Monday, December 15, 2014

Lovin' You for Over Half of My Life

You may kiss the bride! 12/15/90
I was 21 years old, you were 25 - this was December 15, 1990. When I tell people that we met in September of 1989, started dating in February 1990, got engaged June 1990 and got married in December of 1990....people think we're nuts. We know we are!

We know that the decision we made at that altar, in Pennington NJ that rainy, snowy day...was one of the easiest and best decisions we've ever made.

My handsome guy...there to pray with me before I spoke! 10/24/14
It's easy to love your very best friend. We've been through so much in the last 24 years....our journey has not been easy, but it has always made everything better...knowing you were by my side. The truth is I couldn't imagine doing life without you. You are my umbrella when it rains in my life. One of my most favorite things about you Mike that you never EVER have always saiud without a doubt...that marrying me was something you know you did right! You have done so many things right....but I am so glad you asked me 24 years ago to do life with you.

I love him SO much! 12/9/14
We have had some serious laughs! We have gone to bed very late...working on issues! We have certainly shared a number of tears....but through it are the one I want to hold me, you are the one that can make me feel better with a kiss. I can't believe that you can still make me melt after 24 years.

I'm so proud of you Michael - you have taught our children that working hard will pay off! You have never given up - I'm so thankful. I know that as we continue through our "middle ages" things are changing. It is strange to see these boys who were just babies when I started this blog...

Shane, Brendan & Kyle - our 3 sons! 12/6/14
...looking so handsome and tall. Look at these young men Mike. WE DID THIS! :) That's got to make you smile big (and cringe a little)! Your role in their lives is now more pivotal than ever. OH...I'm not going to talk about them growing up....we'll work on that later.

Michael, I'm crazy in love with you. I've been holding your hand since 1989...and I will continue on through eternity. Praise God that we have eternity in our hearts Michael. That means we get to keep the gift of our love forever! I've written of so many of our memories throughout the years...but there are some...that are so dear, so special, so vividly engrained in my heart...that seem as fresh as the dawn of a new day.

Thank you. Thank you for proposing 25 years ago, thank you for protecting me, for loving me, for fathering our boys, for making me laugh, for making me stretch, for believing in me, for cheering me on, for standing up for me, for fighting for me, for wanting the very best for me...for loving God and never walking away from Him, for being a constant in our lives, for being willing to bend, morph and even change, for praying with and for me and with and for our boys daily, for sticking to every single vow and for wanting to grow old with me. We've done a pretty good job of growing old so far. We've been loving each other for over half of my life! I look forward to every single day of the remainder of our lives...doing just the same! xoxo ♥ Lisa

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pulling Back The Curtains...Again

borrowed pic from the

Every once in a while I pull back the curtains in my heart to reveal something totally vulnerable, I'm not sure yet if it is for whomever is reading this, or solely for me, either way it is therapeutic and sometimes an occasional reader gets blessed in the aftermath.  This is one of those times when I can't get my thoughts straight, so in order to accomplish any housework, grade papers or bake cookies, I must get this out.

The Lord is working on either refining me or defining me or both. About a year ago He moved me from point A where I was content, to point B where I have found in some ways allowed me to grow. He has a way of moving us...we never want to be stagnant...because then we might start to stink. When I was moved from A to B, at first I felt stripped. Stripped of all that I loved, all that I knew I worked well in, all that was familiar and freeing. But I knew it was for a noble cause. I knew it was not about me at was more about those I love. When love is involved, sacrifice is much easier.

So a door was closed. So closed, that even when I snuck back in for a brief moment, I knew I was not going to be able to go back. I have to accept that when God closes a door, He must be opening up a new one - that's what they say right? The crazy thing is, I think he is teaching me that not all doors have knobs, handles, and windows and they can look and operate very differently.

I'm 45 years old, felt like I've lost something that I'm never gonna recover and I have shed many tears and have even lost sleep because of this transition. I've started to do an in depth study of Psalms 91. Did you know that God promises so much in those 16 verses? The beginning of the chapter gives us one thing to do..."Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." That's it - choose to dwell in His shelter and rest in His shadow! Well, I do that. I spend time every morning doing just that...and sure enough He is showing me His many promises.

So while I'm running from door to door, while I'm weeping over the fact that "feel" I don't have a "home", He is showing me that I've been narrow minded in thinking that doors have to even be connected to a wall let alone a building. Wow! Mind blown (as my eleven year old would say)! Now don't think for one minute that the enemy isn't just having a heyday with my mind. OH He's such a liar. Thoughts like, are you ready for this?..."You don't fit here. He's not gonna be using your gifts any longer, your time is up. You left your family, now you are alone. These people don't need you or really even want you. Don't lie to yourself Lisa...they were getting tired of you that's why you left...that's why it was time." It can get pretty ugly....those lying arrows can hit your heart and make a mess if you let them. NOW, I knew exactly what they were...lies. Did you know that these arrows are deliberately sent by the enemy and intentionally aimed at the spot they can cause most damage? Usually targeted in the area in which are mind is not renewed by the Word -- like an area where we are still losing our temper, or where we are still easily offended, or and area of rebellion or fear (which is most likely where my weak spot is located). Good news...Eph. 6 reminds us that we have a shield of faith that will extinguish all the flaming arrows. That shield is strengthened by believing His Word. He will deliver us!!

So I've been focused on saturating my mind on His Word.  My time with the Lord has been me asking Him to renew my mind to such an extent that I have more faith in His Word than in what I see or hear. You see faith is not a tool to manipulate God into giving you something you want, it is simply the means by which we accept what God has already made available. So...while I'm running here and there, feeling a little lost, this morning I found myself running right under the wings of my Father. "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

This morning, by surprise or maybe not, I opened my door to a field full of chickens, cows and horses. I thought of a babe chick and how it runs under its Mama's wings to find shelter. Mama doesn't run after all of her chicks...they come to her. You see the Lord is always there, we are the ones that run around fearful looking for shelter...He is just right arms..ready to shelter us and renew us to do the next thing.

God has shown me, as I opened my car door this morning, that I have found my family, in fact I felt like the Lord said..."Hold on Lisa, My faithfulness knows no boundaries, there are no doors to be open, I've opened all the doors and you are home now."  I know I'm going to experience something amazing, something that the deepest part of my heart has longed for for a long time. Home, a home without walls or doors, a place open for new things, new people, new experiences. I'm at point B, I've not left there, and I'm happy to be there...but what I was searching for is not found in any "point" at all. God has shown me, that the gifts that He gave me, He has given me so He can use them, where He wants to use them, when He wants to use them. He hasn't stripped me of them. So...I will stay in His shelter and rest in His shadow..and enjoy my new wide open home.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How To Measure Success

Please take a trip to "The Mommy Mess" by clicking the link above. Today's blog post was featured there and I discuss the the mental journey to measure success every year as a homeschool Mom - it can get a little messy for sure. It is such an honor to be asked to write for Adrienne's Blog! She is such an inspiration to so many! You will be blessed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where Were You...?

World Trade Center Memorial 7/13
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

My students use to ask me where I was when Elvis died, or when Kennedy was shot, or when the challenger exploded. I loved when they would ask "What was it like to see man walk on the moon for the first time?" I cried when Elvis died (I was 11 years old), but I think I cried because everyone around me was crying. I wasn't born until 7 years after President Kennedy was shot and I was only 4 months old when man first landed on the moon. The Challenger explosion was very disturbing. I was a junior in high school and we watched that live on television in our morning class.

Statue of Liberty 7/13
Living so close to New York City for most of my married life, I looked forward to taking my children back last summer. My boys and I made an American History Road trip, stopping in North Carolina, Washington DC, Trenton, NJ, Philadelphia PA and NYC before we turned around and went home through the western part of South Carolina, GA and finally home.

It was a wonderful time of telling the stories of my childhood as they saw many of my childhood homes. They got to see their Dad's homes too. They heard the stories of how we met and when we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum...they heard about many of the dates Mike and I went on.

I don't think I could live in Manhattan. We spent lots of time in Time the morning and at midnight. It is just a different culture..I love it, but I couldn't live there 24/7.

When I took my kids to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, they understood what that was all about. My very own mother came over on a boat from Sicily with her Mom, Dad and 10+ siblings and ended up on Ellis Island. Fascinating.

Then I took them to Ground Zero. Where the Twin Towers use to be. We walked in the bookstore and saw first hand photos. You could hear pin was so quiet and reverent. (Much like Arlington Cemetery a few weeks prior to visiting NYC). You could hear people talking, whispering, recalling. Where were you Mom? Do you remember what you were doing?
My boys, taking in history. 7/13
Of course. Brendan and Kyle were just born 3 months prior. Twin babies, sharing a crib. I got the phone call. "Put on the TV!" I watched, in horror....for hours. 8:50am, the TV was flooded with news...moments after the first plane crashed into the North Towers. Live on television, while on the phone with my friend Kathleen, we witness the 2nd plane crash. I live a maximum of 20 minutes give or take from NYC. My husband worked closer. We had friends who worked in the World Trade Center. We had friends who worked on Broadway. Such an uncertain time. When the 2nd plane hit the South Towers, I went into my nursery and picked up two little babies, still sleeping, and held them in my arms. I wanted to be close to them. I wanted my husband to come home. I tried to call friends, the phones were down. I waited. I looked out my window from the second floor and could see the smoke.

The next morning blended into the night before. Our cars were full of soot and ash. My husband had to see families come in to where he worked; days, weeks later...waiting for loved ones to get off the train. Cars parked in the train station, never to be recovered. So sad.

St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity 7/13
As we talked in that little memorial shop in Lower Manhattan, my boys listened, understanding that many of us had lived history. But what impacted me that day was visiting St. Paul's Chapel of Trinity Church. The church that is noted as being the place where many fled to find peace on that day, and days to come. I walked in that place, and could sense the presence of God immediately. Where was God on 9/11? He was there. Present in the pain and loss.  He was in the hearts of man. He was with me that day. He was with my friends who worked and lived in the city. For that day, and many days to come...there were no denominations, no dividing walls. People found Jesus in people with skin on. That is where He is today. I believe when we break the dividing walls we can see more clearly. He is found in the men, women and children that He inhabits, in His creation that is all around, and yes, in pain. He was and He is...ever present!

I LOVE Elizabeth Elliot - she is one of my heroes. I close with a quote from her:
"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God." 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Come on Everybody...Let's Do the HOP!

This is my very first Blog Hop. The idea is to answer these 4 questions and then introduce my readers to a few of the blogs that I hopes that you will check out those blogs as well. I was asked to do this by my very good friend Joyce over at A Cup of Herbal Blessing. So, now it is my turn to share!

1. What am I writing or working on?
Presently I'm working on editing my book. (It's way too long for a devotional.) I have an editor, but I really need to edit it before it gets into his hands. I have already written a book, entitled The Stolen Truth Adventure Guide. It is a work book to accompany another author's adventure/mystery series based on Creationism vs. Evolutionism. It has not been published yet, and I'm not quite sure as to why? (When you work with other people...and you haven't invested an upfront just have to wait - and I have no problem with that!) As far as my blog started out as a journal of my journey and adventures as a mother to 3 of my favorite superheros! At times, that is still exactly what it is. But as life would have it, it has become a source of therapy for me. There are times when I begin to write, not knowing how it will end, hoping that the Lord will answer the dilemma or issue of my heart at that moment. He is so faithful. Then of course I write whatever, God has placed on my heart. It is my greatest desire to be a source of encouragement. At first I thought it would be just for "Moms" but as He would have it, men, women and even teenagers seem to leave comments and enjoy what they find here. (There is that other blog I work on, not often, but just for fun. It's called Kyrpton's Kitchen. You can check it out!)

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
As I stated above. I am not sure how different it is from other "Mom Blogs" except that I'm also sharing the lessons I'm learning as a child of God, wife, teacher, leader... Often what I write has really been my closest moment to God that day or week. Other times it is just what's going on in the "Engel Zoo". Then other times, I journal memories. This is my place to be open, honest, encourage others, share any kind of wisdom and work through some issues. It's basically a diary that I've left open for the world to read.

3. Why do I write what I do?
Again, not to sound redundant, I write to journal my thoughts, ideas, lessons, plans, hopes and happenings as well as any encouragement that I can be to others. My blog is kind of like a memoir. However, there are those times, as I mentioned above that I write for therapy because I'm working through some "stuff". You know sometimes when we are working through issues, it is nice to have advice from others, but then there are times when I really don't want to be clouded by other's views, perspectives and ideas...I just want to hear from God. That's why I write.

4. How does my writing process work?
I'm a lover of words and a lover of The Word. The ideas, memories, or simply words begin in my heart and they travel to my head and then basically out of my fingers. I love pictures and try to use them often. It is true what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The other thing I think that you may notice about my writing is that I'm writing directly to you. It's always conversational (well sometimes I write directly to God and let you listen in), and I'm a huge fan of pausing....using my It's really called an ellipsis, but just so you understand, I don't actually use those as defined. I use the dots to show a literal breath as if we were actually know for dramatic purposes. (I know commas are suppose to do that, but we don't always breathe at commas if we're really honest) :)  Perhaps I need to create a new word since I don't really use the ellipsis as it is truly designed to be used.

I guess that is all I have for the 4 questions above. This is my favorite part: I'm excited to introduce you to 3 of my very good friends who blog. Each one blogs for different reasons, and I really encourage you to take some time to go and visit.

Monica Kaye Snyder is a dear friend, a sister of my heart, but one I've actually never met in person. We met right here at The Journey of A Superhero Mom. Somehow she stumbled upon me and we've been sisters since. She is a redeemed child of God, lover of Jesus and ever learning just how powerful the Spirit of God is. She is mother to two daughters, Delaney Jayne and Danica Jean and married to her prince, Dan, for almost 14 years. She is a full time warrior in a battle with a painful and disabling genetic connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and all the conditions that accompany it. She has been writing about this journey at since 2010 when her daughter, Danica, was diagnosed with Chiari and had her first brain surgery fail at just two years old. Before this she wrote at She loves how God uses narrative through Scripture to show His saving Grace. She believes each one of our stories matter. This is why she writes.


Adrienne Bolton and I have sat near each other every Sunday for years and years. Finally, a few years ago...we started to homeschool together. I so appreciate our friendship as she has been such an encouragement to me! Adrienne is a homeschooling mom of two and blogger at The Mommy Mess, where she writes with an honest voice about homeschooling, raising boys, and the mess of motherhood. Her writing has been syndicated on BlogHer and featured at The SITS Girls and Homeschool Blogging. She’s a follower of Jesus and an imperfect parent surviving on God’s grace and mercy. Her writing is always honest, sometimes sarcastic, and never perfect! You can also find her as @TheMommyMess on Twitter and connect with her on Facebook.


Allison Reynolds, is another sweet friend of mine. We actually have known each other for years. She is a fellow homeschool Mom. She is the kind of friend that would walk to my house while I'm still in my pajamas. (She actually has done that in the past...quite often...and I kind of miss it - my kids don't - but I do.) Allison loves life and all that surrounds her. She recently took the plunge and moved to North Carolina after years of dreaming about moving north. Originally from New York, she has lived in a variety of places...California, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Florida. Allison is mom to five children, including one son who was adopted. She has homeschooled for 13 years and is getting ready to graduate their first child in this upcoming year. She loves to write, shop, travel, hike, swim and most of all she loves to fellowship with friends. A believer and Christ-follower since 11 years old, her true desire is to walk out the destiny that God has placed before her. As she nears her forties, Allison is truly taking the concept, “seize the day” to heart. Come watch their crazy life on her blog,

Blessed by all the relationships I have in our virtual world of blogging!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I Can't See You!

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalms 139:7-10

Have you ever felt like there are times in your life where you are super strong for God and then other times you feel like He has left you and you are running for your life? Crazy right? Those are the very feelings we see in David after he conquers Goliath. I recently heard a pastor tell the story again and so I went and reread the story of David and Goliath and I wanted to share what I learned from his sermon. So powerful!! You know, this young man, running towards this giant..all David has is a rock and a sling but he is running strong because God is with him and he knows it. He kills the giant, runs up and takes Goliath's sword and cuts off his head. Feeling pretty amazing at that moment. (Think about those moments in your life...those are powerful moments!)

Four chapters later, David feels like he is all alone, he finds himself going to the priest, so discouraged, running for his life, so alone, and just wants to see if the priest has anything for him.  Perhaps you've felt like this...even after a moment like the one above. We are a peculiar people. :)

The priest them shows him the very sword that years earlier young David had used in one of the greatest, most amazing battles in history.  "The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.” 1 Samuel 21:9

David first gets the sword when he conquers Goliath.  Four chapters later he feels like God has abandoned him, he's running for his life from Saul, he runs to the priest and what's waiting for him there? The same sword. 

God's promises are available whether you are running towards him or away from him because its not based on your performance. It is based upon a God who will ultimately fulfill all of His promises! (Remember David was anointed as a young boy by Samuel...he was anointed to be KING!)

The difference between those 2 stories of David was his awareness of God's presence. Because God's presence changes everything.

One of the greatest promises God gives us is His presence. If we are children of God, He IS always with us. That's the verse at the top...David in a moment of solitude, writes that verse because he realizes...that God is always with him...He's everywhere!

When things don't go as we imagine they should we think that God isn't fulfilling his promises for us. That's only because we can't see it. His presence is in us that means his promises are all available to us. Are you aware of God's presence in your life?

You may not see it, but you can always find it! Listen, God's promises are at times hard to see...but they are always available. The picture above is my boy Kyle when he was probably 4 years old. He wore that batman mask for a whole year. He thought that as long as he wore that mask nobody could see him. We would play hide-and-seek and he would hide in the open space and believe that he couldn't be seen. We would go along and say..."Where's Kyle?" "Hmmm? I can't see Kyle!" (meanwhile he is right in front of us!) and he would giggle so we would hear him and say..."OH I found you!!"

This is just how we are with God sometimes. God is right in front of us, we know his promises are there, but we can't see Him. We take the circumstances of life put it right in front of our eyes and block out the presence of God and his promises. We take the doctors report that we got and we put it right in front of our eyes and we ask God, why did you leave me, why is this going on, where are you, why is this happening to me? Or maybe we see our children are running crazy and not turning out they way you hoped and you say, where did I fail, why is this happening? What we don't realize is that God is right there...right there...something is obstructing our view because He's always been right in front of us...we might not always see it because these things in our lives can seem enormous, but we can always find it! 

I think that is how David may have felt in that story. When we find him going to the priest he probably felt like the Lord had abandoned him..."God's blessing everybody else, but not me". Then the priest shows him this sword...this sword that brought David's mind back to that battlefield and was able to remove the thing that was obstructing his view and he started to remember God's past faithfulness. It's like that "AHA!" moment.

He starts to relive that moment and remembers God's faithfulness, and maybe that opened up his mind to remember the times when he was tending sheep and killed a lion or bear with his hands because God always protected him or even before that, he may remember the oil being poured down his head and face as God anointed him to be king. Then He began to feel the presence of never really left him, it was always in him, but he let the circumstances of his life overwhelm him and he forgot about God's past faithfulness and His promises!

If you want to start claiming God's promises for your future...start remember his past faithfulness in your life! Thinking on His faithfulness, brings us right back into the reality of His presence. Can you remember where God provided? Where God healed? Where God showed up and made something out of nothing. If you are alone today, can you remember a time when you felt God's presence comfort your weary soul. You begin finding God's promises when you remember what He has already done!

God has never failed to fulfill one promise in His word..he is not going to start with you. Faith is looking what He has done in the past, knowing that he will do it in the present and believing that he will always accomplish it in His future! The Word of God is filled with his promises!

God responds to us is much like the priest in the story above...If you want it take it! God's promises do not come with expiration date.  

2 Corinthians 1:20  "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God."

What do you need today, because God's promises are available to you! Find it is His Word and write it down, put it on your refrigerator, write it on the bathroom mirror! Keep it in front of your eyes!

What is your response to God? Perhaps it will be like David in the scripture above: "Give it to me!" It requires an action. A present only becomes useful after it is opened. A sword only becomes a weapon after you pick it up and use it.  A promise can't be earned but it can be embraced. An unclaimed promise is a forfeited blessing. Listen God's word becomes active when we apply to our lives!

What promise are you believing God has for you today? Let me know!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Whatever You Did...

We had a wonderful day as a family traveling up to north Florida. It was very hot, and buggy (nothing a little insect repellent couldn't handle) but we were together and exploring some of Florida we've not seen before. We hiked nature trails, we discovered monuments to bloody battles of the 1500s and we conquered our 4th (out of 5) National Park in Florida today. It was a good day!

We are smart travelers. We pack some great snacks...pretzels, apples, bananas, watermelon...hard boiled eggs, so we know that if hunger strikes, we've got some good options (and we can stick to a very strict budget). Today as we came to a stop light in our car, we saw a man standing on the side of the road holding a sign that said..."Whatever you give will help!"

Shane has always had a heart for homeless people, for people in need. He seems to always understand the simple truth that God loves them and so should we. I LOVE that about him. He is thoughtful and mindful of others needs and wants to do something to help. We've done this before. My Little Man With A Big Heart shows this same boy 3 years ago wanting to do something for a homeless women we had met.

Today, he sees this man, sun burning his head, holding this sign and Shane says from the back seat. "We have to do something Dad!" "We have to give him something!" "We can't just ignore him like everyone else!" OH HOW I LOVE his precious heart. Mike explained that he probably wanted some money, and we didn't have any cash on us at all. Shane reminded his Dad that the sign says..."Whatever"! So, I reached into our snacks and pulled out all the pretzels we had left and I handed them to Shane. He rolls down the window and says..."Would you like some pretzels?" The man smiled, thanked us and took them. Then I handed Shane the bananas and he rolled the window down again, "Would you like a banana?" The man came over to the car and said, "Boy you really know what I love! Thank you so much!" He smiled, went into the shade and peeled that banana and suddenly the light was green. Shane sat back relieved and said, "Doesn't it just make you feel so good inside when you do that!"

He has been a witness to our family being blessed abundantly. He has had opportunities to help feed the homeless for years. He knows that Jesus loves matter what! He knows to be a Christian means to be like Christ. I was so proud of my boy today! I told him right after the car started to pull through the green light...

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’...‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25

Son, today you loved on Jesus! Today you fed the Lord! Today you offered did it for Him! I love you Shane.

Monday, June 16, 2014

That's My Boy

My last birthday post of 2014. It's like a hurricane around blows in so fast...and within one weekend, its all calm! Happy Birthday to my sweet Shane Patrick Engel born, 7:48pm on June 16, 2003 (4 weeks early_ all because my doctor had a dream!

After trying for 10 years, losing 14 babies and finally having twins, I really thought that I was done. After all, who has time to have a baby, when you've got your hands full with twins. At some point in November of 2002, my twins were about 17 months old and I remember thinking...hmmm...something is not right. I had called my prayer partner and told her that I thought that my PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome - fertility issue) must be acting up again. She told me to take a pregnancy test and I laughed at her. I had invested WAY too much money in those things for the past 12 years - NEVER showed a positive test. Something must have compelled me to buy one..and when I did...I couldn't believe my eyes. I WAS PREGNANT! Like...without the help of a fertility specialist! WHAT? HOW? WHEN? (remember I had twins running around at this time). Sure enough..went to my doctor and it was confirmed!

This pregnancy was so different. I didn't need much bed rest in the beginning. I was doing well. For the first time I got to go to church with a pregnant belly, got to pick out some clothes for him, (I had just given ALL of my baby stuff away to another family having twins). I never ever got to do anything like that for my twins because of my very strict bed rest.

Shane's time in the womb suddenly became dire during the end of the 2nd beginning of the 3rd trimester. He was not well. Shane's full story can be found here: My Gracious Gift From God. Shane's story is an absolute supernatural miracle. Feel free to read about the mighty hand of God in his healing and birth!

I know the name we picked out was totally intentional. Shane means...gracious gift from God! Indeed he was. Being a fertility patient we are never really surprised that we are pregnant, we only every disappointed that we are not!

Shane is my boy with all the energy. I don't think he ever walked. He crawled and then ran...and he hasn't stopped (now he has added, jump, flip, fall (from a 15 foot tree house). He is my gift giver, my dare devil, my snuggle bug, my action figure/superhero/football lovin' presidential expert, my Starbucks partner and doughnut lover, my boy who loves to worship...Toby Mac style! He is so thoughtful and cares so deeply. He is super sensitive to my needs in particular and has a big heart for the homeless! A die hard San Fransisco 49rs fan with a dream of going to the new Levi Stadium - Shane is going places...and no one's gonna stop him! (We couldn't if we tried...he is covered in much prayer!)
Shane I love you more than rainbows and vanilla, more than Christmas and computers, more than writing more than kisses, more than coffee on a cold morning! You have made me laugh the hardest, fear the most, and I'll be honest...I don't really want you to grow up. I'm glad you're turning 11. I'm glad you love the Lord and you talk to him by worshiping! You make my heart smile, so I'm sure you make His smile more!
Your Dad and I want you to have your heart's desire. You will be an amazing police officer and I know you could be president too. Always set the bar high Shane...and then work hard to reach it! I am proud of who you are and where God is taking you. You work hard at things that don't come easy and you've gone through some interesting learning experiences this year, but you've come on top, walked on water...and I couldn't be more happy to call you my son! I love you like crazy. Thank you for loving I like to be loved. You are so thoughtful to our love languages really are such a gift from God.

Lord, again we give you Shane. You literally formed him and reformed him in my womb 11 years ago...he is fearfully and wonderful made. He is yours. Dedicated to follow the call that YOU have placed on his life. Continue to help Mike and I to guide and direct him the best we can so he will do just that! Thank you Lord for this amazing surprise.
Lord guard his tender heart. Protect him from malice and harm, bless him Lord. May he grow in knowledge and truth about you, and may he not be able to contain it, he will have to share it. This is our boy that use to ask everyone he met "Do you know Jesus?" Unafraid and uninhibited! Keep him that way when it comes to furthering your Kingdom Lord. Use him, shape him, develop him into a Godly leader. OH a leader he will be I'm sure of it! I pray he has an insatiable hunger for the Word of God this year! May he see the living word in action! I pray for his wife. I pray that she will love you Lord, and long to worship you alongside her husband. Give her a heart of love and respect for Shane and may he always love her like Christ loves his bride!
Lord I pray for Shane and his dreams. Father you are our dream creator, I pray that his dreams would be a perfect match to yours. This way...he is sure to walk in the way you would have him walk. Bless him financially so he is able to care for his family and be a blessing to others...his love and passion is blessing others!
Father I pray that as Shane endures treatment for his allergies that you would completely heal him in the mighty name of Jesus! However, I do know that he is winning the heart of the nurse that he sees every week. We pray for Ms. Nancy all the time. See Lord, there are no accidents! I pray he walk in healing and be an overcome in all things - through Christ.
Father, I pray you grow him in the gifts you have given him, may he always have a heart of worship, love to sing and praise the Lord! Meet him where he is...may this year he have a supernatural encounter with you, that will set him on a course to follow you will on earth!

Lord, I love this boy. My eyes are welled up with tears. The way he shares his heart with me, the way he takes my face in his hands and speaks with his baby blue eyes! The way he smiles with those amazing dimples! I feel so unworthy to have this much love surrounding me. These boys, these very special, unique, amazing gave them to Mike and I to love, teach and raise. I know we don't do it perfectly, and we make plenty of mistakes, but I pray that those moments, those teachable moments for Mom and Dad have already become teachable moments for our boys as well. Lord take Shane's precious heart, mold it, form it, shape it, spread it! Rock his world Lord...fill this boy with so much joy...that everyone that meets him will see the hands, feet and heart of Jesus!

That's my Shane!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

God Grants My Heart's Desire

The many many years we prayed for a baby. On June 12, 2001, after many tears and trials...God grants to me the desire of my heart! The birth of my twins! Above is my Baby "B" - Brendan! This my mini me! We are so so much a like in many ways. He is indeed a treasure! A sweet sensitive spirit (an old soul as some have suggested), reflective, honoring, a walking moral compass, really...this is just to honor him today as he turned 13 this morning!

As I said in the post before this one about Brendan's twin brother Kyle (On The Day That You Were Born), every year, since the year my children were born, we have only ever given them a book for their birthday. A very special book, a book that represents their interests, or significant in some way. Then we write a letter in the book, reminding them of their accomplishments and friends and milestones reached throughout the year. Finally ending it with a written prayer for their present and future. I've copied portions of my letter below, along with pictures of Brendan growing up!
Dear Brendan, since the time you were 6 years old and you said to me, "Mom, don't worry about Kyle, when he grows up my wife and I will take care of him!" I knew then, that you had the biggest heart of compassion. Always concerned about others! You and Kyle will always have a special bond, likewise with you and Shane as well. I am so thankful for you. I don’t ever want you to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, or that you are responsible for your brothers, but I’m grateful that the Lord has fashioned your heart to care so deeply about the people you love. You and your brothers are somewhat responsible to one another (they may not have gotten that part completely yet). It is my deepest prayer that you will always be close, always be there for one another. The part you must release is that you are not responsible for their choices. You can encourage, love and try your best to point them in the right direction, but ultimately they have a journey to walk out before God, just like you. So thank you for helping them, being patient with them, and loving them.

Thank you for being so compliant for me and your Dad. Your heart of obedience will only benefit you when it comes to your relationship with God. For example, this past year you blew me out of the water! Your maturity in handling attack from the enemy was seriously so spiritually mature, I couldn’t have been more proud of you. I use to wonder if you would be a leader, or a quiet follower..there is NO doubt, you are a leader. Don’t ever stop Brendan. I believe the Lord has given you the gift of wisdom/discernment. You know your Dad has that gift too.  This year you had an genuine, supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit! Walk with Him Brendan, talk with Him, invite the Holy Spirit to invade your world on a daily basis! I'm so proud of you son! You are an incredible young man! Genuine, honest, full of integrity, compassionate, loving, gifted, smart, talented, and one of the most selfless teenagers I know. (and you love to cook! you are my hero!) You rock my world in every wonderful way! Here is our prayer for you this year:
Dear Lord, 13 years ago, when I woke from that coma and saw these two incredible babies in the flesh, I remember I gave them back to you. You taught me Father that everything belongs to you...yes...even these priceless gifts that I waited so long for. Even now, Lord, you hold all 14 of Kyle, Brendan and Shane's brothers/sisters in Heaven waiting for us to come home for I'm convinced, you have big plans for our boys! So, I give Brendan to you again today. It is your destiny for His life that I desire most! I know you are all about granting the desires of my have proven that time and time again!

Lord, as I have watched Brendan quietly reading the Word, I know that his desire is to know you more. I ask Father that you would continue to reveal yourself to him. May he grow in faith and in relationship with you. I pray he hands you all of his dreams and hopes, just like I did, because I know you care deeply about each one. I pray you encourage his heart in times when he keeps things hidden from me to protect my heart from pain. He has been dealt many blows this past year, he has questions and deep concerns and you have made things clear to him. Help me get out of your way Lord! He longs to rely on you...and I couldn't ask for more!

Continue to fill him with your joy! The joy of the Lord is his strength! I pray for his wife someday, may she match his heart. May she love you above all else and may he honor her always. Bless him Lord and his entire future! Keep him safe from all harm and continue to teach this young warrior how to properly and effectively use his armor.  He is such a good student isn't he Lord?! Guard him from the enemy. Weed out the people that will come into his life and do him harm, discourage him, or make him feel less than you created him to be! Give him friendships that will be like iron sharpening iron!
I get so weepy, I feel so undeserving, yet you loved me this much...this much to let me have these incredible kids. You are so good to me Father! Grant the desires of his heart Lord. As he gives you his dreams and hopes, remind him that he is always heard. May he look back on our stones of remembrance and always see your faithfulness in our lives.

This year I pray that he continues to shine your love to all who meet him. May you always be his hero! I pray that you meet him where he is, and as he desires to know you more, you reveal yourself to him in different ways. You know best Lord. Thank you for this beautiful baby who has grown to be an amazing handsome young man. He is a treasure and my heart is so full!
Lord thank you for giving him brothers that love him. Thank you for giving him the patience and love as he guides his brothers! Thank you for his HUGE heart of compassion. That comes completely from you!

Continue to grow his talents and gifts and may he always be a good steward of all that you give him. May he grow in discipleship! Father refine his gift of leadership, he is such an encourager, I pray that as he makes choices throughout his life, that you give him wisdom!

I pray that you encourage him in his pursuits. I know he prays about his future and what he will be one day. Give him vision and never ending hope! May he follow the call and destiny you have on his life! Thank you for the men of God that have been an influence on him: his Dad, Pastor John, Mr. Chuck, Pastor Ray and others.

Again, I am humbled and so thankful that 13 years ago you felt that Michael and I would be a good choice to parent these treasures. You chose to grant me my heart's desire! Thank you Lord for always filling in the gaps while our parenting is thought out and as intentional as possible...we are grateful for your grace when we fail and make mistakes. Oh how you love us! Continue to guide Mike and I as we press on in this journey, as we try to raise our children the way you want us too (which isn't always understood by the world)! Thank you for taking this little family and teaching us to walk on water as we trust in you! It has been an incredible 13 years! Hand in hand Lord, I wouldn't want to do this without you...EVER!
In the mighty name of Jesus! Amen!