09 December 2017

Thanksgiving and Birthday

I'm finally getting the chance to blog about Thanksgiving. This year, Morgan's birthday landed on Thanksgiving Day so we had extra reason to celebrate and be thankful. 

I started the morning early with a sunrise hike to the cross with my Jilly.
I couldn't be more thankful for this sweet friend of mine!

I came home to find him putting up Christmas lights.

My family arrived around noon and the guys were trying to master the Rubik's cube.

Kylie is getting so big!

 Faith presented her Apologetics speech.👍

 Zach has been learning from his sisters and he always likes to present, too.
Madi is accompanying him on the xylophone. 😂

 Grace got in some practice and gave her speech, too. 👏

After lunch and playing a bit, it was time for dessert.

The birthday boy had a special cake!
He requested Red Velvet and our dear Jill was so kind to make him one for his birthday.

 Happy birthday, daddy!
We love you so much and we're so THANKFUL to God for you. 💝

I'm usually partial to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving but after having Jill's cake, 
pumpkin pie had to take a back seat (until the next day). 😄

 Surrounded by beauties. Not the best quality picture but my mom is still glowing at 74!  

We had a heat wave come through that day so it ended up being 90 on Thanksgiving. Hence, the shorts. That evening, we checked out all the decorations that were going up in our neighborhood.

This is at our front gate. Zach HAD to touch the lights. 😊

I did most of the cooking the day before so I could just relax and not be in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. The turkey came out moist and all the food was wonderful but the best part of the day was just being together and spending time as a family. We have so much to be thankful for this year!  

04 December 2017

One Less

Is it really December already??
Lately, I've been a bit more absent from the blog than I had anticipated but it's been for a very good reason. Yesterday, we launched One Less, a new orphan care ministry at our church.

To say that I'm blown away by the turn out and what God is doing would be an understatement.
There were over 60 people in attendance (which I'm told for a new ministry, is extraordinary).

Out of those 60 people, we have 5 families who are wanting to adopt right now. We also have a handful of families who are being led to foster. I don't think there was person there yesterday that wasn't impacted in some way. This is just the beginning of creating a culture of orphan care at our church and beyond.

Looking back, this ministry has been over a year in the making. I think it all started when we visited the orphanage in Puerto Vallarta last October. Morgan and I met with our pastor shortly after that but at the time, we weren't quite sure what we were supposed to do next. Our pastor was fairly new then so we just wanted to share our heart and receive his blessing. We prayed about it some more and maybe 6 months went by. Over that time, God kept giving me clear direction as to what the next steps might look like. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I pursued His promptings this past summer and God began to reveal a plan. He gave me a vision but each step of the way, I have to say, I kept trying to take myself out of the lead/primary position. I wish I could say that I stepped up with immediate obedience and excitement but truth be told,
I was reluctant.

Not because of what I thought God could accomplish through this ministry but more because I was thinking about my own human frailties and weaknesses. Shouldn't He chose someone who was better equipped or able? After all, I'd be happy to come alongside that person in support. Surely, there is a less reluctant person who's willing to lead than me? Surely, there is a person with more time on their hands than me? 

Through a series of events, God made it apparent that it was me He was calling.  

You see, even though I think this ministry was a year or so in the making, God actually had this planned out my whole life. Through the experiences of my own adopted children and the transformation that He's personally done in my life, He's brought me to this point today. He knows all about my weaknesses and insecurities and yet He asks, "Are you willing to follow Me? Are you willing to allow Me to use you?"

 Every fiber of my being knew without a doubt that this was exactly what He was asking me to do. And so, of course, God made everything else fall into place. He brought forth support from my church in a way that was unexpected. He brought forth families who were so willing to share their personal stories. He brought forth loving friends who were willing to step in and help prepare for the day and support me with prayer, their time, and their gifts and talents.

Even though I was reluctant, I knew it was something I couldn't say no to. He was calling me "for such a time as this." He was saying, "Just trust Me. If you are willing, I will work through you and in you. I will use you in spite of your weakness and I will magnify My strength."
And didn't He do the same for so many people in the bible? Esther, Moses, Jonah, and Sarah were all reluctant, as first. But in spite of that, they still obeyed and God worked through them. Glory.

In many ways, this has been my greatest brave to date. This is something that involves and impacts not only me and my family, but lots of other people. I remember talking to God and saying, "Ok, God. If it means that there will be one less orphan in the world because I said yes, then it will all be worth it."

In praying about the name of this new ministry, I stumbled across this song from Matthew West and the story behind the song is just beautiful. I look forward to seeing all that God has planned through the ministry of One Less! 

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