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Friday, October 28, 2011

downtown

such a sweet little kiss from the Lord today.  had to work. but at the end of the day i had a few little visitors.  

the kids arrived all dressed in their costumes.  so a little lion, a clown, a red dragon and a christmas princess {not sure where her little red riding hood costume went but have dress will be a princess!} came to visit me at work.  it was so fun.  they were headed downtown to do a little trick-or-treating.

and then the sweetness continued as my last patient never arrived and i was able to walk out the door shortly after they left.  hooray!  i was able to catch up to them and off we went as a family.

the stores downtown pass out candy in the early evening toward the end of their business day. it's well before it gets dark so the costumes are mostly sweet and whimsical.  there are families together laughing, talking, experiencing life together.  we have done this in other towns but this time was so sweet and so nice.  this downtown is smaller.  there are people but there are not crowds.  everyone smiled and held doors open for others and complimented costumes and noticed manners.  it was simple and sweet and small town.  it was wonderful.

the older kids had a great time and were on the ready with a "trick-or-treat" and an equally quick "thank you".  ethan caught on quick that if he put his candy in the bag and started signing please some sweet lady would smile, tell him how adorable he looked and hand him another piece of candy.  he clung to that piece of candy until we came near to the next spot then he would quickly call for his bag, drop in the candy and start again.  each time his grin was huge and he seemed pleasantly amazed that these people kept handing him candy.

we are not big on halloween at our house.  we love fall.  we celebrate the change of season and all things harvest.  we don't do scary.  we don't do dark.  but we indulge in dressing up.  in getting to be whatever you want to be.  in getting to let your imagination run wild.  in dreaming.  because those are things God wants us to do.  dream big.  let your imagination run wild.  shake off the limitations of the world and dare to do something "out of the box".  are you dreaming?  is it big?  is it out of the box?  He's totally okay with it.  i promise you ~ you cannot out dream God.  nothing is too big for Him.  He's ready.  are you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

harvest time

we have a bean field next to us now.  well actually we have a bean field on one side and a corn field on the other side.  and the colors are turning and the time is here.  it's harvest time.


the combine drove into the bean field.  the kids watching.  they venture close.  they watch as the dust begins to rise and the harvest begins.  they watch with wonder as the machine passes over the rows of beans and leaves only small stalks in their place. the things the farmer planted ~ the things he sowed ~ well, it's time to reap.


an amazing woman shared her heart with several of us recently.  i was so blessed.  she spoke of seeds and bearing fruit.  of generosity.  of God's principles at work. in genesis 1:11-12 He talks about seed bearing it owns kind and plants bearing seeds of their own kind.  you get what you plant. if you plant the little bean you will get an entire stalk of beans in return.

 
and she asked "what is the need in your life? and based on that need what seed are you going to sow?"  seed bears its own plants.  it produces its own.  what are the things you are believing for?  what are the things you need?  sow into those things.  plant those things in the lives of others. the seeds of what you need  will produce the things you need.


so what do you need?  is it your finances?   sow into what you need.  give to someone who needs it even more then you and watch what God can do.  is it food?  are you worried about where dinner is coming from?  bless what you have and give some to someone who is hungrier then you.  is it friendship?  extend your love, your life, your friendship and watch what He can do. you are His child.  how He loves to bless you and provide for you.  will you let Him?


because only when the seed is planted can it produce fruit.  if you hold it in your hand it can do very little for you.  if you grip it tightly, too afraid to let go, God can never turn it into the things you need.  but if you sow your seed, if you plant it instead of hold it ~ He can fill you to the full.  He can fill you to overflowing.  you will reap far more then you sowed. but you have to choose to let the seed go.

a choice to live without fear. living with hands open instead of tightly clinging. no longer fearful there will not be enough.  for He has enough.  He is enough.  He wants to bless you beyond measure.  but He needs you to open your hand. to plant your seed.  to trust Him. to let Him bless you.  are you ready?

fitting in

this my heart.  this was my struggle.  this i share with you because i pray that it will free you from your own struggle.  that you may know the voice of the almighty Creator when He whispers sweetly to your spirit and that you choose to agree with Him ~ because He loves you.

it had been a long interrupted night.  full of nightmares and little feet and uneasy sleep.  and the morning  came early and tiredness came to stay.  overwhelmed added its weight and the children were having a similar morning.  nothing was clicking.  no one was content.  tensions were high and patience was low.

so a break. a time to breath.  and i draw the blanket around my shoulders and the enemy of my spirit begins to whisper. "you know you don't belong here right?  you don't fit in with the people here?  you want to leave the country and go around the world to a country that is still developing, still in poverty.  no one here really gets that ~ not really.  no matter what they tell you.  it's weird.  and you are alone.  you don't fit in here with them."

and i almost want to cry from the weight he is putting on me.  and i turn to the Lover of my Spirit and i wait.  and i listen.  and i cry out ~ show me the truth.  whisper to me now.  and in the quiet He comes.  "you are My child.  the people here love you.  you are taken care of and in great community.  you are where I want you to be.  you are doing what I want you to do.  I am here ~ and you always fit in with Me."

and the tactic changes as the voice that tries to sound like my own prods "but what of your children?  they are yelling today.  they are fighting.  some parenting style you have.  looks like it's really working.  how are those choices working out for you?  do you really think you are doing a good job?  and you're going to move them away from everything they have ever known.  for what?  to take care of someone else's child?  do you really love your children?  shouldn't you be putting them first? how could they love you as a mother for that?"

and i close my eyes and i try not to agree.  try not to see his points.  try to ignore how many times this has been said to me {in spirit and in person}.  and my mother's heart breaks.  and my Lord whispers softly "you are My child.  they are My children.  I hand picked these children for you.  I knew what I was doing.  your parenting is exactly what I told you to do when you asked Me what I wanted.  you are moving them where I have told you.  you will be teaching them about relationship and valuing people.  about pursuing Me above all else.  they are first, they are prized.  you are choosing this for what it will teach them as much as for any other reason.  they love you and will treasure their time there."

"so you think you fit in with all the people whose blogs you read? ha!" he whispers as he tries yet another tact. yet another lie to get me weighed down and doubting.  "they are doing something you aren't. your thing is different.  you aren't adopting.  you aren't ministering to hundreds of people.  you aren't even sure what things will totally look like.  i mean what kind of impact are you really going to have?  you don't fit in with all these people.  you are not in their circle.  you are outside. and then think about all the things you could do better for your husband.  while you sit here and wonder about where you fit.  shouldn't you be doing more, being better for him?  doesn't he deserve that?"

oh Lord.  i begin to give in to the whispers.  i begin to believe i don't fit.  that i am not enough.  that i have not done enough.  and i pull the blanket tighter.  and He comes.  and He speaks.  and He soothes.  "your heart is what matters.  you do not have to perform for Me.  you are not valuable based on your performance. you are valued because you are my daughter.  for who you are."

and Jesus sits down. and the Prince of Peace envelopes me with His grace and His presence. "I have done it all.  I have satisfied the wrath toward sin.  you are blameless now.  you do not have to perform.  you do not have to be anything.  your heart makes you fit in everywhere.  your relationships are not based on how much you are or are not doing.  you were not designed to fit so completely into any group that you can not move between them.  you fit and yet you were designed to move and be part of all groups.  you are right where I want you to be.  doing right what I want you to be doing.  and no matter what, I am here with you.  I love you.  You are valuable to me."

and as i believe and trust Him the enemy of my spirit retreats.  and the weight lifts.  and fatigue eases and the day brightens.  and i wonder if i am the only one who falls for his lies.  the only one he tries to isolate and weigh down.  am i the only one who falls for his lies?  and my Lord responds "no my precious child.  he tries to isolate all.  he tries to destroy all.  will you share this so that others know?  will you be that vulnerable?"  and i hesitate.  i am scared.  and i choose.  and you have read my choice.

when those thoughts come, when the weight is there.  that is not Him.  that whisper that tries to sound so much like your own voice is not.  it is the enemy of your spirit and he is trying to make your life as hard as miserable as lonely as possible.  he is lying to you and he is so tricky that he sometimes doesn't seem like a liar.  but he is.  listen again. 

listen for the small quiet voice that whispers hope and light ~ even when you don't feel it, even when your circumstances don't seem to line up.  listen to what He has to say to you. to what He says about you.  and will you agree with Him?  believe what He says about you?  will you say yes to Him?  read what He says about you ~ you are treasured, bought at a price {which means you don't owe anything, have to do anything}, seated on high, a light to all around you, a jewel to behold, royalty and valued beyond all measure.  He loves you, oh how He loves you!  will you say yes to Him?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins

it's been unseasonally warm here lately.  we have truly been enjoying this indian summer.  the kids are having a blast enjoying every minute outside.  we took full advantage of this weather and headed to the pumpkin patch a little while ago.  i have to be honest it was a little odd to be picking out pumpkins in such warm weather but it was also kind of nice. we were able to go with friends which made the trip all the sweeter.

the kids always have such a good time playing on all the wooden things they have there ~ from trains to tractors to a hollowed out school bus to play in.  they also have a child size corn maze which the kids love, love, love.






ethan was a ham with the pumpkins.  he went right to them, sat down and started smiling at me saying "sees, sees" {aka cheese, cheese}oh the cuteness.  i seriously took way to many pictures of him.


they were super sweet and even let me take a few pictures of them all together.  it was so fun to watch them all get together and squish in and look in different directions and grin and giggle and say cheese at different times.  it's our life.  it's the way it really is.

 the girls had lots of fun leading the littler ones, examining all the pumkins, holding hands and doing their own thing.  the boys of course just had a great time running, jumping, and practicing all their super hero, save the world stunts.  the little ones laughed and giggled and loved getting to climb on anything and everything.  it was a great day.  oh fall how fun you are.  oh little ones how much i love you. oh really how blessed we are.

Friday, October 14, 2011

city time

we we so blessed to get to spend time with carole and benjamin while they were here.  we took them to the big city near us.  we got to ride the train which the kids loved.  i think they mostly like it because they can hop between seats and had so many different laps to choose from this time.  and right about the time they were done with the ride we were pulling into our station.  hooray for that!!

we didn't have major plans.  we just walked around the city.  went to the parks. played with the sculptures there and laughed and had fun at all the silly images we saw and created. .




we played near the fountains.  because there is always something magical about water.  watching it flow and move and ripple.  watching it glide by.  inviting and calming and life-giving.  there is something about water that draws you in ~ especially when you are little.  there is such a reason that Jesus is referred to as living water.  He draws you in, He calms, He gives life, children are so open to Him, drawn to Him, relish in Him. He is the water we all so desperately need ~ no matter where you live.




we got popcorn and nibbled and window shopped along way.  we looked at the river.  we saw the tall buildings.  it was surreal to be there and to think that hopefully soon we will be on the other side of the world.  with things so different and yet really, at the heart of it.  the people just the same.  loving their family and friends.  providing for them in the best ways they can.  because really we are all so much more alike then we really realize.



Saturday, October 8, 2011

a BIG step ... and an introduction

so it's time for us to take another step toward africa.

a BIG step along this journey that God is leading us on.
for awhile now we have been talking, emailing, and skyping with organizations.
there have been countless hours praying
and pressing in and learning more
about all the amazing things He is doing all over the continent.
every group was amazing.
every need real and pressing.
every conversation left us thinking
"wow, this group is doing such amazing things.
their cause, their group is great." 
but within that statement was always the prayer ~

"Lord, show us where You want us to be. 
keep our hearts for the group, the kids, the people that you want us to partner with."

and He did.

there is so much that could be said about the past few months.
so much that went on with us, in us, for us
as we continued to search for where He wanted us to be.

one of the hardest things about this journey
is leaving the relationships here
leaving our family and friends
leaving our church family

but that last one got a little easier for us 
when we met this group
they feel like family
they feel like our church
they feel like an extension of what we are experiencing here
they are 'home'

so the searching is over.  the prayers are answered.  
we have committed ourselves to an amazing organization!!!

so let me introduce you to 

yeah!!  we are so excited!

we will be in northern uganda
just outside the city of gulu
working with the orphans there
living at house of hope
living on site with those precious children
building into them, loving them, caring for them
letting them change us

there are many different parts to favor
from clinics, to radio ministry 
{the kids get to be on the air every week sharing what God is doing!}
to outreach, to huge open air meetings
where miracles abound and lives are given to Jesus

they are dedicated to bringing healing
and the precious light of Jesus
to the people who were terrorized
for 20 years
by the lord's resistance army

and we will lovingly, humbly, thankfully
serve the little ones that live in 
house of hope

more to share as the days go on
but thank you for your prayers, 
your support,
 your love
we treasure them all
they are such a blessing to us as we walk this journey
one step at a time