Happiness in Photos

Are you impressed?  Two Fridays in a row of remembering to post my favorite moments from the week?  We are happy people.  This Good Friday, I am overcome with the sacrifice of Jesus.  I am so sad at what he had to suffer.  But last week, when my oldest was baptized, I realized just how filled with joy I am at his gift of salvation too.  We are happiness around these parts lately.  We still deal with heartbreak like many others, but today I am thankful.

Finally some flowers

Papa Dan was here for Izzy’s baptism, and oh how we loved having him.  Didn’t even flinch when the girls said they wanted him in the little ol’ back seat of my mini van with them.
Something as simple as going out to eat with your dad, (who lives clear in Oregon) was so treasured last weekend.
 2 kids, squished into 1 highchair reading together.  Yes, its the little things like this I will remember.
Before and After-ish (that door was a dark teal before) I’ve since put one more coat of white on the woodwork, and the walls are getting their “sliced cucumber” treatment this evening. I’m so excited!!!
Linkin’ up at Life Rearranged again this week.  I like that this project challenges me to remember to choose all the joyful moments as my focus instead of the few– difficult things.   

Its a Love Story- Chapter 3

{This one was hard for me to formulate, sorry for the delay.  I did think about leaving you all in suspense for a while longer 😉 }

As I stood in my white gown that smoldering day in June, almost 9 years ago, my mind went to a different place.  I was wondering how I got here at only 20 years of age.  What was I doing in a little church, with my family all waiting outside the doors?  Slowly a smile crept onto my face and I remembered it all.  Remembered why, (despite the critics on the other side of the door) I didn’t want to live another day as a single woman.  Why I wanted to wake next to the man at the front of the church every day for the rest of my life.  It all came back to me in a flash.  An entire relationship in a second. 

When I stepped out the high school bathroom, after wiping any trace of tears away and a new resolve to keep up my stone-cold attitude, I walked to my next class.  English III.  I walked into the class, the teacher chattered away at me but the only thing I heard was what I had been hearing all day so far, buzzing.  Buzzing and the beating of my heart. 

Then the tall, dark boy from Spanish walked in.  He was the epitome of happy-go-lucky, stereotypical high school guy.  He was with a couple of his buddies who were also laughing and jostling each other.  He paused when he saw me, looked at me a second longer than would be normal and smiled.  Now, despite the fact that the boy was very good looking, had nice eyes with thick lashes, and killer dimples (I’m a sucker for dimples), I refused to smile back.  It would be several months before those dimples would flatten my resolve.

He stood on the other side of the class, laughing with his buddies and then said “Hey, you want to go sledding with us this weekend?”  To which I replied, with what I hoped was an icey tone, “Do you always ask out someone whom you’ve never even spoken to or seen before?”  His friends quieted and turned to him to see how he would react.  The boy just smiled and said “no.”  He was completely unphased by my front.  So I said to him, “Considering your friend has a broken arm, from what I heard was your last sledding day, the chances of my going with you are slim.”  He just continued to smile, sat down with his friends and I didn’t give him another thought.

My behavior was not natural for me.  But as the seeds of anger, hurt and bitterness from moving sprouted and grew, the girl who was naturally kind, ready with a smile and loved to be with friends and family got pushed deeper into the the little, dark crevices of my heart.  My plan for my life was much better than God’s and my parents’.  I was sure of it.  I was hurting.  So I built up walls as strong as I could, and refused to let anyone in.

He was telling the truth when he said “no”  to asking another girl out.  And luckily for me, he did give me another thought.  This dark boy was suddenly very determined for the first time in his life to “get the girl.”  While I was pining for a life, friends, and a different boy hundreds of miles away, The Prince found me, and was determined to have my heart.

Stay tuned for chapter 4.
Chapter 1
Chapter 2

Sweet Sweet Redemption

My firstborn took a big step yesterday.  My girl loves God.  She knows that she can’t just be good and kind to go to Heaven.  She knows that she needs to seek God’s forgiveness, believe in Jesus Christ and receive his unfathomable grace.  She knows Heaven is a gift.  Its a gift from a Father to a child, who is closing her eyes and holding out her hands, waiting for the only thing in life that can bring true satisfaction.  And all she has to do is trust that what is about to be put in her hands is fabulous, and wonderful, and life changing.  All she has to do is open her eyes and receive it.

And she did.  My girl gets it.  She loves God with all her heart and soul and I believe He will do big things in her life.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/gJsCdRonCkU?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0

This was truly one of the greatest moments of my life.  It was completely her idea, her faith, her desire.  Isabella Berniece, I love you with all my heart and soul too.  My prayers have been answered for you.

A Dream Come True

I am re-posting this on behalf of a little boy, a world away, who is running out of time and hope.  He asks every day if a family wants him yet.  By making a donation to his adoption fund, you are making it possible for a family to just go get him, love him, and not worry about the cost. Please help save his life.

April 6, 2011

Dream Come True Giveaway  by Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom

This month we have so much to celebrate in our home.
One year ago I walked into a cold Ukrainian orphanage and met two of the sweetest angels on this earth. I spent five weeks in that country doing all the necessary paperwork, and finally in May we brought them home. Hailee and Harper have been in our lives for a year, and we could not be more blessed to have them home. It has been such an incredible journey.

I am a firm believer that much is required of those to whom much is given. We have been given more than we could ever have dreamed of in our four adopted children. Our lives have never been the same…they have been better.

For a while now I have been feeling like I need to give back this month. My heart’s desire has been to give hope to a child who is living in a very hopeless situation–a child who, unless someone advocates for them, is destined to live a life of hell on earth.

If you have journeyed with me for a while here on my blog, you will know for sure that Hailee’s transformation over the last year is nothing short of miraculous. Hailee is our miracle girl. She has gone from a five year old weighing a meager 15 pounds, to an exploring, happy, healthy, almost six year old who weighs 22 pounds! She is a new creation in every way.

HOPE!

Hailee was given hope–and what a difference it made in her life! Giving a child hope changes everything for them.

As my small way of giving back, I knew that I wanted to give that same hope that Hailee was given to another child. I asked God to show me one whom my heart would break for.

It didn’t take long for me to find him. The one. He doesn’t have Down syndrome as Hailee has. But I knew that I knew that he was the one who desperately needed hope. With a story that breaks my heart, he has been overlooked too many times, is living with an undying dream in his heart, and carries an uninvited disease in his body.

This boy realizes that every day is a gift as long as he stays where he lives now.
Because any day now….his dream will come crashing down.
Unless he gets his miracle.
Friends, meet Vanya. Beautiful, sweet, adorable, Vanya.
Isn’t he just so sweet?

Vanya is eight years old, living in an Eastern European orphanage. I simply cannot read his story without getting teary. This young guy has endured more pain, more heartache, and more rejection than I have in all of my 39 years.
His mother led an immoral life. She could not take care of her son, so Vanya was living without even the basic necessities of life and was removed from her care. I read that his father refuses to acknowledge his existence–he will not accept this little boy as his son and has chosen to leave him in the orphanage.

Vanya is a little ray of sunshine in his orphanage. He is a natural leader and loves the company of adults. He is always seeking out a hug and a cuddle. He loves people–and wants to be loved back.
Here’s the thing. Not a day goes by without Vanya asking his caretakers if someone is coming for him yet? Has he been chosen? Will it be his turn next? He has seen countless young children being adopted all around him. Imagine if YOU were that caretaker, and you heard a sweet little voice ask you if there’s a family who chose HIM yet. I know I would not be able to stand it, and I can imagine you wouldn’t either.

Friends, a report from a missionary who knows Vanya states that he believes that one day someone will come for him. He believes that some day he will have a family to love him and he will get to live in a “real home.” It’s a dream he believes WILL come true.

Here’s the reality–Vanya is on a list to be transferred from his current orphanage. Once an orphan reaches a certain age, they are usually transferred to a heinous mental institution for older children and adults. Vanya will be transferred any day now, and no one knows where he will be moved to. It is an undisclosed place from which he will never be able to be adopted. Vanya will live the rest of his childhood in this place and when he is old enough to be released, well, who knows what awaits him? I can’t even think about that as an option.

My heart breaks for this little boy. He has waited for such a long time for a family. He has been overlooked and rejected his entire life. No child should ever have to go through that.

To  read more, donate and see all of the amazing things you can win by making any donation and posting  this to Facebook, go to No Greater Joy Mom!

A Week in Cell-Photos

Linkin’ up with Jeannett today, because she had a great idea and it would be such a shame to let the little moments slide by.  Because lets face it, I cherish the little ones as much as the big.

He got 18-Life for being too cute.
 {D is always in this exact corner when I come to get him every morning. Not once has he been anywhere else.}
He feels bad about it.
Really bad.
In other news, we got a new play…thing.  It is a three story playhouse/swingset!!  And my quest to be the funnest house in the neighborhood has begun.  Don’t you just love tax return time?
My girl worked on it with her dad for 6 straight hours.
This is her daddy after working on it all weekend  🙂
And finally…. My bald girl finally has hair!  This weekend was the first time I could really do good braids in her hair and she was so excited!!
And Layla, well, she is the picture next to the word “happiness” in the dictionary.
I don’t know how many times I will remember to do a cell-photo Friday, but I sure had fun doing this one! 

Trusting

Someone,{I don’t remeber who} challenged people/women/bloggers, to pick a word for the year.  A word that we would try to be more of or do better. 

Mine was trust.

Today, when I have utterly failed at motherhood within an hour of getting out of bed, I am left with nothing else to do but trust my Lord.

Trust that He will forgive me for my failure.

Trust that He will help me do better with the rest of my day.

Trust that my children will forgive me as well.

{They’ve been set free from the prison of Winter and they are loving it!}

Trust God to do a good work in me today, because so far I have definitely not done a good work for Him.  Yowzah!  That’s painful.

And with that little thought I am off to tackle a laundry Mt. Everest in my bedroom that truly needs a Sherpa to get through and put my two year old back to bed before I lose my bloody mind.