Saturday, January 5, 2013

Has it really been that long?

To say that the blog has been grossly neglected is an understatement... my oh my... here are some pictures to make me feel like I'm going to keep it caught up.

Nothing like going from Halloween to Faith's birthday to Joshua's 5th surgery (and last) for the year to Christmas... can you hear me checking this off my pretend to do list. Maybe it won't be 3 months before the next catch up but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's your verse?

You know sometimes God has given me a verse for a season, a day, or like now a year.

Weary... it seems to be the word of choice if someone were to ask me and me be honest how I'm doing... and it seems that more times than not if I were honest (which unless it's a few select people) I'm not.

That being said, a week or so ago I decided to look up every verse that had that word in it. This year I've gone from a study on James, to a study of Isaiah (quit that one... the Old Testament requires so much studying and I'm a bit short on the time thing these days), to more recently reading through John.

So I start reading in Isaiah first... maybe I should of stuck with that one... hmmm

Anyway, here is what I read and I think I'm claiming this one as my verse for the year!

"But now, this is what the Lord says- He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel;

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweet over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, For I am the Lord, you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since your are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west."

Isaiah 43:1-5

It is no secret that this has not been the easiest year for our family. I think everyone wears a few scars because of it. There are more days than I care to admit that I feel like I just have to keep on keeping on because I know I have to. I think maybe God has me home schooling this year just so I have motivation to get out of bed in the morning. ;)

It has been the hardest thing to watch everyone suffer. Not just Josh, which what he's had to endure is insane, but like I said I know all the kids have struggled this year because we've certainly walked through these trials together.

One of the reasons it's been hard is because there are few people that understand the dynamics of our family. Most seem to be of the opinion that it's either really "cool" that we've adopted 3 children and look at us like we are some sort of saints. Of which, you don't have to spend much time with us to realize that is not the case. ;)

Others, think or say wierd things like we've brought the trials on ourselves by choosing children with needs. Like our biological children don't have issues... it's just that we've created those or it's a more conventional way to have children so if they have problems it's okay.

The problem with all of this is that it leaves us very few people to talk to safely... and it's hard.

Anyone who walks by faith to do anything they believe God is leading them to realizes there with be valleys and mountains. I think that's part of counting the cost of parenting in general. Still though God considers family good and chooses to use families to spread the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. It's amazing really... just hard on a day to day basis at times.

Most of the time the setbacks become more out in the open after recovering from his surgeries this year. Like Joshua's meltdowns during times he perceives as possibly stressful.

To think we also added a 3 year old to our family this year... which amazingly has been such a blessing to Joshua. He really has risen to the occasion and we see a lot of maturity in him because he now has a "baby" brother. But add Micah's hyper vigilance to this stressful year and once again I'm just glad to get out of bed each morning, get everyone fed, somewhat educated, dressed, etc. Everything good seems to just take time. Micah is calming down, learning this new, crazy family of his and we are learning him.

Some days God is just in the encourage this mama business. Like later that same week, Isaac got some sort of stomach sickness Saturday night so he and Josh and I stayed home from church. Joy had an evaluation that next day so I did school stuff with the kids on Sunday. Josh has struggled with most things academic, social, etc.... he battles for every phrase, word, most new concepts, etc. Last year I couldn't really even start PreK stuff with him because he just wasn't able. Not that he didn't want to but just wasn't able. 

BUT NOW... in spite of having SO many surgeries he is doing much better! I don't mean everything is easy... most things are still a challenge BUT they are getting easier. Once again... it's 3 steps forward 2 steps back most of the time. But I really have no choice but to be grateful for it. AND 3 steps forward 2 steps back is still forward. Everyone is amazed at Josh's intelligence and ability to think things out and through. He really is amazing (I am biased but I'm not the only one who sees it :) He can comprehend more than most kids his age and is quite discerning and intuitive.

I thank the Lord for people like Dianne Craft and Karyn Purvis. Places like Family Hope Center. These people have dedicated so much of their lives to children with medical/ special needs and therefore kids from traumatic backgrounds. Truly when I see the list of what makes a child at risk for difficulties adjusting to life and trouble learning I'm amazed Joshua has come so far. It's really only been a year since we've been getting our minds around what will help him most.

So once again we are coming up on what is hopefully the last surgery of this year long marathon. I'm doing much better since I've seen how, though it is hard for a season, he does "snap" out of it and start moving forward. I confess I've woken up a few times in tears over the last few weeks because I've dreamed of walking into the hospital and in my dream I get to the doors and stop dead in my tracks, not able to move a step forward. Through this year I've actually realized nowhere in the Bible does it say that He doesn't give us more than we can handle. As a matter of fact I think as I read it's the exact opposite. He often gives those walking by faith in Him much more than they can handle BUT not more than He can handle. So I do know that His grace will be sufficient and that He will give us the strength needed for that day. So for today I am learning to live it... walking the the path He has for today, knowing that He is going with us, before us, behind us. And I'm learning that that is enough because He is enough.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I bet your 3 year old can't do this...

I mean really, how many American 3 year olds can use chopsticks to pick up their Frosted Flakes?!!

 In my opinion not many can look this cute while doing it either ;) But I'm biased. Here Micah and Joshua are "doing their math" while Grace is taking a math test! Hmmm... Grace got a 100 on that test maybe I should make her brothers sit by her for everything.

A great day in the woods...

A free Saturday is such a blessing. We decided to go for a hike (a 7 mile one to be exact) and everyone did awesome!

 Isaac and MeiLi were at the front of the pack the whole way.
 These 2 came dressed like twins, with matching hair and everything. Such sweeties!

 Midway through the 7 mile hike we got to our destination (a waterfall area) and there was a great rock to climb up on and eat lunch.
Thank you Lord for a fun day making memories together!

Tae Kwon Do

Joshua, Joy, and Isaac have been able to participate in Tae Kwon Do for the past few months. They were able to test for the next belts before needing to take a break so their older sisters can do swimming and gymnastics. It's been fun to see their progress.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Costa Rica

Here ya go Caleb ;)... I'm so far behind on posting to the blog but our nephew asked for some pictures of Grace's trip...
 This iguana was outside their room. They saw wild monkeys, alligators, and one of the kids on the team took a picture of a tarantula.
They got to help hand out Operation Christmas Child gifts to some school children. Grace said it was so amazing to see the kids so excited about basic things like soap and toothbrushes.

 Grace had 2 opportunities to share her testimony. One was at a block party and another teaching a Sunday School class. She had an amazing trip and was so blessed to be able to see people come to faith in Jesus. We are so grateful for the opportunity she had to go!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why I'm glad I homeschool....

When school was done Friday this is what some of the kids did.... As challenging as this year has been with school these moments at 2 in the afternoon make me glad we get to home school...

Yes, we live in Georgia. The kids shoot BB guns at self made targets after school is over!