Friday, June 28, 2013

The Journal

Gabe just spent 10 days on vacation with his grandma. Life was not the same without him, to say the least. If you know my son, you know he loves to talk. I think he has a word quota for each day and it's pretty high. He is very much a people person. We figured out at a young age that the best form of punishment was making him sit off by himself. It's pure torture for him. He loves to be around everyone interacting and having a good time.

While he was gone I read a couple books through with no interruptions. It felt weird and made me sad. I was used to stopping every so many pages and hearing some story or thought he just couldn't wait to communicate to me. Sometimes it takes missing something to realize how much you enjoyed it. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

I may get frustrated from time to time when I can't get a moment alone. I may want to pull my hair out a few times after telling him to stop talking and JUST GET IN THE SHOWER. I may want to yell when I've heard thought after thought and he STILL isn't in bed yet. But after ten days of being without my Gabriel, I was ready to be interrupted. I longed to hear his voice and his thoughts. I was ready to need to tell him repeatedly to go DO THE DISHES. I love his words, and the world is not right when he isn't there to share them.

He brings so much color to our family. Even when I'm frustrated I find myself laughing and enjoying his unique ways. He is an exceptional kid!

While on the trip, Gabe kept a detailed journal of his days. I loved reading it. It made up for all those stories and thoughts I missed hearing.

The Journal of The Trip

Monday, June 17th
Today I woke up with excitement. I was going to Allegheny, New York. As soon as I got up and got ready we were on our way. I read to Grandma G a book called How to Train Your Dragon. It was good. I read it to her for four hours. Then we came to the St. Louis museum. We put together fossil puzzles, felt an earthquake, and looked at a fake tornado. On the way out it was rainy and I was getting really wet because Grandma kept taking away the umbrella. I read to Grandma another hour. Then we listened to The Tale of Despereaux. It was more better and well done then the movie. And for the night we went to Castleton Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was great even though it had no swimming pool.

Tuesday, June 18th
We woke up early, too early in fact. And I couldn't even lift myself up from the bed. We went down to breakfast. I don't like cereal and that basically is all there is. Instead I ate a few donuts. We went on the drive and it was long. Then we stopped at Wendy's. It was hard to get there. Our car was almost out of gas and we could hear it drying up. So luckily we got gas just in time. We went to the Biblewalk Museum. It was amazing, spectacular, awesome. It was a bunch of rooms in the wall and there was a bunch of plastic figures in the wall. Then a light comes from above the plastic figures so you can see them. Then the plastic figures start talking. The whole tour of the Bible took four hours. We listened to the life of Christ, one-fourth of it. We went on the drive again. I was getting excited to see Grandma and Grandpa Lemon. I never met them before. And we made it there. I thought they would look like Grandma and Grandpa Power. But they didn't.



Wednesday, June 19th
The next morning we woke up in a house. I thought it was my house because I was used to my house. We got ready and stuff and went out to lunch. We got to sit in a carriage that was real without horses. I got chicken fingers, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Then I also got a milkshake. Then we went to the Amish country. I spent $30 getting presents for my family. I got Zech an Amish board game called The Peg Race. I got Ariel a $5 herkimer diamond. I got Dad Amish fudge. I got Mom goats milk soap. When we got home we had stuffed peppers for dinner and then we watched a very good movie called The Encounter. And Grandma Lemon usually falls asleep in movies but she stayed awake. And Grandma G said God was working through the movie. And then we went to bed.

How to get a friction burn!

Thursday, June 20th
The next day I got ready after eating eggs on toast. I started to watch the Science channel. After learning how a car engine is made, and how sponges are made, and how peanuts turn into peanut butter, then Aspen and Aunt Linda arrived. Then we went to the Strawberry Festival. The food was good and then we went to the inflatables. If you're wondering why my knee is injured its because the inflatables have a lot of friction. And I was being very rough going down the slide so I hit the other end of the slide catching myself with my knee. Then we got home and I played on the DS. It was time to go to Sprague's. And I got a generous serving of bacon. The plate was the size of a sheet of paper and you couldn't even see the plate itself it was so covered in food. So I was definitely full after eating that. There was a table with animals sitting around it and I tried to take the moose's milkshake. But it wasn't a real milkshake. Then we went home and slept.


Friday, June 21st
We woke up and got ready. I hated sleeping on a cot. It was not soft and I slept sort of with brown recluses. And the blanket was rugged. It was basically a rug. We got ready to go to the Seneca Iroquois Museum. I learned about the game snow snake. It was cool. It's a winter game where there is a path that is 375 yards long. You put some slick stuff on the snake and then you throw it on the path and try to see how far it goes. That night we went to Aunt Leona's.


Saturday, June 22nd
I woke up and got up to swim. They have a pool at their house. That's almost all we did the whole day. Then I went to the Hillview restaurant. I got a Greek pizza. And then I went to the bathroom and there was an eerie light. On the wall there was a graffiti that had a toothy grin that looked like the gotcha sign in the basement. Then a toothy frown. Then an untoothy scream looking thing. I heard two footsteps. But nobody can get in the bathroom stalls with just two footsteps. But when I opened the bathroom stall door nobody was there. It wasn't anything. Then we went home and swam a little bit more and then went to bed.



Sunday, June 23rd
Today we went to church. The theme was taking responsibility for your life. We listened to the story of the three men in Matthew 25. Then we went home, ate and swam, and got thrown into the pool by Uncle Ernie. It was basically a cousin reunion.

Monday, June 24th
We went to Niagara Falls today and they were bigger than I expected. We went on Maid of the Mist and I got soaked. Then we searched around for other stuff to do, but we couldn't "afford" to do anything. And we swam and watched a movie when we got home. We watched Escape from Planet Earth.



Tuesday, June 25th
We woke up and drove and missed almost everything we wanted to do. We ran out of time to do the Biblewalk Museum again and the river was too low to go on a canal boat on the Ohio Erie Canal. How disappointing.

Wednesday, June 26th
We drove without anything to do. Because in the morning I made us run out of time because I was too scared to go into the pool because at the bottom it was slimy and I thought a shark was down there. The only thing we got to do was go to Subway and eat lunch. We ate dinner at McDonalds in the car. And then I got to see my parents again.


"So I recommend the enjoyment [of life]. People have nothing better to do under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves. This joy will stay with them while they work hard during their brief lives which God has given them under the sun." Ecclesiastes 8:15

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Spy

For ten days Gabriel was in New York with his grandma, and Ariel is currently at youth camp. The house has been eerily silent. While I've missed both of my children, I completely enjoyed that extra time alone with Zech. I know it will soon be upon us when he begins kindergarten, and my life will change drastically. For twelve years I have stayed at home with my kids. I'm excited and scared about this next step of my life.

Zechariah is your typical little kid who loves playing I Spy. We have look and find books, and "I Spy" puzzles and games. We have some conversation stones we use at dinner and his favorite are the stones with colors on them.

No matter where we are he will say, "Mommy, I spy with my little eye something blue... green... yellow... white..." The game never stops for him. In fact, he's been talking about having an I Spy birthday party for some time now.

This week we had an I Spy day together. We played I Spy for hours. That is an act of love for me. I can only handle so much before I get tired. My brain can't take it.

For some added enjoyment we made our own I Spy picture to look at. It was so much fun to go around the house gathering items and toys to put in the photo. We found some really random items that were special to Zech.

I have a white foam poster board that I like to use for pictures. We put all our things on top of it as close as possible and snapped a photo. We strategically placed a few buttons and other small objects in "hidden" places. It was so easy and has already provided hours of fun for Zech.

I-spy

i-spy

I know we will be making several I Spy pictures in the future. We can do theme I Spy. Trains. Cars. Craft Supplies. Food. The ideas are endless!

Since becoming a Compassion and World Vision sponsor I am always on the lookout for new and fun paper gift items to send to our sponsored kids. I think this would be fun for them! We could laminate the two photos onto a piece of construction paper. This could become a whole series of I Spy pictures and we could mail them with our letters each month!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Gift of Giving

"The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away."
-Jim Stovall-

"One of the key principles in giving, however, is that the gift must be yours to give- either something you earned or created or maybe, simply, part of yourself."

As I've said before, I meet monthly with my friends to discuss a book we've read and to watch the movie of it, if possible. This is one of my favorite activities that I take part in. It's such a great opportunity to have that time to look forward to.

In May we were given the challenge of reading, The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. It is a very motivating book. If you haven't read it yet, I would highly recommend it to you. And to top it all off, there is a corresponding movie to watch. Movies don't normally live up to the expectations I set after reading a book, but this one does a more than adequate job.

When we got back together to discuss our book, I challenged the rest of the ladies to follow in Jason's footsteps. Each month Jason was given 30 days to complete his task. The month I wanted us to focus on was the Gift of Giving.

For the entire month, until we met again, we were challenged to give of ourselves each and every day. I printed off calendars for everyone to keep track of this on. It could be something as simple as letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store, to giving up your close parking spot. It could be costly as well, as long as you were giving from your heart and in some kind of sacrificial way. It could be babysitting for a friend, or writing a letter of encouragement. The ideas are endless.

We met together a week ago and shared how our month went. It was so uplifting! I loved hearing about the time these ladies gave to others and the creativeness that they showed. I want to challenge you to do the same. Spend the next 30 days giving of yourself. See what happens! I guarantee you will be blessed.

If you're already familiar with The Ultimate Gift, you might also have heard of The Ultimate Life. It takes it one step further for Jason. In the first book he must learn how to apply the gift of giving to his own life. In book two he figures out how to share that gift with others and teaches them to give.

I tried to get my family and kids involved as much as possible in this challenge. For the first month of summer vacation we practiced giving to others. We were richly rewarded.

Just to inspire you, I thought I would share a few highlights from our 30 days of giving.

gift of giving
We volunteered at our church and cleaned the chairs in the auditorium.

gift of giving

On Memorial Day we bought a bouquet of flowers and went to the cemetery near our home. We each took turns picking out a grave to leave them on. For each person we chose, we said a prayer for the families that have been left behind. You could do this any time of year.

colette rachelle illum

One of our favorite things we did was writing encouraging notes and leaving them on cars anonymously. We wrote the letters before we left our home, and then we purchased more flowers. The kids each had two notes to leave. They were very excited about this!

I loved how seriously they put thought into where and whom would receive them. Prayers would go up and God would show them what parking lot we were to drive to, and what car we should stop at. If the people who received them were half as blessed as my children who were giving them away, they were in for a treat. The kids thought this was the most exciting thing to do! Gabe requested we do it every week. He can't wait to be a grownup and be able to drive around delivering secret gifts.

gift of giving
One of Gabe's notes read: You are spectacular because God loves you very much, even when you make mistakes. So remember God loves you.
gift of giving

One of Ariel's notes: You are a lion or lioness of God. He handcrafted and made you unique. He loves you so much. Even if other people don't, God thinks your a very cool person. God loves you so much he gave up his life for you.

gift of giving

One of Zech's notes: God loves you very much and he will never forget how he loves you. You are special. He made you happy, and strong and courageous.
gift of giving

I believe each of them had a word from God for some very special individual. All I told them was to write from their heart what they wish someone might say to them. I was blown away with their words. I think each of them showed great maturity. It was an unbelievable afternoon... to say the least.


On another day we left a gift of mini chocolate bars and a thank you note for our mail carrier to find.

gift of giving


gift of giving
After donning some stylish blue gloves, we picked up trash in the parking lot of our movie theater. One parking lot, four bags of trash!

gift of giving

gift of giving

The kids baked some chocolate chip cookies and made thank you cards for our neighborhood firemen. This was another one of those things the kids really enjoyed doing, and the firemen were so receptive. They let the kids play around on the fire trucks and showed us around the station. It was an equally rewarding experience!

firemen
firemen


"Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you." Deuteronomy 16:17

I challenge you for the next 30 days to give of yourself. You will receive back far more than you ever hoped to give!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mail Call

My heart is overflowing with love.

These days my life has revolved around our three children we are sponsoring. They occupy my thoughts and prayers. In one word, I have become obsessed. It's a strength of mine, and a weakness. On the one hand I am able with God's help to accomplish much; however, I sometimes do it at the expense of other things.

I'm trying to figure out a balance. It's been very difficult to say the least.

Right now I'm waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I have three children we have agreed to sponsor and correspond with. But it doesn't stop there. I want to keep adding children to the family. I want to send as much mail to them as possible. I want to buy them small gifts. I want to learn about them and their lives. I've got this obsession in me. It's like a red blinking light that yells their names.

Aberu. Yeabsira. Meyli.

I have so much love in me that it's overflowing and spilling out. I can't contain it. I keep seeing all these beautiful faces, and they are calling to me. Begging me for help.

But I am only one person. I am not God. And I do not have His complete power to do whatever I want. I have His power in me to do His will, not mine. I don't know what lies ahead. But I do know that I have been given an order. I am to wait. And wait I have done.

compassion international

This week the wait has been briefly lifted. The letters are coming in.

Saturday we received our first letter from Aberu in Ethiopia.
Hope to meet in our next letter. Until then, May God bless you and keep you safe.
I loved the closing statement in Aberu's letter. We may never meet in person, but we will meet monthly in our letters. I cried when I read her mention of God. I thought I would never be allowed to mention Him, but on further inquiry, I am not allowed to mention "Jesus" or the "salvation message". But I am free to talk about God and tell her that I am praying for her. I was overjoyed to find that I am given at least this liberty.

Thursday we received our first letter from Yeabsira in Ethiopia. I cried and laughed when I read it. Here's a short excerpt.
My family and I are happy that you are willing to be my Sponsor. Thank you. Do you have many chickens? What do they eat?
And today we received an email from Compassion saying our first letter is on its way from Meyli in Peru.

My heart is full. My cup is overflowing. My love has multiplied.

I have spent hours and days scouring the Compassion and World Vision websites. And I have come to this conclusion. Your money means a lot to these children, but your words are a lifeline to them. Letters and packages to these kids are equated with your love. A sponsor who writes and sends words to these children, shares their greatest treasure, themselves. A sponsor who shares their money is of value, but the kids still end up feeling unworthy when the letters don't come.

I have recently been extremely discouraged. I overextend myself, and I feel stretched thin. I have many commitments but not enough of myself to commit. I know something needed to change. I was lost as to what. I pushed all these thoughts aside and made myself available no matter how I felt. I smiled when I felt like crying. I felt underappreciated and overworked. Let's just say, I wasn't happy.

Mothers are good at detecting those things. Mine called me on it. She told me I needed to do some serious praying and asking God what He wanted me to do. And maybe all the other things I would need to let go. She phrased the question like this.
If you had to give up everything you do, and asked God what He wanted you to do. What comes to mind?
I had a hard time answering through the tears. The only thing I could say with complete assurance, "I want to work with kids."

I have never been so certain in my life about anything. God has called me to children. I believe I have found my calling. I'm exactly where I need to be with them. I'm teaching and loving them. I'm trying to pour into their lives.

Compassion and World Vision has added a new dimension to this calling. I firmly believe that I am to invest in these sponsored children's lives. I am fulfilled.

Unfortunately the road to fulfillment is not always easy. There have been several bumps along the way. Anytime you do something to fulfill your calling to follow God with your whole heart, the enemy does not like it. We have had many days over the past few months that I honestly feel like we've been in a battlefield. I have lain there wounded, from the arrows that have touched me. I'm trying to keep up my spiritual armor, but it's difficult. Failure comes. Discouragement creeps in.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:29-31

For now, I wait again on God. I have three very precious children that I can write to. Someday I may have more, but for now I wait, and hope in the Lord.

I wanted to share another aspect of Compassion that some of you may not be familiar with. Remember earlier, how I said these letters are a lifeline to these children? You can have the opportunity to be that to as many children as you'd like.

If your first response is, I don't have the money. I have great news for you! Neither do I. If you're like me and your heart is bigger than your wallet, keep reading.

Compassion has a correspondence program that is not heavily advertised. For financial sponsors who do not have the time to put into writing letters and building the personal relationship, they can sign their children up for a correspondent sponsor.

This is the answer you have been waiting for. You can be used by God no matter what your circumstances are. God is looking for willing people to work through. You can be that vessel.

"Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

We are correspondent sponsors for Meyli. We do not financially support her. We are responsible for the personal relationship with her. We exchange letters back and forth. And as far as I'm aware, you can choose to correspond with as many children as you would like. The only thing Compassion asks is that you are willing to write 3 letters per year.

Everyone has this unique chance to change a child's life. It's so simple, and money is not a requirement. You need only give time from yourself, and a little bit of your heart. You will be richly rewarded by building a relationship with your sponsored child.

Now if finances are really tight, and you're still thinking, I don't even have the money for a stamp. Don't give up! God can still use your willingness to serve. On Compassion's website you can email your child for free. You can upload photos onto beautifully colored templates and Compassion will print them out and mail them to the country of your child. All you need is internet access, and most libraries have free internet access. I don't want anyone to miss out on this opportunity. It's a chance to change a child's life and it's available to everyone.

Now that I find exciting!
To sign up to be a correspondent for a child you can contact Compassion by phone or email. If you are already a sponsor you can email Compassion with your sponsor number and they will place you on the waiting list to correspond with a child. If you are not a sponsor, include the following information in your email: Name, Address, Phone Number, and Email Address.

I believe Yeabsira is learning English in school!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lead With Your Ears

We're only two weeks into summer vacation, and already we've had some memorable adventures!

Our first activity we planned was a peaceful walk through the trails bordering our church's property. My son was most excited about this! To begin with, the grass had not been mowed for quite some time, and we have been experiencing quite a bit of rain. We plowed on, no matter how itchy the grass was to our flip-flop clad feet.

After walking for a few moments, Ariel tripped over a stick in the path. She was carrying Zech piggy-back. Upon looking down, she noticed the ground was covered in poison ivy. Panic followed.


The trip was cut short, as we all headed home for some much needed showers. We laughed and cried the whole way. God looked on us with favor. In our rush, we were able to clean all the plant oils off, and none of us suffered from an allergic reaction. We have all affectionately named the trip, Poison Ivy Run.

I won't go into the details of our other peril fraught adventures. You get the idea. It's been fun, and looking back, I wouldn't change it for an instant. Well, maybe I would change the time I got nailed with a Frisbee to the head, and couldn't turn my neck for four days. I might take that back. But everything else has been undeniably unique and memorable.

Yesterday we went on a hunt for anger. Not a hunt to discover our dark sides; a hunt to understand and cope with anger. A couple months ago I posted about The Hunt for Easter that our church puts together. I had the idea then to duplicate this event with my children. We did. And it was so much fun.

I knew anger would be an appropriate topic to cover. It has felt a little like World War III in my home these days. Emotions have been flying and words followed by actions have been played out to my dissatisfaction. We needed a lesson from the Bible.

To go about our hunt, we had 5 different location clues around town. At each location we had some Bible trivia questions. The kids were required to bring Bibles and we looked up numerous references. There were two examples about angry individuals, and one about God. We then had a reflection question. Once the reflection question was answered, they were given a puzzle piece to our map for the treasure. It was so much fun and took us 3 hours to complete!

Our first clue read:
If you love Jesus you take this with you wherever you go. Jesus wants us to be this to others that don't know Him. You are this on your own but He really loves it when at least two or three are this together. But you are really looking for a symbol of this.

ANSWER: Church

First Stop Trivia:
1) Why was Cain angry with Abel?
(Genesis 4:1-16)

2) Why was Esau angry with Jacob?
(Genesis 27:34, 41)

3) Why was God angry with the Israelites at Mount Sinai?
(Exodus 32:9-14)

Reflection: What feelings or thoughts motivated their anger?

Our second clue read:
Stefanie misses Colorado. :'( If you wanted to help her feel better you might take her here on a date. It is not quite as high as Pikes Peak but does have being burned in common with the Rockies. You won't be able to see the evidence of it now though because it is all green again.

ANSWER: Burnett's Mound

Bible trivia hunt

Second Stop Trivia:
1) Why was Balaam angry with his donkey?
(Numbers 22:27-29)

2) Why was Saul angry with Jonathan?
(1 Samuel 20: 30-31)

3) Why was God angry with Solomon?
(1 Kings 11:1-10)

Bible trivia hunt


Reflection:
What "idols" or other "gods" do we serve?

Our third clue read:
This place could be considered an activity for the insane. "Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" There is a lot of motion going on here but you never really get anywhere.

ANSWER: Carousel

Bible trivia hunt

Third Stop Trivia:
1) Why was Naaman angry with Elisha?
(2 Kings 5:11)

2) Why was Haman angry with Mordecai?
(Esther 3:5-6)

3) Why was God angry with Moses?
(Exodus 4:13-14)

Reflection: Why do we get angry?
1. Treated unfairly.
2. Blamed for something that isn't my fault.
3. Not treated with proper respect.
4. They didn’t do what I wanted them to do.
5. They aren't on my side.
6. That person dared to tell me I was wrong.


Our fourth clue read:
Have you ever played King of the Mountain? Whoever is at the top is the king until someone knocks him off. This place is not quite a mountain and no one will literally knock the "king" off but he cannot stay there forever. Eight years at a time and then the next "king" gets rule of the mountain.

ANSWER: Governor's Mansion

Bible trivia hunt about anger

Fourth Stop Trivia:
1) Why was Nebuchadnezzar angry?
(Daniel 3:16-33)

2) Why was Jonah angry with God?
(Jonah 4:5-11)

3) Why was Jesus angry at the temple?
(John 2: 13-17)

Reflection: Why do we not have a right to respond in anger to every perceived sin?
1. My perception may be wrong.
2. My anger may be only for the purpose of punishing the person.
3. I may be equating personal embarrassment or inconvenience with sin.


Our fifth clue read:
All of us want to be perfect but really we all make mistakes and are like so many pieces of broken glass. But not to worry because God takes all of our pieces and makes those beautiful like a kaleidoscope. If you come here you don't have to worry about crossing all your "teas". But I wouldn't start throwing the s_ones into the water.

ANSWER: Ward Meade Park

Bible trivia hunt  at kaleidoscope

Fifth Stop Trivia:
1) Why was Herod angry with the wise men?
(Matthew 2:16)

2) Why was the older brother angry with his father in the story of the prodigal son?
(Luke 15:28-32)

3) Why was Jesus angry with the Pharisees?
(Matthew 23)

Bible trivia hunt ward meade park


Reflection:
Biblical Instructions Concerning Anger
1. We are to be angry, but without sin. (Ecclesiastes 5:6, Ephesians 4:26, Ephesians 4:31).
2. We are to look at the effects and consequences of our anger (Matthew 5:22, James 1:20).
3. We are to be slow to anger (Proverbs 14:29; James. 1:19).
4. How we are to deal with other people’s anger (Proverbs 15:1, 19:19).
5. We are to avoid stirring up anger in others (Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21)


We were all amazed to find that almost every single example we read about, the anger always seemed to stem from pride. All these people got puffed up and thought they deserved better treatment, or more respect than they were given. Only God had the right to demand the respect, and only God deserved it.

"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, and then follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life." James 1:19-21

We chose to focus on the beginning of this verse. Lead with your ears, then follow up with your tongue. Too many times our tongues do the talking before we've thought or even heard what the other person had to say. If we would do more leading with our ears, we might hear the exasperation, disappointment, or hurt in their voices.

Lead with your ears! Listen to those around you. Hear their thoughts and feelings, and LISTEN. We don't want to be a snake, spilling our venom, leading with our tongues or our anger.

Our final part of the hunt was putting together the pieces of the treasure map that we had collected along the way. This led to our tangible treasure, although I do believe the real treasure lied within all of our discussion and hunting through scriptures.

Bible trivia hunt

This treasure specifically led to the Potwin Drug Store, on the property of Ward Meade Park. This is a place where you can get specialty drinks and ice cream. Once we ordered our drinks, we gathered round to answer our final question. "How can we respond in love, not anger?"

"All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love."
Psalm 30:4-5

I think the next Bible hunt we go on might be to study LOVE.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Prayer Changes Everything

"The family that prays together stays together."

When my daughter was a small infant, I read this bummer sticker. It has never been far from mind. Prayer is the glue that holds us all together. It's communication with God, a direct connection with the maker of the universe.

The older my children get, the more mature their prayers become. I have tried to emphasize prayer daily with my kids. Before school each morning, we write in our prayer journals. We enjoy attending church prayer meetings together. When we hear of a specific need, we stop and have a prayer meeting in our home. Anything that touches the heart, we pray about it. I have been so blessed to see this growth in my children. From the oldest to the youngest, prayer is a huge priority. Prayer is at the center of it all.

We have specifically "adopted" three children for a reason. I have three kids of my own. I wanted each of my kids to have a connection with a child, their own special friend. I will say I did it for selfish reasons too. Compassion and World Vision has been laid on my heart. I crave being used by God to make a difference. I won't be giving up my three "adopted" children completely to my kids. I plan to share.

This week my kids have each "adopted" or chose their own brother/sister. I explained to them all the things they could do for this new sibling.

• Write letters
• Share their favorite Bible verses
• Buy, with their own money, small paper gifts to mail
• When they make a fun craft or paper at church, they can send it
• Draw pictures
• Send photos
• Write stories for them
• Make paper crafts
They can PRAY

I have been extremely touched at how serious they have taken this new role. I don't need to remind them to pray. It has come about without my help. Each day one of my children has always brought it up, and encouraged the others to participate. We are praying together as a family more than ever before. I am so pleased with how things have been progressing. I know that God is going to do amazing things in these children we've been given. They are prayed for over and over again by my family.

When you agree to sponsor a Compassion child, you will receive a welcome packet in the mail with your child's information and picture. One of the things they include is a bookmark with a prayer list suggestion on the backside. It has something to pray about every day of the month. We have found this to be extremely helpful. It keeps you from praying the same thing every day. In the beginning there were a lot of prayers that went, "Help Aberu to have a good day. Help Yeabsira to sleep well. Help Meyli to have enough food and clothes." With this list my kids have begun to get a bigger picture of the needs and things to be thinking of. Their prayers have changed drastically, and deepened.

This would be a great thing to use to pray over your own children with! It covers all areas, and each day gives you something to target. I know sometimes it can be a challenge to know what to pray about. This solves that for you.

"Day 1 - to accept Jesus as Savior and grow in Christ
Day 2 - to trust God for everything
Day 3 - to do well in school
Day 4 - for the Compassion center leaders
Day 5 - for his/her family
Day 6 - to resist negative peer pressure
Day 7 - to practice good hygiene
Day 8 - for good nutrition
Day 9 - for strong friendships
Day 10 - to develop a tender heart
Day 11 - to learn God's word
Day 12 - for protection from natural disasters
Day 13 - to use good social skills
Day 14 - for a bright future
Day 15 - to develop his/her skills and talents
Day 16 - to learn from the center programs
Day 17 - to make wise decisions
Day 18 - for safety in daily activities
Day 19 - for freedom from fear
Day 20 - for patience and perseverance
Day 21 - to resist temptation
Day 22 - to always tell the truth
Day 23 - for the desire to follow God's will
Day 24 - for good sibling relationships
Day 25 - for physical health and strength
Day 26 - to honor his/her parents
Day 27 - for a spirit of hope and joy
Day 28 - to grow closer to God in prayer
Day 29 - for comfort in sadness
Day 30 - for stability for his/her family
Day 31 - for solid self-esteem"

-Compassion International-

I believe God gave each child to our family for a reason. It was so easy for my kids to match up with their "adopted" sibling.

Gabe wanted Aberu because she is the same age as him, and he's excited about the challenge she poses to him. We are not allowed to talk about Jesus or anything spiritual with Aberu. She is in an area of Ethiopia where this could be a security risk to her and the center where she is at. However, we can still show her the love of Jesus without using His name. Gabe has a drive in him to tell the world about Jesus. It seemed most appropriate that he "adopt" the child who potentially still needs to meet and accept Jesus.

compassion international
Gabriel has "adopted" Aberu


Ariel knew immediately that she wanted to "adopt" Meyli, our three year old from Peru. She had an instant connection after seeing her sweet little face. My daughter has always shown an interest in little ones, and they love her back the same.

compassion international
Ariel has "adopted" Meyli


Yeabsira is five years old, the same age as Zechariah. They were the perfect match! I have been most impressed with Zechariah's heart for this sponsorship. He is the child who has brought up prayer the most. Every day he excitedly brings me his calendar and asks for explanation of what to pray over Yeabsira. Zech is also the first to bring up Yeabsira when we are praying over dinner. He has passionately put action to this adoption process.

compassion international
Zechariah has "adopted" Yeabsira

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” — Matthew 21:22 NIV

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