Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Journey

Our family is on a journey right now, one we have never been on before. We are a military family, so we have moved…a lot, from coast to coast four times and back and forth from Hawaii. We have dealt with numerous deployments. Back when Tink was in kindergarten, God called us to homeschool…another journey. But this…this God has never asked of us before. So we were quite surprised when it all came about.

One day I got an email from a friend, telling us the exciting news that they were hosting an orphan from Eastern Europe this summer. I remember hearing something about this organization a few weeks before. So I went back to the website to look again, New Horizons for Children, and I called my friend. After that phone call, I texted Mr. M about it, and said, "What do you think about hosting an orphan this summer from EE?" His response was, "Through what program?". And that was the beginning of our journey.

Initially, I signed up to just see pictures of the kids. But once you see their faces, there is no going back. Any excuse we thought of, just sounded like that…an excuse. Each face that we saw, represented a child and a life. A life that was hard, without the love of a family. Each picture has a little paragraph written about them. Not about their life, but just a little get to know you and something about their likes and dislikes and their hopes about coming to America.

I scanned through the faces on the page and came to one in particular, "I". Her paragraph was sweet and she sounded a lot like our Princess. As we looked through others and read their stories…we just prayed. Lord, is this what you have for us? I remembered that just a few days before, our church posted this on their Facebook page - Others-Focused - We will seek to follow the biblical definition for "pure and undefiled religion" and direct our focus beyond ourselves to those generations in need around us, especially the "orphans and widows." (James 1:27; Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 14:21-23)

We felt like we were right in the center of God's will. 

A lot comes with this decision. We have to raise quite a bit of money, through our fundraising site. We have to go through background checks, training, piles of paperwork, home safety checks, etc. Many have asked why host a teenager, why bring them here when you have to send them back, isn't the language barrier going to be difficult? We put together a missions letter to explain. I did have to take out some info that is in our original letter, due to rules about what can be posted on the internet. No pictures, no names, no ages, no exact country that she's from, etc.

This summer for five weeks our family will be hosting an orphan from Eastern Europe through a program called New Horizons For Children ( For 12 years New Horizons has worked with orphanages in Latvia, Ukraine, and Asia to bring thus far 3,500 older orphans to stay with Christian host families across America. This can be a life-changing experience for the orphans who have never been a part of a loving, functional family. It is on our hearts to be a part of this work!

We have chosen to host "I". Here is a little bit of what her paragraph said. She likes school, especially art and music. Her dream is to be a music therapy teacher. She is currently learning to play the piano, and dances the national dance of her country.

The statistics for orphans like "I" are heartbreaking. Most end up on the streets and almost 15% of them commit suicide within two years of aging out of the system. Over 60% end up in crime, prostitution, or human trafficking. Astonishingly only 1 in 10 live to see their 21st birthday.

But being hosted with New Horizons gives children like "I" hope. Her five weeks here, being immersed in English, will be like five semesters of English classes and will give her more opportunities to make a living as she enters adulthood. Also, we have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with her while she is here. She is no longer adoptable due to her age, but we can show her the love of a family and the love of Jesus that will stay with her for all her life and give her a better future!

We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus! Our family has already committed to prayer and finances on behalf of "I". Will you partner with us through prayer support and giving as well? Please pray for our girl, that her heart will be open to the things of the Lord and that she will enjoy her time here with our family. By God’s grace this young woman will embrace the Savior and return to her homeland with the hope we have as believers.

The expenses for all travel-related costs will be $2,700. Donations for her travel can be made directly to New Horizons For Children and will be tax deductable. In addition we need to raise at least $1,000 for special expenses while she is here. We will of course supply the daily items – meals, local transportation, outings and so forth.  She cannot travel here with any luggage so we need to provide all clothing, shoes, and personal care items for her, things a teen-age girl would enjoy. We also need to take her to an eye doctor and a dentist. Your generosity will be a blessing toward these special costs.

For travel expenses, please donate at  (If you would like to donate to her special expenses, please contact me through my blog and I will give you the info!)

In closing, please send me a picture of your family so I can show "I" the many American families who gave of their own treasure to bless her here in America. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14

Thank you so much for any consideration and do keep us in prayer!

We are so excited for our journey to begin!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Do You Trust Him?

If God has taken an eraser to your story...are you trusting Him to pick up the pen? I read a blog here  that really resonated with me. It talked about how we have dreams and a plan for how we think our life is going to go and then God picks up an eraser and erases them...and it hurts!! We don't always understand why God has asked us to walk the path that He has laid before us, it doesn't always seem fair. But then God picks up His pen and starts to rewrite our story. So, do we trust Him with the re-write?

This has been an area that God has shown his faithfulness to us over and over again. I felt like this was the story of my life!! I did not think when I got married that I was going to spend so much time of our marriage away from my spouse. I mean, he was in the military when I married him, so I'm not really sure what exactly I thought that was going to be like! I just knew I was marrying the man of my dreams and I was moving to Hawaii!! Then we spent our entire 3rd year of marriage apart, I was not prepared for that. After that year, deployments started!

Then we had kids. Many things did NOT go as we thought they would! A major thing was when Little Man was born with a birthmark and then at 2 years old, had to have it surgically removed. That was a very scary thing and not part of the story that I wanted for him. He has a long scar on his back and every time I see it, I am reminded of God's grace and mercy and I am so thankful that my child is ok. We've had other scary medical things with our kids over the years...pneumonia, lymes disease, allergies, Sensory Processing Disorder, a dresser falling on one of our kids...all these things were NOT in the story I had written for our family! Thankfully, in God's re-write...the story has been full of His mercies and grace!

When it came time for Tink to go to school, that didn't go at all as planned. It was a miserable year for all of us, but then God brought some other homeschoolers into our lives. So we started homeschooling. God erased my dreams of what I thought our lives were going to be like, but he picked up the pen and rewrote the story...and it's SO MUCH BETTER!

When we were stationed in NJ and picked orders to go to CA, we were SO excited!! Then we found out we were moving to Washington state instead. This was difficult news to take! I did not want to go to WA. You can read about that here. God erased MY dreams of sunkissed skin and palm trees and beaches. But then He picked up His pen...and rewrote our story. We LOVE it here in Washington!!! Our church is amazing! The friends that we have here are amazing! I've never loved anyplace we have lived as much as I love it here!! The weather leaves a little bit to be desired, but the friends we have made make it not even matter! 

So we prayed for God to let us stay here! His answer was no. He once again has picked up that dreaded eraser! So in 6 months, we are now moving across the country, again, back to VA. Of course there are many great things about VA! But we SO love it here in WA!! Now I have to find my faith, again, to trust HIM to rewrite our story. And I DO trust Him. I know that He has a plan for us! We already have seen some of the blessings in the time Mr. M will have at home with us once we get there. It's ship duty, but he will be home quite a bit! I'd rather live ANYWHERE with Mr. M, then in my favorite place, without him!! 

We also have been praying that God would direct us in choosing a church in VA. I do a lot of research before we move so that when we get there, we can just jump right in to life in our new place. God has been giving us so much direction in this. I found this one church that has a service that is called a Household Worship Service and it is a family integrated service. That means no kids programs, everyone goes to church together. This intrigued both Mr. M and I. What would this look like for our family? We have always put our kids in the programs? But lately, God has been leading both Mr. M and I in a different direction then that. Also, in the past few weeks, God has been putting in our path blogs, articles, people, situations, etc, that all lead us to the same conclusion...the family integrated church. 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the women at the church and it was amazing! First of all, it was like we have always been friends and were just catching up after not talking for awhile. God led our conversation in so many different directions and through that, I was able to ask about things I didn't even think I would be able to ask. Through her, God gave me peace and put aside all the reservations I had about it!! We talked for a REALLY long time, I just did not want to get off the phone! The conversation just flowed and it was so nice to know that we will find a place for us at that church in VA. I told her that I feel like God is practically hitting me in the head with a brick about this church. That I keep asking for more confirmation, and He keeps giving it! Mr. M and I will continue to pray about it, but I am pretty sure God has given us our answer time and time again already. 

As God rewrites our story from what I thought it was going to be, I will continue to trust Him with the rewrite. Do YOU trust Him with rewriting your story? Have you trusted Him as your Savior? God can and will do amazing things in your life...all you have to do is trust Him!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2012 in Review

What a wonderful year we had, full of activity and God's blessings. The year started with a fun practical joke! Mr. M and I spent the entire day on New Years Eve moving all our clocks forward. Slowly, just a little at a time, until we were on NY time! That is 3 hours later then we are. We even invited friends over and they played along with us! So when my kids thought it was midnight and it was HAPPY NEW YEAR' was actually only 9pm local time. The kids were in bed by 9:30 and were not grumpy at all the next day from staying up so late! We did let them in on the joke at breakfast and had mixed reactions. Tink thought it was hilarous since I am not generally a practical joker, and Princess thought it wasn't funny at all cause she really wanted to stay up till midnight. The boys didn't really understand what was going on! Either way, it was a fun New Year's Eve spent with great friends! HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

The month of January was great! We went skiing twice up at Mt. Baker and that was a lot of fun, the kids and I all took ski lessons and Princess was quite the natural. We also had a great snow fall and we were able to go sledding right down our driveway and into the culdesac. In WI we are so used to only being able to sled for a little while cause it's so cold, but the temps were mild and we had a wonderful time!

 February was fun with Pinewood derby, that you can read about here, and the boys had swimming lessons. It made for a very busy month with lessons at 2 different times, twice a week. Little Man has come so far and no longer is terrified of the water. Scooter did a pretty good job too and was still at the stage where Mom had to go in the pool with him. I decided that we will wait till after his next birthday before we do lessons again so that I don't have to do that. He's very independent and wants to do it himself!

My very good friend, Darice, came to visit us in the month of March! It was so fun having her here and showing off some of our local favorites, including Pikes Place Market and a ferry ride to Kingston to get crepes, so yummy! While she was here, I introduced her to green smoothies, and although she is not a vegetable eater, she was pleasantly surprised. I also got to make her some fresh homemade whole wheat bread. I have been making our own bread (and grinding our own wheat) since November and this was the first time I had an audience. Of course, I messed up the first batch and totally had to throw it away!!! No clue what I did wrong, it was hard as a brick! The second time was a success and she loved it, and I loved being able to share our yummy bread!

April was a very busy month in our house...or out of our house, I should say. The first weekend was Easter and we decided to go away for this since Mr. M would be starting his underway periods soon. We decided to go stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for the weekend. We had a wonderful time Easter morning of family worship time and Tink told the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, and even had some visuals. The following weekend was Tink's first time participating in Fine Arts. She entered 4 categories and did such a great job! She learned so much and had a great time. The weekend after that, was JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz) districts. Princess did SO great!! She came in 2nd over all and her team came in second as well! I am so proud of how well she has done this year and how she came out of her shell compared to last year. She earned all her seals and even her Master Quoter!! She is on B level so Districts was the last competition for her team this season. The last weekend in April, the kids and I drove to Idaho for TBQ (Teen Bible Quiz) regionals for Tink. She also did marvelously!! Her team came in 1st place, she came in 8th place over all, and then she came in 1st place in an individual quiz off. It was a fun weekend and the other kids liked being at the hotel pool! This was also the last meet for her level for TBQ.

The month of May was filled with baseball. Tink and Princess both played on girls softball teams and Little Man played t-ball. It was a very busy season with practices on 3 different nights, but thankfully all games were on Saturdays. We love watching the kids play sports and learn about sportsmanship and teamwork. Scooter just had fun playing at the field! Scooter was also the big birthday boy this month, he turned 3! He also got potty trained! Our last one to potty train, it's a little sad, but boy it's nice to not have diapers anymore! He's such a big boy now and I wonder where my little baby boy went?!

June meant it was finally summer! No more school! I didn't realize that June is one of the gloomiest and rainiest months around here. So even though we finished school, we still couldn't enjoy ANY sunshine! Even Little Man's 6th birthday had to be held indoors at the end of the month, we've never had that happen! At church, the kids participated in a kids choir called Hiz Kidz and Hiz Lil Kids and they had their end of the year production called Project Joy. Princess really came out of her shyness here too as she participated in a recorder group and she sang a solo! I never thought I would see the day where she would stand up in front of a group of people and sing a solo, she did so great!! Tink and I were both team leaders for 4 year olds in Hiz Lil Kids and enjoyed being a part of that. June also brought my parents 40th wedding anniversary! I am so proud of both my parents and my in laws who set such a great example to Mr. M and I about sticking it out and loving one another through it all. At the end of June, we left for family camp...but I'll tell you about that in July!

We started out July in the great state of Montana at Glacier Family Bible Camp. Mr. M was not able to go with us due to his schedule, but we decided to go anyway! We are so glad we did!! We had such a great time! Filled with God's word, Worship, family time, and great friends. I really wished I would have written an entire blog post about our trip to Montana, it was so great! We loved the service times and Bible study, we went and visited Glacier National Park, went swimming in a freezing cold lake, watched the fireworks in a farmers' field, played cards and watched movies with friends every night, and the kids loved riding their bikes all over camp and down to the snack shack with their friends. After family camp, we still had a lot going on in July. We went raspberry picking and made freezer jam, I took the kids camping by myself (no easy feat!), and we celebrated Princesses 10th birthday!

August was a wonderful month!! We had a record of 80 days with no rain from some time in July till October! It was crazy! I decided to put the kids into a summer swim lesson program, 2 weeks, every day M-F. It was a tough schedule to keep but the kids loved it! Scooter was so happy to be in the water without Mommy! My parents came to visit us in August, also, and it was the best visit we've ever had. Back in April, my Dad had gastric bypass surgery and when they came in August, he had lost 80 lbs already!! He was like a whole new man! He had so much energy and loved playing with the kids and helped me do some craigslist furniture shopping. It was so fun having my Dad back again!! While they were here we went blueberry picking with a bunch of our friends and that was so much fun, it reminded me of when I was younger and my Mom used to take me strawberry picking. Mom and I also got a chance to meet a long lost relative, her niece, my cousin. My Mom's sister had died during childbirth and after the funeral, everyone lost contact with her and her Dad. I found her this year, on her birthday, and she lived 3 hours away from me! God is so awesome!! It was so wonderful to reunite them and get to know her. It's amazing how much she had in common with our family! The most wonderful thing that happened in August, though, was that Tink received a calling to be a Missionary! As her Mom, I am proud and excited, and also a little scared for her! That is a huge calling and I pray that God will continue to speak to her and guide her on the path that He has for her.

September brought many things to us, Packer fever, new renters in our house in VA (Praise the Lord!), preschool for Scooter (that only lasted till Christmas!), and Mr. M came back to us again! We have missed him so much! We knew he'd be leaving again soon so we tried to pack as much as we could into this month. We were able to go to a Packer game in Seattle, that was a difficult game to be at with those replacement refs and one of the worse calls in NFL history, but we still love our Packers! We also went on the May Family Camping Trip 2012, which included Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and the western shore, Deception Pass and the San Juan Islands, and the North Cascades. Again, another trip I wish I would have blogged about! Everything we saw was SO amazing!! God is awesome in His creation! We ended the month with saying goodbye to Mr. M again.

We started school on October 1st. I will know for next year to end at the end of June (not May) and not start until October, cause the weather was so amazing! I got to go on a fun field trip with just my little Scooter to a pumpkin farm, we had a great time and of all the wonderful orange pumpkins in the whole field, he went straight for a white one. None of my kids have ever picked out a white pumpkin, so for Thanksgiving I made a white pumpkin pie, it was very good! Mr. M and I celebrated our 18th anniversary this month! Even though we could not be together on this day, we are so very thankful for the grace and mercy and love that God has given us and that we can love each other through it all! We also celebrated Tink turning 14!! She celebrated the night of her Bible study with another friend whose birthday was the same week. This past summer, Tink started a Bible Study and Book Club for middle school, homeschool, girls and it has really been such a huge blessing for not only the girls but also us Mom's who have become our own little encouragement and prayer group. This also gave us the chance to get to know some missionaries who were visiting for awhile and I know that we are now life long friends!

Finally in November, Mr. M came home for awhile after a total of over 5 months of being away, we sure did miss him and I know he missed us too! As soon as he got home, he got right to work on making up our applesauce for the year. All the kids helped, but I had to include this cute shot of his little guy! I ordered some apples from a friend who went over to eastern WA and then they sat on my back patio, waiting. I don't know why on earth I thought I was going to have the time or the desire to tackle making that applesauce! That has always been Mr. M's thing! My friend, Darice, and her hubby, Rob, came to visit us for Thanksgiving. It was so great having them here and we wish we could spend every Thanksgiving with them! It was so much fun! Good food, good friends, and a great service at church thanking the Lord for all He is and all He has done in our lives. I've never belonged to a church that had a service on Thanksgiving morning, and I LOVE it!

Last but not least, December. The girls are both in their JBQ and TBQ programs again this year and doing really great. This year is a little harder for Princess as she has moved up a level, but she's getting faster on that buzzer every meet. Tink has been doing amazingly well, they are doing the book of Matthew this year. She has quoted chapters 1-7 and completed chapter 7 with no mistakes! Her team continues to take 1st place at all their meets and she is learning so much about God's word. Mr. M's parents came to visit and  I never get tired of showing everyone this great new area we live in. It was interesting that when my parents visited, it was sunny every day and they joked about me saying that it rains all the time. Then when my in laws were here, it was cloudy every day and they never once got to see the beautiful mountains that surround us! When choosing the kids Christmas outfits this year, I ended up making Tink's skirt...sort of. We just could not find anything appropriate for her at the stores so I bought a dress the same as her sisters and then took the top off and made it into a skirt!! So thankful to the Lord for technology so I could skype with Darice and her sister to learn how to do this! One thing we really love about December is reading the advent book. This year we read Tabitha's Travels, and we loved it just as much as we did Jotham's Journey. It's such a great time with our family and I can feel God pulling us to do this more then just at Christmas. God has really been leading us toward a time of family worship in our home and I am excited to see where He leads us next year! We found out this month that we are going to be moving back to VA for sure. As I opened Christmas cards this year, I found myself in tears over the friends that God has given us over the years across this great nation. We opened cards from people here who don't want us to leave, and then opened cards from friends in VA who can't wait for us to get there, and cards from others that say, I know what it's like to move once again. How very blessed we are. One of my favorite services at church of the whole year is the  Christmas Eve Candlelight service. To hear all the voices and see all the lights shining for our Lord in unity, it's just always an amazing moment to me.

Our family scripture has always been Phil 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

God has been leading me to a new verse, 1 Thes 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I pray that 2013 brings us closer to God, closer as a family, and that we will reach out to those around us in love and support. That no matter what we go through in life, that we will be joyful, prayerful, and thankful!! I pray that 2013 brings you love, joy, and peace!

Happy New Year 2013!!