I can not even believe it - seven years old feels and sounds so weird to come out of our mouths! All he kept asking for was to have his grandparents over for his birthday - so sweet. We celebrated it last Saturday with hubby's parents - mine couldn't make it. Lil guy was happy Grandfather and Grandmother could come celebrate with him and it was a very nice afternoon. We made him his choice birthday dinner which this year once again was tator tot casserole. We found him some dairy free cappuccino flavored ice cream he could have and made him a gluten free gingerbread cake...he was super excited!
Today is the official day- we did school lessons in the morning. Headed to his and Blessing #6 gymnastics class and he got to hand out goody bags to the kids in his class. While we were gone the older two girls hid his presents which he got to find and open when we came home. He was super excited about his new Batman Lego kit and began building it almost right away!
Dear Blessing #5 you can be such a sweetie and we are so thankful for you. You are an answer to a prayer we had for a long time and we are blessed to have you as our son. It has been wonderful seeing all the growth in you especially this last year. You also amaze us with how smart you are and how well you can read and do math! Thank you for wanting to be our helper often. My heart melts every time I think about last week when we were all praying together and hearing you thank God for giving you a family...you are such a sweet sensitive boy. I love you to the moon .... and back!
Earlier this year hubby and I went to our first Weekend to Remember it was amazing. This summer God lead us to join in the ministry and help volunteer to bring a conference to our area. We had our first Weekend to Remember Conference team meeting recently. There were ten couples at the meeting. It was such a sweet encouraging time of getting to meet each other, sharing testimonies about what God has done and praying for what God will do in marriages through the Weekend to Remember scheduled in our area in 2017. We are very excited about joining this ministry.
If you or anyone you know is interested in attending any Weekend to Remember conference email us at ncetcparenttrainer@gmail dot com and we have a $100.00 off coupon code you can use for any location.
I am just sitting here crying - some of the women God has brought in my life this past year are such a blessing to me and our family.
I just received this text:
"Just a quick good morning to let you know I prayed for you this morning. I hope __has a wonderful October and the Lord breaks whatever cycle used to happen. In Jesus' name, may ___ know peace."
I love this dear sister in Christ!
I had mentioned a while ago to some people how we tend to have regression during a "trauma-versary" for one of our children which tends to sets our family into a cascading months of negative behaviors.
So this sweet lady lifting our family up to the Father has so blessed my heart and encouraged me this morning. Another dear friend also recently asked about it and let me know she has been and will continue to be praying for us.
I love how the Lord surrounds you with people who understand, who help you stand firm and give you renewed strength when you want to quit. What a gift to have friends that will encourage like this!
Thank you Jesus for sending these dear women into my life this past year. Thank you for loving us and not leaving us alone. For equipping us on this journey with people who care and will intercede for us. Thank you for the comfort you have given us. May we in all things glorify you.
Our 2nd child and 1st born daughter turned 21 years old!
Today I was thinking about her and the story of her birth. God has sustained her since she was in my womb. At 26 weeks gestation my body was in preterm labor and I spent the next 9 weeks on bed rest (we had just moved to a new home and Blessing #1 was only a little over 10 months old!). God preserved her little body and born only 3 weeks early she was healthy and weighed 9 pounds! Satan had sought to seek and destroy yet God protected (John 10:10 says The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full) God then used circumstances following her birth to bring me to repentance and to know Jesus as my savior. As a child Blessing #2 was saved and then baptized. God used the birth of Blessing #2 to give us life - a full life. It amazes me thinking on her birth story and how God used it to change the trajectory of our family and generations to come!
Our sweet girl has always been very tenderhearted - she cried watching the Bambi movie when she was about 2 1/2 years old (we didn't think they would catch on to Bambi's mom dying). She is meek yet strong willed (when needed), kind, persistent and determined. Ever since she was 8 or 9 years of age she has wanted to be a missionary to China. This summer the desire of her heart became a reality as she went on her first trip to China and the love she has had for the people there was deepened.
Blessing #2 you are a blessing and a dream come true that some day I would have a little girl that I could dress in pink and do her hair. I will never forget the moment I seen you and how beautiful you were and all the hair you had when you were born! I have loved watching you grow and mature through these years. God has done so much in your life and this year has been a year of major spiritual growth for you. I am excited to see what He has planned for you this year as you continue seeking Him.
24 years of marriage! Since the day we met while still in college we have been
together for 9,709
days! We were able to celebrate by going out for Chinese dinner at PF Chang's. We both feel so blessed to have spent more of our life together than apart
- we have grown up together…. and are still growing up together. This past spring we
were able to attend a Weekend to Remember what a blessing that was - we have
always felt we have a good relationship yet we needed a tune up –we learned so
much about how God views marriage and that weekend gave us a renewed commitment
and vision towards our marriage relationship. I am glad to walk beside my best
friend for life.
From that day forward only by God's grace we have lived our vows:
lived together after God s ordinance in the Holy Matrimony
love her/ him
comfort her/ him
honor and keep her/him
in sickness and in health
forsaking all others keep you only to her/him
have and to hold
for better for worse
for richer for poorer
in sickness and in health
to love and to cherish forever
AS LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE - Thank you Lord for the gift of marriage. Even our marriage does not belong to us - it is from you and for your glory. May we walk and live out our marriage in ways that brings you glory and points others to you. Thank you Father for your grace in our life and blessing us way beyond our wildest imaginations. Lord please continue to direct our steps and lead our paths as we seek to follow you with our lives, marriage and family.
We are a little late on doing our first day of school pictures (as usual). This year like every year is a little different for us. We have some new extracurricular activities scheduled which means we are a little more strict on our morning schedule to get our lessons completed (blessing #4 can't sleep in as long as she wants!).We are also doing our weekly homeschool co-op again which is the highlight of our kids week. Thankful for the opportunity I have to be home with our kids all day and homeschool. Its extra work but I wouldn't trade it (well on most days). I love that we can pour into our kids the truths of God, creation, the authority of scriptures, how to think through things with a biblical worldview and most importantly how much Jesus loves them. I have so many fond memories of discipling our kids through the years and grateful for them. I really love watching them learn, grow and develop their personal interests. I really like the close relationships they have with each other.
This year Blessing #3 has a part time job now which she loves and is taking college courses online again but this year hopes to take three. She is continuing to work on her art portfolio for college scholarships. Also, has just started taking guitar lessons and is planning on auditioning in a couple weeks for vocal in our churches youth band*. Blessing #4 has wanted to do dance lessons for years, so instead of drama we found a Christian dance studio and she is taking lyrical dance -which she is totally loving it. We also signed her up for a six week ballet class for homeschoolers where she will be learning the dance moves as well as history of ballet and studying certain ballet performances. She also will be doing open gymnastics. (*update-she is part of the band now and is so excited)
Blessing #5 is doing Trail Life which is basically a Christian boy scout program seeing he is total all boy this is right up his alley and he is super excited about it. He is also going to weekly gymnastics with blessing #6 which is great for sensory input. He is above in math and reading like crazy-beyond any beginner reader so we will see how the 1st grade curriculum we have works for him. We may need to bump that one up so he's not bored although we are huge on making sure they know all the phonics "rules". Blessing #6 since the first day we had her in China has always had dance movement and flexibility like we have never seen in any of our kids-like she can do complete splits! So after much prompting from my oldest daughter and prayer we signed her up for gymnastics. She will also take part of the homeschool dance ballet program (only the class for younger ages) that blessing #4 is doing. We will see what happens with all this. Hubby and I are not big fans of putting your kids in too many activities because childhood goes so quickly and play is very important for development.
Our traditional first day (not to school) homeschool lunch - Blessing #1 created this: grilled peanut butter with bananas and chocolate chips...the kids always love it and it is a special treat for them.
Blessing #1 is in his senior year of college! He is working for a professor and looking into grad schools as well as opportunities to take a gap year. Blessing #2 is in her junior year of college is in the choir and has a job on campus. Looking forward to what God has planned for us this school year and seeing all the growth academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually in our children this year (and us).
In our world today so many people are "too busy" or are more concerned about their needs or wants to take the time to care for or invest in people. God is never to busy and sees our needs and won't leave us hanging to navigate this life alone...so I have been reflecting about the wonderful dear women God has brought in my life - especially throughout this past year and a half and I am very thankful.
I am so grateful for the adoptive mom friends. Being an adoptive momma can be draining at times. Also, sometimes isolating because often no one gets our kids, you loose friends (its hard to stay connected when you barely have time to breathe some days), you don't want to share the trials with people outside your home because of fear of rejection or maybe you already have been rejected and don't want to experience that again. These friends - adoptive mommas have been a life breathing source for me...we get it, we get each other, we get the chaos that comes from adopting, we can cry with or in front of each other, be quiet together, we text each other encouragement, we go to retreats together (or run them), or go to mom's day out, we take dinner to each other, we support one another to carrying on with this huge calling God has given us, we pray for one another, we have no expectations of each other, we understand if we can't call or if it takes 2 days to reply to a text, we are there in crisis, we comfort each other, and love unconditionally.
This year two monthly support groups were started in our area. That has been a blessing meeting so many great people. There is so much to be said about community. We have really enjoyed these evenings and the fellowship outside of the groups that we have with them also.
My sweet friends from the Thursday embrace adoption group I will never forget how you listened to me and prayed for us and we would not be where we are at today without the two of you in my life.
To the sweet woman at the adoptive moms retreat who felt impressed to pray for women and had an announcement that there would be prayer that afternoon - I was the only one who came for prayer. You told me that God did that for me - He impressed me on your heart to intercede for our family.... out of all the women there (almost 300) and I knew immediately when I heard the announcement I had to go for prayer.You dear sweet lady, I will be eternally grateful that day changed my heart and let me see God was in the midst of this and our lives have changed since that day.
The wonderful Godly biblical counselor (ACBC) who weekly impressed Gods truths on my heart every week for a few months. She helped me to see that my despite my trust issues from my upbringing I can trust and believe in God and His plans for me are not to harm me but to make me look like Jesus. God is trustworthy and he has not nor will He ever abandon me I am not forgotten by Him and He is never too busy to care about me. He is my Abba Father.
Also, the sweet women (and men) we serve with weekly at the food pantry who hug us, love my kids, even agree to be interviewed for college papers and help her with it, you pray for us, send texts to us and even offered to let us stay at your home when our heater needed to be repaired. Thank you for loving us and also for sharing your struggles with us so that we can pray for you. There is something so sweet about serving together this way - it is a wonderfully run ministry our family is so glad to help at.
For my sister and non-adoptive momma friends I love you all too. This year you have listened, encouraged, supported, respected decisions we made for our family, prayed for us, met me and/or my girls for coffee and/or dinner or shopping, loved us unconditionally and challenged me to keep going and growing in this calling.
As the song says, "I get by with a lil help from my friends..." I am forever thankful for you all and look forward to spending eternity with you.
Growing up my sisters and I always enjoyed swimming in our uncle and aunts pool. Even though we had a pool growing up it was always a treat swimming there because of the diving board and slide. Now we get to enjoy watching all our kids swimming there! Our kids love the slide and jumping off the diving board! (even our little two have no fear)Yearly we all go and hang out at their house for a pool party. The kids always enjoy it and its super fun. Its really sweet watching my uncle and aunt with their grandkids! Thankful for memories like this.
Blessing #1 is starting his senior year in college. It is so surreal how fast time has gone by just seems like yesterday he was learning to walk, talk and read. Blessing #1 has always loved reading, learning and deep thinking. I used to tell him to put the encyclopedia down (that he was reading the 2nd time) to go outside and play! So it just makes sense that he is studying philosophy.
This summer was a little different for our family because he was serving in Denver for 2 months so it seemed strange to not have him home all summer. Denver was good for him and it challenge and changed him in many ways. It opened his eyes even more to the needs and injustices in our society.
It is fun to be on this side of parenting where you can just look back and then watch to see what God is doing in your children's lives.
Blessing #1 with his girlfriend K...love her! She is an exact answer to many specific prayers I have prayed for him since he was little - thank you God!
Dear Father-I know you love our son even more than we do. I pray that you will guide, lead and direct the steps he takes. I know you have plans for him impress them on him as he finishes his undergrad. Ever since he was little he has been a witness for you and your truths -even others have noticed his desire to know you and make you known to others. Help him to walk in the truth and to share you with others. Guide him to not lean on his own understanding but to lean only on the wisdom that comes simply from you. Keep his heart guarded and on the right path. Lord that he will speak your truths to the people who need you. That he will be a mighty man for your kingdom who seeks only your righteousness and truth.
Last night we had a wonderful time at a local park visiting with other adoptive and foster families from our monthly support group. Talk about a little glimpse of heaven! Families made up of all colors with our children all running, playing and laughing together. Our friend who runs the group did a great job planning the event besides the picnic food there was face painting, balloons and she even had a professional photographer there to take candid shots and family photos! The evening was extra special for several reasons: celebrating the news of a sweet family who domestic adoption was finalized, foster parents beginning the process to adopt their son, and a sweet surprise right at the beginning another AGCI family we had met several years ago came - one of their daughters was with our son in Ethiopia so that was so sweet to reacquaint them.
Adoption is what we all have in common - physically and spiritually...we get each other!
A lot of work went into this but it was so good. We have spent most of our summer reading, watching videos, practicing skills with our kids, writing/rewriting/and re-rewriting, discussing ETC principles and weekly turning in our homework-sometimes at night right before deadline! We had a weekly average of 12 to16 hours of homework and then finished up the training in NJ with 3days/31 hours of in-class time. We were trained by Ryan and Kayla North along with 12 other wonderful couples.
Though it was a lot of work we enjoyed this training and learned so much! It has been life changing for us in the way we parent, how we see our kids, it has given us the tools we need to help them heal. Most of all it has given us a greater compassion for our kids and for us as well and other parents with kids from hard places. Prior to this we had thought we were doing pretty good applying the ETC principles with our kids - about a year ago we were wrestling with how we were not being intentional enough but struggling where to begin with applying it. We realize this is a journey and we have so much more to learn and apply yet a greater hope for our family...its good stuff! Hubby and I had many long discussions throughout the training and it brought back the hope, excitement and goal of being the parents we were and long to be - ones that connect with our kids and have their hearts. We do not/will not get it right all the time which is ok - we are aiming for the 40% mark - practicing with our kids, giving them and us redos and repairing mistakes all help with rewiring the brain. We have seen so much more transformation in our family since we did this training. One of the best parts has been watching our kids be successful in situations where they would have struggled before - the look in their eyes is so encouraging and brings this mamma to tears!
We are so humbled, grateful, excited and little nervous to have this ministry opportunity to share this with adoptive/foster care families in our area. We will begin teaching the courses soon and look forward to the hope it will bring to those families as well as helping us in our home to keep up with this intentional parenting with connection in mind.
Earlier this year hubby and I went to A Weekend to Remember. It has always been our desire to have a good marriage and pass on a Godly example for our children. We have been married 23 years and we were so encouraged that weekend. The speakers were great and the principles, tools and ideas we learned at that weekend have been so good for us. This past month we met with a staff member from Family Life Today and are now going to become part of our local Weekend to Remember team - we are super excited! We believe having a strong Godly marriage is one of the best things you can pass on to your children and can effect the world. If you have never been to a Weekend to Remember you should look into going - you will not regret it!
Because we are becoming part of this ministry we have the opportunity to pass on $100.00 savings per couple to attend any location email ncetcparenttrainer@gmail(dot)com
Hubby has some wonderful parents...they love unconditionally, they encourage us, offer support or advice, they listen, they are there whenever you need or ask, and they love all our kids equally. Our kids are blessed to have memories of them at everyone of their birthday celebrations!
Hubby has 1 brother and 1 sister yet my in-laws have told people they have 6 children - 3 daughters and 3 sons - that is the kind of in-laws we hope to be. I am blessed to have married into their family.
With Blessing #1 serving for two months in Denver, Blessing #2 spending two weeks in China and Hubby and I doing our lessons for our training our summer was very full. So this was the first time this summer our whole family was able to go together to visit with Grandfather and Grandmother before Blessing #1 and #2 head back to their colleges. We were able to enjoy a nice afternoon visit with lunch on their patio.