The day I got married, one of my closest friends looked me in the eye and said "God has many wild and wonderful things ahead for you and Jeremy."

Being called mom by 7 kids is definitely wild. Each day I look for the wonder in it all...and give thanks.

Partnering with my husband in life, parenting, work and serving is definitely wonderful. He is my favorite.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

You can't

These past few months as I have been

thinking about homeschooling,
praying about homeschooling,
and now planning,
researching curriculums,
and talking to other homeschool families,

I have to share the most powerful advice I have gotten from one homeschool mom.

Before we made our decision,
I worried,
I fretted,
I felt overwhelmed,
I cried,
I didn't know what or how I would do it.

How would I handle everything and fit it all in?

One afternoon, I was sharing my concern with another homeschool mom and she could see my desperation and hear the defeat in my voice.

I asked the question aloud to myself, not expecting an answer,
"How will I do it all?"

She simply said,

"You can't."


Those two words changed everything.

As I let that truth sink in,

I felt so relieved.


And for the first time, I felt no worry, no fear, no anxiety.

And we began to shift our thinking. 
We began to ask ourselves what can be taken off my plate. 
What needs to change to make this work?

I can't do it all.
and I am so glad!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I read stories of dear people here at home and around the world who are suffering.  Struggling.  And I start to feel guilty.

Why not me?

Why am I allowed to do what I want to do, dream, work hard, organize our life, run, make plans, say prayers, serve.

It's not that my life has been absent of pain.

I have had some very painful times over the years, in my marriage, in my family, and I have seen dreams shatter.  Like when we couldn't have another baby.  Like when we lost a baby and our marriage was rocked to the core.  Like when we found out Emily has autism.  Like when I lost my sister.

And when a dream has been shattered it is difficult.  It stinks.  It really hurts.  And the pain seems it will never go away.  And part of that pain never does go away.

But God....
God in His great mercy....
Shows us new dreams.
Moves us from our most painful times into a place of hope, joy, awe.

And I wonder, I marvel at how great God is.  How He cares for us, not because of anything we have done, but because He loves us.  And I marvel at His great works, His great plans that are so much bigger, so much better than our own.

I think about how much I would have missed out on if I had stayed in my grief.  People I would not have in my life because I chose to stay hurt when I did not get what I had planned. 
The blessings that have come through a stronger and deeper relationship with my husband.  Seeing how God has opened his heart...
the blessings that have come through growing our family through adoption.    

If you are in the middle of suffering, I do not pretend to take on your pain.  I do not say I understand.  But I am sad with you.  And I agree with you that it sucks!  It really does.  And I wish it wasn't happening.

And I pray that you are comforted.  And even WHEN you stumble, you do not forget who holds your hand. (Psalm 37:24)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Many are praying right now, my prayer warriors, thank you!!  Wow--yesterday I did not know what would come before us when I decided I needed to fast and pray in the afternoon.  I was fasting for God to move me, for Him to bring clarity to my jumbled up mind. 

And out of nowhere, He presents Himself to us.  I can't say how or what's going to happen yet (I frankly do not know), but I thank you for your prayers.

I'm waiting with my eyes on Him.

Monday, March 21, 2011

In the meantime...

I do have one more part of our "Answers" I want to share.  In fact, I have started the post and it is patiently waiting in my drafts. 

But the truth is I cannot get on here everyday. 

AND I am such a processor that when I do, it takes me a while to get my thoughts out.  And it is also important to me that my family NOT find out about big news in my life on my blog.  I want to actually have a conversation with those important people in my life when it comes to important decisions and things God is doing BEFORE I post about it.

Ya know what I mean?

But if this is the first place you find out about important news in my life, please don't take it personally. 
Just sayin'.

This is my life at the moment....
books piled high on my nightstand (all of which I have started, but not finished.)

a lot of this

a little of this

and we have had a little fun this past week for Spring Break
 swimsuits and sweaters at the lake!

a fun day at Seaworld with Samantha and Patrick
(and about 400 million other people)

I am really thankful. 
Thankful for the people God has placed around me that encourage, love, and care about me. 

Thankful for how He directs our steps and opens our hearts and eyes to His desires.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Answers Part 2: Emily's response

So.....I'm back!

Part 2 on our answers......

I decided NOT to make an official announcement to the kids that we would be homeschooling everybody.  Instead, I brought it up to Emily first when we were riding home from school.  (I am in the car 3 hours a day commuting to my kids' schools so we have plenty of time to talk.)

Yea us.

I kinda backed into the conversation with something I knew she would love.  We totally enjoy Tim Hawkins---if you haven't heard of this comedian, you gotta check him out on youtube.


Welllllllllllllll, I signed up for this homeschool conference this summer and Tim Hawkins is giving a concert at the end of the event.  So I started out by telling Emily that I got Tim Hawkins tickets.


Then I followed up with an "Oh, by the way...."

She simply responded, "Mom....about homeschool.....I feel kind of nervous.  I still want to see my friends."

That was IT??????????  That was what I was afraid of????????


I tried to conceal the excitement in my voice and had to turn away so she would not be alarmed by my giddy smile and just said, "Oh, sure, we will still see your friends."

And that was it.

I was God.
Simply in awe. 
I had been gearing up to listen to crying and gnashing of teeth. 

No tears. 
No opposition.  
And we haven't had any crying or gnashing of teeth in later discussions.

In fact, in another ride to school, she said, "Mom, can we start homeschool in March?"

Cracks me up!!

It kinda made me have to think about my faith.  I wanted to see God work before I stepped out "in faith." 

But that's not faith at all.

It took me stepping out first, and then I saw Him work.

God unfolded a few other details last week that are kind of woven in with this decision.
More to come!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4

I have been camping out between Psalm 25 through Psalm 37 lately.  I encourage you to take some time to feast on those chapters yourself. 


It's some good stuff!!

Last week I spent some time fasting and praying over many things.
I had a really LONG list but when I went through it, I couldn't take anything off. 

And looking back, I think how silly that was because seriously....
we are talking about GOD here...
Creator of all
Is anything too difficult for Him?
I mean, really.

Why fast?

I fast when I need to hear God more clearly.  I fast when I need Him to move mountains in my life and in the lives of others.  I fast when we are facing big decisions and cannot afford to make the wrong choice, or when we have to choose between two or three really good options.

It is my desire to follow hard after Him.

So last week, He blessed us with some answers.  Not all at one time, but between Thursday and the weekend, it was neat to see Him unfold His plans.

Psalm 25:14 says "The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him."

What a privilege to hear from Him. 

How do I hear from Him?
Through His WORD
Through the nudging of the Holy Spirit
Through godly counsel
Through worship

Answer #1
We will be homeschooling all 3 kids starting in August.

That's a biggie.
If you look back at a couple posts, you will read about my struggles, questions, fears that were a part of this decision.

I kept praying for God to change Emily's heart if He wanted me to homeschool.  She had no interest.

Finally, I came to the realization that Emily opposes anything that she is not doing right now, unless it involves chocolate.
It's her nature.  Some may say it is a characteristic of her disability.
Whatever you call it....

I cannot make a major decision based on her anticipated negative response, or we would not even ever get her out of bed in the morning.

And guess what happened!
Did you hear the mountains move?
Can't wait to share more of this one in the next post!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Emily!

(I am sorry it has taken so long to get back here--we've been busy  And before I share our big news I have to pause because...)

Today, we celebrate Emily's 12th birthday!
Twelve years ago I was lying in the hospital eager to hear the nurse's report each time she checked on me.  

Waiting for your first child to be born is a feeling like no other.  
(I'm not even talking about labor pains!)

Thanks to an epidural and being dialated to 4 cm when I arrived at the hospital, Emily came rather easily.
Good thing because Jeremy was pretty much useless.
I lost him when he watched the epidural needle get placed in my back.
Poor guy--the nurses attended to him more than me!

Twelve years ago, we became parents.
Jeremy prayed for a beautiful daughter that we would call Emily.

He picked her first name. 
If he or his brother had been girls, Emily was the name his parents had picked out.

I picked Noel for her middle name.
I love Christmas!

 Emily Noel

simply beautiful
Happy Birthday, Emily!

Friday, March 4, 2011

BIG Dreams

OK--before I can tell you what God has been up to lately in our household, I have to fill you in....
I have some really big dreams.

And I am so glad I have a husband that listens to me, loves me even with my crazy ideas, and dreams with me.

These are a few of the things I dream about....

(gosh, where do I start????)

First some easy ones (which you know has been on my heart if you read some recent posts)

Restored marriage of new, dear friends

Opening our home to more children

through adoption,

foster care,

or just someone who needs a home for a while.

(like I am ready to buy bunk beds for each of the kids' rooms just to be ready.
Yeah, crazy, I know.)

Being able to homeschool
(this one is more complicated....I would like to homeschool and be really great at it, enjoy every minute of it, still be able to manage my job, not drop out of everything else in life, AND have time for myself.
is that possible?)

Taking new people on trips to Rwanda at least once a year to visit the orphans.

Having a guest room

Paying off Company debt--FAST.
(my husband is a builder and we used to think the worst thing that could happen is that we would have to sell a house for cost.....then we sold two spec homes for less than cost. 

Seeing my loved one turn around, walk in TRUTH, and be used MIGHTILY by God to bring others into freedom.

OK--so those are a few of my really big dreams.  And I found out this last week that some of these things are connected to one another....
in a way.

I'm really excited to share what God is doing and feel so privileged that He let's us know. 

Psalm 32:8 says "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." 

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Wow! Some BIG news!

We have had some pretty major decisions going on around here lately--kinda exciting!  kinda scary!
kinda crazy!

But you'll have to wait to find out!

I'm still processing it all and praying ALOT!