|Doen't this photo just EXUDE such gladness??|
Monday, March 02, 2015
March "GLADNESS" here at Grace Abounding Farm because God says: "Serve Me with gladness: come before My presence with singing!~ Psalm 100:2
Just yesterday at church, Glenn gave the message. It was titled: Standing firm, Standing strong, even if you are standing ALL alone!. It was an amazing message given by my hubby. Such an encouragement and such a blessing. In it he referenced JoyAnna, and her progress that she is making. Here is an excerpt:
"We’ve been talking a lot in our family about standing strong when it comes to JoyAnna, too. You all know that she is in the process of the Dr’s trying to undo all of the damage done to her feet and legs by being tied to her crib for 7 years. She’s endured months and months of a casting process to slowly make it so that her feet are at the right angle so that she can some day stand and maybe some day even walk.
Let’s take a look at this…because I truly feel there is a real illustration here regarding our walk with the Lord as a believer! Let’s look at JoyAnna’s right foot. This was the first cast on her right foot. Believe it or not, this was progress, GREAT progress, but not enough to stand. Could she stand after this casting? No..and you know what…looking at it, you may even think it hardly made a difference, BUT, it did!
I feel that this is the same way with looking to God’s word to help shore us up and stand strong for Him. When we stand on His promises, and commit our lives to Him daily, we’ll have progress, it may be very slow at first, but don’t lose heart!! It does make a difference!
Look at JoyAnna’s 2nd casts on her right foot. Can you see the progress? This was in only 2 weeks time! But she still couldn’t stand at that angle, right?
Now, something to consider is this…the casting was replaced every two weeks right away…NO time in between! This reminds me of putting on the armor of God daily…and not leaving any part of it out!! Right? Otherwise we will lose progress! The enemy is always looking for a foothold in our lives, right?
And so look at this…her 3rd cast on her right foot They got a right angle! After only 6 weeks they got the perfect angle for standing! Look at that!!
BUT….this progress, did not come without GREAT pain and suffering on her part. During that 2 week period she cried and cried. She lived on pain reliever, and she didn’t sleep much and neither did we! You see that is when she got a huge pressure sore on the back of her heal. This sore was from the inside out and when that cast came off, the sore burst and it left a hole in her heal. It served as a reminder to me that standing firm and standing alone for God is not easy, and it can be painful for us. We aren’t promised that we will have an easy road, are we? Straight is the road and narrow is the gate, and it’s not an easy road! But look at the progress that this 2 week period made for JoyAnna! Incredible! And so due to the sore, they did another casting process to allow it to heal more.
Then, once those casts came off, she was fitted for the leg brace that she’s wearing today on her left leg. And we had to wait another month before her heel was healed enough to have a brace made for her right leg.
And so that brace is now made. She doesn’t have it on today, because we give her Sundays off from wearing it. It’s still very hard for her. Some days she can wear it only an hour, and some days she can wear it all day. We never know. She still has the sore on her heal, but it’s a scab now, but it still hurts her.
Let me tell you something….one of the hardest things for me to endure each day is hearing JoyAnna’s cries of pain when her braces are being put on for the day. These are sobs of pain and agony…because her feet want so much to go back to “what they know”…and their old position…but when Mary or Grace work her ankles and massage them and get them into her braces, once they are in and secure, she calms right down. All of this so that one day she will be able to stand, and then maybe bear her weight, and then maybe, Lord willing to walk.
I know God has great plans for this little girl…I just know it. This leg braces…solid and firm standing alone, are really a perfect picture of what God will do in and through us if we let Him. If we will chose to stand firm, and stand alone each and every day!
Sometimes our children complain about this and that…jobs that they need to do around the house, or the cold temperatures, or something like that. I am always reminding them of JoyAnna. Truly…she had NO reason at ALL to have Joy and yet she does…and has…even in the midst of all that she’s been through to try and get her to be able to stand some day!"
Then, on the 17th of this month, Glenn and I and JoyAnna will be headed to our local equipment center for JoyAnna to be fitted with whatever equipment she'll need here at home to help her. A stander, a special bed, a bath seat, a seat/stroller/high chair combination, etc. In the 6 months she's been home, we've just used whatever we've had on hand and made due. This is going to be awesome!! We are praising the Lord for the provision as well!
So you see here at our farm...as we prepare for the gladness of March (including celebrating Jerry's 11th birthday on Saturday and then Jon's 12th birthday a few weeks later!) we look to the Lord and thank Him for our many blessings!
Over much of the country you'll hear and see celebrations of March Madness:
Not even really sure what that is....I think maybe college basketball. But here...we are full out celebrating March Gladness with the Joy of the Lord as our strength!
Sure do love each one of you and would LOVE to hear from you! Send us a note...we LOVE comments on our blog...or emails...or phone calls...or better yet...even visits!!
PS...can I share a little secret with you, too. This is another reason for gladness...another excerpt from Glenn's message yesterday:
"I know what God says in His word, and I know that this (adoption) is our mission field. As a matter of fact, we are seeking God’s will and His timing as to when to add to our family again! I promise to keep you posted on this! Please pray for me on this as well as it will be another test of standing alone…especially with my own family, and also with my fears about money and provision. I know these fears are from the enemy and NOT from the Lord!"
And so I promise to keep you posted on that regard as well! (BIG SMILES!)
Monday, February 16, 2015
Come and sit by our warm toasty fire with me and let's get caught up! Here is your cup of tea! I realized that it's been 3 months since I've last visited with you, my faithful blog readers. I'm soooo sorry to have taken so long to "chat" with you. Life here at Grace Abounding Farm has been busy, and my time to sit and write and think clearly has been a bit well...a bit limited to say the least!
And so they are doing really well, and I can NOT imagine my life without them. They bring such joy and life into our home. They truly help us to enjoy the little things in life!
JoyAnna finished her casting process, and has now been fitted with both legs in an A.F.O., which is a brace. She wears these daily, and sometimes at night, too, to keep her feet in the right position. We are waiting for an extensive equipment evaluation so that we can begin the process of physical therapy and also weight bearing and standing, and then gait training. This is going to be an amazing blessing! I say...TAKE THAT.....orphanage who tied her in her crib and did nothing with her! Take that! God has big plans for our JoyAnna...BIG PLANS!! And...she is a living and breathing testimony to the Grace and Mercy and Healing powers of our Lord wherever we go!! Everyone in the family is adjusting very well!
Glenn's work has been going really well. He was able to take a 4 week break over Christmas and the new year and work on some projects here to include new hard wood floors in our living room, our kitchen and our hallway. We LOVE them!
We also have had a new addition to our family since we last "chatted". Meet Turner, our chocolate lab puppy. What an amazing blessing he has been to us. We took all of our Christmas money and pooled it together and decided to get a puppy. We researched and found a wonderful breeder up in Turner, Maine (hence the name) and took a field trip as a family to pick him out. We then went up in January (the day after Rosie's birthday to pick him up!) We have enjoyed reading the "The Art of Raising A Puppy" by: the monks New Skete. It's been an invaluable resource in helping us to train him. Grace is his official trainer, and he's doing awesome! This Thursday he'll be 12 weeks old. He came to us at 7 weeks old!
He's been such a blessing! Caring for a puppy is a wonderful resource to promote healing and growth in a family, and especially in adopted children, too! I promise to share more about him at a later time!
Speaking of Rosie....she turned 3 on the 21st of January...where in the world has the time gone??Where???? We had a wonderful celebration with Brittany and her family at McDonald's (Rosie's choice)...she had a great day! She's our littlest treasure from the Lord and we are soooo blessed to have her in our life! What a gift she is!
We are in the midst of our snowiest winter that we can remember. We've had 2 blizzards fairly recenlty. And...Glenn's snowblower has broken...so...here at Grace Abounding Farm, there has been LOTS of character building shoveling going on! Yay! We have fun while doing it, too. Here are some shots from yesterday...our entire morning was spent shoveling!
Let me tell you something exciting about me...I've known about Trim Healthy Mama for a couple of years now. And I followed it for awhile off and on. Well...this is my 2nd week of following it whole heartedly and WOW! What a difference I feel! I lost 5 lbs and one size in clothing already! February 7th is my starting date and I promise to keep you posted of my progress! I would appreciate your prayers as I take on this adventure that I would be strong and stand firm in the Lord, and treat my "temple" in the way I should! That's soooo important!
Can I tell you some other exciting news? Our family is growing in more ways than one! Our daughter Brittany (married to Chris) is expecting our 3rd grand daughter in late June, early July. We are tickled pink!! Yay!!
And...our precious daughter Madelyn is in an official courtship with a wonderful young man from our church. And so at some point this summer, we will be gaining a son in love, too! (Photos to follow with permission from the young couple!) This is such a blessing to us! We really strive to train up our children in the way they should go, and it gives us great joy when they are following the Lord in this way! What a blessing! I promise to give more details and photos soon! VERY soon! It's ALL good!
As I write this, I pray for some children in an orphanage in Bulgaria. Tomorrow they are scheduled to be transferred to a terrible place. Oh how I pray for these precious children. Please Lord, intervene. Please prompt families to come forward for them. Please, Lord! As our life settles down into a pattern and a rythym, and as we prepare to send off one of our precious children into her next chapter of her life...I find myself wondering what plans God has for our family this year. Will it expand again? Does God want us to say "Yes" to another child or children? We are ready..."yes Lord! we will go!" We will say..."YES"...and so we wait on Him, the author and finisher of our faith to show us...we cry out...."Here we are Lord....send us!'.....promise to keep you posted on that front, too.
It's been sooooo good to catch up with you! Soooo very good! Let me give you a quick update on everyone else:
Grace (18) hopes to finish her homeschooling this year and is working VERY hard to graduate! She hopes to pursue something in the medical field in her future!
Edward (15) is doing great. You'll often find him headed to work with Glenn to help him. That's been a wonderful apprenticeship for him.
Elisha (15) has 41 pen pals and if you are blessed enough to be on her list...you will get regular encouragement and blelslsings from her! If you aren't on her list and want to be...just let her know!
Jonathan (11--soon to be 12) is going to be the tallest Winslow I do believe! He likes to do anything creative!
Nicole(9) has become a big help in the kitchen!
and Rosie(3) she has 2 speeds...full speed and sleeping...and this is why I can spend this time with you right now....because she's sleeping!! :) :)
We are all doing really well here. We decided that 10 years with goats was enough, and so we no longer have them. We do have 45 laying hens, and so are always blessed with fresh eggs. We are planning out our garden now for the spring, and are excited about that! We have to put up a fence around it this year, though, as the deer have discovered it, and they've told their friends!
There is a mud room in our future! Yay! I'm sooooo excited! It will be off the slider in the kitchen! Yay! I'll keep you posted on that, too.
How is your family? Please fill me in! I LOVE to catch up! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or friend me on facebook: winslow gang is my name! I LOVE to use technology to stay in touch with you all!
Well dearies...our time is coming to an end. Thank you soooo much for your prayers, your listening ear and your encouragement...they mean the world to me! Promise me you'll stay in touch!! It was awesome to catch up with you!
Till Next Time,
In His Love,
Friday, November 14, 2014
Ummm...well...in a perfect world and walking only in the spirit, I would be joyful and give thanks ALWAYS....BUT....
some days....I just can't...or I feel like I can't....
some days are sooooo hard. They seem to never end, and I seem to totally lack joy....and yet....I know that this is our mission field, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what the Lord has called us to do....
why are some days so incredibly hard that I can't wait for them to end? If each day is a gift from the Lord...then I need to remember that, and NOT reject the gift because something doesn't go as I thought or as I planned it to go.
seriously......since we started this latest journey with the Lord 2 years and one month ago, it seems that NOTHING has gone according to what we expecxted or thought...and yet....we know that God is still in control! We know that! We believe that!
And yet...I lack joy at times when I know that I need to dig deep and find it! When I know that God is the only one that I can get that joy from...NOT any human being...I know that! I believe that...and yet...
some days are just sooooo hard......
BUT...I'm learning to look for and celebrate the bright spots. There are ALWAYS bright spots...
Let me tell you about a few!!
Recently my older children were in a play, and one famiy came over to help one of my daughters work on her lines. They had NEVER been to my house before! They'd met the kids, but never been to our house. So....they came over at a moments notice...No time to really get ready for them to arrive.
our home is super active and can be VERY loud. They came over, stayed for a few hours and left. I thought to my self....ummm...well...that could have gone better...and was a bit busy beating myself up for this and that about the visit. The next day, I saw the Mom at the play, and she said...."Oh Mary...we had the BEST time at your house yesterday. There was soooo much peace and love there, I couldn't believe it! I've not experienced that in a long time! I went home and told my husband ALL about it! "
Seriously?? Are you sure you were at MY house....really??? I thought...Hmmm...am I my own worst enemy? YES!!! I am!! She wanted to come over again and have dinner and visit and learn how we can be soooo organized, etc. I was soooo humbled and blessed by her comments to me! Wow! That was a bright spot on a very hard day! You must know, too, that this was the morning I loaded up all of the little kids and went to see the play! Whenever we go anywhere now, it's an event! So it was stresful getting them all there on time and being quiet and getting seated. It was sooooo hard!!! So I thanked God for that bright spot! And trust me...I've been able to go back to that and remind myself of that when it happens again on...some days....
and you know what?? Truly...lately...some days....are MOST days it seems! .....and yet......we forge ahead. Some days it truly comes down to taking the next right step and doing the next right thing...
If I don't start my day in God's word....that's a problem, a problem for sure for me and the rest of my precious family...and so I'm striving to do that every day!
So the yesterday we went to the dentist. 8 of the 9 kiddos had appointments and so we loaded up and headed out very early yesterday morning for the one hour long plus ride to our beloved pediatric dentist who has watched over the years our family grow from 2 biological children to the 10 children we have now. They cried with us when Zoey died! Anyway.....It was sooo hard to get everyone together and in the van and such....anyway...you get the point...so we got there one minute before our appointment...(it seems that we can not get anywhere early these days...) and we filed in...I'd like to say orderly, and quietly but ummmm...anyway...we filed in, checked in and prepared to wait to be called. This woman came over to me and said..."Can I ask you a question?" "How is it that you came upon having all of these children with you? Do you do daycare or what?"...and I told her....."These are all of my kids, and they are all adopted!"...
She then got tears in her eyes and said..."Oh, God bless you! I was adopted, and I'm so thankful that you are willing to invest in all of these kids! You are an angel of the largest kind!"...and she hugged and hugged me. Well...I wasn't expecting that, that's for sure! But you know what...some days....no matter how things start out and no matter how I'm feeling, I still need to be shining God's light to others, and you know what?? This woman and her son saw the Love of God displayed in our family, inspite of me! And inspite of my attitude on the way to the appointment!!
Oh God ....are there times when I block you love and light with my lack of joy? Oh dear God...I'm sooooo sorry! Please forgive me! And so this precious woman at the dentist was a bright spot from God just for me!! And trust me...when JoyAnna was screaming in pain from her legs, and Rosie was in a fit and screaming on the van ride back to our home later that day...I clung to this bright spot, that was just for me!
I just recently read that where there is joy, there is always gratitude! That's truly the key! And so the hymn Count Your Blessings has become my mantra these days....every day.....especially this verse:
Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by!
Count Your Blessings name them one by one!
Count your blessings see what God has done!
Count you blessings, name them one by one!
Count your many blessings and see what God has done!
And so that is precisely what I will do...not just some days....but ALL days...will you join me??
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
For all my non-facebook friends!......
"Now I stand on solid ground, and I will publicly praise the LORD." Psalm 26:12
Yesterday, this precious little girl had these feet casted to start the process of being able to stand on solid ground! This day we praise the Lord!! He is bigger than any medical orphanage who doesn't like kids to walk!! Can I hear an AMEN??
So we sure would covet your prayers!
Look at the difference already!! We will return every 2 weeks for new casts and HOPEFULLY by Christmas we will have braces fit and begin the journey to weight bearing!!
God is good! ALL THE TIME!!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
"Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy." Psalm 47:1
Madelyn recently told me that I needed to be more diligent at updating my blog because many people look at it that don't have Facebook. I said to her..."Hey Maddie, MY time is NOT my own! I really have NO time to do a blog post!!" YIKES!! This is the truth! And so this post will be divided into parts so that I don't get too overwhelmed!
This is really true! To quote a favorite song...."This is the story of my life! A movie staring me!" My days are sooooo full of family and caring for the children that I don't have time at my computer like I used to!
So...this day...this Saturday...it is rest time and so the littles are all resting and my husband has the older kids out doing Fall projects to button things up for winter, and I'm in the kitchen with Grace who is baking two pumpkin pies from a sugar pumpkin that she cooked down herself! And what am I doing....oh my goodness...I'm doing a blog post!!! WOW!!!!
On Monday, October 6th, Jeremiah and JoyAnna have been home for 2 months! We just got a notice that our first post placement report is going to be due soon. Seriously...where has the time gone??
|At the airport 8/6/14|
|Camping October 4th, 2014|
Gone are the frightened little children at the airport! Instead we have beautiful flowers blossoming daily before our very eyes!!! Can't you see the transformation?
Just yesterday, a dear friend said to me..."Mary, I'm not sure if you can see the difference in JoyAnna daily since you see her every day, but...I can totally see a changed little girl! Wow!" This was such a blessing and encouragement to me.
Are my days hard? Oh yes, they are VERY, VERY hard! I cry a lot out to the Lord for strength. Some days I think..."I don't know if I can do this!", and then I am reminded that of course I can! On these days I'm reminded of James 1: 2-3
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
And so I must be developing a GREAT deal of perseverance! Oh YES!!! I must!!! Right??
Maddie recently wrote a blog post about what a day in our home is like. It really describes it well. Here it is!: She titled it: "Crazy Busy"
It seems like we are crazy busy around here! Even if we don't have somewhere to go, life at home has not a single dull moment. But it is good, and during this season, we are learning to accept a new normal. It has been hard...and definitely a stretch...for all of us. But God is good, and in that we are resting.
Partly for my own sake to be able to share this with you all, and partly for your own amusement, here is a day in the life of the Winslow family:6:00am-Mom and Dad have been up for awhile. Mom starts breakfast preparations and getting things ready for the day.
Sometimes Rosie sleeps longer than the rest of us, but today she wakes up with Dad's singing, and says, "Oh my! Its FREEZING!!" She was almost right, because it was 33 degrees when we woke up on this September morning!
6:40am-We finally make it downstairs, and today Elisha heads out to milk the goats with Edward, Jon, Jerry, Nicole and Rosie in tow. Edward tries to keep Jerry from getting into too much trouble while doing his own chores with Jon, which are feeding the chickens.
Meanwhile, Nicole begins to clean out the nesting boxes and Rosie goes around, trying to help out wherever she can.
7:20am-Mom gets JoyAnna's breakfast ready with her medicine and Maddie gets her up out of bed and dressed, while the kids come inside from doing the animals start on sweeping the floor and vacuuming. JoyAnna gets her breakfast fed to her, and loves every bite! After she's done she goes to lay on her blanket in the living room and play with her toys.
8:10am-Dad prays with us and leaves for work. We sit down to breakfast, today its homemade granola.
8:40am-Kids get started on their school work. Edward reads a chapter in the book he's reading, Elisha finishes up her algebra lesson, and Grace starts her spanish lesson. Jerry runs here, there and everywhere, and Rosie builds a block tower.
Today is play practice, and Grace and Elisha are needed from our family, so Maddie gets ready to take them to practice. We found out last night that our friends need a ride, so we will pick them on our way.
10:00am-Maddie, Grace and Elisha leave for play practice. After picking up the friends, we head to play practice and get there early. Play practice goes really well! All the actors are making excellent progress!
At home, Mom continues to do some school with the kids, has lunch with them, and puts the younger kids down for a nap around 1pm.
1:00pm-play practice goes really well and ends early. We leave and drop our friends at their house, and head home. The kids are still in bed, so Maddie starts on this blog post while Mom plays Scrabble with Edward and Elisha. Grace starts on a project, Jon reads an army book.
5:00pm-While we wait for Dad to come home, Mom and Edward start on supper prep.
And thats where we are now!
Hope you enjoyed sharing in our crazy blessed day!!!
And so this is a day at home. Many of our days are at home, but many are not. Many are at appointments for JoyAnna. This has been going well, and we are getting many answers! She truly is thriving!
She is a living, breathing, testimony to our God everywhere she goes!
And so...would you join us in praying...pray for family unity, pray for the enemy to be held at bay! He's been very strong, very, very strong!
Pray that we will be strong and courageous and we will NOT be afraid!
|To me this photo exudes JOY!!!|
That's why it's at the beginning and end of this post!!
And remember...."Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalms 30:5
I promise to post part 2 soon!
Love you ALL!