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 Pok√©mon 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!


  1. Love it! So excited for you and your family.

  2. I bought the same scarf for myself. I'll wear it...someday! Cute pics.

  3. Love your blogs, this one was worth waiting for!

  4. How thankful I am for our precious daughter-in-law. Thank you for sharing your heart. Christine