In Review

The past couple of weeks have been an odd mix of boredom and busy.  April has seemed to drag on and on as we have anxiously awaited the end of school and an upcoming road trip.  But the last day of school has finally arrived, and by lunchtime I will be the mother of a sixth grader, fourth grader, third grader, and first grader. Wow.

In the midst of finishing up school, we’ve been doing some spring cleaning.  I know I posted a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t going to do a massive spring clean this year, but rather go room by room methodically.  Well, I started getting a little twitchy about the fact that I would never experience that wonderful “all clean” feeling that comes after the whole house has been scrubbed.  So, we scrapped that plan and went back to the old way of doing things.  I enlisted the girls more this year than in the past, so it’s probably not quite as clean as it could be, but the overall experience was much more pleasant.

Wednesday I went a little nuts being Suzy Homemaker.  Home made yogurt, granola, six loaves of bread, and more, all in one day.  I slept like the dead on Wednesday night.  Over the past year and a half I have really come to enjoy cooking more than I ever imagined.  It started when I received the Pioneer Woman cookbook as a Christmas gift.  Her visual-learner-friendly format (lots of pictures) made new recipes so much less intimidating and built in me the confidence to try new things.  Since then, I’ve branched out and find a deep sense of satisfaction in preparing my family’s food from scratch, or as close to scratch as I can get.  Food preparation has gone from feeling like a giant burden and chore, to feeling like more of an art.  And anyone who’s known me for more than a year will probably be quite amazed by that last statement.  😉

Things are quiet on the adoption front, and probably will be for a while.  The house is coming along.  We’re hoping to have it ready to paint in the next couple of weeks.

We have six ballet classes left for the year.  Well, nine if you count rehearsals.  Either way it’s in the single digits and that’s a good thing.  😉  I really do enjoy the girls’ ballet, but am always ready for the year to be over.

We let the girls swap bedrooms a couple of weeks ago.  It was Grace / Chandler and Emma / Ellie; now it is Grace / Ellie and Emma / Chandler.  They’ve honestly done better than expected, particularly one pair that I was concerned about.

I’m training with a friend for a 10k in June.  It’s a notoriously hilly run, so we’ve been trying to acclimate to that.  I won’t lie, it’s been brutal.  😦  I came up with a plan this morning that will hopefully help us push past this road block we seem to have hit.  I am really thankful for this upcoming race as it has pushed and will continue to push me to be more disciplined in my running, at least for another month.  But on the other hand, I’m still on the fence about doing another half in the future.  I just hate when running becomes a chore and an obligation, and that seems to be how I start to feel about it when I have to do a certain number of miles each week instead of just going out and running because it feels good.

Tonight we have a planning meeting for the Haiti ministry we have kind of “fallen” into.  This is the ministry that oversees the orphanage where our daughter is, and since Matt’s return from Haiti our involvement has become significant, adoption aside.  I’m excited; God’s hand is so clearly upon this ministry, this orphanage, I’m thrilled to be part of what He’s doing.  I feel like He’s been preparing me, us, for this for a few years now.  Using books like Crazy Love and Radical and The Hole in Our Gospel that have challenged my way of thinking and broken my heart….He’s been leading us to this point.  And who knows if adoption and serving in this ministry are all He has planned.  I’m just thrilled to be part of the story He’s writing in these kids lives.

I think that gets us up to date.  Wishing all of you a blessed weekend!

By His Grace ~

~ Sara


In the quiet of a Monday morning…

I steal a few minutes as the girls sleep in.  It’s late, considering we still have school this week.  But the house is quiet, so I’ll capture the moments in words.

Life has been full and my mind has been racing, fighting the urge to be overwhelmed at all that needs to be done.  With house, husband, and children that need my attention (not necessarily in that order 😉 ), plus adoption and ministry and friends, I have been praying about where blogging fits into my life right now.  I enjoy the sitting down, writing, and I enjoy it most when I do it consistently.  I am blessed when the Lord uses the hard days in my life to encourage others.  And I know, that if I don’t write here, there will be no record of our days when the girls get older.

But the Lord (and I do believe it is from Him for a purpose) has given me this pain in my shoulder.  I rarely feel it, unless I am on the computer too much.  I honestly feel that He has given it to me because it is far too easy for me to focus all of my energies on this screen and not on the life being lived all around me.  So, I have to guard my time here, or suffer the consequences later.

I really don’t know what it is I’m trying to say this morning, other than to write out where my mind and heart have been.  I will continue to be here and I hope that I can return to daily writing again soon.  But I accomplish nothing if I fight against this season I am in and insist on my own way, so I have to accept the fact that there will be days, if not weeks, when writing is limited simply because life is full.  And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I ask you for grace when I disappear for a while.  Feel free to subscribe by clicking the button on the right or add me to your reader, so you are sure to not miss a post.

Today, though, I gratefully count the gifts He has so generously given….

1184.  four miles not as hard

1185.  new running shoes

1186.  computer mouse that works

1187.  sunny days

1188.  watching Emma ride

1189.  less school books

1190.  deals for next year

1191.  displays of God’s great power

1192.  an afternoon run

1193.  love letters from my girls

1194.  sunshine

1195.  stacks of new library books

1196.  fresh salsa – taste of summer

1197.  color in the flower beds

1198.  agency fees that mean she’s one step closer to being ours

1199.  re-organizing projects on the brain

1200.  that feeling that comes after working together on a hot, sunny Saturday

1201.  three miles of hills run

1202.  date night

1203.  mason jar overflowing spring

1204.  a humble King who rides on a donkey

1205.  the beginning of Holy Week, the road that brings redemption

May you find quiet moments to count the gifts He’s given today.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

*photos from a Sunday afternoon exploring a nearby cliff

Adoption Update – Where Will the Money Come From?

I haven’t said much about our adoption for a couple of weeks.  Of course, I haven’t said much about much of anything for a couple of weeks, so why would this be any different?  😉

Our agency application was received and approved (maybe I already said that?) and we sent in our agreement a few weeks ago.  About two weeks ago, I received the very symbolic dossier guide.  I have been very excited about this document.  Something about it just symbolizes to me the realness of the path we’re on.  And then I printed it out – all 35 pages plus 9 pages of home study report guidelines – and once my head stopped spinning, I became very thankful that I’m more than a bit of a paperwork nerd and get a weird thrill out of checking things off lists and gathering obscene amounts of information into one place.  If I don’t get bogged down in the minutiae, this could be fun!  😉

So I have the guide and Wednesday I had a conference call with the agency to go over it.   The conference call was very helpful and kindled new excitement as I was told we can go ahead and start gathering our dossier documents in early June (I had previously assumed late June, due to our December 27 birth date issue) with the goal of having our dossier in Haiti in September and sitting on someone’s desk at IBESR on December 27 (in a perfect world….this is the world of international adoption, so we’re not holding our breath, but God is big and this adventure is all Him).

One question we have gotten is how will you pay for it? I do not know if it is the fact that Matt and I both grew up in families where income was such that it was often “feast or famine” or if the experience of owning our own business for 9 years and watching God’s amazing, miraculous, providing hand in our lives has made us this way, but we really haven’t been too concerned about the money.  That said, there have certainly been moments when I have looked at the months ahead and the natural expenses that go along with raising a family with four children and then look at the numbers on that adoption fee schedule and I break into a cold sweat.  But I know that those whom God has called, He will also equip, and He will not leave us nor forsake us.

So, where will the money come from?  Well, first there’s the good old fashioned savings account.  Matt has worked so hard the past few years putting any extra money we have away.  I know it was not his plan to draw from that so soon, but what’s to say that God was not preparing us for such a time as this?

Our other “fund” is a bit of a risk.  Okay, a big risk, but the timing of how it came to pass has us believing that Lord wants to use this opportunity for His glory.

Last fall a house across the street from us came up for sale.  We have bought and sold houses many times over the years, both ones we’ve lived in and ones we’ve tried to flip.  To be honest, I am over that whole process, especially the ones that we are buying simply to resell.  However, this particular house was cheap enough we were pretty sure we could do everything for cash, so I was okay with it.

Matt made an offer and nothing happened for weeks and weeks and weeks.  Matt went to Haiti in January (remember, the offer was placed in the fall), with instructions on what to do if the Realtor called while he was out of the country.  That wasn’t necessary, as the Realtor never called.  I didn’t care one way or the other, as I didn’t really want to own another house.

Matt returned home and our world began to spin a little faster as we contemplated and prayed about the whole adoption possibility and all the different things it would mean.  We knew we had the money to pay for it, but really didn’t want the hit to our savings.  But we knew we were being called to do this and we knew that the money, while a lot to us, was nothing to God and He would provide.  And if He chose to provide through our reserves, so be it.

About a week later, the Realtor called.  We were closing on the house across the street on Friday.  The closing date ended up moving a time or two, but we did close and we are now the proud owners of another home.

As we talked about it in the days that followed, we both really felt that this could be the Lord’s way of paying for our adoption.  Even before the Realtor called to confirm our purchase, Matt had felt that this could be part of how we pay to bring our daughter home.  Once we learned we were closing, Matt dubbed it “our adoption fund”.

We are well aware that the real estate market stinks right now, but our God is bigger than that.  If what we are feeling is correct and not just our vain imaginings, He will bring all these things to pass and work in even a crummy real estate market.  Worst case scenario, we have improved a house in the neighborhood, but I believe the end result will be better than just that.

So, our next several weeks will be filled with fixing up an old house and making it ready to sell.  If you’re local and can wield a paint brush or roller as well as or better than our seven year old, feel free to drop by and join us!  If not, could we ask you to pray that the Lord would be bringing and preparing just the right buyers for this house?  Not only will they be helping us bring our daughter home, they’ll be watching her and all her sisters grow up across the street.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Something (Kind of) Different

It is Monday, the day when I typically count the gifts, and the gifts to count are plenty. But today I’m going to change things up a bit. March was such a whirlwind with so little time to journal our daily lives, I want to do that tonight. Plus, my gratitude journal is downstairs, and i just don’t want to get up to go get it. 😉 My regular counting of the gifts should resume next week.

So, something clicked our lives into overdrive as soon as we turned the calendar page to March last month. I am thankful for all the distractions that have helped the past few weeks pass so quickly, but I am more ready than ever for the “lazy days” of summer! (That term being completely relative, of course!)

March brought us field trips like Exchange City in Kansas City and week long Starbase put on by the Department of Defense. Then we had Grace’s fine arts competition and last week we made it through three days of standardized testing. It brought us glimpses of spring and extra doses of winter. It brought us the birthday of our little girls in Haiti. We carried on with ballet and horseback riding and church and small group. Matt attended meetings to learn how we can better support the orphanage in Haiti and the girls and I got four weeks closer to the end of the school year.

And here we are in April already. Saturday all of us went to one of our new favorite mexican restaurants and then did some shopping at one of our favorite outdoor malls. Last night, we watched some wicked thunderstorms roll through and we marveled at God’s greatness. Today I reported for jury duty. It was an interesting experience and one day I wouldn’t mind serving on a jury, but this would be a very difficult time of life to sit in a courtroom for several days. I was very thankful to finally be sent home after being there for close to seven hours.

I feel somewhat caught up now. I’m sorry there aren’t any photos to make this post more interesting. :-). This is the part of my blog that is mostly for me and those that are interested in our daily goings on; these posts of our day-to-day existence are my journal of our daily lives in this season.

I hope you have a wonderful week. Keep your eyes open for Hid grace and good gifts!
~ Sara