Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I love to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! Starting with Great Friday, and continuing on through Bright Week (the week following Easter/Pascha), it is a joy to have this time to remember all that our Lord has done for us.
(Easter Sunday)
On Saturday morning, we had such a fun time coloring eggs. We didn't get a chance to do this last year, so it was Kaikai's first egg-coloring. He was amazed by his beautiful blue egg.

 Sweet sisters...
 On Monday, Adam had a chance to do a different kind of celebrating when he passed his driver's permit test! Yay, Adam!

 Can I just say that I love the relationship between these two, and that Adam is really getting tall?!!!
 A rare shot of my sweetie and me.
We missed being with our beloved friends in Fort Collins this Easter week, but we carried on some of our traditions here in Kansas City. On Tuesday night we handed out brownies and lemonade, and did a chalk drawing across the street from the garden. What a fun time to meet some of our neighbors and rejoice in the resurrection in a way that kids can really enjoy.
Praising God for a beautiful week of celebration! He is so good!

Christmas in April

Thursday, April 10, 2014

One of the beautiful things about Jesus, is that He is so generous to bring about the desires of our hearts. He just loves to bless His children!
Before David and I met, and after we got married, God gave David a vision for the beauty of agriculture and it's ability to bring about a community-mindset and lifestyle. We asked God to lead us into this sort of Christian community, but in His wisdom, our Father brought us to a place that we needed even more. He moved us to Fort Collins and revealed to us the glory of the Church through the community that we were a part of there.
Oh, how we needed to learn the lessons that we learned in our church body! It is so easy to value community for community's sake, rather than for the sake of the Lord and His Kingdom. If God had answered our prayers in the way that we had desired early in our marriage, we would have missed out on an understanding of what it means to build His Church within a community of unconditional love. What a tragedy that would have been!
When, however, we heard God's call to plant a church in Kansas City, God began to resurrect the desires that we had lain aside so long ago. We had originally thought that we would be moving to the suburbs, but through a series of miraculous events, God moved us right into the heart of the city. He was answering the cry of our hearts to live among the poor of this world, AND He was answering  our prayers, from so many years ago, in which plants and gardening and agriculture enhanced and brought life to community. 

Two Saturdays ago, we had our first spring work-day in the community garden that our church family stewards (and which many people, long before us, have worked hard to bring about). The garden is just a couple of blocks from our house, and I walk through it almost every day. It is a one of a series of rays of beautiful light in this broken neighborhood.

Being among the people of this community (working, talking and laughing) was pure joy for my sweet hubby. David has waited many years for a moment like this. In His words, it was like Christmas in April!

Isn't our God so very kind?! I am truly in awe of His goodness. He is a generous Father and His heart is always for us. Sometimes the desires that He gives to us must lay dormant for a time, but we can trust that these desires are never forgotten by our Lord. He will bring them about in His time.
And when he does...oh Jesus, what joy!

golden feet

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Let the weak say I am strong." Joel 3:10

Every morning, at 6:00 am, I hear the patter of sweet little feet running down the hallway towards our room. As Kaikai enters our bedroom, he exerts one last burst of energy before he flings his little body on top of David's sleeping form. My amazing husband then gets up with our sweet son and they head downstairs to snuggle and pray.

A couple of weeks ago, David and Kaikai had just settled in on the couch for their time with the Lord when David realized that he had forgotten his glasses upstairs. He went up to get them, and upon his return, noticed that Kaikai was staring down at his own feet. David sat down on the other couch and after a few minutes, Kaikai joined him and characteristically melted his little body into David's lap. "My feet were shiny, Dad."

David didn't know what to make of that, but assumed that Kaikai was making a reference to the infection that had plagued his feet for the past three months. He pulled Kaikai a little closer (if that's even possible), and went back to reading his Bible.

Kaikai waited patiently for a time, but then tried again, "My feet were shiny, Dad."

David looked into Kaikai's eyes and recognized an intensity there that caused him to take more notice this time. "What do you mean, shiny?"

"Well, they were gold and yellow...and uh, shiny," Kaikai struggled to explain.

Because he still wasn't sure that he had understood, David asked Kaikai to draw a picture of what he had seen. Kaikai seemed relieved to have an option in which he wouldn't have to try to explain in English. He picked up the pencil and paper and drew what would translate, in full-size, to an 18 inch cloud around his feet. "It was shiny, Dad. It was gold and yellow."

And then it hit David. God had given Kaikai a vision; a vision of a golden cloud, encompassing his precious little feet.

Now, you might be tempted to think that God's main intent for this vision was to provide healing for our beautiful son. I am most certainly not opposed to this interpretation of Kaikai's vision, but I believe that God was saying something even greater. God was highlighting Kaikai's weakness, and wanted to show that our son's weakness, indeed all of our weaknesses, are really our strength.

For all of his life Kaikai has depended upon others for many of his basic needs. This could have caused frustration or anger to grow up in Kaikai's heart. But, instead, my sweet son has embraced his weakness and has allowed God to use it to grow a great love for people in his heart. What Kaikai lacks in bodily strength is by far made up for in strength of character. His cheerfulness in the face of adversity is a source of inspiration to me every day. Kaikai is a mighty young warrior in his ability to love, trust and forgive.
Andrew Murray expressed this understanding of weakness well when he said, "The Christian thinks his weaknesses are his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of him who has said, 'My strength is made perfect in weakness.'"

Though it seems contrary to our human way of thinking, Kaikai's weak little feet have truly made him strong. Ever since Kaikai had his vision, I like to find moments when I can whisper into his ear, "You have golden feet. You have golden feet, my son!"

Kaikai smiles because he knows that it's true. His feet are a treasure; one that God has used to give him all the strength that he will ever need.

My Biggest Adventure (an essay by Lily)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In August 2013, I embarked on one of the most amazing adventures of my entire life. My family moved from sweet and safe Fort Collins, Colorado, to inner city Kansas City to start a church. Life radically changed. At first, I wasn't excited about the idea of leaving all of my friends and my world and moving to a place I'd never been. But, the moment I stepped into my new house, which is a renovated convent, I knew it was home. Life here is unique, and each day is filled with adventure.

     At first, I thought that I would be scared living in this neighborhood. I envisioned drive-by shootings, gang fights on the street corners, and guys with shotguns. I have yet to see all of that. The funny thing is, it's not the people who seem scary here, but the dogs! One Chihuahua by the name of Nuggets sneaks out of his yard and joins the big guys in the packs. Pitt Bulls and German Shepherds walk down the street like they're boss, striking fear into the hearts of cowardly girls who only have a sparkly shoe to protect themselves.

     Some people ask me if it was really hard moving from Fort Collins, to the inner city. I always answer with this: If I had the choice of moving back or staying here, I would stay. Each day is new and exciting--seeing the people with grocery carts walk down the street, the ethnicity difference, and the fun of meeting people that have their own stories.

     And in the midst of all of this, I know that I never have to be afraid or lonely, because Jesus is with me! He took us on this adventure, and he is with us through everything!

up north

The kids and I took our first-ever road trip without David, and though we missed him a bunch, we had a great time with my sister, nieces and mom.
Adam was a rockstar in taking over many of the duties that David would have had. He packed up the car, checked all of the fluids, took care of Kaikai's wheelchair, carried Kaikai up and down the stairs and was just plain amazing. So grateful for this kid young man!
It was freezing up in MN, so for the most part, we stayed indoors.
We did a lot of cooking, which is always fun when you're with such wonderful people!

The kids watched Frozen...twice!
"Let it Go!" is now a very popular tune at our house.
Kaikai discovered Yahtzee and we played that game about 10,000 times. :)

The best part of the trip was getting to see the cousins become re-acquainted.


Thanks for the great time up north, Stephanie, Kiah, Kendra, Selah and Mom.
We sure love you!

and then there were four...

Sunday, March 23, 2014

 Today, we officially have four teenagers in our family.

Woot! Woot! Super-fun times, my friends!
We love our wild and crazy newest teen, Jadon. He is amazing!
Happy 13th Birthday, son!
We are so grateful for your life.
You are a gift and a treasure.
May this coming year be one where you experience the presence of Jesus, more and more and where you grow in godliness, maturity and strength.
We love you so much, Jadon.

just a few of my faves...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Just a few of my favorite recent kid photos....

I totally love their love for one another. Adam is an amazing big brother, and Kaikai fully appreciates the kindness and affection.

Jadon, in action! 

These two...their friendship makes me so happy.

My older girls are growing up!
(sniff, sniff)

Thank you, Jesus, for blessing me with each one of these precious and beautiful children. I am one grateful mama.

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