Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Reason For My HOPE

This past weekend we went to MassHope, a home schooling conference in Worcherster, MA.  It is a wonderful encouragement each year.  

This was Darrell's second year, but I use to take the 2 older girls with me while he stayed home with the younger kids.  They have always loved the teen track....coming out excited about the truths that they learned about their own lives, purity, or Creation, history and the Bible's archeological findings.

Last year, we were in such a spot, we went for a change of pace with no big intentions and found answers to what we were walking through. We are so grateful for those answers.  

This year, we went for encouragement from a few classes but more importantly for the people we knew would be there.  Sweet friends who spoke into our lives and we were able to do the same for them.  We met a few new folks with heart connections too.

Our older children attended classes on Biblical purity and loved the classes.  The younger children hung out with us in the vender hall.  They got to test the many new products, visit with us, eat lots of snacks and attended story time with Uncle Rick Boyer--a favorite.

Darrell was able to attend one class and so was I.  My class challenged me.

Carol Baniard was my speaker.  She shared her story of growing up in a wonderful pastors home with loving parents.  She spoke of her downward spiral trying to find answers of her own to her faith and no one in the church could answer her questions.  She went to Christian college and asked those same questions.  She switched to a secular college and asked the same questions...tried many different religions...and then became an atheist.

She can wittingly share her story about how she thought atheists would be nice people.  She instead described them at people who took pot shots of everyone else but were unable to defend themselves. She spent 13 years in this dark place before she started to pay attention to God calling her back through circumstances with her own newborn son.

As she shared her story, she challenged me.  Am I ready to give a reason for MY hope?  Are people around me asking those questions?  Have they asked those questions and I failed them?

The self examination has continued and sent me on a quest to prepare my reasons so I would not be one of those people that would not be ready to give an answer...

At the core of any Christian believers walk is JESUS....mine too!  He is our hope....He came so that we may live.  I admit, I have had times in my life where my hope tank has been empty.  It is a difficult place....but in saying that....if we walk with the Lord and focus on Him....that hope is restored!

In Psalm 119:9 it says, "But How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your word."  Our kids have had to memorize this because our world can seem wacky sometimes.  We ask ourselves this question but God has already told us how.  If we keep ourselves in the Word of God, we know his ways and can plant them in our hearts and learn from them as we walk the road set before us.  It is a line of truth to evaluate who we are in Him....not how we dress, how we look, how big our house is, how many things fill it, or what kind of car we drive.  God looks at the heart and the things that motivate us.  He searches our hearts for the things that are of Him.

Self reflection can be a motivator to prepare.  I am thankful that Carol made me take a hard look at things, I am thankful for God's grace when I stumble, His hope when I am lacking and the path back under His wing of protection.

I am excited for the things we were shown last weekend at MassHope...the fellowship and connections we received.  It was a blessing to be able to attend.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Laughter Is Good Medicine

Life can be hard....but God gives us gifts....and laughter is a wonderful one!

Last night, we kind of stumbled on a gut wrenching family laughter felt SO good.

We were out looking at a cabinet from someone on Craigslist and decided it wasn't for us despite the great bargain. 

Our kids were hungry and it was getting late.  

We stopped at Wendy's for a snack.  They just recently remodeled ours and it had a tv.  Although we have a tv, we only use it for school or an occasional special treat of a movie.  

We sat down to Americas Funniest Videos....the nonsense stuff of people falling on their faces or animals doing silly things....but....

It was a gift of laughter that we weren't expecting.  We laughed so loud and so long...we heard customers laughing at us laughing.  Employees started zoning in on us and they too started to laugh.  There were so many smiles and chuckles to be heard....mostly from the 9 of us but it wasn't just us...

It was contagious and a GIFT....what a precious gift!  Feeling thankful this afternoon and chuckling still at the memory of it all!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Latest Building Project

Darrell and our boys have been working on making a chicken coop in Krystal's old stall.  We saw this idea on Pintrest.   

Can't wait for it to be done so the chicks can move outdoors!  They are growing fast!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

All Things

The storms rage around us in this life ....

Some created by our choices ....

Some as a test like Job...

Some because we are walking in the path we have had laid out before us by the Lord and Satan doesn't like it...

Whatever comes your way....the promises of God stand true.

A dear friend gave a gentle tangible reminder for me to remember that with God by our side 

All things are possible!  I am holding onto that truth....
And wearing it daily as a reminder of His promises!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New pictures of our boys in China

Don't you just love the celebration?
Our boys celebrating their new family with 2 huge cakes, pandas and picture books!

Lots of sugar for these two!

Grateful for new photos.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Right Outside My Window--April 9, 2015

After losing power through the night because of snow and ice....

We woke up to this.

The power came on some time during the night.  It is more ice than snow....sugar snow.  

Sugar snow....named for maple sugaring season....prolonged by our chilly nights and warmer days.  Hoping it is a good crop for those with sap buckets still up.  We have seen sugar shacks with the steam pouring out as they boil this NH treat.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter at Our House

We started our morning off at a local Easter service where the music and message were wonderful.

We then continued our tradition of heading to Cracker Barrell...seeing some of our usual Is fun to be remembered especially when they tell us how well behaved our kids are!

We then headed home for our usual egg hunt in the front yard with a slightly new twist--snow still in the ground. You better believe those colored eggs showed up well in the snow!

We then spent time playing games, checking out our newest addition-12 baby chicks, and then having snacks later in the day together.

We love special family days...a gift from the Lord on such a special rememberance of his sacrifice for all of us!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adoption Update--home study

After too many delays, despite us trying to crank it out fast....

Our Home Study is done.

We received word late Friday that is was complete and being notarized Monday.  We asked to pick it up where we will drive it straight to our state office to have the seal placed on it.

We feel like we are in the ball game now with having this important piece done.  Now the paper chase between agencies starts....hoping we have it all together!

On a good note, we are having a picture book put together to give the boys in China pictures of our family....we are excited for this to happen so they know we are coming for them!

We know this is all in God's timing...trusting Him for all things this Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Visitor

I am a bit late running with my posts but last weekend we had a dear friends visit....

This is Vince in the middle of our crew....

Vince went to college with Darrell and I.  We were in campus ministry together, did missions trips to Appalachia, played pinochle together, and hung out together.  Our lives took us different paths and it has been fun to catch up together now and then....this time it wasn't in Pennsylvania but in NH!

He plays in one of the famous Mummers bands from Philadelphia.  They were invited to Manchester, NH to play in a St. Patrick's Parade...a few days after St. Patty's.

It was fun to catch up....he met all the kiddos....most for the first time,  the last time he saw Michaela and Jess they were around 6 and 4 years has been awhile.

We sure did enjoy your visit Vince!