Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankfulness Brings Joy

When life gets overwhelming it is so easy to lose our joy.  And what's interesting is, at least for me, I can't always see it dissipating.  And then one day--BAM--it hits me like a ton of bricks!  
And once it's gone it seems so elusive to get back.  What I've found this time around (or perhaps once again) is that thankfulness brings joy.
I'm re-reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  I blogged about it long ago and it's just what I needed.  Not only does it help keep my worries at bay, it helps me find the joy in each and every day; each and every moment.  I look around and praise God for all the small delights in life. 
I am reminded to keep smiling--and keep trusting God.  I am reminded to truly keep thanksgiving in my heart, which seems especially meaningful this week.
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
                                                  Thessalonians 5:18

Thursday, November 13, 2014


It's been awhile!  Whew!  I think it was a lifetime ago!  It's has been up and down and all around, but God is always good and it's amazing how He orchestrates life!  I'm learning a whole new meaning of Carrie Underwood's song, Jesus Take the Wheel!  Lots of topics to blog about.
I'm off to taxi kids to evening events, but I wanted to stop in and tell you all hello!  I miss blogging and hope to add more soon.  For now, here are pics of Mei Mei's birthday.  She was SUCH an excited birthday girl!
And while I'm catching up, some pics of Halloween--Harry Potter, a cat, a Minion, and can you guess who was Gru?  LOTS of candy and a fun night.  (The other kids all decided they were too old for trick-or-treating this year--my babies are growing up!)
More posts coming soon to a blog near you. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Trust, Fear, and Grace

I like to think I can trust God.  I certainly believe in His power, goodness, and presence through good and bad.  I believe that he has a Big Plan and that someday I will understand it.


It's easy to trust God when things are going great.  Right?

But I've also begun to realize that when life goes haywire--for whatever reason--it's harder for me to trust God. To truly trust Him.  I've thought a lot about this recently and I think I finally understand why--it's because I don't trust myself.  I tend to blame myself for things that happen.

If my child has cavities it's my fault for not making certain they are flossing perfectly.  If my teen has friend problems it's my fault for not teaching them how to navigate relationships properly-- and probably my fault for not fulfilling all that they needed in relationships in the first place.  If my child gets sick I at least partially blame myself--even when Joe had cancer I couldn't help but remember that when he was a baby we were living in Europe in the path of Chernobyl.  Perhaps I could have done something different to protect my child? 

And my own trust issues go even deeper than guilt.  The last few years have had times of intense pain.  I learned that even if I called out for desperate mercy it might not come.  My loved one might not be healed.

In the last 7 years we have lost our precious son, my husband's brother, my husbands sister, my husband's mother, my father, and our one-year-old nephew. Most recently, we even lost our dog to cancer.  The grief sometimes seems never ending. 

One of my children said it's almost like all we can do is just wait for the next bad thing to happen. 

And the fact that my child thinks that way breaks my heart. 

But I get it.

God never said life was going to be easy.  It certainly wasn't for his very own Son.

With all of that, trust can be hard.

But what I have to hang onto is that even in the midst of pain there has been MORE joy.  In the past 7 years we have added three incredible children, a beautiful daughter-in-law and grandchild, and many nieces and nephews.  Life has tears but also so much joy and LOVE!  I always trust that at some point in the future there will be more happiness.

And I really do believe that God has a master plan.  I might not always like it, but I HAVE to trust it because if I don't then my faith will soon be non-existent.  And what I'm realizing is that even if I don't trust myself to get things right--even if I do unintentionally mess God's plan up--then He is going to somehow make it all okay. I'm learning to give myself grace--I can only do my best.  I can only keep praying for guidance and turning toward Christ and then keep working my hardest to proceed in the direction I believe God is leading me.  And if I feel no lead I must make my best guess.  My job is to keep a solid connection to Christ both in good tines and bad so that I can listen for his guidance.  And to remember that God is truly in control even if I don't understand everything on this side of heaven.

And recognizing all of that helps me release my fears.  Which brings a peace that surpasses all understanding.  I can only do my best.  God will do the rest.  Trust. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Light of the World Forever Reign

It's been a long, crazy summer.  There have been really great parts and some really challenging parts.  One of the most difficult aspects of blog writing is that I can't always write about the challenging parts. Life can be hard sometimes, and I keep just trying to remember that God is in control.  When you haven't heard from me on the blog it usually means we would appreciate some prayers!  
Speaking of prayer, I wanted to share some beautiful pictures from Lan Lan's baptism.  She has such a deep faith--the true faith of a child.  She has the most amazing dreams that revolve around her faith and Jesus--I love to imagine all the ways God will use her for his greater glory! 
Each child who was baptized chose some special words to be read.  Lan Lan had a vivid dream that included the song Forever Reign, by Hillsong:

 I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my dear, sweet, golf-loving son Paul!

You are such an important part of our family!  I love your easy-going soul and your hysterical sense of humor!  Have a wonderful birthday!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mrs. Peters' Birthday Cake!

Our electronics-free-zone is actually going quite well.  Patrick says he's still "screaming in his mind," but it is SO GREAT to see all the kids engaging in activities like reading for hours on end,

playing Colorku (the whole family loves this mind-bender), playing outside and playing the trumpet. 

The word trumpet reminds me the house is a whole lot louder these days--not just from the trumpet, but all the extra activity and my kids have been totally into The Cup Song (and in case you don't know what that is, then I am sorry to inform you that you are living under a rock.)  Let's just say it is LOUD and annoying--youtube it.  Overall, the noise is worth the positive payoff.

Last night we finally made Mrs. Peter's Birthday Cake--from one of our favorite storybooks. 

The cake is SUPER yummy, especially with homemade whipped cream. 

The recipe comes from the author, Maryann Hoberman.  "It's thick to beat and quick to bake--It's fine to eat and fun to make--It's Mrs. Peters' birthday cake!" 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Gifts Of Love Make Our Life Easier and Brighter

A friend of ours, who works in the sporting-goods-world, surprised us with a bunch of basketballs!

And another friend brought over some crab.

AND my sister and niece sent hand-me-downs to our kids!

I feel so blessed by these gifts of love--they make our lives easier and brighter!  Our kids felt like it was Christmas!

I am inspired to pay-it-forward.  I have some items to take to the farm workers and will load them up tomorrow.  I also have some clothes my kids have outgrown that will finally go out in the mail to a sweet friend with five young children.  I often forget how meaningful gifts are--until we receive the love from others.  Feeling grateful!