Monday, February 27, 2012

What We're Reading About Adoption

I’m a bookworm . . . and proud to be.  My favorite thing in my house is the bookshelves which are getting close to capacity.  As I have mentioned in a previous post about my magazine tear out organization system, I have found that the majority of the pages I tear out in relation to decorating include bookshelves.  While, I love my Kindle, there is nothing like the smell of pages spilling over with words bound together for me to get lost in.  And what's even better is gazing at a bookshelf full of options.  So naturally, when we first started discussing adoption I couldn’t find a book fast enough.  I must confess I went to a book rather than running first to God’s Word.  However, I’m so thankful for the author who sent me to the Word for the truth about adoption.  This, God's Word, is where we all need to start.  

I do want to throw out this disclaimer.  Just because these books may focus on the topic of adoption DOES NOT mean they are only for those of you interested in possibly adopting or have adopted. 

This first book (and so far my favorite) is Adopted for Life by Russell Moore.  Dr. Russell Moore is a professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and father of two adopted boys from Russia.  I honestly don’t feel comfortable trying to sum up this book because I know that my words will not do it justice.  What I do feel comfortable saying is that Russell Moore is very real and transparent about his experience with adoption but very faithful to laying a foundation for biblical adoption.  Just to give you a sneak peek, the first chapter is entitled “Adoption, Jesus, and You: Why You Should Read This Book, Especially If You Don’t Want to”.  He states within the first few pages,

“Adoption is, on the one hand, gospel.  In this, adoption tells us who we are as children of the Father.  Adoption as gospel tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God.  Adoption is also defined as mission.  In this, adoption tells us our purpose in this age as the people of Christ.  Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and the abandoned.  As soon as you peer into the truth of one aspect, you fall headlong into the truth of the other, and vice versa.”                             

Also in the first chapter he encourages a larger perspective of adoption. 

“Adoption is not just about couples who want children—or who want more children.  
Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.”

B and I are so thankful for Dr. Moore’s teaching and encouragement.  Our perspective and understanding of this journey in our life has grown so much beyond simply a way to grow our family.    

The second book I want to mention is Orphanology by Tony Merida and Rick Morton.  The book starts out providing a description of how our adoption into God’s family as believers compares to the adoption of children on this earth.  Orphanology is a more practical approach filled with suggestions for churches, small groups, etc. for orphan care.  Personal stories of adoption written firsthand are also sprinkled throughout the book. 

There are several more that we have read, several more we have bought and added to our “to read” pile, and several more that I want to purchase so I can add them to my “to read” pile.  Regardless if you think you may adopt or not, take the time to learn more because it truly affects us all!  

“Adoption was an expression in our lives of the gospel in our hearts.” (David Platt)
“The gospel and adoption are beautifully woven together by the gracious hand of God.”       (David Platt) 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sweetheart Cocoa

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, do you need a quick, sweet treat for your valentine?  I have just the recipe for you, Sweetheart Cocoa!  (original recipe can be found here)
Trust me, this is an easy recipe and it only took me about 10-15 minutes.  You only need a few ingredients and most of them can probably be found in your pantry right now.  

Dump 1/2 cup of sugar and 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium size pan.  Turn the stove on medium high heat.  Add 1 pint (2 cups) of strawberry ice cream in with the butter and sugar.  (I also added a handful of milk chocolate chips.)  Whisk until melted.

While you're waiting on this to melt, grab 1 cup of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate) and melt.  The original recipe says to melt this on the stove top but I opted for the microwave.  I just turned the power down to 50% and cooked for a minute at a time stirring after each minute until the chips are melted.  Once, they're melted take your mug and dip in the chocolate so that it covers the rim.  

Okay, so back to the mixture that should be melted on the stove by now.  Whisk in one cup of hot water at a time, whisking between until you have added 3 cups of water.  You can add less or more water depending on how rich you want the cocoa.  I suggest tasting between adding each cup of water as well.  After the desired amount of water is added heat until steaming.  B likes his coffee and tea hot so I made sure it was extra steamy.  

This treat isn't completely finished without a topping of whipped cream and sprinkles.  This could be Redi-Whip, Cool Whip, or if you don't have either you can improvise, like I did.  I typically keep heavy cream in the fridge so I mixed about 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup of sugar (these are estimated measurements) on high in my mixer until it was fluffy.  

Ladle the cocoa in to the chocolate rimmed mug, add a dallop of whipped cream and sprinkles, and ENJOY!

What a great Valentine morning surprise or dessert after a romantic meal together.  Whenever or however you decide to share this with your Valentine make sure you let me them know that you love them!

It's Overflowing
The DIY Dreamer

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Make Your Own . . . Firepit

In the fall B and I traveled to Elijay, Georgia for a weekend getaway of Glamping at The Martyn House.  From this trip I developed a short list of projects for our house.  I am pleased to announce that one of those projects can officially have a check mark next to it!

As you can see from the Glamping post, we spent time around the fire every night before bed.  After our first night I added this to my project list and informed B that I knew just the place for a firepit.  Recently, B was reading where Mark Driscoll had said he enjoyed time reading and studying by a firepit.  This must have fueled B's fire (pun intended) because just a short time later he hooked up the trailer and took off to pick up the stone. Fortunately, Brooke and Scotty had stone left from building their porch.  So we snagged a few pieces, picked up a bag of cement, added water, and ta-dah, our very own firepit.

Basically, our plan was that . . . we really didn’t have a plan.  We laid all the stones out so we could see them clearly.  We thought it would help to see all our stones when we were stacking.  B put the concrete on the stone then I would spread it.  Next, we both worked to place stones layer by layer.  Really, it was like putting together a puzzle.  If it looked like a piece didn’t fit or was too thick and started leaning we would try another until we found what worked best.  

I included this picture so you could see kind of where we put the firepit.  It's right off our back porch.  

Now, I must confess this project didn’t really go as smoothly as it sounds.  We originally bought quickrete which is apparently different than cement.  (I must confess this was my fault, not B’s but he was very gracious to me for this mistake.)  Apparently, quickrete is not necessarily made to “glue”, so . . . we had to tear down the pit and redo it using cement.  But honestly, if we would have used the cement first we could have completed this project easily in an hour or two.  I don’t know why we haven’t done it sooner.  

We have thoroughly enjoyed several nights of coziness around the fire!  Whether it's bundled up enjoying a good read or even taking a Sunday afternoon nap we definitely are enjoying the fruit of our labor.   

Knox (and his dirty face) enjoyed the fire, and he especially liked throwing sticks in.  

For those of you who are inspired to build your own firepit, Lowe's carries stone that is similar to what we used.   You could also substitute the stone for pavers, bricks, or other such material.  The cement we used can also be found at Lowe's for $10-$15 a bag.  As far as mixing the cement, we just followed the instructions on the bag.