Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When it rains

It was our first full day of vacation.  It was a rainy day. It ended up being the ONLY rainy day for the whole ten days we were on Cape Cod.  We decided to go to the next town over and do some shopping.  While maneuvering the streets, my hubby, who was driving, decided to put the windows down a crack.  The front window was getting foggy and he just wanted some fresh air.  As my window, the passenger window, went down, there came a loud sound and the window completely disappeared into the door.  Broken.  There was no way to get the window up. Right about then, it started to pour. 20 min from where we were staying. 

And I got wet.  Very wet. 

As my hubby and I looked at each other, we knew.  We knew exactly what was going on . . .

And I was warned things like this would happen.  The very first talk I went to at Created for Care, I went to the "Fundraising for your Adoption" talk.  And the one of the first things the presenter said, "Prepare for a spiritual battle."  She went on to share, how both times they adopted, her husband lost his job during the process.  My only thought in that moment was, "Oh, dear Lord, PLEASE do not let my hubby lose his job while we are adopting!"

I did not really consider what else may come . . .

Little annoyances like our window breaking in a rain storm have come.  A lot.  We are in the midst of a weird cold/croup thing.  We are going on its third week.  Night after night I got up with the boys to comfort them.  Now they are sleeping through the night and I am the one coughing till 4AM.  I am tired and worn out.  The last thing I want to do is adoption paperwork right now.  I want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and watch an insane amount of romantic comedies or BBC Jane Austen movies.  But, we complete the paperwork . . .

And then there have been big crosses in this process too.  One too serious for this space to mention. And when it came, I thought, of all the times this could have happened . . . why now?

But, mostly the battle comes in the quiet moments of the day.  When my boys are acting up and the lie comes, "Can you really handle an adopted child?"  Or, when my own sinfulness is exploited and I clean the bathroom and see the peeling wallpaper under the sink, and he whispers the lie, "If only you weren't adopting.  You could redo the bathroom."  Or a house comes on the market that fits all of our requirements and is in a great neighborhood and just serves as one big distraction from the one thing we know God is calling us to.  Satan is sly.

All of these things have come and have made me question just what are we doing.  There have been moments that the only thing I can do is search for HIS voice and know we just need to press on.  And sometimes, I just want to shake my fist and say, "You will not derail us!  You have lost the war, Satan, and this is one battle you will NOT win."  God has a special heart for the orphans and the widows.  Scripture tells us that.  And when we engage in caring for the orphans, we are working to gain souls for Christ. So, of course the spiritual battles will come. And I know I am not the only one that feels this way. Just google "adoption and spiritual warfare" and pages of blog posts from others, who have gone through the process and felt exactly as I do, will come up.

So, please pray for us!  So that as the rain continues to come, we can see past it all to the flowers that will be born from it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes- You know the Run for the Little Flowers in near when and other randomness

You all know that the Run for the Little Flowers is near when . . .

1. Katie actually starts blogging regularly.

2. Katie's 7 Quick Takes serve as a regular reminder that registration is up and running, and you all must go here to register!

3. Katie photo bombs you with cute pictures of orphans to guilt you into registering for the run

4.Katie reminds you that if you register for the run before Monday, August 26th, you will be entered into the giveaway to win these super cute earrings! And, people, we are sooo close to 50 registrations, so register now, so that we can make it over 50 and I will giveaway TWO pairs of earrings!

5. Katie tells you to check out all the great giveaway items for the Run for the Little Flowers and read this post to see how you can earn extra entries.

Tired of me talking in the 3rd person?  Yep, me too . . .

6.  Pictures from our Cape Cod Vacation

We had a great time on the Cape.  We added in a trip to the ER with A (who is still sick, and the rest of us have it now too).  I went into the vacation tired and the word Restoration just kept coming to me as the "theme" of the week. And, although there were sleepless nights due to A being sick and couching, I truly did come away from the vacation RESTORED.
We took our dog with us for the first time and she had fun playing in the water at the "dog beach"

May just be our Christmas 2013 picture!

I live with goofballs!

A before sickness settled in.

7. Jen's 7 Quick Takes and a dream of mine . . .
After reading Jen's 7 Quick Takes about starting up with a Personal Trainer, I immediately thought, "I have wanted to do that for so long!"  Not hire a personal trainer, but convert our garage into a workout space so I can have clients come to my house and lead classes.  I wonder if I would get much interest, but I would love for the dream to become a reality in the next few years!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Run for the Little Flowers Giveaway Items!

Again, this year, we have some great prizes offered as giveaway items.  Anyone registered for the run will be entered in the giveaway.  So far the prizes we have are:

1.  This cute handbag by Freeset Global (donated by me)

Won by Marilyn G.!
I took the shrink wrap off but the CD is brand new.  I have a digital copy of this CD and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

3.  $20 gift card from Starbucks (donated by Jen at Meditatio)

Won by Lynn T.

Thank you Jen!!

5. Run Love Compression Socks by RunningSkirts (donated by me)

Won by Glenda W.

6. With an Open Heart book by Lisa Murphy (donated by Lisa Murphy)

This is a great book, read my review here.

7. $40 gift card to Running Warehouse (donated by Susan at Sole Searching Mama)
Won by Colleen M.!!

8. Any tee or tank from Run Pretty Far (donated by me)

Won by Ann N.

9. Any apparel or jewelry item on this page from 147 Million Oprhans (donated by me)
Won by Lori K.

And guess what??? There is more to come!  So watch for this page to be updated.  There will be a link to it on my top tab bar, so you can check it often.

Now, everyone who registers for the run will be entered, but you can earn extra entries and here is how:
- Share about the run on Facebook, Twitter, your blog,  via email,  pin it on Pinterest, Instagram it . . . and let me know you did so by leaving a comment on this postYou can do this one DAILY!!

- Get a group together!  If you get a group together for the run in your area and let me know by leaving a comment on this post, you will earn an extra entry.

- After you have done the run, take a picture of yourself with your medal, with your shirt on (or one or the other) and post it to the run's Facebook page here, you will earn an extra entry.

-Blog about your race recap and link to the post (once the run is over) and you will earn an extra entry!

So share about this run and grab some extra entries for these great prizes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Favorites

I love when people do cohesive, well thought out lists for their five favorites.  Mine, unfortunately, will not be that.  It will be a random mix of favorites from vacation and other random, fitness inspired things.

1.  Nike Flex

I got these sneakers because I needed sneakers with a bit more support for when I lift weights.  I had been wearing my minimalist running shoes and my feet were just sliding all over the place.  Nike Flex just happen to be running shoes too, and I took them for a spin while on vacation and I LOVED running in them too!  I think these may be my new favorite running and all around workout shoes!

2. Quest bars

I prepped myself to eat clean while on vacation.  I brought protein bars and proteins shakes.  I wish I could say I did a great job while on vacation, but when you are surrounded by restaurants that serve the BEST fried calamari you have ever tasted, it is a bit difficult to stay on track.  But, I have to say that these Quest bars, which are all natural and gluten free are AMAZING.  I love them.  The flavors are great and the ingredient list is impressive.

3. Chalene Johnson

In case you did not know, I love working out.  I have dumped my gym membership and now workout at home.  I use lots of workout videos and I LOVE Chalene Johnson's workouts!  She is encouraging and motivates you just when you need it.  My favorites are ChaLEAN Extreme and Turbofire!

4. Running on the Cape
I have had a hate-hate relationship with running for about a year now. Running has been frustrating, to say the least.  I cannot seem to get past 6 miles without pain.  And, most of my runs happen on a treadmill.  For those reasons alone, I have avoided running a lot.  There are days, when the weather is perfect and I just want to run forever that I miss running, but for the most part, I have been OK with NOT running.

But, last week, while on vacation, I found my love for running again.  And, really I think anyone would love the run on Cape Cod.  You can run to the ocean or a pond.  You can go for miles on a beautiful path that seems prettier than any other path I have been on.

Yep. I love running again!

5.  This man
I am saving the best for last! 
Last week, I posted a link on Facebook to this article on The Onion, "Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties In Closer Proximity To Ocean".    The article, as expected from The Onion, is hilarious.  But, I have to be honest, that is not my reality on vacation.  And it is because I am married to an awesome man, who helps with laundry, does dishes and loads the van and takes the kids to the beach, so I can run and meet them there.  My hubby is awesome and worked so hard to ensure that I had a vacation too!  I love this guy and am so blessed to be married to such a wonderful man!

 To check our more Favorites, go to Moxie Wife!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Run for the Little Flowers Giveaway!!

OK, ya'll . . I have been on vacation and away from this space, and it has been QUIET, but lots of things are happening and registration for the run needs to get moving soooo, let's have a giveaway!!

Anyone who registers before MONDAY, AUGUST 26th will be entered in a giveaway to win these earrings from 147 Million Orphans!

Beauty from Ashes Earrings, you choose the color!

So, just click on over to here and register today!  If we have more than 50 register, I will giveaway two pairs! So, spread the word and tell your friends to register this week!

Finally, I will be placing an order with 147 Million Orphans on Monday, August 26th, so if you have not had a chance to order to support the Run for the Little Flowers and our adoption, please see this post for more information and to place your order!

Thnaks all!!  And this little one thanks you too!

Friday, August 2, 2013

7 Quick Takes- Who knew you could get philosophical about a garage sale??

Thanks, Jen, for hosting!

Before I get all philosophical about garage sales, I just want to remind you all that registration for the second annual Run for the Little Flowers has opened.  So, register and spread the word.  And, I am having an online fundraiser for our adoption and to offset some of the costs I will incur from managing the run, so please check it out here and consider buying something for a great cause.

1.  2nd yard sale this weekend!
OK, so no pictures this time around.  We have less, although that does not seem right because we currently have two extra couches and an extra chair in our living room.  At least we can still walk through our living room, which I consider a huge win! So many people have donated more items.  Luckily, I have been able to sell lots online already to lessen the clutter in our house and to keep my stress at a minimum. But, by the end of last week, we started to hit our threshold with amount of stuff and level of stress, so our second yard sale is this weekend!  The weather will be perfect (God is so good!). 

This has been an amazing process and I am learning A LOT.  Here are just some of the things I have learned.
2.  The goodness and generosity of others.
If I could truly express to those who have donated items, spent hours loading and unloading their vehicles for us, bringing us items that are worth more than just a few dollars (read expensive antiques), they would all see how FULL they have made my heart.

It has not been about the items, or the money raised for the adoption.  Those are the ends of this process, but what I am enjoying so much is being touched by the goodness of others.

Last week, I had a STRANGER (a friend of a friend) bring a truck of furniture to our house and then hand me $100 for "the cause", as he called it.  He left my house, and I teared up.  This man did not know me, our family.  Yet, he took time out of his schedule to do something kind for us.  He gave us his hard-earned money, so that we could add to our family and give an orphan an home.

But he is not the only one . . . I had another family spend HOURS bringing furniture to our house for us to sell.  I have had other friends, slip me extra money and donate furniture that has been in their family for years.  While, so many of them say, "It is nothing." or "We needed to get rid of it anyway.", they dismiss the GOOD they are doing.  I am so grateful.

3. I love old furniture
We have had lots of furniture pass through our house over the last few weeks.  And, I have realized I LOVE old furniture.  I love the large clunky dressers made of solid wood that show battle scars and scratches from the years.  I love the history and family stories they carry with them.  If I had limitless money and a much larger house, I would probably have much more of the this furniture than my husband and kids would like.   Maybe it is my love for history in general, but I think of the stories that these pieces have witnessed, but cannot tell.  And it makes me smile.

This furniture has stood the test of time and still continues to serve.  Things are just not built that way anymore.  While I love modern furniture, I wonder how many people will still have their Ikea dressers 50 years from now.  No, give me the good old furniture that was built in the good old days!

4. I could fund our entire adoption selling other people's stuff
Seriously.  If I had endless time, and a place to store it all, I would, and totally could, fund our adoption by selling items other people do not want anymore. 

So, if you are looking for a good side business, I have a great one!

5. Raising money takes WORK
My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic. If you want something, you work HARD for it.  If you want money, you work hard for it.  And fundraising for this adoption is hard work.  This yard sale is HARD work.  I am thankful for it, because it makes me appreciate the end result so much more.  And I am realizing that this is just the beginning.  We want to raise the full amount of the adoption, almost $30,000.  And while it would be nice to win the lottery, or have a mysterious donor donate a large sum (I can send you my address if you need it :-) ), there are more lessons, more gifts in the toil of it all.

6. We are such a consumeristic society
 (Did I just make up that word??)
As if I did not already know that, but when your house is full of other's items, and your own that you are preparing to sell, items that are excess, things not wanted, not needed, you come face to face with that reality.  I have been hit, hard, with the fact that we live in such a society of excess.  We spend so much money on things that we simply do not need . . . some we never even use.  It has made me reevaluate what is important and truly where our money goes.  Do I really need that nice new living room furniture that I so desperately want, or do I give it up and keep our old hand me downs so we can spend that money on something far more lasting and worthwhile?  For me, the answer has become so clear . . .

7.  To help give hope and a future

How could I choose a new house, and new couch, a new anything, over this smile??  Yep, the answer is so clear.  I want to be part of giving hope and a future to a little life. 

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On gardening and the spiritual life

I went out to my much neglected garden to weed today.  I have a small garden and very little in it still.  Our lettuce and spinach has long been eaten. Our sugar snap peas and our beets too.  Now, we only have tomatoes and spaghetti squash left.

Our spaghetti squash vines have been growing robustly.  One had even grown its way onto our deck and was winding its way around our patio chairs.  I looked forward to scouting out squash on the vine while weeding.

But, as I weeded, I noticed some squash leaves, here and there, that had yellowed, and other, smaller portions, of the vines that did not look very healthy.  I remembered a friend talking about something called a squash vine borer, a little grub that eats the vine on the inside.  She said if you can find it, just kill it and then bury that portion of the vine and the vine will be fine.  So that is eactly what I did.  I found the little grub that was eating away at the interior of the vine, removed it, and then buried that portion of the vine.

Good, I thought.  All doneThe vine will be fine I will get nice, beautiful, healthy spaghetti squash.  I could already taste the fruit of the vine!

But as I went to grab a few more weeds, I saw another portion of the same vine that looked suspect.  Then another. And another.  I worked the grubs out, buried the vine.  But I was starting to lose hope that this plant would be OK.  Finally, I worked my way to the main portion of the vine, the oldest part.  And I found, several, large grubs that had eaten most of  interior of the vine.

I was frustrated.  The vine looked so healthy.  The leaves were big and beautiful and green.  Bright orange flowers lined the vine perfectly.

As I realized that I am no gardener and that God may be trying to tell me that I just might be better off supporting local farmers, who truly know what they are doing, I decided to count my losses and pull the vine.

There was no saving that vine.  As I pulled it out, I saw evidence of other spots that other little grubs had burrowed their way in and began eating.  I am not sure how long this vine would have duped me with it's healthy appearance, but it was truly being eaten out on the inside.

And I thought of sin and the spiritual life.  After all, Jesus did say HE is the vine and we are the branches.  God, the vine dresser.  Those little borers were just like sin left unchecked, unconfessed.  They may start small and only affect a small area of ourselves.  Most people would not even be able to see the affects of the sin.  But, if we ignore them, do not confess them, they get bigger, eat away at us just a little bit more.  Until, we are overrun with our sins.  Getting bigger, eating at the core of us, attempting to completely corrode our very soul.

Praise God, though, HE is a faithful and diligent vine dresser, and when we call upon HIM, when we go to confession, He can repair any vine. Even a vine that is overrun with sin.  Even a vine that all others would look at and say there is no hope, it is too damaged.  Yet, nothing, no one is beyond HIS grace and HIS healing.

Remain in HIM.
  I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  John 15: 1-11

This little gardening exercise today made me want to go to confession just a little bit more.  Because I am happier and just plain nicer when I go to confession frequently.  The more I go, the more I desire to go to confession, to get pruned, to root out those little grubs that are just tyring to eat at me and destroy me.  My Father is just waiting for me to allow HIM to help me bear more fruit; for myself, for my family, for the world.