I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom 12:1-2

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's happening...

I am 41 years old.  In so many ways I feel like all my life I have been preparing (or being prepared) for my life now.  It is all coming together:  widows and orphans, orphans and widows, educate and encourage.  I am in a flurry of activity: the new widows ministry at my church, advocating for orphans, paperwork for Baby Girl's adoption, connecting with fellow adoptive parents, sharing my story, talking to widows, receiving amazing gifts, and learning...always learning...about God, His word, his love for the unloved and His grace.

Yet, I feel like there is more to come.  I look forward to it with anticipation.  I smile at the future.

P.S.  Lest you think my life is all blue skies and daffodils, here is a dose of my tangible reality:
This is what my kitchen table looks like as I work on adoption paperwork now that the kiddos are in bed.  At least that is what I am going to be working on as soon as I post this...  

Who is peeking out from behind those immigration forms?  :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Look at what my sweet friend Sarah is doing to help with Baby Girl's adoption: 


I'll write more about the financial aspects of this adoption later, but I wanted to post the link now.

Updated on Leap Day (Feb. 29, 2012):  All necklaces are spoken for.  I am simply amazed and stunned by people's generosity.  Thank you so much to all who gave!  Special thanks to Sarah for this wonderful gift!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bright hope

This daffodil bloomed in my front yard today.  Yellow makes me happy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

School daze

Ha!  Ha!  I'm so clever.  Did you see that title?

Seriously though, people, I have been homeschooling for about seven years.  From before my first child was born, my husband and I planned on homeschooling our children "differently."  You see, the educational system was not a good fit at all for Michael and he knew we could do better.  I was sympathetic to this because, although I did well in a traditional classroom setting, I knew many people who were very intelligent, but did not do well there.  I also had been a high school and junior high math teacher and had seen first-hand that my most brilliant students did not always make the highest grades and some of my "low" students would have probably done fine if they hadn't been damaged by years of being taught contrary to their style of learning.

--I am in real danger of digressing here, but I am going to reign myself in and not go into the eight hundred other thoughts I have on this topic.--

It turns out that I was super-fortunate to be able to stay home with my kiddos after my husband died so I have had the opportunity to live our dream.  I'll save what it looks like to homeschool "differently" at our house for another post, but suffice it to say that my research and theories and God's guidance are paying off and The Philosopher and Little Pud are thriving in our unorthodox style.

Enter Super-T.  Of course I planned to homeschool him as well.  He will learn like the other children, just a bit more slowly...right?  Well, come to find out, teaching Super-T is a whole 'nuther ball of wax.  (Where did I get that expression?  Is it a real cliche' or did I make it up?)  I kept Super-T home for nearly two years.  The first few months were all about bonding and learning to live in our family and also contained The Great Language Explosion (where Super-T went from having a vocabulary of about 25 words he said/signed to having around 100 words.)  We then moved on to reading, but still the focus was really on becoming a family and dealing with some sensory issues.  What I found out is that for Super-T learning does not come as automatically as it did for my other children.  He is happy to just zone out and/or listen to music.  He also can be quite resistant to learning even though he is very smart and learns super-fast when it is something that interests him.

After praying about it, I finally knew it was the right time to put Super-T in school.  I never thought I'd have a child in public school.  Ever.  It has been a whole new world of IEP's and assessments.  And do you know what?  I have had to eat humble pie.  Super-T is THRIVING!  He has now been in school for eight weeks.  He is currently going half days, which is great because it lets me still work with him in the afternoons without him being exhausted.  He loves school and his teacher told me he is like a sponge, learning so quickly.  And I am seeing the difference in what we do at home.

I have always said that schooling is a decision that each family needs to prayerfully and informedly make for themselves.  Now I am living that belief.  Homeschooling is not for every parent or every child or for all time.  Neither is public school or Christian school.  Each child, each parent, and each situation is unique.  I know without a doubt that I am doing right by all three of my kiddos and my horizons have been widened.  For that I am thankful.

P.S.  For those of you who have asked.  Our first Widow's Might meeting went great!  Thank you for your prayers and ideas for the future of this ministry!

P.P.S.  I think I may have coined a word: informedly...is this a real word?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Widows and Orphans

Tonight my church's widow ministry (specifically targeted to young widows) will have our first meeting.  I am privileged to lead this group as we learn that we are not on this journey alone.

Our theme verse is Psalm 68:5-6.  This verse has been near-and-dear to my heart for several years (as evidenced by the faded and water-spotted handwritten 3x5 card next to my bathroom mirror). 

It reflects God's heart for widows and for the fatherless.   This morning I looked up Ps. 68:5-6 in almost every version offered by Bible Gateway.  Below are some of my favorites.  

New International Version:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
   is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
   he leads out the prisoners with singing;
   but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

New International Reader's Version:
God is in his holy temple.
      He is a father to those whose fathers have died.
      He takes care of women whose husbands have died.
  God gives lonely people a family.
      He sets prisoners free, and they go out singing.
   But those who refuse to obey him
      live in a land that is baked by the sun.

Holman Christian Standard Bible:
God in His holy dwelling is
a father of the fatherless
and a champion of widows.
God provides homes for those who are deserted.
He leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious live in a scorched land.

New Living Translation:
 Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
      this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
  God places the lonely in families;
      he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
   But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

New Century Version:
God is in his holy Temple.
       He is a father to orphans,
       and he defends the widows.
  God gives the lonely a home.
       He leads prisoners out with joy,
       but those who turn against God will live in a dry land.

Which version speaks to you?