Better Late Than Never

>> Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ok, so it's been two months since I've posted. What can I say? With seven kids in tow, my feet hit the floor running in the morning and I barely have time to stop and breathe, much less blog. I'd rather coordinate seven little lives than blogging anyway so I guess that works out. Although it's seven complicated lives right now. Olivia is gearing up for a big performance this weekend. We spend most of our time and money running her to her dance classes. I regestered both Parker and Olivia for high school next year. That's BIG news in our family. We're putting Claire into a special needs classroom next year. We checked that out last week and although I'll be sad to see her go back into school, I realize it's in her best interest. Gabe, our fourth, is busy being two (he'll turn three next week). He is getting into everything! Nate, our fifth, is keeping us on our toes. He has complicated health issues and therefor has therapy five times a week and at least one doc appt a week. His smile makes it all worth it though. Our two foster kids have brought even more life and joy into our home, although not without incident. We are trying to sort through their own health issues. We even had to be treated for scabies when they joined us! All in all though, life is good. Busy, but good.


Scarlet Thread

>> Sunday, March 23, 2008

I stole a great Easter idea from a friend this year. I tied different colored yarn to each Easter basket before hiding them. I wove the yarn throughout the whole house, in and out of furniture, creating a beautiful web. (Well, it was beautiful until I had to figure out how to get our 100 lb. golden retriever through it to go outside!!) Anyway, I left the rest of the yarn at the top of the stairs with their names on each corresponding color and instructions to follow the "bunny trail" to their baskets. It was so much fun watching them rolling up their yarn and getting tangled up with each other. It created a memorable experience.

As we were sitting in church this morning I was thinking that the colored yarn that led my children to their baskets is like the scarlet thread each one of us is invited to follow. This particular thread, however, doesn't lead to a basket full of temporary leads to life everlasting! The thread is colored scarlet because it's covered in His blood which was shed at the cross, payment in full for our sins. Just as one single thread led my children to their destination, Jesus is the ONLY way to our final destination.

This Easter, I am so thankful that God threw us a lifeline named Jesus which leads us back to Him. I am thankful that His death on the cross redeemed me from my sinfulness. But more importantly, I'm thankful that He rose again three days later. Without His resurrection, Jesus would just be another great figure in history. It was the fact that He conquered death that we celebrate. Because He conquered death we have reason to hope. We have something powerful to believe in. I know of no other God that is worthy of our praise.


Make Your Best Offer

>> Monday, March 17, 2008

Today I'm ready to sell all my kids to the circus, the zoo or the first person to make an offer. It has been a hard parenting day. Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and I really love the job of parenting. I love shepherding their hearts. I love teaching them, guiding their thoughts, their motives and redirecting their selfish hearts toward God. BUT some days are definitely harder than others. Some days require more patience, strength, and definitely more self-control. Let's face it, I live in a house full of sinners and today these little heathens have put my own sinful nature to the test. Today, I am desperately listening for my own Shepherd's voice. I need Him to guide me, redirect me. I need His rod and His staff to comfort me. Or else you'll be seeing these kids the next times Barnum and Bailey come to town.



>> Thursday, March 6, 2008

I've never been a big fan of devotionals. There's usually one verse at the top of a page and three-four paragraphs of some person's commentary or cute little story on that one verse. They totally annoy me. Give me more Scripture and maybe a *few* words of insight on that Scripture. But don't overload me with another human's interpretation of Scripture.

I really want to know my Shepherd's voice. And the best way to do that is to really dig into the Word. But my Bible study over the years has been rather random and spontaneous. I pick up the Bible, open it and tend to read whatever I land on (my Bible professors would be appalled!). Despite this rather wimpy method of studying, God has used it powerfully in my life. Sometimes, the words jump off the page and speak volumes to me. But lately, I've been craving more Bible study, more depth, maybe something a little more intentional. Well, today I jumped over to my dear friend, Ann's blog and she had a whole list of creative ways to study the Bible. One idea in particular was writing out the Bible. It's called scribing. Why didn't I think of that?? So simple and yet so effective. Ever since my kids were in Kindergarten I've been having them copy out verses, poems, speeches because not only do they learn grammar, spelling, etc this way but they also retain what they're studying better if they write it out.

So today, I'm going to get started. I haven't decided which book of the Bible to choose yet. I'm praying for direction. Maybe Acts? Or one of the Gospels? But I have just the journal book in mind and my colored pencils are all sharpened and ready for making my own observations in the margins. I haven't been this excited about studying the Bible in a long time. Thank Ann, I'm inspired!



>> Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I find it interesting how quick we are to judge. We have a handicapped pass for our car because my husband has MS and we have a son who has severe neuro problems and therefore can't sit or walk (he is very heavy too!!). It's safe to say our parking pass is justified. But it never ceases to amaze me how many people will judge us. Countless times people will walk behind our van to see if we have a pass or not. Some old ladies will even shake their heads at us or do a double-take. They judge us based on who knows what...maybe my husband's age, maybe we just look like the type of family who wants to take advantage of close parking! I don't know. Years ago a cop pulled over my husband just because he didn't look handicapped. What is handicapped suppose to look like might I ask???

I have to admit I often give in to the thoughts of others. Even if my husband is having a good day and can walk without the use of his cane I'll tell him to take his cane anyway just so people will see it when he gets out of the car. As if I have to justify our pass to complete strangers. But if people knew our story maybe they wouldn't judge. Maybe they wouldn't peer behind our van. I'm not above judgment, however. I've done it too...jump to big conclusions without knowing someone's story. My thoughts run wild when I'm at the checkout behind a mom who has lost control of her young ones. I've wagged my finger at people inside my head when I see them doing something I don't agree with. But I need to stop and remember that I don't know their story. It's usually not for me to know. Just like I don't want everyone to know my business, I don't need to know everyone else's. It's not for me to judge.



>> Friday, February 15, 2008

Kisses from our family to yours.



>> Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Owen has been caught red handed...ummm, I mean red-pawed. The mystery of the headless dinosaurs has been solved. And now it seems Owen has developed a taste for Mr. Potato Head pieces. As you can see by his picture he was caught eating Mr. Potato Head's tongue.

Owen was taken into custody today and is being held without bond (or treats!). He will appear before the judge when he gets home from work today. Owen failed to comment.



>> Monday, February 11, 2008

An epidemic has swept through our house! Dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes have been surfacing everywhere with missing heads, limbs and tails. Is it a plague? Is it a flesh-eating virus? Is it a curse?

No, it's OWEN!!!



>> Friday, February 8, 2008

I've been having some great discussions with my kids lately about the media. I've been in heavy prayer over the last months/years about how to help them make wise choices when it comes to reading, watching tv, listening to music, etc. It's easy for all of us to think, "What the big deal? It's just a book." But not so easy to stop and think, "Does it honor and glorify God?" "Does it present a temptation to sin?" "Does the message arrive from a pure motive?" We don't stop and think about what we're filling our minds with often enough. I'm as guilty of this as anyone.

I came across this great quote today as I was searching the internet for wisdom. This was written while John Wesley was away at college. He wrote to his mother, Susanna, asking for a list of sins he should avoid. Her response is a model of biblical wisdom applied:

"Whatever weakens your reason, whatever impairs the tenderness of your conscience, whatever obscures your sense of God, whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind, whatever takes away from your relish for spiritual things, that to you is sin, no matter how innocent it is in itself."

Such a great quote!! I was explaining today that even if a certain book has no swear words in it doesn't mean it's appropriate. If the book obscures our sense of's not entertainment. No matter how innocent it may *seem* if it weakens our reason then it is not appropriate. Not an easy lesson for young people. Especially since our culture encourages just the opposite, "If it feels good then it must be entertainment."

We are waging war with the media. The world is sending a message through tv, books, all forms of entertainment, "It's all about me." I am fighting for the minds of my kids. I want them to learn how to filter the world through God's principles. I want them to stop and think. I want them to learn discernement. It's a battle worth fighting.


Broken But Restored

>> Sunday, February 3, 2008

I love the symphony. I mean I really love the symphony! I believe everyone has at least one thing that fills them to the brim with pure joy. I had one friend that described her nature hikes this way. She just loved nature! She would always say how much nature "fills" her. Well, the symphony is what fills me. It is guaranteed chills up and down my spine. I love to hear the orchestra warm up, I'm mesmerized by the fervor of the conductor, the passion on the performer's faces, the rise and fall of such unique sounds. But what leaves me dumbstruck more than anything is how any one human being, a composer, can take all those notes and know how to put them all together to make one glorious, melodious sound. It amazes me! How can anyone take so many smaller parts and make them into a beautiful whole? Wow!

Art doesn't start out beautiful though. Regardless of the type of art, it starts out as a mere thought or concept. From there it progresses through many different phases before it actually reaches it's final stages of beauty. As a graphic designer I can speak from experience that the "process" of art is often long and tedious and sometimes even painful. But necessary. As much as I'd like, I've never been able to avoid the process. I can't get the thought out of my head and directly onto paper as a finished piece of work without some huge amounts of effort in between. It's the process that makes art become beautiful.

Our lives are like art. We are all somewhere in the process of becoming something beautiful. In fact, the Bible says, "We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

Each one of us are broken pieces of clay. Merely cracked and dried pieces of mud. But before we can become beautiful we have to be shaped. We have to yield to the potter's hand. More importantly, we have to be put through the fire before we can become beautiful. In fact, it's the fire that gives us our beauty.

Wikipedia says that "pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a required shape and heating them to high temperatures in a kiln to induce reactions that lead to permanent changes, including increasing their strength and hardening and setting their shape." It goes on to say that, "it is only after firing that the article can be called pottery."

I find that interesting that it can't even be called pottery until it's been through the fire. So until that point it's still just a lump of clay. It's in the process of applying heat that the pottery is strengthened ...leading to permanent changes. Wow! That's pretty cool...or should I say hot?

There's been a lot of "heat" in my life. I could view the heat as unnecessary or annoying. I won't lie...I don't like the heat. But God is teaching me to appreciate it. The heat is necessary. He took my broken pieces and is in the process of restoring me into something beautiful and purposeful. The heat shapes me and strengthens me. In the end, I will be a vessel from which His living water will flow. Although heat is not seems to me it's worth it.


On My Nightstand

>> Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Other people who blog sometimes have a list in the margin that shows what they're reading at the time. I enjoy looking at those lists. I like to see what other people are interested in. Now that Olivia's ballet classes have started back up I've actually had time to do some catchin' up on my reading while I wait for her in the car. So here's what's on my nightstand right now:

Shame Off You
by Alan Wright...just finished it. Great book!
Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmell
Building the Bonds of Attachment: Awakening Love in Deeply Troubled Children by Daniel Hughes

And speaking of ballet and reading...I'm off to sit in the car for two hours to read some more. Isn't that heavenly??


We're Rich!

>> Sunday, January 27, 2008

It should come as no surprise that Americans are some of the wealthiest people in the world. But did you know that anyone who makes a mere $34k/annually is within the top %5 of wealthiest people in the world? Below is a cool link to see where your wealth ranks you:

God has clearly given us MORE than we need. He has truly blessed us. So why do we mumble and groan that we don't have enough? Why are we so discontent all the time? Why aren't we GRATEFUL?? And more importantly, why aren't we sharing some of our wealth with those who aren't so rich?

I Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.


Nate's New Helmet

>> Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our youngest child, Nate, has a condition called schizencephaly, which basically means that part of his brain is missing. Because of that he can't coordinate his swallow very well and is fed with a g-tube. He is also blind and has seizures. In addition, his skull isn't forming correctly (called plagiocephaly) so he needs a helmet to help support the proper growth of his head. If left untreated and his skull continues to grow disproportionately, he could develop dental and eye problems amongst other things. Last week we had to take him downtown to have his a mold of his head made. We picked up the helmet yesterday. He will have to wear it 23 hours a day for at least the next 6 months. We can take it off 1 hour a day for baths and cleaning. Surprisingly he doesn't mind it and even sleeps well in it.

Although Nate looks very cute in his new helmet I already miss kissing his sweet head. I also miss seeing his bright red hair. It seems almost a sin to cover up his beautiful head of hair. But we'll do anything for this kid!


Too Peaceful

>> Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Is there such a thing as too much peace??? It seems almost too good to be true with five kids in the house. But now that the holidays are over, the ornaments are put away and our normal routine is well underway it has grown quiet around here. YES, it is possible to have quiet in a house full of kids. At this moment two of them are taking naps, two of them are doing their school work and one of them is in school. So far this week I've organized our laundry room, my jewelry box, Gabe's room, and our closet. If I don't get another foster placement soon I will run out of things to organize!! Although, I've noticed over the past years that there's always a calm before the storm. It's almost as if I "nest" right before I get a new placement. So maybe God is getting me ready. I hope so because I'm going nuts with all this quiet.


Blessed Thorns

>> Thursday, January 10, 2008

The previous owner of our house planted some rose bushes outside our front door. I'm not big into roses so I dug them up the first year we lived here. We've lived here almost eight years now and daggone it if those darn bushes came back this past summer!! I can't tell you how many times now I've caught my arm on their thorns as I walk in and out of my front door. Those thorns are not only painful but annoying. I am constantly fighting with them. We have another type of weed that seems to LOVE our yard...I don't know the technical name for them...but even my kids know that you can't pick them without good garden gloves. Because if you don't they will get under your skin and fester for days. And although relative to the rose's thorns their thorns are very small but ten times more annoying.

It never ceases to amaze me how God tries to get our attention. Sometimes He whispers and sometimes He screams but His question is always the same, "Am I enough for you?" I believe He gets our attention in the form of "thorns". My thorns have changed throughout the years. Twenty years ago I had a HUGE thorn in my side called infertility. This particular thorn was all-consuming and very painful. My eyes became focused on that pain instead of my Savior. But eventually I accepted that thorn and told my Savior that I didn't need a baby, He was all I need. Ironically, He gave me a baby anyway, in fact five babies!!

I've had many more thorns throughout the years and the question has always been the same, "Am I enough for you? Or do you need that house, money, job, security or health to make you happy?" Although my heart wanders and forgets, my Savior always gently leads me back to the same answer, "YES! Lord You are enough! Of course you are. I'm sorry I forgot."

I have another thorn now. Unlike a thorn from a rose bush, this thorn is small and annoying like those darn little weeds all over our yard. It has burrowed into my flesh, irritating the daylights out of me. Over the last several weeks/months I have found my mind wandering again, taking my eyes off the Savior and focused on the pain that the thorn gives way to. But I was reminded of this verse this passage from the Bible this week...

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am so ashamed. How could I have forgotten the question so quickly, so easily? How could I have gotten so focused on an insignificant weed in my soul? But this verse turns my eyes back to the Savior again. Yes, Lord you are sufficient for me!! And even if this thorn never leaves my are enough. I'm sorry I forgot.

I feel thankful now for this thorn to remind me of His grace. I am thankful for His power to rest in me. And I delight in this blessed thorn. For in this state of weakness I am strong!!



>> Thursday, January 3, 2008

I really like this time of year. A fresh slate. A new beginning. A new lease on life. Somehow it seems my closets get cleaned out and certain areas of my life get purged. It's such a hopeful time of year.

I'm HAPPY to leave 2007 behind. Whew! What a hard year. It seems half of the year I spent either in bed or on the bathroom floor. The other half I spent tending to very needy kids. I know there has to be a connection between the two. When I foster I know I am working on the front-lines of God's Kingdom and Satan would love nothing more than to keep me from doing it. He won't succeed but boy has he tried and stripped me of my strength.

I'm not big into resolutions but I really do like the hopeful feeling that comes when you look forward. It's almost as if God built this opportunity for purging into the rhythm of life. As I look forward to the upcoming year I'm not thinking about a new exercise regime (well, actually I am kinda), I don't smoke, I don't want to strive to laugh more (I heard someone claim this resolution on the news last night). I just want to lift my eyes to the hills. I want to gaze into my Savior's eyes. He is where my strength comes from. He is what I want to focus on today and tomorrow...not my own selfish desires. So, I decided that instead of choosing a pointless resolution this year I want to choose a verse to focus on.

My verse this year will be: 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

So, for 2008 my mantra will be to fix my eyes on what is unseen. I can't imagine one single scenario that I might encounter this year that this verse won't apply. I will tattoo this verse on my soul and remember it the next time I feel I'm losing strength or feeling defeated. And I know there will be plenty of opportunities in 2008.


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