Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just had to link....

If you are a mom and a blogger, read this. Thanks, Maggie!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A must-read article

A dear friend of mine with whom Adam and I taught when we lived in China sent me a link to a very important article she found in the NY Times. For those of you who have Chinese friends here in America, this is a must-read. If any of my Chinese friends are reading this, please read this article as well. This is a message that must get out to the Chinese community here in America.

This friend also sent me another interesting article about a study that concluded that different cultures read facial expressions differently. Very interesting piece, especially regarding emoticons. :P (for good measure)

(I'm secretly hoping that by linking to her very outdated blog, my friend will get the hint that she needs to start blogging again.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why I don't read novels

I was recently reminded again why I don't read novels. Because once I start one, I can't stop reading it!!! Novels take over my life: instead of sleeping, I read; instead of working out during my daughter's swim lesson, I read. When I'm not reading, I'm daydreaming about reading, and when the book finally ends, I experience a crushing loss of identity and purpose. Unless, of course, the book I just finished is one in a series, in which case my addiction can be fed until the series runs out.

This is why I never made it past the fourth Harry Potter book. The initial reason was that I went to China and didn't want to carry all the books with me. By the time I got back, I had become aware of the time I lost whenever I read novels and so was able to resist resuming the Harry Potter series. I must say though that I was very tempted to get back into them when the final book came out, but I eventually decided that feeding and clothing my family was probably more essential and that their basic survival would be put into jeopardy if I had picked up Books 5-7. But I digress...

So what has happened to remind me once again of the danger of novels? It started last year with two books by Anne Rice. Yup, the vampire lady. I never would have dreamed that I would ever be reading one of her books, but she apparently became a Christian (Catholic) several years ago and began to work on a series of novels about the life of Jesus, written from his perspective. I found out about them when Adam was assigned to read one of her books for one of his New Testament classes. The professor assigned the first one (Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt) because of her thorough research and depiction of life as it might actually have been during that time. It was a phenomenal book, and I quickly requested from the library a copy of the second one (Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana). Fortunately for my family's sake, she is still working on the third one, and so I was able to return to normal life soon after reading #2.

I read a few novels between then and now (The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, and I even started Moby Dick but never finished) but none of them consumed me until I borrowed The Kite Runner from a good friend. I can't remember a more gripping, heart-renching book. I finally stayed up late to finish it last night, but as in the previous nights I laid awake thinking about the book for an additional hour after I closed its cover. Everyone I know who has read The Kite Runner tells me that Khaled Hosseini's other book (A Thousand Splended Suns) is even better. To be honest, I'm not sure I could handle another of his books so soon. I feel that I still have much to absorb as The Kite Runner sinks in more deeply. For now, I will pray for Afghanistan and its people that God would bring peace and justice to this nation and deep healing to its people.

She reads!

Yesterday Katie read real, actual words: sit, sat, set, sob, and sun. Just a few weeks ago, she wrote her name for the first time. The process of learning a language (both orally and visually) amazes me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Please pray for my friend

My dear friend Laura has an extremely urgent prayer request. Please join us these next three days in praying that the cases for the two Ethiopian boys they are trying to adopt will pass before the Ethiopian court closes for the rainy season. Thanks in advance for joining us in being a persistent widow and an annoying neighbor!

Friday, August 14, 2009

How to get perspective

I love my girls. How can you not after witnessing all their cuteness in recent blog posts?

But because their mommy is a sinner, I sometimes lose perspective and, instead of enjoying them for who they are, I become annoyed at the quirks that mark this stage of life (like playing Peter Pan to the point that I'm unsure that my 4 month old will be able to recognize that her name is Caroline and not Michael or Tinkerbell).
I hope I'm not the only mother out there who struggles with this (otherwise I probably sound like a great big jerk...which I actually am which is why I believe in Jesus). Anyhow, in the chance that there may be other moms out there who can relate to my struggle, I'd like to share a strategy I recently adopted for helping me number my days and put my children's fleeting childhoods into perspective. (Note: this may only work for mothers of girls.) Here it is. Just at the moment you're about to pull your hair out, stop whatever you're doing, connect your iPod to the biggest speakers you have in your house, hold your crying 4 month old in your arms and grab the hands of your whiny 3 year old, and dance your heart out to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. I doubt you'll be able to make it through 45 seconds of the song without bawling like a baby and repenting of every harsh word you've spoken and bad thought you've thought towards your children. Try it, and let me know if it works on your bad attitude like it worked on mine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back to school and other updates

Ah, it's that time of year eraser scent, brand-new sneaker squeaks, and freshly sharpened pencils. Back to school. Incredibly, schools in our county started today. I'm still not used to the mid-August start date; where I grew up, school began the day after Labor Day. So, even though I love the fresh-start feeling that this season brings, I was still a little taken aback this morning when I heard the school bus barreling over the speed bumps in our apartment complex.

This was the summer that wasn't really summer for the McCullochs. Since Adam graduated in May of 2008 and has been working full-time since, there was no definitive beginning of summer which consequently made it feel like summer never happened. Even though we've had beautiful weather this summer in the 'Ville, I rarely spent much time outside, mostly out of laziness at the thought of hauling both girls around and messing with Caroline's feeding and napping. Ho hum. Thankfully, we have a beach trip with Adam's fam at the end of August to look forward to! It will actually be the first time Adam and I have ever been to the beach together (outside of a few hours spent at Rockport Beach). So even though Adam's classes begin next week, our beach trip will hopefully wring out of August a few more weeks of summertime freedom.

Wait, what's that you say, Mary? Adam's classes?
Yes, my dear reader, Adam's classes. For those of you who don't know, Adam is returning to Southern this fall to begin a ThM in Counseling, and we couldn't be more excited. As some of you know, the last four years haven't been the most sunshiney of our lives. Although they have been tough, we are beginning to see how the Lord has been using them to work in us, shaping us and molding us. In addition to His work in us, we are excited to report that we are also seeing Him beginning to work around us as well. It has been so awesome to see how the Lord directed Adam to pursue this ThM, gave me a heart that was fully supportive, and opened all the right doors and provided all the right means at all the right times. As a result of Adam's trip in May, it became more apparent that a ThM in counseling would not only be extremely useful in what we desire to do but that it could also open more doors than a MDiv alone.

We are still in the process of applying to go back overseas, and it appears that, even with the financial setbacks facing our company, our timeline to return to East Asia is aligning well with the conclusion of Adam's degree. We're hoping to make it to the final step of the process by December in order to go to training/orientation sometime next summer. Please join as we pray with these things in mind.

So, it's back-to-school time for the McCullochs, and as I've said before, I really love the fresh start that a new season offers. Appropriately, John Piper expressed a similar sentiment in his blog today.
And now, your reward for making it through this wordier post:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our real ballerina

A new dance studio opened up near us, and today they offered a free sample class to recruit students for the fall. As you can imagine, Katie was all about it. Thanks to some friends, we put together the outfit and were ready to go.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fun times!

Someone loves the exersaucer....

And someone can sit supported......while we laugh hysterically when she falls over!(Notice the pile of baby books strewn on the bed. I hate them all. I've finally figured out why the Baby Whisperer, whom I used to love, now infuriates me. Despite all she says, her book is clearly intended for bottle-fed babies. I still like her in general, but I laugh out loud now when she instructs me to add 1 ounce to each feeding. New moms, don't let her get to you too much....)