Saturday, July 30, 2011

That kind of love...

Love is more than simply warm feelings; it is an attitude that reveals itself in action. How can we love others as Jesus loves us? By helping when it's not convenient, by giving when it hurts, by devoting energy to others' welfare rather than our own, by adsorbing hurts from others without complaining or fighting back. That kind of love is hard to do. That is why people notice when you do it...
John 13:34,35 (study notes)

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Exactly where...

It's important to both Todd and I that we have one on one time with each of our children. Being in a larger family means we have to be very intentional about spending quality time with each child or else before we know it- life gets in the way and far too much time has gone by.

Date night means a great deal to the kids too. They get a date with dad alone and a date with mom alone. They talk and they plan and they choose their most favorite things in the entire world to do- within a certain budget. ;) They give each other ideas and they are as excited for their siblings as they are for themselves.

Tonight was Carson's turn. Oh how this little boy melts my heart.

Carson decide that he wanted to eat Chinese food for dinner...

and after we were finished stuffing ourselves with orange chicken and rice, we took a walk by the water and watched the boats.

 One of Carson's all time favorite memories was boating and tubing last summer at a family reunion-  only this year we didn't get to go... so this helped ease that pain.

After that he topped off our date with his favorite ice cream... chocolate with M&M's.

And then the most unexpected thing happened...

Over the top of his bowl Carson looked up at me, smiled and said  "This is exactly where I wanted to be."

I know it may sound funny to some of you... and I realize that most likely he was saying this because it was 105 degrees outside and he was sitting with a bowl of Coldstone in front of him... and yet God chose this moment to whisper to my heart "and this is exactly where I wanted him to be too Amy."

You see, before we adopted Carson there was this family who loved him and wanted to adopt him with their entire hearts. We thought the world of this family and knew they would be an amazing family for him. While we had known Carson since the day we met Kaden (they were in the same awesome foster home) and while Kaden and Carson had a sweet and special bond~ we never really considered pursuing Carson as our own. I'm not even really sure why to tell you the truth... I guess it was probably because I was afraid to even try. Big families are not typically the 'first choice' when adopting through the foster system- and I honestly didn't think we stood a chance. All I knew was that we loved him dearly and more than anything we wanted him adopted into a good home.  And so, that is exactly what we prayed for...and hoped that the family we knew would be the ones.

But through a series of events and circumstances- doors began to open left and right without our even opening them- and we were blessed beyond our wildest dreams to be selected to be Carson's forever family. While this was not how we started out believing things would happen, we obviously felt blessed beyond  measure.  Except for one little thing- the guilt that I have carried for over a year now knowing our being blessed left another family hurting, confused, and broken hearted.

As time has gone on, the Lord has made it clear over and over again that Carson is exactly where he should be. And that family, they too was blessed through the adoption of two precious and perfect little ones.

As Carson looked at me over that bowl of ice cream tonight with those big round eyes of his, as he giggled when we splashed our feet in the water and as he held his tiny hand in mine when we walked out the door, I decided to let that guilt go once and for all. This is exactly where he was meant to be.

 I am thankful, once again, for a Father who gives us so much more than we could ever dream for ourselves... and thankful that He always, always knows best.

I love you Carson and I couldn't imagine a single day of my life without you in it.

Thank you Jesus for my son.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011


She's smart as a whip, beautiful,
and strong willed.

We are pretty sure the Lord has some big plans for this little girls life to have beat all the odds like she has.

Before the age of two, she will have lived in three different countries and been exposed to three different languages.

This girls not only on the move...
but she's got the moves...

And she's not afraid to use them. .
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Children on the mission field

One of the top questions we have had lately is how do we feel about raising our children on the mission field. I am assuming the reason we get this question so often is because of fear. People fear something happening to their children and fear not being able to offer them 'the best things' in life so they assume we feel the same way.

First of all, we believe that raising our children in the center of God's will is the safest and best place to raise them.

While some may view moving to another country as unsafe- I can assure you we are doing everything in our power to provide a safe life for our children.

Our power is the key word.

Because the truth is- while you and I can do all the 'right' things to make sure our kids are safe and healthy- in reality, there is only so much we can do. Whether we live in the comfy old USA or in a 3rd world country- things happen. People get sick- cancer rears it's ugly head, we break bones, and get in car accidents. They are a part of life no matter who you are or where you live.                      

Does it scare me those things could happen to my children? Of course. It scares me right now living in the USA. But what scares me more is raising my children in a world where they are constantly bombarded by the pursuit of personal happiness. Where 'the finer things in life' are constantly dangled in front of their eyes and where they are brainwashed into thinking 'things' are more important than people. 

We learned a long time ago that there are no guarantees in life- and we learned a long time ago that the Lord isn't so much concerned with our 'happiness' as He is our holiness. While we do need to be wise- we also don't want to stand in front of God one day and realize we missed out on the very purpose He created us because we were too afraid to really live.

While it's true the USA is considered the land of opportunity, I believe my children will experience 'other' opportunities while living in another country that many Americans will not. They will see things, experience things, and live things that are different than those living in the United States- but equally as good. They will learn to relate on a new level to others who are not like them and learn to appreciate those differences. They will learn to be fluent in two languages and learn how to step out of their comfort zones. They will experience different cultures first hand- rather than just reading about them in geography books. They will learn to be resourceful, flexible, and adaptable.

I think many people believe that by taking our children onto the mission field they will somehow be deprived. If being deprived means no more video games, cheer leading try-outs, cartoons, or fast food- then we are okay with that. While they may be giving up some things- I believe what they are gaining is so much more important. It's simply a matter of priorities.

We view our going to Guatemala as our family mission. The Great Commission isn't only for adults. Each one of us are playing a vital part in reaching the world for His kingdom. Each one of us will relate to specific people in specific ways. Each one of us have different strength and gifts the Lord has given us and each one of us will come into contact with different people. I have already seen my children touch the lives of people that I never would have been able to. Each one of us, no matter how old or young, are able to love and reach out to others. And, I think it's crucial we teach our children this at a very young age.   

More than anything in this world I want my children to know Jesus deeply. I want them to understand that life isn't just about their getting ahead- having the biggest house or the biggest bank account. Life isn't about being #1, being popular, the smartest, the greatest athlete, or the best looking. It isn't even about our personal safety our comfort. It is so much more- and most of us are missing it.

 There is world out there full of people who are hurting and lost. A whole world out there who's only answer is knowing Jesus personally. You and I were put here on this earth to be His hands and feet-to tell others about Him...not to spend our days trying to prove WE are worthy. We were given life to show others His love- regardless of who they are, where they were born or whether they deserve it or not. If my children discover how to love others regardless of social status, ethnicity, diseases or ability to give anything back- than I truly believe we have succeeded in giving them the very best in life.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Let's hear it for the boys. :)

These three don't make it on here very often, mostly because- they'd rather not. ;)
But occassionally, I can coerce them into letting me take a picture- and I cherish those pictures more than they will ever know.
But in true boy fashion- those moments of sweetness (and stillness) don't last for long... for in a split second it turns to this...

and then this...

and ends up in this...

No matter how big they get... some things never change.

Loved spending time with you my big boys. I adore you guys and I am so proud of the young men you have become. A mama couldn't ask for anything more.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Faith before Finances

As of August 1st, Todd will no longer be employed by the company he has worked for over the past 13.5 years. Now I have to admit, despite how hard I try not to let it, with that step comes a bit of fear. When the Lord first began to call us to the mission field full time we came up with all kinds of excuses. The main one I am embarrassed to say, was finances.
In all honesty, I didn't think we could do it. Which translate to lack of faith-and putting our financial security before God.
But what we realized was that what you believe (not what you say you believe but what you REALLY believe) will effect the way you live.
And Todd and I knew if we were going to believe any part of the bible at all- we had to believe every part of the bible- and live that way.

Otherwise, isn't it all a waste?

And so, as the time quickly approaches where we will no longer have the security of working for an amazing company- we have eternal security in serving an awesome God.

One of my favorite things to do every day is to open our spread sheet and pour and pray over our partners.In those times the Lord quietly reminds me that we are not alone in this- that they too are right where we are- walking along side the Lord putting their faith before their finances.

As I lift up each individuals name, I cannot help but to have this incredible peace wash over me...
God has partnered us with the most coolest supporters ever. Partners who's examples of faith teach me so much.

We have two partners who are missionaries themselves.  Beautiful.

We have partners who are in the process of raising funds for their own adoptions without a clue where it will comes from- and yet still they give.

My elementary school principal and elementary teacher are our partners (Hi Mr. Krones and Mr. Kridner!!) They have to have a ton of faith because they probably never thought in a million years I'd end up being a missionary.

We have family and childhood friends partnering with us- who have seen us at our worst and occasionally at our best. They know how 'unworthy' we are- which tells me they have faith God can do this. ;)

We have partners whom we have never met- yet they have reached out in faith, not at all because of us- but all because of God.

We have partners from Todd's job that he will soon be leaving (we love you 3M!!) because regardless of whether we are working for the Lord or for a company, they know what really matters in life.

We have partners who are children- children who love the Lord and out of that love have had lemonade stands, sold their possessions and donated their allowances. Children who get it in ways many adults cannot.

We have partners who are pastors and partners who are new to missions.

We have partners who live on little- and give a lot.

And not a one of them has taken the Lord by surprise. He knew all along who they would be, even when we didn't.

He sees it all, the big picture, even when we cannot.

And you know what? I end up being thankful for that little bit of fear. Because it allows me to know that we couldn't do this on our own- and He gets all the credit. For the longest time I kept asking "Are you sure God?" Are you sure you can use us?? I figured surely He didn't mean us- we can't afford it, we are certainly not theology majors and actually we are downright unequipped. But as I spent more time with the Lord I understood. We were exactly who He wanted- those would couldn't do it without Him.

Every one of those donors- they aren't giving to Todd and I- they are giving to the Lord. I am pretty positive that they could think of many things they would like to 'have' with the support they have given- and yet they chose Him.

Isn't that all that He asks of us?

Just to choose Him?

Choose Him before all else?
Choose Him out of obedience.
Choose Him regardless of what others think, say or do.
Choose Him regardless of our worthiness or abilities.
Choose Him regardless of the cost.

It seems so simple, yet so hard for the human mind to comprehend.

As I was working on this post I picked up my coffee and my daily devotional... funny how it went along exactly with what the Lord was teaching me today.

"Psychologists say that grasping, holding onto things and people only make us anxious, possessive, controlling and difficult to live with! That's why Jesus said: "Whoever tries to keep his life will lose, it and whoever loses (invests) his life will preserve it". (Luke 17:33). You've tried everything else- how try giving yourself fully to God. " ~ Daily Devotional July 21

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Faith, hope and love

Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Please forgive me for the lack of, ahem, real blog posts lately. We have so much to do before we are ready to leave for Guatemala and the clock is a ticking...
39 days
18 hours
19 minutes
and 52 seconds
until we leave for Guatemala.

But who's counting?? ;)

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Sunday, July 10, 2011


One thing I fully admit to not being very good at is resting. As you Mommy's are well aware- there just never seems to be time to rest when you are taking care of little ones. 
In addition, LOTS of work goes into moving a family of 9 to another country and getting 2 more are settled into college.

Yet rest is biblical and it is important. Important to take care of ourselves so we can take care of those who need us to take care of them.

Thanks to a precious friend of mine I was given that much needed rest and relaxation this past weekend. I felt just like the princess in my dreams. :) I was treated to a massage and pedicure (something I had only ever done once before in my life) dinner out (Japanese) great talks about life, lots of laughter and lots much needed rest.

Thank you Angel for this gift you have given me. I didn't even realize how badly I needed it. Your friendship blesses me more than you will ever know.

And thank you to my precious husband for doing such a great job with our babies all on your own. I am so truly blessed.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Excuse me...

why I drool.

Do you think it would be bad if we made these tonight and called them dinner? :)

I came across the recipe for these babies here. :)
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Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galations 5:13

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