Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I am defintely not one for New Year's Resolutions. Something about resolutions and goal setting has always given this laid back mama the heebie-geebies. The thought of setting a goal and having steps to accomplish said goal, either makes me want to take a nap, or panic, or eat lots of candy.

However, come New Year's Eve, I always feel a little left out with no resolution to share. So, last year, I prayed that God would give me a word for the year. That is about as much as I can handle goal-wise. One word to set my focus. One word to fall back on and mull over.

For 2010, He gave me HOPE. This was a cool challenge for me as my grown-up self is not prone to hope- more likely to doubt or fret, than hope. When faced with an unknown outcome, I chose to hope for the better outcome instead of expecting the worst. And you know what- I loved it! It truly did change my outlook and more often than not- my reason to hope was founded after all.

This year, I will be holding onto HOPE, but adding PEACE. I started praying for my new word for the year last week and PEACE kept coming to my mind. My devotional reading for today was also about peace which just confirmed it for me.

One thing I do with my "word of the year" is look up every reference to it in the Bible and choose my favorites. I haven't done that yet with PEACE (though I am looking forward to it!). I will leave you with my favorite HOPE verse this year:

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lovely Locks

Today Evelea cut her hair to donate to Locks of Love. She is nine years old and this is her second donation- way to go Ev!




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

May the Peace of Christ dwell in you richly... from our recently expanded family to yours...



Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Happy Report

We received more good news today! Our wonderful nurse, Kathy, got Therese an appointment with our cardiologist. You can imagine the anticipation we have had for this appointment! We really had no idea what kind of heart defect Therese had.

Well, now we know she has Coarctation of the Aorta. This is a very treatable defect!

Next month, she will have a two hour MRI of her heart and blood vessels in her brain (sometimes this condition also effects the brain). This MRI will also determine what kind of surgery she will need. She will have life long blood pressure, but that is treatable.

We are SO SO grateful for this diagnosis. Our doctor said that this will be a "cakewalk" compared to what we have been through with Carter.

Our little girl has a hope and a future!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home!

Friends-
My apologies for not updating this sooner. Though Erika and the girls are home, things have been a whirlwind...and Erika is still recovering from the trip (which is why I'm still at the helm of the Sol Train).

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the following images are epic. I will say this, though: all is well. We are loving each other and having a lot of fun. I'm sure Erika will be offering more updates soon...















Monday, December 13, 2010

Solgos Girls on the Move



Friends:

Please keep praying that my girls might come home early. With God's speed, they might be able to leave as early as Thursday. The next flights after that are Sunday or Monday. Whatever the case, they're earlier than thought...and we want 'em!

For your enjoyment, I'm including some excerpts from some of Erika's recent emails:


I saw an x-ray from her tuberculosis check and her heart is HUGE (in more ways than one!). I feel a little scared now. She looks so healthy (except her cough), but reading [the medical report] has scared me and I wish you were here to process this with me! But, I am okay. The Lord has brought her this far!
Church was so cool today. Evelea made it through the 3 hour service. Tomorrow (Monday) we go to Ouga to do some business there and we'll stay there. Love you so much and miss you more than ever. Give S and C huge hugs and tell them how much their momma misses them. I can't wait to have a rocking praise party when we get back!!!
* * *
We are going back to Ouga today. Another adoptive family is coming and they need our space here. We might return to the orphanage over the weekend. Pray for us in Ouga, we will miss Ruth and the other girls here. Here is a funny story- apparently Therese learned this English phrase from a toy here- she blurts out multiple times a day- "it's my home computer". Totally cracks us up!
We had her good bye party last night. Incredibly touching. I have it all on video. The girls here video taped our first meeting, we'll get that eventually.
Evelea has been so amazing here. If she is not a missionary, I will be shocked. She is not afraid of anything! We went to a party at someone's home yesterday. Very primitive and we had to eat some very unusual food, very. She ate it and did not let on a bit how gross I'm sure she thought it was. Even with swarms of flies attacking us, no problem for her. Amazing.
No kidding, I could barely sleep last night (and every night) because of all the noise from the local bar and the braying/squealing/honking of donkeys. Yup.
* * *
Good news. We ended up getting lots done today! Poor Therese had to get 6 shots and didn't bat an eye. It was a crazy, crazy clinic. I would have rather died than get a shot there, but yet I had to let her do it so we can get out of here! The attorney says we'll be done tomorrow and I can almost believe that.
Therese fell asleep eating dinner tonight. Your mom made pasta in the mission kitchen with the GF pasta we bought. Yum.


And, finally, for your entertainment, the following is a video clip that a short term missionary took; when she learned from Ruth that Therese was being adopted, she contacted us and sent this clip and these pictures.


video


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting the Picture

It's late...and I miss my girls. All three of them (and I wonder, "how can that be if I've never met her? How can I miss my Therese if I never had her in the first place?" but I do.)

So, I checked my email one last time, hoping maybe I'd get some news from Erika. Instead, I got an email from my mother-in-love who apparently went all 21st century on me and checked Google images for pics of the orphanage. So I followed her footsteps...and stumbled across this video footage on Youtube.

The first clip is a celebration of some sort, which is being held in the main courtyard of the orphanage (Ruth, who runs the orphanage, explains it in the next clip, which I included just so you can get to know her a bit). I searched frantically but didn't recognize Therese, but I still got a feel for where my girls are right now. I thought that maybe some of you might want to see it.

The third clip is long and rather boring...unless you take it as an opportunity to get a more thorough picture of where my girls are. Even then, it's still "boring"--informative, but boring--which is, surprisingly, overwhelming. Look closely: did you notice it? Right. There's nothing there!








Friends, please pray for my girls (and for my mother, Gail, who is with them). There might be a chance that they can come home early--and I think all of us would take practicality over the sentimental Christmas Eve return! Pray, especially, for Therese's health: apparently, the nurses stopped administering her heart meds some time ago (we don't know why). I also got to read a copy of the medical report that wa written in 2006. Today, I received some good advice (and encouragement) from one of Carter's docs. But he was a bit concerned about her ability to travel. Specifically, he's concerned that the limited oxygen levels in the plane will exacerbate Therese's cardiomyopathy.

Thank you, friends, for your love and prayers. And a special thank you to those of you who have called us, braved the elements for us, or are cooking for us!

Blessings. And good night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Girls In Africa

friends:

I've commandeered this blog for the time being so that I can bring you...

UPDATES FROM AFRICA!

(after that rather annoying multi-post on facebook, I thought I'd give this a try; the following is from Erika's most recent email update)


Right now we are in Yako at the orphanage. We only spent one night in Yako in a missionary hostel. Now, we are at Ruth's house in the orphanage compound. It is very homey in a Africa like way! On Monday, we will return to Ouga, and may return here later in the week.

Therese LOVES your picture. She will call you Papa. You too will get
along great! All the bonding stuff is going really well. She is very
response to our love and loves us back. The nurses here haven't been
giving her her heart medicine, SO, that is interesting and a bit scary.
She used the toliet for the first time today!

Today, we played all morning with the babies. So sweet, but it makes
you sad. Evelea is wonderful with them. This afternoon, we went to the
only thing to see here in Yako, a Barrage, a man-made lake, and we took
a walk. We took a wild ride in the back of a truck- Africa style!

Guess what? Ruth says "KoKoKo" when entering someone's home- just like
our Precious Ramotse! (from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books and TV show)

We are near a mosque, so we here the call to prayer multiple times a
day. love that at 4 am.



Therese and Evelea are sharing a room. So sweet. They are getting
along wonderfully and I have no doubt all our kids will get along
great. She is eating lots of new foods and is liking everything. I
don't think we have to worry about food at all once we are home.
Seriously, if you can, practice a little French. That will be the
hardest part. She writes in cursive, that is all they learn.

Tomorrow we will go to an Assembly of God church here- can't wait!
Can't wait to see our girl dancing there!

I think that is about it. Keep praying we can come home. I really hope
to know on Monday. I can't imagine what we'd do for the "extra" week if
we need to stay.

I LOVE YOU so much! I miss you like crazy!!! When we get back to Ouga,
we might be able to Skype, so you may want to subscribe.



I really love you all and can't wait for us to be together!

Erika

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm Off!

I leave tomorrow to go get my girl! I hope she's ready!

My heart and mind are too full to write more tonight. My friends and family have been SO good to me. God is protecting us and I feel Him at my side. My children, oh, my children- I love them so much. My heart is aching that I will miss two weeks of their little lives. And my husband, he has put my needs first this week and helped me so much. I could not do this without my home team- I love you all!

I can't wait to tell you all about it when I return. I'm off to experience a miracle.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Drawn from the Water

I can't believe I haven't blogged in so long. It's almost like I am having so many emotions each hour, I don't know where to begin!

I am profoundly joyful to be bringing home our daughter. One less orphan in the world and one more spot filled in our family table. She is SO welcome here.

I am profoundly sad to leave be leaving Sitota and Carter at home. I will miss them so much and I am worried about how they will do without me for so long. I reconcile this pain by remembering that the only reason I am leaving, is to spare another child from a lifetime of this kind of grief.

I am profoundly inspired to share with other families the message that they, too, can participate in the miracle of adoption. Really. Tell me what is holding you back- I can guarantee I have had that thought and may be able to help you through it. I'd like to share this beautiful video with you. Once you see it, you will be responsible. There are countless ways to help orphans. Countless. But don't rule out adoption. It is not for special families. It makes you special.

Please watch this.

"It Began with Bale" from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early Christmas Present

Hallelujah! We have our travel date!!!

We (Evelea, my oldest daughter; Gail, my mother in law; and I) will be leaving on December 8th and returning with Therese on December 24th. That means one month from today, we'll be home!

Can you think of a better Christmas present?!

I have a LOT to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. I will be praising God for His wonderful provision. He has orchestrated this whole thing from the beginning and I am so thankful to be a part of His amazing plan.

I AM GOING TO GET MY DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Orphanage Donation

Several sweet friends have asked if they could make a donation to the orphanage. Of course! Here are a few ideas:

stickers
balloons
baby wipes
gallon size Ziplocs
Bandaids
Polysporin
blue Bic pens
coloring books
toothbrushes
toothpaste
underwear

And anything else you can think of that is small, lightweight and fun or helpful for kids. There are about 45 kids living in the orphanage all year and about 120 who come through the orphanage in the course of a year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Unexpected Lesson

On Fridays, Carter and I have a quick lunch at McDonald's between kindergarten and his physical therapy session. It is a sweet time for both of us. Today's lunch date was made especially sweet when I witnessed young McDonald's employee with Down Syndrome pray out loud over his lunch. This young man bowed his head, folded his hands and prayed out loud, loud enough for me to hear what he was saying. Listening to this man pray fervently for his friends, family and co-workers with thankfulness for his food and his job, was not only sweet, but a bit disarming.

Why am I bit embarrassed when we pray over our food in public? Why do I worry our server will be put out somehow if the prayer gets a little long? How many times have I been ashamed of my faith? Why am I ever afraid to speak His name?

I wish I knew this young man's parents. I want to thank them for raising a son with such a strong, confident faith. I want to ask them how they did it. I want them to know how much he blessed me today.

Still Waiting

This waiting is killing me. I am usually a pretty patient person, but not today. You want to know how super impatient I am today? I'm not even happy that it is Friday because that means at least two more days of for sure not knowing when we can go get our girl. (insert foot stomp)

Last night I wrote her a letter and sent it to her via email. Someone will have to read it to her of course because she doesn't know English yet. I considered posting it here, but it feels a little too tender to me to have anyone else read it just yet. But I'll tell you it felt amazing to finally express my love to her. All these months I've been praying she could feel my love across the ocean. Today, she can see my photo and hear my words of love for her. Last night I fell asleep with my hand reaching out in her direction, asking God that He would allow her to feel my hand holding hers.

She's almost here. Really. Just a few more days.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Operation Christmas Child


Want to make a difference in the life of a child?

Simply get out a shoe box, fill it with some small items a child would like (ie, hard candy, crayons, stickers, toy car, flashlight, doll) as well as a few personal hygiene items (ie, toothbrush, soap, bandaids). You can include a personal note and picture of your family. Secure with a rubber band. You can find out drop-off locations here. The staff at Samaritan's Purse will get your box to a child who has never experienced the hope and joy of Christmas.

If you pay $7 online (to cover shipping expenses), you can track your box to find out to what county your box was shipped. How cool is that?

This is a GREAT activity to do with your kids. My kids love deciding what would be fun to include in the box. It is so important that our children learn that there are children who don't get anything for Christmas (not to mention might not get their basic daily needs met). Activities like these help our children to appreciate what they have and eliminate the "gimmies" that can occur at Christmas.

National Collection Week is here- November 15-22nd, so go pack your box!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's a New Day

As we were headed out the door for school the other day, Carter informed me that he wanted to walk to school by himself (meaning, from our car to the school playground). Typically, the big kids jump out of my car and run to the playground, while Carter and I enjoy a little one-on-one time leisurely walking together to the kindergarten line.

I decided to indulge his independence, half thinking he wouldn't follow through at the last minute. I reviewed a couple of safety tips and he purported that he would be fine, that he really didn't need me, and it was a new day. He rather emphatically stated again, "Mom, it is a new day".

Wow.

He hopped out of the car (with a little help), and walked with his sisters to the school. I stayed way behind and watched. About half way to the line, he turns around and gives me a huge wave and shouts "Bye, Mom".

After making sure he truly made it to his line, I ran back to my car and sobbed. Oh yes, this momma's heart just broke. Of course I want him to be independent and self-confident, but I just didn't imagine this day would come so soon.

Later that day, Carter performed some "dangerous" tricks on the playground that he has never done before including going down the roller slide by himself and jumping off the slide (kinda). He just looked at me and said "Mom, it's a new day!".

Oh buddy, it is and new day for both of us. A day where you sprout some new wings and I lose my way just a little.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adoption Fundraiser

Help some new friends of ours bring home their son from Burkina Faso by purchasing one of the cool t-shirts found at their website: goseeklove.com

And sorry for the jumbo pic, I realy need to take a computer skills class or something!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adoption Fundraiser

Please consider supporting this family's adoption buy purchasing one of these cute pendants. They are inexpensive and $5 of each purchase goes toward the adoption costs!


(Mention Grieshaber Adoption during the checkout so they get credit!)


Friday, October 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It is poverty to decide a child must die so that you might live as you wish."

Mother Theresa

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Fight

So, sadly, our adoption did not get approved in court yesterday. Why? I really don't know. It seems the judge removed the three adoption related cases off his docket and we just don't know why.

This makes me incredibly sad for my little girl who remains an orphan and must go on with her heart un-repaired, at least until the next court date- November 2nd.

One of my first thoughts after I heard this news was how to tell my girls. My girls who sat in our family room listening to our friends and family pouring out their requests to God on behalf of the orphan and, specifically, our case. Would this make them doubt the power of prayer and God's goodness?

Yesterday morning, before we knew we didn't pass, both girls remarked independently to me about how much they loved that prayer time. I admit it came as a surprise to me. It was long and full of words and concepts they didn't understand. Sitota asked when we could do it again. Evelea said she just loved the feeling.

After I told Sitota the bad news, she quickly said "well, can we do the prayer thing again, because I loved that". Wow.

Evelea said, "Let's think of three reasons why this is good". Wow.

In an effort to fight the darkness back, one of my best friends issued a challenge on her blog to sponsor all the waiting girls in Burkina Faso through Compassion International. Wow.

God challenged me this morning to combat my discouragement by writing letters of encouragement to friends who are facing difficult things.

My girls don't give up and neither do I.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Court Date- part Trois

Once again, tomorrow we have our court date in Burkina Faso. An attorney there will represent our case, and hopefully, tomorrow we will be announcing the name of our new daughter and posting her sweet picture.

Tonight, friends are gathering at our house to pray this little girl home. We are going to claim the promises of God over her life and our family and ask God to mercifully grant us a positive outcome to our court hearing. I can't tell you how it thrills me to think of our home full of people on their knees caring about what the Father cares about. If you drive past the house and it is shaking, I wouldn't be surprised! By the way, if you are local and want to come- please do!

We will also be praying for the other children in the orphanage to find families.

Psalm 68:6a
God sets the lonely in families.

Psalm 140:12
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

Psalm 10:17-18
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Do our hearts reflect the Father's? Is there something more we could be doing to defend the fatherless? We are His hands and feet. Let's move them as He would have us move them.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Death Culture

I'm fired up, people. Let's talk about Halloween and what it has become.

Something is wrong. Something is wrong with a culture that glorifies death. That is what we do in America for the 6+ weeks leading up to Halloween.

Something is wrong when I take my son to Walgreens and have to leave with him crying because of the seriously creepy ghoul thing flying over the candy aisle. The thing that costs $20. People are paying $20 for a dead corpse like ghoul thing to fly from their tree. Do you know what you could do with just $14? You could buy a starter brood of baby chicks for a family in Africa. Baby chicks that will eventually produce hundreds of eggs a year for a family to eat and sell. Let's see, how should I spend my money- dead ghoul thing, or feed a starving family?

This year, we've got the Fox Valley Park District sponsoring a Haunted House decorating contest. This is a fabulous idea. Let's see who has the scariest house! You know what my friend from Rwanda told me a few Halloweens ago? He told me he suffers from flashbacks and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Halloween. You know why? Because he has seen REAL skeletons hanging from trees during the genocide. I loved explaining to him that in America, we do this for fun!

Now, I'm all for pumpkins and candy at Halloween. Yes, my kids wear costumes and trick or treat. But I am steadfastly against glorifying death. Don't we have enough death in our world? Let's fight back against our death culture. Let's overcome evil with good.

Deuteronomy 30:19

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why?

When people hear that we already have two biological kids, have adopted one and are in the processing of adoption another, a common phrase we hear is "you must really love kids". While this is true, that is not our primary motivation to adopt. The truth is, we really love Jesus. And we really want to obey Him. And His love for us, and His adoption of us, is our motivation to adopt.

Jesus loves children, so we love children. Jesus adopted us, and we want to model that in our family.

"We love because He first loved us."
I John 4:19

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Radical Love

Nothing inspires me more than hearing a story from a family that is willing to be used by God.

Isaiah's Story from 31Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our new court date is October 19th. Long day today!

Thanks for all your prayers- I know where our help comes from and I know it will arrive at the perfect time.

Big Fat Bummer

Well, the judge did not show up again today. This is seriously frustrating! No word yet on when our next court date might be rescheduled.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Court Date- Part Deux

Hopefully tonight, while I am sleeping, I will become a mother to my fourth child. Hoping to hear GOOD NEWS in the morning!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trusting Him

As you know, soon we will be adding a precious new daughter into our family. She is about nine or ten years old. When one goes about researching how to successfully add an older child to your family through adoption, the information out there can only be described as harrowing. Makes me glad I didn't do much research before saying yes to adopting an older child (outside of searching God' s heart on the matter)! These children can have many issues like attachment disorders, post traumatic stress, intense grieving, educational problems, ugly behavioral issues, etc.

I asked a friend for advice on how to prepare. She said, "why don't you just expect the worst and then you'll be pleasantly surprised with the good moments". Sounded wise to me, at first. I've taken this approach before in other situations countless times.

But something felt wrong this time.

Is it wise for a Christian to take this view? I mean, I trusted that God led us to this child. Yes, it may be a very difficult road, but it in the path God chose for us. He promises to take care of us. Shouldn't I chose to expect the best and trust God for the hard parts?

Expecting the worst causes me to worry and fret. Expecting the best fills me with hope (and hope is my word for the year 2010). When I have hope, I jump over my concerns.

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him"
Nahum 1:7

I am choosing hope today. About what do you need to choose hope?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Attention Mothers of Daughters!

If you have a daughter under age 14, please watch this video! It is about Shine Brightly, an organization that has a blog, magazine, and club for young girls who want to live out their Christian faith by engaging in social justice issues.

I am thrilled about this and I can't wait for my girls to get their first issues of this magazine. There is Sparkle, for the younger girls and Shine Brightly for the older girls. Read more when you click here.



Igniting a Movement from GEMS Girls' Clubs on Vimeo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lifesong for Liberia

     


Alvin was born in a Liberian refugee camp in The Republic of Ghana, Africa.  His mother fled there during the civil war in Liberia.  Sadly, while she was in Ghana her family was killed in Liberia.  Alvin’s father died in the refugee camp before he was born.


In 2007, When Alvin was 4 years-old, he and his mother returned to Liberia.  There she began attending church and quit drinking.  Two years later, a few days before Christmas, she began vomiting and was admitted to a hospital with malaria.  Soon after, she died.


Alvin now lives at Lifesong Liberia's Master's Home of Champions.


You can help a child like Alvin. You can feed a child like Alvin.


Our goal is 70 people. $28 a month. One year commitment.


We have 44. 26 to go!


Will you join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans?


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to make your commitment! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lifesong

  


Quita is 5 years old.  During the disarmament time, rebels came to her village and took all the men, including her father.  She never saw her father again.  Later it was discovered that these men were taken to a bridge where they were shot and thrown into the river.


Her mother ran to the Salala district with the other villagers for refuge.   There she later got sick and became paralyzed.  Last year Quita’s mother died and Quita was taken to the Lifesong Liberia's Home of Champions.  When she grows up she wants to be a medical doctor and help children.


Isn't it amazing that at 5 years old she's thinking about how someday she can help other children?


How can we help children today?


We're asking for a monthly commitment of $28 for one year.


Twenty-eight dollars...


- eating out at that new restaurant


- the shirt you've had your eye on


- a date night to the movies


- those pillows that would just look sooo good on your sofa.


I won't lie, making this commitment will require some sacrifice.  But trust me.  The sacrifice is always worth the reward.


What can you sacrifice for a child like Quita?


Our goal is 70 people.  $28 a month.  One year commitment.


We have 36 commitments, 34 to go!


Join us in bringing joy and purpose to orphans!


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to commit! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Liberia

Let's be the Hands and Feet of Jesus!



2010 Liberia Video from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.



This week we are inviting our faithful readers and supporters to step up and help us in a time of need for Lifesong Liberia.


Lifesong has partnered with The Master’s Home of Champions orphanage and is providing a loving and safe home to many destitute and abandoned children, some of whom are deaf.  We seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and are focused on the goal of raising up champions for the good of Liberia and glory of God! 


This summer, another orphanage was in dire need, and thanks to an unexpected donation Lifesong was there.  Praise the Lord we can help more children!  But now, we need help too!  We need your help to make sure these children are fed every day!  We need your help to care for the fatherless!  Will you join us?


70 sponsors in one week is a tall order.  We know this.  We also know that we serve a big God who has told us that caring for the poor and vulnerable is at the very heart of who He is!  We believe we can make this happen! We pray that God will call hearts this week and we trust that you will answer!


Contact us at info@lifesongfororphans.org to commit!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taking the Day Off

Today I thought I'd share with you something I learned in the first year of Carter's special needs life. Those first years tested me like nothing I have ever been through. I was tired physically, spiritually, emotionally almost everyday. The sheet number of hours I spent on the phone with the insurance company, making doctor's appointments, going to doctor's appointments, filling prescriptions, searching the internet for support and answers alone would make anyone exhausted, let alone all the regular exhaustion of raising an infant.

One thing I learned that year was to take one day a week off. We already devoted Sunday to rest, but there is something extra great about taking off a weekday, a day you could be doing something, but choose not to. My day was Thursday. I did not allow myself to schedule anything related to Carter's needs that day (unless it was an emergency of course). I did not allow myself to google anything medical. The internet is a black hole, people. I love it, but it can scare the daylights out of me, too. I didn't read anything about Noonan syndrome or call the insurance company. I even steered my thoughts away from anything stressful regarding my sweet boy.

Do you know what this did for me? It let me enjoy my son for the incredible baby and little boy he is and not be focused only on his medical needs. It gave me a day to look forward to. It refreshed and renewed me. I became more cheerful and more positive.

Whatever your source of stress is- financial problems, marriage issues, whatever it is, try taking a day off. See what it does for you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Waiting Child Lullaby

KISSES IN THE WIND

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

--- © Pamela Durkota, written for Josh

No court for us!

Well, the judge was a no show for our case yesterday. So, court is now rescheduled for October 5th. I am trying to be cool with that.

Meanwhile, we discovered that Carter might having more heart trouble. So for the next 48 hours his every beat will be tracked by a monitor. I'll try to get a picture posted here later so you can see all his wires and tape. Thank goodness he is cool with pretending he is a robot or Tony Stark. Actually, I don't think he is pretending. He really thinks he is a robot.

I also got to speak in my friend's Child Development class today about birth defects and adoption. How timely is that? Don't worry, I only cried once during my presentation. Everything just felt a little raw today.

I am also feeling incredibly thankful for my friends who love me when life is hard. I felt so supported yesterday by all the phone calls and facebook comments I got regarding Carter's health and the failed court date. I couldn't make it without you all!

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4

I will wait, because I know this God who is acting on my behalf!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Court Tonight

At 3am Tuesday, if the judge in Burkina Faso so decides, I will be a mother to my fourth and oldest child! What an incredible thought! I am so excited! I can't wait to share her beautiful picture with you...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I just need to brag for a minute about my incredible Tuesday morning community group. These ladies hosted a massive garage sale to raise funds for our adoption and for two other families in our church who are adopting. Do you know how good it feels to have people in your life who care about the same things you do and put that care into action?

Casey and I are hosting a small group for families who are considering adopting. It is a great study that really helps you decide if adoption is right for your family by reflecting on Scripture and dispelling fears about the process. It was so cool to recount to that group they many miracles we've seen that are directly related to our adoption. I want to share some of the miracles we've seen- but that will have to wait for another post.

Need + Trust= Miracle.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

If I let myself go down this plan of what ifs and whens, I will lose my mind.

Here I sit on the verge of finally bringing home my daughter- feeling a little frazzled with tons of stuff to do and a little paralyzed by it all.

Reality: We have court in less than a week. I will be traveling to Burkina Faso in approximately 4 weeks. I will meet my nine year old daughter for the first time with out my husband. I will travel across the globe to bring her home to meet the family. We will have days or weeks until her open heart surgery. I need to learn French. I need to apply for my visa. I need to pick up malaria medication. I need to find clothes for her to wear. I need to figure out how to best educate this sweet girl I have never met.

The Bigger Reality: I have amazing friends and family who are willing to help at a moments notice and love me through it all. I have a God who has a plan that he established from the foundations of the earth and that plan includes the very details of this adoption. If anything goes badly, those bad parts will be redeemed and in turn give God glory. The beautiful parts will speak of His great love for the orphan and for me. Our family has an amazing story that is about to get more amazing.

I cannot wait until next week when I can officially post her beautiful picture and tell you her name. Next week she will be my daughter. Today, she does not even know she is getting adopted. Can you imagine? She has no idea.

We have no idea. No idea the goodness He has in store for us.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One of the Best Posts Ever

Apparently I'm a little late in discovering one of the best blogs out there for moms of young kids and/or adoptive families, but I'm glad I found it! It's called It's Almost Naptime. Check out this excellent post from a mom who gets it:

http://itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-dont-want-my-children-to-be-happy.html

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spicy Zucchini Soup

Okay, I altered the original recipe SO much, I hope I can put this into recipe format:

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 chopped garlic cloves (we love garlic)
1 huge approx. 2 pound zucchini, seeds removed, chopped (6 cups?)
1.5 cups mashed potato (you could use 1 1/2 cup chopped day old bread)
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup of water
cayenne pepper to taste
yellow curry powder to taste
salt
pepper

Heat olive oil and onions until translucent. Add garlic and zucchini and saute for 4 minutes, stir often. Sprinkle with salt.

Add mashed potato or bread, broth, water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add cayenne, pepper, and curry powder. Puree in blender, food processor, whatever you have. Return soup to pot.


I wish I had a picture of this beautiful green soup. My girls LOVED it (but they are cool like that). I had a plan to add shredded cheese, but they didn't even need that. Yum-o!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Please Don't tell the Folks at Make a Wish

In March of 2008, our family was blessed with the experience of going to Disney World through the Make a Wish Foundation. What an amazingly fun experience we had!

Lately, Carter has been making comments such as "I wish I was sick again so I could go fight Zurg at Disney" and "if I get real sick again can we please go back to Disney?". How does a mother respond to such statements?

Today, we saw an ambulance, and Carter said, "somebody is real sick, right?". I said, "yeah, buddy, we should pray". And Carter says "maybe they get to go to Disney now!".

All five-year-old goofiness aside, I am blown away by the progress Carter has made in the past year. He is handling kindergarten like a champ (with the help of an incredible one on one aide). He can ride his tricycle for two blocks. And this past year has been his healthiest ever.

No buddy, I wouldn't trade what we have now for 100 trips to Disney!



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Adoption Update

Yay! I have an update!

We have been assigned a court date of September 14th. Travel will most likely be about 30 days after that. SO... mid-October, we should be bringing our daughter home! I can't wait until we pass that court date so I can post her picture and share more details with you all.

There are still some pretty significant details that need to come together, but this adoption looks like it is really happening! Praise God!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Campers

For a few months now we have been taking a refugee family from Rwanda to church with us. We have made a great connection. We help them out adjusting to life in America, and the mother of the family braids Sitota's hair- works for me! (if you are a white mother of an African child, you will understand of weight of this gift!)

We have been hoping to get the teens in this family off to the high school summer camp (this would be their first exposure to youth group!), and this past week, they went! This is a huge victory! I picked them up at the church last night after a week of praying that they would not only meet friends, but that they would meet Jesus- and God is so faithful- all this happened and more.

Did I mention how fun it was to hear the happy cries of teenage girl in my backseat telling me all about how she saw a horse for the first time, how everybody at camp was so nice to her, that the camp nurse was from Kenya, about rafting, swimming, horseback riding, worship and how she now knows Jesus is real? Did I tell you how incredible it was to hear that her painfully shy brother stood up the second to last night of camp and prayed aloud in Swahili?

I am in awe. Thank you to everyone who helped these teens get to camp. They are forever changed and so am I.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Good God

This is how good God is:

Carter not only qualified for a full-time teacher's aide (he starts kindergarten in a few weeks), but the aide is a wonderful woman that goes to our church and has literally prayed for Carter since the day he was born. We had nothing to do with this process, God just worked it out.

God is good all the time, all the time, God is good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Please Pray for Our Adoption

If you are inspired to do something for the orphan today, would you please pray that we receive our I-800 approval? This is the sticking point of our adoption these days. Once we have this approval, we can get our court date and bring our daughter home! This approval is taking much longer than we had anticipated.

Thank you so much!
I found this quote on my friend Jane's facebook page and it just inspired me (like I need any more inspiration- most days I am bursting with it!).

"The woman is at the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for the our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world."

Mother Theresa.

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

This is the perfect way to use up all that zucchini from your garden!

2 cups sorghum flour or gf all purpose flour mix
1.5 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat to 350 deg
Spray two 8 inch loaf pans or two 12 cup muffin tins

Place four, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in medium bowl. Use wire whisk to combine.

In large bowl, place oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix with hand mixer until fluffy. Stir in applesauce and shredded zucchini. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter and bake for 50 minutes for loaves or 25-30 minutes for muffins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

“My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work.” ~~ Henri Nouwen

Okay, I am still discovering this truth. As my patience wears a little thinner as summer break goes on, I am going to remember this. I am going to embrace these "interruptions" for what they are- my job! Not just a duty, but a chance to show love, compassion, grace to the ones I love the most.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The school situation in the town of Ziway, Ethiopia is very inadequate. Many children simply do not have the opportunity to attend school at any level or in any facility. The government schools are overcrowded with up to 75 students per classroom. Private schools tend to be somewhat better, but usually have 40-50 students per class. Whether private or public, the schools are lacking in even the basics. Students must share textbooks and cannot take their textbooks home. Even standard items such as chalk and pencils are in short supply and must be severely rationed.


The caregivers and children recognize the value of a good education. They know that education is critical to their obtaining good employment and providing for themselves and their families. Therefore, it is a priority to Lifesong for Orphans to construct a quality grade school as quickly as possible. One of the essential ways to pull Ethiopia out of its poverty is to educate its citizens.


 


We all go out of our ways to give our kiddos the very best we possibly can. In Ethiopia, this looks very different than it does for you and me in the US!


Lifesong for Orphans is supporting 3 schools in the Ziway, Ethiopia area. We are currently repairing one of the schools and are in the process of building another, but are hopeful to use all three this fall.


As you start gathering school supplies for your kids, would you consider helping the children in Ziway?


We are in need of new desks, lights, and fixtures!



 


Current supply shelves:




Current ‘desks’:

New desks needed:


Make a donation here and indicate ‘Ethiopia school needs’ in the description.



To stay up to date on the progress, check back here.





If you are going to walk this crazy and oh so rewarding road of living on a single income, I strongly suggest you don't do it alone! Make friends with others living the same way!

Your fellow friends at home are the ones who can encourage you, commiserate with you and remind you why you are living this way. When your washer breaks and you have zero dollars in your emergency account, your friend will be the first one to let you use her washer, scour the community for deals and help you stick to your budget. This is not the time for expense account Sally to point out how much she adores her new front loader! You need the friend who can share with you her recipe for homemade laundry soap!

Your husband in the workplace also needs a similar buddy. Someone to eat his brown bag lunch with, someone to teach him how to change his own oil, and someone who is impressed with his budgetary prowess.

And, when you have these friends over for dinner, you can truly enjoy one another's company instead of trying to impress them with fancy food and Pottery Barn decorating. These are the friends you invite for dessert only when times are tight, or a taco buffet where everybody brings something. There is such relief in this type of gathering! Such honesty! No one needs to be entertained, but we all need friendship and hospitality.

Here's to friends!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'll be back to posting about living on a single income soon, but I wanted to share this great post with my readers today. It is about being "yes mom". I hope you appreciate it as much as I did:

YES MOM

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Funny that I am feeling led to write this next post on cars, because both of our cars need some repairs at the moment. But that is okay, because even though we hate forking over the money to pay for these repairs, we have enough money in our emergency savings to cover these repairs.

Have you heard this phrase before?- The cheapest car is the car you already own.

If you are going to live on one income, you need to be satisfied with the car you have. You need to be okay with seeing friends from college and still be driving the car you had in college! Let go of that pride! It's okay- you own both of your cars and have no car payment and that is cool.

We bought Casey's car 11 years ago- it was used. My van, we did purchase new, and we have one payment left on that (probably not a choice we'd make again). When it comes time to replace Casey's car, we will pay cash for it. When we make that final van payment next month, we will save up that money that would go to the payment until we have enough cash to buy a car for Casey when his finally conks out.

Living on one income requires sacrifice. It is okay! God honors these sacrifices. Driving a new car means nothing when you have to miss your child's school play because you have to work. Keep your goal in mind and the pain of sacrifice becomes so worth it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As painful as this sounds- switch to an all cash system. Use cash for anything that is not a monthly bill (mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance). Get some envelopes and each envelope is a category- gas, groceries, gifts, car expenses (tags, oil changes, etc), entertainment, clothing, household projects, lawn care, etc.. After you pay your monthly bills, cash out what you have left and divide it (not necessarily evenly) into the envelopes. When the cash in that envelope is gone, you are done spending.

You spend much less money when you have to fork over the cash. It is way too easy to spend money you don't have, or money that could be used in a better way, when you use your debit card.

When Casey and I first switched to this cash system, it was really, really hard for the first month, but it got much more fluid quickly. I felt a tremendous sense of relief knowing exactly how much money we had and what I could spend. Your use of the credit card will go way, way down. Let's say I was buying a wedding gift (BCS, before cash system), I would panic wondering last minute if we really had enough in the checking account to cover the cost, so I would charge the gift.

Today Casey and I have no credit card debt. We haven't carried a balance in years. The key- don't spend what you don't have. You really have to refuse to spend money. Don't borrow from those other envelopes!!! You will not have the cash you need for those license plate tags when you need them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Through the years I've had many friends say they would like to stay at home with their kids, but don't think they can. I have been a stay at home mom for nine and a half years (that sounds long!) and we have been living on a teacher's salary for all that time (with a exception of a few very part-time jobs on my part). By next few blog posts will be dedicated to explaining how we do it. We are far from experts and we are still learning- but we are living proof that it can be done!

I love this quote from Jill Savage: You have to reject the belief that bigger is better. You need to have a vision for your family even if it's different than your neighbors. And you have to think smarter than than the marketing experts want you to think.

Jill has written a book called Living with Less So Your Family Can Have More
Product Details

I totally recommend this book. Living on one income requires a change in perspective. Your standard of living will change. You might fear that you will have to deprive your children or yourself. Living with less is not about deprivation, but it will actually increase appreciation and contentment in your family life.

We don't have cable or a cell phone package, but we don't miss these things at all. Trust me, when your kids don't see commercials, they don't want stuff. Don't go to the mall or read magazines, and your desire for more stuff just fades away.

I'm excited to discuss this topic on my blog. Please feel free to pass on your money saving tips and ask questions- I'd love to hear from you!

One more thing, if you are currently working, but want to stay home, start by making the decision to stay home. Don't quit your job today, but get a reasonable end date on the calendar. You will need that urgency to compel you to make the tough choices you will need to make.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

I borrowed and slightly altered this facebook status for today's blog post from Heidi Weimer- LOVE IT and couldn't agree more:

Nothing is hotter than a husband who has willingly handed over comfort, ease, wealth, security, and the American Dream to become a father to the fatherless. Happy Father's Day to Casey and all of the other dads out there who have said YES to fathering...both by birth AND by adoption. True fathers. True heroes. True models.

Amen!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I have two new gluten-free favs:

Udi's Multigrain bread and Food for Life's English Muffins!

The GF life is tasting better than ever.

Click to view larger product image.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adoption Update: we have nothing to report.

Ugh.

I find myself vacillating between being extremely anxious and filled with longing to bring our girl home, and finding the sweet spot of contentment, knowing God has everything under control.

I really, really, really thought we'd have her home by now. Since that is not the case, I have decreed unto myself that I will enjoy this summer as much as I can. I thought this summer would be filled with travel plans and heart surgery, but instead it looks more like endless trips to the park, swimming, and toasting marshmallows in the backyard. Not so bad. Maybe I need this time to refuel for the days to come.

A good friend of mine who is adopting from Ethiopia coined a phrase that has become my new mantra- "peace in the process". That is what I need! My mom then came up with "mellow in the meantime". Oh yeah. If that is the hardest challenge before me today- so be it. I accept. I will wait and I will enjoy. I will be still and I will listen. I will have fun and be refreshed. And when Burkina calls- I WILL GO!
I think I might have just spent the best $100 of my life. Let me clarify, the best $100 spent on my family ever. We just got a membership to the Morten Arboretum.

The Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum

What a great place! There are endless things for the kids to explore and do. I'm already planning a to give my husband a day to himself there to explore the trails (and planning a reciprocal day just for me, of course).

I am so convicted of how little time we spend in nature and I am hoping this membership will give us the push to get out there and see some of God's creation. I know I always feel so much better after even just a little time spent outdoors.

Feeling so blessed to live in a country where we have time to enjoy beautiful places...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

If you know me, you know that the Children's Heart Project is very close to my heart. This program brings children and their mothers from around the world to America for life saving heart surgery that could not happen in their own country. I know first hand the desperation of having a child with a heart problem. This program makes miracles happen for these families.

I have been talking to Carter's surgical team to see if they would be interested in sponsoring some of these cases- and guess what?- they are!!! I can't tell you how happy this makes me! Now, just the small matter of getting the hospital to agree to waving the cost...

Our Lord is all about redemption. When Carter was so gravely ill a few years ago, I trusted that the Lord would use his situation for His glory. I couldn't see how this would take place, but I just knew He would. Make beauty from ashes. Turn our mourning into joy.

I know that if Carter hadn't been born with a heart defect, we most certainly would not have the urgency or passion for the Children's Heart Project. Now, because we allowed Christ into our desperation, other children's lives will be spared. Other mothers will be spared the grief of their children's death.

I am humbled beyond belief that God would let us play a role in this amazing story. Give your grief and pain to God. He knows just what to do with it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just found out that the Social Action Ministry in Burkina approved our family for our adoption!!! This is HUGE!

I don't know exactly what this means for our time line, but it is hugely encouraging and the first good news we've had in a long time.

I am so thankful to all of you prayer warriors out there. I just read today that "adoption isn't charity- it's spiritual warfare" (Russell Moore). Each adoption is a kick in the teeth to our enemy- Satan. He has a future all mapped out for these orphans, and we are subverting his plan. We are part of God's plan to change the destiny of these children. Forward, march!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy One Year Anniversary to my blog!

I am enjoying the blessing of being a mother to my children today. At the same time, my heart is longing to hold my daughter I have yet to meet. I am longing to hear some news, especially the news we are getting closer to bringing her home!

Praying for friends with hurting hearts today- those waiting for children whose home today is an orphanage, and for those mothers who have children waiting for them in heaven. All are too far away today.

Holding my family close today! Sending blessings to yours!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Debt.

People, Christians, we need to be serious about getting out of debt. The church cannot be the church when so many are enslaved to another master.

We cannot give joyfully and freely when we are in debt. What if instead of sending that $200 check to Mastercard, you were able to send it to Samaritan's Purse instead?

Begin to imagine a world where no Christian had any debt. What would the world look like? How many world problems eradicated? This sounds like a pipedream or an exaggeration, but it is not.

The total of U.S. consumer debt is 2.46 trillion dollars according to the Federal Reserve's report on consumer debt, March 2010. The amount of money needed to eradicate world hunger is about 30 billion dollars according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Our debt is holding us back. Let's get excited about eliminating our debt so we can get serious about our giving.

Friday, April 23, 2010

For my friends and family who are praying for our adoption and the children of Burkina Faso today:

Check out Psalm 96. It is a great Psalm to pray over the beautiful nation of Burkina.

And thank you so much for praying.

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16

"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed." Psalm 82:3

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have become convinced that there are two major obstacles holding back the church today.

Pornography and Debt.

My post today is dedicated to the issue of pornography. This is an issue that most Christian women can hardly bear to think about, but it is an issue we need to face. Ladies, have you asked your husbands about their use of pornography? Maybe you think you don't want to know the answer. Maybe you know the answer, but you have no idea how to approach your husband on the matter.

I believe that a man's inability to be the spiritual leader in your home is directly proportionate to the degree to which he is involved with porn. Pornography neuters a man.

I know this topic is just scary and gross for us. Ask God for the courage to begin healing your home. Find a friend who can help you get started.

Monday, April 19, 2010

So tomorrow is my birthday. I have always adored my birthday and have never been shy about it. So it has come of a little of shock to me that for the first time ever, I am not looking forward to it.

35 just feels different. I had no problem turning 30- I just felt like an official grown-up. But now the years are passing so quickly I feel like in no time I will be OLD.

In a lot of ways, I am okay with this. I mean each day lived is another day closer to heaven! The truth is, I love my life. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I love my refugee Bible club, and the things I'm involved in at church, and this undying passion God has given me to help the hurting. Maybe I'm afraid that all this will change as I grow old?

I guess it comes down to (once again!), do I trust the Lord with my life or not? I do really think He'd exchange the joy I feel now for something lesser, as I grow older? No way! Not my Father!
"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever." Psalm 23:6

I don't have to love the idea of growing older, but I do love the One who holds all the days of my life in His hands~and I will trust Him with those days.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I had an incredible opportunity today to share the story of our family. I was asked to share our story for a friend's high school Child Development class. The topics I was asked to address were adoption and birth defects.

Besides the fact that I love to talk about my family, I also loved sharing with the students how much God has changed my heart since Carter was born. To share how very important each human life is; to not be afraid of a special needs diagnosis; to have compassion on those who deserve our compassion- it is a worthy message!

Having a special needs child is hard at times, but it is NOT the beginning of a depressing, dreary journey. If you let God show you the way, it is the doorway to a whole new world filled with exciting adventures and big stories. Bigger than you would have planned or hoped.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I was thrilled to read this blog about a very inspiring man with Noonan Syndrome (same condition my son has). If you have a minute, check this out:


Go Ben!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whoa. Carter threw his bottles away on Saturday. Whoa. After all these years he traded them for a pack of Power Ranger guys and really hasn't looked back.

Okay, I know he is 5 years old and I should be doing the dance of joy, but instead I am sad! I mean, of course I am glad to not suffer the special brand of humiliation that comes from explaining to the doctor/ babysitter/ teacher/dentist that Carter still takes a bottle, but that is one of the last baby connections I have to my son. One more step further away from me.

I guess that is the job of the parent. Making sure their child becomes independent and all.

I had a photographer friend who always made sure to take pictures of her children from behind. This was to remind her that her children were in the process of walking away from her and it make the most of everyday they are together. A little melancholy perhaps, but that just so fits my mood for today.

I love my boy.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do Good

Why is it that we never want to do those good things we should do? I volunteer at my girl's Awana club. Pretty much every Wednesday I don't want to go. I feel like what I do isn't really that important, so why bother. But, every time I fight past that feeling and go anyway. And most nights, at the end, I'm so glad I went.

When I think about it, in the past 6 weeks, I have had the privilege of praying with two girls to accept Christ as their Savior and given countless hugs to two girls who truly need those hugs.

Galatians 6:9

9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Parenting Resource

Our pastor recommended that each year we read one parenting book and one book about marriage- great idea.
Grace-Based Parenting


I'd love to pass along this parenting book suggestion (and I'd love to hear yours!):

Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel. Read this gem and you'll understand why it is a must read:

"The real test of a parenting model is how well equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race. Notice I didn't say "as vital members of the Christian community". We need to have kids that can be sent off to the most hostile universities, toil in the greediest work environments, and raise their families in the most hedonistic communities and yet not be the least bit intimidated by their surroundings. Furthermore, they need to be engaged in the lives of people in their culture, gracefully representing Christ's love inside these desperate surroundings."


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Give it Up, Girls!

So I had a thought. What if we women made a pact not to read beauty/fashion magazines anymore? You know, the ones packed with advertising, the ones that make you feel like you need to buy more stuff in order to be socially acceptable? The ones that leave you feeling like you have wrinkles and really need to buy some anti-aging products as quickly as possible? The ones that make you forget you wanted to donate some money to that really cool organization you just heard about, but now you keep thinking about those boots- those boots would look so great with everything! The one that leaves you feeling like your sex life isn't what it should be, you REALLY need to get to gym ASAP, that maybe being a mom is just not your idea of a good time after all, needing some new perfume, candles, love seat, manicure, facial, and/or husband?

What if we agreed to just leave all that behind? What if we just accepted ourselves for who we are? I, personally, would love to never think about my ever deepening crow's feet again- and I think if I never saw another add for wrinkle cream it would help. I mean, would I have ever even noticed my crow's feet if I didn't have a stupid ad pointing them out to me?

What if we traded in our magazines, and committed to complementing our friends and even strangers on their beauty instead? Instead of an advertisement informing us of what we should think of as beauty, we defined beauty for ourselves? And then we see that beauty in another woman, we tell her? Whoa.

Let's do it, okay?