Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I lift up my eyes to the hills --where does my help come from?My help comes from the LORD,the Maker of heaven and earth.He will not let your foot slip --He who watches over you will not slumber;indeed, He who watches over Israelwill neither slumber nor sleep.The LORD watches over you --the LORD is your shade at your right hand;the sun will not harm you by day,nor the moon by night.The LORD will keep you from all harm --He will watch over your life;the LORD will watch over your coming and goingboth now and forever more.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I would be so incredibly blessed if comments left me with your favorite verse. It would be such a great way for me to study your verse and ask the Lord to show me His love through it. So, if you have a moment, please leave a comment with your verse. I think we should always be encouraging one another with His word and I hope this will be a way to help me notice something that I may not have before. I hope when I get back I will have many verses to explore through you guys. It will be fun!
Blessings to everyone!
Psalm 103: 1-5
"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his Holy name. Praise
the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your
sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and
crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with goodthings so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s."
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
My sister, who is the most wonderful one in the entire world, sent us two massive present-filled packages. Because we are in the midst of finding our daughter through adoption, we are preparing ourselves for her arrival. Our social worker advised us to begin getting things ready because you never know how short or long this could take! We already purchased emergency necessities after we finished all of our loads of paperwork. Now we are beginning to think through what else is missing. So…. in comes my sister. She went through all of her baby stuff and put together huge boxes of newborn and 0-3 month clothing and essentials. We couldn’t wait to get them in the mail.
Bryan worked a late day yesterday so I literally had to stare at those boxes saying “Olivia…don’t you want to open me?” for hours and hours. After much torment we ate and I immediately said we HAD to open them or I was going to burst. First we discovered a bouncer, boppy pillow, and boppy sling, sunshades for the car windows, a soothing sound machine stuffed animal lamb, and an awesome book my sister put together with tons of knowledge and tips for a new parent. I couldn’t believe it.
So we went for the second box! It was filled to the brim with the cutest clothes you could ever imagine. Slowly we went through them. Cyndi took time to categorize them and placed each section in a cute little baby present bag. She labeled each bag and put butterfly stickers around it. I was so overwhelmed at one point that I just started to cry. I have never had so much baby stuff. With Natalie I had some things but nothing like this. My heart began to hurt because I missed her as I looked at all the pink around me. I was also praying the Lord would bring our baby to us and felt a longing for her. I don’t know where she is or when we will bring her safely home, but I miss her. Can you miss someone you don’t even know?
The bags continued to show off their contents. I even reminisced about my nieces and the times I saw them in some of the outfits I now have for their cousin. At the end, as you will see in the photos, a piece of carpet could barely be seen. We sat there for a while soaking in our view and imagining our little girl in this outfit when we go to the lake, and that outfit when we are at church, and then this one when I take a photo of her and her daddy. I even called Tighe, my neighbor, to come see all of our plunder.
I don’t know how long it will take for her to be in our lives, but several times I have gone into the nursery room, got on my knees around all of that stuff, and prayed for our baby girl.
“Lord, will You bring her home?
Lord, will You keep her safe?
Lord, will You give me peace about how long it will be until she is here?
Lord will You help our birthmother?
Lord will You do Your miracle that You promised me?
Lord, will You help us find her soon?
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The truth is, I did. But more than this reality, I know something else. God was there and although I don’t believe He caused these painful times, I know for a fact that He will use them. Just recently I was talking with a sweet woman who lost her son when she fell down the stairs at 9 months of pregnancy. Before that I heard about my friends nephew who was stillborn as well. The pain in my heart for Natalie arose during those conversations, and I felt great sorrow for those families. It seems we all have a story. And it is our stories that connect people and allow us to grow stronger through our experiences, both joyous and painful. Could sharing our vulnerable stories be an act of bravery? Yes. I think we could never possibly know the impact it might have.
The world is full of people and pain. Our nation is sheltered from much of the reality of the world’s groans. When I think about all the mothers who literally watch their baby’s die from starvation, I wonder. When I ponder the consequences of war and fighting while people are injured and innocence is killed, I wonder. When I reflect on the lifestyle of those controlled by the government or authority, I wonder. When I imagine little children begging for money or food on busy streets, I wonder. When I consider the illnesses and lack of medical attention some people receive, I wonder. When I envision the worry upon a father’s face to know how he will provide his family a meal for the week, I wonder. When I visualize a woman selling herself into prostitution to create a way to stay alive or feed her father, mother, and siblings, I wonder.
I have to wonder if I have even managed to come through all I have been through with a blessing. I have to wonder if the Lord has given me an opportunity to really know Him. I have to wonder if I will now be able to love my friends, family, and strangers more deeply. I have to wonder if I have been blessed with knowing how real heaven is now that Natalie is there along with our other two babies we lost. I have to wonder if I have not been allowed to live in my comfort zone so God can show me something beyond money, material possessions, and popularity. I have to wonder if somehow I have been given an amazing chance to show I really do believe and love God.
No. I cannot feel sorry for myself. And like I always say I will not let one event in my life define who I am. With God’s help, I will let the things that happen to me shape me for the better. And that in itself is worth every bit of my struggle. Just to know one more fragment of His beauty, wisdom, and love is worth all that I have been through. And I pray you will have strength to share your story. This is our witness, our tool, our heart in showing what God is.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Also I made my world famous Hungarian Cabbage Noodle. It took about 3 hours and I made a huge mess. Bryan helped me though with the squeezing of the cabbage. I was so excited to cook and thought I was making enough to have many servings, but it only provided 4! Yesterday evening we ate the rest of it and I cherished those last few bites more than you know. (Sorry Barat, I'll make you more later!!!)
We also have all of our adoption information, paperwork, and profiles DONE! You have know clue how much work this is until you actually go through it. Bryan and I made a promise that when all of it was done, we would go out and by an emergency pack with all the necessary items in it we would need in case we got a call sooner than we thought. We never thought of this idea until our Social Worker was here doing our homestudy and said we should really have a car seat and several items for the baby already. I had no clue! But guess what?? We completed the work, went out to dinner, and went shopping. There is just one question...do you think there is enough pink? I am just not too sure! Now all we do is wait for the Lord to do His work. We will wait for a birthmother to chose us, and pray everyday for our baby.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Suffering produces hope. But it is not an immediate outcome.
First, you have a choice when you suffer. Do you succumb to the physical or emotional pain? Do you give up and become mean and hostile towards everyone? Or do you fight back with questions, positive thinking, or with love? Do you approach suffering to help you decide what is important in life and actually live that way? These two choices are either deciding for your spirit to live or to die.
Suffering offers a choice and demands a reply. And for those who take the harder road to fight suffering with exploration of self and purpose…suffering produces perseverance.
Beneath perseverance an amazing revelation begins to unveil. Although stretched, pulled, and torn in many directions at once, you begin finding out who you really are. The pain and suffering nearly killed you, but it didn’t, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. So you keep going, your character builds. You do what you can living not day by day like some people who struggle, but your suffering causes you to live minute by minute. Determination is not a pleasant thing when all that seems ahead is up a steep mountain. But there is something that keeps you going. You persevere. You try and try and try some more and who you are and who you were created to be is seen as you struggle to understand.
Suffering offers a treasure so rare, that one may only grasp this by having gone through this journey. And for those who deicide to fight suffering with perseverance…suffering will produce character.
When we keep going towards the Lord in our suffering He will always answer our hearts with His love. It may take months or even years, as I discovered through losing Natalie, but He will answer and what He will bestow is abundant hope. Hope that the world and its suffering could never touch or harm. Perseverance does not mean calmly and nicely seeking the Lord. It could mean crying, screaming, and sometimes (believe it or not He can handle this) hating God. If we bring our pain to Him instead of letting evil get a hold of our sorrow, we have already made a step towards hope. If we are persevering than we are allowing ourselves to search and seek while at the same time our souls and hearts are being given hope.
Suffering offers a unique outcome. It is not an easy one and it does not come without awareness and willpower of choice to follow through. And for those who do, God will be able to speak to you and trust you with even more of His splendor…suffering produces pure hope.
And what does hope do? Well how could hope from the Lord ever disappoint us?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
One foot in front of the other
getting a grasp on life
You joined me, coached me, taught me and gave me Your insight and love
And although You couldn't remain
the Power did within my soul
I walked on
Joyful, happy, and free
then I was to struggle
From the left and to the right
My footing became unstable
It wasn't from within
Attacks came from outside
I had to keep going
It felt impossible at times
Letting the force overpower me was tempting
Because I was tired of standing out
So I focused all the more on Truth
Others became displeased
They even thought the Truth I followed is flawed
Yet they were the ones who gave up the Truth for a lie
I had to stand firm
Even though their faces turned in judgement and disgust
"How could He teach intolerance?"
Each foot strived to escape from the thick mud
From malicious attempts to persuade me from Him, my Master
They even felt sorry for me saying what I lived was not of You
But I know what You whisper
I know what You scream
The end is near and there will be those who make up false religions
Ones to pacify their sins
False opinion of tolerance
I keep on walking
and worshipping the One, my Jesus, my Savior
Friday, August 15, 2008
My sister called the other day to tell me about their adventure to the zoo. I can just see Ilona’s face looking at all the animals. But the best part of the story happens when my sister told Ilona she could pick something out at the souvenir shop. Walking around she goes up to the stuffed animal section and picks out the cutest baby tiger. It was cuddly, fuzzy, and sweet. She took it and hugged and began to walk away satisfied about her choice. That is when she spotted it! Across the room, however, was her ultimate choice. Without hesitation she quickly discarded the baby tiger and grabbed the ugliest looking frog you could possibly imagine. Sure enough she settled on bringing the frog home and it has been carried around like a prized possession. My sister told me just to wait and see how bad this frog looked. I guess I did expect it to be that bad.
Last night I opened an e-mail to the photo of Ilona and “the” frog and laughed hysterically because it actually was not only bad but also worse than I could have imagined. Ilona is a very girly-girl. She loves pink, dressing up, and being cute. It just didn’t seem to match her personality. Maybe her choice was more of the heart? Yeah…that is what it was. She knew that if she did not give this poor ugly frog a home that nobody would. What a sweet little girl. And as for my sister…I am SO sorry you have to see that frog for the rest of your life!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Thank You Lord for giving me joy tonight.
Thank You for bringing me encouragement through my family and friends.
You are the most beautiful thing
and I am honored that I could even capture a tiny piece of its entirety.
Friday, August 08, 2008
But, Ohhhh….oh, when she cried they were a glistening green. A sad green highlighted by the tears and redness within.
For every reason I hated seeing her cry, but I will always remember the piercing emotion and the accent her eyes beheld.
What could possibly come from such sorrow? Can there be beauty?
Yes, they might have said hazel, but in those last days, all I saw was green. And when she said a final “good bye” I knew I’d see her every time I stood before a field with the grass swaying in the wind. A gentle breeze and another strong reminder, that yes, there can be beauty in pain.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
All day I have been thinking about this beginning of my day and what I saw. My thoughts collect below:
And although the greens were vibrant
It was the glimmer of your wings that caught my eye
Rising and falling,
Dancing amongst the dawn’s first light
You knew the routine honoring the One
Our audience on high
I didn’t know my unannounced arrival
Perhaps at that moment
Although you are small
You weren’t a minor prop in my world
Saturday, August 02, 2008
When the clouds collect and darken the sky here in Texas, I hold my breath and hope that it means rain. Yesterday it thundered and rained for almost 3 hours and I was in heaven. I became alive during the storm. I opened my front door and watched the rain come down and the lightening strike with a clash of thunder close behind. The smell of the water was refreshing and cleansing. Our lawn and flowers gleamed in delight. It washed all the dust and grim off the house. I was able to cook a hot meal without our whole entire house becoming and oven in itself.
And now back to sunny, hot and 100 degrees. Such a show off….