Friday, June 28, 2013

For me, Africa means...

Last wednesday it hit me for the first time...

For me... Africa means Samuel...

When it first  hit me in the hurriedness of the day... I cried...

I was kind of in shock... the thought came out of no where...

Here I was rushing around getting all the last minute things organized for my road trip with the 5 littles.

The kids were already loaded and buckled in the car...

We were already about an hour behind schedule...

I ran upstairs to put my hair up, grab a necklace and headband and head out the door...

Since Samuel died I almost never am without one of my Samuel necklaces...

Let me explain... I have 2 vintage pearl necklaces that include all of my kids names, including Samuel.  I also have a piece of photo jewelry that I had made shortly after Samuel died.  It has his sweet picture on one side and one of the 2 of us on the other side. I also have a necklace that someone had made for me with his name, birthday, the bible verses we had at his memorial services, all engraved on it. It is beautiful and meant the world to me when I received it as a gift my first mother's day as a mommy with one of my children in heaven.  Someone remembered him that day and it blessed me greatly!

I almost am never found without one of them on... I know it might sound silly... it is one small way he is remembered daily and wearing the necklaces with his picture or name bouncing on my chest makes him feel close to my heart...

So the other day as I hustled about I grabbed a headband , necklace, and bracelet that I had purchased from the women working so hard to get of prostitution in Uganda.



I started to head out my bedroom door and stopped dead in my tracks... I didn't have any of my Samuel necklaces... and the weird thing was I was ok with it. I immediately started to cry... I WAS OK WITH IT!

Then it struck me in the strangest way... to me Africa means Samuel.

What do I mean by that??

Without having that precious little 9lb baby boy in my life I would be so different... I wouldn't want to be who I was before his life and death..  I know his life and the experience of having to let go of one of my children here on this earth... knowing I would not see him again this side of heaven singlehandedly changed me more than any other earthly experience thus far.

I have stated before that I am a nervous flyer... the truth... I HATE flying... terrified... before Uganda I hadn't flown in over  12 years... BUT I KNOW God used Samuel and the fact  that I had actually survived losing him (trust me there were plenty of days I did not think I would survive it!!) To get my rear on a plane for over 24 hours of traveling... God is so good!

I KNOW my heart would not be as moved for the orphans if it hadn't been for Samuel!  He taught me Every single life is worth celebrating and fighting for!

I know the thought of embryo adoption probably would not have ever occurred to us without Samuel.  He taught us that every single life matters... 1 day in the womb... 9 mos in the womb... 9 years... 90 years... or even frozen for 5 years... precious life each and every one of them!

I could go on and on about all he has taught me...

But for now Africa means Samuel...
the face of orphans mean Samuel...
frozen embryos mean Samuel to me...
and I love it!

I love that God Used Samuel to change me...
I love that I see these things that to most would seem unrelated to Samuel... but to me... remind me of his precious deep deep mark on my heart and life... I love that... so so sweet of the lord to allow that...

To most Samuel has been dead and gone for almost five years... but to me it is almost like I am making new Samuel memories because the Lord continues to use his life and that experience, to bring all new things, passions, ways to serve into my life... all because of one beautiful sweet baby boy who never drew a single breath on this earth...

To me... Africa means Samuel...and that brings a big smile to this mama's face...


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

summer cuts


It was time for  this sweetie to get rid of some of his locks...


Jojo loves to have his hair buzzed for the summer...

Levi has these precious puppy dog eyes ... funny expressions... (and a deafening screech these days... we are working on that One:)

Enjoying the park on the new church property...

Random and exciting news...

I head back down south to spend some time with friends and pick up the boys... I have never done this long of a drive with just the 5 littles:)

No offers on the house till boom, 2 offers last Sunday...

We have an accepted offer as of last sunday night... PRAISE GOD!!!   We are so thankful!!! 

I filled my car up with gas for the first time today since moving here just shy of a month ago... I Love that about living in the church parsonage...

Upon our return we are contemplating a trip up north the following day... we have not done cabin time (a tradition for all my siblings the week after christmas and the fourth of july)  with my siblings and parents in probably at least 5 years... since before samuel died... 
We are hoping it works out... not to mention it gives Greg some down time to build bunk beds and get some of his things organized.  

Off to do last minute packing and hit the hay:)

Monday, June 24, 2013

the fatherless...



This morning in church...

I was struck anew when we sang these words...
"The fatherless, they find their rest,
At the sound of your great name!"

It literally almost took my breath away...

I have been there... literally looked into the eyes of fatherless street boys in uganda...

Searched their faces knowing the harsh reality of their lives...

Protected by no one.... not even the police...

Many addicted to sniffing jet fuel to numb their pain...

Staying awake at night... fearing being beat up... what very little they have being stolen... fearing being abused...

These are the faces of the street boys of uganda.... 10, 000 strong...
You read that right... 10, 000 homeless... fatherless ... protected by no one boys... 

I have seen with my own eyes the literal joy... peace and rest that some of them have found.at the name of jesus...

They have finally found their father... heavenly father... who will defend and protect them
They have found the love of his people (who through a ministry called A Perfect Injustice... now know the love of the christian family of believers!!)

It was a beautiful thing to see first hand... the fatherless finding their rest in the name of jesus...

 (if you ever feel led you can always check out www.internationalvoiceoftheorphan.com to give to the feeding program that provides thousands and thousands of meals to these fatherless street boys... $1.00 provides 3 meals)

Here is some video from our time at the feeding program after a hard fought fun game of soccer with these precious boys... (terrible quality...still posting off my phone... but you can still clearly see and hear the new found joy the father has given them... it was  so much fun praising God with them!  )

So thankful for the rest we all can find at the great name of jesus!

video
video

Sunday, June 23, 2013

sweet time with company....


Here is almost everyone with the faust four!


The big kids enjoying deep dish Chicago style... to die for... a real treat!  The family decided that my new job 
is to figure out how to make it ourselves at home... I have my work cut out for me!:):)


We even got to see some neat places that we hadn't had a chance to see yet... lego land and the pool the church got us a membership to:):) ( what a HUGE gift and blessing to our family!!)

So for now the guests have left (with our two biggest boys , who are on their youth mission trip)

The house is quiet... too quiet for me...

The nights have been late working to get things settled and unpacked upstairs... we will get there even if it takes all summer...

Tonight greg and I hired some sitters for the younger five (the perk of having friends from the sem at our new church... baby sitters we already knew:):) and went to a summer event in town that we had been given tickets to... oh did we have fun, and some good laughs
Basically it is a wine and beer tasting night with snacks and food that you can try.  Not exactly sure why it was so fun... probably the people watching... I hear the northern accents so much more since moving away...

(Not that it is funny ( even though it is and I can say that because I have one myself:):)  we just had fun together.  With the busyness of the move and a new job I think we needed time just the 2 of us.

I am thankful for friends willing to make the drive to see us and use their organizing expertise to tackle the homeschool books:) (that nearly made me freak out when I thought about it... but my good friend Shelley tackled it with ease and awesomeness...) I am so grateful friend!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

on my heart

The next IVO (INTERNATIONAL VOICE OF THE ORPHAN ) GO TEAM is on the ground working in Uganda right now.

I can not tell you how much my heart longs to be there with them... last night I was scrolling through our pics from uganda... to be honest I was looking at costs on flights from our new home...

Meanwhile I was messaging back and forth with my precious friend linny about the moving the Lord is doing in the hearts of people right now to raise funds for a home for Praise and the 30 kids she cares for.  (More on those sweet kids soon) WAHOO LORD!  Check out Linny's blog at www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com to read all about what the Lord is doing... (you will not regret checking out her blog... Incredible people serving an incredible God!!)

Anyways... not too long after we returned home from Uganda last January I got a phone call from linny asking for prayers for one of the kids we had met there.  She knew I would know him....I remembered him right away!

The thing that had literally brought me to the end of myself while there was hearing from the  of the rats that came in the house and chewed on the kids feet at night.  They have normal size rats and they have rats that no lie are like cats... truly!!  being a mama I COULD NOT fathom it... my heart broke in 2... I was sobbing for them... so so unfair and seemingly impossible to fathom when we live like we do...

What she had told me about this little guy was worse... much worse... I immediately was praying and have continued...

It isn't my story to share... but please read linny's blog post I linked to below to read about it... and rejoice with me that soon... really soon,  these sweet precious children will have a safe home one rats won't be able to come in at night and harm them.

Here is the link, scroll down to the post titled "a yukky story. www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com

Our God is so faithful to get us through this life... even the really hard yucky stuff.

(Lou and ella with some of the kids at praises:)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

God is so good


our sweet levi before church today.... getting ready for a hair cut:) 

The after shot!! Sweet little man!
( Please excuse all the typos... still posting off my phone... still no internet here yet:)

It has been crazy busy here.  We are still unpacking... but God has been so good and faithful!  We are so grateful!

This morning, father's day, I gave 3 of the  
 boys hair cuts, got all the littles showered and off to church.  We are really loving living right here on campus in the parsonage.  We literally left 7 minutes before church was to start... so nice!  (unfortunately... I completely forgot about and missed the voters meeting an hour earlier!  Duh!!

I tell you, moving brings about a million different feelings and
 emotions... and tonight while we did our devotions after dinner when we were reading in James and got to the quick to listen... slow to speak and slow to become angry part... I had to confess my lack of self control in the slow to become angry area... we had some
 laughs about it, but sadly I have to admit the truth there...

I have been less patient than I would like to admit...  I am the homemaker and with the home in chaos... I haven't done real well!  we finally got carpet I in our whole upstairs (praise God) we were finally able to say goodbye to plywood and airmatresses:):) (I know I totally sound like a spoiled american... I am sorry!)

 I also had a down day emotionally, just being overwhelmed with the amount of work to do and missing friends... which led to the very familiar feeling of being brand new in a place... not knowing many people and missing Samuel.  It led to a new different missing of my son... no more samuel's garden... no more home where he was alive inside of me... it was a sad hard day...

I know myself well enough to rally my praying friends to ask for prayer!  What a blessing and encouragement they are to me!  

And God was so faithful to send just the right phone calls from friends, emails from friends praying as well as a super sweet arrival of dear tulsa friends tonight! God knows exactly what we need and when we need it!  I am so grateful!  

We can not wait to show these friends around town... but even more so, just excited for late night talks, cuddles with the kids, visits to local stores and just being together!   God knew months ago we would need a visit with friends and he brought them at the perfect time!  

We had a nice father's day cook out with greg.  Tonight I am feeling so thankful for the dad that raised me with loads of love and laughs... the father who raised the man that would raise 7 kids with me here on earth...my sweet husband who has immediately jumped into minstry here and works so hard so I can be home with the kids!  
Feeling amazed and so thankful to our faithful God tonight!! 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

tidbits...


Mud room and office painted...

Kitchen unpacked and finally really functional...

Younger five down for the night...

The older boys officially chicago blackhawks hockey fans... much yelling at the TV...

Texas grandparents put in a full day helping get things more in order here today...

Big boys and dad about to head across the parking lot to pick up something at the office... PERKS OF LIVING IN A PARSONAGE:):)

Mailed out 40+ LOVE MOORE t-shirts today ( more on that soon)

House about to really fill up for the celebration tomorrow... will have 2 big crock pots going with taco soup for lunch...

Prayers flooding my mind and heart today for friends who are worried about the safety and well being of two of their kids...

Heart hurting for a young lady who lost a premature baby today...  I feel so badly for them... I just can't stop thinking about them...

Through all the busyness and sorrows  of life... I am thankfuk that the Lord is the one in control... sometimes we rejoice in the beautiful things that take place and at othertimes we are crying out and just wanting to make some sense of things...

At the end of all of these days... my hearts cry continues to be come Lord Jesus Come!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

such sweetness


such sweetness... amidst such a crazy week:):)

Isaiah started solids and seems to love it!

I think when it comes to moving he has been the easiest... he is so easy going... as long as you hold him, pay attention to him, change and feed him... he is good to go...

He is such an laid back guy!

 We had the great distraction of  Wisconsin cousins and grandparents coming to help and this weekend will be more of the same with Greg's installation service here.  I am really proud of the kids... they have worked hard and had really good attitudes about the move.  I know it was hard on them... especially the older 4...

It about tore my heart out when Jojo and our old neighbor boy were yelling over and over  and over again across our yards the night  before we left, " I will miss you... I will never forget you!"  After that jo just sobbed... " I never want to move again.... it is so hard!!"  
Rough stuff... but I think now that the hard goodbyes are behind us we can throw ourselves into life here...

We are thrilled that we already have friends planning to come visit and that helps too:)

The church has been so welcoming too.  I think we had 30 people here helping us unload yesterday... a HUGE blessing to us!  We were so thankful!  

Then tonight they had a welcoming dinner for us tonight with the call committee that did the searching and  interviewing for the new pastor.  It was a time of celebrating what God has done in answering theirs and our prayers in bringing us here.  It was a good time of getting to know new friends as well!  

We are really excited to be here.  I know Greg can't wait to jump into work... and once the house is a little more settled I can't wait to get us all involved... the faithfulness of God is evident all around us these days!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

safely here...

We are safely in our new home after a crazy ride up... literally trying to out run the storms and tornados...

At one point I had my sister in Missouri watching the radar for me as the storm seemed right next to my vehicle...

We had to get off the highway and take shelter in a gas station bathroom while the tornado sirens roared... I know some maybe thought we were over reacting... but after serving in moore and joplin... you do anything possible to keep your little ones safe!

We got reports that a tornado crossed the freeway just south of that exit 3 miles  flipping semis and then when we left later we saw the damage 1 mile north.... several flipped  semis.  I am so thankful we stopped...

After that it was smooth sailing and we were so thankful to arrive safely at our new home that night at 2:30.... tired but so grateful for God' protection!!

We continue to pray for those in ok as it has been a terribly busy bad weather spring... that night we left ok to move, there were more storms in moore and many more deaths not too far from there... it had to be terrifying for many people!

We plan to take a team from our new church down to do more tornado disaster relief once we settle in just a bit.  We were so thrilled that our new pastor is super excited and is sharing in the desire to have this new church body go and be used there in whatever way the Lord sees fit!

There is much unpacking work to do... but we are filled with thankfulness for our new life in this new place... Boy do we miss our friends... that is the hard part, and goodbyes were almost more than my heart could take.  But my heart feels totally at peace and the Lord has given us many special blessings since we arrived.  He is so good!

I hope to post more about our move... even our rv trip and pics once we get computers up and running:)