Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Big Mud Puddles and Sunny Yellow Dandelions

Author Unknown

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.
My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away.
My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen.
My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this, give me that.
My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight. Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet. I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."
When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers to cross, and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from? No wonder God loves the little children! Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Discovering the 'princess' in you...

So the princess earned her date (she chose McDonalds of course). Thirty days of no hitting and no talking ugly to friends. Can I just shout a big WOO HOO for Princess Lainey! I am so proud of her! 30 days is a long time for a 5 year old~ but enough time to form a good habit of how to treat our friends. Keep up the good work sweet girl! You are a real princess to the King (of Kings) and I can't help but think that He too is having a party over this. :0)

Happy Birthday Dad!
I love you more than words can say. Thank you for everything you do for us, thank you for being just the way you are and thank you for supporting us through this crazy journey of life. You are my hero.
Love you- Amy :0)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Always wear a smile. Remember, without your smile, your attire is incomplete.

Because... You're never fully dressed without a smile. :0)
When you leave your little guys at home with your big guys- you just never know what they are going to do when they get bored. So, today I found these pictures on my camera. When I asked them what they were about they explained to me that they thought Kaden looked like 'Waldo' from the "Where is Waldo books" in his pj's so they thought they would create a blog post for me (since I haven't been exactly faithful about blogging often lately) and see if you all could find Waldo. So, here it is- courteous by my older kids.
Where is Waldo???

All I can say is I am soooooooo glad I found him! Because I am pretty sure he is the cutest 'Waldo' I have ever seen in my life!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Please pray for Guatemala


"As recently published by Nuestro Diario, a leading Guatemalan newspaper, children are being abandoned to the streets at an alarming rate. With few government institutions to provide care and the closure of many private institutions, some birthmothers are simply leaving their newly born children in trash dumps. Nuestro Diario reports that in Guatemala City alone, 91 children were found abandoned with 70 being new born infants. Twenty abandoned children in Guatemala City were found after they had already perished. What is being done to build a social service system which not only protects children from corruption but also from a tragic death?"

Sometimes when it's too much for my human mind or heart to withstand, all I can do is wrap my arms just a little bit tighter around my precious little girls and ask once again Why?

Monday, February 9, 2009

In Africa

This post is going to be really hard for me to write for two reasons. One, the reason I blog is because I am so passionate about adoption, I’ve always figure that if God can use us at all to ‘help’ someone else along the way than I am all for that. Yet, because I also have to respect and protect our ‘private’ lives I have to be very careful how much I ‘share’. So, that puts me in a tough spot on how to share.
Secondly, putting this out there is totally admitting my weaknesses… and well, there are many. I will warn you now they are not in the least pretty.
Not pretty at all.
So, here goes…my best attempt to share- the good, the bad and the ugly- without really sharing.
I might as well get it out there first- I have never been one who completely understood disruptions. I think a large part of that is due to the fact that my precious nephew came into my sisters family (therefore my family) through a disrupted adoption. This kid is nothing but amazing. Perfect- no, but none the less- amazing. If you heard his story, if you knew him- I guaranteed you too would question ‘disruptions’. Yet while I know it’s wrong to ‘judge’ someone else-being as passionate as I am about adoption, I guess that part of it didn’t fit into the picture I had drawn in my head of adoption. I didn’t want to go there- I didn’t want to even think about that being possible. That is, until a precious family that I know had to walk this road…
and when this part of adoption became a very real possibility for us as well. It was at that point the Lord gave me a whole new view of disruption-the side that many families have had to face. Many beautiful families- who love God with all their heart- who truly, without a doubt are just as passionate about adoption as I am- have to walk that road. Without any choice of their own, it creeps in and destroying their biggest dreams. Despite their continuous prayers, their tears, their heartache, their hard work and dedication- disruption becomes their reality. They must release their child - only to be left carrying the hurt, carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.. and once again finding themselves falling to their knees asking God why? Why- when it was all they had dreamed of? Why- when they had given their all and poured their life into that child? Why- when they had been obedient to God’s calling. Why?

Today I am able to understand this in a whole new way- thanks to God. He gave me a small taste of what these families endure and I am ashamed to say that I didn’t always understand. We came to a place with one of our new children where not continuing to parent them became a very big reality. Any way we looked at it- we had all of the right reason to go that route. While I cannot share the details, I will tell you that pretty much every person I am close to- good, Godly Christian woman, said the same thing- they would absolutely understand if we chose to not finalize the adoption. We were in a situation where safety became an issue and that, of course, put a lot of pressure on my husband and I as parents. Lots of pressure to do the ‘right’ thing for everyone involved.
We were hurting and we were scared. Our dream, our picture of ‘how things would play out’ had been squashed before our very eyes. I didn’t want ‘this’ being a part of my life. Quite frankly, I didn’t want to deal with ‘it’ at all. It was bad- it was ugly, it was wrong- and ‘I’ didn’t want to have any part of it. Once again, I wanted to put on my running shoes, or hide under my covers- just go on with my life and pretend that ‘this’ never happened to us.
So, I reasoned with myself- that we could just that exact thing. After all, we had every reason to move on. Nobody would judge us if they knew the truth. They would understand, and I was sure they would do the same thing themselves. It all made perfect sense. It really did. We had every reason.
Every reason, except for one.
God had called us to this… and God had not yet allowed us to release this child.

Again I wish I could share. I wish more than anything I could tell you how clearly He spoke to me- how obvious He made Himself known. I wish I could tell you how through scripture, through an experience I had one day He ‘showed me’ something I never knew before. He spoke to me in a way that literally took all of the fear, the hurt, and the anguish we had been feeling- and gave us a peace like no other.

I know there are times when God does release a child now from your grip- as was the case of a sweet family I know. Where their part was done. Where the answer was no more. Where He reclaimed that child and she are no longer theirs. And as painful as that was, they had to act in obedience. I have a whole new respect for people who love a child so much they are willing to acknowledge and obey God when He says ‘let go’ regardless of their own wants, their own desires- and their own pain.

And then there are other times where God asks you to continue. To stand beside this child regardless of how hard that may be. Regardless of your own dreams, your own feelings- regardless of the fact that you are less than qualified. He simply asks you to continue on.

I love how one mommy explained it like this:

"Do you ever look at your kids and your circumstances and just have to say to God, "Okay - this is my Africa."? I know I'm called to be the parent to all of my kids. Sometimes it doesn't make sense. I'm realizing certain bits of information were not given to us before we made the decision to take our children (information that would have led us to say, "No, thank you" immediately). Yet God made this one crystal clear. He has asked us to do it. And some days ... all I can do is say, "It's my Africa. It's devastating. It's putrid. It is foreign. It feels completely impossible. Yet it is my calling."

So here we are- walking this road we never thought we’d end up on.
We are humbled and changed- but changed for the better.
Will it be easy? No way.
Some days do I still feel like hiding under my covers? You betcha.
But then I remember that my Africa is waiting…
And I am called.
So I put both feet on the ground and focus my eyes on above…once again offering all that I have-my hands, my heart, my mind, my feet, to serve Him in any way He asks and trusting Him to show me the way.

Are you too facing your Africa? If so, how can I pray for you today?
“The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dessert Recipe

I haven't posted a recipe for awhile so thought I'd share this one. This is one of my kids favorite desserts and it's super easy and super good. (and it feeds a bunch!)

Ice Cream Dessert

1 bag of oreo cookies
½ gallon of vanilla ice cream
Chocolate syrup
Snickers or Reeses (or your favorite candy bar), cut into small pieces

Crunch up oreo cookies and place in the bottom of 11x13 pan.
Spread ice cream over oreo cookies and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Crumbled cut up candy bar pieces over the top and freeze until ready to serve. Yummy

Friday, February 6, 2009

Follow the leader

My sweet friend Doreen http://foreverhugs.blogspot.com/ sent me one of these today...

And I couldn't help but giggle. She said she "saw it and thought of me." Go figure.
So a few of the kids decided they would go outside and give it a try. We have one little guy- I won't mention any names (JACE!!!) who likes to wonder. You know the kind~the one who always seem to beat to their own drum...smart, funny and CURIOUS. Yep, we have one of those kind. I am hoping this just might help him stay with the pack. :0)
Thanks Doreen!!

Keep praying!!!

Please keep praying for sweet Abby. Now more than ever she needs your prayers. Please pray for knowledge for the doctors and for strength and peace her parents. We love you precious girl- keep fighting!!! http://www.riggsfamilyblog.com/

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I always used to joke and say something like "Why can't God just send me an email so I know what I am supposed to be doing... It would be so much easier."
Today, I found this in my inbox.
Thanks God.

How God Uses Pain
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman02-04-2009
"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things" (Isa 45:7).
God will use pain in order to create a love relationship with His creation. This statement may challenge your theology. However, consider that God allowed Jesus to experience incredible pain in order to create an opportunity to have a relationship with His creation. Consider how Jesus created a relationship with Paul. He blinded him and used a crisis in his life in order to bring him into a relationship with him and use him for God's purposes. Consider how God recruited Jonah for the mission He had for him.
This is not God's first choice for His creation. Romans 2:4 reveals that God's preference is to show mercy and kindness: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" The problem is there are few people who respond to the goodness of God. God loves people more than He loves their comfort. He invests a great deal into mankind. He desires relationship with us and will go to great lengths to create such a relationship in order for us to receive the rewards and inheritance He has for us.
I have observed this process in the scriptures in working with people through years of ministry. I have noticed three distinct stages. First, we live based on convenience. Our obedience is largely based on circumstances in our lives. We choose to obey based on the circumstances.
The second stage is the crisis stage. God allows a crisis to come into our lives. We are motivated to obey God in order to get out of the pain of our situation. Many times God allows us to stay in this condition in order to demonstrate His love and faithfulness during our pain. Gradually, we discover something knew about God and often have a personal encounter with Him that changes us. Our very nature is affected by this God-encounter.
This begins to move us into a third phase that is a relationship that is motivated now by love and devotion instead of pain. This is where God desires us to be. Another way of saying this is we are no longer seeking His hand. We are seeking Him. We want to know God personally.
Obedience will not last when the motivation is only the removal of our pain. Obedience only lasts when the motivation is loving devotion. Where are you in your obedience and what is the primary motivation? If it isn't love, why not tell the Lord you love Him today and want to know Him for who He is and not for what He can do for you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stretching...and growing

Yes, we are still here.
You know, I love those times in your life when everything is falling into place... you wake up in the morning and smile and life is just good.
And yet to be able to appreciate those good times- and to grow into the person God has in mind for you- sometimes you have to go through those dark days too. They are never fun, actually- they are quite painful. But a good stretch sometimes is. We are there right now- being stretched beyond anything I thought I could ever take. But I have to.
I have to.
So during this time we are constantly doing all we can to stay focused on God- and focused on what He needs us to do.
We are hurting.
It is hard.
But I know without a doubt in my mind that God will be able to use us like never before and that is the greatest gift of all.