Sunday, November 23, 2014

T-day Part 1

So all the stars aligned and the earth stood still for an afternoon and we were all together for the first time this week! <3

(With 2 teenagers working  it is harder and harder to have suppers together.)

So when this anomaly happens I fully take advantage of this blessing and we enjoyed every minute we have with each other.

It is louder and it is crazier when all the feet are under the table but oh so worth it.

And I treasure these moments in my heart.

The kids “buddied up” and the big kids helped the littles do their Thanksgiving craft.

PB230036

It just “happened” that they each buddied up from oldest to youngest.  Even though we adopted Lena first, Ava second and Josie third.

PB230029

When we say “get with your buddy” they know who to go to.  Having “buddies” really helped us on our last trip to China when there were 8 of us traveling…..what a zoo that was! 

But we all made it home safe and sound….we did lose Logan for a bit in an underground walkway in Guiyang but thankfully it isn’t hard to spot a tall white boy in China so we were soon re-united.  But it was a bit a lot scary for those 5 minutes when I didn’t know where he was at!

PB230039

PB230044PB230046PB230049PB230053PB230054PB230055

We have much to be thankful for this year……Some leaves on our Thankful Tree say:

Daddy, Mommy, family,  Nurses, Boomer, Willow, Java, our woodstove and (cynical) little sisters.

PB230057

And then since I had gotten my free turkey from Giant and we don’t need it for Thursday since my Mommy makes us a delicious meal SmileI cooked up a thanksgiving like supper for the gang.

PB230059

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli and corn…..oh and don’t forget the Mud Pie.

PB230062PB230063

Ava’s all time favorite.

PB230064

Wait!  Where did it go?!!?!?

PB230065

“I want a piece this big please!”

PB230067

And don’t forget the pumpkin pie! Which only one of my sons eats the way I was raised….with King Syrup on top!!! Yum!

PB230070

Jared does have to work on Thanksgiving…..he does love being able to serve the residents though and is so tender hearted towards them.  He won’t miss the main meal at lunch at Grandma’s so he won’t starve! Winking smile

But he does have off on Christmas which will be nice.  And Giant is closed on Christmas so all the kids will be here this year!!!! <3

It feels weird to be totally done Christmas shopping and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet!  But this year I decided that I’m doing it ALL online.  Via Amazon.

I mean really, you can’t beat their prices and the stuff is delivered directly to my door.  I’m not into “crazy” this year and going from place to place.

So the packages have started to arrive and I’m getting excited…..

We are keeping it simple but meaningful.

And our new advent devotional came today which I’m excited to start:

Now to just figure out a good solution of keeping the puppy away from the Christmas tree…..that should be “fun.”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let my people GO!

Today we had the incredible blessing to go see Moses at Sight and Sound.

A friend works there and can get free tickets, but you only know the day of the show if there are seats left so we were flexible, but Elizabeth was able to get tickets for us for the 11:00 show today!!! (THANK YOU Elizabeth! <3)

And we were totally blessed and in awe of this magnificent show.

IMAG0890

If you are looking for a special thing to do with your family this holiday season I would HIGHLY recommend this production. (It runs through April)

I was in serious awe over the set and costumes.  It was just mind boggling thinking about how they pulled all this off.

And so incredibly moving.

When Moses’ mother put him in the Nile and entrusted his life to God it was hard to keep the tears from forming.  When 3 of your kiddos lives started in a similar way, they were abandoned by their birth mothers in hopes that someone would find them and save them…..well, it is especially moving.

God’s hand of protection was upon Moses and He used him greatly.

IMAG0898

And then how Sight and Sound handled the whole murder scene was very tasteful and then of course you have the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea….I won’t give any spoilers….but you felt like you were part of the miracle!

It is a REALLY well done show.

I honestly think I liked it better then Noah….which I didn’t think was possible.

And what was so neat was that we just got done reading about Moses’ story in the The Gospel Story Book, and since this was so spur of the moment it was just so neat that this story was fresh in the girls minds.  They sat so still through the ENTIRE 2.5 hour show.  It certainly captured their attention.

When the Israelites obeyed and put the sacrificed lamb’s blood over their doors and then when the Angel of death passed over it was just so powerful.

Moses’ story shows us that even when we mess up.  Even when we don’t obey.  God is loving and gracious and saves us. 

And Moses didn’t always obey.

But when God spoke to him in the burning bush (which was another REALLY neat part of the show!) and got his attention you realize how powerful and all mighty God really is.

That all we have to do is rely on the one who is the I AM.

Those 2 little words.

I AM.

But are so powerful. So convicting.

And when God was writing the 10 commandments in stone it struck me that our generation aren’t the only ones who are falling into sin left and right!

God wouldn’t have had to make those 10 commandments if the Israelites weren’t sleeping around, cursing, murdering, stealing, coveting their neighbor stuff…..

An excerpt from the Gospel Bible Story:

“Do you know why God gave Israel and us the commandments? The apostle Paul said that God’s commandments, which we call the law, taught him what sin was.

He said that if God had not given us the law, we would not know what sin is. (Romans 7:7) You see, once we know God’s law and we see how many times we break it, we realize that we are sinners who need a Savior. That is where Jesus comes in.

How about you?

Have you broken God’s law? None of us can obey God perfectly. None of us except for Jesus.

When we put our faith in him, Jesus takes away our sin and gives us his perfect record of obedience.”

But what is our excuse then??? (other then we are dirty rotten sinners in need of grace!)

But unlike the Israelites who were only getting these laws for the first time….we KNOW the law….yet so many of us are continually falling into sin.

Yet, our Heavenly Father is so loving that all we need to do is ask for His forgiveness and He loves us so much that we can continue to have a relationship with the great I AM.

Now THAT is a great ending.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Resting=Healing

I strongly felt that God was directing me to rest more. 

And not just sleep more or sit down and take a load off more but a true rest of the body, mind and spirit.

Almost like a sabbatical.

So I made some major changes to our schedule.

Imagine with me for a moment….Imagine waking up every morning and coming down to an “acquaintance” in your kitchen.  Imagine having to make conversation with this acquaintance, all before coffee.  You know in your head that they are very needed and you are VERY grateful for their help….and one “acquaintance” is a true friend….but it is still hard having someone in your kitchen first thing every.single.morning.

*So I’m staying upstairs in the mornings longer and allowing the nurse to completely get Josie’s breakfast/do her med’s/get her ready for school, etc. Ava is happier and not raging anymore since she is having snuggle time with Mommy again in the mornings. And I am enjoying my cup of coffee by “myself”….ok, I still have 5 kids here but it is better!

*I have been very intentional with our calendar and what goes on it. 

*I have also started soaking in the tub (almost) nightly.

All these things (and others) have helped me regain some of my “mo-jo” back. 

I’m not 100% there yet.  These past 3 years have been h.a.r.d. and I won’t heal overnight.  It is going to take time.  And it is going to take being intentional with my heart and mind. To constantly keep the negative thoughts/overwhelming thoughts at bay and replace them with truths.

 The stress level of mothers of special needs kids has been compared to that of combat soldiers.

When I read this article and others lately it just hit me that I have been in a battle. That I’m fatigued and so totally worn out that I couldn’t go on anymore unless some major changes were made.

(But I don’t ever want to minimize a “true soldiers” battle though…that is different! But parenting a special needs child is similar in the same intensity, on alert all the time feeling.)

I have to admit I am happier.

And Josie is happier.  Having her period FINALLY stop this past week has been a huge improvement.  (This has been the longest stretch since June of no bleeding!)  Hopefully it will continue to be controlled on the higher dose birth control pill that we finally got approved.  I still think that is a “band aid” and something else is going on (she has gained 7 pounds in 7 weeks!?!?!) Yes, I’m concerned and documenting everything and will be going to the PCP in a month to express my concerns!  Her knees are buckling becuz of the extra weight.  And we control everything she eats and she isn’t “cheating” so we know it is the medicine and/or something with her thyroid/pituitary gland, so we aren’t “out of the woods” by any means but hoping the “calm” lasts a least a little bit.

And we have been having some really fun school days around here again.

The littles are just soaking up the knowledge and growing in their reading and math skills by leaps and bounds.

We walked up to our neighbors Alpaca Open House and the girls had fun feeding and leading the “Tacos” around.

IMAG0821IMAG0825IMAG0831 - Copy

“Daddy, can I pllleaassese have a taco??”

IMAG0828 - Copy

The girls named “their” Alpacas, TNT.

IMAG0834 - Copy

Ava couldn’t WAIT to feed the Alpacas….You can tell by Lena’s stance and expression that she wanted nothing to do with this “fun” activity! lol

IMAG0836 - CopyIMAG0838

We do enjoy watching these beautiful creatures romp around in their pens from our deck in the backyard. I’m just glad we don’t have to care for them!  Chickens are about all we can handle right now!

IMAG0840 (1)IMAG0833

Speaking of chickens….we still have 11 chickens. They are slowing down in their egg production but we haven’t had to buy eggs at the store yet.

Lena is enjoying learning how to crack the eggs and learning how to make omelets and dipping eggs for herself!

IMAG0865 (1)

And since we have puppy, who needs positive reinforcements all.the.time in order for her to go potty on the potty PAD and NOT on the floor, we started making our own dog treats.  Oh goodness.  What has this world come too??!?

IMAG0869IMAG0874

The girls thought this was a hoot and have been telling everyone that they eat “dog treats” and Boomer couldn’t WAIT till these treats came out of the oven. Even though he is already “perfect” he gets some treats too for his good behavior.

IMAG0870 (1)

(and no, our dogs did not get whole wheat flour and natural peanut butter!  They got regular flour and regular old peanut butter!!)

It is supposed to be BITTER cold tomorrow….so you know where I’ll be.

IMAG0878IMAG0879

Just being still and soaking in the heat from the woodstove.

And soaking in the love and sweetness of my family.

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets. Ps. 50:1

IMAG0861

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Ps. 113:3

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you!

Many, many moons ago a young man decided that he was to join the Army National Guard.

He wanted to serve his country but also wanted to use the GI bill to go to college.

So he signed up and did his basic training, which just happened to be around the time when Saddam Hussein decided to become really evil.

(Our phone bill was CRAZY during that time.  This was the days before unlimited cell phone plans! He would have to call collect from Oklahoma.  Young love…..)

This would have been early 1990.

And so this strapping young man found himself to be on “stand by” to go over to Kuwait and fight a strange battle that had to do with oil and power.

Suddenly this whole Army thing got a lot more real and scary.

IMAG0843

But then the US forces prevailed (read: kicked some serious Saddam butt) and this strapping young Army man did not have to go over to a foreign country.

(That would come later in life and would involve even more sacrifices then serving the Army ever did!)

P5260168

So he continued on with his training and had to go one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer  for years.

And so a young lady had to go to her senior prom alone as the training weekend just happened to fall on the same weekend as prom night! Sad smile

IMAG0847 (1)

This young soldier was activated one winter during a really bad blizzard.  And this young bride had to stay at home, all alone, and keep the coal fire going. 

But then as fate would have it, the young solider didn’t end up using the GI bill to go to college….he was offered an apprenticeship to become a mechanic.

And as it turns out he turned out to be a really awesome mechanic and has served him well in his life.

(But there are days that he wishes he would have gone and gotten that 4 year degree.)

But God always provides and always opens doors for those who serve Him.

So to all who have served our country in one way or the other.

THANK YOU.

Courage

P5260195

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Old vs. New

We raided my parents basement a couple weeks ago in search of “old stuff.”

It was Youth Sunday (which our awesome and/or amazing youth totally rocked! So proud of them!) and Steve came up with a funny skit that involved a walkman (pre-ipod), his old yearbook (pre-facebook), an encyclopedia (pre-goggle) and a rotary telephone (pre-cellphone).

So the old phone was still sitting around here today and the girls asked if it still worked.

IMAG0800

I plugged it in and showed the girls how you have to keep your finger in the hole and turn the dial the WHOLE way around till it stops.

Well….goodness gracious.  Their finger would either slip out or they wouldn’t go the whole way around….it took us many tries to get Grandma’s phone number right.

IMAG0790

But I’m thinking this should be our phone of choice when they become teenagers and want to talk to boys.  A short cord in the kitchen….with NO texting!!

When they finally heard Grandma’s voice on the other end they were soooo amazed.

IMAG0798 (1)

When Lena was done talking to G-ma Lena asks me, “How do you hang up the phone Mom??”

(I have to admit there is something very satisfying with being able to “hang up” on someone.  Pushing the end button on the cell phone just doesn’t have the same satisfaction. I’m sure if I had a rotary telephone this past summer I would have been slamming it down to hang up on those insurance people!)

And then Ava had to have her turn.  Poor Grandma didn’t get much done this afternoon but answer her phone!

During supper Lena was telling Daddy all about the fun “old phone” and she looks at me and says, “Did Grandma have a blog when you were little?”

Yup.

It was called a diary.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Take me in….

There are still many, many children waiting for a family.

Today is Orphan Awareness Sunday.

A Sunday where the focus is on the orphan crisis and challenges us to do more.

To be challenged to put action to our words.

To be challenged to take in an orphan and never let go.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 2.56.18 PM

It isn’t always rosy.

Is isn’t always easy.

It isn’t even always pleasant or fun.

But it is worth it in the end.

We sang Crowder’s song, I Am, in church today.

I love this song.

It is a song about God being my “I Am.”

How He takes us in and adopts us and never lets go.

Can you do that for a real life orphan child???

Could you be THE one that makes a lasting difference in the life of an orphan child??

There are MANY ways to do this.

I liked this flow chart I saw on FB:

10734236_10205058546522046_5589534810434307481_n

10624764_10203234430768919_2132014226659871749_n

We feel we are done adopting (for this season in our life) so we are out of the “pink” circle but can still be active by doing  the things in the yellow squares around it!

And since we have been there, done that adoption thing before we are VERY happy and eager to go alongside any of you who may be ready to jump out of the boat and step out in faith and adopt.

It is nice to have someone to go alongside of you, to be there when you get either good news, or frustrating news.  For someone to understand the alphabet soup that is used in the adoption process.  LID, PA, LOA, TA, etc.

I’m serious.  If you want/need someone to walk alongside of you and hold your hand I’m happy to do that. If you need someone to just talk it all out, email me and I’m happy to help in anyway I can.

We ALL can do the “other” circles though in some way….praying, advocating and sponsoring.

So let’s all take in an orphan child this year and never let go.

We have seen first hand what “taking a child in” can do for them.

IMG_7853

And do for us….we will never be the same again.

IMG_7856

In a good way.

There’s no end to His Amazing Grace.

Verse 1:
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace
Take me in with your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go, never leave my side.
[Chorus: (2X)]


I am,
Holding on to You.
I am,
Holding on to You.
In the middle of the storm,
I am Holding on,
I am!

[Verse 2:]

Love like this, Oh my God to find!
I am overwhelmed what a joy divine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

[Verse 3:]
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace