Have Faith Baby

1 year ago we brought home a 5 week old baby girl. 
I marveled at her delicate features.   I was impressed by the strength and stamina of her cry.  I wondered after the first few sleepless nights what I had gotten myself into.
We didn't know her case plan. 
We didn't have any idea how long we would have her with us.

I assumed she would stay just long enough to fall in love with.
Inevitably, I would have to say goodbye.  I would once again hold back tears as I place the child that I love into the arms of a stranger and walk away. 
God had different plans this time.

It seems almost unreal that she is still here with us a year later and that we are looking forward to making her forever ours..
 and yet nothing could feel more natural, 
more perfectly right.

"I will always love you and treasure you and celebrate the day you came, the day that God found us you."
("God Found us You" by Lisa Tawn Bergren)

You, my sweet girl, have been such a ray of sunshine in our home.  Your beaming smile and playful giggles add so much joy to our family. You are loved deeply and you will be loved forever.

The adorable little dress that Miss Cece is modelling came from Faithbaby .  I was so excited when it arrived in the mail today! I won a gift certificate from Lynnette's spring blog party last month and this was what I bought with it.  Thankyou to both Lynnette and to Faith Baby for making my little girl look even more like a princess.


Frogs and snails And puppy-dogs' tails,

What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

Tomorrow we are celebrating one year with our little girl!  
We are so thankful to have reached this important milestone.
Praying for many more years of celebrating ahead of us.


Happy Easter 2011

 I hope you all had a wonderful Easter celebration today. 

As much as I typically avoid all the commercialism that goes along with Easter we do have a couple little traditions that make the day special for the kids. Dying eggs is one of our Easter traditions.  This year my kids dyed Easter eggs with Grandma while my hubby and I spent 2 days away on a little mini vacation.  Nothing exotic just a dinner date with friends, a night at a hotel, sleeping in, shopping, and enjoying each others company.  It has been far too long since went anywhere alone together.  It was wonderful to get away.

I thought this egg kit that Grandpa picked out for them was so cute.  They crack me up.  Pun intended. 

Easter morning is mostly spent getting lovely for church, but we usually have an egg hunt at some point during the morning rush.  This morning they searched for eggs filled with Play-Doh, which kept them nicely entertained while I spent time beautifying myself.
In case you're curious...we don't do the Easter bunny thing.  My kids wouldn't fall for it even if I wanted them to.   I haven't banned the Easter Bunny from hopping into our yard, it's just a non issue for us, totally off of the radar.  I  don't really have a strong moral objection to it, I  just have never felt like going out of my way to lie to my kids and spend tons of money on  baskets full of junk.  All the money grabbing from stores and marketing to our kids greed bugs me anyway.   To each his own.  This year they were thrilled to receive a KinderSurprise  egg and some chocolate mini eggs along with their breakfast..  It was a fun little treat.
  All that stuff is so far away from our focus today.
Today we celebrate and worship.

{Stopping for a picture on our way out the door.}

Poor Cece got cropped out the bottom of the picture.  She looked adorable standing there with the big kids in her Easter dress though.  (Someday we'll have permission to show her sweet smile)

 1 Corinthians 15:55
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
Death no longer has the final word.
The power of death and the grave is defeated, and Christ is triumphant over all!
That is reason to celebrate!

So today we are celebrating a risen Savior,
hope,  life and freedom in Christ,
a beautiful sunny spring day,
and the blessing of family

....with the first wieny roast of the summer!
Not your traditional Easter dinner but we felt like taking advantage of our first warm day of the year.
It reached 18 degrees Celcius today (63 F for all my American friends)!
Gorgeous!  I could feel the warmth of sunshine for the first time in 7 months!
  The best part is the hoards of mosquitoes haven't hatched yet.   

The flip-flops have been brought out of storage.
Silas is back to running around in bare feet.  He climbed up the last of the snow drifts dressed in his swim suit and bare feet.  No, I didn't get a photo.  Would have been a good one though.

These are two happy boys. 


Why Good Friday is good

"The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him— something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came."  Oswald Chambers

"The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind."  Oswald Chambers

"Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross of Christ is an absurdity and there is absolutely no need for it. What the world needs is not “a little bit of love,” but major surgery."


My son Roman asked me the other day why we call today "Good Friday" when Jesus died on the cross.  That doesn't sound like a good day.  
This past year I have been pondering, reading, and seeking to understand the cross and all it stands for more than I ever have.  In part my search for fuller understanding is spurred on by a fragment of the church that seeks to make the gospel of Jesus more comfortable, politically correct, and appealing to the masses.  In doing so some have  attempted to downplay or completely remove the wrath absorbing, mercy displaying, beautiful, terrible cross from the redemption story of mankind. 

  Along with the many diverse attributes of God, the purpose and person of Jesus has been further eroded and distorted to meet us on our own terms. The belief in ourselves, our worthiness, our loveliness, and the faith in our own human potential has rallied itself against the reality of our human condition and the crucified Jesus Christ. 

How can an ancient instrument for torture and death be not only good but wonderful?
Jesus hung dying, nailed to rough cut wooden beams.  
 By all appearances humans had defeated God.  
Death had victory over life.  Dreams were crushed.  Expectations were shattered.  All was lost.  What his followers of that time didn't realize, and we too easily forget is that...
The cross was chosen and the cross wasn't the end.  3 days later the victory would come.

It was not God's afterthought to redeem mankind.  It was not an unfortunate twist of events that martyred a "good teacher".  It was not a sideline to another gospel of Jesus.  It IS the very foundation, the pivotal point in history, and God's only provision for a race separated from it's creator.   

At the cross God poured out His own anger and hatred toward sin upon the sagging, torn, bloodied shoulders of Himself, God the Son.   Jesus drank the last drop of that cup for us. 

The day that we are able to stand righteous, forgiven, and pure before a Holy God...is a very good day.  Good is completely inadequate to describe how incredible it truly is.

"But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! " Romans 5: 8

 We can't fully understand or appreciate the fullness of God's love and mercy if we don't also acknowledge our desperate need for it and our hopeless separation and condemnation without it.   There is no greater love that this.  

The cross was Jesus carrying the weight, the shame, the guilt and the just punishment so that we could be reconciled to our Creator, who in his perfect Holiness cannot shrug and wink at our sinful state...just because he loves us.  That would not be Love, that would not be a mighty, just, Holy God...it would be a man made comfortable version of God.   It would be man worshiping himself.

The passion of the cross was so much more than nails, torture and death.  That alone does not pay the penalty for human sin.  After all, most of his disciples and early followers died in similar or worse ways.  It was the cataclysmic event that took place beyond the curtain of what bewildered eyes could see.  Perfection became cursed.  The One who knew no guilt, no shame, no sin...became sin for us.   God hates sin. He knows how it destroys us and those around us.   He knows what it cost  to forgive.   The weight of that burden is what caused Jesus to weep , pray and sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.  

Sin is not wrong doing, it is wrong being.  Each one of us have inherited the nature of our fallen world, the nature of sin.  We are born under the curse,  outside of the Kingdom, and Jesus provided the door for us to return to the Father.  The loving Father God that  desires each one of us to return to a life giving relationship with Him but He doesn't force us through that door, or allow us to build our own.  Other faiths deal with sins— the Bible alone deals with sin.

 If wrong doing was our only problem , a good teacher, a wise prophet, or a sentimental philosopher would suffice.  God would not have come to die in our place.   

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."  Romans 3:23-26

   Seeing Jesus as our therapist, a dreamer-poet, and merely a good example to follow does not accurately portray the God that evokes such an ardency of spirit in his followers that we can't help but desire with ever fiber of our being to be emptied of self, annihilated, and filled with the living Christ.  Following the "way of Jesus" (as an alternative to being made a new creation by the crucified and risen Christ) may inspire us to live better lives and try to be better people but it will be the 'good' that can never be good enough.  That illusion of self-sufficiency will either bring pride or despair...not repentance and transformation.  

God is overwhelmingly holy, all-knowing yet made himself known, astonishingly merciful, mysteriously eternal, perfectly complete, comfortingly sovereign, absolutely righteous and abundantly loving. This is the God that inspired the prophet Isaiah to fall to his knees when he saw the glory of God.

"Woe to me!" I cried.  "I am ruined!"
For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips,
and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken
with tongs from the altar.
With it he touched my mouth and said 
"see, this has touched your lips;
your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" 
And I said "Here am I.  Send me!"
Isaiah 6:5-9

 The sum of my good deeds is a heap of filthy rags without Christ's sacrifice and glorious grace.   In Him alone I am made clean, whole, and guiltless.   It is in Christ alone that I can live abundantly, show grace to others, forgive the unforgivable, and love the world like he does.  

It is His exquisite glory,  consuming love, extravagant grace, and undeserved mercy that was lavished on us at the cross.  This is the atoning, sacrificing, life transforming, prodigal love that wins.  This is the love that I am so completely consumed by ,and grateful for ,that I can not possibly deny or diminish it with a counterfeit.  

 This is the love that won when Christ uttered the words 'It is finished'.   

because LOVE is a lifestyle

Just look at the expression on that little girls face!  Each of these little girls has a history that includes extreme poverty, abuse, abandonment or neglect.  Does anyone deserve royal treatment more?

I have a favor to ask of you my blogger friends. 
I have a friend {Amber}who is living, loving, and working with kids at the orphanage in Baja Mexico.  They are a beautiful family with two young children of their own.   This family is such a sweet, genuine example of Christ's love lived out everyday.    

These pictures are from a recent post of hers.   These dresses were handmade by a seamstress and the youngest girls at the orphanage wore them in a fashion show.  Each of the little princessa's had their turn to walk down a runway built for the occasion.  It is a beautiful post that captures little girl's being made to feel like the daughters of the King.  
Right now Saul is back working in Canada (and has been for quite some time), earning money for his family to live off of as they serve and minister to the "least of these".  Amber and the kids stayed home in Baja, Mexico.
They are an example of lives lived in faith and obedience without the retirement fund, insurance benefits, fundraising goals, or salary.  
 Today is Amber's birthday.
She has been holding down for fort for several weeks now and will be missing her husband today.  I can't image going it alone for that long.  I'm sure she misses him terribly, as do the kids.

This is where you come in my friends.  
Please pop over and make this mama feel as special as she helps these little girls feel.

The photos alone are worth checking out her blog.
Browse through her blog and don't forget to wish her a happy birthday!

{gorgeous photos taken by Amber Machado}


Glimpses of Childhood

Sleepy girl loves books.

 She also loves to act like big sister.

4th grade math and pre-pre-pre-pre-K handwriting.

The weather is sunny and almost warm today!
Warm enough to hang the diapers out to dry.  Yes, I feel a bit strange posting a picture of diapers, but that is how thrilled I am with this weather.  

This summer Aili will be 10.  Double digits. 
Once I get over the complete shock of that reality I have to admit,  
I really like this age.
Still young enough to play with dolls, build forts, and climb trees.
Old enough to be a good helper and to have some interesting conversations with.   
She doesn't care what she's wearing, or if her hair is a mess. 
She is just her, unique, imaginative, full of big ideas.

The kids are enjoying the sunshine and the dry patches of yard.
I am enjoying watching them being kids, outside.

This boy  is running, biking, jumping, climbing and flipping enough to make up for a winter's worth of being cooped up.  
This is one happy boy.  

My little mother hen looking after her brood.

These two really couldn't ask for a better big sister.  

Such simple moments.  So easily missed as life flies by.


What did I do to deserve her?

Cece is not the kind of baby that nods off in my arms.   She would rather play.

After a few attempts at putting her to bed, way past her bedtime (overtired) I scooped her up and we rocked, and rocked, and rocked...
very slowly
her eyes closed.
I sat and soaked in the weight of her body.  The rhythm of her breathing matched my own.  I studied the curve of her lips and caressed the wisps of her hair.  I wanted to capture the moment in my mind.  

My sweet girl is growing up.
13 months today.
She is a curious, clever, playful, flirtatious, little bundle of laughter. 
It is so fun to watch her personality emerge.
She adores playing with her siblings, has daddy wrapped around her chubby little finger, and said "mum mum" for the first time this week.  

I still wonder how it is that I am so blessed.  I thank God for this little blessing every day.  


When the snow melts

You rediscover the world beneath the snow.
The grass, dirt, toys and garbage that was buried for several months starts to emerge.

You feel the sun on your face, and inhale the outdoor air deeply.  
It is then that you realize six months worth of cat poop is also thawing...under your deck.  
You decide to inhale less recklessly.

When the snow melts.  It leaves water.  A lot of water.
It's a little boy's wonderland.

Familiar play places become flowing creeks of melted snow.

The bikes are bought out of storage.  
So are the helmets.
Which, in case you were wondering, is why they are wearing them in the pictures. 
They don't typically walk around in helmets.  
Although maybe they should, it would probably help them float.
Roman is ecstatic to have his bike back.  He has already built a ramp to jump it off of.

My treasure hunters enjoy searching for discarded cans and bottles that have collected under the snow all winter.
They drag them all home and litter up our yard with their valuables.
Right now our yard looks like we had a pretty wild party.  Squished beer cans strewn all over the back lawn.
We'll eventually haul them all into town and collect our $4.   
It keeps them busy outside.  That is worth more than four dollars.  

As you can imagine I do a lot of laundry this time of year.
Mud.  Ice cold water.  Rubber boots that don't go quite high enough.  Puddles with slippery ice on the bottom.   Boots firmly stuck in vacuums of mud.  
Little boys walking around in muddy socks and wet jeans.  
This is spring. 

After being cooped up for so many months, it is astonishing what they find exciting.
Who knew you could make a "kite" out of a piece of rope and an old plastic bag?
Only the mind of a little boy.