Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Calling in Life...

I've struggled for as long as I can remember with knowing my calling in life. Somewhere along the road, in my younger years of force-fed faith, I made the judgement that one who calls himself a christian, must also KNOW to what he has been called. A teacher...a missionary...a pastor, perhaps?? Or what if you're JUST a mom (oh, how I hate that phrase!)? Maybe even a nurse or and engineer of sorts. For all my life I have equated "calling" in life to the choosing of a profession.
When Wesley and I first moved to work at the Home for Children, we had every belief that we were moving one step closer to our calling in life. Although very true, I had no clue the lessons God had planned for me to REALLY learn about "our calling". We've always adored working with children, have felt the urgency to be overseas, and with all the"work" we had done in our local ministries, well...we just thought we were the most well-equipped people for the task at hand.One more step to get us closer to the "calling"! lol Our first few weeks here were bliss; family and friends helped us make the big move. With a new baby in the house(Nate), family made frequent stops. We only had three other girls that were very well-behaved. My list could just go on and on of all the things that were RIGHT in the world! And then, nestled somewhere in between the months of October and November of last year, IT hit us! REALITY!
Having given up the youth pastor role at church for better efforts toward the HFC, we not only lost a title at church, but also relationships with people we had called our friends for so long. Family didn't stop by as often anymore. A surprise pregnancy(Marleigh) hit right at the time Wesley lost his full-time job, and along with that, went the medical insurance and the extra vehicle. And the girls living in our house at that time...OH MY, my words would fail me if I tried to describe the chaos in my house during those months. A step towards "our calling" that seemed so right just months before, now seemed wrong in just as many ways, if not MORE! Though surrounded by people, I was alone! Though all bills were somehow paid month after month, I felt the pain of each financial blow! Though still feeling God's compassion, I felt as if I had NOTHING to offer the girls in our home and sometimes MY husband and kids. I was empty, broken, alone, and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Although I had just moved 30 miles away from home, it might as well been halfway around the world. It was a dark place. THIS was my calling?
Now I can honestly say that during that time, it wasn't ALL gloom! I think I have just as many praise reports of God's action in our lives, but it still didn't take away the sting of rejection we felt on so many levels. But God is ever instructing me through difficult times in life. In fact, one of my favorite quotes as of recent, simply says, "...God is never closer that when your heart is aching.", and though we did our best to keep truckin along in life, God was so close while we were hurting! Following our calling seemed to lead us to a place of death.
Now, a year removed from that dark time, I have finally realized a little bit of what God might have been trying to say through it all. In this past year, I have grown. I was introduced to taking a class at church called Healing and Restoring the Heart. It was a journey I didn't purposely embark on, yet one that I will always mark as a pivotal turn in my christian walk. I could have another thousand blogs on what I have learned in this class; however, for the benefit of this post, all you need to know is that I am now walking in freedom instead of being bound by the chains of religion! Living in total freedom is blissful, even though it took muddling through painful memories to get there.
I can't get the planting of a seed off of my brain these past two months when I think about the circumstances of my life last year. The seed gets buried in the ground. Total darkness. Total isolation. Taken away from things familiar, comfortable, and precious. And through it's death, LIFE springs forth! Not just once, but MANY times over! WOW!! That's us! God took me to a place of darkness, and isolation for the purpose of us to truly find "our calling" in life! Our call die! It was not linked to my profession or a foreshadow of the steps that needed to be taken. It was direct, plain, and simple. Our "calling" was to die! Die to ourselves daily, so that Christ could truly dwell in us(Gal. 2:20).
I can't even begin to tell you the whirlwind of events that have taken place since we have chosen daily to lay down our lives that He may use us however he pleases! God has already opened many doors, sparked a new creativeness within each of us, so much that we can't wait to live our next day to watch what God will unfold before us. All I know for sure is that life will spring forth, many times over if we continually die to ourselves and allow Him to take up residence.
We may search forever for the exact profession wanted in life. In fact, I'm going back to school right now to work towards something I feel will aid in doing something I now have a great passion for due to past circumstances, but in the meantime, the "calling" is definitive...The calling is the same as Christs' (though His had to be literal). I will take up my cross daily, deny myself and methods for living, and follow Him! It's just that simple! I don't know why it took me so long to GET this, but I'm glad I finally did! Even as I read back over this, it all sounds so elementary, because it's stuff I've heard all my life! An illumination day, if you will. The difference for me lies within the hearing...and the doing!
My "calling" on some days may seem to only wipe booties and noses, serve as a burp cloth, and try my best to be there for each child and they all face difficult situations; but I will try my best to pursue this "calling" as passionately as Christ pursues me!
Comment back with any thoughts or a common verse that had an illumination day for you.

Free. from mAckenzie on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


November: National Adoption Awareness Month
I am so excited when November rolls around each year! I am presented with the idea of Thanksgiving and Adoption all smushed into one month! It comes as no surprise to me that they would declare National Adoption month in the same month that all Americans reflect on the things of which they are thankful. Because of course our number one item to give thanks for is usually our family. Adoption is a subject that I have become insanely passionate about over the past few years; and though controversial I'm sure, I think it is something all Christians should be passionate about and consider! Yes, I said it, if you don't agree with me, feel free to let me know.
First, it is simply amazing to me that I myself have been adopted. Romans 8:14-16 states, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." As a Christian, I am presented with the privilege daily of crying out to my Heavenly Father who has grafted me into his royal/priestly family! I don't know about you, but the immeasurable joy I get from that notion never gets old! Secondly, the word explicitly tells us to defend the cause of the orphans and widows (Isaiah 1:17), and if we wish to practice a pure and genuine religion, to care for them in their distress, refusing to let the world corrupt any further(James 1:27). and although God is the absolute Father to the fatherless, and the supreme defender of the widows, He will still place the lonely in families for them to be physically cared for (Psalm 68:5-6)! Now I'm not one to try and be "preachy", but this is obviously a heartbeat of God and should therefore be a heartbeat of mine, if I am in fact trying to be more and more like Him.
The list could go on and on of the things I have learned from being here at the Home for Children, but one of the most recent, is my compassion levels for others. Sure I have (or try to have), compassion on the children here, considering the things that life has presented before them, that they have in no way asked for. Sadly, I've criticized biological parents, wondering to myself why they couldn't "get their act together" for their kids. But now, God has opened my eyes quite widely to the fact that most of these parents do love their kids, they love them the best they know how, which in most cases is not good enough. They try their hardest to love their children, but they love them through their addictions and sorrows of their own childhood disturbances. It is truly sad when you stop and consider just how corrupt the world really is. I wish all would love and literally do all that is required to be a parent. I wish that my job didn't have to exist. However, we live in a very corrupt culture, which causes us to have many corrupt problems. Compassion is the key! I sit, a christian, a believer in the inspired Word of God. What will I do about this? What can I do about this? I wish I could do something huge, but maybe God is calling all Christians just to be a small part of the puzzle. Adoption? I may not be able to save a whole country of children or cause human trafficking to end so innocent children would no longer be victims, but I could make a difference in the life of one; and if all christian families made a difference in the life of one, that would be a difference in the life of many. All Christian families should "consider" adoption. Let me say this in a little different way. All wholesome christian families should "consider" adoption. Families that are anchored in Christ and seek holiness should "consider" adoption. Individuals that know who they are in Christ should "consider" adoption. Why? What better way to introduce someone to the Lord! Working with children in the system daily, those up for adoption are asked by their respective case workers what they would "want" in a family. The number one answer I have seen across the board is: "A christian family". Now why would that be so important to a child that has, in most cases, rarely been taken to church or told about the Lord? Because they seek love, and freedom from their past and they see a "christian" family as their avenue to experience these joys of life. Who better to teach them about true love and how great life can be when we have been adopted into a family of true "wealth". (PS - their number 2 is usually a need for a "rich" family! LOL)
So, my plea is this, whatever walk of life you find yourself in, what is stopping you from "considering" adoption? Maybe you could be content sponsoring a child from overseas or stateside, knowing they are receiving better care, or maybe you desire to give a child a place at your dinner table. Maybe you're crazy like us, and though God has greatly blessed in the fertility area, you see fit to care for many more in their time of limbo. What action will you take?

I should definitely mention that Wesley and I have no present plans to adopt; however, it will always be an option to "consider". Right now, we are in our proper roles. :) I am also curious to hear feedback?!?! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Bruised Brow, the Rolling Over Rug, and a Lesson in Shaving...

I'm out to prove that ignorance is not always bliss! In fact, it can be rather PAINFUL! My ignorance of guns has proved that way for me! No offense to my PETA friends, but we are on quite the mission around here to take care of some "extra" critters. Having a borrowed gun, my curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to attempt a shot. I've shot a "big gun" once before and had no further desire to do it again due to the very loud noise and the kick. However, I was quite sure I could handle this "glorified pellet gun" with a silencer attached.(As you can tell, I don't even have the knowledge to tell what kind of gun!) No incredible danger to me, right? Ha. My husband set up a small paper plate as a target for me and took a front row seat to hopefully get a good laugh. Being a BIT competitive, I would have to get a perfect shot on the first try just to prove that I'M GOOD! lol I raised the gun to my side and glared down the barrel through the scope with intense focus to take perfect aim. Then...BANG! I immediately doubled over in pain, throwing my hand over my eye to relieve the pain, as my husband exclaims, " You weren't supposed to KEEP your eye that close!" and then he asked FIVE MINUTES LATER, if I was okay. OUCH! The "kick" as I call it, kicked me in the eyebrow as I shot the gun! This was last Friday and my brow still feels as if it has a fresh bruise on it! So, was the pain worth my ignorance? almost. I did get an awesome shot in, even though I didn't even care about it until the initial shock of the pain was over! I also gave my hubby a GREAT laugh! Still not quite sure how I feel about that!
The rest of the weekend was once again a huge blur. Many birthday parties and church activities kept us going, going, going! All my homework and the dread of two tests this week only added to the chaos of the weekend, but alas, I've made it through once again. One of my highlights was watching Ms. Marleigh roll all over the place. She's been rolling over here and there since she was 2 weeks, but this weekend, she began doing it with intention! And just like her big sis and big bro, she found the living room rug to be the best place to do so. All (and I do mean ALL) my children have rolled over on that rug! How special! The rolling over rug! Though stained with MANY things now, the rug has survived long enough to receive this special label. One last highlight of the weekend was giving my first lesson in shaving! Didn't think I'd be giving that lesson so early in life; but, I also didn't think I'd be living at a home for children with a house full of hormonal girls! lol I have two sixth graders this year who have finally been made aware(by their peers, of course) of just how hairy their legs are! So, lucky for them, I had grown out just enough of a winter coat, to show them just how much they could benefit from shaving! We all three rolled up our pant legs and made the side of the tub our classroom. I have to say, I had fun with it! I showed them first on my leg, then they got to try it out with me watching! They were so nervous! I think I had them stressed to the max about the possibility of cutting themselves. Their little hands were everything BUT steady and they barely applied any pressure at all! Needless to say, they took FOREVER during shower time that night!

Our Latest Catch(still no chipmunk) :(

(getting closer though!)
As we pack up for our time off this weekend, we are excited about family time as we head into the busy holiday season! Exciting, memorable times are waiting on me. Better keep my camera charged!
The Play by Play

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Thought I Was Allergic to Running!

Ater reading another fun blog I follow I was so pleased to hear that I am not alone in this world! For as long as I can remember, my legs have always itched severely whenever I would run, jog, or even walk briskly! I finally quit announcing it to people at some point in life when they always looked at me weirdly! Since I’m a yo-yo exerciser, every time I’ve always started an exercise regiment, I would just expect that the itchy leg issue to be horrible at first and then taper off as I got back into the swing of things.
Here’s the diagnosis:
Symptoms: When you start running, you feel an itchy sensation that is sometimes so bad, you have to stop running. It most often occurs if you run after a long period of inactivity. If the itching is accompanied by a rash, it might be a different condition, such as exercise-induced anaphylaxis (see Embarrassing Running Problem #6).
Causes: The most common cause of itchy legs is actually because of what’s happening inside the skin, not on it. When we exercise, the millions of tiny capillaries and arteries inside our muscles expand rapidly because of the demand for more blood. If we’re fit, these capillaries remain open allowing maximum blood passage, but, when unfit and inactive, they tend to collapse, allowing only minimal blood passage (which, by the way, is fine for a sedentary person). The expansion of the capillaries causes adjacent nerves to send impulses to the brain, which then reads the sensation as an itch.
Prevention: The problem should go away once you have increased your fitness level.
So, there you have! It’s official; I’ve joined the “unfit” inactive people of America! The way I see it, I have two options if I never want to have itchy legs again: 1. Keep up with the exercise routine the REST OF MY LIFE! or 2. Give up altogether. HUM?!?! Which one should I choose?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Weapon of Choice? French Toast Sticks, of Course!

Barely room for groceries!

WOW! The past few weeks have been a total blur for me. It can all be summed up in the phrase, “So much to do, so little time”! Haven’t we all felt that way from time to time? It seems my house has had a revolving door on it over the past 2 weeks. All in the same week, I had two new girls move in and one girl move out! Hard times and sad times. It’s always difficult when one leaves, especially this last one. She had been with us the longest. Just like your own children, they can drive you absolutely bonkers, but all of the sudden when they are no longer here to do that anymore, you just feel like you’re missing something; and it’s never a good feeling to feel like you’re missing a child. You probably know the feeling; the "I’m-standing-in-the-middle-of –a-huge-crowd-but-can’t-find-my-child" feeling! PANIC! It’s taken me a whole week at least to assure myself that she’s not escaped my care, but that she is gone altogether. On the other end of the spectrum though, we are going through the “adjustment period” with our two new ones. It’s a rewarding feeling almost when you have new ones come into your care; however, it just gets a bit insane at times. Adapting them to my family and their new surroundings can be downright difficult. I will say that they are doing well, but just as any child, they have had x amount of years living life a certain way, and I always feel like the “bad guy” when I tell them to live and do things in a different way. Nevertheless, we make it work and I’m constantly in a state of LEARNING!
The Halloween weekend seems to have gone just as quickly as it came. We had a lot of fun with the girls. All dressed up, we had a huge variety show! One Whoopee cushion, Cleopatra, 3 baseball players, a mermaid, a star trek girl with blue hair, Wonder Woman, a bat, and a Hershey kiss (which then later transformed into Yoda due to the warmth of the outfit!) A SITE, for sure! (I would post more pictures, but sadly my camera was MIA when I needed it most! - I say MIA, but that happens to be my lingo for "burried under stacks of paperwork and Christmas list on the office desk!) Though a very fun weekend with family and the girls, it did not go at all as I had planned, and if any of you know me, you know I live strictly by my day planner! So, after I got over the initial frustration of things not going as intended (or should I say MY WAY – lol), I just enjoyed the ride. I endured the overbearing classroom moms at Bella’s preschool as I helped at her fall festival, the baking of too many cupcakes for birthdays and other events, the headache of 7 kids pumped full of sugar, and the horror of the vicious cycle of cleaning then destroying that goes on in my house daily! We actually DID end up with a couple hours of family time (just the 5 of us) on Friday night due to a kid’s event at the church. YIPEE! We got to eat at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and watch Nate enjoy chips and salsa for the first time! He loved it so much; he took his passy for a swim in the salsa! We also finished up some shopping for the events to come, and I don’t think I’ve had so much fun with my family as I did on Friday night just strolling around and hanging out. We also enjoyed a bowling birthday party, allowing Bella her first experience with bowling! Although the weekend proved to be tons of fun, I literally rejoiced when Monday rolled around and the kids were out the door for school.

Taking the Passy for a Salsa Swim!

Not quite sure which dropped first, the price or the pumpkin!

Bella, granny-bowling!

The fake eyelashes she wanted SOOO desperately lasted all of one hour!

Couldn't believe she wanted this costume! LOL

Then yesterday, Election day, I was elected to be queen babysitter! Ha-ha Much to the girls’ surprise, they were elected to be “the cleaning crew” today! My day started well, with an hour of extra sleep, but boy did I need it! These children were absolutely CRAZY! And I suppose I shot myself in the foot a couple weeks back when three of five girls were given the consequence of not enjoying outside playtime, due to misbehavior. I’ll rethink that consequence the next time it comes to mind! I think they enjoyed a nice break from school though, even if they were stuck inside with the “cleaning Nazi”! They also enjoyed the fact that we caught a possum the previous night in one of our traps! Many may know that we have a death warrant out for all chipmunks, so Wesley has a vast size range of traps set for the little critters. So far we have managed to catch a whole bunch of nothing, until yesterday. The girls looked out the window and saw the fur of an animal blowing in the wind. They had all manner of assumptions as to what it was. None guessed correctly! When they finally got outside to see the ugly thing, they all thought it was the cutest little creature ever and wanted to keep it! (We’ve watched Over the Hedge a few too many times!) All it took was one hiss, and they were over it! Nate, our expert animal noise maker, has now added the possum hiss to his animal noise library. HILARIOUS!! Speaking of little man, I now refer to him as Nate, the sailor man! He sounds like he is absolutely cussing you out when he jibber jabbers. Also, HILARIOUS! I’m sure he’s saying something important, but right now, his words are pure entertainment! This leads me to my last fun story of the day! In our house we have a nighttime ritual with the girls called “Take 10”, which means when the phrase is stated, the girls then have 10 minutes on the clock to get their teeth brushed, an extra swipe of deodorant(just for good measure), clothes laid out for the next day, and be in bed when the timer goes off! I also give them the option of reading a bible verse to me when I come around at the end of those 10 minutes to say goodnight. Most of them delight in this time to read a verse. Sometimes they try to charm me with their memorization of a verse, other times; they are down right smart alec when they read some of the longest/shortest verses of the bible. However, the opportunity just to have the word of God in their hands gives me more of a thrill than they will ever know! Working with them, and many other children over the years, it always gives me a giggle (inside) at how children will attempt to tackle words they do not know! And don’t we know the Bible is full of them! Most children will pause forever, and finally look at you with bewilderment, waiting on you give assistance. So, when one of my girls picked up her King James Version bible with super-small print the other night, and flipped to the Old Testament, I knew I could be headed toward one of those moments. To tell you the truth I can’t even tell you where the verse is, because we all got a bit distracted with the meaning. All I can tell you is it had to do with a fight of the Amalekites. However, when she got to the word Amalekites, she gave no awkward pause. She just went for it! And with her wording, instead of the Amalekites fighting, it was the omelets fighting! Enjoying quite a hearty laugh from it all, Wesley came down the hallway to see what had me tickled, and of course he had to add his thoughts. “What were they fighting with? French Toast sticks?” We all lost it from there! It took the girls another good 10 minutes just to get their giggles out! Needless to say, I’m anxious for their comments and reaction the next time we have French toast sticks for breakfast! Oh my fun life! Wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s! It’s a mess! One big, beautiful mess!