Brownie Brigade is Back!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

A few years ago, our family was sitting at the dinner table, discussing what we could do to show love to our neighbors. I had made some brownies that we were planning to eat for dessert that night (and I have to tell you that I was really looking forward to eating them!). But our children decided that we should give them to one of our neighbors.
And that was the start of the Brownie Brigade.

We learned that people love brownies, but more importantly, that giving away dessert was a great way to get to know our neighbors.
So, from that point on, we always had a box or two of brownie mix on hand and the kids started making regular batches of brownies to take to our neighbors. It was such an incredibly simple way to share the love of Jesus and make new friends.
Now that we're living in a new neighborhood (and hoping to get to know our neighbors), we decided that a resurrection of the Brownie Brigade was in order.
We discussed, as a family, who the first brownie recipients would be and we'll be delivering them today.
Let the fun begin!!!

a new teenager's birthday wish...

Friday, September 20, 2013

For her 13th birthday (today!), I gave Lily a writing assignment. My only direction to her was to write about birthdays. Here is what she had to say:
Birthdays and Adoption
Birthdays are always so fun. Whenever I think of birthdays, I imagine the balloons, the presents, the cake, streamers, and screaming party guests. Today is my birthday, and needless, to say, I’m excited.

            So many kids here in the U.S. have huge birthday parties, scores of presents, lots of friends over, and the list goes on. But what about those kids who don’t even know when their birthday is? What about those kids who have never tasted birthday cake, or blown out candles? Kai Kai was very excited when his birthday came around, because he had never celebrated it before.
            So many kids have to be their own parents, watching out for younger siblings. So much of their life has been lost, because of the ignorance and selfishness that we all possess. If we could go and celebrate every child’s birthday, imagine how loved they would feel. They would probably never forget that day when people actually took the time to celebrate them-celebrating them being alive, and telling them how awesome they are.
            And then comes the miracle of adoption. I am soooooooo glad that I was adopted by some awesome parents. I have celebrated all of my birthdays (thirteen now!). But some kids aren’t so lucky. So don’t just say, “Oh, someone else will come along”, because maybe someone else won’t. Let’s work together to tell all of the kids without parents, Happy Birthday!
Oh how I love my precious teenage girl's heart! Happy 13th birthday, my beautiful daughter! May all of your birthday wishes, for all of the children, come true!!!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

 And he increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:52

This year has been a year of increase for our precious son, Adam.

This photo was taken a little more than a year ago....

And this one was taken today!!!

Yes. Adam has grown about eight inches in the past year! But, more important than his growth in height, is his continually growth in godliness. I can truly say that over the past year, Adam has increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. What a joy it is to see this young man grow in all of these ways.

Happy 15th birthday, Adam!
You bless us more than you could ever know. You are kind, gentle, full of wisdom and love, and overflowing with godliness. It is a pleasure to be your mom. I love you!!!! May this 16th year of your life be a year of even more increase!

an urban adventure

Friday, September 13, 2013

Well, we had our first real urban adventure today. I went to a grocery store in a slightly sketchy area of town (there was a full-time security guard at the door) and as I was checking out, I was informed that they only take debit cards. We usually use cash for everything, but because of our recent move, I only had a credit card with me. So, I apologized profusely and left my groceries in the store (they were super-nice about it, by the way).

Then, I went out to my car and guess what?! It wouldn't start. At that point, I decided that I had better call David. As long as he was coming anyway, David offered to stop at the bank and get cash.

He arrived about 15 minutes later. The line at the bank was quite long, so he decided that he would just use the new debit card that the bank had given him to buy the gorceries. Well, that was a great idea, didn't work! He called the bank and they said that they were holding all of our deposited checks until the 17th.

Meanwhile, Grace and Kaikai were eating fruit snacks, given to them by a very nice grocery store worker. David decided to jump start the car so that we could go home, while he went back to the bank to get our finances sorted out.

So...about 3 1/2 hours after the start of our grocery store adventure, we finally had groceries in our refrigerator.

It made me think...what would it be like to not be able to afford groceries? What would it feel like to never have enough money and for your credit to be denied any time that you tried to buy something? What would it be like to have grocery shopping consume 3 1/2 hours every time that you went to the store?

Friends, that's the reality for so many people in this country (and far worse for others in this world).

Good grief.
I have led such an incredibly easy and pampered life.


So easy.

What a gift it is to experience just a tiny smidgen of what so much of the world experiences every day. I pray that God would increase His compassion in me as a result of living in the inner city. I pray that He would give me more of His heart for the people whom He loves.

Precious Father, please, oh please...break my heart with the things that break Yours. 

we finally made it...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Praise God that, despite a number of obstacles, we are finally moved in to our new home in Kansas City! Oh friends, it has been a journey that would fill the pages of an entire book. But for now, suffice it to say that, through it all, our God has been faithful. He is good all the time and we are so grateful for His amazing love.

The week of our move, I got a call from my mom, letting me know that my dad had passed away that morning. I am so grateful that I was able to go to my father's funeral, while David's parents traveled with my family to Kansas City. It was incredibly hard to leave my mom just three days later, but the kids (and David, with his one working hand) needed me to be with them, and I knew that it was time to join them in Kansas City. My emotions are just too raw to write much more at this point, but I'd greatly appreciate prayers for my mom. She misses my dad so much.
It was almost surreal to get off that plane in Kansas City and join my family there. God had been preparing our hearts for this move for a long time, so to have finally made it was truly incredible.
Our new home is in the urban core of Kansas City and is full of contrasts. We live in the city, but have an acre of land, which has an amazing garden, fruit trees and tons of rasberries.
Those of you who know me on facebook will also know that we have chickens!
And oh boy! Have those chickens been a hit!
Our yard is perfect for visitors. The Costigans visit frequently, and we've already had a couple of neighborhood kids over to play football, etc.

There are so many lovely houses in our neighborhood.
But there a number of abandoned ones, as well. This one, that is right next door to us, started on fire yesterday. From what I understand, that moves it to the top of the demolition list...yay!


We have experienced such peace since arriving here, in Kansas City. Oddly enough, this neighborhood of contrasts is just what our hearts have been longing for.
We finally made it...we are home.


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