Waiting

I am not a patient person. I hate waiting. I hate waiting in traffic, grip at the doctor’s office, for things to happen MY WAY and in MY TIMING. And I guess that’s pretty normal.

Today was supposed to be ADOPTION DAY! We’ve been waiting for months to finalize Baby Girl’s adoption and introduce her to the world as a Valley. But instead we get to wait another six weeks.

Last week, DCFS decided that they needed to run a Maryland background check on me first since I lived there in the last seven years. Of course, it didn’t come back in time, so that’s the reason for the delay. So we wait…

Surprisingly, I’m taking it quite well. I know that God’s timing is PERFECT. He was not caught off guard by this delay. And He was a beautiful story for our family, and Baby Girl is a big part of it.

So hold on a little longer, World. I’ll introduce Baby Girl (and reveal her new NAME) to you later this summer.

* Swimsuit by Kate Mack.

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Silent Prayer Retreat

photo 1(47)Let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.

Last weekend I attended a silent prayer retreat at a camp between Little Rock and Hot Springs with about 25 ladies from my church. The overnight retreat was led by my sister-in-law, contagion Ines McBryde. On Friday night, Ines led us in a discussion of Mark 5: 21-43. Themes that emerged were desperation, waiting, faith, healing, and affection. Through these verses, I realized that God will purposely send people across my path, and even if it appears that those people are distractions or road blocks, they are placed there for a reason. Their healing may come along our journey. Or my healing may come from my interaction with them.

photo 3(35)We woke Saturday morning in silence. After breakfast (in silence), we mediated on John 10:

“he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

God’s voice is not one of condemnation. God’s voice brings hope and life; it will lift you up.

photo 1(46)God answers.
Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Isaiah 58:9

God comforts.
I, yes I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Isaiah 51:12

photo 2(45)God guides.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Psalm 73:24

God hears.
For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people. Psalm 69:33

photo 4(29)God cares.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

God helps.
The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. Psalm 37:40

photo 2(46)God knows.
Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:8

photo 3(36)Here’s what God revealed to me that day:

I got this, Stacey. Stop worrying.

Keep your focus on me.

Love on your family, Stacey. That is your job. The rewards are much more than money. I will provide.

I will not fail you. I am watching over you and your family.

Look at how I’ve kept my promises to you in the past. I am the same God today. You can continue to trust me.

photo 4(28)He kissed me with the sun and caressed me with the wind.

We broke our silence at noon with a delicious lunch, then spent a couple of hours sharing nuggets of truth from the morning before retuning home. It was a precious time of reflection and rejuvenation.

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Answering the Call

Last night my husband and I attended The CALL informational meeting. The CALL stands for Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime, malady and they are mobiliadoptionzing Christian families to foster and adopt children from the Arkansas foster care system. I went through their training back in 2008 which led to this precious baby being placed in my home that I later adopted. She’s five now and the light of my life.

I thought I was done. I mean, sickness I’m no spring chicken. Friends my age have kids in college, recipe not in diapers. But that’s what’s cool about a calling — it often goes against the grain, against what is “normal.” God is in control, and He has a sense of humor. And He has placed a desire within Anthony and me to welcome another child into our home. I’m scared. I feel ill-equipped. But that’s where FAITH gets to shine — in those steps along a dim path of the unknown.

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The day the five of us got married

This morning before my feet hit the ground, website Anthony and I were joined by our four year old, our 10 year old, our 14 year old and our dog in the bed for some Saturday morning snuggles. Luckily we have a king size bed!

It got me thinking to just over six months ago when Anthony and I got married. Not only were we joining our lives together as husband and wife, but we were joining our daughters together with us. (I brought one kid to the marriage; Anthony brought two.)

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Little M took the vows very seriously. You can see from the wedding photos how intently she listened to every word. She and I had prayed for over a year that God would bring us a wonderful husband/daddy, and she knew that God had answered our prayers in Anthony.

Beautiful Mess

2013-08-24 16.10.51 Today my family and I have been running in different directions. This morning I was at the gym. They went to the farmer’s market. Then I collapsed in my bed from said gym experience. They were kind and let me have an hour nap while they played downstairs. Then this afternoon, pancreatitis I had a baby shower to go to, allergy and they are running errands. I have said it before — my husband is really AWESOME. I just got home from the baby shower, prosthesis and they are still out. The house is quiet — just me and the dog. 1-2013-08-16 08.12.52And I see cups on the counter, toys on the coffee table, guitars on the floor — all little reminders of my wonderful family and how blessed we are. The old me would have just seen a mess, but this new me, the me that’s really trying to live in the moment and be grateful for the little things, sees a beautiful mess. It’s a mess of reminders of how God has blessed me with a loving man who adores me and three smart and funny daughters who continue to amaze me every day and a snuggley old dog who has been by my side through good times and bad over 14 years. I am one lucky girl.

First Father’s Day with a Daddy

This time last year, about it M’s daycare teacher’s were sweet trying to include her in the week’s art projects and card making geared toward dads, and they let me come to the daycare’s Father’s Day party. See I adopted M as a single mom, so M didn’t have a dad. I was it. And we were getting by pretty nicely. But I knew she longed for a daddy. She saw the other kids at school and her friends at church with their dads. She’s a smart cookie — she knew something was missing. So we started praying during bedtime prayers for God to send M a daddy. She was very intent in her prayers. We prayed for a Godly man who was kind, loving, a good provider — someone who would love M as his own and be a wonderful husband to me as well. (And my addition was that this man would pursue us — it wouldn’t be anything that I manipulated or concocted — that is was God ordained.) We prayed this same prayer many times over. Then months and months pass. And our prayer was answered to a tee. Anthony came along. He pursued our friendship then my courtship. It is truly a God thing how we met, fell in love and married. And M is so happy. She loves having a daddy. And what a great daddy she has too! Yes, an aswer to prayers.

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Prayers answered

LORD my God, cialis 40mg I called to you for help, and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

My sweet husband reached out to his men’s ministry guys to pray for me today during my appointment with the urologist. Let me tell you what — those men can pray! Friday I was told I’d need surgery to correct a prolapsed bladder. Today, I’m told it’s not necessary — at least at this time. I’m so happy! God is so good.

Thank you to Anthony and all the MOO men that prayed today. Love you guys!

God-Sized Dreams

This morning at Fellowship North, phlebologist one of our pastors Taido Chino shared about the big dream that God placed in his heart more than 10 years ago — pursuing a PhD in Theology. He announced that after overcoming a series of obstacles and getting several confirmations from various people, more info he and his family will be moving to Scotland in a few months to attend one of the top theology schools on the planet. He challenged us all with: How Big A Dream Can You Dream?

I’ve had the privilege to visit Italy three times. The first time in 1989 when I spent a semester of my junior year of college at the University of Amsterdam. I took the train down to Florence, cialis 40mg Italy, to spend a few days with a friend of my father’s during my spring break.

The second time was a magical week in 1999 for my cousin Amy’s beautiful wedding in Civita di Bagnoregio in the Umbria region. During that week, I also traveled to Rome, Pisa and Florence. That week still stands as one of the best of my life. Bagnoregio

Then the last trip I made to Italy was in April 2012 (see previous blog post) with my sweet daughter M. During those ten days, we spent time in Venice, Levanto, the Cinque Terre, Lucca, Ghivizzano, and others. Again, another amazing vacation.

Something extraordinary happens to me in Italy. First the days seem to last for 48 hours — seriously time moves at half-time. I am so at ease there. I enjoy fumbling my way through the language and getting lost along the narrow roadways. My goal in each little town I visit is to find out where the locals go for pizza. Forget the tourist trap restaurants — give me the 5 Euro pizza that tastes like heaven. The people of Italy are friendly and treasure family. They enjoy an after-dinner stroll through town — seriously everyone gets out for a walk at night. It’s divine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo needless to say, my God-sized dream is to one day live in Italy. I had a plan in place to retire from the Public Health Service about the same time M graduates high school, sell everything and move over there. But then that plan blew up when I decided to separate from the service and move back to Arkansas to be with my mom following her heart surgery. But I know God has a better plan. I married Anthony, and we have a lovely life together. But that desire for Italy is still there. I shared it with Anthony this morning at church, and (poor guy) I’ve been talking about it all day today.

I’m going to drop it for now — mostly cause I know that God won’t forget and that he has an awesome plan for Anthony and me together. Who knows — it may just include living among Italians, eating pizza, and taking evening strolls for a gelato.