The crazy journey of our family living this beautiful life for our awesome God!
"...Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of GOD." 1 Cor. 10:31

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

I'm happy to be back to Thankful Thursday. I missed writing this post last week...but I did think about it while I was away.  Here's my list for the week....

1.  Unexpected beauty....I didn't really know where I was going for this adoption conference/retreat so I had no idea what to expect.  But I definitely didn't expect the breathtaking beauty that I found once I arrived at the hotel.  It was awe-inspiring.  I love it when God gives us unexpected glimpses of His glory through the beauty He creates. It touches way down deep in my soul.

2.  My son's hands....I was watching my son sleep one day this week and rubbing his little back and I just loved looking down and seeing his tiny hands snuggled next to his face....they are so precious and so perfect...exploring a great big world while holding onto my hand along the way.  I love wrapping his fingers up in mine and when he places his palm against mine as if to say, "I'm yours mom, love me forever"  So sweet.

3.  Being saturated with the Word...we've had special evangelistic meetings at our church this week and I know it makes for a really crazy week, especially with little ones, but each night I couldn't wait to go back and I was sad when it was all done.  I soaked up everything the Lord was saying through the preacher and I'm thankful for times like that when you can be filled up with God's Word.

4.  Unexpected know when you meet someone and you just click because of a common bond or a kindred spirit?  You didn't necessarily expect to make that friendship but even if you only had a little time together your hearts were just knit together?  I got to experience a few of those at the conference this last weekend and I'm thankful for the relationships the Lord lead me to...especially since I was soo nervous about it!

5.  My son's joy when I got home....oh. my. word.  This just melted my heart....I got home really late at night  from the conference so the next morning I went in to get him out of bed and the boy filled my momma heart with overflowing joy. :)  He wrapped his arms around my neck and kept kissing my shoulder and patting my chest and then looking at me and smiling (He's 16 months right now) was the sweetest thing for a mom...warmed my heart so much.

6.  My new niece Kynlee! My brother and his wife had their first child this week and she is just absolutely precious and perfect.  She is beautiful and so sweet and I'm so happy for them and the joy they get to experience as they become parents for the first time.  Watching my little brother love on his new baby girl was a picture worth remembering...brought tears to my eyes.

7.  Hearing the birds outside...both here at home and at the retreat.  When I sat outside by the lake at the retreat and read, all I could hear was the birds in the trees above me.  It's one of those peaceful, calming sounds the fills up my heart.  And since I've been home the birds have been all over in our yard...I love hearing them each morning, reminding me that a new season of life is here and there's new life happening outside.

I love the verse I included in this post today because it helps remind me that all of this beauty...this joy and heart-warmth from God.  He is the Creator of it all and the blessed Giver of it all.  So we mustn't forget to turn it all back to praise to Him.  So, happy praising this weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Baaaack!! Heart refreshed and challenged

Hey all!  I'm finally back after a whirlwind of a week last week and an amazing weekend at the Created for Care conference/retreat.  I have so much to say about the retreat....I learned so much, made some great connections, was challenged and encouraged and was an awesome weekend.  I'm so thankful God led me to it in His providence.  It really was completely God's sovereignty that took me there because it's not something I would normally do.  C4C wasn't something I knew about previously, or someone told me about or that I had heard lots about or anything like that at all.  I just stumbled upon it last fall.  I was doing some research for our adoption and I followed various links from various websites to various ministries which led to various blogs which eventually led to a blog that mentioned the retreat and so I thought, "hmm, I wonder what that's all about?"  So I got on their website and I just felt the Lord laying it on my heart to pray about going.  So I talked to Luke about it and we decided it might be worth it and so I signed up!  Well, it was already full so I was put on a wait list which was already about 200 women long!!  So I knew it probably wouldn't ever happen...until....they decided to host a second retreat this year!  And so I immediately got signed up and took a leap of faith and decided to go.  I'm so glad I made that decision.  The Lord really taught me a lot and showed me a lot this weekend. didn't all start off so great.  Really, I started off the weekend with a bang!  Oh. My. Word.  Just wait til I tell you the story.  So, remember how I said I was really nervous about going because I'm not very extroverted and I'm not good at making new relationships? And that I didn't know a single soul that would be there and I was going to feel so awkward and alone?  Ok...well remember all of that as I tell you this.  Now, I made plans through the retreat's facebook page to carpool with some other girls that were flying in the same day to the retreat location.  (It was about an hour drive from the airport)  So I finally met up with these women..complete strangers..but all very nice nonetheless..and we started our drive to the retreat.  Well, I was doomed to begin with because I was up at 4 am that day, I had gotten nauseous on my last flight and I hadn't eaten all day (I just didn't time things right and ended up having a bag of peanut butter M&Ms for the entire day.  Yeah, I won't make that mistake again).  So by the time I got in the car I really wasn't feeling well.  So I'm with these complete strangers and I'm really wanting to put on a good face and be friendly and make good conversation but the nausea was just coming in waves...BIG waves.  The girls tried making conversation and I finally apologized for being quiet and told them I wasn't feeling very well.  I was practicing my deep breathing like was like I was in labor all over again!  I was not going to let this nausea get the best of me in front of these complete strangers!  Well....then it just got bad.  You know that moment when you know there is no turning back and the only way it's going to end is with throwing up?  That moment when the saliva builds in your mouth and it's bubbling up your throat and you know there is no choice but for this to end ugly?  Well...that is all going on and I am just squirming like crazy in my seat, trying to make it go away, trying to deep breath, swigging tons of water, changing positions constantly.  The sweet girl next to me couldn't help but notice that something was not right and she kindly asked me, "Are you ok?"  To which I promptly and ever so politely replied, "Um, no..I'm gonna throw up!"  They immediately rolled down the windows and went on a mad hunt to find a bag...all we came up with was a tiny ziploc baggie...yeah, that wasn't gonna cut it.  So...I did what any lady would do and jumped out of my seat and threw my head out of the window and the middle of a 5 lane highway, going 75 miles an hour, with cars all around!!  I have to say that was my first experience throwing up out of the window of a moving car.  So I got it over with pretty quickly and thought, "Ok, good, it's gone and now I can feel better and move on."  Little did I know.  I jokingly tried to make light of the situation and we kept plugging along down the road, making small talk, hit..AGAIN!!  I couldn't believe it was all coming back.  Not even 15 minutes later I was back in that ugly place, trying to force the nausea back down my throat.  Well, there was no way that was happening, so again, the sweet girl next to me sees me in obvious discomfort and asks, "Do you need the window again?"  To which I again promptly, but sweetly replied, "YES!  I'm gonna throw up again!"  And oh man, this one was came not once, not twice, but 3 times!  So I kept throwing myself out of the window and heaving over the side of the car.  Try throwing up out a window, going 75's gonna get ugly and it's gonna be messy.  And that it was...I had throw up in my hair and across my face and chin!  It was awful!  So, I got myself back in my seat....tried to clean up my face and hair as best as possible and act like what just happened was completely normal...all the while apologizing profusely for being such a wonderful car-mate!  I'm thankful at the time that I didn't think anything about it, but afterwards I wondered what the people in the cars around us must have thought!  Can you imagine seeing a girl stick her head out the window of a car going 75 mph and the throwing up all over? Several times?  Hopefully I didn't hit anyone's windshield. ;)  So we finally make it to our exit...and I'm still not feeling well...I just can't seem to kick the nausea.  I am fighting as much as I can to make it to the hotel but there came a point when I realized that I was headed for another window episode so I finally asked if we could just pull over really quickly now that we were off the interstate.  Thankfully we pulled over in an empty parking lot cause I got out of the car and went to the back and just unloaded! I threw up 5 times!  It just wouldn't stop!  It was unreal...I've never experienced anything like that.  I think there was at least a gallon of fluid all over the ground.  I nicely cleaned off my face, brushed myself off and got back in the car like it was all good and off we went again.  This time we finally made it to the hotel and I couldn't get out of the car fast enough!  I don't think I will ever forget that lovely experience.  Who knew I was so amazing at making first impressions?  "Hi, my name is Callie, I'm going to throw up all over your car now.  Nice to meet you."  At least the other girls had a good story to tell at the retreat now! ha! :) I said, I started off with a bang. :)  I crashed that night and started the next day ready and refreshed for the weekend.  As soon as I made it outside my breath was taken away by the beauty that surrounded me.  This place was gorgeous!  The hotel sat right on a lake and there was a path behind the hotel, all along the lake, and it was breathtaking.  There were trees everywhere, birds chirping, blooms on the branches and the peaceful view of the lake in the background.  I had the whole morning to just enjoy the beauty of the area before the meetings started.  So I grabbed a book, found a place to sit and just enjoyed my surroundings.

The beautiful view out the back of the hotel

The beautiful spot I found to sit and take it all in.

Well, the retreat was awesome.  I learned so much.  It took me a while to get my groove socially...remember, I'm not so good at that stuff.  I kinda just did my own thing for a while but I eventually met some really great people that I'm so grateful the Lord brought into my life at this retreat.  I think we will have relationships for a long time.  It was just awesome to be able to strike up a conversation with anyone there because we all had a common ground.  The first question was always, "So, what's your adoption story?"  And then like kindred hearts we would just delve right into our stories and share what the Lord was doing in our lives.  It was great to be with so many like-minded women.  And what was represented there was even more awesome.  I think Andrea (the retreat founder) said that all of the women there (over 400 women) represent over 1,000 kids adopted!  Isn't that amazing?!  1,000 kids in forever families, with hope for a future.  I learned so much more about adoption and even more about the process that children go through who have been adopted.  No matter how young these kids are when they are relinquished and adopted, they have all gone through horrible loss and pain and the Lord moved me with even more compassion, for my child and for all of the children who go through this.  The information that was presented was so well put together and informative.  I remember coming back to my room the first night and all I could think was, "wow, wow wow wow.  I'm so thankful God has me here."  I learned a lot about parenting children with hurts in their past, parenting in grace and through His grace and reaching out to the heart of my children, not just focusing on the actions that I see.  

The spiritual aspect of the weekend was awesome too.  The worship was wonderful and every message was focused on the word and God's message for us.  So that was cool to be in that kind of atmosphere.  Not only did we have like-minds with adoption, we also had like-minds in a love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Lord did some awesome works in my heart and just made me even more excited about the journey and the plan that He has for my life, as well as my family's life.  I was reminded that we need to respond to the call, say yes, but then follow the One who calls, not follow the call.  Follow the Lord and His leading in everything, waiting on His perfect timing.  

I also learned a lot more about various ministries that exist to support the orphan and widows' cause and spread the gospel through touching lives in a real way.  It was inspiring and challenging to see ordinary people allowing God to do extraordinary things through them.  I learned a lot more about the orphan crisis and the great need around the world, but especially in developing countries.  I made some great contacts and am excited to see where the Lord leads with those contacts.  

I met some awesome ladies by the end of the weekend as well. I wish I would have met them the first day so that we had more time to connect, but in just the short amount of time I spent with them I made deep, life-long connections.  I look forward to seeing how God works in their lives and praying for them on their journeys.  
My sweet friends, Suellen and Marisa, who took the time to reach out to me, so glad I met them. I got to spend some time praying with these women and I was moved to tears by the way God was working.  
(Ok, I have to say, after I saw this picture I bangs are attacking my face! I need a haircut! ha!)

And this gal...boy, I wish I had met her the first day.  As soon as I met Deanna and heard her story I felt like our hearts connected.  She is adopting from Congo and you all know that Congo holds a big piece of my heart, so I was immediately drawn to her.  It was great getting to know her and her story.

I'm so thankful the Lord led me to this conference.  It was a big step of faith and really scary for me to go all on my own.  But the Lord showed me so much....things I will never forget, things precious to my heart.  So, even though it started off really ended with such beauty.  

Hope you all had a good weekend!  We are enjoying some awesome special meetings at our church this week with the Galkin Evangelistic Team so I may not post a whole lot more this week cuz it's a little crazy around here. Plus, my sweet sweet niece was born this morning!! Welcome Kynlee Rae!  :)  So I'm gonna spend some time soaking up the Word and loving on a precious little baby.  Sounds like a good week to me!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Been a bit MIA....there are reasons :)

Sorry I've been MIA this week.  I've got a good excuse though. :)  Well, a couple of excuses.  We've been living in what we've termed the "icky germ house" since last Wednesday!  I got hit with the oh-so-not-fun flu last Wednesday....complete with fever, chills and aches and then of course it hit my sweet little guy on Thursday and then continued it's destructive path onto the the hubs on Friday!  Yesterday was the first day I didn't feel like death and today Luke finally started to come out of the woods too!  It's been a ridiculously long bug!  Grahm is still struggling with it..he still had a fever this morning and has been in rare form for several days!!  He's on level 10 on the sensitivity scale, crying and saying "owie, owie, owie" if anything barely bumps him or he falls over.  And he's been working on testing his vocal cords with high pitched screeches...he had fun with this all through Target today.  I think you could hear us clear across the store!  He's a 1 yr old boy and it's like I've got a 13 year old teenage girl in the house with the drama he's been putting out since last week! :)  Anyways...he didn't seem to have a fever tonight so here's hoping he'll be out of the woods tomorrow.  

So there was all of that yuckiness, plus I'm getting ready to leave town!!!!!  What for you ask? Well, remember the Created for Care retreat/conference I mentioned a while back?  The one for adoption moms/peeps?  Well, it's this weekend and I'm going!  I'm so excited and nervous all at the same time.  I won't know a single soul there and I'm not exactly the most extroverted person so you could say I'm a tad bit anxious about that.  And I have to travel clear across the country by myself. :(  I love flying, but it's not quite as fun when you're by yourself...there's no one to point out to all the goofy things you see while people-watching. :)  I suppose my books will be keeping me company...planning on getting lots of reading done on the trip and I can't wait for that part!  Am I a nerd or what?  ;)  Luke and Grahm will be kicking it here at home together...gonna have a daddy-son weekend, hopefully they both survive. :) They'll be great...Luke is a pretty amazing Dad and completely competent with Grahm...I'm only worried about what Grahm will show up to church wearing and what his hair is going to look like.  (Every time Luke tries to do Grahm's hair it ends up looking like a bad mess from the 80's that was styled with a wet washcloth. :)  The kid's got a lot of hair and it's not the easiest to style.)  

So I hope you won't mind praying for Luke and Grahm while I'm gone. Luke is swamped with work right now, figures that would be the timing.  And hopefully Grahm is back to his normal self by tomorrow.  And if you remember you could pray for me as well. Pray that my travel with be safe and pray that I will learn lots and make new relationships at this conference.  I'm excited about what the Lord is going to show me and do in me and I can't wait!  And I know I'm going to meet some pretty incredible people who have such a heart for adoption, orphans and the Lord.  Three things at the top of my list.  :)  I'll get back to writing when I get soon as we settle back into life.  We've got an evangelist at church the week I get back, with nightly meetings and we're housing 2 of the team members for the week so I'm sure it's going to be a hectic week.  But, I'll do my best to get back on here if I have a chance. Have an awesome rest of your thankful, seek the Lord and live in the moment!  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Adoption Update...answered prayers!

USCIS received our application!!! Thank you so much for praying with us that our packet would be found by the post office and make it to the USCIS office.  We received word yesterday from USCIS that they received our paperwork and we are so grateful!  So now we wait to receive another letter from USCIS (US Customs and Immigration) telling us when we have to go be fingerprinted.  They set an appointment for us and we have to be there no matter what.  Once we complete that then we will wait for them to process everything and send us our approval form (I-171H).  In case you forgot the process (I know it's confusing and hard to keep up with unless you are the one doing it), once we receive our I-171H we will put it together along with everything else we have completed for our dossier (remember, that includes things like clearance letters from the police department, Dr. examinations/blood tests and letters of approval, health insurance letters, birth certificates, marriage certificate, home study, etc etc etc...about 20-25 forms) and it will all be notarized, then sealed in our state with the state seal and then mailed to DC to be certified by the US gov't and then it will be shipped to Ethiopia.  Then we are put on the waiting list and we wait for the referral of our child.  So that's a very abbreviated summary of where we are right now and what we still need to do.  If it doesn't make sense..that's ok, lots of it doesn't make sense to me either. :)  It's all in God's hands and His perfect timing and that's all that matters!

Anyways...I just wanted to update you all and thank you again for is sooo appreciated!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!" Psalm 107:1

1.  Longer days....I LOVE LOVE LOVE when the sun starts staying up longer and we get some more hours of daylight.  It just makes me happy to look out the windows and still see sun after 6:00....reminds me that warmer days and summer are just around the corner (hopefully...I do live in Idaho after all which means that warmer days might not actually come til July. ;) )

2.  My good friend, Rachel Owens....if you want to know someone who is passionate about living for God and is willing to live for Him no matter what, then you need to meet this girl.  I am so thankful God has put her in my life...we have a lot of similarities and she just gets me.  We can sit and have coffee date conversations for hours..seriously, one time we didn't even realize it but it had been 4 hours before we even checked our watches and we had been talking the whole time!! (That was before I had a kid...can't do that now!) I appreciate her passion and her drive and how much she makes me laugh. :)

3.  Knowing God is in control of the little details....I can't even imagine how frustrating life would be if I didn't believe that God was in control of every detail..from little to big.  When life brings setbacks and delays that don't make sense and can be frustrating and discouraging, the only thing that brings me hope is knowing that God is in control of even these minor details...everything goes through His hands before it touches my life.

4.  Our friends Megan and Tyler...I'm so glad God brought this couple to Idaho.  They've been such a blessing in our church and as our friends.  Megan is one of those people who spreads joy wherever she is and is full of laughter.  I love her contagious ability to spread smiles and joy.  I love it every time we get a chance to hang out with these 2.  They've got a pretty cute little kiddo too. :)

5.  Our pastor and his wife...I've had a handful of pastors in my life but never one like the one we currently have at our church.  I'm so grateful for their sacrificial attitudes and the way they pour into the lives of the people in their congregation.  We got a chance to have dinner with them this week and every time we do I come away grateful for their leadership and their friendship and I leave feeling both encouraged and challenged.  They are pretty awesome people.  

6.  Generous people who have been supporting our adoption....It is such a blessing to have people invest in this part of our lives.  We are passionate about it and our hearts are fully invested in this little life that will one day be a part of our family.  And when other people get behind us and let us know they are supporting us in this, whether it be through prayer or financial means, it means a lot to us.  

7.  My son's zest for life...this kid doesn't do anything half-heartedly and it makes things exciting. :)  He is passionate and so easily excitable and it's so fun to watch.  If he loves something, he LOVES it...there is no half-hearted love in his book.  It's a good reminder to me to live in the moment and fully enjoy where I am and what I'm doing.  

Hope you've all had a good week!  One thing I'd like to add....I haven't heard anything back from USCIS all week and we should have heard by now, we paid extra money for them to get our paperwork by last Friday.  So I called the USPS today and they've lost our package so they are investigating it and supposed to get back to me tomorrow. :(  Would you mind praying that it will arrive there today and it will all be taken care of?  It's hard not to be discouraged because so far each thing we've had to do has come with hiccups and unexpected, frustrating delays...delays that just feel like a waste of time when I want to get closer to bringing my child home.  But, like I mentioned in my post today, I know that God is in control of these little details and there is a reason for these delays so I trust that He knows best and it will all turn out according to His will.  Thanks for praying!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Super Woman Syndrome, Part 4

I don't know if I can handle continuing to write this series on the superwoman syndrome! :) Every time I think about what I'm going to write next and I study it and meditate on it I am so convicted and am reminded again how much I struggle with this and need to work on this.  So trust me, I speak to myself a lot of the time when I write.  It's a good reminder to me of truth and what I need to remember and work on. The next characteristic is no different.

The woman who suffers from this syndrome finds her self worth and her "pride" in her accomplishments.  This goes both ways because not only does she find her worth in what she does, she is very discouraged and disappointed with failure in herself.  Let me expound.....

When we are trying to be everything and do everything and look like we've got it all together all at the same time we begin to place our pride and trust in what we do.  So we end up finding our self worth in what we can accomplish and how well we can accomplish it.  We feel good about how much we get done on our giant to do list and that is what makes us worthy and important.  Don't get me feels great to check things off of a to-do list and there isn't necessarily anything wrong with that great feeling.  The problem is when your self-worth comes from that and who you are and how "good" you are depends on how much you do.  We can get caught up in thinking we are a better person because we "do" more and have our plates fuller than the next person and commit to every possible opportunity and activity that's available.  We start to take pride in how much we do and that begins to define us and our worth.  Whether or not we are "good enough" or worthy of other people's relationships and ability to like us depends on how "super" we are and how much we do.  I know when I get caught up in this characteristic I begin to base whether or not I think people will like me on if I'm doing enough and if I look "good enough."  Not look as in what I wear and what I look like but do I meet other people's expectations, am I busy enough so they will think I am a hard worker, is my list of commitments and to-dos long enough so that they will think I am good enough for them and worth having a relationship with.  When I type it out it all sounds so silly but I know it's a trap that many of us fall into and sometimes we aren't even aware that we are falling into it.  We just begin to be motivated by "feeling" worthy based on how much we are doing and how well we are doing it.

On the flip side of this we can easily become discouraged or frustrated when we fail at what we are trying to accomplish.  The reason is obvious, if we are placing our self-worth in what we do then when we fail we will feel pretty crummy about ourselves.  Oh man...this is a big pitfall for me.  I've had many a conversation with my husband when I have one of those bad days and become discouraged because I don't feel like I lived up to people's expectations or my own expectations and I didn't accomplish what I  thought I should and therefore I feel like a failure and not worthy of much.  (I've actually written a post about the discouragement of failure and the importance and purpose of it by clicking here).  It's like there is some unattainable standard that we set for ourselves and it's a picture of the person who has it all together and juggles her responsibilities, kids, marriage, house, work, friendships, ministries and whatever else perfectly and has a perfect attitude about it all and to top it off she looks great too! ha! And then we begin to base our worth and who we are on how well we are meeting that standard.  This isn't just about failing at our to-do lists either.  It goes further than that.  It happens when we fail in our relationships with other people..we aren't "like-able" enough or nice enough or we didn't do as many thoughtful gestures for people as someone else happens when we fail in our roles...we lose our patience with our kids, we don't think we are the supermodel wife that the tv and magazines portray, our house doesn't look like Martha Stuart's, we don't serve a 5 course dinner for our guests let alone our own family, we fall short at happens when we fail in our relationship with God...we miss our devotions one day, we forget to pray for someone, we give into temptation happens when we fail with our physical appearance...we don't workout, we have a zit smack dab in the middle of our face..ok, or all over our face!, we don't look like the pretty faces on the front of the magazine, we don't have the newest styles from the mall, we hang onto that extra 5 or 10 pounds we wish we could lose.

The problem in all of this is obvious, the focus and the center of it all is US.  Our worth, our importance, our pride is all based on who we are and whether or not we are pretty awesome or pretty much a loser.  At the root of all of this lies the sin of pride.  Our highs and lows are based on how good we are and how good we look to all revolves around us and if we are keeping up well enough.  But that thinking is so backwards from what it should be.  It has been so freeing for me to learn and embrace the truth that what matters is who I am in Christ and whether or not I am living for Him.  Our worth should be based on who Christ and His word says we are.  Before coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ we are worthless.  We can do nothing ourselves, we can't earn our ticket to Heaven and the Bible says there is no one who is righteous, all of our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)..that is how much our supposed "holiness" compares to God's.  But God made a way so that we can be covered in Christ's righteousness. (Romans 5:8-11).  If we have accepted God's gift of salvation and claim Christ as Lord then we are covered in His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Furthermore, Scripture reminds us that God fearfully and wonderfully crafted us in our mother's womb (Psalm 139), and "we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works." (Ephesians 2:10)  Who we are is not about what we do and how good we are, it is about who God has created us to be and whether or not we are living for His purposes.  When we turn our focus to God and find our worth in Him we will have so much more joy and peace because God's work is perfect and complete and our focus will be on who He is in us and what He is doing through us.  In addition, like I mentioned in my post about failure, when we are weak and "not good enough" that is when God is magnified in and through us.  If we are so strong and so awesome in who we are and what we do then there is little room for God's glory to shine through. But when our weaknesses and shortcomings are apparent then God's grace and glory become magnified through us.  I'm so thankful that my worth doesn't have to be about whether or not I am good enough...I will never be good enough.  But thanks to Christ and His work on the cross I am made complete in Him and my purpose and worth are found in the awesome God of the universe...what better place is there to find worth?

Where are you placing your worth?  Is it in yourself and how well you meet your own expectations and other people's expectations of you?  Or is it in Christ and His atoning sacrifice?

Superwoman Syndrome Part 1
Superwoman Syndrome Part 2
Superwoman Syndrome Part 3

Monday, March 12, 2012

Playroom DIY: Giant Ruler and some new boards!

I've been doing LOTS of work up in our loft to turn it into a fun space for kiddos.  It's not quite finished yet, I still have some more projects to add to it, but I have finished a few of the projects I had planned for it and so I'm going to share those in a couple of posts.  This first one is one of my favorites that we did...I absolutely love how it turned out.  And then I saw it on pinterest the next week...not mine, but someone else's, so that was funny.  It's a really easy project and really cheap too.  It cost about $6!

The project is a giant ruler to hang on the wall. When my husband was a kid his mom measured he and his brothers every year.  She would make tick marks on the wall with their ages and their height and it was such a fun thing for them to look back on over the years.  Then it was special when the boys started having their own kids and Grandma would measure the grandkids on the wall and they could compare how tall they are at certain ages with how tall their dads were at that age.  Well, Grandma moved houses and didn't want to lose all the measurements from the past.  So she painstakingly went through the process of marking them all on paper and transferring them to a wall in the new house.  I love that she did that so that the tradition can continue.  Well, Luke and I wanted to be able to do the same thing with our kids but we wanted it to be able to "move with us" if we ever move houses again.  So we decided to create a giant ruler to hang on the wall that our kids can measure themselves on and we can make the marks on the ruler and the ruler can travel with us if we move.  The project turned out so cool and looks like a real ruler and I can't wait to shere the pics with here they are....

So we just bought a large board from Home Depot and Luke cut it down to about 7 feet (It was 10 feet long to start with but we figured none of our kids will grow taller than 7 feet :) ).  Then we used some old stain we had in the garage on it and painted it on and then wiped it off so that you can see the grain of the wood really well.  

After that dried I measure out all of the hash marks onto the board using a tape measure.  I didn't start with 0 at the base of the board because we knew it wouldn't sit right on the floor.  So we measured up how high we wanted it to hang from the floor and then subtracted that from the board and started the measuring at that point.  I used a paint pen and a straight edge to make the hash  marks.  We had some old mailbox/house numbers in the garage and I used those for the numbers.  I LOVE how it turned out.  It took some pretty heavy duty screw to hang on the wall and we made sure it is in a stud (It is a heavy piece of wood!) and now it's there to stay! 

Like I said, I also have some new boards to share!  Hope it gives some of you some more ideas on what you might want to order.....

This board is pretty special to me.  I made it for my niece that is due to be born in just a couple of weeks (YAY!! can't wait!!).  I love how it turned out.  The colors look a bit different in person, they are actually more of a coral-ly pink, brown, green and butter yellow.  The words are extra special because it is the song my grandpa always used to sing to my grandma and was sung at her funeral when she passed.  So this is a pretty special little board.  Oh, and the dimensions are different than most the other boards.  It is a 12x24 board, I like the long skinny look.  

And a larger version of the "Be.." board.  Done horizontally on a 16x20.

I promise I will get back to writing on superwoman....just gotta find a free moment of time to sit down and think and write. :)  Have a beautiful Monday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Here's my list for the week.....

1. Snowboarding...we got to go with the high school this last week and I so enjoy being out on the snow.  First, you get to enjoy some of God's most beautiful creation (snow on trees and icicles hanging from branches are one of the most peaceful, beautiful scenes in my opinion) and second, I just love the experience and feel of snowboarding down the mountain and enjoying the outdoors.  Plus, we had some amazing snow this time and the powder made you feel like you were floating on was pretty awesome.

2.  Hearing squeals of delight and belly laughs as my husband chases my son down the hall.  Grahm LOVES to play chase and he gets so excited and giddy every time they play.  It is music to my soul to hear my two favorite people laughing and playing together.

3.  The first warm days of spring....It is so fun when the very first warm (50's is warm here and it feels great!) days hit in the spring.  I love how it pulls everyone outside and  into God's creation again.  It's so relaxing and invigorating to feel the sun on your skin again.

4.  Our completed home study!!!!!....I was beyond ecstatic to receive our home study in the mail this week.  It is awesome to finally be moving on to the next step in this process. It's been a longer than normal wait for our home study and I'm just thrilled to finally have it in our hands.  Thank you so much to all of you who prayed that it would be completed soon.

5.  My son's friendliness...I love taking this kid on errands.  :) He literally smiles and says hi to every person we pass.  And at the check out he sits there and says hi over and over and over again just so he can get the checker to keep smiling at him, and every time she looks up at him he is so tickled with delight.  It's just fun to take him out because he puts a smile on other people's faces and it's a reminder to me at how far a little friendliness can go and how you can turn someone's day around with a smile and a greeting.

6.  Breathing in the fresh air again....the warm days definitely pulled us outside and it was so nice to sit out on a lawn chair and just take in the crisp spring air and watch my son run around in pure excitement and wonder at the opportunity to play outside.  It is refreshing to breath in the outdoors again.

7.  God's protection in REALLY bad road I mentioned, we took the high school up snowboarding/skiing this last week as the "sponsors" (gotta love the chance to be a "sponsor" which means a free ticket to do something I LOVE. :) )  We got hit with an unexpected winter storm the day before and it snowed all the way up the mountain to the resort.  The roads were horrible and it was a pure whiteout.  So we couldn't see a thing as we were winding our way up icy mountain was terrifying. But God kept us safe and gave my husband the ability to get us there safely and I was oh so thankful!

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Home Study...CHECK!! we come!

Today was a great day!! We finally got our completed home study in the mail!!  I can't even express how excited I was to get it and finally be able to move on with the next step in this process.  As soon as I got it in the mail I rushed inside and put everything together that I had already prepared for our USCIS approval, put the last few details together and put it all in an envelope with a copy of our completed home study and shipped it off to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Department.  I think I was beaming when I walked up to the counter at the post office to pay for the postage on the envelope.  I was almost hoping that the Postlady would ask me how my day was and what I had in the package 'cause I was ready to gush it all that I was sending off for approval from the US government to bring home my baby from Ethiopia!

This is just one more step that brings us that much closer to meeting our child and I couldn't be happier.  Today was a bunch of hurry up and get it all sent off but now we're back to "hurry up and wait."  You know how things go with the's gonna take a while to get our approval to bring an orphan into the US.  I've heard anywhere from 3-9 weeks before we receive what's called the I-171H...which is the "Notice of favorable determination concerning application for advance processing of orphan petition."  The way the process works is that once they receive our I-600 form then they will send us info to make an appt to get fingerprinted.  The wait for the fingerprinting appt can take a while but I'm hoping since we are in a smaller area that it won't be as long...fingers crossed!  Then it all gets processed and we receive our I-171H approval form. Then we can send off our dossier to Ethiopia and finally be on the wait list! step closer! :)

Alrighty....that was it, just wanted to keep you posted on the awesome news today!  Hope you all had a great day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Super Woman Syndrome Part 3

So I really didn't want to write today's post.  It's a bit too personal and convicting, something that I struggle with quite a bit.  I've mentioned this before but I'm a born people pleaser.  I have a hard time not being motivated by a desire to make other people happy.  Plus, I naturally want them to think highly of me.  Who doesn't want other people to think they have it all together and that they are smart, successful, talented, organized, and pretty much amazing? ;)  I think you'd be hard pressed to find a person who wants people to think they are a loser, lazy and worthless.  So this next trait of the superwoman syndrome is one that I think a lot of us struggle with.

A superwoman does most of what she does in an effort to impress other people, whether consciously or unconsciously.  This is such a deceptive and easy motivator to fall into.  Like I said already, it's natural for us to want others to like us and think highly of us.  If we are involved in activity after activity and we "seem" to be keeping it all together then others will look at us and think, "wow...she's really got it all together, she juggles life really well.  How does she do it?"  Or if we have a big long list of to-dos then others will think we must be so disciplined and hard-working to get so much stuff done in a day.  Or if we are committed to ministry after ministry then others will think we are so spiritual because look at how much we serve in the church.  Or if we just seem to have our plates full with one thing after another then people really will think we are "superwoman."

Sometimes it isn't even always a desire to make others think highly of us but rather it's the opposite, we don't want them to think poorly of us so that motivates our decisions.  I get caught in this trap a lot.  We are afraid that if we say no to something then others will think we aren't as spiritual or we are selfish with our time or we aren't generous and kind when that may not be the case at all.  Or sometimes it is hard to say no to someone because we are afraid they will misunderstand our decision and think the worst about us instead of trusting us that it is not the best decision for us and our family.  Or we want others to think we are a dependable, reliable person so we fear that if we say no then they will think otherwise.

We also get caught in the trap of comparing ourselves with others.  For example, we think that if so and so is doing this, this and this then I should be doing that, that and that as well.  We simply see the outside and assume that their life circumstances are the same as us because they have the same amount of kids or they are involved in the same church ministries or they have a similar job and so if they have a big long list of commitments and to-dos then our list should be similar and we should be keeping up with them.  And if we don't do just as much as them then we must be a weaker person.  Can I just tell you something that has freed me so much from this way of thinking?  We may think that our life is the same as someone else's and therefore it may be easy to get caught up in a trap of comparing.  BUT, every person is an individual that God created with specific limits, needs, emotions, strengths and weaknesses.  There is only 1 you in your exact circumstances.  So someone else may have the same exact circumstances in their life but there can be no comparison made because there are no 2 exactly alike people so the way you and someone else handle things is naturally going to be different.  And because we are different people with different needs and limits it is ok if some of our commitments and to-do lists look different from each other...even if we are both stay at home moms with 2 kids and a husband who works a 9-5!  In the same sense, we can get caught up in comparing with others claiming they don't do enough because our lives are pretty similar or we think our life is harder but we are doing more so they aren't keeping up well enough.  But again, we must extend grace because no 2 people are exactly the same in exactly the same circumstances.

So how do we avoid this kind of thinking and this characteristic of the superwoman syndrome?  Well, first of all, we must remember that our comparison and our judge is not of this earth...we should be viewing our lives in light of God and His word.  Everything we do should be as unto God and not unto men. Colossians 3:23-24 states this very thing, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than men.....It is the Lord whom you serve."  Our service should be done solely for the purpose of bringing God glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), not for seeking the glory of men.  When it boils down to it, when we are seeking to please, impress, compete, compare and keep up with other people it is a matter of pride.  And the Bible speaks against the sin of pride in countless places (Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; 16:18; 29:23; 1 John 2:16 just to name a few).  So we need to repent of our pride and ask the Lord to help us keep our focus on Him and our motivation to be that of bringing Him honor and glory.  We should make our decisions to "do" between us and God.  We should be seeking His will for our "to-do" list and the commitments we choose to fill our time with, rather than seeking the praise and approval of people.  It really is a constant battle of checking our motivation, going to the Lord in prayer to really seek His will for what He wants us to do and to not worry about what others think in the process.  It is a hard battle but I promise that it is worth it to give up the pressure of "doing" for pleasing and impressing other people.  It takes such a weight off of your shoulders to stop being concerned about impressing others and to solely be concerned with what will be pleasing to the Lord.  I promise it will bring more peace and joy to your life, not only because I know from experience but more importantly because that's what God's word promises....that's the way God calls us to live our lives.

I hope this was a challenge as well as an encouragement to you.  I know this is a hard battle for me but it has been one that is worth fighting.  When I stop seeking to please and impress other people in what I do and how much I do then I have so much more peace and contentment because I'm focused on doing what the Lord wants me to do, not worrying about what other people think.   If this is something you struggle with as well then I hope you take the challenge to stop this part of the superwoman syndrome in your life also.

Have a peaceful day!

Superwoman Syndrome Part 1
Superwoman Syndrome Part 2
Superwoman Syndrome Part 4

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Boards

I've got a few more boards to show you that I've made recently for people.  I really like the new designs...check 'em out and keep the orders coming!  We appreciate it!

"Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8"  Love how this one turned out, the colors are in mustard and navy with some touches of olive if you can't tell.

"Be..." This is done on a 12x12 board which was a little tight but that was the size requested.  I could do it on any size though.  Love the variety of colors on this one.

Another "Love" board from 1 Cor. 13 done for a sweet friend for her first apt. This one is in reds, browns and yellows. did that one sneak in there? :)  Just had to add some of this cuteness...reading to himself in the dog's toy basket. 

Remember, I can customize the boards to pretty much anything you want...quote, verse, family rules, lyrics, etc....with whatever colors and size you want.  Thanks again for helping give an orphan a forever family with your purchase!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday...and I've got lots to be thankful for!  I hope you do too! Here's my list for this week....

1.  Laughing so hard with friends that your belly hurts and your face is stained with tears....I got to have one of those moments on our trip last week and it still makes me laugh thinking about it.  Laughter is such good medicine and I'm so thankful the Lord has blessed us with it.

2.  Watching my boy learn new words....he is "talking" up a storm and trying out all sorts of new words lately.  We can do the whole, "Grahm, can you say....._______?"  And he'll repeat it a lot of the time, so cute!  Especially since he's still so young that you can't hardly understand what he's saying but you know he understands and is trying to repeat what you say.  The best has been hearing him learn our family's names...warms my heart. :)

3.  Sudden, out of nowhere, unexpected blizzards....March came in like a lion here, which is pretty typical for Idaho!  We have no winter and then it finally arrives once March hits.  But I kinda like the excitement of a storm coming out of nowhere....shows God's power and creativity in my opinion.

4.  Hearing my son "pray"....fav fav fav of the week!  Grahm has learned that we always pray before our meals and well, the kid LOVES to eat and he has a really hard time being patient while we get the food on the table.  Then add to that waiting while we pray and he is sure we are starving him.  So this week he has started to fold his hands while I get the food on his plate and he really quickly spews out a bunch of nonsense words like he is praying and then looks at me like, "K, mom, I already prayed so bring on the food!"  Makes me smile everytime.  Can't wait to keep introducing this kiddo to our awesome God. :)

5.  Friends who ask how our adoption is going....this process is so long and there is so much waiting that it is easy to forget we are in the middle of it because no one sees my belly growing like you would if I was pregnant.  But my heart is overflowing with excitement about this journey and I love it when I get to talk about it with other people, it means a lot when people are thoughtful to ask.

6.  Theological talks with my husband....I'm so so thankful for a godly husband.  And I love it when we have something deep that one of us is thinking about or confused about and we bring it to each other and talk it through.  He always has such good wisdom to add to my thoughts and I love "chewing" on God's word with him.

7.  Prayer...I don't know if I've already written this on one of my lists...I think I may have, but I am especially thankful for it this week.  I spent some extra time really focusing on prayer this week and I loved what a difference it made when I went through a whole day in constant conversation with my Lord.  I'm so thankful we have an open door policy with God and can come to Him anytime with anything.

I'd still love to hear what you're thankful please write a comment and let me know.  I enjoy sharing in other people's gratitude.  Have a blessed day!

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