Sunday, November 10, 2013

I am Supermom. A failing Supermom.

write, because I believe, if you are honest enough to admit it, you are a failing Supermom too...or at least a failing Superhuman.  I read blogs a lot while I nurse, and the ones that draw me in typically look something like this in the "about me section"::

"Christ follower.
Pastor's wife who runs the children's ministry, counsels women, bakes bread for the elderly, directs the choir, and dresses her whole family in coordinating outfits every Sunday.
Homeschool mom of 17 who makes all the kids clothes, who only feeds her family organic whole foods that she's grown and canned herself.
Who writes and speaks at women's conferences about her 5 adoptions and the non-profit she runs, and the 84 books she's written. Oh, and she only buys fair trade, has craft time once a week, and documents everyone of her children's milestones with scrapbooks and Facebook pictures.
Oh, and whose house is so clean that you could eat off the floors (and she only uses non toxic cleaners to do so). She always has snacks made from scratch in the oven when you drop by, and sends you home with fresh honey from the bees in the backyard."

Ok, so maybe I am being a little over the top, but that's what I see portrayed so often.  And then I believe I need to aspire to be like her, with her perfect little self.  So, I resolve to do better. To get up earlier. To support my husband better. To speak only kind loving words as I parent. To provide healthy meals that include all the nutritional food groups. To only bake from scratch and not out of a box. To make better choices with my money, and to plead the case of the orphan.

Then, then I start my plan. And almost as soon as I start, I fail.  I don't get up early because Elliott has decided it'd be fun to make me up 4 times between 2 and 5am.  I hand my daughter a prepackaged clif bar as I yell, "hurry up or we will be late" and storm out the door for church.  Then, I realize that I forgot to put the pork roast in the crock pot before I left the house.  Guess we will have ham sandwiches for lunch again.  

Epic fail.

Here is what I am learning: I will fail daily. I will sin and screw up and need forgiveness moment by moment.  That's the whole reason Jesus came.  I couldn't, and still can't save myself, or do enough good things to reconcile my relationship with Him.  

There is a lady at church who I aspire to be when I grow up...and the other day I heard her say! I need to stop striving and simply abide (I probably didn't get this quote exactly right, please forgive me).  Oh how true are her words.  John 15 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  Abide in Me. Cling to Me.  

So, here is my new plan.  Instead of holding my life up and comparing myself to the impossibly perfect women I read about, I am going to ABIDE in Christ.  I am going to wake up each day and ask God for the strength to abide in Him.  I am going to follow Him, and his call on my life: to bring Him glory.  I can bring Him glory only when I abide in Him and seek to live my life in a way that reflects His character and therefore points my children to Him.

Because, friends, I'd not want Sveta to grow up and become a mom who thinks she is a failing Supermom.  And I don't want to live pretending and striving to be something that matters not.  I want to live abiding, and teach those who watch my life, that I am not a failing Supermom. 

I am simply a disciple of Jesus who desires to abide in His love, that others may be drawn to abide in His love as well.  Because, in His love is the best place to be.  And He loves whether I have made brownies with a box mix or with the flour I ground from the wheat I grew (or didn't grow).

I pray that you are encouraged to abide, rather than strive!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First day of Fall is one of my favorite days...

Sveta's ready for a trip to the park!
So is Elliott!
And Mama...thank you Carmel Apple Spice.

Jess met us there!
Fun first day of fall!!

And now for other random pictures of my uber cute kids!!

And I will leave you with this one of my 2 favorite boys!
Oh wait...and you must see this one!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beauty for Ashes

Tonight, as I snuggle with this one::

I am thinking of this one::

My thoughts center around the joy these two bring me, in such different ways. But as I rejoice, I find myself mourning. Mourning for Sveta, and myself. She didn't get cuddled by her Mama as an infant. She didn't have her cries immediately answered. She didn't have anyone to lovingly bathe, dress, and feed her. She was lucky to get a diaper change every so often.  And I didn't get to do any of that for her. It breaks my heart, and yet makes me so proud of her, and who God made her to be...and it makes me grateful beyond words for how God sustained and sustains her.  How he is creating beauty, from ashes...

She is the strongest little girl I know. She fought through all sorts of adversity, was uprooted by two strangers, and has the most joy I have ever seen. She teaches me much about God's goodness and provision and protection. Today she was singing all about how God is the One True God, and some people worship other idols, but they should only worship the Real God like she does.  She is an example to me daily of God's redeeming love...and most days I miss the reminder because I am too busy with a task. 

Today I saw.
And tomorrow I will wait with anticipation to see God continue to weave her story.  And in doing so, remind me of my own redemption story.

Praise be to God, who made this the other night:

And who orchestrated the building of this little family (post on Elliott's name to come)::

Monday, July 1, 2013


Sveta will soon have a sibling and I have been pondering what that experience will be like for both of them. I pray that God will make them friends as well as siblings...because I've seen how much of a blessing that is.

When Barry and I first started dating, I met his brother and sister right away (like 2 or 3 days after our first date).  We didn't sit down and talk, but I met them.  I was always enthralled by the stories he told of their times together as kids, and growing up how they interacted.  After getting married and seeing how close he is to Jill, I always hoped for a similar relationship in my own children.  There is no one in this world that Barry loves like he loves Jill.  He would do anything for her, just like he would for Sveta or I.  It's incredible to see.

I didn't grow up with siblings close in all.  I was 9 when Michael was born, 13 when Abby was born, and 16 before I even knew Becca existed (she was 15 at the time).  See, I don't have any full-blood siblings, which is the reason for age gaps and such.  But, they are my siblings just as much as Barry's are his.  It has been amazing to see in recent years how we've developed different relationships.  Just last week or so, Michael called just to see how I was.  Blessed me.  Last night, Abby called to vent/get advice because my parents were being strict (oh, how easy you have it as the 3rd...they were way harder on me, haha!).  And this morning I received an email from Becca that about made me cry.  

I am beyond blessed to have siblings, who as we are getting older, we are growing closer.  We are trusting in each others lives like we never had the chance before.  We are talking about things that matter and encouraging each other in our faiths.  (Things you can't do with someone you don't know, or who is still watching Barney as you go off to college). 

I am grateful for how God is forging these relationships, and I look forward to see how He orchestrates Sveta's relationship with her new brother or sister.  They will be almost 5.5 years apart, and I know she'll love the baby dearly.  I can't wait to watch!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Blessings like Rain Drops

I have so much to say...but I don't even know how to get it all out.  I'm learning so much.  God is so gracious.

Barry left for camp yesterday, and will return on Friday evening.  Sveta and I will miss him greatly, and we know he'll miss us.  It will be a challenging week for us all for so many reasons - only one of which is that I'm 37.5 weeks pregnant.  But God...

He's here. Here's in TN with Barry.  He's faithful.  He's not leaving.  He's not surprised by what today or this week brings.  I'm choosing to believe HIM...not just believe in Him. I'm choosing to believe that His Word is true.  I'm choosing to believe that I am called to be like Him, and even though my flesh doesn't always want to - I will choose to walk in His shadow.

"Do nothing [c]from [d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be [f]grasped, 7 but [g]emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death [h]on a cross...Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will [i]prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you [j]appear as [k]lights in the world, 16 holding [l]fast the word of life..." Phil. 2:3-8, 14-16a

I will put others first, and stop looking out for my personal interests.  I will have that as an attitude, because my Jesus chose to obey the Father and die...and I desire to be obedient as well.  I will have such an attitude, that I will do it without grumbling or disputing...but rather with joy because as I hold fast to the Word of Life, I will be a light to the world.  And ultimately, that's what I'm called to be.

So today I'm singing this song: Blessings by Laura Story...
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

I'm singing this song, because choosing this path isn't the easiest.  I'd like to play the pregnant wife card and have my husband with me this week...but guess what - it's not the blessing that He wants to give.  He's going to bless some other way, and I believe that Barry will be blessed by being in His presence in amazing creation, and with incredible students as he leads them into the throne room where they will worship Hm in song. 

Today, I choose to be grateful for the blessings that come through tears...and the trials that are mercies in disguise.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God's an orchestrator...

2 months is a long time.  Sorry my friends for falling off the face of the blog-o-sphere!  I won't even attempt to update you.  But here's what I have GOT to share today::

God is faithful.

Here's what I wrote a while back (think August-ish of 2012):
"So, here's our RADICAL plan: sell our house in Indianapolis, sell our house in Greensburg, move in with Barry's parents, and spend WAY less and pay off our debts as fast as we can. People think we are crazy, they don't understand, they think we're somehow "off." I'm ok with that...because I don't want to be like the majority of American Christians who live no differently than the rest of America. I don't want to go with the cultural norm, I want to go with the Biblical Command. I'm shaken by the fact that we are more wealthy than 99% of ALL people. ALL. Me. Wealthy. I don't see myself as that...and that's wrong. So, we're trying to follow Jesus and live as He calls."

As most of you know the selling of our house in Greensburg went WAY quicker than we expected...we've been living with Barry's parents (who are I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. by the way...if you don't know them, you should), and were attempting to spend WAY less, without sacrificing date nights/family days, and a little vacation to Georgia to see my sis-in-law.

Well, here's the next big thing:
We close on the Indy house on Thursday.  1 week from today, we'll be house free...and we'll be so so close to debt free.  I'll write a post about how close once we know exact figures after next week.  Many of you probably are wondering: how long was it on the market, how many offers, etc.  Let me tell you a little story.

We've had incredible renters in the house for about 3 years.  In the fall we tried to put it on the market while they were living in it and planning on moving into a house of their own soon...but their house fell through and it was just too hard to list while having them their.  We decided to wait, and pulled the listing after not long at all.  They've continued to live there and look for houses. 

We let them know at the beginning of April, that we planned on listing the house on June 1st and that they'd need to be out so that we could do so.  We were prepared to pick up mortgage payments for a time so that we could sell the house.  Well, a few weeks ago - Barry got a text that said something like this from the renter..."please call ASAP, we'd like to talk about buying the house."

What?  Seriously?  So, after setting a selling price, going back and forth a bit, and deciding to go without a realtor...we signed a purchase agreement...and now have a date for closing.  Incredible...since the house NEVER went on the market this time around, and we are saving about 7% by not using a realtor.

I look back at what I wrote in August, and never imagined how God would orchestrate all of this.  We sought God and decided to follow through with what we felt He was asking of us...and He is pouring out His blessings on us.  He is so so faithful.  He's amazing...beyond my comprehension.  I'm so grateful I serve such a BIG God. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Mercy Found Link-Up

Oh how I love my friends over at MercyFound Ministries.  They are hosting a fun link-up today...and even if you don't blog, you can head over to (AFTER you read my High, Low, and Lesson Learned) and join in.  Just comment in the comments section!!
Yesterday, we were leaving a little amish store close to our house, and Sveta was enjoying chasing the kittens and waving at the horses.  As we drove away, she continued to wave at the kittens, saying, "Bye. I love you. And remember, God made you special."
I don't know where she comes up with these things.  Barry and I don't say things like that.  I don't think...but she's crazy creative and is constantly saying something hilarious.  Amazing that she's only been speaking English for a little over a year!
I don't really have one this week.  It's been a great week.  Maybe the fact that I overdid it yesterday and my back really hurt would be it.  I struggled to walk normally. It still hurts a bit today, but I can walk again!
Don't overdo it.  It's a bad idea at 26 weeks pregnant, when you are as swollen as I am to make muffins, clean the pantry, and the bathroom all in the same day.  Small steps.
Also, I must mention that today is GOOD Friday.  And my lesson learned in the spiritual realm this week has been to remember what Jesus went through on the cross so many years ago.  Not only did He suffer physically, but He was seperated from the Father, and the emotional and spiritual anguish He must have felt, I just can't fathom.  I am grateful for His sacrifice...for by His wounds, I have been healed.

Praise Him.

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patty's day presents...

I didn’t get to link up with MercyFound Ministries this weekend…


Sadly, my weekend got away from me before I realized it!  But, I really enjoy looking back over my week and sharing with all of you.  So, here’s my high, low, and lesson learned anyway!!




Last night Barry came home from the church late, and I was already asleep.  He woke me and gave me a card to read (which I did so with blurry eyes).  It was a St. Patrick’s day card…which we don’t actually celebrate, but the writing inside was the perfect encouragement I needed. 


And inside the envelope was a ring.  Complete with a pearl, that he slipped on my oh so fat finger…because…




One night this week I was overcome with emotion.  I was convicted about how much I expect out of Sveta, and how I don’t give enough grace…and was reminded of how quick to become frustrated I have been lately.  I want to be able to just say, “oh, it’s my hormones.”  But guess what my friends…hormones, or not…it’s sin.  And I want to deal harshly with sin.  God does, and I should too.  I can’t just chalk it up to being pregnant, I need to deal with my emotions in a healthy way…not by just getting frustrated over little things that really aren’t a big deal at all.


I also was just sad and feeling like I wasn’t myself. For one, I’m swollen (you’ve heard about this).  But, despite gaining weight (which I’m really ok with), I’m just heartbroken that I can’t wear my wedding ring.  Not because I worry what Barry will think, or because I even care what others will say…but because of what that ring symbolizes.  I was in tears talking to Barry about it…which is why last night I was so blessed by the fact that he went out and bought one for me to wear while my fingers are just HUGE.


I keep looking at my new ring, and I don’t care if he got it out of a gumball machine…it’s a reminder to me of his love.  It’s a reminder to me of how he loves me like Christ loves His church.  And let me tell you friends, my husband is excellent at loving me as an example of how Christ loves His church.  I am beyond blessed, and so grateful for Barry.  I learn more about Jesus everyday by watching him learn, love, and live.




Not only have I learned from Barry this week, but also in my breakdown over all sorts of things – it boiled down to this::

I am not in control.  I want control.


So, I’ve been trying to find things to control (Sveta’s behavior, our family eating plan/schedule, etc).  I do, however, feel a responsibility to give my family healthy meals to eat.  Some days I do well, others, I fail m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.y.  But, God is good.  And he’s given me new insights, and a desire to fill myself only with what is honorable and pleasing to Him.


In my research, I found this gem of a website::

I’ve perused it before, but not like I am preparing to.  I want all the information I can…I want to remember what I learned from Jen Hatmaker’s book “7” and I want to live simply and radically for my Jesus.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Baby. Carpal Tunnel. Blessings.

MercyFound Ministries is an incredible ministry to families who are in the process of adopting!  Hop over and check out their blog::
Before you do::  Here's my Week in Review
The baby is kicking like MAD.  It is the coolest feeling in the world.  Sadly, Barry still can't feel the baby.  Hopefully in the next few weeks. 
Sveta is learning so much about Jesus.  The other night we put her in the tub and she said she didn't want to be all alone.  Then she said, "wait, I'm not all alone.  God is with me."  I love that she is understanding who He is and how much He loves her. Praying that one day she will decide to live her life for Him and only for Him.  Thankful.
My pregnancy has caused me to swell like a giant balloon.  Or at least my fingers to feel like sausages.  This has in turn caused Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my right wrist/hand (yeah, I'm ONLY 23 weeks).  Needless to say ordinary tasks hurt (some days are better than others), but they thing that gets me the most is that it is hard to write without it hurting.  I am a journaler through and through.  I write my prayers out each morning in my journal and can look back over years and see how God has answered my prayers.  I hope and pray that my hand hurting doesn't cause a decrease in my prayer life since I can't write.  Typing, or just praying aloud will have to increase!! :)
Lesson Learned::
It is ok to accept help.  A friend of mine called last night to inform me that her husband would be picking Sveta up at 8am and they'd bring her back after lunch at the earliest.  This way my sick husband could rest, and I could study and get some things accomplished.  WHAT. A. BLESSING. 
8am came. I sent Sveta off. I've studied, gone over personal and family goals, updated my calendar to sync online, scheduled family events, etc for the next few months, am blogging, and next will meal plan. I have done this all from the comfort of my couch, without interruption.  Incredible. 
So, when a friend offers to help...don't be prideful and say, oh it's ok, we don't need it.  TAKE it.  Be blessed by their willingness, and soak in the silence! this for your friends and family.  Really.  Bless each other.  The end.

Friday, March 1, 2013

High, Low, Lesson Learned: My Week in Review


I'm participating in a link-up with MercyFound Ministries today.  This is a highlight of my week, because they ask us to share a high, low, and a lesson learned.  It's a great way to look back at your week and review it!  Don't forget to link-up yourself (if you are a blogging type) or leave your answers in the comment section over at

Before you make your's my Week in Review!


I got to go on a date with my husband last night.  It's been a crazy few weeks around here, and it was so great to just be with him.  We just ran into town to have dinner, stop at the auction house, and run through Goodwill.  Knowing that Sveta was in good hands with my dear friend Rachel, helped us both just to relax and enjoy being out together.  So So good.

If you don't still date your should really start!! :)


One morning this week, as I was finishing up making breakfast for my little family (sausage, egg, cheese bagels...yum) Sveta walked into the dining room.  (Remember, that the last couple of weeks have been crazy, so I decided to get up and make a nice breakfast so we could all be together before Barry had to go off to work).  She immediately started crying and said something like, "I'm sorry, I peed."  I asked why she had peed in her pants, and she told me that Daddy was taking too long.  I gentle reminded her that if Daddy was using the potty, and she couldn't wait, that she had waited too long to go potty in the first place.  I told her to go stand in the tub. 

As I walked through the house, my socks began to get wet, and I could see pee marks on the wood floor of the entry way.  Then, right outside the bathroom was a puddle.  She had peed, then proceeded to walk through the house and get pee on the carpet in the hall, living room, and dining room.  WHAT A MESS.  I was so mad.  She's been waiting too long because she doesn't want to stop playing. 

Needless to say, she took a bath.  Barry helped clean the floor while I got her in the tub.  Barry ate his breakfast quickly so he could wash her, and Sveta ate her breakfast cold.  So much for a family morning! :)

Lesson Learned::

Don't automatically freak-out when a nurse calls you and tells you that the results of your test were "pretty normal."

Because, let me tell you...I DID!  I had an ultrasound last Friday, and she called with the reading of the results.  She literally said, "pretty normal."  And then proceeded to tell me that he'd like the ultrasound repeated in 2 months.  WHAT??

I asked what "pretty normal" meant, and informed her that my next appointment was 4 weeks away, when he'd go over the results in more detail.  She immediately apologized for her poor choice of words...but I'm still a little concerned over my "pretty normal" results.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

God's Word is a Lamp

I don't know what I'd do without the WORD of God.  I really don't.  It's my hope, my strength, my song, my prayer.  Because it's God.

I wanted to share a verse that has been on my heart tonight, but then I flipped a page in my Bible and found another to share, and another, and another, etc.  So, tonight, instead of just copying and pasting the entire Bible on here...I will share 3 verses.  And then ask...

What is God teaching you? 
What scripture are you holding on to today? this week? this month? this year?
What truth is becoming alive in your life?

Here's my 3:
1. "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." 1 Thessalonians 3:3

2. "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."  1 Peter 5:6-10

3. I can't pick.  I really can't.  So, I guess you just get these 2 tonight.   :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MercyFound Ministries...

I'm a guest blogger today.  That sounds so important.  Haha!

Check it out...and check out what MercyFound is all about.  They are the organization I've been participating with on their link-up on Fridays!


Monday, February 25, 2013

I need YOUR help!!

As you know, my heart is burdened for the orphans all over the world, and especially in Russia.  I know several of you who share my heart, or who at least understand why my heart would break for these children!

I have exciting news:  YOU can be part of what God wants to do in our community around the issue of the orphan crisis.  I believe that God wants more people to be aware of the crisis and ways in which they can support the orphan.  I realize that not everyone is called to adopt, but I do know that there are so many ways to be involved and to bless an orphan, even when not adopting.

So, we are planning to have an Orphan Care/Adoption Conference on November 1st and 2nd.  It will focus on educating people on the worldwide orphan crisis and how they can get involved, whether it be through adoption, sponsorship, visiting, etc.

When I say "we" I mean a handful of people I go to church with, and maybe a couple others...but we need more help!  We need help planning this event so that many will come and hear all about God's heart for the orphan!  Would you be willing to sit on a planning team to help get this event off the ground?  Would you be willing to share your adoption story on video (adoptees, adoptive parents, birthmoms)?  Would you be willing to come speak and share your expertise at the conferences?

Here are the committees we still have seats available on:
1. Logistics - sound, tech, lights, security, facility plan, etc..
2. Hospitality - food, decorations, greeting, etc.
3. Advertisement & Promotions - just what it sounds like
4. Business/Organization Sponsorships - budget planning, obtain corporate sponsors, etc.
5. Agencies/Organizations - work with agencies that will be speaking and/or will have booths
6. Prayer/Education - planning for prayer up to event, during the event, a prayer area, and the breakout sessions for the weekend.
7. Documentation/Videos - take photos, edit videos prior to event, etc.

Please let me know if you are interested in this event!  You can comment here, or email me at

Thanks for considering being a part of something so BIG!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Week in Review


MercyFound Ministries is hosting a link-up each weekend for us to share our high, low, and lesson learned for the week. It's a great way to stop and reflect, and record what's happening! Before you jump over to join in the fun, here's MY week in review:


Sveta's birthday was this week.  We had so much fun doing all sorts of things.  She got to play with a friend, had an impromptu party at church, went out to lunch, and dinner, and played at a great indoor playground in the area.  Fun was had by all at her family party, and on her birthday.  She's 5.  My little girl is 5. Unreal. 


Lots of things are going on that are just hard.  Plain hard.  They aren't fun...but my prayer continues to be that God be glorified.


God has already won.  He's already defeated the enemy, and He has given me all of the tools I need to stand firm in my faith.  I just have to use them, and trust in Him.  Ephesians 6:10-13 is what I'm memorizing right now...and I'm holding on to these truths!

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against [e]flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."

Friday, February 8, 2013

525,600 minutes.

1 year.  12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes.

"In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?"

How do you measure a year in the life of a sweet little Russian child who was adopted by her family 1 year ago today.  I can't measure it.  I just can't quantify all that she's learned, been through, experienced.  It's too difficult.

So, instead I will rejoice in the love that she's experienced in this year...and I will pray that she will experience even more in the following years.

A year ago today she flew on an airplane halfway around the world with two strangers that she was told were her Mama and Papa.  She stayed awake over the entire ocean, and colored on a little white and pink pony that she still occasionally sleeps with.  She wore a little sweater dress that won't fit over her head anymore.  She was so brave.  She is so brave.

Last night Barry had her walk out to the car and told her we were on our way.  It was getting dark and when we got outside she was about halfway to the car.  She said, "I was a little bit scared, but I was being brave.  I didn't even cry."  It took me to a year ago.  I imagine that she would have said the same thing if I was able to communicate with her at that point.

And you know what...I would have repeated it back to her. 

A year ago, today, she met her grandparents and some aunts and uncles for the first time.  She met friends that she's kept, and our friends who prayed her home, and who've supported us immensely. 

A year ago, today, she set foot on American soil...and became an American citizen.

A year ago, today, she slept in her own bed, in her own house, for the first time in her life. 

And let me tell you, she's come along way in a year...but more than that...I've seen what God can do in a small year.  In just 525,600 minutes. 

He heals. He changes hearts. He teaches. He loves. He forgives. He is.

And, I'm so grateful that He put Sveta in our lives.  She is a constant reminder of his goodness, faithfulness, and love.  She is a joy and a challenge...and each day she causes me to seek His face more and more.  And I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For His Glory

As I sit to write this, I look around realizing that I could decide to do any number of things while Sveta is resting today...but here I sit.  Ignoring the fact that I need to vacuum (although doing that while a child sleeps is NOT an option), and ignoring the stack of papers that need to be filed, or the ones that I desperately need to find in the files.  They will be there when I am done typing in 10 minutes.  I'll deal with that then.

I just want to share something I'm learning, and I hope it's an encouragement to some.  I am learning (and have been) that there are only so many hours in the day.  I know that sounds silly.  I've known for a while that a day is 24 hours.  But...I really didn't realize how to utilize those hours best until recently.  Everyday is a battle I must fight to make sure that I am using the time well.  Each day I must look at what the objective of the day must be.  Is it the errands, is it cleaning, or time with Sveta, or is it have I given God glory?

I'm trying to make each day first and foremost about God's glory.  In whatever I do, have I done it unto Him?  Or have I just done it?  So, with that in mind...I try to use each day to accomplish tasks that will bring Him glory, and that have a purpose. 

Each day I try to spend time...
enjoying God in His glory.
enjoying and teaching and playing with Sveta...and showing her His glory.
enjoying and learning from my incredible husband.
enjoying a little relaxing time where I can just sit and rest.
and I try to clean a little and cook a little too...because that is serving.  Serving my family and serving my God.

A woman said to me this morning that bringing up children in the love and grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ is one of the highest callings a woman can receive.  And, I would add that I am learning that being a pastor's wife is a high calling as well (as are many others).

But I'm learning to embrace this call.  This spot where I find myself.

So today, I will write on my blog for God's glory.
I will help Sveta make her "S" the same size on top as on the bottom...for His glory.
I will load the dishwasher...for His glory.
I will eat pizza with my little family at Chicago's Pizza to support The Boaz Project for dinner...for His glory...and for His work with orphans.
I will ride in the passenger seat on the way to pizza listening to my love tell me about his day.  I will rejoice when he shares how he was able to share the gospel with someone today...

I will rejoice knowing that he was able to be God's voice.  And I will rejoice knowing that I was His hands: hugging, wiping, folding, stiring, writing, holding.

And it will ALL be for His glory.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My First "Link-Up"


As I mentioned in my previous post, I get to be involved with an incredible NEW orphan ministry.  Which, not much makes me happier!!  I'm thrilled to be part of a link-up today with them (through their blog) where many bloggers and adoptive families can share a high, a low, and a lesson learned from the week.

So, here's my high, low, and lesson learned (although not in that order)...once you've read mine, check out the link above to read more stories from adoptive families!

LOW::  Let's just get this out of the way now!
Our community has suffered a few losses this week, and it's been difficult for many.  The one that hits our family the closest is the death of a police officer who is well known in our town.  The circumstances surrounding his death make it even more difficult for many to handle.  Barry (my husband) has been asked to do the funeral tomorrow, and he feels very honored to be able to be part of a celebration of life.  But, it's my low because it's a hard situation to know how to help him, the family, and others who are affected.  It's also kind of played into my lesson learned...

As I have been praying for how to support Barry effectively, I've also been reading through the book of John. 

Let me give some a pastor, Barry, has many suprise responsibilities I will call them.  Late night visits to the hospital, evening meetings with different people about various things, etc.  This week has been full of unexpected and challenging meetings for him.  As his helper, I want to help, but so often I feel so inadequate.  I make sure his clothes are clean to wear, that he has dinners to eat (except when I get strep in the middle of this week and we eat the same thing 3 meals in a row)...but somehow it doesn't seem like I'm ministering to him, or to any one else enough.

And then...we sat up talking one night about what God was teaching us.  I shared with him about John 3:36 which says, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” I found it interesting that the opposite of belief was disobedience, not unbelief.  I looked up the greek words and found that they are different.  Meaning, basically, that the belief creates an action in the person who believes, which is why it isn't simply's the lack of a belief that creates action. 

So, the next night Barry came home and shared about a meeting he had with a student that evening...and he used that verse to explain something to the student about Jesus.  He was so excited, and I was blessed.  My first ministry is to my family...and sometimes I forget that my ministry might be used by Barry to minister to others as well.

HIGH::  Sveta's lived with us for 1 year!
Today marks our first full day as a family together.  A year ago, yesterday, we picked Sveta up from her orphanage forever.  What an incredible feeling.

We didn't do much to mark the occasion (see above with crazy week and a mama who has strep) but we talked about it a few times throughout the day.  Then Barry and I reflected on that day, and our year.  Sveta was so trusting and yet so scared.  She didn't sleep much that first night as she lay in a big bed between us.  I don't think it helped that Barry was sicker than he's ever been...but she would reach over and rub his head (even though she wasn't sure about him yet). She's overcome so much loss, and is a complete joy.  She's a brave, intelligent, beautiful, caring, sweet little girl.  She's blessed us beyond belief in just a short year...and we can't wait to celebrate more years with our Sveta.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Another journey begins...

I have been contemplating whether or not to even begin to write on here again, or if I should change blogs (like many who have completed an adoption do).  I, however, felt inspired yesterday to start writing again.  So, I finally got to it...

Today.  I want to just touch on some of the adventures that we are embarking upon in 2013.

1. Sveta has begin learning more and more each day, and we are now using a bit of Kindergarten curriculum during school.  She's working on sight words, reading simple sentences, and counting by 10s and 5s.  We've been working on different Bible stories and verses as well.  She's incredible.  I am amazed daily by her ability to retain information, how quickly she learns, and how faithfully she believes. 

2. I am getting involved with some "guest blogging" with MercyFound Ministries.  (Doesn't that sound official??)  My friend Melissa, who brought her son home from Russia a few months after we came home, is involved in beginning a ministry to families who are adopting.  I get to be a guest blogger, and I'm honored to have been included, and excited about what God will do through me in this avenue of service!!  Check them out here::

3. We are having a baby (in case you haven't heard).  The baby is due to arrive on July 4th...and it's nice to have an estimated due date this time around.  Expecting a baby while carrying him/her is very different, and yet, strangely similar to expecting a baby while waiting from halfway around the world from her.  Sveta is thrilled to become a big sister, and would like to name the baby "Lily" if it's a girl.  That's what she names everything...don't really know where it came from!  I know she'll be an incredible big sister!!

Anyway, expecting.  There's excitement, there's fear, there's pain.  This time the pain is so different.  It doesn't come from not knowing how your daughter is comes from the feeling your baby gives you as you attempt to eat.  It doesn't come from the ache you feel from missing your daughter who is halfway around the comes from the ache in your back, feet, neck, shoulders, stomach, and places you didn't even know could ache.  It doesn't come from the disappointment of things being put on hold because someone went on comes from the desire for some rest and yet not finding any because you just can't sleep more than maybe 3 hours without waking for some reason or another.  SO different.

And yet...the same. 
I am preparing for baby.  Just like I prepared for Sveta.  I'm reading info on breastfeeding, instead of on children who hoard.  I'm reading about baby gear instead of attachment and bonding...but I'm researching and preparing. 

I am excited.  To have a child placed into my care to love and teach.  Just like I was with Sveta. 

I'm sure there are many many other things I could touch on...but I leave you with this question:

What are you embarking upon in 2013?  I hope to share more of my journey with you, in hopes that you'd be encouraged along your own path.  I pray that you'd walk that path closely with Jesus.  It is certainly the only way I am able to still be walking along any path.