Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where is she?

I usually go for pink more than red, but I really love these red tulips- every year they look so pretty next to the woods in our backyard...

We are at the familiar stage in adoption where I know that our child is out there somewhere, and I feel like I need to find them NOW, because they need to be here with us!  It's like a constant ache in my heart that someone's missing.  I have felt it while we waited for each of our adopted children, with AJ I felt this way for 2 years.  I sure hope it's not that long this time.  We are slowly getting closer.  When you adopt through the state, first you complete your homestudy, then you look through the waiting children and decide which ones you want to submit your homestudy for. (This is the point we're at).  Then the child's social workers will look through however many homestudies they have and decide which family would be best for the child.  Sometimes they might only have one homestudy to look at, sometimes 10.  Even though we get to pick a child from the list we have no control over whether the child's team will also pick us!  That's when faith and trust in God and His perfect plan for both us and the child come in.  I am so glad he can be trusted, he has proved himself over and over again!

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
and to take him at his word;
just to rest upon his promise,
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him!
How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust him more!
~Louisa Stead~

Monday, April 29, 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life

Have you ever considered the vast variety we have in our world?
Just think of all the different types of flowers, some have five
petals, some have six, some have too many to count.  They come
in all different shapes and sizes and colors.  Some smell soft
and delicate, some smell sweet, and some don't smell good at all! 
Then there are the birds.
A robin does not sing like a cardinal,
and a chicken definitely does not soar like an eagle!
Trees don't just have different types of leaves, they also
have different types of bark, different shapes, and different fruit.
Animals not only don't look alike, they also have very different
character traits.  A dog acts very different from a horse!
(photo courtesy of PD)
So what's my point?  All of the amazing things that are easily
observed in the world point to a wise and loving Creator.
 Only God could have such creativity, and all the wonderful,
funny, pretty, and majestic things he made are here to bring us joy.
Praise the LORD from the earth...
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and maidens,
old men and children.
Psalm 148:7,9-12

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Those good gifts we don't think of

We tend to want to make our kids' lives as easy as possible, don't we?  We work hard to provide them with plenty of food, clothes and warm beds, not to mention just what they wanted for Christmas.  It is completely natural for us to want to give our children good gifts, but lately I've been wondering about those good gifts that we don't usually think of, things like-

~a compassionate heart
~genuine love and care for others

Those good gifts don't come naturally or wrapped under the Christmas tree.  God teaches them to us through the experiences of life.

I suppose the reason I have been considering this lately is because we are in process to adopt an older child through the foster care system.  Many well meaning people think that it is not wise to adopt out of birth order, let alone bringing in a child with lots of baggage, who might drag down your children.  I can understand their point of view, but rather than looking at adopting an older child as a detriment to our children, just think of all the benefits!

Wouldn't it be great for our children to learn-

~compassion for people who come from hard, hard backgrounds?
~humility- that the world doesn't revolve around them? 
~to love someone unconditionally, even though they might be hard to love at times?
~to put another's needs before their own?
~a thankful spirit for all they have been given?

I'm sure there are many ways to encourage these attributes in our kids, not everyone has to adopt an older child. (:  But I'd encourage you, if you have kids, to not spend all your energy shielding them from every harmful outside influence, that just leads to pride- they think they are "better" than everyone else.  Rather, provide your kids with opportunities to interact with others who are different from them so we can show them God's love!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A little cheer on a dreary morning

Do you need a little cheering up on this dreary morning?
(At least, it's dreary here in our part of the country,
we're supposed to get sleet and snow today.)
Listen to these words from Isaiah-
we have much to praise God for!
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:10-11

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thinking about Alice

Along the way to the stone house is this old barn foundation.
Now it's all covered with vinca vines, planted by someone years ago.
As I was walking past this afternoon I noticed something I'd never
seen before.  There at the end of the cement walkway through
the middle of the barn was this name and date.

Alice was the only daughter of the man who built the stone house
back in 1882.  In 1911 she would have been 22 years old.

Do you ever imagine what people might have been doing 100 years
ago, on the same spot where you live now?  I can just picture young
Alice, heading out to pick some spring flowers for their table.

Maybe she stopped to rest and look out at the prairie grass
and listen to the birds singing up a storm like they were today.

People who built their homes out of stone back then wanted
their place to endure.  They had an eye for the future.
Unfortunately for Mr. Cox, who built our stone house,
his family did not endure to live and farm on the place
for generations, but that's another story.

Home is such a nice place to be, and I can imagine young
Alice setting her pretty flowers on their dining room table.
She lived her whole life here at the stone house.
Here is a link to the story of the beginning of our stone house.
I am joining these blog parties- feel free to visit for inspiration!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Little Girl Garland

My mom and I had fun sewing this little girl garland last week!
It took a little longer than we thought it would- but turned out
so cute!  It was fun creating each girl's dress.  If you'd like
to make one for a little girl you know, here are the directions we used.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

No longer in darkness!

Listen to these verses- it is amazing who we are in Christ!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God,
once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

Praise the Lord we are no longer in darkness!
(~We had a fun time fishing at the creek this afternoon~)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

AJ's New Colt!

Look what happened at our house today!
Baby miniature horses are so fun!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God's amazing timing

God works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes his hand is so evident, that it's hard to miss.  This morning we had our last homestudy visit scheduled, and then we would be ready to start the process of selecting a child to adopt from the waiting child lists.  But an ice storm came through overnight and our social worker cancelled the visit.  How often do we get an ice storm in April?  This is the second time she had to cancel, and it made us wonder if God has a bigger plan going on than what we can see, and the timing just wasn't right yet.  Maybe we will never know, but it reminded me of the story of our first adoption, when God's hand in the timing was so plain.

Our son PD is such a blessing to us and we are so grateful to be his parents.  The year he was born I was in a women's Bible study that met on Thursdays, and often after the Bible study I would do a little shopping in town and be gone most of the day.  Valentine's Day that year happened to be on a Thursday, and our Bible study leader had to help with her son's school Valentine's party that day, so we rescheduled our Bible study for Tuesday.  All of that left me at home all day on Thursday, so that I was able to receive the phone call from our social worker, asking if we would like to adopt PD!  The social worker said that since they were in a rush to find a family for PD that day, if we hadn't answered the phone they would have gone on to the next family.  But God had our Bible study leader sign up for her son's Valentine's party way back at the beginning of the year, so that I would be home to take that phone call.  It was so obvious that he wanted PD to be in our family, and I'm so glad he is!

My times are in your hands.
Psalm 31:15

God is an amazing God, that he can orchestrate ice storms, Valentine's day parties, and phone lines and everything else in the world to work out so that His plan is accomplished in each individual's life.  Wow.  I'm glad He's in charge and not me!

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov'reign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
~William Cowper, 1774~

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rose Teapots

Today I redecorated an area of my kitchen,
so I thought I'd share it with you!

This cute teapot wall hanging was made by
my friend at Farm Chick Quilts.  She does beautiful
machine quilting and I love the cute rose teapots
she made me!
They go perfectly with my rose tea things.

This pretty pink rose teacup was a gift from
my Grandma for my birthday this year.
It matches my teapot so well- I love it!

Soon the roses will be blooming outside too- I'm trying something
new this year- attempting to start some more roses from cuttings.
I'm using this method, where you put them in wet newspapers
in a cool dark place for 6 weeks.  Has anyone tried it?
We'll see how it goes.  Have a great week!
I am joining Sandi for Tea Time Tuesday.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What's blooming now

What a pretty day outside today!  Spring is such a nice
time of year.  Here's a little of what's blooming now
here around our place.  What's blooming around you?
Grape Hyacinths are so cute!

The daffodils in all their glory- I need a few more of these...


This isn't the greatest picture, but the old apricot trees by the
stone house are blooming now too- they were so pretty in the
sunshine.  The garden's coming up too- yay!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A story of God's Grace

Fifteen months ago my world was changed.  I had been self-confidently going along in my pride, thinking that I knew the right way to raise a family, the right way to respond to people who did things differently.  I couldn't believe that some people didn't "get it".  But I am learning just how wrong I was- I was the one who didn't "get it". 
My world was changed when I started having seizures.  The first few were just small things,  I would feel really tired, lay down on the couch, and not be able to speak for a few minutes.  I didn't know what it was, but figured I should probably go to the dr. about it sometime.  Then the day after Christmas 2011, I had a grand mal seizure.  I was taken to the ER in an ambulance, kept overnight for tests (where they found nothing), and sent home.  I kept feeling bad- stomach aches and extreme fatigue, and I kept having the small seizures.  Then in February 2012 I had two grand mal seizures in a row on the same day.  After another ambulance ride and overnight stay at the hospital, the neurologist gave me some anti-seizure medicine and said most of the time they never figure out why adults have seizures, he diagnosed me with epilepsy and said I would have to stay on the anti-seizure meds the rest of my life.
Everything that I had been good at before I could hardly do anymore.  Organizational skills used to be something I could handle easily, and I would always do the bookwork for our business, but now I couldn't even remember where to start.  As a result of the seizures, I couldn't remember much of anything from the last 6 months, and as a result of the anti-seizure medicine, I couldn't think clearly.  It was terrible.  I couldn't even remember how to play piano.  I was so scared of having another seizure.  I would lay in bed, reciting this verse over and over to myself.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8
I had been homeschooling our children for the last five years, so you can imagine how difficult that was for me now.  We basically just did reading and math last spring, it was all I could do.  Homeschooling our children was something I was convinced was the only way we would ever educate them.  I couldn't believe Christians would be willing to send their kids to public school where they would have so many bad influences.  (sigh). 
God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5
God was humbling me big time.  He put me in a position where I could no longer homeschool our kids.  Private Christian school was too expensive, so our only option was public school.  God put me in a place where I had no choice.  All the things I had taken pride in, all my abilities, were gone.  I couldn't be the mother I wanted to be, I was tired almost all the time- so tired I could only lay around.  I had days where I was so weak I couldn't even push the shopping cart through the grocery store.  It was so hard.  Some days I felt like I was probably dying.  I didn't want to die, I have a family to take care of.
Thankfully, a lady at church told me about a holistic doctor, who helps people who have had seizures figure out the cause.  So I started going to him about a year ago.  He has helped me tremendously, I was able to go off the anti-seizure medicine that made me feel so stupid, and will soon be totally better.  He found lots of issues in my digestive system that were the cause of the seizures.  I am so glad to have found him.  I still feel weak though.  I don't handle stress as well as I used to be able to.  There are lingering effects from it all.  That's why this verse was so special to me this morning.
But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9
Sometimes I feel so ashamed of my old prideful attitudes.  Our kids are doing so well in public school this year.  Yes, there are bad influences there, but there are bad influences in the whole world.  They are learning how to handle those influences.  They are learning how to relate to people who are different from them, who look at life differently than they do.  All very valuable lessons.  Our school district has some great teachers, and our kids have done very well under them.  God has taught me so much over these last 15 months, and I don't ever want to forget it.  I am so very thankful for God's grace.  The Christian life is not about having all the answers, it's not about knowing the right way to do things and looking down on everyone who does things differently.  It's all about Jesus- He gives us more grace, even when I still don't "get it".
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