Sunday, October 31, 2010

How far is a half marathon?

On Saturday, October 30, Jace and I finished our second half-marathon. We did it! All 13.1 miles. Jace finished in 1:59:30 and I finished in 2:22:12. Yay!

Last year, we did our first half-marathon on October 31, 2009, and got on a plane that same day to go meet our son in Russia. This year was much different. That beautiful little boy that knew nothing about us a year ago, got to be one of the spectators at the race (Thanks to Nan and Pops for making this possible!).


Here are a couple of photos of Cohen playing on the playground near the race course with Nan and Pops. I think he had lots of fun.

I think Nan had a lot of fun at the playground as well!

The official after race photo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How scary is your scarecrow?

Cohen's preschool teachers sent some homework home with Cohen last week. We were supposed to decorate a scarecrow for the teachers to hang in their class. I don't know if you know this or not, but I love doing crafty projects with Cohen. We both really enjoy making a mess of my house!

During one of our training runs, we stopped along the run to gather up pine straw, grass, leaves, and berries. I decided that we would decorate the scarecrow with fall foliage.

Now I'm not a teacher, but I'm pretty sure that if  you send something home for the kids to do with their parents, the parents should be there mostly for support, not to do the entire project. Below is evidence that I supported, and Cohen did the work.

Cohen is not good with sissors yet, so I cut out the different pieces of the scarecrow. He squeezed the glue and rubbed it in with a paint brush. Then he helped crush the leaves and sprinkle them on top of the Scarecrow's hat.

 Next we moved onto the scarecrow's head. I cut up pine straw into very small pieces. Almost the size of glitter. Again, he spread the glue and sprinkled the straw on the scarecrow.

 We used the crushed leaves for the pants. Cohen found a very effecient way to get those leaves into the glue.

Almost done. We just had to glue on the berries for eyes and buttons. We also used a flower pedal for the mouth.

 The finished product. We had loads of fun doing this one...can't wait for our next homework assignment.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When was the last time you baked cookies with your grandma?

We should all have great memories of baking cookies with Grandma. I always loved helping my grandmothers in the kitchen, and Cohen is no different.

Last weekend, Nan and Pops came to visit and while they were here, Nan showed Cohen how much fun baking and decorating cookies can be.

I won't even begin to discuss the amount of raw cookie dough consumed during this baking experience, nor will I go into how many fully baked cookies were eaten by my two year old. I only want to show that he had a great time!

The cookies were very tasty! Thanks Nan! You are welcome to come back any time and bake more of your delicious cookies!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What are you giving?

Now that we are almost into November, I feel like it is time to start making Christmas lists and getting ready to decorate. This being Cohen's first Christmas as a Raney I want it to be extra special for him. So how do you do that? How can I make it special and still make it all about Jesus?

Jace and I have discussed on many occasions the fact that this boy has everything he needs and most everything he wants (ok…I'm not giving him a cupcake for breakfast everyday!). It was only a year ago when this boy had nothing of his own. He had toys and clothes and a warm bed, but none of it was his, it belonged to the orphanage where he stayed.

When I look back at what life was like for Cohen when we first met him, he was happy. He had nothing of his own, but he was happy. I think we forget that kids can be truly happy without having to have a house full of stuff.

Three years ago, Jace and I had the chance of a lifetime to spend a week in Nicaragua. This trip truly changed my life. It's as if I had on some sort of rose colored glasses up until that point. I think I've always known that everyone doesn't live like we do here in America, but it never really hit home until I went to Nicaragua. There were entire families living in a small metal structure (I say "structure" because most of them were leaning on a tree, or another building, or setup like tents). These families had no running water, no washing machine, no refrigerator, no bathroom, and only a few had electricity (and they only had that when the government decided to turn it on). You would think these folks would be sitting in their homes pouting, but no, they were happy.

So why is it that we as Americans believe that the only way to make ourselves, our kids, and our family members happy is by giving them "stuff"?  Why do we think that our kids "need" the best of everything?

While we were in Nicaragua, we invited the local children to the farm where we were staying for lunch. The people that run the farm do this once a week. All these beautiful children come in carrying their own bowl. Most of these bowls are the size of an American cereal bowl. The workers would fill the bowls and then the kids sang songs to us. Not many of the children actually ate anything while they were there. They took the food home to their families and the entire family would eat on that for a couple of days. Could you imagine? Cohen would have scarfed it down before he made it to the singing. I'm not saying that we should stop feeding our children; I'm just saying that if we open our eyes, we would see that there are so many children out there who would love the chance to open a gift of their very own for Christmas.

Just think about it. If you decided to spend only half what you did last year on gifts, or to only fill the stocking halfway, or to only give your child 3 items for Christmas (that's all Jesus got!), what could you do with all that money you would be saving? As you can see, I'm not suggesting that you stop all your Christmas traditions and deprive your family of gifts; I'm simply suggesting that you cut back. Imagine what you could do with the rest!

There are several places in the Bible where God commands us to care for widow, orphans, and those that cannot care for themselves.

Deut. 10:17-18
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deut. 24:19-22
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.

Exodus 22:22-23
 "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

Romans 15:1-2
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

So I ask the question "what are you giving?" I would like for you to seriously consider what you are doing this Christmas and whether you are adding to the kingdom of God by adding to the stuff in your home.

Maybe this year, you could give something more. Last week in the mail, I received my Samaritan's Purse 2010 Gift Catalog. This is a very easy way to give. With all that money you are saving by cutting back on Christmas gifts, you could feed a hungry baby for a week, teach a child to read and write, give an orphan a month of loving care, purchase livestock for families in need, purchase fising boats or honeybees so that rural families can make a living, give mosquito nets to save children's lives, build freshwater wells….as you can see, I could go on for days with this.

If you would rather not give money, that's fine too. Samaritan's Purse has this really fun thing you can do with your kids called Operation Christmas Child. All you have to do is fill a shoebox and drop it off at one of the drop off locations. Our church, First Baptist Church LaPlace, is one of the drop off locations, but you can check around and find a local organization that will take the boxes.

Of course, I can't list off charitable organizations without mentioning one of my personal favorites, Compassion International. This is a great way to give year round! I sponsor a child from Nicaragua named Nicole. She's 6 years old and she loves to color. I get letters and pictures from her and Jace, Cohen and I get to send her things too.

So this year, I encourage you to give! Not only to the family and friends that you love, but also give to those that are in need. And when you are out buying gifts for your friends and family, think of ways you could cut back so that you can give more!

Matthew 25:40b
I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did for Me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How did you decorate your pumpkin?

A few days ago I posted some pictures of when Cohen and I went to the pumpkin patch and selected a really nice pumpkin. We've been so busy over the last few days that I have not been able to sit him down to decorate it. Yesterday we took the time to do just that.

Here's the big smile I forced him to give before I let him begin.

 Such a great little artist.

Ok. So I walked away for a second to answer the phone. This is what I came back to...I think he's enjoying himself.

 And I probably should have just stopped him there, but he was already going to have to have a bath, why not just let him finish.

I also videoed some of this fun craziness...

The pumpkin painting was so much fun! They are going to be able to "pick" pumpkins at school in a week, so that means we get to do this all over again. Yay!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Has it really been 7 years?

I have to say that it's been the best 7 years of my life and I'm so happy I get to spend the rest of my life with the most wonderful man on the planet!!

October 18, 2003

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Is it starting to look like fall?

Yes. It's that time of year again. I love fall!! It's by far my favorite season. And my favorite month is October! I love the leaves changing colors and the cooler temperatures. I loved the month of October so much, I decided to get married during that month. Jace and I make 7 years next Monday. I can't believe it's been that long!

Anyway, this post is not really about me or Jace. Maybe I will post some early dating pictures later, but I know why you decided to stop by the blog today...for pictures of the cutest little boy on the planet!

Cohen and I joined Abbah, Nan, Aunt Trix, Aunt Katie and Katherine for a trip to the Pumpkin Patch last week. It was loads of fun!! This pumpkin patch did not only have lots of pumpkins to choose from, it also had a fun petting zoo area, swings, water things, tractors, slides, and a huge bouncy thing.

Cohen and I had so much fun! Thanks Aunt Katie for inviting us...I hope we can get the kids together again real soon!!