January 28, 2010


This book has been over on my sidebar for awhile now.  I finished reading it a long time ago, but I was afraid if I took it off I'd forget to tell you about it, and I didn't want to do that!

The video speaks for it on it's own.  It is a great book.  Not great because you'll feel all warm and fuzzy and entertained, but great because it will shake you up.  Great because it will challenge you.  Great because it will stir your heart to do more for others who have less, so much less.

Here is the author's blog where there is much information about loving the unlovely and needy, as well as information on several other books he has authored.  He has another novel coming out in June that I can't wait to get my hands on!

Here is an interview he did in Canada about Scared.

is the ministry of which the author is the CEO.  And here you can meet him.

Read it.  Share it.

God's mercy to an irresponsible steward

In the middle of our house craziness (finishing up old house, moving and fixing up new house) our budget got lost in the shuffle.  We didn't go hog wild, but suffice it to say we weren't watching things as carefully as we should have been.  Much of this was expected as we knew there were things we wanted to do on this house that would cost us.  Some of it was unexpected (some medical stuff) and some was just careless.

About a month ago I started getting really nervous and feeling really guilty.  Because I'm the one who "manages" the money here, and the carelessness and convenience spending was starting to get the best of us.

So we had a reckoning day and have tightened up our belt as much as possible and are already seeing the fruits of it.  I feel less guilty, more relieved and more obedient.  

One morning this week I was asking the Lord to mercifully help us pay off the small amount of debt that we have accrued.  I'm wanting to send money to Haiti, sponsor a Compassion child (or ten!) and several more things, but I feel like every dollar we sign up to spend is really money we don't have.  And I want to be free to give and to go!  So I asked Him to help us be diligent to pay this off quickly.

He graciously delivered!  Just that afternoon I looked at our banking stuff and saw that Robert's company had paid him bonus they'd owed him for a couple of months!  

I've also been really nervous about doing our taxes for all of the above reasons.  Because of Mattie's adoption, we have a carryforward credit left over, so we don't have any income tax withheld b/c we know we have that to use up.  But I really couldn't remember how much we had leftover, so for several months I've been afraid it was gone and we'd get hit really hard come April 15.  So tonight I sat down with all of our paperwork and nervously got started.  Much to my surprise, we're getting a pretty major refund!  Praise the Lord!  And we still have enough adoption carryforward credit for the future!!

I feel soooo relieved and am enjoying an unreserved exhale!  I'm so thankful for the Lord's mercy and faithful provision for us, even when I am not a good steward!

January 27, 2010

January 24, 2010

I love my Sunday School class

We had a neat "first" today in class.

This month we're learning that God made us (and all men).  Our Bible verse for this month is the first part of Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you."  First we talked about what "formed" and "womb" meant.  Then we personalized it and replaced YOU with each of the students names to help them see God knew them as well, not just some random "you."  At this point I had my students, plus several visiting fifth graders.  I showed them what to do, then they said the verse with their names in it.

Before I formed Jessie in the womb, I knew Jessie.
Before I formed Jordan in the womb, I knew Jordan.
Before I formed Emily in the womb, I knew Emily.
Before I formed Chris in the womb, I knew Chris.

At first they looked at me funny, but by the end they were all smiling sheepishly as they said it with their name in it.  It was sweet to realize that they were letting that sink in a little.  I have to say, I think the fifth graders enjoyed it even more than my kids!  And I've enjoyed remembering it today too.

January 23, 2010

Just in case

Just in case you use blogger too and are having trouble, I thought I'd share my experience.

A few months ago blogger put out this new, fantastic editor!  Oh!  How great it was to be!

HA!  I hATeD it!
It gave me tons of trouble.  Made posting pretty close to a nightmare when I was dealing with pictures, which I almost always am.  But I was always using it in Firefox.  I did try Explorer a few times to no avail.  Then I just changed my settings and switched back to the old Editor.  But it messed up all of my formatting in my old posts and that really annoyed me!

Because of a problem I was having commenting on other people's blogs hosted by blogger, I heard about Google Chrome.  I've been using it for a week or two for my browser and loving it.  But today was the first time I posted photos on my blog and it's WORKING!!!  Simple, easy, user-friendly and obedient it was for me.  Yippee!!  I have to say, I think google does this on purpose... for me, blogger editor, picasa, youtube, and google chrome are my favorite combo of internet tools- and google owns all of them.  While google doesn't own safe eyes, it is also working best on it.

Maybe I can save some of you the trouble (read: hair pulling, anxiety, frustration, bad thoughts, avoidance, etc.) I had on internet life.

Bet you want a boot like this!

Last Thursday afternoon, Mattie wasn't coming inside with all of the other kids.  I ended up having to go out and carry her in.  For the remainder of that day, she was hopping to avoid putting pressure on her foot.  Whenever she got distracted and put weight on it, she'd fall over crying.  There was no swelling or bruising, and she couldn't tell me anything that happened to hurt it.

Friday morning, she woke up fine!  But as the days went on she'd have times off and on where she'd start running and end up hopping or just crawl to stay off it altogether.  I finally decided yesterday to take her in and have it looked at, assuming she needed an x-ray.  She was just acting too much like it was a stress fracture in the way it would be fine in the mornings and get progressively worse as the day went on.

Well, her pediatrician agreed.  She said she has a mild stress fracture in her heel or ankle somewhere.  The x-rays weren't clear enough to show exactly where, but she said it didn't really matter.  Either way, she's in a boot for two weeks minimum, possibly four.  We go back two days before her birthday for a recheck.  I'm pretty sure by then she'll be fine as mild as it seems to be.

The boot isn't slowing her down a bit, not surprisingly!  (I did not make her pose like that.  I said, "Show me your boot!" and this is what I got.)  She did get frustrated yesterday when she was tired and tripped several times in a row, but she seems to be adjusted just fine at this point.

I painted it for her to help her like it.  :)  That plain old black was just too boring for this little girl.  When I showed her this morning, she said, "Um, I wanted it all pink."  Well, I tried.  A can of spray paint seems a bit much.

January 20, 2010

Praying for...

So often I sit down to pray and feel like I just get stuck in a rut praying the same old thing for people.  Especially for Robert and the kids.  I have made lists in journals, but that doesn't seem to help.  I jsut end up with rutted lists!  I do enjoy praying scripture for anyone.  I  figure I can't go wrong with that!  But I also like the idea of lists or schedules to pray for people.

There are some really good books for this type of thing, but we have seriously tightened the belt on our budget, so I just decided to google instead. I found these lists I thought I'd share.  All three of them have scriptures included.

My sister found this late one night and shared it with me.  It is not necessarily a prayer list, but a nicely condensed list of attitudes and thoughts of mine I can pray to keep in check.  (It's nice to have it all on a few pages rather than an entire book!)  These are all certainly areas in which I can use improvement!  And I know as God makes me more like Him, Robert will be blessed.

On another note, I am struggling "finding" time to pray.  I do very well when I have a routine.  And I have the time if I could add up 5 minute snippets at a time.  I used to feel guilty like I was choosing the computer over God, but in reality, I can e-mail with little focus for 3 or 10 minutes.  I can get up in the middle to break up an argument, help with a glass of water, or wipe a hiny.  I can't get focused on God in 3 minute snippets.  I just don't function that way.  Sure, I can pray in three minutes snippets, but not commune with and spend time with Him.

I enjoy my time with God when I can read His word for a few minutes to help my brain slow down and focus on Him.  Sometimes it's just a chapter or two, and sometimes I get hung up somewhere and end up reading for much longer.  After that I enjoy praying and manage to stay well focused on Him.  The problem is I need it to be quiet!  And quiet and small children don't mix!

I really need to get up in the morning, shower (to wake up) and have some time then.  Though that seems a bit pointless... if I ever do get up before she does, Mattie has a radar for my movement and will be up very soon after.  (Maybe I could shower downstairs.  Hmmm...)  If I wait until after everyone is in bed, it is quiet, but I end up falling asleep!  I just don't know what to do!  I feel like it's terrible parenting to put them in front of the tv, movie, or wii so I can have a quiet time.  (We generally watch very little tv.) And if I do bedroom time in the afternoon, Mattie comes out every 5 minutes asking if it's over yet.

It's not that I feel guilty, because He knows this season I am in, but I MISS my time with Him!  I miss what He teaches me, speaks to me, and asks of me.  I miss the conviction and softening that comes from time with Him.  Mostly, I just miss the time at His feet.

How do you get there??

January 17, 2010

Simple Pleasures

We've been getting back into the swing of things around here this week.  It took a bit longer after Christmas since I left town for that week and was totally unprepared for schooling the following week.  But we survived!

Here are a few of the things I'm thankful for today:

Letting the kids play out in the snow!
Being able to bless some weary parents by babysitting one of my special needs kiddos and her siblings for the weekend.  It's one thing I can do with kids!
The relationships I got to build after an entire weekend of kids being here!  :)
A seizure free weekend as a gift to the little girl's mama.  I prayed for protection for her little brain every time I thought of it.  I know a lot of you were praying too!

Mattie being well, really WELL for the first week in two months or more!
Jacob quickly recovering from a mild case of pneumonia without needing steroids or a hospital stay!
I've had a jammed thumb since March.  (Jacob and I were thumb wrestling...) I was just about to make a doctors appointment but wanted to wait until after Christmas, but I just noticed two days ago it's not hurting me any more!!!  I'm so relieved b/c it was getting really old.

A really sweet Sunday School class today.
Hearing Mattie say to Jacob, "Daddy's at the North Pole.  He is!  He told me to tell you that."  Jacob was driving Daddy crazy at that moment!
A great sermon today on Encouragement... can't ever give enough of it away.
Delighting in the birds as they come to our feeders.
Seeing NEW birds as it gets colder.  (It's like I'm winning a game when I get a new one to come.)
Having a feeder out my front window now too and a good man to install it for me.  (He knows I love my birds.)

Jacob having eggs for breakfast 4 days this week and cereal and hot chocolate with milk.

Did you get that???

Here it is again...

Jacob having eggs for breakfast 4 days this week and cereal and hot chocolate with milk - cow's milk!

Jacob saying, "What did you put on this cereal?  It tastes funny!!"  (It was real milk for the first time ever.)
Mattie recognizing Russia on Little Einstein's today!  (It's what Jacob and I have been doing for school for two weeks.)
Being in a spot where I need the Lord to relieve me of a burden.
Having a good two weeks off my medicine.  :)
Being challenged about being content right here in the life the Lord has given to me.  (Funny thing is, I don't want more... I want less.  I want to run an orphanage for Special Needs kids somewhere who have no mama to kiss them good night and pray for them when they sleep.  And teach them and feed them and... well, you get the point. They could move in here too, that would be okay.)

God is good.  And His unfailing love for me is amazing.

A Neat Sunday!

I've been praying about some ways to bring interaction between the typical and special needs kids at our church.  I had an idea recently that began today and it was a blessing to see it come to fruition!

We will have a small group of typical kids come from their Sunday School classes for the last 15 or 20 minutes of class.  They will come into our class and either play, do an activity of their choosing, or help us with something we're doing.  Our goal is obviously, to develop relationships between the typical kids and those with special needs.  But it is also to give typical kids an opportunity to serve and discover their gifts.

Today 5 of our fifth graders came and it was wonderful!  They jumped right in and helped us with our life size coloring project.  They were cheerful, unafraid and willing to get close to the kids.  The neat part is that they had a lot more than 5 that wanted to come!  So they're bringing another group next week.   We also have two typical little girls who want to come to my class every week (instead of their typical class!) so they can help!

The best way I know to explain it is that my heart was full of joy while I watched the kids interact.  I've been praying about this for so long, experiencing it today was a gift!

Back to issue of needing God

And another aspect of it that has me thinking.

In case anyone wonders if I've lost my mind, I do, by the way, know that I clearly need God.  I know that we only have money in our bank account because He has given it to us.  I know that my children are healthy as a gift from Him.  I know that my home has been safe thus far because He has kept it safe.  What I mean is do I live like I need God.  Or do I live in a self-secure little world that is so protected and well planned that it seems there is no need for His help.

Anyway, I don't know if I'm making any sense or not!  I just want to make adjustments for more than several reasons.  Of course, none of these are decisions are mine alone.  That doesn't tend to go over well in a marriage!

It does make me sad that we are so affluent compared to the world's standards, but compared to many other Americans, we're already making a lot of sacrifices!  We could sell a car and give that money away, but life in America almost requires two cars these days.  We could sell it all and move to Africa.  But life in Africa doesn't pay like life in America, so that would serve no purpose!  It's like a catch 22.

And when I say, "What's wrong with us?" I mean, "What's wrong with me."  I want to make these changes in my own life.  I want to do some things differently so I can be available to help more, financially and otherwise.  Where are my priorities?  Is my heart desperate for His intervention in even the little things?

Well... I'm done with my rambling.  This isn't one of those concepts that I can write about eloquently.  Probably because it's all jumbled up in my own head!

January 15, 2010

Do we need God?

I mean, really need Him?  I've been thinking about this for a long time now.

In our depravity, clearly we need Him.  That's not what I'm talking about.

But in our affluence, do we need Him?  Or do we structure our lives in such a way that there is no opportunity to see Him at work?  
Do I live with reckless abandon?  Or is everything scheduled and detailed in such a way that there is no room for Him to be needed?  
Do I desperately need Him to get through the day?
Do I need to see His handiwork to pay my bills?  Or do I rearrange my budget so that it works just fine?
Do I sit and wait to see His miracles as He solves a problem I can't fix?

Generally, I give an additional offering as it fits in our budget.  I go on a mission trip if I can work out the details.  I fill my cabinets with our favorite foods.  I take my kids to the doctor and get the medical care we need.  I am merely inconvenienced if one of our cars is in the shop.

I'm  not sure how to change this while we live in this culture... do I give freely that He has to provide to pay our bills each day?  Do I give more instead of putting it in savings and trust God to provide when the need arises?  We have 10% of a church's budget going to missions, yet we pay more than that in childcare while we have committee meetings and events.

This is what I mean... am I living my life in such a way that I need him?  Or am I playing it safe every day?  And what about the "That's not faith, that's stupidity!" argument?

There are children DYING this day, and we're accruing interest in a retirement account.  There are children DYING this hour, yet we're not adopting them or even feeding them.  There are children DYING this very minute, and ours are watching cartoons on cable.

What in the world is wrong with us?

I have to say, I miss the excitement of living with a reckless abandon in trusting Him.  There is renewed faith each and every day when we're in situations that only He can fix.  There is desperation for His power when all seems impossible.  And there is closeness as His power is displayed.

Change Me, God!  Rock my world and make me absolutely desperate for You.  No matter the cost.

Haiti Relief Information

Here is a blog written by an RN who is on her way to Haiti for disaster relief.  I thought you might like to see it and follow her journey.

Here is a blog post about some different, legitimate ways to help.

Here is Compassion's blog post with their info too.

The devastation there is horrendous.  I can't even imagine.  But if it draws people to Him in their heartbreak, then good will come of it.  Lord, have mercy!


Christians are to be good stewards of the circumstances God has placed in our path.  It does no good to wish for different ones.  Contentment is a very important quality, and it is found only when we act as passionate caretakers of the lives we actually have, not the ones we wish we could have.

January 09, 2010

Some Pictures to Share

Here are just a bunch of pictures from the last few weeks in no particular order. :) A bunch of these are nieces and nephews, just in case you're really confused!

Cousin sleepover by the Christmas tree!

Opening the Wii from Gramma and Grampa! (Thank you!! We are all enjoying it thoroughly!)

Mattie excited about her new scooter!
(She used to have one, but Robert deemed it unrepairable the third time it got run over.)

A cozy, colorful blanket for my boy who appreciates both!

Our beautiful Happy Birthday, Jesus! cake. (Quite honestly, just for some camera fun.)

She is one mean guitar player!

Baking wheat free cookies with Tante Jeni... and getting to eat the batter!!

Cousin fort building fun!

Yeah, she can sleep with us... as long as she sleeps over there.

Gracie just couldn't make it to midnight on New Year's Eve, poor girl! (Pneumonia will do that to ya', I hear.)

My water bugs.
(We went to an indoor mini waterpark with some friends on Friday. It's an odd feeling to be in a swimsuit surrounded by glass only to see snow and icicles all over outside.)

Logan crashing Mattie's quiet reading moment.

"Man! We can't go up or down??! But that's where all the kids are!!"

Aaaaah. Catching me some snuggle time with the worn out little boy.

Sweet blessing.

January 05, 2010

The things they say...

Jacob to the 7 year old neighbor boy...
"Sometimes I swallow this snot in my throat that I cough up and it's not even gross.  It is gross when there are chunks though."
"Do you ever feel like you're going to puke after you burp?"
"Your mom won't let you be home schooled?!  Home school is the best place to be!  Your mom must be mean!"  :)

(And in case 7 year old neighbor boy's mother reads this, I don't think you're mean! lol!)

Mattie to Robert while she was feeding her baby...  "You know those two round dots on my chest?  There's milk in them and that's how you feed your baby.  That's how you nurse.  Or sometimes, you can just pump and put the milk in a bottle and feed it to the baby like Aunt Cherilyn.  I'm just kidding.  I don't have any milk in my chest.  Sometimes too when mommies are feeding their babies they cover them up because they don't want to look at them anymore.  I'm a good mommy, so I don't do that."