Friday, November 14, 2014

Some days...

This is the day that the Lord has made! I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!! Right?? 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....

so why??  

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 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 get the 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 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

JoyAnna's Serial Castings have begun!

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

Life IS Good, Life IS Hard, Life is NEVER dull! PART 1

"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 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.

6:30am-Dad goes around and gives the wake up call. One of the things we all love about Dad is the creative ways that he finds to wake us all up in the morning. This morning he wakes up with a song in his heart. So he shares that song with all of us as he starts in the boys room and moves to the girls. This morning, he belts out phrases from "Mister Sandman," but couldn't remember all of the words. As he leaves our room, Dad says, "Five minutes! Be downstairs in five!" 
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!

Jerry tries to get into the girls room to say good morning and give his famous sloppy kisses all around, but Dad tells him he can wait till we get downstairs.
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.

7:40am-before breakfast, kids take a few minutes to read their bibles and have quiet prayer time. Jerry looks at a bible story book, but soon gets distracted. It begins with him singing loud songs, closing his book, and soon escaping his seat and playing with 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.

3:30pm-The little kids are starting to wake up. Once they are up, Jerry, Rosie and Nicole go outside to play in the new 10x10 sandbox that Dad made for them last weekend.
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!

Friday, August 29, 2014

BenReynWinMan is NOT the same without the Ben and the Reyn!!! We still had fun, though!

 A fun time was had by ALL!!! Jerry even invited Martha to go on the merry go round, and well....hmmm....she was a bit dizzy when she got off! Great to have S.C. visiting with us, too! And, awesome to see Michaela Lowman as well! Great day!!