In this moment..

I keep a huge widget of my calendar on my phone so I can see the next few days at a glance, because normally I have so many appointments, plans, schedules to remember that I’d explode trying to remember it all without a resource reminding me of them. But. Not this month. This next week simply looks like this. Screenshot_2016-04-14-13-21-26

This past month has been full of the above. {aka not much}  I’ve taken the time to grieve (& still do),  I’ve redone our bedroom (pretty much done), I’ve wiped down my cupboards, I’ve washed less than a drainerful of daily dishes, I’ve babysat for others, I’ve sat at the coffee shop, I’ve done tons of lazy window shopping, I’ve gone running/walking basically everyday, I’ve listened to podcasts, worshiped in music, finished my Gilmore Girls show, I’ve been writing & praying & reading God’s Word, hubby & I have gone on numerous last minute fun dates & a vacation, I’ve been alot quiet and I’ve begged to move on-to get another #fosterbaby, I’ve slept full nights, I’ve written letters, I’ve adult-colored, we’ve done taxes and archived 2015, I’ve planted flowers and garden and gotten to mow the lawn, gone through drawers and closets, and so many odd jobs… Basically I just have a pile of things to be done at the sewing machine once I get the courage to lug it out of the top shelf in the closet and once I decide what iron I want to buy, beings I dropped mine the other week and broke it 🙁

This probably sounds like a “haven” to so many…..and I’m not gonna lie, it sounds amazing. But. It seems so lacking in fulfillment. It’s lonely. Busy tends to wear out every mom and she just yearns for a break. Just a day of quiet. Maybe even a week. But a month?! A month, and I bet every one of you would be crying to have your babies, busy schedule and messy dishes back. When #my2ndlilgirlie left back on January 11 it was a lot rougher than we thought it was gonna be. We knew she wasn’t meant to be ours and so we really didn’t fully know how much we had loved her until she left.  Alot because we almost felt guilty for the feeling of knowing that we would never adopt her. And it was nothing against her or her background, it was just that ‘in-your-heart-knowledge’ that you should never feel guilty for! But ugh, we loved her soo much and missed her!! However, amid tears, I enjoyed the next 2 months, it was easy and so lil work to keep after just one 2 year old and so much more snuggle time. But then on March 11, when we said good-bye to #mylilgirlie, it was heart-wrenching. We had felt like she was meant to be with us forever. Nothing in our being wanted to let go.. And just typing that makes me cry, so we’ll maybe get more on that later…      But because of all I’ve been through I can’t sit here and just mourn. As much as I would want her back, JUST sitting here and crying and becoming bitter at God is so not the purpose for this. And as much as I want to enjoy this season of a ‘break and no pressing schedule’ it’s hard! It hurts. How in the world do you enjoy a time of nothing when you so badly want to hold your baby? How in the world can you sit here and become angry when you feel a peace that God most definitely is in control? And while I can’t wait for the next lil one, I know that the only way to use this season is to not live in anticipation of what is to come. I must choose to find joy in TODAY. Whether that is in me being overwhelmed in the busy or in the quiet.  I have realized that God doesn’t want me to make myself a crazy schedule just to move on. Neither does He want me to sit here and just be ‘vegging out‘ .. So, I’m choosing to be ok with this rest and listening to His comfort and His voice…    ((and tucking it away as a life lesson for when I am in the moment when I don’t know which way to turn, He is IN them all)).

In this moment, today, I trust you God and I know you have a purpose in this.

And while it may be easy for you to look at my life and say those cliche words with a hint of jealousy, “Oh just enjoy these moments” –I want to challenge you to look at your own life and enjoy what you have in your moments today. I could say those words right back at you in your busy, kid-filled life, with 100% sincerity.

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Foto Friday ~ Yoder Family

Last fall I offered to take some family photos for our little church group to use for the calendars I was making… I just loved it! It gave me the opportunity to branch out and practice without feeling pressured to get a perfect shot. And I was pleasantly pleased with the outcomes. Plus we had a beautiful huge yard/field with lots of trees in amazing fall colors, adorned with an old barn right beside a nice pond….Ahh 🙂 picture perfect.

First we had Jesse & Sarah Yoder –I am so blessed to know this sweet family. Sarah is such a wonderful mother and is also blessed with an amazing creativity and shares some of that on her blog. I’ve especially enjoyed getting to know her more in the past year and sharing in our growing walks with the Lord. Their dedication to their kids and doing special things with them sure shows in each of their happy faces. Kendrick always seems to have a lively tail to entertain once the stories get started and it doesn’t take much to get to see his big smile and it’s awesome to pay him a compliment to literally watch his confidence grow. Megan has such a sweet mothering heart–reminds me so much of how I imagine I was as a girl. Alyssa is seriously the most angelic little lady I have ever met, and warms my heart when she comes up and says, Could you hold me Julia? Or, about 2 months past her birthday she randomly tells me that she was sad I didn’t make it to her birthday party. How sweet. Jayden is so full of life, I just love when I can catch him off guard or alone and get to hear him chatter non-stop, cuz when he has the chance he loves to hide behind his mama’s skirt! OH and Jesse…hmm, I’m sure he rounds out their family quite well.. lol. (Let’s just say that he would have some kind of smart remark to give back to me should I read this aloud to him!:) )    And they just announced they are pregnant! I’m so excited for them! Best wishes to your family..

And here they are 🙂

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Foto Friday ~ Shania

I have tons and tons of pictures..one of my goals is to get most of them onto my blog. For my records and for you to see 🙂 So I decided to take a plunge and try to post something “foto-wise” on Fridays… We shall see how it goes.

Leave me your feedback, tips, and criticisms.

Instead of going back into my gallery today, I actually took my niece out into the field across the road of my house. I get so tormented every spring with this amaaazing yellow fields—anyone else want to go play?  It was a pretty cloudy today, so didn’t get quite get the results I wanted, but the best part? When we were done, Shania says, “That was FUN!”

Shania Brooke Hostetler; 2 1/2 years old just this week!

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Out with the Dead, in with LIFE

DSC_0081Dan&Julia editedWe recently had the opportunity of hosting some ‘new friends’ and we were really blessed in sharing time with each other, along with parts of our stories, and praying together. As they were preparing to leave, I gave them a print of the above photo along with our contact info. A lil bit later she comes back to me and says that as she was looking at this photo she saw something she felt like she was supposed to share. She sensed that like as in the picture, the background looks dead and brown with old buildings, and the foreground is just lightly turning green and showing life. That it is where we are at in our life right now; even though behind us we have had hard times where things seemed kinda dead, old and brown…that they are starting to change. And we will be beginning a new kind of life-that is “full of life”.

I was so blessed by it and felt like it was from God..I just wanted to document it 🙂

Be blessed, God is always so faithful!

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The Pathway and the Finger Sketching it..

It’s dreary and 45 degrees today..

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My spirit is heavy. I know God has such an immense plan for us. The journey we are on is so beautiful and yet the process can be so painful. Why does pain need to be involved? And yet I welcome it. I welcome God to use it. Knowing that it is refining me – getting rid of junk. And to uncover a jewel lots of refining, purging, sanding away needs to take place. There is incredible beauty from pain.

Dear God, use this pain as part of your purifying process. Teach me your way. I know You are sovereign. You are so mighty. I know you are in control. I know this because you are my King and I submit my life to You. I gave You my desire for a family. I placed it in Your Hands and continued serving you. Sometimes I have been very confused as to what You are doing and other times I smile and dance just knowing that Your Almighty Hand is smoothing the pathway. With your own fingers you are drawing the route on our life-map.

The unknown [not being able to see around the next bend- or why we went down this hill, up that mountain, thru that desert..] that unknown is at times really hard to accept. But I know you are protecting me. You see the road ahead and you allow me to see all that I need to, to be safe. And the rest; you protect me from it. I hear you say, “Just trust Me”.

Oh Father, I have been trusting. I will continue to trust. My faith has been shaken. But you know what, I think I’m finally getting the picture! Everytime that I stop, everytime my faith feels shaken, everytime that I don’t want to keep walking on this specific pathway you have smoothened for me, everytime that I  want to run back to the intersection where I had the choice of following the pathway You designed or the one where I could choose my own way that with the human eye looks good and filled with ‘comfort and ease’. And in all those when my flesh wants to quit, to drag me down that other road- whispering in my ear, ‘it’s not sin, it’s just easier, it’s what you want’. But I stop. I cry. I ask for You. Your help. And everytime I choose to believe again, to give it ALL to you, to passionately follow and trust in You. My faith is grounded another level deeper. It’s like another measure stronger and I know that it went through the fire, it became strengthened, concreted enough for whatever is next. Because the next boulder that falls in my pathway may be just a bit larger, a bit tougher than before. But I am not going to turn around or quit, so it is going to have to be moved. In those questioning times I am gaining enough strength and faith to be able to OVERCOME and move that boulder away. In faith I am going to conquer in Your Name. I will keep on the pathway You are scripting. I will choose to believe.

I know ultimately I only want what YOU have planned-no matter how hard it is. I want to stay on the road that you are writing just for me, because it’s all for your glory. I know that someday I will understand. Someday all this won’t seem cruel at all. Instead I will fall at your feet and worship you, being able to see what all you protected me from. What all you prepared me for. … 

and at this point I hear God gently whispering, “I want you to fall at My feet and worship me today. Without seeing the whole picture. Without understanding. I want you to worship me in faith. Because I AM good all the time.”

Faith is believing without seeing. Faith is what makes it possible to worship without feeling like everything is good in our life. So today, I once again grab that faith and cling for dear life. And I will worship because I know that my God is good and is doing good things in my life, whether my human eye can see it or not.

How do you get through difficult times?

[Edit: this was written last week, just getting around to posting it today..]

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Maternity ~Micah&Jayne~

So I’m slowly but surely getting caught up with all my ‘winter computer projects’…  My computer gave me a number of scares- I mean seriously: praying-to-God-that-it-somehow-starts-again-and-I-promise-I’ll-backup-my-pictures-ASAP kind of prayer. And He answered. PTL. So now I have a new computer and all my pictures are safely on a passport. During that process I realized just how MANY pictures I truly do have-wow- you would freak out at the number so I will spare you! But I am starting the phase of editing and organizing them [amongst many other things] so I may be posting more of my photo-shoots on here.

{disclaimer: I enjoy taking pictures and constantly learning new things, BUT I do not class myself as a professional photographer -so look at it through the eyes of it being a hobby and I would love your feedback and any kind of tips!}

Last November I had the opportunity to do my second maternity shoot for someone other than family. It was their first pregnancy and all so they were kinda nervous about the whole shoot. But when I saw they brought their guitar with I was so excited!! Plus it really helped to relax everyone and just take our relaxing time to it. They were awesome and so easy to work with- I just loved it! 🙂

Introducing Micah & Jayne King

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gotta do a few of just the cute mommy & belly 🙂 DSC_0368mic&jaynMaternity2014 DSC_0348mic&jaynMaternity2014 DSC_0376mic&jaynMaternity2014 DSC_0303mic&jaynMaternity2014 DSC_0356mic&jaynMaternity2014

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And I think I’ll end with my all-time favorite 🙂 a lil love from the daddy. <3

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Miss Kailani Nicole King, born on December 11, is a blessed lil girl to have you 2 for her parents! Best wishes..

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2014 -The Painfully Beautiful Year

I’m hearing a lot of; “Oh this past year has been the greatest one yet.”    “It’s been the best year of my life.”    “2014 was such a great year, ready for another one!”    “The past year was full of so many good things-welcome to the New Year.”

And so it got me thinking…of my past year.. And I couldn’t help it. Pretty soon tears were sliding down my cheeks. This past year was probably the hardest year of my life. In some ways it could almost seem like a ‘wasted year’ with no real big accomplishments to show for. But, deep in my soul I felt a stirring, a peace and a smile through my tears,  gently telling me that those 12 months of difficulty, tears, and pain were not for nothing. They were moments of ‘hands-on teaching’ from my Abba Father. I learned how to speak more kindly and take time for what matters most. I have become more of a sensitive person than I even deemed ‘necessary’ a year ago. And probably even other areas that I’m not aware of. It’s definitely been a year of peeling back those layers and becoming more aware of who God really is, not just who He is, but who He is to me. He is simple not just some kind of man in the skies whom we love if we want all good things to come our way. Stop and truly answer this question, WHY do you love Jesus?                                                                             {beware, it could change your life.}

I realized something that I have been pondering on for awhile…. that ‘moments of joy’, ‘good times’, ‘best memories’ and  ‘wonderful things’ are not what define whether or not I had a good year. What really defines good for us? Is it in the comforts of men and the fleshly pleasures of humanity? Or are we ONLY about the glory of God and concerned about the fame and renown of Jesus Christ?

2014 beachphoto Yes this past year was one of the hardest and most painful ones that I can remember, yet I wouldn’t trade it for one that was filled with easy roads and flower-strewn pathways. If that’s how yours was, then thank Him, if not, still thank Him. It’s often at the end of a calendar year that one looks back to the moments that penetrate our minds. For some the ending of the year looks even better than they envisioned, for others it looks nothing like what they had hoped or imagined. Despite all the laughter and good times, the blessings and the touches from God. We also see the loss, painful experiences, and sickness, plans that ‘failed’, dreams that seemingly were crushed.. Many people would say, “Just focus on the good times” -but I’m thinking; those other things, they affect us the most and should we just forget them? So if we choose to focus on one or the other it will automatically define whether we look back and say that we had a great year, or our year was just a mess? Neither one seemed right to me..so here’s a bit of my heart….

I could share with you the excerpt that I’m not printing (the details of my year)–but this isn’t some kind of pity party and this isn’t about ‘levels’ and ‘categories’ that I would then automatically be thrown into with your human mind {sorry, it’s something we all do and so I’m being helpful by leaving it out, to drive home the point here}. This is about learning there aren’t levels…and letting go of those categories in our human thinking…..our pain may be different from anyone else’s but it’s been passed through our Father’s Hands and His only level is true purity and beauty. I don’t believe He measures the pain -He’s measuring the results. We automatically put pain in levels, who has the worst and those that have the easiest levels—but are there levels in God’s economy? Who are we to judge whether or not something that is ‘happening’ to us could be worse, or is ‘bad’? If we are sons and daughters of the King, nothing will come to us without the Father allowing it. I’ve come to realize that He has a perfect ‘combination’ for us-the one that will wipe away all that self. We might look around and think we have it the worst, or we might think that we could never handle what our friends are going through. But the truth is, your journey, even though it’s different than mine, is perfect for you and God isn’t giving you an easier or a harder level, he is simply giving you his grace, and allowing the trials He knows it takes for you to be all that He wants you to be, combined with how much you are willing to give Him…[which could be another whole post on it’s own].  Beings we are created with different abilities we all have different areas to grow in and He knows just exactly how much it will take to make us into the kind of person He wants to mold us into and to achieve the results He sees can be reached if we allow every ounce of it to do a work in us and the world around us. [It’s not about us, it’s about a greater purpose..]   So if we say, ‘Oh, it could be so much worse’, than we aren’t truly allowing the pain of the situation to mold us, we are only thanking God for something that He didn’t give us.    And by all means, if it’s painful.. don’t just take it in… use it!! Let it change you. If you just take it in, you are just accepting inflictions from the devil, you must let it change you to bring glory to the Father. Think a bit about the death and the prayers of Jesus—God allowed exactly what He saw was necessary to save the human race. Was Jesus praying and thanking God that it would be over soon? No, He prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want you will to be done, not mine.” And then again, “My Father! If this cup cannot be take away unless I drink it, your will be done.” –He didn’t want the pain, but He knew that if the Father was allowing it, then He wanted to drink it.

So, yes I am thankful for this past year and the things it has taught me.. I won’t just say it’s been a wonderful-great year and forget about the pain, hurt and trials. But I will say that it has been a beautiful year, realizing that even though it wasn’t what I had planned for or dreamed of, it was God’s, and I’m so thankful that if He chose this pathway for me to walk through, that I didn’t throw the cup out, but drank it. I realize that it’s taken me awhile and I’m hoping that I will only continue to learn more about the nature of God. Whether it be through what my earthly mind would deem as good times or bad times. I realize that there is nothing to be ashamed about in both–but in both there is always a God that wants the glory. So whether it be a difficult season you are in, or maybe you are experiencing showers of blessings, remember that everything can be used for His good and for His glory. And joy, true joy isn’t dependent on your circumstances. Even though 2014 was a hard one, God was soo good to me and I am so thankful for the journey He has me on. My prayer is that in both I would always , ALWAYS remember to give God the glory! Allow Him to have the paint brush and your canvas in life will be being made beautiful once 2015 draws to a close…

..to Him be the glory.

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Playmates /post surgery

Here’s who came and saw me today! My 2 adorable nieces…it sure cheered my afternoon just watching them play! And seeing all these tiny dolls and miniature little strollers and swing. And the teeny puppies that stayed ‘magnetted’ to the mama dogs mouth! Aww yes I know I sound like a kid! 🙂

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So much adorableness...

So much adorableness…

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And of course we can’t forget the handsome lil guy, which was trying so hard to be ‘all-boy’ with so much girl-ness all around him!

Mason, very proud of his new mitt and ball!

Mason, very proud of his new mitt and ball!

And just a lil update on my progress; since a shower alone seems to exhaust me I just frequently wash my hair in the sink and today I managed to do it alone.                                                      I am trying so hard to not become discouraged…all I want to do is be able to be up and working without getting faint and tired.                                                                                                Mornings are still the most difficult and always need help out of bed. Also haven’t stayed alone yet as trying to sit down and get my pillows to elevate my straight unbendable leg seems to be more than I can manage.                                                                                                          I think my dear hubby is starting to wear out, he won’t complain but he’s been doing all the cooking, laundry and caring for me plus his job…I found some pickles in the freezer. I think it’s time someone starts bringing us some meals to ease the load for him..                                              til later, signature new2

Run to the Doctor /post surgery

It really is quite strange to not have all those bandages on and actually be able to see what all they did. The worst thing is it feel so unsupported. We still wrap it up with ACE bandages, but with all the gauze gone the brace is so loose and when I walk it really hurts to try and put weight on it. Kinda feels like it is gonna ‘give way’. So I called the Dr and they said we can come upright away and they will adjust it. So as soon as someone could come take my Hubby’s place in the combine he took me to the Dr. I actually just saw his assistant Ms Diane Miller. She not only fixed the brace, she showed us how all the straps work! It’s quite the contraption!! But once it’s all explained, it’s actually kinda easy; but it sure had looked confusing. As much as we hadn’t felt like spending a $100+ out of pocket for the brace, we are now glad it was a requirement. With that not letting me bend and offering support in the right places I am allowed to put as much weight on as I can stand. But I still haven’t learned the art of walking without crutches 🙂

I’m feeling a lil more adventurous since ‘having’ to get out of the house. So I spent a few hours over at my sisters house and she brought me home then. That was so nice for something different!

Riding in a vehicle is still an interesting outing…because I only get to sit in the back seat sideways with my leg up on the seat. I told my hubby it’s starting to feel like he is having to “put the child in the carseat in the back” everytime we go somewhere.

I have been busy organizing everything for Amish Sweets’ baking which starts this weekend. So many recipes to copy. Ingredients to buy. Prices to gather. Itemizing everything to see what my prices need to be. Receipts to be tallied. So if you wonder just WHAT I am doing with all my spare time on my chair…that would be it!

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2 year Anniversary

So May 19 has dawned again and today has been so unlike any 2 year Anniversary I could have ever imagined.. Life really has changed drastically here with my whole leg still being bandaged up from my surgery 5 days ago. Mornings have definitely been the worse and this morning was no different, me, not being able to get out of bed alone and then when I finally do so with my hubby’s help, sitting in the bathroom in a chilled state of sweat, feeling extremely nauseated, sipping on water to calm my stomach. However, once I have food and more pain prescription in my system things definitely start looking up! June 2014 039Yep, this is pretty much my station, not being able to bend my knee whatsoever.

However this Anniversary Day did find us doing something together, my dear hubby hauled me in to my first Physical Therapy visit. Where they took off my bandages for the first time and I got to see my incision with 8 staples and the other 4 small cuts with stitches. It really does look good, but with my queasy stomach I didn’t want to think about it too long.

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And then we went shopping- (or rather Dan ran into Walmart, lol) We needed gauze and bandages, I know, super romantic!

After that long adventurous journey I was exhausted, and hubby had to go to work a few hours. So my sis said she would stay with me. And while she was here, she proceeded to clean up the house and prepare some food. I had told her along with my mother-in-law and sis-in-law that if they felt led they could fix us a meal or do whatever they wanted to spice up our evening. Well, they truly did just that!

Beings my bandages hadn’t come off in 5 days, I wasn’t allowed to shower in those 5 days either, so it was with pleasure that I was ready to tackle that task whether I could stand without my crutches or not, I was gonna do this, one-legged or sitting, whatever works! With a matter of time and hubby’s wonderful assistance we got it accomplished….and when we were finished and came out into the livingroom we were greeted with wonderful aromas, shades all pulled & candlelit house, table set and decorated in the livingroom by my chair, and a big beautiful bouquet my hubby had snuck in for me. It almost made me cry, they truly did a beautiful job!! My sis snapped a few pictures for us and then they all left, leaving us to our own romantic evening…

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June 2014 058June 2014 106June 2014 096June 2014 076June 2014 100June 2014 055 and the food was just as amazing, they had ordered + picked up some steaks 25 minutes away and seriously they were still hot and so juicy and yummy! We were soo tickled!!

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June 2014 061 my hubby had the wonderful idea of playing our wedding music, which we still just loove listening to! And we looked at wedding pictures, then curled up (just as good as you can curl with a straight leg brace!) and watched a movie.. Honestly, it was one of the most fun, relaxing, MOST enjoyable evenings we had in a very long time!!  (the winning cherry on top was that we weren’t supposed to clean up and they came back the next day and cleaned up the dishes and everything!)

We had the great idea that to save money on gifts we’ll buy something that both of us have wanted/needed…a GOOD (ya know, a Cabela’s one instead of a Walmart one) thermometer that does indoor/outdoor, along with a rain gauge. Plus then of course add in a lil chocolate 😉

Happy Anniversary my love, I love you so deeply that sometimes my heart feels like it’s gonna explode and I wonder how I could love you more, and yet as every year has passed I always look back in amazement because I know I love you more than I did then…how does that work?! We have been through a lot together and I look forward to so many more!!

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