This Beautiful Inheritance

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Family and Thankfulness

Sunday we had a little family lunch at my parents' house with them, us, and my sister and her family. My mom had bought the grand-girls these adorable matching outfits so we needed a good time to get together and (attempt to) snap photos. However, it's pretty impossible with these three!


Somebody's always not looking. But aren't they still the cutest cousins?!!



And don't my girls have a beautiful Mimi? :) We also attempted a few family pictures... which one is your vote for Christmas cards?





During lunch, we used a set of the "Unite Your Story" napkin ties from Barbara Rainey's #EverThineHome collection. These napkin ties are gorgeous and add so much meaning to a regular ole lunch around the table (or to a Thanksgiving dinner!).

Each napkin tie has a thought-provoking question about gratitude. It added purpose and enjoyment to our meal as each of us around the table untied our napkins and discussed what we were thankful for.


It was the perfect way to inaugurate this Thanksgiving season and to spur thankfulness in our hearts. I'm hoping to use them again during our Thanksgiving meal in a couple weeks. Order your own set of Untie Your Story napkin ties here. And be sure to check out the rest of the practical, Biblical resources at EverThineHome.com.

Happy (early but always) Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 10, 2014

God Values Life {Guest Post}

I would have told you I was pro-life long before I knew adoption was going to be my family’s story. But then I adopted twice and my definition of pro-life changed.

After almost two years of trying to get pregnant, my husband Greg and I turned our attention, resources, and prayers to adoption. Less than nine months after we stopped trying to conceive, we held our baby girl in our arms, thanks to an independent domestic adoption. About 30 months later, we brought our son home as part of a similar adoption process.

Adoption is an everyday conversation at our house, but this month is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I’m hoping the topic finds its way into other homes and hearts.

Since bringing Cate and Ben home, I’ve realized pro-life is more than a political stance. It’s also a belief children are a blessing and not a burden. I’m so grateful my kids’ birth moms recognized this, too. We’re raising our kids among a community of friends who believe this, too.

I never expected to adopt, but God prepared us and surrounded us with people who have embraced our journey with us. We are involved with a small, non-denominational church with about 75 people in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. But in those chairs are families with kids adopted from Nepal, China, and Liberia.

Our church also has an orphan/adoption ministry that offers grants and fund-raising support for families pursuing an adoption as well as opportunities to give to local and international projects that support orphans and underserved kids. Jesus tells us to serve these populations (James 1:27), and I’m blessed with a community that believes in doing and serving and giving and adopting and loving. Not everyone is called to adopt, but God gives us – even in a small town – plenty of opportunities to make a difference.
 
 
When we moms stand together, support each other, and commit to doing our best for our kids and the ones around us, then we’re pro-life. When we help our friends who are welcoming foster children into their homes, those gifts of money and clothing speak that we’re pro-life. We discipline and teach and train and advise and shepherd and guide and entertain these children we love. We plan for their futures because we believe they deserve futures.

Through our adoptions, God demonstrated that he is continually near. He’s in the details. And he’s faithful to hear the desires of our hearts. Do you know why? He’s pro-life, too. God values life. He wants our lives to bring him glory and he wants us to raise our kids – the biological ones, the adopted ones, the ones who may be in our homes temporarily – with his eternal kingdom as the foundation.

God values my life and your life so much that he adopts us into his family.

Just like Greg and I gave Cate and Ben our last name, God calls us his own. Just like we welcomed our kids into the responsibilities and privileges of being in a family, God welcomes us into his home. Yes, there are glimpses of his kingdom here on earth, but there’s also a promise of the eternal home Jesus is preparing for us. Because we are God’s. Because our names have been changed and our covenants sealed. Because we serve a God who believes in life.

We adopted Cate and Ben. They’re our children. They’re named in our wills. And they didn’t have to do anything to be called daughter and son. We chose them in the beginning and we choose them still. We choose life. Thankfully we all are welcomed by our heavenly Father who continues choosing us and calls us his own.
 
 
Kristin Hill Taylor tells about the two adoption processes that followed a hard season of infertility in “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & MyFamily,” which is available at Amazon. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and seeking God as the author of every story – many of which she shares at www.kristinhilltaylor.com. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her college sweetheart husband and their two kids.
 
 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What Believers Can Take Away From Brittany Maynard

I never met Brittany Maynard. So why has her life and death affected me like it has? Since I first learned her name and story a few weeks ago, she's consumed much of my thoughts. Terminally ill with brain cancer, Brittany and her husband moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state's "Death with Dignity" law, which would allow her to ingest a prescription drug that would kill her on her terms, not cancer's.


I think it was Brittany's beautiful face that hooked everyone's attention, mine included. She was so pretty, so young, so alive it seemed. The thought of her walking in the park with her husband and dog one day, and then lying in bed surrounded by family with her favorite music playing in the background (as she described) and purposefully ending her life mortified me to no end. I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I prayed for Brittany. I prayed and I prayed and I even private messaged her on Facebook. I felt like her soul was dangling over eternity, and it was up to believers like me -- people who care about the eternal destination of souls -- to reach out and grab and rescue it.

I posted about her on Facebook, asking others to plead for her soul. And I was criticized for assuming she wasn't saved. I'll be honest -- I thought it was petty criticism. We're talking about eternity here. I would much rather wrongly assume she wasn't saved and work and plead and pray, than wrongly assume she was and wait idly by as she stepped into hell.

And after a false indication that she might delay the killing, Brittany took her life, just as she promised, on Nov. 1. For a moment, I felt like the life had been sucked from me too. I was stunned and silenced. She was gone, and there was no more chance for hope.

The last couple of days Brittany's life and death have continually been on my mind. Why have I not been able to quit thinking of this girl I never knew? I think the thing that made her case so gut-wrenching was that there was a date attached to it. Each day leading up to it felt like a step down death row. What I've realized, though, is that my concern for the soul of every other human should be the same as that for Brittany Maynard. Every person with breath in their lungs has an impending death looming, along with an eternal destination. Although Brittany's death had a date attached to it, many others' could have and did come more quickly. Was/am I just as concerned about their fates?

As devastating as this situation has been, the one take-away I can gather is that there are Brittany Maynards everywhere. There are people dying of cancer on every corner of this town and country. There are young, pretty, famous faces incredibly lost and desperate for prayers. And there are healthy, vibrant people sprinkled all over this globe who don't know the date of their deaths but who will be there in an instant.

So I should be equally burdened for each of them. For they -- like me -- have souls that dangle over eternity. May we never cease praying that they accept the grace of Jesus that allows them eternity with Him.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No Matter What, It Will Be Okay

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

I love Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Whenever I hear her voice come on the radio, my ears perk up because I know the wisdom she shares is something I will need. When I see her statuses on Facebook, I stop and read. Because if I do, I'll be impacted. But until recently, I was unaware that Lysa also had profound wisdom to share with children, through her new children's book, It Will Be Okay.


We received this book in the mail last month, and I immediately fell in love. It's one of those books I really enjoy reading and I urge the kids to pick it when they're making their bedtime selections. The book is about Little Seed, who enjoys living in his cozy seed packet in the farmer's dusty shed, and Little Fox, who enjoys living in the safety of his den. But when howling winds and dark shadows invade Little Fox's safety and the farmer plants Little Seed down into new territory, the friends are nervous and afraid. However, this book shows us that the farmer is good and kind, and Little Seed and Little Fox really have nothing to fear. The farmer, just like our Heavenly Father, knows what is best for them, and he is always looking out for them.

My girls love this book as much as I do. At ages 5 and 2, it keeps both of their interests well and teaches them the important message, that no matter what changes around us, God never does. And we have nothing to fear.



This book also has FREE downloadable coloring pages online, which my girls thoroughly enjoyed coloring. I even got in on the fun and colored my own page. As we colored, I asked the girls what they learned from this story and talked to them about their fears. Turns out my girls are either really brave or really prideful because they couldn't think of much they feared. Ha! Nevertheless, I'm glad that when fear or change comes (and I know it will), we have a book like this to help remind us that God is in control. And like the farmer, He is good and kind.

To win your copy of Lysa TerKeurst's It Will Be Okay, leave a comment with a fear or change your child has battled. Or a scripture that reminds you "It Will Be Okay." (Enter via Rafflecopter below.)

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Eden's 5th Birthday Royal Princess Slumber Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. (#CollectiveBias) and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

For months leading up to her fifth birthday, Eden had been clear that this year, she wanted a princess slumber party. She had had one friend spend the night before, but a full-blown sleepover party would definitely be new territory for this mama of preschoolers. Still, I thought it would be a lot of fun (if we kept the guest list somewhat small and manageable), and I guess I'm a sucker because I like my girls to have whatever they want on their birthdays. So I quickly agreed and got to work planning Eden's Royal Princess Slumber Party, aka every little girl's dream.


Here's what I did...


I have to admit I had a lot of fun shopping for this party. Walmart made it really easy because they had literally everything I needed. I wish I would have taken a picture of my cart piled high and running over with pink princess party supplies. I know everyone who saw me was probably thinking to themselves, "Wow. There's a little girl at her house who is going to be very, very happy!" And they were right!

While shopping I also picked up the just-released-from-the-vault Sleeping Beauty DVD. (I had this movie playing in the living room while guests arrived at the party.)


Eden LOVED helping me decorate and set up for the party. I enjoyed it myself too. I have to say, purchasing ready-made Disney party supplies is much easier than Pinterest-ing and hand-making everything yourself (don't judge me, crafty mamas).



We invited several guests and family members to join us for dinner, games, presents and cake and then had just three little princesses stay overnight (in addition to my two!).




 

After all the family left, the girls got in their p.j.'s and I broke out a Disney Princess make-up kit I purchased and let them get all dolled up into little #DisneyBeauties. Because what's a royal sleepover without a little beauty treatment?


Then we made a pallet in the living room, popped some popcorn, and had what Eden loves to call "Movie Night." Except for a couple of slightly homesick little girls that required a little extra loving, the night went surprisingly smooth. Everyone was asleep shortly after 11 p.m., which in this situation, I considered a success! Yes, my house was a disaster the next day, but for my sweet birthday princess, it was all well worth it!

Friday, October 17, 2014

When Motherhood Doesn't Feel Sanctifying

I'm on the downhill slide of a solo 48-hour shift. For two days I've spent time with no one but a tomato-launching two-year-old and a banana-peel-skating five-year-old.

I always get like this when I parent alone for a couple of days. Bored. Grouchy. So irritable. If I have to break up one more sister fight or sweep the kitchen one more time, so help me...



A little while ago my oldest asked me to sit down and play doll house with her. I did it, begrudgingly, but my attitude wasn't the best and my heart was in the shower, where I really wanted to be, not down on the rug taking a Fisher Price family to the "Wonder Place."

Then I remembered how spiritual I was this morning. Was that really today? Yes, this morning when I had just woken up, enjoyed two cups of coffee and cracked open 1 Peter for my She Reads Truth devotional. I was so spiritual then. I prayed for my husband. I prayed for my kids. I committed to yield to others.

But then the day happened.

It's so easy to be "spiritual" when the day's just gotten started and nothing's ruffled your feathers yet. Or when the kids are at Mother's Day Out and the house is quiet and clean. Or when you're sitting in church listening to an inspiring sermon and the kids are far away in children's church. It's so easy to be spiritual then.

I know motherhood is supposed to be a sanctifying experience. There's no doubt it brings out my sin nature like WHOA. But isn't part of sanctification supposed to be that we overcome that nature and become more like Christ? Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself because I don't see this mothering thing turning me into the patient, loving, yielding-to-others person I long to be. Sometimes it feels like just the opposite.

My only hope is that sanctification and becoming like Christ is more than what I can see up close. That even though I look in the mirror now and see a hot mess (emphasis on the mess), if I were to back far, far away, from a Heavenly distance, I might see glimmers of progress.

Lord, please make it be so.
 
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God now knows me completely. 1 Cor. 13:12

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Eden's Fifth Birthday Letter {From Her Daddy}

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Tommy Nelson Mommies for Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a member of this group, I receive products for my use and to review at no charge to me. I receive no monetary compensation for my participation. All opinions are my own.

My Dearest Eden,

Eden, you are five years old today. I wanted to try and express, in words, what words cannot seem to express and that is my love for you. I have yet to find a word in the English language that defines how beautiful and cherished you are. As I think of you on this day, I am immensely grateful for the past five years that I have gotten to be your daddy. Eden, you are such a blessing. Oh, how you stir my heart and warm my spirit. I never thought I could possibly be blessed with something as precious and radiant as you. I still get butterflies when I get home and get to see your smiling face.


As I watch you grow, you teach me so much. When my mind is clouded by stress and the state of our present world, you are an example to me to just be happy and love others. You are always so happy and excited about life. You love your family and others with such abandon. You continuously show empathy to those around you and to all living things. Eden, you love people like Jesus did. I realize I'm supposed to be teaching you, and I know I do, but many times you influence me in more than one way.
 

As I think about you growing up, I think about things like who you will become, what men will try and pursue you, what tough decisions you will have to make throughout your life, and a whole host of other things. When I think of what a precious gift you are from our Creator, I'm reminded that as deep as my love for you is, your God's love for you is so much greater and that He is with you. I pray you stand firm in your convictions and that you are faithful and steadfast in your pursuits. So as we celebrate your fifth year of life, I am eternally grateful for you and the joy you bring. Your Daddy adores you and will cherish you for eternity!

With all my love,

Daddy


To go along with today's post, written by my husband and my girls' daddy, I'm giving away a copy of the book Man Stuff written by country music star Josh Turner. I always had a hunch by listening to his music that Turner was a believer, so I was excited to get this book that confirms his strong Christian faith. In this compilation, Josh shares fun and meaningful thoughts and personal stories—ranging from his childhood years to today—and weaves in spiritual insight for men who want to be better dads, husbands, and men of God. He covers a variety of topics such as living and working with integrity, facing your fears, surrounding yourself with good company, trusting God’s plans, standing up for the least of these—topics every man can relate to and draw from to grow in his spiritual and personal journeys.

To enter to win, leave a comment telling why you or the man in your life needs this book! Then enter via Rafflecopter below.

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