are positioned to meet and experience the living God in a tangible way."
Dennis Rainey, president and cofounder of FamilyLife

What Does God Have to Say about Orphans?

God is their Father
Psalm 68:5-6a “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…” (NIV)

Ephesians 1:3-5 “How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.”

God is their Defender
Psalm 10:14, 17-18 “But you do see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You are the defender of orphans LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.”

Proverbs 23:10-11 “Don't steal the land of defenseless orphans by moving the ancient boundary markers, for their Redeemer is strong. He himself will bring their charges against you.”

God's Call to Believers to Care for the Orphan
Deuteronomy 10:17-19 “For the LORD your God is God of gods
and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt." (NIV)

Isaiah 1:16-17 “Wash yourselves and be clean! Let me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.”

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

How can we argue with or ignore that last one (or any of them...after all, these are God's Words)?!? Understandably, not everyone is in a position to adopt an orphan, but we all are in a position to help in some way. Think of the impact we could have on our society and generations and generations of societies through the changing of the lives of these precious ones. To find out how you can help, go to