Friday, April 27, 2012

Antibiotics, Adoption, Manners, Moths, and Songs

As always, there has been a lot happening around here this week.  I think I am going to share in bullet points!!

~After my last post, I am pretty sure that I am going to get a call from some children's record company because of the amazing hand washing song "Scrubby Dubbers," that I wrote.  I thought I would share another one of our "special" songs to show the high caliber of music that exists in our house.  This is the "Hair Rinsing Song." 
"Look up to the sky,
Way up high.
Way up high,
I am going to look up to the sky.
Look up in the air,
So I can rinse hair."

I know, how did I live this long without being discovered?  If you could hear it to music, you would be so amazed.  : )

~We have been so overwhelmed by the responses to our big news.  Thank you so much for all of the kind words, excitement, and encouragement you have given to us.  It is amazing to have a community of people celebrating this new calling with us.  It is a HUGE transition for our family.  As I shared, Rick begins on May 7, but we decided as a family to start attending the church this coming Sunday in order to help the kids transition.  Once Rick actually begins work, he will have responsibilities that would keep him from riding with us and being available as we settle the kids into their new classes.  Your prayers are so appreciated!!

~Colorado is being bombarded by attack moths.  They are everywhere.  They are gross.  They are crunchy(that is my criteria for bugs that I don't like).  My kids are terrified of them.  We can't even open our windows in most of the house because they figure out ways to get in.  How long will this last??

~I have been working with Isaiah on his manners.  He really needs to learn some social skills in this area.  He is loud.  He believes that EVERYTHING he has to say is more important than anything else that could possibly be going on in the world.  This leads to many interruptions in conversations.  This also leads to him being very impatient.  He is too rough physically.  A lot of it is his personality.  Some of it has to do with not being taught these boundaries until he was almost 2 1/2 years old.  Every time we go to someone's house, he asks for food.  I have been teaching him that it is not nice to do that.  So, we set a new guideline.  If someone offers him food, he can accept, but he does not need to go into everyone's home asking for food.  Yesterday, he was at Laura Fowler's house(He literally calls her Laura Fowler every time he speaks to her.  It is really cute, and she likes it a lot.)  I reminded him about asking for food.  When I got back, he said, "Laura Fowler offered me food."  I was so proud that he didn't ask.  Then, Laura and I were discussing it and this is actually how it went down, "Laura Fowler, if you offer me some food I can have some."  Yes, it was cute.  That boy always finds a way around the system.  Back to square one!!

~Cody, Lauren, and Sam have all had strep throat in the last week.  Abby's migraines have been off the charts.  Isaiah has needed to do breathing treatments for a cough he is developing.  Laila is the only one that hasn't had some medical issue.  I have successfully given 2 of the kids their antibiotics incorrectly.  I basically overdosed Cody the first day by giving him  his pill twice rather than the prescribed once a day.  I discovered today that I have only been giving Lauren half of her medicine each day.  She was supposed to take 2 pills twice a day.  Instead, she has been taking 1 pill twice a day.  I really think I might need to hire a personal assistant soon!!

~I want to end this post with a beautiful story.  This is a story about a family who is very dear to me.  Over the last 2+ years this family has followed God's calling to foster/adoption.  If you know anything about that journey, you know it is not easy.  Theirs has been exceptionally painful at times.  I have watched them love over 10 children in this timeframe.  They have sacrificed and loved so well.  Yesterday, we got to stand with them along with at least 75 other people and watch them adopt their sweet, spunky, sassy little Amiah Eliah Hope.  This little girl was meant for this family.  This family has been waiting for this little girl.  I remember the day at church that I knelt with Ellen at the altar as we prayed about bringing this child into her home in the midst of some very difficult situations.  None of us had any idea what would happen over the next year and a half.  Yesterday was the culmination, celebration, and completion of the work that God has been doing.  
The Goad Family(and the judge)
It was so touching to watch each member of the family commit to Amiah to love, protect, and cherish her in their own unique way.  I can't wait to see the plans God has for this little girl.  Isaiah had his moments at the adoption as well.  At one point, the judge asked if one of them wanted to introduce the family members that were present.  Isaiah raised his hand, because, of course, the judge was speaking directly to him.  When it was over, Isaiah said, "I almost cried that was so beautiful."  I don't know if Laila and Isaiah remember their court date or fully understand the significance of that moment, but Laila was hugging and kissing me the whole time.  It was like she got it.
Congratulations, Goad Family!!  We love you!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Clean Hands

I was Laila's washing hands, and I just had to stop and take a picture.  I love those sweet little hands. 
They are so much bigger than they were 3 years ago when we met her.  She has grown and blossomed so much.  She is my little cheerleader always encouraging me throughout the day.  She will say, "Mommy, you are beautiful.  Mommy, your voice is beautiful.  Mommy, I love you so much."  Truly she says these kinds of things all day long.  Not to mention all the hugs and kisses she so freely gives.

Whenever we wash hands, we sing one of two songs.  One I came up with called, "Scrubby Dubbers."  It goes like this, "Scrubby dubbers, scrubby little dubbers."  I know, brilliant, right?  I don't know how I came up with that, but I like to make up little songs during our daily tasks.  That is one of them.  I have made up songs for brushing teeth, putting on lotion, rinsing out hair, etc.  You name it, I probably have a song for it.  I love it when one of the kids starts singing them on their own.  It is a little piece of me that they are taking on themselves.  It is my fingerprint on their lives.

The other one (for which I will not take credit) says,
"Give us clean hand, give us pure hearts.  Let us not lift our soul to another. 
Oh, God let us be a generation that seeks, seeks your face, O, God of Jacob."

It may sound silly, but even as I sing that song and wash their hands, I am praying that for my children and for me.  That we will have clean hands and pure hearts before God.  In that tiny, little average moment of my day, I see God's Hand and want to seek Him more.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A New Calling for Our Family

I have some pretty big news to share.  After 20 months of what I would call some major character building, healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and really, a very different lifestyle for our family, God has called us back into a ministry position.

It all began with this event in Sept. '10.  That day changed the direction of our lives and catapulted our family in a whole new direction, a new journey.  We have seen God's purpose along the way.  We know what He was doing both in us individually and our family as a whole.  We are different people for this experience.  He has shown us once again(because for some reason we have to be reminded over and over) what His provision in our lives looks like.  He has used His people to bless us in ways we couldn't have imagined.  He has broken strongholds.  He has reshaped identities.  He has opened our eyes to reality.  He has used this "rest from ministry" as a time to help us define who we are, what we value, and what we want to be about in our lives.  It was so painful for me.  I think I might have cried for at least 6 months.  I have mourned losses, experienced new beginnings, been hurt deeply, and communed with God in a more intimate way.

It hurt.  It was hard.  BUT, it was God's plan.  I accept it and eventually have embraced it.  Along with the rest and healing we have experienced has come the deep desire to minister again.  We love The Church(I am using caps to emphasize the "church" as a whole, not a specific body of people.) and truly believe it is God's plan for us as believers.  We feel called to minister in The Church.

That is where a new calling comes in.  Both Rick and I have felt our hearts being tugged for ministry.  I am called to be a pastor's wife.  He is called to be a pastor.  We have been challenged to live that out over the last 20 months apart from an official role.  Now, God is calling us back to a lifestyle of ministry, one that I have deeply missed.

On May 7, Rick will begin his role as Executive Director of Operations at Mountain Springs Church here in Colorado Springs.  That title is a fancy way to say that he will be doing a role that he is really good at.  He will lead, minister, strategize, develop, implement, and further God's Kingdom through the local church.  He is excited.  I am excited.  I feel like a part of my heart for ministry has been pieced back together.  We are excited as a family to move forward in this new calling.

There will be loss.  We have been at Vanguard for 11 1/2 years.  It is all our kids really know.  I am thankful that they do not have to move or leave their schools or even their friends.  Regardless, there will be a time of adjustment.  Who knows what emotions that will bring about in all of us.  We are confident that God has called us to this and will sustain us through this transition.

I know this post has been long.  If you are still with me, I just want to share one more thing.  God has given me a picture of what He is doing.  The picture is that He is taking what has been broken in our lives over the last 2 years and is restoring it.  The really beautiful part is that He has shown me that He is not only restoring it, but making it better than the original.  That is what He does, doesn't He?  He uses the pain, hurt, and loss to shape us in such a way that when the journey is over, we are better than we were before.  We see God differently.  We see ourselves differently.  We see others differently.

 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  1 Peter 5:10

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GOTCHA, Forever

Monday was the 3-year anniversary of Isaiah and Laila joining our family. There were lots of days we could choose to celebrate from the 5 week time period 3 years ago that we spent in Africa going through their adoption process. Because the process was challenging in country and we weren't sure when we would all be together as a family again, we choose to celebrate the date we were finally all together. I wasn't convinced until we made it through U. S. Immigration that they were finally ours forever.
I will never forget this moment:
We were so weary from the battle we had just completed. We were exhausted physically from over 24 hours of travel with 2 children that did not speak or understand English. We were exhausted emotionally from the 5 weeks of ups and downs in the adoption process in a culture that does things very differently than ours and from being away from Lauren, Abby, and Sam for so long. We were exhausted spiritually from the warfare that is involved in rescuing orphans from the enemy and giving them a family forever.
Our family went from this:
To This:
Isaiah went from this 3 years ago:
To this today:
Laila went from this 3 years ago:
To this today:
When looking at these pics, Abby said, "Now I call that an Extreme Makeover!" I would agree. What a difference a family can make. What a difference they have made in our family!

We celebrated throughout the weekend. We started with some swimming, one of their favorite activities.

Pizza dinner
Maggie Moo's Ice cream
Yep, her poop was blue the next day!
I am so glad we could match her tongue to her shirt.
He looks like he ate a Smurf!
Blue teeth
Cody had green ice cream, but absolutely did not want me to see his green lips, teeth or tongue in the picture. Yes, he is a teenager.
I can't believe it has been 3 years, but I absolutely cannot remember life without them! I am so thankful for the blessing of adoption and the impact it has made on our family!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

I cannot take credit for this recipe, but it has become a family favorite. I like it because it is different than anything else I fix, most of my family loves it, and it is easy. My friend, Elaina, served this to us at life group, and I have been fixing it for my family since. I thought I would share it with you.
This is how the quesadilla looks before you top it with a tortilla and bake it

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
(amounts of each items depends on how much you want to make)
Chicken Breasts
BBQ Sauce(we like Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce)
Tortillas(I use flour, but corn would work also)
Black beans (drained and rinsed)
Red Onion
Shredded Cheese(I have used mozarella, colby jack, or a mexican mix)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Boil chicken breasts and shred. Mix meat with enough BBQ sauce to coat. Lay tortillas out on a cookie sheet. Put chicken, black beans, cilantro, red onion, and shredded cheese on each one. Put another tortilla on top of each quesadilla. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy.

I always serve these with sour cream to dip and cilantro lime rice on the side.

It is so yummy even as leftovers. You really should try them!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend with lots of activities to do for fun and also to remember what the weekend was all about. We started on Thursday night by making tombs as a family.
I love this tradition because all the kids can do it.
The various ways we closed our tombs
The finished product.
Lauren's did the best this year. It stayed closed and was empty inside!
My favorite thing is that we then take the bread, pour some sparkling juice,
and do communion together as a family.
After we were finished, we put the 2 little ones to bed and watched "The Passion of the Christ" with the 4 bigger kids. It was their first time to see it, and it really impacted them. We were on the fence about whether or not to let Sam see it, but we decided to go ahead. It was powerful to watch and give them each a of visual of the story they have heard since they were little. It was especially meaningful to do it with them after taking communion. That will become a new tradition.

Saturday morning began with a special big breakfast of sausage balls, monkey bread, and coffee. Then we got ready to dye Easter Eggs.

Cody said he was "kickin' old school" and didn't want any of the fancy schmancy stuff that I bought to decorate the eggs with.
Here is his "flames" egg.
I found the cutest little kits at Target this year that I just knew the kids would love.
The first one was a "Pop star diva" set
The little diva eggs
Abby's monkey
It came with a concert stage, instruments and microphones for them to hold.
Here is an "Eggcellent" Concert
The other set was for "pirate" eggs.
Abby also got creative and made an Africa egg
The aftermath
Whenever this boy goes outside, you can always find him hanging out in the tree!
I saw a really cute idea the other day on a blog to do a mini marshmallow roast with tea lights and mini marshmallows. So the girls decided to make a campfire for their Diva Eggs.
"Cumbaya my, Lord, Cumbaya"
We took the idea a step further, used chocolate chips and Golden Grahams
and made mini s'mores.
Cody joined in on that fun!
They were so cute...
...and so yummy!
That afternoon, Sam, Isaiah, and Laila did an egg hunt with the Resurrection Eggs.
They each got to find 4 eggs.
Abby read the Scriptures for us as we talked through each one and how the items related to the Easter story
We forgot to do the Easter Story cookies this year. Our neighborhood had a cookout and by the time everyone came inside it was late. We will have to bring back that tradition next year.
Sunday morning began with the yearly Easter Basket Picture
Which then led into our Easter morning Scavenger Hunt.
They follow the clues, carry their baskets, and get treats along the way.
One of the stops included cards with money from Papa and Grammy
A hug break with Dad
3 different kinds of Jelly Beans in the bathroom
Gum in the dryer
There were 10 stops along the way with various treats and prizes.
We sat down to a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and leftover sausage balls and monkey bread.
We hurriedly got ready for church. In the process of it all, I forgot to take a family pic. For the last two years, I have not gone out and bought everyone coordinating outfits like I used to do. They all have clothes they can wear and the boys actually had matching shirts that Grammy sent at Christmas. The girls always have plenty of springy dresses to choose from. As they get older they are less thrilled about being all matchy matchy. So, we just made do with what we had. It was actually the smoothest Easter morning EVER!

After church, we came home. The day was unusually warm so the kids spent the afternoon outside preparing for a water balloon war, while I cooked a big ham dinner.

Once again, no pics. I guess I was all "pictured" out.

We will have to try to get a family pic on Mother's Day. That will be the next time I can convince them all to dress up for me.

It really was a great Easter. I am loving how our kids are processing this holiday more and more each year as they begin to grasp the significance of it!