Sunday, May 31, 2009

God is good!

Oklahoma Hearts has two speaking engagements today, and God has already blessed the first one! In an hour we will leave for the second. My prayer is that God would be heard, despite us ;-) None of us claims to be public speakers, but we all love to brag on our amazing God. After our first engagement this morning we were blessed with a love offering almost large enough to cover one grant! Yes, God is good!
Our family has been in fervent prayer, and we thank you for joining us. I'm hoping to have something new on the blog tomorrow ...
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom 8:31

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

It's that time! We've got a solid month of Kenzie and Kolton's softball and baseball, Falls Creek, Kaeleb's birthday, and getting ready for sweet corn!
Right now three of my snuggle bunnies aren't feeling well so today will be spent cuddling.
Oklahoma Hearts for Adoption has 2 speaking engagements tomorrow! Very excited to share!
I'm working on something really cool ... so stay tuned!
Please continue to pray for our family. God is so very good!
Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How We Love

Have you ever had a message hit you upside the head? I mean slap you silly, get your attention kinda deal? Like it's in a song, a conversation, the Word (yikes, it's gotta be true!). I can be pretty dense, but sometimes there's just no room left to say, "Lord, if you'd just give me a sign ..."

I'm a pretty introverted gal. You could even call me socially retarded. Don't get me wrong, I love people, I love family and friend gatherings, but take me to the mall and I'm overwhelmed! I'll go before a crowd and speak if it's to brag on the Lord, but then let me quickly walk to the back row. Put me in an amusement park and I'm gonna find a bench and catch a tan. So this is the real me, but what does it say about me? How does it identify me? Does it make me appear uncaring, unapproachable, snobbish?

I've encountered a message of love in various forms lately, and it's really made me search my heart. Even though I know I love people, do they know I love them?
In John 13:35, Jesus says, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

I profess to be a follower of Christ, but what does that look like? When I take my last breath, what legacy will I leave? Did I serve well? Did I know 'peeps'? Did I leave an inheritance to my children? Did I join all the booster clubs? Did I attend every meeting? Did I enroll my kids in every activity under the sun?

God has done a lot of 'pruning' in me over the last few years. We've ditched the extracurricular activities, allowing each child 1 favorite. We've left the clubs behind if it they took up family time. The inheritance has only eternal value. Lots of changes. But still, how do I love?

See, I can even do all these things, but if I complain, gossip, control and scowl, I am not representative of Christ's love. As a result of Christ's love, I should do many things, even do some things sacrificially, like give of my time, finances, talents .... But doing those things alone doesn't make me a disciple. God is transforming my heart, showing me how to step out and engage in conversation, even when I don't know what to say.

I want people to know I care about them, what's going on in their lives. Many times I don't ask, for fear they will think I'm just being nosy. I'm asking the Lord to make me sensitive to needs, to know when to ask and when to remain silent. I want to plant seeds. I want to water growing plants. I want to have a full 'fruit' basket. When someone meets me for the first time, I want them to know I am a follower of Christ. When someone has known me for years, I want them to see the transformation Christ has made in me! I want to leave a legacy of love. What will be your legacy?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sleek New Look

Our awesome square jars were discontinued so we found these beautiful round jars with a solid base. Very sleek ... and just made today!

So It's Come Down To This :)

We were out of peanut butter ... and this is what we reached for. It'll last a good week or so.
*Point of clarification: This giant can with the flying man is rarely wasted as the main course. Oh no, it's reserved for hors d'euvres. We find it particularly satisfying served on crackers, celery sticks, apples and fingertips :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No Need to Worry

In my study time, I came across this commentary, and it was just what I needed. Isn't that just like our God! It's called "Seven Reasons Not to Worry," taken from Matthew 6:25-34.
Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life ..."
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? ...See how the lilies of the field grow...If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? ...So do not worry ... your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself..."
Wow! The message to me is that the God who created the universe is the same God who orchestrates the details of my life. If I worry about what might happen tomorrow, I will not serve effectively today. God does not turn His back on those who depend on Him. In fact, He knows our needs even before we do. Worrying demonstrates a lack of faith in how big our God is, putting Him in a box and limiting His boundless resources and power. God challenges me to grow and step out of my comfort zone, and if I worry, then I will let my own fears keep me from experiencing all He has for me. I know He gives me sufficient grace and compassion for today, and I don't need to be concerned about tomorrow!
Whatever trials you and I are facing, there is One who has the answers, the strength, grace, mercy and desire to walk us through the fire. His Word says He confides in those who fear Him - awesome! Let's not be paralyzed by fear and worry - let's get on our knees and give it to Him!

Thank you!

We have so much to be grateful for! Y'all are the best! Thank you for your prayers. We still need and appreciate your petitions ...
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16(b)
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Now for the garage sale - IT WAS A SUCCESS! How many trailers does it take?
Some of the stuff off the trailers

This is the .25 table!

You get the idea ...
Oh yeah, we had a little fun too!
April, Queen of Garage Sale!

Kenzie, Joker Extraordinaire!

Ashley, Supreme Model of Merchandise!

Big brother taking little sibs for a walk

Trying to take three monkeys' picture:

Thank you to everyone who donated items, time and funds. Praise the Lord for giving us perfect garage sale weather and sales beyond our expectation!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Needing Your Prayers, Please

Would you please join us in prayer. The Lord knows our need. If there was a way I could share it, I would, but that is not possible right now. We know that where the Lord is at work, so is the enemy ...

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Heb 11:1
... Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid ... John 14:27
But the plans of the Lord stand firm. Psa 33:11
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Treasure Sale

I mean garage sale! The Muellers and Johnsons are holding our ginormous garage sale over the next three days to raise adoption funds. Thank you to everyone who donated items, priced, plan to move the 4 trailer loads of stuff, set up and work the sale, buyers ... and thank you, Lord, for the funds you are going to provide!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Referral (Make it Plural) Part IV

Plural Referral – Part IV
During our long weekend of waiting and praying, we were faced with the very real possibility that our daughter might not be on the next shared list. This would mean that our son’s file would still be ‘out there’ for at least another 30 days. Needless to say, we had already fallen head over heels in love with him and couldn’t bear the thought of losing him.

Every time my human self would begin to worry, I would turn to the Scriptures and be reminded that God has empowered me with the Holy Spirit who allows me to pray with confidence and expectation. I would also dwell on the mountains He had already moved and His numerous promises fulfilled.

During this battle, we had enlisted an army of prayer warriors, and at 7:30 a.m., Monday, May 4th our prayers were answered! Karla called with the referral of our daughter! We quickly viewed her file and completed our Nurture and Care Plan for both children. To our delight, Karla called again that evening to tell us that our Letters of Intent were being electronically sent to C*AA and that we should stop and pray because both children were being locked in for us at that moment. God is so good! But there’s more …

Stepping into the realm of special needs adoption can be a process, at least it was for us. We started out accepting a very short list of minor needs, and over time God opened our hearts to more severe needs, giving us peace that if we are obedient, He will supply what we need, including the stamina, funds and education to nurture and care for our children. After all, their most significant special need is a family.

We were expecting to adopt a toddler with a need that would require multiple trips to a specialist some 8 to 12 hours away over a period of 6 to 8 weeks. I could already envision the trips. I would take our newest 13 year old son along so we could improve our communication, and there would be tons of laughter, pointing and even the possibility that I might learn a few new words.

So now I get to tell you about my children! Our daughter’s Chinese name is **** and she has resided in **** since the day after her birth in **** of ***. When she was 8 months old she had surgery to repair her cleft lip under C*AA’s Tomorrow Plan. We have named her Kinley Grace, and she is essentially completely healthy with a postoperative cleft lip!

Our son, ***, was very ill and left on the roadside at 3 months of age, and has spent the last 13 years in foster care and the ***. He will turn 14 in ***, 2010, at which time he would no longer be eligible for international adoption and would be left to support himself. While this makes my heart ache, I know that I serve a God who turns ashes to beauty, and He has beautiful plans for our precious son, Kooper Joe. God is always on time. He is never late!

We have been told that in the rare instance C*AA grants a request for a family to adopt two children at the same time, the children must be from the same orphanage. This was waived in our case, but we were warned that we would have two provincial stays, about five days each, and extended travel and obviously increased fee.
We were once again blown away by the fact that our children are in neighboring provinces! Of course travel details will be worked out later, but there is a possibility we will be able to receive both children at the same time, drive to each Civil Affairs office for the adoption proceedings, and not have an extended stay! We expect to travel in ***, unless C*AA decides to expedite our paperwork :)

Once our Letters of Intent to adopt were submitted to C*AA, we were told to expect our PA (pre-approval to adopt) within 7 to 10 business days. I had care packages ready to ship the minute we got our PA, and on Monday, May 11 I began praising God in advance for sending our PA the next day, which would be Day 7. Karla called at 9:45 p.m. May 12 to let us know we had PA on 2 children! Needless to say, both care packages were shipped the following day.

I am not prophetic, and I am no one special (apart from Christ). But God has shown me the power in faithful, confident prayer. If I pray for something and don’t really believe it’s going to happen, I am faithless. I know my God is able to answer my prayers, and I know He is willing. I praise Him for giving me an abundant life in Jesus!
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

Scented Special II!

Running a special on the seasonal favorites I have in stock! They are first come, first served, and I don't plan to make any more of these flavors until the holidays, so please leave a comment as to how many and which scent you want.
They are $10 each plus S&H.
Here's what I have:
1 Peace ~ Cinnamon Bun
2 Goodness ~ Midnight Pomegranate - SOLD
3 Gentleness ~ Cinnamon Toast
3 Self Control ~ Baked Apple Pie
8 Faithfulness ~ Pumpkin Pie Spice
*My favorite square jars are no longer available :( so we are changing to a round jar, but it will hold at least as much wax and will still be beautiful, I promise!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lest we forget the humor ...

I promise to tell 'the rest of the story,' but we interrupt this program for a little slice of life this week.
This is one of the care packages shipped last week!
Kayden's Little Olympics was Friday. Oops, that's Kambry :)
Big air for a little girl!
Picking 'flowers'
"Let me get this straight. You want me to r-u-n? As in break a sweat? I'm pretty sure princesses don't do that!"
Kayden with the camera. Yes, Mom's mouth is always open :)

We made a road trip on Saturday to my niece's graduation. It was a very long but awesome day. Love spending time with family.

We had tons of amazing food!
My two brothers. Love 'em!

View from afar ... nobody wants to get on the trampoline with the little monkeys!

We got in really late. And apparently Daddy thought it would be funny to catch everybody asleep before church this morning.

Sleeping Beauty, Kenzie
Tough guys sleep too - Kolton

Displaced Kuyler home for the summer. We ARE working on getting bunkbeds!

I'm pretty sure that's my bed ... but who are the monkeys? Very funny, Daddy!

Did I mention we have a zillion things to do this week?!? Three more graduations, a youth end-of-school party, garage sale fundraiser... I'm ready for NEXT Monday!
In regard to the homecoming of our two precious kiddos, someone said to me this week, "You must have a really big house!" Well, by some standards it's huge. Ten years ago we built it the perfect size for our family of 5 (five) f-i-v-e. Now that we are soon to be a family of 10, it will still be the perfect size, just not as many square feet per capita :) I wonder if there are triple decker bunkbeds?
While on our road trip we discussed the fact that our suburban is perfect - for 8; our dining table is perfect - for 8. I admit on April 14th we didn't consider any of these things. We haven't even thought about them much since then. If we dwell on the size of our home, our car, our budget ... we are too quick to try to figure out how we are going to make this work. It's not up to us to make this work. I'm confident the details are already worked out, and have been for a very long time. As for us, we will continue to work hard, love our kids well, and stay on our knees.
And speaking of prayers, I assure you mine have never been: "Oh, please Lord, give me two 13-year-olds! Because, Lord, I have this desire to be outwitted and second guessed every day. I want two of the most intelligent young people (because I know nothing!) to give me an answer for everything, to turn their noses up at well-prepared meals, to wreak havoc on my schedule, to redefine the term 'mountain of laundry,' to break the bank with necessary sports attire and food. Oh, and Lord, could you add a couple of two-year-olds to the mix. Because I'd love to buy diapers in bulk, spend fewer hours sleeping and confine myself to home for fear of losing someone. And while you're at it, could you please give me just four more for good measure. Because, Lord, you know my weaknesses ... but I know Your strength is made perfect in weakness. So, as long as You promise to stay with me for the long haul, bring 'em on!"
Again, it reminds me of the verse that has spoken volumes to me recently:
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us ... Eph 3:20
In keeping it real, we are so excited to be adding to our family. It's going to be a little challenging, but it's also going to be a blast! Communication is going to be amazing! We'll probably invent our very own signs! Yes, let's keep it real and dare not forget the humor.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Plural Referral - Part III

Referral (Make it Plural)
Part III
On Friday, April 24, we were disappointed the new shared list wasn’t released. But we received a priceless treasure, an update on our son. It included eight new photos and answers to the questions we’d posed on Tuesday. Finally, three days after receiving the referral we looked at his photos – what a doll! Seriously, can you believe we’d had his file for three days and not looked at his beautiful face? But we had already made our decision and were just waiting for further affirmation that this was really going to happen. The minute we saw his face we knew he was our son. He appears ornery, silly, intelligent and all boy!

We had no idea we’d wait another nine days for our second referral. Though in hindsight it seems a short wait, it was very difficult. A bit of our son’s ‘red thread’ was being revealed to us and it both affirmed God’s plan and concerned us.

Some call it a red thread, but looking back we see it as God’s providence! Little did we know that our son’s file had been held for over two years and had only been returned to C*AA on April 13. April 14 is the day that God instantly and unmistakably bent my heart toward older child adoption!

There are a lot of unanswered questions concerning this matter, but we realize we may never know the reason, except that if his file had been available two years … one year … or even one month earlier, we were not open to this call. However, during the two weeks we waited for a second referral so we could lock in both files our son was being heavily advocated for. I struggled so much with this because on the one hand this precious child deserved advocating – he had been waiting his whole life for a family! On the other hand, I wanted to shout from the rooftop that he is our son, but since we hadn’t locked his file I really couldn’t make that claim!

Again, I turned to the Lord in earnest prayer. We had asked a few friends to join us, and I included this statement in our prayer request: “This is where complete trust comes in. I know deep in my heart that if this precious boy is our son that a thousand emails can go out, a thousand families can view his file, even for a thousand days – and God will still bring him home. I also know that if God does not intend for him to be our son that He has already set him into another Christian family and will soon reveal the two children He has forever planned for our family, having used this precious young man to affirm His plans for us. We are truly in a season of waiting. I admit that my heart accepts that concept differently at any given point in the day. We know we have to continue to arm ourselves with Truth or we will fall prey to the lies of the enemy.”

These are some of the Truths I prayed back to my Father: Psalm 33:11 – But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Isaiah 14:24 – The Lord almighty has sworn, “Surely as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.” Job 42:2 – “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Psalm 40:5 – Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

On April 29 I wrote this prayer in my journal: Father, I surrender my plans to you. I give them back to you. Father, I am afraid now. I admit I fear C*AA will change their mind. But your Word says your plans cannot be thwarted! I praise you!”

The Lord gave me these Truths: Hebrews 3:6 – But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house, and we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. Mark 5:36 - …Don’t be afraid; just believe. John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid …

On Thursday, April 30 we learned that C*AA would be closed for a long holiday weekend and the shared list would not be released until sometime after that. So we wait, trust and pray …

Part IV still ahead …

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Plural Referral - Part II

Thank you for your sweet comments and emails! We are saving every one of them. Yesterday was a whirlwind with packing and shipping the two care packages and preparing for our youth graduation banquet ... but it all got done, and today - well, today is just as crazy. Our "Cupcakes & Candles" fundraiser is tonight! Here is part II of our testimony. May He be glorified.

Referral (Make it Plural)
Part II
Tuesday, April 21, my day began as usual at 5. I felt tired, sort of confused and at peace all at the same time, if that’s even possible. Clayton told me he felt the same way. Before he left to drive the school bus at 6:30 he prayed from his heart. He asked God to very clearly reveal His plan to us. He stated our desire to be obedient and that if God would orchestrate the path, we would follow.
Little did we know our world would be rocked today! At 8 the phone rang, and it was Karla. We had been praying for an answer … and she told me we had a referral! What?!? Less than a day earlier we had asked if we could adopt two children and today we have a referral. Then again, we had asked God to make His plans very clear to us.
Clayton came home as soon as he got off the bus and we reviewed the file but avoided looking at the picture. It’s truly amazing, the transformation God made on our hearts. Clayton was not at all ready for this – until God presented it. And then we both knew this was clearly His plan for us. We weren’t really afraid of his age, his special need or even the fact his paperwork was over four years old. We prayed, talked, prayed, cried and prayed some more. In the end we knew we were where God wanted us.
We called Karla back and told her we definitely wanted to adopt this beautiful boy but did not want to jeopardize our referral of a toddler. We were still waiting on a clear “Yes” from C*AA to the question of adopting two children.
As I was driving that evening I heard a song I’d listened to a hundred times, only this time it resonated in my heart. Don’t Get Comfortable by Brandon Heath. “I’m gonna move this mountain, then I’m gonna move you in. This is not yesterday. You were standing on my shoulder, now you’re standing on the edge .. you are gonna live like you used to dream.” Our God was already moving some seemingly unmovable mountains … and He was allowing us to be a part of His plan.
By 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 22, it seemed we weren’t going to get an answer. We had already fallen hopelessly in love with this boy, and hadn’t even looked at the one photo we had received. We continued to pray and guard our hearts as we waited. At 10:45 as I was sitting at the school waiting for Kayden my phone rang and Karla was calling with the most amazing God-sized news – C*AA had granted our request to adopt two children! We are completely aware that this doesn’t happen every day. We also know there is nothing special about us apart from our Lord, and only His intervention gleaned the response we had been praying for.
We were now faced with another wait – the wait for our daughter to appear on the shared list. C*AA did not want us to lock our son’s file until we had received the second referral, and we were required to submit both Letters of Intent at the same time.
A God-sized adventure like this doesn’t come without attempted intervention from the Enemy. He has tried to rear his ugly head in many ways, but our prayer has been that God would help us to keep our gaze upon Him, draw from His strength, affirm ourselves in His ways and stay armed with the Truth.
We are not taking His blessings for granted, and we don’t want to grow complacent and comfortable. We remain in earnest prayer as He continues to ‘landscape’ as one of my friends said!
Part III still ahead …

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

REFERRAL (make it plural!)

PA ~ we got the call at 9:48 tonight!
I know y'all are wanting pictures first so here you go ... and then I'll start a series of posts sharing the goodness of our mountain-moving, awe-inspiring, miraculous God!

Announcing Ms. Kinley Grace! Isn't she beautiful!

But wait, there's more:
Announcing Mr. Kooper Joe! Isn't he gorgeous (and slightly ornery)!

No, they are not siblings ... yet, and no, they are not in the same orphanage or even province. But they are forever our daughter and son!
Plural Referral, Part I
On April 14 I responded to a burden the Lord had only recently placed on my heart by sharing it with my husband and asking a handful of friends to pray. Through a series of circumstances, conversations and events, unbeknownst to us, God was perfectly orchestrating a journey that would change our hearts and the direction of our steps. He had broken my heart for older waiting children, the ones near aging out of the system.
Once I shared my heart with Clayton we began to pray together, struggling with the seeming impossibility and impracticality of this notion. God continued to remind us that He is not practical – He is miraculous.
We prayed for a week, and on Monday, April 20, Clayton told me I could call our adoption agency and ask if there was even a possibility we could adopt two children at the same time, a waiting older child and a waiting SN toddler. I was so frightened to ask the question because it seemed like such a crazy notion, but my heart wouldn’t let it go.
Karla and I talked about it, and she made no promises except to ask C*AA if they would grant special permission for us to do this. The following entry is from my prayer journal:
… We asked ‘the question’ to Karla today. Our request will go before C*AA soon, if not tonight. I am boldly praying for “Yes.” God has to orchestrate every step here and move a lot of mountains, but if this is His plan for us, He will make it happen. I want to boldly pray His Word back to Him. Psalm 5:3 … in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. v7 - But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house … v8 – Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness … Psalm 16:2 – You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. V7 – I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. Psalm 25:14 – The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
Wow! God is my best friend! The more I seek Him, the more He will reveal to me. The same God who created the Universe wants to reveal Himself to me!
Psalm 27:4 – One thing I ask of the Lord; this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple. Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
It is midnight and finally I am exhausted and have to sleep. It’s in His hands.
Part II to follow ...

Did I tell you God is good! Praise Him!

When PA?

Just a quick update that since it typically takes 7-10 business days for PA, we really shouldn't expect it until next week - ugh!! We were locked in May 5, so maybe next Monday. It's killing me not to be able to share, and I'm sorry to keep putting you off, but we have to protect our family. I'll just have to take some ultra-cute pix of the kids to pass the time :)

Memorial Box Monday postponed till ...

Thank y'all for keeping me accountable :) I really think it's in our best interest to wait for PA to share all that God has done (so you can pray it comes today!!) And then we will testify to His goodness that is beyond our imagination. In His perfect timing, I will be able to hit "Publish Post." Until then, may you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kambry Hope!

Dig deep to find ...
... a baby doll from Grandma!
In a really cool bag.It's my own 'thone' in a purse. I gotta call my friends!

Budding pianist?
Oh my, it's really my birthday!

And I'm three!
And in desperate need of a nap :)

Kambry Hope, you are such a blessing to us! You are talkative, strong-willed and cute to the very core! We love you!

Beautiful Family Day

Oh my, I love my family!
Hungry travelers ...
Satisfied customers!

Kenzie, beautiful!
Rowdy, goodlooking crew!

And over there ...
Follow the leader

We're from the country - can't resist rolling in the grass!

A beautiful day for a stroll

He looks friendly ....

Let's see ....

Come back here ....
There ya' go!

Very patient men waiting on the girls to finish their photo opp :)

Sun dial
Taking a break
These are my Cinnabons!

Just a swingin'

Two tinkling two-year-olds made for a ton of toilet time ... but it's all good!

You Might Also Like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...