Saturday, October 29, 2011

just when you're sure they're not hearing you

Earlier this week some maintenance workers at our apartment were attempting to dig up some bushes with a large piece of equipment.  Why they didn't just use shovels, I have no idea.  Anyway.... 10 minutes into their job they hit a water line that sent water gushing from the ground for hours.  We lost our water for a few hours and the boys were watching the whole thing go down as if it were playing on an IMAX screen.

As they stood on our porch, watching what they knew to be clean water flowing out into the street, they both had the same surprising reaction.  "Mom!  They're wasting all that water!  People in Africa need clean water and all that water is just going into the street!"  I quickly explained that what happened was an accident and that they were doing their best to stop the water and that they weren't intentionally wasting water.  

But deep down my heart was bursting with joy.  See, sometimes I feel like a clanging cymbal or a broken record.  I'm constantly hearing things like, "We don't have ANYTHING good to eat." or "Can't we have something besides WATER to drink?".  And I am constantly reminding my children how others live, how thankful we should be, and how we are responsible for helping those who are suffering in ways we could never imagine.  And I usually feel like my children are listening and saying to themselves, "Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Yada, yada, yada."  But now I know.  They're listening.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

great oaks

Chaos has been reigning around this place lately.  So much so that one day last week I reached a breaking point and told all of the kids to stop what they were doing and meet me in the living room.  Once everyone was seated, I began explaining that we simply had to get to the bottom of what was causing so much bickering and whining and yelling and anxiety in our home.  Through tears (and quite honestly - slight hyperventilation) I explained to 3 wide eyed, and probably slightly terrified, children that our family was in NO way honoring God through the ways we were treating and interacting with each other.  In the midst of my monologue about how something had to change and how I couldn't understand what had gotten into us, a crushing reality rushed over me like a suffocating wave.  There was definitely a reason that we felt so far from God and his ways as a family.  I suddenly understood all too well.  It was because we actually were so far from God and his ways as a family.  Hello!  Slowly, but surely,  we had unintentionally let birthdays and math and picking paint colors and learning to read and crafts and clothes and just about everything else push it's way in front of God in our lives.  We had all but stopped communicating with God as a family.  I couldn't remember the last time we sat down to read scripture together.  Is it any wonder that the fruit falling from our family tree was just plain rotten?

So, this morning I decided we would begin our day in a more meaningful way than what had become the usual "hurry and up and get started on your math" way.  I knew I wanted to paint fall trees with our handprints and fingerprints today, so I considered what scripture we could talk about before beginning that activity.

Immediately, Isaiah 61 came to mind.  So we gathered around the table and feasted on this truth -

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
      for the L
ord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
      and to proclaim that captives will be released
      and prisoners will be freed.

 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
      that the time of the L
ord’s favor has come,
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
 To all who mourn in Israel,
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the L
ord has planted for his own glory.

We sat at the table talking about who the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, and the prisoners were and what it meant to mourn.  We talked about the fact that when we bring good news to the poor and when we comfort the brokenhearted and when we release the captives and free the prisoners..... those people will become like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.  So when we do these things, we are PLANTING GLORY for our God.

Then we watched this: (I know.  It's almost 9 minutes long.  Please, if nothing else, give them 9 minutes.  If nothing else, at least give them the time it takes to really see what their reality is.)

Sophia stood at my side as we watched. As the camera focused in on that one precious, chocolate colored little girl with a red scarf covering her head she said with a concerned look on her face, "Mommy, is she a captive?"  And all I could choke out was, "Yes baby, she is."  The camera then turned to a lady who looked to be about 50, but who knows?  She could've been much younger with a very tired body and a very old soul.  When Sophia saw her she said, "Mommy, is she a captive?"  "Yes baby, she's a captive too.  She's a captive to her circumstances."  Noah said in surprise, "So the famine is still going on?  When is it gonna end?"  I answered him honestly, "I don't know."

Here's what I do know.  I know that when we bring good news to the poor and comfort the brokenhearted and release the captives and free the prisoners.....  we are being used by the Creator of the Universe to help our brothers and sisters trade their ashes for beauty, their mourning for blessing, their despair for praise, and most importantly..... we are planting glory for GOD!

  There are 500,000 people in this camp alone.  500,000 hungry, poor, homeless, brokenhearted, mourning captives.  Prisoners to their circumstances.   The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us!  We've been anointed to do the very thing that Isaiah was anointed to do for Israel.  But what are we planting?  Chaos?  Education?  Success?  Entertainment?  Great Outfits?  Impressive Birthday Parties?  Fabulous Houses?  Athletic Excellence?

We've GOT to figure out how to start planting righteousness, Great Oaks, glory for God by bringing good news to the poor and comforting the brokenhearted. And for the love of God (literally), we've got to release the mourning captives wearing red scarves who are sitting in the dirt and sleeping in tents with only enough food and water to survive today.  We've just got to.  Great Oaks can be planted anywhere, I know.  And they should be planted everywhere christians are present.  

I just can't help but feel like the Horn of Africa is a field ripe for planting.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

sophia's 4th birthday - ART PARTY!!

My sweet Sophia is 4!  We celebrated with an all girl Art Party!  Some of our favorite girls of all ages painted, made cards, and decorated their own cupcakes.  With the arrival of a new baby sister, Sophia has recently been knocked off her throne.  It was great for her to have her very own special day!

home stretch

We are very hopeful that we will move into our new home in West Circle by the end of November!  There really are no words to express how ready we are to be out of the transition stage and finally see this vision be reality.  My husband is working around the clock in every spare minute to get us there as quickly as possible, which means that I have been working around the clock at home with very little relief.  We are both tired, traveling on nearly empty tanks and rounding the bend to weary.  A fly on the wall of this apartment might even say we've just parked our car at crazy.  Please keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks as we wrap things up, pack things up, and move on in to our farmhouse in the city!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

3 month update!

In some ways it feels like Selah can't have been with us for 3 months already!  But then again I can hardly remember her not being a part of our family!  This sweet girl has jumped right into the crazy life of being a Dixon and has never looked back :).  She is growing like a weed (a stinkin' cute weed).  She weighs at least 20 pounds and has nearly mastered walking and moved onto running!  She recently got her first tooth.  She says bye-bye, mama, dada, no-no and happy.  She makes a wide array of hilarious faces, including but not limited to the stink face and the fish face.  She waves and plays peek-a-boo.  She smiles with her entire face and she does a lot of it.  She's a healthy girl with the exception of some respiratory issues.  We often have to do breathing treatments with a nebulizer.  It could be something she will outgrow or it might be asthma.  She is a great sleeper and she is a girl who knows what she wants :).  She's into everything and has the greatest laugh your ears have ever heard!  She. is. beautiful.

Has adding a fourth child to the mix been challenging?  Of course.  Have there been lots of adjustments going on around here?  Absolutely.  Are we financially in debt over our adoption?  Um, yes.  Has there been one single moment that I've looked at her precious face and thought of her as anything other than MY daughter?  No.   Has there been one single moment that I would prefer the money or the comfort or the ease over being able to give my sweet girl a name and a home and a family?  Not one.  Does my heart BREAK when I think about her birth mother or when I picture her laying in an alley in Harar as a 4 month old baby?  Right in half.  Does my heart LEAP when it occurs to me that God has given me the incredible honor of being the one to feed her and change her diapers and struggle through breathing treatments and comfort her as the tooth breaks the skin and moisturize her crazy curls and laugh at her silly faces?  Wouldn't your heart leap at that?

Adoption is not easy.  Adoption is not cheap.  Easy and cheap are overrated.  
THIS is where it's at!

Monday, October 03, 2011

3 down 3 to go

All 6 Dixons celebrate their birthdays in September and October.  Noah, Micah, and I all turned a year older last month and Duane, Sophia, and Selah are up next!  Here a few more pictures from the boys celebrations:

Every year when I ask Micah what he wants to do for his birthday he says he just wants to go play at the park.  That is Micah.  So, on his actual birthday we went out for Mexican food, picked up a few GiGi's cupcakes and headed to the park!

big brother cole

big sister hannah

a serious game of football!

On the Friday night between the boy's birthdays (they are exactly one week apart), we had a movie night to raise money for the famine in the horn of Africa.  The boys agreed to do this instead of having people bring gifts.  The kids ate too much candy and flavored popcorn while the adults watched football and chatted.  They raised almost $150 dollars and when donated through World Vision it will be multiplied 5 times!

Then, finally, on Noah's actual birthday he requested to stay home and eat his favorite dinner have a cake made by mom :).  It was rainy day, so that worked out just fine!  It's hard to believe that my boys are 11 and 6!