Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Prayer For Our Next Child

Dear Lord, our next child has been through some very painful
and sad things, that's the whole reason they are in foster care
right now.  This breaks my heart, as I know it breaks Yours.  Dear
Lord, I pray that you would bind up their broken heart.  Take
all those pieces and put them back together like only You can.

Dear Lord, our next child is a prisoner of their dark past.
I pray that you would free them from the captivity to their past,
that you would release them from the darkness of the abuse
and trama that they have experienced.
Dear Lord, I pray that you would bestow on our next child a
crown of beauty instead of ashes, a garment of praise instead
of a spirit of despair.  Please heal their mind and spirit from
the wounds they have experienced.  Replace the hurt with the
beauty that only You can give.  Give them the oil of gladness
instead of mourning.  Comfort them, dear Lord.
Their biological family is broken, dear Lord.  You can rebuild
the places long devastated.  You can renew the ruins of their
past.  I pray that you would give them a new start with
 our family.  Help us to show them Your love, dear Lord.
~from Isaiah 61~

Friday, September 28, 2012

An Autumn Morning

This is a beautiful time of year, isn't it?  I took a little walk
around our place this morning with my camera and this is
what I saw.  The spiders are very busy this time of year,
there are little webs all over the grass.  What a lot of work!
We have a lot of hedge trees here at our place, and the
hedge apples are falling off the trees.  If you don't have
them in your area, they are about the size of an orange-
it wouldn't feel good if they landed on your head!
We still have some flowers blooming! 
It was foggy this morning and the kids thought that was so cool
since we haven't had fog for a long time.  I opened the window
and SJ said, "Don't let the fog in Mom, we wouldn't be able
to see and we'd bump into the furniture!"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good Gifts

This year has been a difficult one for us in many ways.  Health issues for me, Andy starting a new business and all that means, switching from homeschooling to sending the kids to public school, and divisions at church have all taken turns weighing us down. 

You know, I think I would have probably given in to despair and discouragement if it hadn't been for my thankful list.  In the summer of 2011 I started writing down several things I was thankful for each day, numbering them in a notebook, and trying not to write the same thing twice.  I was inspired to do this by the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp.  Actually writing down the gifts God sends our way each day really does change your perspective.  I notice His gifts more now than I would have before.

For example, see the road in the photo above?  The county is doing road construction on the paved road that we usually take to go places so instead we get to drive on this road- isn't it pretty?  Every time I drive down it it makes me happy.  The wildflowers that are blooming in the ditches, the beautiful blue fall sky, having a good talk with one of the boys- they are all gifts from God, ways He shows His love and care for me, even in this old sin-filled world.

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good-bye Summer Tea

Our summer weather is winding down, the cool mornings and evenings feel so good- September is a nice month, isn't it?  I made some Constant Comment tea today, it's one of my favorites.  We still have a few summer flowers blooming so I decided to pick a few one last time for the table.
The marigolds, roses and mums look pretty in this creamer, don't you think?  I always take sugar in my tea but not cream- I guess I haven't grown up yet enough to drink it unsweetened!  This cute sugar and creamer are made by Newcastle in Japan.

This teacup is special to me because I bought it when we were waiting to adopt AJ- we waited 2 long years to be matched up with him but we always had hope that God would send us the child he wanted us to have- and he did!  AJ was definitely worth the wait.  The teacup is by Sandy Clough.
May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
I am joining Tea Time Tuesday and Table Top Tuesday again today.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Welcome to Holland

Sometimes life doesn't turn out how you had it planned back when you were 20-
but that's ok- because God's ways are always better than ours!  I like this little story
because it illustrates this so well.  I read it years ago and just found it online now to share with
you- it can apply to lots of different situations we find ourselves in.


by Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

No worries

Like it has been in so much of the country, our summer here was very dry and hot.  We have a small creek running through our property and it was dry almost everywhere except this one water hole that never dried up.  We think there must be a spring under the ground there.  SJ, AJ and I took a walk in the woods behind our house the other day and stopped by there.  The pictures I took reminded me of these verses in Jeremiah 17:7-8.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall is for apple pie

My parents have a couple apple trees so we went over there last week and the boys each filled up their own bucket with apples.  AJ had big plans to make his own pie with his apples.  So yesterday we went to work and he made his own pie. Then SJ thought he needed his own pie too so he made one next.  They did a great job! 

AJ and SJ are such good friends, they are in kindergarten together and they have so many good times together, it makes me happy!  I love watching them run across the yard, watching each other and laughing the whole way- how nice to have a brother who is also your best friend!

How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

Monday, September 17, 2012

Auntie Toots' Teacups

Isn't fall a lovely time of year?  Our weather changed last week and so the cooler air inspired me to decorate for fall.  I found a pumpkin spice candle in my decorations box and the house smells so cozy now with it burning!
Isn't this little girl cute?  She belonged to my great-aunt and on the bottom it says "last gift grandmother", her grandmother died in 1951, so it's fairly old. 
These teacups are special because they are from Andy's side of the family.  We had 3 teacups but no saucers, then last week I was at an antique store with my mom and we found two saucers that match- so that was a fun find.  They belonged to his "Auntie Toots".  I'm not sure how she got the name Toots, but that's what everyone called her!  Her brother, who was Andy's great-grandpa, was known as Slim.  I love this photo of them.  They are branding calves in the mountains of Colorado.
The fall season reminded me of this verse-
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8
In a world full of change, it's so good to know that God never changes!  He is always good, always loving, always forgiving, and always just.  I am so thankful for that!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Andy walks with me

Back when Andy and I were dating, we were sitting in church one Sunday, and I told him my favorite hymn was "In the Garden"- here are the words if you don't know them.

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.
~C. Austin Miles~
It's a nice song and all, but this is why I really told him it was my favorite hymn--

Andy's grandma sent me this newspaper clipping when we were dating and I still have it in my Bible, I guess because I'm sentimental like that.  (:  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Legacy of Adoption

Our family is full of adoption stories.  I have eight adopted cousins, an adopted uncle, and an adopted great-uncle and aunt.  Andy has an adopted uncle and aunt.  I don't doubt that all these adoptions have influenced our own decision to adopt.  I remember when I was a little girl, wishing that someone would drop off a baby in a basket on our porch so we could adopt him or her. (:  I guess the desire started early for me.  I'm so thankful that our parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts set such a good example for us of showing compassion and love to the fatherless.

My grandma and her siblings- her older
brother and sister were adopted.
(she is on the right)

When I see websites like this one, where you can search through all the children that are waiting to be adopted here in the United States, it just breaks my heart.  When we were waiting to adopt AJ I looked at the waiting children websites sometimes and now, over 2 years later, some of those same kids are still there waiting!  They must feel so sad, knowing that they are on a website and no one wants them. 

Andy and I are starting classes this week to become certified to adopt or do foster care through the state.  We both feel God is leading us down this road, and we are looking forward to what He has for us.  I'm so glad we can trust Him!  Adopting older children or children with special needs has unique challenges and honestly sometimes it really scares me, but God knows it all and He will be there in the future too.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Old Fashioned Girl

A while back my mom gave me some old books that belonged to my grandma
when she was young.  One of them was An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa
May Alcott.  I just finished reading it, it was a nice simple story about a girl
named Polly, who was an old-fashioned country girl and how she brightened
the lives of all who knew her.  In the front cover of the book is my grandma's name,
Margaret, and the year 1933.  She would have been 20 that year. 
Reading her book got me thinking about her.  She was an old-fashioned
country girl as well, who grew up in a family of 11 children.  The photo
above includes her wedding picture, one of her china plates, and the book.
This dogwood pattern of dishes must have been popular at that time,
because I have pieces of it from my grandma, my great-grandma,
and my great-aunt, all different families.  They don't have any
marking on the bottom so I'm not sure where they all got them from.
This photo of my grandma's family was taken in 1931, she is the
third from the right.  Most of the photos we have of our grandparents
are formal studio photos so I like this one that shows them in
real life.  My grandma was very practical and lived simply,
but she was very kind to us grandchildren, showing us her garden,
or playing with antique toys with us.  I often wish
I could talk to her again, she died when I was in college.
I hope that someday I can be a good grandma too!
I am joining

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Football Game

PD had his first football game of the season this afternoon.  He did great, and had an interception and some tackles.  He loves football and tackling- as his brothers can tell you!
It's fun to watch him play- although I'm looking forward to when the weather cools off a little more- it was pretty warm out there today.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Sunflowers

September is sunflower time and they are blooming like crazy around here these days!
So tonight we took a little drive and picked some for our table.
Sunflowers always look so happy, don't they?
DJ and AJ helped me pick them.
LA and SJ went out to explore the lake.
Sunflowers make the roadsides look so pretty!
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
Psalm 24:1-2

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Monster Cookies

Our boys always come home from school hungry- I'm sure it's because they've been studying so hard!  Yea.  So, it is my ambition to always have some lunch ready when they walk in the door, so we can sit around the table and talk about the day a little before they run off to play.  I admit it doesn't always happen, sometimes they just have to look in the cupboard for something, but I try. 

I have been gluten free for 5 months now, and at my last Dr. appointment he said I could start having oatmeal and rice now!  So, I made Monster Cookies for lunch today.  They don't have any flour, just oatmeal, so I can eat them too.  After 5 months without anything resembling a cookie, they tasted awesome!  Here's the recipe--

Monster Cookies

3 eggs
1 1/8 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 stick butter
2 t. soda
3/4 lb. peanut butter
4 3/4 c. oatmeal
1 1/4  pkgs. chocolate chips (or use part M&Ms)

Blend eggs, sugars, and butter together with mixer.  Add soda and peanut butter.  Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.  Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pride and Prejudice

I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen last week.  It's a great book but I don't think I would have had the patience for it any earlier in my life!  If you're looking for a good book to read this fall and you have time to concentrate I would recommend it.
Of course, if you're reading a book written in 1813 about life in England you need to be drinking coffee out of a transferware castle mug, right?  This one features Ruthin Castle in 1792, and is made by Johnson Brothers. 

You know, if you think about it, pride and prejudice are the cause of so many problems in this world.  In my own life I find that when I realize I have been proud about something and then try and change it, I get proud of how humble I have become!  It's always a struggle.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility
toward one another, because,
God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.
Humble yourselves, therefore,
under God's mighty hand,
that he may lift you up in due time.
1 Peter 5:5-6
I am joining Tea Time Tuesday and Table Top Tuesday again this week.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our Refuge-
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
~ Joseph M. Scriven ~

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