2014: Week in Review {Week 5}

So, as I’ve mentioned before, last week was not a banner week.  BUT we made it to the weekend and on to the start of a new week.

Friday, while the girls were at my mom’s, I spent part of the day purging boxes in our storage room.  My sentimental saver/hoarder tendencies do me no favors in this house, so the efforts to minimize continue.  I went through probably 8 or 9 boxes or tubs of papers and misc stuff…..wedding magazines and catalogs and planners, old photos, yearbooks, old college and high school papers and assignments.  I managed to cull out four file boxes of paper to shred, burn, or toss, and everything else found a home NOT in a box.  Progress.

As I was sorting, I realized a few things about myself….First, I must have some kind of sickness when I think about some of the stuff we have moved to four different houses (bridal magazines from 1999? Why???).  Also, I miss my old Franklin Covey planner.  And I used to have pretty nice handwriting.  I do not miss the bulk and weight of my old Franklin Covey planner, though.  Also, my to do lists used to be much shorter but were still very ambitious, all things considered.  (Three babies under three anyone?  Or four, five and under?)  Lastly, part of me misses college and I think I realized why….first, I love learning and love the classroom environment.  Second, my major required a lot of writing papers and I loved that.  It was fun to sort back through some of them and remember things I totally forgot ever doing.  And the positive affirmation received on said papers was always nice too.  That said, I have no idea how I could ever go back to college now.  I’m pretty sure I would have to give up sleeping entirely.  I know lots of busy moms and dads do it and my hat goes off to you all.  You’re amazing.

Saturday we took the girls to see Frozen (finally).  Can I be honest here?  It was really cute and well done and a great story, but I’m not entirely sure it was as a-mazing as everyone made it out to be.  Just sayin’.

The highlight of the weekend came Sunday afternoon (no, not the Super Bowl) when Amania asked to pray to receive Jesus as her Savior.  What a gift and blessing to have her not only in our earthly forever family, but also our eternal one!  We are thankful to have had the opportunity to pray with each of our daughters as they each made that decision.

As we go into a new week, I want to keep the habit of counting the gifts.  What a blessing to start a week recalling the Lord’s goodness (especially as one child sits in the room down the hall weeping over her penmanship papers)….


2865.  gentle, loving, ever-present God

2866.  hot coffee on cold mornings

2867.  blanket, Bible, and quietness

2868.  coffee (clearly, I’m very thankful for this nectar of the gods)

2869.  sleeping til 8 am on a Saturday

2870.  fresh snow

2871.  boxes of papers purged

2872.  backseat confessions (of the humorous sort)

2873.  laughing hard

2874.  February on the calendar

2875.  Sunday rest

2876.  fifth daughter sealed by God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness

For His Glory ~


Monday counting

In the middle of the start of another busy week, with laundry and meals and bread-baking and school all-consuming everywhere, I stop to breathe deep of God’s goodness and to say thanks for His never-ending gifts.

2861.  quiet time in a quiet car – taking what I can get

2862.  tired muscles —> good workout

2863.  Kansas City symphony and just being still

2864.  sunset glory and a family game of spoons

And as we sit here longing for warmer weather, a little photo of somewhere tropical….

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For His Glory ~


Counting gifts like counting sheep….

Tonight I listen to the wind howl outside the window again and I list the gifts before crawling into bed and count the goodness of the Lord before drifting off to sleep…..

2852.  warmer mornings

2853.  words and goals

2854.  a human “no” that answers prayer and speaks God’s “not yet”

2855. more than a few hours of sleep

2856.  tween bathroom painted

2857.  margin, free time, and a sunny window to read in

2858.  half marathon complete and marked off the bucket list

2859.  home school family dance – doing what my soul loves

2860.  a surprise party for a wonderful woman – her joy, priceless


For His Glory ~


Of Modesty and Grace {A Six Part Series}

Late last summer I was asked to share with a local mom’s group on the topic of modesty.  I immediately laughed out loud.

And then I started to panic.

Because of all the topics to share on, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to fit in the church “box” on this one (not our church, per se, but the church in general).

But I prayed and I talked to Matt, and the green light was given.  So I prayed more and read and researched and prepared what the Lord gave me.  And last week I was able to share with those ladies and the feedback I’ve received has been good, and because this is a topic that is important and always cycling around a bit on the internet and in desperate need of grace, I will share here over the next few days.

Will you join me as we look at what God’s word says about this topic this week?

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But first, a habit that’s fallen by the wayside here, that seems important to get back to – counting the gifts.  And as a fresh start and because it’s been a while, I will just start at January 1 and (hopefully) pick the weekly habit up again.

2838.  new year, new calendar, new start – same Jesus

2839.  goals, hopes, dreams for the new year

2840.  savoring the last few days of two weeks off

2841.  heart full of joy, hope, and healing brought by my Jesus

2842.  coldest night of the year; warm home to sleep in

2843.  impromptu dates

2844.  husband who loves me in spite of all my imperfectness

(And, no, I haven’t forgotten my 25 Days of Joy…we’ll get back to those soon too!)

For His Glory ~


More in this series:

Modesty and Grace, Part 1 – Backstory and Bible Verses

Modesty and Grace, Part 2 – Is Modesty More Than What We Wear?

Modesty and Grace, Part 3 – Culture, Context, and Time

Modesty and Grace, Part 4 – What Does Our Immodesty Say About Us?

Modesty and Grace, Part 5 – Who’s Responsibility Is It?

Modesty and Grace, Part 6 – Where Do We Go From Here?

God With Us….

On a Monday morning when everyone is moving slow, after a weekend of soul-wrestling with God, I can only stop and give thanks for His mercies, for the Word, and for my Jesus who ministers to an aching heart.  And I list the gifts – tangible and intangible reminders of His love…..

2725.  old chipping wicker and screened porch

2726.  cool autumn mornings

2727.  the return of soup weather

2728.  God’s perfect, unfailing, unchanging promises

2729.  volleyball games

2730.  weeks where I’m gone too much and it feels like the house is falling apart

2731.  wise words spoken

2732.  showing grace to myself

2733.  a phone free weekend

2734.  a phone revived!

2735.  little bits of quiet

2736.  weeks of struggling; leaning hard on faith

2737.  Legos everywhere; little girls imaginations

2738.  laughing with my oldest; loving time with her

2739.  Monday morning quiet, weekend mess still sprawling

2740.  seeking revelation, wisdom

2741.  encouraging words at just the right time

2742.  letter sounds practice with the smallest one

2743.  her willingly sounding out blends

2744.  clean house and how it eases the mind

2745.  game room half clean

2746.  beautiful Saturday full of good things

2747.  a Monday off

2748.  honking geese flying south

2749.  a concert with my favorite

2750.  a road trip with the middle

2751.  three days with Chandler – talking, laughing, enjoying each other

2752.  welcome home surprises of painted living room and projects finished

2753.  a God who knows my heart and my struggles and loves me anyway and wants to make me whole

2754.  every little bit of hope He gives

2755.  a living room we want to live in

2756.  little touches that make it home

2757.  dinner, laughter, feeling understood

2758.  Saturday morning Ellie snuggles

2759.  fire pit beauty, laughing together

2760.  gold colored leaves

2761.  overcast fall days

2762.  watching basketball as a family

2763.  another team in Haiti

2764.  a week with my girls

2765.  a heavy heart that draws close to Jesus

2766.  a few words, glimmers of hope, strength for tomorrow

This year has been defined by so many very good things and yet so much soul-wrestling with God.  He has taken me to lonely places this year, isolated my heart, and it has felt so dark and silent.  So much time can go by and I feel like I hear nothing and only sink deeper.  But God is there and He is shaping and molding and growing and changing.  Even in the dark, especially in the dark.  He is doing something wonderful and today I can see glimmers of beauty and wonder and light.  He may lead me back into the dark tomorrow, but even in this I can give thanks.

As we enter another holiday season, let us turn our hearts toward the light of His love and trust Him even when He feels far away and silent.  He is good and His ways are perfect and He is always Emmanuel – God with us.

For His Glory ~


One Hundred Days

Yesterday, our pastor, he notes that there we were, sitting on day 265 on the calendar.  One hundred days remain in 2013.  One hundred days to make the most of this year.  In a year that’s been marked by major life changes and emotional upheaval and absolutely nothing normal, I am challenged to end the year well.  To be intentional and purposeful with my time and our time.  To return to some old habits and routines that fell by the wayside in the midst of the crazy.  To focus on making this house our home and making it a place of welcome for others.

And it begins with saying thanks to the Giver of these gifts and all gifts.  Speaking gratitude for the hard and the heavenly, the broken and the beautiful.  All these things, gifts from His hand:

2663.  thin places where our heart is revealed

2664.  bits of time

2665.  days when the sun breaks through

2666.  days when the clouds roll in heavy

2667.  a God who is faithful and steady

2668.  a really good day

2669.  a clean basement

2670.  cool days and rain showers

2671.  early morning words that encourage

2672.  rainy day bike rides

2673.  gigantic blanket forts

2674.  Haitian girl so excited for her very own back pack

2675.  a distance that seems uncrossable

2676.  late night tears and talking

2677.  a God who can be trusted

2678.  our first-born – 13 today!

2679.  a good weekend

2680.  the first day of a new school year

2681.  rain – endless rain – earth watered by Heaven

2682.  a time of quiet to think, pray, clean

2683.  sweet friends who stop by while passing through

2684.  a birthday party for the third born

2685.  realizing I actually feel better, happier

2686.  time away with my favorite

2687.  rain that followed us and learning more about flexibility

2688.  being home

2689.  praying for more grace

2690.  mouths full of healthy teeth

2691.  sweet notes left by children

2692.  laughter – soul medicine

2693.  geniune fun with  the youngest

2694.  a good weekend

2695.  Haiti girl thankful for family

2696.  cicadas humming in early morning dark

2697.  two more Lifeline children home

2698.  seeing Shela and Amania happy together on US soil – praying for a long friendship that blesses them both

2699.  Thursdays

2700.  and Fridays

2701.  first born’s first volleyball game

2702.  date night

2703.  long weekend

2704.  cool mornings

2705.  details coming together

2706.  the smell of oils diffusing

2707.  allergies and the coming of fall

2708.  littlest one declaring she has the “best family”

2709.  turning another year older

2710.  phones calls, texts, and Facebook blessings

2711.  Starbucks, chips and salsa, and surprise visits

2712.  generous girls who love to give

2713.  time with my favorite

2714.  race bags packed; race day almost here

2715.  rain falling on leaves; crickets singing

2716.  girls’ indispensible help

2717.  chatter and laughter that help the time pass

2718.  a wonderful race weekend

2719.  connecting with old friends

2720.  slow Monday

2721.  rain, open windows, and soup in the crock pot

2722.  little projects getting completed; big projects getting started

2723.  an unexpectedly good response to openness

2724.  lovely weekend ended

May your week be full of beautiful things.

For His Glory ~



Day after day, she lives in shadows.  Clouds hang overhead with glimpses of sunshine to break the monotony.  And there is no reason for the lingering dark, but it hangs on just the same.  She says nothing about the darkness because there’s no explaining the clouds when all the world sees is a beautiful springtime.  And where is God who seems to stay so distant, so far off?  He reigns regardless of the rain.  And it is He who makes the sun to shine that also sends the clouds, and these dark, quiet seasons cause growth yet unseen.  And the hope of relief comes through a friend reaching out and just that glimmer of hope causes the sun to shine a bit brighter through the shadows and she follows hard after God, trusting Him for grace for each moment, mercy for each day, and hope that is an anchor.

2648.  choosing joy, peace

2649.  knowing feeling follows action

2650.  listening for God’s gentle whisper

2651.  meeting a long time Facebook friend in real life

2652.  beautiful summer night, Mexican food, a patio, and a friend

2653.  house starting to feel like home

2654.  gift of seeking God in the dark

2655.  closeness

2656.  vehicle running again

2657.  a lighter heart

2658.  another room organized and unpacked

2659.  fourteen years of marriage

2660.  long, relaxing weekends

2661.  giant elephant ears and red hibiscus

2662.  Monday and a new week

May His light fill all your dark places and may His hope give an anchor to your wandering heart.

For His Glory ~


Taking Wing

On a Monday evening when many things are going well but several seem to be coming apart at the seams, it is fitting to stop and count the gifts.  We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds us together.  And tonight I lean into Him, trusting that He’s led us here and will lead us on and meet our every need.  For He is a God in the details and all He does is good, even when it feels hard and makes our heads spin.

There is a fable about the way birds first got their wings.  The story goes that initially they were made without them.  Then God made the wings, set them down before the wingless birds, and said to them, “Take up these burdens and carry them.”

The birds had sweet voices for singing, and lovely feathers that glistened in the sunshine, but they could not soar in the air.  When asked to pick up the burdens that lay at their feet, they hesitated at first.  Yet soon they obeyed, picked up the wings with their beaks, and set them on their shoulders to carry them.

For a short time the load seemed heavy and difficult to bear, but soon, as they continued to carry the burden and to fold the wings over their hearts, the wings grew attached to their little bodies.  They quickly discovered how to use them and were lifted by the wings high into the air.  The weights had become wings.  {from Streams in the Desert}

So we pick it up, whatever it is, and carry it with us.  And we trust that our burdens will become blessings and our weights will become wings.

2636.  the rock solid promises of God’s word

2637.  my sweet Chandler who is ten; the gift she is

2638.  the weekend and fellowship with friends

2639.  America’s freedom

2640.  weeks that seem long

2641.  a Social Security number on its way!

2642.  a long Friday afternoon

2643.  rest for everyone

2644.  beds for little girls

2645.  God in the details

2646.  four day weekends

2647.  wings

May you find wings this week, friends.

For His Glory ~


Thankfulness that Leads to Peace

It’s been a while since a list was made and while I count them consistently on paper, sometimes I question continuing to list them here.

But Pastor Jim, he talks about peace on Sunday, my word for this year, and he lists suggestions for finding peace in one’s life….

  1.  pray continually
  2. always be grateful
  3. dwell on the positive
  4. read and obey the Word
  5. walk with Jesus through the day
  6. rest in the sovereignty of God

And the practice of counting the gifts and the accountability of listing them here has taught me so much about each of those six points, that I continue again this week.

2597.  two showings scheduled

2598.  a relaxing Monday

2599.  another showing

2600.  Emma’s first night of soccer camp

2601.  back pain relief

2602.  a repeat showing scheduled

2603.  a long sleep

2604.  more rain

2605.  time outside on a beautiful evening

2606.  Deo Gloria at church on a Sunday morning

2607.  Summer Sizzle week

2608.  possession of our new-to-us house

2609.  crazy girls trying out the pool on a 70* evening

2610.  a Haiti-shade of turquoise for the little girls’ room

2611.  Friday

2612.  sunshine

2613.  time with my Jesus

2614.  words of wisdom

2615.  words of encouragement

2616.  sleep (clearly something that has been missing)

2617.  a day to slow down just a little

2618.  hot summer sun

2619.  early Mission mornings

2620.  questions

2621.  a heavy heart

2622.  leaning hard

2623.  sweet ladies who pack the whole first floor while I shuttle kids and go to meetings

2624.  a day to stop before the whirlwind moving weekend

2625.  watching my girls in our pool

2626.  relaxing on the deck

2627.  dinner – with salad! – a welcome change

2628.  moving day – the help of many wonderful people

2629.  screen porch, Monday morning, rain showers, time in the Word

2630.  time with girls – setting work aside for a bit

2631.  God’s mercy pouring over every day

2632.  summer weather

2633.  Sunday rest

2634.  water rushing between trees

2635.  birds calling in early morning

And as we begin a new week with it’s busy schedule and work to be done and so many unknowns, I pray God’s peace would continue to come as we continue to count His endless gifts and reflect on the goodness of His love and mercy.  May you experience that same love as you go through your week.

For His Glory ~


Week in Review: 2013 {Weeks 20 & 21}

All’s been quiet on the internet front lately.  Life just keeps rolling along as smoothly as can be expected when you have five kids, one of them home less than two months, and you’re moving.  Seriously, though, we continue to stand amazed at how well things are going and give thanks to God for this incredibly adaptable girl and her willingness to just go along with these crazy white people she now calls family.  I do miss one of my bio girls who just hasn’t been quite the same since March 29.  I miss her laugh, her real laugh.  And her silliness.  She’s mostly to herself these days.  I try to draw her out, but only getting her alone works, and that’s not terribly feasible in a house of seven people.  Lord willing, she’ll be back to “normal” soon.  I miss her.  A lot.  But God has purpose in this too and we trust the hard work He’s doing in her life right now.

Sweet Haiti girl received her Certificate of Citizenship this weekend.  We are super excited!  Now we begin the process of re-adopting her here.  Please don’t ask me why exactly…we just hear this can be a good move for her future and it will allow us to legally change her full name and the spelling of her first name.

Everyone wrapped up all of their school in the past couple of weeks.  We had our last “official” day on the 10th, but there were loose ends to tie up.  And as I’m writing, I realize that a couple still have reading to do.  Ah, well.  Maybe we’ll really be finished in time for next year to start!

Summer schedules begin to heat up this week and will swing into full gear next week.  June is going to be a crazy month – swim lessons for three, soccer camp (two separate weeks) for one, youth group activities for one, day camp for one, packing, painting, moving, unpacking for seven…whew!  July looks much more manageable (relaxing) though – thank goodness!

I loved this post this weekend by Ann – When All the Negativity & Pessimism is Getting to You.  And this…I know this…But the last two sentences are what we all need….

 Wondering how can we spend our lives to end poverty and stop oppression and if any of them will go out into this world loving Jesus more than their own comfort and double car garages and culture’s applause and their very lives and if their mother has wholly failed them or only just mildly ruined them. Kids eat garbage from dumps. I have yelled. They still bicker.

I see all who they are not. I haven’t hugged and prayed and asked for forgiveness enough. The economy could implode next month. I should bake more peanut butter cookies. They should be kinder. Years are ridiculously short and minutes can be relentlessly long and failures can seem eternal.

I have known it, the mornings that I have struggled to get out of bed, the days when I’ve fumed about all that is wrong in them and me and the world:

When we fixate on the worst in something, we render ourselves incapable of fixing anything.

But attend to the good in something — and we act towards the best in everything.

And as we enter a busy season and as I struggle still to communicate and truly connect with our Haiti girl and as I miss my sweet girl who isn’t quite herself, I focus on the glass being right full.  Always.  Full of His goodness.  Full of His grace.  Full of His mercy. Full of His perfect will.  And we move forward, giving thanks, trusting Him, counting it all grace.

2560.  my inadequacies, weaknesses = His strength

2561.  time out with just my Ellie

2562.  better days

2563.  snow on May 3

2564.  indoor pools

2565.  the Discovery Center and her first time roller skating

2566.  my first Haitian accented “love you!” as I tuck the girls into bed

2567.  looking at houses

2568. praying through decisions

2569.  feeding ducks

2570.  extra sleep

2571.  time in the Word

2572.  an agreement reached, a new home in our future

2573.  girls who speak their hearts, even when they don’t realize it

2574.  seeing the girls in our new house – feeling like it’s home

2575.  last day of school – done!

2576.  Mother’s Day and sweet handmade gifts and $1.00 for “shockolate for Mom”

2577.  a pair of much-needed keys missing; prayers for their return

2578.  packing started

2579.  Mission mornings

2580.  feeding ducks again and Sonic Happy Hour

2581.  warm, sunny days

2582.  whole house clean and ready – my mom and girls helping make it happen

2583.  a slower day ahead

2584.  family time after a long, hard-working weeks

2585.  the quiet of a Monday morning

2586.  sun shining through windows

2587.  heroes amidst tragedy

2588.  being refined

2589.  the realtor’s sign in the yard

2590.  daily trusting we’re making the right choice

2591.  clean SUV

2592.  a littlest one who would rather help us work than watch tv

2593.  packing and unpacking – remembering things we still need

2594.  talking long at night with my favorite

2595.  Friday again

2596.  a cup always full

May your week be blessed and may you know the fullness of His love.

For His Glory ~