Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 210: In Which I Write of Children's Ministry

July was my month to serve in children's church. I had fun doing it. I've never felt like I was very good at doing that sort of thing, but I think that God fills in the gaps a lot!

Every quarter I have been taking one month and serving in the 2-3's class, and it has been such a kick. I have been able to serve with the same person, and so we kind of have established a rhythm and have been able to get to know each other better! So that's so neat.

But I have noticed that there is not one person who is consistent in the the next class up for Sunday school. Every other Sunday school class has a consistent teacher every week. I just didn't like that. So I asked if I could fill that gap.

Um, yeah. That's definitely what I needed to do. The scheduling coordinator for the children's ministry was absolutely thrilled, and I guess, oddly enough, that was a huge burden on her heart and something that has been prayed for. I'm not sure how I missed that need. I feel kind of silly to be that dense, but I'm glad that the dots finally connected in my brain.

You see, spiritual gifts are more than just a way that God has gifted you to bless the body. It's any opportunity that you get to bless the body. He equips us to fill the needs in the body as our hearts are willing to be used.

I'm not sure how I will do with Sunday school. But I know that I can love those kids and have fun. I'm a mom, so I know I can set limits and stick to them. So I know I can control a crowd. I guess if I can do those things, God will use that to help shape these little ones.

I'm looking forward to September. I'm looking forward to the Lord stretching me and using me in the lives of these 4-5 year old children. I'm looking forward to having fun!

Lord prepare me to be an example and a fun teacher for these little ones.
Use me in the plans that you have for them.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 209: Projects, Projects, Projects

My day was spent in a nearby small town where my mom and sister live. I packed up the van with a bunch of things that will be sold in a garage sale next weekend, and loaded up the last couple things that I have started and have wanted to finish. Oh yeah, and my kids too. They, of course, were along for the ride.

I took the stuff over to my sister's home, and then proceeded to my mom's where we finished up a baby doll for my niece Seble, and finished the last two pillow cases for my living room couches.

Can we all just take a big sigh of relief now?


I'm so thankful that my mom helped me finish these things. I would not have been able to figure it out on my own! I thought that Seble's doll was something that I could do, but I couldn't do it on my own. Poor me! My sewing skills are just way not up to snuff! But my super-mom saved the day for me. The last two pillows have been sitting unfinished, and so it was so great to get those done too.

And let me tell you, getting the stuff that has been sitting in our driveway out of our driveway?! Praise the Lord! I'm thrilled to have finally been able to make that final step to get it out. Now it just has to all sell. And I'm sure it will. I have some good stuff, and already some has sold! Hooray!

Thank you Lord for the sweet satisfaction of getting things done! 
Thank you for upholding my heart to persevere to the end of some of these projects. 
I know there's more to do, but I just praise you for what has already been accomplished!
Your grace and your peace have ruled in this and preserved my heart. Thank you!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Days 204-208: Wrapping Things Up

I have been on the go this week. It's a bit of a blur. I'm really working hard to have our home feel more like a home by the end of summer.

It's not like it hasn't been a home. I mean, I'm not one to just have no touch of artistic flair around me. Oh no. Not me. It's just that what our home has been lacking is real organization and smart use of space. That always takes me a while. I'm not an organizer. I'm a person that makes things pretty. So, I'm trying to do both.

It's coming along, and I'm wrapping things up. I've accomplished some mighty big things for me. For one, I bought, assembled, and set up a new computer desk. That's right, I did! I have never in my entire life assembled anything, and I did it. I also moved our computer to said desk, connected all the wires and it actually worked when I was done. I've never done that either.

Since I was able to move the computer, I got our old desk sold- in less than an hour thankyouverymuch. Then my wonder-friend Michelle brought over shelves and then began the process of getting all my husband's books into the house. What used to be a hallway computer area is now a full-blown library. Finally, we saved the books from their solitary confinement, and now they are in the home where the climate is much more controlled and their health will be preserved! I think Husband is pretty happy about that.

There's more organizing to do, but getting these things done feels so good, and I just praise the Lord that he is giving me this peace and freedom as I get things done.

It's not so much the pretty new pillows in my living room, or the lamp shades or even the things (which I haven't really acquired any more things, just have re-done things). But it's just the freedom of making things nice for my family and simplifying so that there can be more peace and productivity.

It think that's what the Lord is working on in my heart the most lately is just this desire for peace. Letting go of stuff that clutters my home and heart, and embracing the situation and home that we are in. We really are blessed, and although this isn't where I want to be forever, I believe that by God's grace I can thrive in it- at least thrive better.

So, I hope that the hard work is bringing honor to God. I hope that he is glorified in my efforts. I'm having fun doing it, and I am enjoying reaping the benefits of those efforts. I think my family will too. I know my husband appreciates it, and although it brings some initial anxiety on my kids, I think it will be appreciated by them in the long run. I'm trying to make it as smooth as possible for them, but it can be difficult. I don't think I'm doing any permanent damage (I hope!).

Lord, may my home reflect the desires of my heart. 
May it serve my family. May it welcome family and friends, 
and may it, most of all, honor you.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 203: You Can't Take It With You

Husband is currently helping teach a Sunday school class about the theology of money, and over and over again is this idea that we brought nothing into this world and we're not taking anything out of it. So, we might as well bless others with it, storing up treasures in heaven and investing in things that are eternal.

I thought about this especially when we were at that estate sale where Norah and I got our tea cups. Estate sales are different from garage sales. When there's an estate sale it means that someone has passed away, and all the things that are left behind are sold to strangers for extremely discounted prices so that they move fast. Garage sales, are just a purging of belongings from time to time in our lives so that we're not overtaken by our own junk. Both are great places to find deals or just be entertained by what others have in their possessions.

It struck me though how true that idea is of not taking anything with you. Whoever it was who left this world had nothing to take into the next. Every toiletry, clothing item, and piece of furniture stayed in this world. She or he had nothing with them when they met their Maker.

So looking through a house full of things that were collected over the years, made me feel like making sure that I don't bother hoarding possessions just for the sake of holding on to them. I want to have what I have for a reason, and use all that I have to bring God glory.

That's what lasts. I'm going to be judged on that, covered by the blood of Christ where I fall short, and rewarded by God for where his grace enabled me to bring him glory.

Simple as that. The thought brings both comfort and fear. I don't want to miss out on any, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" moments. Those are all too precious.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 202: Tea for Two

I've told my daughter that we would have to get a tea cup collection so that we don't have to scramble if we want to have a tea party. Until today, my intentions hadn't materialized into any action.

After a visit to the park, I took my nephew, and the kids to an estate sale. There we came across a lovely collection of tea cups and saucers. Norah and I debated and inspected, and we walked out of there with our first two tea cups.

Cheerio govena'! We can have a spot o' tea for two!

(Yeah, I know that was lame. I just don't care.)

The fun part was that it was such a random thing. I wasn't intending to stop by any garage or estate sales, but since it was on the way home, I thought it might be a fun adventure. Now that we've done this, I look forward to new opportunities to surprise my daughter with hunts for tea cups. She was so excited, and we really enjoyed that bonding experience.

I'm so thankful that I have a little girl that I can do those sorts of girly things with!

Thank you, Lord for letting me have a little girl!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 201: Something to Think About

We're tired in our home. Husband struggles with his work schedule, and we struggle to support him in it.

Sometimes we're just not ourselves- at least our best selves. You see, maybe the sleep deprivation is really revealing more about who we really are because our guards are down. We can't hide the sinfulness of our hearts as easily when our nerves are raw and our patience is thin. I'm not able to cover up as easily when I get irritated or annoyed. I'm not as good at putting on a front or lightening a mood.

It's something to think about.

Lord, forgive my lack of self-control over my emotions.
Forgive me when I am not the woman that I should be. Please cover me in your grace.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 200: What I've Learned So Far

Two hundred days into the year, and I've kept with my resolution, though faltering at times.

So, what have I learned?

Well, I've learned that setting out on a somewhat public goal is a little daunting and humbling, but it does keep me in check. I feel like I have been kept in check in two ways:

1. I can't give up.
2. I can't get too whiny.

Writing every day (or at least my pathetic attempt to) seeking to give God glory each day, keeps my attitude in check. I have bad days, but the habit of giving thanks in all circumstances has kept that in check. And writing through these things in a public forum keeps my attitude in check. I also have the opportunity to be real and honest.

The fact is that not every day is sunshine and roses. God never planned for that. He loves me too much to not give me pain. It is through trials and hardships that I grow stronger in my faith, that God builds my character and draws me nearer to the image of his Son. 

In the last two hundred days, I have learned more about my sinful faults, more about God's endless grace, and more about how I need more of the grace to reduce the sinful faults.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 199: My Strongest Place

Sometimes I think one of the best lessons in parenting happen when our children have their worst moments. Those moments strip us of all pride, for if we had complete control of our children, there would be no bad moments.

It is in those moments, when the sinful hearts of our children rear their ugly heads, that I know as a mom, I can be my strongest because I know that I am completely and utterly dependent on the grace of God to endure such a moment and have wisdom to discipline and disciple wisely.

When my children behave, when they get along and share, when they listen and obey, that is when it is very easy to think that I am doing things right, or that I can do it myself. That is a dangerous and weak place to be. If I think for a second that my own strength or wisdom is enough for my children, I have stripped myself of all the real power that I have as a parent and child of God.

My strength is never my own, but it is in the grace of God that sustains me and guides me. So when I'm faced with my toughest parenting battle, that reality is simply made crystal clear and I am driven to my knees beseeching the gracious hand of God in the situation.

That's the strongest place I can ever be.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 198:That's All

“A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.” - D.L. Moody
 That's all. I can't really add to that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 197: Digital Scrapbooking?

I don't know how I'm going to get everything together digitally to make personalized adoption books, but I am pretty excited about the prospect of blessing people with it. And after doing a brief Google search, I'm pretty excited to learn to use new things.

After all, I like to make pretty things. And pretty things with a purpose and a very cool meaning behind them are the best kind of pretties.

Lord help me learn things fast. Help me bless people. Be glorified in the product and the process.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 196: Another Smile Moment

Smile Moment: an occasion when the only reaction, the most proper reaction, is to smile. No more. No less. It is a brief window of praise to God shown in a smile.

 I was on a path through the kitchen towards dishes wanting to be back in their homes in the cupboards, when I met with my daughter. Taking advantage of her new height (as she was standing on a chair), I wrapped my arms around her and asked, "You know what, Norah?"


"You know that I love you? And what do I want for you?"

"You don't want me to die?" she responded quite innocently.

"Well, yeah," holding back a laugh, "But I also want you to learn and grow. You know what else?"

"Yeah. You want me to serve God," was her next thought.

"That's right, baby, to bring him glory. You want to do that?"

My little girl nodded in the affirmative, and skipped off the chair. After all, she was standing there for approximately 20 seconds. So to expect her to stay any longer is unthinkable.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 195: Smile Moment

Smile Moments are those occasions when the only reaction, the most proper reaction, is to smile. No more. No less. It is a brief window of praise to God shown in a smile. I got a Smile Moment this evening while tucking my son into bed.

Me: "Goodnight my boy."

Haddon, turning over with a grin on his face: "Goodnight my mom."

Now that's a Smile Moment.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 194: Girl Movie Night

I'm a big Jane Austen fan. I'm not a crazy fan, but even so, I find her stories and style of writing to be wonderfully entertaining. I am slowly reading or re-reading all her books, and last summer I read Persuasion. I liked it. It wasn't my favorite, but I really did love the character Anne Elliot. I think I liked her so much because she's the anti-me. Quiet, reserved, wise and smart. She is a perfect wallflower, eager to please others, but grows in wisdom with age to not be walked over to persuaded into something that she truly didn't want.

I like to watch a movie adaptation of books that I read. So Persuasion came in the mail from Netflix, and needless to say, my husband wasn't thrilled with the idea of watching it.

Enter, Girl movie night!

It was so nice! I had a friend over. The same friend that saved my fabric shopping experience, and often does a great Super Girl impression.

The movie? Lame. They didn't do very well with the book at all.

The company? Delightful.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 193: Grumpy Pants

Grumpy. Perfect word for our home this week. The kids aren't really getting along too well, and the adults are just running on shorter fuses that the kids like to ignite.


It's not pretty. It's not nice. It's not what we want because it's not what God wants.

Lord, make our grumpiness go away. 
Fill our hearts with the joy of our salvation. 
Renew a right spirit within us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 192: Samuel

Remember that Seble's book went public? I started writing a version for a boy based on Samuel. I'm really excited about it, and I think it will bless people's hearts. I got a little emotional even jotting down notes.

I think this process of learning all the technical stuff that I need to, and writing and connecting with adoptive families is going to really bless me as I get to bless them.

It's still overwhelming a little bit, but I'm getting more excited about the prospect. I love adoption, the human act, and adoption, the divine act.

I just have to keep better tabs on my notes. My kids got a hold of them, and they were crumpled up.

Note to self: Remember that you live with young children who like to destroy things.

Lord, bless the efforts I'm making 
and give me wisdom and discipline to be organized so that those efforts can be fruitful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 191: I'm Okay

You know, going into this month, I knew it was going to be a tight budget. I really did. The fact is, is that we really depend on the little bit of a boost in income that I bring home, and that's hard. I wish it weren't that way, but it is.

I'm really really thankful though. In all the ups and downs of that past few years with layoffs, and my husband being underemployed, God has always provided for our every need perfectly.

There's $5.72 in our bank account right now. And what's so cool, is that it's okay. It's okay. I'll be paid on Friday, and we'll be able to pay those last two bills, and we'll end the month just fine. We'll make it.

When I first saw that we were that tight, I didn't feel okay at first. I got a little fearful, but then I caught myself and I remembered that we're okay.

I'm just really thankful that I can look at that balance and rest in God's provision. I'm glad that his grace sustains my heart in that way. At other times in my life, I would have not been as okay, and as peaceful as I am right now.


I'm okay with that.

Thank you for sustaining and providing for us Lord. We always have what we need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 190: Kylie Marie

One year.

A year ago we welcomed Kylie into our family as a sweet niece and cousin. She is truly a sweet, sweet little baby girl. She is bouncy, and cute, and I just love her!

Happy birthday, Kylie-girl! Aunt Kelly can't wait til we start our Slurpee birthday dates- our 7-11 girl!

Thank you so much for Kylie, Lord. 
She is a delight, and I thank you for giving her to her mom and dad. 
I pray that they would be faithful in raising her to your glory, 
and that she would come to know you personally at a young age. 
I pray that they would help her cultivate her gifts and help her develop a godly character. 
I pray that you would teach her your ways so that she can walk in your truth.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 189: Picnics and Birthday Cakes

I haven't had a full weekend like this in a while, and I'm glad I don't have too many of them! But it is a joy to participate in things that make people happy and to celebrate life.

Yesterday was a birthday party for one of Norah's classmates from school, and today was my niece's birthday party. We also spent a good amount of time at an after-church barbecue. (I have eaten so many cheeseburgers and hot dogs in the last few days!)

Today was just a sweet reminder of the blessings we have of both church and family. I am so thankful for the church body that we get to fellowship with, and I am also so thankful for family. Celebrating a birthday and rejoicing in togetherness were sweet ways to spend our Sunday. I can't think of better things to do today.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 188: Go Team Upward!/ Created to Serve

At our church, we host a program of flag football and cheerleading through Upward Sports. Our daughter participated last year, and is really looking forward to it this fall. She even thinks it's cool that mom has volunteered to coach. (I'll enjoy that while I can!) Today I had the pleasure of volunteering at the evaluations and parent orientations.

After eight months of not being able to do that kind of stuff, it really was a pleasure for me to be able to give of my time. And slowly, I'm re-acquainting myself with that and relearning how to balance gifts of time with faithfulness at home.

That's a really good feeling. I have felt a burden on my heart being unable to volunteer and feeling fearful of committing to anything because of the need to work so much. Although I still need to work to help our family, I do feel more free to give of my time.

We were made to serve one another and bless each other with our time, gifts and efforts. It's just nice to be able to get back into that.

Let the Upward season begin!

Thank you for making me for free Lord. Please be glorified in my time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 187: Alone Break

Highlight for today: I went out on my own with a friend.


I went out on my own with a friend.

It may not seem like much, but I don't often do that. I had no children with me. I was able to look at things in the craft store without worrying what someone was touching. I could think and talk in complete sentences, and listen to someone fully without the listed above distractions.

Moms need that sometimes.

Thank you Lord, for giving us little breaks, the little blessings that we need.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 186: Seble's Story Gone Public

Today my sister shared the story book that I made for my niece, based on this story. I simply condensed it to be more like a story that my sister can read to her sweet girl, and I made it so that it was colorful and appealing to little ones (and let's face it, me too. I love color!).

I've been considering making it into a book that can be personalized, and also writing one for a boy. I'm curious how I could do it, and what I would need to do. But I think I could really bless people and potentially earn extra income for our family.

It's something worth pursuing. There's really nothing like it on the market- well, nothing like it that's good anyway. There are some kind of lame personalized adoption books, but none of them have anything to say but the simple story of an adoption without much creativity or depth to teach children some Biblical truths surrounding adoption.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 185: Barbecue, Fireworks, and the Fourth

I worked my hospitality muscles today as we invited people from our church over to our home for a barbecue. It was delightful. We had delicious food, and wonderful company. When the sun went down, our neighbors did not disappoint as they lit off a bright display of fireworks (illegal ones that shot up in the air). Our children had a blast and were exhausted by the end of the evening.

Ah. What I nice Independence Day.

Thank you Lord for food, fellowship, and fireworks. 
Thank you for the country we live in and the land that we love. 
Thank you for all the simplicity of what I enjoyed today.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 184: Snuggle Puppy

Norah doesn't snuggle really. She wiggles. She wiggled in the womb. She fidgets outside of it.

Sometimes I catch her in a moment, a moment of snuggle.

I went into her room to get her laundry basket. I knew I was risking waking her, and I also knew that I was risking her not even being asleep yet.

But she was.

Sleeping in the gentleness of childhood slumber, she was snuggling the stuffed dog that once belonged to me. I remembered snuggling that dog. I remembered what it was like to love a stuffed animal like that, and feel secure in holding it.

That's how I found her. It doesn't happen often, but I got to catch a glimpse of it.

It was a sweet moment to me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 183: My Boy

Five years ago I became mommy to a little boy. We named him Haddon. He's named after a man who preached God's Word faithfully and with power. In fact, this man was given the nickname "Prince of Preachers."

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a man that did wonderful things to bless people, and that's what I desire for my boy. He may not be a great preacher (though I must admit that would be an amazing thing for him as he has struggled with delayed speech), or reach the lives of thousands of people through writing, but I know my son has a heart that can bless people and bring joy. God has gifted him specially, and I pray that I am a mother that helps cultivate those gifts.

I love my boy. He's such a special, sweet boy. I am honored to be his mommy.

Happy birthday, Haddon.

Thank you for my son, Lord. May he grow in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with men. 
May he grow to be a Christ-like man who walks in your truth. 
That's the greatest desire I have for him, and there is nothing that I can think of that would 
bless him more than to simply know you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 182: Birthday Party!

Today we celebrated Haddon's birthday even though it's not until tomorrow. The plan was to have people over for hot dogs and cake. All our family was invited, but then our girl didn't have a great night. She caught something, and being aware that the most courteous thing to do would be to make sure people knew about it, told everyone. I wanted them to know that she was okay, but that she was sick. I didn't think that she was contagious anymore, and was going to keep her away from people for part of the time.

No one with children came.

I'll be honest. I was peeved. I was disappointed. We had no other time to reschedule his birthday celebration, and my son had to miss out on having a complete celebration. No child was in harm's way, but still, I can't make that decision for people.

But you know what? My son didn't even care. Here I am, irritated and sad that my son's birthday was "ruined", while he was in raptures over every little gift and card. He gasped. He delighted. He smiled. He laughed. He had a ball. The day was the coolest day ever because he was celebrated whether people came or not.

It taught me something about my son that I already knew, but was extra blessed to be reminded of. He is a content child. He really really is. He doesn't think about what he's missing, or what is being withheld. He simply enjoys all that comes his way and rejoices in the gift that it is.

I need to be more like Haddon. I let my joy get robbed instead of simply taking the circumstances and rejoicing in them for what they were.

Okay, Kelly. Remember that next time things don't go the way you want them to, okay?

Lord, help me do that!
Help me be more like Haddon!