Monday, November 11, 2013

Keepin it real...........

Today was our last day for our homeschool co-op and let me describe something that is actually quite ordinary around here....  First my youngest son is a tornado.  I have had 8 children and he is my 3rd boy, so I know what I am talking about. Every week I have my son in one of the classes and every week he comes in without his backpack and I have to head downstairs to find said backpack and bring it to class.  I could send him, but that would include him roaming hallways, peeking in on classes, yelling HI every time he sees a sibling which is pretty often with 7 of them in the building and a forming of a search team to find him when he does not return.  I can always find him because I hear a nice voice asking someone, "where are you supposed to be honey?"  So we make it to lunch, where I have forgotten to bring a blanket for us to sit on at this picnic style eating set up, so a family offers to share and all 8 kids gather on a blanket....yeah you get the picture, this family being invaded by a small birthday party!!  After we eat I clean up, one son sneaks out to the van to put things away to avoid dancing in a flash mob dance that starts and my youngest boys are begging me to take them outside.  After dancing commences and older boy returns we head outside.  The kids are playing tag and soccer (basically homeschool recess) and I notice middle son doesn't have his glasses on, which I assume he has left safely inside in his backpack.....oh silly naive me....  Bell rings and we head inside and I assume middle son is behind the crowd....  He appears and he has no glasses (note: said glasses were just purchased a few weeks ago due to his previous glasses looking being destroyed.) I ask "where are your glasses" and he says " Oh I was playing and someone bumped me and they fell off, I can't find them."  So we head out to find them, and we search to no avail....and head in, 1 pouting boy, 1 heated momma....  I search lost and found and discover other son's missing sweatshirt.  We go on with our day with me thinking very unhappy thoughts...    At one point I see his 2 older sisters picking up a backpack, pencil box, water bottle and various paraphernalia strewn about the hallway and I say "what the heck?" and they say "He just took off to his class....."  So we gather the pieces and I carry a purse a bag full of teaching supplies and now a backpack that is all disheveled.  Classes end and we all meet up to form the search party.  My youngest daughter walks up to me with the "uh oh" face on carrying an arm.  The arm of her sisters American Girl doll that she borrowed and is now missing a limb.  I sigh and we send oldest daughter and 2 youngest daughters  to the van with multiple backpacks, dolls and 2 gingerbread houses.  My oldest son carries a crockpot full of dinner out with them.  I head out with the other daughter and 2 youngest son's so the field with the glasses...
I search a whole garden looking under piles of flowering plants.  Then I see my search party turn the corner and the whole crew is together combing the field.  Finally youngest daughter yells I found them!!  With one side sticking out the wrong way she brings me the mangled spectacles and oldest daughter takes them and bends them back.  We trudge to the van while I say  "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!"  We pile into the van and head to greener pastures.....Dunkin Donuts.  We all forget the past as we pick a treasure.  Just keepin it real folks....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

And now....back to real life!

Rosie has been home for 3 1/2 months and it is starting to find a new normal.  For the first month everyone was on their very best behavior and you would think we were the newest Brady Bunch.  The kids all did everything together and got along (this is VERY not normal around here).  Everyone seemed to love the game UNO, which was one of the only non English games everyone could play together.  No one argued and everyone smiled.....ahhhhh I knew it was pretend but I liked to pretend it would last.  However this is actually a sign in our family that there is a nonfamily intruder among us :)  See when people come over we scatter to make our house look clean, we scrub and light candles and play music.  We get that week old chocolate milk stain off the wall, pick up that nasty sock in the corner no one wanted to touch, put that pile of papers in a drawer to deal with (or more likely forget about) later.  The counters mysterious crusty stuff is scraped off and then we make sure everyone has pants and has brushed teeth and then when guests arrive we all act..."normal"...  We all know the routine, I have been to your houses too!!  No way your pillows stay on the couch so neatly and there is no jelly in mysterious places and if that is truly how clean your house always is please never tell me!  So onward to life.  We were living that "normal" for a month or so. Then I noticed some kids squabbling, or other kids not wanting to play the same game again.  I saw the older kids drift back to candy crush and facebook and the youngers drift to Barbies and Hot Wheels.  I noticed the chores were forgotten and that sullen look that follows a new math lesson had returned. Slowly and quietly Rosie became one of us.  No longer a stranger staying with us, another one of us, telling on little brothers and sisters who are being a nuisance and trying to stay up a little later.  Now almost 4 months into our family of 10, we are pretty much totally back to normal.  She has seen all our morning hair, watched us be messy, admitted she hates green vegetables and loves donuts.  Apparently donuts are not a part of the Bulgarian cuisine. 

So while now the normal is back, we are back to our messy lives, it is a good sign that things are going really well.  As strange as it sounds..

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adoption and Redemption

We have been home a week and a half and so far things are going well.  I will not get into the details of Rosie's past because that is her testimony to tell.  I will tell you how adopting a teen is different.  First of all she is very independent and capable which makes it a bit easier to help her adapt.  She really is a remarkable kid.  She has been through so much in her 13 years but she is still so full of hope and thankfulness.  She has a tender heart towards children and really seems to have connect with Zeke.  She seems to enjoy having older children in the house to play with.  I can't imagine how overwhelming this must be, new language, new friends, new family, new foods, new culture.  She is able to keep in contact with friends in Bulgaria through facebook.  This is good for her because with so much change she still has a lot of the familiar.  I have told her a lot that time will make things easier.  She has her sad moments and even some angry moments, but most of the time she is good natured and smiley.  She loves to give me giant hugs.  Last night she looked for Dad to give a hug good night.  We are currently working on learning some English.  This will be a slower process than I had anticipated.  We are doing lots of gesturing and google translate has been a lifesaver!  I think the hardest part is conveying how we do things normally and what our morals are.  When it comes to clothes, music, videos she is used to things we do not allow.  A friend said it perfectly when she said you spend years protecting your kids from the world, then you invite the world into your home.  She is very understanding and listens and we are lenient for now on what she is doing.  It is much more of a give and take process with a teen than it is with a much younger child.

 What God has taught me through all of these adoptions is redemption is always uncomfortable.  For the child getting used to being accepted into a whole new way of life.  Its very uncomfortable at first.  They don't want to offend, but as a child they do not always know how to act, think and feel.  They can not shut off their past when they walk through the door.  Their is a way they have done everything, a world they have experienced, sin that has hurt or entangled them.  You see the desire as they adjust to do things well.  You see them watch those who have been here longer and with a jealous desire sometimes they wish to be that far.  You see those who have been here longer see how far they have come as a new child enters our home.  It gives them a tremendous sense of belonging to see that over time they have morphed into a true part of the family.  That all those moments they had felt like they had messed up, done it wrong, upset a parent or sibling, felt unlovable nothing had changed and through that they became a solid member of our family. It wasn't easy, nothing is especially when we talk about a situation that starts off with a child being given up for adoption.

 It is like that with salvation.  I first watch Christians as they went into God's house.  I had this jealous desire to be part of it, though at the time I did not fully understand.  After I first became a Christian I wanted to do so well and please God, I wanted to do it perfectly.  But like our children, I couldn't just leave my personality, sin, past, habits at the door.  I messed up over and over.  Many times I wondered if God would give up on me, if the church would roll their eyes at me.  Yet just as I promised my children time has a funny way of changing perspective.  I started realizing I knew more than I though, I started seeing God redeem me despite my mistakes and failures.  I watched God take me from a spiritual orphan to a child of His own.  Every year that passes I have more and more to look back on and see how God has changed me over and over despite my best efforts to thwart it!  It is always uncomfortable to change, but in the end I am closer to being who God made me to be.  So if you are in an uncomfortable spot, don't fret, God will work despite us!  We are adopted and redeemed.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She is home!

Sunday afternoon Rosie came home forever.  Randy and Alex made the trip to bring her home.  They had a good trip.  No bags got lost, no one was ill, God was all over it.  Rosie was waiting excitedly at the orphanage.  I waited with anticipation as we decided that since she was shy and easily overwhelmed to meet them at home with the kids instead of an airport party.  I first went out and she gave a me a big hug and a kiss.  She then came in and met all the kids and everyone was so nervous and excited.  She has got along with all of the children so far.  She seems much more comfortable when they are around.  She likes to play UNO with them and even teaches the younger kids how to play.  So far it has been very smooth.  She really is a good kids.  Perhaps this is the honeymoon period for the moment, but she has been in our care for 8 days and so far she is happy.  Last night she even put herself to bed early!  I think that jet lag has hit!  Its a new adventure with a teenager, learning how to teach her how our house runs while also giving her the freedom a teenager needs.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed for her and for us.  Please don't stop :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Open the tent

Many years ago when I first thought of becoming a mother I had a dream to have a large family.  When my oldest was born, I was in bliss, it was everything my heart hoped for.  Then in December of 1999 I had a miscarriage and was devastated.  I prayed for God to let that child stay.  Then I was blessed the following year with our second child.  Then the doctor told me that I should not have any more children.  My dreams seemed like they would never be fulfilled as I had thought.  Five years passed where I tried so hard to give up the dream, I begged God to take the desire for more children from my heart.  I wanted a new dream, something I saw as attainable.  Then we set out to adopt our first time and time after time we were passed over by birthmothers.  I started to think I was cursed that maybe I wasn't a great mother and that God was punishing me by leaving that desire in my heart and yet making it impossible to fulfill.  One day in my quiet time the Lord led me to this passage in Isaiah 54:

1 "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. 2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit-- a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. 7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer

After I read this I felt like the Lord was spurring me to wait on his timing and that my time of waiting was going to come to an end.   I cried as I read it and told the Lord if you will fill my tent I will open it wide.  Shortly after that we adopted 2 of our girls, the following year we had 3 more come home. Now again we are making room for our 8th child.  Tomorrow she walks out of the orphanage forever into her family.  We walk from a family of 9 to a family of 10.  So anyone who can't quell that unattainable thought in their mind, hold fast.  God does not disappoint!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Final countdown to coming home!

In 3 short days we will begin the journey to bring Rosie home forever.  I have had the awesome pleasure to talk to her over facebook the past few days and I realized just how much she is my girl already in my heart.  With the time difference I know that she is on in the morning, so I race downstairs to see if she is on.  Whenever Randy travels I always leave all communication lines open and waiting and I wait by them in case he needs me.  I have left facebook open all these days all days, just in case she needs me.  I was able to facebook chat with her (google translating every message), make pancakes from scratch and start laundry all before 8.......I felt like Supermom this morning ;)!  No matter what I am doing if I hear her message me I drop it and run and hang on her every word until I see 4ao, which I have learned means "chow" in which I resume my previous activities.  Each of my children have a special song that struck me as just for them, and this song from Christy Nockels is Rosie's song.  I think after 13 years of waiting on a momma, its time :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

My mom and my thoughts of heaven

Ten years ago today my mother gave up her earthly battle with cancer to join heaven.  I have had many years now to process her loss.  She was a great mom, who showed me how to care and how to love.  She loved her family with a complete devotion.  We were not just her children but a link to herself.  For that I was blessed.  Now as I contemplate where she has gone, I have grown in my faith and I have observed many a book or article about loss.  I am going to step out here and admit something I have to come to find comfort in that many may not understand, but some may.  I don't believe she is watching over me and before you judge that statement read thought this as why.  I believe she is part of the kingdom of God where she is not sad or in pain.  Anyone who knew my mom would know watching us live out our lives and not be able to join in or help or dry our tears would tear her tender heart out.  I am here to live out a purpose for God, my life has meaning deeper than anything I can understand.  I will someday join my mother as like with pain, time has no meaning in heaven, we will not speak of the years separated, as no time exists. As hard as the concept is to wrap my mind around, she will exist with God and when I join her it will be for her as if no time has passed.  I don't know how I could move on to fulfill God's call in my life if I thought every time I cry for her she cannot literally be here and make it better.  In fact its painful for me personally to think of her watching me 10 years later moving on with life without her.  I don't want to think of her watching me buy a mothers day card for someone else, or seeking answers to things as I grow from other women.  Things she herself would have loved to teach me.  I think its God alone who sends the purple flowers my mom said she would send to remind us of her (and I have found purple violets at every house we have purchased!)  God understands my need to keep that connection to my mother because I do live in a time and I feel every day, week and year.  When my children say good bye to me someday I want them to walk forward in whatever life God has for them with the full assurance I am in glory and happiness and freedom and they can join me, but for now its OK for people to move on and our loved ones are in happiness and freedom and God has us in his hand.  Please don't flame for this point of view, I do not believe that thinking our loved ones are watching us is wrong.  We cannot now that which is to come, its just my personal view.  For today I will imagine my mom in heaven talking up a storm about her children and grandchildren with the wide smile she had.  I will let my Savior comfort me. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Easiest labor, longest pregnancy!

Tonight as I sleep half way across the world a courageous 13 year old young lady will tell a court she would like to be adopted.  Then all of the culmination of paperwork and visits and many, many fingerprint and doctor appointments collected over the past 15 months will be given to the court and in those few moments a family will be created.  A girl who has not had the love of family will be forever joined after many years of waiting.  A family with an empty bed will fill it with a child they will love always and forever.  I remember 15 years ago becoming a mother and seeing my oldest daughter come into the world and all the anticipation and nerves bundled and my heart swelled.  Now it swells again as my 8th child, Rosie joins our world in paper.  If you haven't yet guessed, our court date is tomorrow!!! In a few weeks we will be united!!!!!!!!!  Please pray everything goes smoothly!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Find the beauty

One thing I have learned as I get older is it can get ugly.  People are always polarized over topics, politics, religion, social issues, school choices.....and it goes on and on.  I have seen it in all areas from the playground to the pulpit and to be honest many times it seems easiest to react in anger, hurt or frustration.  In fact I am guilty just today of reacting with anger over an article about adoptions from Liberia filled with lies that use the sources created by other lies.  Then I thought about it and realized that Jesus knew this, he sat among those that polarized others, especially the religious community.  The dirty, the poor, the illegitimate, the prostitutes and yet he loved them, ate with them, didn't look down on them or turn up his nose.  He did this not because he was sticking it to the Pharisees, but simply because he saw ALL our sin.  He didn't rank one type of sin worse then the other, yes some were sexually or ceremonially unclean, but others were full of pride.  None were found worthy, hence the need for a Saviour.  He was able to find a way to find beauty though despite the sin, found the devotion of Mary Magdalene, the honest seeking of Nicodemus, the loyal follower in Peter and the evangelist in Paul.  Who am I to or in that case who is anyone to condemn another based on my perceived sin in their life.  My job is not to seek out their imperfections and point out my pride, but to seek out their beauty and the redemption my Savior found worthy of dying for.  My job is not to say or write a scathing thing or walk around picketing the sin I find more abhorrent than my own, it is to live in the power of the God I claim to believe.  It should be through living in this power that people are drawn to the God that I love, to the life only He can provide.  In reality it makes life more enjoyable.  Once we realize its not a contest, its nothing we can claim winning in nor should we get joy when we can one up one we deem a sinner, its living in the grace we were allowed and trusting in the future that God already has in His hands. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Doing Nothing

Sometimes I fall into the pit of thinking I am not doing much. I feel like maybe I should get a job, get a hobby or clean the house more.  Perhaps its because I tend to answer emails within minutes of receiving them and always have my facebook up.  This weekend for Mothers Day my awesome husband gave me the weekend off.  He did the cleaning, cooking, and answering the 10000 can I questions from the kids.  I literally got to do nothing!  I slept in both days, and it was quite lovely.  As I sat and truly spent hours just relaxing, I saw all my husband was doing.  I saw just how many times he would sit and then someone would need something and he would get up.  I saw just how long putting together dinner takes for this crew!  Randomly the other day I also realized that every night I make dinner I make enough for a "dinner party" according to websites and cookbooks, but that is beside the point.  I also saw that familiar tired face as dinner ended and showers began.  It made me realize that I definitely don't "do nothing" category, but more I realized that I must love it to make it not seem like work.  In fact I was so refreshed this morning and ready to jump back in that I got a lot accomplished.  Hmmm so maybe I am doing just what God wanted for me in this season, maybe  I can rest in the fact that I might... just might, be doing something right!

Adoption Update:  Still waiting on our court date, hoping to hear soon!  I am so excited to bring Rosie home!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A cracked vessel

I have struggled with anxiety for many years.  It is one of those things I have prayed for God to take away but it is always there.  My usual worries revolve around letting others down, whether it is controllable or uncontrollable circumstances.  I worry about something happening to me or my children. I worry I said the wrong thing, didn't say the right thing, made a fool of myself or acted too proud.  I worry that I have said things I cannot fix or didn't say what should have been said.  I worry that I am doing too much or not enough.  Its as Paul described a thorn in my side.  Today however I had a revelation of sorts.  I thought....what if its exactly who God made me to be......what if this is me.  Yes it would be nice to say I will jump in the car and be a "free" spirit, but then what would drive me to my knees?  While speaking with some wonderful ladies today I came to realize how many times God has shown up and proven to me that he has it under control, that He is my protector, provider and that I can rest in him.  It was my anxiety that showed me that.  He has slowly (i supposed I am a slow learner!) over the years pulled down so many fears and what I have found behind it was Jesus, holding me up every time.  I am an Israelite, I have seen my own miraculous healing, I have seen people show up just in time, I have had God show me things that can have no other explanation and then I walk on and forget.  Like the Israelites forgetting the manna, the parting of the red sea and the cloud they followed.  I look around and see the waves and start to go under while all the while Jesus has his hand ready to pull me up over and over.  A lot of times people ask me how I do it with 7 kids and another on the way....want the honest may not be as awesome as you may think........I shake and quake about traveling and driving far for that matter, I cry when I can't see how its going to work, I stomp around sometimes when my ways not working, I change my mind a million times about whats best for our lives, I question EVERY decision a million times and then doubt what I swore I knew was right (seriously ask my family).   I am a cracked vessel but the amazing thing God keeps showing me is people don't see my broken pieces because Jesus is holding it all together and even when I am worrying He is there.  When I am worried people will see my faults or failures they are seeing Him move.  When I worry I run to Him and He provides, even when I forget He never does.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The enormity of it

This Easter we decided to make a conscious effort to display the importance of Easter to our children during the holy week before.  We did something every day to build up to Easter morning.  We burned candles with perfume scents to remember the woman who poured her perfume on Jesus, we shared bread while we talked of Passover, we made crosses symbolizing what Jesus did for us.  I was really hoping the children understood the significance of Easter.  When Easter morning came we went to church and I quickly realized this week had taught me more than I had known.  I could barely get through the songs without tearing up.  My heart was bursting with joy when we sang about Jesus rising again.  This Easter didn't quite go as I planned, we had planned to make a big turkey dinner with all the fixings for the family, but before heading to church I realized I was missing a lot of ingredients.  Instead we took the kids to a Chinese restaurant for lunch and then came home, the rest of the day was filled with relaxing together, playing games and then the ultimate treat pie for dinner!  I was filled with the joy of the truth of the cross and at the same time longing to have my Rosie with us!  We are so close to bringing her home.  I was disappointed that we couldn't have her home with us for this Easter, but Sunday morning reminded me that God's timing is perfect and she will walk into her forever home at the perfect time God has allowed.  So go ahead and "teach" your kids a lesson, maybe you too will end up the student!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

House Update!

I haven't posted much about everyday life lately, but its not due to lack of material :)  Hang around here long enough and you will see we really do live in a people zoo.  Just when I figured out how to raise a bunch of little kids they went and started to grow up so now we are in new territory with older kids!  One is getting ready to get her permit and looking at colleges, one's voice is starting to change so that sometimes I think I hear my husband talking only to find my son, some are wearing capri's that were bought originally as pants, and I lugged my "baby" up in the air only to find a 6 1/2 year old is pretty heavy...........I have to say I am enjoying most of it!  I can't say I wouldn't love some other little ones that are in their footy pjs snuggled up in my lap, but the older years bring more conversations and opportunities to experience new things with them.  AJ is the most patient older brother, he plays this game on the computer that Zeke loves to watch and Zeke hangs on him and talks incessantly the whole time and AJ laughs and goofs with him, never tells him to go away (which is a common theme around here when little brothers are hanging around!)   Alex just started reading the first the 39 Clues books to Caley, Riley and JD.  They hang on her every word! Zeke thought it might give him nightmares so he instead likes to listen to his favorite "cd" which is actually our keyboard playing the demo songs over and over and on DJ mode which is even nicer.......  Hannah is going through a stage of singing and dancing in her mirror not realizing the whole house can hear.  My favorite activity is to slowly open the door and jam out in the hallway to her music until she finally turns around notices and jumps!  Caley is my reader, we have probably 100000000000 books, i have a problem.... but regardless and today we went through to find her something to read and it sounded like this..."read that, read that, read that, read that, read that twice" finally we settled on a Nancy Drew that was tucked back.  JD is fascinated by facts, like totally random facts that he thinks we may possibly just happen to know, a snippet, "Mom is Houston bigger then Dallas in size or just in population?"  usually while I am in the middle of cooking some meal.  We let him use the atlas book we have, but its already falling apart from use, yet the crazy part is he hasn't yet mastered which is the top of a lined piece of paper! :)  Riley has been working on writing letters in school and so today she mailed her letter that she wrote, envelope, stamp and all by herself.  She was quite proud to bring it to the mailbox and put up the flag, then we had to chase some random plastic bags around the lawn that came in the wind.  Zeke is so excited he can now write all his letters, so he is constantly writing letters and saying, "mom what does that spell?"  So as to not lose my mind from saying it says "zwekdienhigh" We are now working on learning to read.  As I typed this I have had 3 children reading books around me stopping to tell me everything that's"funny" in them, one child go for a walk but had to come in and announce a bathroom trip and then come in again to announce they changed their mind, another child singing a song over and over while an older sibling is saying says ...stop.....stop.....stop....stop and one who has her headphones in while doing some school work.  We just finished some homemade chocolate chip cookies well 6 kids and 2 adults did, one who hates chocolate chips had a bowl of Kix....  So that is a peek into my door......  Wouldn't change it for a thing!

Adoption update: We have our I800 approval now waiting on the Article 5 and court date in Bulgaria, after that we can get ready to pick up Rosie!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


God has been using homeschooling to teach me about life :) Our church is currently doing a sermon series on being an authentic Christian. Many times we do "religious" things rote without an authenticity, more of a check box mentality and miss what a relationship with Christ really entails.  We are meant to live out our Christianity.  Anyway getting to what this has to do with homeschooling.  Zeke is my free spirit child, he isn't one to sit down and focus on much unless it involves, dirt, bugs or monster trucks.  So attempting to have him sit and learn something in Kindergarten this year was a challenging thought.  He is a wiggly boy, he would much rather hop to his destination then walk or better yet run at full speed.  I love every bit of that, he is everything every little boy has inside.  However learning to write letters takes time, stillness and concentration when you are 6 years old.....are you seeing where this is going..... He has never had any school outside homeschool, he will be the only one.  So "school" to him is just part of life.  Speeding up now to the other day, I walk into the kitchen and there is little boy standing at the counter with a book sitting in front of him and he is copying all the words onto a piece of paper with a pen I had left sitting there.  He is carefully copying each letter neatly.  He showed me so proud what he was doing and I got all excited.  It seems silly, but I was so excited because he was authentically on his own practicing what he had learned, he could have chosen a million other things to do but he was so excited at what he was able to do he chose to do that on his own.  See many school things my kids do are because they have to, or they are expected too.  But nothing makes my teacher heart more excited then when the authentic stuff happens, the classic book they choose to read because it looks good, the excitement when they learn to read better and can move to the new section of the library with the bigger books, the educational video game that they rush to play, the letters they copy from a book proudly.  The teacher in me beams because 1 they are really learning and growing and 2 they still find it fun and exciting.  That's the good part, the bad part is the school day where the book is being read with a pout because they "have" to read for schoolwork, the sigh when they realize that its 25 math problems, the sloppy handwriting because it was done in a rush to just get it done.  Its draining to the one trying to teach, you realize its not all going to be fun, but it makes for a long day even when it all gets done.  So what this has to do with many times am I guilty of "doing" the prayer time, bible study, church service with the "have" to attitude and not the authentic joy in the fact that I am learning, growing and changing.  How often do I lose the perspective on how far God's teaching has brought me from where I once was, that every lesson and experience from God brings me to a better understanding of life and who God is.  No wonder God tells us come to him as children, that excitement a child has when they can do something they couldn't do before is contagious, we all jump around and act silly for that child.  I need to wake up as a Christian, I have to get people jumping around me when they see the excitement I have from God revealing himself.  I want God to catch me practicing what he taught authentically in my life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My heart of adoption

Sometimes people talk of the ministry of adoption.  I however do not fall into that crowd at least not intentionally.  I have always had what I thought of as selfish motives to adopt, but God has revealed how little I truly understand and how much He knows.  I learn the best lessons through experiences.  See I grew up dreaming of being a mom of a lot of kids.  When I found out after AJ was born and I was 21 that I wouldn't be able to keep having children, I was devastated, no other life made sense to me, I had waited to grow up to have this family and now it seemed the door was closed.  I almost immediately realized that I could make this family through adoption, Randy took a little longer to see this plan ;)  See then I didn't have a personal relationship with Christ.  The adoption was about my desire to be mom, about doing the one thing I was passionate about and loved.  I could think of no better existence for me then changing diapers, wiping noses, singing songs, reading books and tucking in little ones.  Then before we adopted I became a Christ follower and to be honest my desire was the same, I wanted to be a mom to a bunch.  That was still my passion.  Then we adopted Caley and Riley and then our Liberian trio and now Rosie.....  I have had people talk about adoption being a mission, a way to care for the orphans, which by the nature of adoption does.  But I always felt like a fraud when well meaning Christians spoke about our adoptions as some missionary endeavor from our obedience to Christ.  I always adopted for the fact that I LOVE being a mom, I love the challenges, fun times and all that more then any other job I have tried and those who know me know I have had many many many random jobs.  So I started thinking about this when I realized a crazy parallel to my relationship with Jesus.  See its  not that God wants an obedient soldier that he has forced to follow or love him.  Although obedience is a wonderful thing!  He wanted to create us because He wanted us, He wanted to be our father, He wanted to provide all we need, He wants us to rest in the knowledge that He can handle what we bring. I can relate to that, I want nothing more then my children to let their guard down, trust that I fully wanted them, that they are not a project to fix, but a piece of my heart.  I want them to know whatever baggage was brought in from their past does not color how I see them now, if anything it pains me to see the hurt it caused them.  I want them to find shelter in my wings. God LOVES taking care of His creation its what He is made for, we don't have to shoulder this life on our own, He is not looking to punish (although just like good parents we do need discipline).  Here's the sad part, sometimes my kids have hidden things they don't think I can handle (or it will jade my view of them), sometimes they don't trust me due to other adults that have let them down, sometimes they are angry that I adopted them, sometimes they are angry at their situations, sometimes they have to overcome their past.  They never have to carry this burden alone, sometimes they choose too, but if they could see my heart they would know that NOTHING would make them less lovable, valuable or desired by me.  That's the heart of our Father, we often carry the burden we carry the shame when asking for Him to "adopt" us or asking for him to carry us.  Nothing we bring makes us less valuable, wanted, cherished in His heart.  Just like meeting Rosie, day one she wasn't sure she trusted the idea of adoption, giving up what she knows regardless of how much better it may be..learning a new language, culture way of doing things, mind set with the hope of something more then life will bring her.  When asked do you want to be adopted she looked at me and said, I don't know....  After 4 days of spending time with me seeing I cared about her, hearing about what it was like, feeling a real hug and kiss, watching her "mom" sit in the audience of her show beaming with delight and taking her picture 1000 times, she looked and said, I want to be adopted!!  We need to cry out to Jesus and tell him the truth, he can handle it.....we need to tell him I don't know if I want to give up what I know, follow His word, perhaps leave behind things that I find comfort in for the promise of something better.  I promise though just like Rosie, the first time you do let yourself feel the Fathers love, lean on His strong arms, feel His presence in the room beaming as I was with Rosie, you will shout YES adopt me Lord, I am willing to take your name I am now a Christian.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looking back

I took a look today back at an old blog that I kept and read through some of the old posts.  Funny how we swear we won't forget stuff, then life happens and we forget!  The best parts of looking back over life is remembering the good.  Sure we know the mundane happened and we know it wasn't sunshine and roses all the time, but there is a lot of good.  I forget how little the kids were and how big they seemed at the time. As I am sure I will look back how little they were these days.  I am definitely not as good as a blogger as I used to be!  I tend to not talk as much about daily life, so I want to get back to that so when I look back here I have my memories.  Today is a lazy Sunday, Alex is baking cupcakes, Zeke is watching his favorite John Deere Tractor video for the 1000th time, Caley, Riley and JD are in a very loud game of Trouble and Hannah is in her room listening to music.  Randy and AJ met up with my brother in law to go to a food fest of spicy foods....I am not that brave.  We are still waiting on our I800 approval for Rosie from the US government so that we can send it Bulgaria where they can then take it to the court, finalize the adoption and then get Rosie's visa and passport.  Then she will be home!  We got new dressers this weekend to move things around to make room for one more, soon we will put up her bed and put her clothes in her drawers.  Its beginning to feel real!  After 2 adoptions get far and end its hard to believe this one is going to happen. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Never Alone

To every woman who has believed she is alone

To the abused woman you are loved and prayed for.  You have more strength than you believe, you have a God who has never left your side.

To the pregnant woman you can do this, that child will only be a child for awhile, but you will be a mother forever.  You have been given the greatest blessing in your womb.

To the mother who gave her child up for adoption, your child is loved and safe and you will be reunited someday in a place without pain or jealousy. You were a precious link in that child's walk with the Lord and you are never forgotten.

To the woman who has been infertile, your pain is understood and validated.  You are not missing your calling, it is part of your calling, your God has it and He alone knows that this is part of your walk with Him, your needed.

To the lonely woman, your never alone your God is leading.  Others are praying for you and others feel just as lonely and are waiting for someone to take the lead.

To the lost woman, you are never truly lost, your just looking in the wrong direction, look up for your Saviour awaits to lead you.

To the woman who feels burdened, there is one who will carry that.  A God so strong he can handle whatever it is and offer you rest.

To the woman who feels as though she doesn't fit in, a little note, we all feel that way!  You are a gift waiting to be received by others.  An interesting/unusual gift is usually the best kind.

To the woman who feels like she has made too many mistakes, its never too late to turn around and come home.  You have a father to run to who will forgive you and wipe away your tears. 

To the woman who is mourning, you will be reunited.  Run to the one who heals our heart. 

None of you are alone, You are loved

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Someone should miss you

Yesterday we dropped off two of our children to attend a winter retreat with our church.  It was the first time we have done this and it was a strange feeling letting them go.  They are a part of Randy and I and we are used to them being here.  Even though its for a few days, it reminded us how quickly the years will pass when it will be bringing them to college and then into their first homes....  Bittersweet times of letting go and yet watching them achieve what you have always prepared them for.  After I was filling out some final paperwork for Rosie's adoption and I began to think about her life in contrast.  She has been in an orphanage as long as she can remember.  No one to wring their hands at the thought of her not being around, no one to think about how a situation is going to affect her, no one to lose sleep when she is sick or emotionally drained.  No one to cry as she went off to kindergarten, watching those tiny legs carry her up the steps to her school.  No one to shake their head as she walked into junior high wondering where the time went.  I couldn't help but think, don't we all as humans have a right to that simple thing.  To experience that kind of love as a child, to feel that special when we are young.  How many other Rosie's are there out there that don't even know what its feels like to be missed?  How many others will age out of their orphanage or foster care system and lose their chance to be missed?  I have to say filling out the paperwork, leaving the kids to travel and especially finding the money for the bills the adoption is accruing is hard, but can it even begin to compare to the idea of leaving another child who has missed 13 years of being missed in an orphanage?  I realize that the orphans will always be among us, we will never solve the problem, but how exciting it is to know this one is coming home, this one will have a mom and dad with tears on their cheeks when she graduates high school, goes off to college, shows us the engagement ring, gets her first job.  A mom and dad who holds their breath as she first drives a car, who celebrates her sweet 16 and wonder where the years are going, who shakes their head as they watch her outgrow her clothes AGAIN!  Who wonder what she will do in life and celebrate when she does it.  Yes adoption is messy and very expensive, but how much is that worth?  How much is too much when that is what is at stake?  Hopefully we are only weeks away from our Rosie coming home for good. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

As I sit up with my 6 year old, who doesn't get the whole stay up late sleep in connection yet.  I have some time to reflect on 2012 and think about 2013.  Last year was a good year here at our house.  We talked with the kids yesterday and realized that it was a year of fun and good family times.  It was a year we learned that we would grow to 8 children!  For some of our children it was a year of some major growth, both emotional and physical.  For me it was a year of learning to reflect on what God has already provided and start to take comfort in the reality that He will provide.  I am also learning that their is no magic formula to anything in life.  Most people who seem like they have it all together or know what they are doing are flying by the seat of their pants hanging on to life.  Its pretty much how Randy and I have always lived, thinking planning, but then shrugging our shoulders and jumping in.  Now I can see that those jumps, whether into good or bad are what have defined our lives.  I see my older kids getting to those stages in life where the jumps are smaller, but none the less anxiety provoking and I am so proud to see or hear them ready to jump even when the outcome isn't certain.  I am a HUGE fan of play it safe, yet when God is ready to move me He gives me the courage to jump.  I used to be very sad at the thought of my kids growing up and moving on, while I still struggle with the whole how do you handle a Christmas when they can't come home!!  I am understanding more and more that God will have a new season then and I can't understand it yet because He has held my hand and asked me to trust Him.  I remember when we started the adoption process the first time we were sure we could ONLY handle a newborn adoption.  Now we are about to welcome a 13 year old and we are ready to JUMP!  So here is to 2013, a year of recognizing the power in walking hand and hand with my Savior.  Happy New Year!!