Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Day I Found Easter Dresses in the Attic

With ten kids at home, I was dreading the seasonal clothing changeover.  It means I climb a ladder into the cold attic and start handing marked boxes down into the hands of children who can’t wait to tear through them like it’s Christmas morning.

But this morning was different.  Everyone was in school, except the toddlers, who were intently watching cartoons.  I decided to stay in the attic long enough to rummage through a few boxes to find a single warmer-weather outfit for each child, you know, for that random day that exceeds the seasonal 40 degrees.

And then it happened.  I found dresses!  Dresses beautiful enough to wear for Easter!  

I hadn’t even begun to think of them.  Mostly because I wouldn’t have the time or money to shop for special clothing.  But in a few boxes I found six dresses ranging from sizes 2 to 8, each perfect for Easter.  And it hit me.  I was overcome with thanksgiving.  And joy.  And awe.

I was reminded of the journey to bring each of our children home from the other side of the globe.  I thought of those who inspired us in the first place.  I remembered those who prayed for and encouraged us.  I thought of everyone who gave, even sacrificially, to change a child’s life.  Which in turn would change my life. 

I thought of those who kept our ever-growing krew while we traveled, those who brought meals, and those who taxied them from place to place.  And then I remembered the reason I was in the attic in the first place: because others have been so very generous toward our family!  

Clothes have been given to us at church, in Bible study, at ball games, sent in the mail and left in our vehicle.

Gone were the thoughts of stacks of paper work, tireless, humbling fundraising, contemplating where we would place yet another bed, never-ending laundry, crowd-size meals and the need to ‘justify’ having so many children.

I was overcome with joy.  I was in awe of God’s goodness and provision.  It’s not just about the clothes.  It’s that He knows exactly what we need.  It’s the way He touches the hearts of His people.  It’s the way He blesses when we give and when we receive.  It’s about stewardship.  And changing hearts.  

Ten years ago I would have gone to a department store and not given a second thought to overspending for a single dress.  Now the journey is different.  The treasure is different.  It represents a work in progress in my own heart.  It’s about a shift in thinking about sacrifice.

 Nothing I do or give is as great as what’s been done and given for me.

It’s true that not every family is meant to be large.  And God has a purpose and a role for each of us.  Some plant the seed, some water it, and God makes it grow!

1 Cor 3:6-8  ~I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. ~

Thank you to every person who invests in the lives of others. 

To Him be glory!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hola Granola!

My friend Lori has an amazing knack for whipping up things that taste so good!
Every recipe I've tried has been a hit! ***
I finally got a chance to try her granola last weekend...

...and it is amaaaaaazing!  My people have been eating it over yogurt, in milk and by the handful!
You can find Lori's original recipe HERE,
and here's my adaptation:

1 stick unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
Put all that in a pan and warm it slowly on the stove while you mix up the dry ingredients, adding the vanilla after the butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
Mix together:
4 cups oats (I actually used Quick oats, and they worked fine!)
3/4 cup roasted and salted cashews, chopped
3/4 cup whole natural almonds, chopped
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Pour warm, melted butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients, blend well.  Spread mixture onto buttered cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Remove from oven and stir granola.  Bake for 15 more minutes, and stir again.  I didn't need to bake any longer, but if necessary, bake 10 more minutes or until granola is golden brown.  Let cool, and store in a sealed container.

***Lori is one of my skinny friends, so as I strive for a more fit me, I'm serving a lot of great things to my krew, while I only get  a nibble :)  Pity, I know :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What If?

What if God really does want to use that thing I’m going through for His glory and for my good?  Is it true that something good really could come from this?
Have you ever thought there’s no way …
~this pain
~this loss
~this wait
~this illness
~this monotonous daily grind
~this workplace
~this hardship
~this relationship
…can be used by God?

Too often I ask God to just move the mountain and, you know, bury the thing, make it go away, or at least distract me from it.  And I think it’s perfectly okay to ask God to do that.  But what if He wants to grow me through it so I will acknowledge His sovereignty, His goodness, His justice, His mercy, His provision, His trustworthiness…and His glory?

Suppose He took me around the mountain when I needed to climb it.  Or around the mountain when I needed to tunnel through it.

What does it look like to trust God through these ‘things’ we’d rather not deal with?

Look at the churches in Macedonia who gave sacrificially, even though they were impoverished.  2 Cor 8:2 ~Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

What about James’ words in 1:2-3 ~Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13, we read ~Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Paul writes, in 2 Cor 1:3-4 ~Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

We can trust these words in Romans 8:28 ~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

The more I get to know my Lord, the more I realize that rather than turning to Him only in times of great need, I must turn to a lifestyle of complete dependence upon Him, in all things.
Oh, to adopt Paul’s attitude in Philippians 10:12-13 ~I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Not only can I endure these trials, but I can do so with joy.

I have recently said that I know God will use one my most difficult trials (so far) for His glory, and He has so much to teach me through it…if only I would surrender.   I confess I’ve been so deep in the self-pity and the seeming injustice of the thing that I lost sight of who God is.  As if He had forgotten me.  Or the thing was too great for Him.  Or I’m supposed to go this one alone.  Those are all lies.

I don’t know if God will remove this trial in my lifetime, but in drawing near to Him, I realize He is the Source of all the strength, patience and grace to persevere.

And what if God wants to see us through these struggles in order to prepare us for something bigger than we can imagine?


Saturday, February 15, 2014

And the Candle Winner... Sandy!!!
(I need your shipping address)
Thanks to everyone who voted!  I really appreciate your help.

Monday, February 10, 2014

So, This is Winter!

Just as we've had real summery summers lately, we've had a real wintry winter.
It's been mostly awesome because Khloie has played in the snow for the first time ever and enjoyed cocoa with marshmallows, of course, and fluffy footie jammies!

 It is beautiful!
 And fun!
 And in the midst of it all we celebrated the Year of the Horse!

They call her Princess.
Part of our awesome local group of Families with Children from China!
 And, speaking of beauty, Kenzie and Kayden took a few snow shots.

Yes, it is beautiful, and we've slurped every last drop of enjoyment out of this wintry wonderland.  Now how about a big gulp of SPRING!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Scentsational Selection ~ And a Giveaway!

Thank you for taking the time to vote in the previous poll!
If you'd like to help me whittle the selection down even more...and have an opportunity to win a candle, I'd love that!
is hosting a very special event on May 3:
our first annual craft fair!

I've decided to host a candle booth, and I want to keep the selection simple (like 4 scents).
So in the midst of this winter snowstorm, let's think summer...and maybe one fall scent.
I will include the Buttercream as a given because it's a bestseller year round.

I know you're busy, so I want to make it worth your time.
If you will take a sec to vote for your 5 favs on the poll and then leave a comment telling me you voted, including the one scent you'd like to have, I will enter you in a drawing for a candle!

Easy peasy.
1) vote for 5
2) leave a comment with 1 scent you'd like to have


 Clean Cotton

 Cool Tropical Breeze

 Hawaiian Breeze

 Lemon Chiffon


 Pumpkin Pie Spice

Vanilla Bean & Brown Sugar

Thank you!

Saturday, February 1, 2014 the stands

I often lament over the things on my to-do list that just never get done.
I admit, I have a hard time staying focused in 10-minute spurts.  I need to know I've got an hour or more to accomplish a task...or I just may put it off.
A diaper change here, a snack there, an appointment next, and suddenly my virtual list is set aside for tomorrow, but tomorrow will look just like today.
What's a gal to do?
I changed my perspective and my strategy!
Some things can wait, and some just can't.
With an adult son getting married this summer, another graduating high school and a daughter who plays sports year round *and a whole krew to follow*, I realize that time doesn't stand still while I get my ducks in a row!
Either I can trudge through my measly to-do list, or I can embrace this busy season.
All I have to do is:
a) plan ahead
b) start early
c) let go of the things that don't really matter

It used to scare the dickens out of me to load up all the littles and attend an event when Daddy couldn't join us.  Okay, it still does a little.  But it hit me how quickly time flies, little ones grow up, and I've missed out on so much!

I have truly enjoyed this year, whether straggling in the gate in single file without Daddy, or being whisked inside with him!

Last night was a special "Pink Out" game in honor of cancer research, survivors and those who have lost their battle to the dreaded disease.
Most of these girls play together year round, and it's amazing watching them as a team, especially when it's for a great cause!

The pink fan club.

April and some of the kids.

Whether we are ONE or ALL, we'll be sitting at the court or the field.  

Because some things can't wait!

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