Monday, May 30, 2016

Soccer family...



All the Hoffman United teams at the tournament this past weekend in beautiful Lake Geneva!!!

God blessed us with perfect weather!!

Main Street had some of the cutest shops... We had fun walking the quaint downtown between games:)


There is the most charming walkway right on the waters edge all along the lake... The lake is beautiful... And the houses??? 
Well, take a look for yourself... Crazy amazing!!  It was a beautiful walk...



He hotel had a perfect little water park to keep everyone busy and tire out he littles between games! 

Levi and Isaiah had a blast in the little kiddie area... 
Levi tentative and careful... 
Isaiah the bulldozer with no fear...

The kids enjoying the watermark... 

We were so blessed to have our friends the miltzes at the tournament with us...
They have 5 beautiful kids with number 6 due anyday...

From Anna on down their kids match ours pretty close in age and the kids have a blast together.  

It is really fun hanging with people that can relate to the large family life... We are so grateful for their friendship!!!


The whole crew!!



What a fun soccer weekend with lots of protection and special times together!



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And just like that...




And just like that,  this little guy turned 17... 
Still as mischievous and funny as this day more than 15 years ago...



And just like that, he has the ladies... The lady cousins that is, fawning over him!!

In all seriousness, it is a joy to watch him and his cousins enjoy life together... They have such a special bond... They have grown up together... Cousins make great friends!


And just like that, he has grown into such a helpful and loving brother...
He is a HUGE help in our home and to so many others...




He is an extremely hard worker... dedicated... loyal... willing to do hard things...  He is very generous and  lovingly reaches out to even those that others may have a hard time reaching out to... 

I have loved watching him on missions trips to Uganda... It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to serve alongside he and Louis...


The Lord knows exactly what and who we need... And He broke the mold when He made our Caleb for our family!  

Happy 17th Birthday Caleb... So very proud of the wonderful Christian young man you are growing into!  You are a gift each and every single day!

Friday, April 29, 2016

His very name... my every breath...

The other week I was attending a devotion at Feed My Starving Children and my boss shared the neatest thing...

I don't know if sometimes I think differently about things because I know I have a son waiting in Heaven... (actually, I know he isn't waiting... he is having the time of his life... because I do believe fully he is very much fully alive:)

 But I think that  sometimes I view things in light of all I have gone through and for sure living through the death of my son has changed my perspective a bit at times...

I am sure I won't get this exactly right, but I have been wanting to share this beautiful message I heard that day with you...

My boss was sharing about experiencing the presence of God in our lives... Do we really recognize His presence with us daily in all we do... in the small mundane things... in the BIG things?

He mentioned when Moses was in the wilderness and experienced the encounter with the Lord in the burning bush...
The Lord told Moses that He was indeed standing on Holy Ground and told him all that He wanted Moses to do in helping to free His people from slavery in Egypt...

He was truly experiencing a very real and obvious presence of God with him... The bush was on FIRE!!  With the very POWER OF GOD!!!
Here is the response Moses had...

  • Exodus 3:13-15, “Then Moses said to God, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” [YHWH]; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM [YHWH] has sent me to you.’ 

Now here is where it gets really cool and I have done some more research on what my boss shared... God's name in the original Hebrew is unpronounceable.  It was only made up of consonants and not any vowels therefore making it a word that couldn't be pronounced...  not because we are forbidden to pronounce it — but because if one tries to do so, pronouncing these four strange letters (semi-vowels, semi-consonants; linguists actually call them aspirate consonants) WITHOUT any vowels, 
one simply breathes.
You might pause to try this yourself: try to say "YHWH" with no vowels. Not "Yahweh"  but with no vowels at all.
 Almost everyone who tries to pronounce the Lord's name like this "YHWH"  experiences it coming out as a breath...

The very name of our great God is like a breath... How often do we breath every day?
The average person breathes between 20-30 breathes a minute or between 17,000-30,000 breathes a day...

That means that with every single breath out of our mouth it is almost like we are saying the very name of our great God with each exhale we let go from our body... Just think about it... every few seconds it could be as if we are saying or calling out the name of our Savior... God...

 What could this all mean? if we took more time to think a bit deeper about it and all that our breath means to us in different stages of life, how might we think differently about each breath we take? 
When a baby is born... is he taking his first breath or is he uttering the Lord's name with his very first action here on earth?

When we are panting in exhaustion are we repeatedly calling out to our father God... Yahweh... LORD...?

When  we are in deep sorrow or grief and all we can do is sob and gasp for each breath... are we really calling out in anguish for our God to comfort us and be right beside us in our pain?

When we consciously take that first breath after we open our eyes in the morning... are we recognizing the Lord, saying His name and, acknowledging His great gift in giving us another day of life?

When we sigh in a moment of relief or awe, could it be that we are calling His name in praise  for his comfort, guidance, or the beauty in this life?

When someone dies... that final breath... is that him calling out to his creator one last time before he is in his arms in heaven?

So amazingly beautiful!

That is the kind of presence of our God that is truly accessible to us... He IS with us... He is omnipresent... ALL PRESENT... every single second of every single day... Do we live with that in mind?

I truly want to... Oh how we can take our very breath for granted... Most of us just do it and don't even consciously think about it for the most part...

But with each and every breath... it can be... and IS as if we are saying His very real true name... Yahweh... LORD... Adonai...

Experience His very real presence right beside you today:)

I want to live with that in mind... with every breath I take...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New beginnings...

And so it is...
As Louis moves on from the FMSC site here to mobilepack... 
I actually took his place at the site...

and I LOVE IT!!!


(Here Louis and I were wrapping and strapping a pallet during a packing session last week... he was subbing at the site... I was trying to get him to wear matching T-shirts... he wouldn't go for it:)

It has been a blast... There is a lot to remember and there is definitely a learning curve for me... but the people are kind, we make a great team, and I love feeding God's kids who are in great need...

It is the perfect way for me to take my love of missions and serving the vulnerable children of the world... and make it a part of my every day life right here in my own back yard!


The kids were packing a few weeks ago when we had company... nice hair nets friends!


Louis in front of the huge semi parked right in the convention center last weekend for the FMSC gala and auction... What a special time... Seriously, I am so honored and privileged to work part time for such a great organization!  


Here is a part of our team here at the site with the CEO of Feed My Starving Children, Mark Crea... What a down to earth fella...

It was a great night and a WHOLE LOT OF CHILDREN are going to be fed because of the generosity of the People in the Chicagoland area!  Go GOD!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our boy... Louie

Growing up and finding the path God has for you can be hard...
Especially when maybe you aren't following the typical path for a person your age...
(Let me tell you as a home school mom... I feel the pressure....and I am sure Louis has as well...)

But God is mapping out a wonderful path for our son Louis... at this point it isn't exactly typical...
But beautiful and inspiring none the less...

Louis began his job with Feed My Starving Children (AMAZING ORGANIZATION!!!) in their mobile pack division just a couple of weeks ago...

He is no longer just working at the Feed My Starving Children site, he is taking a gap year and working with their mobile pack division as a Team Leader traveling around the US helping at different mobile pack events.




Depending on the event, they may be packing anywhere from 100,000 meals to a 5.5 million meal packing event in May that will be in Virginia... 

Talk about amazing!  Can you imagine helping thousands of Volunteers pack over 5.5 million meals for starving children around the world?  

He works really hard when he is out of town and comes home exhausted... He comes home having made a difference in the lives of 1,000s of volunteers and 1,000's of kids around the world.  


We are so thankful that the Lord brought Louis to Feed My Starving Children... 
It is a perfect fit for him... 
He is able to use the gifts God has given him to serve, love, help kids in needs, share the love of Jesus with volunteers, and in turn to help heal kids all around the world who are struggling with malnutrition and starvation... All in the name of Jesus...


Above is Louis leading an orientation for volunteers at a FEED the NEED event in Indiana just last weekend...

And below... the team and volunteers are praying over the boxes that have been packed... Food packed with a lot of Love and Jesus...
Nothing better to heal God's precious kids in need...


Oh the journey of parenting the kids God gives you.... For me there are many moments I wonder, I worry, and I maybe even doubt that we have given them everything they will need for the journey God has ahead of them... There are so many different places, ideas, and people clamoring for the attention and devotion of our kids... 



While myself and every single one of my kids is so flawed... It has been so special to watch Louis find this niche... Never in a million years at his age would I have been comfortable getting up in front of hundreds of people to speak and share Feed My Starving Children's mission.  He does it boldly and does a GREAT JOB!  You can tell he is passionate about it and loves it! So often people are shocked that he is only 18... Put him in certain situations like wrestling with his brothers and he is like any other 18 year old...  (or 10 year old LOL!! ) 

But put him in at FMSC and leading and he shines.  I am really proud of him.  

It is a gift to watch the Lord open doors (maybe not even the ones you were expecting HIM to open) for your children...

And it is even more of a gift to watch your kids kick those doors open and walk right through with excitement in their heart... Right into the spot the Lord can use them with the gifts He has already equipped them with... 

We are thrilled for Louis and the exciting things that God will show him, teach him, and use him for in the coming year... 

We would love you to pray for him and all the other Mobile pack workers... There is much travel and many long days... Pray they will serve and lead with Joy and the light and love of Jesus shining through them each step of the way...




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We are all broken...

Let's be honest...
That right there is a hard thing... sometimes easier for some than others...

I am not a pessimist... we have a wonderful life... but in all honesty, it wasn't all that long ago when there were days that I wasn't sure I would survive...
TRULY...
I wasn't sure I wanted to survive...
And if I am totally honest, there are still days that my heart aches for my baby boy and I long more for Heaven than the day that is ahead of me...
These days now are few and far between now... but still present...

But being in ministry as a pastor's wife, leading an infant loss support group, I hear and see first hand many with broken hearts ALL THE TIME...

Having just experienced the blessing of Kaliyah and seeing the sorrow and pain of her birth mother as she handed over this precious little bundle she loved, showed me afresh the huge amount of brokenness that loads of people are dealing with daily...

Your brokenness might come from a place of abuse, abandonment, an area of sin that you are in bondage to, a bad job situation, the loss of a loved one, depression, addiction, loneliness, your own bad choices, dealing with someone else's bad choices, serious illnesses, battles of the mind...
I could go on and on...
Some of them could be things that maybe we had a part in creating... but most probably are areas that are really just a cross that we have to bear (ours by no action on our own part) and a result of sin being a part of this world...

Some of these areas of brokenness might be something that is bearable, a burden that you carry but that you realistically can carry in this life and still function...

Others areas of brokenness are all consuming... Really they may have you in a place of survival... I have been there... not a good place to be at all...

Could the Lord heal us of these thorns in our sides instantly... FOR SURE... does He still heal in this way today... I believe He can and does... but it doesn't always seem to work that way... Some times He heals instantly... Sometimes He heals slowly over time... Sometimes He uses modern medicine... Sometimes He uses things we may never suspect... And sometimes He heals us in Heaven...

I really do believe that these areas of brokenness, while in the moment may seem impossible and unbearable, are areas that the Lord is going to use in amazing, inconceivable ways if you let Him... But yes, I know that it takes time to get to that point in the healing process...

And in all honesty, I meant what I said... we are all broken in one way or another... I wouldn't ever judge you in your brokenness... I wouldn't judge why you are broken and I would pray that you would do the same for me and others... not judge...

There is nothing worse than feeling judged in your hurt, when you are already hurting and in need of great healing...

I have a precious friend from the state we previously lived in that was involved in the same home school coop with me...

She was amazing... We opened our hearts to each other and she was never afraid to mention Samuel's name, check in with me regarding how I was feeling, and was a listening ear, always able to make me laugh.  She was also going through a particular  time of brokenness... Very few there knew what was going on for her outside the doors of our coop... but I did... I am sure she didn't share all the hard unbearable details with me, but oh the prayers that were offered up for her family during this time... I knew they had sought help from doctors all over the country... Then on top of all of that she lost her dad very suddenly... talk about hard...

I have so much love and respect for her... I love that she has shared their story... I love that she is being open and honest about a part of their story that isn't easy to share... This is HUGE and could bless others in a HUGE way...
She and her son recently shared a video about a type of therapy that has been a huge blessing to her, her son, and as a result her whole family... It has changed their lives... I wanted to share her video because if there is anything that might help another person in a similar situation I would love for others to experience healing in one way or another... I believe it offers great hope for the future...

Please watch when you have a free moment... I am so touched that they shared their story to help others who are going through the struggles of mental illness...


Hayden from BMC Ferrell on Vimeo.

Here are just a few words from my sweet friend Michelle about sharing this video...
Someone asked me if they could share and yes, that's totally fine. It's our goal to share our story so that we can bring awareness not only to NF, but also to the struggle of living with mental health disorders and the lack of modern medicine's ability to truly cure the brain. Mental health disorders carry such a negative stigma, and unless we educate, people who struggle will continue to be labeled. 


I am so touched that they shared their story to help others who are going through the struggles of mental illness... I do not deal with depression on a regular basis, but it is something I struggled with after losing our son in 2008... My heart goes out to those that struggle in this area...

Here is a link to learn more about neuro feedback...

I would love to see people showing deep love, care, and concern for all who struggle with illnesses of any kind... I am so thankful that God can use so many different ways to help and heal us...



Monday, April 11, 2016

These two have stolen my heart...

How didn't I get so lucky and beyond blessed to experience everyday with these two amazing little guys??!!

They wear me out...
Keep me on my toes...
And fill our hearts with joy and laughter!!


The Hintz family would never be the same without them!!