Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A runner in the family...

One of the highlights of this fall has been Anna running Cross Country for our church school...
She is really loving it and is really doing a great job:)


Anna and her sweet friend Ava... two peas in a pod...



And the are off...


Some of the other kids enjoying the beautiful Illinois weather...


It has really been fun for the other kids and I to hang out while the teams are running at the meets.  

I am so proud of Anna... she has been really busy this fall running and playing soccer... She has worked really hard to get school work done before her practices...

Here are Levi and his buddy... They were having a great time.   It was like they were riding a rollercoaster... and the neat thing was, it was entertaining the little guys and the really little guys:)





Go out and enjoygreat this weather before the artic tundra retruns:)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

HE knows....


The familiar phrase... hind sight is 20/20...

One of the things I love most about our Savior is when you can look back at the beautiful way HIS plan has unfolded in your life or in a certain situation...

Something I love even more is when you get that special feeling... knowing at that moment that you can actually recognize, in the here and now, HIM at work in your life doing something really special...

Meet the Dinks...

Literally the Lord has woven our friendship together from across the ocean and across the nation...

When Samuel died, I struggled so deeply... I was hurting like I never thought possible... I was struggling to process my own grief while caring for our 4 kids and making sure they were doing ok through the whole process of losing a brother...and I was incredibly lonely in my sadness... 

I think I cried through church every Sunday, sitting in the pew alone just me, my kids, my tears, my broken heart... 

And then they walked in one Sunday... sought me out... and low and behold in that moment I knew I had found a friend....

God was moving them from Sweden, of all places right to our town in Oklahoma... we had a ton of mutual connections at the church I had grown up at in Wisconsin, they were close to my college roommate, and I will never forget asking them if they knew so and so from my home church... Their response, "They get custody of our children if anything ever happens to us!"  We had so many connections...

The next time they came to visit before they moved was just 2 days after Joel was stillborn, the baby that we were supposed to adopt.  I remember when  Nik asked how I was, I gave her a very real honest response... Not so good... I shared with her a little about what had happened, how we had gone to see him at the hospital, how we had spent time with his birth mom... 

And that is when I saw it... a tear falling down her cheek... She cared... She wanted to hear... She was sympathetic to our new loss... She could step beyond herself and maybe even her possible uncomfortableness of an almost stranger sharing a recent personal experience of death with her...

But it didn't stop her from caring for a single second.  In that moment,  I knew God had done a beautiful thing moving them all the way from Sweden to our back door...

 This sweet precious family walked with us through a very difficult Samuel's first birthday in heaven, our crazy adoption with Hope, our embryo adoption and scary pregnancy of Levi, and our premature birth and adoption of Isaiah... She was even with me when I got the news that the pregnancy I was experiencing would end in a miscarriage... They supported us compassionately through all of that as well as doing regular fun, exciting life together with the rest of our kiddos and their sweet 3...






And as if once wasn't enough... 

While we have finally settled in here in Illinois after arriving a year ago...
They are now newly settling in less than 30 minutes from where we live...

God has moved them once again right to our back door...
And we couldn't be more grateful to God for moving our precious friends so close:)
 
(I am so thankful for the many precious friends we made during our time in Oklahoma... this is just like the cherry on top that they are now here with us too:)

The Lord's good plans for us amaze me sometimes... As much as we teased them to move up here... I honestly, never really saw it coming... 

What a beautiful, fun, wonderful surprise and addition to our lives here in Illinois...
 
I am amazed at the Lord's goodness to us! 
 
 He sees the full picture...  All the way from Sweden to Tulsa, to Illinois... And all the way from my heart to the Heavens...
 
He always knows... He is so faithful...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Life...


I know everyone says it,.. but the days are just flying by... 
and I feel like I am at times just along for the ride... 
Trying to get "it" all done and cherish the precious moments along the way... 
Levi just absolutely cracks us up... tonight he stayed up extra late because he napped late and it was one silly thing after another out of his mouth... Greg and I just kept looking at each other and laughing... such a treasure Levi is...



Last week the big boys and I were blessed to get tickets to the Cubs game at Wrigley field... (Greg TOTALLY would have been there, but work had to take priority that night)
Wow, it was such a neat stadium, totally reminded me of the old County Stadium in Milwaukee... '
We had a great time, lots of laughs, and enjoyed the fun opportunity... such a gift to us...
Sometimes I am ABSOLUTELY amazed by the sweet things people do for us at this church... The generousity and kindness abound.  We have been blessed with so many wonderful people in our lives in such a short amount of time...I continually thank God for that:)




Hopie and the Zader Tator... She did a great job with him scooting around tonight...  For the most part she took really good care of him and didn't get too wild:) That girl LOVES to get wild and crazy... But she safely took him around with her and he loved it!  I was really proud of her:)  And he just keeps getting yummier and yummier... he has the best cheeks that giggle when he runs and the most amazing eyes:)


Anna and I have been having so much fun working on different hair styles... www.cutegirlhairstyles.com has super cute videos that show you exactly how to do a ton of different braids.  It has been so much fun... I love that special time with my girl... 

Anna has been running cross country this year with our church school.  She has been loving it and is really doing great.  I knew she was fast on the soccer field when she pours it on :)...  I really think we have found a niche of hers... She enjoys it and is good at it.  She struggles sometimes with things and this is a great positive fun thing in life for her right now:)

One of these days when Greg passes through... I will catch a picture of him:)  Kidding... he has been super busy though at church... I am so proud of him for how hard he works to provide for us.  I think he has 12 weddings this fall which keep him super busy...

Living on campus has huge benefits for our busy dad... He can pop in and say hi and take lunch back over to work or pop in between meetings for dinner... All things that never would have been possible before and I am SO GRATEFUL for it! 



Sunday, September 21, 2014

A first...

A first in the Hintz house...

A homecoming dance...

The boys were blessed to spend the evening with these two friends from church youth group at the local high school's homecoming...


Caleb and Katie:) Katie has a heart for missions too... Such a sweet young lady with a very strong faith:)


Louis and Elissa:) Elissa's parents were at the sem with us, so we have known for quite a while... She has been a blessing to the boys since we moved here, always including them in in fun activities:) 


We had some good discussion when they came home... It is a different world than the one I grew up in:) As long as we can keep the talking going, that is a good thing!:) 
They had a great time, and we loved hearing about it:)

I am SO thankful for these two boys and the friends God has put in their lives:) 

Where has the time gone??  How can my two little guys be so grown up?  They make my heart happy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

My little sweeties... all of them...



Just the other day while I was doing some home school lessons with Anna and Jo... 

The littles ventured up from the basement... They had completed spilled the stuffed animal container and came up with their arms full of the stuffed animals we received at Samuel's baby shower...

Levi has taken to sleeping with one every night:)

It is hard but interesting at times the road of life with a child in heaven... 
My arms are so full these days... and I love these two sweeties sooooo much... I couldn't imagine our life without them... not even for a second...

But I still can't help but wish that Samuel was right here in the mix of things with the youngest 3... 
Samuel and Hopie, both in Kindergarten... I know if he had lived Hope probably wouldn't have been ours... but in my mind I like to believe that God could have worked it all out for us to have them all if that had been HIS plan... 

Just the other day while out for a walk with our neighbor we were talking about a pregnant friend of ours... and Jojo blurts out, "If this baby lives, will dad baptize it?"  The neighbor looked right at me, eyes big... hard but true, these kids know not all babies live when they are growing... not all brothers and sisters get to come home with you... It wasn't even odd, it just flowed right out of him with the most innocent questioning heart... My sweet Jojo...

I love that Samuel is still a part of our everyday life... I love that Samuel has made the reality of Heaven a part of our everyday life, even for the kids... I love that the little kids include Samuel in their song at bedtime... I love that He is a part of us forever... But I still miss that sweet little pudgy faced, dark fuzzy headed little sweetie soooo much... Yet so incredibly thankful...  The sacred dance of grief and joy....


God is good through it all...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

So not crafty...


Anna and I completed our homemade jewelry holders...

They couldn't be more hodge podge...

Literally, the wood cut and screwed by jo...
Painted by Anna...
Hanging necklace nails pounded by me...
Screened attached ...
Wall hangers attached by Greg...

And there she was ... Completed... And I love it!!!

I love being able to see my treasures given over time or collected from the streets  and people of Uganda... 

I am so thankful to finally have a little orgAnization to the accessory scene:) I am blessed by the littlest of things some days:)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First official teen driver in the house!!


I am so proud of this boy...
For so many reasons...

While he is wildly funny...
Extremely messy...
Insanely passionate about missions and caring for orphans...
Sweetly loving to the littles in the house...

He is now officially licensed by the state of Illinois to be safe alone on the roads...

He even passed in the 12 passenger can!! Way to go Lou!   

You are growing up WAY too fast! I am so thankful God chose me to be your momma!  You are a gift!

All ready to go!!  Lincense in one hand... Africa Keychain in the other!! :):)