Friday, June 27, 2008

Why we adopt...

When I look at you I don't see...
More mouths to feed,
more bills to pay,
more worries,
more pains,
more hassles,
more cost,
more burdens
or more work.

What I see is...
A chance,
a hope,
a promise,
a choice,
a person,
a dream,
a life,
a blessing,
a gift.
While my hands may be full, they will never, ever be as full as my heart.

Garden glory

This is our first year to have a garden and I am so excited that there is actually something growing out there(besides weeds!) We actually have tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet corn, pumpkins and okra. (for some reason our onions didn't make it). So, because it's the end of the month and at the end of the month our groceries budget is pretty much depleted- I am having fun getting creative with our garden. We seen to have an abundance of Zucchini and while I didn't think my kids would be thrilled with zucchini they are actually starting to like it! Here are a few of the recipes we have tried and liked. They LOVED the fried zucchini (go figure since it was fried) but they- it was still a zucchini! :0)

Chicken and Zucchini
1/4 cup butter
3 whole chicken breasts, halved
3 cups zucchini, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1/2 cup diced green onions

Garlic Cream:
2 tablespoons butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 (3 oz) package of cream cheese
1 can chicken broth
1/2 tsp. pepper

In skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter; add chicken breasts. Cook, turning once, until chicken is browned and fork tender. Add zucchini and onions. Continue cooking, stirring until zucchini is crisp-tender.

Garlic Cream Sauce:
In 2 quart saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter; add garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in flour and cook until smooth and bubbly. Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is smooth and thickened.
This is pretty served on a bed of rice - layer the zucchini and then the chicken breasts on top then pour sauce over each chicken breast.

Zucchini Squares
3 c. thinly sliced zucchini or cubed
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 dashes Tabasco
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 c. Bisquick

Mix all ingredients except Bisquick together, add Bisquick. Pour into 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cut into small squares

Batter Fried Zucchini
pancake batter mix
oil for frying

Get the ready made pancake batter mix and mix it with enough water to make a thick batter. Slice the zucchini about 1/8 thick. Heat the oil to hot but not smoking, Dip each slice of zucchini in the batter and fry until golden on each side, salt while you drain.

Zucchini Crisps with Cheese
1/3 cup Cornflake crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
dash garlic powder
4 small unpeeled zucchini, cut in 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine crumbs, cheese and seasonings; place in a plastic bag. Dip zucchini strips in butter and shake in the crumbs to coat. Place on a baking sheet; bake 375F for 10 minutes or until crisp. 4 servings.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our priorities vs. God's priorities

Lately I have really been struggling, and it scares me. It scares me to feel this way- and live in a world that definitely does not agree with these particular feelings.

Never before in our lifetime have people needed to see Christ in us more than they do now. I believe if you were to peek inside the windows of the average American families lives you would see that we have been sold out, bought, by the idea that money equals happiness. If you want to succeed in your career, or in a sport, or in whatever, you know the drill, right? Work long hours, focus, train, be prepared-keep your eyes on the prize (the prize meaning making loads of money, having lots of power). And, truth be told, that approach works to some degree. In all likelihood, you will end up pretty good at whatever you're determined to be good at. You'll be successful, at least by some definitions of the term. Your accomplishments will be noticed. Someone will see you as worthwhile and you will matter (at least when someone wants something from you). So, we hustle along, routing our road to success. We get out our calendars, our daily planners, our blackberries and we detail out the plans of our lives. We let no one get in our way and no one stop our plans from happening .Yet even with our best intentions, how often do we fail to include the most important person in our plans- God? You see- here is the problem- self interest crowds God out. I think if we are honest, when we look back over our plans they almost always are geared towards comfort- OURS. We want our plans to pan out so that things will go our way and be easier for us. But often times while we are focusing on our lives being easy, comfortable, good- we become lazy, useless to God. And worse yet, it leaves little time, little room, for us to care about those that God cares about the most- “the least of these”.

Sometimes I look around me and I feel like my insides are screaming- I want the world to wake up and see that they are being lied to-that ‘things’ do not bring happiness. That true happiness is not found in a large bank account. We have all heard the saying you can’t take it with you when you go- then why are we still living as if we can? Our priorities are so far from God’s priorities- and can I let you in on a little secret? Being successful, making triple digits, being able to go out and buy the latest gadgets-the best of everything- does not make you a good person. Dressing in name brand clothing and driving a new car does not make you better than anyone else. And sadly I think that even some of our churches are buying into this too- making sure we have the softest seats, the best sound system and even fancy coffee shops inside the building! I don’t believe it is wrong to desire things that will better our lives, but these desires can become a trap when they replace our focus on God. But you know what - God ALREADY KNEW we would fall for this... Luke 16:13 For neither you nor anyone else can serve two masters. You will hate one and show loyalty to the other, or else the other way around--you will be enthusiastic about one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
So you see, it’s not about being successful in terms of money and things. It’s about being successful in God's eyes. We forget that God doesn’t give a hoot about our social status, our 401K or where we are on the corporate ladder. God is simply looking straight into our heart… and I’m afraid that more often than not he finds that they are already so crowded with greed, jealous, competition, and prejudice that there is no room left for HIM. The door to heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, for the truth is that many will try to enter but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. Then if you stand outside knocking, and pleading, "Lord, open the door for us," he will reply, "I do not know you." Luke 13:22-30
And please understand that I am not saying that having money is a bad thing- it’s how you VIEW the money that becomes the problem. It’s how you think those without it are beneath you. It’s how you put HAVING MONEY over everything else. You hoard, you save, you count, you feel entitled- while others around you are suffering, hurting, starving, and sick. If God has blessed you with money and you are using it to serve others/bless others- then you are RIGHT ON. The problem begins when you desire things money can buy more than you desire doing God’s work. The problem continues when you no longer need God because you believe your money is enough.

So can I ask you today, no rather beg you today, - be honest and take a good long list at your priorities, your plans. What are they saying to others? What are they saying to God? Are you a part of the problem the world is having today? Are you a part of the ‘all about me’ club? Do you let the world’s views of success own you? I know I have such a long way to go, I am constantly being bought into this and trying to fight my way out. I am constantly praying that God will let me see things for what they really are. I pray that God doesn’t let me get too comfortable- to into myself- to be of any use for Him. I’m warning you though, this process, this change- does not come easy. And when it does- when you choose to not set your heart on the world’s definition of success you will find yourself on the outside looking in. Misfits who don’t seem to have a place in the world anymore... People will view you as different, sometimes crazy. But God- he will know it’s because you have your eyes focused on His kingdom instead."Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for just a taste of righteousness. Blessed are those who show mercy, and the pure in heart, and those who put themselves on the line to bring people together. Blessed even are those who are persecuted, insulted, and accused for no reason other than that they try to live lives that please their God." Matthew 5:1-10

So I guess what I am saying is the more time we spend with God and really get to know Him the more we will yearn to make his priorities our priorities. It makes sense. If you spend the majority of your time with the world and very little time with God it should be no surprise that the world is going to influence you more than the Lord. If we want to reflect God to a lost world, we have to spend time- significant time- getting to know Him. In addition to spending time with God, we also need to begin to be honest with ourselves. You and I need to be looking for areas in our lives where we are starting to compromise with evil. It’s hard to do. We must confront the excuses and rationalizations of our lives. Are we serious enough to do things God's way rather than our own? Are we ready to make real change within ourselves- and do a personal inventory of our lives? What excuses are we making and what are we attracted to that we need to run from? I will be honest and tell you that I can walk into the mall and literally start to drool. I love everything about the mall, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the cool new looks. But I hate what it stands for- so I hardly ever step foot into the mall anymore because I know that I am weak. I know that I have a hard time saying no to that Old Navy buy of the week. I know I will somehow try to justify spending money on something we did not budget for and I do not need. I know that I will somehow convince myself that I deserve that new shirt- even when I have 30 some shirts already in my closet. I don’t know what your weaknesses are, but God does. Ask Him and then expect Him to show you a clear picture. He will, I promise. He wants nothing more than for you to make room in your heart for Him.

Plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers to help you, for the harvest is so plentiful and the workers so few. Luke 10:2

Monday, June 23, 2008

Adoption Community

I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life and I have to say the ‘adoption community’ is my favorite place to be!

One of the greatest blessings for us along the adoption journey is becoming a part of the ‘adoption community’. I stand in awe of so many of these amazing families I have had the privilege to have met.

While of course biological children are a blessing beyond words- there is something special about being among those who often times knowingly choose a child with a special need. Now please understand that I am not in any way saying that biological parents would not love their children with these conditions in the same way, I am simply saying that when I see a parent ‘choose’ a child with special needs, when I witness them being open to something most of us avoid- I see a little piece of Jesus before my eyes.

Being in the delivery room and hearing a doctor say words like “cleft palate’, HIV+, Cerebral palsy, blind, missing limbs, hearing impaired - is the kind of thing that every parent dreads. And yet while adoptive parents certainly do not want that for their child either- they are often open to adopting a child with those needs and love them just the way they are. They love them as they come to them with a history, at various ages and with various scars. They choose to love them even though they may be a different color or nationality. They know that because of their choice- the road may be a little more difficult to walk- yet they are willing to walk beside that child and hurt with them. I have heard many adoptive parents say things like ‘I am drawn to deaf children, children born with HIV, children with cerebral palsy’. That means they are ALLOWING these conditions- and loving the child through it BY CHOICE. Once again to me that speaks leaps and bounds to God. I don’t know about you, but I have found that I am a lot stronger when someone else who loves me is beside me cheering me on. Yet not only are they giving their child courage and strength- it is a blessing for me to be among those who ‘get it’, who have walked that road and know the road so clearly. Knowing there is already a warn path gives me courage as well.

I just want to say Thank you to those of you who I have met along the path of adoption. You bless me, inspire me, and make me more than I dared to become. Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. I am more than thankful for this connection we will forever share.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Behind the Scenes

My sister and I were talking this morning about “church face blogs” and how most people who blog do not always ‘keep it real’. I have a confession to make- I don’t always let you know what really goes on behind the scenes. Here’s the truth- I have my pride you know… and while even though it’s a sin- it’s pretty hard to just lay it all out there. It’s kind of like when you step into church on Sunday- like you are really going to admit you were just screaming at your husband in the car on the drive there to anyone. Nope, you are going to plaster that smile on your face, walk in that door and act like you’ve got it all together. You are going to greet each and every prominent person with a smile in your eyes and a skip to your step- because God forbid they find out you are not perfect. So, I am going to come completely clean here today and admit we are SO NOT perfect. Yep- I yell at my kids more than I should, my house is not always clean, sometimes we have cereal for dinner because I am too lazy to cook, and no I do not always like my husband. As a matter of fact, sometimes he drives me crazy just because he’s in the same room I am breathing my air.

So- just for you today- here is a look behind the scenes… because while it's hard to air your dirty laundry, I don't want ya all feeling bad about yourselves if you too don't have it all together.
Normal Blog post:
It was a boring, rainy day today- the kids are hoping for something fun to do (besides the endless chores I give them). So SUPER MOM comes to the rescue!

And created this amazing go fish game all for free! (went out in the rain and found those sticks myself!) It was endless hours of fun...

Yet when that fun ended I came up with another idea to keep my little peaches happy... We traced ourselves and then the girls colored and cut them out. Aren't they just the cutest? (Just what I need- double of them!)

After that was over- I actually gave them French Pedicures... even their toes are cute now!

For lunch the kids actually made their own food! While creating this amazing lunch we worked together and talked about the importance of eating 4 servings of fruits and veggies a day. Sweet aren't we??

Now while all of this did truly happen... I'd like to take you BEHIND THE SCENES and let you know what also went on while I was capturing these precious moments...

This is my teenage son Travis room... can I just admit to you that while tracing bodies and cutting out little fish I yelled up to him, not once, not twice- but SEVEN times to PLEASE clean up his room. He told me he did- and this is what I found.... Need I say more?

This is a picture of the inside of our trash can... Yep you guessed it. Those nice little veggies we talked about being important to eat at lunch- guess where they ended up??? This is a picture of Mya on a time out. Not a happy camper, but this is what happens when we pull our sisters hair and disobey our mommy.

This is my dumplin Kallan- in his underwear, he's STILL watching TV as I blog this. It's after 2:00 and I have asked him 15 times to go get dressed for the day. Maybe #16 will do the trick? (by the way, he has NO CLUE I even took this picture he was so zoned into the TV) Oh and all the while I am in sitting here in front of my computer blogging... this is piling up.
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians3:1
Heavenly father, everything I am, everything I do reflects you. I know my life will never be completely perfect until the day I stand before you face to face in eternity. Help me live the life I have now to bring you glory in all I do. Help me to look to you even in the small things- in the way I spend my time and the way I talk to my children. Your love tranforms me daily and I am forever thankful for that. I love you Lord- and that could not be more real.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Who you are

Because of who you are...

Travis, I have learned that God does not make mistakes and that even when things do not go the way you had planned -God is IN the plans.

Because of who you are... Keegan, I have learned that the right road always leads to the right place…and because God is in the right place, everything else just falls into place...

Because of who you are...

Addisyn, I have learned that it’s important to be the person God created me to be- a unique individual with my own thoughts and dreams.

Because of you...

Kallan, I have learned that true happiness lies in the little things in life- a hug, a smile, a bed time prayer.

Because of who you are...

Mya, I have learned that God’s plans are always better than mine, and no matter how big the mountain I should never give up hope.
Because of who you are...

Aleigha, I have learned to never ignore my heart and that God is much bigger than I had ever believed.

Because of who you are...

Kaden, I remember to always look to Jesus first... because while I may not be able to 'save the world' HE SURE CAN!

Thank you for being just the way you are.

Love, Mom

Monday, June 16, 2008

War of the Vacuums

Is there any such thing as too much help?

I am thinking maybe so...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Bible Vs The Cell Phone

Heard this today in church and it really made me stop and think...

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cellphone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several times a day for new messages?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?

Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities?

Oh, and no dropped calls!

Something to think about...

Just in case you thought things weren't going your way, this might help you put things in perspective...

* 800 million people will not eat today.
* 300 million of those people are children.
* Every 2 seconds someone dies of starvation.
* 1 billion people live on less than 1 dollar a day.
* It would cost 20 billion dollars to provide
health care for the entire world.
* Americans spend 20 billion dollars a year on ice cream alone.
* 6% of the world's population is American.
* Americans consume 40% of the world's natural resources.
* Only 8% of the world's population owns a car.
* The 92% that don't, think the 8% that do,
are exceedingly rich.
* 1 billion people NEVER have the clean water
that we wash our cars with.

- From World Vision

Saturday, June 14, 2008


"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord". Joshua 24:15

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!!

Dear Dad,
I want you to know that I do not take having you for a father for granted. The older I get the more I learn and appreciate all that goes into parenting a child. I understand now all that you gave up for me, the long hours you worked to support me and the time you poured into shaping me. I can only hope that you are as proud of me as I am of you. I remember growing up how I thought of you as a super hero! I always felt loved, protected and safe. I always knew that no matter what MY dad was there for me. When there was a job that needed to be done you were the first one there to help out. You were trustworthy, well respected and loved. I remember waiting at the door for you to come home from work and how you would hug me and make me feel like the most important part of your day. I remember visiting you at work and how you would take me to the top of the highest grain elevator and I would feel like I was on top of the world! You taught me by your example to work hard, stand for what I believe in, the importance of family… but more importantly, you taught me that there is more than one way to be rich. I have found those riches- that true happiness in the Lord. I want you to know Dad that I love you and that you truly ARE my hero. Thank you for your always being there for me, thank you for being the kind of person you are, and thank you for supporting me always. You bless me. Because of who you are- I am able to be me. I love you. Happy Father’s Day!

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland

To my precious husband on Father’s Day,
Did you ever think you would have SEVEN little signatures on your father’s day card? Seven little hearts loving you and seven little sets of eyes watching all you do and following your example?

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much”. Luke 16:10

When I sit back and watch you with our children I stand in awe of the miracle in front of me…that God would allow me to be your wife- and be a part of our living miracle takes my breath away. Watching you love our adopted children- knowing that you see them the EXACT SAME way as you see our biological children makes me fall more and more in love with you every day. Thank you for not seeing our children for the color of their skin or caring who’s genes they came from but loving them for who they are. I love your heart- I love what you believe in. Marrying you is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you for loving me and our babies the way you do. Thank you for saying yes to adoption. I have seen first hand how you have gone without so that the kids and I could have and do more. I have watched how your needs always come in last place and how you are only happy when we are. I cannot believe that God blessed me this much. Thank you for supporting us spiritually, financially, emotionally and physically. Thank you for believing in my dreams and for encouraging our kids to be all that God has planned for them to be. Thank you for being the best Father ever. How can I ever say thank you enough?

And lastly I want to honor my heavenly father. Thank you Lord for your example of the ultimate father. Thank you for the life you have given me and the sacrifice you made so that I could live. I stand in awe of you Abba father. You and only you fill the void in my heart and complete me. I know Lord that my possessions, my heath, my accomplishments- even my family are gifts from you. I have done nothing to deserve them, and they are only on loan from you. Thank you for letting me be a part of this amazing family and being surrounded by these precious Fathers. I love you Lord above all and more than anything in this world Lord. Amen

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Way

There are times in our lives where we find ourselves lost… heading down a path we never intended to end up on.We are not even sure how we got there or if there is a way out. We are searching… looking...
trying to find a way out- a better way.
We have tried every direction...
Money (yet once we spent it, it is gone)
Food (after we eat, we are still unhappy, and now we are over-weight which makes us even more unhappy!)
Entertainment (we tried laughing and having fun, yet we were still crying on the inside)
Popularity (It is here today and gone tomorrow. There is no lasting happiness in popularity)
Our own strength (we tried so hard to prove to the world we were strong enough, cool enough, good enough and yet we were not).

All of those only bring tempory happiness. We see that now, recognize it- and long for MORE. But where do we go?
Which way do we turn?
Time is running short, we have already wasted years of precious moments in life, doing one mistake after another, trying to conquer and achieve things that have no value.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

And then we sense Him calling us, we feel him changing us… we hear His voice saying that no matter what happened in the past, we can choose to follow God today and be free from any guilt or shame. He promises that we will be successful if we follow His word exactly. If we allow Him to direct our steps, He will not allow us to ever again loose our way. We will find rest for our soul and a whole new world will be opened to us. We will be changed at our root.

So we run into the arms of our savior- the one who loves us most of all.
For there we know we have found true happiness.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer entertainment

With the rising price of gas and food- entertaining seven kids all summer without going broke is sometimes a challenge. Luckily up the road just a few miles they put in one of those water parks where the water sprinklers randomly go off and there is a playground park next to it. The kids LOVED it and thankfully it was all FREE. Packed a picnic lunch and we had a wonderful day!
Aleigha, Mya and Kaden love making crafts. Yesterday the collected their favorite rock, scrubbed it clean and then decorated them into 'pet rocks'. Simple and cheap and kept them entertained for a good amount of time.(big sister helped too!)
For the older kids- I have decided that summer would be a good time for them to learn how to cook. (Makes them appreciate how much work it is for me to cook meals too). Last night was Travis's turn. He sort of cheated and had his girlfriend Cayley help. But they made a wonderful pasta with 'pink' sauce, salad and a lemon cake. With Travis going off to college in a year it is good for him to be able to make something other than frozen pizza. :0)