Monday, March 30, 2009

When you have to let go

All of us take risks in our lives, some are big and some are so small I doubt if we even realize we are taking them.
We might risk lending a hand to a stranger not knowing if it will be appreciated or offend them… We might send our money to a ‘cause’ and not know if it ever got into the right hands.
But we know that each time we ‘step out there’ God knows too and it is always worth the risk if your heart was in the right place.

Always.

Life in general is a risk- because if we fail- if we fall, there will be pain.
And sometimes the fear of that pain keeps us stranded- afraid to move.
But as I look back over my life and all of the risks we have taken- some ended up working out and some ended us up in a place we never wanted to be…
Yet through it all God was there by our side, holding us through it, knowing that we knew He was always worth the risk.
God doesn’t always promise us a happy ending, but He promises that He will never leave us. And when we are finally able to stand again we can look back and see how we have grown and changed and slowly, ever so slowly we begin to heal…
Risk is often associated with the unknowns- and fear. Yet I have found that I have never once regretted taking a risk to help/love a child. That doesn’t mean that things always turn out the way we wanted them to, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain.

There have been so many times I have been thankful people have taken a risk on me. My husband, for marrying me and adopting Travis as his own. My parents for believing that I actually might grow up one day and learn to behave myself. My sister Jenny for sticking by my side through some pretty crazy risks I have taken in my life and always believing in me anyway. My kids, for supporting me, trusting me and cheering me on. My precious friends- you know who you are- who have listening to my crazy ideas, listened to me cry, whine and still answer your phone when I call! :0) I love you all and am so thankful you think I am worth the risk.

Blogs are a funny thing. Sometimes, we get to see glimpses of someone’s story- paragraphs perhaps- but not the entire book. And that is unfortunately what you will get here. I truly wish you could ‘read’ the entire book- or see the whole picture because I know that if you did you would be able to better understand. You would know what it was like to be in our position, you would feel the gut wrenching pain, cry our tears, and know our sorrow.
I think life is pretty much that way. God see’s the whole story- the BIG picture- we only get to see a part of His plan. We see what is going on in our homes, between our 4 walls, we pray, seek God and then make the best decisions we can from the information we have. That is all we can do. But God knows. He knows our hearts and He understands our deepest desires- yet all the while working things out for the good of those who love Him.
Francis Chan wrote in his book Crazy Love “Not being able to fully understand God is frustrating, but it is ridiculous for us to think we have the right to limit God to something we are capable of comprehending”. So that is where we are right now. Broken hearted, but knowing that God is all knowing and see’s ‘the entire picture', and understands the whole story in a way that we will never be able to comprehend.

This last week the sibling group of four we were hoping to adopt left our home. Out of respect to these children that we love with all of our hearts, children that we thought of as ‘ours’ and prayed endlessly for- I will not share ‘the whole story’. I know being on your end of the computer it will be hard to understand, and I am sorry for that. But I will tell you one thing- we truly loved and truly wanted these kids- and the decision was not ours for them to go. There was an issue of safety and with the advice of therapist and other medical professionals- and despite our best efforts- we were not able to keep all of the children in our home safe if they stayed. Because of this, CPS made the decision to move the children into another home in order to keep the children in our home safe. The choice was not ours. This is not, for one second, the way we ever thought this would play out. But we know that God knows our hearts- He knows that we were and are still willing to risk everything to love a child, even if the final outcome is not what we had hoped for. We are left now holding the pieces of our broken hearts and broken dreams. But I have no regrets. We loved these kids, rocked them, sang to them, took care of them when they were sick. We taught them about Jesus and they knew they were adored, wanted and loved unconditionally. And while CPS made the choice that their futures did not include us- we know that God knew all along.

We told Him to use us- and we feel privileged that He did...even when it hurts.

I won’t claim to understand or like this decision. I admit in the darkest of hours I question God as to why He allowed this to happen. But what I do know is because there is sin in this world, people make mistakes and those mistakes have long term effects.
I cannot change that. I can only be who I am and always be willing to take a chance and love.

We miss you our precious fabulous four. May you always be happy and always, always know how much you are loved.

Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see. ~ Corrie ten Boom

The Discovery of you

One of my greatest gifts as a mother is watching my kids discover who they are... trying on different ‘hats’ so to speak. Finding their strengths and even their weaknesses. Growing comfortable with who they are- coming face to face with the exact person God made them to be.

Every day, every experience, is a part of our story. Some of those experiences will be good, others will hurt. And yet still, combined they become a part of who we are and who we are to become...

The truly amazing thing about discovering who we are is that it never stops. We are constantly changing and growing in ways we can never predict. Who we were five years ago is not necessarily who you are today. And who you are right now is not necessarily who you will be in five years. But one thing remains constant- along the way, God has been doing very specific things inside of us to help us become the person who He created us to be...

After all, for us, this is a journey of discovery for us...

“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days, ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)



Every day is planned out before we are even breathed into existence. So what does that have to do with me or you? A lot, dare I say everything?
There is freedom in knowing God and knowing your place.

You don’t have to be the next greatest whatever. God’s designs are all perfect and you are one of them.

He has a purpose just for you …

We spend much of our time working and striving to please other people or to be a certain way because we place so much importance on how the world sees us, when our only concern should be the respect and admiration of Him.

Just be the you God made you to be.


There is only one you.
Don't fight it...

It’s the best most perfect thing you could do with your life.
And don't be a fake...

Just be YOU.. silly, quirky, beautiful YOU.

"Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. You must move against it with the weapons of faith and love." Rick Warren

Friday, March 20, 2009

The perfect combination

I remember when my precious daughter Addisyn was about 4 years old she was always begging me for a sister. She wanted a sister so badly to play dress up and dolls with because her brothers would usually have nothing to do with that. So, she learned how to make the best of it and either play alone, with me or with her brothers.

Looking back now I just love how God put that combination together and created the most amazing person with the most amazing personality.


Addisyn, I love how you have grown into such a confident, independent, and loving child of God. I am so proud of how you believe in yourself and know your dreams. And, I am so thankful that you still share them with me. You are such a blessing and I am so thankful God made you just the way you are.


But what still makes me smile like no others~is how you still know how to play with your brothers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wonderful get away with friends


So ya, guess what incredibly wonderful thing happened to me last weekend? I had a night AWAY! Yep- just me and two of my awesome friends left all of our kiddo's behind and took a much needed break. Between the 3 of us we have 21 kids (almost 22 if you count the new precious bundle in my friend Kim's tummy!) We went shopping, hit the hotel hot tub and enjoyed being served at a restaurant. It was heavenly and a much needed break for all of us. Brandy (in the middle) has a precious 7 year old son, Andrew, who is battling leukemia (but doing wonderful thank you Jesus!) And Kim is pregnant with her 9th child (all biological). We all go to church together and their friendship has been such a blessing to me. Thanks girls for being there for me. Love you both!!

Missing children- Duncan and Jack

My sister is a school nurse in Illinois and 2 little boys from her school were abducted. Click below for photo's and if you see them please call as soon as possible. I cannot imagine how much this family and community are hurting!!

ATTENTION:On March 8th 2009 Duncan and Jack Connolly were allegedly abducted by their father, Michael Connolly. A felony warrant for Kidnapping was issued for Michael on March 9, 2009.
They may still be in the local area or they may travel to Hoffman Estates, Illinois in a grey Dodge Dynasty with license plates A326109.More information is available with the attached Poster or you can visit the website: http://tinyurl.com/missingchildrensalert

ANYONE HAVING INFORMATION SHOULD CONTACT National Center for Missing & Exploited Children1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)orLeRoy Police Department (Illinois)
1-309-888-5030

In my back yard

Okay I confess I have been a horrible blog slacker lately. There is really just so much going on and my poor blog has taken the back seat. But I wanted to share that a few weeks ago I had the privilege of spending the day with 2 amazing adoptive, blogging mama's. Can I just tell you what a blessing it was to be in their presence of these 2 AWESOME moms and their beautiful children. Precious children from all over the world playing together in my back yard!! Beautiful, Godly mama's sharing their hearts and their wisdom. Seriously, does it get any better than that? Just wanted to say thank you Christine http://www.welcometomybrain.net/ and Leslie http://recoveringnoah.blogspot.com/ I just love the way you both view your life and your world. Your wisdom, insight, and friendship are PRICELESS!!











Happy St. Patricks Day!

Going Green...

For breakfast we had green eggs and ham, green butter on our toast and green milk in our cereal!!

(this picture was actually taken for Abby's purple tongue post but hey it fits!)

Hope everyone has a great St. Patricks day!! :0)
Go GREEN!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Operation Princess

Ever want to do something to make a difference? Ever wanted to know that you were a part of something bigger, something grander, something sweeter than you could have ever dreamed? Ever wanted to swoop in and make someone feel like a princess? Well, here is your chance!!

~Sarah lives in India with her husband and three kids. They run India Christian Ministries, and Sarah "adopts" children from government institutions and places them in various homes that she's set up in her area. We're not talking healthy, robust children here. Sarah has a heart for those who are left behind... those with severe mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, birth defects - those who were never adopted from an orphanage and "aged out" and were put into institutional care.
There's Rachel - who's leg was in a cast for so long - who was never taken of - and who now needs an amputation.
There's little Noah, who has scoliosis, whose hip is out of joint and who has bilateral microphthalmia.
There's Promise - sweet Promise - who most likely laid on her back on a bare floor for the last 14 years. She is blind and has so many health problems that I wouldn't know where to begin. Was she ever held? Did anyone ever wipe her tears and tell her she was beautiful? That she is loved?Sarah does just that. She takes these kids and see them how Jesus sees them. And she doesn't just put them in homes - she takes care of them. She makes sure that they have access to the best possible resources - OT, PT, Speech Therapy, Special Education - and all the operations they need to help them have a full life.
She fights for them.
Loves them.
Grieves for them.
Cares for them.
42 of them. All wonderfully made in the eyes of the Lord.
Today, Sarah started Operation Princess. Her latest three posts are about this new endeavor. You can find Sarah's full blog HERE .Please read about Operation Princess.
If anyone has a dress to donate, please contact Leslie at lesliebucknerthomas@yahoo.com
Leslie is hoping to collect as many dresses as possible to send to
Sarah so that these wonderful, beautiful girls can feel pretty and special. Because they ARE.
And while you're at it, please look through Sarah's entire blog. It is truly an act of God. You will be amazed.

Please feel free to put this on your blog and get the word out and let's help these precious little ones not only look beautiful but feel the love!!! :0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Serious.life Magazine

Long before Abby Riggs was diagnosed with leukemia Michelle and I became friends through adoption. One thing that I loved about Michelle was her faith. She was constantly asking people how she could pray for them. That stuck with me. It’s kind of nice to know that someone cares enough about you to ask how they can pray. There have been some dark days in our lives (especially lately) where I know the power of prayers was the only thing getting us through.

Since Abby was diagnosed I have heard many people say when the hard days rear their ugly heads in their lives “well, at least it isn’t as bad as what poor Abby and her family are going through, I can’t imagine." And I understand. Watching your baby, your precious child suffer has to be the hardest thing any parent could ever go through. Yet when I talk to Michelle or Brent- there is always laughter in their voice or in the background somewhere in the hospital room. They are always so positive, while still keeping a healthy balance of reality of Abby’s situation. And as I look at the ‘little’ blog that Michelle first started before abby was diagnosed I remember Michelle dragging her feet to start a blog because she thought she didn’t have anything interesting to say- and how no one would read it anyway... I shake my head now and smile at all of their followers. And in the mist of it all, in the middle of Abby’s treatments, is Michelle, still smiling, her voice still of laughter, asking how people how she can pray for them- all because of her faith.

"Faith is not a belief that everything will turn out to please us; rather it is the confidence that no matter how things turn out, God will somehow use the events in our days for His glory and for our good".


Awhile back Brent, Abby’s daddy, who happens to be amazingly talented, started a Christian on line magazine called Serious Life. I happen to think it is fabulous, not only because Travis appreared on the cover with Abby- but just because it is an all around great magazine. If you haven’t yet you need to check it out. http://www.seriouslifemagazine.com/ You too will be blessed.
And Michelle, I know you are busy, and I know you don’t have time to read all blog posts anymore- but just wanted to tell you thanks. Thanks for your friendship and thanks for being the real deal. (And Brent you pretty much rock too!) Love you guys and praying every day for Abby.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The things you do for love

Our family loves the Riggs family http://www.riggsfamilyblog.com/ to pieces. We pray for them daily and Princess Abby has a special place in our hearts~ and I know many of you feel the exact same way. Aleigha and Abby have a special connection but when they were visiting this last time something funny happened. Abby claimed my 18-year-old son Travis as one of her 'boyfriends'. And well, Travis, being a sucker for cute girls, couldn't help but to be smitten by Abby as well.


Then when Abby's daddy asked people to make video's for Abby Travis couldn't resist. So, he threw aside his studly image and did this...

video
Absolutely anything to make Abby feel better and smile. We love you Abby girl- keep fighting and we will keep praying.
Now what can you think of to do to make Abby smile?