Wednesday, March 26, 2014

That spoonful of sugar

Dancing Chimney Sweeps

Jumping into chalk drawings

Flying kites

Spoonfuls of sugar

A movie I enjoyed watching as a kid, Mary Poppins could be described as any of those things above.

A quirky woman comes to a house of two children who are in need of a fun nanny to spice things up.

That's probably how I would have described it to you.

I hadn't watched that movie in years.  Certainly not since I had my own children.

But the other night we watched it as a family (which was brought about after a discussion of "Let's go fly a kite!")

As I sat on the floor, snuggling Madeline in my lap, a new theme emerged.

And it was solidified in the closing scenes of the movie.  Bert put is best when he sang:

You've got to grind, grind, grind
At that grindstone
Though child'ood slips like sand through a sieve
And all too soon they've up grown
And then they've flown
And it's too late for you to give

Maybe I'm late to the party, but I hadn't caught that theme before now.  Maybe this being the first time I had watched it as a parent had something to do with it, too.

What I do know is that this classic has jumped to the top of my favorites list.  Right along with Princess Bride and While You Were Sleeping.

We can invest our time into a lot of things.  But at the end of the day, time invested into our children reaps greater rewards.

My world was calm, well ordered, exemplary
Then came this person, with chaos in her wake
And now my life's ambitions go with one fell blow
It's quite a bitter pill to take

This was said about Mary Poppins, but I think I could place my children into that role.

I like neat.

I like order.

But children rarely follow that pattern.

And that is OK.  Because someday they won't be around.  The little pictures won't be taped on the walls in random places.  The handprint smudges won't be on the mirrors.  I won't have cute little undies and socks to launder and fold.

A spoonful of sugar that is all it takes
It changes bread and water into tea and cakes
A spoonful of sugar goes a long, long way
'Ave yourself a 'ealthy 'elpin' ev'ry day 

And reminding myself of these fleeting years is a bit like that spoonful of sugar.

Because already I am past those sleepless nights of newborns.  Spit up.  Diapers.

But I am also past those days of babbling babies in cribs, sweet baby breath, and tiny toes.

There are beautiful things to capture in each stage of a child's life.

They just sometimes get lost in the shuffle of schedules, meal prep, and obligations.

So right now I want to savor the 4-year-old's princess drawings, the Kindergartener's love notes left on the bathroom mirror, and the 1st graders knock-knock jokes.

Because I don't want to miss that sand as it seeps through the sieve.  


Friday, March 21, 2014

Lifesong Mission Moment

14-03 MM email
"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."  Isaiah 58:10

The Forgotten Initiative, Lifesong's foster care ministry, exists to bring joy and purpose to local foster care communities through mentorship, service projects and family support organized by local TFI Advocates. With a holistic approach they reach out not only to foster children, but also agency workers, foster parents and vulnerable adults. Read along to learn more...

JOURNEY BAGS {For Children Entering Care}

The Forgotten Initiative (TFI) has many different ways to get involved. One is creating "Journey Bags" for local foster care agency to ultimately reach foster kids in your community.

What exactly is a Journey Bag? Children often come into foster care with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Journey Bags are backpacks filled with personal items for kids to have when they are abruptly taken out of their homes.

Listen in to the impact of Journey Bags...
"Last night at midnight, three precious little beauties showed up on my doorstep. They each had with them a blanket, a stuffed animal, and a book bag, their Journey Bags. I kept waiting for more, anything more, but nothing came. The investigator told me this was all they had. 
Our 5-year-old came with shoes so worn, they had to be thrown away. One of our two-year-olds had no shoes, the other had two left shoes. When I asked about getting anything out of the home, the investigator said it wasn't possible. The kids had nothing. There worldly possessions consisted of Journey Bags. As I stared at those bags, I began to cry. What if no one took the time to fill those bags and deliver them? What would our children have then? Absolutely nothing. Nothing to claim as their own, nothing to protect or cherish. Thank you for all you do. Thank you for my kiddos Journey Bags." 
--Heather, foster mom

PROJECT RENOVATE {Supporting Local Foster Families}

Go on a local "mission trip" with Project Renovate!

Often foster care families feel alone and overwhelmed. Spend a day reaching out to families in need while at the same time raising support for The Forgotten Initiative with projects like deep cleaning a home, landscaping or giving a room a makeover!

Check out this new promo video & see how you can get involved at

Join us this year for a Project Renovate in Central Illinois:

June 7th -- Clinton, IL
July 12th -- Creve Coeur, IL


Journey Bag Testimonial - Listen in as foster mom shares the impact the TFI Journey Bags had on her and her foster children. Watch Video

Showing Jesus to the Forgotten - Learn what it means to become a TFI Advocate for your local foster care community!  Read More

ReMoved - Originally created for the 168 Film Festival, ReMoved follows the emotional story through the eyes of a young girl taken from her home and placed into foster care. Watch Video

Coming This Spring...

Zambia Choir KidsCelebrate Life Tour - Featuring Cheri Keaggy & Zambian Children's Choir! This concert will be an excellent opportunity for the whole family to hear how they can help care for orphans and vulnerable children! Learn more about dates, locations & where to buy your tickets>>

Christian Alliance for Orphans CAFO2014 {May 1-2; CHICAGO} - CAFO2014 inspires and equips Christians to care for orphans with wisdom-guided love. Register today! Learn More & Register

Monday, March 17, 2014


After some permit hang-ups and a week long dry-out process...

  Water pipes have been relocated

 Drywall and ceiling have been put back up in both bathrooms, closets, and living room

Trim has been sorted, primed, and painted.

 The carpet pads have been replaced and carpet re-stretched in all three bedrooms

Waiting to see if the carpet cleaners can get the stains out!

We've come quite a distance from 7 weeks ago.

Praising the Lord who carried us, and continues to carry us, through.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Romans 12:3-8

Missed the former posts on this series?  Go here.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;  if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:3-8

I've said before how I love lists.  So, of course, this resonates with me.

For so long I feel like I have floundered trying to figure out exactly what my talent is.  What do I have to contribute to the body of Christ?

I know God doesn't create any of us to just fill up space.  We are all needed in some capacity, somewhere.

Don't let Satan tell you that you aren't needed in your community.  In your local body of believers.  I've believed that lie for too long.








I don't think this is an exhaustive list, there are many more God given gifts out there.

But imagine if all of these roles were filled by us?  How much more could we be glorifying and serving our Father?

How much more could we be accomplishing in His name? 

I think for several years I was trying to fit myself into a mold that I wasn't made to fit.  I was wanting one of the more "glamorous" gifts, but never feeling like it was quite right.

Time and experience has shown that I fit best in a servant role, and often times the mercy-giver.

Sometimes things call for me to be a Leader or Teacher or Encourager.  We may all have to fill a different role for a time.  But there are characteristics each of us were designed with, and we can bring God much praise when we fill that role we were called to do.

I have mentioned before the personality test that I took about a year ago.  Although it didn't tell me my God-given talents, it did help me understand myself better and help solidify the thought of what types of gifts God had entrusted to me.

I encourage you to go try it out for yourself.  See if you can pick out your gifts amid the explanation.  I would love to hear what you have found out about yourself.

Because, the truth is, God could do all of this work on His own.   He doesn't need any of us.

But He has chosen His church to carry His Name, His Truth to the world.  Shouldn't we all know how we can best do that?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Lookback

At the time, February seems to creep along.  Despite being the shortest month, it seems to have an extra week or two attached.

Maybe because there seemed to be a lot of waiting and hoping in February.  Waiting on insurance, hoping for a decent estimate, waiting on phone calls, hoping for warmer weather, waiting on snow to melt (still waiting on that one!), hoping for school to stay in session, waiting on construction to begin.

But waiting worketh patience, and I can only pray that it worked a little more patience into me.

"I am sure that God keeps no one waiting 
unless he sees that it is good 
for him to wait."- C.S. Lewis

 Tower building

While on duty, celebrating Maddie turning 4

 Then again with family while off duty.  Maddie requested a cake with a baby on it...

 When sweeping, one should wear high heels and a princess dress

 I've said it before, but this child should have an art studio all to herself for all the art she pumps out

 Celebrating January and February birthdays with the Steffens

 She lost her first tooth!  You can can hardly tell since the other one was already halfway in

February 26th marked the day of the start of reconstruction.  
Hoping and waiting on the progress...