Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gratitude

I have been blessed with a supportive husband for almost 25 years.
He is a loving father to all my kids even when they are unlovable.
There is hope of spring
Birthday plans can make my kids smile.
My breakfast consisted of oatmeal with craisins and brown sugar served in a slightly chipped mug decorated with blue flowers.
Texting allows me to check in with Aly who is on her senior trip.
Aly's hand is not broken.
Long hugs feel comforting.
I have the privilege to eat lunch with my mom most every day.
Laura is coming home for Easter.
My pastor is preaching from Daniel.
I gave away ten bags of clothes.
My basement has stayed somewhat cleaned up for almost two weeks.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Judicious Words

The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭16‬:‭23‬ ESV)

Okay, moms, how many feel like a judge today?  How about a mediator?  Maybe you feel like you just have to sweet talk your kids into everything.   This is me, well, every day.  Having a large crew means that the journey is not conflict free.  Ever.  
As I read these words, God spoke peace again.
Resolving conflict begins in the heart.  It begins with wisdom, thinking God's way.  I want it to go my way.  You know, I am the boss, right?  Yet, in God's perfect words, he reminds me that judiciousness, solving problems practically, means that it is not about me.  It is about my heart focusing on what God wants and thinks.  It is then that my words can persuade to do right.  It is not the decibal of my words or the intensity of my glare.  

My words can make a difference (though I do feel as though I talk to the wall often :).  God is not asking me to do the impossible.  He has shown me quite clearly that when I settle on Him, rest in his truth, allow Him to change my heart, then my words are effective.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Color of our Skin

We chose adoption.  Truthfully, God did.  
The color of our children's skin made no difference.  If we had been led to Africa we would be fairly confident that the children who would become our family would have ebony black skin and curly black hair.  If God had led us to Asia, our children's skin would have a gorgeous olive tone, and their hair would be strait black.  If we had traveled to South America, our kids' skin would be creamy brown.
We would be fairly certain of these facts.
But God did not lead us out of  the country, or even our county for that matter.  
We were asked at the beginning of our journey what parameters we were placing on what child we would accept.  The funny thing is that we thought we wanted two school aged children.  There was nothing else limiting our decision.  We were then given a 9mo., a 19mo., and a year later a new born, and then another year later a school aged boy.  Not really within our parameters, but that was perfectly fine.
We have a biracial familly and that is wonderfully perfect as well.  
Adopting domestically has its unique challenges as does foreign adoption.  There are many hurting families within 30 miles of our home.  Race makes no difference.  Our adopted children are birth siblings and even within that they are not all the same race.  
Biracial families sadly have challenges to overcome because there are stupid people in the world.  I anticipate dealing with questions, with hurt hearts, and strange words.  

I am so blessed and thankful that God has put all my children in our home.  Black, white, or purple, there is no difference.  I am enjoying the journey as I watch how God has created each of my kids uniquely.  Each of us is precious.  I pray that each of us will sink that treasure deep in the crevaces of our heart.  That God-gift can never be stolen.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Absent Gratitude

Sunshine, heat, our bus, family, mom, dad, a bed, food, rainbows, clouds:  my kids produced this list of gratefulness as we headed to school this morning. One child could not contribute.  Interestingly, he is the one who has had the most problems in the last two days.  Life is giving him much to process.  I wish I knew how to break in and hug his heart.  Yes, we have had attitude.  Yes, we have had behavior and words which have consequences.   I pray as he goes through his day, the Holy Spirit will continue to prick his soul showing him even a glimpse of gratefulness.  Maybe, I will see a smile when he comes home today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Color of Grace

The Color of Grace by Bethany Williams caught my eye as I meandered around the tables of books at Barnes and Noble.   Images of African, war ravaged children pictured on the cover wore smiles that only peace and forgiveness could bring.  How was that possible? The author bore her heart, guardedly sharing her own trama within the first two chapters.  The photographs in the middle of the book documented a fraction of the real life of these children a world away. Only eighty-five pages in, I read her passion.  Her words spilled love as she retold her experience in the dark continent of Africa.  Not every one is called to Africa.  Not every child can be helped.  There will always be war.  Poverty will never be eradicated.  Sin's ultimate power was killed at the cross, but Satan is still alive and well until God calls it quits.  These children live this every day.   Church culture finds many who passionately fight for the weak, the poor, the damaged.  What is often sadly missed is the healing power of the Word of God.  Yes, it is true, that others will not care what we know until they know how much we care.  But as this author reminded me, food will be gone within the next day, clothes will tear, but the Word of God is eternal and life changing.   Now, does that mean that we don't feed the hungry?  Does that mean that I don't care that others around the world are scanvenging for a pair of shoes worn thin?  Do I not fight for those whose freedom and innocence have been ripped from them?  Friends, I am not against addressing social injustices.  There is value in helping the hurting.  However, the Bible can heal the hearts that only God can see.   Williams is a trained counselor.  She has taken her God-given gifts, passion for people, and life experience to the hurting in Africa.  Art therapy, play therapy, and drama therapy are tools in her arsenal to address the hurts and point them to the Healer.   I am still working through the book slowly, but her story is sinking deep into my heart.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Morning at the Treehouse

Homeschool provides a flexiblility for educating my kids.  Interpreted:  we do school pretty much anywhere.  Life is opportunity to learn all the time.  That said, we educate the seven who live at home in four different schools.  
Maddie, Matthew, and I hang out at the Treehouse Coffee Shop each morning.  I have come to look forward to these mornings.  Sitting across from Maddie to help her through her day has made fifth grade a positive experience to be sure.  It helps that my cup of coffee sits alongside of me.  We enjoy the farm table by the window, allowing the sunshine to brighten our day.
This morning I was greeted with smiles and hellos the moment I walked in.  Think Cheers.  The community is sweet.   Gentlemen jump to get the door for those whose hands are laden with their morning java.  Kids are free to play.  Conversation abounds.  You don't see much grumpiness at the coffee shop.  Yes, it may get loud at times.  Tuesday mornings we don't stay long because many mommas with their munchkins come for Espresso Yourself, a time of music and play.  You can imagine that environment: not one conducive to conversation or study.  So then we head to the library.
Mr. Mike is there every day with his two young grandsons.  He even has a plaque with his name on it.  His caffeine consumption is notable.  His friendliness and dedication to family are admirable. There are others whose names we could add to the list of regulars.  That is what makes this community sweet.  

School for this year means being out of the home most of the day.  Laundy has to wait.  Clean bathrooms have to wait.  Dinner needs to be creative at times.  Yet, in the end, hanging at the Treehouse has provided a uniqueness and specialness to our school. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Keep In Step

His grin reached both ears.  His arms stretched to grasp his sister's hands.  His small feet settled precariously on hers as they walked together, one on the other, step for step with the other.  
Oh, the sweetness of littles.  Yet, these littles soon become bigs, and walking with each other becomes more of a side by side, let me walk with you, kind of stride.  
That is the picture drawn for me as I read Galatians today.  "If we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."
One would think, as a Christian we are blessed with the constant presence of the Holy Spirit.  What a gift!  Still, I make my walk so difficult sometimes as I pull away, choose a different path, a more challenging step.  The Holy Spirit never leaves my side.  God is there when I stumble or fall.  He will lift me up.  How much easier would it be if I simply reached my hands up to grasp Him tightly, place my feet squarely in His Word, and walk step for step with Him.  
Maybe, just maybe, my smile would be more evident too.