Saturday, April 30, 2011

Goodbye Winter. Hello Spring.

It was a quiet lazy spring evening tonight.

A little bit of this...

And a little bit of that.

Laughing and rolling around in the grass brought us all back in time a few years
to another lazy evening together on the front yard.  

They warm my heart and break it all at the same time.
  When did they grow up on me?
  Is there anything I can do to keep them little... a little longer?

No, there isn't. So we live it and love it, these growing up years.
We keep marching forward, relishing each precious gift of a day.

 But tonight, I linger between looking forward...
and looking back another front yard.

It happens every time the seasons change. 
And it's grief.  

Yes, grief. A little mini-grief cycle that must run it's quick course through my head and my heart.  Every single time the seasons change, it makes an appearance, like it or not. Once I recognize this seasonal guest, we exchange a few tears, share a few memories, and go our separate ways until the next season approaches.  

And so tonight,

as I relish the late evening sun

and giggles in the grass,

I not only happily say goodbye to winter,
I sadly say goodbye all over again to so very much more.

I know. 
It sounds serious.
Don't worry. It's all good. 
Good like the unpleasant dreary rain we've had all week 
that has now made the grass green and the buds ready to burst.

And after MY rain, I blossom in the assurance that
"Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not.
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be!"

Goodbye winter. 
Hello Spring.
Hello, strength for today 
and bright hope for tomorrow.
Hello, blessings all mine,
with ten thousand beside!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chapter Three - Mountain Moving

 As is often the case with adoption, my husband and I were not immediately on the same page. Adoption was a frequent topic of conversation, but Todd was just not quite ready to climb on board the adoption train.

I've been known to drag my husband along
on some pretty wild goose chases,
but this was a whole different ride.

We both needed assurance that this was  
God's plan, and not mine.

No pushing. No nagging. No convincing.

In other words...

In time, I began sensing more urgency to the tugging in my heart,
but I could not and would not move forward without my man.

We talked about the idea of attending some upcoming adoption events just to get educated on the subject.  But as the dates approached, Todd was clearly very busy and did not want to make work of going. 

My prayer journal reads, 
"There's a mountain
that is going to need moving if You want this to happen for us.  
I will trust You to do that, and to make the way clear if this is Your plan for us."

How long would we wait?

Four days. 
Yep. You heard me. 
Four days.
No, not forty. F-O-U-R. 
4 DAYS! 

Four days later,
out of the blue, Todd calls me from work.
  "I think we should go."

No pushing. No nagging. No convincing.
God opened Todd's heart and mind, not me.

God moved the mountain.

            But um...where exactly are we going???        

"Whether you turn to the right or turn to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
"This is the way: walk in it."  Isaiah 30:21

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Scrapbook Look at Yesterday

Pink bows and pretty dresses.

The annual "MOM! It's too cold to be out here!" after church picture.

Look how much they've grown!  Ahh...memories.

But what really makes the day fun?

The eating...

The dancing...

The hunting...

The talking...
The biking...

The walking...

The goofing...

The eggs???

No!  These eggs!

And we always miss you guys!

I love my family.

And it all started here.

One more thing.
We might be seeing some of you again soon--
Missing anything???

Thank you for the pictures everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen Indeed!

I serve a risen Savior,
He's in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He's always near.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Through all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

He lives, He lives, 
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

 ~Alfred Ackley, composer

Friday, April 22, 2011

I come.

Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidd'st me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt;
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive;
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Text: Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871
Music: William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868
Picture: Hanna

Please pass the tissues.

It was completely unexpected.
Not the right place.
 Not a good time.
I lost control.

While the rest of the crowded school gym bid on pies,
 raspberries, and exotic vacations,
   I cried and she listened.
She listened like I was the only one in the room.
That's what friends do.
We aren't afraid of a few tears.

Because we all have stories.
 Stories that make us weep
at unexpected times 
in unexpected places.

I'll admit, most days I wish I didn't have a story
 that still makes me cry after 20 years.

But it's part of who I am.

It's the story God gave me.

And it's nearly impossible to tell it without tears.

Maybe that's okay.
 Maybe even good.
God uses our tears.

"Frederick Buechner once said that it would help us all if we would keep track of the times and events in our lives that bring tears to our eyes... It may be at an unexpected time or place.  But, whenever you are stirred to such depths, these are times that God is at work in your life.  These are the emotional hot spots in our lives, when something breaks through the veneer of hardness in which we tend to entomb ourselves.  These occasions are like windows through which the light of God’s love gets in to us.  How quickly most of us close those windows of weeping for fear someone will see us when we are not in control!  But, when we slam those shutters back over the windows, we cut off God himself.  Check times and places where you weep, and you will see the places where God was getting through to you."          
                                                                                                                (Thomas Lane Butts, Jr.)* 

Go ahead,
tell someone your story.

Open up your windows.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice:
 Mourn with those who mourn."
 Romans 12:15

And please pass the tissues--
We've got some weeping to do!

"Jesus wept."
John 11:30

*Thank you to my Pastor for sharing the sermon quote. 
Hanna, these pictures are amazing. Thank you.
~For my CBS sisters

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


You can learn a lot by watching your children play.

If your lucky, you get a little window into their heart. 

Today was one of those days.

My 6 year old has always had a very expressive imagination

with all things pink, 



and plastic.

They truly come to life in her mind

and the rest of us get to enjoy the very dramatic dialog

At some point one of the characters will break forth in song.

Every. single. time.

It's priceless. Please remind me to get some video.

This play is a regular part of everyday life around here.

I don't always have my ears tuned in, but it's there.

Today I cannot resist as
the dramatic scene unfolds.

Apparently these girls have big dreams of being the

next American Barbie Idol.

They have been rehearsing ALL morning.

The friends are dressed in their glamorous runway fashions, 

 piled in their sleek blue convertible,

striking out to follow their dreams of making it big under the lights of the stage.

Suddenly the actions stops and I hear words that melt my mommy heart.

"Dear Lord,

please give us a safe trip to Hollywood.

Help us not to be shy...

and to do our best. "

There it is.

A window to her heart.

Opened wide.

In Josie's world,

Barbies pray.

They talk to God.

They seek His help in Hollywood.

And that, my friends, does a mommy's heart a world of good.

Photo credit goes to Hanna for the very first and very last shots. That first one is a forever favorite!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chapter Two - The Unsettling

In 2008 I started a brand new habit of waking up early
(before the kiddos) for devotions and prayer. 
Please don't paint some rosy picture 
of discipline, dedication, and desire.
Um, no.
It was more truthfully out of desperation and discontent.
I didn't know why, but I had an unsettled feeling about our life. 
I had no reason to be discontent. 
Happily married.

Four happy healthy kids.

Family. Friends. A home.

All our needs provided for.
So, it's not that my life wasn't wonderfully blessed. 
It was! Which only added to my confusion and guilt. 

Boy, did I wrestle.

The question?  What did God want for our life, because I sure wasn't sure about our plans

My prayer? Help us to want what You want.

Do you think 
it is some random coincidence
that the unsettling came
                               at the very
                    same time 
             our little boy 
   was being 
knit together
in his first 


"If you cling to your life, you will lose it: but if you give up your life for me, you will find it."  Matthew 10:39

Yep! Hanna's pictures. Well, unless she's in it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chapter One - Planting Seeds

"Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. 
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; 
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."
Psalm 40:5 

 In the upcoming weeks,

I will be chronicling our adoption journey here on Mathilda’s Garden. 

It is not going to be easy to put words to the wonders God has done.

I can’t tell you how many drafts I’ve deleted already. 

Yet, I want to shout from the mountain tops,

Look what God can do!” 

Taking into consideration that there are no real mountains in Michigan,

I will shout it from this blog!

Adoption has always been a part of God’s plan for our life. We just didn’t know it. But as we look back on the journey, we can clearly see that God’s hand was leading us, long before we even realized it. It is hard to say specifically how or when, but somehow along the way, God planted the seed in our hearts and it has taken time for it to grow and blossom.

I guess you could say that my seed sprouted before Todd’s. In 2007, I read an article in Lifeline, the adoption magazine of Bethany Christian Services.  The article was an interview with Steven Curtis Chapman about his adoption ministry.  I cut out parts of the article and saved them in a journal.  The following quotes are the words of Steven Chapman that God used to "water the seed."
“He (God) delights in doing things that we say are impossible.  Ours is to have the faith to take that first step.  If you start that journey and it isn’t completed the way you thought it would, God is still in that journey and will provide for you.  I would encourage people to step forward and see what God wants to do in their lives.”

“A good friend who runs an orphanage in China says, the one thing to never say when we are talking about anything God is involved in is, ‘Can I afford it?’ Our father owns everything.  When God puts a desire in our hearts, He will find a way.”

After reading this, my heart began wondering if God was calling.

Adoption became a regular part of my prayers. 

I was not at all certain this was God’s plan.

Circumstances and good old practical sense said it was impossible.

But I told Him,

“I’m available.”

Stayed tuned for Chapter Two - The Unsettling

Thanks to Hanna for the beautiful Lake Michigan photos.