Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sydney Goes On A Bike Ride


Time spent, alone, with Daddy is every bit as dear to her as anything else in this world - she wouldn't trade it for anything.  Can you tell by her beaming face?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Can Hear the Music


Thank you everyone (and to those of you who have emailed me privately) for your comments and encouragements on our current situation.  All of your notes have been very sweet and I hold them dear.

And to answer some questions...

No, our [biological] children did not get taken from us, but the boys that we were so hoping to adopt, in just a matter of months have been.  They were already, at heart, our boys.
The eleven year old girl that lived with us complained (about the way we live and what we expect) and made a steep allegation against us and to "be safe" they removed each and every one of the children from our home.  Nothing like being guilty until proven innocent .  Her mother was just recently was released from jail and she had her first visit this past week.  The only thing we can figure is - in her mind - she thought "if I'm not with them, they'll put me back with my mom...".  Which is not the way it works....

In any case we are back down to our two children.  The house is morbidly quiet.  Daniel has Christmas music playing in the background - the strange thing is that I can actually hear all the words.

Yesterday was a very emotional day for the entire family.  Many tears were shed by all and many words sent-up in prayer and lamentation.  At the end of it all, quite late last night (or very early this morning) Daniel and I were talking and made a conscious decision -
We are STILL blessed beyond belief with the two children we [already] have.  Two beautiful, healthy, smart, and fun daughters that - with all they are - glorify our Lord and Savior.  We are abundantly proud of them.  And although sadness and mourning seemed to reign yesterday throughout our home - life has/will go on.  And if we (Daniel and I) remain constant basket cases because two children, that we've known for four months, were taken away from us, that will most definitely communicate they were, in fact, more important to us than the two we still have.  Yes, we have, indeed, lost two little people that we loved more than we could have ever possibly imagined, but there is absolutely nothing we can do about the situation.  And tears along with words of anger, hurt, or even remorse will not take back the words (lies) that escaped the lips of that lost little girl that sits in yet, another, foster home - wishing she was back with her mother.

And then another thought occurred to us -

The love we are feeling must be the love of Christ.  In the same way that God so loved the world (even before they became His children), we loved those boys.  And although I commit sin daily, He still loves me.  Regardless the lack of loyalty it seems that I may exhibit toward the One that we celebrate this season, He still loves me.  And each and every night, I lay me down to sleep and He never fails to give me a hug goodnight - forgiving me for what I've done throughout the day.  And just as we've been standing in the gap, each night, for those children - He too stands in the gap for us - knowing full-well our hearts.

And a decision of forgiveness must be made, in heart (by all), and rely on the simple fact - God is in control and already knows what comes next.

And most definitely, I will find what I've been so seeking for some time now -














Lord, 
Heal our hearts and help us find
what we should be doing next.
Thank you for your constant
and unconditional Grace that I
can be me and you still love me.
Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Few New Things To Find Joy In










...bibs turned into superhero capes

...acorns in the washing machine

...taking up the biggest table at a restaurant

...first time questions like "are they all yours?"

...forts made out of beach towels, garden hoses, and rocks

...jumping, running, and flying

...sound effects

...8:00pm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Miracle Multiplication


The house is quiet.  Which, lately has been very rare, but I am relishing in the non-existance of noise.

It seems that we had just found our groove and our world was once again rocked.  This past Thursday we received a call asking for [another] placement in our home.  It was, at that point, I wanted to shut the doors and pretend the rest of the world didn't exist, but it does, and I didn't shut the door.  An eleven year old girl and a seven month old boy came to us, with much protest late Thursday evening.  We had just celebrated Justin turning three, everyone was outside with their "party favor" (punching balloons) and the doorbell rang.

Friday seemed like it would never end.  We had an entire house running on too little sleep and lots of adrenaline.  Add "boys" into that mixture and you have a potentially explosive combination.  At the end of Friday I was ready to call the agency and tell them we couldn't (I couldn't) do this and they had to find another place for the kiddos.  But the Lord calmed my heart and gave grace and peace like I've only felt a few times in my life.  Daniel, being the wonderful husband he is, admonished me for even attempting and wanting to help - and asked if we could give it the weekend - he would call on Monday if we thought it wasn't going to work.

Monday has come and gone.  And the kiddos are still with us.  Gabriela and Jesse are still here and life is back to "normal" (if I can call it that).

I've gone from three kids (really two since the oldest is married, out on her own) to six in about one month - our kiddos now range from nineteen all the way down to seven months.
Boy has the Lord changed my heart.  When?  I have no idea.  Suddenly, I went from wanting only one (maybe two) to wanting ten.  Maybe it had to do with some really great friends He placed in my life that had already given that area of control over to the Lord and were on their way to having their own baseball teams :o)  I saw the dynamic of a large family and my heart was forever changed.  I grew-up as an only lonely child which precipitated into me wanting more babies!!!!  But I thought we would have them the normal, conventional way - the fun way...

Nope, nothing "normal" comes from us - and conventional is far from our personality profile!  Don't believe me?  Ask anyone who knows us.

Adoption - this is the way the Lord will have us to do it right now - and it's interesting [to say the least].  Which, makes sense - He is the King of Adoption!

My once quiet, decorated, predictable home is no longer quiet.  Decorated?  The boys have only been here a month - I'll give it a little while longer; JC doesn't seem to have the ability to cohabitate with ANYTHING without breaking it, therefore I'm putting all the priceless momentos away and saving them for the next season, the one withOUT little boys jumping [aimlessly] through the house.  And predictable?  Bahaha ha ha ha ha ha!  No way!
The two new kiddos who are with us seem to be doing well.  Gabriela is eleven and quite compliant (right now).  She seems like she aims to please and wants to excel and do well in school - those are wonderful qualities.  Little Jesse is seven months and has been diagnosed as a Down's Syndrome baby.  He's a bit delayed, developmentally, but cute as ever!  I've been ever-so-gently trying to convince him that he needs a bit of a schedule, but he's been completely opposed.  Not sure what the schedule was at home, but he's doing well here.  His sister told us she's happy to be here because her little brother doesn't cry all the time.  That made me happy at the same time it broke my heart.

I'm doing great - as a momma of six (all of the sudden).  I know Gabriela and Jesse aren't permanent, but Daniel and I definitely would like to have this many of our own - or more.  We'll take it a step at a time, but for right now, I think we've given a new meaning to 'miracle multiplication' ;o)

A friend of mine used to joke with me about staying up late and sleeping in because our girls were so independent.  She used to tell me that more kiddos would rock my world...
Well, Susan, it definitely has and I love it.  And Ali says she knows exactly how Emily feels and she loves it.

However, I think we're at "capacity" - guess it's time to start looking for a bigger house and a twelve-fifteen passenger van

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Salvation


Salvation is from our side a choice; from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest by the Most High God. Our accepting and willing are reactions rather than actions.


--A.W. Tozer

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Life With Boys


Life is definitely different being a mom with boys in the mix.  Just a couple things to share for posterity sake...


JC (the 4 year old) is like a bowl in a china closet.  How a child can be so incredibly coordinated and yet so clumsy - is beyond my scope of understanding.  But this morning was a true JC moment (I'm finding he has LOTS of these moments).
He gets up VERY early in the morning because he's been trained to wake early enough to catch a bus that takes him to daycare.  He's no longer going to "school" so we're encouraging him to sleep in and to be quiet in the morning so little brother can sleep a bit longer.

This morning Daniel got up with him, hoping to keep him quiet so the rest of the house could sleep in.  So, they got up, got dressed and went outside to fix a bike.  All in one fail swoop (insert image of Hemy from Over the Hedge) JC hops up and in a flash ran in the house while saying "I gotta pee...".  Daniel tried to stop him to simply have him go outside, cause boys can do that :o), but says he was gone before he could even get one syllable across his lips.

From the inside, this is what I [abruptly] awoke to...
The back door slamming, little feet stomping through the house, the bathroom door slamming closed, the toilet lid being tossed up, and a little boy relieving himself of a full bladder, while all the while singing (in a very 'strong' voice) the first verse to the well-known children's bible song -

DEEP AND WIDE
DEEP AND WIDE
THERE'S A FOUNTAIN FLOWING
DEEP AND WIDE
(flush)

Evidently it only takes one verse for a little guy to empty a bladder.

~ and ~

The entire house was awake and started the day!

Later on in the afternoon - I watched this same little guy climb a tree while everything in me wanted to yell out the window"get down, you're going to get hurt...", I decided to just watch, quietly, from the kitchen window.  I figured if he climbed too high I would stop him, but he only went up so far and stopped.  However, holding on to (hugging) the trunk and sliding down wasn't such a good idea.  He came in crying because the inside of this arms, his belly, and one temple were all sorts of scratched up.  I felt helpless - I couldn't do anything to make those tiny, pin-like scratches stop burning like his crying was indicating.  Although, I really wanted to explain to him "this is exactly why you shouldn't be climbing trees" [but I didn't].  I soaked a washcloth with cold water and cooled the injuries.  The rest of the day he walked around holding his arms from his body in the same manner as Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's My Brother's Birthday


Today is my brother's birthday.

But he's no longer here to celebrate it.

I had to make a very sad, long, painful journey back to Iowa ~ for my brother's funeral.
A 46 year old, healthy man died on July 1, 2010 ~ unexpectedly from an overdose of antidepressant medication.

I received the call of the heavy, grievous news just after publishing my last post.
No accident.  No answers.  Just the remains of my embodied big brother.
He left behind eight children along with a host of many other relatives that grieved his leaving more than he could ever imagine.




This is the last picture that was taken of Rob ~ by his son ~ just days before he was found in his home.

You would have had to know him, on a personal level, to even try to comprehend why he would have thought this to be the only way to deal with the trials in his life.
I still can't believe I'm sitting at the keyboard, punching the keys that it takes to share this message.

My beloved brother is gone.  Never to be seen again, this side of Heaven.  He's finally free.  And appropriate as it was, celebrating the passing of this man to meet his maker, freedom in Christ (in the most literal sense) ~ the service was held on the 4th of July.  A day that carries meaning, not only to my brother, but to his family as well.  And coincidentally, the poem selected (before we knew when the service would be held) went like this:

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free
I'm following the path God has laid , you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all.



I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work, or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way;
I found that peace at the close of the day.




If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joys;
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things, I, too will miss...



Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow,
My life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.



Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief;
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee
Gods wanted me now -- He set me free.



RIP big brother.

My tribute to you ~ is the life I live here while you're absent, and the Hope I hold, that you will greet me on the other side of Heaven -- when the Father calls me Home.  And I'll be watching for you ;o)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ali-ism; Regarding Parsley


At the table ~ for lunch, eating a hearty [but good for us] spring-mix-grilled-chicken-and-honey-mustard-salad.



Girls approach.....

PARSLEY.


Neither one likes it!  Faces all scrunched up, spitting things out of their mouths ~
And the simple conversation that occurred at that very moment:

Mom:  Parsley is an herb that has all sorts of good-for-you properties.
Ali:  uh-huh...
Mom:  Genesis 1:11 says 'Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.'
Ali:  uh-huh....
Mom:  and the end of Genesis 1:12 says "...And God saw that it was good."
Syd:  I think it's worth noting here Mom, God SAW it was good, I don't think He actually TASTED it.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Ali-ism; Half Egyptian


For the past few days, I've been working on getting the curriculum for next year's homeschool.  I mentioned to our (nearly) fifteen year old daughter - she would be going into a different history next year, starting over from the beginning ~ and she replied with:



I'm not going back through Ancient Egypt again, right?  Really, Mom, please tell me I don't have to do more Egyptian studies!  I've already been through it twice and I just don't think I can take more Egypt.  For crying out loud Mom, I'm half Egyptian already - look frontalism (as she physically posed for me)!


I laughed so hard my eyes were watering.  She says some of the funniest things, without even trying.  I love that about her!  Thanks for the laugh, Ali!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sisterly Kisses


























Totally over exposed, but I just love the way it turned out! 
I'm so blessed, despite the difference in their age ~ they are each other's BFF!  Thank you Jesus!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Ali's First Homemade Cake


Chocolate cake, with a chocolate cream filling, and chocolate frosting -

made by Ali...


YUMMY!

(by the way - this was her very first cake from scratch, I think she did great!)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Ali-ism; Comet Breath

A short story to tell - an Ali'ism, but first - a bit of a preface...

We've switched toothpaste. From Crest to Tom's, and from Tom's to a completely all natural herbal paste; one Ali hasn't liked, up to this point.

So Ali and I take a quick trip to the store the other day ~ by ourselves ~ to get ... something.

The next several lines encompass the short conversation that happened:

Me: Are you getting more accustomed to the new toothpaste?

Ali: Yeah, it's much better.

Me: I admit - it takes a bit to get used to, but once adjusted I really like it.

Ali: I agree - as a matter of fact I woke up this morning and noticed I didn't have "Comet breath".

Me: What? 

Ali: Uuuuhhh....

Me: What breath? Comet breath?

Ali: Uh, yeah...

Me: Do you mean moose breath?

Ali: Oh, yes - MOOSE BREATH.

Me: Where did Comet breath come from?

Ali: I was thinking about the reindeer, you know; COMET, and Cupid, and Donner...

Laughter filled the car ~ for the rest of the ride.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snippets From Syd; Sneezy With a Chance of Meatballs

And it came to be, on a cold, cloudy day, a sneezing fit came over eight year old Sydney as we were seated at the table eating a lunch consisting of hamballs, parmesan pasta, and salad ~

aaaa-choo! #1

aaaa-choo! #2

aaaa-choo! #3

Sydney ran to the other room, retrieving a hankerchief and USING it, leaving the rest of us to finish our lunch.

And with each of us, taking a bite from our perspective plates, we heard ~

"Oh man, I have meatballs coming out of my nose..."

And the rest of us, simultaneously, laughed, shook our heads, and chalked it up to it simply being Sydney

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Letter to Ladybug



My Dearest LadyBug,

You are eight years old right now. My how you're growing. Sometimes more quickly than I would like you to (or care to admit). It looks like [at this point] you will be our second and last baby and although you will continue to grow, I will never stop thinking of you as my "baby". However...
Recently you had a very restless night sleep. Up and down all night - back and forth, back and forth to your room I traveled through the dimly lit house. One o'clock am, two o'clock am, and finally at three o'clock am I decided I would simply stay in your room with you - to save myself, yet, another journey to and fro.

I gently prompted you to move over and squeezed, comfortably beside you in the small twin bed. I quietly prayed in your ear and whispered the words of Jesus Love Me and Amazing Grace. You whispered [sang] it with me for quite some time (my how you love to sing), but finally you fell fast asleep curled up next to me, holding my hand tightly.

As you slumbered, I watched you. I watched and remembered. How tiny your hands used to be. So tiny that your entire fist couldn't muster enough girth to embrace my one finger. But now, you've grown ~ still growing. You no longer need me to nurse you. You no longer need me to lace your shoes. You no longer even need me to help you write your name. And as I lay there next to my "baby" and stroked the still soft skin of your hand - I was taken back in time and for a moment you needed me as much at that moment as the day you were born.

Your hand didn't, at that moment, seem as big as it usually does. Your nose was still a cute little button decorating your face, and your lips - still the shape of a petite little heart. And right then - I felt God slow the clock for me - to bask in remembrances of a time that I thought I'd allowed to slip away - to be forgotten.

And it was at that moment that it occurred to me - you ARE still my "baby" and you DO still need me - only in differing ways. Yesterday I kissed boo-boo's all better, today I look at the toads you catch, and tomorrow I'll hold the blessed child that will so remind me of you when you were a baby - your daughter, my grand "baby".

I fell asleep that night resting in the love that I have for you and thanking God that He gave you to me. That I was allowed the privilege to be your Momma, to teach you the things of Him. And for now and evermore - I'll love you just as if you were my "baby".

I love you.
Mommy

Friday, January 08, 2010

What it Takes to Be a Real Indian


To be a real, true to life Indian it takes the ingenuity to fashion a bow and arrow from an old wooden coat hanger that was headed to the burn pile, sharpies, stickers, and a stick found on a nature hike last summer.



The dedication to head out into the cold, cold, cold winter weather to be one with nature ~ feeding all the birds by way of a homemade bird feeder suspended from one of Dad's bungee cords :o)



The new cute-as-can-be haircut, purple unicorn pj's {with matching sequined arrow holder}, blue robe, and red wagon only adds to the authenticity of it all.


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