Just Because

Just because he is so wonderful, he left work early to spend the afternoon with me.    

It was just what I needed today.  I love him so much! 


The Giving

Tonight was a night I hope to never forget.   It was an important night in a journey that we have been on as a family.  Earlier this year while reading the Compassion blog, I learned the impact that a family gift can have on the family of our sponsored children.   I was amazed, inspired, and wanted to offer that opportunity for the families that we sponsor children from.   Upon talking about it with our family, we set a goal and have for the past six months been reaching for that goal

Yesterday, we ran the last batch of cans to the recycle center.  As a family we counted the money that has been collecting in the jar over the past six months.  E was excited.   "Just think Mom, just think what we could do in a year!"   Having the same thoughts, I was so proud of him.  

The money from the jar taken to the bank, the money from savings moved over, we were all excited for tonight when we would send the money to Compassion.    After dinner, we gathered and prayed.   This gift that we are giving was not the original goal that I had set in my mind, but the amount we were giving came with some sacrifice on each of our parts.   I am so proud of the kids as they gave from their allowance.   They gave not only the part of their allowance designated for giving, but they pulled money out of their own spending money.   I cannot tell you how many weeks the kids would come up to me and ask if they could put more money into the jar.    Mark and I kept our commitment to our part of the goal even when the income coming in decreased.  Our prayer was a prayer of thanks to God for providing so that we could still give to these families.  The gift is ultimately from Him, we are just the tools he used in this situation.

The kids were able to send the money to the kids families via the Compassion website.  It was touching to see how seriously they were taking it.  

We talked about how fun it would be to be a fly on the wall when the families are told about the gift.  We decided there would be laughter and joy.   Would there be tears?   Would there be hugs?   Would there be silence due to the shock?   I hope most of all, they feel loved. 

I am amazed at how seriously E and Addy took this project.   I love their tender hearts and the way they were able to think about these families above and beyond themselves.  Again, I am grateful to Compassion International for giving our family a larger world view and for giving us the opportunity to touch another person's life in another corner of the world.  

I am sure the words here do not communicate the feelings and emotions I have inside of me tonight. 



Freedom from the restrictions that are part of everyday routine.   That is what we did, even if for just a few moments, this afternoon.  The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, it was great day for a walk.   Upon arriving at the school, the kids took off running across the field.  It is amazing to me the energy that children find when placed in an area with little to no boundaries.   Just when they were ready to go home because we had walked far enough, an open field encourages them to run, play, and laugh.   Pix, free from his leash, also had a burst of energy and was running full speed with the kids, barking while they laughed.   All three enjoying the sun and fresh air.  

Today we all took a bit of a break from the routine and structure of life, enjoying the day with each other and enjoying each other.   It was a much needed break after the past few weeks of starting the school year, starting a new job, and crushing deadlines with products that need to be delivered.   


A Glimpse

For the past two days while we are getting ready for the day, Addy has sung a song to me while we are drying/styling her hair.  These are songs that only she knows, her own compositions.    Until this morning, I was not sure if these songs were for my ears to hear or if she thought the noise of the hair dryer made them private.   This morning when the hair do was complete, she asked me if I liked her song, to which I replied, yes.  

Yesterday's song was about how she loved her family and each person was named one by one.   This morning the song was about her love for God.   She has always had a tender heart towards God.   She loves to pray before the meals thanking God for everything.   She will begin her list of things that she is thankful for which has included our family, our Compassion friends, the eagles, the trees, the flowers, the earth, etc.   I am always intrigued as to what makes her list of things mentioned for the day.  She has talked to the crossing guard at school about the beautiful days that God has made.   I love that talking about God and her love for him is so easy for her.  

This morning before the song started she told me that she reads her bible every morning.  We talked about that for a few minutes and then the song began.    I cannot remember all of the lyrics to her song, but there are a few that touched me. 

I love my family. 
They are very special to me.
I love God.
I read my bible every day
and if everybody would read their bible every day like me,
they would have a seed in their hearts.
Because when you love God,
He plants a seed in your heart,
a seed in your heart that begins to grow.

I love the glimpses into her heart and into her thoughts at moments like these.   The honest and pure thoughts that are often crowded out in the busyness and excitement of a day come out.


A Beautiful Girl

Today we celebrate our beautiful daughter.   Seven years ago today she entered into our lives, a blessing from God.   At 7:33 in the morning Addy was placed on my chest and I looked into her eyes for the very first time, a connection was made immediately.    Our lives changed for the better when she joined our family.

My darling daughter as you turn one year older today I pray that you know how wonderful you are.   You brighten our days with your beautiful smile and cheery personality.  You have a very giving and tender heart, always thinking of others first.  Your artistic flair and your passion for life will take you far in life.   I pray that you never loose your your self confidence.   I thank God for the gift that you are to each of us dear Addy.   I pray for God's protection on you each and every day of your life.   We love you!


The best part of my day

The time is quarter to four in the afternoon.    The house has been quiet all day.   Through the open windows, I hear my children coming home from school.   As I listen to them in the distance, I anticipate the tales of adventure that filled their days.  To my delight, the day has been good for them.    We sit together and talk about our days, and E begins to laugh at something said.  His laugh is contagious, one that you just can't help laughing along with.   When he laughs, his whole face lights up and his eyes sparkle.    This laugh is usually brought on by Addy's sense of humor, and they will both end up laughing together.  Today Addy and I can't help but join E in the laughter.   It is a moment we share together, and a moment I relish before I head downstairs to begin teaching.  Moments like these cannot be manufactured or forced, they just happen. 

This morning while struggling through some things, I prayed to God for a gift today, something in my day that would stand out as a gift from Him.   The precious moments I had with my children this afternoon was a gift, and they are a gift.   Thank you God. 


A weekend away

This weekend we went to my sister's house for a birthday celebration.   I love being with my sister and her family.   Her home is so comfortable and welcoming.   Every time we visit her, she goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we feel welcome, when in all actuality, just having her and her family there is more than enough to make us want to come.   When stepping her home, there is a sense of calm throughout.   I find this completely amazing and wonderful considering a two year old resides there as well.   This is a calm that I relish and absorb as quickly as I can, letting it find it's way into my very inner soul so that when I return to the busy and hectic schedule that is my life, I am refreshed. 

This weekend we were celebrating my dad's and Addy's birthday.   With the completion of a fire pit, the celebration happened outside and s'mores were the birthday treat this year.   It was a fun and special evening.  

While the entire visit was a lot of fun, there is one part that is a highlight in my visit.   When we arrived on Saturday, the mail had just come.   Sitting in the mailbox was a child information packet from Compassion.    The little life that she and I had been praying about for a week and a half since she had signed up with Compassion was about to be met.   I could hardly wait for her to open the envelop so we could meet the little life that we would be praying for and that she would be communicating with.   What a cutie he is, a nine year old boy from India.   I am so excited to share this adventure with her as we share our letters and prayers together.  


Just to be heard

There are people in our lives that, like the sun breaking through for just a moment on a cloudy day, shine into our lives and we take notice.   Perhaps it is more than just the sun peaking through, rather more like the warmth of the summer months that encourages flowers to grow and we are never the same.  Whether the brief encounter or a season of growth, we seldom forget the impact left in our lives from these visits. 

When I look at the people who are impacting the lives of my children, I notice they are all doing the same thing.   Of course it is in their own unique way, but when stripped down to the very simple act, it is the same.   They are listening to my children.   By listening, they are imparting a sense of value and giving love.  Part of this realization comes from the journey I have been on in my life that has opened my eyes and allows me to see today what is probably so plain and obvious to many people.

Today while attending a field trip with my daughter and her class, we sat by a little girl on the bus who I think just wanted to be heard.   I obviously don't know much about her home life, but she was telling me about her mom and her brother and some things that she was frustrated with.   Now I understand that children will talk and sometimes exaggerate the truth.   I get that, I often tell my husband I wonder what our children say about us when we are not listening.   But, this little girl talked so much, that neither my daughter or I could say anything, she had things that she wanted to say.  So, we listened. 

I have recently started a new job teaching classes to three to five year old children.   They come into class excited to talk about the shoes they have on, what their siblings did that morning, or even the fact that they have a sibling.  They would sit and talk through the whole class if we didn't have material to cover. 

I am so thankful to the adults in my children's lives that stop and listen to them.   It gives them a sense of purpose, identity, security, and love.   I hope that in my day as I am trying to stay on task and manage the busy and hectic schedules of life, that I don't forget to stop and listen.   I pray that to the children God has placed in my life, I can be one who will listen in their life.  

Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me."    Mark 9: 36-37 NLT 



My Sponsored Child Taught Me....

We received mail from our Sponsored Children today.   A letter from India and a letter from Honduras.   Our correspondent child in India has been very responsive as of late.   We have received two letters from him this week.   In a previous letter, I asked him about the source of his water.    This week we received the answer to that question.   His water source is 656 feet away from their house.   They take drums and other utensils to get the water.   The kids and I mapped out the distance and talked about what that means for him to get his water.   At first E thought it was not that far until we started talking about carrying a 5 gallon bucket full of water that distance and that the water in the bucket was your water for the day, there would not be a faucet to turn on to get a glass of water or to wash dishes.  

Our child from India has taught us what it is (in a very small way) to have the water source that we do.

When we began sponsoring her a year and a half ago, her brother was just born.  In the year and a half that we have been corresponding, I asked about her brother and what his name was.   She responded with his name this past summer.   I have been praying for both children by name.   To my wonderful surprise, in today's letter there was a picture of our sponsored daughter holding her brother.   She wanted us to have a picture of her and her brother.  This is also the first picture of our daughter that she is smiling in.  It brought tears to my eyes.   What a gift that she would want to send us a piece of her life as we share pictures of our life here.

Our daughter in Honduras has taught me the importance of investing in a life, even if it is just by letter.

By investing in letter writing and collecting a few photographs, I have gained so much more than I ever thought I would.   I started sponsoring children as a way to make a difference in a child's life.   I hoped that it would help with their education, health, and their relationship with God.   Little did I know when we made the choice to sponsor children that it would affect my life in so many ways.

I did not know when I began sponsoring children that:
I would enjoy writing letters as much as I do. 
I would come to love a child through writing letters.
I would be so excited when a letter in a cream colored envelope is sitting in my mailbox.
I would gain a new appreciation for the different countries and cultures on a new level.
I would love searching for the appropriate gift that can be sent to the children.   
The desire that would become so strong within me to visit these children and give them a hug.

My Sponsored Children have taught me what it is to give and what a gift it is to be the one giving.


A New Adventure

Tonight was E's first night of flag football.   He has been so excited waiting for this night.   Tonight was a night of drills to assess the skill levels of each of the kids.   It was fun for me to sit and watch E run and throw a ball and be on the field among peers.   He talks about playing football at school each day with his friends, now was my time to see him doing something he loves to do. 

The league is set up with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  I like how the evening is set up.   The kids arrive at the field and begin the evening with a practice.   After a half hour of practice, they play a 45 minute game.   The evening ends with a 15 minute talk about having Christ centered thoughts about their lives when they are at school, on the field, and any other place in life.  

As tonight was a skill assessment night, we do not know which team E will be on, I know he is hoping to be on the Vikings, but ultimately he is just excited to be on the field.


First Day

All of the preparations were ready last night.   Lunches packed.  Clothes laid out.  Backpacks loaded ready for the journey to school.   Addy was excited and could not wait for the first bell of the school year to ring.   E, decked out in his Vikings gear could not wait to see his friends again.

Beautiful brown eyes, shining with the excitement of the day greet me at days end.   There is barely time to get a word in as each of them share the news from the day.   New friends, new schedules, and new teachers.  A brand new beginning.

Both are excited for day two. 



Fall is here.  It is a feeling I get before the weather cools.    Soups start to sound good versus the fresh veggie salads that I have been eating.    The thoughts of putting on jeans and a sweatshirt are not appalling, but actually sound nice.   While walking down the aisle of Target this past week the fragrance of cinnamon, pumpkin, and other "fall" scents was present, and I didn't cringe.   

Another sign that fall is here is that the school supplies, after sitting in backpacks for a month, are now tucked safely in the desks at school awaiting use next Tuesday.   We have visited the classrooms and met the teachers for the upcoming year, and found out that each E and Addy have friends in their classrooms.   I think this year is going to be good, possibly even great.