Vacuumed Stairs

I vacuumed my stairs yesterday.    I know this probably does not seem like blog worthy material, but for me it is a big deal.   It was the first time in the month since school has started that I have had both the time and the energy to even contemplate attacking this project.   For some reason, the stairs being vacuumed is a big deal to me.   The house can be picked up and the bathrooms cleaned, but if I see that my stairs are dirty, it really bothers me.   Don't ask me why.   It is not like I look at the stairs of other houses that I walk into, actually, I never even think about it, but for some reason, mine are a constant reminder to me about my home.  But I digress. 

September has been an intense month, new schedules, new jobs, new classes, and new teachers.  Nothing, it seems, is the same.  The evenings are now filled not only with homework, piano lessons, rock drums, percussion lessons, and soon dance lessons, but also the many things I used to get done during the day time when I was home.   I am not complaining as I know there are many families who do this same routine, it is just very different for our family.   It has taken a lot of getting used to, but we are getting there.  

Amid the busyness and chaotic schedules, there has been so much that has been good.  Both of the kids are doing well with their new schedules, E at middle school, and Addy with the before school care.   Both are making new friends and challenging themselves in school, with music, reading, and math.   And both are exceeding my expectations.  What more can I ask for?   I am able to be home when the kids are home for the most part and help them with homework, something that I didn't have the opportunity to do before. 

I have the opportunity to work with some exceptional young people.  I had no idea I would be able to work with these young lives in the way that I am. I am able to assist in language classes by reading books, math class by helping with math problems, and assessing skills for the work force in the work based learning classes.  I am realizing what Mark hoped would be true, I am learning to love my new job. 

Another gift, the sunrise.   It is not that I am getting up any earlier, but rather than I happen to be driving to work while God is painting some absolutely breath taking sunrises.  As my car heads East, I have a full view of the colorful hues that begin each day.   One morning the clouds looked as if they were lined in liquid gold, set against a yellow, orange, and blue background.   Of course, a picture cannot capture the stunning scene.  It is a moment each day when I connect with God, giving him thanks for the blessings and asking him to walk beside me through the day.   And he does not fail. 

After the intense month of adjusting to the new way of life, yesterday I took time to wake up without an alarm, enjoy a cup of coffee with the love of my life while my puppy snoozed on my lap.   Then I vacuumed my stairs because I had time and energy to, and that felt good.   It felt good to do something "normal" or at least what I felt was "normal" from life before chaos. 

Tomorrow brings a new month and a hope that by the time we end that month, I will feel a little more of "normal" return to life.  


Happy Birthday Addy

My dear Addy, today as we celebrate you and everything you bring to our family on your birthday.  You have a great sense of humor which keeps us all laughing.   Even on some of the toughest days, your sense of humor can shine through and bring a smile to our faces.  You especially know how to make your brother laugh, it brings me so much joy to hear you both enjoying each other. 

Creativity is so natural for you.   From the day you first picked up a crayon, you have been one that creates.   Whether it is a picture, a card, or a sculpture, our house is full of your "touch" of creativity.   I enjoy seeing the world from your point of view through your creativity, it opens up my mind and my world.  

You have a positive outlook on life.   Many days, the smile that is on your face when you wake up is still so apparent at night when you go to bed.   You live life to the fullest, enjoying what each day brings, and finding the best that can be found in each day.   You don't let much get you down, often reminding me how to find the fun in each day. 

From the moment that you were placed in my arms, I knew God had given our family a gift.   He gave us a wonderful life to complete our family, someone who bring us so much joy and love.   I enjoy the relationship that we have and look forward to many years of friendship as you continue to become the wonderful young lady that God has intended you to be. 



He has seen the movie many times and knows it by heart, where I have only seen it once. He quotes the lines right along with the actors, not missing a cue.

The actress asks, "Do you believe me?" The actor on the movie is silent, but he turns to me looking me in the eye and says, " I do believe you."

The actress asks, "Do you trust me?" The actor again is silent, but he turns to me looking me in the eye and says, " I do trust you."

And I know deep in my heart that even on the hardest of days, I am going to hang on to these words because these words were not prompted or scripted. They were words that he chose to say to express his feelings and they will get us through.


A Letter To God

Dear God,

There isn't a day that goes by that these children aren't on my mind.   In the quiet moments when I am sitting, I wonder what they are doing at that same exact moment.   I think about them in the morning when I am getting ready for the day, and I hope and pray that they will feel your love as they begin their day.   They are one of the last thoughts on my mind at night during our conversations, as I pray for your protection over them.  When I am outside enjoying your glorious creation, so many times I wish they could be standing next to me sharing the same view. 

I can't tell you how much these children mean to me.   They have brought so much joy and love into my life.   I had no idea when Mark brought up sponsorship in February of 2009 how much I would fall in love with these young lives.   I was scared when we first began sponsoring these children because I didn't want to begin something that we couldn't keep up or commit to for the entire time they needed us.  I was completely unsure what to expect, but I took a step of faith, and began sponsoring our first two children.   I couldn't wait to write them a letter, to send them some information about our family, and to learn about them.  

I still remember the first letter we received, and the joy that just completely filled my soul when the letter was in my mailbox, I literally jumped for joy.   I could not wait to learn about this new little girl that we had sponsored.  And that is where the story begins.   A story of building a relationship.   A relationship that is built on love, prayers, and letters.  

I wondered how much I would come to love these children that we sponsor.   I wondered what impact if any that our family would have on their lives or them on mine.  Because of them, our children understand that the world is really not that big.  My children know that the children growing up around the world play games, draw pictures, sing songs, and love you just the same as they do.  They understand that our world is bigger than just our home, our street, our city, our state, and our country.   I value that our children understand that when it seems like others seem to have more than we do, that you have truly blessed our family in abundance.  These are lessons that they have learned from our children around the world. 

These children have changed my life in so many ways.  I know that their prayers that they close each letter with are heard and answered by you.   I have seen results of that in my life.   I love sharing bible verses and bible stories with them, just like I do with my own children.    I get excited about the stories of passed exams, promotions into the next grades or levels, and about their hobbies and interests.   It never ceases to amaze me how love grows.   There is always enough love to give, and there is always more love to share.  

I have to admit, I wondered how long the excitement about the sponsorships would last.   I wondered when the letter writing would become a task, and when the fact that these children are many miles away would affect the relationship, but again, you have amazed me.   Nearly three and a half years later, and with seven children between sponsor and correspondent children,  I am still so very excited to write letters and communicate with them.   I still think of them constantly and pray for them daily.   

Thank you God, for this journey we are on with these precious lives around the world that are connected to our family because of you.   You have brought each special person into our lives, and each one is very much a blessing. 



First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school for three of us in this house.  

E began his first day of middle school, where in the world has the time gone?!?!  He got on the city bus, made it to school on time and did great.   He met one new young man who is in most of his classes and also plays percussion.  His favorite class, Science.  Why?  Because he could sit anywhere he wanted.   (Ah, the important things in life!)   He is excited about the class that uses the iPads, but thinks that class is going to be an easy A as today they learned where the power button is and how to slide the button to unlock the iPad, "Things I do EVERY morning."   At the very end of the conversation, E commented that he likes middle school better than elementary school, whew! 

Addy had her first day of School Age Child Care to begin her first day of school.   She said the morning was good, but quiet.   She loves her new teacher, they had Popsicles, and sang songs.   She is the recycling helper in the classroom this week, although she "doubt(s) there will be much recycling this week."   She has two or three friends in her class, but "sits by ALL boys!"

Today was not technically my first day of my new job, but it felt like it.  I worked only fourteen days last May before school was let out for the summer.  (Not a bad gig really!)  I returned to a building full of staff that has overwhelmed me with how kind and nice they are.   I met some of the new ninth graders coming in, which I really enjoyed.  Around noon, I met up with the students I would be working with this year.  I was so excited to see them and find out about their summers. 

Luckily my day was so busy I didn't have long to think about that this was the first time I was missing dropping off my children for their first days of school.   That was a big change for me.   As they headed off to their respective schools, I was getting in the car to head to mine, but I knew they would get there as they were in very capable hands.   


Those Waiting for a Sponsor

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, this month I am joining many bloggers as we help Compassion International on a sponsorship goal.  I want to let you know about one of my favorite pages on Compassion's website.   It is the page that shows all of the children waiting for sponsors.   (Check it out here.)    This page offers you the option to see many children waiting for sponsors, or if you prefer, you can use the search functions to find children by:
  • Gender
  • Country/Region
  • Birthdate
  • Age Range
  • Longest Waiting 
  • Affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Orphaned

I have used these search functions when searching for our children that we sponsor.   The first two children that we sponsored through Compassion where chosen using the age range as we wanted a boy about E's age and a girl about Addy's age.   Our third sponsored child was chosen because of her birthday, the same day Mark and I were married.  

I visit this page often to pray for children still waiting for sponsors.  Some days, I scroll through the general pages, lifting up the children who are still waiting for sponsors.   Other days, I will search for a child using the search functions, and pray for them based on a search.   Perhaps a child's birthday is today and I want to pray for them on their birthday.  

I want to encourage you to check out the page of children waiting for a sponsor.   Perhaps today is just a day to pray for all of the children waiting, or perhaps there will be a little face that will touch your heart in a special way, and you can pray for that little one.   Maybe, much like we found our children, there will be a child that you are praying for and they will become part of your family as you may decide to sponsor a child.  Either way, I hope you take time to visit the page.  The kids and I have fun looking at the pictures, reading the short bios, and learning that these children are not all that different than us even though their living conditions are very different.