Saturday April 27, 2019

John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

We all woke up this morning excited to celebrate Anjali’s birthday with friends at the Adventure Park here in Brasov. This place was awesome. There were so many different courses for our various levels. They had a small kids course for the little ones, which was perfect–it was challenging enough to be fun for them, it even had zip lines at the end of each course! All of the kids and even the adults had a great time. Between my ankle and still not feeling 100%, I decided to stay on the ground and enjoy watching the happy faces of everyone else. Anjali was so excited to be here for her birthday and being able to do a course that was for those 12 years and up. Jeff spent time with the kids and then within about an hour or so everyone seemed to go their separate ways using the buddy system, which is when Jeff opted to try one of the black courses. I got some great pictures of everyone having fun and enjoying being outside, even with the thunder and darkening skies.

Lucia enjoying the younger kids’ courses Lewis, obviously having a blast! Can you find Lucia? Jeff making his way through one of the beginner courses. Jason having fun and working hard, or maybe just having fun! Lucia and Elena doing what they do best, being silly and having fun! The birthday girl in her element! Jeff working hard on the black course and surveying what lies before him David and Coen enjoying the buddy system. Jeff was pretty wiped after climbing the wobbly ladder, but he is not even close to being done. Where’s Jeff?

After a quick lunch of hot dogs at the park, we all scurried out into the rain. Our family walked to the closest taxi stand to make our way to the shopping mall. Anjali and I made quick work of our needed shopping items and then a stop in the grocery store before catching a cab home and ordering pizza. All in all, it was a very successful and fun day, but I was wiped.

I am so grateful that God has healed me enough to enjoy this time with my family and celebrate the birth of our eldest child. I could have easily seen myself still in bed, sick and unable to be here, but He provided again. I may not have gotten to do the courses with them, but I absolutely enjoyed my time with friends and family, and this was definitely a gift from God.

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Saturday April 13, 2019

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

So my car arrived right on time, 1:30 am for the 3 hours drive to Bucharest Airport. After 3 plane changes and layovers, I arrived in Phoenix at 3:30 pm local time (which will be 1:30 am my time). By the time I finished this 24 hours of traveling, I was completely wiped, but truly I don’t feel as bad as I probably should. I had wonderful flights, with only a few minor irritations, that have to be expected. I am really excited to see my family, I have really missed them over the last year. I am looking forward to some quality time. I unfortunately will not be able to see many friends during this trip, which is a bummer, but it will be good to spend some quality time with my family as we celebrate the life of my wonderful grandmother.

Friday April 12, 2019

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us

I had another afternoon shift at the hospital today, so I was able to spend the morning with the kids doing schoolwork. Jeff was there for most of the morning, but he did take off on a long run as he prepares for the half-marathon next weekend. I had to leave the kids before he got home, but thankfully 95% of their schoolwork was done by that point. We also decided that we would go out for dinner tonight. This would be a nice opportunity for some family time before I left for 5 days.

My shift went very well. I am so happy for the opportunity to work with Romanian students both yesterday and today. FFR has gained 4 new volunteers that live in Brasov locally, which is a huge resource. It is so wonderful to see these children respond to them. They are able to talk to the children in their native language, as well as gather information from the nursing staff much easier.

There was a moment of bittersweetness today. Though the children did not scream and cry as they have the last several shifts, I noticed that one of the children no longer had a port for medication, which usually means they will be leaving the hospital soon. My heart is so happy that he is getting healthy and will no longer be in the hospital, but I will be honest, I am worried about where he will go. We are not given a lot of specific information about these children, mainly because we don’t really need to know, but I have been told how much difficulty they have had finding a placement for this little boy who potentially has an infectious illness. My worry is that he will not be going to a home, but rather to another hospital facility where he will not be able to get the love and attention he deserves. I just need to have faith that he is in God’s hands and that he will be safe and loved wherever he goes. He is a little charmer and I have seen first hand how he is able to steal the heart of anyone whom he meets. With all of this, I said my goodbye to him because I don’t know if he will be there when I get back next Friday. It was difficult to say goodbye to all of these children because if all works out, they will get healthy and will not longer need to stay in the hospital, which means they won’t be there when I get return.

After my shift I got home to some very happy children. We walked down to the square where we ate a wonderful dinner at Da Vinci, a nice Italian Restaurant that was highly recommended by every volunteer we have met. The food, wine, and service were spectacular and it was such a wonderful evening with the kids. We all enjoyed a Kurtos on our walk home. It was a beautiful night that ended with a snuggle fest in our bed while we watched Paddington. It was the perfect way to spend an evening with my family. I will miss them so much while I am gone. We have all been together non-stop, 24 hours a day/7 days a week, since we left the US at the end of July 2018. I haven’t even left and I am already missing them. So I just soaked in all that I could from tonight.

We put them to bed and I finished my last minute packing. I fell asleep at 12:30 and Jeff was kind enough to wake me up at 1:10 so I could gather everything up and meet my driver outside at 1:30 am for the 3 hour drive to Bucharest.

Lord give me strength and perseverance as I embark on this long journey back to the US.

Thursday April 11, 2019

1 John 5:15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

Today Jeff and I both were able to help the David and Lucia with school because we were in charge of the afternoon shift and had a free morning. Anjali was invited by Steffi to help out with the Kid’s Club in Budila, so she left with Katie at 9:20 this morning and didn’t get home until about 2:30. We were invited to a music appreciation class this afternoon, it is a 2-hour group where the kids learn about different composers and instruments. Lucia was totally game for this and seemed to enjoy herself, but David was not interested in the least and actually chose to do more schoolwork at home. So he busted out a ton of work just so that he didn’t have to be around kids that he didn’t know. I was really hoping that he would have gained more confidence over this year, and he has, but he is still just as shy as ever. He is still almost paralyzed by fear or uncertainty when confronted with new people and a new situation. I guess the best Jeff and I can do is to keep offering opportunities for him to step outside his comfort zone to try new things and to learn that putting yourself out there can be freeing and amazing. I do hope that one day he will learn how to talk with new people comfortably because he is such a neat person and has so much to offer a conversation.

I had a wonderful time during my shift, but I can’t even begin to share the level of heartbreak I experience when I have to say goodbye to these children. I just want to stay longer, but if I do that, I will miss out on my own children. I have had to learn that balance is key. As much as I want to give these children all the love they deserve, I also have to remember my own children need me too. I know that there have been times here where I have lost track of that, assuming my children don’t need me there, but when I get home, I am surprised by how much they missed me. I know they understand why I have been gone, but I need to be aware of how much they still need me. In loving others I need to be sure to not lose sight of my own children and making sure that I am also meeting their needs. I am not sure what has sparked this train of thought, but I guess a good way to go from here is end in a prayer, since according to the scripture above, I know God hears my prayers and that He always delivers a response and will always be there to guide and direct me.

Dear Lord, please help me to give all the love I have to the children I am caring for at the hospital, but please also help me to balance their needs with the needs of my own children. I don’t want to look past them as I seek to help others. You have shown me time and time again that I always have you as my guide, so I am asking you to continue to guide me so that I can be everything you need me to be and to be your hands in our world, so that I leave all I meet with a sense of your love for them. In your name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday April 10, 2019

Psalm 91 Assurance of God’s Protection

You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
    who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    or the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
    the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you,
    no scourge come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

Those who love me, I will deliver;
    I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
    I will be with them in trouble,
    I will rescue them and honor them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
    and show them my salvation.

God’s promise to us is real and He will never forsake us. I can’t help but look at this scripture and think of the children in the hospital who are needing so much love and attention; more than I or Jeff can give. This scripture is a reminder that God is always with us and He will protect us forever, and I know that He will do all these things for the beautiful angels here in the Brasov Children’s Hospital. There are a few children that have been in the hospital for some time with no one coming to see them except us. I know that God has put us here for a reason and I truly think that Jeff and I would adopt all of them, if we could, just to be sure that they receive the love and care they deserve. But I also know that God will continue to look after them and provide them the care and love they need. As I read this scripture I am so thankful that we were listening for God’s call and that we were willing to follow when He put the path of Romania in front of us. I still am shocked that I found this opportunity, but I can see that this was His plan for us and we are now acting as His hands to love these children. God is protecting them, comforting them in times of trouble, and showing them love and He is doing His work through us. I am so thankful that He has chosen us to do this because these children deserve every morsel of love I have to give.

I am also amazed with my children and their eagerness to know and hear about these kids in the hospital. Even though they cannot be at the hospital with us, I feel like they know these children and love them just the same. Both Jeff and I talk about them like they are part of our family and our children don’t seemed threatened or jealous in any way, but rather have welcomed them into our family and our hearts.

Today was a pretty good day of school work, not the best, but definitely not the worst. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that the schoolwork is coming to an end, hopefully sooner than later. I can totally understand the frustration teachers have towards the end of the year and I am acting like a student because I just want it done! But I am also reflecting on what homeschooling has meant for our children. I have seen them all excel in school much more than they ever have. Shoot, Lucia finished her Kindergarten curriculum in October and will be done with First Grade Language Arts/Math and Second Grade Science/Social Studies by the end of April. It is amazing. She has become a proficient reader and the math doesn’t even seem to challenge her any more. I am not sure what we are going to do when she is ready to start public school again. As for Anjali and David, I have been able to see them excel and really learn where their passions are for learning. This is a wonderful insight to have because we now can stoke those interests and help them to grow even more. I am very interested to see how they all adjust back to public school.

Anjali has been trying so hard with her relationship with David and Lucia. Today, while David and Lucia were outside playing, she came in early to make them a bit of a snack. She took some grilled tortillas we had and made some Nutella roll-ups topped with bananas. She put a lot of effort into this snack and created a beautiful treat for her brother and sister, who were very excited and absolutely loved the treat. It is times like this that I can see the benefits of this trip, our kids are starting to look beyond themselves and starting to go out of their way to do things that will make others happy. They are starting to learn that when they contribute to someone’s joy, they in turn experience it too.

Tuesday April 9, 2019

Jeremiah 30:17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: “It is Zion; no one cares for her!”

It was my day for the morning shift at the hospital and I totally forgot that in an email to Mary, Jeff and I offered to do a double shift on Tuesdays to ensure that there was someone there in the afternoons. So the plan was to let the kids hang at the house while Jeff and I did the shift from 3-6, but the kids were less than cooperative today and Jeff did not feel comfortable leaving them, so Calah was kind enough to cover for Jeff. This meant that both Calah and I did the morning shift, sorted donations at the support center, and then did the afternoon shift. As a way to say thank you, we asked Calah to join us for dinner and she happily accepted our offer. Jeff prepared a wonderful meal of BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes and a cucumber/tomato salad; it was a wonderful meal.

As for the hospital shifts, they were wonderfully heartbreaking. There are a few kids that have been there for quite some time, two going on about 3 weeks, and since we are there so much we have developed a beautiful bond. While this is so much fun to play and interact with these children, it is also so difficult to leave when they are crying and reaching out for us. One little boy is 3 yrs old and suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, but has one of the most beautiful souls. Today he greeted me with a huge smile and his arms reaching up for me. As soon as I picked him up he put his finger on his cheek for me to kiss and repeated this gesture with the other side. This adorable little gesture just melted my heart and it made me wonder who was caring for whom. My time at the hospital has reminded me how important it is for us to show our love for one another and how much we need that connection. These are the things that make us whole. I hope and pray that our time with the children will bring them the comfort and connection that they are so desperately needing. I am so grateful that we have allowed God to use us here and that we can be a loving friend to these children who are alone and sick.

Monday April 8, 2019

Luke 8:49-56 While he was still speaking, someone came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher any longer.” When Jesus heard this, he replied, “Do not fear. Only believe, and she will be saved.” When he came to the house, he did not allow anyone to enter with him, except Peter, John, and James, and the child’s father and mother. They were all weeping and wailing for her; but he said, “Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then he directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.

Today was pretty routine: school work with the kids while Jeff volunteered at the hospital. The kids are losing steam with school and to be honest so am I. I don’t know who wants this aspect of our year to end more, me or them. I will say that whenever we are finally done with their curriculum I will feel a huge sigh of relief that we all made it through without strangling each other. There are some amazing homeschooling parents out there and while I have managed for this year, I can tell you, with absolute certainty, that I made the right choice to not pursue teaching.

Jeff reported that the children at the hospital were so much fun today, full of smiles and laughter. These children have such a profound effect on me, their little faces just light up when they see us volunteers walk into their room and then break our hearts with screams and tears when we have to leave.

Jeff and I talked a bit this past weekend and we realized that while we are looking forward to Kenya, we are not feeling that pull to go just yet. We have been dragging our feet with purchasing our tickets for our planned departure of early May. Yesterday I sent a quick email to Mary with FFR to see how they were doing with volunteers for the month of May. Come to find out they have been very concerned about how they were going to manage hospital shifts because several supervisors are heading to Germany for some fundraising during the middle of May. When I asked her if it would help for us to stay, she emphatically said “yes” (in an email that is). During a quick texting conversation with Jeff we both agreed to stay in Romania a bit longer, as long as KGSA in Kenya was not in dire need of our help. A quick message and an immediate response that we should stay in Romania where we are needed, but they were still looking forward to our help in June. So there you have it…we are staying in Romania to snuggle and love these little angels through the end of May. Between this and the purchase of my tickets to the US for my grandmother’s funeral, I finally feel a bit of direction has been graciously given to us. It may not be the answers to everything we are waiting to learn, but it’s a start and it helps me have a more concrete plan through May. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest and I feel much calmer knowing where we will be for April and May.

Today after the kids finished school I was able to start packing for my trip back to the States next Saturday. We have decided to lighten our load significantly and I will be traveling back with Jeff and David’s backpacks filled with clothes and souvenirs that we will leave at my parents house. This will help our travels significantly, as we won’t have to lug around as many bags. We will be down to just two checked bags and then everyone will have a carry-on. I can’t believe how much easier this will make traveling. I wish I could take more, but the bag is packed to the limit.

With everything that has happened between this weekend and today, I feel rejuvenated and ready to continue on this faith journey for the rest of my life. I realized that this journey does not stop when our 12 months is up, but rather this was just the beginning of a new life with God as our captain.

Wednesday April 3, 2019

Genesis 33:1-13 Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. He put the maids with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother.

But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Then the maids drew near, they and their children, and bowed down; Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor with my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” Jacob said, “No, please; if I find favor with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favor. Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.” So he urged him, and he took it.

Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go alongside you.” But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds, which are nursing, are a care to me; and if they are overdriven for one day, all the flocks will die. 

For the life of me I can’t figure out how this scripture relates to today, which is why I am not publishing it until now. I will skip over the scripture part for now and share a little bit about today. I worked at the hospital while Jeff stayed home with the kids to work on school; if they work hard enough they will be done by the time we leave Romania which would be wonderful to have that task off our plate during our time in Kenya. I really hope that they will work hard over the coming weeks and finish up the little bit they have left. Thus far they have not been very productive this week.

We had a nice treat tonight. Jeff worked all day preparing a wonderful Indian feast of Briyani, chipati, and chutney. But the real treat was the company, both Katie and Calah (the long-term volunteers for FFR that live in the apartments above us) joined us for dinner. It was so much fun to spend some quality time with these wonderful ladies who are giving so much for the children here in Brasov. We had an evening filled with conversation, laughter, and wine! We all had a lot of fun and the kids even put themselves to bed while we continued to visit with Katie and Calah.

I have really thought about this scripture and I realized that this scripture is actually very fitting for me. As I was walking home from the hospital on Friday I realized that this is just another way God is telling me to let go and give control to Him. In so many ways I have no problem with giving God control, but there are other ways that are not quite so easy. We are facing a lot of uncertainty right now, with potential jobs, where we are going to live, what will our lives look like when we get done with this year, will we have jobs, etc. and I have been struggling to gain some control over something. In my heart I know I need to give the control to God, but there is this Type A part of me that is saying that if I do it I will have the answers sooner and faster! But when I read this scripture of Jacob giving everything over to God, trusting Him to work everything out between he and Esau, it made me realize that this is exactly what I need to do myself. I need to give my life over to Him completely, in all aspects of my life, because He will fight for me if I just stand still. (This is what Moses says to the Israelites as they are fleeing the Egyptians across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:14). God knows me so well and He knows how much I have been struggling. I have lacked patience with my children and have felt completely overwhelmed this past week (I am sure that my grandmother’s passing and trying to find flights back to the states didn’t help matters.). I am so glad I waited on writing this blog because if I have tried to get it done on Wednesday I would have missed out on the insight I gained from thoughtfully praying on it. I guess the hardest part of this process is for me to let go and give God control in all aspects of my life and wait patiently for His timing to show me the path I am meant to walk.

Tuesday April 2, 2019

Isaiah 26:3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.

Jeff and I had a conversation last night about the scripture from March 30, Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19) and in doing so he presented me with a different way to read this scripture. I read this as God providing me with an anticipation of what is to come, that He is preparing the way for me and there is something waiting for me just around the corner. But Jeff gave me a different perspective. God could also be reassuring me that He has this all under control, to stop preoccupying myself with the future and be present in today. I think I actually like the latter better, plus it goes hand in hand with today’s scripture. God has this all under control. He has plans for us, that while we don’t know what they are just yet, He is our rock and as long as we trust in Him and listen for His call, we will be provided with countless blessings in the future.

I was with the girls today while Jeff and David headed to Budila, a small village where Firm Foundations Romania (FFR) runs a Kids Club (aka: preschool) and an after-school program. The boys were home pretty early and the girls had done pretty well with their schoolwork, so all in all it was a successful day. Lucia was so excited to have a texting conversation with one of her best friends from India, Ellie. Ellie has always been so sweet and loving towards Lucia and Lucia was so excited to get a bunch of pictures of her time with Ellie. Even from India, Ellie made her day and Lucia learned a valuable lesson that even if our friends are not right next to us, they are still very close to our heart. Here are a few of the pictures she got today:

David said he enjoyed himself at Budila, but according to Jeff, David never left his side. David has always been so timid when it comes to new situations and I guess today was no different. What I find interesting is how he describes the experience. When he got home and I asked him about the day, his response was “it was awesome”. I wonder if he had another opportunity to go back if he would be more interactive with the children. But either way, I am glad he enjoyed himself.

Jeff and I ended up leaving the kids behind at the house for about an hour and a half so we could help Steffi move about 100 banana boxes filled with adult clothes. Once we got home we made a quick dinner of oatmeal and toast for the kids and grilled cheese sandwiches for us.

As I look back on today’s scripture and conversation that Jeff and I had last night, I am amazed how we can read the same scripture in different ways. I think we read it in the ways we need at the time, but I also think it is important to be open to differing viewpoints and perspectives because then we can really open ourselves up to hearing God’s true word. I don’t think it is about right and wrong, but rather how God is speaking to us at that certain moment. On Saturday I read it one way, but the same scripture on Monday evening had a totally different tone and lesson.

Sunday March 31, 2019

“Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed.”  Proverbs 15:22

Apparently Romania observes daylight savings time which resulted in our losing an hour unexpectedly overnight.  Rather than getting to “sleep in” until 8 and then get ready for church, Sara and I “overslept” until 9.  We both realized our mistake right away but fortunately the kids were in good spirits which made a more rapid preparation for the day possible.  Those that wanted to and could do so quickly showered and then we headed out for service.  We are fortunate that even here in the middle of Romania there is a church which offers a service in Romanian and English.  While that means that services run a little longer than our usual 1 hour, we at least get to sing along with most songs and understand the sermon.

After finishing church I walked the kids home along with Anjali’s new friend Rebecca. The girls had made plans to bake a cake following church and then we invited Rebecca’s family, our new friends from New Zealand, over for dinner.  The girls learned, and more importantly were open to, the concept of many advisors.  Anjali has, in the past, been known to attempt to do things on her own without instruction because, as she puts it, she wants to be independent.  Her belief is that independence means capable of doing things on your own with no assistance whatsoever.  Without counsel, plans go wrong.  Unfortunately she has had to learn this lesson often and at most times with great distress as she is also very headstrong.  But in this case, and perhaps because her friend was present, she was more willing to consult a recipe as well as be open to counsel from Sara, our resident baking expert.  As a result, the cake and icing turned out beautifully, a real treat for the 6 kids and 4 adults.  Better yet, Anjali had a great time with baking and spending time with her friend.  I hope that this lesson will reinforce the notion that independence does not mean ignoring good counsel but rather knowing how to use the good counsel around her.

While the girls baked, Sara and I got to spend some time together doing yoga, something we both enjoy but rarely get to do together.  Our detox practice was refreshing and invigorating helping to loosen our bodies and our minds.  I find these hour long practices to be the perfect opportunity to not only feel healthier but to clear my mind of all the clutter that I allow to enter and remain.  I find it is good to clear my thoughts so that I can better allow the good counsel of others to enter, whether it be the quiet voice from God or the more overt voices of my friends, spouse, and children.