Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Sammie!

While we were on vacation, Samantha had her 17th birthday. We woke up to a very gloomy, moist morning. That was NOT good. We had friends that planned on coming to the lake to spend the day with us and from the looks of the morning we were afraid we were going to have to see if we could pile 20-30 people into a 6 person cabin. Yea. NOT good. However, God is SOOOO good and the gloom and moisture burned off by early afternoon.

The day was a little emotional for our family. Well, not for Jordan and Josh, but definitely for Sam, my folks, and I. My baby turned 17 yrs old and for some reason it felt worse than when she turned 16 yrs old. It seems like yesterday that she was just a little girl twirling around the house with her basket and apron pretending to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast or combing her hair with a fork pretending to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. The time has gone so much quicker than I had anticipated. I praise God that He made our minds to hold so many precious memories.

Sam had an awesome 16th birthday and I really wanted her 17th birthday to be special as well. I knew we would be at the lake and we would have some friends coming to hang out with us, but I wanted it to be really special. Something she would never forget. So, my folks and I decided to get her an unforgettable present....................
What could possibly have my little girl in tears on her birthday?
OH YEA! This:

Think this birthday will be memorable???

(Um. Yea. It will be memorable every month when she makes the payment!:)

There's my little girl.....driving away...........


I love you so much. I am so proud of the young lady you have grown to be. I see so much of myself in you at times, and yet, you are so much stronger and braver than I ever was. You live your life in a way that is honoring to Christ and really, what more could I ask for? I am soooo blessed.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Renewing. Part 4

I chose to center these posts around a central theme; being renewed.

I looked up the word 'renewed' in the dictionary and found two meanings that described what God has been doing in my life:

Renewed: To replenish, To bring into being again

Did you catch that? To bring into being again!

I mentioned in part 2 that I was burnt out! I was. Physically, mentally, and Spiritually. I hadn't taken time to refuel myself. I was running on fumes and quite frankly, I hadn't even noticed my low fuel light was on, despite the many, many warning signs.

I am currently doing a Youth Leader Bible Study and one of the first challenges was to spend 15 mins a day being with God. No praying. No requests. Just 'being'. I did it a few times and really loved it, but, as always, life got in the way and I quickly went back into Martha mode. Then we left for the lake.

It was at the lake that God brought me into being. I was being refueled. I was being renewed. I was being prepared. I was being still. I was being restored.

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31

If you replace the word 'renew' in Isaiah 40:31 with the dictionary definition of 'renew', it reads like this:

But those who hope in the LORD
will bring into being their strength.

I sensed God urging me to dig a little more so I did. What I found is that the word 'Hope' breaks down to 'Expectation'. The word 'Expectation' breaks down to 'Wait'. AND..........the word 'Wait' breaks down to......hear me on remain inactive. Now listen to this verse:

But those who remain inactive in the LORD
will bring into being their strength.

I never wanted to be one of those 'Christians' who open their Bible on Sunday and leave it to collect dust the rest of the week. So, I put it on my to-do list. Laundry: Check. Dishes: Check. Bible Study: Check. Bible Reading: Check. God doesn't want to be on my to-do list. He desires quality time with me. He desires me to rest in Him. To be inactive, completely, so He can refuel me. I used to believe it was a sign of weakness to admit that I needed rest. God has made it abundantly clear that in order to remain strong, I must rest in Him.

Through the trials of saying goodbye to Josh and letting Amber go, I did not grow weary nor faint. God had renewed me and prepared me. He had given me the strength to say goodbye and I continue to soar on wings like eagles.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Renewing. Part 3

When I adopted my daughter, Amber, I knew it was going to be a hard row to hoe. I knew she was coming from a lifetime of deep hurt and deception. I waivered back and forth on whether I should finalize the adoption or not. However, every time I asked God to close a door if it wasn't His will, the door only opened wider. I knew that she was to be part of our family.

The past year has been hard. Harder than I could've possibly fathomed. I wasn't prepared for all that Amber would bring into our home. You can read book after book, go to class after class, but there is no textbook training that can help you deal with a child who simply doesn't want to be helped. Last week, Amber decided she no longer wanted to be a part of our family. I say that Amber made this decision last week, but in reality, Amber made the decision long ago. Last week...I chose to let her go.

Our home is peaceful. It is no longer a battlefield. I can leave my youngest daughter in the house with her sister and not worry about what is being said and done in front of her. The heaviness has been lifted and I can see the peace on my children's faces. I hadn't realized how hard this year has been on them. There is also, on my part, sadness, aching, and longing for what could've been, what was hoped for, and what's been lost. I pray for her daily. She is still my child.

Amber did not go camping with us. She had went to visit her biological mom. She called me while we were at the lake to inform me that she did not want to come home. I wanted to fight it, although, I'm not sure why. Deep down in places I would rather not visit, I knew it was coming and that it was time to let her go. When we got home we made arrangements for her to come get her things. We packed up her room and she came and picked up her belongings. That was that. No scene. No big emotional meltdown. No tears of sadness or joy. No real goodbyes. Just two lives that had intertwined for a moment in time beginning to unravel.

God had prepared us for such a time as this. The week prior had been filled with love, joy, peace, fun, and incredible family bonding moments. None of which included Amber. I knew if Amber had gone camping with us, our time together would have been tense, volatile, and completely stressful because each time I spoke with her a heaviness would come over me. God had given me a glimpse of life as it was and it forced me to realize how much I longed to live that life again. By doing this He gave me the strength to let go.

Amber has been, officially, gone for 4 days now and there is renewed laughter and joy in our home. My confidence in who I am, as a parent and a child of God, has also been renewed. He has whispered in my ear when I have needed to hear His voice. He has renewed my strength and I am soaring on eagles wings.

More about that later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Renewing. Part 2

Prior to this vacation my confidence, strength, and passion had dwindled. I was anxious for my bed in the evenings and couldn't imagine getting out of it in the mornings. I was completely burnt out!

My son came home and there was an instant rejuvenation. A piece of me that had been missing was put back into place...completing me. I enjoyed every minute with him. I cherished every smile, every hug, every word, every moment. Then..............he was gone.

The tears flowed harder than I could have imagined. I thought, somehow, it would be easier. I was so wrong. I wasn't able to take him to the airport because I had taken last week off. Probably a good thing. My mommy heart couldn't take it. I found myself at work, looking at the time anxiously. He was still in town. I could run home and keep him from leaving. I don't have to let him go back. He is my son! He belongs with me!

God's voice cut through the deceptive thoughts in my head like a knife. "Yes. He is your son. You can choose to bring him home, but you know he is better where he is."

I know, Lord. I know.

The truth of that statement set me free from the anxiety I was feeling. I steadied myself at my desk and began to do my job. The next time I glanced at the clock, my son was an hour away. There was no way to stop him. He was leaving.

I needed that reminder from God. It is my choice. It is within my power to bring my son home. However, when I made the decision to let Josh live with his dad, I did not make that decision on my own. I spent countless hours praying for God to show me His will. Then, I spent countless hours imitating Gideon. Throwing out my sheepskin over and over again. Hoping, praying, and at times, begging for God to give me a different answer. He didn't. It wasn't about me and God reminded me of that the other day as I sobbed and begged for a different answer again. He renewed my faith in Him once more as I chose to be obedient.

My son is gone.

And I've lost a daughter, too.

More about that later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Renewing. Part 1

I have so many things to write about that I'm not even sure where to begin. Do I start with 'I have never felt so refreshed and renewed' after a vacation or do I begin with 'I have been through some of the hardest days I have seen in a long time'? I choose to start with the 'refreshed-renewed' part. It's more upbeat.

Vacations are seldom 'refreshing' or 'renewing'. Usually they include major travel, masses of people, amusement park rides, food on a stick, plenty of activity, and very little rest. This vacation was different. Completely. It included minor travel, very few people, no amusement park rides, stick-less food, very little activity, and much needed rest.

We rented a cabin at a nearby lake. Sight unseen. We had heard they were really nice, but honestly had no idea. We didn't know whether our cabin even had a view of the lake. We rented it and prayed for the best. God is good. We arrived at the cabin to find that not only did we have a view of the lake, but it was located right on the lake. The scene from our deck was breath taking and permanently etched into my mind.

We spent day after day waking early to enjoy the stillness of God's creation. I spent countless hours unable to pray anything other than 'Thank you, Lord. You are sooooo amazing.' While I only spent short periods of time in His Word daily, His presence was so strong. I could feel Him in the breeze that swept through my hair. I could hear Him in the sound of the wakes crashing against the rocks. I could see Him, in all of His glory, as I looked up into the starry sky every evening. I felt so close to Him. It was incredible.

Our days were filled with giggles as grandpa took the kiddo's tubing on his boat. There were quiet moments and, well, not so quiet moments. We spent the days and evenings just enjoying uninterrupted togetherness. Friends and family stopped by and spent some days and nights with us, which made the moments even more special.

Thursday.....we had to leave. None of us wanted to. We even tried to rent the cabin for another day or two, but it had already been rented out. We came home where the hustle and bustle of every day life began immediately. I didn't have to go back to work until today and as the week drew to a close I found myself longing to be back at the lake. Longing for God to just rewind time.

As I sat last night reflecting on the week, I found that, while I was sad that vacation was officially ending, I felt completely renewed...ready to take on the world. In a sense time seemed to fly by and at the same time it seemed as though, for the first time ever, I had actually been on a vacation. Going to work this morning wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. But...........

Today was harder than I could have imagined.

More about that later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


We are leaving tomorrow for some much needed rest and relaxation! I can't begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to it. My son will be leaving for California on Aug. 18th and I'm anxious to spend some good, quality time with him and his sisters.

I finally got pictures uploaded into the computer, so I will leave these for you to look at while I am away:)

First night home with his sisters....

Don't make me 'patty slap' you, Sam!

(I may have to blog about the 'patty slap' sometime)

Yea. A whole FOOT taller than his sisters!

Oh yea. They look innocent.

(Well, Jordan doesn't. She definitely looks 'up to something' here)

That's my Jordan.

Always taking time to stop and smell the flowers:)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Been Awhile

Wow. Seems like it's been a long time since I've posted, so I thought I better get to it!

I am soooo enjoying my time with my son. He has changed so much. Not just in looks, but in attitude and personality, too. He is maturing. He is no longer the little boy who lets instruction go in one ear and out the other. He is more responsible and much better at doing what he is told. It has been a joy to have him here without any conflicts. What a blessing from God. I guess I'm going to have to make that phone call to his dad and tell him what a good job he is doing. ICK! ;)
This Sunday, after church, we will leave to go camping for a week. I cannot wait! 5 days of no T.V, no cell phones, no video games, no computer, no meetings, and no work! Just some good ole' fun in the sun. I am praying for decent weather as it has been WAY hot! It has cooled down today and I pray that this nice weather holds out. We do have an air conditioned cabin, though. YES! It still counts as camping! I like to refer to it as Camping in Comfort. I just can't fathom sleeping on the ground. Not only are there bugs and all kinds of God's not so beautiful creatures lurking on the ground, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to walk. I'm not quite as young as I used to be. Ahem.
Can somebody please tell me......WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO? I can't believe it's school time already! I have begun the awful task of shopping for curriculum and I am pretty sure my head is going to explode. I am stunned, as I am every year, at how many different curriculums are available for homeschoolers. Seriously. It's enough to make your head explode. I'm not exaggerating. After looking at 7,365 different curriculums, I finally make a choice.....only to find one I might like a little better. ARGH. Yea. I go through this every year! Not to mention the whole internal fight about whether I should go ahead and just put them back in public school because I don't think I'm doing this right and maybe it would be OK if the kids hung out with drug dealers because they could witness to them and bring them to Jesus. BUT....God is good and always allows some naughty kid to stroll into my path at just the right moment and I am assured once more by His 'still small voice' that I have made the right choice.