Friday, July 31, 2009

From the Inside Out

...I can't start my work day here until I get this off my chest! Wow-it has been a bit of a tumultuous week for me-emotionally speaking. I feel like this journey that God is taking us on stirs up waves of emotion. I recognize this as totally normal, as moving does this to people :)

I'm so encouraged by Katie's blog post today. She recently returned to Uganda, where she is a momma to 13 Ugandan children and is just 20 yrs old. She spend the past 5 or 6 weeks in the States and just before she left, she broke out with Shingles all over her body.

What challenges me today, is, when the going gets tough-really tough-am I going to collapse my tent and walk away? Or, will I recognize who is my Rock and keep moving forward?!

I choose to keep my tent up.

I have had moments where I have wigged out. I mean, wigged out! Don't ask my husband as he may come ask you if he can move in...(ha ha) as I've thought about all the barriers that are in our raising, selling our home (or, renting vs selling), our dog, our community that we love so much, transitions for our kids, etc.

(I know...barriers...pish posh....)

I do recognize that my God is much bigger than those barriers. In fact, He already has the plan laid out, we just need to trust Him. I need prayer in this area.

Hillsong has a semi-new song out right now and I just drink the lyrics when I listen to them. The song is titled "From the Inside Out"

Here are a few. I encourage you to listen to it-to meditate on it and make it become your prayer. It has helped me get through moments that seem impossible with this transition.

God wants us from the inside out. God wants our hearts to break for the things that break his....

Your will about all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing you praise

Your light will shine
will all else fades
Never ending
Your Glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart in my soul
Lord, I give you control
Consume me from
the inside out, Lord
Let justice and praise
become my embrace

To love you from the inside out

Thank YOU for the encouragement you have all been to our family in these early steps of this journey. Words cannnot express how precious you all have been.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

..Because I'm so laid back

I found these from reading one of my favorite blogs. I love lists...because I'm so laid back like that.

You know.


My husband loves my lists. Especially when I give him his.

...and what I love about these lists, is there is a variety of them. So I can categorize my lists under their own category. I can't wait to show these to my husband!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

where in the world is my creativity??


I am all better today. Thank you for asking. I can only think of what the other drivers were thinking as they looked over at me yesterday from this incident. I mean, what would I have thought if I would have seen a woman bleeding-driving erratically-calling frantically in the car speeding past me in a construction zone.

I do not speed.

It's been a great week so far marked by avoiding any incidents of Collin standing in the toilet, painting the cabinets with marker, lipstick, or whatever, kept the falls and bruises to a minimum. Ben has been our usual 3rd parent to Collin.

I've been really craving to get into my creative side. I love being a mom to my boys, a wife, and a Social Worker. There isn't a lot of time left in my day to do the things I really enjoy. Sound familiar? This weekend I am going to try to finish Ben's baby book through preschool, as this is an never-ending goal of mine, try to do some writing and do some projects with my boys. Baking to appease my husband...and continue to get our garage sale ready to go.

Blogging is soooo great for me, and I love reading yours. I am inspired by people's blogs I read. If you are a frequent reader, I am often curious as to where you are from and if you have a blog too! I love adding more blogs to my "must read" list I have running.

What are your plans this weekend?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A moving murder scene

So, being the foolish citizen I am, I have decided to take it upon myself and get poked with a needle twice a week to donate plasma...all for a little extra cash. You know, so I can go out to eat with my co workers if I want to, buy my favorite pair of jeans or, just have a little stash for a rainy day.

This has not been a pleasant experience and I highly doubt that I will be returning.

Take my morning, this morning, for example.

I stroll into the donation center at about 8am. All is well-my iron levels are good, I have drank plenty of water to make sure that all flows nicely.

I get poked, wrapped and I'm out the door in about 45 minutes with about $40 extra dollars in my pocket.

I am driving down the interstate to work and I feel a drip-drip-drip down my elbow into my parka I am wearing by the elbow of my right arm.

I pull up my sleeve and see that blood is seeping underneath my bandage. I put pressure on it to see if it helps. NOPE it makes it squirt-so now I have a pool of blood on my lap on my parka about to overflow onto my seat. Thank goodness I do not faint at the sight of blood, because I would have been in deep trouble.

I look like a moving murder scene. I am also going 60 mph in heavy morning traffic and approaching a slower speed as we are getting into a construction zone. Perfect.

So, I'm driving one-handed, calling my employer to get me a new shirt to wear, and stopping the flow of blood as best I can whilst keeping everyone else on the road safe. Sitcom episode in the making, I KNOW.

I pull into the parking lot, blood spills out of my lap as I get out of my car onto the pavement and I'm running into the building holding up my arm and putting pressure on it like any good EMT impersonator would (do I hear "RESCUE 911 music in the background??).

I get to the bathroom and clean up and stop the bleeding. All is well.

I'm clean.

Wondering if this mess was worth the $40 I was paid today.

I am not normal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a balloon for an orphan

I wanted to share a cool moment that happened with Ben last week.

There have been some tough days in our household-specifically with our oldest, son, Benjamin, as we have conversations with him about moving. He asks many appropriate questions about what our house will look like, who will his friends be, if they have football there and what will we eat.

Stemming from these conversations are great teaching moments for us. Teaching moments about how to be able to take the next step because we have faith. Teaching him what it means to solely lean on Jesus.

We often have discussions about how we can care for 'the orphan' in our own community. Ben knows what I do for a career here in North Dakota. He knows that I help kids find families that are safe until their parents get better and can take care of them again. Ben often asks how he can help too (which floors me, because what was I thinking about when I was 5 yrs old). Ben often asks what orphans look like, if they live close to us, how can he help.

A couple weeks ago, my employer held a foster parents picnic in a local park. My kiddos tagged along with me as my husband had to work late that night. Many children at the picnic were kids with special needs.

As a part of the picnic, we had a fabulous clown making crazy animals out of balloons. The balloons were heard deflating and popping as kids hit trees and grass. Ben became very upset as he was amongst these kids. He repeatedly wanted another balloon-and another. Finally, I told him enough was enough, and there were many other kids that wanted balloons still, and the one in his hand was it for the evening.

The popping of the balloons continued. Ben was able to control his balloon but saw another child accidentally pop his balloon and became upset. Ben ran over to him and gave the child his last balloon. Ben ran back to me and exclaimed "Mom! Mom! I helped an orphan! I gave him my balloon!"

I am so thankful. I truly see God preparing the hearts of my kids as we make this transition. Thank you Jesus. He IS faithful!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sunny Wednesday

I am sitting here at my desk at work, needing a break. So, here I am. I feel the Lord stirring in my heart and I feel restless. Do you ever have cravings just to be able to stop what you are doing and just sit with Him? I am so thankful that we serve a God where we CAN do that. No matter what we are doing, where we are, who we are with, we can be present with the Lord.

I was reading in my Bible the other day and came upon this verse that just met me where I was at. It is in Psalms 46:1-10

1 "God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

Does that incourage you like it does TJ and I? We have a God that has gone before us, has already laid our life out for us, and all we have to do is hold Jesus' hand and trust him.

There have been turbulent times for TJ and I as we pursue going to Kenya next Spring. We have had encouraging conversations and also some strange looks from others. Regardless, we know that it is not about us. Our life is about serving a God that is much bigger than our thoughts. It is about serving God in ways that take us out of our comfort zone. Frankly, I am feeling really uncomfortable, but at peace.

If you would like to be on our prayer team with us on this journey, please email us at our new email, specifically for this journey at

Have you taken steps of faith recently? If so, share! I LOVE stories about how God has proven Himself faithful, in the smallest moments in our relationships and in the biggest, aching moments in our life. Let us be an encouragement to eachother. How GREAT is our God!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mohawk Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.


Yes, I am that kind of Mom.....

My kids are always clean, and well-groomed,

Well-mannered and always properly clothed.

So there is absolutely no way that I shaved my boys' heads to give them mohawks.


...and most certainly of course, I would never let my boys leave the house looking like this.

Not me!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A fun poll

My type A son, Benjamin reminded me that earlier this summer I had told him that he could "of course" have a mohawk as soon as the wedding this summer was over. I had no intention of following through with this because a) i knew he would forget about it and ; b) why on earthy earth would I allow such a thing on my five yr old.

Well, guess what question I got today. Yup.

"Mommy, can I have my mohawk now???"

ArgHgHGHGHGH! I thought he'd forget.

Where would he get this idea? I'd love to tell you.

I am a frequent reader of MckMama's blog. If you haven't checked her out, then click on the Praying for Stellan badge on the right hand column of this page. Her young son, younger than mine us sporting a sa-weet mohawk and Benjamin caught wind of this earlier this summer.

Thanks MckMama.

What do you think? Should my sweet, rule-following, type A, son have a mohawk? Submit your answers to the poll on the top left of my blog!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Prayer chain...

"How did our family get into the whole 'Kenya thing?'" I'm glad you asked!

The story has a long history. Way, way, way back when I was little, my heart strings were always struck so hard when I saw the starving, big-bellied kids on the TV screen, crying, flies in the eyes, people begging to sponsor those kids. For some reason, it just stuck. I guess you can believe that that was the start of my passion to create awareness and bring change to other countries.

In high school, I had this desire to puruse a career in the adoption field. I specifically had an interest in International adoption. As I moved into college and worked towards becoming a Social Worker, I became more interested in Child Welfare issues such as adoption, foster care, trauma, attachment, etc. During the summers, I worked at group homes in Minneapolis and by "chance" I worked at the group homes with Kenyans, also on staff. It was then I began to learn about Kenyan culture.

I also, by "chance" took an Anthropology class during college, as part of my liberal arts requirement, and it also happened to be about Kenya. There I learned in more detail about the demographics of Kenya, more about the culture, language,etc. It was overwhelming.

My junior year of college, I googled "African orphanage volunteers". The results were overwhelming. Pages and pages of need were before my on my computer. I just had to go. One organization in particular, Homeless Children's International, caught my attention. Building relationships with kids on the street and bringing into HCI's program to be in school, stay connected with their families and know about the love that Jesus has for them.

I applied.

I was accepted.

I left. For three months.

Thankfully, at the last minute, a college friend of mine, Andy, asked if he could join me. In hindsight, this was one of the many ways I feel God put his hedge of protection around me that summer.

It was the best summer of my life. I rode public transportation with chickens and stranger's babies on my lap, I ate food that I had never experienced before, I shopped at local markets for food every day, I walked over a mile with children younger than 10 for water for the day. I nursed wounds and brought sick kids to the "hospital". I watched God's hand move in powerful ways. I saw joy in children's faces that had absolutely nothing.

I came home and was forever changed.

Then I met my husband!

My senior year of college, TJ and I started dating. It wasn't a healthy relationship to start. However, through God's grace, we fell in love and travelled to Kenya together the summer after I graduated from college-he had one more semester to go.

Together, we served with Homeless Children's International for 6 weeks. It changed our lives as a couple. We knew from that point on that we wanted to serve Kenya-from the US or in Africa.

Two children, a house, and a dog later, here we are.

Last fall, we travelled to Kitale, Kenya for 2 weeks. We met Bud and Kimberly Huffman. They started Mattaw Children's Village with the purpose to rescuse, rebuild and restore broken children who otherwise, have been left to die.

I cannot imagine the pain African mothers go through when they are left with a choice of which one of my children will eat today, and who will not.

Rocking babies that were abandoned by their mothers, thrown into pit latrines (public toilets), unwanted, or mothers who felt like they had no other choice rocked me to the core 9 months ago when we visited a baby rescue center in Kitale.

God wants us to be His hands and feet. It's not always easy, and not everyone is called to go and live in a 3rd world country. TJ and I would not be going unless we both felt like this was what we are called to do.

So, TJ and I wait. We are taking the next step to see where it leads. We sit in contentment knowing that God knows the path laid before us. If he calls us, then He, too, will prepare our children-which seems to be the most difficult dynamic at this time.

If you would like to be on our prayer team, please leave a comment with your email address or email us at We will send you updates via email of prayer requests as they come. Prayer is so important, as we know that without God, this isn't possible.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A milestone

Today, my son reached a milestone.

....and Collin was thrilled for his brother

I love my boys.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


As I type this, I have my two boys sleeping soundly in their beds and a quiet house. It's a perfect summer day today. Not humid, not too hot. Perfect. My favorite candle is burning next to me and Macy, our dog, is at my feet gawking up at me begging for a treat.

It's home.

We have decided that it is time to sell our house. Writing the words seems to easy. But, when it comes down to it, I honestly, have a tough time moving forward because there are just so many unknowns out there. As we've been mulling over this big decision, I've often though about "home" and what it means to us. I look around the house I live in and remember the day we moved in, the day Collin came home, painting, dressing up bedrooms. I remember our kids playing outside in the backyard in snowdrifts that often times swallowed them. I look over from my desk here and see the marks on the walls documenting how much the kids have grown each year.

I love our neighbors. I love the security of our neighborhood. We receive fresh, canned applesauce and jam and frozen hand-picked raspberries from "grandma berry" each year. I also get fresh bouquets of Lilacs and Tulips each year from the same grandma.

So, I sit here, at my computer, and try to digest where to begin? Step by step. Those words trot through my head often when I feel myself start to get overwhelmed. It truly feels like we are blind and completely moving forward not knowing what we are stepping into.

We are at peace.

Our first step is to go room by room and sort...."trash", "sell", "keep". We have told the boys to pick 10 toys to take with them when we move. Ugh, that was tough for them. I was surprised at the anticipation of where we are going that took over more than parting with their toys. Thank you Jesus.

I believe that we will make home "home" wherever we end up. We will meet wonderful, new people, and one day feel comfortable again. But, I'm human, and sometimes, I would rather someone else come over and do this because it hurts to think of leaving.

Have any of you moved? If so, please comment and give me some advice on where to start. How can I include my kids on this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Be Still and Know

Still -United Hillsong

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
within your mighty hand

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know his power
In quietness and trust

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Painting the dog, amongst other things

Aww...look at this face. Right? I mean, his curls, those big brown eyes.....

I've had a few posts recently about my youngest son, Collin, who just turned 3. I don't know if I've given you the full picture of his personality.

See, Collin was born and he was the easiest baby I could have asked for. A great eater, slept through the night early on, minimal sicknesses, and very content.

"who me?"

However, when Collin hit his 2nd birthday, it seemed as though God was stroking his beard from the heavens and hitthe switch.

Collin went from this quiet, laid back baby, to this airborne, zealous, inches-from-going-to-the-ER-at-all-times kind of kid.

In this week alone, I have had Collin

paint the dog

color our bathroom floor with my makeup

on our kitchen cabinets, drew with permanent marker

That's just one week.

Where did my sweet boy go?

There he is . . . love you buddy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jesus LOVES the little Children, ALL the children of the world

My friend, Donna, sent me this. Her organization has raise the funds already for his first surgery so he is even healthy enough to leave the country.

Please read the letter below and prayerfully consider helping. . every little bit helps!

Bring HOPE to Matthew!!!!

Dear Family and Friends,
We are the Mazur family and we would like to share with you about a little boy named Matthew who is 3 yrs old and is in desperate need of help. Matthew is severely malnourished, had a large umbilical hernia, as well as having some undiagnosed health issues in his back. Matthew lives in Liberia-West Africa.
Global Orphan Outreach ( was asked by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to work on obtaining a medical visa for him as well as a host family and that is where we come in. We have agreed to be Matthew’s host family in the USA while he receives his medical care. The Liberian government is willing to expedite Matthew’s case due to his dire needs.

We are excited to be able to serve in this way and can provide for Matthew’s care once he gets here but lack some of the immediate necessary funds for travel expenses. Won't you please help?

How can you help?

Please consider giving to Matthew’s fund today and help us bring Matthew here. Invest $10-$20!! This will go a long way in giving this special little boy the help and family he so needs right now. Your giving will truly change his life forever!
All money received will go to his travel expenses or medical care.
We are real people and if you have questions, you may contact us at the phone # or email below.

Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to:
Matthew’s Fund
C/O Global Orphan Outreach
P.O. Box 97
Ladysmith, Wi 54848
Or you can send funds by PayPal at this link:

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us -
Steve and Deb Mazur at (208) 647-0234 or Global Orphan Outreach at (715)-415-4401
Thank you!!
Steve and Deb Mazur

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July fun

I LOVE the 4th of July weekend. It's a time that we spend with family completely relaxing and it's unlikely that we have an agenda. Food is a requirement. This year, we stayed at home and enjoyed it with friends.

Here are some pics from our fantastic weekend.
First, we kicked off the weekend by, what early morning "Firecracker trot" at a local University (I bet you can't guess who's idea that was....)
I was MORE than happy to be the cheerleader
By boys and their medals. Future we come.
What is a 4th of July without fireworms. These were a hit with the kiddos.
Like Father, like son. Need I say anymore?
One of fireworks.

We ended the weekend with warm weather, without being swarmed by too many mosquitos, staying fire burn-free, and full tummies. I am thankful to live in such a country and community that these are the things I need to worry about at this time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Operation: Kenya

Wow wow wow! I MUST have tortured you long enough. I had no idea that my last post would create such mass chaos in my life.

Really, it is a big deal. We've been presented with many many different options in our lives recently and it has been a *tish* overwhelming, to say the least.

Anyways, yes, big news. But still unsure at this time. But, we would love to travel the journey with you, so I feel like I can be transparent, and I feel that the Lord leads in many ways, down many paths, that even if this didn't work out, we'd still be content and Praising the Lord.
So now, we sit. And wait. And have waited to say. . . . that we are prayerfully (and feeling a bit blind) stepping forward, holding Jesus' hand, as we make steps to move to Kenya with our family May 2010.

Last October we left not knowing God was going to use this trip in our lives the way He did. It was more than another "missions trip". It was a trip that rocked our very core. The stories we heard of the traumatized children that live in Uganda today have stayed with me to this day.

We can't go on doing nothing about it.

I will blog much more about how we got here, because it hasn't been an easy trip for us to get to this point. It hasn't been a smooth road, and it still, today, feels a little uneasy. But, to look into the faces of these children, knowing their history, and know ing that their lives would be so much different if Mattaw Children's Village did not come into their lives to share about Jesus and how sweet it is to know Him. To build relationships with these kids that God created in His image-to know Him and make Him known.

It is something that is hard to describe in words. It is something far too precious to ink when you see a fatherless child come and be filled with truth about what Jesus has done for them and that they are, in fact, loved by the greatest King we could ever know.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does NOT faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28-29.

So, one step at a time. Will you pray for us? We are looking into selling our home. Soon. We are beginning to feel small pangs of grief as we think about selling, downsizing, moving. Finding a home for our dog. Finding a temporary place to live until we move. All details we know God has already taken care of. God cares about the sparrows. He cares about us. How great is our God.