We are in the final crunch time. Our sweet friends will be moving into our house this weekend. I should take a picture to show you how HORRIBLE it looks in here but I am just too tired to get up and do it.
The last ten days have been full of things I thought would never happen.
1. My older children went on a trip with their Grandparents for 7 whole days!
2. We sent off for our visas.
3. We said goodbye to our students and church family and to our dear friends who will be church planting in Vermont. (lots of tears. very sad.)
4. We took our babies to a Geneticist and found out they have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
I never thought my life would be like this. I have grieved this week for my children. The healthy ones, and the "special" ones. I have cried because I am not sure if I can be a good mother to my kids with their many different needs. Jeremy and I chose this life with open eyes. My babies did nothing wrong and yet they will be the ones living with the consequences of their mothers choices. I'm not mad at her... I have wept for her in all of this because she is so broken and sad too. My older kids will also be affected by this diagnosis. It is really scary not knowing what to expect.
I have cried for the loss of normalcy as we count down the days to Africa. While I was packing I came across a picture of my hair when it was cute and it made me cry. Ridiculous, I know, but here I sit ready to cry over it again. I hate change and I just want to stay comfortable!
But I can't.
God has called us on. We will be obedient. For no other reason than this. God has restored our life to us. Jeremy and I have made it through addiction, being a blended family, unemployment, success, and failure...all because of the grace of God. We gladly give Him our lives because He is the one who has helped us to really live.
He will take care of our children.
He will comfort us through these changes.
He will be enough for us.
He will meet our every need.
He will be Matty's father while we are gone.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Happy Fathers Day to my wonderful husband!
I am so blessed to have you as the father of my children. When we started our family so long ago we were just kids ourselves. There were many fights and lots of sleepless nights, but I never met a dad more devoted. You always worried about the babies getting enough physical touch. You made sure to rub their feet and massage their little bodies. You talked to them and held them close. It was amazing to see you as their dad when I had known you as such an obnoxious teenager.
When we decided to do foster care and to adopt I was again amazed as so many other husbands would not rise up to such a challenge. But after only one meeting you were committed. Through all of the hard times, and times were pretty hard, you loved our kids and never held back your love from them. You were a constant in their very inconsistent lives. I will never forget sitting in the courtroom as the judge terminated rights to 4 punitive fathers for one of our children and I cried so hard. I was so grateful that this child would have a father, a loving father who would fight for them and never leave them. You have changed the course of their life because you are willing to do what their own biological fathers wouldn't or couldn't. Thanks for loving our kids.
P.J., Pastor Jeremy, Dude. There are many kids who have no other positive male role model. I am constantly amazed at you as pastor. The way you love your students is incredible. Dropping off Popsicles for sad kids, rejoicing in the victories of others, you have made your place forever in their hearts. As we move on from this position I know God will bring a new pastor for your students but they will always be a part of our extended family. You have done a great job teaching them about their Heavenly Father and that will stick with them long after we are gone.
I LOVE that you are crazy and funny and thoughtful and compassionate. Thanks for being such a great dad to so many kids. Thanks for never quitting. Thanks for sticking around to be my baby daddy. I love you.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
(sung to the tune of Changes by Black Sabbath)
I don't really like change.
I am totally a creature of habit.
I have been drinking iced venti Americano's since before my children where born. My kids can all order my drink perfectly and many times they do! When there are too many little ones to take out of the car for my fix I send in a big kid.
I use the same brand of makeup from the grocery store that I have used for 8 years.
I have had the same favorite color since the 2nd grade.(Blue)
I am just that way. I like that some things never change. I love having a history with the people at my church. I love running into people at the store even when I have on my ugly clothes and no makeup. I love that my kids go to my old elementary school. I especially love not having to explain myself when I have a freak out because my friends know I will be back from crazy town soon.
I am going to miss my life terribly.
I am so busy lately and I hate it because I don't want to miss one opportunity to drink coffee with a friend, or have a lingering phone conversation. I hated missing church when we were out of town last weekend because I wasn't there to sing with the praise band. I am so frustrated that I have to spend three days next week in a doctors office instead of watching my kids play with their friends at the water park. I want to savor every moment I have left of this chapter in my life.
I am fighting off depression as I am trying to embrace the changes.
I am working hard at using my tools that God has given me through Celebrate Recovery and counseling. I usually just shut people out so leaving doesn't hurt so bad. But I don't want to regret those lost moments. So I am feeling my feelings, as ugly as they are. Surprisingly there are many good feelings too. I am honestly very excited for our new adventure. It is amazing to see the ways God is providing for us, and pouring His love out on us. We are incredibly blessed by our Father. That will be another post, I promise. But change is always hard on me.
I am comforted by the fact that my Jesus felt loss. He understands us little humans. As a man, He felt all of what we feel.
I am so grateful that I can come BOLDLY to His throne of grace.
And Grace is what He is giving me everyday. Perfect grace to finish up this moving process, to get through all the paperwork and red tape that it takes to leave the country. Grace to help my children as they struggle with the change that is here. Thank you friends for praying for us. Thank you for all of your support and love.
Oh, I almost forgot...
I wrote this blog tonight because Jeremy has almost finished our website. It is beautiful and amazing. Actually he is beautiful and amazing! Jeremy has been working really hard at organizing everything and it should be up and running very soon. All of the blogging from now on will be there. I really needed to write a final blog from dangthatsalotofkids before it is another thing that is gone. Did I mention I hate change?
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Things have been super stressful over here at the Howard house. I would normally use this blog to get things off my chest or preach a sermon, but quite frankly I am tired of hearing myself complain.
Here is a trick I learned when going through the twelve steps...It helps me to focus on the good instead of the bad. I am hoping you will all comment with your own version. It is amazing to me how encouraged I feel when people share with me the things God is doing.
My Gratitude List:
1.jeremy howard...the most amazing and wonderful husband. thank you God for jeremy!
2.the shot clinic is opening up an extra day just to immunize my family.
3.my friend let me wash clothes at her house and I got a weeks worth of laundry done and read like 6 magazines :)
4.another friend from nor cal paid us a visit. gave us wonderful encouragement,books, and a financial blessing...THANK YOU!
5.the plane tickets are paid for.
6.we get to visit D.C. and stay with a childhood friend and meet her sweet family.
7.my kids are done with school.
8.i have the most amazing friends.
9.our passports arrived in three weeks
10.God sold our van! it is an amazing story, trust me...i will write about it later.
11.my precious fried took our family pictures and did the graphics for our magnets that we will be mailing out next week.
12.the 'h' family. praying and fasting for us.your support and encouragement is overwhelming!thank you thank you thank you.
13.for my church
14.dmv friends...wow.i hope you are reading this! i cant wait to tell you how many kids will be fed from your donation.
15.GOD. i am so grateful for your tender loving kindness. Your ways that are so much higher than mine. Your perfect plan. redemption- mercy- healing- favor- all for me. a sinner.
See. It totally works. I am already feeling better.
Maybe I will actually get some sleep tonight :)
Friday, June 4, 2010
Things are starting to come together. We have received all of our passports, paid for our tickets, gotten all but one shot, and are continuing to garage sale. Jeremy has been working like a dog to get all of the 501c3 paperwork done and everything that goes along with that side of things. We wrote a letter that will be going out to our friends and family and nearly killed each other in the process. We are both passionate and opinionated...We work much better together when I am in charge! LOL
I am not sure if I have shared this before and I am too tired to read back through my blog posts to find out so if you have heard this before sorry.
Sammy is our 3 year old. He is quite a handful. He was a quiet baby who never cried even when he had pneumonia and had to be poked and prodded and x-rayed. I guess neglect can do that to a kid. When nobody responds to your cries you just quit crying. When we got Sam he was 5 months old. I was sure that love and stability would remedy all of his problems. As he has gotten older I have realized how naive that thinking is. Samson is facing some "issues" due to his genetics and drug and alcohol exposure in utero. Combine that with a household of nine and you have one crazy momma. Things have been a bit difficult for me the last couple of weeks. And you know the saying, "When momma's not happy ain't no one happy." Please keep us in your prayers. We have some traveling coming up and it is hard to have change in routine and structure. Please pray that God will give me the grace I need to care for my sweet boy. He is so smart and funny. He has some concerns when it comes to moving to Africa. He told me the other day...."Mommy, I don't want to move to Afreeeka!Those people with the black faces, they scare me!" So of course I responded with... God made us all different on the outside but on the inside we are all the same. I assured him that African people are just like us, they like to sing and play and worship Jesus. But by the end of my multicultural teaching he was off chasing the wind. His latest thing is telling everyone in Africa he will play in the back yard with Tigers and Hippos. I love my boy. I am so grateful God put him in our family.