Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book(s) Study...

Ever have one of those times in your life when it feels like God has literally thrown you a lifeline? That's how I felt about the "The Too-Busy Book" by Linda Andersen. I felt like my life was pretty much out of far from what I had always considered "normal." I desperately wanted to slam the breaks on and get back on a safer course that felt more like ME.

Linda Andersen writes like a someone who really loves and cares for her readers. It took a bout with cancer to slow her down, to get her attention, to get her to apply the breaks, to get her back in draw her back to a God who loved her desperately. If you have never been in such a place in your life...GOOD FOR YOU!  But...if you HAVE, I know you will understand when I say there are some situations in life that you would not "CHOOSE," but - after going through them - you would not trade them...because what you have gained is PRICELESS! You cannot put a price on gaining a renewed focus on life and what really matters. Realizing that the God of the universe wants you
to slow down and connect with Him - even if that means drastic changes have to take place - is mind boggling!

I love The Too-Busy Book! It is conveniently written in 30 chapters...perfect to read and reread in a month...or month after month. I have also purchased Linda's other book, "Interludes." I have only scanned it - but - I believe it is practical wisdom about how to draw closer to to spend more and more quality time with a Fathenr who delights in YOU!

I am hoping to gather a friend or two to read through, discuss and apply the principles of these books to our lives. Hmmm...maybe Monday nights for about
an hour and a a local coffee clutter. I even thought people who live too far away could join in by reading the book and commenting on posts on a blog that are dedicated to each individual chapter...maybe just THIS blog. I will have to see if I can drum up some interest.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Time to Plan a TEA PARTY!

The challenge on deck right now is to plan and pull off a fancy lil tea party birthday celebration for our 7 year old whose ACTUAL birthday was in February. Who wants to have a party in the dreary late days of winter? (My excuse to put it off...more likely!)
I have perused the internet and come up with some fun ideas. Fynn has written and re-written her guest list...leaving it around the house in strategic locations. I am grateful for her patient spirit!
I am envisioning a lacey table with silly frilly decorations and treats worthy of any little girl in dress up clothes. There is a nutty balance to doing what is WORTH the cost and effort and OVERdoing it on things that the kids could care less about. Not sure how many years you have to throw these little soirees before you acquire the subtle nuance of getting it just right. Or...does it ever really matter?
The most amusing part to me is that our other young daughter - who is 11 -wants nothing to do with a "girlie" party of any a movie on the garage door with the projector, have snacks and a few loosely planned games and she is content!
I love this butterfly cake...and I love that it looks easy since it is made with cupcakes...and I love that I have kids who are similar (all pretty easy going), but so vastly different.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I know I am NEARsighted...but...I think I am SHORTsighted, too.

I have been hearing people comment on the plight of others lately who are going through hard times. A theme I am noticing is a call for Jesus to return quickly. I guess I don't think of this. I am more accustomed to think that God can and will use this tough stuff. I have seen Him redeem some messy stuff and it is such a faith builder. I am hoping and praying in this regard for these suffering families. My heart is pulled toward the belief that God can use the hard situations to reach those who do not know Him....people who stand in awe as they watch His children weather the storms under the umbrella of His love and protection...even if they get soaking wet in the process.

I do not mean to make light of anything anyone is going through. I just hope we are not quick to push it all aside as we express an insatiable desire to be done with this sinful world...that simply makes NO sense so often.

God is sovereign. Easy to say - (not easy to type...weird word..."sovereign") - but hard to fully embrace.

Lord, please grant an overwhelming sense of peace to those who are suffering and struggling tonight. Give them clear understanding that you have a plan and make known any details that will allow them to walk into a place of comfort. Let us strongly desire your presence...even more than we desire to be rid of the pains of this world.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cry of the Orphan Prayer Vigil

This is an amazing call to prayer! Click on the Prayer Vigil tab for more information and to find an event near you.
The website is a WEALTH of information about orphans - both international and domestic - and what YOU can do to make a difference. The stats alone should move you to and re-read them...let them sink in...and PRAY! I sincerely believe God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us when it comes to caring for His children...the least of these...the vulnerable children who are near and dear to His heart. (Which means they outta matter to US, too!)

What should our message be?
"Your life matters! There is no one else on earth just like you. You were made in God’s image, created on purpose and for a purpose. Your worth has been given to you by your Heavenly Father, and no one can change your value in His eyes. There is a plan, a future, and a hope in store for you. We can say this confidently because the Bible tells us in Jeremiah 31:3, “You are loved with an everlasting love.” God cares about you, and His thoughts toward you are of mercy and tenderness. We care about you, too."
(from Cry of the Orphan website)

May our ACTIONS speak loudly in response to what God will be faithful to place upon our open hearts!

Follow Your Heart

Follow your heart...but only if you are allowing God to lead it!

I think I have always had a heart for adoption and I don't think I would ever have said "No" to the idea. In fact, I loved the thought of adopting even before Pete and I met and married. Add to that the fact that Pete really has a heart for kids who need someone to love them. It was amazing to meet a guy from the deep south who had several close family members who are racially prejudice in a huge way...and he himself loves kids no matter WHAT color they are!
There was a time, however, when I would have told you that my heart was with international children in need of a mom and dad. I will always have an open heart to what God wants to do with our family....but....the romance of international adoption that I thought could and would never be replaced by anything domestic has moved into a "storage area" of my heart. I would not have believed God would take me through our mistakes and dark times in order to bring us out on the other side...the side that is EXCITED about kids right here!
We will be attending a prayer vigil this Sunday as part of a national campaign to be a voice for foster kids across this country. I am JAZZED!
I have a little boy in my home right now who came after I typed the word "DONE!" in desperate surrender. How could God be putting such a strong desire in my heart to parent a fatherless child if all the doors were closing...and hard?! A little over an hour later I was holding a brown angel baby...perfect in every way...a gift from God....regardless of how long that might be.
Foster care and adoption is tough stuff and there are unknowns. does not require us to hang on a cross or watch our only child go to the depths of hell...AND there is One who is in control of all the unknowns and we can trust him to lead us through it and protect our hearts in the process.
So many people tell me they could never foster or adopt because of the potential pain of a failed adoption or the heartache of having to hand a child back. There are no guarantees...except the guarantee that children without loving families will suffer lonliness and pain. Worth the risk? I think so. How can I sit in a place of safety, security, love and provision and say I will not share it....because I might get my feelings hurt?
Praying for changed hearts this week....on behalf of the children!

Blessed with Provisions & Opportunities

Today is a Monday FILLED with a renewed appreciation for the many, many, many opportunities God had blessed us with...along with the abundance of provisions He has seen fit to send our way.

In a sagging economy (that, in itself, being ridiculously relative...from a global perspective!), we have two jobs close to home that allow us to earn generous salaries while we work around each other's schedules to avoid the need for childcare.

Pete's employer provides incredible health and dental insurance at a very nominal cost to us. We are able to choose our own doctors and hospitals and we do not have to get a referral to see a specialist. The Flex Spending plan made available to us takes the stress out of paying OUR portion of the medical expenses. Whew!

We have been provided with a HUGE home for a rental price below market value. Our landlord was willing to give us a 3 year lease...enabling us to stay put until our son graduates high school next year. This neighborhood is like an oasis compared to where we recently resided. The house has very few "issues," the yard is not large - but ample (with a sledding hill in the winter), the neighbors are great, the elementary school is a hop, skip & a jump from us IN the subdivision, the teachers ROCK, and we are conveniently located to just about everything. It is pretty "comfortable" living here and I have to admit I believe it is God's way of providing rest after a rough patch in our lives.

We are trying to have no more than one car loan at a time. We made the decision to "off-load" the third vehicle...even though we have three drivers in the family right now. It has been surprisingly easy to juggle the schedules. With the blessing of our places of employment so close to home, along with our college student attending the oh-so-affordable community college right here in town, we are making it work! God recently blessed us with the discovery of a mechanic who is willing and able to repair our loan-free car for considerably less than we an attempt to make it last until the other (more reliable!) vehicle is paid off. Cars: Necessary EVILS!

With some disturbing revelations at one place of employment and the nagging sense of conscience that is prompting a change....God has yet again provided an amazing opportunity! Isn't it funny how - right when you think you have something really good - He shows you something even better? As we were scrambling and thinking we needed to make some hard decisions and difficult adjustments...God seems to be showing us a better that far exceeds our hopes! I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to go through life with the flawed belief that we are on our own with no direction from Someone so much bigger than us!

These are my ramblings...and they are absolutely incomplete. We have so much MORE to be thankful for...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thoughts about Mother's Day

I must be getting OLD. Mother's Day brings up thoughts much deeper than flowers and chocolates and Sunday Brunch. (Although...I would LOVE to be going to Sunday Brunch in Manchester with my mom again this year!)

My mom is so absolutely WONDERFUL! I think the world of her. She is the kind of person everyone wants to be around all the time. As a family, I think I can safely say, our world revolved around Mom....and for some, it still does to an extent! I think it speaks volumes about my mom that I still feel incredibly close to her even though we have lived 1,000 miles apart for almost 14 years now. (When I left, it was supposed to be for 2 years - ugh!) I would love to be back so much closer to my my whole family. Something to keep praying about!

As a kid, I just kinda assumed all moms were wonderful and loving and full of life. I slowly realized this was not true for all kids...and that is really sad. I also thought my mom was near perfect and I slowly realized that was not true....but it only endeared her to me even more. As a mom now myself, I am SO GLAD she was not perfect!!! I have to wonder if she felt like an inadequate mom? If she did, I never knew it. I take consolation in the fact that she probably DID feel that way at times - she probably felt overwhelmed with 5 kids - and she was still a FANTASTIC, out-of-this-world, amazingly loving mom!

I suspect "Mother" is the hardest job God created. It is very task-oriented AND heart-consuming. It is 24/7 from Day One until the day you die. simply MUST be the most rewarding, too.

This Mother's Day, I want to examine my heart to see if I am honoring God in the way I am mothering the children He has generously blessed me with - AND - ponder whether or not He is really and truly drawing me toward mothering certain children who have not come into this world through me. Big thoughts!

On a lighter note, I found a perfect gift idea for MY mom this year that I am hoping to throw together and mail TODAY! (I know it will be late....but....) My mom gave me her set of china...the stuff she got when they got married back in 1962. Some of it is chipped or broken, but much of it is still intact. I use it on occasion, but it is rather delicate. The craft idea I am so jazzed about is: Teacup Bird Bath/Feeders! All you have to do is attach the cup to the saucer with waterproof adhesive and attach a copper cap to the bottom of the saucer. The cap should slip easily over a copper pipe inserted into the ground. Can't wait to try it! I will send it with a little sachet of bird food - just because! Maybe I will make one or two for my OWN bohemian perennial garden....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sure glad "PERFECTION" is not a prerequisite!

So funny....makes me laugh every time. The faces are priceless...along with the lack of verbal reponse!

I love the way they think!

For as long as I can remember, I have randomly asked my kids if I can keep them FOREVER! The answers range from an emphatic, "Yes, of course!" to a sweet, sweet smile with no words at all.
Well, just the other day, Brogan woke up later than usual. The other kids had already left for school. He grabbed a muffin and curled up next to me on the love seat. After asking that favorite silly question above, I asked him if he was going to forget about me once he was all grown up and married with kids of his own. Between bites, he confidently said, "No."
My next question was worthy of scrapbooking....

ME: "Brogan, when I am the Grandma, can I buy your kids stuff?"

BROGAN: "No......but you can BORROW it."

PRICELESS! Oh, the difference an apostrophe can make.
I sure do love that kid...and the way God wired his brain!