Sunday, May 30, 2010

Update From Dandy in Guatemala

Here is an update from my dad....

"Well God is good, twelve people have died due to the land slides. The road we were on yesterday is closed today because of a bridge being washed out, but we came through safe.
Today we learned that the airport in Guatemala City will be closed untile thursday at the best and maybe sunday so we were advised to change to San Salvador. So the plan today is we will go to San Salvador on Tuesday with Rudy whom drives us all the time and fly out of San Salvador on Wednesday at 12;10 arriving home at 7:52.
Thank all of yall for taking care of things while all of this is happening to us. A volcano eruption in Guatemala City, a tropical strom in all of Central America, as Glenda says, exciting. But God is good, we are all safe and will be home only two days late when it could be a week or more.
Thanks to All of yall, Henry and Glenda"

Again, thank you for praying for my family. As you can see, what a testimony they have for our precious LORD.

We have been good busy with our precious family/friends who have come to visit. As I have said, they are missionaries in Mexico to the descendant's of the Aztec Indians. We had the blessed privilege to hear our brother preach this morning. Oh, how they love the LORD. 
We are preparing to drive to Texas later this week to be with our family for a week. What an exciting time to hear about their adventure in Guatemala. 
Off to bed!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Volcanic Eruption Where my Family is....

A few posts ago, I asked if you would please be praying for my mom, dad and niece, Tiffany. They left last week for a mission trip in Guatemala. A few days ago we found out the the Pacaya volcano had erupted in Guatemala city. Today we found out that there have been some small earthquake trimmers. The city is in a "state of calamity".  And now we have found out that "A tropical storm, deemed to be almost a cyclone, is lashing Guatemala’s Pacific coast and the usual intermittent rains have evolved into three days and nights of non-stop showers." 

The airport is now closed till, I don't know when, and I just got off the phone with Tiffany. They are driving from the north, where they were working, to Guatemala City to find out from their airlines where they need to go to get home. It may be that they have to drive to a neighboring country, Belize, to the airport there, to fly home. At this point, please pray...
-they are having difficult and slow driving conditions due to rain, land slides and other things,
-that the LORD shows them where they need to go to get home,
-safety in all things and opportunities to minister as the LORD leads to the hurting people of this country.
-for my mom, with her injured leg...she is really hurting and having to use more than her normal pain meds...
-the LORD's peace for the mission group, Kim and Karla (Tiffany's mom and dad - it's hard to have your baby away), and other family members at home praying and waiting.

Thank you all for your love and prays for "Dandy", "Gommy" and Tiffany. I will keep everyone updated! loves,

Go Read This!!!!!

You must, must, must go read this now!!! and share it with other families. We must continue to encourage each other as we walk our journey's of parenting, praying, living and loving, BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guess Who Showed Up At My Door Tonight....

No shower today, because I woke up late after being awake so much last night with my littlest darlin'.  We have precious friends that will be here in the next day or two, so I jumped right into the house work that needs done before company comes. Laundry hanging outside in our amazing high winds. Children playing outside and eating popcorn. (Don't tell, I "forgot" to brush their teeth this morning and may be yesterday - I can't remember). Dusting, cleaning floors and bathrooms, vacuuming and a deep cleaning of the kitchen leaves me hot.  Tired and sweaty I finished up around 3:30 this afternoon, and knew that I needed to bathe AT LEAST five children before supper. Supper is thankfully in the oven, but it takes 3 hours to cook...and because I am behind, it will not be ready till around 7:00 tonight. Husband out of town still and I am tired, but proud of all the work at was done today (thank you Kalyn, Caresse, Kiana, and Landon for your help today).  I inhale the lovely smell of Keshawn's hair as I cut the little patch in the back that is at least 2 inches longer than the rest of his hair. Oh the joy of knowing that three boys are clean. Next, Alia and Joeliana, which also means moisturizing African girl hair (OK, STAY WITH ME TILL YOU FIND OUT WHO RANG MY DOOR BELL, YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS).  

Next problem, Alia needs to sit with her feet in Apple Cider Vinegar, and then have medicine put on her feet for a fungus that is causing problems. I am really, really feeling tired, dirty  but, toilets, kitchen, and floors....looking good.  Supper late, but smells yummy. Five children bathed and lathered in lotion because it is still windy like crazy here and my African children are really drying up. Alia sitting in Vinegar, and I notice these beautiful wild flowers that Garett has arranged, so of course I stopped to take a picture of them.

Missing my husband, but feeling productive and good as I sit to feed the baby a bottle. Still hot and stinky in my dirty jeans, tank top and really messed up hair, no make up...
The door bells rings...I'm praying it is UPS or something. All my children run to the window and announce..

"It's the social worker."

You have got to be kidding me!!! But no, they are not, and my social worker is standing at my door for a visit that for some reason wasn't on my calendar. 
Somehow, I hope that it went well. and it is 7:30 and I need to go feed my family. 
Whew...I hope that meeting went well...or do I look like the crazy woman who lives in a shoe. 

Ohhh, What I Got Yesterday

There is an issue that has been becoming more meaningful and important to me over the last few years. Today, I went to a luncheon to help raise money and awareness for child trafficking. I felt privileged to listen to the heart of  Lynette Lewis, President/Founder of Stop Child Trafficking Now.
Here is what Stop Child Trafficking Now has to say about this incredible and disturbing crime.

"Child Trafficking is the recruitment, smuggling, transporting, harboring, buying or selling of a child through force, threats, fraud, deception, or coercion for the purposes of exploitation, prostitution, pornography, migrant work, sweat shops, domestic servitude, forced labor, bondage, peonage or involuntary servitude.
Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. UNICEF values the global market of child trafficking at over $12 billion a year with over 2.5 million child victims. Men, women and children are all victims but, the most vulnerable groups, those with limited rights or protections, have been the hardest hit… especially children.
Trafficking children into the sex industry is done because there is a demand. Predators seek out vulnerable victims and lure them under false pretenses into situations they cannot escape from. No matter the reason, children have become sexual commodities to be bought and sold for the pleasure of exploiters. These children are scarred for life and need help – our help.
Stop Child Trafficking Now believes strongly that to eliminate this heinous crime the demand for children must end. That’s why SCTNow seeks to destroy the source. SCTNow believes that by putting predators behind bars we can Stop Child Trafficking Now."

SCTNow is a awesome group and having heard first hand what they are doing I would recommend to anyone to look into their information and consider how you can help stop precious children from being kidnapped and sold as slaves.

And guess who else I got to hear....Tom Davis.  I was so excited and have been anticipating the release of his new book - Priceless.  I was completely changed by his first fiction book, Scared, and acquired a whole new understanding of the devastation that AIDS has had on such innocent people, both young and old.  I read his blog and admire the heart the LORD has given him. Well, he gave his newest book to everyone at the event. 

This books release date is later this month. 
Again, I am grateful that I had the chance to attend this luncheon. And I am sure that you will be hearing more about my heart for this matter. We must stand up and protect the precious lives of these children! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jesus Is In Your Boat

Almost everyone knows the story of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8:22-25, however, our Pastor really put a focus on Jesus being in the boat.
"One day He got into a boat with His disciples...." - Jesus got into the boat with them...these disciples are commercial fishermen; this is their environment and where they are comfortable. We are also disciples of Jesus, if we have accepted Him as our LORD. So Jesus is also in your boat. The next part is exciting...
"...and He said to then, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake."  Wherever you are at in your journey, you are going to make it to the other side.  Do you ever feel like Jesus is sleeping when you are in a "storm"? The seasoned sailers in Jesus' boat that day could relate. It must have been quite a storm to scare these fishermen. The Bible tells us that the boat was filling with water and that they were in danger.  They were drowning!!! Ever felt like you where drowning? 

I have been thinking on these scriptures this morning and I felt like there was "more".
In the terror of the moment, they "went and woke Him".  I have said what they said to Him "Jesus, I am persishing!!!!"
Jesus calmed the storm, and they all lived. End of story? No.
Jesus is all about relationships...(love the LORD your God and love your neighbor as yourself. Matt. 22:27-40), and ("A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another just as I have loved you..." John 13:24).  Jesus was right there with the disciples as they where going through this storm. Their focus was the storm though, and what was Jesus's focus? Not the storm! It was his relationship with them..."Where is your faith?" he said to them (after He "rebuked the wind and the raging waves").  Jesus wants our hearts! Even in our storms, may we look, not at the storm so much, and more at our relationship with Jesus. And a word of warning - don't jump out of the boat!!! Stay there with Him and trust Him and you will get to the other side!

WOW are we having some wind. "How bad is it you say?" I HAD to plant Caresse's seeds today and when we took Keshawn outside, the wind blew him over - no kidding! Kalyn finally had to take him back inside. And the wind kept blowing the seeds out of our hands! When I came inside I saw that we are under a high wind warning. And then Steve called and said that he couldn't fly out of Colorado Springs for his class because all the flights here have been cancelled due to wind.  I guess several trees have been blown down around the city causing electrical problems. I can say that this is one of the coolest and windiest springs I have ever experienced in Colorado.  Not sure how good our garden will grow, but we are trying. This is our first year to try the square foot gardening ideas from the book All New Square Foot Gardening. We have a hard time out here in our higher elevation and cooler weather. However, Caresse really likes herbs and gardens, so we will see how it goes. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Boy, Do They SHINE!

These three headed to Guatemala this morning on a mission those who are new, this is my Dad - Dandy by the children, my Mom - Gommy by the children; and my cute little red-headed darlin' niece - Tiffany. 
I grew up with my parents very involved in missions and now three generations later, they are still leading, by example, a life of love for the LORD and love for people. This is Tiffany's second mission trip with my parents. The first one was to South Africa. My parents feel IN LOVE with the precious people of S. Africa. And this is their 3rd year in a row to minister to the people of Guatemala. 
And yes, this is the Gommy I have asked you to pray for in the past.  We found out just before this trip that my precious mom will have to have a pretty extensive surgery on her leg later this summer. Her hip and leg are not healing from the past accident, the hardware pin that they put in may have broken, so she is in Guatemala ministering to hurting people and telling them of God's love for them on crutches
in a hilly country. 
(Tiffany and Keshawn in December)

Please remember them this next week and pray for them all as they minister and love on the people of Guatemala. They will have an eye clinic, fun for orphan children and helping to build where ever they can. Here is my Dad's prayer note.

"As yall know, Glenda and I and our grand daughter, Tiffany, are going to Guatemala this next week. Pray is the secret to a successful and safe trip.
I ask that you pray for the three of us, not only while we are gone but for at least a week after we return. The devil loves to attack before you (and he certainly has) and when you get back to try and convince you that you are wasting your time.
I thank each of you for your prayers."

It would take a lot to tell you the many way's that the Enemy tries to destroy God's will and work. Any my family has really gone through some hard things, however, they give themselves to the LORD and risk it all for Him. Thank you for your prayers for my family this next week, especially sweet Gommy...every step she takes hurts, but she keeps on going. May we all follow in her foot matter what you may be going through...get stubborn for the LORD and keep on going! I love you all so much!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010


"A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine." 
D.L. Moody

"Why did God make me? To love, serve, and obey HIM. Very simple, yet extremely profound. If we all woke up every morning asking, 'How can I love, serve, and obey God today?' it might change everything-it might even change the world."
Richard Stearns - President of World Vision

I want to ask this each day, because really, I was made for loving, serving and obeying Him and I am happier when I do what I was make to do.  "LORD, help me to hear Your voice today! I want to shine for YOU!!!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Chinese Birthday?

For every child's birthday, we ask the children what theme they want for their birthday. Then Steve will decorate the kitchen to match the theme, and I get an idea of what to put on the birthday cake. Well, this year, Garett threw us a curve ball when he requested a "Chinese" birthday. Steve and I chuckled at our little Vietnamese son's request as we began to try and figure out how to decorate the kitchen and put Kiana on the cake. 
So Steve made a little balloon guy with his Vietnamese hat, which Garett loved!     

And I thought that Steve did a great job creating a Chinese feel with the decorations.

Thankfully Garett chose the death by chocolate cake, so no decorations were needed on it. 

And that is what a "Chinese" birthday looked like this year. We had a fun day in school and enjoyed Garett's favorite meal -  spaghetti and corn (yes, this is not Chinese...but it is what he wanted). And laughed at silly faces.

All of our children have a miracle story about how they came to us. And Garett's was by far one of the most dramatic and painful. We almost didn't get home with him and there is not a day that I don't look and him and thank the LORD for giving him to our family. Through his adoption, I saw the LORD do amazing things and walk every painful step with us.  I am so grateful for this little man, and so glad that the LORD chose me to be his mommy.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Love Has A Pricetag

I believe that the LORD has a mission for us all, whether we "go" to the mission field or have a missional mind where we are at.  Have you ever thought that you are a "missionary"? Whether we are single, married and/or a mothers or dads, the LORD has created us each with a purpose.  Read the below and think about it in relation to your life as a missionary for the LORD.

"What is Success in Missions & How Do You Measure It?

  1. Results in missions come from God, not from the human instrument. “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).
  2. Our role is to faithfully proclaim the gospel and trust God for the results. “And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:25-27).
  3. Consequently true success in missions is measured by faithfulness to the task, not by immediate, visible results. “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2, NIV).
  4. The very nature of Christian missions depends on faith. “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). The attempt to measure results is often an attempt to live by sight. Defining success as “faithfulness” is hard to embrace because it requires total dependence on God.   (I copied this from a blog I enjoy.)
When I read the above, as a wife, mother, home maker, daughter and woman I feel encouraged as I go about my day that the results I so badly want to see come from the LORD, not me! If I am trying to force results, I can easily fall into the trap of expectations. 
I need to remember to faithfully proclaim THE GOSPEL, not my gospel.  I need to check that I am staying faithful to the Bible as I train and teach my children.
 I LOVED NUMBER THREE, and need to remember to stay faithful to my task! If I begin to think that my success is measured by what I can see, I might try to force immediate and visible results. In doing this I will surly loose my way and become confused and discouraged. So stay faithful to the tasks, not faithful to the results!!
And the last part really does sum it up, we live by faith and not by sight. 

Here is something else that I copied from E. Elliot that was encouraging to me. 
"'The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips). From Elizabeth Elliot - Love Has A Price Tag"
Love does indeed have a price tag. Today, I encourage you to die to yourself and live for HIM, where ever you are and what ever you're doing. Offer your tasks as love offerings to the One Who loved you enough to die for you and lives now preparing a home for us all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Love It Here!

The weather here is so unpredictable for this time of year. Even tonight, we have been watching the weather channel because there are several storms around us that are severe.
BUT, today, my children and I enjoyed the glories of Colorado. We explored, picnicked and had special Dutch cookies that they only have 2-3 times a year (the cookies that cause all my children to yell while they are buckles into a 15 passenger van-"WE LOVE YOU MOMMY; YOUR ARE THE BEST MOMMY EVER!); which makes it worth the 14 dollars I just spent on 3 dozen cookies just so that they can have 2 each. (Now, at this point, please don't do the math...yes, there are some extra's and Kalyn and I feel "we deserve them"-don't tell!!)
I will have more pictures soon and some things that I feel the LORD is speaking to me about the missionhood of womanhood. 
Thank you all for your notes to my friend who is seeking the LORD's direction in connecting with her newest daughter. May we all continue to encourage and support each other.
Till tomorrow..

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Our Turn to Help a HURTING Mother, Family and Friends

My Sweet Family and Friends, I have a friend who has written to me and given me permission to share her letter anonymously with you all. This dear friend is really hurting and struggling and we have the opportunity in the blog community to encourage, support and "just be with" her as she mothers and helps her new daughter. Here is her note to me.

Hi Shonni-

Did you attach immediately to all of your kids??  If not, how long did it take? 

We have three biological kids, and just brought home a little girl who will, supposedly, be two on Sunday.  We think she’s older, which puts her in very close proximity to our three year old daughter.  She has adjusted very well, is cute, charming, has a beautiful smile, loves us, fits in fairly well with our family, and has no apparent trauma or attachment issues.  On paper, it has been perfect.  She has no sleep issues, is overcoming her food issues, and is learning how things run around here and seems to accept it all in stride.  She is a horrible two year old with the temper tantrums and possessiveness and defiance, but even that we know will be okay with time. 

But I feel nothing for her.  Well, nothing but dislike.  I feel like she has come in and taken over our home.  She is LOUD, aggressive, bossy, and stubborn, and most of the time I feel like I’m trying to protect my three year old from her.  I still don’t think of her as mine, I have to force myself to love on her at all, and I find myself doing nothing but training and correcting her all day long.  I am asking God daily for that motherly love to kick in, but as of yet, it’s just not there.  No where close.  I dread her waking up from her nap.  I dread every meal.  I dread her wanting to be held.  I know she’s just a toddler (again, I think she’s much closer to three than to two) but it is so difficult to face the day knowing she’s here.  I thought it would be better by now (we’ve had her home for four months) but I will have days where I’m neutral (those are considered good days!) but then I’ll have another day like today where I just am overcome with sadness that she is here.

I KNOW that God can redeem this.  We know that He asked us to do this and therefore, I know that He will equip us.  I can love her by doing all the right stuff, but I dread the future if I never have those feelings like I do for my biological kids.  I don’t want her growing up in a home where she feels separate, and unloved!  It’s so not fair to her. 

So, I’m just wondering if you have felt like this about any of your kids??  My new motto is “fake it til you make it” but that is so tiring.  I don’t want to fake it.  I want it to be real, and whole, and beautiful.  I don’t want either of us to be robbed of what could be. 

Thanks for any insight you have for me.  I just need to know that I’m not the only one out here that dislikes my child so much.  Surely someone else has experienced this!!

I feel so much for her. I did have a few that took me some time to "feel the love" for and it can be emotionally exhausting. 
If you would like to respond to this mother you can either leave a comment below, or
email me at and I will forward it to her.
Let's get around this mother and encourage her.
Romans 1:12 "...that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith..."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For The Love Of The Blanket....

This little one really loves Kalyn's green blanket and my purple one. It was snowing today and these blankets are just so perfect before bedtime. Keshawn will literally stick an end of these blankets in his mouth and drift off to sleep. It is so cute.
I was awake for several hours last night as I prayed about different things. I can tell you that I saw some areas that I needed to confess to HIM. And as I lifted up my concerns about some of my children, I felt that HE counseled me. I am grateful for your prayers this week and will share more, however, it is after 10 pm and I am really tired...I just wanted to again, say thank you for the encouraging words and if I haven't emailed back to a question or response, I will try to soon! Thank you again for your friendship, prayers and sweet comments. I love you all!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Not Hailing and They Are Crying

What a week, and it's only Wednesday. Tonight ends in a funny way like last night. I would cry, but I think I used them all up last night. My children are making up for it though. My word, it would take a book (that probably wouldn't sell anyway) to describe the many ways that the little ones have of... let's see, how do you say...."pushing it to the MAX" in a polite way. Well, I'll leave it at that. One of them got up from nap and asked me to help with buttoning a shirt and I literally thought, "How long before I have to discipline him again". It was only 3 minutes before we were back "at it".  We have used our time out rugs more times than I can count. One of my little ones came home with quite a bit of wounding and the sad thing is, it becomes a weapon at today, which of course, was not what I needed.  And to make things even worse, Steve and I are not having a "warm and fuzzy week". 
So, again I risk being open about my day, because, surely, I'm not the only one that has them....
and I'm sorry, I don't have any pictures for this blog...I haven't had time to photograph cow chips (poo) lately.  Forgive me please, if I have offended you....I love you all...and may be that is why I share my "real" day. No hail, but some tears....I'm going to go wipe up what I can....

Reflective Still Life

Thank you my dearest friends, for your love and friendship. I am grateful beyond words for the many precious comments on my last post. 
This morning we woke up to cold and a touch of snow. For school, my three "middle" schoolers enjoyed  a Still Life art lesson from Hearts and Trees.  If you are not familiar with this blog, you must visit; Amanda has so many wonderful ideas to do with children. 

I was surprised how much they "got into it" and really enjoyed it. I'm sure that we will be doing more of these in the future. 
Time now to help Kalyn with her high school science and then time to fix supper. I'm looking forward to some yummy fish that we caught at the Texas coast this last December...totally fried, and fattening and yummy. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Hailing and I'm Crying

Yes, it is almost 10:00 p.m and it is hailing outside. And I'm sitting inside crying.
Somewhere in blog world, you walk a thin line between wanting to encourage and love others and being real, honest and Yes, the dreaded, vulnerable.
Steve is out for his weekly men's meeting, all the children need me to come bless and pray for them...
and the truth is,
it isn't always easy. Steve and I have come through some hard times. And sometimes, like now, I don't FEEL loved, or pretty, or able. And somewhere in this silly blog world, I choose to open up a window into my life, my heart and cry. Nothing serious, just times when a heart is tired and hurt and old wounds open up and bleed.  And I don't feel loved... a pity part, may be, or may be...
sometimes a woman's heart hurts, and breaks and loves...
and sometimes, when it hails outside...
I cry.

Just In Time!

We spent the last three days working REALLY HARD outside.  "How hard?", you ask? By yesterday I couldn't turn a door knob....I kid you not!!! I always get the children's attention by snapping my fingers. But my hands and muscles hurt so bad that I couldn't even snap! We needed to replace the cheap black border around the play area and enlarge the sand box, which was also falling apart. Also on the job list was moving 3 tons of dirt into the chicken coop to build back up all the dirt that the chickens had scratched out over the years. And we needed to rake the whole back yard. If you have never lived in an evergreen forest, you probably didn't know this, but our pine trees shed needles all year, so twice a year we have to rake them up. JUST the back yard fills up the below green trailer - twice.  Also, a large part of a tree had broken down in the last snow storm. So that had to be cut up and dragged to the trailer.

Here's the new border and sand box. I love cross ties...but, BOY, are they heavy!!! So, we now have the play area ready for the children...just in time for the snow!! Yes, more snow coming our way...I've heard  anything from 8-18".  And today, I'm not feeling so good. May be I can get some rest this afternoon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sing Along

Sing along if you know the song.

"Your are our sunshine....
our only sunshine...

You make us happy....
when we are blue...

You'll never know, Gommy, how much we love you...
Please don't take our sunshine away!!!"


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cause His Name to Be Remembered!

"I will cause Your Name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise You forever and ever." Psalm 45:17
As I have been studying through our book, Praying the Names of God, one of the things a think about is the above verse....we, as the parents, have a command from the LORD to "cause His Name to be remembered" to the next generation...this is a parenting verse. In other scriptures we, as the parents, are told to remember and tell our children what He has done. The names of the LORD that we have been studying this week are Esh Oklah - Consuming Fire, and El Kanna - Jealous God. Two of the important verses in this weeks study are Exodus 34:14 and Deuteronomy 4:23-24. The later verse reads "Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that He made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." 
The LORD pursues us BECAUSE HE LOVES US. His consuming fire and jealousy are aspects of His Holy and Righteous love. There is no selfishness in His love...He just wants our hearts, our love, our devotion. He has a righteous zeal for us. Can you imagine how much He loves you. Ask Him to show you and confess any tendency to run away from Him. Ask Him to increase you love for Him and your awareness of His Holiness.
And may we pray that the LORD would pursue our children and loved ones. Let's tell the next generation about His Names and how He reveals himself to us each and everyday. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obedience verses Willfulness-and Flour and Oil

I keep sitting here staring at this computer screen, then down at the baby who is bouncing on my lap, then up at the birds outside the window, then over at the child asking how to say the words in his book. Mercy, no wonder I can't get my thoughts "together".  Oops, I was going to say "At least four babies are upstairs napping", when I heard "someone" jumping overhead...I'll be back in a sec...

I was just sitting down when above darlin' interrupted again..."Mom, some eggs broke". (Meaning he had been out to the chicken coop). I asked him how and how many. "Well, I tripped (pause while he counts on his fingers - oh dear), and only four brokeded".
I really do have something important on my mind...may be I am hesitant because I always struggle with writing well what is on my mind and in my heart. So, here goes.
I see women struggling with different areas of their lives, like ... should we adopt another child, should I give up my job to stay home, should I home school (are just a few)...and the reasons are as different and varied as each lady asking. I have received many questions ranging from respectful questions about how I do it all, to the more thoughtless ones like "what number is that one!" (to which I act stupid and say "Oh, this is our newest precious gift from the LORD, his name is Keshawn, and he is 1 year old, he has been home for 4 months now and he is doing wonderful. He even started walking this week.". 
For heaven's sakes, he is not a number, but a human being!!!! Sorry, side tracked)
I love talking to and encouraging others mothers as they seek to find and walk out God's call for their lives. 
Now, having said that, here is the heart of the matter. I was talking to the children about obedience verses willfulness, and the Bible story that we read today was in I Kings 17:8-16, about the widow who was using the last of her flour and oil to make one cake for herself and her son before they die. At this time there is a drought and no food. Many are dying from hunger.  This is when the prophet Elijah shows up in the story. (Please go read the whole story to refresh your memory). 
"And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.' And she went and did as Elijah said." 
I began talking with the children about this the widow chose to be obedient to the prophet, even though at the time, she could only see the handful of flour and a little oil. Common sense would have said "There isn't enough, there is no way this is going to work." Common sense could have said the prophet was crazy. Out of willfulness and fear, she could have just ignored him, and gone about with her original plan. But then she would have received nothing, especially not the miracle of provision. 
All three of our pregnancies were life threatening. We received more than a few worried and negative comments when we decided to become pregnant with number 3, but we knew the LORD had told US to,  so we did, and it was worse than the other two. However, looking back, I can tell you for sure that God was "pruning" some death from my life. We knew that we were suppose to home school, and at first, again, we received the worried and questioning comments and dealt with the critical ones. But again, home schooling has brought me more blessings and taught me so much, and yes, more pruning has been done...more death cut off. Well, you can imagine what 8 adoptions has brought our way...though now, we are just crazy and irresponsible to some, and to those who love us...well, we might still be a little crazy. And, wow, did some dead things scream going down with this one.
Here's the thing, Steve and I had prayed and felt that we knew what we were suppose to do. But...if you look at it through common sense we shouldn't have done any of it. We really only ever had a "handful of flour and a little oil". So, how were we going to make it work? First, I would have died if we had of had 11 children all at once. They came one at a time, and I grew with each of them. And as we trusted the LORD, they came at just the right time in our lives...the LORD knew!!! And home schooling - well, that's a funny one..I am dyslexic and did horrible in school (I mean, I was a complete "dummy" by all school standards). When we felt that the LORD wanted us to home school, so many of my negative emotions surfaced and I wondered how in the world I was going to teach ANY ONE, when I had been such a failure in school. I figured I could at least get us through 1st and 2nd grade, so we started on a journey that the LORD has used to heal so many of my wounded places. And then He gave me a dyslexic daughter. Oh, the joy of having someone who "get's me". Now my first born is 20, doing excellent in his college and I love home educating our children. It's not easy!!! But, I would never give it up. 
What I want to encourage others with is, you may look down and see only a "handful of flour and a little oil" and you just don't know if you can do what YOU FEEL the LORD has asked you to do. He's not asking you to do what I have done, or what someone else has done...He has an amazing adventure for YOU and He will show the way to you if you seek HIM and not the opinions of the world around you.  Next, as Elijah told the widow, do not fear, go and do it. If you do, you will see His provisions, if you don't, you will really be missing out on things that the LORD has for you. And also, DON'T BE AFRAID of the pruning. It can hurt some, but you really don't want those dead things clinging to you, and the LORD knows just what to do, trust him. The Bible says "...and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2
One more word of encouragement..."for we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Cor. 5:7. If we try to walk by what we can see, we will probably experience some form of "blindness".  So walk in the light and walk in faith. 
By the way, there were over 20 eggs broken in my garage...NOT 4! Kalyn cleaned that up for me, and Joeliana's new tea set was shattered, I cleaned that one up. I hope what I wrote is of encouragement to someone...this post was interrupted a lot and I'm not sure if my scattered thoughts every came together. Back up stairs...someone is calling. Loves to you all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Photo Improvement Contest-Brent Riggs

Brent Riggs is hosting a photo improvement challenge over at his On Building A Better Blog home. If you aren't familiar with this family, Abby is their daughter and she is fighting cancer. Last month they had the fun opportunity to meet some famous people while they were at the Children's Hospital.

Here is my improvement on the you know who the men on either side are?

Here is the before improvement. I enhanced the color, and cropped the photo in my PSE. I then applied a Coffee Shop border and an action. If you aren't familiar with this family, be sure and visit them. They are so encouraging. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

She Reminded Me Today...

...and now I am sad.
I need to back up a bit...
These three precious girls have been best friends since babyhood. Our family's only see each other once in a while, since these very special friends work and live in Mexico; they are missionaries in Mexico.  Aspen, the one on the right, is truly Kalyn's best friend; her God-given sister...and, really this whole family has been adopted by us and are family to us all.
Here is a picture of of my sweet sister and her four children with my 10 (because Jace is in Texas now). Kalyn's precious sister friend has been asking her to come to Mexico to spend time with her, and this year, we felt like the LORD said "yes". So my precious 1st born daughter will be leaving us to be with one of the very few families I would trust her to - in Mexico - for TWO MONTHS (brother Britt, I know you understand...take care of my baby girl please).  And she reminded me that she leaves in four weeks. I have been trying to ignore this, but tonight, when she reminded me, I really began to feel sad. I will miss her so much. Yes, she helps tons here in the home, but that is not why I will miss her...I will miss HER. How she loves to wrap up in her green blanket; how she loves to read and can often be found curled up in a sunny spot in the house like a cat; how she and I just know what needs to be done to take care of things in a day; how when I am stressed, she give me a "chill pill" hug and I don't feel stupid. My daughter has become my friend and I will miss her this summer. 
To those mothers who have watched your children grow up and "start" leaving, I know you understand, and to those who are coming behind me, here is your glimpse into that journey. How I rejoice at this opportunity for Kalyn to spend time with her sister on the mission field (by the way, Kalyn wants to be a missionary, and has since she was four!!!). And, just like when Jace drove away with his little car full of 18 years of his life, I cry happy tears, and sad tears, and proud tears. And for me, the mother, there is one overriding emotion...I am so grateful that I was blessed by the LORD to be her mother. 

I asked her if she would leave her green blanket, so that we can breath it each day as we miss her...she said no, so I still have a few weeks to work on that. However, I will probably lose...she loves that blanket as much as she loves me!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sorry Friends

:) I got a few comments on my last post about the statement of saving money to bring a new little one home. I meant in the future, not right now. So no, we aren't in the process of bringing a child home, not yet :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Know - This Is Ridiculous

However, I  cannot even tell you how excited I am. We have been in this house for 15 years, and over the last few months we have had leaking problems with our kitchen sink. After trying everything, we knew that we had to get a new sink. We talked to my dad, who has been in construction his whole life (I grew up building homes with him); well, we knew we were going to have to buy a new sink. Now, I don't like to buy anything we can do without; you know, there is a new little one to bring home!!
On our "date" this week we bought "the sink" a very different sink...but with the large pans I am always trying to clean, I just felt that this one was mine. Here is the picture of the leaking 15 year old "really used" up sink....

Here is my man working on the new sink.  It really is my fault. I have been asking for him to install this sink for 3 days...OK, work all day and come home and put in a sink...No problem...I do have a "bit" of an impatient streak...

Well, tonight I pulled out my weapon...cute brown eyes...blinking in the "please" mode....

And my cute husband man came through...(I really LOVE THIS MAN, BY THE WAY!!!). He got that new sink in and here are the pictures of this wonder sink. 
Even my LARGE Adien fits in the new sink with room to spare!  I am so grateful to my husband for indulging me; and now we are way behind in bathing 10 children for church I must run...
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