Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stories Worth Sharing

Last year we were in contact with our local news station.  They came and interviewed us over 'why we were celebrating Christmas early.' We were celebrating early because we had a lot to celebrate.  First of course was and is the birth of Jesus.  Without Jesus, without our Savior we would be lost.  We also were celebrating Ezekiel's successful heart surgeries.  We almost lost our son, but the Good Lord blessed us with a miracle. We had a lot worth celebrating, we still have a lot to celebrate over.  

A whole year later we have experienced another miracle, two really.  Our son Elijah was finally released from the Congo.  On November 2nd we were notified that he was one of 72 adopted children to be issued exit permission.   72 out of 1,000! It took until December 24th to bring him home. On December 24th Emma Noel decided to join our family as well. Within the one hour Elijah landed in KC and Emma Noel was born.  Evan's parents and sister, and Eden met Elijah at the airport.  Tally, the loveliest Missionary, brought him to America after caring for him for about a month.  It took four days of travel, which I won't get into the headaches that caused.  We met Elijah on Christmas Day, He has such an open heart.  Elijah's heart is big, like his big dark eyes.  They are full of hope and strength. When we met him he instantly hugged Evan and played with his bright red beard.  I was able to feed him and hold him close.  Two things I have been longing to do for 2 1/2 years now.  Simply being able to care for our son, was and has been a blessing.  We are still praying for many separated families.  Hopefully 2016 will be the year for all the Congo adopted children to be united with their families.

Interview from 2015/2016:

Interview from 2014:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Beginning Bible Journaling

As Eden (my 3yr old) says
Is Bible Journaling or as I like to call it Art Worship??:
Bible journaling is creatively Expressed in many different ways. I will do my best to explain my perspective and tips of this form of Art Worship. 

1) It is spending time in God's Word

2) It is an interactive way to memorize scripture

3) It is fun and therapeutic

Wicky-What do you need?
1) A Bible &/or a journal
     1) a) You do not need a Bible Journal but they are very nice. 
     They typically have thicker pages and larger margins for room to illustrate.
     1) b) I found mine for a good deal on you can also find them 
     at Christian Book Stores

2) Colored Pencils: Prismacolors are my all time favorite. 
    They color as smooth as butter. Crayola is fine to start with.

3) Scrapbook Quality Pens/ non bleeding pens/ Archival quality: 
    I recommend Micron, some friends use Steadtler & Zag are all really nice.

4) Watercolor set with a great brush: My favorite art materials are watercolors. I personally have the Koi Watercolor Set found on Amazon.  The Water brush alone is worth the money.  The pigment is strong and easy to work with.  A simple set to start with is made by Loew Cornell.

    You will want a nice soft watercolor brush as well.  Thin and long for brushscript, and short for more control. 
    My favorite brush right now is Neptune Brand, (I am in Love with how smooth this brush flows with hand lettering). Go to Michaels feel the brushes, settle on a price you are comfortable with, or grab a coupon and buy the most expensive high quality brush you fall in love with too.

    4) a) Watercolor pencils are lovely for precision. Derwent is a good brand.
    4) b) Watercolor markers are hopefully my next purchase, a friend used 
            Winsor & Newton brand, and they looked like they flowed nicely.
    4) c) While I am on a Watercolor soap box Watercolor Paper is a must have when 
           you are painting with watercolors.  
    4) d) I recently started using Caran NeoColors/ Watercoloring Crayons 
          They are fun, and full of color.  

6) Everyone has a different style of expression so some people may enjoy stickers, stamps, washi tape, and acrylic paint as well. Test your ideas on the back pages of your Bible.

   Illustrated Faith has a lovely collection of scripture inspired stamp sets that fit perfectly in the large margins of the Bible Journals.

7) A sturdy plastic sheet to go under your Bible page is handy.  I found a transparency sheet worked well, or a binder divider page.  

7) Last but not least a great quality pencil and white eraser.  The first thing they teach you in drawing class is to use a real pencil, not a mechanical pencil.  White Polymer erasers clean up the thin Bible pages nicely. You can find these at your local Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree. 

**All of these products are simply resources I enjoy using, none of them are necessary to worship God through creativity.  Crayola is a nice brand and a great place to start.**  

Wicky-What Else?
Check out the Bible Journaling Community Group on Facebook, there are thousands of artists of all ages and levels posting their daily creations.

My best advice is to simply get started, get messy, and purely spend time in God's Word... The artwork will flow from an open heart.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We had a great day! We are settling back into being home. It is hard to describe the feeling of being together as a family again. This has been the most trying experience of our lives thus far. We have had high points where all was going well, and low points where we didn't know if we would ever be together again as a family. Through it all, our God has once again proven Himself faithful. I think it is fair to say that the last few weeks have changed us in a magnitude of ways. Life is precious and we will always remember the One who holds our lives in His hands. My prayer is that through our journey, those around us and those that hear our story may be drawn to the hope we have in Christ.
Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Sept 1

This little turkey has had a rough day. He is currently on a little oxygen since his sats were low and he was a bit blue. Ezekiel also had his blood drawn today for lab work. He was a trooper, but the nurse and I cried a little bit. We are doing our best to simply enjoy being home, and getting use to all the changes.
He is growing, happy, and healthy... And that is praiseworthy.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8
 Sept 2

We had our first follow up appointments this week and the doctors say things are going okay. We would like to see his oxygen levels higher, but he is close to where we would like him to be. He did great with all the tests and even tried to help with his own echocardiogram. Still no outlook on when the next surgery is, but we have appointments set up with the cardiologist and pediatrician every couple weeks, and an in home nurse twice a week for now. Life is getting back to our "different new normal" again, and for that we are thankful. Continue to pray for good oxygen levels and that we can avoid getting sick. Thank you all again for your love and prayers over the last month.
Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Sept 7

Ezekiel & Eden update: They are happy and full of giggles and smiles. Our lives are full of abundant joy. 
Ephesians 3:19-21
To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to his power that works within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. amen.

Sept 17

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Evan Clements, A Father's Love

This man has hit his knees in prayer, sought out God's guidance in His word, sang praises for our blessings & through our trials, turned to our family for comfort and joy, learned all about our son's complex heart, stood guard by our son day & night, simply held my hand, and had unwavering faith in our Lord's sovereignty every step of the way. He also found time to buy me and Eden gifts:) I am truly proud to call him mine, and the father of our three children.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baby Steps Forward

Another step forward! He is back in the room and stable. He is already weaned down much lower on the breathing tube than he had been so far. His saturations are staying high for now and he is already off of the paralytic. Going to take it slow, but he is looking much better than when he started!
Psalm 105:1-3
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Aug 19

We had a great night! He is completely off of the nitric oxide (helps his lungs to fill) and his saturations are staying where they need to be. He is stable and they even removed a line from his neck a bit ago. He has been weaned a little more on his oxygen and they will even remove some more stuff today! We are making slow progress but we are moving forward. Continue to pray for smooth weaning off of the oxygen (possible extubation tomorrow) and weaning off of sedation. We continue to trust that God has this and He will never fail!
Psalm 16:8-9
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
Aug 20

Life in a hospital does not always go as planned. The plan was to take his breathing tube out today, but due to some bruising of his right lung (they had to push around on it during his second surgery), he is going to have to wait an extra day or two to let it heal and reinflate. Doctors just came in and said everything else looks great and he is doing well. He is over breathing the respirator 2/3 of the time, so he is improving! This is just a very slow process and we continually remind ourselves that he has had 2 heart surgeries and a heart cath done in the last week. Please pray for healing of his lung so he can come off the breathing tube and we can see his smile and hear his cries again. It has been almost 200 hours of no cries, smiles or noises coming from our son and we are ready to see him back soon. Most of all, as always, may God be glorified through everything and us us to impact those around us.
Romans 8:37-39
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Aug 21