Thursday, November 3

Gifts that Give hope

Want to do something different this year for Christmas?

Check out Lancaster's Gifts that Give Hope Fair, happening November 20th.  Read the below for more information, or click on the link Gifts that Give Hope.

Lancaster’s 4th annual Alternative Gift Fair is an opportunity to give back to the larger community and honor your loved ones at the same time. Instead of purchasing traditional gifts, participants honor their friends and family by making meaningful donations to local and global non-profits while improving the lives of others who are not on anyone’s gift list!
Participating in an alternative gift fair is a great way to make a difference this holiday season. At the fair, learn about the many local, national and international non-profit organizations making a difference in your community and world. Choose from a list of tangible gifts, such as a flock of chicks for a family in Haiti, food for an orphanage or life saving medicine and medical supplies. You will have an opportunity to choose donation items from thirty carefully selected participating non-profits. 

Not only will you be able to make a big difference, but you can enjoy a wonderful blend of food and beverages from Rachel’s Creperie, Café Chocolate, Upohar Ethnic CuisineRafiki's Cafe, Cocina Mexicana, Rice and Noodles, Square One Coffee, Stroopies and Tortina Bakery.

Live items include jewelry from BEAD FOR LIFE, an organization that provides impoverished Ugandan women an opportunity to earn a living by making this beautiful jewelry out of colorful recycled paper. 100% of the proceeds from the sale go to BEAD FOR LIFE. 

Fair Trade Items include Divine Chocolate, Delicious Peace Coffee, Olive Oil from Palestine and a variety of Tea. Fair trade aims to use sustainable business to break cycles of poverty and dependency in the developing world. We all have a conscience, and we want to give people the chance to use it when they shop. 

Wednesday, November 2

How one word changed our lives

He never babbled as a baby.

I remember feeling a tug in my heart, wondering, fearing, that something was wrong.

As the months passed by and I waited, prayed, for a simple "ba, ba" or "da, da", utterings I heard other babies spout so easily, and people waved off my concerns when I had the courage to say them, I continued to wonder, deep down.

When he started speech therapy with Early Intervention, they said, yes, he has a delay, but he's bright, so it won't take long.

Again, the months slipped by, and a word would appear.   Elated, I breathed easier, thinking my fears were unfounded.

Until several days later, the word disappeared, and my hopes were dashed.

After eight months of therapy, the speech therapist mentioned in passing, I think he has speech apraxia.

I nodded dumbly and thought, Okay, he has a speech delay.  She didn't offer an explanation and I didn't ask.  I thought if it was important, she would say so.

Another month passed by, and she stated it again, more clearly, and with more emphasis this time.  This time, I looked it up.

Words like neurological condition, speech motor disorder, special needs, learning difficulties, and intensive speech therapy for years took my breath away.

Maybe she's wrong, I thought to myself.  I looked at the symptoms.  No or little babbling as an infant.  Saying a word and then "losing" it.  A large gap between receptive and expressive language.

Oh no.  I was right.  This is much more than a speech delay. Sometimes I hate it when I am right.

What is speech apraxia?  Basically, his brain has severe difficulty telling his mouth how to make intelligible sounds.  It is a medical condition, not a delay.  Kids with a speech delay would eventually learn to talk. Kids with apraxia will never learn to speak unless they have therapy.

Our 2 1/2 yr old son started intensive speech therapy this past week.  Thankfully, his speech therapist has 20 years of experience with apraxic kids.  This is key, because normal speech therapy measure will not work on our son.  And he will need years of therapy.  She tells me sympathetically that he has a long road ahead of him.  We all do.

What does this mean for our plans to return to Nicaragua?   We don't know.

We have been praying that God would heal our son, remove the necessity of having speech therapy a few times a week and save me the work of running around.

But He has yet to answer our prayer, at least in the way we are hoping.  and we have asked God to show us if we should plan to return to Nicaragua next summer, as we had been thinking.

So far, He has been silent on the issue.

Our family is our most important ministry.  We want our son to be able to communicate. He wants to communicate.  So we will stay until God answers our prayer, either through divine intervention or therapy.

Our future is unknown, but we can have peace, because we know Who holds our future.

Our "baby".   He is 2 1/2 yr old and currently has one word, "momma"

Prayer requests:
Pray that we could have strength to keep up with all the appointments.
Pray for wisdom as we learn how to discipline and work with our son, who understands much but is increasingly frustrated with his inability to talk.
Pray for patience and grace for all of us, as we work through all these issues.
Pray for sensitivity to God's spirit, as we seek to know the next steps.

Tuesday, November 1

a clothes forest

Living overseas in a third world country means we became accustomed to doing without many modern being the dryer. 

Something that seemed so necessary when we lived in the States before, is now....not quite so necessary.

This week our basement looks like the above, a forest of clothes, since we have no dryer and there is snow on the ground...feels like our home in Nicaragua :)

Monday, October 31

Praise you in the Storm by Casting Crowns

 because life doesn't always go as planned....but even so, I am continually reminded to praise God.

Sunday, October 30

Than's 5 yr photos

I had some fun the other day (before the snow hit!) to take a few snapshots of my dear five year old boy.

Saturday, October 29

my plan vs God's plan

I carefully laid every plan:
The future seemed so bright.
My hopes and dreams they towered high-
I saw no trace of night.

And then at closing of the day
I knelt in usual prayer,
And prayed; "Dear Lord, bless every plan-
All that I hope and dare."

But day by day my plans all failed,
My hopes came tumbling down.
All my ambitions disappeared,
And FAILURE was my crown.

Perplexed- I could not understand,
Had I not knelt in prayer?
And asked that every plan and hope
Would find a blessing rare?

Then in the stillness of the night,
Out from the shadows dim,
I heard a sweet persuading voice
That called me close to Him.

"Why don't you let Me make your plans?
I've trod the path before
Just leave the future in My hands,
I'll lead thee o'er and o'er."

In shame, I bowed my humble head;
My spirit low was brought,
For I had caught a strange new light,
By His own Spirit taught.

No longer do I pray as once,
"Dear Lord, bless all my plans."
But now I pray: "Lord, plan for me,
The future's in Thy hands."


Wednesday, October 26

Happy 5th Birthday Nathaniel!

My boys are growing up WAY too fast...hard to believe my second son is 5 already!

We celebrated by having a few friends and cousins over to play.

Than picked out a dinosaur cake, which was the theme *smile*

Apparently the T-rex pinata wasn't behaving during the party.

Trains, cars and swords are what make my boy happy.

and of course, cake.

It's funny how Nicaraguan tradition is still deeply rooted in my little guy.  

We celebrated his birthday a day after his actual birthday, but when we told him happy birthday before the party, he replied, I haven't hit the pinata, so it isn't my birthday yet.  


Tuesday, October 18

I am ME

I am me and you are YOU.

God created me to  He did not create me to be just like Mary, or Sue, or Jane. 

He does not expect me to be somebody I am not.

How often I have admired other women, for their creative energies, domestic diva prowess, baking abilities, wise character, and so forth.  I am blessed to know a host of beautiful women, both inside and out.  And how quickly that admiration has turned into self-condemnation, the voices asking me, taunting me, Why am I not like that?  

Why cannot I be more like them? 

Have more energy?

Be more organized?

Be more spontaneous?

Cook gourmet meals?

Speak more words of wisdom?

Laugh more?

Need less sleep?

Be more creative?

Be more time-efficient?

Be more extroverted?

Spend more time with God?

Not be stressed with only 3 children?

and on, and on, it goes.....there is no end to the introspection.  There never will be, if truth be told, because I am a truly flawed and imperfect person, whom God loves, and has loved, since the beginning of time.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

Meditate on that for a moment.

God loved me, before I started trying to be good, before I even knew that I was a sinner.  He loved me, loves me still, with ALL my faults.

If God can accept me as I am, loving me fully, can I not accept myself, and love myself for who He has made me?

I am NOT stating that we should never strive to be better, to become more like Him. Indeed, while He loves us as we are, He encourages us to be holy, as He is holy.  However, self-condemnation will never get us closer to Him. It only alienates us, from Him and from others.

There is a difference between striving to be more like God because we are in a relationship with Him and viewing others' gifts as an excuse to beat ourselves up.  God asks that we look to HIM, not others, as our example.  He needs to be our model.  

Remember, other people are not as flawless as you might think *wink, wink*

Monday, October 17

Scripture and a Snapshot

 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 

26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 

27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 

28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 

29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?You of little faith! 

Jesus - Matthew 6:25 - 30

There are many passages in the Bible that are daily applicable to my life, the above being one of them.  How often I read Jesus' words, nod my head and accept their quiet authority, and then not many days later, I realize that, once again, I have taken to worrying and carrying the heavy burdens of life.  How easily His truths slip through my fingers and steal away!  

God, grant that I may truly know you as my Provider of all things.

Saturday, October 8

Ode to mothers...

This poem is in the beginning of a wonderfully humorous devotional book for mothers, called Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker.  This is in reference to my last post.

A (Fairly Lame) Ode to Mothers

An ode to the marvelous woman called "Mother"
Though not one of us is exactly like another.
From the second we're born to the minute we die
Our preferences are as limitless as stars in the sky.

We might have been perfectly gorgeous before
But childbirth entered us in the Mommy War.
Rather than letting everyone else be
We criticize parenting that isn't exactly

So once and for all let me put this to rest
None of us owns the title of "best".
Natural childbirth does not make you a hippy
Epidurals are not just for women who want to feel trippy.
In a bathtub with a doula or in a hospital bed
We all got a baby with limbs and a head.

Nursing is great if nothing goes wrong
But some nipples turn inward and refuse to play along.
This is a choice for each mom-it's her route
So it's just A+B and everyone else can C their way out.

Schedules and timers do not make you cruel
Feeding on demand does not make you a fool.
In the nursery with a monitor or in the family bed
Every chick gets to pick where her baby lays his head.

If I see one more mom roll her eyes at "organic..."
"Partially hydrogenated" throws some of us into panic.
But neither judge Sonic burgers and fries
Some of us just want to enjoy food before we die.

Preschool, home school, public or Montessori
Listen, my friends, and I'll tell you a story.
Two moms differed on favorite school trends
Their kids turned out pretty much the same. The end.

If a girl gets the title of "mom" accidentally
The worst thing we can do is treat her judgmentally.
How about some love, some help, some advice?
She needs our love and we shouldn't think twice.

Discipline through various methods will prevail
Look, we're all just trying to keep our kids out of jail.
These things are just preferences, not right or wrong
What matters more is teaching our kids to get along-
To love and to share, to speak gently and kind,
To obey so that mom won't go out of her mind.

Showing them Jesus is our common ground
Teaching them how he can always be found.
He's present in public school and Waldorf (so trendy)
He's over at Whole Foods but also at Wendy's.
Jesus never cared about these sorts of things
It's our hearts that he wants and the worship we bring.

It's time for us moms to declare at truce
Regardless if we buy Capri Sun or 100 percent juice.
My way is not your way and your way isn't mine
But both of our kids will turn out just fine.

Rather than judging and looking down our noses
Let's enjoy the common ground motherhood poses.
As believers, we all love the same good Lord
We all have children who tells us "I'm bored."

We all need more sleep than these tiny five hours
Most of us struggle to find time for a shower.
We haven't been to the bathroom alone in an age
Our mothers have all told us, "Relax, this is just a stage."

We all love our babies so much we could die
We'd take a bullet for each one without batting an eye.
Though we are difference, we're in the same tribe
Motherhood requires a similar vibe-
Love and affection, sacrifice and grace
Laughter, which keeps the whole mechanism in place.

Though different, by the grace of God, I suspect:
ALL our children will rise up and call us...collect.

Wednesday, October 5

the comparison trap

As women, it's hard not to compare our lives, ourselves to others.  We compare our shoes, fashion wardrobes, jobs and/or career choices, our boyfriends or husbands (or if we're single, how much better our life would be if we had a man).

But then it gets worse; we have children.

Our competitive edge and comparison notes skyrocket, and it starts before our babies are even born.

We talk about how much weight our friends' gain but then off-handedly remark that we only gained 5 pounds (and had a 20 pound baby!).  We mentioned how small everybody else looks, but of course, we are HUGE.  (how does that work?)

We can't help but smirk when we hear somebody had an epidural at only 5 cm, but boast of having back labor for 3 days with no pain meds, scrapbooking through the contractions and even managed to do our nails while pushing.

and then, of course, there is the competition about who had the largest baby, who sleeps through the night first, how long you nurse, how quickly you fit back into your clothing (for some of us, the answer is NEVER), whose baby rolls over, sits up, eats food, walks and talks first....and it goes on and on.

What happened to sisterhood?  What happened to supporting each other through all these stages, when we are feeling the most insecure and wonder if we're being the best woman/mom that we can be?

Ladies, we need to wake up.

Life is hard enough without adding to each other's stress.  Instead of being a source of strain, why not share each other's burdens?

Competition isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't belong between women, between sisters in Christ.  When we are struggling with our weight, wondering if a man will ever fall in love with us, hoping to find a job that we actually like, fighting to balance family, marriage, time with God and time for ourselves, snide comments and subtle barbs are not what we need.

Let's lower our shields and allow ourselves the freedom to be "just ourselves"'s okay that we're not perfect because guess what?  NOBODY IS.

Don't fall for the lie that you are the only one that doubts, or has insecurities.  We need to talk about our fears, our struggles, our hopes and dreams.  I doubt there isn't a single mom out there who hasn't wondered, at least once, if she is doing a good job.  Or a single woman that fears always being single.

My next post will talk about loving ourselves for who we are.

Wednesday, September 21

Accidents DO happen

This afternoon I promised my boys we would do a treasure hunt after supper.  While they cleaned up the table, I put my artistic skills to use and drew up a map and clues.

As they ran around the house, trying to find the clues, there was an enormous BANG!! and I thought the house was falling apart. Running outside, I was thankful to see the house still standing.

But shocked to see a pick-up truck had T-boned our parked car, pushing it up onto the sidewalk.

Apparently the guy came around the curve and spun on the wet road. He felt bad; at least his truck was still driveable.  I guess that is why they call them accidents.  Please, be careful when driving on wet roads!

Sunday, September 18

Abundant Life

Today I am linking up with Katie's Scripture and a snapshot....

This past week I have had this verse running through my head.  Am I living life, fully, abundantly, joyously, completely alive and intentionally?  Or am I simply surviving, getting through each day, looking forward to bedtime, to my next nap, to my next vacation?  Is my vision completely future-oriented?  Or am I enjoying each day as it comes and allowing God to draw me closer to Him, through all of His mysterious ways?

Wednesday, August 31

A deeper story : After the fire

A great post....for those of us who are struggling to hear God, who want answers, or sometimes even wonder if God is real....check out this post, And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  And it's written by a MAN, something I would love to see more of in the blogging world.    I paced up and down the front steps of the porch, biting my thumbnail until there was nothing left to chew but skin. The anxiety in my gut was like someone had slammed a knife in my side and left me for dead.
I needed answers. I needed to come out on top. I needed to be right.
Because soon I was going to confronted. There would be accusations, and I was going to have to stand my ground. I wanted to have things my way with my accuser. Both myself and the woman I love were under attack. I needed to defend. To protect. As I waited for my turn to speak, I became angry. I prayed. I prayed for God to give me the words to say. I wanted my anger to be seen in full force. I wanted the last punch, the last word, the last laugh.

Tuesday, July 26

Slowing it Down and enjoying the Mess

I should be unpacking right now.

I am SO ready to have my house together, to be able to walk around without tripping on boxes, or wondering which box such and such is stashed.

I usually thought of myself as a fairly patient person, but not this week.

I was impatient with my husband, snapped at my kids, and cried to myself.

I was especially impatient with myself.

I complained to anybody who would listen, including God.

"I just want to be done with unpacking!" I whined.  but then it goes on..."I want to be done with...

"...breaking up fights"
"...teaching manners"
"...learning how to be a good wife"
"...picking up toys and cleaning up messes"
" up the messes in my own life"

Aha!  So there is the crux of it all.  Walking this healing journey has meant opening up places that have been dark for a very long time, letting the light in and handling some very big messes.  And although they call it "healing", it feels chaotic and stressful, and my life suddenly feels incredibly messy.  I have felt desperate for order somewhere in my life, if not within me, at least on the outside.  But it eludes me.  I hate feeling so messy, so out of order.

"and what is wrong with messy?" God asked me the other morning.  "where does this drive to be perfect, to have complete order, come from?"  Good question.

somehow, someway, messy has become synonymous with bad, or sinful, or unstable.  Or this feeling of not truly walking with God if my life seems to be out of order.  What a lie!  Brennan Manning states the truth so well in his book, Abba's Child:

"Christians who remain in hiding continue to live the lie.  We deny the reality of our sin.  In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift.  If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.  The Wounded Healer (Henri Nouwen) implies that grace and healing are communicated through the vulnerability of men and women who have been fractured and heartbroken by life.  In Love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve."

But HE is teaching me to relax, to slow down, to look beyond the messy.  To open my eyes and understand that the messy pile is just a part of life.

To be human is to be messy.

None of us are perfect, and so when we allow God to work in us, there will inevitably be a mess.  You cannot clean a room without making a mess.  You cannot bake a cake without making a mess.  You cannot have a baby without making a mess.

So when I go to bed tonight and still have to walk around boxes, I'll remember that it's okay.  One cannot move and be completely unpacked and moved in within a day.  Neither can I heal from a lifetime of hurt overnight.  So today I will unpack and heal and enjoy life, and that is all God asks of me.  To follow Him today wherever He may lead and let the rest go.

Monday, July 18

What to do First

Lately I've been asking myself the question, What do I do first?

It feels like there are always a million things to do, and several of them should be done right now.  Like...

the laundry


playing with my kids

paying the bills

making some phone calls

writing a few letters


and then the myriad of other things that would be nice, but so often get swept to the side, such as

writing on my blog

taking photos

getting time away for myself

getting time away with my hubby

cleaning the house

playing the piano

finishing my cross-stitch pieces

learning how to sew

working on a garden

cutting my sons' hair

and on and on it goes....

While I was pondering over this dilemma today, I heard God say to me, Why don't you take a moment with ME?  Follow ME first, and I will give you all these things.  I will give you peace.  I will direct your paths.

No wonder it felt like too much.  I've been trying to do it all without God.  I had left Him at church...but suddenly, life didn't seem so overwhelming, I felt at peace, and I realized what needs to be done first.  So please excuse me while I go spend a few minutes on my knees.

Monday, July 11

trying to find my way

The above has been my life for the past few weeks.....hence, the silence on my blog.   We finally have the beds made up but are stepping around quite a few boxes and trying to remember where the (towels, toilet paper, bread, diapers, shoes, insert any other random but necessary items) are located.  

Thankfully, our house was basically move-in ready, no big renovations necessary.  A few small items such as repairing the washer machine line, trying to figure out how to repair the phone lines that were snipped, and trying to get our van windshield and side window repaired since somebody thought it would be funny to throw a large hunk of concrete into it has also kept us busy.  

The boys seem quite happy and adjusted in their new home.  When I asked our 7 yr old what he thought of the new house, he replied, I like it because it has a lot of hiding places.  Definitely a big selling point!  We've also enjoyed numerous walks to the nearby parks and hanging out front with our new neighbors.  Our street is quite global!  Our neighbors are Asian, Hispanic and fun!

Hopefully I'll be back up and running full-time on my blog in a few more weeks...after I unpack my brain :)

Thursday, June 30

Texture Thursdays

My entry for Texture Thursdays...

The Daily Wyatt

Fun Shots

This is what I do for fun when I need a break from packing...

Kids are free entertainment

First Friday in Lancaster

No plans for your Friday night tomorrow night?  
Do you enjoy art galleries, music, and walking around the city?  

Come out for Lancaster city's First Friday event tomorrow night!  
Click HERE to see a list of all the galleries and shops that will be open for your pleasure!  
Hours are from 5 - 9 pm.

My church is also taking part in First Friday, and will be showcasing many of the photos that I took while in Nicaragua, which will be on sale.  
To preview some of the photos on sale, click HERE.  

You can also buy greeting cards with Nicaraguan landscapes, purses woven by a women's cooperative in Nicaragua, sample some food and traditional drinks, listen to some traditional music, and buy some jewelry!  

Come drop in anytime from 6 - 8 pm, at 20 North Charlotte St. at West End Mennonite Fellowship.  
Hope to see you there!  Leave a comment with any questions and I'll get back to you :)

Wednesday, June 29

Country Setting

There are so many things I enjoy about living in the city.

BUT...I will miss my backyard view....

the long road

On the move (again!)

Just some random shots around the house....they all evoke a sense of "summer", don't they?

I know it's been quiet around here lately...probably due to the amount of energy spent packing our stuff into boxes and trying to keep the boys busy.  Yes, we love moving so much, we decided to do it a 5th time in one year! *sarcasm*  Actually, we found a great deal on a house that is closer to friends and church, and couldn't pass up a mortgage payment less than our rent.  In addition, we thought we could possibly rent it out to give us some support when we return to Nicaragua, or sell it, depending on the market and how long we are here.  We hope to move within the week, we are just waiting on a confirmation date for settlement.

Be warned that with all the moving and not having access to internet could keep the posts a bit sparse for a few weeks.  But I look forward to rejoining the blogging world as soon as the dust settles!

Friday, June 24

the start of summer

3 black eyes

1 knocked out front tooth

one aspirated peanut

4 X-rays

1 fingernail smashed and fallen off

too many bruises and scrapes to count

Yes, we're off to a great start to summer

can you tell I have a house full of boys?

although we are really enjoying catching fireflies in the evenings...

notice the little yellow lights....our friendly neighborhood fireflies

Thursday, June 23

Texture Thursdays

What do you get when you have 2 adult women, add in 4 kids, a completely packed minivan, and 4 days?

You get an incredible and fun road trip!!!

So that explains the long break on my blog, but I'm hoping to get back into writing more, although we ARE in the process of moving, which has been taking up lots of time lately (can we say piles of boxes??)

anyways...I'm linking up with the texture thursdays photo challenge, and it was really hard to pick.

I picked these 3 photos and need to narrow it down to just one of them. Which one do you like best?

I have a few more days to enter my photo, so don't be shy!  Leave your comment!

The Daily Wyatt

Monday, June 13

Scripture and a Snapshot (June 13)

This lovely bird sat right outside my boys bedroom window and spent most of the evening napping...our faces a mere few inches away, examining all of it's delicate features.

As I sat admiring his delicate feet and fine feathers, the verse in Matthew came to mind.

Climbing the walls

My boys are energetic.  Super energetic.
Especially when they are all together.  

Sometimes they climb the walls.


The 2 yr old tries, but bless his heart his legs aren't quite long enough.  
Soon enough....

Saturday, June 11

Baby shower cake and flowers

I love all the flowers around our house...especially because I didn't have to do any work to get them here :)

These are the beautiful tiger lilies around our house. There are also dwarf and white lilies around.

My latest baby shower cake.  I know, I know, I said I was going to take a break last month...and I've made 3 cakes since then.  But this time, I am serious.  With packing and getting ready to move, plus having all 3 boys at home, time is a rare commodity these days. So I plan to take off at least a month.