Friday, June 19, 2009

Mexico, here we come!

Tomorrow, bright and early, a team of 20 from our church, including Derek, Connor, and myself, will be heading to Ensenada, Mexico for one week. We are super excited! So excited that I was up at 5:30 this morning just giddy. Three years ago Derek and I had this opportunity and tomorrow we get to return with Connor. What a blessing to serve Jesus with my children! We will be spending much of our time at the Gabriel House, which is a special needs orphanage. While watching a video in church on Sunday, I peeked over at Selah, who had silent tears falling down her cheeks. She asked me if these children had parents...evidently it sparked some memories for her. Selah spent 71/2 years in a special needs orphanage in China--she is now talking of the many children who remain, the unseen. When she and I visited her old home, the "big people" were very secretive, really protective of what was going on behind closed doors. Day by day, we are getting answers and the answers are breaking our hearts. So, so many children, unseen by many of us yet completely in the eye of the Lord. He is watching them...He is watching us. I'm convinced He is watching what we are doing for one another...this stirs my heart this morning. Here in the land of plenty, in the land of freedom, never wondering where my next meal is coming do I not break and grieve for the many who are hungry, for the many who are unseen? I am praying today that God will break our hearts as we travel to Ensenada, that He will penetrate them so deeply that we will see these precious, precious children through His eyes, that we will love them with the love of Christ, that we will be His hands and feet, and most importantly, that we will not forget. I pray this for myself, for Derek and Connor, and for my 17 friends that will be traveling alongside us.

My bag is packed--today I will be prodding my boys a little more than yesterday. Today I will also be spending some sweet time with my girls, knowing that I will be missing them dearly starting tomorrow. And Curtis...what a man! I'm so grateful that he allows me these opportunities, never griping about what his life is going to be like the next week with a couple of high maintenance missies, a cowgirl, a ball team that still needs coaching, cooking, oh yeah--and a job. I'm blessed! And I know it.

Have a beautiful week!

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's summer!

Although the thermometer isn't showing it, we are certainly feeling it. How I love the late mornings, the laughter, just having all of the kids home. Tonight is extra sweet because we have a whole crew of teenagers in our basement giggling like kindergartners. I'm not quite sure what is going on, but according to the volume of laughter, it's quite good.

Curtis and I had a fabulous time in New York, so fabulous that we didn't want to leave. Seriously. Pre-Gracie, we took lots of vacations and had lots of weekends with just the two of us. Each time, when it was time to go, I cried. Sometimes, as couples with several children, we forget that we are a couple first. We have done this these past months with a calendar full of games, meets, concerts, lessons...all good things, but very little time to just be together, just with the two of us. We were so excited to be in New York, but seriously, we could have been 30 miles away in Mason City and had just as much fun...we just needed some time alone together.

And the kids...well no need to worry. Our dear friends...amazingly generous, fantastic friends had this family completely under control. Gracie did great, Selah has a new best friend, Derek and Connor got to "hang" with two of their best friends, and Breuklyn, let's just say she introduced Dean and Sara to life "at the ranch". It was good. We are so blessed to have them, and host of friends, who love our children as we do...and to know that we love theirs as well. I always tell our kids, "if you have one true friend, you have a treasure.". Well, we've been blessed abundantly with many, many treasures!!

Gracie is feeling terrific. She is as spunky as ever, active as any other two-year-old, eating well...just doing great. All of our kids made it to the next grade level--whew! No really, we couldn't be prouder. They all have inherited Curtis's smarts, I believe. Every time I get on someone about a class or a grade, I remember my own report card--oh my, they have passed me up well. At least Curtis can set the bar quite a bit higher!! Even sweet Selah...reading at grade level and excelling at math...a little girl who couldn't speak a word of English 10 months ago, didn't know her alphabet, had never drawn a picture of a person, or held onto a crayon, we are amazed! Her sweet teacher sent a picture of Selah the last day of school and the first. Coincidentally, she was wearing the same shirt. I will try to post those later...the difference is unbelievable! Oh, my she has changed...from this fearful, blank little girl, to a confident, happy, beaming child. I think of Psalm 30...He turned my mourning into dancing, He removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. You see, we couldn't do that for her...only the God who created her could change her heart. It is a process and we are still smack dab in the middle of it, but it is amazing...truly amazing!

Baseball season is going great for Connor. He's hit a couple of balls right on over the fun is that! Derek is lifeguarding at the city pool this summer, running many miles, and spending LOTS of time with his friends. Breuklyn is a cowgirl! Right now the ferrier is here. I'm a little proud of myself for even knowing what that is. She rides daily and spends hours just loving on those beasts. Life is good...summer is sweet.