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School, Exhaustion, and Greeting Cards

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First Day of School Photo

 

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What We Are Really Like

I haven’t posted in a few weeks because we have been in full end-of-summer/beginning-of-school mode, including a week of travelling to visit family!  This won’t be posted until tomorrow morning, but I am writing to you from the very late night after our second day of school.  For those of you who don’t know, we are a homeschooling family.  Homeschooling is definitely one of the best and hardest things in my life!

The first two days of school have been splendid for us.  We are trying a new style of homeschooling, and everyone seems to really like it.  I feel like we are doing exactly what we need to do.  But I will be honest with you, I am so exhausted!  So far this year homeschooling has taken a lot more time than expected!  We are trying to figure out our new routine, our new curriculum, and how to homeschool two elementary age students when our youngest is remarkably more curious, independent, and mobile than he was last year!  All of this has taken a lot of time.  Obviously more time in school means less time out of school.  That means less time for me to decompress and plan my teaching lessons–and that means really late nights!  I am telling you all this because I want you to know that if this blog makes no sense, please just blame it on my exhausted, homeschooling-mom-brain.  You can shake your head and pray for me!

My wonderfully sweet friend from seminary, Lesley Branscum, has offered to hold a fundraiser for our adoption!  The fundraiser will be held as an online Facebook party.  We are selling boxes of beautiful greeting cards!  They really are awesome!  Each box holds 30 cards and sells for $30 plus tax, which is a great deal!  If you live near our family, shipping is even free!  And over 40% of the profits go directly toward our adoption fund!

For those of you who don’t live nearby, you have 2 options.  The first is to get other people you know to order the boxes.  If you can get 15 orders in your town, shipping will be free to you too!  The second option is just to pay for shipping which comes out to $43, around $1.43 a card–still a great deal!

If you are interested in purchasing the cards, you can let me know on Facebook or through a post on this blog.  You can pay with cash, check, or PayPal.  The fundraiser starts today and ends on September 12th!  At the bottom of this post, you can see pictures of the sets of cards.

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All Occasion Box 1

 

 

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Thanks and Blanks

 

 

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All Occasion Box 2

 

 

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Kids Birthday Cards

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Winn-Dixie, Dreams, and Extreme Compassion

I dreamed that I got to meet my child’s birthmother.  Now before you starting wondering if this dream is prophetic, let me warn you that it was not at all realistic.  The most unrealistic aspect was that the birthmother wanted to meet me for the first time at Winn-Dixie.  I know that sounds so weird; I don’t even shop at Winn-Dixie in real life!  But like most dreams, it seemed totally normal at the time.  In the dream I got the sense that the birthmother wanted to see me for the first time in a normal place, doing normal things.

Another unrealistic aspect was that I came alone without Jeremy or the kids.  I went alone to meet the birthmother of my child, but she brought along her mother and her roommate.  All four of us had shopping carts, and we just shopped together and talked!  I remember deciding that I would shop regularly, just like I normally would.

The birthmother’s mom mostly left us alone; I don’t remember much about her.  But the birthmother and her roommate were both extremely sweet and kind.  The main thing that I remember about them was how in need of compassion they were.  I didn’t realize it at first.  In the dream the girls were just sharing with me about their life, and I started to get the sense that they expected me to be judgmental or uncaring.  When I responded to them with compassion, they were remarkably surprised and overwhelmed.  I could see them melt a little.  I couldn’t help but wonder at how in need of love and gentleness they were.  Later on in the dream, I heard them whispering to each other about the things I had said.  My heart broke a little.  I wanted to hold them in my arms as if they were my children.  Then I woke up.

I can’t stop thinking about my dream, and not because I so desperately want to meet our child’s birthmother right away, which I do!  I just keep remembering the look on her face, how I felt when I realized that her need to be loved was so great.

I am so extremely blessed.  I have two loving parents and a faithful, loving husband.  I have never experienced horrible betrayal or abuse from those whom I am supposed to trust.  Most importantly, I have a relationship with the One true God, who knows all about me and still loves me, who gave His life to save me.  This kind of love is beyond my understanding, but that love is also a reality in my life.  I have experienced the most extreme love, compassion, and gentleness.

I have no information about our child’s birthmother; I don’t know what her life is like, if she feels afraid or unloved.  But I do know that there are so many people in the world who do.  And so I keeping praying for the lost, for the hurting, for those who do not know love, gentleness, and compassion.  I am praying hard for our child’s birthmother too.  I pray that the Lord will place people around her to show her His lovingkindness, and I pray that Jeremy and I will be able to pour His love into her soon.  I pray that the Church will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to take His glorious light into the darkness all around us.  Amen.  May it be!

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Picture Review of Superhero Day and Six Week Review

We have had a crazy eventful six weeks, so I thought I would share through pictures!

Jeremy preached his first sermon on Mother’s Day, and his mom and grandma came to visit!  We had an amazing time with Gigi and Grandma!

 

Mother's Day-Gigi and Grandma

 

 

 

As an end of the school year celebration, we went to Six Flags!  None of our kids had been before, and we had an absolute blast!  We also discovered that our littlest one was tall enough to ride the water rides!  Honestly, it was way too cold for water rides; but we didn’t let that stop us.  The little one had fun until the splash.  Then he cried:  “It’s cold!”  By the way, do you see the boy photo bombing us?  Yeah, we don’t know him.  🙂Six Flags

Our family was honored to join the fifth and sixth graders on their mission trip.  What a godly group they are!  We are so blessed that we got to minister alongside them.Mission Trip Group

 

We celebrated Red Nose Day to fight childhood hunger!

Red Nose Day

 

Our Superhero Fun Run/Walk was rained out, so we transformed it into a Superhero Indoor Field Day.  Honestly, I think it turned out to be way more fun!  

Check out the awesome heroes who joined us from Party Palace!  They were all amazing!  Cinderella even did relay races in her heels.  She totally rocked!

Superheroes!

 

Love is our superpower!

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Our family of Supers!

Superfamily and Mimi

 

The Superhero fundraiser was a huge success!  We had so much fun, spread the word about adoption, and the Lord raised more than $1,000 for our adoption fund!  And look how many people came!

Superhero Big group

 

My Super Family!  Look at the little one posing!

Super Family

 

1J2, a backyard Bible club, in one of our local parks, was a great success! My family can’t to go again next month!

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340 kids came to Vacation Bible School at our church.  God truly did great things!  Here is a picture of Jeremy and some of his VBS friends.

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We used music from JumpStart3 to hide God’s Word in our hearts!  Here we are learning about the power of prayer.

Prayer Cannon

 

My dad came in for a visit, and we got to spend Father’s Day together.  We had such a wonderful time, but I was really sick and forgot to take a picture!

 

My oldest son got to join Jeremy and the older kids and youth from church to celebrate the longest day of summer!  They played and worshiped for 11 hours!

Longest Day Ever

 

Our younger two were not old enough to join in, so we had our own longest day ever.  We went to the zoo, had a picnic, went swimming, and went to church!  It was exhausting but super, amazingly fun!

Look how close we are to this peacock!

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We rode the train.  The little one LOVES trains!  He told us all about how “choo-choos are hot.”  He means that blow steam, which is hot.20160622_120312

 

We also fed giraffes.  It was so special!  Do you see the baby giraffe in the background?

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Jeremy went kayaking with friends!

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This happened a few days ago when I went to the bathroom for just a few minutes!  Yes, that is paint!  A mom’s life is always interesting!20160624_110657

 

This was a long six weeks.  I am exhausted from writing about it!  Please continue to pray with us that God will bring our new baby home soon.

 

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Getting What You Don’t Deserve

Today is my sixteenth day to be sick.  If a person has a chronic illness, I am sure that sixteen days seems like nothing; and I offer to you my full compassion.  But to me, sixteen days is feeling like forever.   I had a bad cold that turned into a sinus infection (meaning stuffed-up head, a bad cough, a mild fever, and a voice that was barely there) and I also caught pink eye!  Yikes!

For all those who took an instinctive step back from their screens, don’t worry!  I have been on antibiotics a full week, and the pink eye is totally gone.  The respiratory issues, however, are not.  But this blog is not about my sickness; today’s blog is about God showing His power and goodness in my weakness.

I think part of the reason I haven’t recovered is because I have been so busy!  Of course I am always busy with my three wild boys and my sad attempts to keep our home from looking like a disaster zone.  But these last few weeks have been jam-packed!  My church just finished a full week of Vacation Bible School (VBS), and I got to sing a solo in two church services this Sunday.

So here I was last week, majorly struggling through VBS.  In all honesty, a few full days in bed would have served me well.  But instead of quiet rest, I got to lead one of the VBS preschool music classes. I know, I know!  I shouldn’t have spread my germs.  But I promise that I practically bathed in hand sanitizer, and I didn’t touch any of the kids or the musical instruments.  I kept my distance; I promise!

But in my time of extreme sickness, God proved Himself great.  One day I came into the building, literally thinking to myself:  “I am too sick to be here.”  Thirty seconds later I was introduced to a little girl who was weeping over the fact that she didn’t know if she would go to Heaven when she died.  I was able to talk to her and pray with her to receive Christ as her savior!  She was so peaceful afterward!  What joy!

Preschool music may seem like just fun times, but we had some very serious moments.  A little girl in one of my groups told us that if you were good enough you could go to Heaven.  I thought my heart would break, that as a preschooler she already thought she had to earn her salvation.  I was able to tell her the truth:  we are not saved because we are good; we are saved because the good God sent Jesus to save us!

Another little girl asked me multiple times if “God really loves us no matter what.”  Later she asked me if you could go to Heaven after committing suicide.  Friends, small children shouldn’t have to worry about that question.  No one should.  So I got to tell her what God says in His Word, that if you ask God for forgiveness and ask Jesus to save you, then you are saved–regardless of what sins or mistakes you make later.

In my music class we sang “Amazing Grace.”  I taught the kids what grace means, and everyday they repeated:  “Grace means getting something great when you don’t deserve it!”  We talked about how God loves us no matter what; and Jesus came to die for us, to take our punishment when we didn’t deserve it.  Did you really catch that?  God loves and forgives you and me, even when we don’t deserve it.

On Sunday morning I could barely speak, but I was scheduled to sing a solo at church.  I asked Jeremy if I should just cancel, but He encouraged me to go and see what God would do.  The song was one of complete praise to God.  The Lord strengthened my voice and made me able to sing for His pleasure and His glory, even though I really couldn’t sing at all afterward.  God showed His power.

I have seen the LORD’s power and His goodness so many times in the last week.  I don’t want you to think I am saying, “Look what I did!”  In fact I am saying the opposite.  This week I had almost nothing to offer.  I was too sick to rely on my own strengths and abilities.  But I got to see God’s hand at work in amazingly mighty ways.  He did things that only He can do.  And I was able to watch and marvel.  I was able to rejoice in humility, knowing that He chose to use me, even though He didn’t need my help at all.

Are you in a time of weakness in your life?  Do you feel like you don’t have the ability to do what you need to do?   I pray that You will get to see God’s hand at work.  I pray that you and I will remember that the LORD in His grace and lovingkindness “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

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Superhero Race Weather Update

Superhero Fun Run/Walk is still this morning! Registration starts at 9.
We know that the weather looks dreary, but we are trusting God to provide for us!
Right now we are moving ahead with the race, and we are checking into alternative locations in case of thunderstorms. Check back for more info!
We can’t wait to see you there!