Monday, December 26, 2011

December is a time to prepare...

Every December, I can't believe it's December.  Yesterday seems like June to me and with each year, it seems to go by faster and faster.  Last year, God really put it on my heart that winter is for resting.  And last year, I was able to do that pretty well.  This year, I do believe winter is still for rest but I am finding it harder to get myself there.  It seems like this year, getting prepared is what rings in my heart and in my ears.

As I think about getting prepared for the year to come, I am so overwhelmed at looking back on the one I am stepping past.  So many blessings.  So many opportunities.  So many gifts.  So many moments.  So many challenges.  So many truths.  And I am about to step into another year, quietly waiting... full of promise, growth, trials, opportunities, moments, lives, relationships, joys, tears, chances.

I want to embrace it.  And I want to be prepared.  I want to receive every opportunity, chance, and moment that God gives me with open hands.  And I want to be thankful in it.  I want to see Christ in it.  I want to get closer to Him in it.  I want to serve Him in it.  And I want to joyful and content it.

I have been deeply touched by Ann Voskamp and her book, "One Thousand Gifts."  Her blog has been speaking to me for most of the year, but her book is calling me and challenging me to take the dare.  And I accept it with open hands.

My blog has gone from just updates on the kids to decorating to newsletter to journal.  It is one of my favorite outlets to use to give glory to my Father and Savior.  How can I not share what He has done and continues to do in my life?  I have told Him again and again that I would shout it from the rooftops... His greatness... how personal He is... how mighty and active and real and alive and audacious!  And this has become my rooftop.

So on January 1st, my blog will include my journey to One Thousand Gifts.  And I pray that just as Ann has inspired by sharing her journey, someone will be encouraged by mine.

Tomorrow, we pick up a host child that we will host for the next two and a half weeks.  We receive this with open hands and can't wait to see what God has in store for her and for us!  And when this little one flies back to Latvia on January 12th, I will fly back with her and the other children.  I will be going to the orphanages to meet with directors and build relationships.  I will love on children and tell them about Jesus and His love for them.  I will interview them and photograph them so they can be listed on the summer host program of 2012.  And I will receive this with open hands... taking every moment and opportunity He gives me and embracing it for His glory.

Yes, December is a time to prepare... for beautiful moments ahead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December is a time for crafting...

I saw this on Pinterest.

And we did this...

I used scrap fabric I had and we made the cutest little craft ever!!!

We cut our strips and then tied two between each light.  The girls were giddy!  And I have to admit... SO WAS I!  It turned out better than I could have imagined.

T put hers on her window!  We think it will stay up for a LONG time!  It goes with the colors in her room perfectly and she LOVES the color and light!

It really is crazy how adorable it is!

A has two windows instead of one and so we ran hers across her shelf... several times!  It's a tad bit messier than I would prefer (a shorter strand would have been better here) but she totally loves hers too!

And A's is pretty special to me because I used a pair of her bloomers from when she was little (the yellow and white check) that I had in the scrap fabric box!  She also has some vintage pillow case fabric from a dear friend (Shell), purple fabric from another dear friend (Erin) and some other cool "stories" in her strand!

And since this is our second year to not "do Christmas," it was the perfect way to use the lights as I remind/teach them we are to be the light in this dark world everyday of the year!

And you can't have a fun craft day without the baked cookies!

And these yummy, amazing, crazy, can't get enough ever pretzles... well... they were for ME!  But I did share them!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December is for hosting...

children.  Children who don't have a family.

Last night was holy ground in an airport.  Families gathered... pacing... laughing nervously... staring at their watches... holding tight to balloons... and waiting.  Some waited to be reunited with children they have hosted before.  Some waited to embrace the children they are already in the process of adopting.  And others waited to see and embrace their host child for the first time.  And even others met their future children for the first time.

And it was beautiful.

A Grandfather crying precious tears was beautiful.

Children smiling huge smiles that said so much were beautiful.

Host family children who embraced the new ones were beautiful.

Mothers crying tears that only a mother can understand were beautiful.

Fathers trying to keep it all together and sometimes failing were beautiful.

First embraces were beautiful.

Hands held together walking away were beautiful.

God was beautiful. 

And He was there... hovering... whispering... comforting... filling... healing... guiding... supplying... overflowing... and breathing.

And it was oh so very precious and beautiful.

*I hope to get some permission from some soon and will share some pictures of this beautiful night.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

December is a time for new mercies

"The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works."  Psalm 145:9~

"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
 I will trust in the mercy of God forever and ever." Psalm 52:8~

"Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.
Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven."
 Psalm 85:10,11~

As tears stream down my face, I type the words, "I can't do this anymore."  My heart still pounds with emotion and the words are screaming from all corners of my mind.  The words are to my husband.  The words are about the almost daily battles/struggles with one of my daughters.  One who holds so much of my heart.  One who demands so much and leaves me often empty.  One who rejects me often.  One who clings to me in frail moments.  One who can fill me with purest joy with just a smile.  One who can bring up the vilest of who I can be.

This night has been hard.  My voice has been raised as my heart screamed in response, defense and exhaustion.  Sadness.  Exasperation.  Frustration.  Anger.  As my fingers cry upon the keyboard, crying out to my husband miles away, her door opens and footsteps descend the stairs, approaching in quiet haste.

How does she know I sit here broken?  A broken pile of failure and sadness.  A broken pile of a girl who tries to be a mom.  A broken pile of a girl who thinks she can not do it anymore.  A broken pile of a girl who thinks she doesn't even want to try anymore. 

She approaches and she is bearing gifts.  A small pink bowl with "food" and her favorite hand sanitizer.

She sets them down beside me.  Puts her hand on mine.  "I'm sorry."

Response is hard.  I have no idea how to respond.  Failing again.  I am empty.  Her previous words are ringing in my head.  Her defiance flashes before me and "Thank you," is all that comes up from within.

She goes to the kitchen and comes back with more offerings... a cold cup of water and a paper towel.  And she wipes my tears.  "Thank you," again is all I can offer in return.  I missed a moment.  I missed a moment of tender heart due to my own emptiness.  And I told her she should return to bed.  And she did.  I was still raw.

As I put on pajamas and brushed my teeth, my thoughts cried out to the LORD.  Numbness still hung on me like a heavy blanket that I couldn't shake.  And then the LORD did what He does best... He opened my eyes.

 Words from one of my favorite people came back to me.

“Joy is always a function of gratitude — and gratitude is always a function of perspective.

If we are going to change our lives,

what we’re going to have to change

is the way we see.”  Ann Voskamp~

Simple prayer offered.  Change what I see LORD.  PLEASE.  All I can see if defiance, stubbornness, ingratitude, greed, selfishness, spewing of words, lashing out, ugliness.  Change what I see.

And He did. 

Ann's words echo in my mind again.  Somewhere, in past posts or her book, she encouraged to keep seeking God in places you don't see Him because He is there.

LORD, where are you here?  Where are you in this?

Eyes opened, heart opened, and sin exposed.  There He was, in this, and there I stood, before Him, in rebellion, in defiance, in stubbornness, with ingratitude, greed, selfishness, spewing my words, lashing out, ugly.  Broken again.  There was the light.  And I, before the LORD, was just like Abby.  And yet... there He was.  Mercy.  Grace.  Christ.  Forgiveness.  Love.  Unfailing.  Over.  And over.  And over.  Everything I should be.  Everything I am not.

Had I not just earlier sat in the car and spewed words of anger after being "wronged" by another?  Had I not asked demanded my husband to call her and let her have it?  Had I not been so vile over a house? Over time?  Greed.  Ingratitude.  Selfishness.  Control.  Yes.  Yes I had.  That was me.  That was my ugly.  My sin.

"For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations."  Psalm 100:5~

"For your mercy is great above the heavens, and Your truth reaches to the clouds."  Psalm 108:4~

"The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.  The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works."  Psalm 145:8,9~

"Freely you have received.  Freely give."  Matthew 10:8b

Through Christ, the LORD sees me righteous.  Through Christ, I am a holy child of God.  Through Christ, I am forgiven.  Through Christ, I am new.  Through Christ, I am no longer a slave to sin.  I am so humbled.  Thanksgiving should be forever present on my lips.

Those are the eyes I need to see with.  Spiritual eyes.  Christ's eyes.  Not mine.

I must give mercy just as I receive it.  Daily.  AGAIN AND AGAIN.  I must see it's presence in everything.

I can do it again.  I can try to love her, guide her, parent her, shepherd her, accept her again and again.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Because His mercies are new each and every day.  And so will be mine.

Monday, December 05, 2011

December is for reflecting

I have mentioned that I am not sure if I will continue to blog.  There are several reasons behind the pondering.  One is that time becomes more and more precious with each passing hour!  Blogging used to be another creative outlet for me.  I enjoyed making banners and changing backgrounds and posting pictures... and writing.  But now I find it hard to get here a lot of the time.  I look on the right side and see my number of postings for the year and they are kinda pitiful!  HA  I also find it harder to take pictures like I used to... time... lack of!

I also have to be honest and find myself pondering the lack of comments a lot of time.  I mean, how can you read a post about hundreds of facebook people raising money... massive money... in 48 hours to bring home a child and say nothing.  It leaves me thinking several things... no one reads it, no one cares, everyone is tired of reading about orphans needing/finding homes, or no one knows how to leave a comment.  And honestly, I HATE caring about whether or not anyone leaves a comment.  But I do.  This blog has become an interactive blog and so crickets not even chirping sometimes makes me think I shouldn't even bother.

So then I thought about just enabling comments and not worrying about it anymore but then I am back to why bother?  I could use this time to write in journals and scrapbook and not worry about it anymore.

But then I LOVE to go back to 2006 and see how far Abby has come... how far the blog has come... how far our faith has come... how far God has brought us and all He has shown us and how He has grown us and it makes me want to continue.

So that is what I am pondering.  The honest version!  Because you know me... I love to be honest!
So I will continue praying about it and pondering and see what happens by the end of the month.
But in the meantime... if you are reading... and you do care... thanks!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

December is for friends... who come and celebrate someone special with you... who share their hearts, their love, their time, their encouragement, their laughter, their support, their words, their lives... such beautiful blessings from the Lord.  We love you all and are deeply thankful for each one of you.  We are blessed to share life with you!  THANK YOU for making Don's birthday a special night and memory. xoxoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, December 03, 2011

December is for love...

to feel love, to give love, lay in love, smile in love, reflect on love, protect love, rejoice in love, celebrate love, glow in love, grow in love, laugh in love, move in love, rest in love, receive love, practice love, Love Love.

Friday, December 02, 2011

December is a time to celebrate...

Tomorrow is my love's birthday.

He likes chocolate.
He will get chocolate.

I am have something planned for him.
It makes me smile.
He makes me smile.
He is amazing.
He continues to amaze me.
I am so blessed to be his love.
We are so blessed to have each other.
 I am so thankful.

December is a time to celebrate.
I like December. ~

Thursday, December 01, 2011


December arrives rather quickly and rest is on her wings.

She takes what has always been and transforms it before our eyes.

She delights our senses with sudden bursts of joy in the least expected places!

And she leaves us wanting more... and we inhale her beauty and tuck it deep inside.

I love December. 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."  Psalm 19:1-4~