The best kind of Dad

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland I could not be more thankful that God chose Mike to be my hubby and the father of our children.  However each child has joined our family, his love, devotion, direction and affection doesn't differ.  He leads by example and his quiet strength and integrity keep the ship of our family on an even keel. Happy Father's Day, Mike.  I love you and thank God for you every single day. and Happy Father's Day to all the other men God has entrusted children to.  Do Him proud! How did you celebrate Father's Day this year? … [Read more...]

For those kind of days….

Sometimes life is no fun. Not particularly tragic compared to other things you have been through or watched others endure. Not anything specific that you can change or control. Just tough, with the days that blend into the next and you feel like you are spinning around and accomplishing nothing and wonder if there will ever be enough hours in one day... Am I the only one that has those kind of days? It is those kinds of days that marking the good matters the most. Gratitude can make the difference between a tough day and an unbearable day. And, the counting of gifts continues {excerpted from my gratitude and Joy Dare journal} ~ reading of hell and feeling a renewed desire to share my Jesus with the lost ~ the lime at the bottom of my empty glass {yes I take it out and eat it :} ~ … [Read more...]

What is ministry?

We don't go into ministry, it's who we are. ~Amy Bayliss I used to think that ministry was comprised of those things I did for Jesus.  Working with teen moms, holding leadership roles at my local church, serving dinner at the local soup kitchen or registering people at the local free clinic. When I had the privilege of working with Young Lives for 2 1/2 years, my view of ministry evolved and changed. Don't get me wrong, I grew in many ways. But, ultimately I allowed ministry to become an idol in my life.  The doing had become more important then the being. When we cease to dwell in the presence of Jesus, to bask in His goodness and step nowhere without His peace accompanying us, we have made ministry about us and not Him.  And, that is never a good thing. Ministry {or what I defined as … [Read more...]

May is…for moments and memories and miracles

May is National Foster Care Month. This thirty one day month contains Mother's Day as well. A day both bitter and sweet. Then, there is tomorrow. May 22nd.  The day, sixteen years ago, I physically became a mother. May brings a mixed bag of feelings to this heart of mine. A desperation to help, heal and hold foster children across the country {and orphans across the world} that need and deserve a mama. A desire to connect with my own mother while understanding relationships take the effort of two. A deep gratitude for the child that saved me from myself. and each amazing, beautiful, unique child God has gifted me with since. A profound sense of surprise at the joy that being a "Mimi" brings. And, a thrilling heart song of joy that God can take the mess of me and produce … [Read more...]

It’s All A Miracle

"I'm a nurse so I have to ask.  Why do you wear the medical ID bracelet?" An innocent question. A fairly simple answer. "I have a blood clotting disorder so I am on blood thinners....and I almost died of a pulmonary embolism in 2008". Her face paled.  She told me that one of her best friends had a pulmonary embolism two weeks after giving birth several years ago and had passed away. I am a miracle. Working as an Admissions Coordinator in a health care facility, I encounter all types of sad and dire health situations.  Terminal cancer, unexpected strokes that completely alter quality of life and other unfortunate circumstances. I contrast that with my work with teen moms.  The miracle of a new life.  The excruciating difficulty of watching moms make poor choices.  The amazing moments … [Read more...]

Safe at Home

We traveled 942 miles each way last week to Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Jason graduated as a military police officer for the US Army and this mama breathed a sigh of relief as we loaded his {very heavy} bags to bring him home. Is there any other place we, as mama's, would rather have our children than safe at home? It has been a wonderful weekend of family time, movies, snacks, laughing, and re-acclimating. On Mother's Day, my family and I will walk to raise awareness for children in the foster care system. Children that don't know what it is like to be safe at home. I was that child. Jason was that child before he came to us. Shayla was that child. The value of a safe and loving home is never taken for granted in my heart.  Millions of children around the world and in your own … [Read more...]

The Joy of Family

Our family is comprised of more than just blood relatives. Most of our children are related to only one of us {or neither of us} by blood, yet my heart birthed love for them as strong as the love knit in my womb. God weaves together families in beautiful and unexpected patterns. Sweet Pea had her first gymnastics class on Saturday.  It's called Gyminy Crickets {how stinkin' cute is that?} Every Saturday in March, she gets to tumble and play with her mama and daddy, while Mimi {that's me} watches from the observation window. My heart was so touched for her.  A generational curse was broken when God brought her mama to us and she is being raised in an entirely different environment than Shayla was.  She won't know neglect and she won't wonder who is going to take care of her from day to … [Read more...]

That’s What Love is for

I braid the rope together. It may seem like a peculiar birthday gift but to an 11 year old with down syndrome it will be well received. "string" as he knows it brings comfort and calm to a world that is often overstimulating and overwhelming. Lupus shoots fiery darts of inflammation and pain into the joints of my hands as I braid, but I don't stop. Love hurts sometimes and this is a gift infused with love. This special little guy is the brother to my daughter. Only God, through His Love, could bring me the daughter I prayed for AND provide a sweet boy with a special chromosome for me to love too. {You know if you have spent any time here before that children with special needs have their own place in my heart} God injects unexpected joys into our lives, if we are open to seeing … [Read more...]

Am I becoming a hugger?

I am not a "hugger". Friends and family hear me say this all the time.  Personal space is important to me and the only people I enjoy being hugged by are my husband and children. God is growing me in this area, even though I didn't ask Him to. Working with teen mama's has me getting hugged more than I ever imagined {and I surprisingly don't mind}.  I think my nurturing mama heart is triggered when those girls hug me. And, of course, having Sweet Pea to cuddle with over the last 14 months has increased the hugging in the house.  {She does this adorable thing in the morning when I get her out of her crib where she pats me on the back, lays her head on my shoulder and says "awwww".  She is seriously the cutest thing ever!} Imagine my surprise when my hubby pointed out that I have been … [Read more...]

Gratitude in Hard Places

Living with chronic illness has taught me many things. Utter, complete dependence on God. {Psalm 70:5} The finite nature of our life.  {James 4:14} How our bodies are designed to need true Sabbath rest.  {Isaiah 58:13-14} That everyone has a thorn in their flesh, mine happens to be dressed up as lupus.  {II Corinthians 12:7} Knowing all of these things doesn't make the excruciating pain go away.  It doesn't remove the bone deep fatigue that plagues my day.  Knowing doesn't help me remember appointments or be less distracted. But, knowing helps me maintain perspective.{Colossians 3:2} And being grateful for the everyday little things {like the opportunity to sneak in a nap} and the miracles {I'm still alive} keep me focused on what is truly important. Seeing the good can be hard … [Read more...]

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