Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Artists - hard at work!

So, it seems yesterday and today were art days! Amy sat and colored and colored - worked so hard on these pictures, with a longer attention span than normal! Then wanted me to take a picture of her with them. How could I resist?

And Katie, who seems to be into painting lately. I managed to get a picture of her in the act...and of course one of the finished product.

I love watching their creativity! Never fails to astound me...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Before Shaving Pics - and the girls!

Since I'm back on a roll and updating, I thought I would post a few pics I snapped tonight! Michael has been working for a week or two on a little bit of facial hair - and it finally got to him tonight. I made him submit to a photo before he was allowed to shave it off! Here it was fun while it lasted - although the girls were quite happy to see it go for some reason!

While I had the camera out, I decided it was a great opportunity to snap a couple of pictures of the girls. I don't seem to do that nearly often enough! Here are my two little dweebs:

Gotta love those all "teeth" smile pictures! And just for fun, here are a couple slightly more normal pics - Amy doing schoolwork, and Katie (as happens plenty nowadays it seems) admiring her reflection in the mirror:

I promise I will try to be back again soon with more pictures! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Long Overdue Update...

I might as well start by has been way too long since I have done anything to update this. I also might warn you that I am going to be honest about why. Because I need to be - maybe you don't necessarily need to hear it, and if that is the case - please forgive me, or feel free to ignore this post!

I can share this all now, because I truly feel as if I am now working through this faithfully with the Lord - He is not through with me yet (thank GOODNESS!) but I am back on my way to finding joy in the little things. 

The change began slowly after our last visit home. Thanksgiving was a little hard for me - I enjoyed our day here and felt very blessed with new friends, but it was hard being away from our family for the first time ever. Even though that was difficult, I was unprepared for just how difficult Christmas would be. There were so many people here that were either away for the holidays visiting family, or had family coming to visit them - and we had plans only to spend the day together here as a family. A nice quiet holiday. The only problem was that I didn't WANT a quiet holiday! Holidays have always been crazy, busy, exhausting - but totally filled to the top with memories of time with family. I just didn't know how I was going to do it. At the last minute - the Lord rescued us, and we were invited to spend Christmas with a family at church. It was so sweet and special - and I was so thankful for them.

However, I still found myself feeling depressed, sorry for myself, and just generally wallowing in self-pity. I didn't want to talk about it to anybody here, because I felt like I was putting them down for their friendship with me. I didn't want to talk to anyone back home - because everybody kept saying how amazed they were at how well we were doing. I didn't want my kids to know - because they seemed to be adjusting so well and I didn't want to change their attitude, and I didn't want to tell my husband and make him feel like I was mad at him or feeling like he dragged us down here only to be miserable. So, I just quietly kept my head down, and cried whenever I was alone. Or found a way to hide and cry so nobody saw...

My husband is, of course, brighter than I was giving him credit for - and noticed that something was very wrong. He finally asked me, and through many tears, I finally let it all boil over (poor guy!) What I finally realized as I talked to him, was that the real root of the problem was that I had allowed myself to get to a place of doubting God's love for me. I pretty much had an attitude that said: "I trusted you, and this is what you asked of me? This is the hardest thing in my life I have ever had to do! WHY would you ask me to do this?!?!?!?" And the seed of doubt and bitterness grew well in this soil.

I knew it was wrong...but part of me was wallowing so deeply in self-pity that I just didn't care. I wanted to take a little time to be miserable. The next day though, after dropping the girls at their gymnastic class and crying on the drive home, I remembered a book that I had purchased right after moving here and never picked up to read. It had been moved around, shuffled, pushed aside, but I still knew where it was fortunately. It is called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp. I read the first chapter - crying again, but this time the tears were healing. I was convicted by the realization that to be ungrateful and question God's goodness - I was voicing the question and doubts of Eve. Right back to the garden - that's where I was going. Believing the first lie that Satan ever told a woman. And by doing that, I was closing my eyes to all the precious gifts and blessings he had surrounded me with - and closing my heart to being drawn closer to Him through these challenges of being away from our family and friends. I was focusing on the one thing that I couldn't have - not on all that I was given.

I set my book aside, and opened up the Psalms. David had a gift for passionate expression of his emotions! He didn't stuff anything inside and try to hide it away. Here are just a few of the verses that spoke to me:

"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. With my voice I cry to the Lord, and He hears and answers me out of His holy hill. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! I lay down and slept; I wakened again, for the Lord sustains me."   Psalms 3:3-5 (Amplified Version)

"Many say, Oh, that we might see some good! Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord. You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than [they know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust."   Psalms 4:6-8 (Amplified Version)

"But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits."  Psalms 5:11 (Amplified Version)

"You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."  Psalms 30:11-12 (Amplified Version)

And as Job, I have nothing to say. I cover my mouth in shame. And I begin to remember all the ways God has blessed me. Funny how when my eyes are so full of what I don't have, there is no room to notice the blessings beyond number. Until I make the choice to see. And so I scramble over to my craft table, grab a jar that I constantly try to can with, then realize that it is made in Canada, so therefore Metric, and none of my lids fit it! I decorate it up - and I have my own little spot to place all those reminders. And when I feel that I don't have anything to add - I can open it up and read and remember. I will make the choice to see. I will make the choice to be thankful. I will make the choice to praise Him in each and every moment. 
Thanks for letting me share! And know that this all happened about 2 weeks ago. And God has continued to be faithful (amazing, huh?) - and while there are still hard moments, or even hard days, they are not what they were. And I am choosing to take them to my Heavenly Father, instead of sinking down into despair. God is head knows this, and my heart is reminded each and every day. And I haven't finished the book yet - but if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend it! As well as the Psalms! :-)