Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27-Our birthday girl

Words of wisdom from our newest nine year old:                                        

Relax deeply-"you must not do anything, just breathe deeply"

Dream big- "my dream is to become a doctor, have a daughter, have a nice car."

Believe with all your heart- "what I believe: Jesus! I believe I'm going to have a nice, crazy future."

With a birthday only two days after Christmas we typically celebrate with the family earlier and then have a special day with just a few of us on her actual birthday.  So, today started with hot cocoa in mom and dad's bed, along with some interesting conversation and a few good laughs. 
Then, daddy prepared a late breakfast topped with candles and a 
Happy Birthday song that hopefully was not recorded!

After a relaxing day at home, we went to the movie to watch Annie and consume lots of buttery popcorn and soda. Followed by dinner at her favorite place, Panda Express.  
I'm not so sure her use of chopsticks would be acceptable in China, but it certainly gets the job done!
Our evening ended snuggled on the couch, in front of the fire playing games.  It is so hard to believe that our sweet girl has already spent 5 birthdays at home.  It seems like she has always been part of our family. We thank God for every birthday we celebrate as she continues on the journey(in her own words),  to her "nice, crazy future."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23-Indescribable gift

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)
Gifts that money can't buy....
A godly husband...
 Best friends....

A Godly mother....
And one of the very best...
A grandbaby to snuggle
This week of Thanksgiving we have so many things for which to 
give Thanks and the greatest gift of all is a Father in 
Heaven who has provided us with grace, mercy, miracles and 
most of all a future glory in Heaven that far outweighs any gift we will ever 
experience on this earth. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22 - Spending of Ourselves

...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
Isaiah 58:10

As this cool, rainy day draws to a close I find myself reflecting on a devotion we chose for our family tonight. 

How do we spend ourselves? 

We spend our money....our time...our resources...but how do we spend ourselves?

Something happened to us tonight that I don't remember happening ever before.  After enjoying a nice dinner at On the Border we received our check and were told that someone else had picked up our tab.  What a joy to be on the end of such generosity.  To whomever it was, 
thank you very much!

Last week, I had a precious friend give me a calendar for next year because she heard me say I needed a new one.  I was overjoyed to be on the receiving end of her sweet gift. 

So, I ask myself, do I give away to others the way they have given to me?

"When we begin to invest the resources of our lives into others, the way God has invested himself for us, ...our light begins to shine." (Heartwork devotion)

 Whether it is painting the dull wall in an orphanage to brighten it up for the children,
 or using your voice to sing His praises,
Or taking the time to share the little moments
 or gently caring for a little one, who can't care for himself,
Spending of ourselves is the most rewarding thing we will ever spend!
                     Sometimes spending of ourselves means sharing a victory with those
who look up to you the most.
Congratulations, Lady Eagles on winning state!
You have giving so much of yourselves and we are so proud of you!

But most of all, it requires giving away part of ourselves that we may not realize we had to give,
but when we allow God to mold us, we may have more to give than we ever realized. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18-National Adoption Day 2000

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3: 20-21

Fourteen years seems like such a long time ago and yet it seems like just yesterday. That was the day, that so many of my dreams came true as I became the mom to a beautiful baby girl. One I had longed to call my own and had loved for over a year even though it wasn't official.  Our precious baby girl was placed in our arms October 27, 1999 and officially became our daughter on November 18, 2000.

It was the second annual National Adoption Day and it was one that was celebrated by many around the US.  From the judges, to new parents and every CPS worker present,  there was abundant celebration.  There were stuffed animals, cake, punch, banners, news crews and tears of joy.  I had never before spent so much money on one outfit, but I had to purchase the most precious outfit I could find for our special day.  She was dressed in pink from head to toe and everyone in the family came along to celebrate this special day.  This was truly one of the very best decisions we have every made and one that we thank God for impressing on our hearts.  So many times we don't understand when God doesn't answer our prayers, but if we would just wait,  He often makes it all clear in time.

What I saw as an unanswered prayer, not allowing me to birth a little girl, became a prayer of thanksgiving that was far greater than I could have ever imagined when he blessed me with this little angel.  Foster care and Adoption took a step of faith we couldn't have taken without God and our family, but it was the greatest step we have ever taken and the rewards will continue for generations. 

Her smile is contagious
Her eyes sparkle 
 She lights up a room
 As her mom and dad, we couldn't be more proud of the young lady she has become
both inside and out.  She has a love for the Lord, her family, and friends and she makes our heart overflow with joy!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November 12-Every Little Thing!

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬ NIV)

From the oldest member of my family to the youngest, and everyone in between-
It's all yours Lord!

From the highest mountain top, to the lowest valley -
It's all yours, Lord!

From the depths of the deepest ocean-
It's all yours, Lord!

From the orphan's bed who longs for a family
It's all yours, Lord

From the oldest of friends to those new and far away -
It's all yours, Lord

For that I am thankful! No matter what comes our way, 
It's all yours, Lord!

November 11-Devotion

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. 
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 
(1 John 3:16 NIV)

There's no other group more devoted to each other than members of our military. They have each other's backs in the good times and bad. They are committed to protect and save the lives of their own, no matter the cost. I am proud of the time my oldest son spent in the USMC; not only did it teach him a great deal, it also taught our family a new level of respect for our military. It saddens me that so few people have a respect and admiration for those who protect us everyday.

Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to stand around the flag pole with 200+ students and faculty as we watched students raise the flag, sing, and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I hope in some small way they were able to appreciate their gift of freedom and gain a greater respect for those who protect that freedom. Knowing the grief one of those families has had to endure for my freedom makes me treasure it even more. Thank you, to each man or woman  who has taken on this duty-you are the picture of a



Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10-Birthday Blessings

I will most gladly boast...about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me.
2 Cor. 12:9

When I am weak, then He is strong.  Everyday, I am reminded in some way how very weak I am; whether actually in strength, or in the way I respond or fail to respond.  Weakness is not something we delight in, but I see that it is when I am truly weak, that I give Him the opportunity to show off His strength. 

Yesterday, I celebrated another year of life with my friends and family and today, on my true birthday, I was blessed to have a quiet evening of celebration at home. I am blessed beyond measure to have such an awesome family with whom I can share these special moments.  As a mom, it is so easy to believe the lies of the enemy and feel like such a failure at times. I am reminded tonight that the still quiet voice of My Heavenly Father tells me that He has come to give me life and give it in abundance
(John 10:10). My precious children were quick to remind me how OLD I really am, and I am reminded of my Sunday School teacher years ago who always told us she was, "40 Blup years old." She never revealed how many years the "Blup" stood for, but I am there!! I am discovering that each of those years are so very precious through the good times and bad and each one leaves with it a trail of memories to treasure.

The things that brought me joy yesterday and today were not the gifts that I received, but the special people who gave them and the love with which each one was given.  This morning, I was met with homemade cards and muffins with a candle on top from my two sweet girls. Then, as I drove up this afternoon my soon to be 4 yr old granddaughter was ecstatic to show me her little card where she had written her name. My husband brought me lunch, flowers and a gift to school today, and yesterday I was blessed with beautiful gifts and cards from the rest of my sweet family. Tonight, I sat and read every Facebook message and thought about each name and the memories of each person. Whether we barely know each other, only met once or have a lifetime of memories, each message was special because someone took the time to think of me.

I pray that in my weakness each person who crosses my path in this journey of life may see 
His strength. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 9-Legacy

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 
(Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

I am so thankful for my mom and mother in law who have put the needs of their family 
before their own needs.  
They are now great-grandmothers and pass on their love and wisdom to each of us.  
I pray I can be half the grandparent they have been and 
pass on the love for the Lord to my grandchildren that they have to us.
Thank you, Mimi and MawMaw, for the LOVE 
you have taught all of us and the example you've both set.
I have some big shoes to fill!

We had a fun day of celebrating our November birthdays
(and Lia's, whose birthday is so close to Christmas). 
Lots of candles and lots of laughs today!

November 8-Discipline

because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:12 NIV)

How can we love our children so much and yet discipline them, or far worse, fail to discipline them?

In the classroom it is generally easy to tell which children have been disciplined at home and which ones have not.  So many parents think they are doing their children a favor by being their friend and not being too harsh with them.  Sadly, it is often those students who are disrespectful and difficult to teach.  Unfortunately, the lines have become so tangled and parents either discipline too harshly or not at all.  In either case, the child is the one who suffers. 

What a heartbreaking thing to see the results of parents who cause harm to their children and often have them placed in foster care due to abuse.  I am so thankful for friends who open their homes to provide a safe haven for these children; ones who long to be loved and disciplined in a way that demonstrates love.  Would you be one of those who opens your home to provide that safe haven for a precious child? 

Discipline is never pleasant at the time, but I am thankful that my heavenly Father loves me enough to discipline me and not leave me the same. Each child is so different and needs to be disciplined in his/her own way. I know I have failed miserably at times in the way I have disciplined my own children.  Thank goodness, my Heavenly Father is THE PERFECT PARENT and He is able to supply   my children's every need-what a relief to know that when I am weak, He is strong. I am so thankful my own parents and parent-in-laws were able to discipline in love and I pray my own children will remember that as well and be able to pass that down to their children for generations to follow. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7-He hears our cry

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. (Isaiah 59:1 NIV)

What a blessing to know that He hears my cry, even when others do not.  He knows my needs and understands when I need a rest. He paints a beautiful sunset and showers me with love.

After a busy week, Friday could not get here soon enough.  There's just something relaxing
 about coming home to this view that causes me to breath a sigh of relief and know that 
the worries and stress of the week are all in His hands! 

This promise also tells me that He hears the cry of the orphan child and promised to save her, just as much as He heard my cry for rest.  
He hears the cry of the lonely foster child placed in an unfamiliar surrounding and 
promises to shower her with love. 

He hears the cry of the little child with cancer and promise to comfort and heal her.

And He hears the cry of the widow living out her later years in a nursing home
and surrounds her with family to share precious moments.

If He hears the cry of all of these,
 why can't we trust Him to hear our cry and provide our every need? 

Lord, increase my faith and continue to remind me that you hear the cry of those 
who call out to you!