Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More than some stories....

Sometimes, I think the Bible gets a bad wrap. I've even been guilty of not understanding what it really is. It's not a storybook. It's not a book of rules. It's not irrelevant. It's not old-fashioned. It's not a history book. It's not a good book of philosophy. It's not just an interesting read.

It's a living book of truth. It's a beautiful love story of a Father longing for his children's love. It's God's Word. It's His story of grace and mercy. It's our lifeline. It's our hope. It's God's story of redemption.

This Sunday, I experienced something special. It was a sermon of just memorized scripture. It was mind blowing and wonderful and just plain COOL! To be honest, I wasn't too excited when I heard that it was a message of just scripture. I was actually a little concerned I wouldn't understand or follow it.

So, the pastor stood up on stage, grabbed a quick drink of water, and just took off. He went through Genesis to Revelation, simply reciting the Words of God. His story of Redemption. His great rescue plan. It was so inspiring. I would love to be able to memorize something like that, and I needed to be reminded of God's perfect plan. I needed to hear God's plan through the hard times in the Old Testament. I needed to see His grace during the minor and major prophets. I needed to be reminded of His love when He gave the world His Son. I needed to be reminded of His pain when He watched His Son die for me. I needed to be reminded that I'm part of His plan to love others and go tell them. I needed to experience the joy when I heard His words about defeating Satan and preparing a place for us. I needed to be reminded of the beauty of memorized scripture. I needed......The History of Redemption.

I bought the book. It is a wonderful read. And, it might be one of my goals next year to memorize it. As we gear up for Advent and celebrating our Savior's birth, please take a moment to remember the WHOLE history. The WHOLE story. The WHOLE truth.

Check it out http://www.historyofredemption.org/

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I love to hate my hair! Always have..... It just might be a girl-thing. But I really do have a love/hate relationship with my hair. You see it's curly, but not cute curly. More 80's frizzy curly. So I straighten it EVERYDAY. Ok ok ok some....umm maybe most days I wear it in a ponytail. But if I'm going to see "real" people I straighten it (stay at home Moms know what I mean when I say "seeing real people).

So when I found out I was having a daughter I WAS SO EXCITED and SO SCARED at the same time. I was scared to death of little girl hair. I can deal with me having bad hair, but my little girl. Oh man the stress kills me. Alexis has hard little girl hair. She has a lot of it and it's thin and stringy and EVERYWHERE. I've cut the back of it once because it was getting VERY MULLET-LIKE. So help me out! Am I doing alright? Be honest and help me out because family pictures are around the corner.
The natural look?
The Cindy-lou who look?
The piggy-tails?
Vote now!

J-man Update

So J-man got to spend 4 days at home with Bio Mom over Thanksgiving. It was our first BIG step towards reunification. It went well.....I think. But to be honest we have no idea. CPS is not giving us much information as usual.
We do know that Bio Mom LOVED her time with her little man. We know that he did get sick and had an upset stomach the whole time. We know that someone is going to have to talk to her about nutrition and little babies (hopefully not me). We know that things will look different in the next weeks as we move closer to permanent reunification. We know that 4 days without J-man was weird and felt "off", but that the other 3 kiddos kept Adam and I very busy (which is very good). I know that I still feel a peace with our families journey being a foster family.
We DON'T know when or how the "reunification process" is going to look. We DON'T know how it's going to impact for our family. I DON'T know how I'm going to react or deal or process the day that our son leaves us forever. I DON'T know a lot.
Only that little J-man is back home. He is a little clingy to me (but we all expected that). He was VERY excited to see his brothers. And woke up from nap today giggling and laughing with his sister.
For now we continue to love him and pray for his Bio Mom. Thanks for the prayers, friends.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What we're thankful for....

Connor is thankful for...... his stuffed animals (especially Bambi), for the Thanksgiving tree, our backyard, his Mommy, playing with Alexis, our porch, playing at the gym, learning school, and Guitar Hero.

Bryce is thankful for..... his Mommy, his chair, his Daddy, Alexis and J-man (his 2 babies), his stuffed animals (especially Rhea his puppy), his food, his new clothes, Halloween candy, and his teachers at church and the gym.

Alexis is thankful for..... her binky, her blanket, sweet snuggles with Daddy before bed each night, giggling with Mommy, piggy tails, playing with her brothers, running outside, and naps.

J-man is thankful for..... good food, time with his Bio Mom, dancing, learning how to walk, car rides, playing outside, blocks, and bath time.

Hope it was a great day remembering what we all have and being thankful for.........

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Daddy Daughter Time

Daddy and Alexis' favorite game:



Aren't Daddys just the best?

Can you Give Thanks if?

Ah Thanksgiving, the time of the year when we all workout just a little bit harder hoping that all the cinnamon rolls, croissant rolls, and desserts won't go straight to our hips. Just me? Hmmmm curious.
Thanksgiving Day is around the corner and for some of us it's the first time in a long time that we sit down and give thanks. We think about all the great things God has blessed us with and say "Thank You".
I'll later post all the things the McManus kiddos are thankful for this year, since we are once again decorating a Thanksgiving Tree. But for now I challenge you with this.

Could you "Give Thanks" if.... Could you be thankful to your God if......Would you still take time to pray and praise God for the things He has given you if.....

What if you didn't have what you have now? What if there was no house? no food? no job? no healthy children? no children? lost love ones? Could you be thankful then?????

Hard questions for me. I've lost in the past, but I have a very BLESSED life right now. I'm trying to be thankful for my God, my Savior, my Heavenly Father alone.

Will you join me? Could you say a prayer like this for Thanksgiving this year?????

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Saturday, November 13, 2010

With Everything

I would like to share what God has been wrecking me over with lately. These are things that God has been gently (and sometimes not so gently) teaching me. I have absolutely not even begun to get close to "figuring" anything out. But, maybe a couple of the things I write will touch you.

God really speaks to my heart through worship, especially songs. I'm the girl who is frequently crying during a worship song because I feel like God and I are "working stuff out." Lately, the song that has been "getting" me is "With Everything" by Hillsong

Hillsong - With Everything from With Everything on Vimeo.

This song is tearing me up in many different ways. The first is about how small I make God. To be honest, I make him tiny. I deep down think I deserve His perfect and unconditional love. My friends, we don't deserve God's love. Does He love us? Oh yes, but do we deserve it, ABSOLUTELY not. I also don't find myself HATING my sin like I should. To be honest I "act" like I'm good enough without God and only rely on his forgiveness and grace for the "big" stuff. So when I find myself singing these words, I can't help feeling like "THAT'S ME!".

Break down our pride,
And all the walls
We've built up inside,
Our earthly crowns
And all our desires,
We lay at Your feet.

then this part

God of all days,
Glorious in all of Your ways.
Your majesty, the wonder and grace,
In the light of Your name.

Open your heart and ask yourself, do you really deep down understand that we don't deserve love from God? We are filthy rags. Even on our best day we absolutely REEK of filth. That all the "good" stuff we do is nothing. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:4

Then I start singing these words;

Open our hearts,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
The You would desire.
Light to be seen.

I get completely destroyed here too. Asking God to open your eyes to the things that make HIS heart cry is not easy. And then asking God to help you do something about it isn't any easier. That has kind of been our main prayer this year. God has opened our eyes to the injustices that (to be quite frank) Adam and I have never really cared about. The helpless, the majority of the world that lives on less than $2 a day, the orphans, the sick, and the needy. Do I really care about them? And if the answer is yes, what do I do about it? God is a God of justice and although the world is burdened down by the sin of man, the church could and should be a light that can be seen. Church, we are often not a light that can be seen. I am often not a light that can be seen. I look and act like everyone else. Get why these lyrics kill me? What if I actually meant these lyrics? What if I actually asked God to help me "do something"?

Then we get to the "with everything" part of the song. Aw man it kills me (and of course I mean in a good way). I need to get punched in the gut sometimes (alright most times) and this does it everytime. I mean???? EVERYTHING? With everything? If I truly believe this "God thing and Savior thing and eternity thing", then am I giving EVERYTHING??? It's easy to look at my life and think yeah we're close enough to "everything". I mean have you seen our crazy life, God? We have strangers live in our home for free, give money monthly beyond tithing to overseas and orphans, we love on our friends who work overseas and partner with them whenever we can, we love on our neighbors, heck we even have a son whom we have taken into our family to love on even though he'll never be "our son." Enough, right? That's really close to "everything". But it's not "everything". A couple questions Adam and I keep asking each other are; "If God called us to give up "everything" and "GO", would we? On the day we hand over little J-man, will I gladly say "with everything". Tough, right?

About this time, I start feeling a little overwhelmed and my chest gets heavy. I think to myself, "God this is a lot!" Then we get to the WOAH! (start listening on the video at 5:30) part of the song. And I stand there in a room of thousands of worshipers and for those moments I feel like what I can only imagine heaven will be like. And all thoughts vanish and my heart....no my soul SINGS! I'm completely gone in a really, really good way.

That's what God has been breaking me up about.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Something about 5....

"Mom, I love being so old and responsible because it makes you so proud. And I'm proud of myself in my very own heart." -Connor McManus

It seems like every time my children get a year older there is a new "phase" we get to endure ummmm I mean enjoy.

2 year old: Saying "No", learning time-outs, sharing, coming when Mommy calls your name, staying in bed, and so much more

3 year old: Trouble finishing meals, lying begins, being a little too independent, obeying Mom and Dad, and so on

4 year old: DRAMA!

5 year old: OH MY WORD! I love it. We have a little man who has a fun sense of humor, a desire to learn more and more each day, someone who can be reasoned with, a human being who actually makes wise choices, a older sibling that takes care of his younger siblings, confident in his beliefs, a scholar, a talented athlete, and we're only a couple months into this WONDERFUL age!

Does any other Moms agree with me? Are 5 year olds just this wonderful or have I just been living in the toddler years WAY TOO LONG.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sitting on the pot

Sometimes it's just fun to hang out on the pot.

Alexis is not wearing any clothes because she decided to wear her dinner that evening. Of all my children she is the messiest!! That is some kind of cruel joke, right??? She absolutely loves getting dirty too. The other night she had the cutest little outfit on and managed to get food on every surface of it. Seriously it is driving me a little nuts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How are you doing this?

Life as the "middle Mom" (what some call being a foster Mom) is hard! J-man will never be my forever son, but for now and for the last 4 months, he is my son. I love him and he loves me, sometimes too much. We've spent the last couple of weeks fighting extreme separation anxiety, but the next 2 weeks or next month and half is going to get harder. We have gotten the official word that we are moving into the "reunification process." That simply means J-man is going to go home to Bio Mom and "they" (the lawyers, cps, therapists, and Bio Mom) are all TRYING to find a schedule that will make that happen. J-man could be going home in the next 2 weeks or he could be going home in the next month and half. No one really knows. Everyone has their opinion, but there is no "real answer" about when as of yet.

Please pray for us while we go through this process. It is going to be crazy. It could mean just adding an hour to each visit each week until we start doing overnight visits. It could mean full-day visits for awhile, then overnight visits, and then weekend visits until everyone is ready for J-man to go home permanently. It could mean anything. We just don't know.

What I do know is this "process" will be very hard for everyone. It's going to be hard on little J-man as he begins to find his schedule unstable. He'll bounce back and forth. Bio Mom to us, back to Bio Mom, back to us. I can't imagine how he will process this. Bio Mom will experience the joy of having more time with her little boy and then the heartache as she gives him back again and again and again. My kids will have their brother here and then not and then here and then not. I will be Mom to J-man one day and the person who drops him off the next.

Sound like a nightmare? (It kind of does to me too.)

But, like most sufferings, we see a glimmer of God's perfect plan. J-man is going home. A family that God created is going to be reunified. What a day that will be! To see the face of a Mom getting her baby back. I cling to the hope of that moment and pray that it gets me through the time we have ahead of us. I cling to the image of the day we are blessed with a son or daughter who will forever be in our family. We fight for that day even though it means we have a couple really hard ones now. We fight because Christ fought for us. We love this little baby and his Mom because Christ loved us first. We forgive and forget the mistakes she made because Christ forgives and forgets ours.
Join me, my friends, and pray for us in this journey.....
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