Friday, December 2, 2011

New Name

"You shall be called by a new name, 
Which the mouth of the LORD will name."
(Isaiah 62:2b)

Many things have changed in my life recently.  Our beautiful daughter was born last week and she is a joy to our lives.


I started a journal for her.  I don't want to write in it every day but I do want to capture some of the most important moments and let her know how we felt.  I want her to be able to see her life through our eyes.  And as she gets older, when we may not even be around any more, I want her to always have proof of how loved she was.

While at the hospital I started writing the very first entry in that journal... welcoming my daughter into the world, letting her know how loved and wanted she is and how long we've waited and how blessed we feel. At the end of my entry I signed with a new word - MAMA.

I have a new name now.  I have a new calling.  I am a mother now.  
That changes my life drastically - but I am ok with that :)



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lately...

Lately... we have been quite busy.  A lot of preparations are in order for our little baby girl to come next month.  And that is on top of all the work and ministry responsibilities we already have.  Because of that I am realizing that we have not been super faithful updating this blog on a regular basis... sorry.  Here's a quick snapshot into our lives in the past 2 months.

Of course our main news revolves around me carrying our child.  I have been so grateful to God for the easy pregnancy that allows me to still be actively involved in our Sidewalk Sunday School ministry.  With only a few weeks to go we are getting anxious to meet our little wonder (prayers for easy delivery are always appreciated).
In the beginning of October we traveled to Oregon to be part of our brother's wedding.  It was exciting for me to meet a lot of Bryan's family members whom I hadn't met before.  As I look back at those few days - I am blown away by God's faithfulness and His provision for us (just 2 short weeks before we had no finances to travel - but by the time we had to go - everything was lined up and taken care of)... 



Some of my newly-met family-friends were so kind as to throw us a little family baby shower where we got a lot of beautiful things.

And of course the official Dr. Seuss themed baby shower was thrown last month in the honor of our little girl.  We are grateful for the friends that made it a point to come (even though it ended up happening at a quite inconvenient time for many of our friends).  


Bryan & I with our Canadian intern Rachel
(after we showed her our ministry area for
the first time)
 And of course I can't forget to let you know of all the great things that are happening with our Sidewalk Sunday School ministry. This semester (because of my pregnancy) we have been blessed with a help of an intern from Canada.  She has been helping us on visitation and with Sunday School and she will take over once I have the baby until Christmas.  It is a blessing to know that our Sunday School kids will be taken care of.

The Sunday School itself has been doing great!  Our site's attendance has been quite high (332 people attended this past Friday).  We are excited to have an opportunity to share about God with all these people.

Memory verse from this past week's lesson

all kids were excited to be blessed with a pumpkin and a bag of chocolate
 Another praise report for us would be that my mom got her US visa and she will be traveling to visit us in December.  I really hoped she would come but didn't want to put my hopes up too much.  A week before her interview I posted on facebook a request to pray for favor for her.  As many friends prayed, God has given me peace about her interview and I knew in my heart that whatever the outcome would be - it would be the will of God manifested.  I was excited to know that she did get her visa. 

Prayer Requests:
* for easy delivery of our daughter
* for my mom's salvation
* for easy transition for our intern Rachel from a follower to a leader in our Sunday School site

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"My Heart Has Been Replaced With A Face"

When you look down, it is easy to walk by.  In my previous post I have written about feeling sorry for myself and being caught up in the "woe is me" mentality.  The more I think about it the more frustrated I become... angry at myself and many others around me who are so caught up in our little problems that we don't even notice the pain of those who need our help.

Part of the problem is that often the needs around us are impersonal.  The homeless, the prostitutes, the child molesters, the drug addicts, the poor, the sick - those are all collective nouns, words meant to drive our attention away from these people as individuals.

I stumbled upon this song today on youtube and I would love to share it with you (lyrics typed out below).




I've stood alone a million times

That's not the same as being alone
I've felt ignored, and left behind before
But that's not the same as being disowned

Open my eyes, and help me see that there's a world outside of me
I'm no different, I want to make a difference tonight

The words don't always come out right
And I don't normally cry
But you didn't see the look in her eyes

I've been shaken
From my head, on down to my toes
Lord use me, take me where you want me to go
I can't help it, my heart has been replaced with a face
I'm ready, these hands are dedicated to change

I've hurt before, but held inside
I've seen their tears, 'cause pain is something they can't hide
What makes us different?
We have a chance to listen tonight


There are many ways for you to get involved in a life of an individual who needs hope today.  

One of the many ways to do so is to sponsor a child through one of the many international ministries.  We are involved with Metro Ministries and through them you can sponsor a child in the United States, Romania, South Africa, and the Philippines.  If you would like to get involved - click here for more info.  And guess what - if you choose to sponsor a child here in US - you can request one of the kids from our Sunday School site and you can be sure we will keep you updated on how they are doing.


Whatever you choose to do (or not to do) - may it be your prayer today that your heart also will be replaced with a face... that you will no longer be immune to the suffering of others.




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I am linking this post here

Monday, September 5, 2011

Down with Pity

How easy it is to whine!  To feel sorry for myself... feeling as if everyone in the whole world has got a better deal... just because one someone has...

How easy it is to throw yourself a pity party!  Filled with 'if only's and 'but's and wishful thinking...

Do you ever get caught up in that?

Sometimes I do.

And when I do... somehow... I am even more miserable than I was a second ago...

In talking to some of my young ladies I often feel like they use their past choices and things that have been done to them as an excuse.  They often feel like they are not in control of what's happening to them and that there's no way out of the mess they had created.  It is easy for me to look straight into their situation and say, "Ok, here's what happened.  It's bad, very bad.  Now, what will you do about it?  Your 2 choices are to feel sorry for yourself and do nothing or to start from here and change your life for the better."  Easy for me to say ;)

So when I catch myself being unsatisfied, discontent, downcast and discouraged I have to tell myself those same words, "Now, what will you do about it?"

I start off with counting my blessings: *the train that arrived just as I set my foot on the platform, *the word of encouragement from a fellow co-laborer, *little skype convos where I get to give my input and feel like it was needed and helpful, *the yummy food that my friends made for me this week just because (I got 2 of my favorite meals this week cooked for me plus this brownie sundae cheesecake beauty on the left), *my hubby's amazing creativity and problem solving skills, *the little kicks and flutters inside of me, *a good night's sleep... just to name a few.

And then I put my hand to the proverbial plow... and try to do something (anything) to make this situation better.  And even if I fail at what I try to accomplish - I've done away with pity... and then I try again.

Because I know that with Him all things are possible... because I know that with Him on my side nothing shall harm me... because I know that He will never leave me... and that I'll never fall so hard that I won't be able to get up... I try again.

"Father, all things are possible for You"
Mark 14:36

I do not know what you're facing today... but I know that you can try again.



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linking here today:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Joys of Decision Making

One of the toughest things to do as a family is to make a decision.  From the very beginning of their existence every family is bombarded with many many decisions they have to make.

Some of those decisions are easy to make.  Others - not so easy at all.  The worst among that difficult kind would be the infamous "life-changing" or "life-altering" decisions... the ones that send you packing... the ones that change your habits... the ones that make you build or break relationships... the ones that go against everyone's wishes... and possibly even against your own culture.

With expecting our first child in just a few months hubby & I are forced into making many decisions that will soon be changing the course of our life and ministry as we know it.  This season is not the easiest for the two of us.

Maybe you are finding yourself in the season of change and decision making too.  Then you know exactly how I feel.  Wanting God to just magically send me down all the correct answers, wishing it were just a bit easier.

In our decision-making struggle I believe I have learned why God leaves us searching for the answers.  I realized that the very pain and struggle of decision making are given to us to help us mature.  

As we are sitting... talking... praying... discussing... thinking...waiting... hoping... during our decision making, we are forced to evaluate our lives, to ask some hard questions, to agree on what is truly important.

Decision making:
- helps you refocus and prioritize
- weeds out those things out of your life that are no longer important to you and your family
- moves you to seek God and His direction (if you're a Christian)
- helps you get to know your family and what's important to them
- teaches you to trust (God, yourself, family)

If you're finding yourself being forced to make a big decision - don't wish you could skip the process - for in that process is where true growth happens.

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I am linking this post here

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our New Button

Hey y'all - we have a button now!!!  It is very simple but I feel like it is such an accomplishment as I made it by my own little (ok maybe not so little) self.

Feel free to grab the code and share it on your blogs, pages, etc.


Photo courtesy of "A Life To Serve"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Overcoming Fear

I wonder what are you afraid of?  You know, it's not always the obvious things like mice and spiders. 

Real fears hide deep inside, carefully masked by layers of learned behaviors and social expectations.  Real fears are very hard to admit to anyone, even ourselves.

Bryan & I with some of the kids
who came to day camp from our site.
Starting August 8th, we have been bringing children from all over New York to our church for one day of fun that was geared to give kids an unforgettable fun experience while helping them to identify and cope with their fears.


a small group discussion
 Through discussions and Bible lessons, story time, and even water activities - every single part of the day is laced with teaching the kids that they don't have to be afraid for God is with them.

Many children are able to open up and admit their fears - some of them seemingly insignificant (yet real nonetheless) and some of them very very deep and difficult to deal with.
Bible Lesson





team spirit
games

water slide

fun times at the pool

 If you have a spare moment today - please pray for the kids that have already gone through camp - that God will seal in their hearts their decision to trust Him for help... and for those who are yet to attend - that God will move on their hearts and help them overcome their fears...

... and as you're reading this - be reminded that God is with you also... so don't be afraid!!!

Don't be afraid to do what is right.
Don't be afraid to step out in faith.
Don't be afraid to share about Jesus with a non-believer.
Don't be afraid to speak up for those who are struggling.
Don't be afraid to leave the past behind.
Don't be afraid to pursue your dream.
Don't be afraid to trust God in the most impossible of circumstances
(He specializes in those anyway).

"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid..."  
(Psalm 118:6)


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I am linking this post here and here.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Greatest Author

I was on the subway the other day and saw this advertisement for some new book.  The reviews that were chosen to put on this advertisement claim that "authors just don't get any better" and that the writer is "one of the greatest storytellers of ours or any time [emphasis mine]".

Really?  Are they trying to tell me that The Lion is such a work of literary art that Mr. DeMille is surpassing Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, even Shakespeare for crying out loud. Am I supposed to believe that this book will become a timeless classic for many generations to enjoy?

It saddens me how literature in general becomes the McDonald's of food.  Now indeed there's time and place for McDonald's (when you're in the rush and need a quick meal) but a BigMac will never compare to a proper sit-down several course dinner at the View.  There is time and place for novels that can be enjoyed on the beach or on a plane.  But can they be compared to the timeless classics that force us to look deep within ourselves and search for answers, that move us to think and become better people, that encourage us to open up a dictionary once in a while and broaden our vocabulary?

If you are a parent - I beg you to instill in your children love for good books.  When they grow up they will read what they see you read.  Fill their bookshelves with quality time-proven authors, get them to discuss the content with you, ask them to place themselves in a hero's shoes.  Check out this list and see if you read any of those yourself (a few more lists can be found here and here).  It takes a while to develop appreciation for classic writers if you never had to force yourself to go beyond the Cliff's Notes versions of their books but I promise you that it'll be worthwhile.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Imperfect Hospitality

"When hospitality becomes an art it loses its very soul." 

I read a lot... about everything... I read books, blogs, facebook feeds, signs on the streets, even cereal boxes.  Sometimes that stood in the way of my hospitality.  I am not the person who will think of little cute flags to decorate her cupcakes with, or get matching linens, or make homemade tags for the glasses.  I live in a one-bedroom apartment where I don't have a space to set up a nice buffet table (on top of that we don't even have many serving dishes so often our food ends up being served straight out of the pot).  I do not make the greatest hostess.  I often get stressed right before the guests get there as I realize my huge gap between what I wanted to happen and the reality of what will indeed happen.  That frustrated me often.  I was realizing that I am unlikely to ever be as good as some of those hospitality/decoration ideas/cooking bloggers and I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with having people over.

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day.  Hubby & I were going to stay home, grill veggie burgers on George Foreman (our very random Independence Day tradition), and watch fireworks on TV.  Over the course of the weekend we've been talking to some people in the ministry we're involved in and some of our friends didn't know exactly what to do.  A simple invitation of "Well, we're staying home and grilling veggie burgers on George Foreman... you're welcome to join us if you'd like"  was enough to have 5 more people join us last night.

As always I was not perfect.  My dessert had an accident (praise God for a wonderful creative husband who figured out how to fix it instead of getting stressed)... and I was not ready by the time the first guests arrived. 

But despite all that we had a great time.  Conversations were started, food was eaten, a movie was watched, followed by my imperfect patriotic dessert... and all was well.  I am learning now that you don't have to be perfect to extend hospitality, to fill your home with friends and laughter.  I read this quote here the other day "Aiming for perfection will only frustrate. Aiming for grace and excellence is better."  And this is what I will strive to do.  I will strive to become a better hostess but I will not strive to be a perfect one.  I will enjoy my friends and not stress over little things (hey, even if the dinner is ruined - there's always take-out).  I will extend my hospitality and not hinder it for this is how friendships are formed and love of Christ is expressed.

You may not have everything you need to pull off a great "party"... but you don't need to invite people to a "party"... invite them to your "home" and share your life with them.  They will appreciate it even more.


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I am linking up here today



Monday, July 4, 2011

My Blessings Are Easy To Count Today

My blessings are easy to count today.  As I sit in my bed this morning and type this post, I am excited about the new (to me) dessert recipe I get to try out today for the Independence Day celebration.  I know my fridge is stoked with yummy things that in a few hours will be transformed into a great food for a great get-together with some great people. I went to church yesterday without fear for my life and I had a great time.  I hung out with my friends in a group outside without fear of being arrested.  I am a blessed woman indeed.

Not everyone can say that today.  And if there was one thing I could pass on to all the wonderful people who live in the United States - "Don't Ever Take Your Freedom For Granted!!"  Be thankful for the opportunities and freedoms given to you that others may not be able to enjoy.

If you allow me to share one little video with you today - here's how Independence Day celebration went down in Belarus yesterday (the country currently celebrates their Independence Day on July 3rd).



And that is why I am ever so grateful for things so often taken for granted:
* being outside with my family and friends with no fear
* speaking my mind with no fear
* knowing that in the USA people are presumed innocent until proven guilty
* my church
* freedom of religion
* uncensored Internet access
* honest day's wages to buy things I need
* abundance of choices

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Project: Food Budget (Week 6)

Thursdays seem to come much faster now that I am participating in the Project: Food Budget challenge.  This week was super easy... We have not purchased much groceries and were eating up what was left in the house.  However, I feel like we've also done quite a bit of eating out too so it's probably balancing itself out.

Fun Find: Last night hubby and I were walking through the local farmers' market and... long story short... signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. Ours is a smaller size share and it only costs us $15/week.  Today's share consisted of a bunch of radishes, a head of lettuce, 2 herbs of choice (mine were basil and flat leaf parsley), garlic scapes... and some other green stuff I can't remember right now without looking in my fridge ;)  I am excited about learning new dishes that will help me use up all our stuff.  The big plan for this weekend is basil garlic pesto (pesto freezes well so I can keep it until I need it). The fun challenge for the week is to find recipes to use up all the radishes. 

What is your fun find of the week?

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Other Participating Blogs: 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Home

"Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting.  And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp."  
(Exodus 33:7)


Moses loved the Lord so much that his own house became a place where people would come and seek God.  I want my home to be a place where God speaks.  I want my home to be a place that encourages others to worship.

What would it take from me?

SEPARATION

Moses pitched his tent far from the camp.  How often do I get so caught up in my daily life that I make no time to spend with God?  Life happens.  Our families have needs and we are there to meet them.  Our social life is also important.  We have engagements and responsibilities.  We have ministry commitments.  And as important as any of those are, they have a tendency to drag us away from the One who can give us strength to deal with them, wisdom and understanding of how to do them faster and more efficiently, from the One who can bless the work of our hands.  Separating myself would require for me to rethink my priorities, to give up convenience, to drop my to do list until I've talked to Him, to cancel out things that make me feel important, like I am doing something worthwhile, but leave me no time for anything else.  Separating myself would mean laying down the social expectations aside and rearranging my schedule to make room for the One who is the most important.

I'm in.  I will strive for it.

Will you?

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I am linking up here

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Heart of Jonah

As I ponder on the Word of God this week, one thing comes to mind.

Jonah was a prophet of God, His servant, His messenger.

But he was human too.

When the Lord asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, he did not want to go.

How often do I refuse to step into God's plan, to follow His desires?

How often do I think I know better?

Do you ever find yourself there... on a boat to Tarshish?

Sometimes I do.

And yet...

He is merciful

... and He uses me again ...

... and again ...

... and again ...

Today I am grateful for HIS MERCY

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Project: Food Budget (Week 5)

It is week 5 of me participating in the Project: Food Budget Challenge... or week 2 if you consider the fact that I have not posted for like a month ;)
... but hey - I am back and hopefully I'll be able to be more faithful over the summer...

This week presented an interesting challenge for me.  I have ventured out to the Russian area of NYC called Brighton Beach.  It is not very close to where I live which is why I do not go there often.  But I seemed to remember that fruit and vegetables were much cheaper there than in my local grocery store. 

I was quite disappointed :(

We did manage to stick to our budget (mainly because we still had all the basic staples from the previous weeks) but we definitely failed to save money on our grocery bill.

Fun Find: buckwheat ;)
Have you ever used buckwheat in your cooking?  Buckwheat made into a porridge or a side dish is very common in the former Soviet Union.  It is rich in proteins and minerals and is a great tasting healthy food.  I slowly introduced my husband to it and he loves it now.  His favorite way of eating buckwheat is in the morning topped with fried eggs.  He finds this breakfast very filling and it lasts him for a long time.  I prefer buckwheat as a side dish to some meat.  You boil buckwheat like you would any grain but the secret is making sure you spice it up.  You may want to flavor it with a bouillon cube, maybe some Mrs. Dash.  I normally use Vegeta or Kucharek but these are not always easy to find in regular American grocery stores but a bouillon cube would do the trick as well.  You should try it out :)

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You're welcome to hop over to the other participating blogs: 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Intentional

INTENTION - an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

I choose to be intentional today.

I choose to be intentional with my relationships.  No amount of time spent on facebook or watching movies or playing games on my computer or reading other people's blogs will ever justify not investing in the lives of my dear friends and family.

I choose to be intentional in my marriage.  I will focus my efforts on making our home a place where all my husband's fears subside and where he wants to be above any other place on earth (including vacation spots). 

I choose to be intentional in my parenting.  I will teach my children to walk in the ways of the Lord.

I choose to be intentional in my ministry.  I refuse to give up until I see fruit.

I choose to be intentional with my own personal growth.  I know that I am not where I want to be yet... but I am on my way to get there.

I choose to be intentional.  How about you?



I am grateful for:
158. my real life friends
159. pizza delivery
160. the joy of watching the last minutes of basketball game shared with those who really care about the game
161. heat subsiding
162. a morning of shopping for Russian food
163. husband's days off matching mine this week
164. super soakers and water balloons
165. the joy of bringing joy to children
166. phone conversations with my mom
167. that distance erases pettiness
168. that parents' love is sacrificial
169. that I have great examples to learn sacrificial love from

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Time to Blog vs. Time to Live

I haven't done much blogging lately... and it's a good thing.  Things have been busy and slightly hectic around here.  With the Sunday School spring semester winding down (last week starts tomorrow) and the ever-present pregnancy issues it has been very hard to keep up on all of my favorite things (including this blog).

But do you know what that really means?...

That means that our lives have been full of...

... laughing ...
  ... loving ...
    ... walking ...
      ... talking ...
        ... working ...
          ... playing ...
            ... serving ...


We'll be working on our newsletter this weekend.  If you're not receiving it yet but would like to - leave a comment with your email address and I'll get it out to you soon.

In the meanwhile I hope you enjoy some pictures of our ministry from the past few weeks.









May your summer be filled with smiles!

Friday, June 10, 2011

History of Belarus in 5 minutes

I have stumbled across this animated feature from one of my former classmate's facebook.  She is the one who did the animation for this cartoon.  I waited a while to share this but now that there are finally English subtitles I am sure many of you will enjoy learning a bit of Belarusian history in only 5 minutes.  At the time when everyone is disillusioned in the proper future for Belarus it is crucial to raise awareness about the country's rich history and culture, encourage young people to feel patriotic for their country.



So?... What do you think?  (let's chat in comments)

Monday, May 30, 2011

When Everything Is Uncertain

They say that the only thing that is certain in life is... CHANGE.  Whoever they are, they must be on point with that.

Do you sometimes feel that just when things settle and you can finally take a breath something else comes up?

Do you sometimes feel that you are not too sure of what will happen to your life in the next year or two?

Do you find yourself ask God, "Ok, so what's next?"

If you do - you're not the only one... I do too.  Things in life change all the time.  Circumstances are picked up in a whirlwind of life, leaving us with unanswered questions, broken dreams, unspoken expectations... and yet sometimes with an unexpected blessing.

I sit on my bed wishing for certainty.  Wishing for a blueprint of life, thrown from heaven, approved and signed and sealed by God Himself with step by step and year by year directions, illustrations and guidelines.  I am still wishing for it to happen... knowing full well that it won't.

But one thing is certain.
"For I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6)
And in this my soul finds rest.



I am grateful:
* for A/C
* for 2 days off with my husband
* for finally deciding on the possible names for our child
* that we don't have to make all decisions on our own
* for cheese quesadillas
* and cranberry juice
* for honest conversations
* and sincere resolutions
* for a cleaner home

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Next?...

I wonder if you all read this article yet?

What do you think?

I am wondering... what will come next.  Shall we stop giving names to our children too?... You know to give them freedom to decide what their own name should be... Shall we stop teaching them about any moral values and the right way to deal with the world around them?  Shall we just let them run wild and free until they just decide for themselves?

The absurdity has to stop somewhere.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Project: Food Budget (Week 1)


Week 1 has come and gone... and I still haven't figured out how to keep track of everything we spend.  My husband balances the checkbook and pays cash for little guilty pleasures like Starbucks and eating out.  I'll do my best to be as true as possible.

Weekly budget: $100.00
Beginning of the month BJ's trip was $284.54 ($149.54 of it was spent on food)
That leaves us with an average of $62.62 for each week
Ok, we totally spend more than that weekly [sigh].

This week we spent: $45.00 eating out and $26.16 buying ready food like pizza and Starbucks which adds up to $8.54 overboard :(  plus I am sure there're a few things I am missing because we paid cash.

I went out on Wednesday with my ministry team but paid out of the cash that someone owed me and gave me back... considering it an unexpected blessing ;)

The good news is that BJ's trip has fed us generously so far and we didn't have to buy any extra food.

Goal for Week 2: figure out how to keep track of our food-spending better ;)

Considering: moving Starbucks and pregnancy-related snack shopping into my Mad Money Fund ($20 cash I take out each week for splurging).  However with Starbucks thrown into my Mad Money mix my $20 will be gone much faster.

Let's chat in the comment section:  
Do you have a separate budget for eating out?  
or a secret cash stash for things like Starbucks?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Invisible Adoption

I grew up in a very good family.  My parents worked and took good care of me.  My grandparents were always there for me as well.  They wanted the very best for me.  They made sure I had the best education.  They made sure I had my needs taken care of.

There were few things however that they simply could not give me.  No matter how hard they tried to provide for all my needs, they simply could not give what they did not have.  They could not express to me the relentless love that God had for me.  They could not encourage me to develop the relationship with my Savior for they simply did not know how.

That is why God has placed people in my life without whom I would never succeed.  People who treated me like their own daughter, who were there for me through my struggles and insecurities, who encouraged me to follow them as they followed Christ until I could follow Christ on my own. 

Our church was hosting a Mother-Daughter Banquet yesterday in honor of Mother's Day last week.  As I was sitting yesterday at a table beautifully decorated with delicate pink flowers and crispy green apples, I realized on thing.  It has come full circle.  The girl sitting next to me was not birthed by me yet she's looking up to me to encourage her to follow Christ.

We all have people in our lives who need our example.  You don't have to look around long.  There's your child's classmate whose family is struggling and/or are non-believers.  There's an old lady in your church whose children are all grown and moved far away.  There's a teenager in the park you go to with a little baby in her arms.

Adoption does not always have to cost money.  Adoption does not always have to involve lawyer fees or time off work for travel, or even red tape.  Adoption does not have to be noticed nor your sacrifice praised by men.

May I dare you today to consider INVISIBLE ADOPTION?  Simply investing yourself, your life, your experience, your hospitality, your love for the Lord... in a person who so desperately needs you... but will never show it...

I really hope you would...



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It is Multitude Monday over at A Holy Experience and I am still counting my endless gifts:


142. that even when I feel like I have nothing to give - there's more I can do through HIS strength
143. that there's always someone in my life to give to
144. that when it gets difficult - I can always fall back and rest assured HE'll catch me and give me rest
145. that my husband is a creative cook
146. that HE is JEHOVAH JIREH (God our Provider)
147. and that looking back I can testify that we've never lacked what we truly needed
148. and that with that baby growing inside of me HE releases my anxieties all over again by taking care of everything that I need

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Project: Food Budget

Starting next week I will be participating in the Project: Food Budget challenge.  With the baby on the way we have been very careful with our finances.  I am really trying to figure out what works for us and find that perfect balance between cooking at home, eating out, and buying ready-to-go snacks.

The first and foremost challenge has been figuring out the actual budget.  I will give myself a month to record all our food spending and possibly adjust it in the future.  I am starting off with $100 a week.  I know it's a bit generous for a two persons household but with the crazy ministry schedules we live it would be almost impossible to avoid splurging on eating out or ordering food here and there.  So for now - let's try $100 a week, shall we?

These posts will also be a place where I'll record some of my favorite menu items from the week and I am hoping to be able to link up some recipes too once in a while.

Shall we chat in the comment section?  What about you?  Do you have a set food budget?  And do you have a hard time sticking to it?

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Other blogs participating in the challenge:

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Love You More...

The truth sinks within me.  My life will never be the same.  It's a good thing.

You will be changing my life and my habits in more ways than you'd ever know.

The first one is my coffee.  I like me some coffee.  I don't need to have it in the mornings so it has not been physically challenging to give it up.  But oh how I miss the social aspect of going out for coffee... or the warmth of a mug in my hands on a cold day... or the aroma of freshly ground beans... or how well coffee pairs with so many desserts...

but I want to make sure you know today that... I love you more ... I love you more than coffee ...


I am grateful today:
* for hearing a little heart beat of heart that's not my own inside of me
* because that means I know that you are ok
* for test results coming back and giving no reason to worry
* for a Happy Mother's Day balloon ;)
* for choices that I need to make now for they teach me where my priorities lie.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thinking... Again...

It's not easy making decisions, is it?
Ever lacked assurance and determination in decision-making?  I sure have.
But I finally have peace.

Have you reached peace in your decision-making?  How?
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