Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Melting Heart

She curled up in my lap tonight and I got to hold her tight.





Such a normal for most, but such a grace kiss for me.  She melted into me, and my heart is melting.

Joy wonder, not only for the birds...

"For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep!"
Psalm 92:4-5 (ESV Bible, emphasis mine)

Day 45 Prayer Request

Please pray for my children as they are going into a new school setting soon that will challenge them both emotionally and intellectually.  Please pray we can stay aware of struggles at school and encourage.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 44 Prayer Request

Please pray that He will prepare my kids' hearts and their teachers' hearts before school starts.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sir Kindly

Sometimes an adoptive momma prays the prayer and has to wait, anticipating with faith. She journeys down the truly hard with her precious one, clinging to Hope.

This sent in from an adoptive Momma, with a grace kiss long prayed for...

There was a little boy who came to a family so injured by life he did not know the right way to treat those around him.  When his anger emerged, he found animals the easiest to target.

One day the boy, not really knowing the difference between safe play and cruelty, terribly hurt little orange striped kitten.

Though normally the family could not affort to take an animal to the vet, Dad decided that the boy needed to learn an important lesson.

With the vet's instructions, little orange striped was sent home into the boy's care.  With help, he nursed the kitten, now christened "Sir Kindly", back to health.  He learned to care and hold Sir Kindly.  Maybe even to love him.  Sir Kindly loved him back.

This is the essay the boy wrote.

How to be Kind to Animals
"It is not kind to put cats in trash cans Because it isn't safe.
It is not safe to put ropes around cats necks Because it could choke them.
It is not good to be mean to cats Because you could hurt their legs or arms.
It is not safe to choke cats Because you could kill them.
It is not nice to hit cats Because they don't like it.
You can pet them the way they should be peted.
You can treat the way they should be treated.
You can play how they should be played with.  You can holed them the way they should be holed.
You can leave cats alone while they are sleeping so they can sleep.
You can pick cats up when they want you to pick them up."

The little boy is no longer quite as little.  He does not kick the barn cats, but holds them.  He is a boy, so he is not always careful, but he is no longer cruel.  Because old injuries do not heal easily, the boy still has a long journey ahead.  But he is learning to care.  He is learning to love.

Day 43 Prayer Request

Please pray for guidance for my husband and myself with finances. 

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 42 Prayer Request

Please pray that in the hard moments, I will reach up to Him and let Him comfort me.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

He gives more grace...

I thought holding his 1 pound 14 ounce fragile little body would be the hardest thing I'd ever do.  At one week of age, he had just accomplished his first "normal" newborn trait by losing one full pound after birth.  And, at that moment, as much as I craved some normalcy for him, this "normal" terrified me.   
The Daddy Warrior stood behind me, placed his left hand firmly on my shoulder, reached down through all the tubes with his strong right and took his son.

Five years later, I dug deep into the front flower bed, watering the dirt with my tears, trying to control my trembling hands, and my burning heart.  I knew in the deep crevices of my mind that she wasn't developing normally.  I had hoped and prayed for so long.  One telephone conversation with a birth relative shattered that hope with information that suffocated. 

My wonderful neighbor was suddenly present.  She gently took the shovel from my hand, wrapped her arms around me, let me catch my breath, accepted the hurt of my heart.

Three years pass and I'm an exhausted momma, driving through rush hour traffic to return my twin girls to a caseworker, who will return them to a foster mom.  I fight back tears as I know I must surrender them again, wait just a few more weeks to be their Momma forever.  I struggle with the tears their beloved foster mom tried to hide as she left them earlier in the day with me. 

After the exchange, driving in the opposite direction, He warms my heart with the image of my precious girls greeted by their beautiful foster Momma, who promised to care for them until they could legally come home forever.  My six-year-old sees my tears, reaches out his hand to me at a stoplight, tells me he loves me.

And four years later, I receive the phone call from the Warrior Daddy.  The twin's caseworker had just called, with the revelation of a little two-year-old sister, and would we possibly consider... another?  How I rushed to call her caseworker!  I remember the jubilee within my heart, the anticipation and hope.  And then, how the days turned into weeks, the phone calls stopped, and my hope turned into anger.  How could I feel in one moment giddy with expectancy, and another like I'm hemorrhaging?  How would I hide the horror of loss from those around me who could not understand?

And my beautiful sister sat at the farm table, held my hand and let me cry.  She took my four, filled in the gaps, and gave me time to grieve.

The life of a Momma is filled with hard.  Hard moments that terrify the soul, take breath away, exhaust the body and mind, tear apart the heart.  Hard moments when humble, shaking hands raise high to the only One who can save, reveal, rebuild, comfort.

"He gives more grace."  James 4:6a

In terror, He sends firm grips.  In collapse of hope, He sends gentle, accepting arms.  In exhaustion and waiting, He sends another to care for and provide.  He gives a little hand to reach out and proclaim love.  In anger and loss, He sends a hand to hold. 

Yes, the hard gets harder, but the comfort increases.

He gives more grace.    

Day 41 Prayer Request

Please pray that I would trust the plans He has for me and our family.

Marie (Momma to 4)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Philippians 4:8b

artwork by Grace

Day 40 Prayer Request

Please pray for transitions for my kids and family getting ready for school to start back up.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 39 Prayer Request

Please pray for my two children as they deal with the sadness they feel on their younger brother's birthday who was adopted into a separate home.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 38 Prayer Request

Please pray that I will draw strength from Jesus when I feel too tired to try. 

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I saw that wooden plaque sitting in the shop and knew I had to have it. 

It sat in my bedroom floor for about 3 months.  A statement that reflects my life.  I wanted just the right place to hang it. 

I settled for the spot right over the stovetop.  I had a picture in my head of what I wanted to finally rest there, and the Hope plaque really wasn't it, but I couldn't stand to see it laying on the floor any longer.  The Warrior Daddy said he thought it was a good location until I really knew...

...and three months later, on February 19th, He revealed.  As I sat at the old farm table, a pen writing away through tear-blurred vision, I admitted my hope was weak. 

"Time doesn't stop and messes fall and I cannot keep juggling.  You give me all I need.  Please help me to see clearly....Faith and Promise exhaust.  Joy exhausts too.  All together, I fall - like today into hopelessness."

And I read Psalm 31:24.

"Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the LORD."

I placed my head in my hands, rested on the table.  I reminded myself I have to have courage.  He will honor my courage by strengthening me - my heart.  I do hope in Him.

And as I turned my head slightly to the right, I glimpsed that wood plaque sitting right above the fire of the candle, right over the burners of the stove.

Hope sits directly over the fire.

Jesus is my Hope sitting right there over the fire.

He nailed that plaque of Hope right over the burners to remind me of His constant presence, to remind me that the time I need hope the most is when my world is melting.

And He invites me to reach high through the fires.  

Reach high for my Hope.

Day 37 Prayer Request

Please pray for strength as my family is facing some very tough times.

Annette (Momma to many)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 36 Prayer Request

Thank you for praying!  Today, we pray for you.  Thank you for answering His prompting, and praying for a tired, special adoptive Momma and her challenging, yet fabulous ones.  Please keep praying!  Your prayers are needed, cherished, a blessing.  :)

Mandi (Momma to 4)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Orchid

The Warrior Daddy brought home that beautiful pink orchid on our special day.  I'm sure I rolled my eyes before I even stopped to think.  I know he caught my disdain.

Work had delayed him a few too many minutes that evening.  Considering it was our special day, he should have arrived to a beautifully displayed table of food, children bathed and ready for bed, a showered, out-of-workout clothes wife. 

I'm sure he wanted to roll his eyes.

He embarked upon five stubborn, independent souls traveling in five different directions; each with a story to tell him right NOW!... 

...and in the multitude of my anxiety within me, I failed to let His comfort delight my soul (Ps.94:19). 

Instead I saw that orchid as another uninvited challenge.

I am good at displaying God's beauty each summer in our garden.  It's really not all that difficult.  Plant flowers, pull weeds, water regularly, and pray for God's tender mercy rain.  Over the years, the oranges, reds, yellows, pinks, whites, purples have blended perfectly. 

Inside plants are a different story.  A perfectionist sticks to the easy plants, after she's failed one too many times with the others.  The forgiving plants that don't demand schedule, and daily attention.

So, after a good night's rest and a sound apology to the Warrior Daddy, I determined to try to keep that beautiful orchid alive.  

Because, figuratively, I live with five orchids, not five cacti.

Five who need just the right amount of sun and shade.  Five who need to have regular nourishment, and a little extra when their soil grows dry.  Three who are addicts of schedule, and deep proprioceptive pressure, and constant direction.  Two who crave space, small spurts of refreshment, and sponteneity. 

Five who need parakupto attention.

The Warrior Daddy is wise.  He gave me a plant to remind me of my worth, my special calling from my Savior.  Taking care of His family is no small, easy task.  Taking care of His family is the hardship and beauty of my life.  This is my story, my beautifully written redemption story.

The grace kiss is, it came with instructions carefully wrapped around one of its limbs.

And the Warrior Daddy brought home another gift too.

Both reminders of those faded, worn index cards taped inside my pantry cabinet.  His instruction, handwritten from His Word, His taking care of me.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path."  Psalm 119:105   


Day 35 Prayer Request

Please pray that all the females in this house will know they are made in the similitude of God (James 3:9) and their worth has nothing to do with how they look or behave. 

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 34 Prayer Request

Please pray that I can teach basic principles like obedience to my older adopted children in the right way.  I am realizing there are even more challenges when they were not started young.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Friday, July 19, 2013

July 19, 2013

The purple 365 Bible Promises for WOMEN perpetual calendar says today:

And I shout His glory today, because he is 13.  My little fierce one who started life weighing a mere ketchup bottle is 13, a man-child, and oh, so wonderful! 
God stretched out His arms at 11:53 a.m., 13 years ago, and rescued two dying precious lives.  And upon hearing his first, desperately prayed for cry, He changed the direction of my life forever.
And my heart named him Hope, because He used this son to teach me the meaning. 

Day 33 Prayer Request

Please pray I will discern when to maintain control and when to maintain self-control.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 32 Prayer Request

Please pray she will feel safe enough to tell the truth.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 31 Prayer Request

Please pray that I will speak constructively instead of critically to my children.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Star Revealed

She tugged on my shorts, bouncing with anticipation to share.  I glanced over, put her on hold, attempting to finish a thought with a friend.

She tried patience, but the bubbling inside she could not contain.

"Momma, Momma, LOOK!"

She had been collecting sticks with another beautiful chosen one, with six years on her, who shared a glorious secret.  
With a clean break, the inside of that cottonwood branch revealed a perfect star.
My little star girl holding a God-made star.
And through her giddiness, I felt His grace kiss and my soul smiled.
This reminder, on a morning with no energy, and a promise to look straight towards the Bright Morning Star (Rev. 22:16) and avoid the shadows. 
He, the One who set the stars in place, is mindful and the Carer of me (Ps.8:3).
He created the stars for me to behold and drink in deep His steadfast love that endures forever (Ps. 136:9).
He cares enough to name each star (Ps. 147:4).
And with all those named shining stars, and no shame, I will praise Him (Ps. 148:3).  

Isaiah 50:7

Somedays all I have energy to do is face the sun, whisper "I love You", and believe He is here.


...and when I keep facing Him, with my face pointed like a flint, I cannot see my shadow.

"But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame."
Isaiah 50:7 (ESV Bible)

Day 30 Prayer Request

Please pray I will balance well the control and grace they need.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 29 Prayer Request

Please pray that I might make room for times of joy and fun with my more difficult children instead of feeling I can't let go and relax.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Love is Kind

artwork by Grace
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Day 28 Prayer Request

Please pray I would take a step back and speak kindness.

Marie (Momma to 4)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

You are....

"As indeed he says in Hosea,
'Those who were not my people I will call "my people",
and her who was not beloved I will call "beloved."'"
Romans 9:25
(ESV Bible, emphasis mine)

Day 27 Prayer Request

Please pray for my husband and I to have patience and understanding as we meet the needs of our hurt child.

Marie (Momma to 4)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 26 Prayer Request

Praise the Lord, she expressed her hurt today.  Please pray she will learn to express herself appropriately, and He will prepare me to  meet her in her need.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

God Girls

"Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms."  James 5:13

I told him the truth this morning, while he was suffering through emptying the dishwasher.

"If you are suffering, you should pray.  If you are cheerful, you should sing psalms."

He gave me his stern look.  I smiled big back, threw my dishcloth in the sink and ran over to the CD player.

The girls stopped their drawing, gazed at me with anticipation.

I sorted through those CDs, found the one, and loaded the player.

The girls jumped up, met me on the green rug.

We forwarded songs right through to #6 God Girl.

There is nothing like watching three beautiful brown girls dancing to #6 God Girl, and glimpsing a suffering pink boy's frown turn to a smile.

Day 25 Prayer Request

Please pray for my girls to find appropriate ways to express their hurts.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 24 Prayer Request

Please pray for stamina for my husband who is taking on a second job for the family.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

His Mercies

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'therefore I will hope in him.'"
Lamentations 3:22-24
So, so thankful for His mercies that never end and are new every single morning.  Put your hope in Him.  He is Great.  He is Faithful.  His steadfast love for you never ceases.

Day 23 Prayer Request

Please pray that we will know when to give our daughter certain freedoms and when to increase boundaries and protect her because of her past.

Ann (Momma to 6)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 22 Prayer Request

Please pray for emotional healing for my daughter.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 21 Prayer Request

Please pray for me to be a good momma to my precious gifts.

Annette (Momma to many)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Quiet Weekend

It's so quiet, it's deafening.

My dear sister picked up my fab four yesterday morning at 9:30.  I helped pack them in the car, strolled up the sidewalk waving kisses.  Entering the house, I closed the door behind me, glanced at my long to-do list, walked right into my bedroom and crashed.  A nap at 9:45 a.m., a luxury I can never remember indulging before, but oh, so needed.

I once read a beautifully written post of a Momma, who when walking around the corner into her kitchen found a massive mess of pots, pans, tupperware, silverware - and a little smiling toddler.  She found herself caught up with emotion at that moment, realizing that mess was a sure symbol of His faithfulness.  That mess meant that smiling toddler was there, present, and an answer to much, much prayer.

A few of this week's messes:  A penny in the belly of a 6-year-old.  A few less water mushrooms growing under the tree, also inbeaded in the belly of a 6-year-old and her dear twin.  A massive meltdown in Hobby Lobby.  Mud caked inside the air conditioner unit.  A new, must-be-replaced-today shower curtain.  A burnt bathroom rug. Sharpie marks on my calendar, and the kitchen counter.  A quilt pulled off the wall.  A new massive stain on the carpet. 

All sure symbols of His faithfulness - these four little treasures I prayed fervently for, messes and all.  They are here. They are present.

And this precious weekend He has given me two wonderful grace kisses - silence, and the anticipation of their return.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:21 (ESV Bible)


Day 20 Prayer Request

Please pray for healthy boundaries/attachment for my daughter.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 19 Prayer Request

Please pray for my girl to know how much she is valued in this family.

Reagan (Momma to 4)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

"Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!"
Psalm 146 (ESV Bible)

Day 18 Prayer Request

Please pray for a calm spirit for my son.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bathroom Rug Fire

She just caught the bathroom rug on fire.

The Warrior Daddy is at work.

And Matt Redman is finishing his song, track #4 (10,000 Reasons: Bless the Lord), singing,

"...Sing like never before,
worship Your holy Name,
worship Your holy Name,
worship Your holy Name."

Praise the Lord! She is ok.  Burned, having learned a hard lesson, but OK.

And track #5 (Fires) begins, Redman singing,

"You will keep the fires burning,
You will keep the fires burning,
You will keep the fires burning....

...and we're waiting, 
Waiting on You God,
and our hearts will trust
Trust in Who You Are."

She is sitting against that wall, tears streaming down.  I am fighting back my own.

And I know He is here.  And He is speaking to my heart, right in this moment, He is revealing...

And dear sister, you are not alone!

Track #6 (Never Once) begins:

"...never once did You leave us on our own,
You are faithful,
God, You are faithful..."

"Where can I flee from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your Presence?" 
Psalm 139:7 (NKJV Bible)

Day 16 Prayer Request

Please pray I will seek Him first before reacting.

Danielle (Momma to 3)

Monday, July 1, 2013

At Arm's Length

I ran this morning, listening to Plumb's voice...,

"Maybe we can heal each other
Maybe this won't hurt forever
I don't wanna push you away
I don't wanna hold you at arm's length
I don't wanna push you away
It's just a knee jerk reaction"

...and He reminded me of my hidden pain. 

I don't want to hold her at arm's length.  I want to draw her in close and squeeze tight.  I want to squeeze so tight that all her past trauma and inflated pain will deflate.

I would take that limp balloon, patch up all the rips and tears, and blow it back up.  I would cradle that balloon, replacing the unfair and undeserved with "you are wanted", "I hoped for you", "you are chosen", "you are loved."  

I am really not satisfied with only grasping this balloon's string.

But, it's not just about what I want.

She and I, we are good at pushing each other away.  She came with severe trust impairment.  I anticipated her with high hopes of a familial bond.  And as we grow together, her insecurity surfaces in the form of words and actions that bruise and hit my heart.  My mind knows all those words and spiteful behaviors aren't really directed towards me.  But, my heart feels those blows and hurts - and jerks away.

I run faster and hear His prompt:

"Do you trust Me? Are you willing to surrender and watch Me patch up and repair? I AM the only One who can truly fill her.  Will you take her hits, remember and draw near to the love I share with you, let Me fill you, and keep on holding on to that strand?"

"Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken."  Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV Bible)

And Plumb sings out,

"Don't run away, don't run away
Come back to me
Don't run away, don't run away
Come back
Don't run away, don't run away
Come back to me
My love is here, my love is here
At arm's length" 

Yes, Jesus, I will trust You.  I will hold onto her, squeezing her tight or at arm's length - however You direct.  I will keep chasing her, beckoning her to come back.  I will believe You placed us together to withstand, and I know I will watch in awe as You repair and turn rips and tears into scars of beauty and remembrance.  We will shout Your glory together someday.  

"But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed."  1 Peter 4:13


At Arm's Length, from Plumb's Need You Now album (2013)

Day 15 Prayer Request

Please pray for me to have patience and peace when trying times occur.

Danielle (Momma to 3)