Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baking Sweets

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Orphan Summit

I am pretty excited about this opportunity.  Last year I heard of the Summit, I think my brother told me about it.  (He was attending Southern Seminary in Louisville)  It did not work out at the time, and I forgot about it.  Till I was recently whining, crying,  talking  to my sweet cousin in law Amy, sharing my heart about the orphans and hoping that she could give me some Godly answers that I was not finding.  (she is a saint by the way, as is my cousin and I love them!) They suggested that I attend this so I started looking into it again.  And while the timing is not so great.  3 weeks before China.  I knew the content is EXACTLY what I need as I spend this time praying about what the Lord is asking of me and my role with orphans. Here is a brief description of the event.

JOIN organization leaders, grassroots advocates, pastors, and ministry entrepreneurs sharing your passion.
ENCOUNTER the gathering hub of orphan ministry partnership, networking and inspiration for service.
BUILD knowledge, resources and practical skills via more than 75 workshops & unforgettable speakers and music.

Some of the break out sessions I am taking are:
Starting a church orphan ministry.
Starting a church orphan fund
Advocating as a busy mom. 
And more!  But obviously my goal is to really learn about the church ministry. 

My prayer is that by attending this, and then leaving for China the next month, I will have NO DOUBT what I am to do.   He is calling, I am sure.  But for what is the question. 

If you want to read more about Summit, check out the details here!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Babies that Wait on my Heart

 I shared with you this baby boy who was on my heart awhile back.  Just barely over a year old, adorable little face! Today I got a glimpse of him learning to walk in video.  And it made me so sad for him.  SO young and no mommy to cheer him on as he attempts to take his first steps.  He has been on a few different lists now, since before the new year.   In other words, he has been waiting for over 6 months for someone to look at him and fall in love and bring him home.

And this baby Angel has really stole my heart.   REALLY, as in I have tried to figure out is she mine? 

We have prayed, and so far, the door is not opening.  I want to MAKE it open.  In fact to be honest, I would be crazy enough to say, I wish God would throw it SO wide open I could bring them both home.  Because they are babies.  And they deserve to be in a family before they reach their 2nd birthday and have a mommy bake them a birthday cake and light the candles for them.   They deserve to come home before they are even old enough to remember a life before a family.   They deserve a chance!

Some might read this and say we are SO crazy to even think about bringing more home.  (my husband included).  Some will read this and say, just DO it.  But God.... He is who we listen to.  Or TRY to listen to.  I wish I could hear clearly.   I wish my house would sell.  I wish money would just rain down from heaven.  I wish those who don't want to adopt, would help those that will!  I need a sponsor. Anyone?  ;-)

Someday my heart will settle.  Until then I will pray that God would whisper to their families quickly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

If Only I had...

  •  more money
  • more time.
  • more patience. 
  • more clarity.
  • more support. 
  • more Faith.
Then maybe, just maybe, she would have a home. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

What does James 1:27 mean for ME?

I have been pondering that lately.  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. 

What does it mean?  For me?  

There is no doubt the Lord has given me a passion for orphans.  People have passions for many things.  It is what makes their heart beat.  What gets them so excited they can't sleep.  Or makes them ache so much they can't breathe.

Orphans.  My heartbeat.

Now to figure out what it means.  Does it mean I am supposed to adopt.  Again?

Does it mean I am supposed to go on a mission trip each year and work with orphans.

Does it mean that our family is supposed to give to others so they can adopt?

Does it mean I need to get involved in Foster Care?  (which we have looked into)

Does it mean I am to advocate and fight for those left behind? 

Does it mean all of the above?  Or none of the above. 

Because if we continue to add to our family through adoption, it gives us less of a chance to help out in all the other ways.

So what is the answer? Am I more useful in being able to GO and serve. 

Or bringing more home as my children. 

Helping others who are willing, but can't afford it?

Or parenting my own.

I wish the answer was clear.  We have no idea, we just know that the Lord is asking us to figure it out. Sure would be nice if He sent an email to clarify "figure it out".   We know that many have an opinion on what we should do.  For the record, we don't care.  ;-)   We serve an audience of ONE, and we will do as He tells us.  As I travel to China, and work with the orphans this summer,  I have a feeling He is going to show me our answer.  Till then we pray and listen and dream of all the things He has planned.

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. 
Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

House 4 Sale 4 Ever!?

You may remember this post back in September.  We had put our house up for sale.  We had felt the Lord nudging us to do this for awhile.  And we felt strongly last summer it was time.  It was a hard decision.  We love our house.  It fits our family.  Besides having enough bedrooms for each child, it also has an office for Mark, since he does work from home.  It is a great house for parties.  It is OUR house.

We found a house we were ready to buy, just as soon as our house sold.  We felt it was the perfect situation, had room for all of us.  They were willing to wait till we sold.   We just knew for sure that our house would sell fast.  It is a GREAT house! Who wouldn't want it?? 
Well at this point, we have no idea who wants it! It is still for sale.  At first, it showed quite a bit.  Then as the holidays and cold weather came, we had fewer and fewer showings.  Which was honestly just fine with me.  Can you even imagine how hard it is keeping up with a house while homeschooling and five kids?   Yep, it is that bad.  But no showings mean no selling. 
And the house we were planning to buy? Is listed for sale.  Which we are fine with, because they can't wait forever. What if we never sell?  What if that is not meant to be our house?   We have no worries that if it is meant to be ours, it will work out.  Though let me tell you how difficult it is to find a house that fits all of us.  It is not about everyone having their own space.  But we do have an age range of kids, and we do homeschool and Mark does have to have a quiet place for an office.  We have looked at other options, we are still looking.  

For the first 6 months, I was fine with WHATEVER happened.  But now? I am getting anxious.  Our reason for selling?  To have more money.   Why do we need MORE money? Because God has given us a heart for orphans.  We are in a place now where we feel stuck with what we can do. Which is take care of our children.  Afford our insurance (ugh!)  Believe me, we are fine.  We are not starving.  And in reality? We CAN stay in this house and keep doing as we are doing.  But we can NOT do more.   And that bothers us.   We are not selling for us, we are selling for them..

The children that are still waiting.  God has called us to help orphans, and right now we are trying to be still and listen to what that means.  Because there are SO many..

Beautiful children who have nothing.   We have so much.  To much. 

But not enough to give them what they deserve.   Which is what makes it so confusing.  We WANT to sell! We held on to our house for longer than we should have probably, with hands clenched tight, not wanting to let go.  And now we are willing, we have come to peace with it, we WANT it to sell.  Yet nothing.   So we try to listen some more.  What is HIS plan?  

 We continue to listen.   And wait.  Spending much time in prayer.  Wondering what our future holds, but trying to stay in the moment.  Till He answers.  We know He will.   
(we did have it painted, I kind of miss my orange and red, but a nice change!) 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sometimes Love IS Enough

 Recently I have been looking back over our journey with Mavery and went back to some of my blog posts I shared about how difficult life was.  If you want to see my heart and where I was, take a peek at this post by clicking here. 

 I think it was the first post where I admitted the stress we were living in.  Not just a we have alot of kids and homeschool and now have added a new child with heart issues  and an insane life stress, but a deep. we are in the pit stress.  That look we saw in her referral picture of sadness?

 And the screaming you might almost be able to imagine in this picture?  Think loud, piercing..
 It lasted a really REALLY long time. 

 And while some might be able to handle screaming for hours on end by a large 3 year old (because coming from a newborn is not quite the same!) I.COULD.NOT.HANDLE.IT.

 I was driving in the car the other day, and was thinking about how in those first few months of being home, I would drive my kids to school. (we ended up putting Malaine back into christian school that year soon after getting home) It was almost an hour round trip for me.  Mavery screamed the entire drive every. single. day.  By the time we would return home, I would be shaking and crying myself most days.  Then I would come in to attempt and homeschool the older 2 children, while Mavery was mostly hanging on my leg. Screaming. Not to mention Spicy girl running around.
All that said, it was just rough.  On top of the emotional issues of dealing with some pretty severe medical things.  You know, the child who we thought was "fixed" who needed open heart surgery pretty quickly. 

On top of heart caths and hospital stays and well, you get the picture. 

As I took Mavery in last week for her heart check up, God really spoke to me in that visit.  I sat and I watched her, and I was full of tears. He reminded me of those first 10 visits where it took 2 of us to hold her down.  The visits where I left the office crying from 1. the shock of news. 2. The stress of a screaming, kicking, thrashing toddler I had just held down for 3 hours.  He allowed me to look at Mavery with His eyes and the Big Picture He had been able to see over the last few years.
Isn't it funny sometimes the moments when the Lord chooses to really speak to us?  Not in the quietness of home, alone.  But maybe sitting in a doctors office, watching my daughter hop up on a table ON HER OWN and lay there still watching a tv show while they scan her heart.

As I watched her lay there, I realized that alot of what it is, she simply trusts us now.  She knows this routine.  She knows that when we say they are not going to give her a shot, we mean it.  She knows that if I promise her candy to lay there, she will get it.  She knows that I am her mommy and I am going to keep her safe.  From the doctor, or from whatever I need to keep her safe from.

I watched her on the table and I thought back to not only the screaming, but also the times when we saw breakthroughs. God whispered those times when we started getting a glimpse of who she really was.  When the sadness started to leave her eyes.  And when it started to leave mine.

And as He whispered these reminders to me, I started to feel the guilt seep in.  Feelings of failure as a mother, that I was that upset, that frustrated,  that impatient with her so many times.   Knowing all she had been through, I should have handled it all better.  That mommy guilt, it can eat you alive.

I love my Father and how sweet He is though in my moments of guilt to grab hold and let His promises of good rest on my heart.  It WAS hard, and I am pretty certain that ANYONE would have struggled in the same situation.  And you know what? We did what we could do.  We did not always handle it perfectly.  But through it all we loved. We hugged.  We found help in ways we could.

And so regardless of those days when I feel I failed, I look at Mavery now.  I see her climb up on a doctors table and lay there with out me holding her down.

I see her smile and laugh. Our girl has a sense of humor that has just blossomed. She LOVES to trick and make jokes.  And we have found that laughter really IS the best medicine.  Sometimes, when the fits threaten to creep in, on both our parts!, we make a joke and we are all laughing!  Her smile, that we rarely saw at first, never leaves her now. You can see the difference.  She now smiles with her eyes, not just her mouth.  And it comes from deep in her heart.

And you know what else?  I see her love.  Mavery loves with a passion.  My favorite to hear is "I LUB you mommy, and I really like you too".   If you have not had a Mavery hug, you are missing out!  She is the friendliest most loving child. She does not meet a stranger and just loves hugging everyone!

 At the writing of the post, back almost 2 years ago, I said maybe love is not enough.  But now I know.  It is, it really is!  Because LOVE is what brought Mavery home.  It is what carried us through.  It is what holds our family together.  No, it was not enough to heal her as quickly as we wanted.  But it DID heal her, in Gods timing.   He allowed us to love a child before we knew her.  He allowed us to love her, when we were struggling.  He breathed love into her heart which led to trusting us, believing us, attaching to us.    She is love.

 We love because He first Loved us. 
1 John 4:19

Friday, March 04, 2011

Maverys Heart Update

Today we went for Mavery's heart appointment. The last time we went was for her cath on August 31, so it had been awhile.  This was the first time I went with out Mark.  Typically it takes 2 of us to hold her down while they scan her, or one to feed her candy, the other to hold her.  But our Ms Mavery is CHANGING! She climbed right up on the table, lay so still and quiet, I did not even have to break out the candy this time! Till we were speaking with the doctor anyways, then she just happily ate her skittles. Amazed!
Pressures in the heart are about the same. Which is good, they are not getting worse, but he says he would like to see them a bit better. We will go Monday for a Lung Profusion Scan to check the pressures in her lungs.  Last scan they were 70/30 so we are hopeful to see a bit of improvement there. I am nervous for that scan.  They have to give her an IV which puts dye through her lungs that they measure.  She is not going to be happy about a needle, but hopefully we can do it with out to much screaming.  Lots of candy?  I have a Mavery update I am working on, hope to get it up soon.  Here are a few posts from the last few months about her, if you want to read!  Just click here and here.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

New Look!

So excited about my blog makeover.  What do you think?  I love it and loved working with Christie over at a Bushel & a Peck Designs.  If you are looking for a new look for your blog, you can click on her blog name, or she is on my sidebar. She is fast, and patient!  I am still working on updating the tabs at the top.  After a crazy couple of weeks, hope to get back to updating soon.