Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cone Flowers

Our friendship garden continues to bloom...although many flowers are fading away. The girls and I are amazed at cone flowers...we love the way they feel...and how big they grow! These flowers were given to us from our neighbor's perennial garden!
I am not sure why I am showing you this picture...except that it cracked me up. This kid is forever trying out new things! Is this a common occurrence with scooter lovers? It was her way of getting both home after Mae abandoned hers at the neighbors!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Life would be great if only...

Do you wish you were happy? Do you say to yourself..."If only" this were to happen...then I would be happy?" Where do you look to fill your heart with joy? Do you wish to be loved by someone? Do you long for more children? Is your body not as healthy as you wish? Are you certain that you would feel more cheerful if only you owned a bigger house or another car? Think your life would be more fulfilling if only you had more "free" time?

I have spent the last 10 years convinced the only way I will experience joy in this world is to fill our house with babies. I LOVE babies. I love their sweet little fingers, and their stubby little toes. I love all the soft cooing sounds they make and the giggles that jiggle from their chubby little cheeks. I love how each child has a "personality" that is uniquely his...and how you can just "tell" what he is going to be like as he grows older. I love snuggling up with each little one and listening to them breathe...that soulful, peaceful rhythm that lulls you to sleep. I love how they smack their lips and stare at their fingers. I love how they suck on my shoulder when I am carrying them around...and drool all over me until my shirt is soaked. I love taking care of babies, and usually feel as though all is right with the world whenever a baby is placed in our home. Never, ever, have I felt such contentment.

Ok...ok....so maybe that isn't quite the case. I will admit that taking care of babies isn't always so...peaceful...or fulfilling. Some babies fuss...A LOT! Some babies just cannot sleep...so I do not sleep. Some babies spit up horribly...scream all day....refuse to eat....some babies are just...SIGH...MISERABLE babies. When there is a challenging baby in our home, our whole life is, quite frankly, more challenging!

Baby "if only's" crop up pretty quickly!

"She would be the perfect baby if only she would sleep thru the night..."

"I wouldn't be so crabby if baby would let me put her down for 10 minutes.

"We could do so much more away from home if only baby would be willing to sit in his car seat longer."

"This placement would be so much easier if only we knew what the outcome would be!"

UGH! That last one is the hardest. Not knowing is the worst!

Why do I think that adding another baby would make our life more fulfilling? When have I REALLY experienced true joy and contentment? If I honestly think about this...those days of true contentment come whenever I let go...they happen whenever I stop holding onto whatever I think is going to make me happier. I think that happens because whatever I am holding onto... is a distraction from the one who can completely fulfill us...our HEAVENLY FATHER!

Where do we find contentment? What is your "If only?" What is it you are so sure will make your life better, and what would happen if you just decided to let it go? What are you fretting about these days?

We were discussing these verses last night!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,
And the peace of God, which surpasses all COMPREHENSION....shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus! Phil.4:6-7

I know those verses are quoted often. Here's a way to help pull them apart:

What does God command you to do?
What does God warn you NOT do do?
What does He promise HE will do?

Let's pull apart the verses from Phil. 4...

First we are warned to be anxious for nothing! NOT ONE THING! OK... how is that even possible? Can you imagine the amount of sleep we lose because of anxiety? How much energy and time we waste fretting over things we cannot change? How much of our life would change just by refusing to worry?

Secondly, we are commanded to come to him in prayer with thanksgiving! Are you thankful about those "if only's" that have not come thru for you? Are you thankful for those circumstances that are robbing you of your joy? If we actually thanked God for those circumstances, would we actually experience joy in the midst of them? What if I thanked God for infertility? Doesn't that sound shocking? Why would I do that? How would I do that?

I am thankful for infertility. Infertility gave me the children I have....through the blessing of foster care and adoption. I would not have my children, if I had not been infertile!

When we are thankful for those things that we are not happy about...it helps us see the TRUTH of how God is at work in our life.

Lastly...what does God promise? If we do not worry...and pray with thanksgiving...what does He promise He will do?

and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!

To have a peace that surpasses all comprehension...that sounds like experiencing true contentment...doesn't it? If you are at peace, you are not fretting. If you are at peace, you have the freedom and energy to experience joy! You are not distracted by what is missing...or what you wish were different! Instead of looking for ways to be happy...we should be letting go those things! We should take all of those "if only's" and give them to HIM....not begrudgingly...but with thanksgiving!

And His peace will guard your heart and mind! His peace will GUARD your heart and mind! It will keep your heart and mind SAFE. It will not let the enemy past the gate. HIS PEACE is securing your heart and mind. Your heart and mind will not be compromised by unhealthy, hurtful thoughts or ideas. Your heart and mind will rest in HIS PEACE.

We do not know what will happen to the Little Man. At some point, the Little Man will leave us. He is not going to be with us forever. Oh..if only he could stay! All would be right with the world. If only God would just let him stay here forever...our family would be perfect! The roller coaster ride of this placement has been a wild one. It keeps me up, night after night! But one night, God brought His truth to my heart...that truth that Jeff and I cling to when a child leaves our home...as the Little Man WILL do...someday...

Every child is HIS child. God knew that the Little Man would need a place to stay for a bit, and what a blessing to have him here with us for a while! Our job is to take care of him as long as he is in our home....and get him ready for whatever God has in store for him. Our job is NOT to fret over what the future holds for this sweet baby boy. It is NOT to fume over how the social workers manage the case. Our job is NOT to figure out how to keep him here forever! Our job is to love him well, while he is here, and get him ready for whatever God has planned for him. Our job is to uphold this little guy in prayer, and with thankful, prayerful hearts....let him go!

As I pondered these things the other night...and God reminded me of His promises...the knots in my stomach untangled. The heaviness in my chest floated away. And His calming reassurance filled my soul...that peace that surpasses all understanding...it was guarding my heart that night. It was keeping my mind focused on the truth. And finally, I was able to sleep.

As you read through those verses from Philippians, do you say to yourself..."If only I could really live that way?" Try this...just for today...and see if it changes your life. Do not allow the phrase "if only" to creep into your vocabulary. Ban it from your thoughts. Take that list of "if onlys" and place them into the Lord's hands. Embrace the life you have...RIGHT NOW.! Be thankful for all He has already done, and all He is going to do...

Allow HIM to guard your heart and mind... just for today.....and you will walk in that peace that surpasses all understanding. That is HIS promise to us all. If only we would believe it!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Do we really believe?

Have you ever written down the stuff you usually only say to yourself? You know...the stuff that runs through your mind as you go about your day? You know...the stuff you would NEVER say out loud? I did that today. It was shocking. I rant about my irritating life, family, home... in my mind....WAY TOO MUCH! I must not REALLY believe that I have an amazing life. When I was younger, I would have never imagined the life I have. A sweet hubby. Three beautiful daughters. A comfy home to keep us safe and warm. I share this "truth" often, but I do not I say it to myself...in my mind...nearly as much. Why? Why is my mind occupied with such trivial, negative, energy-wasting thoughts...instead of the TRUTH of my life?

Do we really believe what we say we believe? Do we really see and understand the truth of our own life?

These questions lead to me to dwell on this: Do we really understand the extent of the gospel? Can we possibly fathom what it was that Christ actually endured, and then accomplished on the cross? Do we really BELIEVE...do we really LIVE...the truth of the gospel? Pastor shared these verses last Sunday. Perhaps you might dwell on them today.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was CRUSHED for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being FELL UPON HIM...and by His SCOURGING we are healed. Is.53:5

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way:
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all...TO FALL ON HIM. Is. 53:6

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, YET HE DID NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. Is 53:7a


Thursday, September 11, 2008

What is it about Irene Dunn?

I adore her! Do you know who she is? She was one of Cary Grant's leading ladies...I discovered her one day while watching "The Awful Truth." What is it about her? She is simply lovely...she seems to be one of these people who can laugh at themselves. She can be very pretty, feminine, and delicate one moment...and then a total clown the next.

She is the perfect lady to me, but hardly that at times....but even when she is misbehaving, her misbehavior is terribly "lady-like!"

That is the only way I know how to describe her. If you are looking for a good laugh, check out that Cary Grant flick, "The Awful Truth." Want a good romance? Try "Love Affair" (Ever see "An Affair to Remember?" Same story, but this one came first!) For those mothers out there who need a lift...watch "I Remember Momma," a sweet film about a Norwegian family. It has become one of my NEW favorite OLD movies!

Our first week of school

It is hard to believe that summer is over, and school has begun. We are very excited about our studies this year. The girls will be learning all about American History. We have been reading about Native Americans this week! The girls cannot decide if they would rather live in a tepee or become cliff dwellers! We remember visitng Mesa Verde and the amazing dwellings discovered there!
Mac's first reader is The Corn Grows Ripe! It is a story about a Mayan family, a 12 year old boy, and his journey into manhood! We are learning about making milpa (cornfields). Corn is an extremly important crop to the Mayan culture. We are also learning about how they used astology to keep a calendar.
Mae has been learning about the five senses. Oh, what fun to chat about goosebumps, eardrums, and those cones and rods that help us see. Her first reader was a little story about a boy named Silent E! And she is so excited to finally have spelling like big sister Mac!

Monday, September 1, 2008

One of the places we love to visit while we are in Door County is Plum Loco Farm. It is well maintained and a very relaxing place to spend the afternoon. The girls love to feed the ponies and mess around in the play area. We always meet interesting animals at Plum Loco, too! The girls befriended a turkey named Opal by feeding him popcorn. Opal likes to have his head rubbed, and will follow you around hoping for more attention! Have you ever touched a turkey's head? Be sure to check out Poppa's blog to see some of the fish we reeled in!
The Little Man occupied the hammock the most!

Everyone's favorite spot when we camp is the hammock! We managed to snap this pic just before we packed up to head home! Can you tell we have been living in the woods for a few days?

So we spent a few days in Door County, WI! What a glorious time we had...the weather was pristine, and the sunsets amazing...another perfect Labor Day weekend in Peninsula State Park!