Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Chaney BRAT Bowen....This is what I call him, but his name is Chaney Brandt Bowen!!  This is the man that is going to marry my daughter in 23 days!!!  I call him a "brat"...but he is the furthest thing from a brat.  This kid is perfect for my daughter and I do NOT say that lightly.  This is for sure a match made in heaven.

Chaney is fun, he is silly, he is smart (after all he did fall in love with my daughter)!  Chaney is a hard worker and he has many goals.

Mostly this kid is grounded in the Lord and he loves Him.  Him and Lashae share a love for missions and they are talking and praying about when they can go on a mission trip together. 

This kid makes us all laugh.  He is serious when he needs to be and he is loving and caring to those around him.  He's a cowboy, and a farmer, and a hunter.   

Thank you God for giving my daughter such a great guy, and thanks for giving me a super son-in-law!!!  I'm proud to call him my son-in-law!!! 

Happy Birthday Chaney!!  "22"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy 17th Birthday Kole!!

Happy 17th Birthday Kole!!!  I'm so proud of this kid.  I could do an entire post about his amazing accomplishments because he is one focused guy, but I won't, I want to talk about this kid's heart and his character. 

Kole took his Spring Break and his own hard earned money to go to Uganda and pick up his new sister and do a mission for Redeemer House and help out at several  orphanages and love on some kids and work.

Kole has an amazing heart.  He is steady solid guy and he loves the Lord very much.  Kole is strong and sensitive at the same time.  He is strong in his convictions and sensitive to others.  He is a hard worker and is as dependable as the day is long and honest as honest can be. 

I love this kid and I'm so glad he is our oldest son, he has set the bar pretty high for the 2 younger boys coming up behind him.

Kole is a Senior in high school this year, and I'm going to enjoy this time with him as much as possible because I know God has big and amazing plans for this kid and I know he will be going far in life.  I am overjoyed watching him  develop into the person that he is and it is only going to get better!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the father of all 7 of our children!!!

This is my man and he is amazing at everything he does....he gives EVERYTHING he does 100%.
  No-one can ever accuse my man of not giving his ALL in ALL he does.

He plays hard.....


He prays hard.....

He works hard.....

He competes hard........

He is the best dad EVER.  He loves his kids, along with many other kids, he loves to teach them, to play games with them, to ride with them....and just be a part of EVERYTHING they are interested in.  He is an example to them in every way..he is the leader of this big crazy family and he takes it seriously and does a marvelous job.

As I am writing this....Charlie has 5 of the kids out fishing!!!  Now that takes a man of courage, to fish with 5 kids ON FATHER"S DAY....while the mama stays home and grows another one to take fishing in a few years.  OOOHHHHH goodness.

I'm laughing to myself because as I describe Charlie and how he just goes all out on everything he does and how he does everything 100% and goes above and beyond....I'm giggling because I'm always the one that gets the teasing that I'm the one responsible for so many kids and such a large family....HEEELLLLOOOO....??????   Has anyone ever met this man?????  Of course he has a million kids...he is not going to be satisfied with an average number of children...PLUS....he is such a kid himself he needs all these kids so he has someone to play with for the rest of his life!  He has too much energy for God is merciful and just keeps blessing him.

Also....Happy Father's Day to my dad and Charlie's dad...we are soooo blessed to have to wonderful dads that love us and have raised us to know and love the Lord and have been wonderful examples of what a father is!  They continue to love us and support us and pray for us and our entire family!

This is Charlie's dad....Grandpa Bill...with Charsie at her 6th grade graduation

This is my dad...we call him Papa...he is giving Lashae a big hug for her 18th birthday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

God's Got it all Covered

Thank you Lord for NOT answering my prayers.
  For knowing what is best for Lashae WAYYYYY more than I know.
Jeremiah 1:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,

before you were born I set you apart;

  As I was sitting at her Bible study bridal shower and the ladies went around the room and introduced themselves and told how they knew Lashae and Chaney...I was extremely blessed by each thing each person had to say.  The thing that I heard OVER AND OVER AGAIN though was....
Lashae has a gift for prayer...
Lashae is a prayer warrior....
when I heard Lashae pray it was anointed...
prayer prayer prayer...
prayer in school...
prayer in prayer meeting...
prayer with individuals...
the girl knows how to pray and it is a beautiful gift that she uses well.
What would have happened if Lashae listened to me instead of what the Lord was telling her and seeking my approval instead of seeking the Lord...she probably would NOT be happy, she would not be using her gifting that the Lord gave her, she would be floundering....
She is making a difference in this world.  She is getting married to a wonderful man.  She is happy and as she is seeking the Lord and EVERYTHING is being added to her and His word is TRUE...IT IS BEING LIVED OUT AND FULFILLED right before me eyes.  What a joy it is to watch and to see the Lord work and I can quit trying to play GOD and just pray that my kiddos SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM of GOD and God can just do HIS THING..which is soooo much better than MY THING!!

At the shower we each gave her a verse that we wanted to share with her that was meaningful to us....she read a couple and they were wonderful. 

I wrote Matthew 6:33-34. 

New International Version (NIV)

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 This is for her, but even more so for me as a mom to pray over my kids.  Praying that they will always seek the Lord and that is ALL they have to do...everything else, God will take care of.  I could kick myself for all the times I felt disappointment or frustration that Lashae did not go to college or do the NORMAL thing...or the times I worried about her and prayed MY WISH LIST on her life....I needed to see that she WAS seeking the Lord and He knows her and her future and He has good plans for her and just trust HIM.  So my prayer for all my kids is that they will always seek the Lord and EVERYTHING else will be given to them from HIM.  When they are seeking HIM then I can rest easy and NOT try to plan their future. 
 I AM NOT saying that I don't want my other kids to go to college or do something different, but if they are seeking HIM then HE will take care of their future and I just get to enjoy watching what the Lord is doing with their lives. 
There are 3 girls....Lashae, Sydney, and Brooklyn...they all graduated the same year, they are all good friends, and they are ALL seeking the LORD...and guess what????  He is doing amazing things with each of them, but each of them is doing something VERY different, so God works with our personality, and desires as long as we are SEEKING HIM FIRST, He can do amazing things with us and through us.   These girls are making a difference in this world and it is all for GOOD! 
Left: Sydney...going to college and VERY involved in Young Life** Middle: Brooklyn...going to a christian college and headed to India for studying abroad ** Right: Lashae...working at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch and soon getting married to Chaney.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bridal Showers

Esther said it best last night when she said.....Lashae has 2 blessings...I said yes indeed, but what do you mean....she says...she has had 2 bridal showers in one week.  It is true...our entire family has been blessed AGAIN!!!  We had a bridal shower that her brides maids gave her last Sat., and then last night a dear friend from church and from Bible study gave her a Bible study ladies shower and oh my ....what a blessing.

These are 3 of the 5 bride's maids...Syney, Lashae, Brooklyn, and Charsie.  Each of these girls ARE THE BEST EVER!!!  They are such good friends and sooo good to eachother, and totally in love with Jesus!!! 

The shower Saturday was wonderful, we had friends and my oldest sister came and brought her 4 boys for the weekend, and we always have a BIG GRAND time when we are together.  The kids played until they dropped.

   My sister's 3rd son...Corvan....had an accident on a 3-wheeler and ran his hand and foot into a pole....oh that precious boy...he was soooo brave.....he ended up with a 5 hr. stay in the E.R. and 8 stitches, and several x-rays, and FINALLY some pain medicine.  The Lord is good and if we have to make trips to the E.R. I'm so glad the Lord gives us sisters...we prayed...we laughed...we cried....we got mad (because they were taking so long to give the little guy something for the pain)....we laughed at ourselves...we looked like the hill billy moms from the sticks....we had just came in from a walk and were cleaning up around the place and cooking for the bridal shower, so we were a mess to say the least. sis being a typical DORK and Lashae cracking up...somehow, I don't think Casey ( who is on the right) thinks its nearly as funny!!  HEHEHE  What a fun group!!

This is Marlece, my oldest sister  ONE of Lashae's 5 Aunties...She is wonderful and so excited and helpful over the wedding planning..this is RIGHT up her ally.  She made the LONG trip with 4 boys and spent 5 hours that morning with her son in the E.R. and you would never know it...she shows up to the party looking beautiful and just a bright light of fun and joy.

This is how the boys got Corvan from place to he could still play the next day and didn't miss a thing.

Here is a sign that Jenny (Esther's VERY good friend) and Esther made for the shower.

We are the proud mamas...We are both soooo excited to have our kids join together in marriage...I'm not loosing a daughter, but gaining a son, and Vicci, is not loosing a son, but gaining a daughter, which comes with 6 siblings..and Vicci is AWESOME with it all.  She has already taken them ALL under her wing and lovin' on them.  When we were gone to Africa Vicci had the whole crazy bunch over and fed them and loved on them.

This is nephew and Charsie's best friend, and him and Charsie went riding while they were here. This awesome kid just took over and help put the shower together while Marlece and I were at the hospital with Corvan. He helped Charsie and the other gals decorate...cook...clean...set-up chairs and tables. He is an amazing kid!!

Here is the Bible study shower...The beautiful lady behind Lashae is Denise..she put the shower on in her home and has been such a blessing to our family for many years.

The beautiful bride holding up the cake that Denise provided for the shower.  It was almost too beautiful to eat...but we did anyway!! My mom is on the left...Lashae's Meme!

Lashae with her sisters!

Friday, June 10, 2011

When we are weak, He is strong

I had quite a picture of life the other morning...... one of those moments where I could have burst into tears or busted up laughing at the same time.

Charsie came in from doing chores in tears...she was mad and totally frustrated because as she was feeding the horses they decides to escape out of their pen. They began running around like a herd of wild horses. They are quite a herd when they are all together. They are a bunch of beautiful, strong, healthy horses, but they each have a history with scars and issues.

We have a sweet gal living with us, her name is Kelsie and she works at a ministry that rescues abused horses and they bring kids in that need some extra loving and they let them groom, ride, and take care of the horses and the ranch staff give the kids some one on one lovin' and attention and tell them about Jesus.

So one of the "herd" of our horses is Kelsie's that has retired from the ranch and it is a draft horse, Kelsie also owns an can not get more opposite than these 2.

We also have a horse that was given to us because he is a great horse but he has issues...and just needs a little extra TLC, and an extra measure of patience to work around his issues...He could be dangerous to someone if they are not paying attention and know how to work with him and if you work with him and work around his issues..he it a great horse that does his job well.

Then we have another horse that was sold to us for $1.00...she is a beauty and a sweetie, but she has a club foot, which you would never know because with the proper care it will never even affect her.

Then we have a horse that was injured as a colt and his owner at the time just doctored on him and nursed him back to health. He is perfectly fine other than he has an outrageous scar that runs the length of his butt.

Esther's horse we have had since she was born and when she was very young she got her foot caught in a fence and nearly tore her foot completely off. She is a beautiful horse but she's pretty gimpy sometimes and has a deformed hoof from the intense scar.

Then we have 2 others that are fine.....

So this scarred powerful menagerie of horses are running wild looking quite beautiful, but acting totally out of we all come from our various places to help corral this wild herd...

We have Charsie who is crying in frustration, Kole who is limping from a knee injury from football the night before, my dad who was less than 12 hrs. released from the hospital from a 2 day failed attempt at placing a stint in his heart...and me who is 6 months prego and have a distinct waddle to me. The only full able bodied person was my mom, a grandma of 22 grandchildren in her early 60's. So mom, rounded the horses right into our broken, limping, crying, waddling circle of people and we got them corralled.

I was laughing at how silly we looked, all these broken up people rounding up these scarred up horses that we take care of and love and provide for and enjoy and use and realized this is such a picture of life...

We have horses that all have a history, scars and and a few issues that are taken care of by us, their owners, and loved all the more with all their scars and issues...just as we are loved all the more by our Lord even with all our junk and brokenness, if we just let HIM take care of us and draw from HIS strength and wisdom and direction. And our Lord loves us, and uses us and works with our issues and scars and heals us and makes us strong and beautiful.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11
The Message (MSG)

My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Good Stuff

Life is good.

Life is crazy.

I have so much going on, but have a strange sense of calm and peace.

My dad is in the hospital with a heart "thing"...they are trying to get a stint was not successful today, and they will try again tomorrow using a different technique. We are praying this works...the alternative does not sound like much fun.

We are getting ready and excited for a bridal shower for Lashae this week-end and we have less than 45 days before she is married.

Esther has been going to school and LOVING it...she even got a great award today, for being a real ray of sunshine in their class. PRECIOUS!!!

Charsie is finishing up her on-line homeschooling....she will be going to high school next year. Where has the time gone???

Kole is getting home at horrid hours every night this last couple of weeks...he has, basketball, and studying for finals and S.A.T.S Every night for the last couple of weeks. He will be a senior next year!!! WOW!!!

Luke is anxious for summer, he is ready to start tackle football this year. UNBELIEVABLE!! He is finishing up baseball, and he hit a double the other night...VERY EXCITING FOR HIM.

Reece is busy being takes a lot of energy to be Reece. haha

The growing growing that means so am I...heehee

Charlie just keeps his head down and ass in the air, as he puts working working and grateful for the work. He is nice and tan already and it just makes his silver hair shine all the better...he's also as strong as there are benefits besides paying the bills....he does NOT have to worry about a work-out or a tanning booth or highlights...he gets the package everyday!!

We have many different things going, but it is going good and we are feeling very blessed and very grateful that these are the reasons we are busy and these are the things we have going on in our lives. God is soooo good and we trying to just enjoy this and not feel overwhelmed and miss out on the joy of it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Affording Adoption

The biggest obstacle I hear when people talk about affording it.

Trust me, when I say that was my BIGGEST obstacle! I battled it almost daily. When I tell you we were the MOST unlikely, MOST financially unstable, at the WORST time EVER in our 21 years of marriage as far as FINANCES are concerned...I am not exaggerating. Not one bit!!! I don't like getting into the nitty gritty, but trust me when I say we were and are in a bad way financially, and the last thing we had ANY business doing is bringing home another child to feed and care for, let alone go through the cost of THE ACTUAL BRINGING HOME OF THE CHILD.

FYI ******In the adoption world people like to refer to it as the "ransom" versus..."how much it cost to adopt a child"....******

The Lord showed us His faithfulness over and over and over and He did provide and so I feel I need to write this out ....some of it is a repeat, but I just feel I need to testify again of how the Lord worked it out and maybe it would encourage someone who it struggling with the same issues on adoption or anything else that the Lord is calling you to do.

A couple of things I can look back and say makes me sick to my stomach to think that we may have missed out on bringing Esther home because we couldn't "afford" to bring her home. She was an orphan in an orphanage....rescued from the to think that I could someday look at her if I had let one more day go by and say....the reason we didn't come and get you sooner or the reason you grew up without a family is because when God called us to you....we just couldn't afford it. WHOA!!!! That makes me sick and scared of how much my decisions can affect others.

Another thing I can look back and say with confidence is we COULD NOT have done it or afforded it without God intervening and when God intervenes He calls His people. Well, He called and MANY answered. If we would have just kept quiet about what we were doing and not been open and share I believe we would have missed took HUGE humility on our part to put ourselves out there, but in the midst of that God blessed us, and I have been told OVER AND OVER that others were blessed through our journey and through being a part of it, in prayer and support in every way imaginable. And again, I look back and think, would I want to explain to Esther someday, or the Lord in heaven someday, that I was just too proud to ask for help to bring my daughter home. Would I explain to her that she needed to remain without a family for longer because I didn't want people to know our business or that we needed help. OUCH!!!

Let me clarify**** I prayed my guts out leading up to the fundraiser that we did do**** I did NOT want to do one....I wanted God to send a check in the mail, but when He laid it on our hearts to do the particular one we did......we had to move in faith and be obedient and He blessed it. I believe if we would have done ANYTHING else it would have been a flop.....He had soooo much to teach us through the fundraiser that we did do. Remember God is the Creator, so I know He always provides for what He calls us to, but it's different every time and that's why we always need to seek Him and pray and ask for guidance, because He is creative and loves to show us His amazing Glory, and He does that by making it a bit different for everyone, and He makes sure we know that it was Him, not our effort...and I'm here to WAS ALL HIM!

In our economy, in our wisdom, in our education we are taught that it is flat irresponsible to do what we did and to do what many are considering and what many have done before us. But God's economy is VERY different, and I definitely think people need to be responsible and use common sense but ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS let God lead and when He lays something on your heart your FAITH had better outweigh EVERYTHING else...EVERYTHING else, every feeling, every bit of wisdom, every piece of education. FAITH must be bigger in our lives than our experience, our bank account, our ability, our brains. FAITH must be the thing we rely on above anything else!!!! FAITH in God and what He can do!!

For us it was not a decision made lightly, we prayed and we fasted and we looked in scripture and God confirmed over and over that He wanted this and that He would provide, but He didn't do it ahead of always came as needed and NOT a moment too early....WHEW!!!

When I was alone with the Lord and in His Word and in prayer I knew that I knew that I knew that He was laying this on my heart....but it took one question one look one little thing to get me spinning....I finally learned to lean ONLY on what I knew to be true when I was with the Lord and seeking Him and His wisdom. Most times when the questions or looks would come, it was not even a negative....but, I was insecure and embarrassed because I knew what we were doing looked crazy and I knew better than anyone what our "circumstances" were.

So....I write this to testify to what the Lord did for us....He provided EVERY dime....YES through people that had the faith to step out and support a crazy family doing a crazy thing according to the world, and we have been blessed abundantly! I'm again humbled and grateful, and freaked out that I could have made the decision to NOT do this, to not bring this child home. Again, it scares me to think about the things I have already missed out on for lack of faith, or not wanting to be embarrassed.

So, please whatever God is laying on your your quiet moments with Him and you are asking Him to guide you and direct you, and if it is crazy crazy...keep asking Him, look in His Word, Pray....and then DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!! Do NOT miss out on the blessing because of pride or fear or WHATEVER.