El Salvador 2012

Next Sunday will mark the beginning of my return to El Salvador.  It is our first informational meeting for the July trip.  I’m continually amazed at the lengths at which God will go to, to open our eyes and prepare us for a life we hadn’t planned on. 

I was raised like all American children.  Dream big, work hard, get an education and you will prosper.  You will have cars and houses and go to Disney World if you work hard enough for it!! 

Little did I know that my idea of an American dream would morph completely at the age of 27.  Back in 2010, when I went to El Salvador for the first time I was a very different person. The new dream, well I know its from God because it isn’t about me. 

I dream of a world where Moms and Dads don’t have to give away their children because they can’t feed them.

I dream of a world where children aren’t snatched off the road to then live a real live nightmare at the evil hands of Sex Traffickers.

I dream of a world where children with disabilities and health problems aren’t confined to cribs for their entire {shortened} lifetimes.

Yes, I’m changed.  It is so cliche, but going on a missions trip changed my life.  I raise my children differently, I pray differently, I shop differently and I dream differently. 

These dreams may seem too big,  impossible even.  I disagree.  Because each one of us, doing a little bit, can accomplish big things.  My parents were right to teach me to dream big and work hard.

I cannot wait to return to El Salvador.  I have family there now.  I long to wrap my arms around my family that I live away from for 51 weeks of the year.  We are going to serve God side by side, and this year for the first time, with my husband by my side!!!!!!!!!

You don’t have to be a short term missionary to change lives though.  You, right there at your desk, in middle America can do big things and change lives.  Through Compassion International, and the amazing work they do all over the world, you can change a life!  Please consider sponsoring a child.  It may not seem like much to you, but I promise you it is a huge gift, and dream come true to a waiting child.  

What is your dream?  Has God changed your dream?  Click the link below and see how you can make a difference.

http://share-compassion.org/widgets/featuredchild/birthdaysearch/Birthday_Search_300x250.php5

Valentine’s Day

I was awoken to my family bringing me breakfast in bed.  Now, this isn’t all that unusual {Izzy loves to do it}, the unusual thing was that Alex was with them.  Normally he is gone long gone hours before I wake up.  So when he came in with the kids, my favorite eggs and hot coffee, this was our exchange:

Me- I’m so surprised to see you at breakfast time!
Alex- That was the plan.  Set the bar so low in our marriage so that I can mildly exceed your expectations with minimal effort!
Me- Well played sir.

****note to readers****
My  husband goes above and beyond in every way.  Every day.  And not just for me.  When the girls went downstairs in the morning they were so surprised to find that Daddy got them flowers too.  Each bouquet of daisies picked specifically to the tastes of each girl.  🙂  He’s a keeper.

Which brings me to why I make such a fuss about Valentine’s Day.  Should we show our love every day?  Certainly.  Look at the title of this little spot in blog world, its “Love Like Crazy.”  And we do.  So when there is a whole day devoted to the idea of love, we grab hold of it and squeeze every bit of mushy-gushy out of it that we can.  I’m all about passing on traditions that were passed to my mom, from my grandmother, and on down to my children.  A legacy of love is one worth teaching. 

Here’s a look at this year’s celebration!

My breakfast tray

Heart wreath (inspired by pinterest)
Little touches. 

Candles from our wedding ceremony…. 10 years ago.
Love Potion
Me and my Valentine on our 12th Valentine’s Day
From my family to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day.

History of Valentine’s Day

We do Valentine’s Day big at our house.  Not big gifts.  Big gestures and  little gestures by little hands.  If you remember my post last Valentine’s Day, you would remember that I decorate the dining room as special as I can to surprise my kids with.  Usually I do it while they are at school, so they arrive home to a magical space.  But this year I wanted it to be memorable from the time they woke up.  So Alex and I worked on it last night.  Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of our special dinner.

In the meantime, here is what the History Channel has to say about the origins of this lovely day.  There is also some mumbo-jumbo on the site about the pagan history and rituals, but I’m choosing to ignore it.  I’m not going to let those pagans ruin a good thing.  🙂

The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Have a wonderful day.  If you have people to show your love to or not, there is always The One who IS love to celebrate.

1 John 4:16
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

I have an idea

I’ve been in a full on wallow pit for a couple of weeks now.  Tomorrow marks 6 years since we lost our baby.  Actually today and tomorrow.  I walked down the stairs this morning and had a bit of de ja vu.  It doesn’t seem possible that it could be six years.  More like 1.

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been hugging a little more, rocking a little longer, and not getting out of my pajamas unless it is really neccessary.  Like leaving the house neccessary.

As a flood of all encompassing memories hit me this morning, sights, sounds, people, voices….  I was quickly going to that place deep in my mind that I never want to go to. Longing for thoughts of kindergarten, and Little League and Donovan having a brother….

Graciously, something stopped me.  It occurred to me out of nowhere to stop from freezing where I was, and to do something.  A woman I know {online, but would love to in real life too} named Heather started an amazing project in honor of her son.  The Joyful Life Library.  They put books into Pediatric ICU’s for families to have to read during hospital stays.  Amazing idea right?!  Because the last thing you think of as your rush off to the hospital is something to bring to occupy your minds and nerves.  So to have it already there is a true gift.

Here is where you come in!  Lets make some lemonade and buy a book to honor my son, {if you are my family}, or honor someone in your life that you lost.  Maybe you are a mom who lost a child.  Or a dad, aunt, grandparent, cousin or friend.  Lets take our loss, and do something good.

Heather has made it so easy.  On her site, she has a list of hospitals that currently have a Joyful Life Library.  Each hopsital on the list is linked to an Amazon wish list.  So you click on the hospital, it will lead you to Amazon, and you purchase a book(s) on the list and it will be mailed directly to that hospital!  Easy right?  Since my family is in Oregon, maybe they will consider Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Joyful Life Library Wish List- Portland, OR
If you buy a book, will you please leave me a comment and let me know so that I can properly thank you?  And don’t forget to pass it on.  Buy a book, spread the word, and lets honor life.  No matter how short.  Its does my heart good to know that somewhere, someone will be able to comfort their child with a story because I can’t.