Sunday, November 11, 2012

Christmas project 2012...

A Christmas time challenge...

Last year around this time I challenged my friends and family to give to a Christmas project...I challenged them with out many details...This year I get to challenge you with the FULL details :) We are once again raising money to send to Fields of Promise, they help support a project in Ethiopia called "Operation Rescue Ethiopia" in Mekkele Ethiopia. Last year through the wonderful donations of everyone we were able to touch the lives of over 80 children! These children were able to see our love through the gifts purchased with the money donated!!!! Please consider once again to help in the cause!

The challenge...
What can you do without? Your daily coffee? Eating out once a week? That new toy that your child just HAS TO HAVE!!! I challenge EVERYONE who dares read this to take this to your family and ask "Is there something that we can do without to show a child in Ethiopia love?" Last year my children decided to do without their Christmas gifts and we sent all budgeted Christmas funds to Ethiopia...and guess what my children SO BLESSED because of their decision!!!! They may not have received the lasted toy last year but they did receive an understanding of GIVING that goes SO far beyond my ability to put it into words it is unbelievable! We have not talked with the children yet about Christmas this year and today I dumped a toy box out and made the boys re-sort it (a tiny OCD on my part) BUT while doing so Graham or Everett made reference to how much they have and that their sister does not. They talked about how they gave kids their "toys" last year and how they still have SO MANY toys!!! It was very cute to hear! Also last year we were blessed by many random gifts for my children so please do not think that they had a totally giftless Christmas but we did not spend money on them.

So after you have talked, prayed, thought about this I challenge you to GIVE! Give with your resource, time, space, belongings, words. Give without that when God asks you to GIVE HE WILL PROVIDE!!!!

I am NOT saying just give to my Christmas project. I am saying to ASK GOD where you should give and DO IT don't worry in your giving. If God says that Fields of Promised should be blessed though you then I will be more then happy to pass it along! Just give something...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Am I?...

A new perspective...

I have allowed my self one too many minutes of feeling upset about my current circumstances. I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself that my children are in an endless circle of Strep, ear infections, lice (YUCK), growth issues, med issues, school issues and so on and so forth...enough is enough.

Tonight I was challenged by a friend that maybe God is allowing ALL this to prepare me for the arrival of TRUTH.

I have now allowed myself to ponder this ;)...I like this perspective. It is as if instead of throwing me into a marathon with no training HE is totally preparing me for it! The more I think about this the more it makes sense!!!! I have been able to experience the many therapies that my children have needed over the past 6 years, I have visited many hospitals (CHOP, St Christophers, DuPont, Lancaster General, Pinnacle, Hershey, and even a hospital in Dover-Foxcroft Me), I have met many specialists...I can see how God has used each of those to help build on so that the next Dr is easier then the one before. This new venture of illness upon illness and the need to meet and greet new Drs and new places can only make the next leg of this AMAZING PARENTING JOURNEY a tad easier!

Truth is going to be coming and God needs me to be prepared...How gracious is HE to prepare me instead of just throw me into the fire!!!

If you find yourself having a crappy day maybe God is just giving you a crash coarse in how to be a better you, how to help a friend tomorrow, how to be prepared for something greater then you can imagine!!!

Thank you Jesus for trusting me enough to ask me to care for Everett with his ear infection, Aurora with her strep, With the privilege of homeschooling Graham, advocating for Israel's invisible disabilities, and believing that I can be strong enough in you to care for Selah while she struggles with growing properly...AMEN!!!

The song "Strong Enough" by Matthew West is what I said OVER AND OVER in my head while in the hospital with my PE and baby is the link

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Loving our neighbors...

Loving our neighbors...

Are our neighbors JUST our family in our home, JUST those we pass on a day to day basis, JUST those willing to give back in a relationship? I believe that through the ability to travel and communicate worldwide that we are neighbors to ALL. Loving your neighbor does not always look pretty either...just like you have to "get dirty" to plant a beautiful garden you may need to sacrifice something for the sake of someone.

Defining “Neighbor”

Luke 10:

25 Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”

26 He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”

27 He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

28 “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

30-32 Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

I have seen so many facebook posts about not having the time, energy, or willingness to help those who need it...I have seen too many posts criticizing the needs of others...I have seen TOO MANY CHRISTIANS saying that it is not their responsibility or that they cannot afford it as they sip their no

Jesus is very clear as to who our neighbors are and how we are to help. There are MANY verses to reference to on this topic!!! My favorite verse is our "family verse" for the year Proverbs 3:27-29

Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow”
when the money’s right there in your pocket.
Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.

As I was "walking down my road" last week I came across a friend of mine who looked to need help. I very easily could have "walked past" and thought to myself "someone else can deal with her"...or "it does not effect me". Over the past year I have gotten to know this girl, she is amazing and sweet and has been through more tough stuff in her short years then many of us will ever even see. She had a very tough path to travel last year and I was privileged to be allowed to travel along with her. It appeared last week that this girl may be starting down the same "path" as last year. I had a decision to make...Do I keep the peace and "walk by" or do I value life over peace and make some hard decisions. Now just as the Samaritan had to sacrifice his time, possessions, and money along with other things this decision would require me to sacrifice a friendship, time from my family, and resources. I am still in the middle of this so there is no peace to be seen but I would not trade this mud for a nicely manicured lawn any day!!! When God asks something of us it may cost us in the here and now but the worth of it so surpassed the time and possible inconvenience!!

So dear friends and family I ask you to value your neighbor more then clean dishes, a spotless house, having every toy and being a super parent. I believe our children are taught more through watching us say yes to God then keeping them in a well kept little bubble of total convenience.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Selfish...or not?

This post is coming from a place so deep within only God could have encouraged me to write what is to follow...

Can one be Selfish and Selfless? I honestly do not believe so, and that may offend many. I was encouraged recently to "stop giving so much to others" and to "give more to myself, take more for myself". More what? I am confused at this piece of advice (given by a licenced professional)...if God would like me to take more for myself I am MORE THEN SURE that He will provide. What is being asked of me is for me to say "No" to what God has asked me, called me, to do...who am I to say no? My words are meaningless in the grand scheme of things so I will share with you what God has highlighted from His word for me.

9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

 11-13Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
 14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

 17-19Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

  20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
I must be missing the part about satisfying my selfish wants...or perceived needs. Who determines what a "need" truly is? All we need is God and in Him, through Him, we will have everything. I would rather my children were starved of food then of the knowledge of Jesus Christ!
James:  14-17Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
What if we all took a step back when an interruption is thrown in our path and see what opportunity God is giving us to meet Jesus? Would we be able to be selfish if we were seeing Jesus everyday? Touching Jesus everyday?...
 Proverbs 27-29 has been our "family verse" for 2012...we as a family are longing for a closer relationship with Jesus. Through trying to live by this verse for the entire year I honestly believe we are being changed from the inside out and the outside in. My children are learning that life is not always a pretty picture, if God has given us the time, ability, money we MUST say YES. My children are showing me a level of compassion towards others that I did not know could exist in a child, they are learning to put others first (yes even each other :) and everyday I am excited to hear of their encounters with Jesus!!!!!!
27-29 Never walk away from someone who deserves help;
your hand is God's hand for that person.
Don't tell your neighbor "Maybe some other time"
or "Try me tomorrow"
when the money's right there in your pocket.
Don't figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor
when he's sitting there trusting and unsuspecting.
I pray that when my children are grown and they think back to our way of living that one of their first thoughts is "I love seeing Jesus!". Too many of us miss out on encounters from our savior because we are too selfish!! Lift your eyes from yourself and see what God has for you...whatever it is I am sure it will be amazing!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I confess...

I confess, (this is a TOTAL VENT)

I LOVE being a MOM...I HATE feeling judged for the kind of mom I NEED to be. I would love have "typically developing children" who's biggest struggles were potty training and sleeping through the night. It is moments such as this that it is tough to see the joy in my "Extra Parenting". Today one of my therapy staff told me that some others on our team believe that I am "just looking for a babysitter"...honestly do they really believe that I would allow them to be at my house 20 plus hours a weeks if I did not NEED them to be? My choice would be to raise my children to love the Lord and NOT have to have so many therapies. That is where the "feeling judged" is coming in, "when it rains it pours", right. I am currently battling with the Donegal School District for Graham and Everett, taking on Everett's insurance company and wrap around services and facing the reality that one of my children has "traumatized" another of my children bad enough to give them the label of PTSD...

Do I sacrifice one for many or many for one? Every time I ask myself that question God makes it very clear that the one is WORTH IT! and God has the others...and I KNOW HE DOES, but you know when you just cannot feel it...I just want done with the trauma crap and the recurring trauma due to continuing behaviors that I HAVE TO FIGHT FOR SERVICES over ugh...

Tomorrow I have 3 hours of in home therapy from 9-12...then taking my "newly traumatised" child to therapy from 1:30-2:15 rushing home to take another one to an eval (that is necessary for those services that I fight for) from 3:30-4:30, coming home making dinner getting 4 kids settled and rushing out again to yet another therapy appointment from 7-8...I am not sharing this for pity or praise just transparency...

The teachers, principals, therapy staff, other parents, friends, family, co-workers, anyone that interacts with my family PLEASE understand that I am running a marathon that I did not have time to train for, I was thrown into the mix and forced to run or fail. At times there are sprints that leave me breathless and exhausted, such as this time. I am asking for understanding that my children's needs change on a daily basis. I am asking for forgiveness that I may fail sometimes with returning calls, texts, e-mails, school papers, smiles. I cannot be everything that everyone wants me to be...but I can be EVERYTHING that God has asked me to be!

So to end my rant...please know that if I can succeed at running this marathon YOU can succeed at ANYTHING that GOD asks you to do!! My attitude is not always JOY filled but my spirit is always renewed in Him!!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

And Selah makes 4...

So Selah makes four...

four what? Not my fourth adoption, Not my fourth girl, Not my fourth child...My fourth child that will require, what we like to call, "extra parenting".

Yes I have been blessed with another child with special needs, and for that I am PRAISING JESUS!!!! This is an answer to so many of my prayers. Prayers for my boys not to feel "different" because they are adopted. Prayers that God would bless me with another baby. Most of all a answered prayer that others would not view my sons special needs as if they are due to being adopted!!!!! So here it is in Black and White...Selah Grace Stevens-Fasnacht, my fifth child, my second biological child, has some extra needs that are requiring therapy, making her my FOURTH child with special needs.

Jesus is so good to us! Honestly Aurora is the hardest child for me to raise because I need to think very differently when parenting her, Selah's needs make her my normal.

When my child has a need it is my responsibility to make sure that I address that need in the best way possible to give my child the best start to life. I truly believe that God gave me exactly the children that I was meant to parent, yes even on the BAD days! I feel blessed to have as many therapists in my children's lives as I do...they are such a wealth of knowledge. I am a better parent with their training and guidance.

"Extra parenting" comes with a list of requirements that I believe are a MUST for successful parenting.
1. Run after your Jesus...if you are not I cannot see how you will be a successful parent.
2. Check your pride at the door...caring what others think when you accept a "label" or therapy for your child will drive you crazy!
3. Surround yourself by other parents who "get it"...maybe they are living in the same world as you or maybe they just truly love you and your family.
4.LEARN to ACCEPT HELP!!! Your children can only be as successful as you are healthy...

Friends and family who have been, and are there for this Fasnacht Gang we are forever grateful! Words cannot express how blessed we feel...Thank you.

In conclusion I want to stress that my childrens needs do not define who they are...they are defined by their relationship with Jesus. My prayer for them is that they would live in truth and love like Jesus!!!!AMEN

Selah Grace..."Pause and reflect on God's Grace"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Before you pass judgment...

This post is for anyone who wishes to judge me...recently I have been flooded with opinions on my life and just wanted to make sure that those who are choosing to judge have a glimpse of what they are judging...

Yes I AM that mom who shows up to preschool late almost everyday, but did you know that I have been sitting in the parking lot trying to calm my screaming 4 year old for the past 20 mins?

Yes I AM that mom who left the full shopping cart at the store with a 4 year old over my shoulder while carrying an infant carseat and had 3 other children following along, but did you know my son has PTSD?

Yes I AM that mom who brings my own snacks for my children to school, church, and other outings, but did you know my children have allergies?

Yes I AM that mom who just screamed at the innocent looking little boy in the parking lot, but did you know he just spit in my face?

Yes I AM the mom who had an issue with my sons nails being painted in school, but did you know that we are trying to raise young men (not women)

Yes I AM the mom who is scared to death of my children making new friends, but did you know that one "wrong interaction" at a friends house can set off weeks of bad behavior at home?

Yes I AM the mom who has been "gone" 4 weeks this year, but did you know that I was in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism and then had to rush to Maine because of the passing of my best friend, my Mimi?

Yes I AM the mom who chose to have 5 kids, but did you know that all things are possible through Jesus?

Yes I AM the mom who is being judged, but do you realise that your judgment hurts?

Here are a list of SOME of the diagnoses that my children carry...RAD, PTSD, PDDnos, anxiety disorder, mood disorder...honestly the list goes on and on. We have a MT, TSS, BSC, outpatient therapy, IU13 involvement, MHMR casemanagment, ect. for the children.

I challenge anyone who was not walked a day in the life of special needs to google search the diagnoses that I listed...

Yes I AM the mom who said YES when God asked me to parent my children!

Yes I AM the mom who gets excited that my 4 year old learned some of his colors, but did you know that I was told he would never talk?

Yes I AM the mom who is super proud of my 6 year old learning to read, but did you know that I cannot show that to him or it makes him act out? (google RAD)

Yes I AM the mom who longs for a relationship with my child, but did you know he physically hurts me daily?

Yes I AM the mom who has WONDERFUL children with extraordinary challenges.

AND YES I AM THE MOM who would not trade this life for any other!!!!

Though my days are filled with struggles I know that God is using all of my children's challenges to make them the men and women they need to be. about the next time you would like to judge me, you pray for me instead!

This post is just meant to shed light on what life with children who require extra parenting looks like...I am not looking for pity, just trying for transparency...