Saturday, September 2, 2017

Scholarship opportunities for Caleb

One of Caleb's new part time jobs is looking for scholarships for his time at Concordia.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to work towards graduating with the least amount of debt possible.  Occasionally he needs to post things online... so here is his essay on how to establish a good credit score:)  It is never to early to think about that.  Have a great day!

It is never too early to consider establishing a good credit score.  As a college freshman I haven’t often faced situations where I need a good credit score , but I know that now is the time to start to lay the ground work for the great credit score that will be essential for so many different plans I will want to accomplish in just a few short years.  When I graduate college I will want to buy a car, rent an apartment, or purchase my first home.  To make these dreams possible I plan to pay all my bills on time every month, keep my credit utilization low, not open more accounts than I need to, keep my accounts open for as long as possible, and check my credit reports annually to take care of any mistakes or inaccuracies that I might find on them.  If I am willing to put forth the work now, I will reap the benefits before too long.  According to Nerd Wallet.com, getting a Credit builder loan could also help me establish good credit. (Nerd Wallet, How to Build Credit) This is something I plan on looking into as it will do just that, build my credit in a forced savings program of sorts.  



I actually found it difficult to get my own credit card when I turned 18.  I was moving to different state for a couple of months for a job and called numerous companies.  It was challenging to get these companies to give me a chance because I hadn’t established any credit before.  I ended up becoming an authorized user on my brother’s account, and within a few months I was able to open my own account.  I have been diligent on paying off my bills every single month and have made that a rule for myself; that I will never charge something if I can’t afford to pay for it right now.  Many feel like credit cards are free money, but in essence they are far from that. I don’t want to ever end up paying extra in interest and fees. I have 6 younger siblings and feel that it is imperative that in today’s current culture of over spending and poor money management, that I can be good example to them in how to be financially responsible at a young age. 


According to CreditRepair.com another thing to be aware of is that often there may be many negative items on ones credit report that may not even be legitimate or could have been inaccurately reported in the first place. (Credit Repair, disputes/bureaus)  It is essential that these negative items be disputed, removed, and the credit report fixed as soon as possible.  It also is imperative that as one needs to repair their credit, that they do their research and search out a reputable company.  They must be established and have their clients best interest at heart. Sadly, there are many companies out there that will look for opportunities to take advantage of their clients who are already possibly in a vulnerable situation.  (Lexington Law, credit repair companies legitimate)

Even still there are many individuals that are needing the help of credit repair companies.  These companies are doing amazing work to repair people’s credit.  In 2016 alone, The Lexington Law company assisted it clients in removing an incredibly large number, 9,000,000 to be exact, of terrible items off individual’s credit reports.  (Lexington Law, credit repair service results) This is unfathomable to me. I plan to work hard at establishing my good credit and then doing everything within my power to keep my credit in good standing. But bad credit and low credit scores are a real life problem for so many in our nation. I am thankful that these companies exist to help individuals who are willing to do that hard work in repairing their credit.  They are helping to make a brighter finacial future possible for so many people. 


  • Even still there are many individuals that are needing the help of credit repair companies.  These companies are doing amazing work to repair people’s credit.  In 2016 alone, The Lexington Law company assisted it clients in removing an incredibly large number, 9,000,000 to be exact, of terrible items off individual’s credit reports.  (Lexington Law, credit repair service results) This is unfathomable to me. I plan to work hard at establishing my good credit and then doing everything within my power to keep my credit in good standing. But bad credit and low credit scores are a real life problem for so many in our nation. I am thankful that these companies exist to help individuals who are willing to do that hard work in repairing their credit.  They are helping to make a brighter finacial future possible for so many people.I actually found it difficult to get my own credit card when I turned 18.  I was moving to different state for a couple of months for a job and called numerous companies.  It was challenging to get these companies to give me a chance because I hadn’t established any credit before.  I ended up becoming an authorized user on my brother’s account, and within a few months I was able to open my own account.  I have been diligent on paying off my bills every single month and have made that a rule for myself; that I will never charge something if I can’t afford to pay for it right now.  Many feel like credit cards are free money, but in essence they are far from that. I don’t want to ever end up paying extra in interest and fees. I have 6 younger siblings and feel that it is imperative that in today’s current culture of over spending and poor money management, that I can be good example to them in how to be financially responsible at a young age. 
    I actually found it difficult to get my own credit card when I turned 18.  I was moving to different state for a couple of months for a job and called numerous companies.  It was challenging to get these companies to give me a chance because I hadn’t established any credit before.  I ended up becoming an authorized user on my brother’s account, and within a few months I was able to open my own account.  I have been diligent on paying off my bills every single month and have made that a rule for myself; that I will never charge something if I can’t afford to pay for it right now.  Many feel like credit cards are free money, but in essence they are far from that. I don’t want to ever end up paying extra in interest and fees. I have 6 younger siblings and feel that it is imperative that in today’s current culture of over spending and poor money management, that I can be good example to them in how to be financially responsible at a young age.

    According to CreditRepair.com another thing to be aware of is that often there may be many negative items on ones credit report that may not even be legitimate or could have been inaccurately reported in the first place. (Credit Repair, disputes/bureaus)  It is essential that these negative items be disputed, removed, and the credit report fixed as soon as possible.  It also is imperative that as one needs to repair their credit, that they do their research and search out a reputable company.  They must be established and have their clients best interest at heart. Sadly, there are many companies out there that will look for opportunities to take advantage of their clients who are already possibly in a vulnerable situation.  (Lexington Law, credit repair companies legitimate)

    Even still there are many individuals that are needing the help of credit repair companies.  These companies are doing amazing work to repair people’s credit.  In 2016 alone, The Lexington Law company assisted it clients in removing an incredibly large number, 9,000,000 to be exact, of terrible items off individual’s credit reports.  (Lexington Law, credit repair service results) This is unfathomable to me. I plan to work hard at establishing my good credit and then doing everything within my power to keep my credit in good standing. But bad credit and low credit scores are a real life problem for so many in our nation. I am thankful that these companies exist to help individuals who are willing to do that hard work in repairing their credit.  They are helping to make a brighter finacial future possible for so many people.
     finacial future possible for so many people.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Big steps... Big missing... What God whispers...

Big changes around this house... Big missing happening in our hearts...
But at the same time big joy and thankfulness abounds as well!

And God is so sweet to whisper things to my heart that give my heart the perspective it needs... He is so good...

If I am completely honest, I am a nostalgic one.  Ever since I knew Caleb would be heading to OK for half the summer, I was counting down with last dinners, last family movie nights, last day of work, last family devotions, even last laundry folding night ... In my heart, wanting to savor every single thing and soak up each moment committing it to memory...

That goodbye when he left for OK back in May was brutal... once you have a child in heaven, things look a little different, you think different things, and truth be told during that last hug goodbye before he left for OK, I couldn't help but wonder if I would get the chance to hug him again this side of heaven... Actually, I made him get out of the car... to get one more hug from him... I know that might sound crazy, but I know how quickly life in an instant can change and be completely different from what you were expecting.

But oh how God used that time in OK and other promptings that I know HE gave to me to prepare my heart for Caleb to head to college this fall...

And that is just what he did last Friday...

But let me back up just a touch... I had wondered how on earth I would leave this kid at college and just walk away... leaving half my heart there... But God was so good to give me something that just put it all in perspective for me..

Let me first of all say that I am 100% thrilled for him... am so thankful for where he is, who his roommates are, and I know that this is a wonderful amazingly great place for Caleb to be... It seriously is such a great fit for him!  I am SO excited for all God has in store for him and I know he is going to do great and have an amazing time!!!!

But let me also say that the hurt leaving a child at college brings about is real too:) And I knew I was going to need help from God to process and get through that part!  (Keeping it real:) For me the sadness comes because I know in my heart it is the end of the ways things have been... Things will NEVER  be the same... but I also know it is the start of a lot of really great things too...

When I dropped Caleb off at the airport last Monday...(He had the amazing opportunity to go back to OK to see his girlfriend, her sweet family, and to see a really great concert.  He couldn't pass it up:) Him going meant we would pick him up from Milwaukee Friday with the van packed full of his stuff and head right for CUW from there.
"When I dropped him at the airport last Monday... I literally cried the whole way home... Oh man my heart ached knowing his time at home, the way it has been, was over... I was SO sad...

And this is where God showed up for me in such a special way...

It seriously was in that exact same moment that I thought, "How am I going to just drop him there at school and walk away from him...?", That God whispered this to my heart...

"But you get to!"

It is so so true... I really do get to!!

Immediately, I knew what God wanted me to hold onto... I get to have a front row seat to watch all that Caleb will experience in the coming years in college... I will get to see him shine in his studies, on the soccer friend, in relationships...

I will also maybe get to see the challenges he goes through, some struggles he may face, maybe even some failures along the way...

But it 100% is a privilege to GET TO witness this time in his life.  There are many families who won't get to see their child walk, talk, get their first job, go to college... I won't ever  get to see Samuel experience any of that... Not a single one of us is guaranteed tomorrow.  And as much as it is sad for me to not have him here, I keep reminding myself that I am so very blessed to GET TO be a part of Caleb's life right now... It is an honor and privilege and I am so very grateful!


So when I did drop Caleb off at Concordia University on Friday, Greg was on the other side of the world, literally... in Poland...  My heart has been preparing to take our first child going away to school on my own... Well not really, seeing as how I had 6 of the best little helpers/siblings joining me.  (Thankfully I also had a dear friend who was able to help us get Caleb's car up there as well... which also made the ride back SO much better to have a friend along!)


When we picked him up at the Milwaukee airport, I was so thankful for a 30 minute drive with him all to myself to catch up, get in my last bits of mom advice, and soak him in...

Here he is in front of his dorm with the kids (not sure why the photos are so blurry:(



Moving in and getting all unpacked... sweet Jojo, so tenderhearted... it was a hard day for him... 


So the band aid of dropping him off, literally got ripped off in a hurry!!!  We unpacked him, got him all settled, and then I had to head to a parent meeting for soccer from 1-2.  The whole team of boys (all his brand new friends:) showed up a few minutes before for their team meeting that was from 2-3... Literally I got a quick hug from him, and "I love you!" and off they all went into the meeting room... My brain was thinking... "That is it?  I sort of think that the coach plans it that way... ouch!!!

There was no way I was going to be a blubbering hot mess in front of his new coaches and teammates... although it took everything in me... :)

We miss Caleb so much!  I even miss seeing his beater JEEP in the driveway... The house seems quieter, there is less food to be made, it is just different... my steady eddy is no longer here...

But at the same time, I know he is doing great there at school, enjoying his roommates, and settling into the soccer routine.  I know he is really enjoying it!

And I know there will be a different kind of sweetness here at home... One that we all will get used to in time... I am so very thankful that God walks right with us through the amazingly difficult and beautiful times in life! And I couldn't be prouder of Caleb:)

And I am so thankful that I get to... 
It is such a great reminder to my heart of all the sweet little blessings and challenges that we are blessed to be able to experience each day... even the laundry, dishes, child training... every bit is really a privilege:)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Sweet Birthday Surprise for Levi Ryan!

I have a precious friend from FMSC who happens to be one of the luckiest (blessed) people I know...

She wins more contests than any other I know... And we were so blessed to be on the receiving end of one of her sweet WINS:)

Meet my friend Alyssa... We work every Monday together and not long ago when it was her birthday, I had 120 of our closest FMSC volunteer friends sing to her... I introduced her as one of the most generous people I know... I meant it...If there is a task, she willingly takes it on, and generously gives from her heart.  Whether it is cupcakes for my parties, games for my littles, or sweet birthday surprises...  She is always giving...

She knows how much Levi loves the CUBS so she entered a drawing at her local library for 4 tickets to a cubs game... She said people were buying up tons of tickets...

She bought her 1 ticket, said a prayer for Levi... and BAM!!! She was the winner:)

And then she told me she wanted to give the tickets to Levi for his birthday... I DIED!!! 


Here we are together with the amazing basket she created for Levi to give to him on his birthday... Did I mention she is incredibly talented and creative... Seriously, she is so artistically gifted... something I am not... so I love it!

One of the reasons Levi Ryan's  love for the cubs is so special to us, is that his biological dad Ryan was a CUBS lover.  He had Cystic Fibrosis and was even chosen to throw out the first pitch at a CUBS game when he was little... I couldn't wait to take Levi to a game... 



A big Happy Birthday to Levi as he was unwrapping all of the goodies in his basket, CUBS W car flags, chocolate, fan finger, T-shirt, and more:)  He was thrilled!


Last Sunday, game day FINALLY arrived.  Levi was able to pick who he was going to take with to the game. Unfortunately Greg had an injury the day before so Jojo got to take his spot, and Anna had never been to a game so she came too:) 

We battled the Chicago traffic to the free bus shuttle and made our way to Historic Wrigley Field!  What an atmosphere!  It is such a special place!


And what a game it was!  13-5 Cubbie win for the books! It was such a fun game to watch!  


Levi enjoying some cotton candy while Anna and Jojo were enjoying the game:) I seriously, loved watching them all have so much fun!  It was the perfect distraction and pick me up after a tearful goodbye to Caleb as he headed to OK for 6 weeks... 


One of the most precious parts of the day was seeing Levi as we found Ryan's brick outside Wrigley Field!  Ryan's mom had told me a rough area of where it was, and it was surprisingly easy to find!  I look forward to the day when Levi will understand more of who his bio dad was and how his life came into being. 

 I remember before we adopted Levi as an embryo, I was talking with a dear friend... She loves us deeply and walked closely with me through everything we had been through with the stillbirth of Samuel, the stillbirth of baby Joel (the baby we were going to adopt) 8 mos. later, and my miscarriage.  She sweetly said, "If you do get pregnant, no one would have to know this baby was adopted???"  

I immediately replied, "I couldn't do it. If a baby was conceived, how could I keep that miracle to myself?"  It would be a part of that child's story, and something that deserved to be told  


I still feel that way, and Sunday was another full circle moment for me...


It is like God smacks me over the head in these moments... "Do not miss the miracle of this moment Sara!!" 

This brick at Levi's feet with Ryan's birth and death date, was lovingly placed there by a family missing their son, brother, father, and husband...  Ryan...

And there Levi sits, with that same brick at his feet... This living breathing Levi Ryan... 

 His WHOLE life made possible by this sweet man, our donor mom, AND AN AMAZING GOD WHO IS SO FAITHFUL through it all! 

It seriously blows me away...

What a miracle and what a special day it was!

So friends, don't miss the miracle of the moments that God gives you as well...

 I pray all of our eyes are wide open so we can take in and appreciate all the sweet blessings God has for us to take hold of each day! 









Thursday, March 23, 2017

Trip south part 1

It has been a couple of weeks, more like a month, since we returned from our trip south... and yes I STILL HAVE BAGS TO UNPACK... 

Taking a crew like ours on a trip takes weeks of prepping and weeks to recover from... but we are always thankful we went... 

We are hopefully on the upswing after a week of sickness ( a little bit of stomach and a whole lot of fevers and coughing)  All the while, we had our 6 nieces and nephews here... Those poor kids... It probably wasn't the most fun week for them and I am praying that they don't all catch what we had :(   Not the welcome home I wanted to give my sister... They did get a lot of cousin time, but we weren't able to venture out a whole bunch... Thankful for family time none the less... And today, I am off the couch after my 103.3 fever yesterday and feel SOOOO much better, Thank God~

So even though I haven't even had a chance to post any holiday pictures...  (Blogging just hasn't been top on the priority list as I work on 2 kids with college applications/scholarships, homeschooling, working, church, MEND, trying to keep a large home running, babies, toddlers and everything in between...)  I wanted to get a chance to document our trip south...


After of course an almost an all nighter on my part trying to get everyone packed and the house sort of cleaned up, (because that is what always occurs before a trip around this house) we headed out with both vans to head towards Oklahoma!  We sold our old white van to a friend from our old church... It was fast and furious while there seeing lots of wonderful friends... 


Goodbye old white... you served us so well!  We brought home 4 kids in you!  (That is a CRAZY thought to me... half of our kids)


Most of the Tiews and Hintz kids... missing the oldest few... What a gift to see friends from 20 some years ago... They were in our very first small group as a married couple.  Lula is the best cook on the planet and the visiting was wonderful for us and the kids!  It was so sweet to be able to pick up right where you left off... And so sweet to see the kids do the same... Treasured friends... Such a gift!


Jojo and sweet Lilly... friends for life!


Anna had such a sweet bond with our neighbor in Oklahoma Miss Barbara... They used to sit on her back porch and visit daily and literally Anna cried knowing she would get to go see her on this trip... so so sweet!  I remember before Miss Barbara's house was sold to her, I would literally pray for the right person to buy it... and she was for JUST THE RIGHT PERSON.  Someone who could handle the noise of a lot of wild kids and wouldn't mind toys strewn everywhere:)  When we would return from vacation, she literally said that she had missed the noise... We miss her:) She was the gift of a perfect Oklahoma neighbor!


The kids of River Bend South... We were so grateful that kind neighbors agreed to open up their home for  a quick gathering of our old neighbors... I am one to ALWAYS get to know my neighbors, and we really had special  ones in OK... It was such a treat to visit and let the kids run around together... These friends have the most AMAZING yard full of fun things for kids... It was so sweet to watch the all explore together like old times... Another gift!


Sweet Host Shelley and dear friend Tricia... That Faust crew is ALWAYS so very gracious to allow the Hintz crew to barge right in, take over, eat them out of house and home, and in the midst of it all shower us with love and affection!  We are so grateful!  We were so blessed to hang out with these small group friends and catch up on all the details of life... so so needed!  Man, I miss my ladies lunches and times together... this was  another huge gift to my heart!


After Oklahoma, I headed to Dallas for the leadership Conference for MEND... The picture above is when we gathered at the closing at the Garden of Hope for Prayer and singing.  It was so special... the Leadership Conference was different in many ways than most years. It is the 20th Anniversary year for MEND and it was a blessing to my heart to see how this ministry, that HUGELY blessed me in my heartbreak, all began.  It is always a gift to be with those that truly understand and to share a mission to help others through their time of hurt.  Focusing on others needs always helps your own heart. 


While I was in Dallas, the kids and Greg shared a couple extra days with GRANDMA AND GRANDPA HINTZ in Houston... What a treat for them!  I joined them Sunday morning and we were so blessed to be able to celebrate Hope's 8th Birthday with Texas family... including GRANDPA and GRANDMA HINTZ, Aunt Moge and family, as well as Aunt Lisa, Uncle Dale, Maddie, and Megs.  It was a party Hope was so happy to enjoy! She even got her pick of cakes... strawberry with strawberry frosting!



We had delicious Texas Barbecue, played lots of games of old maid with Grandma and Grandpa Hintz, enjoyed sweet time visiting Great Granny, played yard games, and really cherished the time that we had together.  Louis was even able to make a special trip, on his own dime, to fly down to see his grandparents between his Feed My Starving Children Mobile pack events.  It was so nice to be together... a gift to our family heart! Unfortunately, we took this picture before Louis arrived... otherwise it had everyone in it:)



More friends like family!   Some of our first and dearest couple friends from when we were first married, the Stocktons.  So much talking and catching up... We share much in common with kids going to college for the first time this coming fall, homeschooling, and precious friendships... Mary is one I always go to, to glean from her knowledge and wisdom... She is a superstar homeschooling mom and never does ANYTHING halfway... I often wonder where she finds the energy or time... But she does it all with beauty, grace, and a loving and JOYFUL heart for her friends and the Lord... an inspiration to me for sure!  Sweet life long friends... a real gift!


And then we were off to Louisiana... part 2... 

Maybe by the time I get to posting that... I will have our bags unpacked... :)


Hello Chicago friends!!! 

Many friends don't know that MEND is completely run by volunteers. 

Many also don't realize that all of the support we provide to grieving families through hospital brochures, newsletters, flowers, cards, care bags, support groups etc. are all paid for through donations. 

Please consider attending our first MEND Chicagoland fundraiser, PAINTING WITH A PURPOSE. Our very own talented Joanna Koopman Eden will be our painting instructor for our Painting with a Purpose night. 

Snacks and drinks will be provided and you will have the opportunity to go home with a beautiful painting made by you:)

Please feel free to share on your personal pages of social media or with others who might like to support MEND. To RSVP comment here or email Saraann@mend.org

Thanks so much!! 


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sweet Jojo


This is one of my favorite pictures of Jojo and Greg from our time at the seminary...  Our sweet lil' toe head! 











Our steady Eddy, hard working, good natured, sometimes wild, kayak loving,  harmony singing, hilarious, smart Elijah Thomas! 

We can not believe that this young man is 12!  The days can be long... but the years fly by!  He is an absolute Joy to raise!  He is my helper, my go to... I know that he will willingly help with almost anything... and do it with a joyful heart!  He is the calm before the storm of the 4 littles... 

I always say that between 12 and 14 are the game changing years... and I know we are on the cusp of that with Jojo... 2 years down the road he is going to look totally different... 

But for now we treasure every single moment of life with Jojo as a part of it! THANKFUL, THANKFUL, THANKFUL is what I feel!  We prayed for a child and God answered with Jojo!  I am so thankful that God saw fit to give us this precious child and I pray that he continues to draw him closer to himself every day! May he be a mighty warrior for our Jesus! 



Tuesday, February 21, 2017

And just like that... she is 8!


Anna and Hope June 2011... Awwww... where has the time gone?  

And just like that, our Hopie girl turned 8! 

            

HOPE: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence... to expect... 

When we were waiting for a child after Samuel died... We were grieving with Hope... waiting with Hope... and Waiting for Hope!   We were expecting that if it was in His will, the Lord would add to our family through adoption and He answered with our Hopie girl!

She is full of spunk... and a whole lot more... Raising her has taught us a lot and taught us that there is so much about parenting that we don't know or understand...

She were able to spend her birthday with out of town relatives so that was especially fun for her!

We are so thankful that God chose us to be her family!  Adoption is such a gift and has changed our family in so many ways.  We are in awe of all that He has done for us and through Hope's life so far.

 Our prayer for her is that she will seek HIM always, that she will follow him closely and know that she is deeply loved by him and us... That she will always know her life has great value,she was created with a great life purpose, and that she will trust him with her future!