Growth...of our our walk with all things to worship HIM!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rejoicing part 2...

As I mentioned in the last post...we have MUCH to rejoice about!!!
God's faithfulness is simply overwhelming!!

In this post I want to share about God's faithfulness in another baby girl's life.

Our sweet Kylee returned to our home at the age of four.

At that time she enrolled in a program called Missionettes (now M-Pact)

Over the past 7 years, our pink wearing princess 
not only grew beautiful wrapping paper on the outside...

But she has been growing beautifully on the inside where it really counts!!

I believe whole heartedly that it is a parent's responsibility to grow our children in the ways of the Lord and to be intentional in that responsibility.  It is not the job of the children's pastor or Sunday school teachers to be the primary instructors in our child's spiritual growth.  

That being said...I am so very thankful for the fabulous mentors that have partnered with my husband and I over the years to help our sweet girl become who she is today!!!  

One program that has helped our sweet Kylee grow in the ways of the Lord is M-pact.  
Since she was in preschool, Kylee has been learning biblical truths, memorizing scripture, and discussing topics that are the foundation to our faith.  She has been doing lessons, reading her bible, and  working on projects that help her gain ownership of her beliefs.  

In a few short week, Kylee will be getting into a white dress, pulling on her fancy shoes, and getting her hair done...

She will be escorted to the stage by her Papa and will be crowned "Honor Star" with 8 of her peers.

This week I have been in the process of going back over old photos, pulling out awards, and rejoicing over Kylee, her life, and her accomplishments!!

Our sweet girl has had many obstacles to overcome throughout her 11 years.
But our faithful heavenly father works ALL things together for our good!!!

Kylee Hope,
 you sweet girl are a princess,
daughter to the Most High God!!

You are wanted,
you are loved,
 and you are a priceless gift from the Lord!!

You were delicately knitted in your birthmother's womb
and God has TREMENDOUS plans for your future!!

You have been given fabulous gifts and talents to be used for God's glory!

You have such a sweet love for littles and critters.

And you have a love of justice... refusing to cower in the face of opposition.

God has grown you to be a leader sweet girl.  May you know and embrace your identity in Christ.  May you choose to seek HIM in all your ways.
And May you shine the light of Jesus in a lost and dying world!!

We love you sweet girl and are so very proud of the young lady you are growing to be!!  

And yep, your Mama will probably be tearful as I place that crown on your lovely head...
but they are tears of rejoicing...rejoicing in God's extreme faithfulness!!!!

Rejoicing part one...

We are in a season of rejoicing in God's faithfulness!!  

Our oldest baby girl has returned home safely...and once again...changed!

We arrived just a few minutes before the group Wednesday evening...

And there were hugs all around!!

 Kylee was excited to have her sister home...
but there was some serious rejoicing when she was handed her souvenir from the trip.
It was a super cool sling shot!!  Oh does Mélika know her sister well!!

After our reunion...and a quick bite to eat....
Mélika went right back into her other love...worship!!

Later, we stayed up until wee hours hearing details of how God moved mightily...
how HE protected our baby girl and her team repeatedly over the two weeks...
and how Mélika's heart was once again broken for what breaks HIS!!

This is the team plus the missionary's three children.  

My beautiful clown!

Much of the communication barrier was crossed with skits.

And they also did some work projects while in Pavia.

Who says work can't be fun?!


 Preparing for another children's program.

Littles that stayed behind after the program to ask Jesus into their heart!!

God has blessed her with the ability to sleep ANYWHERE!!

And I mean ANYWHERE!!

And...Oh her heart for littles!!

One of the sweet littles with his new salvation bracelet:)

The workers are few...and the task impossible in our own strength.  
But when we step out to what God has placed on our heart...
there are no limits to God's faithfulness!!

We welcome her back home knowing that she will venture out of the nest again soon.  
Each time she goes it becomes a bit easier for this Mama to open my arms and send her off 
with my blessing.  

Each time God has confirmed her calling a bit more...
each time she has grown more in the likeness of the warrior princess HE has crafted her to be...
Each time we see the glimmer in her eye as she lives out her calling...
Each time my heart swells with gratitude that our baby girl runs after the LORD and is willing to step out with BOLDNESS!!

So we are thankful for the time we still have with Mélika in our home.  
And we rejoice in God's overwhelming faithfulness!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

For the love of littles...

I have avoided posting lately because I just have not had words to express what has been transpiring in my heart.  

We have been in a season of stretching, molding, and changing for quite some time.  

There have been times that I have asked God...haven't we stretched enough already???

But then, HE shows us areas where we can continue to be crafted.  

Over the past two weeks much has happened.  I have wanted to share, but truly lacked words.  

The first week we saw our oldest daughter off to do what she was made to do....share the love of Jesus with children from every nation, tribe, and tongue.  We have had few updates along the way but I look forward to hearing every last detail when she returns home Wednesday.  

THEN...I prepared to step out to serve at Royal Family Kids Camp.  
This is a camp where foster children (ages 7-11) can have positive, fun, life changing experiences.  
A place where they learn about a loving God and are accepted for who they are.  

I knew there was a reason that I was to attend this camp, this year...
I also knew it was going to MESS ME UP!  

The counselors and staff arrived at camp Sunday afternoon to begin set up.  

Monday, before lunch, our 46 campers arrived.  

Some exited the bus with stoic faces, some with fear, others that had been to camp before ran off the bus ready for the fun week ahead.

Throughout the week the campers were able to swim, fish, canoe, construct things out of wood, 

make crafts, dress up, and play games.  

They sang and danced, learned bible truths, and were given a listening ear.  

They were able to eat their fill of yummy food,
watched a movie with popcorn, participated in "Olympic" games, and had a birthday party.
Through these activities, the love shown by adult volunteers, and MUCH PRAYER...these campers we able to have fun, POSITIVE experiences.  Their protective walls that were constructed around their hearts were able to come down, the prickly exteriors shed.  

The truth of the matter is...they are kids!!  
Kids that thrive under praise, kids that melt in a safe hug, 
kids that have feelings, and desire to be wanted!

So many times we as adults have preconceived ideas of foster children.  
We see their pasts, their baggage, their family ties.  
We see the rough protective exterior and feel the need to run the opposite way.  

When considering adoption, many of us are terrified of our home grown children.  
If it were not so there would not be approximately 424,000 in our foster care system.  

Please hear my heart...I am not pointing fingers or casting judgement...I am sharing where I have been.  

We considered adopting from the foster care system when we started this journey.  
We went to the meetings and asked many questions.  

The truth of it...we had hoped to have a baby again...
we know first hand the challenges of raising children who have had less than optimal beginnings.  
WE thought we would take an EASIER route this time:)  

I chuckle as I write this...because our heavenly father had an entirely different plan for family.  

In a few months we are bringing home a 12 year old son!!  
An older child...something we had feared and ran from in the past:)  
BUT our heavenly father has been stretching us, growing us, and preparing us for HIS plan!  
God has given us an unexplainable, unconditional love for our son we have yet to meet!!

And in the midst...HE introduces me to 46 older children that live in my own backyard.  
My heart aches for these littles and some of their situations.  

My husband came to camp on Wednesday evening to help with the "olympic" games.  
He of course represented Canada and lead the hockey activities.  

In those few hours I found myself introducing hubby to each and every child and hoping he would fall in love with each of them in two hours as I had over the past three days!!

Although hubby didn't experience 5 days and nights with these precious littles...
God used the short time that he was there.  He met the littles, heard my stories, and watched the video wrap-up of RFKC 2012.  

On our way back from church this morning, hubby was quiet.  I didn't think too much of it at the time. 
Later he approached me and said, "Sorry I was quiet on the way home...God was confirming in my heart that we need to adopt SEVERAL MORE CHILDREN....I was trying to think of tangible ways of reducing expenses and stretch each dollar."  

I have been praying for a house the past, hubby has said one or two more.  
Today we have moved on to a whole new chapter!!  

I don't know where our other children will come from.  
They may be from the Philippines, other countries, or our backyard.  

What I do know is that we are continuing to be stretched, molded, and grown for God's great plan!!!

We are called to defend the fatherless, look after orphans their distress, and love those in our territory.  

We will continue to walk the journey God places before us... 
as HE continues to grow our heart for littles!

I urge you to be in prayer as to what HE may be calling you to do...for the love of littles!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012


We are once again in a stage of preparing...

Preparing to send our baby girl off into God's capable hands!!

Our 15 year old daughter (and 14 other youth and leaders) 
will be leaving for Pavia, Venezuela this Thursday!!  

If you can believe it, this Mama (and Papa) allowed our baby girl to leave the country for the first time to do missions work at the age of 13!  

All I can say is that we had complete peace that it was the right choice for her and that we should encourage her to step out in what Christ was putting on her heart.
Mélika has always had such a sweet, gentle spirit about her.  
And her love for JESUS started at a very young age. 

Her father and I always expected her to go into missions one day...but we worked hard to keep those thoughts and prayers to ourselves.  We want very much for our children to go the path that the LORD leads them...not OUR plans for them.  

Before that particular trip in 2010, Mélika felt that she was called to full time missions.  
During her two weeks in Panama, God confirmed it on her heart.  

Last summer, at the age of 14, our baby girl prepared to travel again.  
A few months before her trip to Nicaragua, Mélika was at the alter following a wednesday night youth service.  She remained there for quite some time crying out and listening to what God was placing on her heart.  Later that evening she shared that she felt called to work with girls that are caught up in human trafficking.  

I will be honest with you....I was not jumping up and down when she shared her heart.  
My first thoughts were about the danger involved and how in the world does she even know about human trafficking.  

Then my thoughts went back to younger years when we were at camp together with her Missionette's group (girls club at church).  All the girls clubs across NY state had raised money to help free girls from slavery and took it to camp.  The NY Missionette representitives praised the girls for raising so much money for freeing children from the bad people, and later she and I spoke vaguely about it to see how much and what she understood. 

 It is so humbling to realize that God had already started preparing my baby girl's heart years before. 
 We have known that we are called to raise warriors for HIS KINGDOM.  
God never promised that they would stay close to the nest or that HIS plan for them would be "safe".  

Then...there was Nicaragua...Summer 2011.

Once again God broke her heart for what breaks HIS!!!  
Mélika has always had a heart for littles, those less chosen, those without a voice.  

But on this trip...our baby girl changed...

I remember so very vividly...we were standing at the airport with a large group of onlookers anxiously waiting to throw our arms around our children once again...

We heard them from afar counting off for the very last time....AIM TEAM COUNT OFF...1,2,3,4... 
I heard her number and knew it was but seconds before our first child would be back in our arms.  

When we saw her walking towards us, Stéphane and I both looked at each other and said at the same time...She has changed, she is no longer the little girl we put on that plane.  
It was as if years passed in weeks.  

We knew instantly that God did a mighty work in her heart and that she would never be the same.  

Mélika spent the 45 minute ride home from the airport sharing the details of her trip.  
THEN, she and I stayed awake into the weeee hours of the morning looking at pictures and hearing the journey in great detail.  

I simply cannot put into words the complete honor and privilege it has been to watch Mélika grow and step out boldly for Christ over the past year.  

She loves much, she gives much, she runs after the Lord much!!  
She has the same passion wether it is for a friend in need, those she volunteers with in the inner city, 
or those half way around the world.  

She knows there are so many who have yet to hear the name of the one true God!!
There are littles who are living in poverty, being harmed, robbed of a childhood and a voice!!
She knows the truth and cannot pretend that she has not heard!!

Baby girl, as you go to Venezuela this week, may you walk boldly in Christ...not looking to the left or to the right, may you know your Father's voice and be ready for the call, may you shine light and love as the beautiful young lady God made you to be since you were knitted, by HIM, in my womb.  

We love you sweet girl and cannot wait to hear how God rocks your world over the next two weeks!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Good Eats!!

I have mentioned on several posts that our schedules have been very busy over the past few months.  

The funny thing is that our world seems to keep on movin' just fine when hubby is busy, 
or the girls are busy with activities.  No one has much complaint.  

Where things were different this time is that Mama was also busy!!

The comments from the kids were priceless...
One said we were so busy she couldn't breathe
One let me know that my schedule was stressing her out

But the MAJORITY of the issues revolved around the fact that I just didn't have time to make yummy homemade food that we are used to!

One of our girls, who would never admit to have said it, made the comment that she is tired of junk food!!  
Yep...actually happened:)

One event that we missed this summer was strawberry freezer jam!  We have been making it faithfully each year since this photo was taken in 2007.  
I hope to try a new flavor this year to help appease the troops.

We usually make bread EACH week.  
We were bread-less for an entire month!!!!  
Don't get me wrong...I bought bread...
but it was either not eaten or there was a murmur of grumbling in the background. 

So, this week the world was once again as it should be...

And...they missed it so much I may need to make a second batch this week!!

Then...there are the jars...
rumor has it that they have been empty!

No one truly knows how long that injustice may have taken might be safe to say that it has been LONGER than a month.  My father may be willing to share how long it has been for the right price.  The neighborhood children may be willing to give that information for free.  
Either way, all is as it should be once again.

You know how it goes...when you start missing something...fond memories of yester years come flying back.  This week Mélika started in with the "remember when you "usta" make homemade granola?" 

Well sweet is your lucky week!

Let's see how long that will last.  

And, what 4th of July is complete without a homemade colorful treat?

This was made out of the last leftover "oops" cakes from the wedding, homemade whipped cream, and berries.  

My next project...homemade yogurt!!!!

Although it certainly was not my intention, this little "experiment" helped me to see that my family does notice our efforts to eat well, and make things from scratch.