Friday, November 30, 2012


This week I had a long list of things I thought I should do.  It is Christmas time, after all - that right there always ups the ante.  My gift list isn't long, but I do have one, and I have purchased almost nothing off of it.  I need to order Christmas cards.  I need to put away laundry.  I need to pick up the house.  I need to stop eating dessert.  (I know that doesn't really line up with every thing else, but I was on a roll.)

Instead, I have spent a lot of time with people this week, for various reasons.  It has been rich and full.  It has been hard at times, but oh so good as well.  We had community group at the hospital this week with the Heads.  (Nothing like carrying a crockpot full of white chili to the far end of ACH.  I got some crazy looks.)


Everything that has happened with Ava Jane has been so unexpected, but it has been amazing to see God work and see the peace and grace that he gives in these situations.  It has also been a wonderful reminder not to take things for granted.  Anything can change in a moment.  Please pray with us for full healing of Ava Jane - you can follow her story on their blog, as well as see more specific prayer requests.  I am so thankful to serve a God who loves our kids more than we do.

On Wednesday, we drove to Siloam Springs so that John could speak to a group of graduating seniors at John Brown University.  This is the fourth year he has done this, and it is always so enjoyable.  He loves getting to tell them "You will probably not go out and change the world.  However, you can always change Your world."  It's neat to hear the panel each year and impart a tiny bit of the experience that life after college brings.

We have made it a tradition to eat dinner with our dear Becci and Luke and Ellen before the event.  This is becoming crazier as we have more children, and they get louder.


And, Luke graciously took more pictures for us.  At this stage in the game, I am racked with a bit of guilt, because Bella especially is very difficult to photograph.  However, I am always always always amazed and impressed at the way he gets great pictures of them every time.  Without fail.  And the odds are stacked against him.  Here's a behind the scenes shot.


Today, I've got two of the Heads' boys to help give their (Adam's and Courtney's) parents a break.  The boys are each 3 months younger than my girls, so it is like having a set of almost four year old twins, and a set of two year old twins.  We've had a good time, though a few moments have been crazy.


That serendipitous shot about sums it up.

So, while putting people ahead of projects is not always my forte, I am glad for the opportunities.  I can see that this is where life is, and the bottom line is that people are eternal.  Projects are not.  And projects will be there next week.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Yesterday, we got our wait list email!  We are . . .


Which is exciting!  It is amazing to watch each month as children get matched with families.  What a privilege to see God working in these lives and changing them all forever.

As to how this information pertains to us - let me give you a run down of all we understand at this point.  What I am beginning to see is that our number probably won't end up mattering that much.  What we are waiting for is fairly specific, which I know I have mentioned before.

I talked to our agency earlier this month.  They had called to double-check all of our actual approvals and understand even more about what we are hoping for, now that we are near the top of the list.  We are approved for kiddos that are a year younger than Bella, which essentially means that we could adopt infant twins or possibly two unrelated very young kids.  Right now, we feel compelled to wait to get two kiddos at once, because that is what we feel God calling us to for our family.  And, because of the cost involved, it honestly makes sense to get two at one time, instead of doing two separate adoptions.

I asked our lady if she thought we were crazy to be asking for what we are.  I know that you cannot special order orphans into your family.  She graciously said that we were not crazy.  She said that our expectations seemed to be in the right place, and that we knew it might take a while to be matched to kiddos that meet our approval.  That was good to hear.

However, this does mean that we could hang out at the top of our special needs waiting list for quite a while, and people behind us could be matched with kids.  We have decided that is really okay with us, because, for all we can see right now, this is what we believe we should be doing.  That could change, of course, and we would be open to that if the time came.

I asked if we should appeal to our home study agency and try to get our approval broadened, but they said that since we have not been waiting long at all and are okay with waiting a while, that we could wait on that or never do it at all.  My tendency in stuff like this is to try to hyper manage it, but I know that God knows better than we do, and things have already happened the ways that they have for reasons that he knows.  I am learning to rest in that, while still trying to ask the right questions and understand all that happens.

So, here's to the waiting!  We are praying for our children that we haven't met yet.  It is so exciting to think that God already knows what is going to happen and how it will work for the good of all of us!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've been a bit heavy the past couple of days, so I thought it was time to liven things up with a mindless post about food.  Since we hosted Thanksgiving and people at our house last week, I pretty much cooked up a storm all week.  It was fun to plan menus and make a few new recipes along with many old favorites.

Here's what we've been eating.

On Wednesday morning, I made Sourdough Waffles for the first time ever.  My friend gave me a sourdough starter that lives and breathes in my fridge, and I just figured out how to use it as well as how to feed it.  Crazy good.  You should get a friend that will make you a starter of your own - or - you could bravely make it yourself.  Then you will learn about all kinds of randomness like the fact that wild yeast lives in the air, and you can catch it to harness its yeasting strength.  True Story.


Anyway, the waffles were amazing, and I am looking forward to many more sourdough treats in our future!  Thanks, Lindsay!

On Wednesday evening, I attempted the Panera Mac and Cheese recipe that has been haunting Pinterest.  Ya'll - it is the real deal.  It tastes like that heavenly mac and cheese.  Make it ASAP, if you like Mac and Cheese, which is pretty much a given.  I paired it with baked Salmon marinated in something really similar to this recipe, and it all received rave reviews.

Thursday brought the usual Thanksgiving fare.  Delicious stuff.  One of the things I did differently this year was making Pumpkin Cheesecake, instead of Pumpkin Pie.  A dear friend of mine made this a couple of weeks ago, and we fell in love.  It is Martha Stewart's recipe for the filling, and for the crust, my friend told me to chop up Ginger Snap Cookies and pecans, instead of graham crackers.  Amazing.

Friday morning, I made McCulley Family Cinnamon Rolls, which never get old.  In fact, they were almost all eaten by the end of the day.  Friday night, I made my own version of this recipe, that we love.  I substitute goat cheese for the feta, and because I had no fresh herbs on hand, I used dried basil instead of fresh parsley.  It was a light way to end the week of eating, though I suppose anything with goat cheese sprinkled liberally on it is not incredibly light.  The recipe says to serve it with crusty bread, but we want to try serving it over orzo next time.

And now, I have a fair amount of leftovers.  Since I had a casserole sneak up on me yesterday, I decided to fuse Hash Brown Casserole with my leftover mashed potatoes.  I put down one layer of the frozen hash browns, and then I made a layer of mashed potatoes.


Then, I poured more hash browns on top and followed the rest of the recipe.  Success!  You really can never have too many types of potato all together.  And then baked.  With cheese.

Tonight I am making dinner for Community Group, and I am going to put my leftover turkey into this White Chili instead of chicken.  Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012


I suppose it is the hangover from an indulgent holiday.

It might be trying to wrap my mind around what we Do and Do Not Need this Christmas season.

Maybe it's the late fall rain that makes even more of the trees shed their leaves.  As the leaves blow across the street, I find myself afraid it's a squirrel that I am about to squish with my tire.  Squirrels in my neighborhood seem to have a death wish.

It could be that it's Cyber Monday, and I wanted to shop online all day, but couldn't think of anything that I should buy.  (Except a new clock part.  The wall clock in our living room stopped working last week.  "It's 10:00 somewhere" is what we keep saying to each other.)

It is for sure brain fog.  Like I can't get my head in the game.  Like having a casserole that I needed to make before tomorrow morning sneak up on me this afternoon and prompt a strange evening grocery excursion.  I hate when casserole catches me unaware.

I think my head is stuck in the fog of hard things.  Wondering where my responsibility lies.  Stuck loving people, even though I have no idea what would help them.  Stuck thinking of things that I have no control or influence over.  I have spent much of my life shirking things unpleasant.  Trying to build an alter reality in my own life where things are happy and pretty.  Being in awe at the way that I was blessed and thinking that my life was normal.

Hard things exist, and I do not have to look hard to find them.  They surround me.

But now I can see that I have a choice.  I can let them inside.  I can bear the burdens of others.  I can be the blessing.  I can pray.  I do have responsibility.  Shielding myself from harshness does no one, least of all me, any good at all.

Right now, it's got me in a brain fog.  I can't seem to shake it, but I think that is the way it is supposed to be.  I've always been able to put it aside, but I'm beginning to see that allowing myself to feel - truly to care - for others is what God is talking about when he commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We can never love too much.  We can never out-give our gracious heavenly Father.


The fog lifted just a bit tonight when I got home and found the girls and John cuddled up watching Cinderella.  Lily joyously ran to the car and wanted to carry groceries in for me.  I realized two things.
1)  Groceries land on the floor when you have little helpers.
2)  We really like sugary cereals.  Call me crazy, but I had Lucky Charms for dinner.  Who doesn't want to eat something that claims to be "Magically Delicious"?

So that is my Money Shot this Monday.  Linking up with Flower Patch Farm Girl.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


As the Thanksgiving dust settles and we head full-throttle into the Christmas season, I've been struck by many things.

1.  Where has this year gone?  I know I must be saying that always, but how is it almost Christmas?

2.  I think I am beyond over the commercialization of this holiday.  At risk of sounding a bit of a crank, walking through Michael's tonight was Christmas overstimulation to the max.  And, I love Christmas.  (And, I get annoyed with myself, because I know I contribute to it on some level.)

3.  What am I going to do with all the leftover dessert from Thanksgiving?  We had no less than six desserts around all week, and at the rate I am going, I will finish them almost by myself.  This is not a good plan at all.  My Fitness Pal will be very upset.

4.  I am so glad that Past Carol did a good job of putting Christmas decorations away, because it made Current Carol's decorating job much easier.  Way to go, Past Carol!

So, as I was thanking Past Carol - I started thinking about Future Carol.  She's someone I ought to think about more often.  For example, would Future Carol be happy or sad about Current Carol's choices?

Would she be glad that Current Carol went ahead and folded that laundry and put away those dishes?  That always makes Future Carol happy.  (And impressed.)

Would she be upset about Current Carol's current dessert binge?  Future Carol might be a bit understanding, but her jeans would not be on board.

I'm pretty sure that Past, Current and Future Carol would be delighted by the choice to have the girls help decorate for Christmas.  Their pure and unadulterated joy has been a breath of fresh air.  Lily, especially, is sparkling with enthusiasm.  As we decorated the tree in our bedroom, she kept pulling ornaments out saying, "Oh!  This is so beautiful!  Look, Mom!  Isn't this beautiful?"  Future Carol will cherish thinking back to tonight.  And all Carols will be able to laugh at the way that Lily hangs ornaments.


So many questions I have for Future Carol.  I wonder what God has in store for her - sometimes it scares me a bit, in fact.  Past Carol would never have dreamed that Current Carol would be in the middle of a special needs adoption trying to bring two young boys into our family.  I am wondering what's next.  I wonder about the slippery slope of trying to see more of life through God's eyes and less through my own.  I'm afraid there's no going back.

Past Carol would have never understood that life is so much bigger than her little plans.  That God has a way of blowing those completely out of the water and showing himself greater and bigger and really worth following.  Even in the hard stuff.  Especially in the hard stuff.

So, here's hoping that God molds and changes Current Carol into someone with more of his heart.  Future Carol will be so thankful.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


We still have a bit of family here, but we are wrapping up our Thanksgiving festivities.  We hosted John's family at our house for the event, and we enjoyed the time together.  Here's what we did.

We played outside and in the leaves and enjoyed the beautiful late fall we've had here.  Grandma kisses are the best!


We cooked up a storm, and Lily enjoyed being in the kitchen more than ever.  This does not always translate to the pictures.


We tried to take a cousin picture, but this is the best we got.  Since it was almost time to eat, we didn't try real hard.  And poor Shane fell off the table right after the picture, but the kids definitely enjoyed playing together this week.


We deep-fried our turkey at our CFA, which turned out moist and delicious.  More perks to restaurant ownership and access to professional equipment.  Then John carved it up in time for our feast.


Then we ate and ate and ate.  Seriously.  So much eating.


We had family around to help entertain the girls.  They also served as magic clean up fairies for me, since I did all the cooking.  If only my dishes got cleaned and put away all the time by a cleaning crew - thanks, guys!


We took an obligatory Thanksgiving picture with the promise of sugar cookies for pleasant behavior.  Still couldn't get Lily to smile.  She did, however, love her sugar cookie.  And Bella was sure excited about something.


We also took several "family pictures" to document the occasion of being all together.
Here are the Spenst siblings.


And, here's the group, the whole fam - minus my father-in-law who ended up not being able to come because of a gas bubble on his eye.  We missed him!


I found myself hoping that maybe, just maybe, we might have boys from Ethiopia next year with us.  We shall see who God brings our way and in what timing.  He knows best, but I would love to have them home.


We started decorating for Christmas, which my little helpers LOVED.


We played card games into the wee hours of the night.


We were reassured, once more, that Bella is too young for markers.  Which does not stop Bella.


We also visited these friends in the hospital to check on their baby girl - please keep them in your prayers as they figure out when she will have surgery and what should happen next.

Most importantly, we were thankful.  We have been blessed far beyond what we could ever ask for.  May we be funnels and not buckets when it comes to passing on those blessings from the Lord.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


The Spensts sisters (and the rest of us Spensts) wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving Days.


May we always be thankful for the great gifts of grace and redemption that God offers us.

Looking forward to chowing down on turkey, sweet potatoes and lots of pie and enjoying time with family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


You know those little things that help define our personalities?  We have an abundance of idiosyncrasies around our house, and I thought I would share the latest.

Lately, every time I go to get Bella from her bed, whether it be in the morning or after nap time, she has taken off her pants and her diaper.  This has turned out very badly one time so far, and it has turned out wet a number of times.  I may have to start taping the diaper on her, but that sounds like so much work to do in addition to trying to wrestle her into clothing suitable for sleeping.  However, depending on how long this little phase lasts and the number of times I have to wash the crib sheet and her "kiki" (blanket, at our house) and other swag, tape may prove a viable option.


Good things she's cute.

Bella also likes to shout with great gusto any time she sees anything she believes worthy of my attention.  Keep in mind that this is almost everything she sees that she can correctly identify.  And, she does not stop shouting until I have thoroughly acknowledged whatever she wants.  So, our car driving trips sound something like this.

Bella:  "Balloon!  Balloon!!  BALLOON!  BALLOON!!!!!  See?!"
Me:  "Yes, I see the balloon.  What nice balloons."
Bella:  "Airplane!  (With frantic pointing out the car window)  Airplane!!!!!  AIRPLANE!"
Me:  "I see the plane.  Do you think it's flying?"
Bella:  "Yeah."  (Said in a low, throaty voice)  "Bus!  Bus!!!  BUS!!!"
Me:  "Actually, that's a truck."
Bella:  "Oh.  Truck."

This goes on the entire time we drive, with Lily occasionally interjecting and drawing Bella's attention to even more awesome and thrill worthy objects like the dog being walked on the sidewalk.

Speaking of Lily, she just gets funnier and funnier.  She's at that stage that you just want to be able to bottle up and keep forever.  It is endearing.  It is cute. (It is potty-trained, praise King Jesus.)  It is slightly more reasonable than a year ago, which is such a blessing.


She is currently obsessed with what order the holidays will be coming in.  She has an understanding of what each holiday is now, but she is still miffed by the order of it all.  I hear her talking during her nap time, apparently explaining things to her stuffed animals.  "We will have Halloween, and then Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Then we will have Jesus' birthday.  Oh - silly - Christmas and Jesus' birthday are the same thing!"

She also thinks that she is big stuff, since she will turn four in January.  She tells me that she is a big girl, and Bella is a little girl.  Somehow the other night she was asking about her brothers and when we will go get them.  Since we would like to take the girls on one of our trips to Ethiopia, I was explaining that she has not ever been to Africa, but we would like to take her.  She went on to say, "But, you can only take big girls.  Only girls that are four years old."  I said, "No, we are going to take Bella, too.  You would really miss Bella."  Lily's quick response was, "You can get a babysitter to come to our house for Bella."  Ahh, sisterly love.  Always looking out for one another.  I'm not sure that I can totally blame her since Bella bites her almost daily.

Both girls love the Disney princesses.  Not that I blame them - those girls are beautiful and get to wear lovely tone on tone dresses.  Lily can name them all, even the ones whose movies we have never watched.  Bella calls them all "Tangled" or "Tinkerbell" and shouts this at seemingly random times.  I say "seemingly random," because it is at those moments that I realize what a marketing genius that sly Disney is.  Those princesses are plastered on EVERYTHING.  You will notice this if you ever have someone shouting at you anytime they see one.

As for my own current idiosyncrasies.  Let's see - I finally learned how to curl my hair.  This feels like a momentous achievement.


I know, these are the things in life that really matter.

My other confession idiosyncrasy is that I had my house cleaned last week in the midst of everything going on and since we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house.  I am sure that the kind woman who cleaned our house laughed heartily when she spotted my cleaning schedule on the refrigerator.  I contemplated doing some pre-cleaning, because I was embarrassed about the state of the house, but I decided, that is what I am paying for.  So, I kept my shame on the inside.  Until now - when I just told everyone.  But, I like to keep it real.  And sometimes I am really bad at cleaning our house.

Also, I made cute Thanksgiving sugar cookies.  The turkeys are copied after these - and I love them!


My baking assistants really stepped up to the plate to help with all the Thanksgiving food.


And that is about all I've got.  John's current idiosyncrasy is that until two nights ago, he was still having a really hard time staying awake in the evening.  Like he traveled around the world or something.  So glad to have him back - life is always better when we're together.

Looking forward to the holiday fun this week!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Today brought the sweetest bundle of joy to some dear friends of ours, and I got the pleasure of meeting sweet Sophie Joy.  Congrats, friends!

Beautiful ladies!

The girls and I took CFA to them for lunch, which is a fun perk of having a restaurant.  It was only slightly chaotic with their older two children, plus my two and their tiny newborn.  Ahh, the joys of this stage.  But I am already seeing how fast it goes.  Here's one of Lily's best friends, Emma, kissing on her new sister who she refers to as "Eggplant."  No one has any idea why.


We had a little sprinkle for Keri and Sophie back right before I went to Wichita and John left for India.  It had the usual features including a cute diaper cake.  (Which Keri confessed to passing on, as a gift, to another mom-to-be at a shower the very next day.  Hilarious.)


Petit Fours.  I never tire of these.


And the ladies + Mom and MIL.  A fun night, indeed.  (Though I forgot my big camera at home and was punished severely by glowing eyes and crazy light in this picture.  Lesson learned.)


Sophie - we are so glad you are here, and you should know that you have some of the coolest parents ever.  Can't wait to get to know you!


*****If you didn't read my other post from earlier today - click and read this - it outlines the background for this event.

The past several months have found me a busy bee.  I've been buzzing getting ready for this event, and it seemed as if November 15th was flying towards us, as indeed, it was.  And, just like all momentous occasions, it came and went.  I wrote about it here and also a bit this past Thursday before the event. 

The details mostly went off without noticeable hitches - always a big win and pretty amazing since this was the first time most of us had done anything like this.  I took three pictures total, on my phone, since I was busy greeting people and generally trying to make sure things went well.

Here are all the name tags lined up and ready to be snatched up - we had over 300 people attend!


The DoubleTree in downtown Little Rock served as our venue and turned out beautifully.  Here are people getting everything ready and the set tables.  They made it so easy!


Once the program started, it was pretty clear that it would be a powerful evening.  We showed the video of Shundreka from my earlier post, and then she sang a song called "I Won't Give Up Now."  The guy featured in the other video played piano as guests entered the room.  Amazing to have such talent within the youth Immerse serves.

One of the head pastors from our church spoke.  He painted a beautiful picture - though a heart-rending one - out of Ezekiel 16.  The passage talks about how Israel was figuratively left out to die as a baby, but God picked her up, cared for her and made her his own.  Why would we not care for the orphan when this is what God does for us?

And then the president of the Immerse Board got up and gave the financial appeal - pointing out that we can do something about this specific need.  We can get involved.  We can give sacrificially.  It is better to do it now, because we will usually do it anyway through our tax dollars later on.  Let's bring these kids into the family of God and no longer leave them stranded.

Ya'll - so far over $100,000 has come in.

Unreal.  I mean, when we started getting the numbers back that night, I was in shock and floored at the way that God moves resources around.  Praise be to God, the giver of all good things.

I still am overwhelmed by it all.

If you are inclined to give or feel a pull to be involved in this ministry - contact me or go to the website. Thanks for letting me bring your attention to this.  It is my humble privilege.


Have you ever asked yourself this question - When does someone stop being an orphan?

What happens when a kid ages out of state care with no family?  

Where do they go?  Who do they turn to?  How do they make a life for themselves?

I'm sorry to report that I had not thought much of this until the last year, even with a degree in Social Services.  In fact, I probably would have scored negatively on the compassion scale, because I would have tended to blame these people for their issues once they were "adults."  I mean, come on.  Make better choices.  Get an education.  Get a job.  Get married.  Stay married.  Make better choices.

What it has taken me a long time to realize is that people with hard beginnings in life do not have the same options that I do.  It is not as simple as make better choices and go to school and your life will fall into place.  Children that bounce around foster care and in and out of their biological family suffer greatly.  They do not have security.  This affects their brain chemistry - sometimes permanently.  They inherit negative coping skills that are hard, if not impossible, to shake.  They do not learn how to form healthy relationships.

And when they turn the magic number of 18, they are given the choice to get out of the system, even if no permanent family situation has been found.  They want out, because often, they've had a bad run.  At 21, they are out, no matter what.  It is estimated that almost 10% of all youth in foster care exit the system in this way (Fostering Connections).  And they never find a family.

I would argue that these kids are still orphans.  One of the definitions of an orphan is "one deprived of some protection or advantage" (Webster).  These kids fall into that category.  They do not have advantages.  They do not have protection, and the stats are grim.  Studies show that approximately 40% of those aging out of care will experience homelessness before the age of 24.

Let's contrast all of this with my life (and the lives of many people I know).  When I turned 18, my parents told me they wanted to give me more freedom, so that I could experience being an adult while still living at home.  They helped pay for my college degree at the university of my choice.  They were there when I needed to ask questions.  They were there when I overdrew my checking account the first time.  And the second.  And the third. They helped me learn, and they told me I would succeed and be able to do anything I wanted to do.  Ultimately, they showed me God's love and pointed me to him, and it was easy for me to trust God, because I had parents that routinely reflected his love to me.

I had options.  I had a world full of choices, and I was set up for success is almost every possible way.

Life is not fair.

Here's Shundreka's story.

Shundreka is just one story.  She is precious.  She is a beloved child of God.  I have had the privilege of meeting her, and she is a joy to know.  She is the face of the orphan.  She was left behind, but she found hope, ultimately through God, but he used Immerse Arkansas to be his hands and feet.

I joined the board of Immerse Arkansas this fall and immediately began coordinating a fund-raising banquet.  After all, taking care of people is never a cheap endeavor, and we knew that the church needed to answer the call to this often-forgotten orphan group.  Here's the second video that we showed at the banquet that gives an overview of the program and tells Ed's story.

Their stories are powerful, and it is amazing to see the redemption happening.  Redemption is always such exciting God sized work to watch.

Stay tuned - in the next post, I will share the results of our banquet.  Click here to read how the banquet went.  Let's just say, God showed up in a big way, and I am still left in awe of our big God and humbled that we would be used in this way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I guess it's time for me to do another quick post bragging on God.  There really can never be too many of these.  I read this blog from time to time, and I am always amazed at the ways God speaks to her.  Sometimes I have actually gotten jealous, even though I know that it is usually my own choices that get in the way of God's voice in my life.

But, yesterday, God showed up for me in a tangible way.  Like he knew I needed to hear and feel him.

John gave me this necklace earlier this year.  I love it.


I love dogwood trees and the symbolism they carry with their four petals and seemingly pierced tips.  My dad always told me they represented Christ, and they usually bloom around Easter time here, which is perfect.  So, you can see why I love this necklace.

I usually wear it a lot - it goes with everything.  I thought about it the other day and realized I hadn't seen it for a while.  I started looking in the usual places and couldn't find it.  I figured that I would come across it, and I really thought I would find it in one of my travel bags, since I take it on all my trips.

It didn't show up.  For about a week it didn't.  I finally thought about that blog and the way that she always asks God for specific answers.  I felt ashamed with myself for doubting that God would answer my prayer to find this necklace.  I didn't think I had enough faith.  I wanted to give him an out.  But, I did pray.  I did ask.

And even though my heart was doubtful, he lead me to it.  It was tucked away in our swim bag from the summer, and he must have led me there, because I would not have run across until next summer.

He's got things under control.  Why do I ever doubt?  This was such a little thing.

But, I have a really big thing happening tonight.  There are inevitable nerves.  There are questions about how it will all turn out.  Will we raise the money we hope to raise?  Will people be moved to action?  Will the details work themselves out?  I'm thankful that God reminded me just last night that he cares, he sees and he answers.  And ultimately, he's got this.  Money is just another endless resource for him to move around as he sees fit.

Looking forward to seeing him show up tonight!  And thankful that he always cares.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Having John back is so wonderful, but it hit me today, I have had a lot of time with my girlies.  There have been many moments of pure, inexplicable, inescapable drama.  And, today, I sort of hit my limit with it.  Actually, I feel myself hitting my limit with it many times a day these days.  I actually told some friends at lunch that I've had bad moments when I feel like inflicting pain on them when they are crying and whining and/or screaming or fit throwing for no reason.

Thankfully, God in his great grace to me and the girls has kept me from doing this.

After I finished out with my own whining, another friend piped up to tell me some of what I missed out on at our Bible Study yesterday.  It was about the sharing time where a mom talked about the peace God has given her in her heart with the uncertainty of her daughter's life.  From the sound of it, it pushed a lot of buttons in people's hearts yesterday.

It reminded me all over again that I always have a choice in how I see my circumstances.  There is always a "thankful switch" that I can flip in my heart that changes the way everything feels.  Seems like this time of year in this thankful season that I would remember that more easily.  But my wicked, selfish heart forgets, and I drift into self-pity with great ease.

Was it hard to have John gone for over a week?  Absolutely.  Did I do it by myself?  Absolutely not.  In fact, I had lots of help and fun.  Is this season of life busy?  Without a doubt.  Is it worth it?  My time has been filled with such richness of people and life-giving activities that I can see the Holy Spirit all around.  Are my children high-maintenance?  Most certainly, this morning in particular.  Are they healthy and happy?  Much of the time, yes - what a blessing.

I feel like this sort of post is almost a bit monotonous and expected this time of year.  It is Thanksgiving next week, after all.  But, that doesn't always mean that I have actually flipped the thankful switch.  The switch that makes me focus on the Giver of all good things, and even of the hard things that are for our good.  The switch that allows me to see the big picture instead of the annoying minutia.

Am I saved by God's grace?  Yes - what a privilege!  Am I loved by him who created the world and sustains us all?  More than I can even fathom.

Shame on me for ever thinking the truth of the gospel could be monotonous.  When I can take the focus off of me and put it on the Lord, good things flow from my heart and mind.  Why do I so easily forget?  I mean really, really easily.  The gospel is so transforming.  It can transform my heart, mind and attitude when I allow it to.

As I was asking the Lord to help me make this switch in my heart this afternoon, I looked over some of the pictures from this month.  Here are a few that I hadn't blogged yet of the people I am most thankful for in my little world.


There should be more of John in there, since he is my favorite, but he has been out of the country most of the month.

So, with God's help, I am trying to flip the switch.  It's good for my heart.