Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ready, Set...

I have spent the majority of the past two days purging, organizing, running errands and getting everything in order in our ministry and personal accounts to get ready for baby time.  Thanks to Josh for letting me lock myself in our bedroom to sprawl out the entire 2011 tax year and to Sweetie Cherry who watched the kids so I could run a few quick errands, that wouldn't have been so quick with 4 littles tagging along!

As of today we are down to single digits.  Ladies and gentlemen, my due date is on February 9th.  That is 9 days ya'll!!!!!

I got all of our year-end contributions in the mail, closed out 2011 and got our own personal taxes as done as I could (I still need a couple of statements to come in the mail).

We had some sweet friends gift us our car seat and stroller set and they are both here and ready to tote a sweet little baby around in.  (What crazy woman gives away ALL her baby items the month before conception anyway?!)  We also had a shower given to us at our church.  I felt so silly having to have a shower for baby #5 when I haven't had one since Areyna was born, but we sure appreciated all the blessings people poured on our family for these 2 newest additions!

I also put the finishing touches on the baby room, er... closet, yesterday:) 

Who says you need a separate room for a baby?  We cleared out our master bedroom closet and rearranged a few things in the house to make room for #5. 

It is just enough room for a small tall-standing dresser,

pack-n-play with built-in changing table and

decorative baskets above,

with a small basket of toys. 

What else does a baby need?:)

So, bring on the baby (P-L-E-A-S-E)!  We're as ready as we're gonna be.

Monday, January 30, 2012

No Apologies

I used to struggle with the fact that I was a stay-at-home mom.

I was used to working all day and now I just felt like I sat at home with a newborn, trying to find a purpose.  I'd always been an on-the-go girl, and having a newborn kind of put a damper on that kind of lifestyle.

Then there were the other kinds of things like feeling guilty that I wasn't "out in the world" sharing my faith or doing mission/outreach projects or being more involved in my community or church.

The more kids we add to our growing family the more my mindset and perspective is changing and being realigned (I tend to be a slow learner sometimes).

I no longer view my day as just "sitting around".  My daily to-do list is proof enough of that and I have plenty of "on-the-going" to keep my mind from slowing down at bedtime.  In fact, these things that occupy my day (and these are just the ones that don't have 2 legs and 2 arms that follow me around the house all day) ARE the acts of love and service if I change my perspective to allow them to be.  They just happen to be for the people that live under the same roof as me.

I feel more freedom saying that I'm a stay-at-home mom now more than ever!  I see that my children are growing up so quickly and that I really only have a short amount of time to help them shape who they are and what they believe before they begin making their own choices and decisions.  And if you really think about that too long you may begin seeing your own job as a mom in a whole new light.

Then there was that feeling of guilt for not being out in the world sharing my faith.  Well, I'm still out in the world, just not in the work world, and my friends are other moms (and other women) who help encourage and support me as a wife and mom.  Just think about your child's dance teacher, soccer coach, or the grocery clerk who rings you up on your third trip to the grocery store that week.  These are all open opportunities to be who you are in Christ.  We may have to be intentional in a different kind of way at this season of our lives, but we are in no way NOT being a light in this dark world.

And now for the biggest mission field for a mom.  Her family!  I am a sinful woman saved by grace and my children know who I say I am, but are they seeing me act it out on a daily basis in front of them?  I am ashamed to say that yesterday was one of those days where I probably could have just shared my faith with a complete stranger and walked away easier than I displayed my faith among my own children who had to see this tired mama rant and rave in exhaustion instead of parent in that grace that God has given me to parent.

Being a stay-at-home mom who homeschools and administrates a ministry is the hardest job(s) I've EVER had and I will no longer make apologies or feel guilty about it!  I am working on saying "no", even to fun activities or outings, if it means that I can keep myself more level headed in my "mission field" because that is my priority and I don't want to miss this very important opportunity in the 4 (almost 5) little lives that God has entrusted me with.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The View From Here

Because you can never be too prepared for a fall (or a quick swim) when strapped into a baby swing...

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Topic Of Transition

I can't even begin to capture all that the past two weeks have entailed in this brief summary on my blog, but oh how I want to try.  I want to remember every moment of it!

Alethia has only been home for 2 weeks and 2 days, yet sometimes it feels like she has been here all along.

How is she doing?  How is the adjustment and transition?  How are your other children handling it?

These are the most common questions that we are receiving and they are easily answered in one wonderful word...GREAT!

We couldn't have asked for everything to go smoother, really!

I feel like the hardest transitions that we faced, as we got to know this new little addition to our family, were ironed out in Uganda.  I truly believe that our time in Uganda has made this transition for all of us practically seamless.  I also feel as though having our kids there made a world of difference to her feeling at home when she got here to America.  She already knew her siblings and knew how to interact with each one of them from living with us in Uganda for so long.  And that's just one blessing for all the delays we encountered while overseas:)

SLEEPING - From day one Alethia has been sleeping great!  She begins asking, "Mommy, nite-nite? Mommy, nite-nite?" as soon as the sun begins to go down.  We'll here that same repeated question over a dozen times throughout the evening while playing because her routine while living in Uganda was to go to bed right after the sun goes down.  I mean, what else is there to do in the dark, ha!  It is so funny to see her perplexed expression at the fact that it isn't bed time and that we still get to play for another couple of hours!  Her and Areyna share a bed and really this has been the only consistent "issue" for her.  She gets her feelings hurt if she wiggles over on Areyna's side of the bed, leaving little to no room for Areyna to sleep.  We'll gently place her back on her side of the bed and then the whaling begins.  It could last for up to an hour until she cries herself into exhaustion.  One night Areyna had had enough, as Alethia kicked her way to Areyna's side of the bed, so Areyna pulled a blanket down and slept on the floor.  That did NOT make Alethia happy, ha!  But, besides that, she sleeps through the night, no nightmares to speak of and she stays in bed with Rainy until the "green sign" goes under the door at 9am!

POTTY-TRAINING - She has not digressed at all in this area.  She wears a pull-up during naptime and at night, but other than that she stays completely dry.  She even got brave enough to go all by herself, without any help from me or Areyna after about 3 days.

EATING - She has gone through the stage of eating EVERYTHING I place in front of her to only eating the things she likes, but she will try anything and food really hasn't been much of an issue at all.  I can tell you that she'll do anything for one of Zeke's homemade Oatmeal cookies though:)

Alethia and Areyna are like long lost sisters!  They work on projects together, put makeup on each other and play VERY well together.  Again, the only real kink in their relationship is the bedtime issue.  We may be looking at getting another set of bunkbeds in the very near future.  Areyna helps her pick out her clothes in the mornings and is a HUGE help in every other area as I learn to juggle 4 kids by myself.
Alethia and Zeke are very similar in their bond.  They play very well together and you can tell that Zeke treasures his new little sister.  I know that this phrase will become old hat very soon, but he still has the mentality that he "will share my toys with Alethia because she didn't have any in Africa".  We wants to give her everything:)
 Alethia and Micaiah just picked up their relationship where they left off in Uganda.  It's a love/hate relationship with the emphasis on the "love".  They are like two peas in a pod.  They frequently fight over toys, which leaves Alethia crying.  (We've got to toughen her up!)  He eventually gets bored with the activity and gently hands it back to Alethia, which then wants nothing to do with it, as she is mad because he took it away in the first place.  I'm telling you, this girl is sensitive...  They copy everything each other does!  School time has been very pleasant as they keep each other occupied, for the most part, so I can work with Rainy and Zeke.  Cai and Alethia play "family" and "kitchen".  It's so cute:)
A Little Game They Like To Call "Crazy Undies"...don't ask:)

ON BEING LEFT BEHIND - Alethia made it through a complete service at church in her class last week!  She did GREAT!  We have left her for small group and did amazing.  Josh and I even went on a date this week and she was totally fine!  She knows her brothers and sister are still with her and she sees that mommy and daddy ALWAYS come back for her!

INTRODUCTIONS - It's interesting to see the people she warms up to verses shy's away from.  Most of the time though, if you are visiting in our home she will run up and give you a big hug and want to show you around HER house and give you a tour...especially of her room.  I LOVE IT!

AROUND THE HOUSE - We have been working hard on maintaining order in our house.  When a meal is done the trash goes in the trashcan and the dishes go in the sink.  If you finish playing with a set of toys you clean it up before moving on to the next.  She is NO slacker in this area.  I'd even go as far to say that she does a better job at this than the rest of the kids!

HEALTH - She had no health transitions to speak of until this past Sunday.  Within an hour she went from just acting tired (with little to no fever) to having a 104.4 fever.  We automatically though, Malaria, as she had just gotten over it in the babies home before Josh went to pick her up.  After about 12 hours in the ER and several traumatic events with needles, IV's and X-rays it was confirmed.  There are 4 main strains of Malaria and hers landed smack dab in the middle of intensity.  Thankfully the type that she had is not known for fatalities!  She is bouncing back like a pro.  She also has a UTI so she is on meds for that as well.  She begins her 2nd type of Malaria treatment, which is supposed to put her Malaria "on hold" until the medication she really needs becomes available and then she'll be on that medication for several weeks.  Other than that she is doing great!

AS FOR MOM AND DAD - We are adjusting well.  I've only had a few breakdowns, but I'd say they were mainly due to exhaustion from being so pregnant.  I'm in full waddle mode and totally ready to get this baby thing moving!  Josh is getting into the swing of things at work, which is good, considering our total lack of motivation while we were in the holding pattern just a month ago.  I will say that getting everyone dressed and out the door leaves me with little patience if I'm not careful, and if I don't get up early enough in the morning to "gather myself" and spend time with Jesus it is way more transparent to my kids, as well as everyone else around me, than I'd ever want it to be.

So, we're learning, and will continue to, as our children and our family grow.  We thank God for his consistent grace that He gives us and for the blessing of these little lives which we have been entrusted with.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lessons From The Classroom - A New Year, A New System

After a crazy semester of school I realized that I had better get my act together fast.  I was losing momentum and it was showing in my kids attitudes toward school.

After evaluating this past semester we did finish all my goals, even with the adoption and living in Uganda, thanks to my mom and mother-in-law for helping us out (THANK YOU SO MUCH), but we just barely got through.

Areyna completed Kindergarten in December and is well on her way into first grade!  We are using Horizons Math and Explode The Code for phonics and reading.  She also has an additional reading time where she reads aloud every day.

Zeke has made it to Explode The Code - Book C and is doing fairly well.  After we finish book C we are really going to work on letter recognition and reviewing all his letters to prepare for the next step.  He still has a hard time retaining the letter of the week, even while we're working on it.  We're still working on figuring out the best way to help him remember:)  Teaching him has been such a challenge, but it has been really good for me (and my patience:).  We are also using the Horizons Preschool curriculum book for his math to help him with his numbers.  We are still on numbers 1-10 but he's beginning to catch on, I can just feel it, ha!

This year I wanted to find some fun activities to do that we could do in addition to their normal work to help motivate all of us and keep school interesting.  Some of the things I want to do are still ideas and haven't actually happened, but I think we've got a great start as I look back on this past month.

One of these new additions to our school day has been a fun site that my friend, Heidi, told me about.  It is called CurrClick.  You could spend hours on the site, but if you are just wondering what I chose you can do a search for "Remember Me Pockets for January".  It is under $5 for a whole month of January Themed activities and lessons, but you can also find many FREE lessons as well!

There is NO WAY we could cover all that this month had to offer so I planned one fun activity to do each week for our "group time".

My kids have learned the difference between an author (a writer of stories) and a composer (a writer of music), they have learned the format to write a real letter and how to address an envelope, and we have done several activities with oatmeal, because January is National Oatmeal Month, which EVERYONE should know, right, ha!

One morning we made regular oatmeal and placed several different toppings in the middle of the table and we let the kids pick and choose their toppings and then we made a graph of our families favorite toppings for the oatmeal. 

We talked about the health benefits of oatmeal and all the different uses for it.  It's been lots of fun.  Oatmeal is now a super affordable staple around this Via household! 

Zeke and I even baked oatmeal cookies last night!  It was fun to talk to him about measurements and ingredients.
In addition to our activity in our "group time" every day we are focusing on our Church's curriculum and doing activities and memorizing verses to go along with what they are learning in their classes on the weekends.  We follow up in the evening during family devotions as well!
One more thing.  I have got to be organized if this whole homeschool thing is going to work for us and I was running out of room in my 3-ring binder very quickly with all my new, fun material.  In my organizing and rearranging for baby #5 I pulled down our shoe hanger from our closet and have reattached it in the hall closet by our school room.  There are enough rows for each week for the month and enough columns to cover each day in the week.  It makes it easier to place my lesson plans for a whole month out after all the printables and worksheets have been prepared!  It has worked really well so far.

So, January is almost over and I'm excited to move on to February...oh wait, we're about to have a baby.  Sheesh, one of these days maybe life will slow down...or not;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Words Of Wisdom

***a dialog during family devotion tonight***

Josh: "So, what is self control?"

Zeke: "It's waiting to have the M&M's until after school like mommy says instead of sneaking in the kitchen to get them when she is in the shower or in her room and eating some."

Josh: "Hmmm, sounds like that MAY have happened before?"

Zeke:  "No way.  Huh-uh.  I'm just saying..."


Looks like I need to find a new hiding place for the school incentives;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not Me Monday

I never neglect my own Dr. appointments.

Nope, not me.

I am "by-the-book-Betty" when it comes to things like that.


And it's a good thing too, because if I were to, say, have missed 2 more OBGYN appointments and call to reschedule this morning, they would have to tell me that my file had been flagged and that if I missed another one I'd be let go due to non-compliance...

And then I'd feel like I had just been reprimanded at the principal's office:(

But that's just NOT something I would do.

Nope, not me!


Alethia update: many of you know we had to take Alethia to the ER yesterday due to a rapid escalating fever and restricted breathing.  By the time I took her temp it was 104.4.  We had a feeling that she had Malaria and after several hours of tests, procedures and blood work it was confirmed.  She does, in fact, have Malaria and also a UTI.  We finally got her fever stabilized around 100 and her breathing slowed down tremendously with this.  We made it home around 3:30am and have a follow-up this afternoon to confirm some more test results and learn more about the strain of Malaria that she has.

Thank you for all your prayers for our little girl!

PS-When I went in to put her to bed with Rainy last night, Areyna was cuddled up with Alethia's picture:)  She loves that sister of hers!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lessons Learned The First Week

1 - Paper plates significantly cut down on the number of times I have to run the dishwasher on a daily basis.

2 - One extra mouth to feed doesn't seem like it would make that big of a difference.  I now beg to differ:)

3 -  Having one extra little voice doesn't seem like it would really make that much of a difference in the volume in this house.  I now beg to differ!

4 - One extra body doesn't seem like it would create that many more clothes to wash.  I now beg to differ, as I am more grateful than ever that I get to wash these winter clothes for this family of six in a washing machine.

5 - I can't count on my memory/brain for anything any more.  There just isn't enough room for any more information in there at this time...please try again later...

6 - If you have tried to call me over the past week and it has gone straight to voicemail it's either not intentional, because I simply cannot keep up with my phone (see number 5), or it is intentional because I simply cannot hear the person on the other end (see number 3).

7 - My OBGYN will only get more and more irritated with me the more appointments I don't show up for. (Again, see number 5...or just realize that after the first few kids it just doesn't seem that important to come in and pee in a cup, see all the weight I gained and have them tell me "there's nothing going on down there" if I know that the baby is moving and kicking and rolling and...)

8 - A standoff for an apology between #1 and #3 is bound to make you want to pull your hair out.  I am determined that the children NEVER had to apologize for anything at the babies home, even if it was for biting, ha!

9 - "You got to moisturize that hair, girl!"  Oh yes, these are familiar words of advice to me now.  I have found a great hair product for Alethia's hair.  It's lotion for the hair ya'll.  I'm only hitting the tip of the ice burg with this new found knowledge, and ready or not, I'm gonna be learning a ton more.  (Thanks, Tashia, for the help:)

10 - I may be totally out of my element and completely frazzled and exhausted, and I may have had a few exasperated melt-down moments in this short week, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.  We are finding a new normal and continuing to lean on God because this 37-week pregnant mama doesn't have any left of her own to give.  But God ya'll, He is so good and He knows what I need, and what my kids need from me...can I get an AMEN!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ruby Red Slippers

Alethia got some beautiful satin red dress shoes...and CAI can't get enough of them:)

Monday, January 16, 2012


Alethia has been home for less than a week, but we have already had so many happy firsts (and only a couple of not-so-happy ones, ha!), and this is only the beginning of a lifetime of them!

The first time she saw our house while we pulled up the driveway she gave giddy shouts and squeals as she kicked her feet and clapped her hands saying "Home! Home! Home!"

Seeing her run around her new house, wide-eyed, as she explored this mansion of a home.

Her first all-out wrestling match with her siblings and daddy on the CARPET!  She's never had carpet before.  I'm sure textures in and of themselves around the house are their very own experience for her:)

She loves to look out the window of the car and shout out "Mommy! Daddy!" at every new thing she sees.

Her first experience with the washing machine and drier were comical.  She helped me sort the laundry in our room as she shouted out each persons clothing she took out of the laundry basket.  Then she scurried down the hallway after me to put the laundry in the machine.  She inquisitively watched her clothes disappear inside the big white box as I closed the lid.  She kept asking, "Mommy, clothes?" until the washer finally stopped.  We went over and she watched me transfer them into the dryer.  She LOVED helping me hand wash our laundry in Uganda (and she did rather well at it BTW) so this was very new for her:)

The first time she saw her cold food come out of the microwave "Hot!" was no different.

The first time I got to cook for our WHOLE family!  I'm sure I won't be so excited about this one in a few days, but I sure enjoyed watching her devour every bite:)

Watching her swing on the new swing set in the backyard with that big smile.

Going through a dozen eggs for one breakfast!  My babies LOVE them some eggs!

The first "looks" that everyone talks about when a white family walks in a restaurant with a black child.  You really do feel on display, ha!

The first time getting all 4 kids ready for church by myself.  That was no simple task!

Our first family pizza/movie night in the living room:)

Watching Zeke proudly show off his new sister to his teachers at church on Sunday.

Seeing Areyna and Alethia close themselves in their room for "sister/girl time".

Finally seeing Alethia occupy the space that Cai makes beside him as he plays with his stickers and his cars.

Cai demanding Alethia to play with him by shouting "Jangu, Shabiya!" down the hallway.

Family cuddle time in mommy and daddy's bed:)  Nothing sweeter...although we really are running out of room, and we are about to add another one!

Shouting, "Girls, no more tickling!  It's nite-nite time:)"

I catch myself just sitting and watching my children interact together.  In one moment it all seems so normal and old hat, while the next I'm blown away that Alethia is actually here, as part of our family!  I am a very blessed woman.  I know that Alethia being home doesn't (and shouldn't) complete me, but it sure does fill that void I felt when I had to leave her behind, not knowing if I'd ever get to see her again, and it does bring me to my knees in thankfulness for this miracle we've experienced first hand.

So, here's to a thousand more firsts...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting...#5 - Weeks 33-36

Four more weeks!  Wow, this pregnancy has really flown by...I sure mostly due to the anticipation of getting Alethia home where she belongs.  It just didn't seem right to be having #5 before #4 could come and joine us:)

My belly continues to grow as this bundle inside continues to develop.  I went to my check-up this week (which made for a happy OB since I'd skipped out on the last two) and everything looks and sounds great!  Right on track for a February 9th arrival.  The Dr. assured me that I'd be pregnant for quite a bit longer, which just means that there is no "progress", ha!  I was expecting as much:)

It becomes increasingly difficult to do normal things around the house.  I have to turn sideways as I strain to get the clothes from the back of the washing machine.  My belly is right at counter level in the kitchen so I am forced to use the stool if I want anything above the first shelf.  Cai continues to be a rough and rumbly boy as he runs across the room for quick hugs.  The only problem is that his height makes him run into my belly before the rest of his body does, ha!  My lap is getting significantly smaller, which makes for frustrated cuddlers and my air supply makes for very short games if any cardiovascular attempt is made.  Driving, oh driving...we already know that parking next to a shopping cart drop-off is a no-go, but just trying to get INTO the car and the maneuver of steering has become cumbersome.  It's quite comical actually, watching me try to get around, especially if it's off of my comfy couch...and I don't even need to mention Preggo-face.  It's just bound to happen to this pregnant mama, no matter how hard I wish it away:)  Oh well, we're almost to the end!

So, as we bask in the joy and delight of Alethia being home and transitioning to life as a family of six, we begin to slowly switch gears for that day which is just around the corner of the life as a family of seven:)

36-Week Belly

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not Me Monday

I would never give up an hour away from my kids to go sit by myself with a hot Starbucks beverage for a quiet trip to the grocery store instead.

Nope, not me.

But if I DID go to the grocery store (in peace) instead, I'd surely have made it worth my time by having all my coupons in order and taking advantage of Harris Teeter's triple coupons, instead of lazily walking up and down the isles at the nearest grocery store without even a list in hand.

Nope, not this motivated, frugal mama!

'Cause that could only happen if I didn't completely chunk my whole coupon stash when arriving home from Uganda...because I would NEVER throw coupons away.

Nope, not me.

But let's just say that I did throw away every coupon in my possession and then tell my mother-in-law that I'd rather go get groceries, kid-less, than sit and sip on coffee.

That would make for a more eventful story, right?


So, saying the previous events did happen...

I did NOT park my massive SUV right next to the shopping cart return in order to avoid having to walk any more than necessary.

Nope, not me!  

I always take advantage of every opportunity to exercise and keep this body in shape, ha!

Anyway, if I tried to park next to the shopping cart return, I may just get so close that I have to literally squeeze this 35-week pregnant belly between the open door and the car, just to get IN the grocery store.

And that would look really ridiculous.  Not to mention embarrassing.

And then upon returning with a cart full of groceries, realize that my automatic unlock button no longer works on my key ring and have to shimmy my way back to the driver's side to unlock the car, then shimmy back out to unload the groceries in the back, return my cart that I gratefully didn't have to exercise to return, and climb through the passenger side door to the drivers seat just to get back IN my car.  (And I'm not even going to paint a mental picture of me squeezing my belly down between the steering wheel and the seat.)

Oh no.  I would never do something like that!

Nope, not me. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thoughts From The Sifted

I think when a lot of people go through tough times they question why God would allow "it" to happen.

For me, I GET that God has a BEST plan.  I GET that His timing is perfect.  I get that He knows what is best for me.  I GET that crappy things are going to happen, even to His children, EVEN when they are following closely behind Him in obedience (because so often people question if they heard God correctly if their walk of obedience becomes difficult).  I GET that life sucks sometimes and that we are never going to totally understand WHY exactly God does allow hurtful and painful things to happen.  I GET all of that.  I truly do!
Josh and I have been reading a book called "Sifted", by Rick Lawrence (Thanks Katy!).  It couldn't be more of a perfect book for the season of life that we are stepping out of.

In Luke Jesus says one of the most chilling (in my opinion) phrases of the Bible:

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  
And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

If you notice, Satan went to Jesus to ask permission.  He sought Peter out.  That's a little unnerving. God was gracious enough to give Peter a warning at least, ha!  And then He graciously went on to tell Peter that he had prayed for his faith and that Peter would, in turn, strengthen his brothers after he had been "sifted".


When Josh and I were in the midst of our "sifting" in Uganda we often questioned why things were going so "un"planned.  We often questioned how in the world everything would work out.  We even questioned if we'd ever get back home (this would have been a very low point in our journey:).  I'm sure we had underlying doubt and questions about why this was going so unpredictably for us while others were zooming in and out of country in less than 3 weeks!

Oh we questioned.  (Here is where I want to say that I believe we are allowed to question God and speak from our hearts to His.)  But we finally grasped (at least part of) the reason behind it.  We had a lot of learning to do. 

This "sifting" that we were going through was a hurt that God had allowed.  While we weren't particularly rejoicing in the fact that we were facing obstacles at every turn we were confident that God had a plan.  While we weren't sure how the end would play out, we were confident that God had a plan.  While we weren't sure if we could hang on any longer, we were confident that God was holding us.

After beginning this book and realizing the significance of being "sifted" I believe we could embrace the hardship a little easier.  Our thoughts turned from wondering how it would all play out to "I hope we can finish strong" and "I pray we can pass this test".

Instead of questioning God through all of this, I'm questioning my own heart and motives.  I want to pass this test!  I want God to get as much glory out of our sifting as He can!  I don't want my own fears and insecurities to get in the way of what God is teaching me!

I'm all about being transparent and open, because I believe it can help others, but this is a little hard to admit. 

Here is the weird thing.  When we finally got word that we had been approved to bring Alethia home I was beyond thrilled and relieved.  But at the same time I felt a strange spiritual finality, as though the sifting were over.  That the test was complete.  I felt like I'd passed, maybe not with flying colors, but at least I survived, but for some reason that wasn't enough.  I wasn't ready to be done being sifted.  I don't want God to stop testing me.  I know it doesn't make sense. 

It took some time to sort these things out in my swirling head and I believe I now understand what was going on.  It's not that I want heartache or difficulty all the time, but I don't ever want to feel like God is done with me.  I want to be in a place where I continue to grow!

Oh, don't get me wrong.  I am more than ready to have my whole family on American soil, in our own home, TOGETHER!  I am so ready to have this baby and begin to live a normal life again.  But I don't ever want to forget the sifting we have been through and I don't ever want to be so comfortable doing life that I would cave in the midst of another sifting season.

So for now, I pray that we can enjoy the victory when this season of sifting is complete (because this will be the time to gain strength for the next one), and pray that when our testing is complete that we can turn back and strengthen our brothers, because that is when God will get the glory!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Not Me Monday

To say that I'm a list girl would be an extreme understatement.

I make lists for lists for goodness sakes!

But I would NEVER succumb to the temptation of actually adding something to my list, half-way through the day that has already been accomplished, just for the sheer pleasure, enjoyment, and rush that one gets for being able to check yet another thing off of one's list for the day.

Oh no, not me!