Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sister Love

It is starting to happen. It is like a bud that needs to mature and bloom but it is beginning to form. The bond between sisters. I am watching Eden help and nurture Heidi and it makes my heart glad. The sightings have been brief but enough to give me hope! Eden encouraging and showing Heidi how to do a puzzle.
And in the pieces go!!
Of course Heidi has to keep it real! No normal smile for this peanut!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Madness

Today was one of those days. If you have children I have said enough already. You know exactly what I am implying! Here is how ours went. We started the day in typical fashion - breakfast, getting dressed, making beds, started some laundry, started school, realized Judah forgot his lunch (not typical for him at all), brushed some teeth....The part I was looking forward to the most was a visit from my dear friend and her 2 year old son. Sounds wonderful, right? Except that Heidi thinks she owns every square inch in this house when her friend Luke is around. Including the air we all breathe. She is hot on his trail the entire time we are together. Lunch time came......and then went and we finished up school. The energy level seemed to keep growing and my head started spinning. Heidi woke from her nap and for some reason I picked today to dismantle her crib and transition her to a bed. She was super excited as were the other kids.! Especially when I said the crib mattress was going to have to be disposed of after being used for 10 years. This meant they could take all their pent up energy and start riding the mattress down the stairs! By the amount of laughter and rising noise levels I would say the make shift amusement park in my house was a huge success! Heidi chose this time of distraction to open and dump the fish food all over the floor. I texted my friend (who still likes me even though my daughter is unusually harsh with her son) and said I felt like I was reaching the boiling point which is never good for anyone. I carried the crib out to the garage, walked upstairs to get the vacuum to clean up the fish food and screamed! There was a bird flying around my house!! Like a drunkin' crazy bird! Flying into windows (which are not clean like the windex commercials), into the walls, got caught in a plant and eventually perched itself on the curtain rod. I was trying to contain my screams but spastic birds in small spaces can make even the bravest person jittery. Judah said he would go get something to help catch the bird. I set about opening windows hoping the bird would take flight. All the while realizing the bird must have come into the house when I had the door open transferring the crib to the garage. The bird took one more mad dash around the living room terrifying Heidi and Eden and found an open window. Judah rushed in to save the day with a tennis racket?? I guess he thought he would just hit the bird much like he does when he kills bees outside. So glad the bird escaped before it got plastered on my wall by my racket wielding son! I texted my friend back and said the boiling point was over! God had sent a bird to break up the tension! My kids actually all ate a good dinner which is something akin to miraculous! And how does a mom get a few quiet moments to clean up dinner? By recruiting her sons to read stories to the littles! It works people! They sit quietly for a few minutes and they would much rather read stories than wipe off the table and load the dishwasher. Notice the weapon of choice still on the floor of the living room?
Everyone is quiet, settled and snug in their beds! That is all the excitement I can handle for one day!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Visit Take Two

The evening before Mark and I left for our little get-away we had our second lovely visit from the all together delightful Hildebrand family! Really wishing they weren't going to be on the other side of the world as of today but......that is the reality! So we are grateful for the moments we got to spend with them and who knows. Maybe our next get-away will be to Turkey! I did have a dream months ago that I was visiting them in Turkey. I was going to say I have a feeling that this picture of Shane with Heidi and Vienna could be a prophetic picture of the days to come but thought I should clarify. I in no way am insinuating that he will have more than one woman in his life! What I do know is he loves, loves the "littles" and I think there should be full disclosure to his future wife that he will probably want lots of littles!
Is it just me or does Vienna look like Heidi? They even have blankets that are almost identical!
Yohanis and Vienna tackling Judah! He thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the "torture"! And sadly that is about the extent of pictures I got this time around! Too busy talking and trying to squeeze in as much as possible before they had to leave.
I am sure they would appreciate your prayers as they readjust and get acclimated to their life once again in Turkey. And for Yohanis this will be the first time seeing his home! Bless you guys and the work He has called you to do!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Thoughts on Seasons

I was recently talking with a friend and lamenting the fact that I felt like I had let my first love slip amidst all the demands and busyness of life. That from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until they find their way back under the covers at night I have things that need to be done. I carelessly threw out the words "this season of my life" without much thought. I have heard that phrase countless times from well meaning people who are trying to encourage but it has had the opposite affect for me. This season that I am in is full of demands on my time. From little people in the night to countless drinks in the day to a husband who is calling needing information on a client to a boy who needs snuggled....those who are moms totally understand the phrase "this season of your life". We all give each other the look, shrug our shoulders, resign ourselves to the fact that we must remain in survival mode in order to get to the next season.

Something has never felt right about those words though. Something in my spirit didn't align with them. Something seemed amiss. Doesn't God promise to meet us daily? Doesn't He say that His grace is sufficient in our weakness? (I know He promises that because it is posted where I see it everyday) Doesn't He say the very reason for this drudgery filled season is actually a REWARD from Him? Are not the little people who lick the windows then smear the slobber actually His blessing to us? Am I not selfish to think of this blessing filled time in my life as a heavy laden burden to be drug around as I try to accomplish something important?

As I lamented to my friend that I miss my First Love and that I desire to fall in love with Him again she spoke amazing words of truth to me that resonated deep in my soul and blew His Spirit straight onto my weary heart! Basically what she spoke to me were these words: "This whole idea of our young children being a difficult season are lies from the enemy and they mess with my head!" I felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest!!

Yes! Yes!! Lies! That is why I have been so reluctant to believe them. I can walk in His joy at all times! What does it say in Ecclesiastes? "That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the GIFT of God!!"

What? This daily grind could actually be a gift from God? This daily laying down my desires to help train my children could actually be a gift? These little souls God has entrusted to me are actually helping me die to myself daily. These little people that interrupt nearly every conversation, need help on the potty also need their spirits nurtured and nourished. They bring me to my knees everyday! I feel inadequate for the job but that is secondary to His equipping of me in the moment! I can learn to be content whatever the circumstance! (Philippians 4:12)

Now...let me insert a disclaimer here: I am in no way implying that being a wife/mother is ever easy! The demands are great !! The piles of laundry, the eating battles, the refusal to get showers because stinking is suddenly the coolest, the countless spills that make you want to give up on ever having a clean kitchen floor, the muddy fingerprints on the walls, the bikes scattered everywhere, the pee in the pants, the sore feet from stepping on random toys....all very real battles in every home. At least if we were all completely honest we would say that we deal with these scenario's daily. So the demands are great - we can all agree to that.

What I am trying to say that this "season" can be joy filled! It doesn't have to be survived in order to get to the next more fun filled season. Because frankly....every season is difficult. Life is just difficult plain and simple. Hearts are wounded, friendships are rocky, relationships become strained.....life is a rhythm of joy and sorrow. It is what keeps us desperate for our Father! At least it keeps me desperate for Him.

My challenge today is breath deep in the moment! If you are mother with small children stop looking at your days as days to survive and instead look at your days as treasured moments with little people that God rewarded you with! I will do my best to remember as well. Can't promise I won't loose perspective on a daily basis but I am asking God to remind me quickly of what has eternal value!! The only thing of eternal value in my home in my daily care are my husband and children! All else can just wait!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Carrington Update

For those interested in praying for Carrington and following her journey there is a blog called http://www.carringtonscourage.blogspot.com Please continue to pray for this little sweetie and for her family. It is an absolute miracle that she survived as long as she did!!

Good for the Soul

So here's the deal: Mark and I haven't been away just the two of us since we were in Ethiopia which is three years ago this week. There are a few reasons why it hasn't happened. The glaringly obvious is finding someone to watch our brood of children. Or maybe I should word it differently....asking someone to watch our children because we have people offer from time to time but I hate to ask someone to fill my shoes for a few days. Another reason why it doesn't happen is we are cheap! I don't know if we think we aren't worth the time and money or if it is just a comfortable excuse. Because getting away is costly but oh so worth it!! And the lovely thing about this get-away was that our hotel was paid for! I won a contest so we had a lovely room that didn't cost us a penny. The outlets located about a mile from the hotel did actually cost us a few pennies!

It was so nice sleeping in, taking naps, browsing shops, eating yummy food and not having to keep looking at your watch to see if we needed to head home yet. The first day/night I thought I might cry because I missed my Heidi so much. Spent a few minutes stressing about the fact I didn't seem to miss the other kids as intensely but chalked it up to this being the first time leaving her. I have been away from the other kids and they survived so I knew this time would be no different.

I loved getting phone calls from the kids and hearing how grown up they sounded. I realized that the older two really are way more capable and responsible than I knew. Judah packed his lunch, remembered to take his saxophone to school, fed his snake.....things I wondered if he could pull off without me being around and he did beautifully!!

As great as it was being away and spending uninterrupted time with Mark (and it was wonderful) coming home to my children was great!! I missed them so much and it felt great coming home to their hugs and endless chatter! Who wouldn't want to come home to this?

Of course they slept great for grandma and jumped right back into being awake all hours of the night when I returned. Grrr....These three bambino's must have some sort of pact to keep their mother tired. I wish they would call it off!!
And I celebrated being home by taking Eden to our local urgent care - it is a whole long process actually talking to a doctor at the pediatrician's office on the weekends. She has swelling on her jawline very similar to the two times she had an infected gland so I figured that is what we were dealing with again. The doctor didn't address the swollen cheek as much after checking her ears and seeing they were both infected. Hopefully the strong antibiotics will knock it out of her system soon seeing she can hardly eat from the pain in her cheek. She is being a trooper though. True Eden fashion!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I know I have been absent for quite a while now. It is called life! And sometimes a week disappears into the great abyss and you don't know where it went. I have been trying to be more purposeful about being aware of where my time. And frankly....reading stories and snuggling little ones is more important than a blog.

And I don't have time now to blog either. I actually had a little get-away with my husband that I will tell you about later. For now take a few minutes and click on Sarah's blog on my list - it says Urgent! Prayer needed for Carrington!! I wish so badly God would come back when I read stuff like this! Please pray for the fragile state of this little one and that God would begin healing her tiny, tiny body!

Happy weekend to you all!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Boys

Earlier this week I was doing my daily primping which consists of 20 seconds in front of the mirror. But something caught my eye. There was a solitary hair on my head that had a little extra shimmer to it. Sure enough......it was a gray/white hair! This is not a new phenomenon but it seems to be a little more frequent. I pulled the hair out and went in search of the boys. I said to Judah and Shane, "Umm....I think your mother is getting old. Look at this hair!" To which they both responded immediately, "You are not old mom! Sometimes that just happens!"

I love those boys! And just for the record my eight year old son has not been informed that in some circles holding his mother's hand in public would be deemed uncool! Nope! He did not get that memo yet and this momma is pretty happy about that!

I think my boys are pretty great!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Praying today

Before we get to the good stuff I just want to acknowledge that I am aware my blog is looking a little incomplete and out of whack. I will work on it in my spare time. My eyes hurt when trying to read the writing on the black background so I switched things around. Hope I can figure it all out.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep the verse in Ephesians 6 was swirling in my mind. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." I am convinced the uncertainty and the possible changes coming to Ethiopia are in fact powers of this dark world! Too many children are finding hope and the enemy is not happy!

On the heels of that verse was a verse my mother gave to me on Monday. In 1 Peter 3:12 - "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." A promise that I am holding onto today.

I feel much hope! I don't feel like this is a done deal! I am going to intercede on behalf of the children of Ethiopia today. But it doesn't have to stop there. We can pray for closed countries, such as Guatemala, to reopen. We can pray for the sweet extra-special babes in Ukraine. We can pray for our own children that God gives them compassionate hearts.....He is at work in this! Of this I am sure!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Surviving Winter

March rolls around and everyone starts getting antsy for spring! We run out of things to occupy our time since we have exhausted all options! So we turn to emptying cupboards so we can hide. Notice Heidi's little feet and her fingers on the cupboard door? We get a visit from a cousin who happens to be a big hit at this house.
What day wouldn't look brighter with those sweet eyes?
Sometimes she barely escapes with her life after being mulled by Heidi! Heidi has always been gentle until the last time Annalise came for a visit. Oy!! We have our work cut out for us in the being kind/gentle department. She put a hurting on a friend's little boy last week and I carted her out of their house hoping to have retained a little dignity.
Another way we survive winter is by playing with friends and looking at books.

And sometimes Darth Vadar shows up with a baby in hand.
And when things really get bad you go into complete denial and refuse to see the snow on the ground and you pretend it is warm!!
You hike up your pants and run through the snow without shoes.
You expose your tiny little sun deprived legs and run on a dare to the snowman in the middle of the yard.
Your roll through the snow with bare feet, shorts and t-shirts......
You belly-flop in the snow pretending it is a pool of water....
Pick yourself up off the ground, brush off the snow and go again.
And if you are the mom you grab the camera to document these wild days and hope that none of the neighbors are looking or you may all be deemed lunatics!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ethiopian Adoptions

I am warning you up front - this one could get long. There is a lot stirring in my heart this week and it has kind of come to a head this weekend. I will do my best to articulate as clearly as possible but I can't make any promises that this will make sense.

Last weekend I was notified by one of my dearest friends who lives in Nairobi that they had experienced a senseless tragedy. There is a young couple with two small children who work with YWAM in Nairobi who attend my friend's church. Their names are Ebel and Lora Kremer. He worked with the least of these, the nameless and faceless orphans. He was helping build homes that could house up to 12 orphans that would be mothered by a widow! Which, by the way, I think is a fantastic way to care for both orphans and widows which James mandated in James 1:27 ...."Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." So Ebel and Lora had moved from the Netherlands to do exactly this. Someone broke into the YWAM base last Friday early morning - they shot and killed 36 year old Ebel and sexually assaulted his wife. All of this trauma unfolding in front of their two small children. Now, some may say that these things happen everyday somewhere, right? And there is truth to that. At this point they don't feel like they were targeted but that it was just a horrible robbery. Except that I don't believe it was random. I think the enemy didn't like what Ebel was doing. I think that the enemy was seeking to destroy. My friend's husband put it so amazingly well when he said something along these lines: "Satan NEVER wins! God has not had his say yet, this is not over, and Satan will pay for what he has done - exponentially!"

All week long I have been praying and interceding for my friends who are walking through this, for Lora and her children as they have packed up their life to return to the Netherlands and for the children who remain in Nairobi. I have been impressed upon again the fight over the souls of these forgotten children!! They are not forgotten by God! He knows them each by name! He created them in His image!

Fast forward through the week to this weekend. For those of you in the adoption world I am sure you have heard the possible changes happening in Ethiopia that would greatly impact the adoption process! Long story short: Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA) in Ethiopia have to sign off on each adoption as well as the courts. Right now they process around 40 cases a day! MOWA just gave notification that they will be cutting back the number of cases they process to 5 a day!!! This means it will take 8 times longer for families to be united with their children! We are talking about an insane decrease in Ethiopian adoptions being processed!! And for those children with HIV, special needs, etc....this could be a death sentence.

This has my spirit all riled up today!! I thought through things yesterday but today my spirit has risen up! God's promises are "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." - John 14:18. "God sets the lonely in families....." - Psalm 68:6. There is something else going on here. Again...I can't help but see the enemy at work here. He is contrary to everything God has spoken. And the fact that children would remain alone, lonely and waiting....well that smacks of only making the enemy of their souls happy! I have found myself crying angry, sad and desperate tears. My heart is crying out, "God!! Would you please move heaven and earth this week?"

There are big meetings happening this week between the adoption lawyers, Minister of MOWA and president of the courts to talk about possible solutions to this crisis. I know there is a day of fasting and prayer being mobilized for Wednesday, March 9th! Would you join with me and the thousands of others storming heaven on that day? Seriously.....for those of you who think you can't really do anything to help the orphan. This is your time! You do not have to give anything monetarily - you just have to be willing to get on your knees! Get your children praying with you. As families. As friends. I am just asking you to pray hard this week for hearts to be softened. For solutions to be found. For these children to not be held up in the system.

Isaiah 58:6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of the injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"

I had someone tell me at the beginning of our adoption of Eden that God moves heaven and earth for the orphan. And I believe it!! I am believing for resolution in this specific situation in Ethiopia!! Would you believe with me? Would you join me on Wednesday?