Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 2 (and some info on Owen)

I'm just going to be honest regarding the reason why it has taken me so long to post the 2nd "episode" of the inspirations blog series.  Here it is...ready???...gotta be honest...LIFE HAS BEEN A BIT CRAZY.  I have been inspired.  And there have been some REALLY awesome times...but there has been a lot of adjusting, regressing, stress, and exhaustion over the past few weeks.  The Mister (the big one) had an accident while working a structure fire that required surgery on his shoulder and a MAJOR adjustment to his work schedule (leaving 3 "kids" at home a lot more than usual), we had a follow up appt with Owen at Children's, Gracie and Owen were struggling a bit (I use that term very loosely), and we actually had some time together as a family to enjoy.  All of that has kinda zapped my creativity.  We have really enjoyed having some much appreciated time together - a rare jem for just would have been so much better had it been due to better circumstances.  I am feeling like we are on the upswing, and I am happy to be back!
Now on with the inspiration...

Owen Mukisa Willis
This the definition of inspiration.  He has overcome so much.  Smiles so often.  Belly laughs more than anyone I know.  He truly loves life.  He is not perfect (shocking, I know), but he really is a picture of God's perfect will.  I have said it many times, but will say it again:  God truly blessed us when he brought Owen into our lives.  It isn't the other way around.  We are so thankful to be his family.  
Children's Adoption Follow Up Appointment Update:
Owen had a bone scan done on his hand to determine his age.  It looks like he is closer to a younger 2 according to his bones.  But, due to malnourishment, it may not be totally accurate.  SO, we will wait a little bit and if his developmental age continues at the rate it is (3 year old) and his size (wow) continues to blast off, we will go with him being 3.  "How old is he?" used to be such an easy question!  
We are also going to be going to Scottish Rite for some concerns regarding his hips.  I mentioned to the doctor that I felt like something wasn't right, we did an x-ray, and there is some bowing of his hips.  This could be for several reasons and the best course of action is to go somewhere where the doctors know that sort of thing.  Scottish Rite couldn't be a better place for it!  We know that by experience!!!  Between Owen and Gracie...they are going to know us so well now!  Prayers are, of course, appreciated regarding this appointment!  We will let you know what we find out...and are assuming it will take a while to get him in.

Grace Carolyn Willis
I was watching Gracie do her swim lessons this year thinking...about all that has changed in her life this year.  A new (toddler) brother.  Juvenile Arthritis.  Shots.  Sharing Mommy and Daddy.  And lots more.  And I am reminded, again, of how awesome she is.  This such a lover.  She has never met a stranger and just loves to love.  She has the most amazing imagination and is growing up so much!  I have so much fun just watching her.  She tells me stories.  And her prayers blow. me. away.  She is such an awesome little prayer warrior.  Here are some of the things she prayed for this week:
*that her cousin Elena's hair would grow back and she would be healffee (healthy)
*for these blessings (ok)
*that her brother would share, not hit, and not bite (hmmm)
*that her Daddy would feel better and have a good day at work (even if he isn't going there)
*that she would make good choices (nice!)
Prayer time is my favorite time with her.  :)

The Little Elm Firefighters and friends
This injury has been hard on all of us for more than one reason.  But...we have trusted that God will provide in all the ways needed.  And He has.  He has used so many people to do this.  Josh always talks about his "brothers".  And I (along with the other wives) know that this brotherhood is a big part of our lives, but we enjoy making fun of it more than anything.  It is hard to do that when you look outside every other week and see one of them mowing your hard...or posting about a fundraiser for your family...or hearing the reminder that they are praying for you.  They really do show what it means to be a family.  We have really felt so much comfort and support from them.  It really helps...and shows that family is so much more than blood relatives.

Vacation Bible School
We are more than half way into the week of VBS and I can honestly is changing ME.  I look at these kids...many of them unchurched...and think about what an awesome blessing it is to have the opportunity to share Jesus with them.  And they want to learn so much!  They are having a blast and our host and volunteers are so much fun.  I really think we have a great team!  We got to kind of modify a service project today and it almost brought me to tears talking to them about missionaries and Uganda.  They used beads to make bracelets and they were SO interested in learning about mission work and orphan care.  They are each praying for people who are in Uganda doing God's work right now!  God is up to something this week!!!  These little lives...inspire much.  As do the people working with them.  

This long list of inspirations...keeps I will have lots more to share soon!

To Our Sweet Owen,
Son...I couldn't help but laugh at you today.  You had a shirt on that needed to be washed so I took it off.  You did NOT appreciate it.  And you let me know that you were cold (in the 80 degree house) until I got you another one to put on.  You do not like to be naked, dirty, or wet.  You crack me up!!!  
Love you more,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspirations Blog Series 1

I have been doing some thinking (shocking...I know) and I have come to this conclusion:  I am SURROUNDED by the most inspiring, beautiful, and miraculous people, places, and things.  They are literally every where.  I thought I would post a blog about some of I started to make a list...and it got really long.  Way too long for a blog post.  Then...I kept adding to it...and now, well, I just can't stop.
SO...I think it is time for a series.  I am excited to share this with you.  And I really had a hard time choosing which ones to write about first.  So, hang with me.  There are lots more to come.
This also got me wondering about something else.  What inspires you????  Please feel free to share in the comments.  :)

This is Joshua.  The hubby.  He is strong.  He cares for others...committed his life to helping them - even if it means putting himself in harms way.  He is an overcomer.  He lives life one day at a time.  He is kind.  He is brave.  He loves his family.  He loves his God more.  His necklace has his sobriety date on it (07/16/08) and this:  "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory".  Saying that I love him...just doesn't quite cut it.

 I just couldn't pretend that food doesn't inspire me.  IT DOES.  A lot.  This is one of my favs.  Isn't it beautiful?  What is more beautiful is that - at the table - my whole family was present.  And enjoying life together.
 This is..Italy.  Well...maybe it is Italy in Disney World...but it is the closest I have ever gotten.  The sky...the architecture...the arches...the lines...the complicated simplicity.  
This is a flower that grew at the guest house we stayed at in Uganda.  I remember looking at it in awe.  Just how detailed and beautiful is it?  

I have always been a fan of butterflies.  They are so pretty...and different.  They, for me, represent freedom...a new creation...

The Military Spouse.  Her husband's (or wife's sometimes) job is always appreciated by an American.  They fight for our country...we are free...b/c of what they do for us.  But, for most soldiers...there is a wife sitting at home running the family.  She sacrifices.  A lot.  And that inspires me.  She supports.  She appreciates.  She misses her family being together, but she keeps on pushing forward.

Melissa Busby
You've probably heard me talk about this sweet family.  She is the one who has been in Uganda for 9 months trying to get her little girl, Mercy, home.  You can read her blog here.  She has been stuck away from her family for so long.  I would HOPE that I would be as awesome as her if I were in her shoes.  But, I don't know that I would be.  She has embraced the culture, kept the faith, held onto hope, helped the people of Uganda...and the list goes on and on.  She is a great example of someone who looks for the good.  And her faith in what keeps her going.  She says she has hard days (I would assume so...who wouldn't!?!?), but she really does keep her chin up (as my grandfather would put it).

To My Sweet Owen,
You had a bit of a rough morning.  BUT, you always show me that you are just so sweet.  And gentle.  Even though you sometimes want to be anything but.  Your little just so...soft.  And I love it.  I love all of you.  Even the part that had a hard morning.  :)
Love you more,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Appreciating comfort...

I have been thinking a lot lately of the things I take for granted.  The things that I do regularly and don't always think twice about.  Things like this:

  • the ability to get in my car and drive
  • the ability to wash my clothes in a machine
  • the water that comes out of my faucet
  • coffee - brewed
  • music and the fact that I can listen to it
  • my church
  • freedom to serve my God
  • clothing for my children
  • shoes
  • air conditioning
  • doors
  • microwaves
  • phone calls
  • blogging
  • praying
  • confiding in a friend who just understands
  • sunblock
  • the oven and stove
The list really goes on and on...

Then...I read an email from Make Way Partners and I was really overwhelmed with how much I take for granted.  One of the things I take for granted most:  My children lay in their beds at night and my work is done.  It is really the only free time I get through out the day.  They are good and I don't have to worry.  But the people of Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda...are on alert ALL THE TIME.  Probably even more at night when rebels from the LRA are likely to attack them and their families.  The things that they do...are far worse than I could even begin to imagine.  I pray that this will come to an end (will you?), and I am reminded that I need to be thankful.  I need to appreciate the list above and live my every day life with appreciation for ALL things God has blessed me with.  ALL THINGS.  Because His plan is perfect.  And part of resting in His plan is being thankful for His plan.

This is how my babies look when they are at rest....SO...PEACEFUL...

I want to REST in God like this...with complete peace.  Giving Him all my fear, concern, worry, and allowing my life to be full of thanksgiving all the days I have here.

To My Sweet Owen,
You have changed me forever.  I look at you and think over and over again how blessed I am to be your Mommy.  You laugh and smile and make show how talented our God is with His creations.  You are becoming such an amazing little guy.  And you LOVE to run.  Your little legs move so fast.  Your Daddy and I are so proud of you.
Love you more,