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Saturday, March 24, 2012

If Heaven's Not my Home

...then, Lord, what will I do?

I mean, if this earth, this body, this microcosm is all I have - I have nothing. You have my heart. You, and only You accept me in pure, divine, un-contaminated, holy love.

I am a fool to look to this world to satisfy. My heart must be anchored to You in Your dwelling - which is my true home. Let me not think that this world has anything to offer. Let me be dissatisfied with it's trinkets and lures - and long even more for my true home with You.

It isn't heaven so much that I long for - though heaven sounds grand - but the God Who has sought, wooed and won my heart that has captured my longings. The very physical presence of God, which I know in some small sense here - because the kingdom of God has taken up residence within me - will be all the more evident. His radiant glory will be seen - and His presence known in ways I cannot fathom.

So, Lord, continue to capture my heart. And let me live patiently here - with this sin-sick world and my own sin-sick soul. Would you be my healing balm, my joy, my crown and help me to wait for the day I'll see you face to face?

Because:
This world is not my home -
I'm just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door -
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like You!
If heaven's not my home, then Lord what will I do?!
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Tiger, Helicopter or The Bunny Rabbit

I am a Bunny Mom. You read that right. Not a Tiger. Not a Helicopter. But a Bunny Rabbit

You see, I do not drive my kids to overexhaustion with activity and accolades. But I think it sounds like a nice idea.

I don't hover over my kids, worrying and fussing, and filling in their gaps. But it sounds like something I'd like to try someday.

I am a perfectly created type B, Bunny Rabbit Mom.

I putter from thing to thing - sniffing the air, nibbling on stuff along the way, pleasantly plump, just a little fluffy - only lacking the floppy ears - and digging my nose into the nest to see what I find. This goes right along with being an ADD Mom.

You have heard of A.D.D. - Attention Deficit Disorder - which is really a misnomer - ADDers can be hyper-focused for lengthy periods of time - and in my opinion it is only a disorder because the other 90% of people think we're odd. People say it's on the rise. Not true. It's just we were hardwired this way by our Creator and our society and atmosphere has changed but we haven't.

I believe ADDers were simply meant to grow up on a farm. We would hear the cows mooing and go, 'Oh bother, needing to be emptied again, here we go...' and we'd roll out of bed to go milk. Not the type A, super-vigilant, hyper-organized farmer, who would've been up BEFORE the cows to gain some sort of spiritual nourishment and probably physical nourishment as well. Us Bunny types would just commune with God at the feeding stool. Can you imagine the difference?

Type A farmer: 'Gotta milk the cow, gotta milk the cow... oh, why does it take so long... come on Bessie, work with me... so much to do today, how will I ever get it done, and there's Sally and Johnnie to help with their chores and make sure they stay out of trouble... well, I have a plan for them...' and on and on it goes...

Bunny Rabbit type: 'Come along Bessie, sorry we're a bit late today... well, you seem in a good mood today. Look at this lovely creature - isn't it amazing that God made you and makes your milk fill up every day? Thank you God for this cow - and how You keep her working and all. Feel that smooth fur - look at that white milk. Ahh, the smell of the barn - some wouldn't care for it, but it's quiet and dew-drenched and I'm just going to take it all in.' At which point screams erupt from the farm-house and little Sally yells, 'He took my banana!' and Johnnie yells, 'No I didn't! You took my toast!' and Sally yells, 'That's 'cuz you sat in my chair!' and the Bunny farmer Mom goes, 'Here we go Lord, let me not nip at them because they're annoying... I'm still groggy and tired, but help me to know what to do.' and she slowly meanders in to sort out the chaos that has ensued in her absence.

A Bunny Rabbit is different from the fastidious, over-charged, grouchy Rabbit from Winnie-the-Pooh. In fact Pooh would qualify as a Bunny Rabbit if he were a Mom. He'd putter from thing to thing with the highest priority being that one does not run out of honey.

I think Mary (in the Mary and Martha story) was like this. She was captivated by Jesus and spared no time to talk with, listen to and learn from Him.

As a type B Mom, I might actually stop and smell the roses. Then I'll take the time to arrange them. Then I'll grab a sketch pad and pencils to draw them, even though I'm not an artist and it's a waste of time to try. But the beauty will inspire me to try. And the moments will pass without my ever having been aware of it. And I will have worshiped in some small way and thanked God for the beauty of the simple things. And in the midst of my profound thoughts, a baby will cry and call my attention to her, and I will go, and thank God for the baby that cried.

Some would say this is a disorder. It probably is to some degree. But after all my study into this area of psychology, I must conclude that God made me uniquely this way and out of it flows worship and praise and thanksgiving to Him.

Because a Bunny Rabbit, type B, has a worshiping heart. We never lose our sense of wonder and amazement at the world God has placed us in.

That's the positive side - the negative is we may fail to get things done, suffer from chronic disorganization, nip at people when they're in our way, leave lots of messes behind us, confuse those we live with as to why we putter from thing to thing.

There's always the good with the bad. But God give me grace to grow in structure, order, dilligence, discipline and nipping at people. And I'll continue to stop and worship, love and adore Him, thank Him and praise Him throughout my puttering-about kind of life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contentment is NOT a Spiritual Gift

If you're tired of me talking about contentment, get used to it, because this bee in my bonnet does not seem to go away. I do not do well with whiney people, be they kids or adults. If you want to annoy me and stir up my own discontent, just let your discontent overflow to me. The challenge for me comes in those cases to not allow others' joylessness to steal my joy.

Some seem to side-step this topic because, well, it just isn't their strong suit. I mean, can't I just use the cop-out, 'It's not my gift,' and go on my merry way, pursuing more and more and distracting myself from deeper soul issues with the search for the next thing - that thing being not only material possessions, but other pursuits as well: education, health, organic anything/everything, creative money-saving endeavours (though time-consuming)...

I believe if I sat at a proverbial Lemonade Stand that said, 'Contentment for sale!' I'd have NO customers. I wonder if people really want to be content. It is the thing everyone seems to be looking for but no-one really wants to find.

It is not a spiritual gift because it is LEARNED. And Paul (the Apostle, that is) referred to it as a SECRET. I heard there was a very popular book out a while back titled something like 'The Secret' - well, I never looked at it, because I know the SECRET. You will find it in Philippians 4:13. And don't look it up without reading the whole context. People use that verse to talk about how they can conquer battles, struggles, problems they face. But the point of it is really 'I CAN be content, and I can LEARN to be content, no matter what situation I face.' American culture seems to be all for us conquering everything - we like to be powerful and dominating and controlling of everything in our lives. People 'battle' cancer, but 'come down with' a cold. Contentment is actually something within our own power to control, if we allow God to help us. It is not a gift, it is a discipline.

And it should be a JOYFUL discipline.

Now, I am not one to talk about discipline about anything. It is my perpetual achilles heel of life - the 'D' word strikes terror into my self-indulgent little heart.

But, as I learn DISCIPLINE, perhaps I can learn contentment on the journey, because the secret of contentment is the source of my strength: 'I can do ALL things through Christ Who gives me strength.' In context then, 'I can BE CONTENT in ALL things, through Christ, Who enables me to be strong in the face of difficulty.' That is my loose, un-Greeked, translation.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Because I'll forget, part 2

I wonder if I'll remember the fun times as well as the silly or trying times. Do parents remember the quandaries of what to do because the 5 y/o is perpetually misbehaving at bedtime, keeping the 10 y/o awake!?

Will I remember sitting on a stool outside their door, listening for the first one to make a sound and jumping in to startle and scare them so they'll stay quiet next time?

Will I remember lying in bed with each child and praying over them, long, long passages of Scripture from memory so as to bore them into sleepdom? Will I remember which were their favourite hymns to have sung to them at bedtime?

Like tonight, when Timo said, 'If you keep singing 'The Lord's my Shepherd' I won't know any other songs!' At which point I switched to 'Tis so sweet to Trust in Jesus.'

Or when I asked Caleb what song he'd like, and he said, 'How firm a foundation' which he recently learned at school.

Will I remember rewarding them with back-scratches at bedtime - 5 minutes for the first one in bed and 4 for the next and 3 for the next? And how Andrew kept calling me, 'Come to my bed Mommy!' And when I get there he has a handful of Lego's and tells me, 'Build something.' To which I reply, 'I'm no good at building, Caleb can build it for you tomorrow.'

Will I remember the conversations I have with the kids in the dark on their beds - like last night with Priscilla:
'What do you want to be when you grow up?'
'I don't know. What do you want me to be?'
'I want you to be whatever God wants you to be.'
'But what would you want to be if you were me?'
'Well, I can't remember what I wanted to be when I was your age. But if I could grow up all over again, I wouldn't mind studying biology and doing research in a lab, or studying writing, or piano playing, or nutrition...but those are just the things I'm curious about - God has made you who you are, so you may have other ideas or interests!'
'Oh, maybe I want to be a Doctor.'
'That's great Priscilla. Maybe you can always rub my feet like you are right now, because I'll miss that!'

These are the days that demand wide-open ears to detect the murmurings of their hearts. And so often I fail to catch what is going on inside them.

'How can I pray for you Caleb?'
'Pray that I will remember to come to you when Timo or Andrew are bothering me.'
'Well, can I pray you won't get so bothered too?'
'But I try not to get bothered but they don't listen when I tell them to stop!'
'That's why you need to come to me.'
'That's what I asked you to pray for.'
'Oh. Sorry. I'll pray for that.




Thank you for being my audience and making sure I don't forget.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Socks

The other day Hannah spit up after I had just changed her, and I naturally exclaimed, 'Oh Hannah! You've decorated your nice outfit, time to go change again!' At which point Priscilla bust out laughing and started repeating, 'Hannah decorated her outfit!' Now whenever I spill something, or Hannah spits up on me, Priscilla will say with a laugh, 'Did you decorate Mommy's shirt Hannah?!'

I then realized that though I hadn't really said it to be funny, the way it sounded to young ears WAS quite funny. It got me to reflect on how children hear things - as literal. And I remembered being a kid too. In fact, I have such strong memories partly because I told myself, 'Never forget this when you are an adult. Try to remember this so you can understand children later.' In my world there were kids and there were adults, and adults were a confusing breed of their own. I somehow recognized I'd become one of them someday but I felt like I'd be a kid forever.

One thing that took me a long time to figure out was how the words of things said to me don't necessarily mean what they say. I think my development was very slow because I understood things literally until quite late in my childhood when I should have figured that things said were figurative, not literal.

I remember being in Beacon Hill Primary School and for the most part things went well for me. However, there was somehow a dreadful fear of the ruling class (that would be the teachers and Administration, and on occasion, hall 'monitors' who through my young eyes were basically the goody-two-shoes responsible ones who were given the privilege of authority over the pond-scum). Thankfully the Monitors were pretty nice, and quite preferable to a run-in with a higher-up. I had my share of those run-ins - usually for lateness, sloppiness, talking too much, day-dreaming too much, doodling too much or just being slow about too much. I guess I was, on occasion, just too much.

I liked my teachers, but I did fear them. The worst was not just being told-off in front of your classmates - which I think happened to me on a daily basis. It was really bad if you had to stand outside in the hallway where a lurking head-master or custodian may spot you and shake their head at your shameful ways. I didn't have to stand out there often, just a few times, and there was a dread that hung over me during those moments. I hoped and prayed that no-one saw me out there - who would then, in my mind, mark me as belligerent for the rest of my life. (Which, may not be far off, but I would have preferred people not view me as such, even if there might have been truth in it - I had not discovered my full acceptance and identity in Christ yet!)

There was one phrase that kept getting barked at me - I could gauge my behavioural performance based on a tally of how many times I got told this in a day. The phrase was, 'You need to pull your socks up SUNSHINE.' Sounds friendly enough. But not if you say it with a stern, glowering British accent, and are half that person's height and they are standing a tad too close, invading your personal breathing space.

For the record, 'Sunshine' in British school-speak, is not a term of endearment and affection. At least it wasn't for me at that time!

Every time I heard that I would quickly reach down and yank each sock up as high as it would go. I hoped they stayed glued to right underneath my knees. I was convinced that all the other kids whose performance was far superior to mine had socks that stayed up perpetually, and no one needed to remind them of this oversight on their part.

I'm sure the teacher would then go on to express disapproval at my dismal behaviour and reprimand me about the specifics of my shortcomings. But at the first mention of my socks my mind went into high gear about socks in general and I think all that was said after that just went in one ear and out the other. Or not in at all. My eyes were open and focussed on the speaker, but my thoughts were on socks.

The literal-ness of 'pull your socks up' meant to me that I was bad somehow and my socks were slouching. I guess deep down I did understand that it meant I was out of line and needed a change in my actions. But I would always be distracted in my mind by the actuality of my socks being slouchy. I would have done better to take the general meaning and re-work my attitudes and actions, but I was always thinking of how to make my socks stay put.

The same would be true of when my Mom would say, 'Your feet are just black! Go and wash them!' I would look at the soles of my feet, and low and behold, they were grey, not black. Then I would argue and be befuddled as to why she saw black when I only saw grey. So you see, I had a problem untangling the ethereal from the literal.

And I think many kids do. It might help us 'adults' to remember that kids don't always have the mental capabilities to decode what our expressions tell them.

I'm just telling you because I remember, and I present myself as an advocate for all those kids who can't express what they're thinking, because I can, on many occasions, read their minds :)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Because I'll forget

I don't remember those early Mommy years - I don't recall the day-to-day - perhaps because my head was swimming with sleeplessness and responsibility.

Fast forward to now - Hannah, six months and the others all in their own little childhood world, and I believe I'll forget these days.

I will write my thoughts and memories to capture a sense of my days. I will note the size of her dimpled hand exploring my face, and deciding to pull on my nose for a while, just for the experience of how it feels.

I will note how her hands are learning to work together - first the left holds the toy, and the right reaches for it, but the left is selfish and won't let go!

For the record, I will write how she likes to just lie on her back and kick her legs, sometimes waving her arms too - happy and content to have movement. And how when she gets sleepy she cracks the biggest smiles, wiggles her head back and forth and shuts her eyes for a second, before cracking another huge smile and doing the head-wiggle again.

I will remember Andrew's constant cow-lick that I like to leave up because it's so cute. He loves to run down the hall with his fake 'puppy' with the bobble-tail and ask, 'Will you pet my puppy?' with a husky, boy voice and a giggle.

I will record how he loves being read to and if arms aren't encircling his chubby body, he'll nestle back into me and move my arms so he can position them just right around him like a seat-belt. And how yesterday he climbed up the stairs, which is still cumbersome with such a rounded little body and short legs, and looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, 'Chase me Mommy!'

And many many more memories I will record here so I'll have proof that these days did happen.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Biggest Frugal Tip Ever

I was looking at a Frugal Mommies blog (can't recall which one) recently and looked through my blog and realized that other than posting recipes from scratch I have put very little here about my frugality obsession. Now I say 'obsession' but that means different things to different people. For instance, my sister is extremely gifted in deal hunting, gathering, selling and profit-making off of superior garage-sale finds and the like. I can't sell anything to anyone ever. I tried a garage sale once and it was a total flop, other than that it kept the kids busy all day. But it was torturous for me. However, I do have many things I do to be frugal, and perhaps I will write more on the matter at some point. I just want to get out my BIGGEST Frugal Tip EVER, because it is really not what you are expecting.

I know - you are looking for how to save money, how to DIY, how to economize, scrounge, scrimp and the like (hey, this week I made a dish scrubby out of the plastic netting bag that packages the oranges!) But that's no big deal. The BIGGEST Frugal Tip EVER is summed up in ONE word. Scroll down please...































CONTENTMENT.




We scrimp and scrounge and save in an effort to produce more with less. To enlarge our home economies. To produce abundance with mere efforts - whether it be canning, breadmaking or gardening. But, just think how far CONTENTMENT will go in saving you money!

See that item on the thrift store shelf that could be handy for your next canning project? Save your money and forego the item and choose to be content with such things as you have! Ka-ching! Money in the bank.

See that wool sweater on the garage sale table that you have dreams about re-working into woolen/water-proof pants for your cloth-diapering efforts? Be reminded that diapering days will end someday and you've made it just fine this far and you don't really need to spend that 75 cents on it and Ka-ching! Money in the bank. All because you chose contentment!

And as far as frequenting those thrift stores/garage sales... maybe if you grow in contentment, the lure will be less and you will frequent less and spend less because your heart is satisfied in the One Who Satisfies.

So, wanna be frugal?

Be CONTENT. You'll be amazed at the results.

"For I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." - The Apostle Paul

Chicken Curry

Here is how I make my curry:

Saute:
Onions in a big pot with butter. During this, add:
1-3 tsp curry powder (I make my own, or sometimes have some from an Asian store)
1/2 tsp coriander (ground, not the leaves)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
fresh grated ginger (about 1 T)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cumin
I ran out of Cardamom - but if I had it I'd sprinkle some in. All these measurements are guesses. I just sprinkle stuff in throughout.
1-4 cloves minced garlic.
1 can tomato paste (optional - you can leave this out if you like)

If you want to be really professional, use Ghee instead of butter. But I never have Ghee on hand.

Then add 1-2 quarts Chicken broth (I use water and some boullion/salt, because I'm cheap, and I figure I'll boil the chicken plenty to get the good stuff).

Throw in cubed/chunked carrots - about 10, or 3 cups worth, cubed/chunked potato (peeled if you like) - as many or few as you'd like - I do about 4 big ones.

Then I throw in the chicken - maybe 6+ legs or whatever pieces you have or if you have some left over throw that in. This is a very un-exact recipe! (You can use beef or pork or almost any meat).

Let it simmer as long as you can - like 2-4 hours. Towards the end, about 15 mins before serving I dump in a can or two of coconut milk (make sure it's not the sweetened kind!) If I have coriander (leaves this time!) I snip some into it. I love lemon juice, so I usually add 1-2 T of lemon juice at the end, plus any salt to taste etc.

If you like it a bit thicker I use instant potato flakes and sprinkle some in until it's the desired thickness. This dish will thicken after refrigeration though, so we're always adding water to leftovers.

Everyone loves it when I make curry.

We often serve simply over rice. If the family is lucky that night I serve what we call 'Condiment Curry.' Along with the curry and rice, the following are set out in little bowls to pass and top the curry with:

French fried onions (like in the can you use for green bean casserole)
Chutney
Raisins
Flaked Coconut
Peanuts
Bananas (cut into chunks)

If I make Raita I serve that too.
If I have Coriander chutney (from the Indian grocery store) I put that out too.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Interrupting, Anger and Ground Rules

Here we go again. The age old, Is-Interrupting-a-sin? debate. Maybe it's not age-old. Just seems that way - in our household anyways. Thankfully, after many lengthy discussions, Sam and I have tabled it pretty much, coming to an understanding that we just view this a bit differently and that is okay because we love each other and we will try to appease the other and extend grace to the other as much as possible. If only it were so simple with everyone else in the world. (And for the record, it would be me trying to appease - as in, not interrupt - and Sam would be the one extending grace, for the times I fail to bite my tongue).

I have often thought I should just make a sign and paste it to my forehead that reads: 'Interrupt me please. Otherwise I won't stop talking.' Or have a handy card to hand out to people who are just meeting or getting to know me that explains that my version of conversation is such that I talk until someone else starts, and then I jump in when there is something I want to say about what they're saying, and I seem to expect that this model of conversation is okay with the other person and not offensive in the least. And that for the most part, since I don't mind if others interrupt me, I have figured others won't mind when I interrupt. At that point I think I have finally learned that my assumptions may, on occasion, be false. But I'm a work in progress - still learning.

In our many and lengthy discussions Sam has often quoted to me, 'Everyone one of you should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.' At which point the conversation heads south as I get really irritated with the sermonizing. Usually I get really sarcastic and say, 'Say no more! Just say, 'repeat lecture 38b, paragraph 20' and I'll know to insert all that you're about to say.' Thankfully Sam has learned to cope with this nastiness and drops it. Which is really wise, because really, he doesn't need to say anymore. I get his point!

I was thinking on this verse again recently and it dawned on me (duh.) that speech and anger have a close connection. And perhaps interrupting finds its way into this too. One thing that has helped me significantly reduce my interrupting is a change in my thinking. It used to be that I believed that silence meant agreement. So, if you were talking, and were saying, 'I think women should never wear pants...' I would immediately feel a needful pressure building inside that would say, 'No no no - I do not agree! Let me jump in and protest here for a minute!' Because in the past I have felt that if I listen to someone saying something I don't agree with, without chiming in with my immediate response to the contrary, that I will somehow give the impression that I approve, agree with and condone their point of view! It took me a long time to realize that my silence is not necessarily approval. Yay! I can bite my tongue and have a stern disagreement with the speaker in my head without jumping in to correct them (though he/she may need it OH SO BADLY!) But it is still very difficult for me. So, pray for me in this, will you?

And then there are those who demand that others not interrupt them, but then cannot stand it when someone else is saying something they do not like, and simply MUST jump in. In that case, it is a double standard because he then violates his own rules. If we are to have rules of interrupting, it must go both ways. There must be an understanding. Either the flow of the conversation is 'anything goes' (that's the way I like it! - but can result in some pretty fiery discussions, to accompany my red hair) - or there are ground-rules like: Each person gets to share their thoughts on ONE matter, and then the other is allowed to respond without interruption to that ONE issue. If you broaden it to more than one topic or issue, you will have lengthy monologues and one may dominate the conversation (uh, that would end up being me, just in case you didn't guess).

So, take it or leave it. Either relax and enjoy the ride or follow ground-rules. Both call for wise discernment and self-control - because even in the relaxed mode, you have to consider the other person or you'll end up in a scuffle.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Scott Hamilton - I Am Second

Scott Hamilton - I Am Second

How We Got Our Bellybuttons

Here is a story my Grandpa Walker used to tell us when we were kids. I just told it to Timo this morning. I hope he believes me as much as I believed my Grandpa. Only when I finally studied Biology did I learn the truth!

When God was making you, and putting you all together, He finally finished His work and took a good look at you. "Hmmm, I think this one needs to be hung up to dry." So He put you up on the line, pinning you there until you were good and dry.

Then, He went along to see all the new babies He had made, testing them to see if they were done yet. And each time one of the kids was 'done' He would take His finger and poke them in the belly, and say, "Yup, you're done!" And the place where He put His finger left a little knot on your belly, and that is how you got your bellybutton!

The End.

Friday, March 2, 2012

On Not Being Adopted

When I was a little girl (about 4 years old), we lived in a house that had a big yard (by four-year-old standards) and was near enough to some friends of ours whose two girls were around our age. What more could a kid want? A yard and friends - I was pretty content. Problem was, our foursome (my big sister, Cathy, me, Sheryl - Cathy's age, and Janice, younger than I was), had three who were similar and one who was different. Guess who the different one was? That's right. So, all was not well with my little contented world. And there was nothing I could do to change it.

You see, my parents had longed for children. They had tried and tried and tested and waited and hoped and prayed... and after 9 years, still no baby. The doctors had told my Mom, 'You will never conceive.' She was devastated and continued to hope and dream of bearing a child - a conglomeration of DNA from her dear husband and herself. After such a long wait, they decided to look into adoption, and were delighted to discover a beautiful baby girl in a Hong Kong orphanage (where they were living at the time, and have ever since), who was 'adoptable'. They named her Catherine, and she is my big sister.

Every child loves to hear his or her story - of coming into the world, of coming into this family - whether through adoption or birth - kids' love the telling of their own story. I heard about my sister being specially 'chosen'. And, to my parents' credit - they told me plenty of my own story - about how much they longed for a child, and they couldn't have one, but that God made me in spite of all the obstacles and that it was pretty much a miracle - so much so, that the doctor who proclaimed my Mom infertile, would not believe the news until he listened to my heartbeat from within her!

But it was my sister's story that I was jealous of. And my two playmates - Sheryl and Janice - well, they too had their own adoption stories. My sister and playmates were Asian - and I thought they were beautiful. Four girls - three black-haired beauties and one freckled red-head. Now, my parents assured me I was pretty enough too (I think!) and I didn't talk a lot about my longings. But one day while my Mom was at Church practicing the organ, the pianist was walking in and found me forlorn on the front steps of the Church (Kowloon Baptist in Hong Kong, for the record), sobbing my eyes out.

"Why Sarah! What's the matter? Why are you crying?"
"It's because I'm not CHINESE and I'm NOT ADOPTED!!!" I burst out. I lamented these two unchangeable facts about myself. How I longed to be chosen - to be sought after - to not have just happened, even though I knew my parents wanted me very much too.

It is easy as little children to want what we don't have, or to want what someone else has. And I wanted their story - to be needy and helpless and to be loved enough to be sought and chosen.

It took me many years of theological growth and development to discover that I could never change not being Chinese, but that I could change being adopted.

As I studied Scripture, and as a family, we memorized Romans 8 when I was about 12, we learned some significant truths about adoption.

Mom explained to me that when they adopted Cathy, they went before a judge and the judge told them that in the eyes of the law, Cathy was fully their child - as much as a 'DNA' child - and even moreso. Because a natural birth mother can relinquish her rights to her child and give that child up for adoption. But an adoptive parent, in the eyes of British/Hong Kong law, can never sever that tie - by taking on this child, he/she is sealed to those parents forever. Nothing can legally separate that tie. Mom explained that British law must have at some level been influenced in past centuries by the invading Romans, whose law held to something very similar.

When we learned Romans 8, about our adoption into God's family, I understood how precious my adoption truly is. Though I am not adopted into an earthly, physical family, I can revel in my adoption into God's family - and that tie can never be severed.