Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A new normal

life is generally full of transition. I come from a very "normal" family... Dad. Mom. Brother. And me. We lived in the same town for 26 years now... we go to church every time the door is open (actually daddy had to open it some times!). we went on family vacations driving the car all over the country every summer. we shopped at the grocery store with the best sales that week. we drove to visit family for every major holiday. we do things like the typical American family does. And then, there is now. The life that Ryan and I are building for our little family is not normal in the same way we grew up. But in some ways, its just the same. Dad. Mom. Brothers. we go to church every time we can. we go on vacations every 6 months (for our visa renewal, but we can't drive, we must fly). we shop where I can find the best prices on food, which might be a market, or online shopping. we can't make it to our family on the holidays, but we meet with other Americans who become our family over here. we do things in a non typical American way, since we don't live in America. But we are still American. We still want to teach our boys about Thanksgiving and to be grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy. We want them to know what it is to be American, but more than that, I want them to know what its like to be a follower of Jesus. I want them to learn about the freedom that comes from giving your life to Jesus and allowing Him to guide you in the journey. I want Christmas to be more about Jesus and less about the elf on the shelf. I want meals to be about family being together. I want my boys to see that mornings include Momma sitting at the table with her coffee and the word. I want them to learn that skin color is only on the outside, and inside, we are all the same... loved by God and created to worship HIM. I want them to see Momma and Daddy working hard sharing Jesus with others so they can also know the freedom that we find in Christ. I want them to know that they are wanted and loved and they cannot do anything to change the Love that their Daddy and Momma and God has for them.  So I feel like we are creating a New Normal in our lives, which involves change. Thats where the transition comes in... We head out for 6 months of time in the US with great excitement... But it is going to involve a new everyday normal for the boys. Even as we shifted out of our house the boys see the suitcases and different beds... and it creates more breakdowns and frustrations. I tried to bring some of their favorite books and their blankets so things did not seem to be quite so upside down. I know they will be fine, but its hard to help them to see that what is coming is going to be great. They talk about going home, and now the only home they ever remember is not going to be our home again. Ryan is finishing up with the movers today and we may go back to clean, but our stuff is not there so it will not feel like home again. The boys new normal includes airplane rides, new houses, new people, new church, new friends, new foods, new EVERYTHING. A new normal is that nothing stays the same forever. Saying "See ya soon" never seems to get easier. Maybe one day I will perfect the good bye... one would think with how many times I do it, I would be great at it by now, but no, its still difficult. I am just so grateful that we serve a savior who never leaves us... so there are no goodbyes with Him. So I will make thanksgiving food with our American friends here... and prepare for a few more goodbyes, and THEN... some "HELLO"S with our family in America and prepare to help the boys understand more about the celebration of the birth of the one who came to die to save them... Hallelujah what a Savior!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Real life

Living cross culturally is amazing. I love the adventures and discoveries you find just by being in a new culture. I have always loved learning about new places and exploring; appreciating all the diversity that God created. I also love my home where I grew up. I love small town Arkansas with its naturally beautiful picnic spots, going to walmart and meeting 12 people you know, quiet streets where kids can ride bikes. I have a crazy adventurous life here, that also has its days of routine. I go to a grocery store and push a cart, just like in America. I drive a car (although there is not what I would call lanes, and red lights seem to be optional unless a police man is near by. Striving to obey the rules is important to me so this pretty much drives me nuts.) I meet with friends and have people over to dinner. I go to church. The boys and I have preschool. I cook meals for my family three times a day. I clean house, play outside at playgrounds, even go to Starbucks. Its just normal life.

But I have this temptation to think that if I just get through this stage that the next one will be when life really begins. I did not even realize I was thinking it until one day it just hit me. I know I am not the only one who falls prey to this mindset. Life is generally seasonal. I love the seasons. Fall is one of the times that its hard to live in a place without an Autumn. (leaves changing. cooler weather. apple cider. anything pumpkin. oh how i love fall.) We need change, breaks from our routines. There are school semesters. Life overseas (at least in our country) we have visa renewal trips every six months. We live here for 3 years then have 6 months in America. We all have times we just have to press on until things change or pressures lessen. I know this is true and the way that God designed the world with seasons change, but I don't think he intended us to just get through things hoping for something better in the next season. Even in the hard seasons, waiting desperately for the next good thing to come only makes us not enjoy the moments we are living in. Be fully where you are. enjoy the days of sunshine and the ones with clouds. One of the best ways to do this is the invest your time in people. love deeply. give of yourself listening to them and their stories, and they will laugh and cry with your through your struggles and joys. There is no substitute for a good friend. I am so blessed that even in a new culture and country, I have found a group of friends who get me. They have given me a deeper love for my host culture and enjoy learning about my home culture and they listen to me explain the things that I miss from home. Its amazing that they all have kids the same age as my boys so all the friends can get together and play every week as we learn and grow to be more Christlike mommas. If I buy into the lie that my real life with be every three years for 6 months with the rest of the time being just work, then I am going to miss out on the whole point of why I am even here on earth!

For my friends who were born and raised here- its REAL life for them, and the only one they know. I try to only say the good things about India, and not complain when things do not go like they "should."  So I was shocked when I realized that the things that annoy me the most also annoy my friends about their own culture. They also get annoyed when people cut in line, or that it takes 45 minutes and four lines to mail a package. They wish people followed the traffic signals and they are bothered by the many beggars on the side of the road. Makes sense. As much as I love some things about America, there are things that I don't like or that annoy me about life there as well. There is no perfect place. (this is earth shattering news for this idealist)

This is also my REAL life. Its not going to begin when I land on US soil... to live in a rented home full of someone else's furniture... with a borrowed car... with all the family going crazy over the kids (knowing time with them is precious) Now don't hear me wrong, I am going to LOVE every minute of being home. Just the thought of seeing family and friends at church, letting the boys ride bikes on the street in front of our house, driving places and no one cuts into my lane and everyone stops at a red light, going through Walmart with a buggy all to myself with an hour to spend sounds SO exciting. But this will just be a short season and I want to catch myself before I end up thinking this is the REAL life that I push through the other harder seasons of my life to get to. Its a challenge to live fully where you are. This is a messy season in my life. I clean up one mess and they make another one. But I am scared to blink, and they will be all grown up and my house will be all clean and quiet again. I want to cherish these toddler years, and whatever joys and trials the next seasons of life brings. This is real life. the day to day, nitty gritty, dinner around the table, playing in the grass, blue play dough in my hair and milk spilled on the floor... that's life. Teaching them about Jesus and getting to share His love with others. that's REAL life. enduring through suffering so that we can share the hope of God with others who also go through suffering. that's REAL life.

As I dream and plan the months we will be near to our families in America, I already know the things that I am going to miss about India the most. My friends, first of all. The malls with kids playgrounds that are so near our house. (you know small town America is not known for its big malls) Getting groceries delivered for free. seriously anything off of Amazon.in with its quick free delivery.(amazing!) Crazy congested markets where you can find anything cheap. calling up a "fix anything guy" for $2. Public transportation, like the Auto. The boys are going to miss these rides SO much. I really want to enjoy the season now of finishing this term strong, and joyfully expecting God to do great things now and in the months at home. How do I live fully where I am in the life season that God has given me TODAY? One moment at a time. spend more time on my knees and less complaining. Being with people that listen and encourage. Laugh and cry through the good and bad days. Community. And get used to a little grim on the floors.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Friday, September 26, 2014

I need you.

So, I realized its been forever since I blogged. I think its because I wanted to feel like I had something AMAZING or life changing to write about. Or I was afraid that it was just going to sound like I was a big complainer (my life is not horrible, but life with littles is not easy) I read blogs and feel either "Wow, that's exactly how I feel and I am so thankful she was REAL..." or I think, "There is no way in the world I could every become a mom as awesome as her." Its true, I have moments of pure joy and amazement at my boys learning and growing, but other times I just scrape by and fall into bed exhausted, worried about the dishes I left in the sink, or criticizing my own parenting skills (or lack thereof) for one thing or another. Comparison is a killer of JOY and I know that the later response to blogs is wrong (and those who write them are not trying to me make others feel inferior or like failures.) I like my house being clean. With the twin mess tornadoes, and living in India, that's pretty much impossible. Its a uphill battle to keep the floors from being sticky and the sink empty of dishes, but I prefer to live for the smiles of all three of my boys! Ryan is great about helping me to keep the dirt at bay and to help me not live with any guilt about playing with the boys more than worrying about keeping the house clean.

I love to pray through out the day... to keep the conversation going with the Lord. One of the songs that has really encouraged me is, "Lord I Need You" by Matt Maher. seriously I cannot make it though the song without feeling peace and a little more strength to make it though the next few moments of the day. With out Him, I do fall apart. I have been teaching the boys to pray, and their precious little voices saying, "Dear Jesus". Man, there is not much else sweeter than the sound of your precious baby calling out to his creator! And we pray for our friends... The first time I asked Josiah to pray for his friends, I expected him to pray for his church friends who we see several times a week and talk about all the time. But the first name he prayed for was not them... but our neighbor boy we play with at the playground. The minute I heard him, I was so convicted. I am have been friends with this family for a few years and I have shared truth, but seriously they have been so blinded by false religion that they cannot see truth even when they stare it in the face."The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Cor 4:4. If I were to be really honest, I would put them in a category of "been there, tried to share... moving on to share with someone responsive" I know our God can do all things, but I had not prayed or shared with them for a while, had I inadvertently thought of them as too far from His reach? And here my son is praying for his friend, a friend who needs Jesus. So clearly I felt the Lord say, "No one is too far for me to reach them. They don't know they need me yet, but don't stop praying for them." Then of course the next person he prayed for is our house maid who comes for 30 minutes every morning. I also have shared with her and after so many times of them acting like they are not listening, you want to just move on. The lessons that can be learned from a 2 year old's prayer... Don't stop praying for friends and family and random people to know about Jesus... don't stop praying for them. His arm is never too short to save...

Mom's Night Out. See. It. TONIGHT! It's so GOOD. Maybe its just because of my life stage and the way that I connected with the main mom character, but it really blessed my heart. At one point Ryan said, "I don't think this movie is quite as funny as you think it is..."(although he did really enjoy it! and I kinda couldn't keep from laughing out loud) I was pretty much cracking up through parts that might not have been funny to me a few years ago! I do want to love my Jesus, my husband, my kids.... but sometimes I get hung up on the messes (see paragraph 1) and I overlook the little blessings that God gives me everyday. One of the scenes from the movie "You know what I wanted to when I was a kid- This. I wanted to be a mom, marry a wonderful man... This is my dream, I am literally living my dream, but I am not happy. Why do I feel like this? Am I a horrible person? I am just tired." I. get. this. I am totally living my dream! I have an awesome loving husband, a house with a nice kitchen, the most precious kiddos... and I live in a foreign country with all kinds of exotic vacations, better friends than I ever expected. but so often, I just see the mess. I just see the toddler tantrums. I am so tired. I just see my imperfections. I see them reflected in my sons actions. Yet no one is perfect. Why do I still strive for perfection anyway? As we started teaching the boys to obey, "all the way, right away and with a happy heart," I am reminded that I also have to obey the Lord that same way. Complaining about how hard my life is or grumbling when I have unexpected work is not obeying with a happy heart. I want to obey all the way... giving God more than just a few moments in the morning before the day starts out with a bang- praying for others, being a humble servant and making him known in this dark place are my priorities. As I want immediate obedience from my boys, I also know the Lord wants that from me too. Now Daniel, even when he is mad at me because I am about to get him in trouble, I ask, "how do we obey? All the way, right away, and with a happy heart..." He smiles a ridiculously cute smile that takes over his face. He still gets punished but hopefully he is getting that having a happy heart is important. Hopefully we will all get it and choose to serve and obey with a happy heart. And to live every hour needing HIM. To never think I can do this on my own... but to live in humble dependence on the Lord. That's my main goal.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Life these days...

I thought I would be better at this whole life thing by this point in my life. I thought I would simply be super mom with the perfect pinterest crafts all over the house and healthy meals that look as good as they taste. I would have kids that love to listen to momma so much that they never disobey and constantly play well together... and I would always start my day out right with time in the word, coffee, and then a workout... and my days would be filled with music and laughter. (It actually makes me laugh out loud that I actually thought these things!)

Yes, I am an idealist.
Yes, I do easily get disappointed.
And Yes, I cannot live up to my own expectations of what my life "should" be like.

Real life includes more dishes than I care to wash, more messes on the floor, and pinterest crafts are not only hard to do with overseas substitutes, but they just make a mess. Foods do not ever seem to look like the bloggers photographs and sometimes they are more than just not pretty, they totally flop! My kids are learning to obey, but they have the same sinful heart like I do and they show their true colors through selfish attitudes, fits of anger, hitting each other or falling in a heap on the floor when they don't get what they want... Not at ALL how I imagined kids I would raise would act like. I have babysat since I was 12 and I always seemed to find a way to make the kids behave (now I know they usually act sweet for sitters and save all the attitude for momma) I worked at a preschool and thought I would have craft time everyday when I had my own littles. At this point, if I turn my back, they write on the walls or floor and or eat the playdough, so craft time is limited to only when I can give them 100% of my attention.

its not all bad. My house is not ready for a "Tour of Homes" (nor will it ever be!) and our apartment is small, but it means it does not take that long to clean. The boys are taking morning naps again since the summer rains started and it gives me time to write and think and try a new recipe for lunch. I just lower my expectations of myself. With two year old twins, I cannot do as much as I plan or desire to do. I am putting things in order of priority, with my relationship with the Lord first and being committed to not only abiding with him, but sharing Him with others around me. Encouraging the believers in my area to KNOW Him more and share His love with those around them... then later in the list comes my craft projects and house. I have to feed the family, but it does not have to be perfect. I have extremely forgiving eaters in the house. All the boys eat pretty much whatever I cook and they seem to enjoy it! gotta love that! Ryan does not complain if I am too tired to clean the floor, and usually he gets out the broom and sweeps up the mess.

And our days are filled with music and laughter. It might be "Let it Go" for the 5th time, but the boys are singing at the top of their lungs... and we laugh ALOT! Both boys are such little entertainers who make us all laugh and they are really ticklish and their giggles can make the most stoic person chuckle! My purpose in life is not to have a perfect house, fancy dinners, or spotless house; its to make the most of every opportunity and pour myself out in sacrifice for my King and those around me. It is a sacrifice for me to mop up another milk spill or an entire box of cereal, but I do it because I LOVE the Lord and I love my family. It is a sacrifice to go out and share with my neighbor the good news, and even if I am rejected, I continue to show love because I LOVE my King and he is worth more than my status in my building. I sacrifice to put the Lord first in the morning because I know if I don't, its not going to happen uninterrupted for the rest of the day. And I sacrifice to not write a blog or check facebook because my boys need my attention.

Yes, I am still an idealist, but with a real IDEAL of what He says is best in life.
Yes, I do expect that today will be a great day!
And Yes, I will try to live strengthened through HIS power today.











Monday, February 24, 2014

Being Needy...

The last few weeks, the Lord has been showing me more and more what it means to be needy. Sometimes I see it in the eyes of the beggars or those who live, cook, and take care of babies on the side of the road. Or in the eyes of a new mom who can't figure out how to get her baby to sleep. Or on the face of a friend who is walking through a tough season. I see needs, and I LOVE to help with them. Sometimes its hard to know what to do, but when I know, I DO IT, and I LOVE IT! It's one thing to give to people just because but to really be able to serve someone in their great need is truely fabulous.

So here I am, learning about giving to the needy, and like I mentioned in my last post, I see how I do not have it all together, and my feelings of loneliness and fear of failing try to sneak back in. It's in the big and the small things. For example, I took both kids to the market. Daniel rode in a carrier on my front and Josiah walked or was carried on my hip throughout a busy market while I also carried lots of bags of fruit, chai, and new sandals. We were doing ok, but as we made our last purchase, and started flag down a rickshaw to take us home, the banana seller told me to stop and he would get an auto rickshaw for us. I am very capable of getting a rickshaw myself and Sarah from a few weeks ago might have told him, "Don't worry about me and keep selling your bananas. I know the language and customs here, and I don't need help." But this time I  saw something I had missed before: the look in his eyes of JOY. Of being able to serve someone who is genuinely in need. The same feeling I get from meeting a true need was in HIS face. I did appreciate someone noticing that my hands were full, and offering to give me a bit of his time was really a selfless act on his part.  I wondered how many other times my confidence in my own abilities (i.e. pride) had keep someone else from receiving this joy. What other ways have I not been venerable of my weaknesses and not received the blessing of another ministering to me or them receiving that joy of service? We had dinner guests and I let them serve me by doing the dishes. Its a small thing, maybe even makes me sound soft or slightly selfish, but its not easy for a "I can do it myself. I have it all together." person to allow others to do jobs I have the capability but maybe not the energy to do. Almost two year old twins take a toll on your energy levels... not to mention just living everyday life in a foreign country. But I am not looking for sympathy, I am just admitting a need, and thanking the Lord in advance for meeting today's needs in whatever way He chooses. I get needy emotionally and realized that if I don't let anyone know that I am lonely or discouraged, unless they are really perceptive, no one around me can help me. It's too much to expect people to know what you are thinking, sometimes you just have to voice the need. I seem to be finding that most people are delighted to hear ways they can help or things to pray for... I might in my flesh be content with letting everyone continue to think of me as "wonderwoman" or "supermom" but I am so far from it. and its wrong. It's comical for me to think that I would spend extra energy and effort to keep up a facade when I can admit a need and find friends eager to help and excited to love on me in the ways I need. Or let a stranger give me assistance: like holding the boys hand while I pull out the money, or push the elevator button so i don't have to rearrange the bags I am carrying, or helping me get the boys into their car seats. Nothing like kids to help you to see how little you can do on your own. And to realize that I don't have to do it on my own. I should not even try to do it on my own. He created community for this very purpose. To provide for the needs of those around you and give support and encouragement.  Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual needs are all met by the one who called us, and he uses all kinds of hands and feet to accomplish them as well... let us be sincere and open with those around us and be eager and willing to be His hands when you see others needs.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with god's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse, Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." Romans 12:9-16
Even this week, I need pray-er. I have been doing so much intense language study and its time that I can turn in a recording of a conversation. If I get a good enough score, I will be able to have more time to devote to other things than just language class and attempting to correct grammar mistakes and go out and do more serving and sharing. Honestly, I love to talk and I can keep conversations going and interesting and its been an incredibly humbling experience to have not passed the actual conversation we are graded on with a high enough score a few times before. Anyone who talks with me very long in our second language cannot believe that I have not reached that score. I have spent too much energy and effort complaining and giving excuses why the system is not an accurate way to determine language ability, or how my understanding is far greater than others who have passed... Even if I was thinking things that were true, they were not helpful and all it has done is left me feeling discouraged and frustrated. I am needing the Lord to give me his peace and his grace as I spend the last few days preparing and not get all worked up and fearful that I might be just under the mark again. Admitting my need for pray-er for language just now has me in tears again, wishing I could still be the girl that has it all together who never needs to ask for help, but I know that lie would keep me chained to my fears. But I will be joyful in HOPE. Thanks for pra-ying.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

having it all together?

One of the biggest lies in our christian circles is that people in ministry have it all together. It's so easy to put people up on a pedestal who have shown the world that they want to serve him with their life as well as their vocation. We don't think that they would ever struggle with the same daily life issues and troubles that we go through. We think they are free from temptation and incapable of having rough seasons. They have given their whole life to the Lord, so it is just easy for them to live for Him, right?
 I am here to be honest and say it's not easy for us. I have felt the need to try to keep up the facade that I have it all together, and I bought into the lie that if anyone saw how messy my life really is, they wonder what God ever saw in me. I fight against the temptation to be believe that my worth as a person in ministry is dictated by my fruit and not being the best at everything means I am a failure. We struggle with the daily grind (cleaning up splatters of milk off the wall and cheerios on the floor... mounds of laundry that never stop... kids that don't obey...dinner that does not cook itself, and the dishes that go with it) We struggle with temptation for all kinds of things- envy, impatience, disrespect, anger, and the list goes on. We struggle with discouragement and fight against the desire to quit and go home (searching for that easy life we though we could find serving!). We long to be noticed and cared for, but many times it is just assumed we are ok, so our trials go unnoticed. Often, we work so hard caring for others and being out serving that we don't know we are struggling ourselves until we are at a breaking point.We go through seasons of loneliness and we watch our children walk through loneliness and the sad goodbyes with grandparents on the other side of the world that will rip your heart out. It's not easy. Often it's not at all fun and exotic to live on the other side of the world, even though we do have those moments as well. I have so many things that make life here more comfortable than I expected, but then I have a month like this one and I realize that this really is my life, with the joys and the pain. It will always be about goodbyes. It will always have struggles. I will always be an outsider, and even when I go home to my home culture, I will be weird there too. I don't know the latest fashions or keep up with many US cultural trends. My husband and I will not always see eye to eye, and we will go through times of miscommunication. I try my very best at language, but it will never be as comfortable as English is for me. I will be tempted in ways I never thought possible, and I will give in to discouragement more times than I can count. It will never be easy.  But when I signed up for this, did anyone say it would be easy? no, not really. I think I just bought into the lie that if I was called to it, I'd just love it all the time. I imagined that the one who called would make the road "easy" and I would not have deep valleys of struggle. Or maybe I thought I would love the valleys because thats where the Lord grows us the most. But here I am. wishing things were different. being in a valley, but just feeling alone. too often giving in to discouragement and discontentment. giving in to anger (esp at my kids, who are just being kids) And I am asking the lord for the grace to just make it through the day. On the one hand, I know its just part of life here, and what better place to be than at the "end of Sarah" so that HIS power can be seen though my life... and the other hand knows it's good, but feels the pain and "not-at-all fun-ness" of it. I want to go into survival mode where I don't have to think about the implications of my actions and just survive for a while. Maybe no one would fault me for it... we are under lots of stress just living in a third world country.... with twin toddlers and minimal help around the house, full time ministry and language study, sometimes just getting a healthy dinner on the table, clean laundry, and a mopped floor are as unattainable as the underdog getting the gold medal. I don't mean to complain, but honestly we all feel this way at times. But I can't just survive here. If all I needed to do was feed my family and keep house, I could do that anywhere, but I am called here. And I can't not share truth. I can't stop learning language. I can't spend my days grieving what I can't have only to miss the things I do have. So this blog may be mostly for me to write it out to give myself that motivation to press on. Or to ask HIM to give me the motivation and discernment to know what to pour my life into. To open the word when I am discouraged. To write a letter to someone who might also be discouraged. To lovingly prepare dinner and clean my house for HIS glory. To treat my husband with respect. To share truth with my neighbors and intentionally go out to meet people. To study language when a TV show would be much more fun. To invite people over for chai and prayer. To trust that HIS plan is way better than mine and I can trust the future to Him, and He will take care of it.  "Even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you." Phil. 2:17

Encourage someone who is serving around you today. Let them know you support them and let them be real around you. None of us deserve to be on any pedestals except for the one we follow, who saved us. Lift Him High!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1 year GOTCHA DAY!

I can hardly believe that its already been one year of kissing my babies goodnight! 365 nights! It is amazing how much they have grown over the past year. They learned to crawl, walk, run, jump, climb... you name it, they will try it! They are so funny.... I know I am biased but these boys keep us laughing. Daniel makes silly faces and clicks his tongue really well, and Josiah has a huge tickle spot which sometimes I just look at, and it makes him laugh! They both like to entertain and a crowd is normal and exciting for them. Every time we go out, they have to shake hands with everyone we meet on the elevator and especially all the guards at our building. Today one of the guards we see everyday picked up Josiah and gave him a sweet hug. Most people don't talk to each other on the elevator (or lift as it is called here) so when the boys start a conversation with their little "Hi!", it is awesome to see peoples' responses. And I bet not many other people have a daily handshake with the guards. They rarely act shy, they both are so outgoing and loving towards all the people we meet everyday as we go out.

These boys are the best cuddle-rs... and they have unlimited supply of hugs. I love starting my day with a cup of coffee and Josiah in my lap reading a book peacefully. After breakfast, you can expect a cantaloupe "flavored" kiss or scrambled egg fingers running through your hair as they say "I love you" in their own unique ways. Through out the day, they find ways to show me they love me, and we are working on obeying and its awesome to see them learn to put their toys away, to stop doing something when I ask them too, or to see them playing together so well. They take awesome naps (most of the time) but right now I hear them talking to each other from their cribs on each side of the room. Twins. Gotta love it!

We don't even want to think about where they would be if God had not placed them in our family when he did... or even what our life would be without them. They keep our house on its toes, that is for sure! We just bow in reverence to the holy one who saw fit to connect us... and stand in awe that he did THIS : He put 2 lonely boys in a family... and filled a barren couples house with children, and its ALL for HIS glory. I could never praise Him enough for all the things He has done. "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are FILLED with JOY." Psalm 126:3

Hope you enjoy the video. Everytime the boys watch it, they delightedly squeal as they see their Daddy and Momma picking them up! I love being able to share the story of their adoption as a limited picture of the redeeming love that brought all who believe into HIS family. I can only imagine THAT Gotcha day... when all our faith will be sight and we will forever sing His praises! Hallelujah, What a Savior!
  video
Gotcha Day Video

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blessings...

This blog is a prequal to the boys ONE YEAR HOME (aka Gotcha day! which is Jan. 22nd)... that blog will come soon, with a video, but this blog is just today... in this moment. Sitting here with the most amazing homemade sea salt caramel latte, halfway watching Enchanted on TV while all three of my boys catch a Sunday afternoon nap, and I am overwhelmed with the blessings in my life. The sermon this morning was about "the good, the better and the blessed" He spoke on how many times we work for the better things in life, but miss out on the BEST things which are the blessings of the Lord. I know for us, the best thing that happened in our marriage is not being able to have a child naturally. I for sure did not see this as a real blessing, even though I did try. The song "Blessings" by Laura Story was the motto that kept me sane. "What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise." I still sometimes wish it was not our lot in life, but I would not change the past years with Ryan and all the lessons we have learned for anything in the world. The two precious littles sleeping in the next room are by far some of the most precious blessings I have ever been blessed with! The road to bring them home was not easy, but worth every tear and bit of paperwork. The boys are not perfect, but totally the most amazing fit for our family and those little smiles can melt ANYONE'S heart! I love listening to them laugh, and start playing well together... watching them share their toys and learn to make all the animal noises. Teaching them to obey has been a humbling experience and somehow seeing their little foot stomps in anger reminds me of how often I have stomped my foot at the almighty asking for something better or a different lot in life- thinking that I am deserving of the best things, which would be in my definition of best. Everytime, I have been astounded by His patience with this disobedient child and He longs to teach us all to trust him and his plans for us, which after experiences with him, we know are way better than our own ideas of good. I desire to teach my boys to be men of faith who trust in the unseen to do more than we could ever imagine. I want them to be men of truth that will stand for what is right, to defend the cause of the fatherless and strive for justice in the ways that please the Lord. I want them to be a light for the nations and that they will desire that all men know the truth. I pray that they give Him control of their days so they can make His name famous. I want to teach them to praise the Lord and to love to be in his presence. They love praise music and will dance to it for hours (no joke. Its in their blood) and I am excited for the days we will get to talk about the Lord and his truth and hear their simple questions of child like faith and gently guide them to Jesus.

This morning as they both stood hugging my legs, I touched their their little heads and rubbed my fingers through their tight little curls. They are a head taller than my knees and all of a sudden I realized one day they will be taller than me and I was overwhelmed. I will not be able to hold them close like they need me to now, and they will not need to be fed and cared for in such a hands on fashion. So I will cherish those moments when they do need me, even though it is exhausting... I admit its hard work. Kids require so much effort... twins are double lots of times.... and I sometimes wish that it was not always me that they run to when they are upset. They love their daddy, but most of the time, at least when they need something, its Momma they call for. oh but I love it. They need momma to cuddle with when they are scared, or hurt, or overwhelmed. Its past my understanding to be able to hold and kiss the forehead one of the blessings of the Lord in my life. And as I hear them starting up get up from their nap, I am thankful even more for the Lord who put them in my life and for whom I serve and live for.

on a not so deep note, I just got them up, enjoyed sweet wake up kisses, and started to put away the laundry... then i heard the sound of running water. never good with two almost 2 year olds. Lemonade all over the coffee table. such is life with two little helpers!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 in photos...



What a year! it has been filled with amazing, "blow your mind" kinds of blessings... and also its own share of hard times, but I can say with full assurance that the Lord has proven himself to us as FAITHFUL in all that has happened. What a JOY to serve a God that i can trust that this next year will also be filled with HIS faithfulness and peace no matter what comes. I will recap some of the highlights like mile markers of His goodness...
Jan: Waiting on being cleared to go pick up our boys.... We were cleared and traveled to Ethiopia and picked them up on Jan 22. Our lives are forever changed!


Feb: Waited in Ethiopia for a few weeks for Josiah's file to officially clear and on Feb 14, we flew to America... they became citizens on arrival, and we met up with Ryan's mom and Sarah's mom and dad! One of the best Valentines day's ever!
March: SOOOO many firsts.... first haircut (for Daniel) first restaurant outing, first crawls, first tooth.... plus meeting more uncles and aunts and grandparents and then a trip to India!


April: We learned so much and grew so much in this month. They started getting anywhere they wanted to go and pulling up. 
May: It was REALLY hot in India and it was the beginning of mango season... we really enjoyed swimming and smoothies.
June: We celebrated their first birthday this month... Josiah started walking around on his own, and Daniel took his first steps on the 30th!
July: Celebrated the 4th of July with flags, and the boys started to say mama and dada!
August: Celebrated Indian Independence day and took some new family photos. The boys are both going at one speed: FAST!
Sept: We took a trip to Sri Lanka and got to see ELEPHANTS... and play in the pool and ocean. Daniel is a little fish and can stay afloat alone with his floaties!
Oct: We opened a package from Ryan's mom with boots and capes... they LOVE to play superhero dress up!
Nov:  The boys are more and more fun! We had a great thanksgiving with our friends here in India! Josiah had his head shaved but Daniel only needed a trim!



Dec: We had such an amazing time preparing for Christmas and my parents came for a visit and we had SOOO much fun! They started saying more words and they can make animal sounds!

Happy New YEAR everyone! I am sure 2014 will be filled with lots of adventures around here... and we pray that your lives are also filled with the JOY of Jesus and the hope that life with him brings!