5/30/12

Are you his mama?


This boy has been on my heart for a few months now...like REALLY on my heart. 
If I could orchestrate a way to bring him to my home I would...but I can't.  However I will shout it from the roof tops , pray for him , and become an advocate for this child until he finds a family.  

He SO badly wants a family.  He has expressed this aching desire to others. 

I've never met him personally but I have friends who have. 
There are others who are praying that this boy's family finds him.  

From what I hear he is smart and so very capable, even though he has Cerebral Palsy. He can even walk independently and ride a bike!  His speech is affected (a bit unclear) although he does know quite a bit of  English already.

Such a handsome boy with a smile that lights up a room.  I love it when kid's have smiles that go right up to their eyes!
This boy has a heart of gold.  When a group of foster kids were pulled back into the orphanage from foster care, he volunteered to go so his little foster brother wouldn't have to.  ACHE!  
Those who have cared for him have spoken of his love, kindness and compassion. 

God has been plans for this boy.  I know it.   

His name is "Daniel", and like the young man in the Bible he is now in exile.  He was in a foster home where he was nurtured, taught, and loved  but now he is living out his days in an institution with a  small band of other brothers (foster brothers).   What is the future of these lost boys without intervention?  Most likely a lifetime behind walls, or aging out onto the streets.  

Please pray with me for his release.  Pray with me that he will be freed from the walls of the institution and reach his fullest potential as a child of God and as somebody's son.  

Is he your son?


The other two girls in the photo are now home with their forever families...will he find a home too?





5/27/12

Missing

Today is Samuel's 12 th birthday.  To be honest I knew it was coming up but I totally forgot about it today until nearly supper time.
 I paused while I pruned bushes and mowed the grass to say "thankyou".  Thank you Lord for bringing our special little boy into our lives.  Thankyou for the time I had with him, and for all the ways he changed us.

Instead of crying over the 12 year old boy that "should be" riding his bike around town, tracking mud into the house,  and grumbling that he doesn't really need a shower....I instead turned my thoughts to how he changed me and how he tore open my heart for children with special needs.   In the days of waiting for a diagnosis, and of saying goodbye, my paradigm shifted.

Life has moved on, but it has moved on in a direction that I don't believe we would have gone if Samuel hadn't been a part of our lives for those 8 months.  

I did a lot of missing today, but the odd thing is most of my missing/ longing/ aching was redirected onto the child we wait for.   The child I now long to know, to hold , and to love forever.

The funny think with grief is it's something that can eventually be filed away.  The loss never disappears, but having to contend with the pain of it daily does.  If I take a peak into that file, stop to remember for a moment, my heart starts aching with missing.  All my "missing" appears to be filed together.  It can become like a dam that threatens to burst and spill over into all the foster babes I've loved and lost,  "my" kids in Mexico,  my little one in China....and my first born son that...all the little ones I can't kiss goodnight.   I tried to limit the missing by keeping busy doing housework and cleaning up our yard.  That worked pretty well but I still missed them.

However, aching doesn't bring me any closer to all the places that little pieces of my heart have been taken to, so I once again give my Swiss cheese heart to God and ask him to give me strength to keep loving and giving little pieces of myself away.

My boy Samuel, Mommy still misses you, even after so many years.

I vowed to carry you as long as your heart was beating,  what I didn't realize was that I'd carry you as long as my own heart beats.   I'll carry you there until I hold you again.


"Death has been swallowed up in victory.  Where, O death is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?"   1 Cor 15:29


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, there will be no more mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making all things new! then he said "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
He said to me:  "It is done.  I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. "  Revelation 21:3-6

This revelation (unveiling) of Jesus Christ given to John gives me hope.   Jesus is still on the throne, sovereign over the beginning ,sovereign over the end....and all the little moments in between.

5/24/12

What works for us - Home School review pt. 2


Every  family is unique, and every child is different so it only makes sense that every home schooling family does what works for them.  That is the beauty of home based education, the freedom to customize each childs education acorrding to their learning styles, interests, and personality.  We also customize how we do "school" around our family dynamics.

I'll save the specifics of curriculum for another post but I wanted to share a little about what home schooling looks like for us.

When I first began a couple years ago I knew nothing about educational philosophies, I had never heard of Charlotte Mason, and I didn't know the names of any common curriculum suppliers.

I researched, read blogs, and printed out all kinds of charts, schedules, and ways to keep us "on track" and motivated.  I scrutinized the public school grade lists to be sure we would cover the exact same material.

Only a few months into the school year our schedules were scrapped out of frustration or they were just plain forgotten about. Feeling like a failure,  I examined other home schooler's daily schedules broken into 15 minute time frames that lasted all day filled in with things like Latin, studying famous painters, and  craft time.  My heart raced just looking at a day like that.  Not my cup 'o tea.  Then I realized that we didn't have to look like anyone else and that there really is no "right" way to home school.  I eventually realized that I needed to start thinking differently about education, rather than just trying to do school in a new location.


We are not a structured family.   Neither mine, my husband's, nor our children's (except maybe 1 of them) personalities lend themselves to rigid scheduling or structure.  It makes us miserable.  Learning shouldn't be miserable, challenging yes, but misery no.

After doing some reading about different philosophies of education, "styles", methods, and 2 years of trial and error....we fall into some kind of ecclectic combination of  "Leadership Education" (You can find more arictles on Leadership Education (here and here.) and  "Literature based Education".... all tied together with an unschooling/ interest led education bow.  Not that we "unschool" but we are casual and non structured enough to warrant a slight aura of unschooling, at least a polite nod to our unschooling comrades.  With a couple subjects we are more or less traditionalists, and have assigned work to complete each day.    We are far from puritans to any one system or philosphy...heck we aren't even puritans to home schooling.   My son is at his public school Kindergarten orientation at this moment.    We do what works for each child, and that changes from year to year.  That's the only method I'm loyal to...finding what works and doing it.

I agree with some of the tenants of "Leadership Education" in that earlier is not always better and I like to keep the preschool  and early elementary years as unstructured and focused on creative, learning play as possible.  My son Roman certainly falls into this type of learning.  He was SO not wired to sit in a desk at 5 years old...even now in 3rd grade he has only 2 subject to complete in a day.  He has formal curriculum for math and for reading/ phonics.  The rest he learns as he experiments, plays, asks questions, and reads books.  We  do social studies out of a curriculum read aloud book but we don't do it every day.

My daughter who is finishing up 5th grade this year added a  Science curriculum to her Language Arts and Math line up from last year.   She also does a ton of reading, researching what ever she's interested in, writing, and creative play.

We are minimalists as far as formal, sit down, "buy a curriculum" book work.   I view education as a life long process, and part of what I want them to learn is a love of learning.  Their schooling should never interrupt their education.  I also view their "School years" as a 13 year process, with lots of time to fill in any "holes" or to learn what they need to learn by the time they graduate.   For example we haven't started learning French (like most Canadian kids do by 4th grade) but we will buy her a Rosetta Stone or some other curriculum in her teen years and she will be motivated by the desire to learn another language.  By then she will have a sense of purpose for wanting to learn French (she already talks about the various countries she wants to travel to) ,she will learn it more quickly, she will retain more of it and she will see the value of it.   Our kids already have a start on Spanish, but I know a desire to communicate better with their Mexican friends will inspire a more diligent study of the language at some point in the future.  I've stopped scrutinizing the list of what their public school counter parts are learning each year to ensure that we line up perfectly.



{examining the geometry of an empty wasps nest}

So much of what kids learn in "subjects" at school...health, Phys.Ed, Home Ec.  etc.  are the things kids can learn by being part of an intentional family.  We learn health by talking about how our bodies work, and why we need to keep them healthy.  We learn about nutrition by eating nutritious meals, we learn sports by playing,  we learn what it means to be a part of a family and community by being a part of a family and community...no crossword puzzles, busy work, and "center" activity sheets needed.


The subject we focus on the most is math.   That was a difficult subject for me as a child and it was so easy to just get left behind, perpetually lost.   The benefit of home schooling for my kids has been that we work on things until we have them mastered, and then we move on with confidence.   We are not on a timeline or trying to keep up with any one else.  We work until we "get it".  If something comes easy to them we can fly through their lessons and skip ahead grades, if something is a struggle we can work at it as long as they need without fear of being left behind.  If we only have time in a day to complete one subject we start with math.


{sibling closeness has been a wonderful side effect of home schooling}


 I guess the biggest thing I've learned this year, other than a better understanding of why and how I want to educate my kids, is just to relax.  I'm not in a competition with the public school,  I don't have anything to prove,  and I don't have my pride wrapped up in my kids academic achievements.   They have the freedom to enjoy learning, and I have the freedom to enjoy them.


{my kids beg to do history lessons, and they are fascinated by maps}

My goal is to encourage and develop each of my child's unique strengths to the fullest potential, while at the same time helping them to overcome, compensate for or just steward well the areas that are a challenge for them.

The funny thing about deficits, learning disabilities, or weaknesses is that, rather than something to be crushed or squelched, they are often a valuable gift that just need to be patiently unwrapped.

Perhaps I'll write more about those gifts in part 3.





{A ceremonial mask, made while we studied ancient India and the people of Mohenjo-Daro}





5/22/12

The "S" word - Rookie Home School Review part 1


We're winding up another school year so I decided I should write down some of what I'm learning as I go.

A topic on my mind today is the "S" word...socialization.






As a family that chose to begin home schooling a couple years ago, I hear the word "socialization" quite often.  Usually in the middle of an concerned observation, or line of questioning.  Over the past few years my internal reaction has ranged from fear "oh my, I had better make sure my kids are properly "socialized", to wondering "what the heck is socialization anyway?", to irritation at the continuing myth that somehow children who grow up being home schooled lack the ability to function as part of society.   

I grew up in conventional public schools, so did my husband.  We knew few people who home schooled and it seemed very foreign to us.  Very fringe. It brought up mental images of denim jumpers and awkward children in high water pants.

  

 As we continued in our adult life and began meeting all kinds of new people we began to realize that some of the most incredible young adults we came across had been "home schooled". We met real families that home schooled and noticed something different in their dynamics, priorities and structure.  This really caused me to question the stereo types I held in my mind.  

We began our own home schooling adventure 2 years ago, not out of fear or judgement of the public school (in fact our kids attended a very good small school), but out of desire and necessity.   The only "fear" involved was the dread of all the responsibility for our children's education being placed back on our shoulders.

We wanted something different that better suited the unique needs of our kids, our family based priorities, and our flexible lifestyle.  

After being in the "system" my whole life, and having my children in it for 4 years...It took a solid year to shed my own in the box thinking about education.  It is a scary place to venture out of, but at the same time so freeing.  Home schooling has become more than the place we "do school" but an entire lifestyle of learning and a new philosophy of education.

The first year was a transition year for all of us, and I have the ulcer to prove it.  My kids never, ever asked to be put back in school but I did find myself fantasizing about it on occasion.  This second year has been so much different.  The biggest change is we're relaxed.  We certainly don't have it all figured out, but I'm so much more relaxed and confident.  We're figuring out what works for us...not for any family....but for us.

So back to my question about "socialization".   I decided to look up some definitions of it.  

socialization - the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture; "the socialization of children to the norms of their culture"

That definition causes me to actually question if this is a good thing.  Have you seen the behavior patterns of the our surrounding culture?  Seriously?  Have you watched the news or reality tv?  Have you noticed the adults stuck in endless childhood? ... the selfishness, the sense of entitlement, the whining, the dysfunction all around us?  Have you ever hung out with a whole pack of kids and observed the social structure and behavioral norms?  The rampant bullying, bratiness, disrespect, manipulation, lying, and rudeness?  These aren't just isolated examples.  It's human nature.   As Christians are we supposed to be conforming to the patterns of this world...to be blending in seamlessly?  I think not.



So that being said, although there are many exceptions in our society and schools, I would dare say that the "norms" and the pattern of our world culture isn't something I want deeply ingrained into my child's development.  Socialization as a way to conform to society doesn't seem like a virtue to aspire to.  


I'm far from a helicopter parent and I don't "shelter" my kids from the harsh realities of the world.  The difference is I am with my children walking them through it. My children have soothed drug addicted babies, visited Mexican rehab centres, befriended children with lice filled hair living in cardboard houses...not exactly a "bubble".

  Another difference is that they are not immersed in and being shaped by the values and the "norms of culture" day in and day out.  

v. so·cial·izedso·cial·iz·ingso·cial·iz·es
v.tr.
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society.
v.intr.
To take part in social activities.

social·i·zation (-sh-l-zshn) n.


I think the first definition although arguably a different take on the word "socialize" kind of hits the nail on the head.   Who is doing the bulk of the training, the molding, and shaping of my child?   Is it the world system, the government, the professionals, peers....or is it the parents who love them?   Where is my child's time spent?  Have I unknowlingly relinquished my own responsibility over to the government, or group ownership? 

Once again, I know this will ruffle feathers and put people on the defensive so I will say again that i am not out right opposed to conventional schooling...in fact my youngest son is signed up for kindergarten this fall...but as a parent (especially one with a different value system than the world) these questions must be asked.  We have to question the things that are assumed.  Of course home based education isn't ideal or possible for all families or all children...but that is something each family has to decide for themselves with as much knowledge as possible. 


socialization
the establishment of socialist government; the nationalization of industry and other national resources.





Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’.[1][2]  (Wikipedia)



"Socialization is the means by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functioning member of their society, and is the most influential learning process one can experience"



This last definition is one I can hang my hat on.   From the time infants are born they are learning, absorbing, and discovering.   As a parent what is my role in that learning?  Where does that end, where does it begin and what is that going to look like practically?

With the understanding that my children do need to learn social skills, and develop character, I have had to ask myself (as I weighed our options)  is conventional school and classrooms the only or even ideal place to learn those skills?   When, in history, did our modern "schools" develop and why?   Are there other ways for children to develop healthy friendships and learn to interact with their world?

 Every parent might answer those questions differently but they are important questions.  So before we assume that children need classroom "socialization" which by definition is conforming to culture, talk to and observe some freakishly unsocialized home schooling families.  What you see might be surprising, chances are they don't even wear matching denim jumpers.

Over the last couple years since bringing my kids back home,  there are a few things that have surprisingly discovered.  

My children still have friends.  A benefit of home schooling is that we can choose to spend time with the people that we enjoy.   "Friends" no longer mean classmates who are "friends" one day and cruel bullies the next.  Friendships are deeper and more meaningful as my kids social circle has become more intentional and somewhat smaller.   We have many family friends with kids of all ages,  my children go to other children's homes, play with neighborhood kids, and have activities outside our home. 

My children are each other's best friends.   I once had someone shake their head in pity that our children's closest friends seem to be their siblings.  Of course like anyone else we have off moments, and off days, my children like myself are little sinners who sometimes struggle to put other's needs ahead of their own.  On a whole, one of the most surprising and refreshing changes in our family dynamics, as a direct result of our home based education, is closer sibling relationships.  They learn to take care of each other, to be loyal to each other, and to interact with (tolerate, make peace with, and enjoy)  a house full of different personalities and ages.  It seems to me that this practice at home reflects the skills they will need in the big wide world.  They are gaining the ability to care for others who are weaker, learning from those who are more mature,  and to learning to engage and resolve conflict in a healthy constructive way with people of different ages.

My Children are learning about the world by being in it.   Rather than being in a classroom every day, they have time to ride along with Dad as he works and does business, and spend time running errands with mom while interacting with various adults in a variety of situations.  In reality, home schooled kids learn a variety of social interactions by being out in the world in stead of cooped up with a group of 30 kids their same age all day.  We have even more time and freedom to travel, to volunteer, to be involved in society.  I was so worried a few years ago that my children would miss out on "socialization" by not being in school...but in reality healthy "socialization" (defined by me as having a healthy foundation of character qualities, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to function as a productive member of society)  ,can happen in a variety of ways, in a variety of places, and most effectively by interacting with a wide range of people.  

My kids are a work in progress.  When they avoid eye contact, chew with their mouth open, or ask much too loudly in a grocery store why "that man is so fat".....I must remind myself that there is no quick fix when it comes to children.   Etiquette and social graces are no different.  It will take many years of correcting, reminding, encouraging, correcting, reminding and teaching...and more reminding and more correction and even more encouraging.


So there you have it,  just a few of my thoughts on the dreaded "S" word  and my discoveries as a relatively new home school mom.   


In reality I don't think much about the "S" word we're too busy living out our lives in the naturally social environments of home and community...to stop and ask "did I socialize my kids today?"


Here's a pretty cool article I found while looking for some funny pictures for this post.





{This one is just because life is best when we have the ability to laugh at ourselves!}












5/17/12

Sowing Season


Spring is here in all it's glory.   The grass has turned green.  Tiny leaves are fresh on the trees.
Color and life emerges.


Seeds are planted in the soil, with promise of a harvest to come.


This seeding season on the farm reminds me that I am also in the season of sowing seeds into the hearts of my children.  

Each little seed I sow  holds hope for the future, whether it's the seed of deep conversation, loving correction, or extra special little surprises....I keep planting and praying that those seeds grow into something that is strong, with deep roots and plentiful fruit.   


Sowing seeds takes long hours, and hard work.   There is no putting off the work until later or cutting corners.    This short season will soon end.  The seeds must be carefully cleaned, sorted and free from weeds.  The soil must be prepared and fertilized.  The timing must be right.....but only God can transform and grow this tiny seed.  




Beneath the brown barren looking soil, lie the seeds of promise.   A new crop will soon emerge. 





"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and who ever sows generously will also reap generously. "  2 Corinthians 9:6









5/16/12

Hungry


Patient endurance during trial seems to be a lesson I need to learn over and over again.


In God's word we see so many examples of this sort of sanctifying preparation.  When God's people begin to boldly call out to Him for mercy and deliverance, He will often wait to see if they really want what they are asking for.  There is often a time of repentance, cleansing and a faith building time of testing or tribulation before God shows up in all his redemptive glory. We are a quick fix people but we do not serve a quick fix God...we persevere in fasting, praying, and working out our faith.


I don't usually share much about fasting (or nothing at all) because it is such a personal thing but I think it's something that Christians don't talk about, or teach about enough.  So I will make myself transparent for a moment, not to boast in the flesh, but to boast in my Savior.

 For years I had no idea why on earth someone would do such a thing.   I love food.  I love eating.  I love eating at regular half hour intervals.  I'm a natural grazer.  I was entirely convinced I would perish if I went without food for more than a day...or suffer a fate worse than death.  I certainly never expected it to ever be I time I would cherish.

As my knowledge of scripture increases so did my realization that it is something that we are called to do.  It's right up there with giving, serving, and praying.  In the New Testament it doesn't come out so much as a command but as a precedent set by Jesus,  the apostles, and the early church.   New works of God, through his people, began with periods of prayer and fasting.  One example is Paul and Barnabas being sent out to proclaim salvation to the gentiles.  (Acts 13:1-3) Again and again fasting and prayer is mentioned throughout the old and the new covenant as preparation for God to do something incredible among them.

I want God to do incredible things among us.

In the last couple years I've ventured into this "new to me" spiritual discipline...mostly out of desperate circumstances that drove me to my knees like never before.  I believe from experience that it changes things.  I have witnessed irreparably severed relationships being restored, sins hidden in darkness uncovered, chains bound for decades broken, and victims vindicated through no power of their own.   God does the impossible when His people seek Him in persevering prayer.

I'm not ritualistic about fasting, it is not some sort of religious duty to cringe and bear through.  I do it as the Spirit leads.   A full fast generally lasts 1-3 days for me.  As I write these words Tuesday evening I am finished up day 3.  I am as physically empty as it gets.  Day three feels complete to me.  Three days Jonah was in the whale, three days Jesus was in the tomb....three days I spent calling on God's mercy and power (not that my praying stops at the end of three days).

Why?

I empty myself because I'm desperate for more of Jesus.    I want to see the glory of God more than I want food in my belly.  I don't want to feel satiated in the flesh, when my spirit longs for more.

I desire his voice, his will, and his provision to be spoken to my soul.   I feel hungry, but my physical hunger is eclipsed by my spiritual hunger and I am filled.   With each pang of hunger I am reminded of how completely unsatisfied I am with just a little bit of God,  just a small enough dose to claim him as my own and yet live my life as I please.  We ,as a church, have become too content with a smallish faith in a smallish god made in our own image.  I want more.  I want to see Jesus in all His glory.

I hunger for the glory of God to be restored in His Church.  I hunger for His praises to go up from among the nations of the world.  I hunger for my King Jesus to come.  I don't want to become content, satiated, numbed into complacency.  (Matthew 9:14-15)

"Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me" Psalms 51:10


Prayers and fasting do not twist the arm of Jesus, manipulate the Holy Spirit or attempt to coerce, through hunger strike, the favor of God.   I abhor it to be a checklist of self righteous religion, or a source of pride in self denial.  That is the fasting that God has said he despises.

My prayers, while I'm fasting, persist in worship without ceasing crying out day and night like the watchmen on the city gates who give no rest (Isaiah 62).    I intercede.  I labor to stand in the gap for the weak, the oppressed and the fatherless.  I confess, repent and humble myself before my Lord.   As I seek Him in my emptiness, in my absolute weakness, in my nothingness....I see Him for who He is and I see myself in comparison so much more clearly.    In His greatness and my smallness,  I find peace and comfort.  As my heart aligns with His, I see my own circumstances with a new perspective.

I  learn to worship through the storm,  I sing His praises while in chains, as I wait for His mighty deliverance.

We have access, as adopted children of God, to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.   So often we don't have because we don't ask.   We have access, by the blood of Jesus, to the throne, to the Holy of Holies.  (1 John 5:14)  That's where I want to be filled.

As I kneel at His feet and bend to His sovereign will, I am freed to release my own.






"It is very apparent from the word of God that God often tries the faith and patience of his people when they are crying out to him for some great and important mercy.  He tries their patience by withholding the mercy they seek for a season.  Not only so but at first he may cause an increase of dark appearances...and yet He without fail, at last, prospers those who continue urgently in prayer with all perseverance and will not let him go until he blesses them."  Jonathon Edwards




5/15/12

Faithful

I haven't updated much about our adoption process lately.   Things are moving along really quite quickly.  Our home study is complete and we're waiting on our provincial approval to be able to sent off our finished Dossier to China.  It has been one huge whirl wind of activity and a ridiculous roller coaster of emotions...and we're only about 2 1/2 months in!

The things we took for granted would come easily haven't , and the things we were most afraid of ( money) the Lord has provided in amazing ways.   So instead of focus on the bumps in the road....I want to share with you how incredibly merciful and faithful our God is.   Bear with me this could get long...

When we started considering and praying about adopting again back in Feb. We had no savings account, a checking account that we barely keep afloat, and all kinds of things we could justify spending any extra money on...like our broken down second hand furniture, the old  fridge that doesn't shut quite right, a vehicle that spends more time in the shop than out of it,  or my bed that is more like a hammock after years of use.   We most certainly were NOT in a financial position for international adoption by any worldly sort of math.

My husband and I both knew God would add another child to our family. We just didn't know when, who, where or how.   So, once again, we figuratively laid our blank check on the table.  We asked God to do with us what ever pleases Him to do.  Where He leads we will follow.

After a much prayer,  many restless nights (and I NEVER lose sleep over stuff) waking up with a specific country and it's children in my heart and mind, and some encouragement/ advice from some mature Christlike friends I really shouldn't have been blown away when my husband (who was NOT eager to adopt internationally at ALL) had the exact same country and program unexpectedly burdening him as well.   I had been the one researching options, not him, but somehow he had been led the same direction.  We not only agreed that we would go with international adoption (which was the most unlikely) but we were both pointed squarely on China.   The Spirit had done an amazing work in both of us individually over the course of a couple weeks.

The same month my husband said "Let's do this!" we received our tax return.   So with $2000 in our pockets we took the leap and started the process.   We had no idea where the other $23,000 would come from....other than God would have to provide.   We didn't expect it to fall from the sky, but we knew that however God saw fit to channel His provision to us we expected it would be one of the biggest tests of faith we have ever been bold enough to step out into.

Now I know some of you are already shaking your heads at the foolishness and irresponsibility of it all.  Some of you will make a certain huffing sound at the notion of a one income family, with 4 children, absolutely no savings account, pension plan, or savings of any kind being so fiscally reckless.   A few of you may even cluck your tongue that you had the money saved up ahead of time and you didn't need any help from anyone (which is wonderful....as long is it doesn't come with pride and judgement).

We've heard it all....but we  remind ourselves of all the times that God has miraculously come through to provide, vindicate and direct us in the past,  and we repent of self sufficient pride and doubts as we step out audaciously.  Our faith has been tested so many times in the past that we know we can trust in our good God!

I am so thrilled to update you on some of what God has been doing to encourage and provide for us!

This could get long...but I could boast in the Lord all day!

Over the past couple months we have worked, sold things, scrimped and saved but God has also seen fit to bless us incredibly through His church....through our brothers and sisters in a few different countries.   The overwhelming common factor with so many of the donations is that they have been given sacrificially.   Kingdom math is so different than ours!  The people who have given the most, encouraged us the most, and sacrificed their time and money to help us bring home our child have been people who are not able to give out of their excess (in time or money).   It has been the people who are already serving as missionaries, caring for orphans, or those whose very modest lifestyles and tight bank accounts reflect their priorities and generosity.   It has been the people who already view every penny of their money as God's.


Honestly it is so much easier for me to give sacrificially than to receive it from someone else.  However, I know that the only thing that keeps me from allowing others to be a part of what God is doing is my own evil pride.  It is my pride that says ....keep your money, I don't want it.   We've decided, even though it is uncomfortable, it is ALL God's money and he will lead and use people as he pleases.  Who are we to let our pride stand in the way of God working in the hearts of people?

$100 was sent to us by a friend who is a single foster mom working in Mexico (you can find her blog here. She is also grieving the recent death of her son but yet was thinking about us).   $500 from a young lady who  spent the last couple years working with special needs orphans  (when others her age would be focused on dating and college).   $5000 from missionary friends of ours ....who are already caring for ophans!  We received hundreds more from young families who are barely scraping by and most certainly gave very sacrificially and out of complete faith. Families who have already spent tens of thousands on adopting their own children. We even got a donation from a child recently adopted from China!   Each check, $20 bill or Paypal notice was received with tears, overwhelming humility, and worship.   We are so undeserving of the favor that God is pouring out on us right now.


The most recent extravagant display of Jesus' love through his people was given to us this past weekend.  I'm going to have to write a whole post about our church one of these days...but it would take forever for me to express all the things we LOVE about our church ...the biggest being that they LOVE Jesus, his Word,  and his gospel...and their light shines accordingly (which, sadly, is so rare and hard to find..it seriously is like something out of Acts 2:42-47)   Anyway check out this link from my friends blog  Kim 365 and read about their project.  We're still blown away by the crowds of people that worked, donated, made cookies and lemonade, sorted, organized etc.

This was the grand total!!  Ridiculous for a garage sale!





Seriously it is so very humbling when people with holes in their only couch joyfully  and eagerly hand you a stack of hundreds.

We know that we still have a long way to go in this process.   We know that so many things could go wrong, stand in our way or not got as expected  BUT without a doubt in our hearts we continue on knowing that our God is growing us and stretching us and will use every bit of this journey for His purpose and glory.

As of today we have deposited $15,280 into our adoption account!  Amazing.  Every dollar goes toward the cost of bringing home our child!  We are trusting that we will reach $25,000 by the time we get our invitation to travel to China!!













5/13/12

Happy Mother's Day

As I sit at my kitchen table exhausted, with a sink full of dishes that still need to be contended with, the thought ran across my head that I should post something for Mother's Day.  As usual I have all kinds of thoughts and things to say about it...the problem is the effort it would take to bring it out of my aching head and onto the computer in any sort of coherent manner might give cause my brain to implode.

So to avoid that sort of a mess, I'll keep it very brief.

Happy Mother's day to the moms  who get up at 6 am every morning and forget what quiet sounds like. To the moms who no longer expect or need to be pampered, praised, and showered with gifts on a specific day of the year because they have already sacrificed their own self on the altar of love.

Happy Mother's Day to the empty nest moms who pour love on another generation of children.  Happy Mother's Day to the single moms, the expectant moms, the moms to many and moms to just one.

I honor  and remember the grieving moms, and the women who still long to be moms.  The Lord will fill an open heart and an open home, he is able to bring beauty from the ashes.



I thank the birth moms for choosing life.  I am forever grateful to two women who chose life for the babies growing in their womb, for my precious little girl, and for the newest child that will be added to our family this coming year.

I thank my own mom for the many years she spent nurturing, sacrificing and raising her 6 children.

This morning my kids surprised me with this necklace this morning.   I didn't expect anything other than a few homemade cards, and I honestly don't feel that I need anything gifted to me (I'm kind of cheap that way) but I love my gift.   They were so excited to give it to me.



I am so thankful today that the Lord has blessed me with 5 little ones to call my own, and a 6th that he is preparing for us.  



5/8/12

Deep Breaths


Our first sunny day after a solid week of rain. 
I decided to set aside my never ending to-do list and heightened stress level for a couple hours.
 I chose to...
Sit.
Soak up the sunshine.
Watch.
Give thanks.
Smile.
Breathe.  
Inhale grace
and exhale quiet prayers.



These childhood years are passing by so quickly.
I want to capture it,
to pause long enough to memorize the freckles, to hear the stories of adventure and conquest,
to record the sound of a toddler's giggle. 





As we trust, hope, wait and work through two different home study processes....
I find that I'm cherishing the moments with my treasures that much more.  I'm so thankful for each one of them.   






Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...