Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Belated Easter...





HAPPY BELATED EASTER TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY!

What a special week HOLY WEEK it was for us...
I think there were a total of 11 services for Greg last week, including a funeral... and he has 2 funerals tomorrow as well...

By the end of the week Greg is HAPPY, but a bit tired...
By the end of the week after keeping littles in the church pew for 4 days in a row... we are HAPPY and a little tired too... but we wouldn't have it any other way...

This year if I had to sum up Easter it would be to say we are BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE...
Over and over again through out the week I just kept thinking we are so blessed to be in this place... God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when He brought us here almost a year ago... He went before us and smoothed the way... And we are so thrilled to be serving in ministry here:)  God is so good and faithful!

This year I was also  amazed  to experience how another church does Holy week... Visually it was like my eyes woke up to how the Lord can use all that we can see in worship... We had the Jesus Painter here on Thursday and even the banners used on Good Friday and Easter opened up my eyes to appreciate the beauty of the sacrifice of Jesus and well as His amazing ability to set us free from Sin... Wow... ( I will try to post a picture of our Easter Sunday banners... Wow..they are painted by our children's minister... so neat)  But you can see the ones used above on Good Friday... I don't know... but they made me see my sin in a different way... my sin that put Him on that cross...  my sin that was a part of that crown of thorns on His head... I have always known that the Lord uses music to greatly minister to my heart... but never realized how amazingly He can use whatever He chooses to use to impact our worship... It was a blessing...

We drove up to my parents to spend the day with my 3 brother's families... Lots of laughs, hugs, cousin time, and relaxing... After a super busy week it was such a treat to not have to do any work and just be pampered a bit:)  My mom is amazingly good at that... I know it can't be super easy to pull off a beautiful, delicious Easter meal for 28... but she does it so graciously...


Friday, April 18, 2014

The Jesus Painter

Wow... what a gift the Jesus Painter has for sharing His love for the Lord and the Lord's love for us...

It was such a blessing to witness first hand the stories that he shared as he made each picture right before our eyes in worship tonight...

I am so thankful for how the Lord can use His servants and  His word combined with art, music, liturgy, atmosphere, lighting, etc... all of it to minister to our hearts...

 He is God... He is BIG... AND HE can use whatever HE chooses to teach us and touch our hearts with the  THE REAL, TRUE,  FULL SACRIFICIAL LOVE THAT HE HAS FOR US!

As he painted the second picture, my heart was struck anew,  with how my sin put Jesus on the cross and my gratefulness for His sacrifice to forgive and save me.

What a blessing worship was tonight...


"The Love in His Eyes"


"Intimate Portrait"


"Proof to Thomas"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weekend away...



Beautiful fresh fallen Wisconsin snowfall:)


Hopie enjoying the water park rides... Man that girl is a dare devil... no fear...


The Zader Tator and Levi played in the kiddie part for hours on end:)


Enjoying the great space we called home for a couple of  days:)
We were so blessed to get a deal too good to pass up, given to us by my little brother.  So up we went to the Wisconsin Dells for a couple of nights... Seriously, we had a beautiful 3 bedroom condo with a full kitchen and water park passes for far less than a regular hotel... It was such a wonderful gift to us and the kids!

We ate crock pot meals, played for hours in the water park, and even had a super relaxing afternoon nap/movie time all packed on the couch... I literally woke up and felt such peace in my heart... totally surrounded by the precious family the Lord has blessed me with... total joy:)  And then it was off again for some more wild times in the water park:)

It was the perfect get away for this busy church family... I think we have a total of 13 services at church this week for Holy Week... I should say super busy for the dad of the house... not nearly as busy for the rest of us...


I miss my Oklahoma fireplace... I moved the chair right by the fireplace and cranked it up every free moment I had... what a treat:)  


On the way home we hit some random exit for gas and saw a Cherry Berry (our favorite Oklahoma yogurt shop)  I told Louis to pull in there... I was going to check if they had peanut butter yogurt... If they did we would stop...

Well they didn't... but they did have a tax day special... fill your bowl as full with yogurt and toppings for $1... CRAZY DEAL!  So we stopped and enjoyed yogurt for an early dinner:)  What a treat for us since we don't  have a Cherry Berry close to us:)  We happened to stumble in literally 15 minutes before the special was supposed to start... ye,t they had just started it and we TOTALLY beat the crowds... Check out the lines outside of the shop... I consider that  a sweet little blessing from God!


So now we focus on Holy Week... such a precious time...

I love all of the constant reminders this week,  of the Father's great love for us to send us Jesus.  What a gift Jesus gave us in eternal life through His work on the cross... What a sacrifice... 

I am so excited to see the Jesus Painter tonight at church... Praying you all have time this week to consider all that Jesus has done for you...

 If you don't know Him as your Savior I would love to talk to you about how much He loves you... just leave a comment and we will connect...
 Much love... 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oh the love...

The reality of just trying to get ONE good picture of the 3 littles:):)

Levi going in for a kiss from Hope...


Now... Levi trying to give a kiss to Zader Tator...



Moments of chaos...:):)  Isaiah, getting across his point, loud and clear... "Give me back my bottle!!!"


Yes, that is a plastic lizard on Isaiah's face... Levi is getting a real kick out of that:):)


Zader kicking back with some milk:):)


The best picture we could get that day... Melt my heart:):)  SO VERY THANKFUL FOR THE GIFT OF ADOPTION AND THESE PRECIOUS KIDDOS:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh the sweetness of this boy....

Oh the sweetness of this little man melts my heart every single day....

Today he said he wanted to marry his mom mom... My heart was warmed:)  (honestly, that was right after he totally stood next to me, didn't utter a word and peed in his underwear:):)  Little stinker:) 

Levi... our little miracle...


Just last week as he was heading down for a nap in our room, (since every other room had a cousin or sibling already down napping) I found him in our bed with this picture of the kids with Samuel right after he was born... 


He kissed the picture... he hugged the picture...  he wanted to sleep with the picture... I said ok:)

Even Levi knows that little Samuel was and still is a treasure to us...

 He loves his brother even though he has never met him face to face... (That awesome day will come in Heaven... Oh to see Samuel meet the little miracle who is a part of us... I know that through the loss of Samuel, God used all of that to prepare us, change us, and encourage our hearts to step out into the unknown and to pursue embryo adoption... I don't think our life would have EVER included that with out our Samuel:)  Samuel helped bring us to Levi... that is a miracle... To me, Levi's whole story is miracle upon miracle...:)



And so he did... Levi, sweet as a button slept with the picture of 5 of his older siblings:) 

What sweet precious quiet moments that we stumble upon in this normally very busy, noisy, commotion filled home...God is so good to give us that extra dose of sweet love here and there sprinkled through out our days:)   

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mountain mover

Are any of you waiting to hear from the Lord?

Are any of you waiting for an answer to a specific prayer?

Are any of you just needing mountains moved in your life??/

I remember specifically my prayer request almost immediately after the stillbirth of our Samuel...
Lord please bless us with another child... if that is your will... sooner rather than later...

When you were ready to be a mommy again at any moment and at 40 weeks and 1 day you have nothing but a container of your baby's ashes after growing that sweet precious one for so long... Waiting another day... week... month... seems too long... ( I know this may not really make sense fully if you haven't experienced it for yourself... But 9 months to grow another baby feels like forever... (clearly... I NEVER wanted to have another child to replace Samuel EVER!!!  But my heart and arms were longing for a baby to hold and love!:)

I remember praying that same exact prayer... a WHOLE year later...
Lord please bless us with another... if that is your will... sooner rather than later...

But at that point I knew I was in the later already... but I still wanted the new sooner rather than the new later... Oh it was so hard...  Now I knew that maybe it wasn't in God's plan for us to have more children or to adopt.  And if it wasn't... then I just wanted him to change my heart so that I could accept it if that was His will... but my hearts desire was another child...

About 2 months later... the Lord gave us our Hope with an on going up and down, uncertain adoption case... now that was a tough 7 months of not knowing if we could keep her or not.  And just before we heard that she would indeed become ours forever... we finalized the  adoption of the 7 embryos. And along came our precious miracle  Levi 10 months later...

Sometimes those answers to our prayers come hours, weeks, or months later... sometimes years later.

If you are waiting for God to move some mountains... I want to encourage you today... that our God is IN THE BUSINESS OF WORKING MIRACLES AND MOVING MOUNTAINS... Just like He did to bring us our Hope, our Levi, and our Isaiah... all miracles from His precious hand... (as are our first 5 kids as well:)


Just a few weeks ago, Greg and I were discussing a upcoming future decision for our family... (I can't really share the specific details right now... but trust me, I will when it is the right time... I am not trying to be secretive, but my whole hearts desire on this is to encourage you in how amazing and faithful our God is!!!) Greg and I clearly had 2 VERY DIFFERENT opinions on this issue...It was a pretty BIG area of family life... One with lasting implications for all of us...  The discussion went round and round... We never did agree at all...The conversation pretty much ended with us being at totally different ends of the spectrum with me telling him that I wouldn't bring it up again... (I did not at all want to pester him about it) That if God changed His heart he should let me know...

I TOTALLY wanted the Lord's will for our family in this decision... I know that Greg wanted it too... But let me just say... this is not an area where I normally could keep quiet on... I knew that I would have to be in prayer just to truly keep my word and keep  my mouth shut:) Sometimes, even when I plan on bringing something up,  my timing isn't always the best... but I was determined to not mention it at all...

I also expressed to him... my sincere desire that if God's will wasn't in line with my desires, that I would want  the Lord totally change my heart and make it easier to accept that and change my will and make it in line with what His desires were for us... I meant it 100%... I did not want my way... I TOTALLY WANTED GOD'S WAY FOR US!  AND I WANTED GREG TO  LEAD AND BE IN CHARGE IN THIS DECISION!

This area of life is an area that I knew on my own, I could not surrender easily... I also knew that if I didn't bring it up, it might never come up and I had to be ok with that... I knew that it could take months for God to change His heart or mine...

My heart was really sad... The whole fact that we were so not on the same page, kind of came as a shock and was going to take some getting used to for sure.  I even enlisted the prayers of some close friends that I knew love our family, want God's best for us, and are prayer warriors...

I committed to praying about this issue... everyday it was something that I had to lay at the Lord's feet... It was on my mind A LOT!!   But at the same time,  I really had a peace about it, and wasn't worried... I knew God was in control of it and I knew that he would take care of me no matter the outcome... But in my heart I felt like it would take A LONG TIME to resolve this, especially if I wasn't going to bring it up in conversation...

Well just a couple of weeks later Greg came to me clear out of the blue... actually I was working out... I was overjoyed that he was bringing it up SO MUCH EARLIER THAN I EVER EXPECTED, but  I almost wanted to clobber him because it takes everything in me to not keel over to begin with when I am working out... :):)

In a sort of round about way he started talking and told me his heart had done a total 180...  We were now totally on the same page... I was SO SHOCKED... I honestly said, "Do not joke around about this if you aren't serious!!"   Oh my heart rejoiced... And the Lord had done it in record time... so much more quickly than I ever would have expected... The Lord moved mountains to bring us to a point of being united in this one big area... Huge... Huge... blessings for us to be on the same page....

God is continually teaching me to trust Him... trust that He has control of every single situation we lay at His feet... That He won't disappoint us (even if it had been my heart that was changed... I know He would have given me TOTAL peace about it!!!)

He didn't just answer... He knocked my socks off with how quickly and preciously He answered my prayers... I am in awe... He is so good and faithful...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

They call him Dark Zader...

d



Could this little sweetie get any cuter... 
I am so in love...
We are so blessed each and every day by this mover and shaker...
The Zader Tator... 

(as you can tell the number of  nick names for this little man continues to grow:)