Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun Moments

I've had some fun moments that made me smile the past day.

Yesterday I babysat for two adorable little girls- an 18-month old and a 6 year old. I love those ages because at 18-months they're still semi-dependent on you and love to be held, but they aren't completely helpless. I LOVED the 6 year old as well. We went to the park and it was so much fun to see her explore the world, discover new things, and ask lots of questions. All in all, it was really a great day and it gave me such hope for the future. I was dreaming of walks in the parks with my kiddos someday, answering their questions, teaching them how to be polite by talking with the cute little old people walking their dogs, and showing them the great wonders our God has created for us to enjoy, even in the simple things. It kind of made me want to fast forward through the next few years but I was reminded again of how these years of high school and college are a gift. No, I might not get married for another 6 years (it seems like such a long time!) but He has things to show me in the now, before I have a family. Patience is definitely a theme that keeps arising in my life! :)

Today we went to a baby shower for one of our best family friends who's having her first baby. First of all, it was just fun to talk and laugh with the other women and girls. Secondly, I fell in love with the ADORABLE girly stuff. When we went shopping for the gift, my mom had to keep "pulling" me through the baby aisles because I kept stopping to look at all the cute clothes. My husband's going to have to take away my money when I'm pregnant because I'll blow it all on adorable things! Just kidding. I'll show restraint hopefully and I don't have to worry about that for lots of years. It is so much fun though to celebrate with these women. Children are such a gift and I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to take part in the celebrating today!

Lots of thoughts...

After quite a rollercoastery (yes, that is a word in MY personal dictionary! lol) week, I'm curled up on the couch with my laptop watching TV and breaking the "no food after 9" rule by eating cookies. Oh well... it's very relaxing!!

Despite the ups and downs of the week, it was SO COOL to see how God encouraged me and taught me. No matter what my day held, there wasn't one night that I went to bed feeling alone.

On Thursday I turned to my devotional book and it was as though the author knew that I NEEDED that lesson!! The Lord totally spoke to me and convicted me through that and I'm thankful!! It was one of those moments where God was like, "Hello?! Who is in control? NOT you!! It is me! And I know what I'm doing. Relax, my daughter, and find your joy in me, not in your circumstances." Pretty cool.

"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken... All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast." Proverbs 15:13,15 (NASB)

Yesterday night, my mom suggested we pick up the Beth Moore Bible Study we'd started last fall but didn't finish because of time issues. Ladies, if you've never heard Beth Moore DO IT! She is the most inspirational woman, and I have her to thank for alot of spiritual growth in my life.

Anyway, the topic "just happened" to be focused on Joshua 1:6-9.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:6-9

Beth's lesson hit me in so many places. I don't feel like I can adequately verbalize everything that I want to. But I'm going to give it a shot! If you've ever heard her, you will know what I mean when I say she can preach. She is passionate about the Lord and I would probably say she loves Him more than anybody I know! This lesson she was pleading with these women to not let the enemy get them! She talked about how the devil demoralizes us. Demoralization is when the enemy watches us to see what it is we fear the most about ourselves (that we're ugly, incompetent, unloveable, etc) and he sets out to convince us that what we fear is true! Last night (friday) as I watched this video and talked with my mom afterwards I realized all of the lies that had crept into my heart and that I was believing. I also realized all of the fears that had taken root, and how I had lost confidence in some areas because of it. I started praying about what my greatest fear was and what God says about that! Beth also talked about how God will NEVER fail us! He may not answer our prayers in the way that we want them answered; but He will never fail us. Our responsibility is to be strong and courageous and as she says, "Our success will be holding tight to the One who has us in His grip." Praise God!! He will give us the strength to overcome the enemy's schemes.

Have a great three-day weekend! Woo-hoo!! More blogging tommorow (actually, later today... it is now 1 AM Saturday morning!)...

Molly :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome to my world...

I have jumped in the deep end of the college search pool (at least that's how I feel). I pulled the thick stack of envelopes, letters, and brochures from colleges off the top shelf of my closet and I started digging through them today. That picture is of my desk right now with the stacks all spread out. I hate having a messy desk but this project leaves me no choice!! I had already semi-organized them but hadn't gotten on their websites to compare prices, scholarship options, and majors/minors. And... I've discovered that it's kind of overwhelming. As I browsed through the websites I kept thinking, "I could pay for an adoption with that much money... and multiply that by 4 years. That's 4 adoptions. This is ridiculous." College is stinkin' expensive! And there's so many to choose from. I kind of just want to turn to the next person I see and ask them to choose for me! lol. Just kidding. It would be nice though! So that's what I did this morning, with my box of Kleenex. My allergies are really bad right now. It's so annoying. My eyes are so itchy I almost put on my glasses because I was afraid I was going to pop my contact out! :)
I start my regular school next week! Yaay! I'm so ready for it to start. I'm hoping that I'll be so busy I won't notice how quiet the house is and how little time I get to spend with my church friends. I really miss seeing everybody. Being at home definitely makes for some lonely moments. But.. they never last long thankfully.
Well.. got to go to an Experience meeting. Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment. I like hearing from people.
From the girl who's stuck at home dutifully researching college options,
Molly! :)

Great Quote

"One adoption may not change the world,

but it will change the world for one child."

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to Him are radiant."

I'd never heard that verse until recently but I really like it. I love how the author used the word radiant. I picture the glory of Christ and the brilliance of the sun in a person who literally RADIATES love and joy to everyone they come into contact with. Kind of a weird visual picture but it works in my mind.

I guess I write this to say that you never know how you may be impacting a person. A simple sentence, comment, or compliment can make a person's day. A short note, a hello, or a smile can make a huge difference. Someone wrote on my wall on Facebook, "You make me smile." I thought to myself, "I do? Hmm.. I don't even know her that well." So you never know, your life may be making somebody smile.

I pray with all my heart that you may be radiant this week. May you be FILLED TO THE BRIM with love from our sweet Savior. He blows me away again and again with His constant faithfulness and goodness.

She made me laugh..

Chloe has this strange habit of sitting in the bathtub. She only does it if one of the little men in our family forgets to shut the shower curtain. And she's VERY obstinate about getting out. She'll just lay there, lick the tub a couple of times, and thump around until you come to see what she's doing. Then she gives you that little smirk. And me, being the softy that I am will just laugh at her. Even if I wasn't a softy, she's so strong that I couldn't pull her out of the tub anyway! :)

She is so cute.

The Office of Doom.....

Today I went to the office of doom... aka the oral surgeon. Ughhh... it was just a consultation for my impending implants to fill the spaces in my mouth where I'm missing teeth. I've had oral surgery before and it was not fun at all. That's an understatement. It was miserable. I got the nurse who apparently couldn't insert an IV so, alone in the room with this nurse getting my first IV, she calls for help. I look down and blood was spurting out of my arm. I got SO scared and started to cry. I know, not a good situation.

So that is probably why I'm dreading this surgery. Not that I wouldn't dread it anyway. Having implants done sounds dreadful. Who cares if there's two spaces in the back of my mouth?! Apparently everybody but me. So... since i don't have a choice I will have to be brave and do it. Even though it makes me nauseous thinking about what they'll be doing. Last time, I prayed through Isaiah 43 while I sat there and waited. I'm so thankful that the Lord has given us Scripture to find peace and comfort in.

So this is one more thing to look forward to this fall. Just kidding. It's going to be a great school year. I'm just really nervous about this particular event!

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush [a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
Isaiah 43:1-5

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday's Blessing

The boys were up bright and early to go to their first day of school this morning. I laid in bed as I listened to them slam the cabinet door shut for the sixth time. Finally, they went downstairs to have breakfast and leave for school. I fell asleep for another half an hour until my alarm went off. After my shower I opened up my curtains and looked outside. My car was parked in the driveway and in the morning dew Noah had written a message on the hood of the car. I almost started to cry! That simple note "Hi Mol Noah" meant so much to me.

Noah, buddy, you made me feel treasured and loved this morning. That simple note was so sweet and it was the pick-me-up that I desperately needed! You have no idea how close the tears were to spilling over! They were happy tears, of course. That was probably the best thing I've ever seen when looking out of my bedroom window (except for the time that I opened up my curtains and Caleb was there trying to scare me.... lol) Now that I've probably embarrassed you I'll stop writing. :) Love you, lil bro! Molly

Sunday, August 24, 2008

True Love

"The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17
We talked about God's love in Sunday School and I was blown away again by just how incredible it is. In church Pastor Bob talked about our sin and how great it is. How great is our God! That He would look at us, deep in our sin, reeking with the stench of it and He LOVES us!! That is true love. He loved us so much that He was willing to send His only son to die for our sins, to suffer and take the punishment. That is love- greater than any love I know or will ever know. Greater than the love I will ever have for my husband or children, greater than the love my parents have for me.
I love that verse in Zephaniah. When I'm having a bad day and wishing I was someone other than myself, someone prettier, smarter, funnier, wiser, I read this verse. He will take great delight in you. He takes delight in me! He smiles down on me, affirming His love and affection. He loves me despite my many imperfections and sin. He loves me for who I am and He's not letting go. He has declared that I am HIS! His daughter.
So as I sat I was reminded of the song "How Can I Keep From Singing" by Chris Tomlin. Here's the chorus:
How can I keep from singing your praise?
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is your love.
How can I keep from shouting your name?
I know I am loved by the King
and it makes my heart want to sing.
It does make my heart sing! I wanted to leave that classroom and go right back upstairs and play the worship set again! I don't know. It just makes me really happy to think about. It's freeing, to know that even in the darkest night, in the loneliest moment, when the tears fall He is there and He loves me. Praise God! Sit for a moment today and praise Him for the love He has for you. Relax and rejoice, for you, my friend, are loved by God.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Never far..

Despite my silly post earlier today, I do have some serious thoughts swirling around in my head. It seems as though my thoughts of the orphans are never far off. Simple things throughout my day remind me of them. A reference to Ethiopia or Guatemala will immediately turn my thoughts to them.

I went to Eagle's Nest (the orphanage i worked at) blog and the first title was "Children Need Families." I didn't even want to read about it! It's too hard to be faced with the great need in this world. It makes me feel frustrated that i'm sitting here eating ice cream while people are starving. Yet what am I to do? At some point we have to face the need. But we also can't dwell on it. God has placed us in our own situations. I think there's a healthy balance between acknowleding the need/acting on it and being thankful for the life we've been given. I'm not sure if that makes sense. It's still something I've been thinking/praying through. How to live this life of prosperity while there's a whole different "world" that is struggling.

So as you sit here tonight and read my post the first thing we can do is to pray!! We sometimes skip this first step in the ultimate plan of action!

1. Pray for Ethiopia. There is a famine going on and prices have inflated 400%. I know that the America World Transition Home has been struggling to buy diapers, formula, and food for the kids there. There has also been alot of illness there.
2. Pray for Guatemala. Things are moving incredibly slowly (if at all) down there. Claudia's case is apparently stuck, among many other kids' cases. This sweet girl needs to come home! I want to hold her in my arms so badly. Of course, pray for all of the other children too. :) I'm just slightly biased towards her.
3. Adoptive families, I'm praying for you!! Patience, strength, and endurance to run this race well! It's a journey, that's for sure.
4. Pray for the children. The babies don't understand that they're stuck in an orphanage but the older kids do. They totally know what's going on. Pray that their hearts would stay soft and that they would hold on until their families come to get them.
5. Social workers and agencies, you've got a rough job. My prayers are with you as well.

This Mission
Their little cries are haunting me
Their deep dark eyes remind
Of the millions who long to be
In a loving family like mine.

The pictures and the stories
they show me so much hope
But my heart still grieves and cries out
For all the ones who hardly cope.

There is so much need and suffering
We just can't face it all.
It makes me long for heaven
To my Savior I do call.

I long for Him to show me
All that I can do
To help these precious children
It's this mission I pursue.

My Day in Pictures

Since school hasn't started yet, my days haven't been very exciting. I've had regular hours at the Dr.'s office and have been doing my spanish homework and ACT studying. My mom has taken advantage of my free time this week and "hired" me to do some jobs around the house. So this week I painted all of the woodwork in my room and organized our storage room.

So instead of writing I thought it'd be creative to take pictures of what I did today. I know, I really must be bored if I'm resorting to this! :) I'm embarassed I'm even posting this. It's so dumb. Don't bother reading.... :)
Our usual pianist is out of town this week so guess who she asked to cover for her? ME!! So I've been practicing alot this week. I usually just accompany on piano, not lead. I'm also doing an offertory. You can pray that I will do well on Sunday morning and that I would be able to worship along with the congregation. A couple of years ago, the Lord freed me from nervousness while playing piano (i'll blog about that story another time) but it still creeps in once in awhile when I play for the church.

Homework, homework, homework. Nothing more to say about that. It's very easy, which is nice!

Menards, Jeffery Alans, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Hobby Lobby.

My school books and software came today! Yaay! So I unpacked that and looked through my books. I'm taking an "Intro to Medicine" class for my 4th Science credit (long story as to why I'm taking that), which is why I have all of those medicine books. I'm actually really looking forward to it. I've always been interested in medicine. Maybe I will be a doctor after all.... just kidding. I wouldn't make it through med school!

Blah, blah, blah. I CAN"T WAIT until that is OVER! Major celebration after that. September 13th here I come!

I put up spice racks for my mom in our pantry.


Needs no explanation....


I made brownies...


I was in a major cleaning and organizing mood. So I cleaned part of the house!

Scraps 'n Ribbons update

Last night we had a business meeting to talk about Scraps 'n Ribbons. For those that don't know, that is the business that Corinne and I have. 100% of our profits goes towards the orphans. We sell burp cloths, hair bows, buckets, and a new product TBA!! :) I'm very excited to see what God does with our efforts in this new "project." God has really been encouraging my heart recently and burdening me still for these precious kids. Sometimes it's unbearable for me to sit in the comfort and prosperity of my home knowing that people NEED HELP! I feel so helpless to give it sometimes! But I'm thankful that God has given me the opportunity to participate in this business because it makes me feel like I'm doing something useful with the life that I have!! I wanted to post our website on here as well in case anybody wants to look. We'll be posting pics and info for our new product soon so keep checking back on that site. If you'd like more information about the business just leave a comment on either that site or this one.

God bless your evening!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm gonna' miss you...

Tuesday was my last day with the Cocco kids. It was a little bit of a rough morning with lots of arguing and frustration. When I went to check on one of the upset kids who had run to his room, he said the sweetest thing. I sat down next to him and we talked about why he was upset and what he needed to do about it. As I stood up he said, "Wait!! You know what, Molly?" I said, "What, buddy?" He replied, "I'm gonna' miss you alot." and he reached up his arms for a hug. Aww.. so sweet. That's why I love kids. That's why I want to be a mom. It's because underneath those tough-guy masks that you discover sensitive hearts who love deeply and who thrive on your love. I'm gonna' miss them!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

post-NYC musings

I was reading through my NYC journals today and found a poem that I'd started writing but never finished. So I decided to finish it this afternoon and though I'm not crazy about the part I wrote today I feel like it does sum up my heart for the people that we ministered to that week. I'd written the poem after our day in the Bronx. My heart was just heavy for the people and i was also very frustrated with myself for not keeping up my Spanish enough to be able to evangelize successfully to all of the Hispanics there. I could converse enough to figure out if they were a Christian, did they go to church, etc. but I couldn't explain Christianity to them! So I ended up giving many of them tracts but feeling unable to help them! When I go on that trip again I will prepare myself much better to evangelize in Spanish. Anyway, I've gotten way off track. Here's the poem:

Give them Hope
Hundreds of faces,
empty stares,
everyone's hurting
nobody cares.
You reach out your hand
You show them a smile
Your eyes meet with theirs
and they linger awhile.
They're so full of doubt
with bitterness rooting
Shattered are dreams
Their heartbreak is muting.
These lives without hope.
These hearts that don't feel
We will show them together
Christ Jesus is real
He will fill them with peace,
They will hunger no more
His forgiveness is free
This salvation is sure.
Have a lovely Sunday!! :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You need to watch this....

A friend of mine emailed the link to this video of the Chapman family on CNN. I cried as I watched it, still not able to comprehend the loss they have experienced.

"His mercies are new every morning."

I'm Ready

It has been such an amazing summer. At times I thought I was crazy for agreeing to work so much but the Lord knew exactly how much I could handle. I got a taste for what it's like to work full-time, if only for a few weeks. I was challenged and stretched as I learned how to handle 5 kids at once, learning to meet each of their individual needs and showing them as much love as I could! I had a great week at Family Camp, growing closer to God and learning to trust in Him more and more. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to New York. The rewards from that trip were incredible. Friendships grew as well as my self-confidence on that trip. I enjoyed a relaxing week in Branson, hanging with family and an evening with the Ethiopian adoption families. I went on long walks with Chloe and my mom. I spent lazy hours engrossed in sweet adoption books and some Christian novels for women- life, love... what else would you want to read about?!

There were smiles and hugs, ups and downs, laughter and tears... and I fell more in love with my Savior. It was a great summer...

So what's next? The school year!! I hear some groans coming from both students and parents. I groaned a little bit too thinking about it but this year I'm actually ready for school to start. I really do love learning new things and I'm excited to see how this new program works. Through the Word and even through some of your comments on this blog, I feel like God has been teaching me to really embrace this next year. I've been pushing ahead, focused on what's next and not what's NOW. He has things to teach me in this season, while I'm still in high school, still 16. I have been concentrating so much on the future that I've neglected to see what He wants to show me now. It's going to be a good year, I think. Here's what will fill up my days:

1. My "regular" school through Morning Star, the online high school. I'm all registered for my classes and it looks like I'm going to be in good shape for my senior year as well.
2. My spanish class at the junior college. Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-1:50
3. Working from 2-5 four afternoons a week. I get Fridays off. :)
4. Co-leading a girl's bible study at church. It's still in the planning stage but I'm excited to see what God does in that.
5. Co-teaching a children's Sunday School class at church. We get the 1st and 2nd grade. It's going to be a challenge but it'll be fun.
6. Youth group stuff. Playing on the worship team, small groups, etc. The highlight of my week.

I think that's about it... I don't think I have much time for anything else anyway! :)

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I saw this "Thankful Thursday" idea on another blog and thought I'd steal it! :)

1. I'm thankful for my family. I've been blessed with loving parents and brothers. Though my brothers and I don't always get along I love them so much and can't imagine life without them.
2. I'm incredibly thankful for the friendships God has strengthened and formed this summer. I've grown so much closer to some and have forged new friendships with others! I look forward to the next year, growing with these special people that I love so much.
3. I'm thankful for the summer I've had with the Cocco kids. Thanks to them, I now know a bunch of annoying Disney songs by the Jonas brothers and Hannah Montana. I have also spent countless mornings laughing with those sweet kids. It was an awesome summer getting to babysit them.
4. I'm thankful for music. It's such a beautiful expression of God and I often take for granted the fact that I can sit down at the piano whenever I want to and play worship music.
5. I'm thankful for my church.
6. I'm thankful for the beautiful night outside. I would love to just go to a park and sit in the grass and talk. It's so nice out.
7. I'm thankful for God's faithfulness. My devotional last night was about how God keeps His promises. It was a much-needed reminder of how good God is and how faithful He is. Too often, I think that maybe God was as faithful as He could've been because He didn't make the situation work out like I thought it should. But He was faithful in His own way! And I wouldn't want it any differently! :)
8. I'm thankful that God has opened all the doors for school this coming year. We're all set up with the jr. college and with my homeschool program. It's gonna' be a good year i think.
9. I'm thankful for my car. Who knew a vehicle could be such a wonderful thing!
10. I'm thankful for the smiles of all the people who love me and encourage me. God has been so good.

What are you thankful for, my blog buddies? :)

The Spiderweb

Today I was outside with the kids and I noticed a huge spider web. This web was massive and it glistened in the sunlight. One of the kids asked me how the spider makes it. I had to honestly answer that I don't know! I should've paid more attention in science class. It's incredible to think that one spider could create such an intricate structure of out of some web. But he did it. As I stood and stared at it I started thinking about how that web is so much like our lives. God has carefully formed each and every part, weaving it together into a fragile yet beautiful masterpiece, just like the spider forms his web. Piece by piece, yet all connected to create the "big picture."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some projects....

I've enjoyed doing some crafty stuff this week while watching the Olympics. My creative juices were flowing so I had to let the artsy side of me come out! As crazy as it sounds, scrapbooking/art stuff is the best therapy for me (however, shopping is right up there!). It helps me relax and wind down after a stressful or exhausting day. So here's some pics of what I've been up to the past few days (besides working from 8:30-5!).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Here I Am

Heard this song on the radio today and feel like the chorus sums up the cry of my heart right now:

Here I Am

Sometimes your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit's breeze,
You reach for the deepest part of me,
And call out for the things of eternity.

But I'm a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say,

Here I am, Lord send me,
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me,
Somehow my story, Is part of your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans,
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands,
Are you not the closest when it's hardest to stand?
I know that you will finish what you began.
These broken parts you redeem,
Become the song, that I can sing (chorus)

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness,
And the fear that I'll fail you in the end,
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces,
I can't put this together but you can.

I once read in a book that our life is like a mosaic piece of art. Each event, joy, and heartbreak are all beautiful stones that make up the mosaic's picture. Without each single stone, the picture wouldn't be what it is. Without each of those times in our lives, we wouldn't be the people we are today. I want to desire Jesus more than anything else in the world. I want my dreams and hopes to be centered on Him alone! I want to share openly with Him the things that hurt my heart and make me cry. I want to be hopeful in trials and thankful during the easy days. I want my life- all of it- to be in His hands. I'm just a piece of dirty clay, but when put in the Master's hands a beautiful creation can develop. I want to be that piece of clay, moldable and eager to learn, yet willing for my Creator to shape something completely different out of my life than what I have in mind. I long for people to look at me and see God's goodness and grace! I want every word that I speak to be encouraging and filled with Christ's love. I want my touch to be one of kindness and love, reaching out to a fellow brother or sister to encourage, comfort, or serve. I want to change the world for the better. I see too many teenagers just sitting around, wasting their lives. I DON'T WANT TO BE THAT TEENAGER!! Just as the song says, somehow my story fits into His plan!! The journey of life and the story He's writing fits right in! Your journey and story fits right in too. So as I drove home from work today and listened to that song I was humbled and encouraged. I'm humbled that He CHOSE me to be His daughter. He adopted me and I am His. I'm encouraged because I know that He has a plan. He knows what will happen next year with school... He knows what mission trip He wants me to go on next summer... He knows it all! What a relief to know that He is in control. And that my life is apart of His plan.

Love this verse! :)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, August 10, 2008

12 Top Pictures from this summer

Nursery Duty

Why do they call it that? It sounds like something you get assigned to... like jury duty. Why can't they call it "nursery pleasure" or "nursery privelege?" Anyway, I got to help in the nursery this morning at church. I hadn't gotten to do it for over a year because I've assisted in sunday school the past 9 months and hadn't gotten in there this summer. There was a 10-week old baby boy who was so precious and tiny. It'd been a long time since I'd held such a little baby. I'd forgotten how they just curl up on your shoulder. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a mom. I love other people's kids so much but it is nothing in comparison to the love of the mother who carried that baby for 9 months. It's pretty incredible seeing all of those little children. Every child is a miracle and displays the incredible creativity and love of our God.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We are back from Branson!! We are home.. it feels so good. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed tonight! The trip back was very long. Within the first 20 minutes of the trip I got extremely carsick and ended up losing my breakfast. It was miserable. Thankfully, I felt much better after that. I guess I need to be really careful about what I do in the car from now on. So for the next few hours I just listened to music, not wanting to risk getting car sick again. I actually enjoyed just sitting there listening to the words, praying, and thinking. My mind has been running 100 mph recently. I've been thinking, reflecting, and musing about life so it was nice to have some time to just be quiet. I'm so busy and constantly running from here to there. I need to slow down sometimes and just listen to God's voice. It's most often in the peaceful moments that He speaks and shows you things. So that was good.

When we got outside of St. Louis I took a turn driving. My parents wanted me to get some more experience on the expressways and they wanted me to know what it's like to drive in a busy urban area. It went very well and I think they were pleased in my "driving skills". I know there will be a time soon when I want to drive out of town and they'll be more open to it because I've had the experience.

It's opening ceremony for the Olympics tonight!!! :) We're taping it and watching it together soon! I'm excited!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pure Joy

I will exalt you, O Lord,

for you lifted me out of the depths

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

O Lord my God, I called to you for help

and you healed me.

O Lord, you brought me up from the grave;

you spared me from going down into the pit.

Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;

praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may remain for a night,

but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,

"I will never be shaken."

O Lord, when you favored me,

you made my mountain stand firm;

but when you hid your face,

I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I called;

to the Lord I cried for mercy;

What gain is there in my destruction,

in my going down into the pit?

Will the dust praise you?

Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me;

O Lord, be my help."

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Psalm 30

Exactly one year ago this week, I was in Arizona with my family visiting the Grand Canyon. I had just gotten back from Guatemala and I was DYING for my parents to adopt. I pleaded with God to please give me a little sister. I would do anything for a little sister to love and take care of. I was lonely and hurting. I remember sitting at the computer researching Guatemalan adoptions. Would my parents qualify? Could we afford it (our house was still on the market so of course not!!). How could I make this work? (I thought that it was me that would make it happen) How could God NOT lead my parents to adopt? Why should a child have to be without parents when God could lead them to our home? So I waited... and waited.... and waited for some kind of miraculous revelation to hit my parents and convince them they had to adopt a little girl from Guatemala. But it was not to be. Our family is complete with the 5 of us. Had my parents done things differently when they were younger maybe we would have a little sister. But what's done is done. It's too late to rewind and adopt. My hurting heart could not accept that one year ago. The past year has been incredible, though. The Lord has stretched me and tenderly taught me so many things. He's shown me my new identity in Him- He values me as more precious than gold or silver, He thinks I'm beautiful, He loves me no matter what. He's shown me contentment- with God I need nothing else. He's shown me hope- my future is filled with hope in Jesus Christ. Last but not least, He's shown me what true joy is.

Tonight, I walked into Shorty Small's with the Semlows to be greeted by the Gibsons, who held their precious baby girl from Ethiopia in their arms. As they passed tiny Zoie around I was in awe of how faithful our God is. When she was placed in my arms I felt nothing but JOY!! I was so happy for them, for her, and for the 4 other families with us who are waiting for their children to come home. Last year I would've had trouble handling this dinner party. I would've smiled but inside my heart would've been breaking with grief over my parent's "resistence" to adopt. But not tonight. Tonight I smiled on the inside and out. I was so happy to be able to be there with those 5 families and to hold Zoie in my arms. It was so neat to hear the moms encouraging eachother in their journeys. It was fun to dream about next year, when the group will have 7 new little ones. It was funny to think that in 15 years I could potentially be sitting amongst a group of fellow adoptive parents, waiting for my child to come home (i know, dreaming!) :) lol

He lifted me out of the depths, brought me up from the grave, and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to Him and NOT BE SILENT!! I will give thanks to Him forever for the marvelous work He has done in my life. He didn't leave me in a heap where He found me but picked me up and loved me as a Father. He didn't leave my heart hurting but He held me in His arms and healed the broken spots. He's given me hope and joy. Praise be to our God.

Branson Day 6- morning

I'm just blogging for the morning. I have a feeling I'm going to have alot of pictures from tonight (babies, kids, and more cute kids) and they take sooo long to upload here. This morning we went to use up the rest of our credits at the go-cart place and discovered that we could play laser tag for only $3.50 a person!! That is incredibly reasonable. So we all played that as well using the extra credits. It was fun. Then we went to lunch at this place called McFarlains. Good food and a fun waitress. Then we came home and played a game of Settlers while my aunt, uncle, and cousin went to a show. So it was a good morning!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Branson Day 4

Well I got kind of behind on blogging... I neglected my vacation posts to blog about other things. But I'm glad I did. So now it's catch-up time!! I have to remember what we did yesterday.... all of the days kind of blend together. The boys slept in late and so my Dad and I went with my aunt and uncle to go get pops from the gas station. We decided to drive around a little bit while we were at it and we went and got Krispy Kreme donuts and we scouted out the oulet mall. We came home and I made myself presentable and we started a game of Settlers. In the early afternoon, my aunt, uncle, and cousin went to ride the ducks while we went to the outlet mall. I had fun shopping, though it didn't last very long. As I mentioned in my earlier post, my Dad only lasted two stores. So.... I got to go to Aero and American Eagle. I got a really cute pink sweatshirt for fall that was 50% off so that was good. We stopped at A&W and got root beer floats on our way out. Then we came home, continued our Settlers game, and stopped to go to dinner at this GREAT BBQ place called Danna's. Then we came home, played shuffleboard, and swam in the pool.

Monday, August 4, 2008

That's how I wanna' be

Just a short post before heading to bed. I love that I can blog on vacation!! SO much fun!

I just read one of my adoption blogs (another family that I don't know!). :) More than one of you are laughing at me right now!

Anyway, this family has 6 kids- three biological, three from Ethiopia (who just came home several months ago). They made an announcement that they are adopting three more from Ethiopia. That is AWESOME!! The end of their post says:

Since God first told us to adopt our three last summer, our mantra has been "My Life is Not My Own." Paul says in Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." We have known that verse for our entire lives; we just decided a few years ago we would really believe it.

And so here we are; our lives are not our own. We are choosing to be conduits of redemption for these children's lives on earth. God wants to redeem their lives from the pit; we are saying YES to being those vessels through which that happens.

This kind of tags along with my previous post about the Mark Schultz song. I don't want my life to be one made up of selfish ambitions. I want to do whatever He wants. This amazing couple is making major sacrifices. They'll probably retire late, they'll work extremely hard, they'll be exhausted BUT they will have 9 precious kids- 6 of them who wouldn't have parents had they not adopted them. This family has taken up the burden God laid on their hearts. When they see the statistics that show there are 143 million orphans they don't turn their heads- they ask God to show them what to do. They've put aside their plans for the future and turned them over to God.

I've been thinking alot recently about life and one of the many things I have realized is that I still hold onto MY desires and dreams. Does that mean I can't hope that my dreams will come true? No. It just means that I have to surrender them to the Lord. I have to long for and desire God's will above my own. My life is not my own. What will I do with the rest of the days God gives me? Will I seek to fulfill my own fleshly desires or will I seek Him and follow where He leads?

So I was incredibly encouraged and inspired by this family tonight. What an awesome testimony of following after God with your whole heart.

When I grow up..... that's how i wanna' be! :) I will admit, I do hope that God plans for me to adopt! :)

if you want to see this family's blog it's

10 Thoughts...

10 thoughts from my day- some serious some silly!! :)

1. Krispy Kreme donuts and Diet Dr. Pepper for breakfast is amazing.

2. I don't have very good strategy. I failed miserably at Settlers. I need some training....

3. I'm glad there's not a scale here because I feel like I've gained weight!! I've eaten so much junk food it's not even funny! :) I wanted to go work out yesterday but they don't let 16 year olds in the exercise room and when it's 100 degrees out it's not exactly like I'm going to want to run around outside! How dare they discourage a teenager from wanting to exercise?!!! :) Just kidding.

4. Does my haircut make me look that much older? All of a sudden, people are calling me "ma'm" instead of "miss." It sounds weird to be addressed in the same way my mom is. I guess I'm getting old!!

5. Vacations always make me want to adopt (i always do anyway but it makes me think about it even more). I realize how great of a family I have and how incredibly blessed we are. Our hotel room is 100 times better than some family's permanent homes. I look at our little group of loved ones and am reminded that some don't have a family. It will be the greatest honor if someday the Lord provides a husband for me and allows us to adopt so that we can give a child a family.

6. Anyone who wants to/has/is adopting should read the book I just finished. It's called "Beyond the Blue." It's a fantastic fiction novel by Leslie Gould. Although it's fiction, I think she did an incredible job of making it realistic. The story bounces between these two women, one who lives in the US and one who lives in the Vietnam. Basically, in the end, the American woman and her husband end up adopting the Vietnamese woman's children. It's a heartwarming and heartbreaking story. You feel the emotion of the story and connect with the characters in a remarkable way. I felt the heartbreak and desperation of the birthmom and the true love that she showed to her children by giving them away to live a better life, the joy of the adoptive mom, and the adjustment and turmoil the older child had to go through during his transition from his childhood home to an orphanage to his new home. Anyway, it's an amazing book that I highly recommend.

7. I've been listening to Mark Schultz recently and have really enjoyed his song "Time That Is Left." The lyrics to that song have really inspired and encouraged me to examine my life. What are my priorities? Are my actions and motives pure and Godly? Do I take advantage of EVERY opportunity He gives me to serve?

8. Outlet mall shopping is fun- however, never bring your Dad or husband along with if they don't like shopping. My Dad announced that he was done after the second store!! :P I told my mom, "Well, I hope that my future hubby likes shopping!! I want someone to go shopping with!!" Just kidding. That's definitely not high on the wish list! But it would be fun! I didn't realize that before us my mom went shopping all by herself for those 10 years. I don't mind shopping alone once in awhile but it's fun to have someone to go with!

9. Branson has incredible BBQ. Great ribs, pulled pork, chicken, etc. YUMMY!! If you're ever here give me a buzz and I'll tell you the best spots.

10. The church family has become SO precious to me this past year. I can't describe how blessed I feel to have them- the cute kids that make me smile, the teens who are so much fun to hang with, and the adults who show me what it means to live a Godly life and have loved me so well through the years. Early on in the week I couldn't figure out what was "missing." I realized today that it was the church! The people, fellowship, teaching, and worship. I love it all. What a blessing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Branson Day 3

It was another great day here in Branson. It was also in the 100's so it was extremely warm out. We opted for indoor activities today and we finished up the Olympics since my Aunt Linda has to fly out tommorow for work. So we did a cookie creation contest and a nerf gun event. We ate lunch together and then some of the adults took naps while Dad, Uncle Steve, Noah, Caleb, Michael and myself played a LONG game of Settlers (it's still sitting out on our table waiting to be finished). Early this afternoon, we could not get my laptop to work. I was so disappointed, as we tried everything and even got on the HP website to look at troubleshooting tips. We had been downloading all of our pics. and videos onto it and I wouldn't be able to blog, email, or facebook if we didn't get it working. After several attempts to fix it, we finally accepted the fact that it was probably broken and would have to wait until we got back home to take it in. Halfway through our Settlers game I got up and turned it on again, just wanting to convince myself that it was indeed broken. About 5 minutes later, I heard the little chime noise coming from the desk. I came over and was so happy!! My laptop was up and running. So that was just a blessing from God. Of course, He waited to fix it until I had accepted the fact that we wouldn't have a computer the rest of the week.

Tonight we went to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner and then came home and played games.

I've gotten some hysterical videos but Blogger won't let me upload them.... pictures will have to do until I get home. I'm putting together a slideshow of pictures and videos from the week so hopefully i'll be able to post that once I'm finished next week.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Branson Day 2 and the beginning of the Mitchell Olympics

It's Day 2 of our Branson trip and it's a cooker again!! We slept in this morning and then went with my aunt and uncle to go get fountain drinks from the gas station up the road. When we came back, my other aunt, uncle, and cousin had woken up and we started the "Mitchell Olympics." Every summer reunion, we do our own version of the olympics. We even have a trophy that travels from family to family. We're determined to keep it in our family again this year. Every member brings the necessary items for an event that they choose. So today we did a crossword puzzle, ring toss, "guess how many m&m's are in the jar," and a building contest using marshmallows and spaghetti sticks (sounds easy but it really isn't!!). So that was alot of fun. It may sound weird but we really have a blast with it. So far my Dad's winning. Then we ate lunch and my parents went to this RCI presentation. You get free gift cards and special rates at local attractions if you go. We went swimming while they were at that but the water was so hot it didn't really feel that great!!! Tonight we're going out for dinner and coming back to swim again. I don't really know why i'm writing all of this because I think all but 2 people that read this are here with me! :) I have such a large fan club.. not!! Anyway, we're having a great time just hanging with family, playing games, and laughing. When you get my Dad, aunts, and uncles together there's LOTS to laugh about!! :)

Me and my Daddy

I love this picture and wanted it to have it's own post. I want to look back on this blog in the coming years and don't want this pic. to get stuck amongst the others...

My Dad is such an incredible man. He works so hard for us and never complains. He's hilarious and always has us laughing!! He's shown me what's important in life and taught me what it means to live a Godly life. I love you Dad!!! :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Branson Trip Day 1

I am soooo excited to be able to blog while on vacation!! Of course, it's great to email and facebook too. I'll stay so much more connected to everybody back home. Anyway, we're here at our resort in Branson. It was ridiculously hot today- it got up to 100 degrees. We're rethinking our plan for the week..... we'll be spending our days at the pool or in air conditioning!! We had a great drive here. Noah and I played speed and Connect Four for awhile and I listened to music for the majority of the way. Mark Schultz has so many good songs. Frequently, music is kind of part of the "background" but today I focused on the words and let them sink in. The lyrics really encouraged me and got me thinking about life.

The internet connection is slow so I'm having issues with videos and slideshows............ grrrr..

Six Flags Trip!!

The Six Flags trip was great. We got to church at 7:15 and loaded the vans. They couldn't fit all of the Sr. High kids in one van so they split us up. I ended up with a van full of Jr. High boys! I sat in the front seat and talked the whole time with Pastor Dave so it was actually a fun ride. My brother was NOT happy at all to have his sister riding in the same van as him!! I think he got over it. We spent the first half of the afternoon in the amusement park and the second half at the waterpark.
It was a fun day!