Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Celebrating our risen Lord with a beautiful giveaway for you to share with your kids.


What are you doing to prepare your kids for Easter? This is Easter is very special for us because this is the first Easter that Anthony understands the significance and importance of Christ's death and resurrection. Last year was his first Easter with us, and he had only been in the U.S. for about 3 months so clearly his understanding of what was happening on Easter was limited. But this year, I am filled with joy as I watch his understanding and knowledge of Christ grow along with his desire to share the gospel with others.   




I am very thankful for some amazing tools that have crossed my path to aid me in our Easter preparation! My sister purchased the Family Life Resurrection Eggs for us several years ago, and this is the first year that I have been able to pull them out and share the story of the week leading up to Christ's death and resurrection with my kids.

I also have the privilege of sharing with you, my readers, the beautiful story of The Legend of the Three Trees brought to life in a 30 minute movie. My kids watched the whole movie transfixed and unmoving which never happens! It is such a wonderful story of God's plan for your life and His plan to save us from our sins! Sign up below to win a copy to show your kids!


The Legend of the Three Trees - DVD

*ages 4-7

*Beautifully animated classic folktale

*Teaches children the important lesson that they are significant and God has a special role for them to play

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Have a blessed Easter,

Friday, April 11, 2014

James 1:27 Blog Carnival 27th Edition

So this week's addition is coming to you a little later than usual because I had little mishap yesterday. My sweet son accidentally slammed the car door on my hand so I wasn't able to do much with my hand yesterday except ice it. ;) It is definitely better today, though still swollen, painful and stiff as I type this, but not broken, praise God!

Now let's jump right in!

This week the Cork Board shares with us 10 things they learned the hard way about parenting children who joined their family through older child adoption. We are so appreciative of their willingness to be so transparent with their struggles and the things they have learned. Be sure to read and share, "What not to do in older child adoption".

The Wenrich Family Adoption blog opens up about navigating the world of natural hair as an adoptive mom. I know there are many who can relate and will love this post, "There Was a Little Girl Who Had a Little Curl".

Finally, there are many of us who have traveled the long road of infertility before realizing God's call for our lives was adoption. God put a story in my heart to share about our infertility journey that lead to adoption, and my hope and prayer is that it will touch the lives of those silently suffering and supply them with the hope that only comes from our heavenly father. Check out my story, "Whisper", HERE.

Blessings and enjoy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thinking about Adoption? Check out my "Navigating the Explosion - You Are Not Alone" Book Review!!!

Adoption. 

A word that fills my mind with excitement, vivid memories and reflections.

I remember when we first knew it was God's calling for our life.

I remember the thrill that filled my heart with urgency at the beginning the paperwork chase which quickly turned into frustration.

I remember that moment we knew we had found our children.

I remember the waiting. 

I remember the indescribable joy and uncertainty when we first met each child.

I remember the fear of the unknown.

And 

I now know the love, joy, laughter, pain and tears that is the ongoing adoption journey of bonding and growth as family. 

Are you considering adoption?

Are you just starting the journey?

Are you struggling with the waiting?

Are you counting the days down until you meet your child?

Are you in the middle of raising kids you don't understand or you think might never love you?


Please read this amazing book my blogging friend, Allison Schumm, has put together! Grab a box of tissues, settle in with your iPad or tablet, and traverse this journey Allison has compiled. As an adoptive mom of two precious children, I identified with the letters included on each step of journey, revisiting many feelings and experiences and finding comfort and encouragement from those further along the journey! YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

Allison has compiled groups of letters from adoptive moms and dads and adoptees based on each stage of the adoption journey with intent of bringing encouragement, support and understanding to those on the same journey.  


She divided the letters up into chapters detailed below.

  • The Call focuses on following God's call on your life to adopt.
  • The Wait seeks to encourage you as you work through the sledge of paperwork, being matched and waiting.
  • The Honeymoon looks at that beginning period of time where all seems to be moving along fabulously until suddenly it isn't.
  • The Groove discusses the day in and day out of life with your adoptive child.
  • The Future is a section filled with beautiful letters from children reflecting on their adoption.
  • The Others ends the book filling in some missing pieces with a letter to a birth mom and thoughts for those looking from the outside at adoptive or foster families. 
Go to Allison's blog, The Schumm Explosion, to learn even more about her book, Navigating the Explosion - You are not Alone, read an excerpt and other reviews! You can purchase her book on her Etsy shop for $4.99.

Blessings,




______________________

Allison is a busy mom of 14 beautiful blessings ranging from 18 to 1 year old. She married her knight in shining armor in of May 2004 and they started the first step in their adoption journey in the end of 2005 just 18 months after they were married. Jonathan and Allison are vocal advocates for adoption, they believe that God places the lonely in families and keeping siblings together is the best.

Allison's Social Media links:



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Whisper . . . a short story drawn from our own journey through infertility

Infertility.

Why do we hide from that word and suffer so quietly?

Why do we withdraw from those we love when dealing with this tragedy?

Is it because we are ashamed?

Or is it because we are afraid that if we say the word out loud, it will become all too real.

Why is it so hard trust God with this most painful journey?

All these questions and more, flooded our minds as we dealt with infertility for four plus years. 

I have written about our journey several times as I have reflected on how God worked in our lives through this trial, and I will never be able to praise God enough for the work He did or for His amazing plans.



For those of you traveling this path, know that you are not alone. There are thousands of couples struggling with this, and if we would come together, we could encourage each other. 

But even more than that, God, our almighty and compassionate father, is standing at the door of your heart, patiently waiting for you to let go and give Him your pain. 
______________________________

God put a story in my heart. A story that comes straight from our journey. 

I have entered this short story in a contest in hope that it would reach more people who are silently suffering and supply them with the hope that only comes from our heavenly father. 

Part of the contest is judged by judges, but you can play a role as well. You can give my story a thumbs up if you like. Simply click HERE.

As you read it, know that I am praying for each and every one of you and that my heart is with you.
______________________________

Whisper

Waves of grief and desperation billowed through her heart, as Celia fell to her knees on the bathroom floor. Month after month, nothing. Year after year, nothing. Test after test, nothing. Treatment after treatment, nothing. She was tired and angry. Months turned into years as she watched friends have their first, second and third child. Another month, another year gone by in barrenness.

How many times had she let her heart dare to hope that this might be THE month only to have even that glimmer of hope dashed? How many doctors had told her, “we don’t know what the problem is, so I guess we’ll call it PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). Such a copout. This diagnosis made her feel like the medical community didn’t care to truly uncover the underlying problem that caused her infertility and she found it so frustrating time and time again.

“Lord, I just can't take this anymore. Why? WHY?! Why can't I have a child? I've followed You. I've dealt with loss and pain before and focused on You. I just don't understand why I can't get pregnant when there are so many girls and women around me who do and either don't want it or deserve it. Yes, I said it, Lord. It’s not fair, but, you know what, I don’t even care anymore. Maybe I’m not meant to have a child. I’m too tired. I’m finished.”

The persistent whisper in her heart that had been stifled for so many years by tears and pain suddenly grew louder.

“Child, have you really turned your eyes to Me and focused on Me or have you been focusing on YOUR pain? Have you been satisfied by Me and ME alone? I have been here waiting for you to hear Me, but you were not looking to me, dear one.”

“Daughter of mine, you clearly do not understand My ways or my heart when you question Me in this way. I have a plan for you that is far more wonderful than anything your finite mind can fathom. You dream of red curly headed babies frolicking about the house but I see black headed children waiting for you far far away. Until you learn to trust Me with your life, My vision for you cannot be realized. Don’t you see, my love?”

“Father, are you saying that adoption is something we should consider? But I have always dreamed of carrying a child inside my body, was this dream not from You?”

“Did you seek me when you dreamed this dream? I’ve been closing doors but you keep trying to open them. Be still, rest, and listen to My heart.”

With tears streaming down her face, Celia hugged her knees close, shivering in the cold bathroom. They should put a vent  . . . wait, there she went again, letting her mind wander away from her Father and onto her problems, a small one, yes, but a selfish problem all the same. That is what God was trying to tell her. She hadn’t been truly focusing on Him. Instead of dwelling in the One who had saved her, she was living in her own little world of desires.

Her husband John walked in the room looking as haggard and tired as she felt. Celia looked up at him with a glimmer of hope.

"John," she said breathlessly. "God just whispered a promise into my heart."

John, ever the consummate scientist, even with his faith, looked at her skeptically. “What? Can’t you give me a minute here? I just got home from work. Do we have to go deep right this second? It was a long day.”

“Yes, we do, John,” she replied evenly. “This important to me. God broke through my pain and selfish pride today and showed me His plan. We need to stop and listen.”

“Let me guess. This has to do with having a baby.”

“Well, it is pretty much all I think about.”

“Perhaps that is the problem.”

“Why would you say that? Don’t you want a baby?” Celia voice quivered, on the verge of tears.

“Of course I do, but I don’t obsess about it all the time.”

“Oh, I see. . . . Is that how I seem to you? Obsessed?”

“Well, frankly, yes. You stress me out, baby. I’m barely holding it together at work, and then I come home to find you depressed and moping about. I have been wanting to tell you that we need to let go of this burden and let God carry it for us, but I was afraid of how you would react. So tell me, what happened today?”

“I got my period today and you know how that goes. So I just laid it all out there before God, my anger and desperation. I let God know that this was it for me. I couldn’t handle it anymore. And then, He spoke so clearly in my heart. Actually, I think He had been screaming this all along, but I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t hear it. He told me to stop wallowing and start listening. Listening to His voice and His plan for us. And you know what He said?”

“I think I have an idea, because He has been whispering in my heart too.”

“He said, ‘you will have children but they are waiting for you far away.’” Celia paused for effect.

John turned around and looked straight at her. They both felt an overwhelming sense of awe rise within them as they both said simultaneously,

“Asia.”


Right there, in that small one bedroom condo, it was as if time had stopped. They felt the love of the Father wrapped around them as they stepped into His marvelous plan leaving their silly earthly “dreams” behind. What was their next step? They weren’t even sure, but they knew in that moment that God would guide their every step. His plan. His way. His miracle.

_____________________________

To learn more about our infertility journey and what God has done in our lives as a result, read this previous post: Hope Springs Forth

Vote for my story (((HERE)))

Blessings dear ones,


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are you trusting God? Hermie and Friends "I Will Trust God" DVD GIVEAWAY!!!

So I thought it was pretty fitting that my other giveaway this month is for Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends "I Will Trust God" DVD given that trusting God has been my life theme for the past month. Don't you just LOVE how God works?

Of course, we should always trust God at all times and in every circumstance, but recently, our faith has been tested as we waited to hear if my husband's job contract would be renewed for another year. It was very up in the air, so we were truly in that place of uncertainty, that place where all that is left to do is TRUST GOD. And, of course, as God has proven to us time and time again, He is faithful and will provide for us. Yes, Adam's contract was renewed, and unbeknownst to us, just in time, which is how God works, right? He gets the glory in His timing and His way. You see, we thought Adam's contract went until July 9, turns out it only goes until April 30. But God knew and gets all the more glorified for His amazing work of providing for us in our greatest time of need. 

Yep, this happened, so I just went with it. ;)

So as we have seen God work in our lives in amazing ways, so we want to teach our children these truths as well. This sweet DVD does an excellent job of this. The first episode, "Hermie and the High Seas" is a play on the story Noah and the importance of trusting God even when you don't understand. In the second episode, "Who is in Charge Anyway?", children learn to trust that God has given them each special and unique talents and that He has an amazing and wonderful plan just for them. 

Hermie and Friends: I Will Trust God No Matter What DVD

*ages 4-7

*Teaches children important lessons about trust God, no matter what the circumstance

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Blessings,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who's the lamb in your life? Really Woolly 12 Little Blessings Book Giveaway!

I have always loved lambs. I could say it is because Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29) or because He is our shepherd and we are His sheep (John 10:11-18), but while there is some truth to that, the real story begins many years ago in the simple heart of a child. 

It all started with Little Lamb and Bambi, my two favorite stuffed animals from childhood. Sadly, Little Lamb was lost. My mother said I used to wander about the housing, calling, "Little Lamb, Little Lamb, where are you, Little Lamb?" My heart was temporarily broken but Bambi came to fill that lamb void. In fact, I still have Bambi safely stuffed in my sock drawer. It's for own his protection, of course. There are dangerous creatures roaming about our house, ready to pounce on a helpless little lamb.

Bambi went on many journeys and adventures with me through life, even college, but as you can see, Bambi finally got old and pretty tired, wanting to only hang out on my bed and now my drawer. 


Not only did I love lambs, but also I joined a Christian sorority in college aptly named Sigma Phi Lambda, Sisters for the Lord. We called ourselves Phi Lambs and I LOVED it! It was at this point that I discovered the darling line of Really Woolly cards.  I absolutely love them and many a friend and family member has a received one of these cards from me. So now, you won't be so surprised when you get one of these. 

With Bambi in retirement upon my marriage, there wasn't a new lamb in my life. So, one day, not long after I began working for Senator Inhofe, my mom sent me a package that contained my own stuffed Really Woolly Lamb. Really Woolly, as I like to call him, came to work with me in the U.S. Senate Office Building and sat on my desk shelf for the seven plus years that I worked for the Senator. At this point in my life, looking at him reminded me that no matter what was happening around me, I am a child of God with a Savior who sacrificed His life for me. Now, he sits on a bookshelf in my room. 



So as you can see, I LOVE lambs, and I was beyond thrilled to see that I can share this with my children with this precious book from Tommy Nelson. Not only is this darling book filled with drawings of my favorite lamb, Really Woolly, but it also teaches counting and the importance of God's blessings in our life to our children!


Really Woolly®: 12 Little Blessings

*ages 3-7

*Perfect way to teach your children about different ways that God blesses them

*Lyrical, rhyming text counts down from twelve blessings to one, reminding little ones that God sends blessings because He loves them

*Each blessing is paired with a scripture and a prayer







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Blessings from one lamb to another, 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Check out my Whole Family Strong post . . . "My Struggle with Sugar"


Lately, I have been struggling.
Struggling to get a handle on my love of sugar. 
Ok, if I’m being honest, obsession might be a better word. . . . 
To read the rest of this post on Whole Family Strong, go HERE.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


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