12.30.2009

family

We have several out of town family members coming to town, including six boys ranging in age from 4-22! wow. It's going to be fun. So, I won't be around here for the next few days :) Happy New Year everyone!

challenge

Over at YouVersion, they've put up 20 different Bible reading plans. From read the Bible in a year to read the Bible in 90 days to read the Psalms in 30 days or the gospels or... the list goes on... And the plans range for maturity, such as read the Old Testament in two years. You know that is some serious study! Or quicker, lighter reading for those just getting started.

Last year, I aimed to read the Bible in a year. I've never done that. And last year wasn't the year for it either. In fact, I don't think I made it to March. I was still reading not quite daily, but I didn't manage to read the entirety of the book.

Well, this new year, I've challenged myself. To read the Bible in 90 days! If I get behind this way, I'll still have 3/4 of the year to catch up! But, really I'm going to try to read it in 90 days. I totally think I can do this!

12.27.2009

written blessings

About a year ago, we found our new church home. And I love it. I love the worship. It edifies. I love to serve. It edifies too, but differently. And I love the new relationships. I am a new person. Christ makes me new each day, each day that I submit my will to His spirit. Well, in these new relationships, I'm seen for who I am now, who Christ has continually transformed me to be. These new people don't see my baggage: my pain, my sin, my shame. They see who Christ has made me.

Here's how I know. The leader in the elementary room, where I serve, wrote me these words in a Christmas card. It blessed me so profoundly, I have to share.

I am so amazed as I sit back and watch your gifts unfold before my eyes! Thank you for allowing the Lord to use them for His kids. you are a very special woman and I consider it a true blessing to serve with you. You have a purity and tenderness that is so unique. I can't wait to see what God has in store for you next!

I think it is so profound, because there are bits in there that I don't fully believe about myself, yet Christ has made me: pure and tender. If she can see that and Christ, who has created that in me, can see that in me, then shouldn't I see that in myself?!

And, if I were to embrace this truth, what a profound impact it could have on my life!

Until now, my life verse has been from Romans. That God can take my life and the hurt and the shame in my life and he can use it for good, because I love God and He loves me.

As I say goodbye to this year, 2009, I embrace that verse and I believe it fully. I believe God has healed my brokenness and that He can work it all out for good. Now, I am going to start living it. I'm focusing less on the hurt and more on the promise.

My goal this new year is to live my life, submitted to the spirit, embracing all that He has in store for me!

12.23.2009

Do pennies fit down the drain?

Over at our church, we are raising hope. The goal is to raise funds to purchase water systems in partnership with Water Missions International. A few weeks ago, we came home with some water bottles full of 'dirty water.' I talked to the children about people in far away places who gather dirty water to drink; even to clean. We agreed to take the water challenge. Although we rarely drink anything other than water, we've been committed to water these last few weeks. And we've been mindful to give thanks for its' being clean. We replaced that dirty water in the bottles (it was actually tea) with coins, saved from beverages not purchased. And at night we prayed for the children and their families who need clean water.

Today, I was distracted with the making of breakfast, only to turn around and see that my young son, in all his 2-ness (is that a word? I'm making it up, if it isn't. I shall use it more. I'm sure I have the stories for it!), had filled his bottle with water. All his coins were soaking in water. He made clean water dirty. Good thing there were no bills in there. Grrr... And proceeded to dump it down the sink drain. Thankfully, the coins did not escape the sink. And they are currently drying, to be bottled again and delivered at the Christmas eve celebration. If only the water crisis were this easy to fix...


12.20.2009

CHRISTmas

The birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, so I really want to find ways to focus our celebration on Him; to create family traditions centered around this value. We do this in many of the ways other families with similar values do (birthday cake, using a child- friendly Nativity, etc.)

This year, I want to focus on giving. For the children's grandmothers, a special gift was made. At church, the children selected an angel from the giving tree and helped to select items for the child. We've been reading stories like the Charlie Brown Christmas story, and Winnie-the- Pooh's Christmas story.

We were reading this last story tonight, in which Pooh forgets to get gifts for his friends. After some help from Christopher Robin, he selects stockings for his friends. But, he is much to exhausted to put anything into these stockings. On Christmas morning, his friends are all delighted with their gifts, which they have repurposed from stockings to other useful things. The overall message is about giving and I just love that.

I love that my children can learn from their favorite literary characters that Christmas is about extending love; giving gifts. Oh sure, they are anxious to see what lies under the Christmas tree (or in our closet, as the case may be). They are eager to point to the things which they want too. Thankfully, we've only had them out in the madness a couple times!

And, I love when these ideas enter their pretend play, where they make the ideas real. When they go about their play, wrapping up toys or random items w/ tissue or a t-shirt or whatever is suitable for covering and present it to one another- or me. And to point out how good it feels to give- even if it is just in play. These are the things I treasure.

12.18.2009

Praise Him.

I love my church. Being home most days with my children means on the weekends, I have to make wise choices about where we go and what we do. I want every moment to count. Church is high on my list and the grocery store with it :) I am so encouraged there and I love the worship. I live on worship. It is my daily bread... and too often through the week, I go hungry.

Recently, I started volunteering in the elementary room. It's the age I taught when I was a teacher, an employed teacher. And it's good for me to be around these guys, a little like that daily bread bit.

The point of this all is:
Tonight there was a volunteer appreciation deal going on, and I was invited! So, it rained all day, and my husband got home late... And I was still wearing my pajamas from the night before- ewe! But the week before I had been strongly encouraged to go. So, I went for it. And I am so glad I did!

First, I put my kids in bed, so they wouldn't suspect anything. Then changed clothes, because- ewe! I have a little self-respect and I went. Lots of fun conversation and yummy treats... some giveaways. Which I seemed to miss out on the giveaway ticket bit, and I would have won, if I had entered a ticket, but I didn't and it's hard to win with no ticket.

And then there was singing! One reason I really love being at church is the opportunity to sing. We have an awesome worship leader. The Bible says, 'Make a joyful noise'. And I let all that is in me PRAISE! And sometimes, I have a sore throat afterwards, but it is totally worth it! So, tonight, I really enjoyed the band's music and I really wanted to sing along, but I had respect for the people around me, and since noone else was singing so much, I just kept that all to myself... .

But, then she invited us to sing along... And you know something?! It blesses me to sing praises to my Lord.

And some days are hard. Being a mom is a hard job. IF all I'm living for are the full tummies and the happy children and the clean dishes and the clean laundry and the ___ and the ___, I am setting myself up for some serious disappointment. And I have been disappointed, in myself and my struggles with mothering.

BUT, to live for something else, to live to Sing and make joyful praises to my King, my Lord, my Saviour, my God, lying in a manger and hanging on the cross, but most of all redeemed and preparing a place for me... There can be no disappointment in that. And, it fills me up and keeps me going for another day. So, when I sing, I SING. And, I don't know what it sounds like when it comes out of my mouth, but I pray that the Holy Spirit makes it pleasing to His ears.

And tonight, someone noticed. And that is a little embarrassing, because I don't want to draw attention to myself, only to Him. So, maybe He can take this talent, and use it for His purpose and His kingdom. That'd be good.

That's all.

Christmas Cookies




I didn't post my thankfulness last night, because we were doing this:





And I don't have an excuse for the night before... exhaustion, perhaps?!

I'm linking to Fight Back Friday. I haven't done that in a long time... but I'd like to get back into that habit.

Last night, we used the Arrowhead Mills cookie kit to make Christmas cookies. There were sugar cookies and little gingerbread men. I loved this kit!
The ingredients were all natural. They also didn't include any dairy or egg or nut products. I was able to substitute oil for butter and egg replacer for eggs and not worry about my boys having an allergic reaction.
I love to bake with my kids; there are many lessons to be learned throughout the process. However, I really appreciated the convenience of adding a couple ingredients and being able to get to the fun part quickly! The cookie cutters were small enough for my kids to comfortably use and be independent. And small enough that they could eat a few without having to much sugar.
You could purchase or make icing for these cookies. A recipe was included for icing. I chose to add some all natural sprinkles and a little sugar before baking, and the toppings stuck on just fine.

Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading.

P.S. I wasn't paid for posting about Arrowhead Farms. I just really liked this product, and my kids did too!

12.14.2009

a picture is worth a thousand words.

But tonight, I won't be writing a thousand words.

The mother of the young lady I am tutoring is a photographer for a local studio. She borrowed a camera a month or so ago and did some photos of my children. I have been itching to see some of the prints. Email me, why don't you?! I even asked if I could give her a disc and get them copied?! PLEASE?!!! You see, I knew they were really great photos and I was so eager to see them- and make some copies to send to grandparents for Christmas. But, wait I must. And I did.

Until today!

Because today, y'all. She gave me a gift. A most beautiful gift. She had done some editing to these precious photos and made my children look so beautiful... Really. They are beautiful, but these pictures captured it like no picture I have ever taken. And you know what she did? She had them made into a book for me! A real book. It is so beautiful, I about cried.

Because some days are tough. Parenting is tough. But to see my children in this light. Beautiful photos. Well, words just can't say it. It just makes me think about them for the way God wants me to think about them- blessings. Real. Life. Blessings.

12.13.2009

thankful

This evening I'm so thankful for my church. We've been attending for about a year now (after leaving a church split a few years ago and looking around for just the right place), but I've really gotten involved in the past six months or so. It's so fun to build new relationships. There are a few ladies, slightly older than me who are encouraging and uplifting to be around. I am so thankful for them and their direction.

This past weekend, the children's church hosted a special service for the families. We got to watch our preschoolers sing and dance on the stage. My little boy just stood there on the stage, mouth gaping, looking all around him, seeking out a familiar face (even though he knew the words!!!). It was so sweet! And my little girl, who normally is so careful and LOVES to dance all around, stood their stiff as a board, but still singing her heart out. And trying to clap. Poor thing, she's got my lack of rhythm.

Having an active role in an environment which blesses me is an extra blessing!

assignment

I am tutoring a young lady in reading and writing. My goal is to make her a life long reader/writer because now she just isn't into it. So, I've given her an assignment and by giving it to myself too, I hope to get blogging again. Here's my assignment:

Take 5 minutes at the day's end to write about one of these things
  • Something which happened and I'm thankful for it,
  • Something which happened and it challenged me or made me grow in some way,
  • Some way in which I saw God working in my life to teach me something or to bless me,
  • or anything else along these lines...
My assignment begins tonight! Here's hoping I don't get too repetitive or boring, but hopefully this will get me back to thinking each day! Writing is thinking.

11.10.2009

You are still holy

I have so much on my mind these days, so much in my heart and I don't know how to express myself.

I understand the definition of Christianity. I understand that I am saved by grace that I may look forward to eternity with my Saviour.

But I want more in this life. My desire is to be full of the Spirit of the living God, so full that I pour it out in my love life for my husband and children. I believe it is a desire given to me by the One who created me and I so much want to experience it.

I've had it before. I know it is the outpouring of His spirit that gave me the strength to work two jobs and attend college full time. It is by His strength that I was able to achieve my goals then. It was His strength that transformed me from victim to survivor when I confronted the abuse in my childhood. And, I used to play the piano. For ten years I was classically trained. Then, I would play at church or an event and I could feel His power performing through my fingertips... How I long for that feeling again!

These past months, I have felt so empty. I'm stuck in the brokenness of my childhood and I want out!

I want to be so full of His Spirit that His love pours out of me onto my children. That they will know His love by my submission to His Spirit. I feel so empty. I just want more Jesus.

We sang this song in church Sunday and it made so much sense to me. I have to bring my brokeness to the foot of the cross and leave it there. It seems I have done this before, but somehow I keep going back to pick it up again. This time, let me leave it. And in exchange, let me pick up some Holy Spirit power to fuel my day to day, caring for the needs of my children.

And so,

I hope to make a change in this blog of mine. I want to focus more on rejoicing in the moments of our lives. More focus on the little things that will bring me joy, and maybe others too.

The lyrics to You are still Holy:

Holy, You are still holy,
Even when the darkness surrounds my life
Sovereign, You are still sovereign
Even when confusion has blinded my eyes
Lord I don't deserve Your kind affection
When my unbelief has kept me from Your touch
I want my life to be a pure reflection of Your love

CHORUS:
And so I come into Your chambers
And I dance at Your feet Lord
You are my saviour, and I'm at Your mercy
All that has been in my life up to now
It belong to You
You are still holy

Holy, You are still holy
Even though I don't understand Your ways
Sovereign You will be sovereign
Even when my circumstances don't change
Lord I don't deserve Your tender patience
When my unbelief has kept me from Your truth
I want my life to be a sweet devotion to You

CHORUS:
And so I come into Your chambers
And I dance at Your feet Lord
You are my saviour, and I'm at Your mercy.
All that has been in my life up to now
It belongs to You
I belong to You

And so I come into your chambers
And I dance at Your feet Lord
You are my saviour and I'm at your mercy
All that has been in my life up to now
It belongs to You
I belong to you

You are still holy, You are still sovereign
You are still holy, Lord
You are still righteous
You are all knowing
You are still holy, You are still holy ~ Kim Hill

10.11.2009

Further more...

This life I have right now, where I'm wife to man who loves me beyond measure and mom to three amazing, beautiful, (usually) happy children, blesses me deeply. And if it took that to get here, then I'd gladly suffer again.

Further more, my suffering is NOTHING in the light of the cross. My Savior took on my burden of sin so that when He comes again, He can take me home. Surely that moment will be full of joy, and because of that, I can live in joy now.

8.08.2009

This just in: I'm letting go...

My life has been some kind of crazy ride. Events throughout my growing up years robbed me of the joy and purity of childhood. They were enough to send a sane person to the crazy ward.

As a college girl, I searched for understanding. I read countless stories of victims and survivors. Stories of adults who had experiences similar to my own, who now suffer with multiple personalities, drug and alcohol addiction, stories of depression. I read stories of victory and empowerment, of survivors.

My searching for understanding turned to joy and wonder, my mourning to laughter. How is it that the God who made me, who saw my hurt and pain, would save me from this? How is it that I could experience such deep pain and loss and yet remain with my heart and mind intact? Surely He has had a plan for me all along!

And as I've grown to be a woman, a wife, a mother, I've looked at my life story and wondered why it didn't twist or turn this way or that way to have made a different life for me? Why is it that I had to experience such loss? Why couldn't my life have been better?

And now I see. I see that in doing this, in asking these questions, I've made a plan for my life, a prideful plan, thinking I could have worked the details out to avoid the affliction. And in my pride, I believed that in avoiding the affliction, I would be a better person today.

And now I see. God can and does work out the ugly details of our lives for the good of His kingdom. I don't know how He will use my ugliness, my brokenness, my pain and shame, my burden. But, now I see that I must release the burden.


What a great thing He has done in my heart already. That I can overcome these obstacles, by the power of His spirit, and be the mother that I am today, shows me that He is already doing a great work in me. The more I let go, the more of His spirit can be poured in and the more extraordinary my life can be.

Bring it Lord! I'm letting go.

8.03.2009

7.27.2009

forgiveness

I just love to read what Mary has to say. I love her stories about experiences with adoption and I love the encouragement she gives to moms. This post about forgiveness really got to me. She perfectly described a relationship of mine.

I am a survivor. This person, whose actions wounded me so deeply, is close to our family. I grew up with him. We have always had a bitter-filled relationship, without acknowledging the source of the bitterness. Forgiveness means letting that go.

In the past several years, especially since becoming a mother, I have chosen to acknowledge the source of that bitterness. Reopening that dark time in our family history was difficult and that doesn't even begin to describe it. Many of the people (not that many people were involved- it's just that the majority of the few) equated that with UNforgiveness.

So, it's something I've wondered about often. How do I know I have forgiven him? Well, I do know that it's not dependent on other people's opinions. I think forgiveness is between me and God. I don't feel fully capable of forgiving this person, but I rely on God to fill in the gaps for me. I know that He is the author of forgiveness. He has forgiven me and enabled me to forgive. And I think that I can look at my life for evidence of forgiveness. I have peace in my heart.

We have an upcoming trip to visit family. I am hoping for a peace that surpasses all understanding. I considered writing him a note to ask him to please be nice to me this time. But, I think I'll leave it in God's hands. He is much more capable than I.

Men vs. Women: Fathers vs. Mothers in relationships

Between my husband and I, we have 5 sets of parents. His parents were divorced and are remarried. I bring in the other three with my adopted parents and my biological parents, who are also divorced and remarried. So, that's a lot of parents!

This weekend, I attended a women's praise and worship service at our church. A single mother of 5 was telling us her story and giving us encouragement. One thing she said that really stuck with me was this: 'Surrounding ourselves with GOOD relationships helps us to experience a truer better relationship with God'. So true. So true.

I've been noticing something interesting. I don't remember my adopted father and I having a very close relationship. I have noticed that the more I grow in relationship with my biological father, the more accepting I am of my adopted father. I don't really understand why.

On the flip side. My adopted mother seems to be more distant. And it seems the closer that I grow with my biological father, the relationship with my biological mother grows distant. Now, I just found out she's had some health concerns in the past weeks, which is what this possibly is all about. And they are likely not related at all.

However, this is what is on my heart concerning these relationships with all my parents.
I want to be equal with them all. At first I expected that all things would be the same, that the relationships would be the same. I think I haven't ever expected much from my parents- any of them- so I didn't expect to continue to expect much. Follow that?! I expected, like the majority of my relationships, that they'd be mediocre at best.

I am surprised to find myself with a strong connection, a memory of a true relationship (in my child brain), and a desire for a continued strong bond with one particular parent. I can't explain it. It's not fair to the other parents maybe? That makes me uncomfortable. I don't really want to talk about this relationship with the other parents because it makes me uncomfortable.

I wonder why they can't just rejoice with me. I have lacked true relationship most of my life (my husband- Thank GOD- is an exception). I want them to rejoice and be glad that God has put someone in my life- besides you Grandpa! :) with whom I can experience a genuine relationship, someone who teaches me about relationship with God in the way he handles relationship with me. I am SO thankful for this. I don't want to feel guilty about it! I rejoice in it!

Does that mean these other relationships must stagnant and not grow in themselves? Absolutely not! I want these other relationships to grow and be fruitful in themselves and I want them to also bring honor and glory to God. But, I don't think it is reasonable to expect 'fairness or equality' in them. At least, not according to the world's definition. Maybe 'sameness' is a better word. These relationships will not be the same or equal, because God created us all to be unique. Therefore the relationships are unique in themselves and comparing them just doesn't work.

So, I think now that I have compared and analyzed them, I'll stop. I am thankful, grateful for each relationship and the way each relationship reveals to me things about God's character. I am not more thankful for one over another. And I am especially thankful for the new found blessing of meaningful relationship.

Just to be fair...

I want to honor my parents and I don't like being negative. It's just not who I am. Sometimes the truth hurts. It hurts me, anyway. And yet, I know through it all that God has worked out the details of my life for good. And that is enough.

I love my parents, the ones who adopted me, chose me, as they so often said. Their sacrifice was not small. Adding our family of siblings (there are 3 of us) to their family of three in a few short weeks. They provided a lot for us: a great neighborhood w/ a large yard to grow in, a good school system to learn in, yearly summer vacations and trips to summer camp, a supportive family of aunts and uncles and grandparents, many many good memories. But, bad ones too. And really, what family doesn't have bad memories, skeletons which no one talks about. A friend once said, 'Talk to anyone long enough and you'll see most families are dysfunctional.'

Really?! I don't want that for my family, this family God gave me that my husband and I are striving to raise.

I think the thing that was missing from my adopted family most is a lack of relationship. There was a way of tearing down the relationships that existed between my siblings and I that was accomplished so discreetly and unnoticed that I only now see it. I feel like my parents thought they were doing a great thing by adopting us and providing for us. And they let us know it. But, I don't think they tried to get to know us. We thought differently than they, we did life differently than they. Instead of embracing us as unique persons, they wanted to conform us to their ideals.

They demonstrated their love for us by providing for us in a way that exceeded what our biological parents could provide and they thought that was enough. What we were lacking was an investment in our souls, the very people God created us to be.

I am reminded that the battle is not against my parents, but against the forces of darkness in this world. Satan would have broken relationships in this family. He worked towards it for many years. But, I think God would have it differently. Sometimes it is difficult: these relationships are work, but this is what keeps me going: Whatever my parents did, they did because they love us. They tried to do the best they knew how. I only wish they had taken the time to get to really know me.

7.23.2009

REAL- and quite possibly long

I want to be real. And I want to be honest. And, I haven't felt like it. So, I haven't been writing.

Meeting my biological dad was one of the best things ever to happen in my life. Yet, I have been avoiding writing about this reunion.

When I was a kid, I said that bit (one of the best days) about being adopted. Everything else was compared to that day. I was a people pleaser in those days, and I wanted my new parents to be pleased with me. I wanted them to believe I liked life with them (even on the days I didn't) so that I could stay. Because I didn't want to be sent away again.

I am getting distracted. I am starting over.

It sucks. It disrupts what I believe and I am pushed on to a more accurate definition of who I am, why I am loved and how I am loved.

I believed life was rough. And I believed my life was too much work for my parents. I believed my life got in the way of their life.

I thought being saved from a rough situation saved my life from a similar story- the story of my biological parents, the story of teenage pregnancy. I believed that being second rate in my adopted home was better than the way my life could have been with single parents.

Now I am not so sure. But, I am not so sure that that matters to me anymore.

Now I know my father loves me, because I have experienced his love. I have experienced something that is impossible to describe. He loves me and now I know. He wants to bless me with good things. He makes time to connect with me. He enjoys my quirkiness, or at least seems. And for now, I am content to rest in that.

Sure, I feel uncomfortable. What does this mean for my adopted family? If God can restore these relationships with my biological family, can't he make those relationships better too?

Being connected to so many people makes me want to crawl in a hole and come out next year. It's a lot of work, but I know it's good for me.

And even this still seems sugar coated.

You know what? It really sucked when he left!

I was so depressed. WHy? I knew he needed to go back to his home, back to his work, his life. Was I scared to lose him again? Was it old loss being experienced again?

I don't really know what was going on. I was in a fog for a few weeks, lost, living moment by moment. I so much wanted to rejoice in the love I had experienced, so much wanted to rejoice in the new memories made and I didn't know how. All I felt was lost and confused. And I was ashamed that I would feel this way.

Finally, after a couple weeks, I told him. I shared my lost feelings and my confusion. And I felt better. And then, within the same day, we shared with one another, the same thoughts about all of it. The thoughts and ideas we had were based on waiting on the Lord. I had taken my hurt, my confusion, my lostness to the Lord. And he heard my cry. And my father confirmed my message from God with the same scripture God had put in my heart.

And the joy I experienced then and there is beyond description. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good!

7.07.2009

God loves adoption.... but that doesn't make it easy. This mama reminds me and this mama needs encouragement and prayer.

And now I'll resume my vacation.

7.03.2009

vacation

I am taking a bloggy vacation. It's summer. It's hot. My littlest one is becoming much more active and I trouble to keep up- how do you keep up with three little ones still under the age of 3 (but not for long?)

So much has happened in my little world... and my emotions and thoughts and the growth of my little ones... so much to write about- but when? how? I hope to resume in another month with a better plan for keeping up with it here.

Until then- happy heat to you all!

6.20.2009

literacy

I'm following a new blog. Well, it's new to me. I just love what it's all about.

http://tumblon.com/honey

6.15.2009

words are insufficient

The reunion with my father was good. But there just don't seem to be words in the english vocabulary to tell you how good. I could tell you what we did, where we went, what we ate, what we said, but it wouldn't matter. I can't tell you how I feel about it.

The last time I saw him, I was seven years old. When I saw him coming out of the gate at the airport, I knew him. The picture he sent probably helped. That I had two kids in a stroller and one in my arms probably helped him. But there was more. There was a familiarity to him. That I can't describe.

And when I led him around a long trek around downtown, he willingly pushed the stroller without ever grumbling about my bad sense of direction, which he admitted I probably got from him. And when my kids crawled all over him and cozied up next to his chocolate dessert at dinner, he willingly shared. And when my daughter whispered to me after dinner that she loves her new grandpa, my heart melted. And when he puts his arm around me while we praised God together and I couldn't even sing my praise, for the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat. See I can tell you all these things, but I can't tell you what they meant to me. I can't make you feel what I felt with the words I used.

But when I took him to the airport to return home and he looked in my eyes and thanked me for letting him come, I knew something I never knew before. And I cried the whole way home and for most of the day, because something special had happened and I am eternally thankful. I am thankful for the new memories to put with my old memories. I am thankful I have a dad who loves me still after all these years who is willing to give of himself so that we can both be better people.

6.11.2009

22 years is a long time.

Nearly 22 years ago, my parents said goodbye to my siblings and I. Not knowing if they would ever see us again. I can't even begin to imagine what they must have experienced.

Now, in 24 hours, I will be face to face with my father. While I am not nervous or anxious, I feel like I am on the edge. My father is encouraging. He edifies who I am in the Spirit. But that has all taken place thru the telephone.

This is different. I will meet him in the airport and I will see him face to face. I will bring him to this place where God has given me a home and shown me a love beyond measure.

I am on the edge of something new and it just seems good.

6.07.2009

at the beach

We spent a most glorious week at the beach. It couldn't have been a more beautiful, more perfect week! Loved the fun in the sun, afternoon naps and lots of delicious local seafood.

5.26.2009

Summertime!

It's summer time. What can I say? When it's sunny, we are playing outside. When it's not, I am going crazy, I mean, we are playing inside. There's no time for anything else! When do I do laundry, clean, blog? It's not happening these days.

Going on family vacation to the beach soon. Meeting my dad after 21 years soon. Having more visitors of all kinds soon and possibly taking a trip?! Am I insane?

I'll be back. Just give me a little time.

Along about July, it'll be too hot to do anything. Maybe I'll blog then!

5.25.2009

Grandma story #6

A couple years ago, I was surprised to meet this special lady, and I haven't been able to forget it ever since. I was attending a baby shower for my little sister and I sat down next to a very nice looking lady who I did not know, though she looked friendly enough. She told me her name, and I told her mine. And I asked how it was that she knew my sister. She told me she was part of the family from the hometown, as in the place where I was born, as in part of my biological family, a group of people I was very careful about with whom I spent my time. I had a little heart problem. But, I did NOT know her. A light turned on in my brain. You see, I knew at that moment, she must be the wife of my father, my biological father, who I didn't really want to see, you know, to protect my heart. And since it was not my party, and she was a nice lady, I was friendly, but I really wasn't comfortable.

When I left, she told me, she hoped to see me again one day. Which really reminded me of this other mother I have (which is why I am writing about all these 'grandmas'), but that is another post. And what she said, it really stuck with me. It was a seed that made this year of reunions bloom. I am looking forward to seeing her again, but more than that, I am thrilled to see her man again. That's my Dad!

Grandma story #5

This Grandma story is for the Oma. Hey Oma! ( She reads me sometimes!) We only met her this year. When I say 'we', I mean my children. It was an exciting reunion and you can read about it over here. While we are just getting to know her, it's been good. And, we look forward to many more wonderful years with her.

5.20.2009

grandma story #4

This post is for the Mimi. That's what the grandchildren call her. She's the mama who raised me from 7 on up.

Like most mother/daughters we have a relationship with many complexities. We are so different in many ways, yet so alike at the same time. I hate to admit that, but it's true.

I can't fathom how she went about bringing 3 strange children into her home on a moment's notice. She worked hard, right alongside my father, to be sure we had a happy childhood, full of experiences and memories. In spite of that, there are bad memories too. And that has put a strain on our relationship. It's not that we have a bad relationship, but that it's never been a really good relationship.

Romans 8:28 promises God lovers that He will work out all things for good of those who love Him. I believe that my mom loves God. I love God. If we go about the purpose that He has called us to, can't he also work out our relationship with one another for good?

I am called to be an 'at home' mama. My mom was not. She wants me back in my career, so that my degree isn't wasted. I believe the best use of my education degree is at home, instructing my children. My 'Mother's Day' question is this: Given these differences of opinion and value, can't my life still honor my mother and the values she instilled in me? The interpretation may be different, but the desire to serve God and live according to His plan is not different.

My hope is that she be satisfied with my satisfaction. My disappointment in her is that she is disappointed in me. Now, she wouldn't tell you that, but her attitudes and words to me stem from that belief.

My joy is in my Savior, my Redeemer, my King. My desire is that He is satisfied with the work he IS completing in me (I'm no fool, for I know He is not finished!). He directs my path (and help me Lord to continue on that path). For a long time I struggled because I thought her path and His path should be the same, but now I see it differently.

I love her and I am eternally grateful to her. I hope my life honors her.

Freedom

This message really spoke to me this morning. I've been doubting myself, my character and my abilities as a sister, mother, daughter, woman of God these past couple weeks.

I prayed for a fresh word from God as I scrubbed my floors to desired perfection this morning. This is what I read:

Psalm 139:14

I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

It's healing to use God's word in the battle against the deceiver. And this song. Well, it's good too. And I am cringing over all these broken grammar rules, but I see it's not about perfection, so I leave the errors today.

5.19.2009

How I became a mother... Part 3


You can read the beginning of this story here and then here.

The physical part of the pregnancy really wore on me. I think it my emotional state may have contributed to my problems. I was diabetic, but I remained active. I finished teaching that first school year and then walked a mile everyday, even up to the day my girl was born. I think I was trying to get away to somewhere else. It didn't work. Thank God. it didn't work.

Labor was to be induced. The doctor was concerned for her health. Anxiously, we checked in to the hospital. Did I mention I had not received any coaching or taken any classes? They cost $50 and do you know how many bags of dried beans and rice that would be me? I couldn't rationalize spending that much money on a class!

Therefore, the nurse who checked me in and plugged me up to the monitors, the iv, etc gave me a quick lesson.

I was told to monitor my pain on a scale of 1-10. Apparently I didn't do to well with that.

Water was broke at 1pm. At 4 pm, there was a shift change and the new nurse comes into check my stuff. She takes one look at me and asks how I am feeling... I'm okay, but it is getting more intense, I admit. Next thing I know, she is pounding, literally pounding the button to call a nurse. Hmm... a nurse calling a nurse? That doesn't seem right. Several people start wheeling apparatuses into the room and suddenly my room is full of people!

Labor became very intense, but I was breathing okay. I felt like it was time to push. Didn't really know what that would feel like until I actually felt it. That is some intense pressure! And they are all telling me NOT TO PUSH! DO NOT PUSH! So, me, all natural me, says, you are going to have to give me some drugs if you don't want me to push! You see, I imagined 8-12 hour labor. And I thought, I can't endure this another minute, let alone several hours. And the nurse says to me, there's no time! And I say, what do you mean, no time?! And she says, honey, you are having this baby as soon as the doctor gets here. Now it's about ten minutes after 4. Instantly, I throw myself back into the bed and sigh, Oh! At the same time, I am complaining of the heat, would someone please turn on the a/c? At the same time, my doctor walks in the room, throws the gloves on and says, PUSH! I say, I can push?! He says, YES! So, I push. Another minute later, I am cradling my newborn baby girl.

Then the most miraculous thing happened, the guilt washed away. The worries over tomorrow washed away. The feeling of inadequacy washed away. It would all return weeks later, but at that moment,I was able to see her for the true blessing she is. All that stuff that God had supplied through our friends and family seemed so insignificant. Because you can't have a baby if you don't have the stuff, can you?

A brand new person, new to the world. Created by God in my womb. That's the stuff of miracles. That day I became a mom. And my world changed. My perspective changed.

And that's how I became a mother.

5.18.2009

grandma story #3

I am telling Grandma stories in honor of 'Mother's Day'. It's taking me longer than I thought it would, but there's a lot of Grandma types in my life and I've had something of a stressful week!

This grandma has been in my life a bit more than 10 years now. She married (biological) Grandpa after we were adopted and before we were reunited. So, she came along with the reunion.

This grandma inspires me. We share a love for Jesus, reading books, correct grammar and many more things. I've seen her (and Grandpa) grow their own vegetables (and flowers!), can those vegetables (and I helped!) make bread, sew amazing quilts, and another dozen things my brain is too tired to remember at the moment. She's even helped me with my taxes!

I've learned much from her and I am so thankful to know her!

5.15.2009

How I became a mother... Part 2

You can read the first part of this story here.

To say the least, I was really dissapointed in myself, me, the responsible one, getting pregnant when we were working for the next meal- literally.

We had help a couple times to pay rent, but we couldn't get ahead. We couldn't even catch up!

About that time, the in- laws scored a tremendous deal on a house down the street from theirs. It was about to enter foreclosure, so they were basically saving their neighbors from bankruptcy. The plan was to flip it. To say it needed work is an understatement. It. Really. Needed. Work. So, work we did. And we were about to face eviction. The in- laws were so gracious to restore it and then allow us to move in and rent it. So, we helped with some of the work. Three babies later, we still are renting it.

I remember painting my baby's room- with the windows open, people! And singing this song.

I did not want to be pregnant. I did not want to become a mother. I think I was overdosing on the fear of failure.

I watched in amazement as the Lord poured on blessings, using everyone around us. My class of students were so excited and they brought in bags and bags of hand-me-downs from their baby sisters. We had two baby showers for our northern families and our southern families. Our baby's every need and then some was supplied by these people who love us. For a couple years, I was giving away baby items that we had never even used.

I saw myself as an unfit mother. I was puzzled that this God, whom I love and worship would see fit to bless me with so many things for my baby.

God loves adoption.

That title- I stole it. Over here.

The problem is, for me, that I don't love my adoption story. I wasn't orphaned or abandoned. I didn't come from an impoverished country and I wasn't collected by social services in an attempt to save my life.

The truth is I have a rather large family, a family that continues to love me over the years and the miles that seperate us. It is a family who looked for us after we were gone, especially a grandfather and an aunt who never gave up the hope of seeing me again one day.

I do love my reunion stories. They are stories which lack the words neccessary to really describe the emotion. You can read them here and here. And there's another one coming soon!

Having said all that, there's one adoption that has changed my life. That is my adoption into the family of Christ. God DOES love adoption. He did after all, choose to adopt us. It is this adoption that is the dancing that followed the weeping, the joy that came in the morning. As lovely has the reunions have been with members of my original family, I can't help but wonder what that reunion will be like.

Surely words will not describe the joy we will experience when Christ comes for us.

5.11.2009

Grandma story #2

To honor the mothers in my life, I am taking this week to write about the ones who've been a part of my life.

My second grandmother (in absolutely random order) is the mother of my (adoptive) father.

Every spring, my brother, sister and I would spend a couple days at her house in the country. She had a very large yard, with a small creek (or maybe it was a ditch) running along the side. We weren't allowed to climb down into it, but we passed much time peering over the edge.

In her yard, which was as large as 4 yards in our neighborhood, there was ample room to explore and play. There was also an opportunity to learn the value of hard work. And that is what we did. We spent a day helping her to clean up the sticks, trim back the trees and whatever other chores she needed done. When we were done, she rewarded our efforts handsomly with tuna noodle casserole. I don't know her secret ingredient, but I suspect it was love, because to this day she says it was nothing special, but we really enjoyed it. In fact, we 3 kids ate the whole pan. She now insists that we did save some for her, but I am not so sure.

It was a joy to help her. She let us play and work was an adventure. Now I live so far from her, but every spring when it's time to clean up the yard, I think of her and wish I could be there to help her again. And noone makes tuna noodle casserole like her.

5.10.2009

How I became a mother... Part 1

I am originally from the north, a transplant, they call me in these parts. My husband, being from the south and posessing a certain southern charm, wooooed me until my heart was his.

We were married. We moved south. There's more to it than that, but that's another story.

Moving here with unsecured jobs was not the best plan, but we felt like God was leading us here. Circumstances made it possible. Did I mention, clueless? We were newly married and just starting out, so it was as good a time as any. Soon after husband started his new job (golf course maintence) and I mine (shoe sales), he was injured and out of work. Somehow the out of work bit alluded me and I didn't figure it out for several months. Can I also just say, it is really difficult to support two people on shoe sales?! There were some cute ones that year. And I did manage to bring in top sales each day I worked. My hunger motivated.

Fall came and I started my very first REAL teaching position in a lovely school. Husband still was out of work. Now I had figured it out, and now, husband was requesting we start a family. Really? Now? Are you out of your mind?!

Side step: I never intended to have children, says the mom to three under the age of four. I wanted the saintly position of rescuing children from their unfit mothers, says the pride of the young college educated woman.

Getting back to the story,
There was certaintly no way I was going to bear children while my husband had no job. So, says I, 'Get a job, and I'll get pregnant'.

And the Lord held me to it, because I had no intention of becoming pregnant, and yet, I did.

The Head of School where I was teaching later told about my announcement. Apparantly I said, "Dr. Smith (that's not his real name), I don't know how this happened, but I am pregnant!"

to be continued...

5.09.2009

Grandma story #1

I wrote a real note today. My grandmother doesn't own internet access, so I write to her a few times a year. As I was thinking of her today, I was saddened that I don't know her better, that I have so much to learn from her life, her legacy, and I never really recognized it.

Here's a little of what I wrote to her:

First, I caught her up on the children and what is happening around here, then in closing:

"How I wish to be around your kitchen table again, hearing about you and the goings- on of the cousins and to just be in your company.

I remember while in college, longing for simpler days that the future would surely hold, once I graduated, but I find that not to be the case. That 'staying' home as a mom wasn't much of a job, but now I see it differently.

I see for many years your labor was intense (she was a farmer's wife with 5 children), your devotion to your family strong. What a blessing your children are to their families and that you must also be to them! I see I have much to learn from your example and I thank you so much!"

These sentiments just poured out from my hand, much like they do on the keyboard, without the benefit of spellcheck! Hopefully Grandma won't notice.

5.07.2009

Mother's Day?

We just got finished with one consumeristic, overly commercialized day... Are you ready for another?

After all, it is THE reason I decided to bear children. Not really. I counted the number of cards I am mailing to mothers and grandmothers this year. There's 12. Two people with 12 mothers and grandmothers. That's crazy. If I buy into the commercialism and send flowers to each of these special people, I'd be spending about $250. That's half my monthly grocery bill! I just can't do that.

Doesn't this life I live honor my mother? Why do I have to also be consumeristic? Doesn't that go against the values I learned from my mother?

Here's what I am going to do: My list included 12 special women, mostly mothers and grandmothers to my husband and I, with a couple extra special women thrown in too! So, for the next 12 days- or maybe more, if my hands are busy with my children, I am going to tell the story of these women and the impact they have had on me!

5.03.2009

Sunday hymn pondering- Solid Rock

UPDATED: The link to the sermon is here. It is Part 2. But they are all good! Parts 1 and 2 are directed towards the men and parts 3 and 4 will be directed towards the women.

I wasn't going to post today. At the end of church, we totally. rocked. out. this song. And I knew I had raw emotion that I need to deal with, work out, into something understandable. I hope this gets me there. It might get long...

Pastor Greg's newest teaching series is 'He said, She said'. I'll update later with a link to the sermon.

Today, he was teaching men to be godly leaders, protectors and providers. He told a really great story about his daughters and their courtships, about his protection over them from ungodly men. He told about giving them away on their wedding day. He told that their hearts hadn't been stolen, but that he willingly gave them away to these godly men. It was beautiful.

And I weeped. And I didn't know why. Here beside me, I had a godly man. A man who loves this woman, who protects and provides for his children. So, why was I weeping?

I was mourning. Where was my father when I needed that same protection of which Pastor Greg spoke? I was violated as a child. And this morning, I mourned the absence of protection. Also, last week, as I finshed Wednesday's post, I told God I was done with this, talking of this subject, which pierces me, but I am reminded that God is not done. He continually brings me healing, and I continue to write it out, to tell His story.

And later, as a teen and college student, with little sense of self worth, I allowed myself to date ungodly men. Boys, who did not value me for who God created me to be. So, again, I mourned that protection.

And the end of the sermon left me feeling let down and I didn't really know why, because again, here beside me, I had a man. A man who loves God, who loves me, who loves his children, who provides and protects. Why was I weeping!?

Then there was some unfamiliar songs. Now, I love me some songs. I love to sing. I love to feel the ivory beneath my fingers. Worship lifts my soul as I lift up my Savior, my Redeemer, my God in Praise! So, these songs: they were unfamiliar, and I didn't have the strength to join, and I was discouraged. And then. And then, there was my hymn. My familiar words, which laid a foundation for my salvation. But this time, it was not slow moving and labourous. Oh. No. Our worship leaders rocked it! And the words. They brought understanding! They brought joy to my weeping!

I understood. I learned in spite of the hurt, God: my solid rock, my salvation was faithful to me. He provided my protection. He provided me a godly man. One to protect me and provide for me, one to LOVE me! And I rejoiced. Because even in the hurting, God was there and He made a way for me.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When Darkness veils his lovely face, I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

Because Christ rescued me from that dark place, rescued my mind and my soul.
Because I find myself in Him, I can rest on Him.
Because Christ loves, protects and provides for me, I can be loved and protected and provided for by the one He sent to me.

5.01.2009

Second verse, same as the first

a.k.a. Fight Back Friday
a.k.a. Fresh salad from the garden.


Last night, I dressed it differently than the first night.
Deliciously fresh greens, intense with flavor, from the garden
cilantro, also from the garden
1 shredded carrot
1/2 squeezed lemon
dash of olive oil
1/2 clove of garlic


And I paired it with:

corn bread, brown rice cooked in homemade chicken broth, black beans cooked w/ fresh garlic, onion, cumin and tomatoes. And you know something? This usually flavorful dish PALED in comparison to the salad. Maybe it needed some cilantro too?

4.30.2009

Reunion- the original

About 10 years ago, my parents (those who adopted me and my siblings) sat me down with some big news. To say I was shocked is an understatement.


I thought I had been left behind, unwanted. The news was devastating to that belief, and it took me awhile to see how I had been impacted by the false belief about myself and my family. The more I learn about myself, the more I am able to accept God's love and see myself as He sees me. I believe my post-high school journey would have been more difficult, were it not for the love of these people who were about to enter my life.


The news was from my Aunt Nene, a step-sister to my biological mother. She was offering a different perspective to my adoption story.


Here's the perspective I grew up with:
Our mother, a single mother, struggling to support, realizing she couldn't do it on her own, sought help from a private adoption agency meets older couple with one teenage son, struggling with infertility, desiring more children. Match made in heaven, right?


Aunt Nene ( I was seven when I was adopted and remembered her well) alternative version: Mother had been struggling. Grandpa had just helped her move into an apartment and get settled. One day, Aunt Nene's mom delivers cookies to an empty apartment. Family struggles to find us for weeks. Grandpa hires PI, takes new parents to court to gain custody of us. Court awards custody to new parents. Finally, she says she has waited 10 years to see me again and asks them to talk to me about it.

Shocked by this new perspective, I quickly embrace my new old family. Soon after reuniting with Aunt Nene, I meet uncles and their families and Grandpa and Grandma and cousins!

It was a beautiful day in the park where we picnicked. I remember how my uncle just stared at me throughout the entire initial meeting, while I talked about myself and what I was doing and what I had been doing the past 10 years. You know, general small talk stuff!

Grandpa and I formed a bond founded on the shared love of Christ. We all did really, but it was this relationship that began to transform the way I viewed myself. It was this relationship that brought me through some of the toughest years I have experienced. I do love my Grandpa.

I went to see my Aunt Nene as much as I possibly good while working my way through college. Now I live too far away to drive up for the weekend, and that makes me sad. But our bond is tight and it transcends the miles and the times. Whether we talked last week or last month, we understand and love one another and it is a really good thing. I love her.

Now, it's been more than 10 years since that reunion. I am continually encouraged by this family of faith. I see that God brought them right into my life at a time when I needed. I see that God worked out all the details, because He loves me and because I love Him.

Come back for more bits of the story!

4.29.2009

WFMW fresh produce!


First fruits of my labor are in. I planted spring mix lettuce about 3 weeks ago and last night we enjoyed it for dinner. Very yummy salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing: dash of olive oil, dash of balsamic vinaigrette and a clove of garlic! The flavor of the fresh lettuce is amazing. My kids have been pinching off pieces and eating it straight from the garden- it's THAT good! For more tips, go to We are THAT family and see the Works for Me Wednesday Carnival.

WFMW sex education

It is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Last week, I wrote about Child Abuse Prevention.

Later that day,

In the midst of a diaper change, big sister (age almost 4) notices that baby brother and little brother have 'matching bottoms.' Pausing to be thankful that I was paying attention to her every word and my brain wasn't in the land of make believe, I embraced the teachable moment. Last week, you may have caught on that this topic is important to me. Anyhow...

Darkness to Light explains that it is best to teach our children age appropriate language for body parts:

I explained to her that we all have 'matching bottoms'. I told her the anatomically correct names for boy and girl parts. I told her that God made girls and boys different and that our parts are very special and 'just for you.' She identified that Daddy had the same parts as the brothers and that she and I had the same parts. We've previously talked about strangers, so I introduced them to this topic. I asked her if she thought it would be OK to let strangers see her parts or touch them, and she gave a strong NO, and then my heart leaped with joy! She said sometimes she touches there to wash, and I told her that was OK. We talked a little more about this. Then, she came over and gave me the biggest hug she has ever given to me. And I was grateful.

Can I just tell you people out there something? I was so completely dreading ever having to have this talk, but I knew it was REALLY important, so I was really thankful that it happened, but I was scared out of my mind that I would say something wrong or that she would see how extremely uncomfortable it made me. But, it turned out fine. Better than that. I'd say it turned out wonderfully.

I am here to say, you can talk to your kids about this and you must! And it isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. So, look for your teachable moment and prevent child abuse in your family!

To learn more about Child Abuse, visit Darkness to Light.
For more great tips, visit the carnival at We are THAT family.

Thank you and come again!

4.27.2009

My reunion

The first parent reunion took place over Easter weekend. It was the second reuion with the biological family, but that is another post. So, be sure to come back for that! And coming soon... another reunion!

I was adopted when I was seven. Prior to that, I lived with my biological parents. Those years are another post or posts.

Around Christmas last year, our biological mother contacted my sister and I. Shortly after that she contacted our brother too. We began a series of phone conversations and emailing to get to know one another, to work out the questions, the conflicts, the fears and anxieties.

Because my brother will be living abroad for a few years, and because we are all spread across this great nation, we wanted to get together before he left. It worked out that we would meet her at that time. Our grandfather (her father) has been a part of my life for the past 10 years (that's another post, remember?), so we invited him to come along too. He was like a security blanket for me, and I think for her too.

I have put this post off for awhile, because I really struggle with the words to work out what transpired. There's the facts (We had 6 adults and 4 children in a 1000 sq foot home for 3 days) and there's the emotions (I just wanted one more hug).

But how do I tell about meeting the woman who brought me into the world, the woman who walked away from me and left me vulnerable to strangers? How do I share my wedding photos with the one who I wished had been there while I tried on wedding gowns? How do I welcome her as a guest, when she could have been there to help me settle into a new life with my newly wed? How do I enjoy the moments that are fleeting when I have all these thoughts haunting my heart?

I lean on the one who loves me, who gave His life that I might have this one. I lean on Him, because even though I think I could have worked it out better, He can work it out to be better.
For I know I love God, and He will work out the details of my life, according to His purposes.

And it helps to have Grandpa.

4.24.2009

stories

I am working on my story... Which will have to be a series of posts! There's birth stories- mine and my children's. There's an adoption story. There's a husband story. There's reunion stories. So much to write about!

There's a lot going on in my life right now, less time to write. But, there is so much going on, there's a driving desire to write, to work it out. So many times, this exercise of writing has been an exercise of working out my emotions. I think of this one time, especially.

I'd like to add schedule to my life and routine and to my children too. Am I crazy? Is anybody out there? Do you have an answer?

Well then. I have a lot on my to do list to write. So come back. It's going to get interesting.

Fight Back Friday. Whole Food Cheeze Crackers


When you have little ones underfoot, you tend to get creative. And making a controlled mess in the kitchen is preferred to an uncontrolled mess all over the house. Especially when it's rainy.

A few weeks back, I made a recipe for cheese crackers. I think they taste so much better than the kind you get in a box. And it was fun to make too.

Here's the recipe:

2 cups grated cheese
6 T whole grain wheat flour
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1 T cold water
paprika

Mix the ingredients to a stiff dough. Roll out very very thin and bake for 5 minutes at 450 degrees.

I'd like to try using rice flour to make them gluten free, and I think experimenting with the cheeses would be fun too. You could get really creative with the extra seasoning too...herbs, spices. Yum!



For more food tips, check out Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.

4.21.2009

Must Write.... No Time!

Too much going on right now. I have to focus on family and get back to routine... whatever that is. I have a list of things to write about. I have SO much on my mind. Will be back soon!

4.17.2009

Fight Back Friday. Whole Grain Soft Pretzels.




The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. ~ Dr. Suess

Oh. We've had rain. I love the rain. It waters my garden.

But, it makes it difficult to play outside. And I have a 2 year old boy, who loves to play outside.

So, we made pretzels. Awesome recipe there. Honey instead of sugar, whole grain wheat flour. Quick to make, Fun to play. No added junk. I like that in a pretzel.
More food tips at Food Renegade on Fight Back Friday!

4.16.2009

Another reunion

Have you read about this reunion? While my story is very different, it is a story about a father and a daughter coming together.

My Dad is coming to visit. It's a year of change for me. God has brought me out of my comfort zone by bringing my biological parents back into my life, but I am SO GLAD it has happened. My Dad's visit is still a couple months away, but here's a few things I am looking forward to:

Sharing a hug.

Sharing a walk.

Sharing my children.

Sharing a rootbeer float w/ chocolate ice cream. Mmm Hmmm!



4.15.2009

Chickens and Horses

Reading this story, made me think of my dear little girl. She loves animals. That's an understatement.

This past summer, while at the fair, she saw the show horses. She loved it. She also saw the horses in their stables.
She promptly informed us the state of the horse. He is sad. He doesn't like to be in a cage.

I think she just wanted us to let him out so she could go for a ride. But, seriously, I am not ready for that. She had just turned 3!

It's the compassion that gets me. She really loves animals. I hope she never stops. I also hope she'd have a little compassion for her brother.

4.14.2009

Works for Me Wednesday- Child Abuse Prevention Month

Updated with new links:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ~ Benjamin Franklin

This month is Child Abuse Prevention Month. And, Prevention Works For Me. Check out other great tips at We are THAT Family.

Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children in seven steps:

1. Learn the facts: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted as children. Sexual predators are known and trusted by 90% of victims' families.

2. Minimize opportunity: Don't put your child in a one adult- one child situations. One reason we love our church is that they don't allow one adult to be in the nursery/child care rooms. It's not only for the child's protection, but also for the adult's protection.

3. Talk about it: Teach your child correct names for body parts. Don't keep 'secrets' in a family. We have a No secret policy. We only keep 'surprises'. Teach your child about their body and about boundaries in an age -appropriate fashion.

4. Stay alert: Learn the warning signs. There may be no warning signs, but if there are signs and you don't know them, you'll regret it later.

5. Have a plan: If your child confides in you that he/she has been abused, an angry response will be damaging. Praise him/her for sharing this very difficult news. Seek help immediately. Child Sexual abuse is a crime. Report suspected cases to Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement immediately.

6. Act on Suspicions: If you aren't sure, call for help. Darkness to Light has a helpline.
Call: 1-866-FOR LIGHT

7. Get involved in prevention: If you've been affected, break the silence! Ask your child's school to implement prevention programs and policies. Donate your time and resources to prevention programs.

I put this list together based on a list provided by Darkness to Light and a research report I wrote in college. Check out their website for a more complete list.

I am a survivor. The memories of the year I was abused have been mostly blocked. The trauma of abuse wounds a soul so deeply that many people never recover completely. Look around our world. There are many hurting people. Only the power of the love of God has healed my wound.

Prevention is the answer. You can help.

UPDATED:
Go read this post for another point of veiw at It feels like chaos.

UPDATED: I just noticed the links didn't work, so I changed them. They should work now. Thanks and Sorry!

Just one more hug...

This past weekend, my sibs and I were reunited with our biological mother. I want to remember every moment. But, that would be a long post. So, the highlights will be posted on day at a time. Starting with the end.

The day my mother and my grandpa left, the left at 5a.m. My baby chose that night to sleep through the night. So, I was really snoozin' and didn't hear them as they prepared to leave. I did hear my front door open and close. I knew as I instantly woke up, that my guests were leaving. As I stumbled out of bed, I got to the front room as I saw the car pulling away.

The design of the enemy is to separate us from the ones we love. He uses sin to separate us from God. He uses hurtful events, hurtful words, distance, even death to separate us from the ones we love, the ones who love us.

The good news of the resurrection is that in Christ's power over death, there is power over separation. We no longer are separated from God by sin. There is forgiveness. When Christ comes again to call us to our new home, we no longer will be separated by hurts, by miles, or even by death. And that is good news indeed.

I told my dear husband that I just wanted one more hug. He kindly told me, even if I had been there for one more hug, I still would have wanted one more hug. In my new home, there always will be one more hug.

Peace, Charlotte

4.13.2009

100th Post!

In honor of my 100th post, 100 random facts about me.


1. I love Jesus.

2. I love my husband.

3. I have birthed three children since 2005.

4. They share the initials, TLC.

5. I took piano lessons until college.

6. I am looking forward to getting back to it. Maybe it's like riding a bike?

7. I have a college degree in elementary education.

8. I taught in a real true school for three years.

9. Now, I teach at home. It's much more difficult.

10. My children have five sets of grandparents.

11. I was adopted when I was seven.

12. Three sets come from me. Two sets are from my husband.

13. We are determined, with the help of God, to break the cycle of divorce for our children.

14. I like to be barefoot. Even in winter, but it's okay, I live in the south.

15. I've breastfed my baby on Folly.

16. I've played in the sand at sunrise at Isle of Palms. It's the best because no one is out there at that hour!

17. I like to have root beer floats made with chocolate ice cream.

18. I pretty much like chocolate.

19. I don't watch tv. Except Jack Bauer and American Idol and probably a couple others.

20. I like to have fried eggs for breakfast, but I am fasting from them, because I suspect my baby boy is allergic.

21. I like to knit.

22. I don't know how to crochet.

23. For my first date, I went to the movies with a 'friend'. I got busted when my mom's coworker was also waiting in line.

24. I hope my daughter doesn't feel the need to sneak and lie.

25.I don't like scary movies.

26.I like Jane Austen.

27. Mr. Darcy is my favorite.

28. I listen to southern gospel music.

29. And Christian music from the 90's.

30. Mostly, I listen to Pandora.

31. Jennifer Knapp is my favorite.

32. I am a butterfly.

33. I started writing a blog after reading BooMama and Rocks in My Dryer for a year!

34. In high school, my mom made me wear a skirt to school once per week.

35. I hated it.

36. I would put extra clothes in my backpack for changing.

37. I worked in a conservative Christian school, and I had to wear dresses or skirts every day.

38. Now, in the summer time, I mostly wear skirts.

39. I struggle with feelings of insecurity.

40. I remind myself, my security is in Christ Alone.

41. I want to home school my children.

42. I am afraid I am not organized or strong enough.

43. My husband thinks they'll be socially awkward.

44. I've been able to travel a lot as a child, not so much as an adult. I've been to:

45. New York

46. Grand Canyon

47. Yellowstone

48. Mt Rushmore

49. the top of the arch in St. Louis

50. the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago

51. Gatlinburg

52. Falcon's training camp (on my honeymoon)!

53. California (and stayed next to an avocado farm and still LOVE avocados)

54. I don't like to drive. I much prefer to be a passenger.

55. I once had free flight (stand-by) privileges.

56. I only ever flew to Indiana to see family.

57. I like to memorize scripture.

58. I can't ever remember the 'address' of the scripture I memorize.

59. I like the one that says 'we know God works out everything for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

60. It's been true for me in my life.

61. I am a survivor.

62. But only by His Love and Grace.

63. I love my church.

64. They can't be held responsible for my ramblings.

65. I like to eat frozen grapes.

66. I heart Burt's Bees products.

67. My all time favorite shoe is the Birkenstock Arizona.

68. I like purple. So did my great grandmother, but I just found that out recently.

69. Chocolate is my comfort food.

70. I just planted my first veggie garden.

71. I am really exciting about.

72. And a little nervous that it may fail.

73. I am most excited about the tomatos.

74. And the peppers.

75. And the onions.

76. And the cilantro.

77. So, I can make SALSA!

78. I am really quite shy.

79. This blog helps me figure things out.

80. I like to write.

81. This blog is about relationships.

82. I was thinking about doing a series on meaningful relationships from my past.

83. I like to do Beth Moore studies. She makes the Bible real to me.

84. Actually, Jesus does that. He just uses her really well.

85. Spring is my favorite season.

86. I really like the fresh fruits.

87. My birthday is in the spring.

88. And I really like the warmer weather

89. and the cool weather

90. and having the windows open.

91. On 9/11, I woke up to the frantic broadcast on my clock radio. I immediately and frantically called my brother who's a member of the Air Force to see if he was OK. He calmed me down.

92. My brother is my hero. He serves in the US military.

93. But the real reason Spring is my favorite is because Easter is my favorite holiday (holy day).

94. My Jesus is alive! and he reigns!

95. My children have, from time to time, been known to say/sing He Reigns!

96. I like real fresh made lemonade. Like you get at Chick-fil-A.

97. Sometimes, I am completely random. It's how my mind works.

98. I used to be paid to teach.

99. Did I mention I like chocolate? Real good chocolate too- not the cheap stuff.

100. Did I mention I love Jesus?

PS I am recovering from my weekend. I'll update about my reunion soon!

4.12.2009

Sunday Hymn Pondering Easter Sunday

Every Morning is Easter Morning...

Every Morning is Easter Morning
Every morning is Easter morning from now on
Every day is resurrection day
The past is over and gone
Good by guilt, good by fear, good riddance
Hello Lord, hello sun!
I am one of the Easter people
My new life has begun
Every morning is Easter morning from now on
Every day is resurrection day
The past is over and gone
(Repeat 3Xs getting softer with each line)
Every morning is Easter morning
Every morning is Easter morning
Every morning is Easter morning
(Back to normal volume)
FROM NOW ON

As a child, I sang in the church's children's choir. One Easter we sang this song and had a little dance to go with it too. Every year, just like Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, I sing this song.

Think about it. Think about the words. Yesterday doesn't matter. It's forgiven and gone. Christ is ALIVE. Here. Now. This is the day to live each moment to the fullest for Him.

Hallelujah! Hosanna in the Highest!

4.10.2009

Hymn Pondering Good Friday

Jesus walked this lonesome valley


What is Good Friday all about?

This year, it's about a reunion. Today my siblings and I will be reuniting with our biological mother. We haven't seen her in over 20 years. I really love this song. Though my life has had plenty of good, there were large parts of sadness and loneliness. It was always good to remember the valley that Jesus walked.

Say a prayer for us, will you?

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.
We must walk this lonesome valley,
We have to walk it by ourselves;
O, nobody else can walk it for us,
We have to walk it by ourselves.
You must go and stand your trial,
You have to stand it by yourself,
O, nobody else can stand it for you,
You have to stand it by yourself.

4.08.2009

Holy Week Hymn Pondering Wednesday


The Wonderful Cross


This is one of my favorites. Thank you Chris Tomlin.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

4.06.2009

Holy Week Hymn Pondering Monday


All Glory, Laud and Honor


Look for the Biblical truths presented. See the words that connect us, the one offering praise, to the ones who followed Him first with their feet, the first ones to offer Hosannas to our King.


Refrain
All glory, laud and honor, To Thee, Redeemer, King,
To Whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel, Thou David’s royal Son,
Who in the Lord’s Name comest,The King and Bless├Ęd One.
Refrain
The company of angels Are praising Thee on High,
And mortal men and all things Created make reply.
Refrain
The people of the Hebrews With palms before Thee went;
Our prayer and praise and anthems
Before Thee we present.
Refrain
To Thee, before Thy passion, They sang their hymns of praise;
To Thee, now high exalted, Our melody we raise.
Refrain
Thou didst accept their praises; Accept the prayers we bring,
Who in all good delightest,Thou good and gracious King.
Refrain

4.05.2009

Sunday Hymn Pondering Happy Palm Sunday!


Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
The youtube link is a little longer this week, but it is a fantastic organ arrangement. As I have previously mentioned here, I grew to know and love Jesus in singing these hymns. It was by a magnificent pipe organ that I learned them, so I especially like this video.

Easter has long been my favorite time of year. Good things happen in the spring. My birthday, for one.

It's these Easter hymns though, that taught me the most about the Christian faith. That Christ would willingly suffer, sacrifice himself because He loves us. My husband has commented before that true love is sacrificial love. Christ showed us the example of this love. That is what this week holds.

Before that could happen, an 'exultant crowd,' the author writes, reigned him King. He is Lord. Lord of heaven, Lord of hearts, and Praise Him today, this special day with all your heart and voice.

I have pre-written posts this week. A hymn each day for this holy week. I'll keep the anecdotes to myself and put my focus, my voice, my heart solely on Him. Join me.

The lyrics:

Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, Who had blessed them close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.
From Olivet they followed mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving, and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of men and angels rode on in lowly state,
Nor scorned that little children should on His bidding wait.
“Hosanna in the highest!” that ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heaven our King.
O may we ever praise Him with heart and life and voice,
And in His blissful presence eternally rejoice!