Monday, July 30, 2012

The secret is OUT!!!!! Big CHANGE is coming!!!!!!

 Look doesn't it look like Michael is whispering to Joanna?  Awww........Maybe he is telling her the secret?  Of course you will have to scroll down further to skip to that part people!!!!
 Or maybe he is telling her his plans of getting into trouble by getting into anything in his reach.....which now is A LOT MORE STUFF!!!  He he he's kind of funny, but by the 9th child to get into things you are totally not as worried about "stuff" at all.  Or maybe it is just sooo awesome that he is getting into it- you don't care?  Either is AWESOME!!!
 Michael time for a hair cut!  Yea, he is happy in his high chair in the garage now, but not so much later.....
 Mommy is it ok that I got the glass candle holder to play with?  Ummmm.......let me it all UP WAY HIGHER!!!!
 Look mommy I am going to take pictures just like you do :)  TOOO CUTE!!!!!!
 And here is daddy's first time of giving Michael a hair cut....he was sooo nervous..... (the other hair cut he has had with us was at a hairdressers, but hey he gave it a go....and it came out really well- especially since this little man is a little bit squirmy!)
 Calm right now, later not as calm, but he did really well!!!!!!
 Hmmm...........I think Michael needs more love ;) 
 So here's a hint......the big change has to do with these faces......
 and this one.......
 And this one......
 and this one tooo.......
 oh dear- yes this one too.....
 What- yep this one too.........
 What change mommy?  You mean my diaper? sweetie.....but you are cute!
 He he he he.....I love my "Abilah"  (Joanna's name for Abigail). 
 Look at my new hair do.  Is that the change?  ummmmm  noooo...
 BUT you two are adorable together!!!!!
 Mommy....does it have to do with Michael....ummmm sort of......
 Look at me....I can do this.....
AND this.......

OK so the BIG NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some of you may remember that when we moved here we prayed for a great ministry job.  Somewhere that Jason could work that would be awesome workplace.  Where he could be a part of a ministry team.  Where he could use his skills.  For the last 15 months he has been working for Meet The Need.  A GREAT MINISTRY that helps ALL CHURCHES that sign up and ALL MINISTRIES that sign up to connect!  It comes from the leader of the company Jim Morgan who left his big time job to start the ministry.  You see really for most of our country you have to go looking for opportunities to serve the community you live in, or where can I help out this weekend...I have time, or where can I give some great baby stuff that is still in great shape?  How can I really serve the homeless in our area?  NO IDEA right....UNTIL MEET THE NEED.  They help people really find a passion and live it out.  Want to donate things in  your home?  Want to serve in specific ministries, but not sure who to contact or those in your church don't have the same passion for that particular you are left hanging....not sure what to do?  Well MEET THE NEED is the answer that God put in Jim's heart to help people Meet those needs in our churches, in our communities, and really in our hearts.  And talking to Jim you can tell his passion for this- and it just makes you excited about what God is doing and going to do with this ministry!

As many of you know we have gone through some really BIG BIG BIG changes in our home.  Lots of struggles, lots of healing, and lots of work still to be done.  BUT, there is one piece that has felt a bit out of place.  It has nothing to do with Meet the Need.....they are an amazing organization serving the Lord and our communities by the way it is NATIONWIDE now :).  It was just something......something that hasn't felt right.  Again, trying to make it work, but God had other plans. 

You see......the joke was when Jason started there that there was another organization there that Jason would be perfect for.  There is donated office space where several Christian non profits work.  That organization- 4 Kids of Tampa.  What is 4 Kids?  Well.....let me tell you!  Or I will just steal what is on their website.....4KIDS of Tampa is a faith-based non-profit organization that focuses on recruiting safe, loving and stable foster families and others from the community of faith to help children who have been removed from their home due to abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. 4KIDS of Tampa is committed to supporting foster families and foster children. Our goal is to make sure that every child has the opportunity to experience the life they deserve and become productive and influential members of society.

This joke seemed crazy to us....we had never heard of ANY organization that actually helped children in foster care and foster families in this kind of way- EVER!!!!!!!  WOW!!!!!  Seemed too good to be true.  After experiencing soooo much in foster care where we wished we would have had ANY KIND OF MENTORING, ENCOURAGEMENT, ETC........

Jason will be starting for 4 Kids in the next monthish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It seems like a dream come true.  AGAIN- NOT that Meet the Need isn't GREAT!!!  Because IT IS!!!!!!

BUT- anyone who looks at our family.  Sees and hears Jason talk about children in need- it is pretty much like reading my blog.  Just a male voice ;).  You can tell that is where his heart is!!!!!!  His gifts are a great fit for this organization as well.  In person encouragement, teaching families about being a foster parent, going to trainings on helping others in their sometimes difficult walks with their kiddos, helping plan for respites, helping plan events for foster families, etc.  UMMM.......SOOOOO AWESOME!!!!!!

It is hard for us only because we don't - dislike Meet the Need, this is kind of like leaving an organization you care about, but knowing that this opportunity is what you were born for!!!  How do you do that and not hurt feelings?  It is hard.  That is why we ask for your prayers as this change happens!!!!

Jason is sooo thrilled to stand up for the fatherless!  To help families like ours!  To encourage!  To shepherd new families!  To teach skills and realities (as much as one can) about helping children to heal!  To encourage and connect with all those who are already helping support foster families in our area- have I mentioned there is a real movement in our area - Brandon, FL- to minister and get serious about these beautiful children??  Cause there is!!!!!!! we ask for your prayers for Meet The Need- as they need to replace Jason and find someone who is AMAZING to really help this growing ministry TAKE OFF even more!!!!!!!

We ask for prayers for 4 Kids as they have needed someone for a while now and really needed help a while ago!!!

PRAY for Jason as he is trying to not be caught in the middle.  He is really trying hard to be what he needs to be for this transition.  It is a hard place to be.  THANK YOU for your prayers!!!!!

Celebrate with us these 2 AMAZING ministries and what they do for sooo many others!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The You We Adore- by Valerie Westfall

This is a book we were asked if we wanted from the author.....Ummm.....YES!!!!

LOVE NEW ADOPTION BOOKS!!!!!!!!  This is one our kiddos LOVE!  We have a few in our home, some about international adoption, some about domestic adoption, of course none about foster care adoption- hmmm.....WE NEED MORE OF THOSE!

THIS BOOK however is a more general book about adoption that can be about any adoption WHICH I LOVE!  I LOVE that it applies to all adoptions.  I love the colorful pictures :)  It is a simple story line and not complicated and it makes it perfect!

You can't get it other places, but you can read the book online to see if you enjoy it as much as we did!!!  You can order it from HERE.   Makes a GREAT GIFT for others you know who are adopting- whichever way, and for your new child you brought home through adoption, or to help your children understand adoption and open the door to talk with them.  :)


book cover

Monday, July 23, 2012

Another part of my Anything Prayers........

 Sooo.......a while back I alluded to something that we did as a family that involved a tough sacrifice.....especially for me.  This above picture is a part of that sacrifice we made.  You see this shelving unit?  Yeah....this is a result of many, many, many months of coupon cutting, watching and studying adds, saving money here and spending it provide food for our family.  If you like it is "my part" that I do to help our family.  We have always least for the last 13 years in the ministry and umm...that is code for non other words you don't make a whole lot. 

It's all good.  I have never worried.  God has always provided!  ALWAYS!!!!  So here is the deal.  Why am I soooo protective of my "stash"???  OYE!!! 

So I read the book can read about this HERE!!!!  It was AWESOME and INSPIRING!!!!
 Then I got a phone call about Feeding Children Everywhere and how my little ol blog post helped God create a WHOLE NEW OFFICE for them.....creating MILLIONS of more people to be fed!!!  WOW- blown away doesn't even come close!!!  If you didn't read about can go HERE.

When I got that call.....I knew.....I knew God had been stirring in my heart about a devotion my hubby wanted to do.  I dragged my feet about it.....a little bit ummmm A LOT!  It happens to be the first devotional from Amazing Adventures Creative Connections and Daring Deeds- 40 Ideas that put feet to your Family's Faith by Time and Alison Simpson :). 
 The devotional asks you what your prized possession is.....So daddy got his phone,
 Abigail said her pictures of her with her biological mom, Andrew brought a new devotional book he was given at camp, Joanna brought a doll, Jonathan brought his teddy we gave him before he came home, Sarah bought..oh dear I have forgotten sorry, Elizabeth brought a toy, Matthew brought his Bible, Joshua couldn't think of something right that moment, and I just said.....all my pictures of our family through the years........
Then as the devotional goes says to give away ALL of your stored food items.  ALL OF THEM.... for some this may not be much, but umm.....for us.....this was A LOT!!!!
 And that is when it hit me like a ton of bricks.  This has been a source of accomplishment for me.  A source of pride.  An idol.  Silly....maybe.  It was a lot of time invested, savings- I could tell you what I spent on pretty much every item on the shelves, and I could tell you that we have saved sooo much.  I could also tell you that it meant.....too much.  After all God provided it all- NOT ME! 

Some of you will think I am crazy, it's all good....been called that a million times.  Some of you may not understand, but you see when you think something is sooo important and you cling to it more than your security in God- it is an IDOL!  I do NOT write this to brag about what we did.  I come more out of shame of admitting to my idol.  I felt horrible that I had let it get that way. 

I have to tell you though......whatever your Anything is....or whatever you idol is.......letting it go seems hard in the beginning, but once you do let it go, lay it down.......WOW DOES IT FEEL INCREDIBLE!!!!!!  As in a renewed sense of deep bond with my personal Savior!!!!  A whole new feeling of freedom in HIM!!!!  A fresh outlook on what it means to rely on HIM!!!!!!

Another part of this......was that we did not have a lot of extra cash floating around this month. in this was a tighter month.  We had some things break - our dishwasher, doctors bills, etc. that have added up.  To mean that this month was going to be more of a no frills month!!!  As in we didn't buy frills.  OK I gave in and bought a few things that were literally not food items that were necessary- a new dressing I loved, and a couple of bags of chocolate.  So see.....even in a no frills month for us.....we still had "some extra money".  Funny how my definition of no frills and others definition is different huh? 

So along with all of has made me think sooo much more about how I view food buying.  How I decide what is really necessary.  What we really need.  How I can balance "stockpiling" with couponing to save us money and how we as a family can bless others too!!!  A whole new perspective. 
 So the following pics have nothing to do with anything, except some silly pictures of our Joanna climbing into Michael's bouncy chair that they are both too big for now.  Silly girl!

I want to tell you about God's provision as well.  You  see the reason we were able to afford even those few extra items for our anniversary, etc. this month was......God provided.  AS HE ALWAYS HAS!!!  When you open yourself up to HIM more.....HE never fails to open your eyes to HIM in whole new ways!  So this month for the first time ever I created a month's worth of menu so we only bought what we needed....we received a gift card rebate from something we bought- finally got it back....this month, we got our tax return from Louisiana, we received a few bags of groceries from a person that Jason knows at work!!! AMEN, we took in our change jar and got the cash, we got gift cards for ice cream from the parade :) yummy, we got 4 bags of clothes that are from this same person Jason knows from work- and they happen to be our boys' next size they will be growing into!!!, we were told a certain medical bill we were expecting- ended up not costing ANYTHING, and finally.....we were told that Jason's insurance will be lowered this month!!!!!!  WAHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!  Which then provided for that new food processor so we can save additional money!!!! 
 It is like we get ourselves in a "pickle" like Joanna.  We are caught in this treadmill thinking a certain way about something.  We are so intrigued we climb in even though we shouldn't.  We then try to get out, but can't on our own.  We need our loving Father's help.  So he lovingly reaches out His arms and picks us up.  And we are SET FREE!!!!!
 I encourage all of you to really examine.....what are the most important things in your home to you?  Not jokingly....for real.  Why?  What would happen if God asked you to give that up?  What would that involve or look like?  I guarantee when you do......HE WILL SET YOU FREE!!!!!
AMEN!!!  And this not the cutest face or what?  This is what happens when you give Joanna a yogurt :)

**Please continue to pray for decisions we are making.  (again this has nothing to do with another adoption or a move)  We just want clear guidance as to what steps to take and when.  THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy 15th Anniversary to us!

 This is what our table looked like yesterday morning.  :)  Awwww........
 My big card for Jason......yep, homemade love here!!!  Way better than store bought :)
 Awww.....who is that crazy couple in that picture??  :)
 Card from family........  notice the #1 card on the table?  That is some homemade love from my hubby!!!  Oh and he did 15 of them!!!  YES HE DID!!!!  And they were the best cards ever!!!!!  15 AMAZING reasons why he loves me, with scriptures, and examples too!!!!  YES!!!!!!!!!!!  YES I LOVE YOU JASON DALE WRIGHT- FOREVER!!!!!  :)
 This was a gift from me to him.....glasses that say bride and groom on them.  We used them - with Mt. Dew of course later in the day, but they also held the Lindt white chocolate truffles I got him really well too!  :)
 hmmmmm...not sure how to change the picture, but this is a gift from him to me......we love the willow statues :). 
 Close up of the glasses (by the way 15 anniversary is glasses were as close as I got to that). 
 YUMMY!!!!!  One of our favorites!!!!!
 The HUGE bouquet of White roses....which I had in my bouquet on our wedding day!!!!!!!!  YES he did that on purpose.....he asked me later if I knew why he had gotten white ;).  That's my man!!!
 So here is the inside of my card......looonnnnngggg written part talking about a summary of our 15 years together.  Along with varying pictures of our family through the years.  The big black and white picture on the right?  That was us getting ready to lifeguard back when we first met at Camp Wesley Woods!  Crazy huh?  We were that young :) 
 The kids liked the pictures....
 Yes baby.....that was really swimsuits and at the pool!
 Looking at all the pictures....notice the baby Elizabeth is pointing to?  That was HER!!!  OYE where does the time go?  Although we have to say......she looks a lot like Joanna!!!! flowers....too bad you can't smell them!!!!!  We had a GREAT DAY yesterday!!!!

Jason had to work from home because I had to take Michael in for his ABR- hearing test when they give you "sleeping medicine".  The great news his left ear is clear and he has all of his hearing in that ear!!!!  Not so great news....his right ear tube was "plugged up" and they couldn't get any readings in that ear.  :(  Which is a concern because before tubes that is the ear that he had no hearing in then too- lots of fluid.  Sooo......just scheduled him for another apt at the ENT.  So we will see what will happen next.  Hopefully they can "clear out the tube" and we will have to schedule another ABR in the future....and pray we can get a reading.

On to GREAT NEWS about Michael- he climbed the bottom step!  As in BOTH KNEES on the step!!!  Can I get a WOOT WOOT!!!!!  Go Michael!!!!! on with our day.  After finishing up work for the day Jason and I headed out to my favorite restaurant.  Of course there isn't any of my favorite restaurants close by- TEXAS ROAD HOUSE!!!!!  So we traveled to Lakeland.  YEP, because my man is AMAZING!

We had a great server there named Brittney who we got to share a bit about our family with.  It was a great time with great food, and good conversations about our family and how far we have come.  This last year in our marriage we have had  some pretty big bumps in the road.  I mean BIG.  There were times when giving up would have been easier for sure!

BUT GOD!  God gave us the gift of each other there are times when we step on that gift, forget about the gift altogether, kick the gift, definitely forget to take care of our gift, leave the gift unopened for days, weeks, or longer, shout rude things at our gift, put the gift back in the box and tell the Lord- you gave me the wrong gift Lord.......but none of those things work.  We have to choose to open the gift, take care of the gift, choose to love the gift even on those hard days when the gift doesn't love us, be respectful of God's gift even if they are not respectful of us.....and CHOOSE LOVE!  Choose to remember this is indeed A GIFT!!!!

I PRAISE GOD WE HAVE NOT GIVEN UP!!!  With that has come more hard days, and more GREAT DAYS TOO!!!!  More deeper learning about each other!  More deeper love and respect than could ever have happened with not going over those bumps in the road!  God really did know what He was doing........go figure ;).

***Oh and there is an unspoken prayer request for our family (it is not another child...yet, or anything to do with our marriage- although prayer is always appreciated).  :)  Thanks!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

And the winner is...........

 Brought to you by Jennie Allen author of Anything- the prayer that unlocked my God and my Soul!  As you can see my ridulous oldfashioned ways awesome mixing bowl served as the drawing hat.
 My very amused 10 year old Andrew who came and asked what I was doing taking a picture of the mixing bowl ;).
 OK mom is this what you wanted me to do?
 Yes, now who is it???
 IT IS SHELDON AND DENISE!!!!!!!!!!  Email me or facebook me your address so I can mail you the book!!!!!  CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!  To the rest of you who didn't win the book- go buy it!  Seriously!  A challenge that is AWESOME!
 So as a consolation prize you get to see all the hard work that we did organizing the homeschool room.  and by we I really mean - me. 
 Our reading book, readers, and some storage for homeshool stuff too. 
 This is the craziness of sorting through things!
 The cubbies are done. 
 Now finally.........the room is done.  So here is a 360....

 This post has some "pep talk" about Loving your children, things to remember when you are disciplining your children, 10 point manifesto for Joyful parenting, the essential intimacy needs for everyone.....there right next to the changing table to remind me!!!  See- I am NOT Perfect, but having these up helps remind me!
 Our big unit with now all our games sorted by younger to older kid games.  As well as a shelf for all my current using books for school, and lots of activities to keep the kids busy and learning!  :)
 Cubbies looking neat- don't worry they only look this neat when I make them clean them up!  :)
 This is our school table which we pull out every day when we start.  With our world map, US map, and of course Enland maps too!

 This is my extension of the classroom- fridge phonics- best invention ever!  Prayer board with our sponsored children on it, as well as ministries we pray for. 
 Schedules on the wall- laminated of course. 
 Chores/responsibilities so no one has the excuse they didn't know or remember! 
This is the hallway going to the boys bathroom (enter totally at your own risk!) with a toy cubbie too.

Whew!  Well........hopefully this sickness has gone for GOOD!!!!!!  Praise the Lord and we can get back to some kind of normal around here so I can tell you a little more about our anything :).