Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer nights

While the big kids are at youth group Jojo and I try to have some fun with the 5 littles.

We are so blessed by all of the great places to explore and enjoy practically right in our own back yard.  We literally walked about a quarter of a mile to this park area.  The kids loved watching the swans and ducks... as well as the people!  The highlight was catching frogs.

Jojo even said it was better than walking to Oberweis for icecream... now that is saying something!




Summer is passing by way too quickly.  Some of our friends are back in school... most go back on Monday and we are putting it off and going to enjoy summer for two more weeks.  Seriously, the kids and I even considered doing school six days a week to have a really long nice summer next year... we will see how that plays out...

But truly, it flies by entirely too quickly!  So we are going to cherish the last two weeks of playing, swimming at the pool, going for walks, and just spending time together!




Is she yummy or what!  Seriously, this girl is pure JOY!


The boys enjoying the park on campus... Isaiah has earned the nick name Kamikaze this summer... He is wild at the pool, wild at the lake, wild in the house... just down right wild a lot of the time... But I think Jojo might give him a little competition jumping off the swings:)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

In honor...

There has been so much hurt directly affecting people close to me the last couple of weeks.  And literally after hearing of the 4th death in a two day time frame while at FMSC prior to our prayer time... I broke...

Those lost are not even people I know... Yet those I know and love are hurting deeply... so I hurt...
That is one thing that losing Samuel taught me... empathy...
Grieve with those that grieve, rejoice with those that rejoice... people don't have to hurt alone... We can help shoulder that burden...
My heart hurts for those that hurt...

This past Saturday we packed in honor of the Pals family... When the slide was up on the screen as I set up for orientation... it was almost too much... too much hurt... One amazing family wiped out in a moment... All at once... Read this amazing article that was written on the FMSC blog and take a moment to pray for their families... She says it all so well...

‘Now I Know in Part….’

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“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Death and life. Hunger and fulfillment. Sorrow and joy. At Feed My Starving Children, we wade in the mire of these dichotomies daily.

We know that more than 6,000 children a day die from hunger related causes. We grieve. We take action. We hope. We do it all again the next day.

We are about life, despite so often being surrounded by death.

This week we lost one of our own. Jamison Pals was a grant writer for FMSC for the past three years. He left us in April to pursue missions in Japan with his family. While here, he touched countless lives. He was about to touch countless more through ministry in Japan.

Not only were we inspired as staff by his heart for Christ, but thousands upon thousands of children will live because of the work he did as a grant writer.

He died with his family on a road in Nebraska. His wife, Kathryne. His two toddlers, Ezra and Violet. A two-month-old infant named Calvin. The thought is almost incomprehensible.

kathryne

We are grieving with the families of Jamison and Kathryne. But we are not without comfort and hope — this is the wonder and the miracle of a life with Christ.

We know from God’s word that there is a time for everything “and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

kiddos

Good and gracious God,

May we take time to mourn, to grieve.

Thank you for your grace — that there is room for questioning and anger in grief.

And that sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Be near to us as we walk the line between sorrow and joy every day.

Thank you for Jamison, Kathryne, Ezra, Violet and Calvin.

Thank you for the thousands of children who eat MannaPack Rice™ and the volunteers and donors who make it possible.

Thank you for the comfort and healing from your presence, and we humbly ask for more of it now.

Amen.

After traveling to the Dominican Republic with FMSC, Jamison wrote a blog post about fatherhood. He closed with this verse:

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12




Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer



Summer is absolutely flying by at the speed of lightning!!!  Way too fast for me!:(  

I think we may not start our school till after labor day just so we can soak up a bit more of summer!  I think with teaching last year I was a bit behind even before summer began... 

It has been pretty non stop, especially for the big boys... In the above picture they were getting ready to leave for the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans.  They loved it... worshipping with 25,000 other Christian youth.  We were so happy they had the opportunity to go.  Literally, they were home for 3 days and off they went to Haiti!  


My sister and crew were up from St. Louis just for a day visit... But it was really special!  It is always a treat to spend time together... even if it is far too short!  The kids loved the toilet bowl slide at the pool.  We have spent countless hours there... It has been a perfect summer weather wise:)


Hope and Eli chatting it up... They discovered they really could get married since she is adopted... The conversations were hilarious!


Sweet baby Kaliyah Joy and her old man face... She was passed out cold at the pool.  She has been such a great sport... Goes with the flow and seriously is the happiest baby whether it is hanging at the pool or inside in her exersaucer she is a joyful baby! 
We were so blessed by this perfect little baby!


My two biggest helpers while the big 3 men are in Haiti!  They have been amazing!  I literally don't know what I would do with out them!  


The Haiti crew at 4:30 am as they headed out.  I spoke with  Greg for just a few minutes tonight!  They are all safe and well and having an amazing time!  I can't wait to hear all about it, especially from the kids perspectives!  I really miss them all! But we are so thankful that they have this wonderful opportunity to share the love of Jesus with the people in Haiti! 

I was amazingly blessed by the head pastor's wife Gretchen coming over and helping me with laundry tonight... What started out as towels ended up as the WHOLE bunch of laundry...load after load as we talked!  It was so nice to have some adult visiting and the helping hands with folding!  What a gift to my tired heart today!  





Monday, July 18, 2016

Modern day miracle...

What a heavy week for us all... all of the violence has me honestly downright confused, angered, and so very saddened... (More on that another day)
Here is a little feel good for you...:)

James1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows...  
(That is our GOD!!! He does not change... not ever!)


How does this... 

Become this sweet little bundle of love on the left being cradled in his sister's loving arms??? 


6 years ago on the 14th of July these 2 beautiful thawed donated embryos above, as well as one more, were transferred into my womb... I will never forget literally all of the feelings I felt on that day! I felt so excited, thankful, and a bit anxious for sure... 

But I knew in my heart it was soooooo much more than that... I was getting to experience a miracle first hand in the flesh... All by the grace and to the glory of GOD!  




Out of those 3 embryos, God allowed Levi Ryan to take hold and grow inside of me... Totally someone else's DNA... growing and thriving off of my blood supply... Being fearfully and wonderfully knit together by our loving God!  

Seriously, it AMAZES me to this day... He was frozen for 5 years and God choose to breathe life back into that tiny little embryo and jump start his life right back up! 


And we are forever grateful to God for allowing us to parent this amazing little guy!  

We are forever grateful to his donor mom for entrusting us with the most precious gift of all... this precious child!!!  



And we are forever grateful for the sweet, tender hearted, always enthusiastic, affectionate Levi... We ALWAYS laugh that he seriously has enough excitement in him over things to make up for a whole crowd of people!  We love it!



(Levi enjoying the mountains in Estes Park)

So rejoice with us today for the miracle that took place 6 years ago in Levi's little life and in ours... 

And if you are in need of your own miracle or to see the Lord's faithfulness in your life... 
DO NOT DOUBT FOR A SECOND... that He can't work for you... or doesn't TRULY CARE ABOUT YOU!  He does! 

I know it can be hard to make sense of so much that is going on... 
Sometimes things aren't as we might want or even expect...
Sometimes things are exactly as might hope for them to be...
But through it all we can trust that He is still who He says He is...
He does not change... not ever... He is the same yesterday, today, and forever... 
He is the same... 
Miracle worker, redeemer, restorer, helper, healer, Comforter...

Our powerful all providing and faithful God! 

Psalm 139:13-14

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The fourth

And we were off...  the kids and I to celebrate the fourth of July with all the extended family on my side... 
Dad planned on joining us in a few days:)



We had the strangest weather on the drive up... a huge storm that we nearly skirted... blinding sun, 5 rainbows, 2 double rainbows... loads of rain... It was down right bizarre... but thankfully we arrived safe and sound in the north woods.



Morning one... Paul Bunyans for their amazing to die for donuts with grandma, grandpa, cousins and family from St. Louis!  Seriously, the best!!!


All the teens hammocking by the water's edge... so beautiful!



It is always a tradition to watch the local waterski show... The minocquabats!  What a fun night!


Some of the teens on the fourth :)  It is the best when your cousins can also be your best friends!  I am so thankful that they have so much fun together!


The Neumann crew!  We were only short one niece on the fourth of July... What a blessing to have almost everyone together for the day... It is a rarity, but such a treat!


Dad and I with the little boys down by the lake!  These two played in the sand all weekend, loved the kayaks, and enjoyed lots of cousin time!


Uncle Josh and Aunt Lyndsey brought up the BIG JOE!  It was the perfect addition... it was almost like having extra pier to hang out on... The wrestling matches that went on while playing on this were hysterical! Everyone loved relaxing on the BIG JOE!


Aunt Katy hanging out with Kaliyah... She was all passed out from lots of fresh air:)


The fourth of July always ends with a pow wow and  the fireworks show in the local town close by... And literally it is like you are a part of the show... The embers literally are falling right on the crowd... It is the craziest thing... 

We had a beautiful weekend! I think it is one of the kids favorite places on earth... On the way home Levi kept saying he wished the cabin was his home... It is beautiful, relaxing, and the perfect place to spend time together with family... Gift from God!












Wednesday, July 13, 2016

FOR LIKE EVER!!!! Our hearts are filled with joy!!


This little beauty is officially a Hintz!!! We found out today that her adoption is indeed finalized!!! We are rejoicing and praising God for this great news!!!

From this little peanut right after birth to a beautiful 6 month baby girl... We are so grateful to have had this precious time her!!


1 day old with her birth mom... Oh the emotions that flood my heart when I think of her and her sacrifice and love for Kaliyah!!!



This beautiful little baby whose life almost never made it out of the womb, was perfectly and wonderfully knit together by a creator who never makes mistakes....


This little one's life who came into being much to the surprise of many...
Wasn't a surprise to the one who so perfectly formed her little being... All with a great and special plan for her life!!



This little one, whose mom almost took her back as her own on Christmas Day, changing her mind about the adoption and deciding to parent her...

Only later did she painstakingly choose the ultimate love for her baby... to sacrifice her own desires instead for giving kaliyah's a future she could not... ( One of the absolute very HARDEST things I have ever witnessed!!!)  She is such a strong loving mama!!

What a roller coaster of emotions!!



And now she is ours FOR EVER!! 

She is a gift... She is good natured, easy going, happy, smiley, a great hugger, and just downright sweet!  And we are overwhelmed to be able to have a front row seat to watch the Lord show off by all he has planned for her life!!

My heart is blown away by this gift!  We are so undeserving!! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer days...


Summer is moving by at a rapid pace... Please slow down!!!  We have had gorgeous weather and the list of things that I want to do with the kids is slowly being chipped away at:) 

Walking to the farmer's market...
Walking to the Golf course on Wednesday night for $5 burgers...
Hitting the pool... 
Seeing the baby geese at the pond close by...
Catching fireflies...
Picking strawberries...
Shaking the mulberry trees on campus...
Having a hot dog roast and making smores:)
Hammocking...
We are loving the more relaxed pace of summer!  What a gift to my TIRED heart!



Picking strawberries... They definitely ate WAY more than they picked!


Our brave FMSC friend Julie had our crew over for a cook out... What a treat to have a delicious meal cooked for us all!  Such a gift!  Seriously, she didn't bat an eye at having our crew over! I was so grateful!


Frog catching at the pond!  There were many tears shed by Isaiah when it was time to release that frog back into the pond!  Goodness, that little guy creates a whole lot of noise... but thankfully is easily talked down!


Spiderman went mulberry picking with us!  He TOTALLY cracks me up... every... single... day!


Just a bit later I went out to the jeep to run errands with Anna and this was how I was greeted... What a goof!  She and Louis sang in church today!  They did so good... It was Anna's first time and she was nervous, but wow, I was really proud of them! 


We were very thankful to have Greg's parents come up to visit.  It had been too long since they have seen the kids and we were very glad to have them here... The time went by quickly, but was a treat for sure!  You can tell by the kids faces that they enjoyed spending time with them!

I am hoping to be able to blog a bit more... working those two jobs for a couple of months challenged me and the whole crew greatly... I am so thankful that they pulled together to help keep us afloat and now mama is back home for the most part!  What a gift I really do treasure!  We are so very thankful for all of the extra bits of time together as family!