Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Loving Others, Despite Yourself

One of my favorite verses of scripture is II Corinthians 12:15
"And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."

I'm not exactly sure when that verse became so glaringly evident in it's truth and wisdom to me, but I remember it impacting my attitude so much, that I re purposed myself to 'go the extra mile' in loving others, despite myself.

At the time, I remember having put myself 'out there' for others - and oftentimes finding myself hurt or upset at the aloof nature by which I was met. It can be upsetting to have invested in others - and to not be appreciated or even received well.

And then ... this verse.

I was immediately reminded of how Christ loves. He loved us so much, that He died for us, despite our appreciation, acceptance, or ill regard for our sin. He continues to love us through our sin. He loves despite the rejection.

That was then. 

Now? I still view that verse as the same, but even more intimate.  

Recently my husband and I were both reminded of the biblical account of Hosea through this post. How Hosea was a prophet, viewed as godly and righteous. Hosea was told by God to marry Gomer, a harlot. This was to be a depiction of the nation of Israel (symbolized in Gomer) and it's relationship with God (symbolized in Hosea). As many of you know,  Gomer continued in her betrayal of Hosea with other lovers. Her choices continued to lead her down a road of trespass - and even so, Hosea loved her. He loved her, despite the shame and embarrassment she so publicly was becoming. Finally, you find Gomer on the auction block to be sold as a slave, having been used by other men who no longer wanted her.  There stood Hosea in the crowd, and we read in Hosea 3:1 
"Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
So Hosea bought his wife back from the shackles of slavery. Despite her choices. Despite the embarrassment. Despite the humiliation. Despite how difficult it was to love her - 
he went and sought her out because of that simple phrase God spoke:

"Go yet ..."

This love can only be of God. 

Personally speaking - loving one who does not reciprocate that love is not easy. Whether it is a child who is non-verbal, struggles with autism or attachment issues, won't make eye contact or simply pushes you away - or perhaps it's someone who flat out refuses you, and only seems to approach you when they 'want' something - whatever the case, this account of Hosea paired with the reminder to love unconditionally has been refreshing. 

It reminds me to 'Go yet' and love though the more abundantly I love, the less I be loved.

** also, an update on Mary: she received the pathology report last week - and Praise God, it is not cancerous! Thank you for praying!**

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Mary Update

Just a quick update to let you know the status of Mary's surgery. I received a text at about 3pm today from her husband that said the surgery went well, and in the surgeon's words: was textbook. She was in recovery at that time. HUGE praise! Thank you for praying on her behalf. Please continue to pray for her recovery, and the biopsy report to follow. 

Thank you

Monday, June 9, 2014

Please Pray for Mary

I'll get right to the point.

Tomorrow my beautiful friend (on the right), Mary - will be having a much unexpected surgery on her brain to remove a tumor.

Prayer is much coveted.

A few weeks ago, after church services, Mary was chatting with friends in the hallway and suddenly had a seizure. Since then it was discovered that she has what was first thought to be three small tumors on her brain. Now the thinking is that they are actually one tumor with three different characteristics. 

The plan is to go in tomorrow via brain surgery, remove the tumor - and send it to be biopsied.  It is unclear as of yet, whether the tumor is cancerous or not. 

A few things to pray for:
1. That Mary would do well during the surgery, and have no complications
2. That the doctors/surgeons have clear minds, steady hands, and have had great rest for the surgery that starts at 10am
3. That the pathology report would come back showing no cancer
4. That Mary's husband and two boys are comforted and well cared for by friends & family during this time
5. That the surgery would not affect Mary's sight or any other brain function
6. That the whole tumor would be removed, thus no need for chemo/radiation treatments afterward
7. That Mary would heal swiftly
8. That Christ would be glorified in all that transpires through this process

Many will be fasting and praying tomorrow (Tuesday) on Mary's behalf. The surgery starts at 10am and will likely go through lunch. I will be sure to follow up on how she is recovering.

Thank you for praying for my sweet friend and sister in Christ. 

Mary, as is usual, is doing well. Her spirits are steady and she fully trusts in God and has peace with the outcome. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Random Ramblings


We go to Seattle usually once a week for appointments. Mostly Autism Clinic appointments for Miss. Ivanna.  I'm not complaining, since it took eight months to even get in the doors of that place. I can't believe just how rampant Autism has become, but that's a whole other topic. I truly am grateful for that place. It's a wealth of support, resources and just plain encouraging. Ivanna has had some points of regression this last year, which has prompted us to make some changes in her care to try and pinpoint the cause of it. It's an ever changing and evolving management style that requires much consistency yet - flexibility (which happens to be areas I struggle with).

I'm finding that not everything fits into the parenting mold I envisioned years ago. That's ok, just seeking to honor Christ even as we travel this particular road with Ivanna.

As I eluded to in the prior post, I hope that my girls will always have a close and special bond. The kind of relationship where they don't think twice about picking up the phone and talking about absolutely nothing while hysterically laughing at one another. Sister relationships are just unique and special. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I hope these girls always have that 'better than best friends' type thing ... forever.

My pregnancy with little Abram is chugging along, and for me it seems at mach speed. I'm not a rookie. I know that before I feel even ready, our sweet baby number 10, will be in my arms and we will be thrust into that crazy time where the newborn rules the house. I'm ok with just enjoying these last months of having Asher be my youngest, and the lazy days of summer promising sloppy watermelon kisses.

But ... there's this crazy desire I have had lately, and many of the kids share that want ...

... a puppy. We want a puppy. Something warm and furry to lay at your feet, or take to the beach and throw sticks for fetch, or go on runs with, or just laugh as your Littles play chase, etc etc.

I know. Crazy.  But true.

Other than those random things - I'll leave you with this picture of Justus pouring himself a cup of Joe.  This kid, plus Asher - keep me on my toes. They are a pair of trouble, seeking to get into whatever is off limits. I know that all too quickly they will grow out of this phase and into another, and so I try to capture even these moments (the ones that are sort of funny or cute) in a picture so I can look back on them later.

A cup of coffee ... in his Lego cup. Awesome.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My prayer ... renewed

Life is busy - no matter how small or big your family is. Seems like there is always something vying for your time, right? I certainly feel that way. Yet, I desire so much to treasure each child no matter what busyness is affecting our life. I am realizing just how quickly time slips from our fingers, and just how little of it I really do have with each precious soul that I call son or daughter. 

I love each one, uniquely, fervently and enjoy their particular strengths and pray for their weaknesses, though I admit - that last part I don't do well or frequent enough.

I have become so burdened in this arena lately that I believe God is trying to get my attention - and focus me yet again in seeking him on the behalf of the each child's needs, and burdens as well as my hope for them as they grow.

What is my hope for each child? Well, generally speaking (and most important to me) is that my children walk in truth, seeking to be more Christlike and in so doing, I know the fruits of that will be peace, true joy and fulfillment.

There are also particular and specific prayers that I have for each child. 

First, I pray that I as a mother can express the absolute joy I have in the job God has called me to. I love being able to stay at home each day and care for my children, loving them, serving them, helping, molding, instructing, etc. Yet - I ashamedly and too often fall into the pit of despair with the feeling of being too busy with appointments, meetings, laundry, or dirty dishes and floors. 

Yet, I KNOW that if I had to pack up each day and head out to work - that I would absolutely miss the mundane of mopping my floors, scrubbing pots, and folding clothes. 

Anyway. My prayer for me is that I speak out loud my gratefulness of motherhood - so my husband and my children can hear me. 

So, I'm praying for Abram - that he enter this world safely and at full term.

I'm praying that Justus will continue to speak and jabber, and that those little dialogues of jibberish will emerge into clearer vocabulary.

I'm praying that Ethan will continue to grow in Christ and develop a keen understanding of scripture and the voice in which to declare truth.

I'm praying that Gabriel will use his strength of discernment and ability to be led by the Holy Spirit to bring honor to Christ, whether via full time ministry - or right in the place God directs and has him.

(a recent mission trip to Uganda that Phillip and Gabriel took together in February 2014)

I'm praying that Chloe gains a full understanding of her Saviour's love for her, and that she truly understands and accepts salvation.

... and ...
I pray these girls remain best of friends for their entire lifetime.

I pray that Ellie will keep a tender heart toward Christ and that I as a mother - I
can help her learn and appreciate the meaning of being a joyful help meet.

I pray that Isaac will be used of God in a mighty and remarkable way and that as he grows that he would always seek Christ first - having a relationship with our Saviour that is close and palpable to all those who may witness Isaac's life.

I pray that Max will continue to blossom - and gain the ability to communicate his simple needs.

I pray that Ivanna will be able to find a calmness and an ability to function in social settings without anxiety.
I pray that Asher will continue to thrive, and be blessed as he discovers how wonderful it is to be a big brother.

 . . . and  . . . 

I pray for my husband, that he continue to be directed of God in decisions and choices and always seek to live with integrity. I pray he is blessed of God and realizes always that his family is so grateful for him.

Just sharing how God has been working on me lately - and convicting my heart on the matter of prayer for my family.

I hope you have a blessed day and week!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Birthday Justus!

It has been five years since giving birth to our sixth child, Justus. I'm sure many of you know that we had no prior clue that Justus would be born with a heart condition or Down syndrome. We were totally oblivious to the blessings that laid ahead.

Having Justus has changed our family dynamic for the best possible way. His presence in our life has enriched both his siblings and parents. We are eternally blessed to have been entrusted to his care and upbringing and love him to pieces. 

Today also marks Mother's Day. Fitting that Justus would celebrate such a milestone birthday on Mother's Day. After all, he was due on Mother's Day and crawled on Mother's Day.

Earlier today I posted the following on Facebook, and want to extend the same sentiment here:  

To every woman who has invested, loved, cared for, prayed for, wept over, worried after, mourned the loss of, mentored, or yearned for a child: Happy Mother's Day. 

More than just labor & delivery creates a mom. It's often the labor of hands and sometimes turmoil of heart that creates Motherhood. 

Enjoy your day! May it be blessed!

As today comes to a close - I will leave you with just a few pictures of Justus, and at the end is a link to a video montage that my sweet husband and children worked so hard on to surprise me with today. I hope you had a blessed day.

Justus, I pray your smile never fades, your spirit continues to venture, your laugh resonate, your presence inspire, and that you are always blessed of God. Thank you son, for just being you and touching this mommy's heart in a way that cannot be described. 

Thank you Lord for the gift of Justus, and for every child you have gifted to us. We are eternally blessed.

Click on the link below to view video:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Old Buffet, New Look

I have many passions - one of which is taking older furniture, painting it, and giving it a new look. I love the thrill of finding a piece with "good bones" and imagining it with a fresh coat of paint - or shabbied up a bit. 

I have been doing this for years, and have really enjoyed it when I have the time, money and space to rework a piece and put it in my home.

There has been much talk of a newish paint called chalk paint, so I looked into it. Many people love it and claim that it can coat any surface without prepping the piece. I might try it in the future, but for now I was turned off at the price of the paint which can be as steep as $40 for a small quart of paint. I have always used a flat latex (the cheapest I can find) and it has always worked well for me. So, for this project I stuck with what I knew.

A friend had given me a can of Annie Sloan's clear coat wax (a line of a popular chalk paint). The wax acts as a top coat, a sealant to the paint as well as a nice finisher in bringing out luster.

So ... this is what I did:

We had recently purchased an old Craftsman style home (108 years old), and I found myself wanting to add some funky pieces. My problem? I didn't have a ton of space, but needed a place to serve from within my dining space. I started to look through online ads for a smaller buffet, that was on the cheap. 

I found these two contenders. The top one was a bit more than the bottom, so naturally I went to take a peak at the bottom one - and felt it was too small - almost like a coffee table. It was the right color, as I was wanting to go turquoise, but in the end - I decided to spend just a tad more and get the top buffet. I think I spent $75 for the piece. Not too bad ...

When I get furniture to rework, I get excited and started right away. I had recently purchased a new chandelier from some of my favorite furniture friends who take my hobby of reworking pieces, and then sell them (you can find them on Facebook under My Sister's Stuff). This chandelier is awesome, and lends a fun and funky focal point to my dining area - anyway, I digress. I wanted my buffet to help anchor that chandelier by echoing the color scheme. So, I matched the paint at my local hardware store and also picked up some cheap flat white paint. 

I first painted my piece with the blue paint, and then after that dried, applied the white.

I wanted the blue to pop through, but not steal the show from the chandelier. So, my answer to that was to have the white coat help offset the blue. So I sanded down in spots to reveal the blue, and in other spots sanded further to reveal the wood grain - giving the piece a true shabby feel.

The outcome was exactly what I had envisioned. I then used that free wax to finish. Man, that stuff stinks. So, after opening some windows - I applied the wax a couple of different times, being sure to buff in between applications.

The outcome of applying the wax was a deeper, more saturated look. I LOVE IT!

A fun, funky, yet not to overstated piece. 


Total cost: 
$75 for buffet
$15 for a gallon of blue paint that I still have tons of 
$10 for the cheap white paint that I will certainly use again - white is so versatile, especially for the shabby chic look. 

Mission accomplished.