Not Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday..... not for me today.   I have had too many days of few words, today they are bubbling out!  

Last night was a turning point for me and, I am on the mend.   I am feeling much better today.  I have been able to read today which is HUGE for me because my eyes have not been able to focus for too long on detailed information.   

Since I have two more days of being home, doctor's orders, I am also hand writing a letter to each of our Compassion Children!  Hey, I have no where else I have to be right!?!  I normally use the online writing tool and send pictures that way, but today, they are getting a hand written letter along with calendar pages from last year's calendars that have inspirational quotes on them.  

The other really fun part of my day is that Mark bought me a journal and it arrived today!   Last week before I got sick, I found out exactly why my word for the year is Embrace.  I don't think that the reason for this word could be any more loud and clear than what I found out last Tuesday.   And while I can't put all of the details out on the blog right now for many reasons, Mark wanted me to have a way to journal some of the thoughts and feels as we move through this year.   Here it is.... my new journal....

I can't wait to fill it with words!  But today, I am just enjoying the newness of it, the blank pages, and the unbroken binding. 


Reason Behind the Silence

It has been quiet on this blog because I have not been feeling well.    The recovery process has been long and very slow.   I have spent much of the past four days on the couch.   

In between my periods of sleeping, I have had a lot of time to think, reflect, and pray.   Perhaps future blog posts are coming out of it. 

As of now, five minutes of screen time is about all I can handle, so with that, know that I am working on recovery and can't wait to be back out here blogging and reading your blogs again hopefully very soon! 


Wonderful Wednesday

This week, we received another letter from Mary Grace and it was accompanied with the above photo!!   Although damaged in the process of getting here, it shows Mary Grace with some of the things that she was able to buy with the Christmas money we sent to her.   She was also able to buy a dress for her, her sisters, and for her aunt.   I absolutely LOVE the candid shots that come.   I also notice that her hair has grown longer since her picture was updated with Compassion.  

Today we also received a letter from Vivek in India who tells us that he took part in the drama that they did at the center when they celebrated Christmas.  He also bought a "blanket, glass, plate, tiffin, and wollen cap" for his Christmas gift.  

It has been fun to hear from the kids again after the long period of no letters! 


A Night Out

Being sick over the weekend leaves my energy reserves a little low.   It was so tempting, after the day of work, to want to put on pajamas and cuddle in on the couch with a book.  However, we had put it on the calendar, so I slipped into a nice outfit and head out for an evening with him.   Instead of our usual places to grab something to eat, we try something a little different. 

We sit across from each other with nothing to distract us, nothing between us but the small table.   We are not here because of disaster control or to fix anything, rather here to just be together.   We don't have anything that needs to be discussed which feels good.   Too often, we let the busyness of life get in the way of time together.  Now, we have time.  Time to sit, talk, and share.   We discuss the events of our day, the books we are reading, and the people we have talked to that day.     

Dinner is finished and I can't help but smile.   I am deeply content.   I want to linger at the table longer, not wanting the time to end.  While I know that evenings like these won't become a routine event in our schedule, I am looking forward to the next time the opportunity presents itself.   In the meantime, I am grateful for the night that we had, because nights like these cannot be made, they just happen.  


Thoughts on Thursday: Pieces of My Heart

The mail has come, and much to my delight, there was a letter today from Mary Grace.    Our newest sponsored child, she is one of our most frequent writers.   

Today her letter thanks us for the cards, pictures, and the "great advices" that we have sent to her.   She tells us that her Christmas break was two weeks long and thanks us for our prayers.  

Every letter that she sends us has a bible verse and a picture she has drawn.  

The verse today:
Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  Issiah 43:5.  

The picture today:
A fruit tree by a house.  
 Inside the house, five people:  
E, Mary Grace, Addy, Tito Mark, and Tita Janelle.   

I was so excited about finally receiving a letter and the pictures, that I called Mark right away at work and read the letter to him.    His favorite part of the letter is when Mary Grace says:
"I'm so thankful to God because I have apart in your heart." 

And this is my thought on this Thursday in the middle of February.   There are many pieces of my heart spread around the world.   From right here in my home to as far as the other side of the world.  While they may not know it, these children are making a huge difference in my life.  


She is Growing Up

This month marks our three year anniversary with Compassion.    Three years ago this month, we logged onto the website, found two children that were close to our children's ages, and began writing letters and building relationships.    We chose to sponsor a little boy just a couple months older than E.  Unfortunately, he left the Compassion program just two months after we began sponsoring him.   We also chose to sponsor a young girl, a few months older than Addy. 

This is the picture of Yenifer taken when she was five years old.  Little did I know when we chose her, how dear to us she would become. 

Two years later, when she was almost seven, we received this picture.

By this time, we learned that she has a new baby brother.   Her letters, written by her mother, are full of love and always end with "Lots of hugs and kisses."   When we send her money for gifts, she buys baby dolls and umbrellas.  

To my delight, when I opened my e-mail today, this picture was waiting for me. 

Now she is eight and a half years old.   I can't help but notice what a pretty young lady she is becoming.   When we send her money for gifts, she buys new dresses and shoes.  We now know that her mother is looking for work because her parents have separated and she is now living with her grandmother.   My heart breaks for her as each letter comes and she says that her parents are not together yet.  

Three years, she has been apart of our lives.  Through letters, prayers, and pictures, we have shared parts of our lives, our dreams, and our struggles.  She continues to ask us to come and visit her, and my heart longs to be with her as well.   We continue to pray for the opportunity to visit her.   


Shaun Groves in Concert

Shaun Groves, is coming!   I can hardly believe it!   When the plans first were being made, it seemed like it would be forever before I would be able to share the new, but here we are, just weeks away, and now I can tell you, Shaun is coming!   

The plans were made last fall when I wrote this post about faith.   After talking with our pastors about asking Shaun to come and talk on behalf of Compassion, I wondered if it would, if it could, really happen.  The joy that filled my heart when the date was reserved for Shaun cannot be explained! 

We have done Compassion Sundays at our church for a couple of years now, and the people of the church have stepped up in a big way in sponsoring children.   When it came to thinking about Compassion Sunday this year, I wanted people to hear about Compassion from someone who has been with the children that Compassion works with.   Someone who has traveled to these countries and seen first hand what the impact of a sponsor does.    While I am still waiting for my opportunity to do this,  I thought of Shaun and the information and experience he could share.   

Now, in just three weeks, Shaun is coming to our church to share about Compassion and we will have another opportunity for people to sponsor children.  I would love to see you there if you are in the area, either call the phone number on the image or leave me a comment and I will get tickets to you. 

If you are unable to make the concert but would like to see some of Shaun's travels, check out his site.  There you can easily find blog posts about his visits to different countries where Compassion works.  


Compassion at Thousand Foot Krutch

Last night we had the opportunity to work our first Compassion event of this year.    The venue was at a local church and the evening filled with music from five bands:

Nine Lashes
Thousand Foot Krutch

This was opening night of the tour, so the energy levels from the bands was high.   It was fun to see them all interacting with the attendees of the concert. 

When we first arrived to the Compassion table, everything was set up and we were greeted by the Compassion rep, Russ, a really great guy whom we enjoyed visiting with throughout the night.   The doors were already open for the VIP tickets that were sold to the concert.    As I watched the crowds, I noticed the age demographic of the majority of the attendees, and I wondered what the night would hold. 

Attended by mostly middle school and high school students, which made traffic really slow at the Compassion table.   We did have a couple of youth pastors stop by the table asking questions about their youth group signing up to sponsor a child, but for obvious reasons they wanted to talk to their youth groups before making the final decision.    We had a couple of parents stop by who were already sponsors which was fun to chat with them about their children.  

Unfortunately, there was only one child sponsored last night, but as I have mentioned before, it is the story behind the sponsorships that I love so much.

A young girl came up to our table just after the door opened for general admission.    She was with a friend, and they looked at the table for a long time.   About halfway into the night, on a break between bands, she came back to the table.   She looked longingly at the packets displayed on the table, and looked at her friend, "What do you think?" she asked.   Her friend just shrugged her shoulders and stepped over to the band's merchandise table that was next to us.  

The young girl continued to look at the pictures, and all of a sudden, tapped her friend on the should, "I need to borrow your phone."


"I need to call my mom and dad to make sure I can do this, that I won't get into trouble."

She steps aside, and calls her mom.    Upon handing the phone to her friend, her eyes are lit up as she tells her friend that she can sponsor a child. 

Hesitantly she steps back up to the table, and explains that she really wants to sponsor a child, but does not have the money on her at the moment.   Explaining that it is OK, she can mail a check, she again looks at the table.   Looking at us again, she asks, "Now what do I do?"

"You get to pick any child here that you want."  I explain as her friend steps to her elbow and asks her to hurry the next band is coming up.

She quickly grabs a packet,  "This one," she says, "because she is as old as I am."   Their birthdays are just months apart.

This young girl continues to be in my prayers today.   I pray that her life will be as blessed and impacted as the young girls life she has chosen to sponsor. 

While the number of sponsorships isn't a record number, the story, as important as all of the others, is one that leaves my heart soaring and happy.  


Five Minute Friday: Trust

Trust, when I think of the word, you come to mind.   You have embodied this word in my life in so many ways.    There was never a question in my mind that you would be there.   I grew up with the security that through the phases of life, the awkward transitions, the celebrations, and the tears, you would be near.    I didn't have to look to find you or wonder where you were, you were right there, a stable presence in my life. 

A daddy plays an important part in a girl's life, and you have been that very important part in mine.   From painting my fingernails for the first time to crossing the line of the half marathon, you have been there.    You were consistent through the college years, even though those were not easy for either of us.  You showed me the kind of man I wanted to marry, to be the father of my children, and to wait until I found him.

Trust is a big word, a quality that is sometimes hard to find.    How fortunate I am that you are my dad, someone I can trust, look up to, and have as a friend.   You taught me what it means to be passionate.   You taught me what it means to be open minded, confident, and strong. 

I don't say it as often as I should, but thank you Dad, for being someone I can trust, for being present, being understanding, and for loving.  

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Fridays.  Today's word: Trust.


Journey with Friends

Because he knows I love to plan events, he let me plan his party.   I would ask his opinion or what he wanted, and in all reality, he didn't have a lot of requests.   Just a few. 

1.  No black.  (We will save that for a couple of years!)
2.  His age was not to be on the cake.  (OK, we are doing cupcakes anyway!)
3.  Don't go overboard on decorations.   (Um, OK, define overboard)

By the time the event came, I think we were both feeling good about the decorations.   We did end up having balloons because Addy insisted that for a party, balloons were a MUST. 

There is one thing, though, that even thought I tried to sneak it in, I think it was bordered on "too much" much decorations.....


I like the festive flair the confetti adds to the tables.  His concern, cleaning it up for the entire week after the event. 

I did my best to keep it all confined and keep it on tables, carefully wrapping up the tablecloths at the end of the night.  

However, today, as I was sitting down to put my shoes on for the day, I noticed something shining on the carpet.  I knew instantly what it was, and it brought a smile to my day.  It took me back to the night that our home was full of family, full of friends, full of laughter and conversation.   A night that even though we were celebrating him, I was able to sit around a table with some very dear friends enjoying an evening together. 

Like the confetti, a spot shining in the middle of my family room, these ladies have brought so much into my life and in their own ways, have each brought something special into my week, just because of who they are. 

We travel through life and sometimes, we are fortunate enough to bump into someone who wants to journey with us.  Because of these women, I am learning, growing, and truthfully, having a great time in life right now.


Wacky Hair Day

Today is Wacky Hair Day at school.     

Before wacky hair day was over last year, they both had plans to make this year bigger and better.  With a lot of time planning for the day, they wake up early in the morning ready to get wacky.    The more the hair is gelled, colored, or sticking up, the better.  

E gels his hair and contemplates color, after much consideration, he has thought through no color, one color, two colors, three colors, and settles on two colors.  Quickly spraying his hair (and hoping I don't color the bathroom at the same time,) he is happy with the results.   He decides to forgo the hat this morning as he rushes out the door for his before school meeting.  

While working on Addy's hair, she looks in the mirror and wonders if she will have the most wacky hair in the class.   When she thinks no one is around to listen, she is singing about how wacky and cool her hair is.  She is riding high on the ability to be outside the box of getting ready for school.   I love this and hope that she is able to remain carefree for many more years.  

I enjoy their excitement about wacky hair day.   Growing up, I never wanted to be wacky or stand out, it is not who I am.   My equivalent of wacky would be to wear socks that don't match, which were in my shoes all day so no one could see them, something my children do on a daily basis because they enjoy mixing things up.  That for me was wacky.   I was afraid to be different, to stand out, to do something that others may laugh at.  

Today I am celebrating wacky-ness of my children because I was never able to let go and be wacky as a child.


Five Minute Friday: Real

I look forward to their visit each week.   When they come, they bring their books, their music, and their talents.   We sit together at the piano and share in the experience of learning music.   I love to hear what they have worked on throughout the week.  Sometimes they surprise me by playing better than I have ever heard them play before, my heart soars, I am so excited for them and their accomplishment!   I love it when the look of uncertainty passes and is replaced with the look of understanding when introducing new techniques and concepts.   The piano is where we meet, and experience

moments of celebration
moments of tears
moments of laughter
moments of learning
and moments of growing. 

My students are not the only ones growing during this time here.  They have taught me many lessons about life, and I am better because of it.  

Here, at the piano, with these students whom I love, is where I am supposed to be.   It is real and it brings joy. 

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Fridays.  Today's word: Real. 


Thoughts on Thursday: Expanding

I have a funny quirk.   When I am in a restaurant or in a position where I am handing payment over for food and beverage that is prepared for me, I have the feeling that I HAVE to like the food or drink.   I don't want to pay for something and not like it.   So, I quickly find myself in a rut. 

Case in point, in the beginning of last year, I found myself drinking my first cup of coffee.  Before that, if I ever entered a coffee shop, I drank Chai Tea Lattes.   Nothing else.   Now, it is a skinny, sugar-free vanilla latte.   For a year now, that has been my drink.   I want to try something new, but don't know where to start!   Care to help me expand my palate?  I am curious what is your drink of choice?


It Has Been Quiet

 It has been very quiet at our house on the Compassion front.   We received only one letter during the month of January, here is hoping they will come flooding into my mailbox in February!!   Although today did not bring any letters,  we did receive some fun mail today.   

We ordered Compassion t-shirts for everyone in our family because we have been on the Compassion Advocacy site and have been fortunate to find some events happening practically in our backyard!   I had expanded our search to 100 miles because for a long time, there was nothing nearby.   Now we have three events on the calendar with a possibility of a fourth!   I am so very excited and will definitely write about each one as they happen.  

The kids are so excited about their new shirts, they want to wear them to school tomorrow, how can I say no?!?!  

Words (3) Wednesday: Unhinged

It was a battle of wills
tears of frustration come from both sides.
Summoning all my strength
boundaries had to be drawn.
The first of many to come,
I kneel, praying for wisdom.

Guide me as a mother,
yours first, mine for a short time.
Help me to shape and mold
not break and crush.

Seven months,
the gates are opened.
the joy comes rushing in.
"Look, Mom!"
A new level achieved.

Brightness is back in the eyes,
and the flamboyant personality returns.
Arms embrace me,
I lift a prayer of thanks.
Music, as it should be,
is once again enjoyed. 

I am linking up with Julie for Words (3) Wednesday.   Be sure to check out her beautiful way with words.  Today's word: Unhinged.