Tuesday, December 9, 2014

life is a vapor

Wow, I never intended to forsake my blog for this long...sorry to my readers!

Let's just say that this has been (and proves to continue to be) a very busy time here at our house. With Christmas approaching, the store is getting busier, therefore I've been putting in more hours than any other time of the year.

In all the business, its important to remember what we are really here for, to remember that life is short and to take every opportunity to bring glory to God that we can.

If you knew that you only had a few months to live, how would that effect your day today? Would you choose to do, or not to do, something? Would it alter your actions and attitudes? Would your priorities change?

Maybe this will be your last Christmas with the people that you love. Make it count. Live to day as if it could be your last.

Our time on this earth is like a vapor. Someone who was sick on their bed, bored, watched as a diffuser puffed out vapor, and counted. Seven seconds until the vapor was gone. What is seven seconds, next to eternity?

Very brief is our time here on this earth. Let's make every moment, or, every "seven seconds" count.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

for those of you who were wondering

I am writing this post for all of you who may be holding out, waiting, wondering.
Ok, I'll just come out and say it. Grace Abounding News is extremely [embarrassingly] late. For those of you who aren't aware, Grace Abounding News is the monthly newsletter that I write on our family. I know, you haven't even seen the September edition yet, and, no, you haven't been skipped or forgotten. No one has gotten the September issue yet...not even me. Ha! Just kidding, its in the works. Yes, I could be using this valuable and precious time to be typing or designing my newsletter. But...I didn't want this to go to much longer without you all having some form of a heads up, and a blog post gets to your eyes much, much faster than a printed, mailed paper. And lets face it, its cheaper, too. With how late this issue is, it got me realizing. Am I really going to be able to keep a once-a-month paper going in the midst of all thats going on?

That being said, I am going to announce a cut. Instead of once a month, Grace Abounding News will go down to coming out once every two months, so the late September issue will also include October. I do realize that these are paid subscriptions. That being said, I will add on to the length of the subscriptions as needed.

With all that I've covered above, its time to face the facts. I don't know if there are any helpless Grace Abounding News fans. I know a lot of people appreciate it and like getting something like that in the mail...probably a welcome sight amidst bills, flyers, and promotions. But I want you to all come to grips with something: I'm not going to do this forever. 

When I first started GAN, it was a great school project. Plus, I was a carefree teen with time on my hands. Now, things are a little different. I have a job thats taking a lot of my time right now, plus I have other responsibilities at home with the new kids. Free time is rare and precious. Bright Lights is going to be starting again, our play production is closing in on a very busy next few weeks. I just want you all to know that Grace Abounding News may be winding down sooner rather than later. I will consider doing a seasonal newsletter update to keep it going. But my blog will always be here, as will Mom's.

This isn't an overnight thing! Don't think that this will be your last issue! I just want to give you all a heads up so that you aren't surprised when it does stop.

As I mentioned above, my blog will always be here, and when GAN does stop coming out as frequently, I will purpose to more regularly post pictures and updates on my blog.

Thank you all for understanding!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Camping is the best Vacation

We had loads of fun camping on the lake at Pawtuckaway State Park last week. We enjoyed swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, bike riding and lovely fireside evenings! Here are a few snapshots of our trip!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Crazy Busy

It seems like we are crazy busy around here! Even if we don't have somewhere to go, life at home has not a single dull moment. But it is good, and during this season, we are learning to accept a new normal. It has been hard...and definitely a stretch...for all of us. But God is good, and in that we are resting.
 Partly for my own sake to be able to share this with you all, and partly for your own amusement, here is a day in the life of the Winslow family:
6:00am-Mom and Dad have been up for awhile. Mom starts breakfast preparations and getting things ready for the day.

6:30am-Dad goes around and gives the wake up call. One of the things we all love about Dad is the creative ways that he finds to wake us all up in the morning. This morning he wakes up with a song in his heart. So he shares that song with all of us as he starts in the boys room and moves to the girls. This morning, he belts out phrases from "Mister Sandman," but couldn't remember all of the words. As he leaves our room, Dad says, "Five minutes! Be downstairs in five!" 
Sometimes Rosie sleeps longer than the rest of us, but today she wakes up with Dad's singing, and says, "Oh my! Its FREEZING!!" She was almost right, because it was 33 degrees when we woke up on this September morning!

Jerry tries to get into the girls room to say good morning and give his famous sloppy kisses all around, but Dad tells him he can wait till we get downstairs.
6:40am-We finally make it downstairs, and today Elisha heads out to milk the goats with Edward, Jon, Jerry, Nicole and Rosie in tow. Edward tries to keep Jerry from getting into too much trouble while doing his own chores with Jon, which are feeding the chickens. 

Meanwhile, Nicole begins to clean out the nesting boxes and Rosie goes around, trying to help out wherever she can.

7:20am-Mom gets JoyAnna's breakfast ready with her medicine and Maddie gets her up out of bed and dressed, while the kids come inside from doing the animals start on sweeping the floor and vacuuming. JoyAnna gets her breakfast fed to her, and loves every bite! After she's done she goes to lay on her blanket in the living room and play with her toys.

7:40am-before breakfast, kids take a few minutes to read their bibles and have quiet prayer time. Jerry looks at a bible story book, but soon gets distracted. It begins with him singing loud songs, closing his book, and soon escaping his seat and playing with toys.
 8:10am-Dad prays with us and leaves for work. We sit down to breakfast, today its homemade granola.
 8:40am-Kids get started on their school work. Edward reads a chapter in the book he's reading, Elisha finishes up her algebra lesson, and Grace starts her spanish lesson. Jerry runs here, there and everywhere, and Rosie builds a block tower.
 Today is play practice, and Grace and Elisha are needed from our family, so Maddie gets ready to take them to practice. We found out last night that our friends need a ride, so we will pick them on our way.
 10:00am-Maddie, Grace and Elisha leave for play practice. After picking up the friends, we head to play practice and get there early. Play practice goes really well! All the actors are making excellent progress!
 At home, Mom continues to do some school with the kids, has lunch with them, and puts the younger kids down for a nap around 1pm.

1:00pm-play practice goes really well and ends early. We leave and drop our friends at their house, and head home. The kids are still in bed, so Maddie starts on this blog post while Mom plays Scrabble with Edward and Elisha. Grace starts on a project, Jon reads an army book.

3:30pm-The little kids are starting to wake up. Once they are up, Jerry, Rosie and Nicole go outside to play in the new 10x10 sandbox that Dad made for them last weekend.
5:00pm-While we wait for Dad to come home, Mom and Edward start on supper prep.

And thats where we are now!

Hope you enjoyed sharing in our crazy blessed day!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

{new every morning}

The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases...

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning
Great is your faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I will hope in him. 
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of The Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-26

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

God's Goodness

God is so good. I am relishing His goodness as I watch JoyAnna lay on her tummy as peaceful and content as can be. I wonder what she is thinking, what is going through her head. But what shines through is happiness. Joy. Her namesake. And gratefulness. If I was in her condition, I can say that I'd have a lot to learn from this precious girl. She is so perfect in her Father's eyes. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. A daughter of the King. One thing is very sure: Our Lord has great and mighty plans for her; more wonderful and amazing than we can ever imagine or grasp!
I am amazed as I watch Jerry plant kisses all over her face. He has such a love for her.... its like they were always meant to be siblings... because God in His goodness had planned it out long ago! I am amazed at His plan for Zoey... because if it wasn't for her, JoyAnna would not be in our arms today. And as sad as that time of her going to heaven was for us, it, too was all part of our Father's plan. "All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Every day is a challenge and a new test from the Lord and I look forward (as do others) to when the littles go down for their naps :) but we are grateful for God's grace and strength for each moment!
Mom is slowly getting the house back into the order that it once was...oh so long ago. (LOL)
Jerry and Rosie are always at each other....:) They are actually a lot alike. And at the same level in many areas.
JoyAnna has already come a long way since being home. She makes new sounds, plays with her hands and tries to sit up on her own. She does better with a bottle and is now starting to graduate to a sippy cup!
Jerry is starting to understand very minimal simple English words. Like please and thank you, I'm sorry, yes and no, etc. I would say that Grace does the best at communicating with Jerry. Since she spent two weeks with him when they brought him home, she was able to catch on to more Bulgarian than the rest of us, even Mom and Dad.
He has become quite familiar with the chores around the house and farm, but he is still a bit afraid of the goats. One thing I don't understand about his logic is how he tries to let the goats out to run free if he is so scared of them!
Every morning he wakes up and is so excited to see every one. He wants to give me a tight, squeezy hug and a big, sloppy kiss on each cheek!
When we sing a song, he tries to mimick us...its so hilarious!

Another update is that preparations for our Lamplighter Homeschool Theatre 2014 production are underway! We are doing The Hounds of the Baskervilles! All Sherlock fans, mark your calandars, and those who aren't, prepare to become such! We have a great group of kids this year and a lot of hard work is going into this production...its going to be a great show! Be sure to follow the blog which Holly, the director and I will be writing for http://lamplighterhomeschooltheatre.blogspot.com . Also, be sure to check out and consider supporting our group by purchasing one of our LHT Tees or Hoodies! http://teespring.com/lamplightertheatre-2014
All proceeds after the cost of making them goes straight to LHT. Its a great way to support us and to advertise and get the word out for our show. If you would be so kind, share the links on your facebook, blog or with your homeschool groups. (All three is great, too!)

I will be posting pictures soon, too! (I have to do that from my other device.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A new look!

While they were in Bulgaria, Dad and Mom bought me this beautiful painting. Now to tackle where to put it in my room...
Here's my corner of the room now....
Stay tuned for the makeover which I hope to tackle soon! 
P.S. Mom has never liked the picture of the two of them when they were dating. She thinks its time for it to go....but I've always loved it! I don't think I could part with it! Lol

Monday, August 11, 2014

Finding Balance

God has been teaching me a lot of things lately. Humility is one of the things. I have had...let's say...hands on experience with it in the past few days. I am reminded in all of the things going on around me that Gods grace is always sufficient, it is enough. When I fail Him, He is there, He takes the broken pieces and mends me. 
One thing that I've been wrestling with lately is finding a balance. Between spending time with The Lord, family, ministry, work, friends, and all that goes with each of those elements of life, I sometimes feel like my plate is full. Being a very one-track-minded person, it's sometimes hard for me to find a balance. A lot of times I focus on one thing, and then the other things suffer. When I have my entire focus on work, family suffers, my friends see I am disconnected, my ministry is dry and I feel empty because am missing out on the most important part of my day, my time at the Saviors feet. The same happens, with different scenarios. It's hard to keep a balance. That's why in my own strength I am not able to keep it all in perspective, and to keep my priorities straight. I need His strength in place of my weakness. His mind in place of my one-track one. His heart in place of my selfishness. His beauty resting on me, to replace my ugly sin.

May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day
By His love and power controlling all I do and say.  

May the love of Jesus fill me as the waters fill the sea 
Him exalting, self abasing. This is victory. 

May the peace of God my Heavenly Father rule my life in everything
That I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.

May His beauty ever rest upon me as I seek the lost to win
And may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Catching up

Here is a quick update on what's been going on around here. Dad Mom and Grace just got back from a 2 week trip to Bulgaria, bringing home with them our two newest additions, Jeremiah and JoyAnna. It was a great celebration when they returned... And it's been a few days but overall the adjustment is going well. Yes, I stayed home with the kids during the time that part of the family was away. Aside from a few minor cotastrophies, everything went well (LOL!!!!). We definitely would not have made it through, first of all, without The Lord's unending grace, and secondly, the support of family and friends. God is so good. When we thought we would give up during this oh so long adoption process, and we stopped holding on, He held on to us. He said, "I have brought you this far, and I won't let you down now." Yes.... There were times when our faith was tested. There were times when doubt crept in. There were times when the devil had us down. But looking back over it all, I can see that He is faithful, and He is always there, encouraging us, getting us onto the next step. Even when tears stained our pillows through endless nights. When joy was shadowed by sorrow. When waiting became harder and harder to do. He kept whispering assurance to our hearts. Giving us encouragement. Hope. And....finally, after heartache and heartbreak, waiting....and ..... More waiting.....prayer after prayer after prayer, the joy unspeakable of finally being united as a whole family is worth every ounce of hardship, every sleepless night. 
Lord, thank you, thank you.....


Saturday, July 19, 2014

A day in the life....

I was probably a couple days old here.

Uncle Matt....I remember I always loved spending time with him. :)
They say I would fall asleep anywhere!!! :)
At my first birthday party, it rained buckets!!!!
We went to a red sox game on my third birthday!
A goat-herder from the beginning!
Clowning around with Grampa!