Sunday, November 30, 2008

Why I've been Missing in Action

So where do I begin? I’ll start with apologizing that I have been MIA lately. Busy doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am so exhausted right now that the words aren’t even forming… so just bare with me (if anyone is even still reading my abandoned blog).
Eight days ago 4 of the fabulous five moved in. It’s a long story and once again on a public blog I cannot share all of the details but they are here and all in all doing well. We will find out this Friday if the baby will be joining our family too. She was in a separate foster home and her foster family filed an intervention to keep her. Now it is up to the CPS attorney and the foster family’s attorney to battle it out in court. Our hearts are broken, as is her siblings, but there is nothing we can do but wait and let the judge decide the fate of her future. Thankfully we know that we serve the ultimate judge and trust Him- even if the outcome is not as we had hoped. Please say a prayer for her, for the judge and for our family. While this is so hard because our hands are tied- there is no place we would rather she be than ‘in the hands of God’.
The last 8 days have been a series of highs and lows. We have seen progress, and yet some days have been really tough as expected. While it is one thing to say “it won’t be easy’ actually living it is a whole different story ;0) We are in essence joining 3 different families, (the 2 girls were in one foster home and the 2 boys in another) 3 different views on how to do things should be done- into one home. Some days this works and other days not so well. The older girls are also morning the loss of the foster family they loved dearly. The boys do not seem as affected by the change, or at least they are not as able to vocalize it. We also got hit with the flu, pink eye and even pneumonia in the mist of it all. Go figure.
We have such a long way to go- a lot of healing, a lot of teaching, a lot of learning, a lot to figure out- yet also a LOT to be thankful for. Most days I wish I could zip ahead to 6 months from now where everyone is feeling more secure, more adjusted and where we have this new routine and way of life figured out. But I know in doing so I would miss out on the miracle of each little hug, each little smile and each look of hope I see in their beautiful eyes. I wish I could share pictures- they truly are beautiful.
I’ll try to get on and share as much as I can when I can if I can find a moment to spare… or maybe I’ll just have to give up sleeping all together. :0)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Link for the bunk beds per requests...

Here's the link to the bunk beds-
We are really happy with them. I love the black ones too. We chose the trundles but you can get them with drawers underneath which is awesome too. :0)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall into the fun!!!

Rooms- Finished!

Thanks to our virtual baby shower (you guys are such a blessing to us!!) we were able to get the kids awesome bunk beds with trundles. We LOVE them! And thanks to our awesome church their rooms are all painted, done and ready to go. I can't wait for them to see them!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Walking in Faith...

I have noticed lately when people hear we are adopting the fabulous five (after exclaiming we are crazy of course- but I’ll save that for a different post) that a biggest question we getting is “Your husband must make a ton of money- and how big is your house?” I am here to tell you that while yes we are blessed by a steady job with a good company (we love you 3M!!) we do NOT own a huge, fancy, expensive house and we are NOT loaded with money... we are loaded with FAITH.
Faith that when our God calls- he will provide.
And he has.
He does.
I think so often we are frozen from doing God’s work because we cannot see the whole picture and that scares us. The amount in the bank, the numbers on the monthly budget- do not add up. It seems impossible, overwhelming. I know, I've been there. But I also know that our God is all powerful- and that is not just a cliché. God doesn’t need our money- He owns everything already. I have learned that when God calls you to do something it is often the exact thing that most people would run from because in our human minds it ‘cannot be possible’. But with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. I know you’ve heard that before- but ARE YOU LIVING LIKE YOU BELIEVE IT? I’ve asked it before but I will ask it again today- ARE YOU LIVING A LIFE THAT PROVES YOU TRUST YOUR GOD? Or, are you living your life according to how your check book balances? I also know what you are probably thinking as you read those words… something along the lines of ‘but you don’t know our situations’… or that may work for some people but not us. No. I am here to tell you. God IS ALWAYS faithful when you are doing His work.
You see, God wants the credit. He wants to do the work. He wants us to know that we are not doing something because WE can. Not because WE are qualified, educated, or good. He wants the credit. HE DESERVES THE CREDIT- WE do not. He wants to work through us. He wants to provide what we need. He wants us to look to Him- seek Him, trust Him.
So no, we do not have a six digit income or a huge house. We have a huge faith. We have a huge God. We trusted God would provide and He has...

~God provided a Christian man from our church who was willing to add onto our house for practically nothing. This man, Dave, was God’s hands and feet. In him we saw Jesus.
~God directed the path for me to meet my amazing friend Kellie (who I trusted with my most prized possessions- my kids) and provided in her a sitter I could trust because our families live 13 hours away. She came armed with plastic dishes, made us dinner, blessed us with a generous gift card and loved on my kids while I was gone. She was God’s hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided a church family full of Christian men and woman along with a pastor who love the Lord and were willing to be God’s hands and feet and paint our home, put together bunk beds and move furniture at a moments notice. In them we saw Jesus.
~God provided a group of ladies from a church in Grabill, Indiana who sent us a generous gift card to Walmart to purchase things needed for our new kids. These woman were wiling to be God’s hands and feet through their willing hearts. In them we saw Jesus.
~God provided me with precious friends who understand our hearts, understand we will stumble and know the exact time when we needed them to send me a verse from scripture or a prayer. They were willing to be God’s hands and feet. In them we saw Jesus.
~God provided the exact item we were needed on sale that day at the store. We saw Jesus.
~God provided an amazing, supportive adoption community of friends who pulled together and gave us a Virtual baby shower so that we could purchase bunk beds and many more needed for our new kids. They were willing to be God’s hands and feet. In each of them we saw Jesus.
~God provided a woman I have never met named Shannon who donated her baby bed and new sheets for the baby. She was willing to be God’s hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided a friend through adoption named Phyllis who drove out of her way to bring us a car seat and support us when. She was willing to be God’s hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided a wonderful friend named Heather who I adore because I can talk honestly to and bounce thoughts off of without feeling judged. She blessed us with a generous gift cared to Target to purchase things for our kids. She was willing to be Gods hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided a gift card from a woman I had never met to purchase pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond. She was willing to be God’s hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~ God provided a friend named Elizabeth with a heart for orphans who uses her creativeness to create cards and donated some of her profits to us. She was God's hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided a Godly woman who I look up to named Kim who also blessed us with a generous gift card- which we were able to purchase the kids new comforters. She was willing to be God’s hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~ God provided a friend named Kacie who used her talents and made at least a hundred beautiful hair bows for our girls and mailed them to us !She was willing to be God's hands and feet. In her we saw Jesus.
~God provided gift card after gift card from friends from Barnebettes, clothing, high chair, mattresses, toys, etc- all through people who were willing to be God’s hands and feet. In them we saw Jesus.
~God provided us with families with who love and support us, even if they do not always agree with us. They are willing to open their hearts, their homes for the rest of their lives to love these children as their own flesh and blood. They are willing to be God’s hands and feet. In them we saw Jesus.
~God provided me with amazing, supportive, understanding friends who cheer us on and comfort us when needed. They are willing to be God's hands and feet. In them we saw Jesus.

This is all through people who love the Lord and have faith that there is something more than just living an ordinary life. And while I hesitated to write all of these blessings in fear of forgetting some one- I wanted people to see for themselves. It’s not about US being good enough, it’s not about us having it all planned out- or having a huge chunk of money piled in our laps- it’s about us TRUSTING GOD to provide when He calls. And while yes we need to use the brains God gave us- we also need to not be afraid to take that first step of faith. I am not expecting nor am I proclaiming that things will always be easy. We might have to go without sometimes- but big deal. What we have- our children, our family, our friends-and serving our God is more important to me than lavish vacations and brand new cars any day!!! What we are doing is more important to me than wearing name brand clothing and eating out every day. What we are teaching our children is priceless. Worth a whole more than the latest Play station game. What our children will inherit is an example of living a Godly life. They will learn to find joy in serving, happiness in seeing others happy- even if that means them going without. Yet more importantly they will discover contentment in who they are. And there is nothing better than that.
So, I'll ask you one more time... are you living your life that proves you trust your God?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Never fear- I am still alive!!!

Let me see- where do I begin? This last week and a half have been absolutely crazy. Non stop, on the run, ups and downs- just plain old crazy. So much has been happening with our adoption of the fabulous five. I wish I could share more details, but because my blog is now public and because our kiddo's are foster children there is just so much that I cannot put on here in order to protect their privacy. Unfortunately,this includes their pictures- which is so hard for me because can I just tell you they are absolutely beautiful! All five of them- simply precious. So, you will just have to take my word for it for not that's all. :0)
So last Wednesday my awesome friend Kellie ( You are THE BEST KELLIE- THANK YOU!!) came and took care of our five school aged kiddo's while Todd and I loaded up the car, along with Aleigha and Kaden, and traveled about 4 hours away to meet the fabulous five. While we were gone for 2 nights in a hotel my INCREDIBLE church family came and painted 3 bedrooms (we are playing musical bedrooms at our house) and put together the new bunk beds. Now that I will show you pictures of just as soon as I take some and download them...but for now, once again you will have to trust me- it looks FABULOUS. There are just no words to explain how blessed Todd and I feel to be surrounded by such amazing friends. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts- you have no idea how grateful we are for your help. We love you all.
Thursday morning we got to meet all five of our new kiddo's. They are in 3 separate foster homes so a lot had to be arranged. We went armed with teddy bears and lollipops to help break the ice. Jayla and Lainey were both very outgoing- came right to us. Kai and Jace however kept a safe distance and took some time to warm up to us. Baby Isabella went right into my arms and acted like she had known us her entire life. She never cried once. Not once. Unbelievable. We spent some time together at the girls foster families home and then were able to take them back to the hotel with us for an overnight. Bless their hearts- I cannot image how scared they must have been with complete strangers who called themselves mommy and daddy. We came in, took them from their home, loaded them into our vehicle and took them to a new place and they had no choice but to go with us. I kept telling them how brave they were and how proud I was of them. I told them it was okay to be sad or afraid- that it was okay to feel any way they wanted to feel. We hugged and talked, laughed and cried, and got to know these precious children who would soon be ours forever.
In a perfect world none of this would happen... in a perfect world adoption would not exist. While I know Todd and I are blessed to get to raise these amazingly brave, beautiful children- my heart cannot help but to ache for all they have been through- the changes, the unknowns, and the loss. I pray that the Lord gives me what it takes to be the best mommy I can to these children. I pray I have what it takes to help heal their hearts and restore their faith. I pray that one day they will realize how God himself led us to them... how all along, even in the darkest hours He was watching over them... How all along He had a plan for their lives... I am just so thankful it involved me. :0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My body, My hands, My feet

Over and over, when I ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the spirit whisper to me, “You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet.”
~Shane Claiborne, The Irrestible Revolution

Monday, November 10, 2008

A must see Video

Many of you followed my amazing friend Carolyn's journey to Ethiopia to adopt sweet Selah and watched as God miraculously paved their rocky road home. Please take the time to watch this segment featuring the Twietmeyer family and ask God what He might have you do. You will be tempted to watch it and simply say"what an amazing family"...yes...they are, but I challenge you to see the Bigger Picture and say..."what an amazing GOD!

If you do nothing else, would you consider spreading the word- that HIV is NOT a death sentence and it really is hard to transmit! Praise God! If the stigma attached to HIV could be obliterated........more than half the battle would be won!
(Thanks Holly


Are you living your life in such a way that proves you trust God?
How much different would your life look like if today you decided to give it all to Him instead of just "going through the motions"?
Dare ya to do it...
Dare you to trust him completely.

Twinkle Twinkle LIttle Star

I have stars in my eyes for you too baby boy!!!

Here comes the bride...

Last weekend I had the privilege of taking 'bridal' pictures of my beautiful friend Brandy. Isn't she just the prettiest bride to be? Congratulations Brandy- I am so proud of you!!! May your lives together be fully blessed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Good bye Mr. Pacifier

It is a sad, sad day in our house today... and trust me, Mr. Kaden has let his feelings be known. Today we said "Farewell to Mr. Pacifier". Mr. Pacifier has been a good and trusted friend- he was there to comfort my baby when he needed it most. But it's time to move on.

I actually liked Mr. Pacifier myself- he was kind of cute, quiet, and didn't ask for much. But I noticed that I had began to get annoyed with Mr. Pacifier because we would spend endless hours searching for him when he 'hid''. Often times we could accidentally leave him behind and our day was just not the same. So, while it breaks my heart to see my precious Kaden grieve- I know that my baby boy is turning into a big boy now and he can make it in this world alone- without the likes of Mr. Pacifier.

Good-bye Mr. Pacifier- may you rest in peace.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Please pray long and hard before you vote... and listen to what your God is trying to tell you.

So there is only 3 more days until the election and can I just beg you to do one thing for me? Can you please pray for our country? I haven't said a lot on here because I'm really not up for a big debate. Truth of the matter is- I am not an expert on politics and I don't claim to have all the answers. (I leave that to God). But there are some things that I will NOT keep quiet about-some things that as a Christian I feel strongly about and that is the fact that I am pro life- Human life/abortion- is one of my can't compromise issues.

I am so afraid that our country is now thinking only with their pocketbooks- and not searching their hearts and looking to God for the truth. I'm afraid that we have turned out back on God's word and feel some sort of entitlement to having things go 'our' way. Please, please just pray. The future of our children are at stake. This is a big deal folks. Please pray before you vote.

Below is an article I came across on this blog (thanks Wendi!) Think about it... is this what we have become? If so... what is next? Is this really the type of legacy what we want to leave?

Made in the U.S.A: Spoiled Brats
Originally Posted: November 20, 2006 1:00 am Eastern
By Craig R. Smith © 2008

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? The same magazine that employs Michael (Qurans in the toilets at Gitmo) Isikoff. Here I promised myself this week I would be nice and I start off in this way. Oh what a mean man I am.
The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change.
So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''
Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?
Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.
Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home, you may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of having a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes; an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.
How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.
Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.
I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?
Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.
So why then the flat out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells. Just ask why they are going to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn't kill his wife but if he did … insane!
Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.
I close with one of my favorite quotes from B.C. Forbes in 1953:
''What have Americans to be thankful for? More than any other people on the earth, we enjoy complete religious freedom, political freedom, social freedom. Our liberties are sacredly safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States, 'the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.' Yes, we Americans of today have been bequeathed a noble heritage. Let us pray that we may hand it down unsullied to our children and theirs.''
I suggest this Thanksgiving we sit back and count our blessings for all we have. If we don't, what we have will be taken away. Then we will have to explain to future generations why we squandered such blessing and abundance. If we are not careful this generation will be known as the ''greediest and most ungrateful generation.'' A far cry from the proud Americans of the ''greatest generation'' who left us an untarnished legacy.

Craig R. Smith is an author, commentator and popular media guest because he instantly engages audiences with his common-sense analyses of local, national and global trends.

**Being a Christian means being 'christ like'. How do you think Jesus would vote? Now go be like Him...