SNOW DAY!

It snowed here recently.  We only got a couple of inches, but in the south that is rare so we go all out.  You know, schools close and everything.  The hat he’s wearing goes with a Woody costume.  He’s worn it everyday, everywhere for months.  Won’t take it off.  He sleeps with it.  Literally.  Every.  Single.  Night.

She was the first to touch it.  He’s sort of particular about his hands getting messy.  That didn’t last long though.  ;)

I die.  I have no more babies.  This picture makes me want to go hold her down so she’ll stop growing.  Or, make a baby.  ;)  Perhaps you thought I mistyped and meant “I cry”.  Nope.  I die.

Pure joy.  Belly laughs.  Need to bottle these up.

Getting his aim just right.

Daddy helping them hit the stop sign with snow balls.

That 10 minutes was a lot of fun!  ;)  So, maybe it was 20 minutes.  Baby girl and I went in before the boys.  Her “hands were cold”.   Bless her little southern heart……

 

 

 

what I really need to work on in 2013

I made two lists, one of resolutions and one of goals for 2013.  I’m actually usually not one to even make one resolution, but one to always make goals all year long.  I made a list this year of everything I wanted to do, get better at, change, accomplish in 2013.  Some won’t happen, most will fall through.  But I made the list on paper so I could look at it in one year and see how far I’m come…..but not becasue I got better at making and keeping resolutions.

Reflecting on 2012, I can say that it was a huge year for growth and I made no resolution at the start of 2012.  I did grow and it’s because I finally caught on to why resolutions never work out.  We’re trying to change the wrong thing.

What if we worked on ourselves and then let God take care of all the rest?  What if we just did what the Bible says and watched the blessings flow?

We all have good in our hearts and we all have evil in our hearts.  Since the beginning of time it’s been this way.  We can’t change our situations or others, but we can change the conditions of our hearts and work on our unresolved sin.  That’s all that needs to happen.  When we do this, we can’t help but grow closer to God and that is what He desires — a deep, intimate relationship with us.

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!”  (Romans 7:21-24)

The truth is, we can change the actions every year on January 1, but until we start the change in our hearts, no resolution is going to stand firm.  But what if someone’s did stand firm?  What if I kill myself every day running 5 miles like I wrote down in my resolution?  What if I really do it?  That’s fantastic!  But, when running 5 miles daily becomes more of our identity than Christ, that’s when we still have unresolved sin.  What’s the sin?  Idolatry.  When we began to lose any part of our life because of something that has become our identity (and it’s not Christ), we living with addiction and idolatry and begin to lose our life.  We make ourselves feel better by doing it more, working harder, trying harder, controlling more.  This is exhausting……if we even admit that.

It’s simple, when we’re too connected with the world, we’re not connected to God.  When we’re connected to God, we’re listening to God.  When we’re connected to the world, we’re listening to the world.  Who have I been listening to?  Wow.  Sometimes God….other times the world. Sometimes half and half.  But, no matter how you look at it, idolatry is idolatry.  Here’s the problem with listening to the world; It’s biblical, it’s truth and it’s a problem in the lives of believers and non-believers alike — The enemy will lie to us.  he is the father of lies. (John 8:44)  The world will dissolve the word of God and tear it down.  Who are we listening to?  We will never have a heart change, or change the way we think, until we renew our minds in Christ. (Romans 12:2)

I mentioned that sometimes I’m half way, luke warm.  Here’s the problem with that.  It becomes about ME and it’s not about me.  There are offenses, more unresolved sin, anger, confusion.  It’s a vicous cycle.  We continue this cycle or we are forced to fall flat on our face.  Normally in this position we finally turn to God.  How sad that it comes to this, but how wonderful it is that He uses it for good.

“The man on his face can never fall from that position.”  – Pastor Larry Stockstill

I’ve come to really like being on my face.  It’s where God works the most.  I know Him more, trust Him more having now been on my face many times.  I used to come to that place after much strife and many struggles.  Now, I get on my face daily.  Start on your face, you can never fall from that position.

A huge unresolved sin in my life that I’ve had to really work on is insecurity — not believing what God thinks of me and not believing who God says I am.  Insecurity = Not Good.  Insecurity makes the cycle even worse.  Insecurity magnifies the lies of the enemy.  Guess what, the enemy wants to keep you in that place of insecurity.  God wants you out of this cycle.  God wants to bless you.

So, I’m still going to keep my list…only I’m only going to work on two things: the conditions of my heart and unresolved sin in my life.  His promises stand true forever and all I really, sincerely want to do better in 2013 is trust in His timing, rely on His promises, wait for Him and His answers, believe Him for His miracles, rejoice for His goodness, and rest in His presence.  I want to remember to crucify self, to deny MY flesh and remember that I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  I want to crucify the world to me….to not let culture define me, but only boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galatians 6:14)  I want to overcome insecurities by seeing God and myself the way His Word states.

Here it is for everyone to see:  God, I don’t know what weight you want me to be in 2013.  All I know is I don’t want to be at this number and I trust You.  God, I want to blog more in 2013.  I’m asking for favor with my time.  God, I want to write a book, start a non-profit organization, start a business with a good friend, and lead a LIFE group.  I’m not sure I can do it all and I know I can’t do any of it without You.  If it’s Your will, speak clearly.   Open doors and close doors, I’m listening.  And last and most importantly:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

 

The Ark House Foster Home

John Taylor and I want to share with you a foster home called The Ark House that is very dear to our hearts. But first, we want to share with you our amazing story of how we came to know this family….

God laid adoption on John Taylor’s heart years ago and in May, God united mine and John Taylor’s hearts on international adoption. When we decided to pursue the process of adoption in China, we never knew just how big God was moving and didn’t realize what a ride we were in for! During that time, we were reading a book together titled TrueFaced. That season was a huge turning point in our hearts, marriage, and lives and that book impacted us in a way that nothing else had. Since the book is all about God’s grace, and giving the timing, we immediately knew we wanted to name our one day Chinese daughter Grace. We called friends in Wisconsin (Patti and Mark) who have adopted 3 times from China to ask them for prayers.  They shared their amazing stories with us.  It was the story of the adoption of one of their daughters that really touched our hearts.  Their daughter Naomi lived at The Ark House foster home before being adopted.

We’ve become very close with this foster family in China. We believe that God connected us to them for so many reasons. We’ve been shown that we’ve been put in this family’s lives for a reason and that is to share their story in America. So, friends and family we want you to know, pray for, and love our family in China — Patrick, Hetty, their 3 biological sons, and their 13 Chinese foster children. Their story is amazing! They have prayed for a year that someone in the USA would help spread their story, make them a blog/website, and help find support for them. That person happened to be me! Once Hetty expressed their needs to me, I felt called to help them. I built a blog for them and set it up so that the foster children could get “Sponsors” so that Patrick and Hetty won’t have to ever worry about financially supporting the children and they can do what the Lord has called them to do. Here is an insert from their blog so you can learn more about them….

We’ve been foster parents in China since 2002 when we felt the Lord calling us to sell our home and our belongings to move. In our hearts we had a great desire to help Chinese orphans.

We arrived in our city in August and immediately got involved with the foster care program. By September 2002, we were fostering our first child! We currently foster 13 children in our home. Many of our children are special needs and some only mild special needs. 10 of the children we’ve fostered have been adopted — 2 within China, 1 to Denmark, 1 to The Netherlands, 1 to Canada, and 4 to America! In all, 1 of our children was operated on for spina bifida, 1 had heart surgery, and 1 had surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate.

We are honored to be a part of these children’s lives and we get great joy out of being their foster parents. We feel blessed that we can care for these children and show them deep, encouraging love. Our hope is that each child will one day get to be with their ‘forever parents’, but until then it is our commitment to provide a loving environment. None of this could happen without our Heavenly Father above and without your help and support. For that, we thank you and give Him all the glory.

Thanks for reading,
Hetty, Patrick, Geoffrey, Kevin, Ian, and all the children

We invite you to visit their new blog where you can read more about each of their foster children and more about sponsorship. Please spread the word about their family! Patrick and Hetty need financial support and we’re covering this blog post in prayer that God will touch many hearts though the power of networking and the internet. We believe that God is going to bless them so they are able to bless others and their children. We hope you’ll read about them, sponsor, share their link and most of all PRAY for them!

There is also a donate page on their blog for one time (or monthly) donations at the amount of your choice. I do know that their boiler (hot water heater) is currently broken and they are having to boil the water because they can’t afford a new one. They’ve been told the broken one can’t be fixed because it’s so old and the new one will cost anywhere between $4,500 and $6,500. We’re believing that God is going to bless them so greatly that they’ll be able to buy a solar or light powered boiler that will save them up to 80% on their bill each month! Could you imagine the bill when you have 13 children! More so than that, could you imagine not having hot water for yourself or the 13 children?! So please pass their site along to anyone that you feel led to share with!

We’re stepping out in complete faith that the Lord will one day bring home our Chinese daughter and be her forever family. We don’t know how or when this may happen, but we’re trusting that God has a plan and that His will be done in our lives and in hers. We plan to write posts in the coming weeks/months as we get further into this process and start fundraising to cover our adoption costs, but right now we long to help the children at The Ark House get the proper amount of sponsors since some of them currently have none. Patrick and Hetty offer a loving, encouraging home for these orphans. They pray over them, speak truth over them, tell them about Jesus and give them time and attention they would not get in a orphanage. If they do not have enough sponsors, they can’t pay their workers. If they can’t pay their workers, they have no workers. If they have no workers, children in their home get placed elsewhere…..and that means orphanages. We really want to help them and most of all we want to keep the children that know and love Patrick and Hetty in this home!

On behalf of Patrick, Hetty, their family, and all the children – We thank you!
Many Blessings and Merry Christmas,
Catherine & John Taylor

John Taylor and I have made cross ornaments.  Every person who donates $10 or more to The Ark House will get a cross.

 

Visit The Ark House blog

Watch a video montage about The Ark House

 

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16