Saturday, July 13, 2013
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Have you ever heard the phrase "EGR?" I heard this phrase from another Christ follower in early adulthood. At that point in my life I was following Christ, but looking back now, I was a fairly immature believer. The phrase was meant to point out the people in our lives who were, shall I say, a bit quirky. You know what I mean, the person who might seem awkward at care group or that special someone who always seems to have "issues."
Among my friends we would throw in "They are an EGR," as we referred to that person. Meaning that there was extra grace required when talking with or spending time with them. We all thought it was kind of funny and was a better way than saying we thought they were weird.
At that time in my life I was a young mom with several little ones. When I look back at my prayer journals at the time I almost laugh at the things I had listed as "challenges" in need of prayer. I am sure that my view of God was fairly shallow. I am so glad that God did not leave me in that shallow, selfish place. He is so kind and full of grace that He waited to push me into a deeper knowledge of His power when I was ready. Actually, I wasn't ready. But I began to pray that God would show me more of Himself and He did not disappoint.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
As I continued to walk through my adult years I began to experience deep hurt, loss and pain through many circumstances. It is amazing how God uses pain, suffering and loss to draw us to Himself. It is in that time of need that He makes himself known in amazing ways. The pain and hurt grow us and mature us in ways that times of ease cannot. This kind of growth can also help us to see others through the eyes of Christ.
Christ made every single person on this planet. He has a plan and a purpose for us all and He does not prefer one of us over the other. I know this may seem like Christian Ethics 101, but I think we can get caught up in life and forget these very powerful truths.
There are many ways that God shook my world to draw me close to Him. Looking back I am so thankful. But I do not believe that anyone enjoys the process of refining that pain and struggle can take us through.
As I matured in Christ, my heart for the helpless began to grow. The EGR's in my world became wonderful friends. I actually began to seek out those who looked a little lost or in need of a friendly ear. I began to teach my children to do the same.
Then our whole family answered the call to adopt. We were so excited!! It is an amazing feeling when you know you are walking in the path God has chosen for you. Not everyone in our circle understood this calling. We were met with many questions and concerns. We admitted that we also had questions and concerns, but believed that God would equip us for this step of obedience.
We read books and took hours of training to prepare us for these precious people that God had chosen for our family. We had expectations of what the transition into our home might look like. We prepared ourselves to be amazed at the work of God.
Then we flew on a plane to meet our newest little additions.
The transition at home began and was much like we expected. It was very hard bonding with two little ones who were scared and confused and mad. But we continued forward knowing that this was part of the process.
Then one year and then two went by and things were a bit different than the first months, but still very hard. I found myself wanting to take all of the prayer request time at care group because I felt like I was drowning. I didn't understand what was happening and why it wasn't getting better. I knew God was good and faithful and full of that wonderful grace, but where was it?
My heart hurt.
I cried out to God asking for Him to move on behalf of my precious little ones who were hurting so badly. I knew that I couldn't repair their brokenness. The only person who could do it was God.
I began taking them to attachment therapy. I asked anyone who would listen to pray. I read God's word searching for truth, hope and more of that wonderful grace.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Through the past three and a half years I have seen God move in absolutely amazing ways. The difficulties that our family experiences on a daily basis are growing us in ways that never could have happened if we had not answered that call from God.
Our family is quite different from the average family. I am not referring to the beautiful chocolate brown little ones or the fact that we have half a dozen kiddos... I am referring to some of the ways we parent our little ones that the "world" doesn't understand, but we know it is what is best for them.
One of our little ones is still struggling to trust and open his heart to real love.
But that little one has given me the incredible privilege of truly loving like Christ. I am rejected on a daily basis and I have learned to see my little EGR as the most precious being that God ever created.
I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Yes, I do hope that God will heal his little broken heart, but aren't we all broken?
I hope that when God looks at me I have a big EGR next to my name. I want Him to pour all of His Extra Grace on me. I sure need it!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Summertime and what to do? Keep a bottle of bubble solution just hanging around and you might be able to stir up some fun. It has been awhile since we have played with bubbles. I had just as much fun watching. Some of them were HUGE! I love the photos where they are trying to blow the big bubbles up so that they won't pop on the grass.
This is Bookworm. "Master Bubble Maker"
Sweet Pea always manages to look sweet.
Cate claims to be a four year old at heart. This photo is clear evidence.
Even my sixteen year old Elsie got in on the act!
Bubble parade anyone?
This one is so funny! Laying on the grass, making every attempt to keep the balloon in flight.
Monday, May 6, 2013
What is there to say after 8-9 months of blogging absence. Clearly anyone who read my blog in years gone by has moved on. I am sure my mom will still be interested.:)
So, here goes Gramma!
A Faith Filled Family Retrospective
Here is my beautiful Elsie. She is sixteen and has her Driver's License!!! What a blessing that license is. And because she is the oldest, she is incredibly responsible. I know, I shouldn't put that kind of pressure on her. She is amazing. She is about to complete her Junior year in a Running Start program at a local Community College. She loves her classes and can't wait to move on to real college:) where she will pursue a degree in ASL. Signing is her passion! Her hands are always moving when she talks. At first we thought it was cute and now we are not so sure, since none of us are as fluent as she is.
She recently began helping in a ministry at our church where she signs to a little guy who is seven. She thought it was funny to sign the story of the plagues that God helped Moses bring against the Egyptians. She said, "Mom, there aren't different signs for all the bugs. I just kept signing that God brought more bugs, and more bugs." Her new little friend thought that was quite funny.
Her favorite part of her week is hanging out with her group of six, 3 and 4 year olds at Cubbies. She has loved investing in their lives. Her leader says that she could teach the grown up leaders a thing or two about how to wrangle preschoolers.
My favorite part of parenting Elsie is watching her mature into a beautiful young woman and finding a true kindred spirit.
Aren't these the most adorable tootsies you have ever seen?
I can't explain my love for these feet. The little brown toes...
how they used to fit perfectly in my hand...
Little Buddy is six and a half years old. He is super smart in SO many ways! He has been a part of my life for over three years and I am overwhelmed by my love for this precious boy.
Little Buddy has needed more of me than I ever anticipated. He is teaching me what it means to love like Christ. He is showing me how deep hurts can go and leave you broken in ways that it seems you can't be repaired. But God gave him a Mommy and Daddy who are super good friends with the greatest healer ever. If you think of my little boy with the adorable tootsies and piercing brown eyes, please pray for him.
I have seen God's plan for my little guy and I am waiting in anticipation for His work to break forth and shine brightly in his life.
My favorite part of this picture is that I did not pose him at all. He sat down and knew exactly how to give the camera his best. Maybe a modeling career is in his future.:)
Bookworm is ten!! Can't say how much I like this kid! I know we all love our kids, but Bookworm is just plain fun! He is all boy, but not. He loves to tell jokes and make bodily noises.. ewww! He is also a great friend and tender to ridicule and always willing to help as long as it has nothing to do with chores.:) We call him our own Encyclopedia Brown. He spends countless hours reading and is happy to expound interesting facts to anyone who will listen. Well, interesting to him anyway.
He loves sports and has perfected "crack the egg" on the trampoline.
One of the things that I LOVE about him is that he talks to me. I have his heart and he trusts me with all of his stuff. I have seen his heart ache for his little brother. He prays like a warrior that God would heal the broken parts. God is creating a strong man who will be more compassionate than most because of the life God has given him.
What can I say about my 8 year old, little miss Sunshine? She is a miracle walking around. I mentioned brokenness before... I know we are all broken people, but my littlest ones have had a very tough beginning. This little girl leaves me in awe almost every day. She is learning daily about family and God's love and what is really looks like to trust someone and how to be a true friend, and she is listening and trying all of it! Sunshine is finally LIVING! She is loving being a little girl and not needing to be in control of everything. She tells me often that she is so glad she gave up trying to be in charge, because it is more fun just being a kid.
Thank you God for healing her heart! Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to trust and grow in God's beautiful grace.
Sweet Pea is twelve and well on her way to young lady status. I have seen many things awaken in this precious girl this year. She has developed an incredible passion to share her love for God with others. It is so strong that she believes God might be calling her into some sort of ministry for Him. She is a wonderful friend and has been the most amazing encourager to me. Life at our house has been challenging... there are days when I am worn. She takes time to write a letter and leave it on my pillow or in my purse. Most of her notes remind me that God is bigger than whatever is going on and that He loves me. I am sure I was not even 10% that sensitive to others needs at twelve. She is beautiful on the inside and out. She is still very easy going, but has also gained big sister status which comes with some opinions. She and I are having a lot of fun sharing a journal. She writes me a note and leaves it on my night stand and then I write back and return it when she isn't looking. Such a good way to see into her precious heart.
Before you think I have allowed my 15 year old Cate go absolutely crazy with make up...
take a look at these photos
Cate is the reason I took all of these pictures today. A mom at our home school co-op is so talented at face painting. It only took her a few minutes to paint her face. I had to get some shots of her beautiful work. Cate had so much fun being all glammed up!
The paint almost makes her look like she is blooming. And that would be a wonderful description of my second daughter. She takes on life with passion and can get bored with the every day things like biology. This year she has learned that life is full of fun and the mundane for a reason and that there is a place for both. I love to watch how she loves on people and makes everyone in the room feel like they fit. She has learned that being beautiful can look like many things. Beauty can be seen in the face of a 3 year old, a job well done, a humble heart and any other place that you allow God to lead you.
This girl has so much potential and she is so excited to see where it will take her. What an amazing time in life... when the whole world waits before you to see what mark you will leave on it.
God, please protect my beautiful flower and lead her in your ways.
There it is mom. A little more about us with a few great pictures. I hope it won't be nine months before I get back to blogging. I miss it.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
There is an elementary school that I drive by every day that has amazing maple trees.
Every year I tell the kids that we should go take pictures there.
After living here for fifteen years I finally did it this week.
Stand-Up Dad gave me an amazing DSLR camera for Christmas last year.
I have been learning how to use it and even took a class this past summer.
These pictures are not retouched yet. I am hoping to give Photoshop a try very soon.
I am sure you will agree that the trees are beautiful!
The kids are quite precious as well!
Happy Fall! I love this time of year!
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Have you ever been in a place where you were anticipating something? A new job? The birth of a baby? Referral for adoption? A special vacation? That thing that you are waiting for can take up much of your thought life. As you prepare for it you plan and think through what it will be like. Depending on what it is, you might even spend money to purchase things for it. It can be very exciting to be in that place of anticipation.
Last month Stand-Up Dad and I sent our kids on a scavenger hunt around our house. They searched for clues and figured out Daddy's silly rhymes. The end result was the very happy news that our family would be traveling to "The Happiest Place on Earth" in a few weeks.
The mood in our house changed that day. There was excitement in the air! Our talk was filled with Mickey Mouse and the new "Cars Land" at California Adventure and all the planning that goes with a trip such as this. The girls wanted to make matching outfits. The littlest were trying to understand where they were going to sleep all of those nights. Each day as we prepared, the excitement grew.
When the days before the trip dwindled down to just a few, I didn't know if I could survive the enthusiasm that was soaring through my house like sunlight. I have always believed that the experience of anticipating an event is part of the enjoyment of it.
This whole experience of anticipation of our trip to Disneyland caused me to pause and look at other things in my life that I anticipate. I might anticipate my first cup of coffee in the morning, a change of season, date night with Stand-Up Dad, coffee with a friend (yes, more coffee!:) or the next big event of the week.
All of these things are fine. But do they last? Once I have had my coffee, that anticipation is over. I might have received a new energy for my day, but it is temporary.
Even our amazing trip to "The Happiest Place on Earth" was temporary. We will have the memories of that trip for our lifetime and that is all.
What if I anticipated my time with Jesus every morning with the same excitement? What if I spent my thought life preparing for our time together? What if I looked forward to my home in heaven like our trip to Disneyland?
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As the season changes to Fall and I anticipate the colors it will bring, I am FULL of anticipation for the things that God will show me as I seek Him.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Birthdays at our house are full of tradition. We make the birthday child's favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will surely be balloons and streamers and crazy "Happy Birthday" messages on the bathroom mirror. We even blow up balloons, one for each year, and put them in their room while they are sleeping so they wake up to balloons that number their new age.
I love birthdays! I love to celebrate this wonderful milestone with fun themed birthday parties and homemade cakes with princess bodies sticking out the top or a big Lego cake.
Birthdays for kids from hard places are not easy. We all enjoy being celebrated. But for these little ones, the ideas and expectations of the celebration are often too much to handle. Our two littles have their birthdays one day apart. Sunshine is first and the next day is Little Buddy.
Their first year home we tried for simple celebrations with family. We tried to keep it low key. It went ok. Their expectation was bigger than life. So they were both disappointed with what actually happened.
Last year we tried again. I planned a low key day. I learned to discuss what was going to happen on their day with the child. That way they would know what to expect and what not to expect.
For each child I scheduled a special date in the middle of the day with mom. We had family over for dessert and shot silly string at the cousins. It was fun, but their hearts were so torn on each others special day. When it was Sunshine's day, Little Buddy was mad that it wasn't his day and the next day on his day, Sunshine was mad that it wasn't her day.
It was difficult to handle these emotions while still celebrating the birthday child.
As their birthdays approached this year, I began to feel anxious. I wanted to celebrate them without the chance of the emotions and expectations getting in the way. I also wanted to throw a party that was a bit bigger with friends and family. I knew they both wanted to have a "friend" party.
So here is what I did and it was GREAT! I threw a surprise party for both of them the week before their birthdays. They each have a rest time in the afternoon. That gave us some time to put up the streamers and balloons and such.
When I brought them downstairs and told them the news they were so excited! They put on special clothes and waited by the door to see who was coming! It was so much fun!
Stand-Up Dad with Little Buddy and Sunshine.
I love Little Buddy's green teeth! Good frosting!:)
The party was simple and just perfect for them. We ate dinner with family and friends and competed in an obstacle course (a family favorite.) We had a pinata full of candy and water balloon fights.
Little Buddy is growing so fast! He is six years old and super smart! He loves to play with his big brother. He is becoming a master lego builder and is super fast on his scooter! He has SO much love in his wee little heart that he shares daily. He brings so much joy to our home!
Sunshine is happiest when she is helping or playing with Sweet Pea. I am beyond grateful to God that He chose to bring these precious children into our home. I told them the other day that I couldn't imagine my life without them in it. I really can't.
The lesson I have learned over the last three years of birthdays is... traditions are wonderful, but to celebrate children from hard places you might have to think out of the box. The day might look different than the tradition and that is ok. Actually it can turn out perfectly!