Friday, April 25, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 32

Selam from one sweet baby girl

The girls continue to look great!! They are smiley and active in their photos. Both continue to grow and are healthy! They make good eye contact. Are reaching new milestones. And just look happy! Praise God!! 

Unfortunately, we are still waiting on documentation from the girls' region. We found out this last week that the documents needed have to be hand delivered to our lawyers office from the girls' small area of birth. This is quite the task. Not only is it taking longer to get the documents in this area but it sounds like they may wait for a group of documents to be complete and them courier them together. 

Speaking of driving driving in Ethiopia, just to give you a quick example, here is an attached video (you may have to copy and paste the link in the search engine). The video is sped up but it is exactly how we remember it. We only saw a couple of stop lights and stop signs in the entire city. Keep in mind, this is in the capital city of Ethiopia, so I can't imagine the driving on a nine hour trek (the girls'  were born nine hours away) outside of the city. 


The wait. In the middle of any wait, especially right now, I find myself feeling the need to want to hurry the process. To take control and seek stability. But the wheel doesn't belong in my hands. And it's not my own understanding I should be after. It won't provide the steady ground I am in need of finding. In faith, God tells us that His timing is perfect. He knows the plans he has for us. Plans to prosper us. To give us life and a future. He is our rock. Our safe place. It's through Him that we must take rest. There is an internal struggle of faithfully knowing trust and fleshly feeling the weight of stress. And then I remember a couple of people from the bible that waited. Oh and how God blessed these dear people. You may remember them by name. God worked everything together for good and we have to believe He will do the same for us, no matter our circumstances. He holds the master plans. 

Joseph waited 13 years.
Abraham waited 25 years.
Moses waited 40 years. 
Jesus waited 30 years.  
Elisha. 
Paul. 
Sarah. 
Elizabeth. 
Hannah. 
Ruth. 
Esther. 

And many more. They waited on the Lord. And so we wait. Expecting miracles. 

As we sit tight there are many of you who have been priceless in our journey. I want to take a moment and thank so many of you who have listened. You know who you are. The ones who have pulled us close. The ones who have encouraged us on our runs. Who have distracted us with parties and movie nights. The ones who have taken us for coffee and lunches. Who just hear us out even when you didn't have the words to respond. The ones who know there isn't an easy fix but wrap their arms around us. Those of you who have prayed. Who have stormed the gates of heaven. Who have sent messages just because you were thinking of us. The many who have shown love. Each act of kindness has been immeasurable. Thank you for allowing the heart of our father shine through onto our family. We are forever grateful for you. 

And then there is another group of adoptive mama friends that also need many thanks. Many are here. And others I only know from afar. I'm not quite sure what I would do without you. Truly, I tell you that God strategically placed each one in our path. You know the struggles. The raw feelings. You see the complications. The vulnerability. You listen and can relate. You see the joy. The beauty. The anticipation. You watch the details of the miracles unfold. You hear our hearts. Lift each other up. Hold others close. We pray for one another always. It's been inspiring to watch your faith. To see your patience grow as you cry out to our Father.  He hears each prayer. He extends grace. He calls to us to triumph in the midst of adversity. He is teaching us lessons. Giving us encouragement. He knows when no one else does. And as one adoptive mama so eloquently said this week, "God will redeem the time that we lost with our kids." Yes, yes, He will. 

Father, thank you for family. For friends. For so may amazing people who you have placed in our path. We are forever grateful for each one. Thank you for providing so many opportunities of love, laughter and joy to smooth out the journey with the bumps of our adoption. We have had so many great memories made in this new year. Though our adoption can sometimes be stressful, you have nudged us to hold on to Your truth. Reminded us to live in the now. To enjoy each moment as a family of six. You have provided. This last week on an early morning run, as we talk adoption, you released two shooting stars out of the navy dark canvas above. I chose to believe that You are offering hope in only ways that You can. It is up to us to believe. Your love is indescribable. Thank you for caring for the girls. For being faithful. For covering us in protection. Thank you for never leaving us. Not even for a moment. You are here. Amen. 

Thank you for the beautiful message from one adoptive mama to another :)
(a sweet friend sent me this message yesterday from her backyard)

***
Update: We got a call today, on Saturday, confirming all remaining documents should be delivered on Monday! Praise God! If this is the case, we should clear embassy this week!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Celebration

Finding their Easter baskets after church

We love holidays at our home. We enjoy the excitement. Look forward with anticipation. Each year, though, we find our previous traditions slowly phasing out. We feel Jesus messing with our hearts and asking us what really matters most during Passover. We discover the answer each and every time. It is Him. Our Father. 

We have made the decision to turn our self focused holidays into soul moving celebrations. 

For our family, our kids now believe that the Easter bunny is as real as Barney. They know we hide the eggs. They know that we provide their small gifts. They know that they don't get scores of candy (they get one). I know what you are thinking - Fun Haters. What?!? I love fun. Ok, I too had the same thought initially when we felt called to focus more on Him. But let me explain further. 

Easter, as we call it, does not originate from Christianity. In fact, it carries its elements of a Pagan religion. Eostre, an Andglo-Saxon goddess, turned a a cold bird into a magical rabbit. The bunny was said to lay several eggs. This was a symbol of fertility.  Blah blah blah. I get it. 

God called this time of year, Passover. Its a time that we come together with family and friends to celebrate the resurrection. Serving each other. The forgiveness of sins. True life given to us all through the blood spent on the cross. It's about God giving His only son. Him coming into the world to conquer death. To leave a legacy of love and grace. 

For us, we do not make a big deal out of fantasy characters but still keep the holidays alive in a fun way the kids will cherish and remember. This year we filled some plastic eggs with money (we are talking pennies) for the price that Jesus paid for our sins. Others are also filled with bible verses and notes of love. And one egg with a jelly bean for each. The shape of the eggs is similar to the stone rolled away from the tomb when Jesus rose. The very act of hunting for the eggs is similar to the disciples looking for Jesus. The jelly bean represents the great surprise and excitement when they found Jesus. 

I know that there are many ways to celebrate Jesus. This just happens to be how our family has decided to celebrate this year. This is where we document and share our story. And we anticipate it evolving. We welcome change. We look forward to what Jesus calls for us next year. We desire for our kids to be excited to celebrate with neighborhood or church events. We want for them to be with families and friends who may celebrate differently. This year, our morning was spent in our church and in explaining the adventures of Jesus followed by an Easter egg hunt and a yummy lunch at home. 

At the very root of our journey, we pray for each one of our kids to anticipate Jesus. We want to bring His story to life. To get excited to celebrate. To understand the true meaning of why we enjoy this weekend. We don't want us to lose focus in stuff. In consuming. To spend extravagant amounts of money (we spent $5-7 on each child total and grandparents each gave $5 in a card). We want them to experience fun during this time but not to be distracted by the culture we create. We hope the kids look back and remember the fun ways we choose to celebrate God. We pray our lives bring glory and honor. We believe the "magic" of the holidays is found in choosing to believe. To follow Him. 

Opening cards from grandparents

The girls' each got a summer dress

Sam hunting for eggs

Quin thinking about where the last egg could be hiding

Kai found her first egg this year in the bushes

Sam proud of his findings

And excited about his educational alphabet spinning game

The boys each received a yo yo

I found a "jelly bean", Mama 

Mmmmm...I like it

Friday, April 18, 2014

Zoo Day

A beautiful Friday to be at the zoo

We feel incredibly blessed to have an amazing zoo so close to us. We treasure our time there exploring nature, visiting exhibits, observing animals and getting lots of exercise! 

A little dose of trouble

Getting to be so grown up

Waterfalls in the rain forest

All smiles

Swinging from the branches 

Even tortoises and ring tailed lemurs can put aside their differences and love...see kids :)
(just to clarify: the two lemurs are cuddling and the one lemur has his paw on the tortoise)

Sam enjoying the bears

His toothless smile is priceless

Love them all to the heavens and back

Fun Friday - Update 32


Oh my goodness, what precious photos we received this week! We now have teeth! And lots and lots of hair. Their smiles are so big. We are beyond excited to see them again!

We found out this week that the interview went well. Good news. However, documentation that we have been waiting on was not quite finished from the same region. Our agency was confident that it would be at the embassy by today. We sent an e-mail to both our agency and the embassy but have not heard from either yet. We are hoping that we should hear more early this week. 

Please continue to keep us all in prayer!!

Lord, thank you for the gift of adoption. Thank you for blessing us through this tough process. If we are honest, there are days that it is hard. There is a part of hearts that don't feel complete. It is difficult to meet hurdles at each new step and to wait in patience when we want them home with us now. After 20 months in the process, we often feel worn in regards to not having answers, documentation or movement. We are trusting that you are doing great works in our heart while we remain steadfast. We know it is You who can see the much bigger picture. Thank you for holding us in your mighty palm as we wait for the e-mail that we have cleared this stage in the process. Thank you for your sovereignty. Your goodness. Your love. Amen. 



Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt and Activities

We found gold coins in our eggs! Yay!

A super fun surprise to see one of our neighborhood grocery stores have an egg hunt with healthy foods and snacks! The kids loved it and so did we!

Look mama

Woohoo

I'm so excited Cole helped me find another egg

Craft time - I love all things green

Darth Vader Easter Egg. Yup. 

Turning in our gold coins for healthy goodies

Edible "Fun Dough" (though they didn't eat it)

My fingers are gooey

I have a pirate patch - Arrrr



Thursday, April 17, 2014

He Said She Said

Our kids ages are so fun right now and ask the best questions. We want to document the funniest moments to remember. Here is our daily dose of humor! 

Me with a lap full of kids: Uhhmmm...does someone need to go to the restroom?
Said Child: Ooops, that was me. Sorry mom. I was trying to sniff it all up before you could smell my stinky gas. 
Me: {Can not stop laughing. Between gasps of oxygen I politely redirect}. Uh cool, just excuse yourself to the restroom next time please. 
Said Child: Got it, mom. Will do. {This child happily gallops away as if nothing happened}

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Water Fun!

These two have a blast together

Close by is a great gym we all enjoy! I am able to get in a great work out while the kids play in the children's area for awhile. There is a sports court, outdoor area, toy area and computer lab for them to take advantage of while I train. When I'm finished, we sometimes take a dip in the pool. We especially love the days that Mike can join us...not only because he is super fun...but because directly behind me is a hot tub. Slightly selfish, I know. Whatever. Thank you Father in heaven for relaxing moments while my incredible husband plays in the cool water with the kids. He is the best! (Don't feel too bad for him, he joins me many times while the kids are in the children's area - just not today).

Look mama, I'm floating on my belly

Quin on the big slides for the first time - He is doing amazing in swim lessons

Sam stepping on the water holes to watch water squirt on his sister

Daddy playing shark

Cole was nervous at first and didn't want to go on the water slides but before we left he overcame his fears and went for it! So proud of you Buddy! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 31


Today was the day that we were hoping to wake up to an e-mail that we had cleared the US embassy and could move on to court. However, we didn't hear anything. I woke up every hour checking our e-mail knowing that word would come early in the morning our time - remember that Ethiopia is 9 hours ahead of us. I also know that the embassy closes at 12pm on Fridays. No e-mail. No nothing. 

Please continue to pray for us and the girls!! Please continue to pray for everyone involved in our case. My heart rejoices on one side knowing that the embassy appointment was today. We are so thrilled to have the girls home soon. And it aches on the other part knowing that the relative appearing today at Embassy had to relinquish care because of his physical health and inability to properly care for twin girls. We know that there are also cultural reasons involved in his decision, but it still had to be incredibly difficult. Please pray for the officials making the decisions. And of course, the girls who have come from a broken, heart wrenching past. Please pray that one day their hearts would be healed and that we can help in the process of brining restoration in the hurt. 

Lord, thank you for being our Father. Thank you for coming alongside us in our adoption. For knowing our hearts and for trusting us with the responsibility of welcoming two more beautiful girls into our family. Please bless over so many who play an important role in our adoption. Please let each person remain truthful and honest. Transparent and ethical. Please continue to walk us through each step. We are getting so close and are praying BIG prayers to bring these sweet babies home soon. We are trusting in your timing. During our wait, please prepare our hearts for the girls. And their hearts for us. In your name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Enough

This post was started last year when I felt the whispers of enough in the middle of the night. Today, it came together to encourage you that no one road looks alike. And that is good, friends. It's beautiful that God calls us each to walk a different path leading to Him. We are in this together.    


You are more than enough if you attend church at a large contemporary service or a small traditional one. If you listen to service on the radio or don't attend at all in this moment. If your prayers sound like a kindergarteners at best. If you have eloquent prayers in group time. If you pray silently from the depths of your soul. If you have questions. If you are new in faith. If you are experiencing faith in a new light. If you don't fit the mold that every Christian desires to plug you into. If you realize that every church you attend will not be created the same. That scripture can be interpreted differently. If you don't believe everything that the church you attend does. If you are tired, worn out on religion. If you sometimes don't want to be tossed into the giant lump of Christianity stereotypes because of the hurt other followers have caused each other. If you don't like it when the bible is used as a sword against you. If you realize you hold the power to make change. To not let others choices or words damage you. If you understand that we are all sinners. If you want to live victorious. If you know that He holds you up with His right hand. If you will choose to forgive. If you discern His will. If you study and listen, He will guide you. If you spend time in His word. If you know that our Father says, seek me. Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. He will hold you up. If you trust Him. If you believe He will make you new. If you desire Him. He will give you hope for the future. You are His.

You are more than enough if you are a doctor, janitor, lawyer, teacher, pastor, CEO, coach, mom, dad or any combination above. If you make millions or are barely making it. If you have experienced both extremes. If you work outside the home or from home. If you believe that most all of us work very hard no matter where we call the place of work. If you choose not to go to college right away or not at all, he will continue to direct you. If you are working full time and finishing school. If you work three jobs trying to feed your children or are currently unemployed. If you work more hours than you would like. If you are a missionary giving endlessly of your time and resources. If you constantly serve with no recognition. He sees when no one else does. His economy is different than ours. If you know that your occupation or calling doesn't define your worth. You are prized and valuable. You are His.

You are more than enough if you live in a trailer, mobile home or a card board box. If you find your residence in a mansion on a lake lot. If your home has its own zip code. If the place you call home is big or small. If you own 100 acres on an expansive farm, a quaint place on the beach or a private spot in town. If your home is contemporary or traditional. If your cabinets are white or dark. If you have wood floors, tile or carpet. If you bought your home or rent. If you have siding or stucco. If you built your home from the ground up or remodeling it to be exactly what you want. If you live in a large city, a small town or both. If you don't have a home. You are His.

You are more than enough if you have a shiny new car, a rusty hand-me-down or something in between. If you drive a sports car, a 12 passenger van or a Harley. If you take the morning bus, the subway or a private jet. If you run, walk or bike to work. If you offer a ride to a friend. If you carpool. You are His.

You are more than enough when you leave the house in a dress and heels. In scrubs, a uniform or comfy pants. If you wear Crocks, running shoes, boots or flats. If you wear make up and have polished nails. If you prefer to make your own powder or go for the natural look. If you have acne. Birth marks. Imperfections. Blemishes. If you wax or shave. If you find random stray blacks hairs where they shouldn't grow. If you happen to catch a shining gray one glistening in the light. Or if you have altogether lost it - your hair that is. If you have brown hair, red, purple, blue, or blonde. Long or short. If you wear your hair up or down. Curly or straight. If for today, you throw on your standard hat and skip the earrings. If you happen to be wearing yesterdays shirt and it passes the smell test with body spray anyway. For the love, nobody needs to know you wore it to bed too. If you shop at the newest outdoor mall. If you only shop at second hand stores. If you like the idea of recycling thrifty clothes. If you own three outfits that continually rotate in a different mix and match sequence. If you only own one. Or none. You are His.

You are more than enough if you shop at Walmart, Target, Whole foods or Natural Grocers. If you eat organic or conventional foods. If you pack your child's school lunch, pay for a meal ticket or can't afford either. If you are self sustained or rely on farmers markets. If you have chickens laying eggs in your backyard. If you buy a half cow from the neighboring farm. If you can't stand the thought of eating meat from a bone. If you tear apart ribs with your teeth. Or eat turkey legs at the county fair. If you enjoy Pinterest recipes or grandmas old fashion ones. If you love to bake or not. If you are the room mom who makes the coolest treats ever or the one who buys them from the local market. If you enjoy throwing extravagant birthday parties or prefer pizza with your friends and family. You are His.

If you are overweight, underweight or average. If you are thick or thin. If you have tried diet after diet and seem stuck. If you can't seem to make sense of the calorie counting. If you are just plain tired of counting. If you eat whenever you want and still do not gain weight. If others judge you because of it. If you sometimes forget to eat. If others ask you if you shop in the kids department. If they tell you that a man desires a certain type of woman. Small waist line, but not too small. Tall, but not too tall. Tan skin, but not too tan. You know, perfect. If your BMI lands you in the "normal" range. If you throw jealousy and imperfections out of the window for good. If we look at the size of our friends heart instead of her waist line. If we stop trying to be something that we are not. You are His.

You are more than enough if you or your child suffers from allergies. If the food intolerances make your body crave food that is not good for you. If you have learned to conquer instant gratification to set your life on a healthy path. If you are the only one who seems to understand (except other allergy families) the serious danger. If you or your child is anaphylactic to some allergens and intolerant to others. If you are making allergy free snacks and meals while others snicker at your "choice". If you have to set rules and guidelines for protection at school or friends' homes. If you have to say "No" if labels are not available. If you have to bring food everywhere you go. If your kids know they could get very sick or possibly die from sneaking enticing foods. If you feel anxiety when you noticed you left an Epipen behind in your other bag. If you know you can't eat without taking big risks. If others think you follow a fad diet trend. If they are offended when you don't eat the way they do when you so desperately wish that you could. When you struggle with wanting to be a normal mom. When you or your child feel isolated. If you miss the foods that you used to be able to tolerate. All you desire is a healthy family. If your infant is constantly screaming and has blood in their stool. If many say colic is normal. If some doctors say it isn't food related but you trust your mama instincts and eliminate allergens. If you come to the conclusion that every specialist gives different advice. If you finally find a team that listens and supports your family. If for the first time he finally settles, his horrible rash clears and you both sleep. If God confirms that He gives you your instincts as a parent. If you follow your heart. If you have prayed and begged God to heal you or your children. You are His.

You are more than enough if you have an awesome marriage or one that is currently caught in struggles. If you take extra time for each other. If you miss each other when apart. If you have loved someone more than you ever thought possible. If you are fighting the enemy himself to keep your marriage together. If you go to therapy. If you are separated or divorced. If you are a single mom. A widow. If you have a big family or small. If you have adopted, welcome children through foster care or have biological children. If your family is all caucasian, biracial or transracial. If you received fertility treatments or conceived on the first try. If you have had miscarriages, six healthy children or both. If you have no children by choice or not. You are His.

You are more than enough if you decided to adopt from China, Ethiopia, the United States or any other country eligible. If you chose adoption as plan A or B. If you adopt an older child or an infant. If your child is healthy, is missing limbs, has cleft palate, spin bifid or any other disability. If you take on the challenge of surgeries, procedures and hospitalizations. If you endure the emotional trauma of a child you has come from a place of brokenness and loss. If you child attaches well or rejects you. Or switches back and forth depending on the season. If you drop to your knees and look to Him when adoption seems like too much to handle. If you feel encouraged when he speaks truth into your heart. If you get to see the every day miracles that God provides as he brings peace and healing in the storm. If you are not called to adopt, but support families that are. If you believe in the power of prayer. In supporting with meals. In providing financially. If you start an organization to prevent families from being separated. If you know that first families always come first if it is a viable option. If you join others in this effort to serve. You are His.

You are more than enough if you chose an obstetrician or a midwife. If you have a vaginal birth without medication. If you birthed your baby in a warm tub or on a hospital bed. If you were able to walk the halls or utilize a birthing ball. If you struck a yoga pose. Stood on your head. Squatted to push. If you came in with a birth plan. Even if the delivery didn't go as planned. Especially if it didn't go as planned. If you give up your plans for His. If you induce labor. If you have an epidural. If you have an emergency c-section or an elective one. If you were awake or intubated. If you were scared out of your mind. If you triumphed when you finally met him for the first time. If you did skin to skin. If your baby was in the NICU. If she was healthy and happily wailing. If you realize that the health of your baby is more important than the way she entered into the world. You are His.

You are more than enough if you breastfeed your child from your breast. If you give human milk in a cup or a bottle. If breastfeeding came easy or if you waltzed your way to success from the pits of despair. If you induce lactation. If you exclusively pump. If you stay up late in the night to the hum of the breast pump synchronizing your nipples pulling in and out as it helps to release liquid gold to nourish your child. If you breastfed for three months or three years. If you saved another infants life by donating milk. If you formula feed your child or give binks. If you sustained life by providing specialized formula for infants who wouldn't have otherwise survived. If you are exhausted at night and your husband takes a turn feeding your child. If you fall asleep together with your sick toddler at 2am on the floor in your living room. If she crawls into bed after a nightmare. If you wake up with four children in your bed. If you chose to take an attachment approach to parenting or one of the many others.  If you baby wear or use cloth diapers. If you let her watch 30 minutes of TV so you can step away. If you haven't showered in five days. If you can't remember the last time that you were alone. If you feel delirious in your sleep deprived state. Oh, how we have all been there. If you never experienced postpartum depression. If you are going through it now. If you ask for help. If you accept it. If you need advice. If you offer all you know. If you share your experiences. If you have read every parenting book, have a degree in early childhood and after eight years you are still trying to figure it all out. If you are open to continue to grow. You are His.

You are more than enough if you call your pediatrician at first sign of an infection or wait it out. If you seek medical care in the town that you live in or one close by. If you request antibiotics based upon discussion with your physician and medical tests performed. If you opt out of using a physician except in an emergency and manage your preventative care instead with a naturopathic doctor. If you avoid medication as much as possible. If you chose to vaccinate. Or not. If you delay the schedule. If you have scoured reports of studies. If you've searched deeper than the reports in the media. If you make choices based on science not Hollywood. If you have done the education and are making the best decision for your family based on the information that you have learned. If you prefer to use herbs or essential oils when able. If you eat raw honey and grow your own flowers for use to treat any number of ailments. If you use a chiropractor. And it works for your family. If you try to find a balance between it all. You are His.

You are more than enough if your toddler throws the best fit ever in the grocery isle. If your adopted child yells so loud for you that you can hear her from the front of the store. If other moms comment as they walk by when you finally reach your daughter, kicking and crying, in your husbands helpless arms. If because of differences in appearance others want to know that she is, in fact, safe.  If something as simple as "no, you can not have every princess dress on the shelf" sets her into a spiraled meltdown. If being separated from you after 2 years still pushes her to the edge. If your son throws his food across the restaurant and you praise him for his strong arm before he gets redirected. If you notice all of the older adults didn't find it near as funny. If he stretches frequently and gets wiggly in church. If she begs you to stay and play at Sunday school. If he screams for 5 minutes when you leave him at the gym play school. If you just need an hour away to catch your breath. If you get help from a nanny during the week so that you can run errands, pay the bills and go to women's bible study. If your child goes to daycare. If you are doing it all alone. If your husband is helpful. If you recognize resentment when he isn't home to aid in the chaos. If you feel the pull between your child's needs and yours. If you are still trying to assess the best options. If you are treading water and barely keeping your head up. If you are confident and bold. If you have your own dreams while juggling all of life's challenges. If you fantasize of being a rockstar mama, a hero in history, or walking on the moon. You are His.

You are more than enough if your child attends private or public school. If you homeschool or a combination. If you love teaching science and reading but dislike teaching math. If you are not crafty.  If you appreciate nature. If you teach both creationism and evolution. If you teach about an old world and a new. If you let your children lead their learning. If you opt in to another school district than your neighbors. If you didn't get your first choice. If you are firm in your decision. If you are not sure what the best fit is for your family, but you are giving it your all, hoping not to screw up this mama gig too bad. If you pray every day that your children appreciate the choices that you have made. If you take one year at a time. If you want to live with no regrets. If you keep moving one step ahead of the other. You are His.

You are more than enough if you are male or female. Gay, transgender or straight. Tall, medium or short. If your skin is white, pink, olive, golden, copper, brown or black. If you have tattoos or piercings but are scared of an IV. If you look or behave different than the in cool crowd. If you like socks that do not match and jeans that are ripped at the knee. If you prefer flip flops 90% of the year, even if your toes freeze. If you wear shorts in 50 degree weather. If you attach a chain or a belt buckle. If you wear a your favorite baseball cap or cowboy hat. If you consider yourself alternative, retro, country, studious or nerdy. If you don't know who you are yet. If you play soccer, baseball, football or basketball. If you run in track or are captain of the cheerleading squad. If you are a math whiz and read five grades above average. If you graduated first in the class or last. If you prefer theater, dance, art or music. If you play in a band or orchestra. If you are interested in shop, mechanics, electronics or gaming. If you want to be an inventor or president. If you have trophies, awards and honors. If you have none. If you have fulfilled your life's desires or are just beginning to understand what it means. If you don't feel like you measure up. You are His.

You are enough if you were born with a disability or acquired one later in life. If you can use your arms, eyes, ears and legs. If you use a wheel chair or prosthetic. If you have glasses, contacts or had surgery to correct your vision. If you have hearing aides, implants or use sign language. If you have cancer, autism, heart disease or other illness. If you have a genetic disorder. If you are still fighting the fight. If you are angry that there are not reliable medications to bring a cure. If you are using medication to treat your child that are only studied for adults. If you ask why. If you find your courage through your children. If you have done more research in one year than an FBI agent in a lifetime. If you have now recovered. If you are strong and healthy. If you appreciate the miracle of creation. If you rejoice in the way that He knit you together in your mother's womb. If you believe that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are His.

You are more than enough if you face difficult heartache today or none at all. If you have faced a past that the world would shame or one that the righteous would rejoice in today. If you have been bullied, abused, neglected or hurt by children and adults alike. If there have been times that you hated your body. If you have made mistakes. Failed. Been discouraged. Faced fears. If you have had an easy life which featured rainbows and unicorns. If you have never had large obstacles in your way. If the future looks bright. If you believe big in Him. You are His.

You are more than enough through Him. He loves you unconditionally. He is patient and kind. Slow to anger. You were saved while still sinning. You were planned for thousands of years. You are more valuable than any earthly things. You were given life to breathe into others. To give Him the glory for His wondrous ways. For Him to prepare you for eternity in Heaven. You are His child. His heir to the kingdom. You are His.

***

We are all in this super difficult journey called life trying desperately to get it right. Lets start today to   see Christ in every person we meet. Yes, even those different than us. Please don't judge. Accept others. The ones that God called to strengthen and refine us. The ones who seem impossible to love. Extend grace when we do not feel like it. Look to him when you feel helpless reaching others. Walk away from others who are harmful to your well being. Create a circle of influence that leads you to the cross. Minister to those who don't. Chose to be in community with our neighbors, families and friends. To meet them where they are. Not just for the parts we see but for the much larger aspects that we won't ever find when we stand guard. We don't need to know the road - the end result - that God has planned for our friends. Lets turn our worry into trust. It's His to give and His to take. To bless. To use. Nothing goes wasted. Not one moment in vein. Join them in their dance and ask them to participate in yours. In the best moments and worse. Trust that God has the entire plan in mind. Know that He offers free will. That He fills the empty space. The dry, baron cracks of our hearts with redemption. He brings the flooding rain of joyous, abounding blessings. He stirs our hearts and pieces us together in Him. He calls the sprouts to grow. The flowers to blossom. He promised He will pay us double for our hurts. That He sets us free. He makes us each unique. And when others don't understand our journey, we need to know who we are in Him. We must stop defining ourselves through the opinions of others and start looking to God for security. Unveil our hurts and hand them to Him. Tear back the silent cloak and reveal the beaming sun. Lets put down our weapons of choice and wave the white flag. Doing so does not make you week. It screams strong in the early morning light. Lets make a pact to encourage. Support. Rally around in song. No more criticizing, competing, comparing and cutting each other down. From today forward, we cheer and champion. If you want to be a warrior, be so for each other.  Lets chose love, friends. Only love.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Fun Friday - Update 30


Praise the Lord! The girls continue to look happy and healthy. Their weight gain is very slow to grow at this point but still it is moving. Each update is such a joy!

A week from today is a BIG day for our adoption journey. On April 11th, our case will be opened at the US embassy level and key members will be investigated. A family member of the girls' will be escorted from their region to appear before embassy officers. Please pray for safe travels for him. I ask for us to remember how brave it is for him to travel so far and that he be given super natural strength and courage as he testifies. Please also pray that the embassy would be thorough and supportive of the case. We truly want what is best for these girls. This adoption has never been about us, but about these sweet girls. We trust that God would place them in the exact place that He wants them to be - even, for some reason, if that wasn't with us. Of course, we would be ecstatic if it was with our family!!

So to you, our prayer warriors, family and friends, we need your prayers this week! Join us in praying for everyone involved with the girls' case. Pray for honesty, transparency, strength and wisdom. Please pray specifically for the relative involved in our case. Pray for the girls' as they wait for a family to call their own. Please pray for our hearts. Today marks 7 months since we said "Yes". We wait patiently (and some days, honestly, not so patiently) on our Father who knows what is best. We honor his wise ways and wait humbly at His feet for answers. Please pray for comfort and peace in the decision that is made.

Father, thank you for another great update! Thank you for keeping our eyes focused on you. We have learned that when we are praising you, it leaves little room for negativity and doubt. So good to remember in our each and every day as our journey in life blossoms new meaning of your glorious goodness. Thank you that you never leave us. You never leave the side of our girls. No matter our doubts. Not under any circumstances. You are here. You are the one who told the oceans where to stop. Who placed every star in the sky. You see us all, thousands of miles of deep seas apart under the same blue canopy. You draw us near and shower us with love. Thank you of your sweet breath of life. For living in us, guiding us. We are truly grateful for all that you are. And all that you welcome us to be. Amen.






Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Grandma

Grandma, me and Grandpa

Happy birthday to my beautiful grandma! Thank you for inviting our us to your family celebration where you were surrounded with love and laughter from so many who appreciate you. We look forward to many more years of memories together!