Thursday, December 30, 2010

We Are ALL Called To Care


Issac (9 months) and Kenny (8 months)
They don't really know that they are not twins!
  I have friends and I have acquaintances and I read blogs of mom's who are passionate about adoption. Passionate. I love that. James 1:27 says, "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corupt us." James does not say, "if you feel like it", and it does not say, "if it's convenient" and it does not say, "when you have time". It says, "care for orphans and widows in their troubles". It does not say, "adopt them all - as many as you can", and it does not say, "go to the ends of the earth and adopt a child from a foreign land that has special needs". I do get that there is a huge need. Huge. There are some 143 million orphans in this world. They do indeed need to be cared for. And we are ALL called to do that. To care. Cause James 1:27 says we are called to care. There are many ways each of us can care. I want to talk about one of them here and then leave you with some other ideas.

Foreign adoptions cost from $20,000 on up. Foreign adoptions take so much time and energy and stress. I think that foreign adoptions are necessary and an amazing way to care for our orphans. I read a blog written by a gal who has recently moved from Woodland Park and is now living on the east coast. She is so passionate about foreign adoption and has a huge following and a huge impact to the world on her blog which you can read here: http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2010/11/reckless-abandon.html She has led families to orphanages around the world to bring home sometimes more than one child with special needs. Some of whom have been lying in a crib for 5 years. As far as we know there are not places such as this in the United States. But the need is great. The call is there. The leap is huge. The reward is unfathomable.

Did you know that there are currently 115,000 children in the foster care system in the United States waiting to be adopted. Did you know that these adoptions cost nothing? Did you know that many times the state will pay the adoptive parents a monthly stipend every month until that child turns 18? Did you know that these children can remain on Medicaid until they are 18 years old? There is no expense. Not one. Besides a monthly stipend there are funds available for respite and there are funds available for therapy and other needs outside of what is covered by your monthly stipend and Medicaid. Most people do not realize this. Do you know how many times I have heard people say, "We would love to adopt but the money is just not there" or "We would love to adopt but..." But what? The need for foreign adoptions is great and if you feel called or feel like you can raise the support to do that, then by all means DO IT! But if you feel the tug to adopt or you feel the tug to inquire about adoptions...consider that there are children in your state, in your town, in your neighborhood, and maybe at the foster home next door that are waiting for a forever family. Someone to care. Someone to love. Someone to give them a chance and show them what unconditional love is. Someone...

It's not easy. No one said that doing what we are called to do would be easy. So that said...Today - what are you going to do to care for orphans and widows? Here are some ideas:

need more ideas?
need more information?
leave a comment or e-mail me
I have lots of ideas...
but whatever you do...do something...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Multitude Monday

One Thousand Gifts
holy experience

78. sleeping in
79. Josh home 4 days in a row
80. a blessed time with Gabriel and Arianna and their new forever family getting to know their new family and just playing...with the hope that our relationship will continue

81. an hour with Julia and Will
82. brief correspondance with a previous foster daughter that I have not talked to in over a year
83. time with Friesema family
84. best friend cousins

85. sweet time with my little family at home for 2 days straight doing nothing but playing with legos, hot wheels, board games, and sewing
Check back next Monday for another installment of Mulitude Monday. God IS good!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience


One Thousand Gifts

71. sweet much needed date with my hubby. We went to Tabaguche Steakhouse here in WP. Never been there before and we were very impressed. Ever since the bear broke our freezer and ruined 300 pounds of beef we have been craving a good steak and this did the trick.
72. my Bible Study gals. An amazing group of women who have grown so much in the last four months. I love growing in my walk with them. It was a precious group.
73. a fun night with our sweet friends Shawn and Terri Willoughby. They were one of the first couples that befriended us when we moved here 8 years ago. They adore our children and we LOVE to spend time with them.
74. special time with the kids at IT'Z for Josh's work Christmas Party. It was fun to just run around and let the kids have fun and I got to play skeeball! Fun for me to see Keith and Tana's kids too. (2 new little cutie girls recently adopted from Haiti that I had never met.)
75. super fun time having dinner with great friends. Relaxed, ate, played games, played with the kids, ate, ate, and had awesome fellowship with true, real, great friends.
76. I love this time of year. Relaxing. Enjoying friends. Baking. Fun time with the kids. I have been very purposeful the last few years to make Christmas what I want it to be and not what the world or other people want me to make it. It's about Christ coming in the flesh so that we could choose to recieve grace and be saved.
77. Luke 2:11 "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL!

Check back next week for another installment of Multitude Monday. God IS Good! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Multitude Monday

One Thousand Gifts

holy experience


59. special time with Melanie, MC, Emily, and Laura and their families

60. talking with my big brother till 3:30 in the morning
61. great wine from my sister
62. getting together with family that I have not seen in 10 years. It was such a great weekend together.

63. my Gram
64. my parents' generosity
65. my big car
66. my amazing husband who I adore and respect and appreciate. He gave me the gift of grace and patience. He was amazingly helpful and completely stepped up during a hard time for me.

67. getting to see Scrooge, the play, with the most amazing friends I've ever had
68. rest
69. ebay
70. special tea time with the Friesema girls

Check back next week for another installment of "One Thousand Gifts". God IS Good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flashback Friday

My Gram

 Gram and I were always taking pictures like this - me holding the camera out in front of us. It was usually because it was just us. But this time I did it for fun cause we always used to do that. It's a dreadful picture of me but I have it beside my bed and I kiss it every night and pray for her.

My prayer tonight sounded different. It wasn't my usual, "Dear Jesus come quick. Wrap your arms around her and carry her home today. She is ready to meet you Lord Jesus. She is ready. Let go Gram. Go to Him. I know you are ready." No...tonight it sounded like this, "I miss you so much. I miss you. I miss you." My Gram went to see Jesus today. She had longed to meet Him for so long. I am so thankful that she has a new body and can see and can dance and can laugh and can be happy. But...I miss her. She was so special to me. A relationship like I've never had, like I never will again. We loved to hang out. I have so many memories of her, with her. I am so grateful that Ellie does too. Starting when she was 4 months old.


When Gram was 89 years old I asked her if she could do anything or go anywhere for her 90th birthday what would it be...She said she wanted to go back to Colorado one more time. So we did...


 Ellie and I made 3 trips to Florida to see Gigi. Amazing memories were made. That lady knew how to have fun!

 One summer we even vacationed to her house in Wichita and went to the zoo and swam in our wading pool on her patio.
A few years ago was our last Florida trip to her condo. I've had fun there since I was very young.
I miss you Gram. I miss your smile the most. I miss going to the zoo with you. I miss going to the beach with you. I miss boat rides. I miss talking. I miss watching chick flicks. I miss wearing your clothes. I miss your poached eggs and fried chicken. I miss your pink geraniums...and that silly orange coat...and your roses...and your pink frosting...and going to the candy store...and to the club...and shrimp cocktail...and the theater...and Sunday afternoons...and talking...and your smile...and your stories...and spades...and orange juice...and oyster stew (not really)...and talking...I miss you. I will see you again... 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Multitude Monday


holy experience

One Thousand Gifts

46. great somewhat uninterrupted conversation with a friend and free McDonalds latte's
47. a husband who loves Christmas and loves decorating and Christmas music
48. getting to swim with Jason, Trish, Noah and Kezi in Santa Fe


49. a fun Thanksgiving with Grammie, Papa, John and Lynn that included a hike, crafts, and games
50. we truely got to enjoy a real vacation as a family that wasn't camping or (no offense Mom) staying at my parent's house. So grateful.
51. my handy husband fixed my car
52. Netflix
53. my parent's garage
54. fresh snow
Okay, we didn't get this much. This is from last year but I didn't feel like going out to take a picture!
55. wood stove and a large pile of wood
56. four year old boys who were actually helpful (for the first time) in stacking wood

57. Brenda Baker
58. getting back in touch with old friends via facebook

Check back next week for another installment of Multitude Monday.
God IS Good!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Redeeming the Season

I am blessed with the fact that my husband is a bit of a freak about Christmas and that he is an amazing Christian man who desires to teach his children about the real meaning of Christmas and wants them to grow up with family traditions and great holiday memories. In order for you to understand what I mean about, "a bit of a freak", here are some examples: He has 15 hours of no-repeat Christmas music on his Zune. He bakes, cuts out, and frosts (with the children) approximately 8-10 batches of decorated sugar cookies during the month of December. He spends a day at the end of Novmeber decorating the entire house including bedrooms. He spends another day at the end of November putting lights on the outside of our house.
Okay, so you get the idea.
We have created some family traditions but this year I am yearning to create more. Our boys are four and are really into Santa and presents. I am not wanting to completely take away from that but feel the need for them to really know what God did for them, what that amazing, perfect gift that was given to them really means.
I am reading a book called, "Redeeming the Season". There are three areas that it talks about that you should focus on when creating those traditions. The first is, "Sanctify Your Family" and includes such things as a Momento Tree, Keepsake Christmas Cards, Family Nights, and shopping together. The second is, "Season Your Surroundings", and includes a kids Caroling Night, Treasuring Teachers, and giving gifts to people in retail stores. The third is, "Savor Your Savior". It gives ideas about Thank-You Jesus Cards, Attribute Ornaments, and Navity Central.

In this time of rest that our family is in we are very focused on good, quality, purposeful time together. So we are creating new ideas and using some of these to make the Christmas season meaningful to our family which includes a 7-year old and two 4-year olds.

Here are some ideas of how to make Christmas be about Christ when you have little ones at home:
  • Do a little Christmas devotional or advent reading at dinner each night.
  • Put on Christmas music that fills up the house.
  • Act out the navity story with the little figurines from your manger scene.
  • Act out the nativity story with the children as the actors.
  • Watch the movie "The Nativity Story".
  • Send a Christmas gift to a child in a third world country or to a friend that is a missionary a long ways from home this Christmas.
  • Make a night out of shopping for each other - giving each child a bit of money to spend on each other.
  • Make tree decorating a time to reflect on what Christ did for us as well as memories of Christmas's past.
  • Organize Christmas caroling with a group of your kids and their friends.
  • Send your child's teacher a Christmas survival kit at the beginning of December.
  • Send notes to people you know who might love to have help-that your family would love to come help them with wrapping or cleaning or baking or shopping and schedule a time.
  • Volunteer as a family at a soup kitchen or local food pantry.
I think the most important thing is whatever you do to help your family get it - to understand what a gift Jesus was to the world - you need to involve the whole family. Help them understand that because God gave us His son Jesus, we should show others his love through our gifts of time, talents, and treasures.

What do you do in your family to help your little ones "get it"?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Perspective

A Big Quiet House

A Yiddish Folktale from Eastern Europe
There was once a man who wished his small, noisy house was larger and quieter. He went to the wise old woman of the town and explained his need. She said, "I can solve your problem. Just do as I say."
The man agreed.
"If you have a chicken, some sheep, a horse, and a cow," she said, "bring them into the house with you."
"That's a silly thing to do," thought the old man. But he did it anyway. Now his house was already small, and with all those animals in it, there was no room at all. He returned to the old woman and cried, "I need more room! The animals are so noisy I can't think!"
"Take all those animals out of your dwelling," she replied.
When he had put all the animals comfortably back in the barn, the man went into his house. To his amazement, it suddenly looked remarkably bigger! Without the animals inside, his house was now quiet too!

----------------------------------------------------------

My life of late is so much like this story. (Except at times when they acted like it, I did not have animals in my house but children!) I have amazing perspective. On any given day this past summer the moment I put my feet on the floor I was MOMMY! I went. I did. I made it happen. There wasn't a whole lot of processing, reading, talking or even thinking going on in my life. I had 5 kids age 6 and under and a teen foster daughter that were my responsibility. What that means is not to simply care for them but to CARE for them. Because God gave me these children for an unknown amount of time. And in reality, that is true about my biological children too. I am their Mommy for today and until God has other plans for them. For these children I was the one who not only made sure they had on clean clothes and clean diapers and ate healthy meals and got to their numerous appointments on time but I was it. There was no one else to care if they got sick or a diaper rash or got hugged or told that they were worth something. It was up to me. Being a mommy to six children is tough but being mommy to 2 biological, 1 adopted, and 3 foster children is truely a whole different ball game. Two days a week during the summer months I worked a 7 hour day. Three days a week I took care of Anna's two angels who were ages 6 and 2. Several evenings and some weekend days I watched sweet little Jimmie - one of our previous foster girl's baby who was at the time 9 months old.

So I put my feet on the floor and I went. I did. I made it happen.

Then God said...

REST.

What?

REST.

But God, This is what YOU have called me to do. So clearly. So frequently I hear YOU say to me, "THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO. THIS." What are you talking about...Rest? What am I supposed to do now?

In August Julia turned 18 and was determined to be on her own after 17 years in and out of the foster care system. I was afraid for her but did not blame her. And God had told us that we would not adopt our babies. So what now? God brought them a wonderful family who wants to adopt them. So now I hear that You have a plan but how is it that after 9 years of doing what you want me to do, now I am supposed to rest? What does that look like? And when do I stop resting? And what about the kids that need me?

TRUST ME.

Really?

TRUST ME.

Okay.

So now I grow. I grow in Him every day like never before. Every day I see Him in everything. I see Him in the middle of my marriage. I see the miracles in that. I see Him in the middle of my Mommying. I see the miracles in that. I see Him pulling, pulling me out of the cave...and growing me like I never thought possible. I see.

This is what I see...







Miracles created in my family every day. And the perspective needed to truely rest and grow.

I trust therefore I rest. I rest therefore I grow. I grow therefore I trust.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flashback Friday


Arron and I November 2002
Arron and her sister were our first foster girls after moving to Colorado. (We had a teenage foster son for almost a year in Kansas). They lived with us for about 6 months and then went home. A year later Arron moved in with us again for about 6 months until she aged out of the system. She was pregnant. She homeschooled one semester at our house and did 3 semesters of high school in that time and graduated. She was very motivated. She was also our Nanny. We called her Nanny Arron. Ellie was a baby and I was working from home full time. What a blessed, peaceful time that was for me. Work doing what I love, be at home with Ellie, foster mom to two amazing girls that were helpful. Good stuff. Brittney also lived with us. She lived with us for 2 1/2 years before going back to live with her mom for a bit before she graduated from high school. We have truely been blessed with great kids in the last 9 years. It is rewarding to get in touch with them again or have on-going relationships with them as they grow into adults. I see Arron every once in awhile. She has two kiddos that are adorable and go to school up here. I pray that all my kids allow God to work in them. And as always we pray that maybe something we did or said or didn't say has a positive lasting impact for each of our kids.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience
One Thousand Gifts
33. Ellie's sweet Girl Scout Troop and amazing leaders who sacrifice their time and energy
34. my once-a-month cleaning lady - that she cleans my entire house in one day but more that we have become better friends
35. an entire day having fun with my hubby - what a gift
36. online shopping
37. Grammie and Papa - watching the kids all day on Sunday - they had so much fun
38. true quality family time playing games, doing puzzles, and building cars and boats with Legos
39. friend showing up unannounced with a pumpkin latte
40. new family movie - "Ramona and Beezus" - love it - Thanks Gigi for the birthday money
41. worship music to alter my mood and remind me that HE IS ENOUGH
42. shopping at Target by myself with money earned from selling used stuff
43. my Wednesday morning Bible Study women - gifts - truely
44. introduction to Smashburger...mmmmmm...thanks babe
45. that my token economy at the dinner table to improve manners is actually working
46. little boy snuggles
Check back next week for another installment of Multitude Monday. God IS Good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday

Lilly and Ellie 7 years ago this week
Lilly Belle and Ellie Belle, as I call them now, were fast friends a month after Ellie was born. They are still dear friends. Lilly is 6 weeks older than Ellie. Lilly's mommy lived with us a bit when Lilly was born. Anna was 16 and in fostercare. She had overcome more adversity and trials than a girl should have to face in a lifetime. Anna is 23 now and still in our life and has now overcome more adversity and more trials and is working on getting on her feet as a single mommy of two. We love that we get to be a part of their life. We are Mom and Dad. It is a new challenge to be parenting grown children, to befriend them and to guide them and love them well. We are very proud of Anna. She is a great Mommy. I love that Lilly Belle and Ellie Belle are still great friends 7 years later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

He IS Enough

I am an idolater. Idolater: a person that admires intensely and often blindly one that is not usually a subject of worship. An idol is a man-made object that is worshipped in some way. I have two idols, money and food. These are the things that I go to for comfort before I go to the one true comforter and healer. These are the things that I want to make me feel better before I open my Bible. These are the things that I believe will make me happier before I go to my God in prayer. Seriously. I believe in food and the things money will buy more than I believe in the One True God. I do not believe He Is Enough. So when I feel down or stressed or doubtful or hurt or angry, I eat or I spend. I do not open my Bible or pray. The truth is that I believe that lie. The reality is I know it is a lie and yet I open the pantry and my pocketbook when I should open my Bible. The absolute truth is HE IS ENOUGH. He is. He can give me hope and peace and truth and healing and the ability to love with my heart and my words and my actions. HE CAN.

Psalm 73: 25-26 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.



So, my challenge today is to trust Him. Trust that HE IS ENOUGH by not eating for comfort or buying things that I do not need. To glorify God in my ability to trust Him. Completely.

What are your idols? What do you go to for comfort before you go to the One True God? Join me in my challenge and open your Bible or sit and pray when you want that hole in your heart filled up. Join a Bible study, call an encouraging Christian friend, call me! Fill it up with God's love. We all have holes and we try and fill them up with material, worldly things that won't actually fill holes. The only thing that will fill them up completely and forever is our Savior. Today I am challenging me and I am challenging you. Will you accept the challenge?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

One Thousand Gifts

25. true friends that God has given me - they are true gifts
26. Broncos vs. Chiefs tickets for next Sunday given to us
27. my Mama who invests a great deal of her time and energy into me
28. that things have slowed down for Josh at work
29. 9 days together as a little family during Thanksgiving week
30. my new amazing friend Sondra Sabourin
31. flowers for my dining room table from my sweet husband
32. real fall weather into November

Check back next week for another installment of Multitude Monday. God IS Good.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I am loved

I feel so blessed. I am blessed.
I feel so grateful. I am grateful.
I feel so loved. I am loved.

I wanted to share a slideshow that my husband made for me about a year ago. This is on our family website that he does. This is what he says:
I heard a Matthew West song while doing some data processing at work yesterday. The song made me think of the past 11 years with Anne-Marie. Since pulling the data involves a lot of downtime I used the opportunity to make a picture slideshow with it. Since I found too many great pictures I had to add another song that reminds me of her. Anyway, check out the video:

Daily, I am amazed at how my husband loves me. He has an entire playlist of songs on his Zune that make him think of me. I borrowed it the weekend that I went to Wichita to see my Grandma. I found that playlist. I had not heard them before in reference to me. It was a huge blessing to me. Today I think - wow - if that is how much my human bridegroom loves me, how much must my heavenly bridegroom love me? I cannot fathom. True, unconditional, amazing, perfect, love. Delight.

Thank you God for an amazing, loving husband and sweet, fun children and a great life! And thank you for loving me completely and perfectly for who I am, just as I am.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Twenty Years From Now


Josh and I one week after we met.
Twenty years from now when you look back at your life what will you regret?

What will you feel guilty about?

Twenty years from now Ellie will be 27 and Isaac and Kenny will be 24 and who knows what my life with Josh will look like. But when I look back 20 years at the time when my kids were little, what will I regret about that time in my life?

Twenty years from now I will look back at when my kids were little and remember sitting in this stupid chair on this stupid laptop telling them I could not play Dominos or Memory with them right now. I will remember stress eating and not having the drive to get in shape so I could hike and climb with my husband. I will remember yelling at my kids when I am annoyed at them for taking away my time. What else will I regret? What else will I feel guilty about?

Twenty years from now I want to look back on my life and see myself playing Memory with Isaac and hiking with Josh and riding bikes with Kenny and playing doll house with Ellie. So change. Life is short. Really. Twenty years is going to go by fast. If that is what I'm going to regret then those are the important things that I need to change. I need to set aside computer time when the kids are sleeping, I need to make it a priority to get in shape and get outside with my family. I need to realize that twenty years from now I can have all the time that I want to sit on the computer and do the dishes and read and sit around.

Twenty years from now when you look back at your life when your kids were little or when your grandkids were young or when your kids were teens and still at home, what will you regret? What will you feel guilty about?...Then change it.
I am right there with you. Getting off my butt and loving my kids better...Leave a comment and let me know how doing life well is going for you!

<<<That's actually me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Focusing In On Our Family

We may only have an hour or two here and there lately to focus in on us but when we do we are more aware of how it needs to be good quality time.
Don't you just love legos?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience
One Thousand Gifts

11. Woodland Park Community Church - I love my church family
12. the way God orchestrates the same lesson throughout all areas of my life
13. cousins









14. cute superheros that got to run through the street to get candy from kind people in our amazing small town.

15. a handy husband
16. electric blankets
17. a sweet sweet grandmother who has blessed my life in so many ways

18. a visit from my big girl
19. how Isaac says guel instead of girl and how i cannot bear to correct him

20. a daddy doctor who I can call anytime and is always willing to help
21. warm weather for trick-or-treating
22. that Halloween is a family day for the Friesemas

23. decorating frosted sugar cookies with our little family
24. wood stove and lots of wood - thanks hubby


Check back next Monday for the next installment of Multitude Monday.
God IS Good.