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

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Prayer for the Birth Mom

Now that we are officially on the wait list, I realized the other day that our baby is probably busy growing inside of his/her mommy's belly...either just getting started...or close to making his/her entry into this world.  Is it just me or is that crazy to think about?

One person that often gets misunderstood or neglected in the adoption process is the birth mom.  If you've ever been pregnant you know what it's like to have a tiny human growing inside of you.  It's a miracle, it's incredible, it's precious, it's life-changing.  And if you've watched someone close to you go through a pregnancy then you've seen them experience all of this and you've experienced it with them.

Well there is a mom out there, in Ethiopia, growing a precious life inside of her right now and my heart breaks for what she is going to experience over the course of this next year.  I don't know her circumstances or her specific situation, but God knows and He cares just as much about her life as He does mine and as He does that little baby's.  So I pray for her and this is my prayer...

Precious Heavenly Father.....

There's a mom out there right now who is carrying life inside of her that will someday be my little child.  I don't know who she is but I lift her up to you.  I ask you to watch over her, care for her and show her your love.
Maybe she's young and experiencing shame over her pregnancy and battling with the knowledge that she has no choice but to give up this child that is growing inside of her.  Her heart aches with confusion, pain and sorrow as she carries this burden everyday.  Lord, be her Comforter...comfort her heart, be her strength, guide her in your paths.
Maybe she's sick and fighting for her own life, let alone the life of this young one inside of her.  Maybe she has no access to medical care and she lies alone in a poor, mud house with no one to care for her or heal her hurts and show her love.  Lord, be her Great Physician....care for her physical body, ease her pain, bring her help.  Let her know she is loved.
Maybe she doesn't know you Lord and she's living a life of sin and fear.  Please make yourself known to her.  Draw her near to you.  Show her your salvation...show her there is a God who is in control and who cares about her life.  Show her that you are knitting together that tiny baby in her womb and that you know all of the intimate details of her life.  I pray she would find redemption, healing and love in your arms.
Maybe she is poor...so poor she can't even feed the little mouths that are already in her house.  She rummages for scraps everyday and comes home to crying, hungry bellies but she has nothing to give them and so she sings away their pangs of hunger as she rocks them to sleep and lays them down on a dirt floor, to rest their heads without a pillow and their bellies without food for yet another night.  Lord, be her Provider....honor her sacrifice, bring her help, wrap her momma-heart in your arms and comfort her aching heart.

Lord, I don't know any of the specifics of her life.  But I know that over this next year she is going to go through pain...pain I will never understand.  Pain of giving up a child she gave birth to or pain of dying, helplessly, knowing she will never care for this life that she has produced.  My heart can't even begin to understand how her heart aches and how it will hurt and what she will experience.  But I know that you understand...you're there...you're sovereign even over this.

Thank you for her life.  Thank you for her decision to choose life.  Thank you that through the pain and the suffering you will make something beautiful because your Word says you make all things beautiful. Thank you that you can make broken things whole.  Thank you that even though things don't always make sense to us and they hurt so deeply, you are in control and you know what is best.

Please watch over her and protect that precious life inside of her.  I pray that somehow, some way, she will know how grateful I am to her and for the child our hearts will share.

In Your Son's Precious Name,
Amen

Would you please cover our child's birth mom in prayer as you think of it?


On a side note:  We are leaving town through the end of the week so I won't be on here to post the rest of this week.  Have a blessed week!


Friday, April 27, 2012

We're on the Wait List!! and A Belated Thankful Thursday!


That's right...you read it right....we are officially on the wait list for Ethiopia!! #22 today! :)  I couldn't be more thrilled...today is an awesome day!!!!!!!!!!! :)

So what does that mean?  Well, right now it is about a 6-9 month wait before we get our referral....so basically we are in for a long, grueling wait.  I've been told that this wait is the worst, 2nd to the wait in between visits to Ethiopia.  We've been plugging away and staying so busy trying to get everything put together to get our dossier off to Ethiopia and now that that is all done, we just have to sit and wait on our hands and wait for that phone call that lets us know we have a little one.  Not quite the 1 month wait you have when your are waiting to find out if you're pregnant....6-9 months is quite a bit longer.  But, after 2 years of waiting on sweet baby Grahm, waiting is something we are very familiar with...this will just be a bit different kind of wait.  A pregnancy is about 9 months, so that wait is similar but one of the biggest differences is that no one will see my growing belly which reminds everyone you've got a baby waiting and prompts them to ask how you are doing and how things are going.  This wait is really easy for people to forget about because there really won't be anything going on between now and the day we get that phone call.  We'll be continuing to prep ourselves for bringing our precious child into our home...educating ourselves, connecting with other adoptive families, etc...so it will always be on our mind.  So if you don't mind, would you think about praying for us and for our little one every once in a while?  We truly appreciate it.

So...as far as thankful Thursday??...Well, we were out really late last night so I didn't get a chance to post all of this yesterday but I just wanted this to be my one Thankful Thursday thing this week......so...

1. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

2. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

3. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

4. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

5. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

6. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.

7. Finally on the Ethiopia Adoption Wait list.....one day closer to having our baby in our arms.  My heart aches for your sweet baby.


Ps...apparently nobody likes free things?  I haven't gotten any entries to win the free giveaway for Radical. :( I'm a bit discouraged cause that makes me think no one is reading anything I write....there are a few people reading, right??...but it's still open to enter..so check out the post and find out how to enter.  Just click here to check it out.

Have an awesome weekend!!



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Must Read and a Giveaway!!

I've mentioned on here before a book that I read within the last year called Radical, Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, by David Platt.  Let me tell you, this book is phenomenal!!  It will rock your world and cause you to really think about why you do what you do and what the Bible has to say about the way we tend to live here in America.  Page after page, word after word, I was convicted, challenged and encouraged to stretch my faith and really think about Jesus' words in the gospels and if my life is truly lined up with the way of life He calls us to.

I really appreciated the book even more so because the author uses Scripture repeatedly and there really wasn't any part of His use of that scripture that I could argue with.  It wasn't a matter of his opinion versus the way we are living our lives but it was the Bible versus the way we are living our lives.  Platt points out several passages in scripture that describe the kind of life Jesus calls His disciples to....


  • A life lived with radical abandonment to the Lord....in Luke 14:26-33 Jesus says that in order to follow him our lives must be lived with such abandon to Him that it makes our love for our family, friends and self look like hate.  And then He says on top of that we must take up our "cross" and follow Him.  Take up an instrument of torture and death and follow Him....and to top it off, we must give up everything we have to follow Him.  Sounds a lot different than what is preached in most Christian circles today, huh?  Not quite the, "say a prayer, then live life how you want and expect to be blessed with relative ease and comfort."
  • A life lived fully aware of who we are and who God is...we are all born with an evil, God-hating heart (Gen 8:21, we are slaves to sin and Satan (2 Timothy 2:26), we are spiritually dead and separated from God full of hopelessness in our own efforts.  (Sounds a lot different than self-improvement, self-esteem, self-sufficiency and self-confidence promoted in today's society, huh?)  But we are also fully aware of who God is....yes, He is a loving Father, but He is also a wrathful Judge and He hates sin and must punish it (Habakkuk 1:13).  Too often "We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in His Word, we might discover that He evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship than we are ready to give Him."  But we are aware of who we can be in Christ and what He accomplished on the cross....He didn't just die because He loves us, He died to take the full wrath of God on Himself, in our place....He died to satisfy justice.  "The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in Him will be reconciled to God forever."  
  • A life lived fully dependent on God's power and fully aware of our inabilities...a life lived in such a way that magnifies our shortcomings and makes it obvious to all that only God could be doing the work so that He is the only one who receives the glory.  And God our Father delights in this...He delights in giving us Himself and putting His power in us so that we can accomplish what He wants us to here on earth. John 14:12-14
  • A life lived full of risk and full of radical love for others....in Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells His disciples He is sending them out like sheep among wolves.  That doesn't sound like a very safe, comfortable or easy way to be sent out.  Wolves will eat a sheep alive.  But Jesus sends us out to live a life where we are willing to risk all for the sake of His gospel.  And what motivates us is a love for His glory and a love for other people and for them to see Him and His glory as well.  

This is just a small taste of some of the things that Platt discusses in his book.  He goes on to chip away at our materialistic, self-preserving, self-promoting way of life and uses the Bible to show the error of our ways and show us how we need to change.  He opens your eyes to a world where more than a billion people in the world live and die in desperate poverty, attempting to survive on less than $2 per day.  More than 26,000 children will breathe their last breath today due to starvation or a preventable disease.  Millions of people are dying in obscurity and desperate poverty while we enjoy our affluence, pretending like they don't exist.  But they do exist and not only do they exist but God takes very seriously how we respond to them...Proverbs, the Prophets and Jesus' words in the gospels are full of warnings about curses that come upon those who ignore the poor.  God has blessed us for His glory, not so we will have a comfortable, fun, easy life but so that the nations will see His glory.  Is He worth it to us? Do we really believe that "Jesus is so good, so satisfying and so rewarding that we will leave all we have and all we own and all we are in order to find our fullness in Him?  Do we believe Him enough to obey Him and follow Him wherever He leads?"  Like I said, it will change your life.  It is such good stuff.  I really hope this will encourage many of you to go out and get the book and start reading it yourselves.  It's available on CD as well, which is how I first "read" it.  It's such a good listen or a good read.  I wasn't able to put it down!  

And since I loved it so much and was changed so much by it I want to be able to share that with one of you.  I have a copy of the book that I'd like to give away in hopes that it will change someone else's life the way that it has changed Luke and mine.  And it's not going to cost you a dime! 

So...how do you get the free book??

There are a few ways...each way will get you 1 entry, so the more you do the more entries you get!
1. Comment on this blog post and let me know you want entered in the drawing.
2.  Become a follower of this blog (on the right hand side, there is an option to follow) and then let me know by commenting on here or on facebook that you did so.  
3.  Share one of my posts about my art boards fundraiser on facebook or twitter or whatever it is that you use! ;)  Then comment on here and let me know, including a link to your share. Here is a good link to share: Art Boards Page
4.  Share this post on social media and let me know, including a link to your share. 

Trust me, this book is so worth reading and one you definitely want to add to your library and read over and over again.  I'll announce the winner 1 week from now.  Good luck!




Friday, April 20, 2012

Awesome New Boards...spread the word!

I've got some more designs I've created for my Art Boards for Orphans.  I really like some of these new ones..hope they give you some inspiration on what you might want to order.  Here are the pics....

This one was pretty special to make.  It was for my cousin, who is currently serving as a pilot in the US Navy.  I felt pretty special that she asked me to create this.  She gave me the quote, "When once you have tasted flight, You will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned upwards.  For there you have been and there you will always Long to Return.  Fly Navy"  The colors are mustard and navy...Navy colors. 

Details...


I love the verse this gal picked for her board...Philippians 4:8..what a good idea!


So my sweet brother has been asking me for a while when I'm going to make a "manly" board cause he wanted to buy one.  So..this is what I came up with, manly enough? :)  My husband said he'd put it in his office so I guess it passes the test. :)  All of the phrases are based on Bible verses, which you can see written in small print below them.  

This one is one of my favorites that I've made so far.  It was done for my bestie, Megan, and it is the verse they used at their wedding this last summer.  "But this I call to mind and therefore have hope, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end.  They are new every morning.  Great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23."  The colors don't show up very well in pictures...it's actually a combo of teal, orange, yellow and brown. 

Another picture of the same board

Details....

Details...



Oooh...love this one too!  It was made for a wedding gift for one of the guys who was on the evangelistic team that was here a few weeks ago.  Love the colors on this one!  

Alright...there they are!  As always...you can facebook me, e-mail me, comment on any of my posts, call me, whatever!!...to get me your order.  I'm usually about 1 week out for turn around.  I can design anything you want...just give me the phrases/verse/etc and the colors and size you want and if you want any added detail (like a flower) and I'll get my creative juices flowing and come up with something!  Thank you so much for everyone who has bought a board....it means so much to have you all supporting our adoption.  If you wouldn't mind..please share this link wherever you can...or share the link to my original post on the boards.  Keep the orders coming!  




Thursday, April 19, 2012

Exciting Adoption Update and Thankful Thursday

Today was an awesome day!  I've got exciting news!! 

We received our I-171, Notice of Favorable Determination Concerning Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition!!!  (Gotta love Grahm's face and the fact that he looks like he's bald.  If you can tell he has some lovely road rash right down the middle of his face...he had an unpleasant meeting with concrete steps. :) ) 

So that means the US Government has decided that we are capable of giving "proper care to an orphan."  We passed and we're one step closer in the whole process!  Plus....we got all of our documents notarized and we also got them sealed by the state of Idaho, so........

We put everything together, with 3 different checks, a money order and our completed dossier and mailed it off to the Assistant Stork.  This is the company that will get our dossier authenticated by the US  Department of State.  Then it will be sent to our adoption agency and it will be shipped off to Ethiopia and we will officially be on the wait list!!!!! The coordinator at our agency said it usually takes about a week to get it authenticated and mailed to Ethiopia.  So hopefully we will be hearing sometime next week that we are officially on the wait list and I'll definitely keep you all posted once that happens!  

I'm just ecstatic to have this part of the process over....it officially took us 5 months to complete our paper chase, which is pretty average.  It could have been quicker but our home study took a while so that put us behind a bit.  It's just nice to have that huge stack of papers off my desk and to not be collecting a bunch of different documents anymore.  I know now why they call it the Great Paper Chase.  Organization definitely pays off in this part of the process!  

So...onto Thankful Thursday......

1.  Our approval from USCIS to adopt!!  (I-171)  What an awesome answer prayer and what an exciting step to complete that gets us one day closer to bringing our baby home.  

2.  Our complete dossier in the mail and out of my hands!!  Ah, what a relief it was to finally put it all together and stick it in an envelope and have it shipped off!  This was a huge step to complete!  Thank you so much for those of you who have been praying for us thus far!

3.  Goofing off with our teenagers....we got to have a fun night with the teens this last week as we went "Thrift Shop Bowling" together.  We all went to different thrift shops and bought the best/worst outfit we could find and then we went bowling together in those outfits.  The teens did awesome with it and I just have so much fun hanging out with them and getting to act goofy and crazy with them.  I'm glad they put up with our "old-ness" and let us act  young again with them! :)  

4.  My baby falling asleep on my chest....Grahm was REALLY sick this week.  He got some awful rash and fever and he was just plain miserable.  He is normally a crazy active boy and will not stop and slow down for anything.  Falling asleep with anything going on around him is unheard of.  But he was feeling awful on Sunday and I was rocking him on the couch, watching some tv, and he just fell asleep.  I haven't had him sleep on my chest since he was itty bitty...like maybe 6 weeks old!  It was so precious and I just laid there and took it all in, even if he was sick.  

5.  Watching Grahm and his dad laugh at America's Funniest Videos together....this is a riot...I should videotape it for you sometime.  Luke was watching America's Funniest Videos and we don't usually have Grahm watch tv but we were just chillin' so Luke pulled Grahm up on his lap and they decided to watch it together.  Well Luke got to laughing at the videos and so Grahm got to laughing at the videos and it was just infectious.  Then Grahm would say "mo-mo (more, more)" and Luke would rewind it and play it again and they repeated this at least 10 times....it was so cute.  

6.  The Lord's abundant grace and forgiveness....I screw up so many times and I frequently fail.  But I'm so grateful I can go to Him time after time and just pour out my heart and ask Him for forgiveness and He is always faithful to forgive.  It's such a beautiful example to me of how I need to treat others and offer my forgiveness time and time again, no matter how many times I've been wronged....because I've certainly wronged my Savior more times than anyone has ever wronged me.  

7.  Kisses from Katie....a book I'm reading right now...I'll have to do a post on this book, but it's phenomenal so far.  This girl just pours out her heart for Africa and so much of what she says mirrors what's in my heart.  It's awesome to read the words of someone and feel like they are echoing exactly what I feel.  Her journey is definitely worth reading...check it out! 

Yes...this is my husband...in all his "hot-ness"...gotta love the outfit. :)  I promise we don't go out like this normally....this was our Thrift Shop Bowling night.

More sweet outfits....that's me in the middle...isn't the full length "Grandma Robe" I found awesome!? 


Some of the girls in the Youth Group showing off their threads....I love these girls. :)

More sweet outfits...gotta love the giant sized visor I found!  I'm so grateful we get to work with these kids! 




As always, I love hearing what you're thankful for....the Word tells us to be thankful in all things and the Lord is so gracious and full of blessings so we should have MUCH to be thankful for!  Find His graces everyday, in everything.  



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thank You for the Pain

I had a revelation the other day.  It hit me in that tender part of the deep inside of my heart.  It's not like it was something I hadn't ever thought of before, but it was like the Lord gave me a little snapshot in my mind of the past 5 years and where I am now.  Most of the time change happens over time and growth is a journey.  It's not something that happens overnight and you wake up the next day shocked by the different person that climbed out of your bed compared to the day before.  There are a lot of steps along the way and it's a process.

Ok, so let me back up a few years and start with the beginning of the journey......Girl meets boy, girl and boy want lots of kids, girl and boy find out they can't have biological kids.  Ok, so it's actually not that clean and simple but that's where the pain started.  Most of you know, part of the Lord's plan for my husband and my life was to battle infertility.  It's not something I ever imagined I would have experienced but like or not that's what we were faced with.  And man it hurt.  It hurt in that ugly, cry so hard you can't breath, and yell "Why?!...Why, Why Why?" kind of way.  That crawl up in a ball on your bed and cry till there are no more tears kind of way.  That shake your faith and figure out what you really believe kind of way.  The pain was real and it was deep.  It turned my heart inside out and I spent a year working through my faith and where I found myself.  It hurt so badly, but I always knew that God was still sovereign and He had a purpose in all of this.  I frequently pleaded with Him that my pain wouldn't be in vain...that it would glorify Him and be used in someone else's life.  If this was my lot in life I didn't want it to be wasted.  I entered the trial with a lot of confusion, a lot of pain and a lot of questions.  But I came out of it with a faith that was tested and turned out stronger, deeper and closer to my Lord and Savior than ever before.  I knew He was in control and this was His plan and I truly could say, "If my pain brings God glory, then so be it."  But even though I came out of it with a stronger faith, I still didn't know what any of it meant or why the Lord had chosen us to experience this trial.  I still didn't have any answers....and I was ok with the fact that I didn't have any answers.  I don't think I would have said I was thankful for the pain but I was thankful for what God had done in my heart and I was at peace with where He had me.

Well...fast forward through a trip to Africa, a friendship formed with missionaries in Congo, a heart ripped open for adoption, a miracle baby, and a journey towards an adoption of our own.  That's a lot of ground to cover in just a few years.  So I was driving the other day (I don't even know where I was driving, the only thing I remember is what the Lord impressed upon my heart) and out of nowhere the Lord just hit me with a thought.  I just got to thinking about where I am today and who I am and what has resulted from our infertility.  And out of nowhere I was crying and saying, "Thank you Lord, Thank you for my infertility."  What?!  Where does that come from?  Who says thank you that I can't have babies?!  It's not like I was still upset for being infertile but I wouldn't have imagined saying thank you for doing that in my life, Lord.  But as I got to thinking about it...I wouldn't be who I am today and my heart wouldn't be where it is if it wasn't for our infertility.  Don't get me wrong..I would still love to be able to get pregnant again and have as many little babies as possible.  And it still hurts some days...I think it probably always will.  It's a loss that we will carry with us forever.
 
But the Lord has turned my world upside down over the last several years.  I am not the same person that I used to be and my heart has changed so much.  It feels like the Lord has used our pain to rip open my heart and splay it wide open, mess up all the insides and fill it back up with a love that He wanted me to have.  I know that He used our trial and our trip to Africa to open our eyes to a world full of precious little ones with nowhere to call home and no one to call "mommy" or "daddy."  It's not like I wouldn't have cared for orphans or adoption without our trial but now my heart beats for them....now I've cried real tears because I know there are children who don't know what's it's like to have someone love them unconditionally, who don't know what it's like to have all of their needs met, who've never experienced the warmth of a hug that says, "you're mine and you always will be," and who lay in a cold, lonely, dirty bed each night with pain so deep I can't even fathom.  The Lord has used everything He's brought us through in the last several years to speak the truth of His word to our hearts and make my heart mirror His..."Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation."  Ps 68:5...."Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute." Ps 82:3...."Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions." James 1:27  He helped us see that His heart is to love others in a real, tangible way...to care for others, meet their needs, give sacrificially to show His love to them...to live out our faith in a way that consumes everything we are and touches other people's lives.  A faith that loves Him and loves others with abandon.

And I realized that I wouldn't have this heart if God hadn't chosen infertility to be part of our path.  And I'm so so thankful that God has done this work in my heart.  I'm so grateful for what He's opened my eyes to and I'm so thankful for who He is making me.  So yeah, I'm thankful for the pain.  I really am thankful for the trial God placed in our lives and what He's used it for.  And you know what else is awesome?  God didn't owe it to me to give me that "snapshot" of the journey we've been on and give me that revelation of part of the purpose of our pain...but in His gracious love, He chose to let me see a glimpse of the mighty, awesome, beautiful, crazy work He's doing and why He's doing it.

What about you?  Will you give Him the chance to show you, really show you, what He's trying to do in your life?  It doesn't mean it's always going to feel good, but I promise it will be oh so beautiful and it really will be what's best.  That's what His word promises after all, isn't it?
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God; to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Super Woman Syndrome, Part 5

So I know it's been forever since I wrote on this series....sorry it kinda just got dropped.  Between leaving town and then having all kinds of crazies go on it's taken me a while to be able to get back on here and write again.  But, I did want to finish out the series, so I will end it with one more post.  If you didn't get in on the beginning of this series just follow the links below for Parts 1-4.

My heart and intention for this series was to speak candidly about the struggles us women often face with trying to be it all and do it all.  For some reason we, ok, maybe it's just me (but I kinda think it's definitely 'we') fall prey to the trap of trying to be superwoman in our lives instead of just being who God wants us to be.  There are all kinds of good things we can do, which somehow turn into "should-do's", and all kinds of commitments, service opportunities, schedule "eaters" and what not that we can fill our time with.  And sometimes we end up thinking that, well that thing is good and would be an awesome thing to do in my life so I probably should do it. Or that would be a really good activity to enrich my child's life with so I probably should do that too. Oh, and that would be a good way to fill that need so I'm probably the one who should do that as well.  The thing is, we often aren't necessarily fighting a battle of filling our time with "bad" things.  But rather, there are too many "good" things to fill our time with.  It's not that that sports activity for our kids or that church ministry or that mom's group or that work responsibility or that creative DIY project or that crafty activity lesson for our kids or that social get-together are bad.  They usually aren't bad....they are actually usually all very good things.  So, we end up going through the cafeteria line of life and seeing all these good choices and opportunities and don't pick and chose wisely and end up at the end of the line with a tray piled high with commitments and a schedule that runs us ragged.  It all looked so yummy and good when we were just picking that one item but by the time we get to the end and we've picked 15 good items it's a bit of an overload!  The problem is not necessarily always in what we are doing but how much we are doing and the motivation behind what we are doing.  When we begin to be driven by the desire to be the "poster board woman"...whether wife, single, mom, grandma, employee, whatever....our ship gets off course and we can find ourselves in dangerous waters.  I know, dangerous might sound like a bit of an extreme word....but, if we are being motivated by pride (which all of the superwoman traits really come down to a matter of pride...am I awesome and do others think that as well?) and our own self-worth and we begin to have a life that is so hectic that we don't have time for the true "should-dos" or the things that really should be priorities in our life then it does become dangerous.  Dangerous because we aren't only hurting ourselves, we are hurting those around us as well.  We hurt ourselves because our focus becomes misplaced and we drift further from the shore of God's guidance and wisdom and we hurt others because our calendars are so full that we don't have time for real relationships.  We begin to lose sight of the two things that matter most....Jesus said it Himself in Luke 10:27....Love God above all else and love others with abandon.

We aren't supposed to be focused on how much we can do or how full our plates are or how much more we can pile onto our cafeteria tray.  We are supposed to be focused on who we are in Christ and who He wants us to be in this world.  It's not about "will doing this make others like me or will I make someone upset if I say no?"  It's about "is this what Christ wants me to do in my life in an effort to bring Him more glory."  Am I fulfilling God's to-do list for my life or am I fulfilling mine and everyone else's to-do list for my life?  Just because Julie down the street does elaborate crafts with her kids every morning and sings specials in church every Sunday doesn't mean I need to do that as well.  Yeah...it may be good and right and great for Julie to do those things but that doesn't mean it is something I should be doing also.  And just because Susan always seems so busy but always looks like she's got it all together and has the best hair and the best outfit doesn't mean I need to keep up with that.  Our comparison should not be horizontal....it's supposed to be vertical.  How does my life line up with God's will and am I filling my time with what He wants me to do and am I being motivated by a desire to honor Him above all else?

So how do we shy away from the superwoman syndrome and what's the antidote?  Well...I don't pretend to have all the answers because I'm still learning and growing and changing. But I do have a few tips/truths on how to treat the superwoman syndrome and rid yourself of the ailment.

1.  Check your motivation.  Take some time in prayer with the Lord and ask Him to show you what is motivating you in life.  Why are you making certain decisions and what is your goal?  There will probably be some areas that He will show you that are being motivated by the wrong things.  So then ask Him to forgive you and to help you be motivated solely by a desire to glorify Him in whatever you do.  (1 Corinthians 10:31)

2.  Determine your purpose.  What is the "motto" for your life.  Take some time in prayer and talking with those you trust....husband, parent, close friend...and ask for guidance in determining what it is that you want to drive your life.

3.  Define your main role.  This kind of falls in line with #2 but is more specific.  What is the main role God has placed you in right now.  Is it as a wife?  A mother?  An employee?  This needs to be your #1 focus so it's important to define what role God has you in your life right now.  And remember....there are seasons of life, so our role does not always stay the same.  It changes throughout life.

4.  Decide on your main ministry.  This is similar to #3 but deals more directly with our church-related ministry.  You can't do everything and do it well.  So if you are trying to juggle too many ministries at once then they are all going to suffer in one way or another.  So ask the Lord to guide you in showing you the main way that he wants you to serve Him in His church right now.  That doesn't mean you will only do one thing in the church, it just means that you define what is the one "big thing" you do and there may be other little things that don't require much that you do as well.

5.  Be intentional.
       Once you have laid out the answers to the first 4 points then you can start to make sure your life lines up with those things.  Be intentional about the choices you make, the commitments you fulfill, the activities you add to your schedule and the ministries you participate in.  As you decide on various opportunities, use the filters of your motivation, purpose, role and ministry to determine whether or not you say yes.  If you are saying yes or no to something, what is the motivation behind your answer?  Also, does it add to or take away from your main role?  For example, is it going to detract from your job as mom if you commit to that ministry?  Or is it detracting from family time and relationships if you commit to that social activity?  In addition, when you determine what you main ministry is, commit yourself to that and make sure you aren't spread too thin so that you can't fully invest in that ministry.
     Don't add things to your calendar just to fill it up and say "yes" to everything.  That isn't living intentionally.  Be intentional with the way you fill your time and the choices you make so that you can be sure you are loving God with all your heart, seeking His glory above all else, and loving others with abandon.  It isn't loving to your family to drag them around til you're all exhausted and ragged because you've filled your schedule so full and said "yes" to everyone.  It isn't loving to be so busy that you don't have time to build a relationship with that hurting person.  It isn't loving to be committed to so many ministries and activities so that you are stressed and exhausted and end up taking it out on others.

6.  Stop looking horizontally.  We have to stop comparing ourselves and our lives with those around us.  It does us no good to compare what we are doing or how much we are doing or what we look like or what our lives are like with others.  This will only discourage us and screw up our motivation.  Keep your focus on God and what He has for your life specifically.  There is only one you in exactly your situation.  It doesn't matter how similar someone else's life may seem....they aren't the same so it doesn't matter what they are doing, how much they are doing or how good they are at doing whatever it is they are doing.

7.  Leave margin in your life.  Finally, I would say to make sure you are leaving "white space" in your life.  Our society's pace and way of life has become so fast paced that we have little "down time" and it is unhealthy for our spiritual and physical lives.  Make sure you have down time for yourself as well as your family so that you can re-fill spiritually, emotionally and physically.  Also, if you don't have any empty slots on your calendar then you may not have the opportunity to say yes to something that God brings your way that He wanted your time filled with.  A book I read recently called it the "ministry of availability."  Be available to let God fill your calendars with the ways He wants you to serve Him and others.  In order to do this you have to have open slots in your schedule.

I hope this has been an encouragement as well as a challenge to you all.  I know it has been for me.  We only get this one life to live....we don't get a do-over.  So be intentional about the choices you make, what motivates you and how you fill your time.  Stop trying to be it all and do it all and just be who God wants you to be.  No matter or full or empty your calendar is or how many times you say yes or no, if you live your life with abandon to God, seeking His desire for your life in everything, then I promise you will come to the end of your life and know for sure that it was a life lived with purpose, lived to the fullest.  And it won't matter whether you were superwoman or not.  :)

Super Woman Syndrome, Part 4
Super Woman Syndrome, Part 3
Super Woman Syndrome, Part 2
Super Woman Syndrome, Part 1




Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15


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


1.  Laughing with my son....I love it when we have our own little "inside jokes" and he and I can just start laughing at each other and feed off each other and our laughter is contagious to each other.  It's like our own fun little relationship, like we are sweet friends and we make each other laugh and smile. It fills my heart. :)


2.  The first day of spring summer when I can go outside and get a little sun on my skin!  I love it when it's finally nice enough to go outside and come back in with a little pink on my skin.  Reminds me that summer and tons of fun in the sun are just around the corner! Plus...my poor white skin desperately needs the color! ha!


3.  Hearing my husband and my son laugh when Luke is putting Grahm down for a nap....I can hear them in the other room and they have their own little games they play when Luke puts him down for a nap and they both just belly laugh.  It's such a fun example of the fun and different relationship that dad has with his little boy.


4.  My son signing "mom" for the first time!!....I don't know why it has taken him so long to sign mom..he's signed dad and many other things for a long time.  But he has just been stubborn about catching onto "mom."  But today (now at 16 months)  I opened the car door and he saw my face and started signing mom and it just made my day.  


5.  Late night talks with good friends....there's something about talking late into the night that makes you just kinda open up about everything and have real, candid conversations.  Us and our friends have had some of our best talks into the wee hours of the night....from spiritual matters to political matters to family life matters....it's just good stuff.


6.  God's grace to reveals things to my heart in a new way....You know those times when God just speaks to you in a new way about something in your life?  Maybe something you've struggled with for a long time that He sheds some light on or gives you a new perspective about or maybe a new way of thinking about a particular situation?  I'm thankful that He still speaks to us through His word, His creation and His people....my heart keeps growing and learning everyday because of it.


7.  My husband's love for his son....I couldn't ask for a better dad to my child.  Luke's love for Grahm is so evident and he is such an amazing dad.  He is present, involved, loving, patient, helps with whatever I need, takes the lead in discipline and spends every second he can loving on his son.  There is no doubting how much he loves his son.  


I hope your week has been going well!  Today was our first day getting back into normal life and it was awesome. :)  It was our first night at home with nothing going on in weeks and the first time in a while we got to spend as just the 3 of us.  I'm looking forward to more slowing down and more intentional living.  :)  Have an awesome weekend if I don't make it back on here!


Here's a few pics from our week.......


Grahm LOVES the lawn mower (or as he calls it mo-moa)...he runs to climb onto it every time we go in the garage and his face lights up when dad takes him for a ride around the yard.


Enjoying the beautiful spring weather!  Man this kid is cute...I could eat him up! :)

He is such a boy...he LOVES machines.  He was pushing every button and so excited to sit on the tractor with grandma.  (Don't worry..Grandma wasn't actually driving the tractor. :) )

Grahm's new favorite friend...he goes crazy running and jumping on the big bear.  :)






Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where have I been?

So I know I've been pretty sparse around here.  I wish I'd had more time recently to get on here and write, but I just haven't.  I hope you'll be patient with me and forgive me for being so MIA lately.  Life has just been kinda all over the place since I got home from the C4C conference.  We hosted a couple of girls for a week right when I got back along with being at special meetings every evening at church, then we re-grouped, took a little breath for a few days and went diving head first into Easter weekend...and boy was that a doozey! As I mentioned before, a dear friend passed away last week and we had his funeral this last weekend.  So we had an overload of work Thursday, family night with the Walkers Thursday night, Good Friday service Friday evening, friends after that and then the girls we hosted the week before came back into town and have been staying with us again since Friday, then the funeral Saturday morning, then we headed north to pick up some furniture from some friends that they graciously offered to give us for free, we just had to make the trip to pick it up, got home late Saturday night, went to Easter services Sunday morning and headed straight from there, out of town to my relatives' house to spend the entire day there with family celebrating the day.  We got home late and headed right back into another crazy week on Monday. (whew! That exhausts me just typing it all out!) Luke has been swamped with work (thank you Lord...He is so good to provide, so while we are very overwhelmed with the amount of work, we are so grateful for His provision) and has been working early mornings and late nights.  Then he spent 3 hours at a meeting Monday night talking with some people about a possible ministry opportunity in Malawi (yeah, sounds crazy, I know, but we'll see how the Lord leads. :) ) and then last night we celebrated my mom's birthday with family til late into the evening.  We've had the sweet girls from the Galkin Evangelistic team here all week.  And their whole team has been spending most every evening at our house, chilling and watching movies which we hope was a blessing for them to be able to just hang out and enjoy a little time off. It was fun to have them here and hopefully they felt at home and enjoyed themselves here.  They headed out this morning so we're back to just the 3 of us and Kodiak.  Anyways...I know that many of you have crazy schedules as well so I don't tell any of that to you to get pity or anything...I just wanted to explain a bit why I haven't had anytime to catch up on my blog or with e-mails or anything else.

It's funny, I know it's been forever since I wrote about it so you may have forgotten I was even writing, but I've been working on the Superwoman posts and I'm sitting here struggling with many of the things I've written.  I know there are "seasons" of life where things are just really really busy for a period and that is fine.  But, it is important for us to not let that pace continue and to be intentional about getting things back to a slower pace and making time for things that are our priorities again.  So these last few weeks have just been a season and we'll hopefully be able to intentionally slow down again here in the next few days.  But in the midst of all that I put this crazy dumb guilt on myself about not having time to get on here and write.  I know it's dumb because this is my blog and I write because I enjoy it and it is almost therapeutic for me so it shouldn't matter if I don't have time to write.  But I put this expectation on myself that I have to keep up with it and write regularly because I owe that to the commitment I've made to have a blog.  Yes, it's dumb.  But I worry that if I don't write then people will stop reading (which I don't know why I worry that anyways because I'm not certain that many people read what I write anyways and I write because I enjoy it, not to get a bunch of people to listen to me).  But I do hope that sometimes the Lord might use my words to reach someone who needs to hear them on any given day so I write with the prayer that the Lord will use whatever flows from my hands to speak to someone else.  So if I don't write then I'm not being used and on comes the guilt.  I know that is not true, but again, it's the dumb superwoman tendencies in me getting the best of me.  Plus, I just have so many things I always want to write about, thoughts the Lord brings to mind during the course of a week and I can't wait to type them out so I hate it when I don't have time to do so.  Anyways...I just wanted to be honest and pour out a little bit of my heart to let you know I'm real and I struggle with things and I fail frequently. :)

I hope you'll bear with me and not abandon reading.  I will get back to writing hopefully by the end of this week but I've got to take a few days to just re-group and slow things down and take care of priorities first.  Thanks for your patience and understanding!  I hope your week is going well!



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians  3:17


Easter is an extra special time of year to remember to be thankful.  It is the time of year we spend reflecting on all that our Lord and Savior did for us on the cross in purchasing our salvation and paying our sin debt and all He accomplished when He rose from the dead.  So I'm especially excited to write this week's list....here it goes...


1.  Christ's death on the cross....It's really easy to just remember and say "Christ died on the cross for our sins" but when I really dwell on what Christ endured for my sake it ALWAYS brings me to tears.  Scorning, beating, bruising, abusing, thorns, agonizing pain...He endured it all for our salvation.  What love.......what deep, amazing love that compelled the Creator of the Universe to go to the cross and suffer that horrific death to redeem His creation back.  Words can't describe my gratitude for Christ's sacrifice on my behalf.


2.  The power that was displayed the day Christ died.......one of the parts on the Easter story that always impacts me is the description of what happened across the land as Christ was dying.  There was darkness all over the land for 3 hours, the veil in the temple ripped in half (beautiful symbolism of how we can come directly to God ourselves now), the earth shook and the rocks split open.  There was such power displayed that the people had no doubt now....as they said, "Truly this was the Son of God."  


3.  The love of the Son for His mother....I can't even imagine the pain that Mary endured as she watched her Son be crucified.  She knew from the beginning that Christ was God's son but she still carried Him in her womb, raised Him with her nurture and love, wiped His mouth when it was dirty, kissed His boo-boos when He was hurt, cared for His every need and was His mother.  She loved Him like only a mother could.  And then to have to watch her very own Son be brutally murdered!  But Christ looks at her from the cross and with love, has compassion on Her and tells John to care for her and love her as her son.   I'm so thankful He cared for her mother-heart...it speaks volumes to me of His intimate love and care for what we face in this life.


4.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ!!....none of this would even matter if Christ hadn't risen from the dead.  BUT HE DID!!!! Praise God, Jesus is alive and has conquered death.  I am alive in Christ because He reigns over death and the grave.  I have hope, eternal hope and earthly hope, because I'm trusting in the God of the universe who has conquered death and gives me eternal life.  Everything I am and everything I do and will ever do is always and only because of Christ and His work on the cross and victory over death!


5.  The grace Christ showed to the sinner on the cross....time and again the Bible shows me that God's grace is great enough for all.  From the stories in the Old Testament of saints who failed and screwed up yet still found favor in the sight of the Lord......to the criminal on the cross next to Christ.  The grace He gave shows me that His love and grace are free, boundless and immeasurable.  There truly is nothing we can do to earn God's grace.


6.  Christ's example of mercy......does it blow your mind away, the way it does mine, when you read the verses that talk about Christ asking the Lord to forgive His killers?!  I just can't fathom how He could be hanging on the cross, unjustly, enduring awful ridicule and harassment, suffering horrific pain....yet still look at the people who were crying, "Crucify Him!" and have eyes of mercy, love and compassion.  I struggle to forgive someone who hurts my feelings, but Christ pleaded for forgiveness for His killers.  It just shows me I can barely even begin to comprehend the depths of His mercy.


7.  Christ's example of submitting to the Father's will......Christ was fully God while He walked this earth as a human.  He had the power to take Himself off the cross and destroy His murderers.   And the Bible clearly shows that Christ agonized over what He was going to have to endure on the cross.  Drops of blood and sweat flowed from His brow as He prayed in anguish in the garden just before He was arrested.  He prayed for this horrible ordeal to not have to happen......He fully experienced the pain of dying and being separated from the Father.  Yet He endured the cross and submitted to the Father's will because of "the joy that was set before Him."  The joy of our salvation.  What an awesome example of following the Father's will no matter what and of sacrificial love on the behalf of undeserving subjects.  


I could go on and on about my gratitude to the Lord for all that Easter is and all that is stands for.  I am free from eternal separation from God and a horrendous eternity in hell because Christ sacrificed His life to take my place and offer the free gift of salvation.  I owe all of me to Him, anything less would be a disgrace.  If you haven't accepted God's gift of salvation, I hope this Easter season causes you to think about what Christ's death on the cross means for you.  Please message me if you want to know more about accepting His offer of salvation...it's free and it's being offered to you, right where you are, no matter who you are or what you've done.  You will never regret giving your life to Jesus but you will most certainly regret not giving it over, of that there is no doubt.  


Also, I know there is a lot of fun, cute stuff about the Easter season....the eggs, the bunnies, the candy, the Easter outfits....but I plead with you, please stop and bring the focus back to where it should be...Christ and His death, burial and resurrection.  He deserves nothing but our best and our all so let's give it to Him instead of to the man-made traditions that have replaced the true meaning of Easter.  The king of Heaven left His throne to die on the cross for you, let that impact you this Easter season instead of the trappings of this world.  


Happy Easter!





Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Adoption Update and Re-vamped Furniture

So God was awesome yesterday and answered some big prayers and I couldn't be more excited about it!!  Luke and I got our appointment letter to have our fingerprints done for USCIS about a week ago.  Our appointment wasn't for another 3 weeks or so but we had been told we could hurry along the process and try to do a walk-in at USCIS to have our fingerprints done early.  Well, the fingerprint appointment was at the USCIS office 2 hrs away from where we live.  So we knew we weren't going to be able to give it multiple shots at doing a walk-in.  So we decided we would give it one shot and if we weren't able to get in, we would just wait until our set appointment date.  Well, we made all of the arrangements to get a sitter for the wee one and we coordinated our schedules so that Luke could see houses (he does appraisals in the same city where our fingerprint appt was) and we could make time to sit at the USCIS office and wait to get a walk-in appointment yesterday. (God's providence #1, helping us make the necessary arrangements to leave town for a day)  It turns out, Luke had a lot of houses to see yesterday and we were headed to the middle of nowhere at about 12:30 when we realized we were running out of time and not going to give ourselves a good enough chance at getting in to have our fingerprints done.  We didn't even know when the USCIS office closed (mistake #1) and so we pulled over in the middle of nowhere really quickly and looked it up (thank goodness for smart phones!  They do have value!) and found out the office closed at 3:30 yesterday!! (God's providence #2...making us aware of what time the office closed before it was too late)  At the rate we were going we weren't going to make it there until about 3 and therefore not have much of a chance to get our fingerprints done.  So we decided we needed to take the risk of backtracking over an hour and head back towards the USCIS office and sit and wait in hopes of them letting us in.  Remember, they could reject us and not allow us to get them done early and force us to wait until our set appointment date.  So the day would have been a waste and especially the hour long detour to backtrack and go off course and off schedule to make it to the office with sufficient time.  We got to the office at about 1:30 and walked in about 15 minutes before a FLOOD of people walked in. (God's providence #3, us walking in in just enough time to beat the crowd)  We walked up to the window and very sweetly told the "fingerprint-er" "We have an appointment to have our fingerprints done for our adoption but it is not for a couple of weeks.  However, we are from out of town and happen to be in town today, would you please let us get them done today?"   He raised his eyebrows and gave a "huff" and winced before he finally said, "Ok, I guess we can get it done, put your papers here and hurry in." (God's providence #4)  I was ecstatic!!!  Our trip was worth it and we were able to have our fingerprints done early and be one step closer in this whole process!!  I'm so thankful that the Lord worked it out for us and allowed us to speed up the process a little bit.  So now we wait to receive our approval letter from USCIS and then we put everything together to send off our dossier!!  We are so close to finally being on the wait list! One step closer to bring our child home and I can't wait! :)

On a completely different note.....I've got an awesome DIY for you all!  I have had a few pieced of furniture I've been wanting to re-do for a while now.  I have even had the supplies to re-do them since last fall!  But I just haven't had the time to get around to actually completing the project....I know you all have projects like that too, right?!  Well, this last weekend I got a couple of the pieces done and I LOVE how they turned out so I can't wait to share them with you!

One vital piece of info for you all on this project...one of the pains of re-finishing furniture is the hassle of having to sand it down before you can paint over it.  Well, thanks to my dear friend Nikki and the beauty of pinterest (what did I do without you pinterest?! ;) ) I found a product that is a cover stain that allows you to re-do furniture without having to sand it all down!!  Hallelujah!  So what's the magic product??....


I found it in the paint section at Lowes and it cost somewhere between $15-$18, I can't remember. But it did not take very much at all to cover my furniture so I still have a mostly full can...so this stuff will last a LONG time...watch out furniture cause I may be re-doing everything in my house!!


Alright....here are the before and afters.....

My sweet friend, Becky, found this chair for me last summer at a yard sale.  It cost all of $1!  I was so excited when she found it because it matches our dining table chairs really well and I wanted it for the desk in our kitchen, which is right next to the dining table.  It was pretty worn and tattered...the paint was scratched off and the cushion and fabric were ripped and pretty much disgusting. 


This table is in our living room as a side table.  It is just a boring old black table...nothing too special. We've had it for several years. 

And...drum roll please.........................



Ta Da!  Here is the new chair!  I painted it with the cover stain (1 coat) and then after that dried I used a gray paint for the chair..2 coats.  I removed the seat and took off the old padding and fabric and glued on a new foam pad and stapled on this adorable mustardy print that matched the gray perfectly!  I just LOVE how it turned out!  After it was done I painted over it with a sealer since it's in a high traffic area and will be used a lot.  


Just lovely! :)

And........

The new table!  I did the same thing as the chair, used the cover stain and then painted over that with an olive green paint that matched the cabinets in our kitchen.  After I did that I sanded the edges to give it a bit of a rustic look.  Then I put a seal on it as well.


It looks perfect in our living room!  Couldn't have turned out better!

So hopefully that gives you all inspiration to tackle the furniture re-do you have been putting off.  I love how mine turned out and can't wait to tackle some more!  In fact there are 2 pieces in the garage with a coat of cover stain already on them! :)  

Happy Wednesday!




Monday, April 2, 2012

When There are No More Tomorrows...

Today was a sad day.  A dear friend, mentor and wise old sage passed away.  He meant a lot to my heart and was such a special man.  He taught my geometry class in high school and that was a year I will never forget.  My class shared so many laughs with him and so many good memories.  He went to my church and still, to this day, he would stop me each Sunday and joke and smile and laugh and usually bring up a good memory from that year of geometry.  Ah, he was a special man and he will be dearly missed.  Many tears will be cried by many people over the loss of his life.

Death almost always causes us to stop and think about life and what's important and I just want to remind you all of the things I thought of today as I mourned the death of Mr. Galkin.  None of us knows when we will take our last breath.  None of us knows when there will be no more tomorrows.  So are we living to make the most of today?  I think about how much it must hurt for Mr. Galkin's children and his wife to not have another opportunity to hug him and tell him they love him.  But what about those of us who still have our loved ones alive?  Are we taking every opportunity we have to let them know we love them?  We never know when the last time we get the chance to love on those we hold dear will be, the last time to say "I love you," the last time to hug them and make sure they know how we feel, the last time to laugh with them, the last time to put a smile on their face, the last time to cherish who they are and let them know they are special, the last time to be sure they know we are grateful they are in our lives.  I know I don't want my last moments with those I love to be filled with pain, hurt, irritation, anger or unkindness.  We only get so many moments together so why waste them with unkind words, selfish attitudes, and hurtful actions?  When it all boils down to it, does it really matter?  Shouldn't we just cover each other in love, be quick to forgive and live in a way that shows we are grateful God has placed us in each other's lives?  Instead of complaining about having to clean up after your loved ones one more time be grateful they are there to make a mess, instead of resenting the way they may have inconvenienced you be grateful they are still in your life, be grateful you still get to see their face and speak to them one more time.  It's so easy to forget, but really, life is short and there isn't enough time to waste it on actions and attitudes that are unloving.  So kiss the ones you love today, hug them and squeeze them like there is no tomorrow, tell them with your words and your actions that you love them, be grateful if you get to crawl into bed tonight next to the one you love, call up your friends and family and be sure they know you are grateful God has placed them in your life.  There's no point in wasting anymore time.

And as far as our own lives go, are we living in such a way that we would be satisfied if today was the day we took our last breath?  We tend to live like we are invincible and like there will always be a tomorrow...but one day there will be no more tomorrows.  When that day comes, will you be pleased with the way you've lived your life?  Are you making the most of the time God has given you on this earth?  I know I've said it before, but the purpose of our life is to glorify God and enjoy Him fully...so are we taking every moment as an opportunity to fulfill our purpose?  Could you take your last breath today and be confident that you did your best to live for Christ while you walked this earth?  We only get this one life...this one, short, fragile life....we don't get a "do-over"....and soon, before we know it, we will come to the end of our life and we will either be weary and exhausted from running this race hard and passionately for our God, or we will look back and have little to look on and little to show for the years we spent on this earth.  What's more, if today was the day you took your last breath, are you prepared to meet your Creator?  Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Have you given your life Christ and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, receiving His free gift of forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Heaven?  If not, I plead with you to do so.  Don't waste another minute...it just may be your last.

I know this is can all be a bit depressing but it's worth thinking about.  Don't waste another minute..live and love with abandon...complete abandon to God.  It's the only way to live and the only way to take one last breath and know that life was well lived.

I'm so thankful Mr. Galkin is home with his Lord and Savior today but also so sad that we will no longer get to see his smiling face here on earth again.  He will be dearly missed.  Please keep his family in your prayers if you think about it, I know they would appreciate it.

Now go hug those you love and don't take another minute for granted.



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