And then my boy got married……   Leave a comment

We had another family wedding recently, the third time for this family, and it was wonderful.
My sweet son, the child who made me a mother and taught me of the fierceness of love that my young (20) heart and mind could hardly comprehend and understand. I always look back at my first mothering with him in wonder that the God of the universe entrusted me with this precious life as I was young, but God gives best and so He gave us Matthew.


As a side note, my fishermen and I married when I was 19 (he was 23) after being told that I would probably never get pregnant and that we would be lucky if I ever did….. but God! We married May 23, 1981 after knowing each other for 10 months. On July 5, 1981 I took a pregnancy test and much to our surprise and great delight, we found out we were pregnant. Matthew David was born the following March.


Matthew was the happiest child, always smiling, creative, fun, musical, deep thinking and hard working. Matthew’s favorite time was when the whole family would be involved in something whether fun or work related, but doing it together. He always wanted a brother, but God gave him sisters and he has managed well as and older brother them!


A few years ago he brought home to visit a sweet young lady named Emily. Emily was familiar to our family because Mandy and Emily met in college and became good friends. I kid you not, on the day of their graduation, as I was taking a picture of Mandy and her friends, God spoke to my heart that this Emily would be Matthew’s girl! I instantly felt a great love for her. So, when he brought her north to visit quite a few years later it was the completion of that moment from their graduation. We loved Emily from the start!


It took our son some time to make a commitment to marrying Emily due to some health issues and his desire to make sure she was the one. And she was! So we gathered in Green Bay for their April wedding and rejoiced in God’s goodness and faithfulness to our family. The wedding was beautiful and meaningful with God’s Word being read and the precious vows of marriage being spoken. The reception was full of joy and great dancing! Emily and her family and friends have long practiced ball-room dancing and they were fun to watch! I told my fisherman that if we start practicing now, we may look that good by the time we have another family wedding!

We rejoice in all the good that the Lord has done and is doing in our family!   We are delighted to have Emily as our daughter and believe that she is exactly God’s best blessing as a wife for our son.

So blessed,

Joyce

 

 

Posted June 5, 2017 by joyfulhouse in Uncategorized

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Conversations with my 5 yr. old.

Sunday afternoon, and we are just relaxing and hanging out together.   I was making shapes for her to cut out as she now feels she has mastered the art of cutting and would like to use MY scissors —  good luck with that!   In the middle of cutting at the school table, 4 feet from me, she comes over to me real fast with that look of expectancy……  then she announces –

“Mommy, did you know that a few weeks ago, I can’t remember when, but Annie told me that now that I am 5, I can start to drink soda? Or, maybe it was Mountain Dew!”

Yes indeed, because Mountain Dew is on another level of soda in our home.  If the girls want an A&W Root Beer it is all good, but when they want a Mountain Dew I know they are wanting the buzz of caffeine and the late night that comes with it, and the talk will accelerate and the laughter will ensue!  Mountain Dew brings fun to the mix, every time!

Me- “Did she really say that?”  It just didn’t seem like something Annie would say–

EJ – “Yes mommy, she really, really did and I am not joking”

Me- “So, do you want a sip of soda? It is Sunday and the day we are most likely going to have that treat.”

EJ – “No, but I am thinking about it, now that I am 5!”

 

Posted April 23, 2017 by joyfulhouse in Uncategorized

Coming Back —   Leave a comment

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For the last few months God has impressed upon me that it is time to blog again, to go back to recording our family history to share with our extended family, but also for the sake of putting into words the thoughts surrounding our life here on this earth.  Thoughts that have no pictures attached, just the convictions and encouragements that are place in my heart from God above.  He is so good, He is so gracious.

This time and season of needing to be still and focus on trusting God in ways that life demanded, so different than anything I have experienced in life so far, is lifting.  God has healed and restored and done beautiful things in my life.  As so often the case, a mother’s pain is the effect of another’s action, be it family or other close relationships,  and often is not her story to share but to be a burden bearer, a prayer warrior and the servant of Jesus as she walks with those she loves.   And in other times, pain is caused by a mother’s own mistakes, and I have made plenty, and I will continue to share that, freely,  so that my daughters and anyone else that reads this blog may learn.

     Psalm 98

He has made known His salvation

He has revealed His righteousness

He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God!

Posted April 2, 2017 by joyfulhouse in Uncategorized

And Then There Were 9 —   Leave a comment

Psalm 146:9

5Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.
I love this passage.
I love the mandate that can be read through the lines of this Scripture, balanced with the New Testament passages that tell us to GO – DO -SERVE-LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE-
PICK UP YOUR CROSS.
Because, God alone can, and does all of these things —
but sometimes He uses us,
through His power,
to accomplish His will —
AND HE GETS ALL THE GLORY!!
And WE get all the fun,
the stretching
the learning and growing
the faith building
the joy!
One of the best parts of foster care for us has been the wonderful spiritual growth that
has happened in us as we learn to minister and bless those children and the parents of those children who are involved with Social Services.
They are the ones who need help.
They are the ones who are oppressed, and yes, often from their own actions but sometimes not.
They are hungry and they are prisoners.
They are blind to many truths, especially that they are created in the image of God and valuable!
Many are bowed down and can’t see any hope for themselves or their children.
They are the strangers, often new to communities as they live transient lives,
moving from place to place.
They are the fatherless, motherless and widows.  Victims of  divorce or partners moving on
to the next hook-up or affair.  Children who have no parent alive or possible one
alive while the other is incarcerated.
They are needy — and through the years I have come to see…..
they look a lot like me.
It is the wonder of what God has done in my life and the changes that He has wrought in my stubborn mind and will that make me love those who are needy.  I see ALL the potential of who they can be and the glorious lives that they can have, if they follow Jesus as their Savior.
It has made my husband and I take risks —
Follow after God and obey Him even when it looks crazy–
And we are entering one of those seasons of caring for the needy, and their children
The house is full, to the brim!
The prayers are stepped up a notch and we are asking for lots of faith to fill us up.
And we are already experiencing the joy in the middle of the chaos-
And seeing God connect us with folks, and families who just need a Savior–
Just like me!

Posted September 24, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Foster Care, Spiritual Life

Joy Today!   Leave a comment

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Parenting is always an exciting adventure–

Some days it is more so than not, and I do mean that in the most positive way!

Today was one of those days–

A certain one of our daughters who has been loving on a friend for the last 6 months, helping her, encouraging her,

supporting her and praying for her.

Today this daughter who does not really care to see others in pain or talk about personal things, who does not like the sight of blood and would rather not be in a hospital if it can be avoided….

Today this daughter went to a 6 hour long birthing class.  To help this friend, to extend herself beyond her comfort zone to bless one who is very alone, who has some hard times coming down the road and will need a hand to help her over the bumps and to stay on the road safely.

All in the name of Jesus and for the sake of the Gospel —

This was an exciting day in parenting — And I am blessed to see a daughter sacrifice some of her life for the love of another —

p.s. — She texted me from the class saying that a woman was going on about how she birthed THREE children all naturally…….. and then Annie added, “Don’t worry. I am not impressed!”   HA HA — she was thinking of me, having birthed six children, two at home —  but she forgot that when I tell about my birth stories I always say that just when it was time to push our babies out I was ALWAYS asking my husband if I should take some drugs!  I guess you could say I was just one step away each time from un-natural births!  🙂  It’s all good!

Posted September 7, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Uncategorized

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The above pictures represent a big part of our life with children which goes beyond the children we have given birth to.  In the upper picture is a picture of Miss S and Mr A,  Miss S trying to love both him and her doll as her nurturing spirit runs deep and overflows daily.  Precious, precious children.  The second picture is one of our favorites and one that our Social Workers would love to use as a poster for Foster Care.  Our family fondly calls it “The Princess and the Fisherman”.   That little Miss S, who loves to be either a princess, a ballerina, or recently a doctor but ALWAYS a mommy has wound her way into that fisherman’s heart, and it is a beautiful site to behold!  She was a princess on the day that picture was taken.   🙂

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Another reason that I took off the last year from blogging would be that we had another daughter become engaged and married.  This is Thanksgiving night at our home, where the house is filled with lots of people, family or friends.  Was we prepared to pray we all were in a circle taking turns saying what we were thankful for.  When it was Justin’s turn he spoke about Mandy and then dropped to his knee and proposed.  I was stunned but the Fisherman knew what  was coming and wanted me to be surprised.  This engagement was the response to lots of prayers and a testimony to God working in both of their lives.  We are thankful.  The wedding plans began immediately as they set the date for April.  our family is not one to have long engagements as we feel if you feel led to get married…. then GET married!

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This is a picture of Jeni a few months later — you can kind of see that she is pregnant!

Thanksgiving weekend we had a family dinner and at the end Jeni said that she needed to share something with the family.  After a couple of years of desiring a baby and knowing it had been a rough fall I listened with a  heavy heart — she started by saying that they were going in for an ultrasound but they would be trying something different ( as opposed to the other ultrasounds that they had been doing )  because they were pregnant!!  My heart burst with joy and I sobbed as I heard the news that I had been praying so hard for.  What a delight to know that God had shown His love once again upon our family and honored us with a new life.  Please know that our family believes in the complete sovereignty of God and if there had been no baby we would rejoice in life as God has willed and would also choose to look into adoption.  These years were a time spent in me re-learning my doctrine on God’s sovereignty and find that He is beautiful and good in it all.

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Wedding fun —  I hope sometime to have some wedding pictures but for now I do not have any on my computer —

It was a glorious weekend celebrating the marriage of Justin and Mandy and adding Justin and his son Tanner to our family.

March and April were busy with wedding plans and parties and celebrating — It took us a week to recover from it all!

God is good, and He is kind and we are thankful,

Joyce

 

 

Posted September 6, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Family

I Am Returning —- slowly!   Leave a comment

After much time away for various reasons, all of which I will write about in the near future, I am slowly making my way back to blogging again.  It seems there are some folks whom I love dearly who really do read and follow our lives here at Joyfulhouse……. sweet things!   I also am using this blog to document our life so in light of that and the fact that I would not want it to seem we all disappeared for a year, we are foster parents and that could raise questions, I will resume —  🙂

Coming back to this blog will also have to be a slow re-entry as WordPress has changes in the last year.  How unfair to me that they would change everything in such a short matter of time.  I will learn what all these new and fancy buttons are for over time and hopefully not delete with a push of a button all of my work — been known to happen —

2013 — August —

Let’s just sum up the summer of 2013 as fun, and lots of hard work.  I live in Door County remember and although we live in a tourist area, we work so that the tourists can enjoy their stay, and then we squeeze in some fun when we are able.

As foster parents we are always ready for THAT CALL, the one that says we are needed to take in another child, it is a phone call that we await as our hearts are drawn to this ministry of caring for children as the Lord brings them.  Sometimes they are the unexpected, as was the one that we received last August.  We knew there was a baby soon to be born in the fall but because we still had our Miss S we were sure we would not get the call for that baby as well.  But, we did.  We prayed and knew it was a yes to take this little guy, Mr. A, born 6 weeks early with some special needs.  He was 2.5 hours away in a NICU by himself so we drove as often as we could to see him and bond with him the first few days.  Soon we realized  that he was being given some very strong meds and the nurses explains that  he would need to be on them for 30 days for sure which was protocol for these babies.  That was too much for my heart to bare as I held this little 4 lb. bundle who was suffering physically and sequestered away in a private dark room for many reasons.  I prayed for healing, I asked my family to pray  for him, I asked friends and our church to pray and literally 2 days later as I called to check on him, the nurses said, in a surprised tone, that his numbers were coming down and that they had never seen this before.  Oh do I love when God works quickly!  Remember, at this time we had been told that he would not be coming home to our home until October, maybe the first 2 weeks.  This was Sept. 2, he was a week old and it was Monday.  I went to see him and the nurses taught me to tube feed him and start on the bottle feeding and they again mentioned how surprised they were that he was doing so well — I was blessed with the opportunity to tell another nurse about God and how He answers prayers –.  On Wednesday they called and said he was coming off the strong meds because he didn’t need them anymore!  They had been slowly removing him from the meds as he quickly healed but it was progressing so fast that at this point the NICU doctor was astounded — and I got to tell her about prayer!  On that Thursday they also told us to be ready to take him on Saturday!  The problem was that we had been praying but not acting as in getting ready!  Thank the Lord for daughters who helped me transform our bedroom nook into a nursery, buy a crib and all the items necessary for a baby, and a tiny baby at that!  On Sunday Rick and I drove down to pick up our Mr. A.  He was so tiny that the little car seat seemed huge compared to his little body.  I remember The Fisherman and I looking at each other and I started to laugh — what was God doing?  Did He not know we are in our 50’s?  As we drove out we prayed, and felt the complete assurance from God that this was indeed what we were to be doing, and that yes, it would be hard in many ways but that our Big God would supply all of our needs.

He did! — He gave me the ability to feed Mr. A every 3 hours around the clock — 2 oz. at a time for the first 3 weeks.  It would take him about 30-40 minutes to do the 2 oz. I would get back to sleep for 2 hours then need to get back up and feed him again.  But such a joy!  It became my delight, on most nights —  to pray over him and bless him with God’s Words for his life.  God met every need for us as a family to take care of this little man and boy did we fall in love, and Miss S did as well!

Mr. A is one of the reasons that I did not blog for a while — my life became very consumed with the needs of getting a tiny baby healthy and caring for him, Miss S and our family —   And it was all good!.  God is so awesome and this journey is so exciting and real — Oh how I love what He brings and how He takes us through the good and the very hard things, and it has been a year of culmination in my life — all for good as I will share.

That was last fall —

It is that time of year again but we do not have Mr. A anymore.  He is in a very good place with family which is a true blessing and another answer to prayers.  We miss him.  It was last April when we said our goodbyes as we met with the family member, a beautiful kind woman, and passed him to her along with all of his belongings and special gifts from us.  As we sat in the hotel room, Mi-mi, A, The Fisherman and myself, we gathered around him to lay hands on him and pray.  We knew there was a good chance that we would never see him again on this earth.  We prayed over his life, lifting him before the throne of God.  As my big fisherman husband prayed he choked back sobs, joining the tears of our two beautiful daughters which broke my heart, his love and their love for this little boy pouring out in words over his life.  We hugged him and said our goodbyes.  As we were heading out of the hotel room I asked Mimi and A if this was too much for them, too hard to give up the foster children, even if it was to a very good place.  I will never forget A turning to me with more than a little fire in her eyes and saying “Oh sure mom, make it easier on us and leave children without a good safe home to go to??”  I knew then that even though we were all a wreck it would be ok eventually, God does heal hearts, He would help us through missing this precious little life in which we had seen miracles and experienced such joy.

He did help us, because He is faithful and He is kind.

Foster care is a wild ride — wouldn’t want life to be boring!

Thankful for the opportunity to love a little man, bless his life, teach him about Jesus and pray over him, change his diapers and spend time in the night with him showing him what love looks like!

 

 

Blessed as always because of Jesus

Joyce

Posted September 3, 2014 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family, Foster Care