Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Official... Sort of...

After months of prayer and budget spreadsheets, I have definitely decided that I will be leaving my current place of employment. I spoke with my director about my decision and we made an agreement in which I would stay until my 20 year anniversary, which is the middle of July, 2011.

Why would I agree to such a far out time? Why would my director even consider that? The answer is the same to both questions. We have a huge list of objectives to accomplish before he retires late next year, as do I and we want to see them through. He wants me to make sure that I have finished what I was forced to start with the outsourcing bid. He also wants to make sure that my successor is able to take up some of the vacuum that will be there when I leave. The management team knows what our plans are, but my employees do not (with the exception of my successor).

So, what next you may ask? I plan to be a stay at home, at least part-time. I will still need to bring in some sort of income to help cover the shortfall that we need for medical insurance premiums and if we want to have any extras. I've had several ideas come to mind, but my desire is to stay at home as much as possible and not have to work outside the home again. So, now I'm praying for whatever God has planned for this future step that we are taking.

On another note...

We may be having a wedding next summer, right after I leave my job. A little bird told me that a engagement announcement should be forthcoming in the next few weeks...

Stayed tuned for future developments.

Still out of the boat

It's been four weeks since I shared that we were stepping out on faith and going through some struggles. It was very rough waters at first and then things settled down for awhile and then the waves got really bad these past few days. I was ready to get back into the boat and go back to where we had come from. I was at my limit.

During one particular evening, I was able to reach out to one of our pastors for assistance. Although we weren't having a face to face conversation (we were "chatting" online as Mark was very ill and asleep and I didn't want to disturb him), I'm confident that he knew that I was very upset and that the tears were freely flowing. I felt guilty for being scared, but I just wasn't able to get past it. He was able to comfort me and encourage me and remind me that he was praying for protection for my family and myself and that it would be alright, no matter what. Although I knew that in my head, it just wasn't getting through the fear to my heart. We ended the conversation when I was in a better spot (I had no doubt that he would not let off the hook and let me get back into the boat!).

Things are still very rough. We have a lot of things to work through. Mark and I both need to continue to seek additional encouragement and support from our pastors to get through this. We have been fearful of some things and those things are present, and we aren't able to get through them by ourselves. So thankful that God has placed such wonderful pastors in our lives! Thank you Dr. Clavell, Rev. Medrano and Pastor Joe!

We continue to press on, knowing that God has a plan for us and that we will be okay at the end of this particular journey. I double checked my scriptures and nowhere does it say that it would be easy (as much as I would prefer it to be). As my former junior high youth leader said a few days ago "I have a love/hate relationship with God's many lessons in my life". I agree Steve!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Onto the Crashing Waves We Go

There are times when God decides that it is time for us (Mark and I) to put our money where our mouth is. Time to really show Him and the world that we do trust Him with everything in our lives. That time is now for us. And it is NOT comfortable. In this particular situation in which we are going through, we are obedient followers (not willing followers) and we know that this will take months for us to complete this journey.

We are officially out of the boat, walking on water towards Him. The waves of doubt, fear and trepidation are all around us. Every now and then we get hit really hard with one of these waves and get knocked over. We struggle to get up and sometimes we fail to get up successfully in a rapid manner. We feel the prayer of others cheering us on. We are very wet and sometimes very cold. At times, we are walking on the water hand in hand. But after a wave knocks one or both of us down, it is a struggle to find each other, pull ourselves up and continue hand in hand. We have forgotten more than once to look for God’s hand to pull us up. We have also forgotten to look at Him and have started to sink. But thankfully, the reminder cheers and guidance of our spiritual advisors and prayer warriors show us the way to His hands.

As we take this journey across the water, we are relying on our faith to get us through. The spiritual attacks to us individually and as a couple are very difficult battles. These attacks at times also include our children. The more we journey, the worse it gets. Satan does not want us to be successful in our journey and is making it very difficult for us. We are already exhausted from the battles, but we press on. We seek God’s will in this journey, obedient to His direction.

While we desire to be transparent in our lives, this journey is one that requires us to walk obediently, with our mouths crying out only to God and to our spiritual advisors. We may withdraw at times from our normal routines in an attempt to protect others from the residual damage of being under attack or our weary state. We have a common goal; we will NOT allow Satan to use us or defeat us.

If you are currently out of the boat, here are some things that we have found to help us stay focused on Him:

1. Be VERY purposeful in your daily quiet time. Do not allow anything to interfere with it.
2. Pray without ceasing. In our busy lives, it is difficult to stay focused on having a prayer-filled life. Yet, God gives us so many opportunities to pray, even if just for a short moment. Below are just some small examples of these opportunities
a. When you wash your hands (this will also ensure that you are washing sufficiently to prevent illness)
b. When you are gathering everything you need to start you day (when I’m walking out to my car and putting my son and briefcase in it)
c. Walking from one place to another
d. Before you eat (and not the Thank you for this food prayer)
e. When you’re fixing a meal
3. Pick a verse that you may have already memorized or is easily memorized that helps you remember that you are not it in alone that you can recite when needed (Psalm 23 and Jeremiah 29:11-13 are mine).
4. Confide in your spiritual advisor about your struggles; be specific with areas in which you are in need of encouragement/prayer.
5. Enlist prayer warriors to pray for you (we have huge group of warriors! Thank you!)
6. Find an inspiring song, one that reminds you of God’s greatness that you can play or remember when you are discouraged; our current one is Our God by Chris Tomlin – “If our God is for us, then who can stand against? Our God is greater, our God is stronger…”

God is definitely growing us through our journey and while it is painful and exhausting, we know that as long as we seek Him, He’s got us covered. He has no desire to see us harmed, but we will suffer the consequences if we choose to not follow Him. We choose to follow Him.

We are thankful for our spiritual advisors who are doing everything that they can to help us with our battle armor and for going into battle with us at times. We are also thankful for our prayer warriors, and while they do not know our specific circumstances, they are praying for us.

We look forward to the results of this journey. There is no turning back and our eyes remain focused on prize; Him.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Transparency --> Trusting God

Many years, a dear friend challenged me out of my comfort zone. We were in the beginning stages of building what would become an awesome friendship when she presented the challenge. Allow others to get to know me. Yikes! I thought that I was fairly easy to get to know. I found out otherwise from her. It was at that moment that I realized that not only was I shy, but also private. I realize that I could share how wonderful God was and all the things that He was to me if I wasn't willing to be transparent with others?

So, I began to take baby steps towards transparency. Over the years, it has gotten a little easier. As sinners, we are full of pride and it is difficult to show others all of our faults. I am definitely not a perfect person, but I do struggle (even now) with letting others know my faults. God knows them all and there are a lot of them. I have discovered over time that there are a lot of people out there just like me (they have faults too!).

Through my being transparent in several areas of my life, I have had the privilege of sharing with others what God has done in my life. Both Mark and I have made our struggle with infertility very public, as well as our struggles and triumphs in building the family that God has desired for us. In more private arenas, we share our struggles and triumphs as a married couple. (Whoever thinks that marriage doesn't take work, will be in for a rude awakening when they realize the exact opposite). God has truly done miraculous things in my life. He gives me strength when I just feel like I can't take it any more (life can be slightly stressful at times). He reminds me of His expectations for me (Proverbs 31). He shows me what I Corinthians 13 really means through His word and in other Christians, my brothers and sisters in Christ. As I said in an earlier post, He keeps me safe.

Now, more recently, through this blogs, I attempt to be transparent with those of you who are reading them. It is not my desire to gain any attention to our family, our struggles or anything else. It is just a desire to be transparent and to share with you what God is doing in my life and my family's. It is my desire through my transparency to demonstrate God's love and His unfailing love for us, as well as provide encouragement to you. Remember, God is good. All the time!

Friday, October 22, 2010

God's plan, not always ours

Today was the "red file staffing" with CPS in which they picked a forever family for a 21 month old little boy from three potential families. We were one of those potential families. We were not picked to be his forever family.

When I received the call from our adoption agency this afternoon that a decision had been made and that it wasn't us, I pouted. I pouted for about ten seconds. I called Mark and let him know and he asked me if I was okay and I said "No". I said "No" because I was mystified at my reaction. I wasn't sad or relieved. I just was. Then it hit me. Nothing had changed within me. I was at peace. I thought yesterday that today I would be anxious about the meeting, but I went about my day, watching Suzy get her honor roll certificate and perfect attendance certificate, holding a meeting with my hopefully future replacement (a topic for another blog later on this weekend, I think), solving work problems, etc. without feeling any anxiety. I was simply relying on God, knowing that His will would be done in this situation.

So, this little boy wasn't the next new Eley. The CPS case worker who held this meeting told our adoption agency that she really liked our family and that she may have a potential match for us in another case. Hmmm. I told the adoption agency to just continue as always and if they heard of any other children that they think would be a good fit for our family to let us know. So, we wait. Praising and serving Him.

I asked Mark a few minutes ago what he thought about my reaction to the news today, or my lack thereof. He remarked that it was very telling, that obviously I was trusting God that this was the right decision.I have been a Christian for most of my life and it saddens me to say this, but I feel like I am now just beginning to get it what it really means to rely on God for my every need and even my desires. I pray that I do not forget this. King David reminds us of God's protector over us and the comfort He provides us in Psalm 23. I cling to these words, especially on days like today.

Right now, my house is full of children, only 4 out of the 6 are mine. There is lots of laughter, giggling, squealing, along with some snoring from a stuffy nosed 4 year old. Music to my ears. God is good. All the time!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's the little things = making the difference

There are times when, as fost-adopt parents, we wonder if we are really having a positive impact on our children. They sometimes fight us every step of the way. But then, we get a glimpse of affirmation. It may be a little thing, but we recognize it and we grab it and display it so that they can realize it too.

We are so proud! Congratulations to Jessica for getting her learner's permit! So proud of Suzy for making honor roll for the first time! And to the child who is currently suffering from "good child sickness" (her quote)' well' mom and dad hope you suffer from this the rest of your teen years!

God is so faithful!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When is enough, enough?

It was brought to our attention this week that as a couple, we look absolutely crazy at times to the outside world. We thought that everyone in our lives knew that we were still licensed for foster care and available as a home for children needing a home. So, when we announced last week that we were being considered as potential parents for a little boy, they were shocked. So, to all those that we shocked, it was not our intent.

As a couple, we feel that God has placed a desire in our hearts to take kids out of the foster care and help them live up to their full potential. We desire to give them all of the skills that they need to be successful life. We desire to raise them according to God's instructions and pray that they choose to live life according to the scriptures. It is ultimately their choice when they reach adulthood as to whether they choose to remain a part of our family, or find their biological family members and return to them.

The question was asked, isn't four children enough? The answer to this we leave up to God.

We had prayed long and hard for a few months after TJ's adoption was final, as we knew that our foster care license expires in November, 2010, as to whether or not we were going to let it lapse or renew it. We were inactive at the adoption agency from the time of TJ's placement until August (once a child is placed for adoption, you are no longer active for new placements, until the adoption of that placement is final and you then state that you are willing to take a new placement), which is when we decided to go ahead and apply for a renewal and activate our current open beds (we are licensed for 2 children, 1 boy and 1 girl, ages 0-10). We have an empty bed in TJ's room and one in Jessica' room.

One major consideration is the amount of time that TJ's behavioral issues take. He currently receives in-home therapy. We recently had a horrible episode with him that was attributed to a medication change. He is currently stable and has been released for the next three months from the psychiatrist, unless he has another manic episode. This is a huge blessing.

To be perfectly transparent, we had not thought about our next placement once we had activated our beds. We know that it is in God's hands and we continue to live, one day at a time (our motto). We know that since we already have four children, depending on the CPS case manager, we may never be picked again to have another placement. Our adoption agency can advocate for us, but they have really don't have any pull. It is really out of ours and the adoption agency's hand. So we know that it is in God's hands.

(Just a side note - every other time that we have been picked as a potential placement for a child(ren), we speak with our current children to see what concerns that they would have. That is definitely one thing with our children - they do NOT say what we want to hear. They are very vocal about their (dis)satisfaction with us and living situation at any given moment. And we have said "no" numerous times to a potential placement, based on whether or not we could handle it as a family).

Are there days that we think wow, how did we make it through? How much more can we take? Absolutely! But then, one way or another, God reminds us that we have Him, and as long as we seek Him, He is always there.

Besides God as the ultimate support system, we have a huge support system in place, which we continue to add. We have counselors (for us and our kids), behavioral specialists, hotline phone numbers, doctors, specialists, other experienced foster families, and other specialists. There is no way that we can meet our children's special needs without them, as we are not educated to handle every issue that they have been exposed to. We are grateful for our network of experts, and for all of the prayers of our friends and family. We also have respite care available to us and that is something that we are going to utilize at least once a month to allow us time to be together as a couple just focus on us.

So, where do we go from here? We wait to hear if CPS feels that we are best fit for this little boy that they are looking for a forever family for. If we are, then we will transition him into our family with the assistance of TJ's therapist. Our steps will be cautious, as this placement could temporarily upset TJ's progress. (Another side note - this child is not a substance exposed child and currently has no behavioral issues - that will definitely be a switch for us!).

If we are not chosen, then we will continue as normal (well, what is normal for us), which is one day at a time. There have been several times that we haven't been chosen as the best fit for a placement, so this process is very familiar to us and there will be a few hours of disappointment for the entire family, but we process through it together and press on. We know that it is in God's hands.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for a welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

One song that I find encouraging during these "waiting" times, is "While I'm Waiting", which I first heard in the movie, Fireproof.

While I'm Waiting
John Waller
The Blessing

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy, no
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arms of Love

The other night I went to sleep, but because I have been sick this past week, it was very restless. As is typical of a school principal, Mark was up working late on something or the other and when he came to bed he noticed how restless I was, so he just wrapped his arms around me and (according to him) I settled right now and went into a deep sleep.

He told me the next morning how great it made him feel that I felt at peace when I was in his arms. Although I have no recollection of him coming to bed and holding me, I have no doubt that I responded that way, because I do feel very safe and loved in his arms. What more could I ask for in my relationship with my husband?

A question came the next day when I heard a (very) old song recorded by Amy Grant (yes, she is one of my favorite CCM artists, although I have several favorites), "Arms of Love". The song says, "Like a child who's held throughout a storm, You (speaking of God) keep me warm in Your arms of love" and the next verse says "Wonder just how many storms it takes until I finally know that you're here always". Do I always remember that I am loved and safe in my Heavenly Father's arms?

I'd like to think that I do, but I know that I fail at remembering this more often that I actually remember. These past few days I've been made aware of several sisters in Christ who are really struggling right now, and I pray that they remember that they are always safe in His arms, especially right now when they are going through this trials.

It is my prayer tonight that we all remember that we are always safe! It doesn't mean that we won't pushed to our limits, but He is in control.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for YOU ARE WITH ME; YOUR ROD AND YOUR STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME! Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How do you know that God answers your prayers?

How do you know that God answers your prayers? That was a question posed to me recently. And I had search way down inside to form my response. I didn't want to respond with a textbook answer or a typical mom answer. I wanted to show how deeply I know this, even though the person I was talking with does not have a good grasp of the concept of "faith" (or our simple term - walking on the water).

I firmly believe that God answers every prayer (after all, it is biblical). It just may not be the way that we want. But, how do you know? I think the easiest way to see when God answers prayers in with relationships, or more specifically, within people. God has restored many relationships that I have been praying for in a way that was very visible and much more than I could have possible imagined. I gave a few specific examples of my experiences. I'm not sure if the person I was talking to believes this to be true or not still. Unfortunately, two major prayers that this person has been praying have been answered in a way that they do not want and therefore, thinks that their prayers haven't been answered. They have been told "no" and have not accepted this.

God told me "NO" to one of my most recent prayer requests, which was to end the outsourcing issue at my work. I was devastated by the City Council's response to my study that they had asked me to do and gave direction for my executive director to take the next step towards outsourcing us. So, for the last 48 hours I have been diligently working on the Request for Proposal specifications so that a formal bid can be issued. Surprisingly, it came quite easily. Several other cities emailed me some suggestions and their examples as well as other departments within the City. I was so amazed of the support and assistance that I was receiving for myself and my 6 employees. Our executive director came out and met with our entire division, including my employees and allowed me to speak as well and answer their questions. The first draft is done. I need to go back in and add some specific criteria, but the basics are there. I know that God's Will will be done and I realized that this is what my prayer needs to be: That I be accepting of God's Will in this situation and that light of His love and my faith will continue to shine through me and be an example to others.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Time to Reevaluate

I did the most "un-gold" thing ever recently. I totally forgot that I had jury duty. And I mean totally forgot! (For those of you who haven't had to do "True Colors" my color is gold, which in basic terms means strong rule abider). I got the notice before we went on vacation in July and it was for the week after we came back. The week came and went and I totally spaced it. I didn't even send back the response form. For those of you who know me really well can imagine how devastating that was for me when I did remember and realized what I had done. It was at that moment that I realized that I didn't have a good handle on things.

To make a long story short, my wonderful husband called and found out that my number had been dismissed, so it was no big deal. Well, it was to me. I was completely devastated that I had forgotten something as important as that.

Mark and I talked about the idea that perhaps I needed to slow down a little. I know, DUH! We talked about different possible solutions and came to the realization that perhaps my time with the City of Scottsdale is coming to an end in the near future. That was the one thing that we both felt is something that at some point soon, I may not do anymore. Don't get me wrong, I definitely need to bring some income into our household, especially since we just bought a "bus", but we're both talking a step outside the boat knowing that God has something better in store.

My jury duty slip was definitely a rude awakening and I am SO thankful that there wasn't a warrant out for my arrest. i truly don't know what the consequences would have been, but that is definitely worse case scenario.

I am very much at peace with the realization that God does have a plan in mind and now that the seed has been planted, I look forward to what future job opportunities may come my way. I do not plan on leaving my current employment any time soon. I have made a commitment to see this outsourcing issue to the end and then even if it does go away and I still have a job, I doubt that I will stay past my twenty year mark without searching for something different to do.

We've also decided that if God provided us with any more children (no we are not crazy, but we do have two empty beds and two empty seats in the "bus" that we feel God is leading us to fill), that the decision would definitely be made for us and that I would leave my employment by next July (after I reach the milestone of 20 years) and stay home for awhile and try to find something part-time while the children are in school.

I feel so blessed! I love my supportive husband (although my kids don't think mom hanging more is good idea :-), too bad), I absolutely love my new to me Suburban, and I discovered that Shark Week is not for me (although my kids loved it). I'll leave that to Pastor Luis!

God is good! I can honestly say, I truly love my Heavenly Father and I love my crazy life!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another Mother's Day - Another Reality Check

And this begins year two of my blogging; I began one year ago this week. And it is also another Mother's Day weekend in which I get my once a year HUGE reality check, I am not "mom" to the majority of kids. I was reminded of that last night and this afternoon. Not that I needed to be reminded, but they felt that I did.

This is my first Mother's Day as the mother of four adopted children. TJ is still too little to understand it all, so I'm "mom" to him right now and I'm soaking as much of that in as possible so that during the dry times, I'll still be quenched.

Mark did the typical haul the kids out the store to buy mom a present routine day. One refused to go, which was no surprise. It's a good thing that my skin is pretty thick. I've also learned to be creative; we're having friends over tomorrow evening so that our kids can play, the dads can hang and us moms can go out by ourselves. We're going to celebrate our roles as moms and our friendship!

As I read through my last Mother's Day blog, I was reminded (thanks Carrie!) that God did not invent Mother's Day. All He asked of me is that I raise up my children in His ways. He didn't say that it would be easy all the time or fun. Just that they were a blessing (which mine are!) from Him. I cherish my four blessings and I look forward to spending some time with my mother tomorrow, showing her how much I appreciate all that she did for me and continues to do for me, as well as celebrating with great friends.

I hope that everyone has a great Mother's Day! I am blessed!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thankful for the little things

I've had the most, not sure how to describe, week. I continue to feel out of sorts, but just keep praying and plugging away. At the end of the week, Satan is still irritating me, but I feel confident that God is protecting me with every step that I take. So, in the quietness of this evening, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for everything that I am thankful for this past week.

I am thankful for:
  1. My heavenly Father (I've felt His presense greatly this week!)
  2. My loving husband
  3. My wonderful (yet annoying) children
  4. That I got to see Clara on Wednesday (our staff meeting was cancelled PTL!) and give her a hug and let her know how much she means to us and how much we will miss her loving husband Tom
  5. That I appear to have mastered my new washer and dryer
  6. That my new washer and dryer lessened the amount of laundry this week (or my family didn't dirty as much as they normally do, I'll take it, whatever the reason is!)
  7. That TJ was only nasty sick for a few hours on Friday
  8. That Mark was only down for the count sick for 24 hours
  9. Vanessa had a good week at school
  10. Suzy had a good week at school
  11. Jessica is communicating her hopes and dreams to us
  12. TJ began escalating at the restaurant today when he got something taken away from him and managed to descalate in record time (less than 60 seconds) without having to go outside. We were amazed and can't wait to report this to his behavior therapist
  13. We held a somewhat successful family meeting this evening to redistribute the chores
  14. I have amazing friends who pray for me and check in from time to time to remind me that they are praying for me and to see what I need
  15. Melissa B. who faithfully picks up my produce co-op basket the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month for me
  16. That my first week of my Business Statistics class was fairly easy, thanks to Mark going over some of the terminology with me, thinking I will be calling 1-800-ASK-NATE when it starts getting hard (it's been over 24 years since my college algebra class, which is a prerequisite for this class).
  17. I got a new medical insurance card and it had Tyler J Eley on it!
  18. The cooler weather!

I could go on for at least another 30 things, but you get the idea. Although this week has not been the greatest of weeks, I have SO MUCH to be THANKFUL FOR! God is Good! and I continue to PRESS ON! (thanks Pastor Gregg for that constant reminder!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Feeling Out Of Sorts

Not having a good day? You're not alone. I'm right there with you! I've been feeling out of sorts since Sunday morning. There are several reasons as to my out-of-sortness, but let's just say that it's life. I try to not let my crazy life get to me, but it has and so now I work through it one step at a time, with a loving family and prayers of friends to help me along the way. I am thankful for the support and prayers that I receive on a daily basis. It is hard to admit that I struggle at times, as I try to hold it all together and be strong. Why? (That's the question my wonderful husband asked me this evening).

That's a good question. God desires that I give Him my worries and fears. He also says that we are to share each other's burdens. Give God my worries and fears. Let others know that I'm struggling and what I need. Not exactly an easy thing to do, especially for me. I am so thankful for the pastor that prayed for (with) me today on the phone. I am so thankful that he realized with what little I told him, that I needed some encouragement.

Life isn't always easy. Satan enjoys messing things up for us and he has definitely gotten to me yesterday and today. Tonight, as I sit here with tears on my face, I am faced with the reality that I can't do it all on my own (a lesson that for some reason I need to be frequently reminded of). I don't even know why I try. My heavenly Father desires that I live my life in the moment and that I trust in Him, knowing that He desires the best for me and that He will help me with whatever comes my way.

So, in my attempt to live my life in the moment and to share with others what I need, I have some things to share:

  1. I am committed to enjoy each moment that I have with each one of my children and my spouse. (I've made that statement before, I just need some help in holding me to that).
  2. Please pray for us as we work with TJ's doctors and therapist regarding his high level of anxiety and the new medication that he is on for ADHD, as well as his recent diagnosis of CP (please pray that the insurance companies work out who is responsible for what and that we can get some type of physical or occupational therapy for him). The girls have things that they desire that we leave unspoken, but please keep each one of them in prayer.
  3. My job - I am in the process of doing an assessment on the possible benefits for outsourcing my division, which could mean that I and my 6 employees would be laid off. Pray that I keep an open mind as I work on finalizing this assessment and that my ethics and values are demonstrated throughout this assessment and final report.

My life may be crazy, but God is right there with me, helping me along with the way. And for that, I am so grateful!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Acronyms, Acronyms, Acronyms

PTSD, ADHD, CP. These are the newest acronyms that describe a sweet little boy that we know and love. The saddest part of it, he's only three and half years old.

We know that God has a plan for his life as well as ours and as we walk this road together, we know that He has his arms wrapped around us, guiding and protecting us along the way.

We are so blessed to have this young man in our lives!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Better Than A Hallelujah?

"Better Than A Hallelujah" This is the title of a new song by Amy Grant. When I heard it for the first time today I didn't understand exactly what that meant. When I heard it for the second time a little later today, I had an Ah Ha moment.

It is actually very simple. God desires that you come to Him when you're having trials and struggles, Actually, He'd much rather have you crying in His arms than singing in the church choir. It's during the tears and comfort that the relationship is strengthened.

In simpler terms... As a parent, would you rather that your child show you that they need you or just compliment you to others and to you? I believe that the majority of us would rather have our children come to us when they are hurting and need us than praising us. This shows a willingness to have a relationship.

I really hope that I can take this concept and use it to help each one of my children go to God when they're struggling instead of suffering on their own. Right now, one of my children is suffering greatly and watching the movie The Blindside tonight increased that suffering. I pray that she will turn to God for help and that she will understand that He wants her to cry to Him.

King David is a great example of someone who both praised and cried out to God. Check out the book of Psalms.

Better Than A Hallelujah... Wish I would have thought to put this concept into words. How great it is to have a wonderful and merciful God who loves it when we cry on Him.

Look up the lyrics, it's a great song!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking Forward Instead of Backwards

I find myself always missing the old days. You know, the "good ol' days" when nothing ever seemed to go wrong. But why do they seem so perfect, when back in those days, I was missing the even older days?

This was my oldest teenager's FB status today. How wise her words are. How often do we find ourselves looking back, longing for those days, only to realize that during those times, we were looking back at the earlier days? I know that I sometimes look back. Sometimes it's at stupid stuff (like when I had the MOST AWESOME BATHROOM when we were living in our townhouse instead of the stupid little hole in the wall that we call a bathroom at our house), or when I only worked 8 hours a day and was only responsible for myself (instead of the long hours I work now and supervise 6 people).

Are there things in life that I wish I'd done differently? Of course! Do I have regets? You bet I do! However, I want to finish the race that Christ has asked me to run, and so I will continue to look forward and try not to look back as I press on toward the finish. God sent His Son. To die for us. So that there would be no need to look back. We need to look UP!

This also brings me full circle back to a blog entry that I wrote a little over a month ago. I need to cherish the moments that I have today!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Responders Respond to Cry for Help

This past Wednesday, we had the "priviledge" of dealing with several first responders. I placed a call for help, got great assistance over the phone, which was then followed up by about thirteen first responders to my house (I was amazed at the huge number! Our street was filled with emergency vehicles, so thankful our neighbors didn't need to leave their homes as that would have been impossible!) Within a matter of four minutes after the initial call for help, our physical needs were being taken care of and everyone was safe and in good hands.

It was so simple!

1. We realized we needed help.
2. We called for help.
3. Immediate instructions were given over the phone.
4. First responders came to our house immediately.
5. Help was provided.
6. Everyone was safe.

It is the same thing when we need help from God.

1. We realize that we can't do it on our own (DUH!, but so easily forgotten)
2. We pray to God for help. (calling for help)
3. We read His word (immediate instructions)
4. We ask others to pray for us as well (first responders)
5. God answers our prayers
6. We are safe in His arms, always.

The experience in dealing with the first responders was awesome and I have nothing but praises to the City of Scottsdale Police Department and Fire Department. Those that we called for prayer and additional assistance during the initial 24 hours of this crisis heard our praises for these first responders. When God helps us, should we not also being singing His praises?

We are also so grateful for our pastoral first responders and for their encouragement and prayers. Their support has been incredible and has helped us tremendously.

While the immediate crisis was handled and over in a matter of hours, the aftermath continues to exist. My facebook status on Friday was "Strength will rise as we wait upon on the Lord and I'm waiting on the Lord as I need strength. Today, I posted Klove radio's Encouraging Word of the Day. "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1 NLT". We have many people praying for us and we definitely feel it and are so thankful. We are in a much better spot today than on Wednesday night and Mark and I have had our strength refilled. We will be continuing to work through this situation over the next few weeks and know that God will be walking with us, guiding us every step of the way.

We are so blessed!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fishing or Marriage? Which to do?

Twenty years ago today, at exactly 2:02 PM, I was asked a question, "Are you sure that you want to do this, or shall we leave your mother to deal with the crowd and go fishing?" My response, "Let's do this and we'll go fishing real soon dad." At 2:20 PM, I was Mrs. Mark Eley.

My father and I have a very unique relationship. The question that he posed twenty years ago (which he asked after all the bridesmaids were in place and the ring bearer and flower girl were walking down the aisle) is one that we continue to tease each other about to this day. Just last week he even reminded me, "We could have gone fishing". That question was his way of letting me know that if I had any doubts about getting married that he would support me and that I didn't have to go through with it. My happiness was his concern.

As I look back over these past twenty years, there have been moments when fishing sounded like a much better idea than working on my marriage. For anyone who says that marriage is easy, I would be concerned. Marriage is hard, no matter who you are. I am very blessed that both my husband and I are Christians and do not believe in divorce, but we have been to the crossroad of divorce/marriage and seriously looked at our options. We fought our way back and we both agree that our marriage is much stronger because of us being at the crossroads. However, we should have never even come close to there if we had been focused on our marriage instead of our own selfish needs.

We have been through so much in these twenty years of marriage; infertility, significant marital issues, the loss of family members, adopting children, and on and on, and God has been so faithful through it all. We finally figured out that if we focus on God's will for our lives, instead of our wills, it is so much easier.

Tonight, while we were on our way to dinner (Monti's, my favorite mommy daddy only restaurant), I asked Mark if he would promise that these next twenty years would not be as hard as these first twenty. He laughed and reminded me that we were now getting ready to enter a new phase of our lives, as soon Jessica will be leaving, then one by one our children will be leaving, starting their own families and then we'll have all of those stressers. But, as long as we focus on God, we can do ALL THINGS, as He strengthens us.

Thank you God, for my patient husband Mark and help us to continue to keep our eyes focused on You and that we will continue to press on and finish the race. Happy 20th Wedding Anniversary to Us!

If you are struggling in your marriage, please know that we are praying for you. Let us know if we can do anything to help you.