Comparison is the thief of joy. I have read it. I believe it. However…
These days are full of technology and with that comes plenty of opportunity to feel like you’re just not measuring up. Pinterest alone can make one believe there is no hope for, well almost anything. Thousands of DIY ideas that you should have thought of yourself yet can’t even DO with any success.
Am I the only one who tries the Pinterest ideas only to end up with the pumpkin that split in half while sticking gold Nailheads down the creases? Or tried to paint a frame an amazing color of teal to have the paint drip down the frame and then have to wash your hair ten times to get out the paint that floated through the breeze right into the “beach waves” hairdo you worked so hard on that in reality looked like you forgot to use a brush?
Am I the only one who has rushed out to Michael’s to get Modge Podge only to get home and have your creation rip in a million pieces because you obviously used too much, or wiped too hard or spread it too fast?
Don’t even get me started on the “Chalkboard Paint” debacle. Am I the only person that can’t get that stuff to work right? I must be since the web is full of pictures of ENTIRE WALLS painted with the stuff (and beautifully at that). We won’t even talk about the “Hand Lettering” which you are expected to perfect before using said chalkboard.
What about the lunchbox issue? As if I wasn’t having a hard enough time just throwing a lunch together, now it has to be a Bento – whatever that means! I should get special containers with special cutlery and make all food items into special shapes; otherwise my child will apparently not feel special. He will probably need therapy some day due to my lack of culinary Bento Boxing – if that’s even a word. I suspect that if I were to attempt these amazing lunch feats, I would need the therapy.
I am fairly certain that I am indeed the only one who does not grow her own food, have chickens with the cutest coops ever, make her own bread with grain she grew and milled herself. I am pretty sure I am the last person on earth who doesn’t buy all organic everything. I don’t make my own cleaning products and yes, I still use Windex like a fiend!
At this point, I do not have even one thing that I have handcrafted from an old pallet. I have yet to build a piece of furniture myself and I have not incorporated “barn doors” into my home yet. I am not saying I don’t want to – it just hasn’t happened.
Am I the only one who doesn’t care two hoots about professionally applied eye make up? Indeed, I would prefer to never wear any make-up at all!
Even as a homeschooling mom, I am at the bottom of the heap. Some of these awesome moms apparently never sleep because they homeschool many children on many grade levels while writing their own curriculum, authoring their own books and blogs, while successfully mastering everything Pinterest!
I don’t make my own soap or my own deodorant and I don’t want to. I have no desire to make my own candles either.
I do recycle. I hope that redeems my shortcomings on some minuscule level. I don’t always up cycle my empty mayo jars though, so I am now back to square one.
Comparison is the thief of joy. I have read it. I believe it. I have lived it.
I know that I am not the only one who can’t manage to be perfect. Perfection is indeed impossible.
I am thankful that most days I don’t concern myself with any of the numerous things I don’t measure up to. As a woman, it is not easy to do that. It has come with age (and of course that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).
I hope you won’t allow your joy to be ripped away by what the world wants you to believe. You are a child of the One True King. You have been blessed with gifts He gave you. Find your gifts, develop them, use them to bless others and in doing so, you will be the best at being you.
I will just continue admiring the awesome ideas everyone else has and pray they will want to come bestow their awesomeness on me!
I was keeping my little two-year-old grandson, Collier, while his sister (Emmy) was in the hospital having surgery. He taught me a few things…
1. Interestingly enough, the guest room bed is much more comfortable than my own (note taken).
2. Hiding under a table while screaming to the top of your lungs is sometimes called for and you will feel refreshed and renewed when you finally come out.
3. Choc-ey milk is the answer to all of life’s problems (such as missing mommy)!
4. Running around in your undies (or diaper in this case) is preferable to the confines of clothing and doggie kisses are a must just to give you a giggle.
5. When necessary, go incognito.
6. If tired, go for a nice ride in the car, take a little light reading along, then take a nap while someone drives you around and start the day over feeling rested.
7. Play to your hearts content with no concern for messes or clean up.
8. Sleep with every toy and stuffed animal in the house cuddled in nice and close.
9. Eat snacks galore with not a worry for calories or cavities.
10. Take a nap at the request of others (or in this case, just fall asleep while sitting up and while eating said snack).
It is amazing the little things you can pickup from a knowledgable two year old!
“Do you know my name?”
It was the question that started it all – the question that wouldn’t let my heart rest. It was the question that was asked of me in Uganda, but followed me home to Georgia like a heart attachment I didn’t know what to do with.
I pondered it. I cried over it. I lost sleep thinking about it as it gripped little parts of my brain that refused sleep until the matter was settled. I questioned its power over me.
As I began preparing for my next trip to Uganda, that question, that girl – was still swirling around my life. I began to realize that God was telling me to pull aside the girls at this ministry and do a little devotional with them.
Well, what do I know about doing a devotional with a group of teenage girls? Nothing! Therefore, I commenced trying to convince God (right) that that would not work given the fact that I had no real experience with such as He was telling me to do.
There was no rest, no comfort – no getting out of it!
Several nights before I was to leave, I had a girl’s night with my friend. I tearfully told her my story of Swabula. I shared with her my broken heart and then how I believed God intended for me to share something with not only her, but also the other teen girls in that home. I whined about how I had no idea how to do that – what to say.
Then, it happened…
She said, “Faith, the lesson is already there. He has given you the answer right there in the question!”
Yes, she was right (she often is). I may have struggled with her name, just as I am sure others have before me….but, God knows her name!
BA-bam! Right there! It was right there every sleepless night, every tear that fell from my eyes carried with it the answer – the truth He wanted me to share.
God knows your name!
My sweet friend not only helped me see what was there all along, but she even wrote the lesson for me – from scratch. She didn’t just copy one from somewhere. She created it for me – for Swabula and the other girls. She loved on me and the girls in Uganda by doing something she does so well. I love her for that!
I took that devotional/lesson with me to Africa. I, along with my female team members took these girls aside and shared this sweet truth – I may not know your name, other people may not know your name…oh but girlfriend, He knows. He created you. Your name is engraved in the palm of His hand. The One Who needs to know …He knows.
I was blessed to have a wonderful man donate Bibles for me to give the girls (and many others), so we gave them The Word as we finished up. Beautiful!
I spilled the tears that had been dripping for months – I brought them back to Africa and spilled them at the very place where they first welled up inside me – in front of the very girl who brought them to my eyes to begin with.
Her name is Swabula!
We have missionary friends who are serving in Africa – At.This.Very.Moment. They left all the comforts of home to serve the “least of these” in Uganda. They are a beautiful (inside and out) family sold out to Christ. Now, they have been led to add to their precious family through adoption. They are adopting a precious little boy with special needs – age 3 and an adorable baby girl – age 8 months.
I cant’ tell you their names or their full story – YET! They have been advised to keep it off of the Internet and they can’t do this themselves because the agency might pull the adoption if any information appears. Once they have these sweet ones in their home – I will let THEM give you the full story! It is a beautiful, redemptive, amazing, teary-eyed kinda story!!!
Right now, they are in need! They are missionaries who live on donations as it is. We need to help them raise $23,500.00 ASAP! Please consider helping them bring those children into their loving family and out of the orphanage!
You can go to my blog – faithfulommy.com and click the donate button. Any amount is helpful – right now they have nothing! Please consider $10, $50, $100, $500 or more – whatever amount the Lord leads you.
EDIT: Please donate $10 (more if you like) and share with all of your FB friends, instagram friends, twitter ,church, etc. Together we can make a difference in the lives of two orphans! Won’t you join us?
You will want to be a part of this beautiful story!
I promise that pictures and the story (as told by them) will be forthcoming. The sooner we get the funds raised, the sooner those pictures will be up! I have had the privilege of meeting these little ones and they are a perfect fit with this amazing family!
Please feel free to share this – the more people who know about it the better. We can join together to get those babies with their forever family!
As we pulled in to the orphanage we were greeted with beautiful sounds of joy from children ranging in age from 4 to 19. There is no way you can see that excitement on their faces and not feel your own joy reawakened within you.
Part of the greeting committee!
You squeeze yourself through the bus door because there are little hands grabbing for yours. It’s appears to be a first come first serve sort of situation, until you realize they can and will grab any part of your anatomy and/or clothing. There are ten fingers, which equals ten children and then the two arms, which equates to ever how many are tall enough to reach up to the top.
Walking can prove to be a challenge… One worth figuring out.
They are all quite eager to show us their home and ours for the next four nights.
Having never been to Kenya, let alone this orphanage, I really had no expectations, no preconceived ideas. Drawing from knowledge of orphanages I had visited in the past in other countries, I was taken by surprise at how nice this one looked and was taken care of. They take pride in their facility and keep the compound clean at all times.
Probably a better pic - but...
We immediately meet up with the “mayor” of the whole place. He is all of about four years old and in complete charge of everything that goes on. The other kids seem to understand and accept this with an amazing amount of grace. His name is Shem and he is a handful. Short, bossy, adorable with a capital A, in control and bug wrangler extraordinaire. He’s got this figured out – all of it!
Shem - the mayor!
To say these kids are wonderful is an understatement. They have such good manners and they welcome us into their home and into their lives with smiles and giggles.
I meet a young Evelyn right away and we connect very easily. I tell about my grandmother named Evelyn and my granddaughter named Evelyn. She may have been a little overwhelmed by my excitement about names.
Evlyn - her spelling is not the same as ours.
The children proudly showed us their gardens and they were happy to tell us about everything they worked so hard to grow.
Growing yummo bananas!
They took us to their awesome playground that my sweet friends Diana and Brett Perkey (along with others) built for them! It was wonderful and was such a pleasure to see knowing how hard the Perkey’s worked to raise the funds for it and then of course the down and dirty job of constructing it!
There is more to this playground - but sadly cant' find the pic right now!
We did a VBS lesson with the kids and then they designed their crowns (because they are children of the King). They had a great time with those crowns. Some of them were very intricate and they were all beautiful and worn throughout the day.
Hello! My name is Child of The ONE True KING!
We went on a “nature walk” to see the cliffs and surrounding area. It was such a beautiful walk. I kept saying “oh my, how beautiful” and the kids just giggled at me.
One thing this place gets right is worship time. They have worship every morning at 7:00. Yep, that’s early. I will never hear another bell ringing that I don’t think of the worship bell ringing in the children to the worship center. There is something special about sitting there preparing to worship and then have a little one come sit next to you and grab your hand. Sweet!
Of course, there is always the possibility that a little boy comes to sit next to you and proudly displays his ginormous beetle while you try not to shriek and run away crying like the girl you are! Then he drops the bug (he told me that it was not a bug, but a beetle) onto your lap! True story – but you live through it and manage to keep your primal screams fairly quiet.
There is always the possibility that you forgot your Bible (it was early, don’t judge) and a teenager reaches across the chairs to give you his. Why yes, I am crying as I write this!
It was a joy and an honor to worship with the children (and adults) of Fiwagoh!
re·al adjective \ˈrē(-ə)l\
a : not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory : genuine; also : being precisely what the name implies
At the ripe old age of three, I have come to realize that I am indeed smarter than most adults. Sorry, it’s true.
I have evidence to back it up people. I have had some time on my hands lately and to be honest, I’ve been eavesdropping a bit.
Yep, all the while you people thought I was sleeping or out of it or whatever – I was listening to every.word.you.said!
The one topic I think we need to discuss is a very simple word most people don’t seem to understand -real.
I can’t help but wonder what y’all think it means. That is still a little unclear to me. I do know you don’t have a clue to its actual meaning. That, my friend is crystal clear.
I won’t name names since the list would be too long and most of these folks are strangers anyway.
People are always asking about my “real” mom. This is so bizarre to me since they are actually speaking to my “real” mom. It’s almost like an out of body experience when they talk like this. “Where is her “real” mom? Do you know her “real” mom?” Weird right?
I mean they are standing right in front of her (and me) and asking that stupid question. My mom is always nice about it, but we both know she would love to pinch their heads off!
I just want to clarify a few things for you.
My mom puts me to bed every night and wakes me every morning.
My mom holds and kisses me every single day.
My mom knows my body inside and out.
My mom knows what my blood counts are at any.given.moment.
She knows what they should be too.
My mom knows there will be trouble if the nurses can’t get a good stick the first time and who will be coming if they even think about trying it a second time!
My mom knows the taste of my kisses and the saltiness of my tears.
My mom knows my temperature is whacky and keeps a close check on it.
My mom knows my tickle spot.
She also knows how to handle me when I’m being a stinker (it’s rare)!
My mom knows all of my medications, the dosages and what time to give them to me.
She knows I like purple Popsicles!
My mom knows I like ballet (and how adorable I look in that tutu).
She knows how much I love all of my brothers, my sister and my daddy.
My mom knows all too well how much I love “Dora The Explorer”.
My mom knows to cover my eyes when I have a breathing treatment.
She also knows to tell me everything the doctors or nurses are doing to me.
My mommy never left my side when I was so sick, although many people said she should. While she understood her own need for rest, she knew my needs were greater at that time. While she knew she had other kids at home (and ached for them), she knew I needed her the most at that time. She slept in the bed with me and whispered “I love you” gently into my ears. While she knew I was being cared for by the best teams of doctors and nurses ever, she knew she was my advocate, my voice and she stood her ground to be with me. Truth be told, things were touch and go there for awhile and she refused to allow me to slip away without her next to me.
She is my mommy!
She is my REAL mommy.
She is my only mommy.
She is the best mommy.
Blood type, skin color, hair color and the type of cookies I like – (genetics and such) don’t make much difference when you factor in love.
She is very real. You could touch her yourself to make sure, but I would not advise it. She is genuine and authentic, not imagined or artificial.
She is a force to be reckoned with if you dare to mess with any of her babies. I’ve seen her in action – be warned, she is a mama bear!
Next time it crosses your mind to ask about my “real” mother – look very closely and you will see, there is none more real than the woman next to me.
Part three of Emmy’s story
A children’s hospital can be a sad place. So many sick children – Some chronic and some acute. Either way – perspective is given to all who enter here.
One of the nights when I was at my sickest, another child passed away. There was a hush and a somber mood throughout the evening and night. The staff was deeply affected by this, as was my family. Due to the overwhelming and deep sadness of all, I slept the most peacefully that night. The staff was able to concentrate on other needs. I was resting well and of course had my family right with me. If I had need of anything the staff was at the ready, but I think it was nice that I was the least needy on that very night.
Again, seeing how they handled this situation gave my family even more reason to love CHOA.
For several days, I just lingered in loopy land. I would cry out from time to time in an agitated state (don’t judge- you would too if you were in my situation) but was not really coherent at all. The docs were ready to see me respond physically, mentally etc. I was trying, but I just didn’t feel good ya know?
Finally, on Tuesday (I don’t know the days of the week, but I am going on hearsay) I opened my eyes and took a good look around. I talked! I complained! I even sat up with help for a few seconds at a time. This was apparently what they had all been waiting for! Smiles abounded and camera clicks commenced. I guess they thought I had lost my eyes too. I didn’t really smile that day (gotta keep ‘em waiting). I did however show them my “ridiculously amazing smile” (or so I hear) the next day. Again, like Christmas for these folks.
Look who "found her eyes."
Today is Wednesday and I was blessed to receive a mani/pedi from my sweet nurse. She spoils me. Then I had the misfortune of my nurse, my mommy and my Mia washing my hair. This is an ordeal on the best of days, so I have no idea what could have possessed them to torture me – a sick little child – in such a horrible way. For shame! I made them pay by screaming.my.heart.out! Then I promptly fell asleep due to the exertion of what I like to call, “The great hair washing debacle!”
Mani/Pedi's are important even in PICU!
At this point, things are looking up. I am still in ICU, but hoping for a transfer soon. Although I have grown to love these nurses and doctors, I am anxious to get back to my normal floor -AFLAC. Things are a little more relaxed down there because my needs are not as severe. As long as I am “critical” I will be here in the PICU though. I have a long way to go since I still need the ventilator, but they are in the process of trying to “wean” me from it. Even as they do that, they just switch me to another type of oxygen flow. I will be happy to breathe on my own again! Breathing is not to be taken for granted – I have learned that very important lesson.
It’s very late – I can’t tell time either, but since all the lights are low I know it’s time for my mommy and Mia to try to get some rest.
I guess I will try too…
After the “diaper debacle” (we compromised- I agreed on wearing, but not going in it), we special ordered my very own potty chair. Score for me!
However, my high didn’t last long, I was given yet another IV. An EEG. More chest X-rays, placed on oxygen and enough medicine to make me all sorts of loopy. Just as I was getting acclimated to the array of machines I was hooked up to, the doc called my mommy aside. He wanted to show her my newest X-rays.
Again, a swarm of doctors (no, really, it is just like a swarm of bees- all dressed in yellow) filled my room – this time, many more than before. My mommy was crying and they were bringing in more machines. They put this horrendous mask on my face. It blew!
I mean it really did. It blew oxygen into my lungs – forcefully. I looked like a puffer fish. It pushes the air into my nose and mouth and with every push my cheeks puff out from the force of it. Not to mention what it’s doing to my hair – all those straps. Oy!
I was pretty much out of it by this time and for many days later. One thing I do know is I Did.Not.Want.To.Be.Touched. Hands off folks! I didn’t like hearing strange voices. I needed my familiar voices and touches only.
I was not at my best ya know and my family was snapping photos like I was Miss America or something. People were coming in and just looking at me. At this point my entire body was swelling from what they call edema. All I know is, I was looking more and more fluffy and everyone in the world (so it seemed) was looking at me. Rude!
If you recall, I wasn’t having the diaper thing and I held my ground on that even while I was in loopy land. Sadly, this meant they just took “it” in their very special, humiliating, painful way. I was really too out of it to care though – just a trace of a memory, praise Jesus.
I later learned that they didn’t think I would make it through the weekend. I am a fighter! I was silent yet giving it everything I had. I couldn’t open my eyes – too sick and too swollen. I couldn’t talk – too sick and on the ventilator. I couldn’t move – too sick and connected to every machine known to man. I was fighting though. I was giving it all I had. Most importantly – prayers were being lifted up for me from all over the world. That, my friend, is powerful. There is power in prayer and I was being covered by the faithful.
I am only three years old, but I know how to talk to Jesus. My family and other people I couldn’t see we’re placing their hands on me and calling out in Jesus’ Holy Name. I loved that. He was/is right here with me. He has never left my side. Not when I got sick enough to come to PICU and not when I took a major turn for the worse. He was right there. He has said He would never leave me nor forsake me. He keeps His promises. Always! He doesn’t promise continued life on this earth, but He does promise me Life Everlasting. He is holding me in the Palm of His Hand. It’s a great place to be!
That whole weekend things were touch and go. There was doctor after doctor and test after test. They finally had to put in a PICC – Line (which is nothing like a picket line -inside joke). This helped them with meds and blood since my IVs were “going bad”.
I heard my family talking about the phenomenal care I was receiving. This is true. The doctors and nurses at CHOA rock! They were always gentle and always told me what they were doing even when I was “out of it”. I am particularly impressed with how they helped my mommy and family through all of this. My family was stressed, tired and concerned. The staff just treated us all like family, which made it a bit easier for the people who love me so much.
CHOA doctors and nurses taking care of me!
I will say this too – my mommy (God love her) asks A.Lot.Of.Questions. Yes she does! This is because she is my advocate. She is phenomenal! There is not one thing about me that she does not know. There are all sorts of “numbers and stuff” and she knows what they are at any given time and she knows what they should be. She is the best mommy ever! Nothing gets by her and the doctors know they have to be on their toes when talking with her (I even heard them say that). There will be no “I talk and you listen” – she does plenty of talking on her end!
See how my mommy loves me?
Since I am singing her praises I will add that I finally had no choice but to let loose in that ridiculous diaper. My mommy convinced me (in my delirium) that she would be “catching” it and it was okay. Since I trust her – I was finally free of what turned out to be an enormous build up of bodily fluids. She really did catch it ’cause that silly diaper was the same as nothing given the amount I had stored up. Poor mommy! In my defense, I would never agree to this had I not been in loopy land. Just sayin’!
I’m just gonna lay here and thank Jesus for all He is doing for a bit…
…Please thank Him for answered prayers.
Part three tomorrow
So – last week, I started feeling a little blah. Next thing you know blah turned into the sickies. I hate that. My mommy took me to the ER at Scottish Rite hospital, which is like a home away from home for me. I go so much it doesn’t even bother me. Sometimes, I even tell my mommy I need to go there. I stayed for a while and then they said I could go home, but I would have to go back in the morning. Well, did I ever! I was not feeling well at all and this time I had to stay. Most of the day, I did okay. Lots of pokes – which I absolutely loathe. Many of the nurses at CHOA are my friends, so I spend a little time suckering them into doing things my way. I much prefer a finger stick to a vein draw and I can usually negotiate my way to the prick not the poke. Suckahs!
Things were just going along as planned until my body down right betrayed me by having an unprecedented temp. of 107! Ridiculous right? My world became pretty fuzzy, as my body grew ever hotter. My mommy will tell you stories about that time which I have no recollection of. It is told that I was saying crazy things, reaching for things that weren’t there and I plumb “lost” my eyes!
Because I have Sickle Cell Anemia, the docs and nurses can’t do what might typically be done in situations like that. Putting me on ice was not an option, but then leaving me hot enough to start a Girl Scout campfire wasn’t a good choice either. They finally decided to put me in a “cooling blanket” to get me cooled down some. Along with some other little tricks they got it down to an amazing 105. Yep, I was out of whack!
Later that morning, I had about 30 minutes where I was kickin’ it. I had visitors; I painted a very striking Monet-ish painting. Things were looking up! I took a short little nap and then the next thing you know – BA-BAM 6 doctors and nurses were swarming my room for reasons unbeknownst to me. One minute, I’m in dreamland and the next they are whisking me off to PICU and a chest X-ray and a brain CT.
They have now put me in a place of the unknown- new surroundings; new people and they are all eyes! It’s so weird. Eyes, that’s all I can see. They wear yellow masks that cover everything except their eyes. Are they for real? Do they not know this freaks a kid out? Have they never heard of a cloaking device? If they would all wear those, we kids could relax a bit.
Case In Point!
I knew this was getting out of line when the nurse said, “I have some special pants for you to wear.” Special my foot – diapers – that’s what they are. Call ‘em what they are – diapers. I spend my days and nights in “big girl panties” and have for some time. Now you expect me to not only lower myself to “diaper wearing baby,” you actually think I’m gonna “go” in them! Think again lady!
I was trying my best to get settled in this new, strange place…
…Then things got really bad.
Part two – tomorrow
Life. Love. Family. Friends.
It has been such a blessing to my heart to see the outpouring of love and care flowing from friends near and far concerning the life of our sweet Emmy. It amazes me to know there are people all over the world lifting her up in prayer. My sweet friends in Africa and people from all walks of life, from all over the USA. There are “communities” of people praying for Emmy. There is the “Sickle Cell” community. The “adoption” community. The “Foster Care” community. The “Homeschool” community. The “Classical Conversations” community. The “Missions” community. The “blogging”community. The “Instagram” community. The “FaceBook” community. Our Christian community and some communities from other faiths.
When “communities” come together for a common cause, it can have an overwhelming effect on not only the person/family in need, but those who are spending their time in prayer. He loves to see us in fervent prayer and when we are obedient to that, He shows up in such a mighty way.
We are seeing some surprising connections springing up between communities. Interlinking relationships and little dots connecting. God is so good and He just keeps bringing people together and revealing relationships that we didn’t even know existed.
Our precious girl is so very sick. She is in need of prayer. We are in need of prayer. We are thankful for the many friends and friends of friends who are standing in the gap on her behalf. I love to see so many join in prayer for our Emmy. It warms my heart and fills me with hope – not only for this situation but for all of us. We, as a people really do love and care about one another. We want good things for others – even if they are strangers. I love that.
We love our precious prayer partners and are ever thankful for them. Brothers and sisters in Christ.
Children of the King!
Thank you Jesus for the overwhelming love shown for our family and especially our sweet Emmy.