Wednesday, December 8, 2010

a life surrendered

I'm stopped behind a bus, protruding into the intersection as cars whiz quickly by. Impatient, I attempt to maneuver myself into the next lane, only this time I forget how very large my car is and, just as I cross the dotted white line, I realize I'm too big to fit in the space between the bus and the next car coming and I quickly pull myself back behind the bus...and wait.

"Jemima", as the kids and I call our new van, is in fact, a small bus, with seats for 12 and a roof that stretches to 9 ft. To say we are thrilled with our new vehicle wouldn't even come close to the elation that we feel for this fun gift to accommodate our growing family's needs, but with it also has come certain realities. Like the other day when I tried to "run" into a few shops, only to realize the parking lot beams were too low for me to fit under and I had to execute a 3-point, maybe 5-point turn as the parking lot backed up with holiday traffic. And then there was today, after my bus incident, when I was rushing to an appointment to get shots for my upcoming trip to Africa. As I located the building and found the subsequent parking structure, I realized I was almost 3 feet too tall to fit inside. So, I found a nearby bank, withdrew some money, paid the $3 fee as it wasn't "my" bank and scurried around the block to the building which apparently was not at all the right location for my appointment, but that's another story.

Lately, God has really been teaching me what it looks like to live a surrendered life and believe me, I have a long way to go, and, as much as this may sound like a gripe against our new dream of a car for our family, in fact it has just reminded me that I am FAR from that little compact car that fits nicely into any space in any parking lot and can maneuver itself quickly around vehicles and be quite a "selfish" driver. I have been that driver so many times in life. The one who doesn't let others in front or quickly pulls into other lanes to bypass waiting in any kind of lines. The one who thinks about myself and my needs above the needs of others. Honestly, I am still that driver, deep down inside, but the Lord is teaching me, albeit the hard way, that he wants me to die to myself, to "not do as I please" so that I can find "joy in the Lord." (Isaiah 58)

Man I wish this was an easy lesson to learn. One that, once learned, is learned once and for all and doesn't ever need to be re-addressed. But really, this will be a lifelong lesson, a constant battle to not believe that I am the most important person in the world, that my needs don't surpass the needs of others. How can they, when my own Savior allowed others to kill him so that I might live?

But really, why would I want to be first or most important? The times in life, particularly recently when I have felt fully led by Jesus and dead to myself are the times when I've actually felt most alive. Isn't that just it, what seems backwards and awkward to us is actually the right way in the Lord's eyes? For we have "not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Corinth 2:12). The times when I understand this free gift, I am living, I am truly feeling, I am full. A friend and I were chatting yesterday about being more emotional lately and how we feel like it's God's gift to us as we continue to yield our lives to Him and his perfect plan for us. When I lay down my needs, my dreams, my life to His will and his direction, trusting that He knows what is best, I am overwhelmed with emotion at how he moves and uses my "compact-car" filled flesh for his glory! It is truly awesome to be a part of.

Jemima is teaching me to surrender, to let others go first, to park out of the way and walk and not be in the closest parking spot to the building. I love how God can use a car--one of our choosing in fact, one that we dreamed of and planned for and are excited, expectant and thankful for God to fill--to teach me a lesson in surrendering.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Needy Me

I was sharing with God a need I have this morning, something simple, but there nonetheless and I realized how many needs I have asked God for help with lately.
Immediately, I felt like that person in the small group or Bible study that has "yet another" prayer request. The one who often gets overlooked or seems to have too much going on and makes others feel like they take up much of the time by asking for so many requests.

But God doesn't look at us like the world does, he hears each needs, accepts us just the same, and he HELPS us, especially when we authentically come to him, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES or HOW MANY REQUESTS.
As I had this moment with God, maybe even a bit of an awakening, while unloading the dishwasher, I was overwhelmed once again by how awesome he is and how much he loves me and cares about even the smallest, simplest needs. Needs that I don't feel like sharing with others, secret needs between me and my Savior. He is just so good and I can't get over it!

There was so much freedom given to me by God's tender response that he doesn't get overloaded with my prayer requests. I had to take the kids to do pictures today about 30 minutes away and haven't been driving my car lately as the brakes are really bad and we're waiting on a new car, but I couldn't reschedule this appointment. On the way there, I simply asked God to get us there safely and to keep the brake light from coming on during our drive. I made it all the way there and back without that light coming on one time, not even a flicker. It was only on our way home from the second stop, about a mile away from home that the little light popped on and off, but that was it and I know God heard my need and helped us.

He is amazing and he wants us to come to him with our needs, whatever they are. When other people don't want to hear or take time to listen, he is there.

On our little drive today I was also feeling a bit isolated. Homeschooling has its major advantages, but at times it can be a bit isolating, even with our many activities. I was questioning my decision a bit again today, but more by giving it to God and asking him if we are doing the right thing. Not long after, I got a call from my best friend wanting to know if she could come over with the kids. He listens, he knows, he cares, he longs to show himself to us. He loves us!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


There's a little girl who lives in our house. We call her Sassypants. Sassypants is bossy and stubborn and has enough attitude to fill a small country. She knows what she wants and she isn't afraid to say it. A brother approaches and takes her toy, she screams with shrill screams heard miles away. She climbs away to the top of the swingset, alone in her sassy world, unaffected by the swords and clammoring beneath her. She is sassy and wild and often joins the boys in their adventures, but when she's had enough, it's clear and she finds her own entertainment, often telling adults what to do or speaking her own imaginary language. She names her dolls names like "pail" or "Jenesay" or "Scottas".

I honestly have NO idea where this little girl came from, constantly wanting her nails painted, serving tea and cake and pancakes to each and every person that walks through our door, ordering a story to be read, twirling and spinning as music comes on, toppling over from dizziness.

No idea where she came from, but I LOVE her, every part of her, the scowls, the sass, the stink faces, the squeals of delight, the girl who hates to be tickled but loves to be hugged. I LOVE this girl. She is my daughter, my gift from the Lord, brought into our family by the miracle of adoption....and she's sure to tell you that, too "I came from Korea. I was adopted. My name's from Australia."

And really, she's not Sassypants afterall, she's my Addie.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life with Cocoa

I never dreamed that having a dog would be even harder than having a baby. At least with a baby you can put a diaper on them. (Although, they do have diapers.) And babies smile and coo at you....YET we are so thankful for Cocoa, even if our carpet has been scarred for life and our nights more interrupted. She is sweet and will really be a great help for us with Tallinn soon. Already she has woken us up several times when Tallinn's blood sugar was low. She has been getting better during the daytime as well, but I think it's harder as there are so many more distractions. We have already taken her so many places...the beach, church, Trader Joe's, restaurants, and she's done remarkably well. If only she would behave this well at home. Kinda like when your kids are perfect for their teachers, but naughty at home.

Anyway, I don't get as much time to post these days, but here's our newest addition. We've also had a fabulous Japanese student living with us since September and she is a gift. We will be so sad when she has to go back to Japan, as we are with all of our special guests. So, this will be a mix of pictures.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a gift

Tal said "I want you, mom" and needed me in a way that he hasn't in awhile.
He was cold,
getting out of the bath, wet, tired, and cold.
I wrapped around an extra towel, pulled him close,
and he gifted me with sweet smiles and then
eskimo kisses,
looking each other in the eyes,
giving eskimo kisses.

I helped him with his jammies,
brushed his teeth, and tucked him in.
It had been a long day, and he needed his mom to take care of him,
not encourage him to do it on his own,
not make it a teaching moment, just serve him
and be his mommy.

Now that he's five, these moments are few and far between, but tonight was one that I consider a gift.

Thank you, Jesus, for your good and perfect gifts!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture Parade...Continued

fourth of July

Lindsay and Joey's wedding

hiking at Ragged Point-picnic on the private beach

road stop in Solvang with friends, visit to the new Cambria house, hiking at Ragged point-some of my favorite pictures are here, beautiful path down to private beach for lunch, a family favorite hiking of some dear friends, finished with fourth of July with Ene, our little Koreans hung onto their American flags ALL day