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Monday, December 28, 2009
I am going to do my best not to get on a "soapbox" in this post. All of these things are SO near to my heart and during this CHRISTmas season have become more and more to the forefront of my mind.
When I tell you that watching Josie Love Christmas morning brought joy to my heart...it is an UNDERSTATEMENT. With my other children, most of their "firsts" were in the first two years of their lives. Watching her is DIFFERENT. She is having so many FIRST moments and she's old enough to REALLY "get it!" She laughed from the pit of her tummy, and smiled, and smiled, and smiled, as she went from sibling to sibling and gazed at the shiny new toys that lay in front of them. My eyes welled with tears the whole time just seeing the joy on her face and the peace in her little squinted eyes. Multiple times, I looked at her little face and thought "for almost FOUR YEARS she has not had anyone to call mommy or daddy." The thought of it makes my heart ACHE. She has been ill most of her life, with her diagnosis unknown, and her medical care limited. The thought of other children JUST LIKE HER being overlooked by believers DAILY makes my heart feel as though it is breaking in half. Please hear me say that I would have been fearful to walk this road that my sweet Saviour has me on. AND I wouldn't have knowingly chosen it. (because I KNOW myself) BUT now that I am on the other side and this sweet little angel is MINE, I want you to hear me say that YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
For Christmas, Mike bought me the book "TOO SMALL TO IGNORE....why the least of these matter most" by Wess Stafford. AS IF I NEED MY FIRE FUELED ANYMORE...this book just gets my engine revved up! Here are a few things that I have learned from it.
Did you know:
that research indicates that the vast majority of people who become Christians, do so while still children, usually before the age of 14?
that there are 2,000 Bible passages that declare our Father's love for the impoverished and their children and that urge us ,YOU AND ME, to defend their cause?
If a person hasn't accepted Christ as a youth, studies tell us that the probability he or she will EVER know Jesus is only 23%?
the earth can produce enough food for every man, woman, and child to have 2,270 calories per day-MORE THAN ANY OF US REALLY NEED? (so while God has done His part in creating a world capable of providing what we need, we have NOT done our part in the stewardship of it)
The magnitude of the poverty problem is SO BIG that as believers we do nothing for one reason: we do not know what to do. When we do turn our attention in the direction of orphans satan attacks and makes it seem IMPOSSIBLE to help in any way. WHICH leads me back to my first few questions.....the reason it SEEMS impossible is because there is an invisible battle going on. A spiritual war that rages over EACH and EVERY child. Satan is going to do everything possible to keep children from being brought into a Christian home and showed the love of Christ. If satan can keep the blinders on our eyes, and the children in our world overlooked until they are older, then the percentages of that child EVER knowing Christ play in "the deceivers'" favor.
No matter what the setting children seem to be the most overlooked. When hunger and famine strikes a nation, adults become weak and hungry, but it is the children who starve to death. When disease strikes, adults become very ill, but the first to die are the children. The most vulnerable people in our world have become the most disposable. Children in our world are so vulnerable to poverty that malnutrition causes 55% of the child deaths in our world. Our selfishness and greed cause them to pay the greatest price but they suffer silently.
In reality, children have THE MOST to offer. Ask any Mom or Dad who tucks a little one in at night. Children do not have much to offer materially, but they generously give all they have to those they love and believe in: hugs at bedtime, full-body squeezes, sloppy kisses, little fingers folded inside of our larger ones, sparkling marble shaped eyes that speak "mischief", little whispers of "i love you mommy". These things are priceless and MORE than enough. Few gifts on earth are as wondrous as the love of my little ones.
PLEASE help me spread the word. There are children who need us to pray, care, love, feed, or adopt them all over this world! Please do your part! Little Josie's are EVERWHERE longing for love and waiting for the body of Christ to show it to them. Every person on earth needs a little "Josie Love" in their life to show how the most vulnerable, nothing to offer, sick, and droopy eyed little person can bring your heart JOY, JOY, JOY. Just ask my oldest 5 children....they will tell you that their hearts have been forever changed by her sweet little giggle.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Why is it that no matter how strong our spiritual walk, and how much we feel the presence of Christ daily, we STILL doubt that HE is with us sometimes? There are times during the day (typically from 4:30-6pm) that I think "HELLO......I NEED SOME BACKUP HERE!!" HE tells us that not only is with us in spirit, but he came to earth via a VIRGIN woman so that we will know WITHOUT DOUBT that HE lived and IS still alive in us.
We have a annual Christmas ritual of making a gingerbread house. (I buy the kit, sorry to disappoint those of you who make it homemade and roll it all out....) This year I also got a gingerbread choo choo train since my brood has grown, and I knew the boys would really "dig"it. My kids LOVE it! This year my #8 kiddo was here also. We joke all of the time about Mallory (who lives around the corner) being a part of our family. She just blends right in , and is such a sweet, sweet blessing to us all. They all worked and worked to make the house and choo choo beautiful. At first they had to have patience in waiting for the icing to dry so that it would all hold together. Then came the details...all of the things on the outside that make it beautiful. The whole time they worked together and it SLOWLY came together. We took pics the whole time and were pleased with the finished project. The older ones had to remember that 3 preschoolers helped construct it, therefore, it did not look perfect in the end. (ha) We took pics of the finished project and we felt asthough we had made a HUGE accomplishment. We were all snuggled in the great room watching "grandma got run over by a reindeer" when we realized that both of our masterpieces had collapsed!
I couldn't help but think about our lives as believers. Isn't that just how it happens? We spend time with Christ. We depend on HIM to help us through each day. THEN, we surround ourselves with other believers, go to bible studies...ya know, the finishing touches to ADD to our walk with HIM, and BAM!#?&%@# something comes along, and makes it feel as though we are back to square one. How defeating. How exhausting. I cannot imagine going through life all of the time, being on the "roller coaster" of life without hope in Christ. HE is the one thing that makes me want to stay steadfast.
Christ tells us to nurture our trust in HIM as Saviour, Lord, and Friend. He has held NOTHING back in HIS provision for us. HE has even designed us to live WITHIN us. He promises that if we will rejoice in all that HE has done for us, HIS light will shine through us into the world.
That is my prayer...that HIS light will shine through me DAILY...even from 4:30-6pm in the afternoons when I am at my weakest.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Gwen and Elijah are headed home from Vanderbilt.(read post below) Elijah's second scan showed no change....THANK YOU LORD! He is okay and Gwen is exhausted..... he is to have no rigorous activity for at least 2 weeks.
As I sit here and think of all that needs to be done around my house, bed made, sleeping bags picked up (from my 8 year old's slumber party last night) kitchen cleaned.....I am reminded through JESUS CALLING to let the tasks that clutter my mind fall to the side. These tasks are ENDLESS and they clutter areas of my mind that need to be filled with HIS presence. Josie is sitting here next to me "jabbering away"(reading JESUS CALLING). She has been ENDLESSLY calling my name whining and crying over the last few days. (Those of you that have little ones know how exhausting that this can be.) I have chosen to rejoice in the fact that she is here with me and focus on the fact that I went to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital yesterday! I walked in (IT IS SOOO CLEAN!) talked to our WONDERFUL infectious disease doctor and we made a plan to start her meds for the HIV in two weeks!(In 6-12 months we should see SIGNIFICANT change in her immune system) He sent us downstairs for a chest x-ray (we were finished in 20 minutes), x-ray was read, diagnosis was written, and meds are started. Pneumonia wouldn't have been my choice for her sickness, BUT I am so happy that she is in America now and receiving the care that her little body needs. IT IS SUCH A PRAISE!
I want to encourage all of the other moms out there (that are like me and when your surroundings are cluttered, so is your mind ) to let your "endless tasks" fall to the side and just enjoy your family this CHRISTmas season.
Gwen and I have decided to close our computers ( our 147 site will be back up and running on Monday, Dec 20) and enjoy our families for the next week. All of the orders that we have received have been shipped and there are stores to buy beads (on our site) for last minute shopping. Thank you for your prayers and hopefully within the next few days we will all be on the mends!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Katie called us yesterday....We fed 20,000 children this past month with 147 Million Orphans gear...SUCH a blessing...
Spiritual warfare? Is it real? I can attest..IT IS REAL!! Yesterday Josie Love started running a fever. Last night it was up to 104.7. The good part is that she has a mommy and daddy now to hold her, love her, give her medicine, gatorade, and take her to the doctor. So, we went to the doctor today and she has pneumonia. She is PITIFUL....just listless. So, on my way home from Vanderbilt I called Gwen to give her an update and she was on her way TO Vanderbilt. Elijah had fallen at the ballgame and hit his head. She said that his pupils were dilated and a little confused. She was going to take him to the ER to get him checked out. She called me a few minutes ago and said that his skull is fractured and bleeding. They were admitting them for the night to watch him and make sure that the fracture doesn't get bigger. Where does satan hit Gwen and I? where it hurts...our precious little ones.
Pray for our hearts. Pray for healing....
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I am starting to feel a little bit overwhelmed with the thought of tying up the loose ends of the many things that HAVE to be done in order for Christmas to happen. I have done a GREAT job in just staying home and spending time with my little ones since Josie Love arrived. BUT, life is going on and I am just acting as if as though it isn't! I am going to try to get some shopping done this week. I have done most of it online but there is something about touching the stuff before you buy it.?!? Maybe my Christmas cards will arrive this week so that I might get them out on time. AND FINALLY, Gwen and I are moving EVERYTHING on Friday to a distribution center! WHEW! we have a blog now that we will be selling things that will not be going to the center. The Ugandan magazine beads and specialty items...orphan bags(some with funky fabrics that we might have just a few), our "pick me" charm necklace (that Tracey Hansen handmade for us) ... 147millionorphans.blogspot.com. All of our other tees, hats, bags, etc..will still be on our normal website....
Those of you that have sponsored a child through Amazima Ministries and haven't received a picture or info, it isn't because I haven't tried. It has been the CRAZIEST thing. The first time I was suppose to bring it all home from Uganda, Katie lacked quite a few kids to get info on. BECAUSE she found this orphanage that was struggling to care for their children. She offered to get sponsors for the children so they might receive schooling, medical care, and meals. The only problem is that the orphanage doesn't have any info on the children. She knows their names and age and that is about all. But we are plugging them into the program anyway...yippee! So, she got as much information on them as possible and when we tried to download it all on a flashdrive, the electricity went out for DAYS. (LOVE AFRICA!!) THEN, we finally got it all uploaded, I brought it home and ALL of the pics said that they had been "corrupted!!!" (whatever that means?!?) So, for about 5 months now we have been trying to get it all out to you guys and satan is having a HEYDAY!!! we will NOT be defeated! Our goal is to have them all out at the start of the new year.
We have our appointment with the infectious disease doctors this Friday to get all of Josie's test results. I am so excited to go back and talk to them and get a "game plan" for her medically.
While life is SPINNING, SPINNING, SPINNING all around me, my sweet Saviour reminds me that it is only the HOPE that HE gives me that keeps me spiritually alive during dark times of adversity here on earth. HE brightens my path and MY HOPE heightens my awareness of HIS presence. Without hope, I think my head might just spin right off of my shoulders. Life would be so overwhelming that I would feel as though I was drowning. But because I feel HIS hand in mine, walking me through each day. As I kiss my kids before school each morning. As I send my husband off to work in his suit, smelling yummy (he is the most handsome man that I have EVER laid my eyes on)...my heart is so FULL of joy that it is overflowing....I ONLY the JOY that HE can give....what a blessing.
My mind goes to Katie and her family often. Her house is full of joy. They have a roof over their head, a mommy to love them, and food to eat....it is that simple. Here is "worship Saturday" on Katie's front porch. My kids were so excited for them to be singing a song in english! (you might need to turn down the volume on my playlist songs)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I woke up this morning and my eyes felt like Josie's eyes look. For some reason they were swollen and I hardly had the energy to get out of bed. The clock read 6:05 am and I knew that my oldest two had to be out the door by 6:45am....so reguardless how I "felt" I had to hit the floor running. The first two were gone before I could even get my first cup of java down. The second two were awake and eating breakfast before I knew it....and then one by one, Joshua came down the stairs sleepy eyed and then my babies started hollering "mama mama" from their cribs. I sent the second shift out the door with Mike and as I watched them drive away in the pouring rain, I very quickly decided that we were going to have a "pajama day."
My friend Courtney had called and said she would bring lunch to me. She wanted to see Josie Love before she delivers her 2nd baby next week and out of commission for awhile. While watching four preschoolers interact with each other, we did our best to "catch up" on life. At one point, she looked at my hearth, with all of the stockings hanging, and said "just think, when you ONLY had Grace and were expecting Michael, if someone had said to you that you would have seven children...would you have believed it?!" I know she was thinking...."might THAT happen to me one day?!"
The time that I spend with Courtney is so sweet. She was one of the first friends that came alongside me when we started the adoption journey with Joshua and I KNEW without doubt that she was "in it" for the long haul. She is steadfast and is going to encourage me until the day that I die. She "gets" my life, and these days I am feeling that is rare. What a blessing.
As she left, I started thinking back to my life when I just had Grace and Michael. I am so glad that I can look back on that season of our lives and have fond memories that bring a smile to my face. SO much has changed through the years. As I look around my house, I never dreamed that my hearth would look like this....
After Mike and I adopted our first child, we started looking around and VERY FEW people in our lives had a lot of melanin in their skin. Actually, I could count on one hand the amount of people that we interacted with on a DAILY basis that have a lot of melanin. FYI, melanin is what makes your skin dark. Basically, it is the "stuff" in your skin that keeps you from getting sunburned. It is always fun at our house at bath time. We compare the melanin in Annabelle's skin to MillerAnne's. Annabelle is much more olive, so God gave her an extra tablespoon full of melanin when He was creating her. Caleb is much darker than Joshua so when God was creating him, he got an extra tablespoon of melanin. While cooking cakes we use tablespoons to spoon in cocoa (cause we know how much the Mayernick's LOVE chocolate) We talk about the tablespoons and teaspoons and in their minds it takes us back to melanin and makes PERFECT sense!
Our church has quite a few people with a lot of melanin.(haha) Our leading pastor is African American. I have heard him speak several times about growing up reading the bible, and the only children that he ever saw in the bible were white. Hmmmm.....me either! I've never seen a bible with black children in it. With the exception of the one pic with the scripture that says"let the little children come to me" and in that picture, they tend to be "red, yellow, black, and white!" Many things have been brought to my mind (and heart) in this way. My sweet mom-in-law knows how this burdens my heart, so she has helped me with my Christmas decor the past few years.
I never knew any different than this.......
It is such a blessing that now I KNOW this.....
Those of you that have adopted transracially, are in process, or hoping to adopt one day....PLEASE look around your life and make sure that there is PLENTY of melanin to go around.
Those of you that have white skin and your "world" is white, pray about how you can incorporate more color in your life and home for your children's sake. We do not want them to be shocked one day when they enter the gates of heaven and everyone there doesn't look like them!
On a side note....check out josie's new stocking! Amy, one of my best friends from High School and her mother have made all of my family's stockings. I mean, REALLY? could it be ANY MORE perfect? Look how excited Josie is! AND she has NO IDEA the goodies that will be left inside of it on december 25th! Thrills my soul to the core!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
These smiles make my UNCOMFORT SO worthwhile. My feet are hurting, my back is aching, my shoulders are "pinched", my eyes need toothpicks to hold them open, and my head feels as though it is between a vice grip......but my heart is SO FULL. Everytime I look into Josie's face, I feel as though I am looking into the eyes of Jesus. I whisper into her ear throughout each day...MOMMY loves Josie, MOMMY loves Josie. You see, I want her to KNOW, WITHOUT doubt, that I will NEVER leave her. WHY is it so hard for ME to KNOW that my sweet Saviour will NEVER leave me?
I walked into the Infectious Disease Doctor's Office this week and was TOTALLY out of my comfort zone. I found myself thinking "am I really here?" I entered a world that is not familiar. It was somewhat surreal until I saw Mike and Josie Love standing at the front desk and INSTANTLY it was REAL. Her little finger pointing to me and shouting "Mommy, Mommy!" I left the doctors office with peace in my heart knowing that we have a plan for her little body to get better.
Count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer even!-for they don't like it, I DO! And all heaven applauds. AND know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble. Matthew 5:11-12 (message bible)
I read this scripture over and over to make sure that He is saying that UNCOMFORT is a good thing. I mean, afterall, don't we spend MOST of our time trying to make ourselves comfortable? My first thought when I felt my body aching is....."MASSAGE HERE I COME!" (MaMa LOVES her a spa day) and then the reality of my life these days came flooding through my mind. Not much time for the spa...... UNCOMFORT is not a choice that comes easy for me. So, I am going to cling to the verse above and know that I am in good company while I am in an unfamiliar place and uncomfortable. HE will never leave me.
Josie Love is still sleeping well and playing hard. She pushes a stroller UP our driveway daily....pretty good therapy huh? Her legs are getting stronger and she is walking from one end of our home to the other. My heart just swells. She is gaining weight and wakes up with a smile on her face. She reaches up out of her bed and puts a little hand on each one of my cheeks and whispers "mama" each morning. I just love her stinky little breath. She loves for me to rub yummy smelling lotion on her skin. She tries to put it all in her hair. Speaking of hair.... I am doing a pretty good job with her hair (if I MUST say so myself)....DISREGUARD THE PICS BELOW! (it was a blustery day..hahaha) I am really enjoying just being at home with her, Caleb, and Joshua. And the highlight of our day is carpool at 3pm.....and the party begins until bedtime!
Thank you all for your prayers. We have felt COVERED with them. What a blessing to know that the body of Christ is surrounding us with support. GOD is good.....ALL the time!
Here is a little look at a day outside playing before it gets TOO cold........LOVE MY KIDS!
Caleb and Mayflower (our bunny rabbit)
MillerAnne chauffering Annabelle, Mayflower, and Josie around. WHEW! Josie looks a little windblown! Caleb "taking Mayflower to the grocery store".......
Big brother Michael loving his little sister.....
Thanksgiving at the Mayernicks
Josie and her new cousin Mia.....with her Mommy, Mandy, Mike's younger sister
- I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.