Friday, December 31, 2010

A Perfect New Years Resolution for 2011

 "Pray without ceasing" 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Let's resolve together to pray for our children! This was such an encouragement to me on this last day of 2010. It is on my daily devotional calendar.

"The power you have as a praying parent is God's power. Your prayers release that power to do God's will. It's ALWAYS available, it's NEVER in limited supply and the ONLY restrictions are due to lack of faith that God will answer. And even then, God's grace is such that when we don't feel we have much faith, the faith we do have is like a mustard seed---enough to grow into something big."

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

In November we had received a gift of a plant your own Amaryllis bulb. Within a week it had grown like crazy! Two weeks later, it had 9 blooms on the lower part of it! 9!! I didn't snap a photo of it then, but it was absolutely beautiful. Now, it has 3 more beautiful and very tall blossoms, over one month later! It has been such a pleasure to watch it and enjoy it.

It reminds us of God's gift to us this season of His son. It truly is a gift that keeps on giving to us, new Grace and Mercy each day while here on this earth, and then of course the beauty of the gift of our eternal life.

It reminds me of this hymn:Reminding us to Give Thanks for the beauty God has given us each day!

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth--Sung By Jonnie Boy

Every body Pauses and stares at me
These two teeth are gone as you can see
I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe!
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth!

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas!"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mary Did You Know?

A few months ago, Seth asked if Maddie and Grace would be willing to work with him, his brother Micah, and sister Aria on a version of Mary Did You Know, with Maddie and Grace doing vocals, Seth on the guitar, Micah on the bass, and Aria on the violin. Seth arranged the piece and they practiced it as much as they could leading up to the candlelight service. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. It was so beautiful! The church was candlelit, so the image is dark, there were fussy babies in the background, but the song was just wonderful! I've posted the lyrics below.

 Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am. 

Maddie and Grace also sang What Child Is This. We just love this song, too.
Here is the video of that. The lyrics are below.
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

A Labor of Love

This past Sunday our dear friends Loree, and Donna gave Grace hair extensions. It truly was a labor of love, but with wonderful results! Here is a before picture.

The first step was to braid her hair in rows.

The next step was to take sections of the hair extensions and use a crochet hook to pull them through sections of the braids.

Starting at the bottom, they added the hair sections and braided each one slightly and actually super glued the ends of the extension braids to secure them.

Almost done and time for a supper break!

Wow...what wonderful results! Glenn says we may have to lock her up for a few months as this makes her look tons older...and if possible, even more beautiful! We had folks at our church candlelight service that evening, that had seen her that morning, come up to us and say..."Wow...Grace should wear her hair down more often, it's beautiful!" for thought...where would she have put all of this hair? It was funny! Total time...about 4.5 hours. Total cost for the hair products....under $20.00. Cost to put them in if we went to a least $500.00!....end result.....PRICELESS!! Thank you soooo much ladies!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good Bye For Now Baby Paxton

Thank you to Diane Seamans for this wonderful family photo! We've been so blessed to be able to use it as our Christmas card photo for this year.
It is with a heavy heart we said goodbye to baby Paxton yesterday after the court hearing. The judge decided that he could go back with his mom. No one really expected it at all, but we know it wasn't a surprise to God. Such is the uncertainty of being a foster family.

We were so blessed to have had Paxton in our family for 7 weeks. He has done so well, and of course he had NO shortage of love and attention here at the Winslow farm. 

We know that the foundation we laid in his life can NEVER be taken away. We will continue to pray daily for him and his family. We have been praying Jeremiah 29:11 for baby Paxton and we trust that "God knows the plans He has for Paxton, plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him a hope and a future. We know that our lives have been made brighter by having been blessed so greatly by this precious little boy.

We look to the Lord and pray for His will as to who He'll bring into our family next! It's exciting and we promise to keep you posted.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Rich Family in Our Church---A Must Read For Advent!

Please take some time to read this wonderful story with some great reminders. We read this again as a family this week and again were greatly blessed!
“The Rich Family in our Church”
I’ll never forget the summer of 1946. I was 14, my little sister, Ocy, 12, and my older sister Darlene, 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad has died years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to rear and no money. By 1946 my older sisters were married, and my brothers had left home.
A month before Easter, the pastor of our church announces that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. That would allow us to save 20 dollars of our grocery money for the offering.
Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money of that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents, we could buy enough cotton loops to make three potholders to sell for $1.00. We made $20 on potholders.
That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in the church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.
The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before. That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 dollars for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church.
On Easter morning rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet. But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in new clothes and I felt so rich.
When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting in the second row. From the front, Mom put in the $10 bill, each of us put in a $20 bill. As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes!
Later that afternoon, the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked her what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10, and seventeen $1s.
Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor people. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our mom and dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly.
I know we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I never thought we were poor. That Easter Day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like feeling poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed that I didn’t want to go back to church. Everyone there probably knew we were poor! I thought about my school friends and felt terribly embarrassed to be thought of as “poor.”
We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor.
We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. The joy of what we had done, of sacrificing and saving had been taken away from us. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on our way to church as we usually did. At church that Sunday, we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?”
We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Ocy, who gave it to me. And I dropped it into the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced it was a little over $100.
The missionary was excited. He wasn’t expecting such a large offering from our small congregation. He said “you must have some rich people in this church.” Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.” We were the rich family in the church! From that day on, I’ve never been poor again.
We had been given back the joy of sacrificial giving.
By Anonymous 

Whose Birthday is it Really?---Please read this blog post from another family!

I t’sbeen over ten years of nothing under the Christmas tree here.
Strange, the way children teach men.
It was dark, I do remember that. Bedtime. Smoothing back hair, kissing foreheads. On round moon hanging large outside the window, an ornament dangling off stars, decorating the night. I had gifts to wrap. So, pull up the blankets. Prayers. And then, when I’m at the door, one hand on the doorframe, resting in the light of the hallway, I turn to close the door a bit on the dark and he stops me with just one question:
“What does Jesus get for His birthday?”
The words hung… strung me up.
I say the words into the black. Um… A cake? Our love?
I can hear him turn again in the bed, roll over on the pillow. Restless…
“But Mom…. if we get wrapped presents for our birthdays, real sacrifices from people who love us — they gave up other things to give something to us — then why don’t we do that for Jesus’ birthday?”
I stand at the door looking into all that light cast down the hallway.
Why is the sky blue, why do we blink, how do clouds hold all that water, the children ask me a thousand questions and the world spins dizzy on a million questions I don’t know the answers to and I stand in the dark, the light right there, and I grope for the answer that could change the world…

“Why don’t we give up things so we can give to Jesus for His birthday?”

Is it always this way, that a little child will lead them?
He was four or five that year, I can’t remember. I just know that now he’s fifteen and I stepped out into the light and we’ve done all the Christmases since his way, giving away. It’s not at all wrong to do it differently, but just for us… all the Christmas gifts — gifts for the Christ Child.
I shamefully confess I thought it would somehow make me sad. I am a very slow learner.

How could I have thought that only love under the tree would do anything but make our happiness

The Birthday Child tells us what He wants: Give to the least of these and you give to Me. So this is how we do it: We pick out gifts from His gift catalogues — Compassion CatalogSamaritan’s Purse CatalogPartner’s International Catalog,World Vision Catalog,Gospel for Asia Catalog, and MCC Catalog.
It happens after breakfast, each day for the last two weeks of Advent, selecting one gift for He who is Christmas. They flip pages, deciding on what to give Him today:
“Anyone think we should get a pair of rabbits today?”
“I was thinking mosquito nets. Two. I wouldn’t want to die of malaria.”
“If we buy a seed packet for a family, our gift is tripled. Did you read the story on page 25 about what a difference it makes for an orphan family to have seeds? The little girl said, ‘Life is much better with food.’”
“Why are you crying, Mama?”
“Oh, just thinking…  how life really is much better with food…”
I’m sitting at the table with the kids all bent over The King’s Catalogues when I finally get what the kids already know: I’d rather only fill a child’s tummy than fill my house with anymore things.

Maybe that’s always the only choice we have to make every Christmas: feed our own fickle wishes or feed the real hunger of Christ?

Nothing can be claimed, taken, received, had; everything we have is gift to us from heaven. All that we have has no other source but the hand of God (Jn 3:27).
So “Christian hands never clasp and He doesn’t give us gifts for our gain because a gift can never stop being a gift— it is always meant to be given.”
When we pass our gifts on — the gifts from Him remaining a gift and being given again — we are the ones given even more of the source of all gifts — more of God Himself. Filled.
When we give to Christ in the hungry, He satisfies our own hunger pangs.
A decade of this, our little family turning the Christmas tree upside down and letting gifts all fall into the hands of the poor and some thought it too strange, all this with no bows under the tree and I really understood but we couldn’t stop seeing just this, Him hanging on a tree. It’s just the way He’s just spoken to us, that’s all.
And then yesterday, my Dad, he stood in our kitchen, his hand on the counter, his farm coveralls still on, him just driving by, and he said it quiet, “I think this year — we shouldn’t do gifts as a family.”  He looked up at me. My eyebrows arched. He understood?
“I was thinking that this year — maybe we should just all go together — and see if we can help drill a well in Africa.”
And that one boy now fifteen, who asked a question that answered everything, he turns to me, his smile lighting the room and all the world.

 We just loved this. It was sent to us by some dear friends in the Lord. I read it twice to the children and twice to Glenn and every time I cried buckets. How could we be so greedy to think that we need more "stuff", when there are starving people all over the world??

So, before God and the witness of our dear family, we decided to follow suite with this family, and to take all of the money that we would have spent on Christmas gifts, wrapping paper, etc, and pool it together and give it to a family in need. What amazing freedom we have found with this decision!

We reminisced about one of our favorite Christmas times. It was the year that my mother gave us a large sum of money and the Samaritan's Purse catalog and told us to spend it however we wished. Oh what wonderful fun we had picking out chickens for a family, and a pair of goats for another, and a bicycle for a missionary so he could have transport, and food for a small infant. We desire to get back to that and are so thankful for this reminder sent to us for such a time as this! Thank you Lord! 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus!

"Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart."

"Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring. By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone; by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne."
"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay."
"The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh."

"Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there."

My How He's Grown!

I just have to post a few photos of Paxton and how he's grown! He's almost doubled his birth weight! Praise the Lord!

You may remember when I posted the photo above. That was in October when Paxton first arrived here. We took the picture next to Maddie's life sized baby doll. We took this new picture just this week! Wow! Look at the difference!   
This photo was taken at Friendly's restaurant in Rochester on Halloween night. We went there for our dinner, as it's our custom to go out to eat on Halloween to avoid the "crowds". This woman asked to hold him. Then she called her husband over, and it turns out her husband is the pastor of a local church and they were there for icecream after the Sunday night service. When she heard Paxton's story, she asked her husband to pray for Paxton right there in Friendly's restaurant! It was a wonderful prayer and we were just so blessed and encouraged in the Lord! 
What a difference 6 weeks of good country livin' makes in the life of a babe, huh?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Oh How We Love Baby Paxton

Paxton and Glenn hit it off right away!
We are praising the Lord for placing baby Paxton with us on October 28th. We aren't sure how long he'll be with us, but we thank God for each day he's with us, and consider it a blessing and an honor to care for him. Here are just a few shots of him. He's getting super big now! Of course EVERYONE just loves him! How can you not??
He was born October 19th, 2010. He was released from the hospital into our care.
Madelyn and I stayed overnight at the hospital in order to show them we could care for him.

Grammy Linda meets Paxton the following Saturday. It was love at first sight!
Jonathan takes a turn feeding the little guy! He did super well!

My friend Loree gave me a pattern for a sling and I made one that first week. What a blessing this has been! Yup...he's in there!

All of the kiddos couldn't wait to meet him!
Junior had NEVER held a baby this small!
Paxton compared to Maddie's newborn doll. Wow!
Of course, no photo shoot would be complete without the traditional "Winslow couch photo"

He seems to grow more every day!
Sweet Dreams Baby Paxton!

Here he is at one month old! He's gotten quite chubby now! I refer to him as my little "chubba bubba".

 We sure do covet your prayers for this little one. Please pray for God's will in his life, and for the truth to prevail. Please also pray for our testimony as a family. This little guy has already made a huge impact in the lives of so many people, many are unbelievers!