Monday, March 29, 2010

crazy love

Last fall I went through a book study with a group of women on Tuesday mornings at church. The book was entitled "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. It was a life-changing book for made me re-think the way I "did life" and the way I viewed people.....but didn't really result in any tangible changes. That is, until today.

I have driven by homeless people with signs that say "will work for food" or "homeless" or something along those lines. I am embarrassed to say that after seeing them so many times, my heart had been hardened toward them. I would think things like "well, if they would just work they wouldn't be in this mess" or "perhaps they should stop drinking" or even "I certainly can't give them any money because they'll just spend it on alcohol". To me, those reasons justified my not doing anything to help them.....not even say a prayer for them......that is, until today!

Today I was running a few errands by myself and saw a man and woman standing in the median by a mall holding a sign that said "HOMELESS". I began driving by like I always have but this time I felt my heart say "help them". No, I didn't hear a voice or anything like that......the only way I can describe it is an overwhelming feeling to turn the van around and go back. I did. I pulled into the parking lot and began walking toward them. When I approached them they gave me big smiles. I handed them the $3.00 I had in my wallet, explained that this was honestly all I had right now, and you would have thought I had handed them $3000.00. They were so appreciative, thanked me profusely, and wished God's blessings on me.

I got back to my van, prayed for them and asked God to keep my heart soft toward people in need. I thought that's where my day would end. I went on to pick up a few things at Target and while I was there, I could not get this couple, Lenny and Malynn out of my mind. They had told me their names so I could pray specifically for them. I, again, felt my heart saying "buy some food for them". So, I did. I bought some small containers of applesauce, pears, peaches, mandarin oranges, crackers, etc. I picked up an Easter card and took out a bit more money from the ATM.

I went back to the mall, praying the whole time that they would still be there. They were. I parked in the same spot and motioned for them to come to me. When they got to me I said that I hoped this gift would be a blessing to them and to remember that they are cared for and will be prayed for. We all cried together when I handed them the bag of groceries and envelope. Lenny wanted to give me something and said all he had was an NIV Bible. I told him that I was just a girl who loves Jesus and is trying to be obedient to His will in my life. I told him to keep the Bible and pray for an opportunity to give it to someone who doesn't have one.....and I would be praying the same for him. They showed me their "house" which was their car. They told me a bit about their story.....lost their jobs on the west coast, then their house, headed this way since they have family here but they can't help out since they have their own financial difficulties.....the same story as many people these days.

I will probably never see Lenny and Malynn again but I am so thankful to have met them. They touched my life as much as they said I touched theirs. Thank you, Francis Chan, for writing such a challenging book and helping to change my life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

journey to health

I am on a quest to lose weight and get healthy! Isn't that every woman's quest at one time or another??? I'm glad you asked. The "losing weight" part has certainly been my quest many times in my life. In fact, even when I didn't need to lose weight, I tried.

People who have known me for a long time know that I've struggled for years with almost every eating disorder out there. I starved, I purged (with laxatives), I starved and purged, I overate, I abused ephedrine (meaning I took over the recommended amount per day).....but that was never about being healthy. Eating disorders are never about losing weight....most everyone knows's about what's going on in your head. I have dealt with the "issues in my head" and I have no desire to go back down that road. My quest now is about being strong and healthy and a good rolemodel for my children....especially my daughter.

That being said, I want to share my "journey to health" with you. Every Friday I'll share my results from the scale (not the actual number but the number of pounds I'm down...or up) and some tips that have worked for me during the week. Also during the week, I will share healthy recipes or meal ideas that have worked well.

I actually started this quest 2 weeks ago. Last Friday (March 19) I was down 4 pounds that week. Today I was down 7 more pounds last week! I have never lost that much weight in 1 week and I lost it in a healthy way!!!! I have honestly never eaten so much food in my life.

Here are my tips from this week:
  • Never ever ever skip meals! Eat something every 3 hours --- protein protein protein!
  • Breakfast is very important!
  • Give up soda -- even diet soda. It isn't good for you and just makes you want more and more. Use Crystal Lite to help make the switch to water. Also squeeze fresh lemon juice in your water for some extra flavor.
  • Make time to exercise! Start out by taking a walk. Any amount of time is better than nothing but work up to 45 minutes.

That's it for now. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

new members to our family

No, we are not expecting a baby.....and, no, we are not getting a new pet. Just wanted to make that clear right of the bat.

When my blogging friend, Jennifer, shared about her experience going to Kenya last month with Compassion International, it touched my heart. Not only did it touch me, but it brought me back to my mission trip days.

Especially going to Mexico the summer between my sophmore and junior years of high school. I remember my experiences there so they just happened yesterday. I remember going to the inactive dumps -- places they hadn't dumped garbage in years -- to help wash people's hair, pass out food, play games with the kids, etc. There was one little girl I think about often. Her name was Jessie. She was a little 4 year old girl who, through the help of our translator, told me she walked by herself to where we were and that her house (a cardboard box) was quite a long way away. All Jessie wanted was to be picked up. I would like to say that I picked her up the first time she asked me with no hesitation.....but I can't. See, Jessie looked....well, unsightly. She was covered in dirt and grime, her hair was a complete mess and you could see the lice in hair, she I patted her shoulder the first 3 times she asked me to pick her up and walked away. Yes, 3 times! Not my shining moment.

But she kept coming back. Finally I felt the Lord's amazing prompting, put aside my squeamishness, and picked Jessie up. I can't explain the love I felt for this little girl. We were inseparable the entire day. When it was time to leave, my heart broke. Jessie clung to me and I to her. All I wanted was to take her home with me. I got down on the dirt with her, had her look at me, and told her "Adios" through my tears. She said the same to me and let me go. As our van pulled away, she was the only one left standing in the area we were working. She stood there and waved at me and I at her. Jessie forever touched my heart.

I think of her often and wonder if she is even still alive. When I heard Jennifer's stories from Kenya and then her encouragement to sponsor a child through Compassion, I was hugely convicted. I talked to Jeff about it and he gave the "2 thumbs up".....even when I told him I wanted to "adopt" 4 children from Kenya....1 for each of our own kids. So, I would like to introduce them to you.

This is Johah. He is 9 years old and in kindergarten. He lives with his father, mother, and 7 children. His responsibility in the family is carrying water and caring for animals.

This is Margaret. She is 8 years old and not going to school right now. That saddened my heart. She lives with her father, mother, and 6 children. Her responsibility in the family is running errands.

This is Joseph (wonder why we chose him!). He is 6 years old and in kindergarten. He lives with his father, mother, and 4 children. His responsibility is caring for animals and cleaning.

This is Nyiro. He is 5 years old and in pre-school. He lives with his father and mother. This little boy touched my heart because he also has asthma....something that is very life threatening with no medical care.
Please pray for these new additions to our family. We are so excited to write them letters, send them pictures, and maybe....just maybe....someday we can meet them. If you would like to sponsor a child or 2, please visit Compassion's web site here. Sadly, there are many kids waiting for help.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A typical evening

Now that spring has sprung -- at least it has over the last several days -- we have spent a lot of time outside in the evenings.....making memories!!!

Noah and Joey off to ride their bikes up and down the street and around the block.

Abby really wants to play soccer this summer so she practices anytime she's outside. She does well....although she looks like a ballet dancer kicking a soccer ball!
Then the soccer game ends up like this.....Daddy has conquered Abby!!! (All the while she's laughing hysterically!)

And Eli "loves on" all the dogs in the neighborhood. He is completely in love with dogs. So adorable!
We LOOOOOOOVE spring!!!!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

School carnival

A few weeks ago the kids' school had a carnival. They do this every other year and it's SO much fun....both for kids AND for parents.

They had a "crazy hair" booth that Abby just had to try.
Getting different colors sprayed on.......

Ta da!!!

There was bowling (notice the deep concentration Joey has here -- tongue out and everything!)...

Floor hockey.....

Snacks, of course!

Brotherly love!!! Does it get sweeter than this?!?!

YES, I believe it does!!!

The nature center was there letting kids...and parents....get "up close and personal" with a snake! Ewwwww! But the boys were certainly into it.

ALL the boys were into the snake! Jeff says we're going to get a new pet. I DON'T THINK SO!!!!