Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Take your land

My husband and I were sitting across from our son’s vision therapist.  This sweet, young, way too kind woman was about to go through the results of our middle son’s vision tests from a few weeks before.  We were brought there because his reading progress had halted.  He had no memory for sight words, letters were added where they were not, other letters would flip positions in words, and the longer he tried to read the worse his reading ability became.  Suspicion of learning disabilities and vision issues crept in and I knew it was time for answers.

            She took us first to the summary page of all of the testing.  And she so nicely pointed out that all areas of concern, where he fell below normal, were the shaded sections.  I looked at the page.  Three quarters of it were gray.  My heart sank.  For the next 45 minutes she went though each result in more detail.  Vision therapy was discussed.  A reading specialist was recommended.  And then we walked out.

            I think this is a good place to say that nothing renders me to my knees like homeschooling.  Nothing.  I hopped in the van and emotionally I felt like I was in the fetal position, hugging my knees to my chest and repeating the mantra like the little engine that could, “You can do this, Katie.  You can do this, Katie.”  The information did not really come as a surprise, but when you have actual diagnoses, actually numbers and percentiles in front of you, somehow the reality of it all seems to change.  Now my two oldest had learning disabilities.  And I am responsible for their education.  Could I really bear the weight of it?  Not to mention the price tag of the Vision Therapy, oh and insurance does not cover it.  And a reading specialist.  I am about to write another $4,000 of checks to our adoption agency.  Suddenly, I was daunted and felt defeated.  And in my own humanness, instead of turning directly to prayer, I turned to Facebook.  I do not like posting things like this on my main page, but I wanted others to pray for me.  So, I posted in a very small private group I am in of other like minded Catholic women.  And I poured out my fears.  And asked for prayers.

            They all responded, assuring me of their prayers.  But one hit my heart.  One of the women, and good friend of mine, shared that the story of the scouts coming back to Moses and Aaron ran through her mind as she read my post.  Ten of the scouts came back and said that the enemy is too great.  But two of the scouts said God is with us and has given us the land and we should take it.  My friend ended her comment with:

Take Your Land

I am sure that she knew.  That those two scouts that believed on God’s promise, the only two that got to enter the Promised Land because of their faithfulness; were named Joshua and Caleb.  And my two oldest sons just happened to be named after them.

This sent me straight to the scripture.  God has placed a real desire on my heart to soak myself in His word.  To learn scripture more intimately.  My own knowledge of scripture, especially the Old Testament pales in comparison to what I want it to be.  To what it really should be.  I want His words to be my life and my breath. 
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give the sons of Israel;’ "  Numbers 13:1-2

God’s word. His promise.  Right there at the very beginning of the chapter; it is plain.  God’s words are not conditional.  Not complicated.  He is going to give the land to the Israelites.  I imagine He  is only asking them to scout it to see how the Promised Land really is flowing with milk and honey.  For forty days, He is asking them to soak in the promise.  God’s words are clear.  It is finished.

            The 12 scouts went and searched the land.  They brought back its bounty.  “. . .  and it certainly does flow with milk and honey and this fruit.”( Numbers 13:27) They witnessed the inhabitants of the land; their stature and number.  And they doubted.  Doubted God’s word.  Doubted His promise.  And do you know what 10 of those scouts started to do?  They started to lie; LIE about the Promised Land to their tribes.  Fear seeped in and it took hold for the people of Israel, for all, except two: Joshua and Caleb. 

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, of those who spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel; saying . . . the Lord is with us, do not fear them.” Numbers 14:7-9

My eyes read each word and their meaning sunk into my heart.  How easy it is for us to forget the promises of God, even when they are so clearly stated.  His promised land before us and we see its beauty and the goodness it possesses.  And then numbers are presented and suddenly lies begin to whisper in our ear.  The enemy is great in number.  3% tile for age.  Kindergarten reading level.  $3,000 Vision Therapy.  $30,000 adoption.  50% of marriages end in divorce.  Jobless rates at an all time high.  These numbers can choke hope out of us. 

They were for me.

Until I got that message from my friend.  Take your land.

The Israelites made many mistakes throughout Bible history and we make mistakes, yet God shows us, again and again, His faithfulness and His promise.  Their mistakes are written in the Book because it is all a part of our salvation history.  We have to choose NOT to wander in the desert for 40 years.  It robs the cross of its power and the resurrection of the hope that it brings. We have to choose to NOT allow fear to grip us and rob us of God’s promise.  We have to march forward knowing that the Promised Land is ours.  And oh, so close!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in ME you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

It is finished.  His promise is fulfilled.  Take your land.

Take the thing that God has already whispered the promise of.  HE has already overcome.  What is your land?  What is that thing, that freedom, that Promised Land you are just outside of,  fearful to take?  God did not promise the Israelites that they could just have the land.  They had to fight for it.  Jesus told us we would have tribulation.  What do you need to fight for?  Is it more peace in your home?  A homeschool that is centered on Christ and less about the workbooks and grades?  Is it a marriage built on rock?  Is it a calling that God has placed on your heart that you have yet to move on?

Today, I am taking my land.  I am resting on HIS promise; what HE is doing, not what I have to accomplish.  I am preparing a willing heart, set on His promise. And I have two precious scouts, Joshua and Caleb, to remind me to have no fear.

I am taking my land.  How about you?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Adoption Update!

Sorry for all the acronyms!  Posting here for posterity sake. 

We got an email today from our agency saying our I800A approval arrived this morning!  I jumped and squealed with delight and my kids asked if we had won the lottery.  Today, this feels so much better than winning the lottery.

One step closer . . .

Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes- A quick update edition!

I have been totally absent in the blogging world lately.  I did not realize, until yesterday, that it everyone is doing a "7 posts in 7 days challenge", and it took me a while to figure out what all the "I am going to Edel" photos in my Instagram feed were all about.  And, truthfully, I have not missed it all too much.  It has given me more time for prayer and more time to really do what I feel God is calling me to, you know, besides being a wife and mom and homeschooler. But, with that being said, I am going to take these quick takes to catch you all up on what is going on in our corner of the world.

1. Adoption

I could flood you all with lots of acronyms and numbers that will not make much sense, so all I will say is that things are moving smoothly at this point.  We are waiting on approval from the USCIS and then our file can go to China!  We are, hopefully, about 4 months away from getting matched and 10 months away from bringing our newest family member home.  This is the first time in the process that it all feels real.  There have been moments when I just stop, in awe, and think, "We could be going to China this year and I will be holding my newest son/daughter!"  We are excited, yet still taking it one day at a time.

2. The future of this blog

I have threatened that I would move the blog to Wordpress before and that the blog will take a different direction, and over the next few months, probably after Lent, that will really happen.  I am writing a lot more off the blog, and that has been such a gift.  And I am finally writing about things that I want to write about vs writing about things that I hope people want to read.  Does that make sense? For a while now, I have felt pressure to write here and to try to make it whitty, interesting, etc but I just have not written much.  I think, somewhere along the way I have lost my joy for writing in this space and it just no longer serves a purpose.  I started this space with a vision.  A vision, I never really fulfilled.  I have gotten that vision back now and am working to move toward it.


We have been on the GAPS diet for two months now.  Before we started, I really did not think we would last more than four months.  Now, I am wondering why I would ever want to give it up!  We all have adjusted well to the change in our diet and preparing food has become easier.  I have seen a difference in the whole family and it has been a good lesson in just how damaging the traditional American diet can be (and we ate healthy before too!) and how much better everyone can feel when you eat food in its more natural state.

4. Preparing for Lent

Lent has snuck up on me.  In previous years, I went into Lent feeling prepared. I had it all mapped out of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to pray and fast.  This year, I am nowhere near that.  I am going on a retreat this weekend, which will be good.  And I am planning on reading Captivating and A Million Little Ways, both not really Lenten reading, but this is just where God has me right now.  My main goal this Lent is to really immerse myself in scripture and just meditate on HIS word.  I have been focusing my prayer times on the study at IF:Equip and I have loved how God is speaking through it to me.

I am also excited to participate in Elizabeth Foss' Restore workshop. It looks so good. 

Anyone else joining Restore?

5. Run for the Little Flowers

I am sad to say it, but the run will probably NOT happen this year.  As our adoption process moves forward, it is becoming apparent that the organization of the Run for the Little Flowers and the final stages of our adoption will coincide.  And I have to be honest with what I can and cannot do and I cannot do both.  If there is anyone out there who would like to take it over for the year, please feel free to contact me.  Otherwise, the Run for the Little Flowers will be back in 2015!

6. 21 Day Fix

I know I just wrote a post about this yesterday, but I just want to say it again.  I love this workout.  On so many levels, this program is one of the best I have seen. 

7.  Little Flower Cuteness . . .
Even though the run might not happen this year, the cuteness will always remain . . .

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

21Day Fix Update

I wanted to share a quick update on my 21 Day Fix journey.  I am on my last week.  I have not lost tons of weight, just 3 pounds, but I love, love, love the workouts and the eating plan!  The workouts are just 30 min long and there is a workout schedule to follow, so you know what to do on what day. The workouts are varied enough, that I never feel bored.  There is enough weight lifting in the workouts, to keep me happy (and toned) and I love being able to mix it up with Pilates Fix and Yoga Fix.  And, an added bonus, is that I still have enough time (and energy) to run if I want.
Clearly, a high quality photo!  Love the planks!!
But, what I am most impressed about is the eating plan.  This is NOT a diet, it is a lifestyle change and a way of life.  The eating plan teaches portion control.  How it works is that you calculate the amount of calories you should be eating each day (taking into account that you are burning calories AND you want a calorie deficit to lose weight).  Once that is calculated, there is a handy chart to look at to determine how many of each container you can have each day.

 There is a list of quality food choices for each container AND great recipe ideas.  At first, I thought I would be hungry, but I have not been hungry at all.  The meals can be as simple as this . . . 

and this . . .

Or, you can make them more complex, like this . . . .

As a woman who struggles with portion control, and a personal trainer who knows that portion control and healthy eating is really a struggle for so many women, I think this program can be the perfect answer for so many women (and men).  It is simple and it lays nutrition and exercise out in an easy to follow way.
I am still running a challenge group for this and anyone can join!  Although the basic workout is still on backorder, the Challenge pack (with Shakeology) is in stock and ready to ship.  There is free shipping the rest of this month!  If you are interested, you can order here.  All money I make from the sales will go directly to our adoption fund! You can email me at katiepetko (at) yahoo (dot) come for more information.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

21 Day Fix

If you are on Instagram or FB and are a friend of mine, you have seen this, but I just wanted to share this here too in case anyone is interested.

21 Day fix is a new workout by Beachbody that comes out next week.  The workouts are 30 min each and you have different workouts for different days of the week.  The workouts vary and include cardio, strength training, and yoga. 

What I love about this program is that it is one of the first that also focuses on nutrition and portion control. 

The basic program is $58 and includes the workouts, a shakeology shaker, and containers portioned out for your food each day.

I will be running a challenge group for anyone who is interested and I will be available to help anyone who starts the program. 

If you are interested, you can email me at katiepetko (at) yahoo (dot) com.  Any proceeds I make from the sale go to our adoption fund.  So, you can get in shape and help a great cause at the same time.

For more info, you can watch this. (Warning: it has the feel of an infomercial, but has good info about the program.)