Love, Atoms, and Oceans

(scroll down to the bottom of the blog and push pause on the music first to avoid auditory chaos)

 I loved this rhyme performed by  rap artist Propaganda.
Whether you're a believer, a seeker, or a skeptic, I promise you this is totally worth 4 minutes of your day!  This powerful video captures the essence of God and human interaction in a simple, profound, entertaining and relevant way.     So cool!
 (although "cool" probably isn't a good rapper term...fresh?...help me out here, I'm a farm girl).
You could leave me a comment telling me what you thought in your best rhyme or rapper lingo.  



I came across this photo on this blog this morning.
I suspect like most of you, I grimaced and wanted to look away.
You probably did not want see it in the first place.
It's disgusting.

Now that it's too late to not see it, I supposed you could justify, make excuses for, or somehow compartmentalize this image into a scenario that does not involve you.

It's too real.  It threatens to burst the bubble of my own little world. 
So, like the man dressed in white we look away.  We keep walking.

We click to something more pleasant.  We buy another gadget that we think might fulfill us, soothe us or distract us from what we are meant to do.   After all we deserve it...don't we? 
 Our children deserve the finest things our money can buy.
That is not our child.

We choose to walk away.
Maybe the man in the picture was busy, in a hurry, consumed with problems of his own.
Take a look again.  I dare you. 

It's almost too extreme isn't it?
It's nearly impossible to imagine your own child in that condition.
In fact, we can pretend this child is barely human, instead of a child who should be running, playing, and learning.  

I'm disturbed.  Which may not come as a surprise to some.
I am frustrated. What can I do?  Why do so many other things distract and pull me?
I am filled with grief and remorse.

How can I justify the things that I justify, while outside the gates of my comfy life...
the world is dying.
Literally , emotionally, and spiritually. 

Just another reminder that we live in a broken world.   Altered.  Corrupted. 
"the whole of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." Romans 8:22
The pangs increase. 
We must open our eyes.  We cannot afford to be lulled to sleep.  Time is short.

 Passivity goes against the very heart and passion of a loving God.  As a Christian choosing to do nothing is disobedience. Could it be that we use apathy to prop ourselves up as superior to Jesus ,who left the riches of Heaven and touched those who we discard as untouchable.  The same Jesus who plainly taught  and showed us that wealth does not necessarily equal blessing, and poverty does not equate a curse.  When we enter eternity with  the blood of humanity on our hands we will be the ones to account for it, regardless of how much we left behind in our bank account.  
We hoard what God has freely given. 
 We hoard the  Gospel  of grace and we hoard our "blessings" within the walls of our self indulgent kingdoms.  

Maybe that suggestion irritates you.  
Maybe I'm too radical, too emotional, too severe, or too extreme. 
I'm ok with that.   
What I fear being is complacent, luke-warm, deceived, or selfish.
My sin nature is all of those things.   

I don't worship the cause of social justice.  In fact that is a catch phrase that is sometimes followed by a lot of deception in itself.   It does not earn us cosmic brownie points, a spot in Heaven, or enlightenment.

He doesn't tell us to uphold the cause of the orphan, the oppressed, and the voiceless because it will somehow fix this broken world on a whole.
At the same time that is not an excuse to close our eyes and do nothing.

 God does not need me to help Him redeem His creation or  attempt to usher in a utopic society.
He already sent a savior. 
He knows and has appointed the days of this world from start to finish.  

There will be justice regardless of what I do or don't do.   God sees the oppression, the despair, the enslavement, and the apathy.  Not a child dies in the dirt, is abused in a basement, or is tossed aside by a selfish culture,  that is not known and loved by the One who created them.
Not a hair on their heads is unaccounted for. 
Each one will  be avenged by a Holy God.  
Social Justice, although a very important part of our calling as Jesus followers, is not God's plan for redemption.  It is a part of who God is, it is His heart, it is a command...but it is not the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is not our salvation.
The death defeating cross of Christ and the grace of God is.  
That alone is our hope in this world of decay. 
Our sacrificial love poured out on those who cannot help themselves is an example of what God does for us.
God came to us, relates to us personally, and took from Himself to provide for us in our helplessness.  
How can we not treat those in need the same way?

It is the natural overflow of the inexpressible LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY we have received from Him.  
That is so much more than social concern, philanthropy, or good deeds.
It is worship.   
It is the long suffering, sacrificial , awe inspiring, humbling, eternal work of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us. 
Maybe that work overflows into our family members in need of compassion and grace, maybe it's extending our family to include the orphan, the foster child or the struggling single mother.  Maybe it overflows onto the homeless man under the bridge on your way to work or the child being pimped out on the street downtown.  Maybe it means feeding, clothing, loving and giving hope to children in a far away land.  It's being Jesus to the person in front of you each day, not only that, it is going out of your comfort zone and intentionally putting that person in front of you.  

How often do  those of us who claim the name of Christ become like a stagnant slough  instead of   a flowing life giving river of God's mercy and love.

This picture breaks my heart. 
How much more does it break the heart of the One who uniquely created this child, the One who knows how many tears have streaked down dirty cheeks, the One who knows his name?  

Sometimes we are tempted to cry out in anger, or stand judgement of God, as if we are fit to scrutinize Him.
 How could a loving God allow this to happen?!

It is a very precarious place to attempt to stand in judgement of an eternal, all powerful, all knowing, inscrutable God.  Like Albert Einstein's pencil questioning his theory of relativity.
If you look back to the account of Adam and Eve, isn't that how we created this mess in the first place?  
Thinking we know better.
Thinking that we can rewrite His story to suit our preferences, steal His glory, and  sit on His throne.

Maybe our line of questioning should be more along the lines of 
 "How can God continue to be so merciful to us despite our greed, our apathy, our ignorance, and the
 worship of ourselves?"

Lord, have mercy. 

Beauty out of Ashes from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
 to comfort all who mourn, 
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
a planting of the Lord for the display of  His splendor."  Isaiah 61:1-3

  Isaiah was chosen and called for a  purpose and specific time in history.   We are also called to be a part of His story in His world now.  The spirit of the Lord is on you...go..
preach, bind up, release, plant, comfort, heal, provide and proclaim.  
For the display of His splendor. 

My Mysterious and Beautiful Gift

My handsome boy is growing up so fast.
Although some days it seems not quickly enough. 

Caught between " can I be your baby?"
and "I want to be a teenager!"

Careful, imaginative, and analytical.
Smart and competent.
A timid comedian.
Terrified of everything that a child's imagination can conjure.
A fragile spirit.
Very persistent and very particular.
 Clothes, food, hair, and even socks must be just so

or his little world slips of it's axis.

One of the most wonderful and most difficult parts of parenting is attempting to discover the unique creation that is each of our children. 
My 4 year degree in the School of Silas, leaves me realizing only how little I know.  
My previous 5 years of parenting had very few transfer credits.  

God is unfolding the mysterious gift that is my child.
In the process He is teaching me, again, to pray, to trust and to seek wisdom.
I am learning how to reach my boy's heart.  
I am painstakingly teaching him empathy, honesty, and courage.
He is teaching me patience and humility.

Take note of the open window.  The temperatures soared to 2 degrees Celcius yesterday and the sun made a brief appearance.  I couldn't help but welcome in some fresh spring air.  

Even a few house flies came out of hiding.  Silas was on the hunt.
Sword in hand.

"Mom! There's a bug! A real bug! Don't worry I'll get him."
Thank-you my valiant Bug Slaying Boy.


Boys Baking Bread

Because the weather is still blasting winter and the highways are treacherous (even for us tough Canadian drivers) we have been stuck at home this weekend.  Our stretch of highway has been so bad that it has been closed on and off for the past few days.   The strange fluctuations in temperature, wind and snow have made our only connection with town into a white, snow drift covered sheet of ice.  There have been so many accidents, some fatal between us and our usual destinations.  We we were all disappointed to miss church.

I kept the boys busy making bread on Saturday.  Two birds with one stone.  A project that keeps us fed, and keeps my boys from systematically destroying my house.

Although there was some extra sweeping and scrubbing to be done as a result of the extra "help".

They love the kneading.
I use a big bowl and a wooden spoon to mix the dough.  Then when it's too stiff to mix with a spoon I dump it out onto the counter and the mess fun begins.

Just a little more flour.

The punching and kneading was a great activity for Roman.  He could punch, squish, stretch, and smash to his hearts content.  

He even tried his skills at making buns.
Maybe I'll raise a future baker, or a future really awesome husband who can surprise his wife with fresh baked bread.  

The sesame seed covered  swirly loaf was Roman's creation.  They are a little less fluffy since I stopped using eggs (allergy boy) but they are still yummy.
I made enough to stock the freezer, although it's insane how much of this batch has already been consumed.
We are bread fans.  It's a cheap way to fill a lot of tummies.  Maybe not the most trendy or health conscious food, but satisfying, wholesome, and comforting.  

Something else that is satisfying, wholesome and comforting is time snuggled up with my littlest boy.
My Silas boy so often gets lost in the mix.  He's not  the baby and not the "big kids".  This leaves him vying for attention in ways that drive me crazy (intentionally doing naughty things).  I love this boy to bits but I'm honestly still trying to figure him out.  This past couple weeks the Hubster and I are making an almost exaggerated effort to spend time with, encourage, and show a lot of spontaneous affection to him ,at the same time cracking down on the behaviors that are making our life more stressful.   I'm seeing glimmers of him trying to please me, reciprocating affection, and even remembering the manners I've been drilling into him for 3 years.  He is a sensitive boy and afraid of everything.  He has so much potential but he hides in his shell and interacts with the world on his terms.  
It has been causing me a ridiculous amount of parental guilt lately.  Stupid really.  I feel that somehow I have traumatized him causing him to retreat, or form some sort of attachment issues.  I know that sounds crazy.  Probably Satan trying to wound me in the worst possible way. 
The thoughts that invade tell me that our foster parenting caused his insecurity, traumatizing him with instability at a vulnerable age.  
I feel nuts for even mulling these things over but , could it be?  
Could these things have caused him harm?
Is he scarred for life because we left him for 10 days when he was 2 years old?
What is it with mothers guilt?
It doesn't matter what we do or don't do as mothers we will always find some area we may have failed our child.
Ok, that's enough of a peak into my inner parental insecurity
I never want him to doubt my love for him or question his value in our family.

I sure do love this sweet boy
even if I haven't quite figured out how he's wired yet.


Visions of Spring

Today is March 24th.
My calender tells me it is officially Spring.  

My camera and I wanted to share with you the stunning beauty of springtime here on the Canadian prairie.

The lambs are frolicking in the meadows of fresh green.
The wild flowers are blooming on the hills.

Children and animals enjoy the sun on their backs as they once again find freedom in the great outdoors.

Winter coats are exchanged for light sweaters.   Mittens are stored away in the basement.

There are  no lakes of mushy snow and rivers of mud.  There are no snow drifts that block our driveway. 
The cold howling snow storms  have been replaced with gentle spring showers. 
...because I said so.
Being grounded in reality is highly over rated.

 I see  tulips and the daffodils blooming.   Fruit trees blossoming.

The colorless landscape has been  filled with a vibrant new green.

It's springtime in Canada.   Can't you tell?

Happy Spring!


Once upon a time

( My little sister, me in the middle and my twin sister in the lead)
I played with my scanner for the first time today.
It was fun to look through envelopes filled with old photos and reminisce.
It makes a person think.
Thank God for family and friends.
Life flies by.
It is too short of grudges, selfishness or ignorance. 
Life is fragile, brief  and precious.

Four fleecy little girls (me on the left)
30 years ago.
Now each with babies of their own.

So many of my pictures  include me mothering real babies or my dolls.
Foreshadowing I suppose.
It's fun to look back.  

It's strange to see myself at the same age that my kids are now and have such vivid memories of that time.
I guess it's a good reminder as a parent to make the most of these years.

I  used to love to make up my own strange cake recipes and then feed them to my Dad. 
Thanks mom, for letting me experiment in your kitchen.
Thanks Dad for tolerating my masterpieces.  

A little stroll down memory lane put a smile on my face and brightened up this blustery, wintery, "spring" day. 


Miss Cece's first birthday

You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine

You make me happy,
when skies are grey.

You'll never know dear

how much I love you.

Please don't take my Sunshine away.


Mercies in Disguise

I heard this song on the radio for the first time this morning.
 I stopped clearing up breakfast dishes for a minute and just listened.
I have never heard a song that dares to point out where God's real blessings are often found.
We aspire to happiness, comfort, safety, health and success.  We ask God to give these things to us and our loved ones.  I need this reminder.
What if God has something better for us that can only be learned through grief, struggle, or heartache?
I want my prayers to look more like this.

I'm yours God, 
I crave more of you.
Bring me into your Holy presence and refine me with your consuming fire.
Teach me what love really is.  
Take away more of me, so I can see more of you.
Use my life for your glory.

Lord, my children are yours.
Help me to raise them with hearts that have been transformed and filled with you.
Give me your strength and wisdom every day. 
 Remove my selfishness as I pour myself out.
May my little ones truly know, to the depth of their spirits, the you are faithful,
even if that means you take them through experiences that strips everything else away.  
Lord I don't aspire that they be successful in the worlds eyes, 
perform to impress, or that they live safe and happy lives.
Make them strong in your strength.
Make them wise in your wisdom.
Create in them men and woman after your heart. 
Use them for you glory.
You hands, voice, and heart in a hurting world. 
Bless them with real blessings.  
The greater joy that can only be found
in the places few people are willing to look. 

May my Fruit be watered by the storms,
may they be fertilized by trials,
may they grow in desperation for more of you.
As they reflect your beauty may it bring 
nourishment to those around me.  

Empty me of distractions, selfishness, and ambition that is not a part of who You are in me.
Give me eyes to see your mercies in disguise 
and to receive the blessings 
that I'm too afraid to receive. 
Help me to trust in Your love even 
when it extends beyond my understanding.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
But long that we'd have the faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Waterslide and Burgers

Our week started out with a spontaneous "family fun day" trip to the City.   My husband, who has a wonderfully flexible job, took the day off of work.  My kids and I took the day off of school work.  We drove 2 hours to the City with our swim suits packed.  
It was a wonderful day.   The weather was sunny, slushy and Spring-ish.
The company was unbeatable.
The destination was sure to provide hours of fun.

We weren't disappointed.
This Daddy's girl  couldn't get enough of the water slide.  She gleefully clapped her way to the top as I lugged her up flights of stairs over and over. 

Being that it was a Monday we basically had the place to ourselves.  
Aili and Roman feel pretty lucky that they have the freedom that they do.  

I love that we have time together as a family.  Especially now that the weather is nicer and we can have little breaks from each other too!

It was nice to get out of our routine and just enjoy each other's company doing something fun.
Sometimes in the monotony of  daily book work, chores, and routines it's easy to forget how much I really like them, as people.  They are some really great little people.  
They make their mama proud. 
I love how Roman always runs up ahead to hold doors open for us and is always eager to help carry bags.
I love how Aili unbuckles her little siblings and then holds onto her little brothers hand as we walk through parking lots.
I love how Silas is becoming a "big kid" and we can make it through a long, tiring day without meltdowns, begging, whining or the like. 
And Cece...I just love that she soaks it all up with a big smile on her face. 
I love how they appreciated every bit of our day.
It made me appreciate them.

Roman was in sensory seekers heaven the whole time.  Couldn't get enough water to the face.

This little one was as brave as could be.  

Making memories.

We all worked up a fierce appetite so off to Fuddrucker's we went.
We don't eat out very much.  Mostly because we live in the middle of no where but also because we must pinch the pennies when it comes to feeding our crew.  We do enjoy a meal out though!
It is a treat for all involved, especially when there is pop involved.

We have been keeping an embarrassing secret but I feel the time has come that I must share it with you.
Our 4 year old has a drinking problem.

We are seeking out treatment options.
I thought his camera pose was funny.  Maybe I have low standards for what amuses me.

Yummers.  The burgers arrive.
Roman beat us all to the finish line.  I think the hubster was the most in love though.

Stop and Think

I am a woman of deep conviction and active faith. That is evident to any who read more than one or two lines of this blog.

What does that mean?

I believe in an awe inspiring, all powerful, creator. I also believe that the One who created the Galaxies hundreds of thousands of light years apart, and the intricate muscles in a caterpillars head also knows me. He knows you.
Do you know Him?
Do you believe that a God that holds our universe in His hand, and spoke the sun into existence can also know the number of hairs on your head?

So many people are convinced there is no God and yet question what the meaning of it all is. Is life really all just random? Is this just a bunch of molecules accidentally falling into place or is there order, meaning, and purpose?

If you wonder what all this God/ faith stuff is about.  Watch this.  I dare ya.


Unexpected Gift

This week my baby girl will be celebrating her first birthday.   Crossing over the threshold from infant to toddler. 
This year has gone by SO fast. 
Before the arrival of my other kids there was  9 months of expecting, waiting and dreaming before the arrival. 
Even with a more typical adoption there is a lot of waiting, planning, preparing and expecting.  Not that I'm sorry to have missed any of that.

I didn't plan.  I didn't wait.  I didn't expect.  I didn't prepare.
In fact, on the day she was born I was not even in the same country.
I had no idea that 5 weeks later my world would change and I would have another daughter.


It is a strange to think back to this week last year.  I wasn't pacing in a hospital,  packing a bag, or putting the finishing touches on a nursery.   I didn't even have a nursery.

This week last year we were saying our goodbyes to all our friends, celebrating spring, swimming at the river,  and having a very special tea party

Little did I know I  had a little one waiting at home for me.
I wanted to stay in Mexico.  God had another plan.

This photo was taken on the day Miss Cece was born.
Our family of 3 kids.
I had four kids that day.  I just didn't know it yet.  That makes me smile.  

The day she was born was a wonderful day and holds some beautiful memories.   
I spent her birthday working in the Learning Center for kids with disabilities.  We had set up a home made water park for the kids.  Baja  sunshine, amazing kids and lots of laughs. 
 I can't help but think that beats timing contractions and episiotomies any day.

Although the thought of her spending that first week alone in a NICU nursery without a mama to hold and soothe her makes me a little sad.

It wasn't long after we returned home that we got the phone call.  
The next day, this tiny black haired stranger was handed to me and I was thrust once again into parenting a newborn. A  precious little girl with a whole lot of issues going on inside her tiny body.
At that time I had no idea what her case plan was.   I didn't know if I would have her for 2 weeks or 2 months.  I didn't dare to hope that she would ever be mine.  In those first few sleep deprived weeks I would have cried both tears of joy and horror if you had told me we would be adopting her. 

I remember so vividly the moment we met. 
A little stranger being buckled into the baby car seat I had brought to the Social Services office.  The man who met me there wore a  tank top, reeked like cigarette smoke, and commented that she was a fussy one and I wouldn't be getting much sleep.  I felt afraid of what I was getting myself into.  I thought I must be crazy.

It was all so strange, yet so routine.   I had done this before.  There wasn't a lot of sentiment involved.  I would get her home and then we would get acquainted with this new little one.

I wanted to rush out of that building that holds so many conflicting memories. As much as I wanted to escape the strange building where children are picked up and dropped off like packages at a post office, something inside me told me to slow down and really look at her.  Take a mental snap shot, and remember that moment.  
I remember a very strange thought ran through my mind.
This is the moment I meet my daughter I'd better remember it.  
I quickly shook that ridiculous thought out of my head and brought myself back into foster mom reality.  
Babies come and babies go. 
This one would be no different.

Over the course of two days my world changed.
At the time it was all too familiar.  Just another baby that would tear my heart out when she left.

Well baby,  that was nearly one year ago.
Although the adoption process crawls along at the rate of a sleeping snail.
I am yours
and you will forever be mine regardless of paper, or courts.

You belong to each of us.  

Happy Birthday Sunshine girl
You are the best unexpected gift I have ever received.  

Our Father is a giver of good gifts and I can barely believe how much he has blessed me.
A gift that I could so easily have been to busy, too selfish, or too afraid to receive.

It makes me wonder how much we miss out on because we lack trust, because we fail to receive His blessings in disguise.

I didn't expect to have the privilege of celebrating her first birthday with her.
I have loved her as a mother loves a child that she knows she might lose.
When each day could mean a goodbye you learn to cherish the moments and love more intentionally. 

I am so thankful.  Not only that she is here with us but that she has been so healthy this winter.

In her first few months she struggled with health issues related to her drug exposure and the side effects of medication.  Beyond that she battled constant colds,  asthma, and lung infections.  It seemed she would never be a healthy baby.
Her immune system finally caught up with her and for the past 5 months or so she has been completely infection free, the inhalers haven't left the closet, and she hasn't had more than a couple days of runny nose.  
Maybe it's all the super baby food I'm feeding  her.  
Maybe it's the fact that her big siblings are homeschooling and have avoided this winter's viruses.
Maybe it's God's hand of healing and protection.

We are also so thankful that she has been completely asymptomatic of Hep C this year.   We hope it  will stay that way or for "spontaneous viral clearance" which does occasionally happen.
They want to check on her again sometime after her first birthday so we will have a better idea then what is happening inside her body.  
 By all appearances she is healthy, thriving and developing better than we could have hoped.

She is a clever, affectionate, happy, and silly little girl.  
It's been so much fun to get to know her, see her personality unfold, and watch her grow over the past year.

I feel so blessed and as I watch her play I am filled with thankfulness.