Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our Spaghetti Dinner

First I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Michelle Silva
 for putting this on for Rob and I. You cannot possibly understand onor comprehend how much this act of generosity meant to us.
It was an experience I'm very grateful to have. One thing is for sure...God ALWAYS takes care of us and He never lets us down. Another BIG THANK YOU to our friends who came and ate with us. Your contributions to our adoption through this event touched Rob and I's hearts and as you saw...literally brought me to tears!!! I'm SO blessed by your friendship! I am thankful to have people surround us with love and encouragement...May God bless EACH of you GREATLY.


For the last few years Nataleigh and Isannah have been in gymanstics. We ADORE their coach, Hillery. The girls have loved every class and I have seen them bloom and grow. Its such an amazing group of people and each week I'm encouraged through laughter and some tears. Both girls are feeling accomplishment and pride.

Not to mention that we have made several wonderful friend through this class. This last week was about being Olympians. Each little girl got a medal! THEY LOVED IT.

The parents got to be the "judges"...workin our "jazz hands" for a full and PERFECT 10...well...some of us did...not all!
(HAHAHA I'm working on some of the 'other' judges...)

Thank you Hillery, we are so blessed by you!!!

My BIG Boy!!!

Well, so I had to suck it up and admit to myself that my youngest baby is old enough to be in high school...LOL I mean preschool. Alright, he just has an attitude like a high schooler. We decided at the last minute to put Dunc into Sheperd of the Hills Preschool. I really like this school. The girls went 2 years ago and LOVED it. Its our first time with Mrs.Schott and Duncan LOVES her. (I do too!!!)He gets to attend his school every Tuesday and Thursday. In fact, my darling son (NOTE the sarcasm) loves school so much that I got the 'wave.' Moms of boys, you know what I'm talking about. This DID NOT happen with my girls. EVER. So Duncan began preschool last Tuesday. He was SO excited. Look at these priceless pictures...see how he beams? Its FINALLY HIS TURN to go to 'his' school. This whole summer, every time we happened to drive by it, there was a frantic voice from the back seat, "Mom!!!! Look!!!! Deres my skool!" Okay so anyway...he walks in and hangs up his back pack and casually walks over to the table of boys who are busy doing something with blocks. "Hey dude..." "Whats up Dude..." Uhm, did I miss something? Since when is 'dude' something Duncan says as a greeting?? And these boys all respond as though they've known each other for years. LOL!!!! Wow...okay so I wave to him and motion, as I pucker up, for him to come give me a kiss good-bye. Never in a million years would I assume that this was abnormal. CLEARLY I WAS WRONG! Duncan looked at me in a way that said that I was embarrassing him by remaining in the doorway and held his hand up near his chest in a half wave and says,"Bye Mom."
WHAT!?!?! Again...I motion for him to come to me and he again half waves from his spot (NOT MOVING from his group of 'dudes') and says, "BYE MOM." I looked incredulously at Mrs.Schott and she is trying so hard not to laugh..."Duncan, I think you need to come give your mom a hug...she needs one!" He reluctantly left his dudes to hug his mother, as an act of total obedience because I was NOT feelin the love! HA HA!!!! Wow, so it begins already. I just wasn't ready for it!!!

Adoption Agency Information (and a few rabbit trails)

I have been asked many time for names and numbers and adoption information. I wish I had a ton of pages to visit and references, but I only have what I know from our experience. We are adopting domestically (within the United States) through the state of Florida through Christian Family Services in Gainesville, FL. Our case worker's name is Monique Lord and she's absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend calling her if you want additional information regarding Florida state adoption laws or their agency. Domestic adoptions are vastly different from International adoptions. Rob and I felt God specifically call us to adopt at this time within the States. We are absolutely open and supportive of any adoption, domestic, foster, or international...just so we make that perfectly clear. I have no doubt that this adoption is not only far from our last, but we hope that God opens the doors to adopt internationally as well as possibly foster in the future.

 Now, this is where it may be alittle confusing, but stay with me here. We live in Colorado and each state has different requirements for their adoption processes. Whatever state you live in you will be required to do a 'home study.' You also have to fill out applications to begin an adoption process. So because we had to have a Colorado agency to take care of the Colorado laws, we chose to go through Colorado Adoption Center in Windsor. We had looked into a few others, finding that CAC was not only the most affordable, we just seemed to click with them. In short...I LOVE THIS AGENCY. Our good friend who adopted internationally made the comment that she couldn't believe how 'easy' our process has been. I have heard of several families having very good and very bad adoption experiences. It never occurred to me what ours was at that point. But during our garage sale to raise money for adoption fees, I had a lot of people feel the need to tell me their very worst stories about adopting...even if it hadn't actually happened to them.
(I'm going to rant for a second...Let me say first off, people like to tell you the WORST story possible for whatever it is that you are going through. Like being pregnant for the first time, I had people tell me HORROR stories about their birthing experience(s). Seriously, WHY WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT!? I hate that moms who've had almost dying birthing experiences will tell some poor new mom how the umbilical cord almost choked their baby as it was being pushed out and then the mom almost bled to death and they ripped from belly button to anus, oh but everything turned out okay. WOW...SERIOUSLY!? Did you not just see the poor woman faint!? Yeah, pick a better story or just don't tell yours until AFTER this poor woman has delivered her precious baby. I'm not sure what it is about birthing stories that makes 'experienced' moms want to tell the very worst ones. I always try to encourage new moms who are terrified of labor that its literally the most natural pain they will endure and survive. Does that mean that they will have a good experience? No, but whats the point in making the poor thing scared and doubting God's perfect design? Fear is never the answer to coping. I say Hooray for drugs...yay for epidurals...labor just means that you are almost done! Its going to be exactly what its supposed to be. Same with adopting...God has a child in mind for your family~ DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU! Why would God lead you into a situation just to fail especially when it is regarding a child? "God's heart is closest to the orphan and I want to be where God's heart is..." A friend said this to me once and it has stuck with me ever since. God never promised it would be easy, but He does ask for all of our heart...well, so that's what it comes down to and I'm choosing to not only trust the Lord, but seek His heart... Yes...I'm done...jumping off my soap box! Phew!  LOL)

Okay so back to the original thought. Until my friend had mentioned how our process had been 'easy' I hadn't even thought about it. We don't have any 'Horror' stories. We haven't been ripped off, scammed, or been in a place of destitution because we've had to pay all this money for fees. I absolutely trust our Colorado agency and would absolutely recommend it every single time.

What about the money???
Well, what about it? Rob and I are the first to tell you, we are NOT made of money. God has ALWAYS supplied our needs and therefore we KNOW we can trust Him. (If you want to know our whole story to this point you can read it in the post called Adoption, Really Lord?) Rob and I have always taken the stand that we didn't feel comfortable going into more debt just to begin a process. THIS IS OUR STAND POINT. You do not have to agree. We also felt that we needed to have the money upfront without taking out a loan to begin. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY. However, we ran into issues having to come up with our first large sum of money for our home study. Like I stated before, we found CAC to be the most reasonably priced. Unfortunately our decisions were made largely on fee schedules. I want to say something LOUD and CLEAR.

If God has called you to adopt...MONEY IS NOT AN ISSUE. God economy IS NOT like ours. God doesn't see money as a reason to do or not do something. Why should He? He's our Savior and it too much to ask God to provide $100 for an application fee? ABSOLUTELY NOT. If He calls us to obey Him, I feel that its only necessary that we put our entire financial situation IN His lap, and ASK Him for the provisions necessary. Don't you think He will provide for you? Obedience isn't just about saying, "yes, we'll adopt" but more importantly, "YES WE WILL TRUST YOU LORD."

I'm going to let you chew on that for abit and pray that God leads you. The joy of obeying the Lord is knowing that He has a specific purpose for your life and calls each of us into different areas of service to the Kingdom. I'm excited for each of you who hears the Lords voice calling you down the adoption path.

Colorado Adoption Center
Tammie Borrett

Christian Family Services
2720 Southwest Second Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32607
(352) 378-6202

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hair care...To be curly or not to be curly

I've had A LOT of people ask me how I make my hair do what it does. Yes, I have naturally curly hair. VERY curly. I've been approached by MANY frustrated moms and victims of naturally curly (and very unruly) hair who have NO idea how to care for curly hair or what to do with it. My mom happened to be one of those frustrated moms and just did what she could with my frighteningly untamed hair. When I was little I attained an incredibly HARD head because whining about having hair combed by my Granny was NOT allowed; and trust me, I was thumped with a brush MANY times. I tease my poor Aunt about being mean because my cousins had the ultimate STRAIGHT hair and when I'd come to visit and take a bath, she just put it in a braid and we survived the combing of the hair. "It hurts!'   "No, it doesn't, I'll tell you when it hurts. Sit still." LOL!!!! Oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about because either you have said it or you have been told this very same thing. I'm sorry for you if you have been in either side of the coin. Here, I'll show you just how curly my hair was...and let me tell you combing out curly hair is NEVER the answer!  My poor poor mother. And guess what? You don't have to keep your child's hair short just because its curly either. You need to know just a few things about curly hair so that you don't have to be nervous and you can tackle it just like you would anything else. Okay first thing that you need to know that naturally curly hair will never be as easy as straight hair and WILL cost more.  Relax, its gonna be okay!!!

What makes curly hair curly? Our pores (hair follicles) are actually oval. I have noticed that my hair is NOT oily either. Very important to remember regarding this issue with 'oil'  Curly hair cannot be washed everyday. Our oil is dispersed differently and curly hair actually NEEDS the oil. By washing it, much like African American hair, you are washing out the natural oils that keep our hair healthy. Obviously there is a limit to how much we can stand and it does get dirty. But not like a straight head of hair. I've seen how kids and my friends will get oily by the end of the day. I've NEVER experienced this. In fact, I've gone 6 days without washing my hair, and on the 6th day it was JUST beginning to become oily like that. (I had back surgery and was incapable of moving, so yes, I had a good reason to not shower. ;) )  As a rule I wash my hair every 2 to 3 days...which is what I do with my girls' hair as well. Bathing on a more regular basis is an absolute must, but we throw our hair up in a bun, ponytail, or cap.

Does the kind of shampoo and conditioner make a difference? Why yes, YES IT DOES! Through high school and part of college I thought that I could get by with cheap shampoo. I used Herbal Essense, Tressume, and a myriad of others that never gave me the desired look or feel that I wanted. My curls are much like a porcelain doll's. I have small to medium ringlets that literally start at the base of my hairline. I like having them dry in the natural ringlet form. Shampoos and conditioners have an effect (usually negative for my hair) because if they don't have enough moisture then I end up looking and feeling like I should be shakin a tail feather with Tina Turner. YIKES. But if they have too much moisture my hair is weighed down and I look like a drowned rat. So...with that said, what kinds do I use or suggest? I use a few different ones because you will always need to alternate products. Why? Well because it seems like your hair will get used to one product and the desired look and effect will stop after about 3 months. I'm not sure why. I use Biolage Color Care conditioner and Moisture shampoo, Design Line Olive Oil shampoo and conditioner, and Regis Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner. I buy the big liter bottles (I try to get them during the buy one get one 1/2 off or the 2 for $25 sales. Inevitably a salon is always having a sale) and they last me 3 months. Seasons don't seem to make that much of a difference. However, winter usually is the hardest time of the year for my hair because of the lack of moisture in the air and if I don't put product in my hair while the warm air is in the bathroom after a shower my hair is funky.

Do I use other products? Again, yes I do. I have used just about EVERYTHING. When I was in middle school I had the dreaded bangs. Back off, it was cool to have bangs. I had the perfect feathering technique!
Awe, 6th grade. This was way before I learned that I could do my own hair besides my bangs. It has taken me a lifetime to figure out my own hair. Thankfully I feel like I have a really good grasp on it and I can direct my girls' better. I've found that even though they have naturally curly hair too, their hair is DIFFERENT!!! Its amazing. Okay so back to product. I have used hair spray (EW), I have used several different gels (EW), lotion (yes, and it was an EW too), and mousse. Now even though I have used some of these products without success doesn't mean that gel or other shampoos/conditioners won't work. I can't handle heavy and weighed down or sticky. When I've tried gel, applying it to wet hair made it crunchy and made me look like I had dandruff because once it dried it was flaky. And depending on WHERE YOU LIVE and the climate and arridness of the area will have huge effects on how your hair behaves and how products works. Fortunately my me I've had many experiences and from the most dry (here in Colorado) to insane humidity (Mississippi and Minnesota). When I'm going to be in a place that is humid I have to use abit more product. My hair (and my girls') respond best to mousse. I used to use Suave for curly hair. I despise the 'rennovated' Suave and switched to Finesse (Extra Control Mousse). I have a routine that I won't ever do differently. I ONLY comb my hair (and the girls') IN THE SHOWER. Combing long curly hair while its dry is a DISASTER. It breaks the hair strand and dries it out, damaging it badly.
After I get out of the shower and dry it as best as I can and after putting it in the palm of my hand, I apply a very generous amount of mousse to my damp hair. I buy 4 cans of mousse a month. I will use a can in 10 days. I continue to use as much mousse as I feel I need. My hair is very long and therefore uses alot of product. I apply the mousse to the roots of my head and switch side to side and even apply it with my hair flipped over. If I don't get the bottom strands they go nuts and it is a frizzy mess. Ironically the amount of mousse doesn't make my hair feel dirty or look dirty. In fact if I get the exact amount needed then my hair is a 'good to go' look for 2 days. If my hair is too damp putting my mousse in will make it really thick and mushy feeling and I can see that Ive gotten WAY too much mousse. That's alright, because I just try to disperse it as much as I can. I try to get enough mousse that it feels squishy or 'full' and then I flip my hair back over and start scrunching my hair up so the curls 'remember' what they are supposed to do. Then I flip my hair back over and side to side I'll continue to crunch my hair upwards and make the curls redefine themselves and separate. As soon as I feel like I've crunched my hair enough I LEAVE IT ALONE for a few hours. Throughout the day while my hair is drying and the mousse is drying with it, it will get abit crunchy at times, but the more I scrunch my hair up, the more the crunchy goes away. (Just don't comb it out...then you'll have a royal FRIZZY mess.) I will sometimes pull the top back into a clip. Because my hair is thick it takes several hours to dry completely.

Can you highlight or dye your hair? Again...YES YOU CAN!!! When I was 15 my mom's friend, Dorothy highlighted my hair for the very first time. I had no idea what that even meant so when I pulled off the cap I was so excited. I had never had ANYONE cut my hair except my mom and NEVER had had my hair colored. It was so fun. Since being 15 I have always highlighted my hair. The awesome thing about being curly is that you can't really screw it up. Even a 'bad' cut is easily hidden beneath curls. It gave my hair definition and texture. Let me point out very clearly that I have ZERO red naturally in my hair at all. You need to be very careful about highlighting your hair because if you do have red naturally in your hair then highlighting it could be disasterous! I 'pull' no red at all and thats why box dyes and highlighting kits don't turn out badly. My brother does 'pull red' and therefore went COMPLETELY was just be aware of what you are doing.
Rob would KILL me if he knew I was saying this, but he actually does highlight my hair. Since I'm way too cheap and highlighting LONG CURLY hair costs a FORTUNE (upwards of $75-$200), I buy a Loreal highlighting kit (champagne color) for $10 and Rob will pull it through the cap you see in the picture. Its abit painful the longer my hair is, but I refuse to pay that much when its just hair. Good grief. (BTW I hate this picture! LOL!!) After highlighting my hair has attitude but after 3 days of heavy conditioning its back to normal.
 My whole life everyone insisted on my hair being LONG. UGH, while I love my long hair, its a huge hassle and takes time. I have 3 kids, I don't have time to waste on hair. So I decided to chop it all off and I donated 17 inches to Locks of Love in 2006. My husband has known me since I was 12 and so when I walked in with basically no hair he about pooped himself. I have to say that I absolutely LOVED my short hair. It was so easy and so fun. But after a few months I was ready to have it long again. That was alittle over 4 1/2 years ago. My hair is almost as long as it was before I cut it and I have been threatened that I can never cut it again. Trimming is necessary for maintaining long hair. If you don't then split ends and the bottom gets very dry and gross. I haven't cut more than 2 inches off (besides having layers put in) my hair since Duncan was born.
 I have also gone way outside of my comfort zone and decided on Thanksgiving day of 2010 that I wanted to dye my hair. I hear many cringes and gasps. Hey, I had never done it before and again, I was NOT about to pay an obscene amount for something I might hate. LOL! Yes, scary and abit nerve racking, but my sister inlaw Becky rolled up her sleeves and went to work. Unfortunately , while I had gotten a color I LOVED it was only sold in CANADA!!!! We were up there for a family get together for Thanksgiving (Go figure, go to Canada for an American holiday~it was the craziest thing ever...I was laughing because we were all so surprised that things were still open! Well DUH!?) and I decided it HAD to be done.

I LOVED IT. I haven't had a dark color since I was 15!!! I kept it up for a a few months until this last March 2011. Red is VERY hard to maintain and truth be told, I missed my highlights! So even though people had warned me not to highlight my hair when I had dyed it (gasp! With a box! Oh no!!! LOL) Rob sat down and pulled my hair through the cap again. I was abit nervous because bleaching red could turn PINK...thankfully it did not, but wow, thats a lesson in stupidity.
So there you have it. I have told you about all that I can and how I do my hair. I use the same products in my girls' hair. Obviously I don't have to use the same amounts , but the routine is exactly the same. Don't expect to get it all the way you want it the first time. Its taken me my whole life to figure out my hair. Don't get frustrated...just keep trying product until you find something that really works for your hair. However don't be afraid to try something new. Its going to feel weird at first and like you don't know what you are doing, but trust me, its a very fun thing! Enjoy the gift God's given you with your curly hair and RELAX.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's YOUR Purple Bike?

Before we even began any sort of paperwork regarding adoption God was wooing my heart to trust Him in ways I never knew possible. A question I always seem to have is this:
Can God really see me? Does He really care THAT much?
If you are asking this question or ever have- I have something to tell you... YES HE DOES. How do I know this? Well, I want to tell you the story of a PURPLE BIKE.

Rob and I had finally made the commitment to tithe the full 10%. Tithing is an extremely personal matter and I struggle with where God calls us to tithe each month. I don't necessarily believe that its to a church. However, we are told to give God 10% according to Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows." At this particular time in our lives, Rob and I knew that God was convicting us to give back to Him. Both of us believed that we were to give to our church. It wasn't that God NEEDED our money...its a matter of obedience. Tithing that amount meant a HUGE sacrifice for us...even not being able to pay certain bills or being incredibly creative with birthday gifts. Let me just say that May, June, and July are birthday months. (Something that's abit like the torturous season of Christmas. It means A LOT of family time, birthday parties, and STRESS. Its almost worse than Christmas actually.) Rob's and Duncan's are May 6th and 7th. Isannah's is June 27th and Nataleigh's is July 3rd and because they are so close we usually have one combined party for them. That means that Isannah and Nataleigh's birthdays are absolutely the most stressful time for me. Yes, it makes drinking heavily seem like a reliable survival method. I do not work out of the house (don't even think about trying to get me to do Mary Kay, Primerica, or any home business for that matter) and Rob gets paid once a month. This is not a complaint because God has always provided for our needs, but you can understand how tithing would add to the monthly stress of financial survival! lol So this was June and both girls were asking for new bikes for their birthdays.

I have a thing about gifts. I want my kids to appreciate the items they have and not be bogged down with so much stuff that they can't enjoy any of it because they have too much! So birthday gifts need to be something that they need to really think about and really want. well, that particular year it was bikes. Thankfully they were still pretty small and so 18inch bikes were a great idea! One problem though, even the cheapest bikes at Wal-Mart were still $45. Well Isannah's birthday being on the 27th is usually a struggle because its the end of the month and money is TIGHT. At that time I had also realized that I enjoyed keeping a prayer journal. I hold things in and chew on them and stew. Its a vicious cycle and dissolves me to tears because stress creeps in. This journal was a great way for me to put it on paper and pray through all that was on my mind and then once it was in my journal I had made it a personal rule that I could NOT think on it again. No stewing. So that's what I did. 2 weeks away from Isannah's birthday when the girls were bouncing around getting excited about birthday cakes and a special day for them and telling me what they wanted I wrote it all down in my journal. "Lord, the girls want new bikes. I have searched high and low for anything we could afford and there isn't anything. I know what its like to ask for something and not get it. I want to be able to give our kids new things and bless them with bikes. I just don't see how its going to work. We don't have $90 for 2 bikes, let alone $45 to just buy one. So you are going to have to take care of this God...Isannah wants a pink bike. Princess bikes would be great. But I'm leaving this up to you because I got nothin here." One week before the 27th we received a check in the mail out of the blue. Huh, cool...thanks God! I thought.

One SOLID Fact: I am NOT a morning person. I do not do anything before 8 am and at that time I didn't go garage saling. Its Friday at 745am. And I'm still asleep, as are all of my children. "Robyn, get up go get $20 out of the ATM and go garage saling." EXCUSE ME? That was crazy. God? was that you? Huh...odd dream...still not thinking I had really heard right I heard that voice again, only it was more stern and urgent. "Robyn. Get up and go get $20 out of the ATM and go garage saling." I want to tell you that I never used to carry cash ever and I never use the ATM. No reason really, I just don't. Let me also say that this has NEVER happened before. Oddly I wasn't freaked out because I KNEW this Voice. I sat up, sighed and called Rob.
"Bo? Do we have $20 for me to use?"
"What? Why?"
"Well, God just told me that I had to go get $20 out of the ATM and go garage saling."
"Are you serious? What are you supposed to be looking for?"
"Yeah,...bikes I think."
"Oh...okay, well yeah, we got that check so go ahead pull it out. Call me when you figure out whats going on."

So as I wake up my kids and they look at me like I've gone nuts, I'm still thinking, did I hear that right? I piled everyone in our car and they are excitedly asking me, "Mommy! Where are we going!? What are we doing??"
"well, we are going to go check out some garage sales..."
"Whats that?" (They LOVE to garage sale now and I find it very fun as well.)

I suddenly noticed A LOT of neon and big signs screaming for a chance to boast how 'BIG' the garage sale was. (Side note: "BIG" garage sales usually mean "LOTS OF CRAP" and require a drive-by viewing) Anyway I had heard many friends say that one neighborhood in particular was a great place to start and is primarily a young family area. So we get ready to turn in and I wasn't really surprised to see a garage sale sign, but it had 'Kids stuff' written on it so we headed that way. (Another side note: ARROWS PEOPLE...Don't give me an address because I don't have GPS and I don't know where your house is so since its 8AM just make arrows and point me in the right direction.) As I am turning onto the street and can see the sale and tons of people milling around I notice a Barbie bike leaning against a tree. OH MY GOSH!!! I parked and jumped out of the car, dashing to see how much this bike is. Remember I was told to get $20 more, no less. And that's ALL I had. "$10" said the sticker stuck to the bike seat. I ran back to the car to hear 2 delighted and squealing little girls. "Mommy! Can we get that bike for my birthday PLEEEEEEASE?????"
"Let me pay for it first, hold on..."
I pay for the coveted Barbie bike that was literally BRAND NEW and head back to more excited squealing. The tires were still white and except for a few scuffs was perfect. Yes, this had to be what God was talking about. As I'm loading it Isannah is bursting with excitement because she was getting her bike and birthday present BEFORE her actual birthday. That's when Natty began to cry. "But mommy, I asked for a bike too? Where is my bike? "
"Natty, we'll get you a bike too, but Isannah's birthday is first. Don't worry, okay? We'll find another one."
More tears. "But Mommy, I don't want a pink bike like Isannah's? I want a purple bike..."
While I am turning out of the neighborhood I'm praying frantically because of Natty's hurt face and tears. Lord, you provided one bike and I'm so thankful for it. But Lord, remember...? I have TWO daughters. You can't possibly mean for me to only get one bike and have to watch my eldest cry because she's not getting one two. I don't understand? Please Lord, didn't you say $20 for 2 bikes?     No, God didn't really say much more.

We passed by many more garage sales. Nothing. We came to one and we did, in fact, find another bike. What color? Purple...however this bike was in TERRIBLE shape. it was beat up, rusted over, clearly left outside with the rest of the unwanted stuff. In my mind I couldn't help but get mad. Lord, this cannot be the bike you have for Natty. you supply a practically brand new Barbie bike and thrill one child to her very tiptoes and then give this other child....THIS broken bike? And that's when Proverbs 31:16 came to mind, "She considers a field and buys it..." The Proverbs 31 woman considers. She doesn't just buy this field because its available or because she's desperate to buy something. She has purpose for what she's doing. She's looking to plant a vineyard. And planting a vineyard isn't some flippant decision; its meditated upon, its thought out, it's planned and prayed over. I realized that I WAS that Proverbs 31 woman in this moment. I needed to consider. Why would God do one thing wonderful for one child and not for the other? No, this was NOT the bike. Natty spotted this crummy purple bike and said, "Mommy, this bike is purple, but its not very nice...are we going to get this one for me?" I could hear the disappointment in her voice and it broke my heart. "No Bug, we aren't going to get this bike. Its pretty gross. We'll just keep looking." When we got back in the car I could see that I was losing the ambition. It was getting hot, we were thirsty, and getting hungry again. It was almost 11am and for seasoned garage salers you know that this means that most sales are wrapping up and those that aren't have been pretty well picked over. Hope was dwindling.
"Mommy, is there a bike for me?"
"Natty, I'm going to tell you something okay, are you listening? God has a bike for you. But its like when we play hide-n-seek. God knows where you're bike is hiding, so we are the seeker and we have to keep looking for it! Okay? So lets keep being the seeker and find your bike!"
That helped perk everyone up. I had literally driven ALL over town. Nothing but that crappy bike from the last sale. UGH. Then as we headed over to one last newer neighborhood I saw a sign CLEARLY made by little girls. It was very pretty with hearts and stars and smiley faces. It made me laugh abit. I knew that if we didn't find something here that it was a no show for the day and I wasn't sure what I was going to tell Natty.

We pull up and immediately I notice there are NO bikes. But I knew I was supposed to get out. I felt completely ridiculous since there was nothing that I was looking for here, but walked around it anyway. That's when i noticed a BRAND NEW(with tags) turquoise girls bike. WOW...hmmm,...I spotted the owner of the house ans asked her about the bike and found out that it was her daughters new bike but the daughter didn't want to ride it because she was too attached to her first bike. "Can I see this older bike?" Sure her mom said and lead me to the front door.
That's where I saw a PURPLE BIKE. My heart leaped out of my chest. Other than a few scuff on the seat from a wayward fall, this bike too, was pretty much brand new. I asked the mom is I could buy it for $10. "You know, I can't sell it without her knowing, but you can ask her."
Alright, where is the child? Out of the garage door I see this adorable 8 year old with two HUGE front teeth, too big for her little mouth come towards me, her mother in tow. I crouched down and looked her in the eye. "My daughter Nataleigh wants a purple bike, just like your old one here. Would you sell me your bike for $10 so I can give it to her for her birthday?"
Her aunts and grandmother started cheering her on, helping my cause. "yeah! We can go get your nails painted with your money! We can get you a bell for your new bike!"
She wasn't really looking me in the eye so I upped the bartering. "How about $12? Would you sell me your bike for $12?"
Again, she wasn't sure about parting with her beloved bike. I didn't want to make her feel bad so I started to straighten up and she smiles at me with a very TOOTHY grin and said, "For $12! I'll sell it to you for $12!!" I looked at her mom and said quietly, "I don't have $12, I only have $10, but let me run back to my car and see what I can find." Remember how I said I never carried cash and I hadn't garage saled before? I knew I had NOTHING in my purse besides the $10 left over. But I went to the car and saw Natty hanging out of it, hoping for me to say that I had found her bike. "Mommy! Its purple! Just like I wanted!!" I'm frantically searching through my purse and find change...oh boy...huh...well look at that...I had EXACTLY $2 in CHANGE. Yeah...I know. I about sobbed. I'm blinking tears back frantically and told Natty to take the change I had and to come meet the little girl who was giving her a new PURPLE BIKE. You could see the JOY that swept through my daughter.

Now see, the coolest part isn't the exact change, the journey, the morning, or the Voice that woke me up that morning, bidding me to obey and go garage sale. Its the mere fact that God didn't just hear MY prayer...HE KNEW MY CHILD'S HEART. Does God see me? Oh yes, He most definitely sees me...but He showed me that HE SEES MY CHILDREN. He knew that my child wanted a purple bike, not a pink one. He knew that she whole-heartedly wanted this and had a SPECIFIC way that He was going to give it TO HER. He was going to show her mommy that playing hide-n-seek was exactly how He wanted to delight her trusting heart. He wanted to show my child that HER prayer was answered in a very REAL way. That, my dear friends, is a God that is ALWAYS SEEING us.

So now when I start to worry about the little things and I wonder if God's listening or sees me all I have to do is remember this PURPLE BIKE and know that if God's doing the big things around the world, but delights in giving my child a small PURPLE BIKE, He's big enough to take care of the things that I can't do on my own. Thank you Jesus for seeing EACH of our hearts and loving us enough to take care of each of our "PURPLE BIKES."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Make Beautiful Things

I was completely overwhelmed with the Love of our Father, Jesus Christ with this song, Beautiful Things by The Michael Gungor Band. God absolutely makes something beautiful out of pain. How can I say that? Well because we've all experienced pain in many many ways. Emotional, spiritual, physical, mental...each are devastating and seem unbearable. We cry out to God asking, begging, DEMANDING: WHY!? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?? (or NOT happening??)This can't possibly be your way of doing things, Lord...why must things be so hurtful...seemingly unbearable? However, in the midst of our tears and brokenness God reaches down and shows us not only grace, He makes something beautiful out of what seems shattered. He picks us up and wraps His ever capable arms around us, whispering,
"I LOVE YOU. I created you. I KNOW YOU. I see your heart...I feel your pain as real as my own. Don't you see my love? Don't you know that I had to allow pain in your life so that you could see your very great need for Me? Like a silversmith working out all the precious silver's spots and  imperfections, so I am making you pure and spotless. I need you to find your legitimacy in ME...not in your work, not in your kids, not in your success, not in all the earthly things that hold your heart captive...ME. I am the One who died for you, to save you from an eternity of darkness. I am the One who will make you WHOLE AGAIN. Trust in Me and be still and know that I haven't forgotten you, I'll NEVER leave you and NOTHING you do can EVER seperate YOU from My Love. (Romans 8:38-39) I make ALL things Beautiful, Beloved."

Check it out! Its AWESOME!