Tuesday, January 9, 2018

This Little Farm
It's been an amazing 3 and 1/2 years. After moving here from the city and taking a forest, molding and shaping it with our bare hands into the farm we had so envisioned, we are looking to move yet again.

Don't ask me how we got here! My head spins too much thinking about it and my head spins at times thinking about how we will move 6 kids, 3 dogs, 3 sheep, 4 cows, a tractor, a barn full of stuff, a house full of stuff, etc. to another state, but that's where we are at and that's what 2018 is looking like.

We are in the process of closing on a house in Tennessee at the end of next month and are asking for your prayers that our adoption would finalize and our two Florida homes would sell (supposed to close on our city home next week).

Man! Has it been a journey forming a forest into a farm. A wild ride if you will. We learned a TON, made mistakes, had some victories, found what makes money on a farm and what puts you in the hole. Found our little nitches of what we love and don't so much love. (In other words, never do again...ah-hem, stinky goats.)

We have met and formed friendships with some stellar people. Rockin' homesteaders! People that will drop what they're doing at the drop of a hat to come assist you with trimming your goats' hooves when you're up a creek. People that will drop by herbs when you and your kids are sick. People who will barter with you, pray with you and put on a cup of coffee just to sit and listen when you need an ear.

We have learned here that we love living in a small town with no traffic. Where people know who you are and still smile.

Where Civil War reinactments are the highlight of the year.

We've grown a lot of food here.

Learned how to deal with frost and ice.

Delivered more animals. Hatched animals. Tried new animals. Lost some animals (my beloved Molly will always be missed...had a moment remembering her this morning as I was ready to throw something across the barnyard in anger towards a stubborn cow who didn't want to be milked. "Molly would stand here and let me milk her" I murmered to myself.)

I am looking forward to our new home. Some days more than others.

I'm looking forward to acres of GRASS!

Some forestry and a creek for the kids to play in.

And just spending time as a family.

Here's to 2018 and new beginnings. We will be sure to keep you updated as the move takes place.

We do appreciate your prayers that our adoption of Silas goes quickly. We will know more in the next 2 weeks, whether this will drag on for a bit or if it will be quick to finalization.

This baby boy is WALKING and brings us such JOY!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Learning Throughout the Summer

Summer is half-way over for most of you and you may already be running out of ideas to keep your children from asking 10 times a day to watch a movie or have a snack. Let's get real people! It takes planning. Planning takes time.

But not ALWAYS.

Although I love structure and organization (I would be lost without it!), there are so many days where we drop everything and go with what the kids are interested in.

It's "Life-schooling"!

It's FUN.

It creates MASTERY of LEARNING in our kids and if we're all being honest, the parents can get more involved and interested than the kids. (We've all heard the stories of the parents taking over the Science project for Little Junior, right? Ah-hem.)

After reading The Big Book of Homeschooling by Debi Pearl, I have condensed the book for you (because I love you) and have given you the "meat" of the book. I haven't added everything and I have added some of our own ideas as well. This book is NOT just for homeschoolers. It's chocked full of ideas for summer fun and learning alongside your kiddos.

Enjoy and happy learning!

 *Note *Because these are notes, some may not make 100% sense with you. You will just have to get the book! {grin}

- Toss Across with math problems written on them.
- Math line on rolled out paper...play games.
- Dot-to-dog flashcards
- Money jug to put change in daily, then use at the end of each month for ice cream outings. Count that money!
- Take kids to the grocery store with a list and budget. See if they can stay under that budget.
- Give kids a few dollars to budget our a lunch they have to buy.
- Refrigerator math...vis-à-vis markers and magnetic ABC's, numbers.
- Side walk Chalk
- Measuring tape to measure circumference of foods.
- ABC and number cookies...make from scratch using cookie cutters.
- Baking/measuring

- Talking "in code" with high vocabulary words
- Flash cards in the car
- Punctuation Bible lesson...leave out the capital letters, punctuation, and an open spot for a missing word.
- Play the synonym game...call out a common word such as house and the kids have to think of a word like "dwelling", "home", "cabin", etc. See how many you can think of!
- Play the homonym game..."I SEE the SEA."
- Play the antonym game (opposites)
- Card hunting...make index cards with words. Hide them. Kids find and make sentences out of them. Write down the results and reread them often.


- Take a sentence strip and ask the child to tell you a sentence. Write it down, then cut out each letter and have child put it back together.
- My Pile, Your Pile...use sight word flashcards and if child get it correctly, he keeps it in his pile. If not, Mom/Dad keeps it in his/her pile. Winner is who has the most in their pile.
- Cutting out from magazines things that start with letter "A", etc.
- Write books WITH your children. Illustrate. :)


- Tell stories! (use character traits)
- Make a family newspaper. Re cap on all the things you did in the past week. Print out pictures to post and send them to family/friends. Keep some to look back on as family treasures.
- Use props when telling stories.
- Make a school year book of special outings, science projects with short explanations for each. Can just print out from the computer.
- Volunteer at the library to put away the non-fiction books. Volunteer older children for story hour.
- The Knowledge Book...Post questions on the fridge. Kids can team up to research the answers.
- List of "Family Fun Night" ideas.
- READ ALOUD (especially adventure stories!)


- Have "littles" write in shaving cream, salt, etc.
- Homemade cards sent to loved ones
- Copy recipes from cookbooks, buy a notebook and have her cut out pictures from magazines to glue in and write about.
- Teach them calligraphy
- Boys can burn Bible verses into wood.


- Pull spelling words from daily essays that contain misspelled words.
- Label furniture, appliances, etc. with flashcards.
- Make a large cross word game out of cardboard to do on the floor.


- Planets...paint Styrofoam balls and hang them from a fan to watch them revolve around the sun.
- Make a solar system on the ceiling.
- Make a life-sized diagram of the human body.
- Explore and collect insects. Read books about them. Put them on a Styrofoam board and label them.
- Enter your creations at the County Fair.
- Museums and field trips.
- Aquarium
- The zoo...do something different each trip. Have kids find 5 mammals, 5 fish, etc. or play bingo.
- Robotics. Ask for a tour at a local university.
- Monarch butterflies on milkweed. Plant a butterfly garden.
- Gardening
- Make a nature notebook


- Put maps or large diagrams (human body, solar system) under a plastic table cloth or shower curtain on the dining room table. Also, herb or plant posters.
- Read Around the World in 80 Days and map it out.
- Make history films. Dress up and invite the neighborhood!
- History record book...make a notebook for each unit study.
- Read What Would Our Founding Fathers Think?


- Write what is for lunch in Spanish on the refrigerator.
- Listen to songs
- Pick different countries, make a dish from that country, learn some of the language and pray for that country.
- Prepare their hearts for ministry. Ask often, "So what are you going to do with this life God has given you?"
- Foreign language flash cards all over the house.


- Print out the list of awards from Faith Contenders! Earn badges.
- Quilt making...use thrift store clothes.
- Chemistry...cooking, herbs, the human body, medicines, chemicals, making gun powder and household products from scratch.
- Hospitality Celebration...prepare for visitors: clean house, cooking, place cards, flower arrangements, sing hymns. Read Making Sunday Special.
- Have a  garden seedling sale.
- Plan dinners with kids.
- Have a child in your lap or next to you as you sew, bake, garden, change a tire, etc.
- Play pretend, house and store.
- Larry Burkett's Kids' Money Book
- Stewardship Street by Pam Forester (This is a genius way to teach younger children about money by making a little town out of milk cartons.)
- Make a recipe book
- Daily schedule on white board
- Chore charts
- Buddy System
- Volunteer! Your kids will feel needed by others.
- Mailbox Express...small notes to each other, gifts, verses, poems, pictures, candy, etc.
- Preparing to be a Helpmeet...A Checklist for Preparing Our Daughters by Sandi Queen (If anyone finds a boy version of this pamphlet, will you please let me know?!)


- Biographies of great Christian missionaries and faith (YWAM)
- Great Commission
- Illustrate Bible stories and verses
- Read stories/verses in front of others...public speaking.
- Study JOY...bitterness is like the flu! (Hebrews 12:15)
- Quiet Time tapes
- Steve Green CDs (Bible verses to songs)


- Make up songs to memorize verses.
- Take up a new instrument with lessons.
- Play good music in the home always.


- Make homemade finger paint and pottery
- Rock painting
- Illustrating stories
- Mixing primary colors
- Study great artists


- Keep old electronics and experiment with them.
- Keep a scrap pile handy.
- Dissect road kill (wear gloves, mask and eye goggles.)
- Organize screws and tools properly.
- Teach him how to use each tool.


- Sing and dance as you mop or sweep.
- Jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups.
- "Faithful Workouts" video
- Volleyball, basketball, baseball, kickball, jump rope, hiking, bike riding, swimming, canoeing, Frisbee golf, football, obstacles coarse, sac races, hopscotch.

Another book you may enjoy if you enjoyed this is The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Adjusting as a New Adoptive Family

Life as an adoptive family has been wonderful!

I was wondering how everything would work. How would we adjust?

Silas is such a great baby. He is very content, yet sensitive at times. He only cries when he's really tired or hungry. I would say that he's the most similar to our first born, Avonlea. Just calm and cool with whatever we are doing as a family. Maybe he will be a "steady" like she is. (I can cross my fingers and pray, right?!)

He loves to be worn in the baby carrier. The girls and I love taking turns holding him throughout the day and sometimes, I have to get purposefully selfish with him just so I can have him to myself and bond with him.

He has absolutely stolen our hearts and adjusting has been so easy and amazing. I FEEL amazing! No hormones or healing from birth.

We are getting his baby book rolling and getting him on a 3-naps-per-day schedule, which he is fitting into very nicely. He will go to bed around 11 and give us about 4 hours of rest. Each night elongates just a bit, giving us a little more sleep.

Coffee is a new discovery for this mother of six. I can't believe it's taken me six children to discover this little bit o' magic. Between that and vitamin Bs, I am good to go til about 7, then I start craving pajamas, some hot peppermint tea and my pillow.

This little guy loves to snuggle and my biggest delight has been how he recognizes my voice from across the room or in the car and settles right down. He knows my smell and when he's being held by a stranger. At such a young age, he has been through so much, but is adjusting and fitting into our crazy family perfectly.

He has the most kissable cheeks, loves his bath time and listening to Daddy play the piano. He has stolen our hearts!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Welcome Silas Caleb!
It was a Monday evening, April 3, when we got the call. I had been working furiously in the garden, trying to get the last of the tomato starts in. I was covered in dirt and sweat, hadn't made a thing for dinner. I was determined to finish the spring garden gettin' in. I conquered and won.

Robbie pulled into the driveway and went in to change and come out and help me finish staking all the tomato plants (because that's the kind of husband he is) while Avonlea volunteered to make quesadillas for dinner. We got everything in just in time for dark to set in. I decided to take Avonlea out for a drive for some girly time.

We were only a few minutes into driving when I got a phone call from our adoption coordinator. She said, "I may have a placement for you!" My jaw dropped and I put her on speaker phone so Avonlea could hear.

We talked details about birth mom and baby (she had already left the hospital days ago). Before we hung up, she said we would have 12 hours to get there before he was discharged from the hospital and either put into foster care or with another adoption agency. It was a night of prayer! So many questions zoomed through our minds. The baby was born breech and his hips were of concern. We also didn't know the full health record of mom.

We prayed all night both together and alone. I woke up the next morning, with Rob off to work, and me standing in my closet wondering if I should put on grubby farm clothes or a nice outfit to go pick up my SON. The tension was high. I didn't know what to DO that day. What was this day going to look like? Should I pack the diaper bag and car seat into the van? Do I get the kids' "Big Brother"/"Big Sister" shirts out of the closet (bought a year before..."Gosh, I hope they fit!")? I got on my knees and prayed, HARD. I showed the kids his picture (sent via text the night before) and they all "oohed" and "ahhed" over him. We knelt down on the couches to pray together. It was a precious moment...all 6 of us kneeling, asking God if He wanted us to have this precious baby.

I had my phone glued to me that morning, receiving more calls with details. I called Robbie and told him that I wanted to get to that hospital and get our son. He agreed that this was God's plan.

I ran to the nursery closet and grabbed all 5 big brother/sister t-shirts, flung them at the kids and said to get dressed. I went into the closet to change OUT of my grubby farm clothes and into some jeans and a blouse to zoom to the hospital in. Everyone was giddy with delight, scrambling, loading up the carseat and bags into the van.

We stopped at Tractor Supply for some rabbit food, because when your animals are out of feed, you stop at Tractor Supply...of coarse. (ah-hem) Also got him a little John Deere onesie and socks. Because I COULD. {grin}

We arrived at the hospital in about a little over an hour. (I was thankful we weren't driving up or down the entire state, but I would have anyway just the same!) It was pouring down rain and there were reports on the radio for HAIL. It was hard to drive and see, but we were on our way to get our sweet baby, so we drove safely and swiftly. We played praise music the whole, way there. I did a number on our steering wheel.

Meanwhile, this poor boy didn't have a NAME. I remember grabbing the baby name book off the shelf before leaving, tossing it into my bag, knowing we would need it. I gave it to Avonlea as we drove and told her to turn to the boy section. We needed a "C" middle name because all our children have "C" middle names and we needed a good, strong first name. We ran through so many names in the van, meanwhile, Robbie was driving from his work and meeting us at the hospital.

When we finally arrived in the hospital parking lot and met up with Robbie, he mentioned Silas. We had thought of Caleb in the van. A dear friend also suggested Silas, mentioning that it means "asked for". He certainly was that...ASKED FOR. It derives from the Aramaic. Silas was also one who accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey.

Caleb was one of those sent by Moses to scout out the land in the 2nd year after the Exodus. Caleb and Joshua were the only two people over the age of 20 who got to enter the Promised land. It is Hebrew meaning "faithful". God is always faithful to keep His promises when we reveals them to us.

Silas Caleb is was. "Asked for" and "faithful".

For years, I dreamed of what this day would look like. The range of emotions, where he would come from, if we would get to meet the birth mother/father...I could go on.

We raced into the hospital to meet up with our adoption coordinator (who is amazing, I might add!). Went through metal detectors, had bags checked and checked us and the kids in at the front desk.
Then it was off to take a bathroom break because 5 children (and mom) had to go after the car trip.

As we headed up the elevators, I knew I was going to get emotional. So many different emotions I might add. I was full of joy, but at the same time, grieving for this birth mother. It was getting real and I got quiet.
The 5 older kids had to wait patiently in the waiting room as Rob and I went through the glass doors to meet our baby boy. He was so small and precious. The first time I saw him, my eyes locked onto his and I lost it. I was trying to video record our first meeting him, but had to stop. It was emotional. He was getting hungry and needed a bottle. Rob and I both took turns feeding him. Robbie even got a smile.
The paperwork began shortly afterwards (they were wanting to get him discharged from the hospital soon). Lots of signatures and information that I knew I was going to forget because my mind was on cloud 9 at that point. We went back and forth checking on the older kids in the waiting room. They were doing so well and staying quiet.

I was able to bring the kids out from waiting and into the hallway where they could look through the glass and see their new brother. He had already been placed into his car seat and was ready to go.

We finished paperwork, took a few pictures and down the elevator we went. Robbie went to get the van in the parking garage so the rest of us waited with our adoption coordinators in the lobby.
I couldn't wait to get this little man home! We stopped and grabbed some dinner. Avonlea and I ran into Target for some baby formula and an Easter outfit (oh yeah!).

We arrived safely home and each child demanded their time with Silas to hold and love on him. The sleepless nights began.

It has been blissful. If I'm just bein' real, I was wondering how the bonding process was going to go. Would it be different?

Nope. It's not.

If anyone tried to lay a hand on this son of mine, I would drop kick them. Yep. The "Mother hen syndrome" is at its finest and I have to fight my girls so I can hog him all to myself.

Farm chores have taken a back burner and we're just doing the bare minimum, to which the older kids have done a fabulous job! Avonlea is on goat milking duty (we are waiting on one more goat to freshen any day now), the kids feed and water everyone and give the lambs (whom I need to wean...hello) their bottles. The kids have been collecting ducklings as they hatch, placing them into a brooding box.

The only difference with this baby is that I'm not healing from anything. No hormones! Just a lot of paperwork, updating background checks and fingerprint forms, and I'm not nursing. Still praying about a milk donor. The Lord will provide.

There are so many more details that I could add, but won't. Some details on how the Lord spoke to us that evening and the next morning are private and so special. He spoke to us through Scripture and other strong believers. He spoke through His Holy Spirit. We're gonna keep them secret and hidden in just our family.

We want to thank so many of you who have reached out to us through your prayers, your giving of diapers, formula and other baby goodies. Your encouragement has meant the world to us. We can't thank you enough for thinking of us and this sweet baby. We thank you for your prayers for his birth mother to whom we will be sending letters and pictures, sharing the Gospel of Jesus with.

I had to get this story written before I forgot it! Whew!

May the Lord richly bless you all as we enjoy this Passover and Easter season. We will keep you updated on this little fella. You can count on that!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our Foster Care Story...Part 2

I continued to pray, seek God and kept reading the "Created to Be God's Friend" book.

"Either you turn to Him for counsel and obey what He says, or you make your choice in what seems right to you. The latter can be fatal - and almost was for Abram. It is crucial to note that our best thinking - without God - can be fatal to our families and those dear to us who are walking with us!

I read further...

"Abram's obedience would bring great blessing to others, especially his family; but Abram's disobedience would also bring great harm to others, especially his own family. Faith is based on facts - but facts God has granted. When you do not have facts from God, your next step is one not of faith but of presumption!"

We came to the conclusion that we were not disobeying God by continuing with the adoption, but we would be disobeying if we adopted and didn't pursue the foster care. We have a healthy fear of the Lord. You never want to disobey!

Proverbs 9:10 says...

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

We know also that if God did not want this adoption to take place, He would close the door. Instead, He opened it back up!

It was a blessing in direct accordance with our obedience.

God is so amazing isn't He?!

Our agency said to get ready and that's what we are doing. Our foster care workshops start shortly also. Paperwork is done and being submitted. We are collecting car seats, bottles, diapers, clothing, etc. The to-do list seems a mile long and we hope to get a few last projects out of the way so that we can concentrate on these precious little ones as God gives them to us. Back to sleepless nights, endless feedings and diaper changes. Back to baby wearing and snuggling in the early-morning hours. Back to needing a diaper bag and stroller in the van.

But, we savor the sweet moments of praying over these wee ones. Praying off the spiritual warfare that each one will bring. Praying off the sinful ways that the Enemy has come in to destroy these families. It is our job to fight it and fight it we shall! For Jesus!

I would ask this. We need others to join up with our family in support. There are so many ways you can do this! You can join up with us through:

1. PRAYER! This is not to be taken lightly. All of the families that have ministered to us as we have sought out the Lord's faith to us in fostering children have said to "get ready for warfare!". We have heard story after story of the real-life warfare happening in these homes. We need the blood of Jesus covering our home, our farm, our hearts, physical bodies and minds. Pray that we would know HOW to pray for these children coming in and out. Pray for the social workers and licensing dept. that we will be working with. Pray that we are patient. Pray that we have peace. Pray for the PARENTS of these children that they may accept Jesus and turn to Him! Pray that on the bad days, we look to the promises and revelations of JESUS and not our feelings or emotions. Pray that we do not grow weary obeying James 1:27...

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

If you don't have a prayer sheet that you use daily, there are many HERE.

I can't tell you what a BLESSING it has been in my own prayer life and walk with God to JOURNAL the prayer requests that have been answered and the story behind HOW it was answered. So many of you are on my prayer list and are prayed for daily. (If you have a prayer request of your own that you need prayer for, you can comment and put "private prayer request" so that I know not to post your comment. I would love to pray for YOU!)

2. SUPPLIES: We are currently in need of a second crib, diapers and baby girl clothing sizes infant to 3T, toddler shoes (either gender), a gently-used pack-n-play and toddler bed. We will need Bibles to administer to the parents. We are currently looking for thin, short devotional books to also distribute to parents, but we have not decided on one, specific book that would be a best overall fit yet. If you have any suggestions, we are open!

3. SUPPORT: Whether it's a meal or just a quick note in the mail to encourage. A blog comment or phone call/text is always appreciated and a huge booster for us. I am a "Words of Affirmation" girl and Rob is "Service". Aren't love languages cool? Ever since reading that book, it has been neat to find out others' love languages and fill their love tanks as well. Knowing that we have brothers and sisters behind us can make a huge difference in this ministry!

This story is only one that God could write! When the Lord calls, He equips! He has shown this to us over and over again in our walk with Him.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples." (John 15:7-8)

(Above is our birth mother bag in which we put some "goodies" for. I'll do another post on this later, in greater detail.)

Here is a fun video by our new friends, the Carroll family!
"What to Expect as a Foster/Adoptive Parent". Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Our Foster Care Story...Part 1

(Our foster care/adoption nursery is just about ready!)

Sometimes life dishes you a "plan". Something you know God revealed to you to do. You feel secure in that plan, but then it changes. We felt safe in this call. This plan to adopt a child, however God changed up that plan and called us to do something (if I'm being completely raw and honest) that we did NOT care to do.

Foster care.

That type of amazing "kingdom work" was for those really strong Christians. The ones that can handle (it seems like) everything. They have the strength to take in a child who has been abused, neglected, who has been exposed to things a young child should not be exposed to. They minister to them and then give them back to their families. Somehow, those strong families hold it all together, emotions and all.

 "I am not one of those people, Lord. Don't call me to do that. Please."

The more I researched and the more God was brining amazing foster care parents into our lives, the more I realized that they were just ordinary families like us who didn't have superhero strength. They were just obeying a call from God.

This is the beginning our story...

A little over two years ago, we began a journey to adopt a child. You can read about our adoption story by clicking on the side bar link "adoption" There are two parts. We knew the Lord laid it on our hearts to adopt. That's how God can start a revelation, by laying something heavy on one's heart.  After various revelations, He put everything together. We completed paperwork and home studies. We created a nursery (we felt called to do an infant, domestic adoption this time for a hand full of reasons), bought a few, various items and learned as much about adoption as we could.

After two years of waiting, we got an out-of-the-blue phone call one morning from our agency (I was thinking it was a call for a match...sigh). They said that they had so many waiting families (over 100) that they were no longer taking applications and they were informing their families that they were offering REFUNDS to their waiting families if they wanted to go ahead with another agency, withdrawing from theirs. It would be YEARS before anything went through.

I was heart broken. I cried on the back steps. You never truly understand the emotions that you are about to go through on a journey such as this. I asked God why He allowed this to happen. He called us to adopt, but yet He was closing this door somehow.

As I got up from the steps, I felt confused, but I know that we do not serve a God of confusion.

Something was up.

A good friend told me to take time to grieve that loss. I did for a few days. Then, I got out all our adoption paperwork from various agencies and went "back to the drawing board". Maybe the Lord wanted us using a different agency. I wasn't sure, but after being on the phone most of the afternoon with other agencies asking for price breakdowns of their ridiculous adoption costs, I was done.

Yep. Done.

Just picture me in a closet (because all 5 kids were awake!), banging my head against the closet door with phone in hand letting the very last agency I was to talk to that day "have it". I told her she was running a business and I hung up. Why other agencies are double and triple the cost of what our agency was asking, I don't know. What I did learn is that if an adoption agency doesn't give you a price breakdown, hang up!

"Lord, this can't be right. This can't be what you want for us. What is your will?"

I threw all the adoption paperwork in the trashcan and just continued to pray the rest of the day. I sat in the nursery, wondering why God would reveal something so specific and then take it away.

A friend at church started talking about foster care.

Foster care.

The kind of kingdom work for the strong families. Those mamas are AH-MA-ZING, but that's not me. I could never handle caring for and loving a child for weeks, months or years and then handing the child back to their parents, sometimes in situations where you know they shouldn't have been handed back. It's a sin battle. It's spiritual warfare! Some of these parents are able to overcome the battle to get their children back and some, unfortunately, are not.

I knew that as much as I didn't want to walk the path of foster care, that that was what God wanted us to do. We started getting revelations physically and they were happening one after the other, fast.

We had friends call us (who we haven't talked to in a long time) who foster children, stating that "You guys should foster. You've got that farm. What a great place for children who need to be nurtured and loved to grow up."  (She had no idea we were praying about fostering.)

We got a huge revelation from an amazing family who have walked these lines for years and had some great wisdom to share. They called us one Sunday morning and asked if we wanted company later that day and if they could park their camper on our property for the night so we could talk foster care. We have so much in common with this family, I was floored. We said yes (of coarse) and stayed up til 11:00 p.m. asking questions and getting more and more affirmation about foster care. We made some new friends and for that, we were thankful!

I was spending some deep time in prayer, begging God for answers. I opened up to Psalm 128. {Sigh}

Went to the thrift store and a book seemed to call out to me. "Created to Be God's Friend" by Henry Blackaby. It's the story of Abraham and his obedience. {gulp}  Same author as "Experiencing God, Knowing and Doing the Will of God".

I had a friend who disagrees with foster care and adoption, wanting families to be together all the time and threatened that if we went into foster care, we could no longer be friends. While my heart ached to lose that friend, the Lord reminded me that sometimes He takes people out of our lives for a reason because He is trying to accomplish something in our lives. His will must go forth.

I read in "Created to Be God's Friend" that very week "Sometimes God has to 'remove' others from our lives, so He can continue His purposes for our lives." Before John the Baptist was beheaded, he said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) "Will God have to remove someone from your life to have total access to you?" - Blackaby.

Since the Lord began revealing that week, a friend from the city invited me to her house to meet yet another foster mama, have dinner together and have a time of anointing and prayer. We prayed so long and hard that night. I was able to get more questions answered and left more confident than ever. God was working! We had talked about "testing the spirits" that night and in my hour and a half drive home, that's what the sermon was about.

Psalm 23 has been ABUNDANT lately. Everywhere I go! Sermon at church. Sermon on the radio. In books. In sewing patterns even! (We are getting sheep in a few weeks so this girl is excited to get a hands-on feel for shepherding.)

A rekindled relationship with a family member is mending and come to find out, this individual has been praying for a year that we be open to foster care.

On the phone with a good friend in this same week, come to find out that they have decided to foster children. Our kids are close and so this gives them the ability to talk about their feelings together through this whole process.

I love how God blesses in the little things. He is such a personal God!

I had taken my sister to a doctor appointment also that week (mom was great to keep the kids) and after a fun lunch together, we hit a thrift store. I hesitated to walk into the baby section, but went ahead anyway. I looked down at one point and saw some baby bedding. (The one thing we were lacking in the nursery.)

It was Beatrix Potter!

Exactly what we had decorated the nursery with. Of coarse. The funny part was that everything was in TWO'S. Two baby quilts, two window valances, two crib bumpers, etc. Either, we're getting twins or the Lord is supplying one for adoption and one for foster care.

We never 100% understood why the Lord brought the homeless family to us (who was living out of our camper over a year ago), but now we can see that God was giving us a glimpse into some of the future families we may be working with, setting goals with, praying with and ministering to.  I am thankful for that glimpse.

After all of the revelations to foster, Robbie and I decided that we would take our name out of the adoption agency and complete the foster care paperwork and workshops, in obedience to God. Our hearts were being so torn to minister to these families and we pulled our name out of adoption with willing hearts, on a new mission.

I had it in my mental to-do list to call our agency the following morning and cancel, when right after breakfast, my phone rang. It was our agency. They were calling to say that we were next on the list! My jaw dropped and I was speechless. Either God was testing us, like dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit's nose, or He was blessing us for our obedience. How were we to know what to do?!!

I prayed. Although I appreciated the encouragement of others, I had to have some solitary time with God and talk this over with my husband. We talked. A lot. The pressure of having to raise enough funds for this adoption was now back. We went with the least expensive agency in Florida and an agency that has an orphanage on site with some really amazing people behind it!

So, with this new information, how were we to know what to do? God was calling us to foster and now this!

{Part 2 to follow...stay tuned!}

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How God Uses Silence
(His Message In the Stillness)
Oh, the stillness of God. Something every Christian who walks closely with Jesus despises. When our God is silent, we can question. "Lord, is there something I did?" "Where ARE you?" The questions can go on and on. We doubt. We blame. We can get confused, and then. Then He speaks and He speaks so often with so much revelation that your head spins and everything comes together just as He planned it.


That's been me lately. Months of silence.

If you follow our family, you know we have been on this amazing journey of adoption (and now foster care). While I will be sharing that on the next post, I wanted to share the toughest part of this journey for us while it is still fresh in my mind. I wanted to share about the SILENCE.

I have been reading a book by Charles Stanley called The Ultimate Conversation, Talking with God Through Prayer. There is a chapter on How God Uses Silence and while I know that God uses many different ways to get His message across to us, sometimes He is silent.

Here are some things I have learned about God's silence to us:

1. Our ears must be trained to hear His call. Discern the spirits! Ask yourself if this is something from the Lord or not. This can take a long time to master as the Enemy is beautiful, tempting, etc. There have been times in my own life where I thought something was of the Lord, but took time out to pray and discern, come to find out it wasn't.

2. God grew quiet for 400 years towards Israel (Malachi to Matthew). No prophet, priest, judge or king made sure they were on track. The Lord was preparing Israel, His chosen people, for the coming Messiah. During this silence, common language developed, nations united, spreading Greek culture and language, roads were built so that Matthew 28:19 could take place, making disciples out of all nations.

3. God was working to help Israel with its sin problem.

There are six ways God can use silence in our own lives:

Note: Know this, that He is not angry with you, but continues to work on your behalf. If God is quiet, most likely, there is something significant He desires to teach you and He wants you to listen.

1. Getting Our Attention - When our souls become starved for His presence, we must retrace our steps to see where we've walked away from Him.

I Kings 19:9 - "What are you doing here Elijah?" God uses wind, earthquake and fire to get his attention.

2. Preparing Us to OBEY Him - He knows distance causes us to seek Him more passionately. Are we ready and eager to obey Him?

3. Revealing Our Sin - Is there something bothering you that you can't identify? Are you bearing some heaviness in your spirit that is depleting al your energy? Does it seem like your relationships/plans are going awry? Ask God to identify your iniquity and set you free (Psalm 32:1).

4. Growing Our Trust In Him - He sometimes tests how deeply we believe in Him and how we cling to His promises. he reveals areas where we need to grow. If He's called you to do something specific, He will give you everything you require. The principles God teaches us through His silence are powerful. He acts on behalf of those who wait for Him and He takes full responsibility for our needs when we obey.

5. Training Us To Hear His Voice Above All Others - Although the Holy Spirit can speak through other believers (when I say believers, I am talking about STRONG believers who walk daily with Jesus, not just those who wear the name "Christian" on their sleeve due to cultural or social acceptance), always be ONE with the Lord and go to Him FIRST so that He can reveal in the quiet and stillness. Others can sway our thoughts and opinions on decisions. Be careful on this one.

6. Teaching Us To Persevere In the Ultimate Conversation - He is teaching us to endure in our relationship with Him.

Jesus taught the parable of the widow for this purpose (Luke 18:1-8). His timing is not like ours, nor are His ways comparable to our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Sometimes, He desires for us to wait because He is arranging our circumstances, or protecting us from danger. He may be purifying our motives, teaching us to rely on Him or preparing us to influence others.

Here are some things we can do to apply these concepts to our lives:

1. Ask God why He is so quiet. Is there a sin I must confess? A step of obedience I must take? God's silence doesn't mean He's inactive. Recall all the ways He has been faithful to you. Be honest. Express your heart to Him. Commit to being quiet before the Lord everyday.

2. Be confident He is calling you to a new level of intimacy. Don't be discouraged or afraid. We do not serve a God of fear! Get on your KNEES and praise Him! Wait quietly before Him. Thank Him and anticipate His answer. When you actively listen for His voice, the Lord is certain to respond.

God is so faithful in these concepts. He LOVES us and is pruning us into magnificent vines to bear much fruit for His kingdom.

That's what my next post will be about...Kingdom work! Our story of How God lead us to pursue foster care. Never say "never" to the Lord! (LOL) One lesson we have learned the hard way. That is usually JUST what He will call you to do! {grin}

Blessings brothers and sisters-in-Christ Jesus! The harvest is ready, but the workers are few. Let's get to work. Kingdom work! {wink}