Monday, May 25, 2009

Growing Up

All the days and nights spent praying and crying out to God for a baby seem so far away, nothing more than a faint memory. But this past Friday at the 5th grade awards ceremony, all those feelings came flooding back. How has the time gone by so quickly? As I watched Hannah receive her awards, her life flashed before my eyes. In an instant I was whisked back to the phone call saying we had been chosen by a birth mother. I saw in my mind's eye that very special fax that came through a few weeks later saying "it's a girl." I remember every detail about the long drive to the hospital and I could actually feel her birth mother place her in my arms. I remember her tiny toes. She was so small, so beautiful and the most perfect baby I had ever seen. Years had been spent wondering if I would ever be someone's mother. And finally God answered yes.

That precious child, God's answer to my prayers, looked so grown up, ready to take on not just middle school, but possibly the world. I am so proud of her and so humbled that God chose me to be her mom.

Congratulations Hannah, I am so proud of you!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Hat Lady

Oh if I only had time to give my all, what a job I would do! I find that I am juggling so many different hats, I'm not sure which one I am wearing!

If I had time, I would be the best nutritionist! I would create meals that were healthy, tasty and even fun! I would have a house stocked with the perfect amount of each food group, for well balance diets. If only I had the time. A couple of weeks ago Hannah had a full day of dance competition. We were up at 5:00 am and she was dressed, and ready to go for her first dance at 7:30. We grabbed a bag of donuts to eat on the way. She packed some snacks for the day and of course, the convention center had a concession-stand stocked with a gaggle of goodies. By late afternoon we were finished and headed back home. I swung through McDonald's since we hadn't really had much of a chance to eat anything substantial. Hannah was still full of energy and said she wasn't hungry. She did however, ask if she could have a chocolate shake. When we got home it dawned on me that so far for the day, which was close to being over, Hannah's diet had included several chocolate donuts, a box of Dots candy, a Sprite and a chocolate shake. Not a fruit, vegetable or ounce of protein anywhere! Have mercy!

With the current economy I have tried to tighten the belt so to speak. I have created extensive spreadsheets to track every penny earned and spent as well as all debt owed. Bottom line, like most households, I need to try to decrease spending and increase income! Oh how my head is filled with ways to create an additional stream of income, that good ole' entrepreneurial spirit is fighting to come out. But my head is also filled with a lot of other things and that spirit gets quickly squashed. If I had the time, I would have a vending machine route, an eBay store, a few items for sale on Craig's list along with my full time job, and I would clip so many coupons that the grocery store would owe me money!

My most important job as Hannah's mom is to teach her about Jesus. I wish I could write about all the wonderful and creative ways I accomplish this job. I wish I could brag about our daily devotions and how I incorporate activities to bring God's Word to life. But I can't. It isn't for a lack of trying! For awhile we were reading one Proverb each morning before Hannah left for school. We read the verse and I would provide a little mom commentary. We prayed and then she left for the day. This was great until that first day we were running late and it fell to the way side. Recently I started reading the New Testament to Hannah each evening before bed. We took one verse (Matthew 5:16) to memorize and my hope is to add another verse monthly. I have printed out our memorization verse and posted it all over the house. And then we had a late night and didn't have our nightly reading. I haven't given up on this one yet, but I need to get back in the habit of reading each night. Recently we purchased a book from our church bookstore - "A Case For Faith for Kids" by Lee Strobel. I hope to start reading this book together as well as finishing the book of Matthew. If only I had the time....oh the things we could do!

I also have the full time job hat, the kid-friendly taxi driver hat, the house cleaner hat...enough hats to fill a closet! Sometimes all these hats give me a headache! And for that I put on my nurse hat...take two aspirin and call it a night!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Celebrating Mom

If you have forgotten that Mother's Day is this weekend, then you have not been listening to Christian talk radio this week! Every time I get in my car I hear another beautiful story of one of the many God fearing mothers of the Bible. Yesterday I heard the heart-wrenching, but yet heart-warming tale of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. I can't imagine what she went through desperately wanting to save her precious baby. I hurt for her as I think of her laying her child in a basket and pushing it off to float down stream. But God in His sovereignty had a plan, not just for Moses, but also for Jochebed. Today I heard an interesting twist on the story of Hannah, which gave a little more attention to her nemesis, Penniah. I love the story of Hannah because I feel such a kinship with her, but I have to admit I haven't ever really given much thought to Penniah. After all, she wasn't very nice to Hannah. Although Penniah had many children, she had a husband that was much more in love with his other wife and that had to be hard for her to bear. Here is yet another example of why two wives is one wife too many!

As I have listened to these stories this week it has made me think about my own mother. The older I get the more I appreciate everything about my mom. I certainly wasn't the easiest kid to raise! But thank God, she hung in there with me and today I am proud to say she is more than my mom, she is truly my best friend. In honor of Mother's Day I thought I would share with the bloggy world a few of my favorite memories of me and my mom.

The DQ Memory. When I was just a toddler we lived next door to a Dairy Queen. You can't get much better than being just a few steps away from the creamy goodness better known as a Dilly Bar and don't even get me started blogging about the deliciousness of the Peanut Buster Parfait! I have some wonderful, although faint, memories of walking next door to DQ hand in hand with my mom. She told me that once I threw a terrible fit because she wouldn't buy Linda an ice cream cone; Linda was my imaginary friend!

The Trip to Phoenix Memory. My cousin was getting married in a small Arizona town about an hour outside of Phoenix. My mom and I decided to make the trip and turn it into a vacation just for girls! We flew into Phoenix, rented a car and drove the hour long trip to Cottonwood. This was long before the handy-dandy directions from mapquest or the GPS lady telling you she needs to recalculate. No, we were on our own. And my mother assured me we would have no trouble finding the church. After all how hard can it be to find the Assemblies of God church in a small town like Cottonwood, Arizona! Um....I have four words, "needle in a haystack!" We drove around Cottonwood for what felt like hours. I really don't know how long it took until we finally stopped and asked for directions. We would have never found it! I do believe I wanted to stop for directions early on, but my mom was sure she could find it. We laughed so hard as we just kept driving and driving and driving! After we finally found our way, our trip was incredible. My favorite part of the trip was the time we spent driving through Sedona, what a beautiful place! This mom and daughter vacation is a memory I will cherish forever!

Becoming a Mom Memory. As I have blogged about many times, my daughter Hannah is adopted. We were able to pick her up from the hospital the day she was born. That was the best day of my life! We woke up a family of two and by night's end we were in a Super 8 Motel, a family of three! Hannah was born in a neighboring state about 5 hours away from our home. The day after Hannah was born, my mom drove down through a snow storm to stay with us for a few days. We were required to stay in the town for the first few days and then we were to remain in the state for one week. Luckily my parents lived in the same state where Hannah was born so we were able to stay with them. When we pulled into my parent's driveway they had a sign declaring "It's a Girl" in their yard and on their door. After all the years of wishing, hoping and praying for a child, my dream had finally come true and seeing those signs meant the world to me. I am so blessed my mom was there to share it with me.

As we celebrate Mother's Day this coming Sunday I am grateful that God gave me such a wonderful mom that not only loved me, but first loved Him!Thanks Mom and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My First Published Article

As I blogged about a couple of posts ago, I am now officially a published writer. An article written by me is in the April/May issue of a local Christian magazine called Family Journal. Click to download and view a pdf of the magazine (it doesn't save to your computer, downloading just opens the document from my account on KeepAndShare. ). The table of contents, which is my favorite part, is on page 4 and my article is on page 30! Just thought I would share!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can You See Jesus Through All The Grumpy?

Last Sunday I was in a bit of a grumpy mood. Nothing major had caused my grumpiness, it was just one of those mornings. It wasn't an all out bad mood, just a little bit of annoying grumpy. Hannah was at her dad's and maybe missing her contributed to my mood. My spring allergies are in full bloom so maybe a head full of sinus pressure had something to do with it. But whatever it was, it was a tiny case of grumpy!

As soon as I got to church I discovered there were no aisle seats available in my usual section of seating. GRUMPY! I went around to the other side and found an aisle seat; it was not on the side I wanted, but it would have to do. It is amazing how we are such creatures of habit! As I sat in my seat wondering why I was in such a mood, a man came down and asked if the seats next to me were taken. "No, have a seat," I said. He and his wife sat down in the seats next to me.

No sooner had the man sat down before he declared he needed to get up and go talk to someone. Our pew aisles are fairly narrow, so in order for him to get passed me, I had to completely move my legs around to the side of the chair. I smiled at him, but in my head I was having a conversation about how if he wanted to sit by me, he should sit! As soon as these thoughts swirled in my head, he was back. Once again I had to move my legs to the side to let him in. I smiled, but on the inside I was GRUMPY!

This particular Sunday was the dedication service for our new sanctuary. Several guests were joining us and would be recognized during the service. I was reading through my church bulletin when the man leaned over and said "it's a beautiful sanctuary, don't you think?" Oh, great, I thought, now he's a talker. Now don't get me wrong, I am usually a very friendly person but I was having one of those airplane moments. You know, where you just want to sit and enjoy the ride, but sure enough you get seated next to someone that wants to divulge their life story to a complete stranger.

Please understand I was not unfriendly, I just was a bit grumpy....and the grumpy was only evident on the inside (where of course God can see, but man can not!). I agreed that yes, our new sanctuary is beautiful. A couple of people came by and shook this man's hand and told him how glad they were to see him. I didn't really think much of it. He continued his conversation with me and said he was glad to see the stage had plenty of room for the choir and orchestra. He had seen the stage before the sanctuary was finished and wondered if it would be big enough. He went on to talk about our worship leader and how he needs room to jump around (we have an excited and somewhat charismatic worship leader).

I was starting to wonder about who this man was. Clearly he was familiar with our church, the building and the worship leader. But yet it was becoming clear he was not a regular attender. Aha! I leaned over to the man and said "you must be one of our special guests here for the dedication today." He nodded but let me know that he wouldn't call himself special. Hmm, he's humble. Here I was cranky as could be and he's humble! Nothing like a little humility to expose the ugly in the grumpy! Turns out he is the president of the denomination's missions board for our city. And, a very nice man. We had a wonderful conversation despite my moody state of mind.

As the service began, I sent up some emergency forgiveness prayers! "Forgive me Father for letting my mood interfere with my worship and the fellowship with other believers!" It was bad enough that I had not been at my friendliest while sitting next to one of our special guests, but what if a first time visitor and unbeliever had been seated next to me? This got me to thinking about how careful we always need to be with how we interact with others. We should constantly ask ourselves if people can truly see Jesus in us. Sometimes we will be grumpy, but even in the midst of a bad mood, we need to let the light of Jesus shine through!

I pray today that you will fill me completely with your Spirit. I pray that your love will shine through me and that other's might see your Son in everything I do. Thank you for your forgiveness and for your love.
In the name of your Son,