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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We have no idea

We have no idea....
what all God is doing and going to do. 
That's actually from the Bible.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—I Corinthians 2:9
I really believe that.
I feel like I have been hugged from behind
this week
from God.
How does that happen?  What does that look like?

I'm glad you asked!  But I have to give you a little back up info first--

I have REALLY been struggling about "school" since we have been home with our kids.  We kinda have a plan each week--I know we are focusing on language, math, reading, audiobooks. 

I have struggled because everyone needs me. 
Only one is mostly independent. 
I think if we had a reality show it would be called
All My Children....
Have Special Needs

So our day is VERY FLUID and I work alongside one while doing activities with another, then another, then another. 

And I don't feel like we get very much done. 

An hour plus passes (or two plus hours when we have interruptions, attitudes, and/or noncompliance) and we get through our stuff. 

Just a side note, our kids' initials spell KOWMESS when put together.  No joke.  When I see the vinyl stickers on the back windows of SUVs, some days I think about getting

put on the back of Big Blue. 
That's not a joke either.

I label that "stuff" as our "study time" on the wipey board every morning.  Once we make it through our stuff/studies once in the morning, we move on to other things and don't come back to it.  I know learning is taking place in the midst of laundry, meals, wii, laundry, errands, gymnastics, gamecube, laundry, and chasing Maddie home from the park because she got out.....................again.

But I feel like my kids need more than I can give when it comes to pushing them academically. 

So last weekend I put an email out to my homeschool moms group and asked for help.

 I don't always know when to ask for help though.  A few weeks ago, we had our first post-placement adoption interviews and Savannah woke up with an ear/eye infection.  I wasn't sure how to handle the day, and my sister-in-law texted me out of the blue asking to take a couple kids for the day to do school at her house.

That's a hug from God.

What a huge blessing--Marisa and Todd have no idea the impact they are making in our family and on my kids (I Cor 2:9 again) but they have continued to take 2-3 kids once or twice a week to help me out.

Two moms responded immediately to my email.  One mom doesn't even homeschool but offered her house, computers, and tutoring.  She already gave me a house key.  She has no idea (I Cor 2:9).

That's a hug from God.

Another mom emailed me today offering to take the kids to the park in the evenings to give me a little break.  And she invited us to their house for some "study time" with her boys tutoring my little boys and she helping with another one.  She has no idea (I Cor 2:9).

That's a hug from God.

This adjustment has been especially difficult for one of my kids so much so that we have needed extra support.  A counselor friend from church is coming along side helping that child grieve in a healthy way the loss of our old family.  SHE HAS NO IDEA (I COR 2:9).


Another friend is taking two of my kids some each week and teaming them up with her kids so they can work on their Little Giant Steps program together.  What used to be such a difficult task for them is now fun and something they look forward to.  SHE HAS NO IDEA (I COR 2:9).

That's a hug from God.

So what am I learning from this?  Jeremy and I have looked at each other often and said, "There's no way we can do school at home....not long term.  There's just no way."  The thing that I am most struggling with, God is showing me there is a way.  We can't do it by least not right now anyway.  His people, the Body of Christ, are coming along side us to help us do what we cannot do alone.

I'm doing Mindy Ferguson's pilot study on Moses right now and I filled out this chart this morning on what happened through the plagues in Egypt.  I saw with each plague how at first Aaron acts on behalf of Moses, then the Lord, and then by the 6th plague, Moses has the confidence and trust in God to carry out God's directions with boldness.  I feel like Moses right now in how he had so many objections at first to being the guy God had chosen, but God was gracious and affirmed patiently that Moses was the guy.

I have so many objections to homeschooling 7 kids right now--I don't want to do it, it doesn't always work, it's too hard, they need a better teacher, I need HELP right now.

So I have a lot of Aaron's around me to help.  And I am trusting God will graciously affirm what He wants for each of these kids in regard to school.

And the hugs I am getting right now feel like they come straight from Him. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Greater Things

While in Colombia, I told the crew about the Greater Things Fun Run we did last year with our church.  Our church generously gave us proceeds to go toward our adoption with that race--the proceeds covered all of our Dossier fees!

This year, the fun run is called "Running For Adoption" and the proceeds will go to the Abba Fund--a fund for families who are adopting that are in need of a grant or loan.  I asked each one of our kids if they wanted to participate in the run this year and everyone agreed, amazingly enough!
So we added TRAINING to our schedule just to have something else to do each day while in Colombia.

The first day of training in Colombia

It went well.
Since we have been home we haven't "trained" exactly.  But I reminded the kids about the run this past week and we got back into it.  When I say we "trained" I mean we jogged and walked somewhere between 20-40 minutes in the park.
Today was the BIG day.  And I have to say I am so proud of each of them.
The littles (and Maddie) did the 1K

Savannah and Dad finishing strong!

Give me a medal and a treat and I'm happy!
The bigs and I did the 5K (with Maddie too!)
At the finish line!

This was the first 5K for all three girls--I am REALLY proud of them!  And Wes took about 8 minutes off his time--WOW!
It really was a FUN RUN for all of us.  And I am super excited there were over 350 participants this year.  I can't wait to hear how much was raised for the Abba Fund.
I still can't believe we all participated.
This is one of those highs in the roller coaster we are on right now
 and I am just going to enjoy it for a little bit.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

10,000 Reasons

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
This is the beginning of Matt Redman's song, 10,000 Reasons.  We have been home almost 3 weeks and I have 10,000 Reasons to bless His name.  I want to share a few with you here....

We were here when he lost his first tooth
I got to take my older girls to a Wedding Reception of friends we all know and love.
Park time with Dad

We went to our cousin's wedding and had a blast!

 attempted a family picture....not going on the Christmas card.

AND it wasn't too cold that we couldn't jump in the lake at Nana and Paw-paw's!

We got some quality time with extended family that is about to move overseas!
You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

This weekend, we headed to the lake again.  We were trying to squeeze one more "summer" like weekend in--including boating, skiing, and swimming.  Jeremy had to come late so my dad volunteered to ride with me, 7 kids, and a dog.  We had a blowout on the Beltway and even though it added 5 hours to our trip, I am thanking God no one got hurt and the van has not one, but two new tires.
There's actually many more things I am thanking God for regarding that day.  During the two hours we were on the narrow shoulder with trucks and cars speeding past us going AT LEAST 80 mph, we were sitting in the shade of an overpass (it was 90 degrees!), nobody rear-ended us, and we had fruits, brownies, and movies in the van! yea.
So we safely arrive at the lake and have about 2 more hours of daylight.  I ask my dad, "Are you ready to get the boat out??"  As if he hadn't just spent the last 8 1/2 hours on the road with us, he grabs his cap and keys to get the boat ready.  I had planned on getting there around lunch time so we could spend the hot afternoon on the water.  A cool front was heading in over night.
My dad is one of the best dads in the world. 
I'm not saying that your dad is not awesome, and that Jeremy doesn't measure up as a dad, because your dad probably is awesome, and Jeremy is the most amazing dad to our kids
But my dad is my dad. 
And I just can't wait until Father's Day or another birthday
to say how much I love and appreciate him.
He is patient.
He is kind.
He gives and he gives and he gives some more.
And he is an awesome Papa to his grandkids too.
That cool front did come through so we enjoyed bundling up and keeping warm by the fire while we played outside.
with s'more's of course!
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
I am not blog savvy so I don't know how to have a song playing when you stop by here, so here is the link to Matt Redman's song