That 3 Letter Word…..

I am re blogging this series from a blog I love called 4 Little Fergusons. Whether you’re single, newlywed or married for many years I encourage you to go ahead and be blessed by the honesty and passion in this series on sex. Let’s face it, in a culture pushing a twisted version of sex into our faces 24/7 we need lots of encouragement to embrace God’s view of sex inside and outside of marriage! So follow the links and enjoy the ride ūüôā Hope you’ll be blessed, convicted and re energized as much as I was!
AF

4 little Fergusons

Today we are talking about a 3 letter word.

It begins a series on the ‚ÄúS‚ÄĚ word‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ

SEX.

{Eeeeek!}

I know, I know, it makes people squirm and blush, but you all, as the Body of Christ, we have got to stop hiding and start talking about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have so much I want to talk to you about in this area, and I have even contacted a friend to guest post about this important topic.

We have already discussed talking to your kids about sex.  Honest and simple terms with no squirming or shaming them for asking.  If you missed it, you are in luck, your assignment for today, is to go read it here: The Birds & The Bees Post.

Birds-and-bees.jpg

¬† I have been working on this series for 2 months now, and I have to tell you, either I have ‚Äúnew car syndrome‚ÄĚ {Where‚Ķ

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“Seven”

I love to read.

On a¬†grey, rainy¬†day (like today) there is nothing I feel like doing more than crawling into my p.j.’s and curling up on the couch with three pillows, a fuzzy blanket and a good book.¬† Unfortunately, I rarely have the freedom to do this, but it’s a thought that circles through my mind constantly every time I look outside and see rain…therefore completely eliminating any shred of motivation I once had!¬† I almost always have at least 2 or 3 books that I am in the process of reading.¬† I like to have a few on the go, so I can choose according to my mental or emotional state at the time.¬† Therefore, I am always on the lookout for a good book to hide on my shelf.

Recently I discovered there were numerous books in the library at church that I had never taken the advantage of borrowing.  (FREE books are my favourite!)

One of those books was Seven by Jen Hatmaker.¬† “An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.”

I am still not even half way through this book, but I just had to write about it because it is just that good!¬† ūüôā

In Seven Jen takes you on a hilarious, passionate and deeply honest journey into the materialistic chaos our western culture has become.¬† She journals about her 7 month long experiment of giving God control over 7 very personal areas of life that we love to sweep under the carpet and say…”It doesn’t matter that much!”

I am convicted.

Jesus had no place to lay his head while here on earth, and warned us again and again about the trap our earthly possessions¬†create.¬† Not only that, there are people all over the world who are struggling merely to survive one day at a time…yet here I am.¬† Overindulging, hoarding, craving.¬† Me in all my glorious rubble.¬† 1600 sq. feet, closets stuffed full of clothing and possessions, hundreds of dollars worth of food¬†stocked in my fridge and pantry…yet still wanting more.¬†¬†Shopping for the sake of shopping.¬† Carelessly throwing around that¬†word ‘need’¬†to describe my unquenchable¬†greed.¬† Not that big of a deal?¬† I challenge you to go around your house and start counting your stuff, or adding up dollars’¬†worth in your head as you look around your humble dwelling.¬† You will be¬†shocked.¬† Guaranteed.

Unfortunately, at this point I am still mulling all this over in my mind…and planning on going¬†scavenging¬†other peoples’¬†junk at garage sales¬†this weekend!¬† So don’t think I’m preaching at you.¬† Just thinking out loud.¬† (Yes, I know that is dangerous!)¬† Here’s a quick little summary of the experiment¬†Jen Hatmaker describes.¬† I may or may not choose to go on my own little experiment.¬† Right now my flesh is screaming…please no!!¬†¬†Let me know what your thoughts are, or better yet read the book yourself!¬† Keep in mind this is not some crazy idea simply relying on¬†our own discipline to see what we can achieve.¬† This is about decreasing ME and increasing Christ.¬† Sacrificing stuff so that others¬†might clearly see His Presence living in me.

Month #1 – Jen chooses to eat only 7 foods for an entire month!¬† Yes, 7.¬† Keep in mind that¬†health is still important, so it needed to be foods that would sufficiently¬†nurture her body, not just 7 of her favourites!¬† She chose chicken, eggs, whole wheat bread, sweet¬†potatoes, spinach, avocados and apples.¬†¬†Water was the only acceptable¬†fluid and salt¬†was the only seasoning permitted.¬† No extra sauces,¬†no butter, no coffee…the list goes on and on.¬†¬†A few friends decided to join her in this little experiment but adopted their own version.¬† They chose¬†7 of the world’s most impoverished countries and chose to eat as the poorest of each of those nations for three days each.¬† While¬†they¬†identified with¬†each country’s poorest they remembered to pray¬†for and¬†educate themselves on that country’s struggles.

Month #2 – Clothes.¬† For one month Jen chose only 7 articles of clothing to wear.¬† Now, to clarify…two pairs of shoes counted as one item and undergarments didn’t count at all…but still!¬†¬†7¬†articles of¬†clothing to mix and match for a whole month!¬† Day in, day out!¬†¬†No accessories, no coat, no making exceptions for that occasion where you really want to make a good impression!¬† I don’t know, girls.¬† I think we’d all do well to be put on this experiment for a month and¬†have to come face to face with our own insecurity and obsession with what everyone else is thinking of us!¬†¬†I know way too often I find myself looking in the mirror wondering¬†how I’ll look to other people.¬† Ouch.

Month #3 – Possessions.¬† For one month Jen chose to give away 7 items she possessed…every day!¬† Only one week of that month was allowed to be clothing…and as many of us would find, Jen ended up giving away much more than 42 articles of clothing once the closet cut occurred!¬† Also, a rule for this month that I especially appreciated and¬†hit me right in the gut was that the giving needed to be purposeful.¬† No¬†just sorting through your junk and hauling it off to Goodwill.¬†¬†This¬†was not just ridding the house of extra¬†stuff we’ve been needing to get rid of anyway, though I’m certain that would happen in the process!¬† If that were all this consisted of, I think I’d manage just fine!¬† I love to go through all my stuff and cart off bags stuffed with unused and unwanted¬†items to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store.¬†¬†The sad part is, I usually smile¬†gleefully to myself packing up these bags because I am looking forward to replacing my old or unwanted items with new things.¬† It’s more like a trade off than¬†decreasing my mound of earthly treasures.¬† No,¬†this¬†month consisted of surveying the overflow and having things available to give…then looking for people who needed¬†them.¬† Not only did this rid the house of a bunch of stuff…this¬†pressed Jen and her family and friends to¬†have their eyes wide open and their hands holding loosely.¬† If you’re looking for¬†needs…you will find them no problem.¬† If all you’re doing is sorting junk…you’ll probably¬†have no clue what else to do with any of¬†it other than dump it¬†off at the thrift store or sell it at a garage sale.¬† Hm.

Month #4 – I haven’t actually gotten past this point in the book but looking forward to it!¬† Media steals the show for month 4 and with a quick peak ahead I see that Jen chooses 7 types of media to¬†eliminate…yes, I said ELIMINATE…from her family’s time for the whole month.¬† She chose TV, Gaming, Facebook/Twitter, iPhone apps,¬†Radio, Texting and Internet.¬† The last two had some exceptions.¬† Gulp.¬† I¬†have thought a lot about this issue of media consumption,¬†and have become disturbed at my own addiction to my phone and other types of media many times…but I have to admit this¬†would be a huge stretch for me!¬† More of Him, less of me…

Month #5 –¬†This month focuses on waste.¬†¬†Jen chooses 7 habits to promote a¬†‘greener’ lifestyle.¬† Say what you will about God being in control of the earth, etc.¬† Like it or not, we are still stewards of our habitat and I believe¬†respecting the environment and doing our best to care for it are¬†God-honouring.¬†¬†The 7¬†new ‘green’ habits Jen began this month were:¬†gardening, composting, conserving energy and water, recycling, driving only one car, shopping thrift and second-hand and buying local only.

Month #6 – Spending…yup you got it.¬†¬†7 places to spend money for a¬†month and that’s it.¬† Originally I went…oh, that one’s not so bad.¬† But think.¬†¬†7 places to spend money included the grocery store, the kids’ school, gas station, online bill pay, limited travel fund, emergency medical and¬†only as a last resort and if needed…Target.¬† No McDonald’s.¬†¬†No Tim Horton’s.¬† No shopping mall.¬† No movie rentals.¬†¬†Might be harder than first expected!

Month #7¬†–¬†Stress.¬† Not sure how this all comes together yet, so maybe I’ll have to¬†update this once I have read chapter 7.¬† For month # 7 Jen and her family choose to reduce stress in their lives¬†by 7 times a day taking a moment to pause from the chaos, meditate on¬†God’s Word and pray.¬† Sounds interesting.¬†¬†“Be still and know that I am God.”

So…

I will let you know what I decide to do about all this, and would love to hear your own ideas or experiences with the fight against materialism, greed and excess in our culture.

Wishing you a blessed day that consists of more of Jesus Christ, less of you.

AF

“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.¬† For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but¬†whosoever shall lost his life for my sake¬†and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.¬† For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole¬†world, and lost¬†his own soul?¬† Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Mark 8:34-37

Mother’s Day 2014

Sunday was Mother’s Day.

I will try to keep this from getting too long and sappy, but I just had to share a bit about my day because it was so beautiful!

As you know, we are in the process of adopting our two daughters.¬† This means we are spending lots of time visiting them, getting to know each other bit by little bit in preparation for…THE BIG MOVE…planned tentatively for mid to late June ūüôā¬†¬†Thanks to a thoughtful adoption team, I got to spend Mother’s¬†Day with¬†my daughters and celebrate the holiday in the best way possible…simply being together!¬†¬†It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and most of the time was spent outside.

We went canoeing on the lake.

We played at the park for hours in the fresh air and sunshine.

We played hide and seek.

We ate tall, swirly ice cream cones.

We went for a walk.

We blew bubbles.

We sang songs.

We laughed.

We hugged.

We kissed skinned knees.

We gave piggy back rides.

And I got to hear “Mommy” for the very first time ūüôā

I came home with a tiny little bean sprout in a Styrofoam cup, and strict instructions to water it every day….OR IT WILL DIE!!

So I, who unfortunately has had a terrible record with house plants of any kind, will be trying my very best to keep that little bean sprout alive.¬† So far, so good ūüôā

I also got some little scraps of paper cut by little fingers that love scissors!

It was the first day we got to spend more than a few hours with the girls, so it felt like we made some huge progress in getting to know each other.¬† Kirby and I came home exhausted (it’s been a while since we ran around playing all day long)¬†but so SO happy ūüôā

I hope that in the years to come, instead of wondering how many cards I will get, if my husband will bring me breakfast in bed, or if anyone even CARES…I will remember what¬†it felt like to spend my very first ‘real’ Mother’s¬†Day with my family and¬†be delighted simply in their presence.

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy my day with me.

Happy Momma’s Day!

 

 

Do it with GuStO!

Do what’s right in front of you.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile.¬† God keeps pressing this phrase into my heart, playing it over and over through my mind.¬† I hear it on the days when I am being pulled in a thousand different directions.¬†¬†I hear it¬†on the days¬†that are too quiet and I am letting myself worry about the future…and the past…and the present.¬† I hear it when I¬†am overwhelmed by the unknowns and intimidated by the¬†knowns.¬† I repeat it like a mantra at 6 o’clock when I’m exhausted and there’s still a thousand things to do.

Do what’s right in front of you…and do it with GUSTO!

Because…you see…if you never get a chance at tomorrow, or that next breath…it will only be the present that really matters.

Slow down.¬† Hold the baby longer than you need to, just to be sure he’s really sleeping peacefully instead of rushing off to the next chore.¬† Stop and get down on your knees to see that Lego house he built, the artwork being shoved into your hands or the ladybug on the ground.¬† Push yourself to get through the laundry folding now, while you have time, so it’s not one more thing driving you crazy in an hour.¬† Take a walk first thing, while the sun is still shining and the table is still¬†covered in cheerios.¬† ¬† ¬†

Be willing to exert yourself beyond what you think you can muster; for others, yourself, and Jesus Christ.

This is sometimes the way that I survive foster care.¬† Tomorrow may be terrifying.¬† Tomorrow may be painful.¬† Tomorrow may change everything.¬† But right now, there is a diaper that needs changing.¬† There are little hands that need to be held.¬† There are noodles to scoop and smiles to return.¬† Do what’s right in front of you.¬† There is no point wasting this moment because the next one looks so hard you can hardly breathe.¬† This moment is just as important as the next one.¬† The little moments add up to be something valuable.

So many people say to me, “I could¬†never do that.¬† I could never let them go.”

Well…maybe you could.¬† Maybe you could if you realized that these little moments are just as important as the big ones.¬† This child may leave.¬† Your heart¬†may break.¬† You will cry.¬† You might feel like you are of no significance.¬† But somebody still needs to care enough to bake him cookies.¬† Somebody still needs to be willing to put a band aid on her knee.¬† Somebody needs to love them while they’re in between homes.¬† Someone needs to be there¬†at 2 o’clock in the morning, to do¬†the crisis care.¬† Someone needs to stay up all night.¬† Someone needs to be there…today…right now.¬† Maybe tomorrow, he will go back home.¬† Maybe next month, she will move on to an adoptive home, and you will be left behind.¬†¬†Maybe you will get no credit, no gain, no accolades…but somebody still needs to do¬†the now.

I used to always say I wanted to adopt, but that I could never foster¬†because it would hurt too much.¬† Then God reminded me that the¬†kids don’t get to choose.¬† They don’t get to choose the least painful route.¬† They don’t¬†get to decide that it’s too hard for them.¬† They don’t get to evaluate whether they will get any personal gain.¬† It just happens.¬† So¬†I stopped feeling proud when I¬†proclaimed boldly that¬†I just couldn’t let them go…and instead began to feel incredible shame.¬† I was so busy protecting my own heart that I forgot the kids did not have that option.¬† If they were forced into¬†letting go, losing everything they loved, being thrown into unfamiliar homes¬†with unfamiliar people time¬†after time after time…surely I could choose to love despite the pain.¬† Especially when I open¬†my Bible and realize how much pain Jesus suffered, simply because¬†He chose to love me.¬†

Now…I am on the other end.

In two months, my daughters, who I have just met in the past two weeks…will move¬†here, to their new home with us.¬† I am ecstatic.¬† I am absolutely in awe.¬† I have waited a lifetime to be able to love and never let go.¬† Finally I get to be a part of the big picture, the one who gets to see the long term results and reap the long term benefits of parenting.¬† I can’t wait to jump in with two feet!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

But you know what?

I am so thankful for the past two years of letting go…again…and again…and again.¬† Because now I can understand that while I am gaining everything, they are losing alongside their gaining.¬† They are losing so much.¬† They are losing a home, friends, family, school, toys and the security¬†they have established where they are.¬†¬†

This does not make me want to change my mind, because they desperately need permanence.  They need a Mommy and Daddy that will be theirs forever.  But it helps me understand that it is not going to be picture perfect.  There are going to be very difficult days.  There is going to be fear, and anger and mistrust.  I am not always going to feel like this is the happily ever after it was supposed to be.   

Now I can understand and appreciate that while I was in training, while I was still walking the journey, someone else was willing to pour out their hearts for my daughters.  Someone else was willing to do the little things, day after day.  Thank you. 

And I hope that in the next few months, with the future looming large and¬†terrifying and exhilarating before me…that I will be able to relax and enjoy the ride ūüôā¬† I don’t want to miss a thing.¬†¬†

Do what’s right in front of you.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Decided to Start a Blog (and possibly a few more thoughts)

So…

I did indeed decide to start a blog!¬† To tell you the truth this is not a well thought out mission and may end in abandonment, but I do believe at the moment that this is a good idea ūüôā¬† There is a lot going on in my life right now and I have always enjoyed sharing my ideas with others through writing.¬† There are so many thoughts that get stuck in my brain that I would love to be able to share…and I am hoping this can be a place where the best of those…and maybe a few more…can make it.¬† I would like to share a bit about my journey to adoption and foster care, as well as provide education and exposure on that topic.¬† My walk with Jesus Christ is a continual adventure filled with incredible joy, humbling self discoveries, passion and always His grace arching over it all.¬† This touches every part of my life, so it will be weaved through every post, sometimes obvious sometimes subtle.¬† I invite you to join me on this ride, and hope this¬†can be a place where Jesus Christ is magnified and the¬†Kingdom of Heaven is advanced!

Talk soon

AF