Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Always FAITHFUL!



One of my favorite parts to the day...
The family prayer board...

On it we place anyone or anything that we want to remember to pray for... I was tired of telling people I would pray for them, and if I didn't do it right then and there, there was a chance I would even forget to pray for them... ugh... 

The family prayer board has solved that problem for us...

Somethings stay on for weeks... some months... some even years... 
Usually when we know someone has lost a loved one, those ones are up for the long haul...
We know how long that journey is, and how needed those prayers are even a year or more later...

We usually put a big for Praise by the answered prayers... 
and even then we want to praise God for that answered prayer for quite some time...
I always feel like if I can ask God for something, even comfort, provision, whatever it maybe... I want to praise him for just as long as I asked... that doesn't always happen but you get the picture!:)

He is so faithful... 


As of late we have had personal family prayers on the board for a GOOD eight months or so... 
Faithfully we have been asking the Lord for direction and guidance...

We have been unsure of His plans for us and how to proceed in certain areas of family life... we waited... We waited some more... We prayed... we kept praying... We are STILL PRAYING:) 
We continued to pray... "Lord show us your will, your desires for our family!"   


(I can't wait to share with you some of how he has answered certain prayers... but do want to let you know that it has NOTHING to do with moving!!!:)  We are thrilled to be here where God has called us... really dislike moving... and plan to stay put till HE moves us... Praying that isn't for a LONG time:)



As I stare into these precious faces of our kids, and dear friends... what resonates most profoundly is God's faithfulness to us... 
Again and again... 
Year after year... 
He is so faithful to abundantly provide... 

He provides friends, both near and far...

He provides more than we could ever need materially...

He provides the perfect shelter for our family right here on a church campus in the middle of a super busy city...(Honestly, he has blown me away on this one... I feel like we have the best lot in the whole city... feels like country living at the back of the church property... SO MUCH MORE than I could ever have asked for)

He provides for our spiritual needs through great spiritual leadership at church for us and all our kids...

He provides for the need of family close by... (It is precious to be able to have family more of a part of our kids lives)
He provides opportunities for us to grow and be stretched in our faith and put feet to our faith and serve... 

I could go on and on...

I pride myself in taking care of my family...
My mom was frugal... and did a great job taking great care of a larger family...
Funny thing is my dad has always said, " Your mom can stretch a buck to two... you can stretch it to ten!"
That makes me laugh...
I am sort of sick that way in wanting to get a good deal... provide frugal healthy meals for the crew... I actually think it is sort of fun... 

But I will be the first to admit, that there are moments, I sort of wonder,  HOW IS THIS ONE GONNA SHAKE OUT??? 
It might be while facing a certain bill, putting braces on the kids, adopting etc...

It might be when I know it shouldn't really work on paper for our large family... I don't really doubt... but it is a mix of some concern and some anticipation of watching how God is going to pull it off again:)

But that is when God starts to show off again... Who am I kidding?
He is always in the business of moving mountains to provide and care for us...




And just as this sweet photo of Jojo and his sweet friend Lilly puts a HUGE smile on my face... ( Man we miss you Tiews family!)

God knocked our socks off again... Telling us loud and clear...

"Do not ever doubt for a single second what I can do for you!"
"Step out, trust me fully and watch as I make all things possible...  Don't ever forget, I am in the business of moving mountains, making miracles happen even now...!"


So tonight I am overjoyed by the miracles He performed in our lives today and every single day.. It is so fun to see that faithfulness he has blessed us with as we look back upon the past few years... 

Sweet precious children literally joining our family within hours of knowing they existed... 
Babies beating the odds...

Life being restored after being frozen for five years... 
Joy filling our broken hearts once again... 

And amidst the difficult times... laughs upon laughs...
As these rascals fill our home with a whole lot of noise... love... joy... contentment...

and THANKFULNESS for HIS FAITHFULNESS TO US THROUGH IT ALL! 

Thank you sweet Jesus for the big reminder today... 

And please let us know sweet friends if we can add any specific prayer requests for you onto our family prayer board... 

We would be so honored to pray for you...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas isn't always easy or joyfilled... when your heart is hurting...

My heart has an ache in it and is heavy...

Heavy for all the new families that have joined our MEND group in the last 2 months...

Heavy for all of those that are struggling because the holidays and Christmas are hard when  piece of your heart is in Heaven...

Heavy for a precious 10 grader from our old church school who lost her mom in 3rd grade and whose dad is critically ill in the hospital and not expected to live... from what I have been told...
(Could you imagine being 15 and potentially with out parents???  My heart just absolutely breaks for her... she didn't have any siblings either... ) I see kids like this all the time in uganda... but not here... I am so very sad for her...

Would you please pray for Emily... that if God sees fit for her dad's life to be spared that it would be... for strength for her and comfort for her heart... for people to raise up and surround her fully in your love... That if he does pass that God has the perfect family for her to be a part of...  She really could use the prayers of God's people.

I remember that first Christmas after Samuel died, and the truth be told... I kind of was hoping Christmas could just slip right passed us... That of course didn't happen...

 It was hard as a different mom, dad and newborn baby played Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in the church program... ( We were assigned those roles before Samuel was born)

It was hard trying to shop for the other kids, listen to Christmas music,  or cook a Christmas meal when really that all seemed so insignificant in the big picture of grief and sorrow.

If you have someone that you know that has had a loss recently or if you know anyone that is hurting this Christmas, please reach out lovingly  and tenderly to them ... please approach the throne of grace lifting them up to the Father...






Monday, December 8, 2014

Meals for Missions

Part of the work crew... getting the job done!  We could not have done it with out them!



Who wouldn't want this little man to help them??





Yesterday,  me and about 85 of my friends got  together to make over 900 crock pot freezer meals all for the sole purpose of raising funds for our St. Peter missions teams to Uganda and Haiti...

Both teams will be heading out in January 2015...
My socks were knocked off by the gengenerosity our church and our crazy committed group of workers who "get it done"

It was a TON of work.  AT the end of the day, we were exhausted... and sore, More so than I ever remember being...

I love being a part of a church that has a passion for sharing the love of Jesus with others who don't know him yet, with missionaries who are on the front lines in America and other countries, and with precious orphaned children...

What a gift we have in Salvation through Jesus... And what a gift He also gives to our hearts when we share it and His love with others!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Boys will be boys...



Yesterday my brother held a charity hunt on his land...

How super convenient since he lives on the same plot of land as my parents...

So Caleb and Jojo were recruited to help them prepare for the hunt...

That meant planting 70 pheasants... 
Well, let me just say the preparing of the hunt wasn't at all what I expected... how to place the birds and such... what a wild process... 

I didn't think either boy would be game for handling all of those birds... I even made my brother ask Caleb... I thought he had a better chance of recruiting the help if he did the asking... 

I couldn't have been more wrong... my boys, who really haven't had a lot of experience with animals, rose to the occasion and thought it was fun...  

Low and behold, Caleb was the only one who didn't lose a bird when they were setting them out... 

Chalk it up to a new learning experience...  I love all the things the boys get to learn there that we would never have a chance to teach them... The joy and gift of family!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

With thankful hearts 2014

Another year of the Lord's faithfulness abounds... Tonight at dinner my heart was overwhelmed with gratefulness that The Lord can indeed heal broken hearts!!!

I remember after Samuel died feeling like "Big Family Gatherings" with loads of new babies was much more than I could take... Sadly, we avoided them for a while...

Tonight I loved eyeing up all the grand kids truly soaking in the awesomeness of God to make such precious little ones... I love them all so much!!!

( one HUGE family selfie... That crazy selfie stick! ☺️☺️)

Lou and Caleb with their teen cousins...

( At the moment this crew is out currently Black Friday shopping... I think a first for our family!)

And sweet baby Isaiah... Our Thanksgiving birthday boy!!!

Thank you Jesus for his precious birth mom and the huge sacrifice she made 2 years ago to bring him into our family!!!

What an unexpected phone call we received 2 years ago... Saying, "your son was born today... Can you come meet home tomorrow?" 

I will never forget meeting his birth mom first the next day... What a spunky sweet loving girl... We laughed when she truthfully said that as she looked over our profile book, in regards to our family, "you can't beat that kind of happiness into kids" 

And she meant it!  She and her friend who was also homeless both said, they felt like they wished we could adopt them... That is how they knew we were the family for Isaiah!!!  

Isaiah had a tough start to life in the womb and the nicu...

But God in his faithfulness has really knocked our socks off in how heathy and amazingly wonderful this little guy is!!!

Happy 2nd birthday to our precious Isaiah! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The countdown is on....

 The countdown is on... only 36 days till we set foot back on Ugandan soil (God willing)

The plans for our meals for missions fundraiser are underway... Which meals the chaos of the next 2 weeks has begun... I think we have about 53 people signed up which means we will make about 530 meals that day... We are hoping for about 70 to sign up... So we will see... We know God will provide...



One of the highlights of last year was seeing the tremendous growth of my boys compared to the trip we had taken the year before... Our leader stretches the kids to get out of their comfort zone, share from their hearts, and even take a leadership role at times...

He sees the kids as an intricate part of the team and gives us a huge range of experiences.  He does not shy away from hard work, hard things to see, the harsh reality of living in the slums of a 3rd world country.

 I wouldn't trade that for anything... A precious life experience for myself and my boys...



Can you see the fly on the little girls lip that I am holding?   Sweet baby girls watching the boys play soccer in the slums of Kampala...

Louis and his special friend getting water from the water hole... We are praising God that these kids no longer drink from that stagnant unhealthy water hole, but from a well dug right on their property... 


Those eyes...


Those feet, having been chewed on by rats while he slept... 
Can you even imagine???


This little guy ate the rest of my nutella and peanut butter sandwich... He hid behind this tree so he could have the last few bites to himself... Isn't he beyond precious???


I know this trip will be different in many ways... We are thrilled to be able to spend some of our time serving at The Gem Foundation, a special needs orphanage that our 21 year old friend Emma opened this past summer.  

I have to be honest, I know that the Lord is going to use this place especially, to grow me... Sadly, I haven't had a great  deal of experience working with kids or people with special needs...Sadly, It isn't really within my comfort zone... I am embarrassed to admit that... 

I am not scared... maybe more intimidated is the word...I am just not sure what to do, what is safe and appropriate when handling them... But I can not wait to love on and care for these precious kids that the Lord created and loves.  And I know that with some direction and leading the Lord is going to grow my heart, my love for them, and my understanding of how to care for them... He is so good like that... And I am so looking forward to it... 

Already our hearts are praying... "Lord, break out hearts for what breaks yours..." That is our hearts cry... That we might be able to catch a glimpse of how God sees things, us, the orphans, the homeless, and that our hearts will be moved  and be motivated to GO and DO all because we love our Savior and want others to know and love HIM too...

So the countdown is on... Lord willing, 36 days and our feet will hit the ground running on the red dirt soil of Uganda... 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And... oh were they patient... well sort of:)


Last Sunday we attempted to get a new family picture for the Christmas card... 
It was freezing...
There a fair amount of moans and groans... and really not from the ones that I was expecting to get them from... (Hello big people... buck up and put the big boy panties on:)

I think Hopie girl had hers on and as you can see above... she was happy to be posing and getting a little bit of camera time... Oh my goodness... That is SO HER!!!  We were all cracking up afterwards when we saw her expressions...


It was so chilly, the wind was blowing and all in all they were great sports!  We ran around the church property and got a few nice ones...  There are so many great spots right here on campus.  With all the historic buildings there are a lot of cool back grounds and hidden little spots...

We are so blessed to live here:)




I am overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness in the faces of each of the people in this picture... 

I am so thankful to be on the other side of such deep sorrow filled days... 
I am so thankful that I am filled with so much more joy as I remember Samuel than I ever have felt before... don't get me wrong, He is still so missed and loved every single day, but my heart is healing and not so burdened continually with the loss...

I am so thankful to be able to enjoy these precious gifts from God...
Don't get me wrong... Are there moments of frustration as a mom when attitudes are sour or the bodies of many just want to relax and not pitch in?  FOR SURE!  

But that is all a part of the journey and I am guilty of the same as well... We are not a perfect family, living perfect days... but we are perfectly made for each other by a very gracious and loving God! 

 And I am thankful for every minute I am blessed to live with each and every one of them...