2012 – Year in Review

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This year – it’s been a wildly fast one and yet the last five weeks have somehow seemed longer than the 47 before them.  As this year comes to a close, it only seems fitting to reflect on all that God has done in our lives in 2012.

We celebrated birthdays and anniversaries.  We traveled to Haiti, twice for each of us, and the oldest child made her first trip as well.  We wrapped up a really, really hard school year, soaked up the summer, and kicked off a new year which has been so much better thus far.  I painted more furniture than I can count and discovered this relatively cheap form of therapy and realized that I need a creative outlet far more than I knew.  We made more trips to the doctor’s office this year than all our other years of parenting combined, or at least it seemed that way.  We had two broken arms, a split open ear, pertussis, and a myriad of other minor illnesses.

We learned that the adoption process is wildly unpredictable and that a pregnancy with no due date is unfathomably hard to endure.  I started the year with a focus on attentiveness and found the word hope written all over it.  We took some little trips and focused on time as a family, preparing our hearts and our home for our Haiti girl to join us.  I experienced the hardest holiday season I have ever known and God gave me a glimpse of the desperate love He has for us and how He longs for us all to come home.

Oh, this year, it’s been a good one.  We have grown and changed and hopefully become more like our Jesus.  I am eager to open the door on 2013.  I’m cautiously hopeful we will be a family of seven by year’s end.  I’m trusting Him to continue to complete what He has started in each of us.  And I’m looking forward to where He leads us in the coming year.

Wishing you a blessed beginning of the coming year.  May 2013 be the best one yet.

For His Glory ~

Eleven

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Two weeks ago she turned eleven.  And she doesn’t ride anymore, but she’s a hard one to get a picture of and this really still depicts her first love.

She’s a second born, this one is, doing what she can to differentiate herself in this house full of girls and way too eager to not miss a thing big sister is doing.  She’s funny and kind and can be oh-so-generous.  She’s also known to have periods of “high drama”.  Sometimes I wonder where she gets it and sometimes all I have to do is look in the mirror to know.

She came out frowning (I kid you not) but she’s learning to laugh at herself and not take life so seriously.  She’s a gift and a joy and I’m so thankful she’s ours and I look forward to seeing what the Lord does with this mysterious second-born one day.

Happy (belated) birthday, dear Emma.  We love you!

Mom

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Seven

So I realized that in my funk I missed posting about a couple of birthdays.  Trying to remedy that before Christmas.  🙂

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She’s funny and sweet and bright and witty.  She has energy and drama to spare. She loves everyone and still loves her blanket.  Some days she’s seven going on seventeen and others she’s seven going on four.  But, oh, she’s a gift.  She has brought abundant laughter to our family.  She has taught us all to be a little more flexible and patient.  She is caring and compassionate and loves Jesus.

Happy (belated) birthday, sweet Ellie.  Praying this next year brings less tears, just as many laughs, and more loving your Savior.

Love, Mama

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When Christmas Seems Dark….

My heart hangs heavy this Christmas season. The first I can remember that the joy is elusive and so many of the songs seem hollow. I think of children in orphanages who should be in homes. I think of families who continue to wait. I think of old friends who buried their son too soon and of all those children who won’t be there for Christmas this year in Connecticut. I think of officers slain and helicopters circling overhead.

And I wonder, did God’s heart hurt that first Christmas? Separated from His Son, did He ache just a bit, the way so many of us do? Did my Jesus, even as an infant, know He was not home and long to return there as He took His first breaths? Did the Spirit cry out, longing for the triune God to be one again?

I listen to hymns because I need to constantly be fed the rich truth they hold. I write Scripture on paper and chalkboards and screens to write it on my heart. And I ask for Jesus to be near. Not because I’m scared and want to escape, but because we need His presence until He returns and because the only way our hearts will ever truly be happy is when we are finally home.

And the conversation this week will be about gun control and mental health access but the conversation needs to be about the state of our souls. We were made by God and for God and denying His presence has left us with a nation of empty people, angry people, hurting people. We fill ourselves up with the world and find ourselves still wanting and we turn to hobbies or addictions or anything we can find to be filled but the emptiness is God-sized and nothing and no one else will do. But we don’t want to talk about God.

So, what are we to do? We are to shine like lights in the universe. We are to have peace in tribulation. We are to love those who hate. We are to give thanks when it seems there is nothing to say thank you for. Because living in God’s economy on the world’s time causes people to notice. And we have a God who identifies with us in our sufferings and sorrows and we have a God who is patient and wants everyone to know of His love for them.

Lord, you were born in the dark and you came to fill our dark places. And the world seems especially dark this Christmas. Won’t you come and fill us again? Make yourself known to those who desperately need you. Be near those who need your comfort and guidance. Give peace to those who are afraid and draw us all close.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

When It’s Hard to Say Thanks….

The end of November, it drags like an eternity, and it’s hard to give thanks and laugh delighted when your heart pounds raw with every beat, and so I just stay quiet.  A season that is normally my favorite comes and I wish with all my heart we could just skip it this year.

Christmas just doesn’t feel the same when part of our family is so keenly missed.  And the glitter and lights and music just make her absence more obvious.

We Skype on Friday night and my heart, it just can’t take it, this saying good bye again.  We promised the girls we would decorate the tree and nothing goes right – not enough lights and a broken tree stand and a DVD player for watching Elf that only works when it wants to.  And late I sit in front of the tree, lit without ornaments, and I sob heavy over this pregnancy with no due date and I surrender my hopes – small and foolish as they may be – of her being home by Christmas.

Saturday dawns, head pounding and heart still aching, and I curl up on the couch with God’s word…

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

~ Lamentations 3:21-26

And as I work and run and pray my way through the day, my soul it finds rest.  And I am reminded He is still God and He is still good.  I write it on the kitchen chalkboard.  And joy, it creeps back in, and peace, it floods my heart.  And every ounce of me still aches to just have her home, but I still have so much to be thankful for because He is still so good to me.



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244.  slow, quiet Monday

2245.  not sleeping; talking to God in the dark

2246.  time on the couch with my people

2247.  going to bed early

2248.  children who see their own sin and seek change

2249.  quiet nights with easy bedtimes

2250.  days that are long  and I want to run and hide

2251.  a sweet girls night out, even for just ninety minutes

2252.  feeling raw and stripped bare

2253.  Friday…blessed Friday

2254.  long dates

2255.  laughing hysterically at the Tim Hawkins show

2256.  lingering over dessert

2257.  breakfast and more time to connect

2258.  a cleaner garage

2259.  tank tops on November 17

2260.  fifth date in two days and feeling so loved

2261.  child who helps me through grocery stores

2262.  another child who puts dinner in the crock pot

2263.  grace when things are broken

2264.  twelve hours of sleep for this sick mama

2265.  a new day and feeling much better

2266.  a season of thanks

2267.  long weekend ahead

2268.  family together

2269.  a day at home

2270.  a less-than-quiet Quiet Time

2271.  girls’ Christmas shopping nearly done

2272.  a movie, late on Friday night

2273.  another child turns seven

2274.  a Christmas project kicked off to benefit the orphanage

2275.  a God who can move mountains

2276.  a God who never stops being good

2277.  hard Mondays, fought with tears

2278.  cold, cold mornings with candle burning and quiet before the Lord

2279.  running

2280.  running on empty

2281.  news of more friends adopting – oh the wonder!

2282.  an evening to be creative

2283.  Christmas decorations partly up

2284.  doggy snoring

2285.  a God who leads gently; asking Him to change my heart

2286.  Skype and a broken heart

2287.  the tree that would not be decorated

2288.  tears that won’t stop falling; holding on to hope

2289.  peace

2290.  new friends; a community God is building around us

2291.  house finally decorated; tree a-glow

2292.  that Christmas feeling finally coming on

2293.  date night – every time a gift

I am blessed beyond measure….

For God’s Glory ~

~ Sara