Awesome….

Right now I wish I was sitting on a Haitian porch, covered in a fine layer of dirt mixed with sweat, nuzzling a head full of fuzzy black hair, watching kids play soccer.

I miss my baby.  I miss Haiti.  And it’s obscenely cold here right now, so 90* sounds awesome.

Seriously, though, today my heart and my mind went somewhere they’ve never gone before.  I actually pictured Amania in our home, in our family, living life with us.  I’m not one often given to daydreams or fantasy and her being here has always been some far-off, abstract concept, so I have just never given a lot of thought to what that would look like.  But today, in my  mind, she was here – in my SUV, running up our back stairs, doing school with us, playing Legos, eating dinner with us, sitting in my lap.  And it was beautiful.  And it will be hard I know, but to no longer have someone missing, to no longer have part of my heart so far away, to all be here to live life together….that sounds awesome.

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For His Glory ~

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An Update….

I have been trying every day this week to put thoughts into words.  They just won’t come.  Instead, a sweet photo and some news to share…

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugThis beautiful girl was issued a passport this week and Visa paperwork is on its way to our adoption agency where they will do whatever they do with it.  Oh my heart….she may actually come home soon!

For His Glory~

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*a big thanks to our sweet friend Daniela for this amazing photo of our girl

Ministry of Music {Day 1}

Music has always moved me, touched some deep place in my soul.  Perhaps that’s universal, I’m not sure.  God has often used music to speak to me and last week was no exception.  I thought this week I would share a few of the songs He has been using to encourage, comfort, and strengthen me recently.

This first one is from Tenth Avenue North:

(scroll to the bottom of the page to pause the piano music before playing the video)

I’m tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn

May God encourage you today.

For His Glory ~

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Multitude Monday

As we wrestle to get two get tucked into bed and one cries as she practices a speech, today feels like another ride on the crazy train, but for now I’m laughing and smiling and thanking God for His mercies and grace to walk through each new day.




2369.  finding rhythms

2370.  raindrops tapping on glass

2371.  waking up to a clean, quiet house

2372.  third born, whose heart of service and generosity has taught me more than I’ll ever teach her

2374.  rain all day

2375.  pace slow enough to enjoy it

2376.  laughter at the table

2377.  being knocked back on my knees; where God really wants me anyway

2378.  fellowship with Sunday school friends; laughing, reflecting, looking ahead

2379.  this sense of community God’s been giving

2380.  Sunday – a day to slow and rest

2381.  Monday – a fresh start on a new week

2382.  coffee on a bitterly cold morning

2383.  a list that always seems the same; these gifts that are given every day

2384.  being out of MOI and on to passports!

2385.  giggling girls – sleepovers to celebrate birthdays late

2386.  warm sunshine

2387.  Christmas decor down

2388.  third-born loses another tooth

2389.  these children – always hungry

2390.  all these signs of beautiful, growing girls

2391.  a few hours away with my beloved

2392.  family game nights

2393.  a new day, a new week – mercies poured out again

For His Glory ~

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Week in Review {2013, Week 3}

It’s been a quiet week here.  My brain felt as if it were wrapped in a thick blanket and my thoughts just felt all jumbled and non-sensical.  My attitude and behavior kind of betrayed that, as well.  So I have tried to stay quiet.

As we come to the end of the week and a couple days of warmer weather and sun have cleared my head a bit, I recognize the battle I am fighting with being content and finding joy where I am right now.  Discontentment tells me all the ways I would be happier if …. God’s word says “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

I don’t always enjoy being a home school mom and finding contentment there has been an on-going struggle.  I don’t think saying that makes me a bad home schooling mom.  I think saying that makes me honest.  I love my kids and I’m very happy with how they are learning and progressing in school, so that’s not the issue.  I love being at home with them and the wonderful time we are able to spend together.  It’s just that they’re always here.  Always.  So sending my kids off to school every day and having hours at a time to myself?  That sounds so luxurious!  But that’s not where God has me.  And I’m sure that’s not where God has me on purpose, because of the countless ways He uses my constant exposure to these human chisels to shape me – to make me more gracious, more patient, more selfless, and more like His Son.  I really wish relaxing on the beach could somehow have the same effect….

So if our educational options aren’t changing anytime soon (which they aren’t, because I still have a TON to learn about patience and selflessness), the only other option is to learn contentment.  And there’s really no fast track on that road, either.  It seems to be a matter of continuing to constantly say thanks, to see all as grace, to not consider my blessings burdens, and to continue to follow hard after the One who is perfecting each of us, day by day.  If I seek to be filled up by this job of home schooling, I’m going to be disappointed every time, because really it’s a daily emptying out, like much of mothering, and these kids aren’t responsible for filling up my empty places.  Only God can do that and He didn’t give us home schooling for that purpose.  He gave us home schooling to reveal how desperately we all need His grace and mercy every day and how empty we all really are without more and more of Him.

In other news, we received word this week that Amania’s passport is “in process”.  We are tentatively hopeful that we will have that in the next month or so, then it’s on to the US Embassy and her Visa.  So, maybe, maybe???, home this summer?  We’ll see.

School has taken until bedtime (or close to it) for the second week in a row for the younger two.  God bless them for their perseverance and sticking with it, but this has to change.  It’s a little ridiculous.  I’m praying through how to make things work and have some ideas, so we’ll see how next week goes.  We’ve gone from having too much free time on school days to having zero free time.  Surely there’s a balance in there somewhere?!

Emma’s having a couple of friends over tonight to (finally) celebrate her birthday (early December).  She’s kind to understand that her mama can’t handle birthday parties in the midst of Christmas craziness, so she always gets to wait until January.

Speaking of Emma, I’m pretty sure she and all her sisters are about to grow a lot.  All I hear about (or so it seems) is how hungry everyone is.  All.the.time.  And as a non-foodie-type, constant requests for food wear me out pretty fast.  Today, after being snapped at by a child who was apparently starving to death (and I was doing nothing about it!), I decided to come up with a paraphrase on Ephesians 4:26, “Be hungry and do not sin…”  It may also work for dieting husbands, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.  😉

And speaking of husbands, my very wise and wonderful man realized this week that this mama needs a little break, so he’s whisking me away for a quick overnight, some quantity quality time, and to finally see Les Miserables (woot!).  He’s definitely a keeper.

That’s the update around here.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!  May all that you do draw you closer to God and those you love.

For His Glory ~

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Week in Review {2013, Week 2}

We come to the end of another week and I find that we’ve made it through that tremulous first week back to balancing school and life.

I practiced peace while wrestling testy appliances and a messy house.

We found our way through some new curriculum and found that the second grader absolutely LOVES it.  After a few days of doing school from breakfast until bedtime (not exaggerating!), we found a little bit of rhythm and were done by dinnertime.  Now if I can get a certain child to stop disappearing between classes, we could have something close to a normal school day.

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All week we walk a dark road with a daughter who wants to choose her own path and we continue to learn what it is to pray and beg mercy and be humbled because we really have no clue what we’re doing in this parenting thing and by the time we think we’ve figured something out everything changes.

We pass another week with no word of movement in Haiti while on Facebook I see an acquaintance post pictures of their Haitian children at home.  An acquaintance we met standing in line nearly a year ago at the embassy in Port-au-Prince both waiting for our I-600 appointment.  I marvel at how their kids are home and will myself to say the Lord’s ways are higher and His timing is perfect.  Because I am done with this being “pregnant” and there are no old wives tales to test to start labor.  I must simply wait.  And I’m reminded as I do of some of the wisest adoption words I’ve heard so far, and we heard them early on in this….”Respect the process.”  No amount of grumbling or being impatient or thinking how this or that could be done better will change the adoption process in Haiti, at least not right now.  My safest and most peaceful place is to trust God and respect the process.

Last night we celebrated the new year with our Sunday school class and as I crawled into bed at nearly 1 am, I prayed thanks to Jesus for the community He has been quietly building around us this past year in our own church, a place where we had felt painfully disconnected for many months.  We are blessed.

I realize today it’s been three years since the earthquake, since Haiti appeared to almost fall in on itself.  Three years since we watched unimaginable images on television screens and prayed for our own loved ones and friends to come home safe.  It’s been three years since we felt compelled to move, to act, to be involved. Three years since a massive community-wide sale that really was the beginning of our involvement in ministry in Haiti.  And I sit and reflect on all the mighty ways God has moved in just three years and I am amazed and how can I not worship and praise His name, for He has done good things.

For His Glory ~

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Old Habits, New Year

We stumble through this first Monday…first of the year, first of the semester.  We muddle through new curriculum and remember old routines.  We re-learn how to get up “early” and how to carry and borrow and divide numbers out long.  And I struggle to keep my balance as the house whirls with activity and questions and paper trails that would make some auditor proud.  I forget to put the potatoes in the oven to bake and lunch doesn’t get served until 1:30.  Children are still doing school at 5:05 and the oldest and I finally start dinner at twenty til 6.  But we did it…we survived the first day of the second semester.  We got over that Monday “hump” and it’s all downhill from here, right?

And as we get back into routines and welcome back something resembling a schedule, I get back to listing the gifts (how long has it been?!) because He deserves our praise no matter how life spins us ’round and because peace comes in giving thanks, in opening our eyes to all He has already given, already done, and opening our hearts to hope of all He is still doing.


2294.  Barbies strewn everywhere

2295.  blankets laying about

2296.  signs of a house full of life

2297.  children doing kind things – just because

2298.  stomach issues and another day of not running

2299.  books discussions with a good friend

2300.  Christmas gifts picked up here and there

2301. my second-born – now eleven

2302.  a good week

2303.  cloudy, overcast days – looks like winter

2304.  littlest one beginning to feel better

2305.  quiet Sunday morning, home with two sickies

2306.  snuggles from my Chandler

2307.  winter weather

2308.  movies as a family

2309.  single digits and snuggling under blankets

2310.  the sparkle of Christmas lights

2311.  shooting stars on a morning walk

2312.  hearing nothing from Haiti

2313.  cough medicine for weary girls

2314.  end of the week, end of the semester

2315.  happy vacuumed floors

2316.  oreo truffles

2317.  fingerprints re-taken

2318.  a day of Christmas shopping with my love

2319.  holding my girls after a day of senseless tragedy

2320.  a front row “seat” at the light show

2321.  a heart that hurts for the hurting

2322.  a God who heals

2323.  a beautiful day to run errands

2324.  Christmas shopping done?

2325.  my girls – each one a gift

2326.  Christmas break

2327.  snow!

2328.  sleeping in

2329.  warm house

2330.  UPS man that delivers packages late on rainy nights

2331.  December thunder storm

2332.  more snow

2333.  really good days

2334.  girls eager to add to the Gifts We Already Have list

2335.  making ornaments

2336.  a pre-holiday family getaway

2337.  College Basketball Experience

2338.  Plaza lights

2339.  ice skating

2340.  adjoining hotel rooms

2341.  making memories together

2342.  Christmas celebrations

2343.  kids so generous

2344.  a hard holiday season over

2345.  helping kids learn truthfulness

2346.  dear friends coming to visit

2347.  celebrating another year of life for my beloved

2348.  quiet days

2349.  learning to wait in silence

2350.  the close of 2012

2351.  tentative hope for 2013

2352.  cards and pizza with friends on New Year’s Eve

2353.  a house sold on the last day of 2012

2354.  a blank slate ahead of us; wonder at what this year might bring

2355.  beautiful snow everywhere

2356.  sleep for tired children

2357.  hard conversations revealing a hard heart

2358.  praying God to restore, knowing He is able

2359.  an ugly gym run; the long road back to being in shape

2360.  school plans made

2361.  Haiti photo books completed

2362.  the return of Friday classes

2363.  a four mile walk/run in the mid-day sunshine

2364.  fresh snowflakes

2365.  Saturday

2366.  church that gives so generously to the building project AND to Haiti

2367.  being awestruck at God’s goodness

2368.  the beginning of a new semester

Praying this is a year full of good habits and trusted routines and a heart full of thanks.

For His Glory ~

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A Week and A Book: In Review {2013, Week 1}

Trying to get the writing year off to a good start and school starts next week, so not sure how long this momentum will last, but here we are, so let’s go….

This week was a funny one with what kind of felt like two or three Mondays and here we are at Friday already.  We semi-celebrated the New Year with a game night at a friends house and friend sleep overs for the girls and enjoying the beautiful snow that fell on NYE.  I attempted to get groceries and run my errands ALONE on New Year’s Day but Sam’s had the nerve to be closed.  Seriously!  😉  Wednesday was art lessons and errand running in the slushy slop with the youngest two.  I’ve been doing a lot of computer work the past couple of weeks, trying to get photos cleaned out and organized and photobooks made and prepping school stuff for second semester and we’ve had wacky sleep schedules with the holidays and friends in town.  All that to say, I ended up with a twitchy eye and dull headache that afternoon, which did not make me much fun to shop with.  Thursday was our last real day of Christmas break and today the girls started back at Friday classes and I whispered Thank you, Jesus as I drove away.  🙂  Matt and I are both trying to get back in shape after some serious slacking over the holidays.  I “enjoyed” a run/walk with a friend today in the toasty 34* sunshine.

So a couple months ago, a friend and I read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.  I have to say it is hands-down one of the best and most unique marriage books I have ever read. As my friend said when we were discussing it, it’s not “do these five things and have a better marriage”.  It’s, as the subtitle says, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy.”  And the book proceeds to take many of our modern notions about marriage and romance and turn them on their head.  Following are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “God did not create marriage just to give us a pleasant means of repopulating the world and providing a steady social institution for the benefit of humanity.  He planted marriage among humans as yet another signpost pointing us to his own eternal, spiritual existence.” (p. 30)
  • “Marriage requires a radical commitment to love our spouses as they are, while longing for them to become what they are not yet.  Every marriage moves either toward enhancing one another’s glory or toward degrading each other.” (p. 39, Allender & Longman)
  • “We must never be naive enough to think of marriage as a safe harbor from the Fall….The deepest struggles of life will occur in the most primary relationship affected by the Fall:  marriage.” (P. 53, Allender & Longman)
  • “We have valued the wrong activities when we look only at a person’s outward accomplishments.  Our relationship – especially our marriages – are an integral part of our ministry.” (p. 78)
  • “We must not enter marriage predominantly to be fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, or romantically charged, but rather to become more like Jesus Christ.” (p. 96)
    • how’s THAT for going against the grain?!
  • “A good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for.” (p. 133)
  • The opposite of Biblical love isn’t hate, it’s apathy.” (p. 155)
  • “If we enter marriage thoughtfully, purposefully, and with godly intentions, our wedlock will shape us in a way that few other life experiences can.  It will usher us into God’s own presence.” (p. 245)

And there’s more….there’s so much more.  I’m hoping to go back through the book again soon because I know I could take so much more away from it.  Highly readable and highly recommended!

That’s it for me today.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

For His Glory ~

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More on peace…

It shouldn’t be surprising, but sometimes it is, how God goes ahead of us to show us we’re on the right path.

Yesterday I wrote of my word for the year – peace – and how I long for more of it in our home, in our lives, in my heart.  And today I woke up to my quiet time and Jesus Calling and read this…

Refresh yourself in the Peace of My Presence.  This Peace can be your portion at all times and in all circumstances.  Learn to hide in the secret of My Presence, even as you carry out your duties in the world.  I am both with you and within you.  I go before you to open up the way, and I also walk alongside you.  There could never be another companion as devoted as I am.

Because I am your constant Companion, there should be a lightness to your step that is observable to others.  Do not be weighed down with problems and unresolved issues, for I am your burden-bearer.  In the world you will have trials and distress, but don’t let them get you down.  I have conquered the world and deprived it of power to harm you.  In Me you may have confident Peace.

And it ended with this verse from the Amplified Bible (John 16:33)…

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!  For I have overcome the world.  [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Take courage!  Be confident!  Certain, undaunted!  Have perfect peace and confidence.

Oh, I love it!  He is so good to His children.

For His Glory ~

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A New Year, A New Word….

It’s 2013 and I’m often slow to come around on New Year’s resolutions and goals.  Early in my parenting I heard Elisabeth Elliott’s quote “Just do the next thing” and it has characterized how I’ve lived so much of the past twelve years.  I don’t seem to have the energy often to think very far ahead, so I simply do the next thing; the next chore, the next class, the next day.  When I try to plan too far ahead I find myself trying to live too much in my own strength, not resting in my Jesus.  Do the next thing keeps me kneeling.  And so, I don’t often have my goals and resolutions ready on January 1.  It’s often on January 1 I realize I need to think about such things and I mull and pray and ponder for a few days.

And while I don’t have my goals and hopes for the year lined out yet, I do think I have a word for the year – peace.  As we come off a year of political strife and the news is filled with fiscal cliffs and killings and so much uncertainty, as we look ahead at another year for the business and the turning of a calendar page always brings so much uncertainty, as we wait and wonder over trips to Haiti and how many will there be and will our daughter come home this year, peace seems like something we are going to need to be intentional about.  As we navigate these tween years with all these girls and one enters her teens this year, as we homeschool and do marriage and ministry and life together, peace is something there is never enough of.

In the midst of a wild and sin-torn world, can our home be a place of peace and refuge?  In the midst of the crazy and the unexpected and the mundane, can my heart overflow God’s peace?  In the face of uncertainty and doubt and fear, can we model peace to a peace-starved world?  Only through resting and trusting in Jesus….May the God of hope fill you with all joy and PEACE as you trust in Him. {Romans 15:13a}

That is the challenge and goal of 2013.  What is your one word for 2013?

For His Glory ~

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