Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back to the Beginning


The things that swirl around in my head.  Some make it here, but these days most never do.  There just isn't time.  Or they just don't seem that important.  Or maybe I lose clarity between thoughts and words.  But this one thing is real.  It's been a struggle.  Maybe you're with me.  Maybe you're not.  Maybe you know someone who is.

As my friends, far and near, post awesome pictures of fun activities, vacations, and even their daily happenings, it causes me to view my world differently.  It's not that I'm mad or sad or jealous (well, maybe that creeps in a little sometimes - ha), but it skews my view.

It reminds me of how different my life is now.  How different it is from what I'd planned as a young adult.  Before I knew the truth.

While others are deciding which movie to watch, where they will go out to eat, whether they will drive or fly to their vacay destination, my decisions look a little different.

Do we really need groceries today?
Is it worth leaving home at 5 a.m. to buy groceries alone?
Will I wash darks or whites?
Will it be a two or ten-load day?
Will I have time to get that clean laundry off the table?
Do I bother putting pants on the toddler?
How much can I get done before they all wake up?
Where's my weekly menu?
Did I make a menu?
Frozen chicken strips or fish sticks?
Does the sprinkler or pool constitute a bath?
Can the return phone calls wait till nap time?
Do I hide the tape here or there? (yeah, you know it!)
What's the best educational screen time option?

And when I compare these seemingly less-than-earth-shattering decisions to others, it does something to me.  Something I don't like.  It makes me feel less than.  Under-qualified.  Isolated.  Different.  

After all, the majority of moms my age are free to meet for lunch, have meaningful conversation, read a good book (oh, I do miss that!), have a flower garden, or plan a day trip.  They certainly aren't making bottles, cutting up food, wiping bottoms, packing a diaper bag, trying to squeeze in a play date or warning their big kids' friends about the crowd that is their family.

This was such a struggle for me...until I realized I was seeing it all wrong.  It's not right for me to compare.  This is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing right now.  It's even what I've wanted to do ever since my eyes were opened to the truth.

I've never considered myself the mom that is all that, nor did I need to be.  There was that one time when I had three kids and took them to that fast food joint with the play area and the giant clown, and the two-year-old slipped on the wet floor, running his teeth through his lip, while the one-year-old sat in the high chair and the nine-year-old tried to enjoy his meal.  It took two of us to gather them up and get to the ER.  It's not like I'm qualified to parent a dozen kids!  I could write a book on my parenting failures...but that wouldn't be the right thing to do.

Because 14 years ago I was changed.  In 2001 the King of Kings captured my heart and brought me to repentance, forever changing my heart, continually drawing me to Himself and giving me the Power to see the world differently... and to seek different things.

In 2003, when I was still weaning off of spiritual milk,  my eyes were opened to a horrible truth I couldn't ignore or wish away.  The truth that, although I thought my family was complete and although I wasn't in the running for Mother of the Year, there are children all over the world who have nothing. They lack everything.  Family.  Food.  Shelter.  Clean water. Clothing.  HOPE. 

And since I had fully surrendered my heart and my life, giving up my right to all that is solely for myself (which is a daily battle), I knew that armed with the knowledge that there are children who need a family, I could not sit idly by, simply wishing them well.

If you say, "See, we did not know this," does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?
Proverbs 24:12

See, I can't know the right thing to do and choose to NOT do the right thing.  My eyes were opened, my heart was fresh, and my hands were ready.  I asked for this.  I said yes to this.  This.is.what.I.signed.up.for.  This doesn't make me a better mom or a more holy follower.  It makes me full.  And content.  And joyful.  And different. 

See, I get it now.  When the Lord plucks us out of the miry pit, He doesn't intend for us to keep going back to wallow in it!  He doesn't intend for us to live it in drudgery, and He doesn't intend for each of our journeys to look the same.  In fact, they should look different!  Not only different from before our eyes were opened, but different from one another.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Cor 12:12

We are thriving in joy in different ways, but all for one Kingdom.  

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Prov 16:9

So my life looks different from other moms my age.  Maybe yours does too?  I would come to grips with it one moment and love it, and the next I would find myself clawing my way back to the pit.  Living in the pit is not fair to my family, this big, beautiful family the Lord has entrusted to me.  My mood was somber, my tone was harsh, my words weren't always life-giving.  I can't pinpoint the moment that my self-seeking, pitiful first-world-tainted vision became clear, but when it did, it changed everything!

The Lord broke my heart and gave me a dream bigger than myself.  He has been faithful to keep His promises, but what am I doing with them?  He has blessed me with three children from a once feared barren womb and has plucked nine from impoverished circumstances, entrusting each to my care.  He has entrusted me to love, nurture, discipline and shape them.  Without Him it is an impossible task, but with Him it is a privilege.  It is not okay for me to simply give them better than they had; it is right for me to give them the best that I have.

I had to look far beyond myself to realize it.  I had to go back to the beginning, 14 years ago, to understand where I am today.  

Maybe you're with me, struggling to find the joy in the daily-ness that is your life.  Or maybe your struggle is that you know your life should look different, but.it.just.doesn't.  I'm not talking about adoption; I'm talking about surrender.

I'm not pointing fingers at you for taking a vacation or shopping for fun.  I may even live vicariously through you!  I will stop comparing our lives.  I will continue to search my own heart to discover whether I've given my all and I'm basking in the joy of a life that looks different.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Celebrating 8!

'Tis the season of birthdays in these parts.
Sadly, only some of them have been memorialized in pictures.  Good intentions and then...well, life.
Yesterday we celebrated this girl!












Kinley Grace, you are my spunky, witty, super-smart, cute-as-a-bug, now 8-year-old girl.  I love you to the moon and back!!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

These Cookies!

We found this recipe on Taste of Home this week.
We baked them....
...and we devoured them!
They really do melt in your mouth.
When I try a recipe that my people love, I'm obliged to share.

*Hint*  Do NOT over bake.  In fact, we set the timer for much less.  They are 'meltier' that way!

Amish Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars.  Beat in eggs until well blended.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and gradually add to creamed mixture.

Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 for *8-10* minutes or until lightly browned (they don't need to be browned!!).  Remove to wire racks to cool.

You're welcome!
Now, go, be a hero!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Three Months!

It's hard to believe three months have passed since Boy Wonder was placed in our arms!  Despite the break-neck speed of the past few months, we've had incredible bonding time.

Gotcha, Kohlby Zane, March 2015!

 This is his personality - he brings the happy!

 And the funny!

Bless the boy and his pink.

Precious!

Kohlby, 
You are forever a son and a brother.  I am so blessed to be your mama.  I am also thankful for all the people who helped us get you home.  You are energetic, fun and affectionate.  You add a little sunshine to every day.  I look forward to what the Lord has for you, and I cherish each moment I get to hold you.
Mama

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:18

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Our Life - Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

It's nothing fancy, but we wanted a slide show for our sharing time tomorrow.
Please pray we make much of HIM!

video

Friday, June 5, 2015

No One Told Me

In preparing for our testimony this weekend I've been putting together a little slide show, and here are some of the gems in it :) 

One boy and one girl

had 3 beautiful children
Kuyler, Kolton & Kenzie

and then the Lord broke their hearts for the orphan, and this family of 5 grew...and grew.
Kayden Faith
 Kambry Hope
 Kaeleb Jon
 Kooper Joe
 Kinley Grace
 Kasidi Joy
 Kennah Janae
Khloie Nicole
Kohlby Zane

No one told me that my heart could be so full!

We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May I Pray For You?

I have so many reasons to praise the Lord!

And as I praise Him, I wonder how I may pray for you.
It is my privilege to lift your requests before the Father, so as you are comfortable, please share with me, either in the comments or by email.
In Jesus' name, amen!

Monday, May 25, 2015

It's About Time

Chaos before the glorious wedding :)

I figure it's about time for life to settle into some sort of normal around here.  But I'll be darned if 'normal' doesn't keep changing the boundaries.  Yep, we're on shaky ground if we're waiting for 'normal' in our neck of the woods.

We just celebrated the marriage of Kolton and Alllie (I'll share that later when we have more pics and I have permission).  They are a beautiful couple, and it was a beautiful ceremony.  I'm reminded how quickly time flies as next month Kuyler and Caitlin celebrate their first anniversary!

In a few weeks we have the privilege of sharing our testimony with a Ch*nese ministry.  We're really excited...and a lot nervous.  Our prayer is that we would speak the truth of the gospel and that God would be glorified.

Then in July it's corn harvest, and that's just a season of nose-to-the-grindstone and don't look up till it's over!  The cool temperatures have slowed the crop growth, but the Lord has spared us of any damaging storms.  

Our summers aren't exactly 'lazy days,' but we're used to a bit of chaos.  The main thing is that we keep perspective and make time for extended family and friends.

Even though our life is on the crazy side, there is One who is unshakable and unchanging!
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb 13:8


He is the only One who can keep us grounded.  And no matter what circumstances or chaos I'm faced with, I can trust Him.

Oswald Chambers says it like this: 

"We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways....If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him.  It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is.  Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much.  But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult.  God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, 'Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.'"

Friends, are you trusting Jesus in the chaos of your everyday life?

To Him be all glory!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Chapter Begins!

The announcements were sent...


...then there was Baccalaureate...



 ...with worship...



...and a family photo opp!

Cake!
My girl and I!


Then there was the real deal!




 Receiving scholarships

Hat's off!!!


And so it begins...a new chapter in the life of my oldest girl.
Kenzie, we are so proud of you.  You have a beautiful spirit, and you love the Lord.  May He be glorified in your life, sweet daughter!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

And Then There's This

Brag alert!
I just have to give a shout out to my hard-working girl who has been gifted by the Lord in many things.  I pray He receives all the glory for her talents and effort.

Kenzie qualified in two events for state track: 800 meter relay with her teammates, and hurdles.  



She placed 2nd in regionals in hurdles and is hoping to shave a little off her time this Friday at state!
And then there are the cute spectators!

But for today, this team is headed to the 2A State Softball Tourney!
You may see our caravan on the road :)

To Him be all glory!

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