Thursday, December 31, 2009

No Sleep. Need Coffee.

For as long as I can remember, I have slept lightly. Not only do I have trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning for hours, but small sounds quickly rouse me from even my deepest slumber.

Before having Jayci, I heard that when you become a momma, you also become a light sleeper. Since I already slept so lightly, I had visions of being perfectly attuned to my babies every need, jumping out of bed at the least whimper to comfort and rock her.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), this was not the case for me. I have slept like a log as soon as my head hits the pillow every single night since becoming a mom. I used to lie awake tossing and turning because I simply could not turn my mind off. I would think about things, create to-do lists, redecorate rooms, or solve complicated math problems(ha right); anything but sleep. Now, clearly, I have no trouble turning my mind off. Even when it should probably remain on.

Yup, since having Jayci, I’ve slept like a baby (who came up with that analogy by the way – because my baby? She doesn’t sleep). Until, that is, last night. Last night was spent with a whole lot of wresting, tossing, turning, crying, and praying. Lots and lots of praying. Because yesterday, Adam and I went downtown and picked up some of the kids from the family I told y’all about. But y’all? Last night was one of my lowest points in ministry. I felt frustrated with lies and manipulations, overwhelmed with the depth of this family’s need, and saddened by the situation they’re in.

So we have a few kids for a few days. Big deal. The answer is always going to be YES when it comes to sharing our hearts and home with those in need; but the bigger question is restoration for the entire family, and how to humbly and prayerfully help lift them out of their situation. Because in times like these, times when I have less answers than I have kids sleeping in the other room, that I need most to rest in the Goodness and Gracious Mercy of the One who made them. The One who made me. Who equipped me. Who filled me and loved me so that I could love them. Who blessed me and provided for me so I could bless and provide for those less fortunate than me.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
-Luke 4:18-19

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hilarious Outtakes for I Heart Faces

I cannot believe this is the 51st challenge at I Heart Faces. That's a lot of not winning for me, people. Not that I care about that part of it. Nope, not at all.

This week's theme is Hilarious Outtakes. Of which i have many, many to choose from. In fact, I'm not sure how I'll narrow it down to 5.

"Oh you want to take my picture? I'd prefer to eat this chalk."
"On second thought, it doesn't really taste very good at all"
The "silly face" I get about 9 times out of 10 . . .

Our "special" small group trying to take a group shot. This was one of about 78 attempts with the self-timer. We're a tad slow.

I get this exact look from the kiddos all the time. Usually right before they tell me "you're slow."

Visit I Heart Faces to join in on the fun this week!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Humbled in a Good Way

I have part of a verse in my blog header that has been close to my heart for a long time: "Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly with our God." An excerpt from Micah 6:8, it's one of the few verses I REALLY know by heart - all because we recited it every week at "Calvinettes." Which sounds really weird, but actually wasn't all that different from being a boy scout or something. Clearly, however, that's another post for another day. . .

I've gotten off track again. Shocking, I know.

The hardest part of Micah 6:8 for me to actually LIVE OUT is often that last part: walking humbly with my God. It's this weird give and take because sometimes when I get the 'walking with God' part down, I lose sight of humility by getting all proud that I'm so good at walking with God. Yuck. That was embarrassing to even type.

But seriously, I am blessed to serve a God who is willing to humble me time and time again. Who never tires of reminding me that He delights in using me to love and serve others (to do justice and love mercy)but that ultimately HE is the only one who can actually change anyone.

I wrote this post last week that got a lot of attention. I knew it was a powerful story, and I knew it needed to be written. Nevertheless, I was absolutely blown away by y'alls response. And I dont mean the words you wrote and comments you left (which majorly encouraged me and lifted me up by the way). I mean actual, hands on, for real help. Including prayers, money, washing machines, diapers. Real needs being met in REAL ways. My friends, in that moment, I saw through an online community of some random people (many of whom I've never even met), exactly what the body of Christ should look like.

Know that more updates on this family and their situation are on the way, but for now I just wanted to say THANK-YOU. And to tell you that your words, prayers, and help are making a difference. For realz.

"To really help, you've got to get down in the pit with people and stay with them until they find the strength to get on your shoulders and climb out."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve to Jen!

I know I already posted today, but I thought Jen might want to see a few of my favorites from her little family photo shoot I did this week. I lived with Jen for a year in college, but haven't really been in touch much since then. Her and her husband live in Mississippi and have an adorable little 3 month old baby girl. She's a fantastic momma and a great friend - so it was such a pleasure to get to take a few quick pictures of her family for her. Merry Christmas sweet friend!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve-Eve

"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people . . ." (Luke 2:10)

An Early Christmas Morning

Last Christmas, Jayci was only about 3 months old. Needless to say, she wasn't a huge participant in the festivities. This year, however, Jayci is 15 months old and finally knows a little bit more about what's going on. Let's be reasonable though, she still doesn't totally get it; I mean, considering she climbs in the boxes rather than playing with toys that came in the boxes.

Since we have extended family in town, we went ahead and celebrated Christmas with my family on Monday night. We ate a large and delicious dinner, made entirely by my little sister. Who just recently graduated from pastry school in Chicago and moved back home. Hallelujah. But seriously, I am totally impressed that she knew how to stuff and cook a turkey and all the fixins. Because when people ask me if I made Thanksgiving dinner, I just laugh. I mean, I cant make my rice and chicken and salad ready at the same time; let alone a meal with multiple side dishes. I'm cooking-challenged apparently.

After the delicious dinner, we opened the gifts. Jayci was surprising meticulous in her unwrapping. And neat and clean. Whose daughter is she anyways?
She was quite enamored with the giraffe on her new pajamas, courtesy of auntie sarah.
Oh hi Jayci. When did you grow up? If you could just stop, that would be great. I swear she looks more like a kid than a baby here.

She was convinced that the tire-cover-thing (and yes that's the technical term) for her new tricycle was a hat. I can understand the confusion.She loves her new tricycle! It's super cute and even has blinkers, a radio, and a horn. Which I love. I love the horn. Really. Or not.

I leave you with Jayci's "silly face" - she doesn't take after her daddy at all.

*Merry Christmas Eve sweet friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weddings and Pictures Make me Happy . . .

Sorry it took me 8 hundred years to post these. In fact, it took me so long that now Brooke (the lovely bride) is expecting a baby! Congrats (doubly) to her for being married and soon-to-be-a-mommy! (ps - remember when I said I was pretending to be a wedding photographer for a day? These are a few of the pictures from that day - that fun, busy, and slightly stressful day!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Why the Last Minute can be the Best Minute

Christmas is almost here. I feel very snuck-up-on this year for some reason. It's like I didn't even see it coming. As if it doesn't happen at the same time every single year.

But seriously, this entire year has just flown by. It's been one of those years where the Lord has stretched us mightily. And it turns out that the stretching can be painful sometimes. But I am resting in knowing that all the stretching was necessary to "warm us up" for what He has planned for us in 2010.

I know you are all as tired of hearing about the economy as I am, but we did NOT choose the most "opportune" to step into ministry, cut our pay, and have a kid. Weird how God's perfect timing doesn't always line up with our ideas or logic. It's like "His ways are higher than our ways" or something.

That said, things are really tight for us financially - both personally and in our ministry - right now. That's why I'm asking all of you, my blog readers, friends, facebook friends, rich strangers . . . to help us.

If anyone is as behind as I am, and still working on your year-end contributions, we would certainly love and appreciate your partnership in our ministry. Or if you're looking ahead to next year and deciding where you want to invest on a monthly (or one time) basis, we would be so grateful if you'd consider us.

I went through and tried link to some of the posts I've written that I think give the best picture of what we do as a ministry. Besides learning that I should give my posts more informative titles, I've also discovered that God has done some AMAZING things in the lives of some really great kids through us. What an honor that we were able to be a part of that.
One Very Cold Night
Baby Steps
Debut - Broken Voices
Sabo (and Saviour's Story)
When Life Gets Messy - pt 1 and pt 2
Mama D's House

Anyone who's been reading my blog knows that I went through Beth Moore's Esther study this past fall. Despite being notoriously forgetful, there is one verse from the book of Esther which remains stuck in my mind: "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14-emphasis mine).

This verse has been echoing in my head and heart over the past couple weeks as I've been thinking about (and majorly vacillating) over whether or not to write this post. We know that God LOVES all of His children. And that there is a special, tender place in His heart for the fatherless, for the widows, the orphans, the poor, the forsaken, the brokenhearted. For that reason, we are assured that even if WE weren't reaching out to our kiddos, God would raise up help for them from some other place. However, we feel like God has molded our lives and hearts specifically for the ministry we're in. And we hope and pray that our "for such a time as this" will continue. And just as Esther's answer was "If I perish, I perish" - so too our hearts are willing even when things dont make sense. When our finances don't add up. When kids are evicted or mentors back out. Even when the situation seems utterly hopeless. . . Because as Beth said in her study: The what (YES Lord!) is up to us, but thankfully the HOW is up to HIM.

As the year draws to a close, I can't help thinking about this verse in terms of all our supporters. Because as scary as it is, we must trust that even if each and every one of you chooses not to support us financially, help will arise from another place. But who knows that you were placed in such a position (whether financially, as a prayer warrior, friend, support etc) for such a time as this.

*If you would like to donate a different monthly amount, just let us know and we will set up a subscription for you.


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