Friday, December 25, 2015

Words Worth Remembering ~ Christmas Edition #ThingsTheySay

Cai:"Hey! I thought we were watching the Graham Cracker!  Who changed the channel?!"
(he actually meant "The Nutcracker")


Me:"Jude, don't open that present.  That one's not yours."


Josh:"Jude, do you have another piece of gum?  I thought you said you weren't going to eat any more of it?  We already brushed our teeth."
Jude:"Oh yeah!  Ooooohhh, sorry dad!  I was just tempted to eat just one more piece!"


(after being sent to his room to reevaluate his attitude)
Jude:"Mom, can I come out now?"
Mom:"Nope.  You have 5 minutes to go back to your room and think about your rude words."
Jude walking back to his room, puts his finger up to his head as if thinking and says..."hmmmm".
Then he comes running down the hallway saying, "MOM!  I thought of a word!  I can play with MY cars and Cai can play with HIS cars!"


Josh:"Jude, buddy, that present isn't yours!"


Zeke:"Mom, it's like a dream day cuz we got this dream car!"

They have only been asking for one of these for 7 years:-)
They don't even care that we had to ghetto rig the back on, ha!


Jude:"Thanks for this stuff. What is it?"
Rainy:"Jude!  That is mom's perfume that I gave her!"


Jude:"Here mom, this is yours.  I got it for you.  It's fingernail polish.  Can I open it for you?"


Jude:"Here mom, this is a book for you and daddy and I'm giving it to you."
Me:"Thanks buddy, but that is YOUR book that daddy and I gave to YOU!"
Jude:"Oooh, THANKS!"


All Colony members to Jude:"Noooo, stop opening presents!  Those aren't yours!"
Jude (crossing his arms and pouting): "But I WANT to open more presents."


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Spiritual "Gifts" ~ KITW

Christmas is one of those things I battle with almost all year long.
I am still working on finding a balance. After last year’s mandatory “gratitude experiment” I was very tempted to just forget about Christmas gifts all together! I was so done with the greed and the ungratefulness. I wanted my kids to “get” that Christmas was Jesus’ birthday and that we were going to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior and that that very fact should be enough to celebrate.
But then my husband brought me back down to reality. Reminding me that there is nothing wrong with gift giving, or receiving, for that matter, it’s all a matter of the heart and the heart is what we needed to work on and cultivate. Our kids needed to know what to expect and be grounded in the reality that giving can be such a gift in and of itself. I needed some way to be okay with loving on my kids through giving them gifts, but balancing it with proper focus.
So how do we do that?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Desperate Thanksgiving

Often times we forget about God and his miraculous ability and power until we are desperate.

Desperate for the miracle.
Desperate for a change.
Desperate for God's favor on a hopeless situation.

In these times we find ourselves on our knees, crying the free-flowing tears of someone NEEDING a move from the Lord that ONLY HE can do!

We are at the bottom.
We have nowhere else to turn.

And He hears us.
He always hears us.
He may answer in a different way than we were praying for, but He is the one who knows the end result and all the steps in between that will get us to where we need to be.

Then there are the times He answers with the Yes we have been agonizing in prayer over...those are the times I most often find myself without words.

My thanksgivings are typically shown through huge sighs of relief and wordless praise, "Praise the Lord"s, and sharing the good news with friends and family who have been praying the same result alongside me.

This week has marked some pretty major hurdles turned to Yes's from our Heavenly Father that I simply couldn't NOT document in a post of thanksgiving.

And not just a simple shout of thanksgiving.
A DESPERATE cry of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.

For starters, I got to go to Uganda a couple of weeks ago.

This is huge for several reasons because there is that little word we call "details". But the Lord had His hand in it all.

Financially we had exactly what we needed to get me there.  Childcare for Josh when he needed it was provided in abundance (thank you everyone who contributed to this huge blessing!).  And my emotional state was open enough to get me on that plane that would take me to the country where my last memory is prying my crying and screaming baby off of me at the airport entrance for, for all I knew, could have been the last time I might see her face to face.
I don't ever have to feel like my air supply is about to be cut off walking up to the entrance
of the Entebbe ever again.  Closure.  A "Yes". Moving On.

I am well aware that this may sound a bit extreme for some of you, but for a highly emotional pregnant woman, with little knowledge of the next steps this adoption could bring, I was quite simply stuck in that last memory.  And I have had a difficult time every fall when these dates come racing around the corner as I remember those feelings of hopelessness and anxiety and heartbreak and ache I felt.

All that said, this trip to Uganda, not only gave me a much-needed break from life to regroup as a mom, in order to feel refreshed and ready to tackle life again, it also provided closure to the aching I have felt inside ever since leaving.  I needed this trip much more than I would have ever imagined!

I also got to see my sister-in-law/friend in her own environment.  I got to meet her friends.  Eat at her favorite Jinja joints.  Laugh at the things you just have to laugh at in order to survive in Africa, and share in her day-to-day.  And I even got to relive court on the other side!

Which brings me to my next desperate thanksgiving...

As of yesterday, sweet Chloe Laiti is now an official Via!  This basically means that they wait to get that signed document in hand and take it to the Embassy to get this family back to America TOGETHER!  I cannot adequately express how much of a miracle this entire process has been for this family.  But I am so grateful to be staring at them through the light at the end of the tunnel.  They have done so well.  So well.  And I am so proud of them.  And I am certain that they will finish this journey strong!


This word introduces my next desperate heart-cry of thanksgiving.

My mom.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer last winter,
she has endured a surgery.
Followed by 18 rounds of chemo.
Which lead to 6 weeks of daily radiation.
And today, a good report on her mammogram.

Praise the Lord.  Thank you God.

Thank you God.

This week my brother-in-law also graduated from the police academy to become a police officer.  I am beyond proud of him!  He needed this.  A boost of confidence. A secure job for his growing family (this "thanksgiving" is coming!).  Motivation to keep working hard and providing. A sense of accomplishment. (I can't even imagine!  Police academy is not for the faint hearted.)

And like I said, the next "thanksgiving"...well he arrived late Tuesday morning after a not-so-by-the-book arrival.  But he is here. And his name is Cohen Davies Ezelle.  He is healthy and after stealing lots of snuggle time I can attest to his perfect little mouth and cute little squeaks while he sleeps.  Yup, he's pretty perfect.

Life hardly ever goes as planned.
But I am grateful and so very thankful that HE is in control.
God, You will take care of all the details.
You always do.

And tonight I am desperately thankful that you do.

Thank you God, for all the Yes's you allow us to witness.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

When Our Children "Depart From It" ~ KITW

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6
I used to think this verse ensured that if I was a good enough parent and taught my kids how to read the Bible, how to pray to God, and the joy of serving in the local church body, they would be sure to have a solid relationship with our Heavenly Father. Even if they made bad choices for a time, they were going to come back, just like the prodigal son, because that is the promise of this verse in Proverbs.
But now…now I’ve lived, and seen, and heard, and witnessed enough heartache to last a lifetime of parents grieving the waywardness of their children and their unwise choices.
The purpose of the book of Proverbs is to teach knowledge and wisdom. The verses within this book are full of advice for everyone, in all stages of life, on how to live a fulfilled and Christ-centered life.
But all the wisdom and knowledge in the world will never negate the free will that God has given us.
He wants us to choose Him.
But the fact of the matter is, not everyone will... { Read More }

Friday, December 4, 2015

When You Miss The Blessing From Prayer

I have heard of some amazing events and occurrences that have taken place because of audacious prayers.

My little niece, who lives in Uganda, prayed over a deaf man and he regained his hearing!

Can you imagine?!

Praying for a miracle and it happening right in front of your very eyes!

And I have also personally experienced specific prayers of mine coming to fruition after fervent, consistent prayer.

That is an AWESOME feeling!
Knowing that I got to play a part.
Knowing that I have been praying specifically for something and God answers the prayer with a resounding "yes".

What I have found is that prayer isn't just for the person or situation being prayed for/over.

It is for the pray-er too.

The people on their knees calling out to their Father.

Prayer is our communication to God.
And His response and answer to prayer reassuring us of His love for us.
His longing relationship with us.
Prayer confirms that He listens to us and answers those requests with our best interest in mind.

But what about those times when we hear of the miracle, are thanked for praying through that situation with others, only to be faced with the reality that you didn't even get to play a part in the miracle because...
you feared praying the audacious.
You were too busy to set the time aside to pray consistently.
You brushed off the request by spouting off a quick, generic prayer just to say you prayed for the situation.
Your prayer life has been stagnant and you selfishly neglected to get involved.

God wants His kids to be a part of the blessings of prayer.
We miss out on being a part of life change, and miracles, and growing faith when we choose NOT to jump on board with where the Lord is working through the prayers of His children.

And that is a sobering place to be.

Let's get off the sideline and jump back into the game.
God makes the plays, but allows us to be players and experience the blessings through our active prayer life if we will just get involved.

Whole-hearted, audacious prayers breed blessing, assurance and a growing faith.
And I for one don't want to miss a bit of it!