I had the title for this blog post now for 3 (or 4) weeks. It came to me the first weekend in August, as we were sitting in a convention for homeschoolers. Parts of it seemed more like a parenting convention to me; the speakers were all great, and so many aspects were touched on: academics, time management, role of mom and dad, a lesson for the kids. I would recommend the THSC Convention each August to all nearby Houston.
Anyways, as I was sitting in that convention on Friday with my 7 year old, I started thinking about how just 2 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to bring her and have a day together. How in just 2 years, she has grown so fast. How she can sit and read, color, read some more, craft something, play a quick game. She knows to sit quietly and not make a scene, and I'm so thankful I could take her with me one day and we could spend the day together. Talking about things she's interested in and things I'd like for her to learn. About books she likes to read, and ones that she doesn't. About flying creatures and that she was so excited for science this year. It always strikes me on my kids' birthdays how quickly this time goes. Like Cara is 39% of the way to 18, and that hurts my heart. So at that convention, I learned some great tools and facts, and set my mind on seeking God in our homeschool and planning on it for the long haul. Things may change, and I've learned to never say never anymore. But, with how little time I have with them, and how quickly the world and America's worldview is changing, I'm so excited about spending it together. There are frustrating days, days I feel like nothing gets done, but there are amazing days, where we read living books, ask good questions, listen to their heart, pray together, seek the Lord over something important in their lives, do experiments, get excited about math, our writing improves. We are teaching skills for life as well as academics and it is so good. This is not a judgment on my readers choices! Only some of the movement God has been working in my heart. I feel better equipped and have a new passion to give my kids all of me. That means seeing me struggle, seeing my hurt and praying with me.
Another area we experience movement that same weekend was on our adoption timeline!! If you don't remember, we passed USCIS approval back on 12/17/11 and were put on our agency's wait list for a referral. Last October (2012), we got to 10th on the list, and haven't moved since. We've had to update our home study and fingerprints, get extensions, and it is all worth it. The first week of August, we found out we moved to 8th on the list!! Our first move in 10 months, and it feels so good! We are so happy we never questioned God's timing. There were moments (still are) that I long for another pregnancy. But back in 2011 when we were starting this and I was going back and forth about what to do first, God told me, you don't need to know all the steps, just follow the first one: adopt. He has done so much growth in me during this time and I am so thankful we were obedient and followed the call. We have learned so much about adoption in general, international adoption, and Uganda. I can't wait to go back and take my family. My friend Tonya is there now if you want to follow along.
In my longing for closeness with the Father, I sought what to study. He had been leading me for awhile to start a low-key bible study with ladies in my neighborhood. I'm no bible teacher, so I emailed our church and found out I could check out Daniel (by Beth Moore), a study I've been wanting to go through for awhile. I feel very ill equipped when studying both the major prophets and end times. So, might as well learn among friends. I invited neighbors and women I met at swim team. It has been so good. We have one more meeting left to finish up the study. In that time, I have been deeply convicted of my pride, of seeking to fit into our 'babylonian-ish' culture when God is calling me to be different. I've learned ways to hold onto integrity when the culture demands otherwise. I've started grasping some of the amazing prophesy and end time events, and how passages in Daniel related to old and new passages and Revelation. This movement in understanding has opened my eyes to things I once thought I'd never understand. I am, still, by no means an expert, but I do enjoy learning new things and putting it to practice.
Within this realm of movement we've experienced great joy and heart ache. I've seen friendships fade away, grow closer, move and break. I had been in a book club for a year or two. It started larger, but ended up this last school year as 4 friends, reading hard books and talking about deep questions we had. We've read Bloodlines, Give Them Grace, 1,000 Gifts, The Hole in our Gospel, among others. Last spring ended on such a great note. However, our friend Shannon's husband was being called to pastor a church on the east coast. We were so sad to see her leave. Their family was one of the ones that poured into us and lead the charge for adoption in our church. Her oldest, Evie, shares a birthday with Micah and they were fast friends. Now, however, we have a reason to visit North Carolina. Can't wait to get into American history with Cara and have a reason for road trips! That was May, then comes June, when one of my best friends Amber (and co-tot2tot owner)'s husband Bobby gets transferred to New Orleans. This has been on the radar for a year, but when it became official, I broke down. I couldn't talk or think of her family without crying, which was daily, sometimes hourly. Her 3 kids were some of my 3 kids best friends. Her oldest was going to be starting kindergarten and I didn't get to see it in person. Once I got over myself and how it all affected me, I began praying for them. My prayers went something like: Lord, you are so kind to give Amber to me as a friend. I only grieve that I didn't recognize the gift that she was from you earlier. Bless her with new, kind, loving women in her life that love her well (See, this wasn't my original prayer, originally, I wanted her to be miserable (NOT REALLY), so she begged Bobby to come home) :). I pray the same for Shannon. Love on her where she needs it. Speak to all her girls, but especially sweet Ellie, speak that you are their peace.
Another area Eric & I have experienced movement is in our Advocare business. We've taken it from just selling a great product line to finding people who want different in their financial lives, locking arms together, and working hard towards financial freedom. That looks different for each family we are helping, but for us, it means working hard to turn our part-time income into full-time income. It means working hard towards bringing Eric home from a job he's not passionate about much anymore, and letting him free-lance in a field he loves (graphic design and web design). He's been building a website on the side for our friend's ministry and he enjoys researching and learning new skills. If you are interested in learning about our story, you can check out our website at www.katyspark.com or shoot us an email. We'd love to chat about it. It's been great reading, growing, learning more leadership skills. We are having so much fun. We've gone from Advisor, to Silver leadership and are working on Gold!!
On that note, Tot2Tot, my business I own with 2 of my best friends is next week, so you probably won't hear from me for a few weeks ;).
This post started a few weeks ago. Sorry it's so all over the place, but this is my place to record my thoughts ;) And they are typically all over the place. My little bitties are getting big and I'm reminiscing and enjoying these days. Maybe not so much the tantrums and time-outs, but I know that through it all, in my small life, that I can bring glory to great big God.