Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Mother Pointed Out There Hasn't Been a Blog Post in a While....

 Max pretending to meditate
Sam pretending to dole out money
The guinea pigs for parenting
A day in the life

So there you have it Mom!  I posted something.  Pictures from the summer, better than nothing.  Thoughts on foster care and adoption to come in future posts.  :-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Kids and Wood Beetles

3 Kids who love a good insect discovery

1 treasured wood beetle lovingly cared for

Until one day 1 little 6 year old
Accidentally squashed him while enjoying him

Lots of tears...more insect hunting

Treasure found!!!!
4 wood beetles welcomed into a new home
1 especially happy 6 year old

2 pleased older siblings

Days go on....happy little wood beetles....happy children

Until today....
1 panicked little baby watching 1 LARGE wood beetle scurry across the floor

1 Momma telling her children to escort the run away wood beetle back to it's house with the other 3 beetles.

1 family observing the 1 beetle return to an EMPTY insect house..... 😨

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A little over a year ago I sent the following email to Michael:

I want to name her Ellie because God is my God and I pray that she would make Him hers too.  Everything about Him giving her to us for this time has reminded me over and over that His ways are not my ways and yet I can fully trust Him.
I want to name her Piper because it makes me think of heralding God's presence and love for us and her very existence being representative of that.  Paired with a middle name that would also be a continuation of the idea of heralding, announcing, shouting or making known in an obvious way some great attribute of God.
I want to name her Josie because God has truly added her to our family.  He used my "mistake" in calculating my cycle to turn our lives upside down and draw us closer to Him.  God is God and I am not.
I want to name her Joanna because God has shown me over and over again just how gracious He is to us.  And while He didn't give her to us when we asked (the 4 miscarriages) He surprised us with her when we had surrendered our desires over to Him and moved forward with Him in what we thought was His plan for our family. 
I want to name her Ruby because her life is so very precious just like the stone.
What are you thinking?...............
Moving forward!
I love you a lot.
We agonized.... is that too strong?........we painstakingly discussed and thought about what to name this little miracle baby for months.  It is no secret that naming these humans that God gave to us is hard.  Naming a child was a very romantic idea before we ever conceived one.  It looked fun and easy.  And yet, in the very end it started to become clearer on what each one was meant to be named. 
I am so happy with our choice of "Ellie Joy."  I can easily see her being Piper, Josie and Ruby.  And I wanted to share them in this way today because in a strange way they seem to be a part of her.  They describe a bit of how God made her and I am actually rather awestruck when I see how intimate the Lord is with us in areas we don't realize at the time. 
Does He really care what we name these children He gives to us?  I suspect that since we have complete free will to make decisions as best as we can He is okay with what ends up on their birth certificates.  BUT I see His fingerprints everywhere.  Ellie has qualities about her that still suite all of those name choices. 
Perhaps if we lived in London and were royalty her name would have been Ellie Joy Piper Josie Joanna Ruby Schneider.  :-) 
I'm so glad that I saw her face for the first time one year ago today.  It was a holy moment of seeing flesh to an incredible thing the Lord had done.  He didn't have to do it but He did.  There was no more wondering and what if's.  I'm so glad to be her momma and I just love her to pieces.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

"Sory pants...."

Maggie FINALLY agreed to throw away a pair of leggings that saw their better days about a year ago.  They were hand me downs but in good shape when she received them.  She LOVED them.  She wore them all the time.  They were in every load of darks that I washed every single week and I've been encouraging her to let go of them for some time.  The holes in the knees were so large that her upper and lower leg were both visible.

She finally relented the other day which came as a surprise to me.  And she seemed to do it with little fanfare until I went to throw something away shortly after and found this note on top of them in the trash can.

This girl has a fantastic sense of humor. 

Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Well done God.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Home Sweet Home

I had the unexpected joy of a short trip "home" a few weeks ago.  It was my first visit back in 4 years and a trip that was planned and taken in just one week.  Phew.  A whirlwind week.  More about that another time.

I say "home" and not home because after 8 years in a new place you begin to refer to that as your home.  Yet, when I came into familiar territory and took in the sights I grew up around I was quickly reminded that it was still home to me. 

I listened to my mom tell me "yeah there aren't those big evergreens you have out there around here," wondering if she thought I found it less pretty because of that.  Just in case you were mom, I don't.  I took my cell phone out and snapped a quick picture of one of my favorite views from home. 

The crest of the hill on Montgomery where I descended many times to go to Eagles with my mom, my first job earning a bonafide paycheck, school and sporting events, my first college classes that I took locally and then my first big trips away from home.  I left down that hill for my dates with Michael and the day of our wedding when I left for the last time as Julie Schulting to move across the river and start a new life. 

That life has taken me quite far from Iowa and Illinois.  I am so thankful that I never left because I didn't like it.  I love where I am from.  I love the hills and bluffs and how green things are without really having to try.  I love the landscape and the parks like Gramercy and Eagle Point where a person can forget about everything else and enjoy the things that God made.

God met me in those places and showed me a side of Him that I never knew before.  I drew close to Him in those places. 

I was home with just Ellie and while it was inspired by something sad, a dear uncle who's health was failing, I really loved being there and being physically close to people who mean the world to me.  On a relatively shallow note, it's pretty fun being a mom of 4 and having a "holiday" with just the little baby.  You never appreciate how easy taking care of one baby is when you have your first baby.  Because it really isn't easy!  As a new mom with your first baby your learning new things and it is a huge adjustment.  But I got to sort of reverse the clock and have all these years under my belt as a mom and enjoy being away with just my baby.  A very easy to care for baby at that.

Then my plane began it's final descent in Spokane and I saw the evergreens and the mountains and had a wave of peace and familiarity wash over me.  The views!  It is so pretty.  I was home again.  But I just left home....  And that's when I became overwhelmed with thankfulness for where I'm from and where the Lord has brought me.  Something about flying also makes you realize just how close you can be to people who often feel so far away. 

So thank you God for giving me two beautiful places to call home while I journey on this earth.  Maybe you have more in store for me yet, I don't know.   But I sure do enjoy the trip!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ellie Joy Schneider

 Not enough words or time right now to express our gratitude to God for this great gift...publicly  (our hearts and mouths are abounding with thanks to Him).  Enjoy the pictures....more words another day.

I can hardly believe she is here.  What a gift!  God is good and He does good just like His word says. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

A late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

No Christmas cards sent out two years in a row.

No family picture amongst the beauty of the snow laden trees that I have been wanting.

4 remaining cabinet doors that are begging to be painted and hung back up in their rightful homes.

1 large, very fun frame that has yet to be emptied and made mine and hung above the bed.

Two closet openings still remaining open waiting for their rods to hide the contents.

1 picture still propped up in Maggie's room waiting to be hung.

This is actually kind of helpful.....sort of an online, public to-do list the more I sit and have these unfinished items come to mind.

In addition, there were...

2 amazing weeks at home with the kids, no school, no running around, less work, more rest.

3 great weeks leading up to Christmas spent enjoying a new kind of Advent for us...I loved it.

3 very messy, cluttered areas cleaned up (finally!!!) and made new for me.

1 annoying box that has lingered for almost 3 years finally emptied and dealt with.

1 daughter's room cleaned again in preparation for a big change coming soon.

Many bags of things given away in our lifelong endeavor to have less.

Several books enjoyed....some devoured, some slowly taken in and savored (Jane Eyre, 7-An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Kisses From Katie, Absolute Surrender, Hebrews, Colossians)

Evenings with neighbors well spent enjoying friendship and celebrating Jesus' coming in a way I think, I hope, pleased Him.

Day after day of incredible, white, abundant much. beauty.

So many moments of joy and surrender culminated in this beauty of a month where we anticipated one day to remember that Jesus came to this earth for us.  This past year has been anything but what we thought it would be.  We started out last January beginning our journey to become foster parents and could only see one path of what lay in store for us.  Little did we know that 6 months later the Lord would give us someone we never thought possible. 

Someone we even thought for the first 5 or more months would go away like the 4 before her.  And yet, here we are today 8 weeks from anticipating delivering a fourth Schneider.......Unbelievable to me.  Still so unexpected and still humbling to see how God has been dealing with us during this past year.  He is God and we are not.  Period.

I think this picture was around 20 weeks?  Right about the time I realized that she might just be sticking around long enough for us to "have her."  Feeling her move and having the undeniable presence of her life in mine every day to be reminded that my God is God and I'm not.  To be reminded that He is good no matter what and that He loves so so deeply all the time.  To be challenged to trust Him with the unexpected.  To learn a glimmer of peace in His presence and not trying to figure out all the angles of what He is doing.  Just resting in Jesus because there is no better place to be than looking at Him and knowing Him more deeply.

A memorable quote I came upon while reading Brennan Manning's "All is Grace" this past year:

"...If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness.  If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices.  But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine.  It would be indecent of me to worry about that."  Something Brother Dominique Voillaume shared with the author. 

My eyes have been opened to not striving so hard to be useful for Jesus but instead to strive hard to be close to Jesus.  And He has delighted my soul in the outworking of this as my thoughts are more and more surrendered to Him and He has been ever so present in my life.

So while my now-public "to do" list sort of spilled out of my head as I sat down to write, I guess I just needed to "think out loud" to help me get where I had wanted to go for some time now.  The Lord has been doing so much in me this past year and especially with the unexpected pregnancy that I didn't know how to share without cheapening the beauty of what He is doing.

There are still fears of the worst that I have to see as quickly as I can and give them over to God so they don't take hold of me and steal the joy of this time.  So please do pray for my mind to not be pulled in those places.  Because even if He doesn't give what seems so likely, He is still good to me. 

These little treasures are growing like weeds!  This was the closest I came to get a holiday picture.  :)

Oscar is almost looking.  He's still an amateur when it comes to having his picture taken.  He just needs a few weeks with Aunt Jennifer and he'll be smiling for the camera like her dogs do!

Blurry, but such sweet happiness captured here.  She was reading a favorite part of this book to her Daddy.  So sweet.

Oh my joy...I set up camp here while the kids played in the snow last week.  Could stay here all day on days like this.

The power had gone out.  Michael and I previously had bemoaned our kids' new affection for Pokémon but I've come to appreciate that it's something they all enjoy doing together.

Everyone had their own headlights and life was good without power!
This young man shoveled the front drive way for me with his sister on the day we had the absolutely wettest snow.  I couldn't believe how hard they worked with how heavy the snow was.  I surprised them in their last couple of feet and told them to go inside and drink hot cocoa I had prepared and watch Wild Kratt's and was shocked at how heavy of work they had done.  I would have told them to stop sooner had I known!  He also wrote a very witty little poem recently.  Very creative and so much like his daddy in his introspective mind.  I love him.

And this young lady got her ears pierced a few days ago.   Daddy finally consented realizing he wasn't going to ruin the little girl within.  ;)  And let me tell you, she impresses me and surprises me with parts of her personality I would not have known otherwise.  She got to choose from about 40 different pairs of earrings, some were pink, flower shaped and even Frozen inspired and it took her all of 5 seconds to pick the teal blue pair.  She also did not back down despite our telling her that it was going to hurt and I honestly thought she would change her mind once she got in the store.  But she didn't.  And even in doing the ear care at home since then I have noticed her resolve with her decision.  She realized how long 6 weeks is when we marked the calendar for the date when she is allowed to change her earrings and her response was a confident, "Wow, that's a long time."  Exhale.  "I don't care though!"

 Maggie broke her shovel while shoveling the drive way the day I referred to earlier.  I think this was taken on that "wet snow" day.

I believe this is about 4 weeks after the first one I posted.  I love that scarf Jennifer!  So warm.

So there you have it!  Hope you have had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying a good start to your new year!  One of these years I'll do what I have dreamed up in my mind to replace the old fashioned Christmas card...  For now this blog will have to do.  :) 

All glory be to God!