Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Teaching Forgiveness

Hallie and Jacocb broke our laptop yesterday...Grrrr! They were fighting over whether it should be open or closed and managed to crack the screen. After a good talking to they each handed over their piggy banks, gave hugs, said they were sorry and asked for forgiveness from us and each other. Their consequence was no screen time (tv, movies, leapster, Wii, computer) for one week.

The problem is that I am inclined to keep bringing it up with them and in doing so make them feel guilty over and over again even though I said that I forgave them.

So, the lesson is really mine to learn. If I want my kids to understand what God's forgiveness looks like I need to cast their sin and rebellion as far as the east is from the west. They have to suffer a consequence, which happens to adults as well when we make poor choices, but God's forgiveness through His son Jesus is not about making me feel shamed or guilty. His Word says, "Therefore, now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ."

If I want my kids to fall in love with Jesus and have a greater understanding of how amazingly wonderful His forgiveness is then I need to let them see it in the way I forgive them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Day

One year ago today Ryan and I became the parents of Zachary Pavel Horner! The Lord placed the hope of him in our hearts long before that day, but he became ours to bring home and to have in our arms after a Russian judge approved our adoption request April 22, 2008.

Our year has been full of transition as we welcomed Zachary into our family and went from one-on-one parenting to "the zone." Zac had the greater challenge in learning to speak and understand a new language, learn how to give and receive love and affection, learn to feel comfortable and safe with us, his brother and sister, his bed, trying new foods and getting comfortable with grandparents, church and friends. Zac has done all this and more.

I hope that our adoption adventure and seeing Zac blossom over the last year will prompt others to consider and pray about adopting a child. He has blessed us eternally! To read our whole story go HERE.

Today we are celebrating that we are a family of five. To celebrate we are planning on a movie, dinner and digging in to our piggy banks to help another family raise money for their future adoption as a way to grow their family.

Here are some pictures you might enjoy of Zac's change over the past two years.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Fun Idea

I get almost all my ideas from some kind of Family magazine and then add my own twist. The latest idea has been a hit with my daughter, Hallie.

She and I have our very own private, girls only journal. Hallie is learning to read, write and express her thoughts. I often wonder what is going on in that head of hers and I thought a journal would provide a way for us to share our feelings and ideas while practicing reading and writing.

We have a special place where we each deliver the journal to one another once we have written an entry. We usually draw pictures and write a message. Hallie thinks the best part is that the boys CAN NOT ever look inside. It is just between the two of us!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Tonight we were watching the movie, Bolt. In it there is a scene where the cat, Mittens, is sad because her family abandoned her. In the same scene the dog is saying he wants to get back to his owner, Penny.

As the scene ended Zac says, "The cat wants her family and the dog wants his family. And, now I have my family," as he points to all of us sitting on the couch with him.

When he says stuff like that I wonder if he understands exactly what he is saying. What I do know is that my heart was blessed because I know that Zac knows he belongs and is a part of our family forever.

"For God chose us to be adopted as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ." Ephesians 1:5.

I know I belong and am a forever part of God's family too!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Update on Zachary

April 22 marks one year that we have been Zachary's parents (officially).  On this date in 2008 a Russian judge approved our adoption.  On the 23rd we picked Zachary up from a Russian orphanage in Siberia and brought him home to meet his family on April 30, 2008.

The changes in the past year have been huge!  He went from a quiet yet easily angered child that knew no English, would not allow others to comfort him and did not have well developed gross motor skills to an extremely affectionate, confident, acitve, articulate, loud, imaginative child that tackles any physical obstacle with fearless ambition and coordination and speaks English beautifully.  Having Zachary as our third child makes so much sense.  I never knew that the seed planted in my heart in college to adopt a child from Russia would see it's fulfillment in Zachary.  

Let me give you two examples from today to illustrate Zac.

The confident kid...
1.  We took the whole family up to school today to surprise Hallie at lunch time.  Afterwards the boys got to play with the kids on the playground for recess.  By the end of recess Zac was confidently leading about 15 kids around the playground as a lion.  He was not intimidated but rather enjoyed being in charge of the big kids.  

The affectionate kid...
2.  Tonight at bedtime Zac grabbed my cheeks so I would look him in the eyes and says, "Mommy, next time I will marry you and be your best friend forever."  This verbal affection was followed by a, "big, squeezy hug and smoochers" (Zac and my way of saying hugs and kisses).

I'll be sure to post more memories and pictures around the 22nd.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where are we going?

The main purpose of this blog is for me to have a place to journal how I see Jesus in my daily life as a mother. Today, my kids reminded me of something beautiful.

Children are so trusting. When I say, "Let's hop in the car guys we're leaving." They sometimes ask where we are going, but never hesitate to go right along. It might mean a mundane trip to the grocery store with a surprise treat when we get there, a trip to the park or we might be headed to church for a music rehearsal. Wherever we are going the kids know they need to obey and get in the car. They don't even understand how we, as the grown-ups, know how to get from point A to point B. The streets seem so confusing, but they trust that we will get there safely and on time.

This is the child like faith I need in my daily walk with Christ. He is unpredictable, but always faithful and definitely worth trusting. I may not understand where we are going or how He is going to get me there, but I certainly need to let Him take me along for the ride instead of trying to be the one in charge.

I have a song that explains the concept even better than I can. Does anyone know how I can add a song to this blog from my itunes?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Alive!

Today we celebrated JESUS because He is alive!  

This past Friday I was reminded of His sacrifice as I watched, The Passion of the Christ.  The brutal death that He endured was meant for me.  And not just for a day, but that kind of death was supposed to be mine eternally.  Why?  Because I sin.  He paid such an extreme price for me.  

Praise be to Jesus who overcame death and makes all things new.  Today was a joyous day of celebration.  A day meant for remembering that He is alive and now I have blessed assurance that I will be covered by His love and rest in His love for all eternity!  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bedtime talks with Jacob

So I am snuggling with Jacob before bed and he says,

"Mom, is God's mouth really big? My mouth is bigger than your mouth. I bet God's mouth is really big."

"I don't know how big God's mouth is Jake."

"Mom, what do you think God eats?"

"Hmmm, I'm not sure buddy." (I'm searching for some kind of an answer!)

"I think He eats big things like a crocodile. Good night, Mommy!"

"Good night, sweetheart."

Meaning behind this? I have no idea!

I will leave you with the video of Jacob's indoor obstacle course

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Break

I have been having a great time with the kids this week! Hallie is on Spring Break from school so all of us are hanging out together. We rediscovered the fun of our toy room, have been swimming together, reading lots of books, creating interesting games with our jumper in the basement and learning a new scripture to prepare our hearts for Easter Sunday (Hebrews 12:2). I will post some videos of my adorable kids for the remainder of this week so you can catch a glimpse of our fun!

This video is of Zac singing Karaoke. I much prefer his lyrics over the HSM song in the background..."I love my mommy, I love my mommy...You've got to move it, move it...giggle, giggle"

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shepard of My Heart

Once a month I find myself stewing in selfishness. My thoughts are swirling about how I was wronged, or not appropriately appreciated or made to do too much at home...blah, blah, blah...YUCK. After wallowing in the self pity I tend to get mad at myself and move on to guilt about how I am supposed to be thinking of others and that this is no way for a Christian to think. Most the time it stays in my head, which is a great place for my imagination to embellish my selfishness, but occasionally it spills over into my non-verbal and verbal communication to my kids and husband. It is a very yucky me and all to often I find myself repenting of this childish behavior. The frustration is when the same emotions and feelings recur EVERY MONTH at about the same time!

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:18b-19

Then my mind moves on to the question, "Why God, if you made me with a monthly hormonal cycle would you let me feel this way and deal with perpetual thoughts of selfishness every month? What do you want me to do about it?!"

Well, this month came an answer. Through a variety of ways God was teaching me about being humble. Humility and submission to Him releases me from selfishness and the never ending pursuit of perfection and appreciation. True humility is not temporary, it's being so satisfied with the approval and love from my heavenly Father that I don't need the approval of man (husband, parents, boss, kids, friends, church etc...). It's about boasting only in the Lord and not in my own strength or abilities.

This is what the LORD says:"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24

This type of humility isn't very natural for me and the only way for me to come close to this type of behavior AND mind set is to constantly fix my mind on Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

So, Jesus, as the Shepard of my heart, asks me and is helping me develop life-giving freedom through active submission and humility practice each month at a time when I don't feel like it. He cares so much about the condition of my heart, my marriage and my relationship with my kids that He invites me to actively commune with Him to sustain me and these precious relationships.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Heart Ache

Tonight my heart was aching a little bit.

Hallie has a very special "puppy, kitty and blanky" that she has slept with almost every night for the last four years. She has cried pitifully sad tears when they were temporarily lost or left behind at home on an overnight trip. Puppy's fur is matted down and his neck is limp from being held so tightly night after night.

As I handed Hallie her "puppy, kitty and blanky" tonight she said, "Mommy, sometimes when you get older you don't want to hold on to things at night. And, well, mommy, I'm getting older." Then she pushed puppy, kitty and blanky away.

I instantly felt my heart ache. It was aching for my little one to stay little and treasure the security and joy she gets from worn out stuffed animals and a homemade pink blanket.

Of course I know she won't be six forever and really wouldn't desire that for her or me, but seeing her grow up a little bit at a time still causes some heart ache. I think it stems from the fact that I know as she grows the tears for puppy will be replaced with tears for things that hurt so much deeper. I so want to guard her from those deep hurts.

I also know that her joys will also be more meaningful. I pray that as she grows up her greatest joy would come from getting to know Jesus and His teachings more intimately.

Hebrews 5:13-14 "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."