Parenting the Hurt Child – Book Review

parenting-the-hurt-child

This particular book was a requirement from our home study agency (Adoption Assistance, Inc.) in order to be approved to adopt an older child/toddler.  I was a little leery as I began the  book, wondering if would be chocked full of psychological approaches to parenting an adopted child so much so that it squeezed the gospel completely out.  But, to my surprise, many of the suggestions were very helpful.  Some of the ideas for bonding and attachment are things I already do on a regular basis with Molly Kate!  There were times where I felt the authors were barely skimming the surface of certain topics and issues, but overall I think its a great read for any parent considering adopting a child two or older.  If anything, it teaches you to be prepared for anything!  Older children will come to your home with a vast array of experiences and issues.  You can’t predict what those will be, but you can be prepared ahead of time.  Finally, this book is a great resource book…the back of the book holds pages of various resources, many that I am sure I will need at some point or another!

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Rhythm and Grace

Yesterday, as I read through Judges 7 and 8 in my morning bible reading, the Lord drew my attention to this verse: “The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’ (Judges 7:2).  As I continued to think about the verse throughout the day, I also began thinking about our new routine/schedule and how disciplined I’ve been lately in maintaining our schedule, devotions, prayer times, play/reading times with Molly Kate, etc.  By God’s Spirit, I also saw that if I didn’t keep careful watch over my own heart, I could easily begin thinking that by my own power I have developed this amazing plan for each day and have delivered myself from chaos or frustration or idleness.

Thankfully, that hasn’t been the condition of my heart (yet!), but I thought it might be helpful for some of you who read my first post on rhythm to also think about God’s grace in developing a routine for your family.  The reality is, that apart from God’s saving work of grace in my life that redeemed me from a life of rebellion against God’s authority through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, I could not create and would not desire such order and rhythm to our daily family life.  I certainly wouldn’t prioritize daily activities like family devotions and praying for members of our local church!  But, God has redeemed me by grace and continues to sanctify me by grace.  The only reason I desire and then am able to devise a plan/routine/schedule for our family that seeks to keep Christ the focal point of our daily living is because God Himself has granted me discipline, godly desires and love for Christ.  AND, the only reason I can not fall to pieces when our entire plan/routine/schedule has to be thrown out the window or completely blows up is because I am fully convinced that I am not the author of my own life (Psalm 139).  As I trust that God has planned each minute, hour and day of my life, so I can say at the end of day (good or bad) that what He had planned was indeed accomplished (Isaiah 14).

So, if you find yourself struggling to develop order in your life or the life of your family, don’t despair!  Ask God, by His grace, to give you discipline and wisdom, that He would be the powerful One to deliver you from chaos, frustration or idleness.  Then remind yourself (so as not to sin through pride) that it is only because of His magnificent grace that works in and through us that we can experience peace, order and joy in our daily lives.

We have a court date!

Tomorrow, February 25th, would have been our court date for our precious son Max-Abush who passed away January 4, 2009.  I’ve been thinking of him so much this week, longing for a chance to have met him and thankful to God for sparing him a life of suffering in this fallen world. 

Today, on the eve of Max’s would-have-been court date, we learned that both of our boys’ cases will be heard on May 18th.  Only 84 more days and Lord willing, both boys will finally and officially be ours!  Please continue to pray that all of the paperwork for our cases is accurate, that the Lord might move in the judges hearts to approve each boy’s case and that He might be pleased for our sons to be a part of our family by this summer.  Praise be to God for ordaining these children to be Cuthbertsons, for His magnificent work of grace in our hearts and for calling us to His incredible ministry of adoption!

Rhythm

A funny little word, but something I’ve been desperately trying to grab ahold of these last few weeks.  I know myself well enough to know that I function best when life is routine and orderly.  I actually think God has made us this way, in His own image, as He is not a God of confusion but of peace and peace comes by way of order (1 Chronicles 14:33).   Prior to having children, it was quite simple to organize and structure my days.  When I served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, every day looked different, but I made sure that my mornings were routine (up by 6 am for bible reading and prayer, outside running by 7 am and in the shower no later than 8:30).  When I moved to Louisville and eventually began working full-time for SBTS, it was much of the same (up by 5:30 for bible reading and prayer, on the treadmill by 6:30, out the door by 8 or 8:30 – thankfully I was salaried and didn’t have to punch in at a strict time!).

Then, God brought a tiny little blessing into my life that disrupted all rhythm!  I’m a firm believer in the benefits of scheduling infants, so I worked hard to get Molly Kate into a great eat/play/sleep routine.  My motivation was two-fold: I knew she would be a happier, healthier infant and I knew I needed structure and routine in order to be the best mommy to her and more importantly, the best wife to Kevin.  But the thing about babies and the thing about having a husband in school whose schedule is constantly changing, is that established routines don’t last long before you have to re-vamp them.  Once again, rhythm disrupted!

So, these last two months we had two major changes to our routine: Molly Kate (finally) dropped her morning nap and Kevin switched jobs, where he is home morning through lunch and then at work in the evenings a couple of nights a week.  After several weeks of “floating” through these new changes, I knew I needed to re-wire our schedule and establish some routine.  I had a list of priorities: be able to read my bible, spend time in prayer and exercise before Molly Kate wakes in the morning, have family devotions with breakfast since Kevin is gone during most dinners, have something structured for Molly Kate while I shower and get ready in the morning and (as of last night) make sure I devote some time in the day to praying for the members of our local church.

So, after much prayer, some outlined talking with Kevin and a “trial” run last week…I think I can finally say that we have gotten into a new rhythm!  I wake up between 6 and 6:30 for my time with the Lord and then hop on the treadmill for at least 40 minutes.  Molly Kate wakes around 8 am and Kevin brings her down to begin breakfast.  I finish up on the treadmill, help Kevin with the last touches on breakfast and we eat as a family and have our daily family devotion times.   After breakfast, I hop in the shower while Kevin spends some “Daddy-time” with Molly Kate.  After several morning activities, we eat lunch, then Molly Kate goes down for a nap.  Nap time either serves as rest time for me, reading time or a time to have other women from our church or seminary over for coffee.  After nap time, Molly Kate and I play until time for dinner.  Once she’s down for the night around 7 pm, I take care of chores, e-mailing, relaxing with The Bachelor or Private Practice and get everything ready for the next day.  And before my head hits the pillow, I am now committed to taking my handy church directory and praying for our members.  Oh, what blessings and joy are to be found when life is routine and order can actually lend itself to flexibility or spontaneity!

P.S. – When our two new little blessings arrive, I know the rhythm will change drastically…I’m trying to prepare now for life with three, so I’ll keep you updated on our revised routine once the boys are home!

Confession…

food20pyramidThough I strive for us to eat as nutritionally and healthy as possible, I often fail at getting enough veggies in each day.  I could eat fruit all day long, but when it comes to getting my veggies each day, I’m not succeeding!!  In some recent blog catch-up, I ran across this link for Green Smoothies on the Passionate Homemaking website.  I learned that in one of these smoothies, I could get 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables.  Wow!  By breakfast, I could have almost gotten all that I need for the day…what great news!  So, today I tried one…I altered her recipe a bit, substituting organic vanilla yogurt for the coconut milk and keifer, but it was outstanding!  I gave Molly Kate half, and she also loved it.  I boosted ours with ground flax seed and a touch of honey (hoping to help those allergies!).  The only thing one should be prepared for is the color…our smoothies were a bit greenish brown (mix of the spinach and raspberries/blueberries).  But I can confidently say that I didn’t “taste” the spinach at all…the flavor was just like a vanilla fruit smoothie and we will definitely be making them again this week!

Creative Wintertime Fun?!

So, in the cold, cold Louisville winter, you have to get a bit creative with ways to make life fun for an 18-month old…especially an 18-month old who is happiest when she’s outside!  We spend days on end inside this house and there comes a time when we all need to get out!  What do you do?  You go to the National Farm Machinery Show, you play on the motorized kiddie rides at the mall or you visit Old Navy because they have this cute red bench with a dog that barks!  Then finally…you just let her go outside and pray she doesn’t get sick (okay, well maybe it was a whole lot warmer this particular day)!  Here’s a few pics from our recent adventures!

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Crock-Pot Red Beans and Rice

Another recipe worth having posted on my blog for all you readers in search of frugal, filling recipes!

Ingredients:

1 lb. cooked sausage (I use turkey sausage), sliced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles

2 cans dark red kidney beans

1 can red beans

1 envelope of onion soup mix

2 c. cooked rice (we only use long-grain brown rice)

Directions:

Add all ingredients (except rice) to crock pot and cook on low for at least two hours.  Serve over rice. 

Notes:  This recipe serves us at least three times.  I have frozen it before and it easily re-heats.  For added nutrition, buy dry beans, soak and cook them instead of canned beans, but make sure you add some salt to the crock-pot ingredients before cooking.  If your children aren’t big fans of spicy foods (like our Molly Kate) spoon the child’s serving into a strainer, run under water to drain out the spices and then serve over rice…this has been a great way for me to include Molly Kate in some of our meals without forcing her to enjoy spicier or more seasoned foods.