Friday, September 27, 2013

Harvesting the Seeds

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens  Eccelesiastes 3:1

So many wonderful things about planting and harvesting sunflowers!

Besides the fact they are AMAZING to watch grow, they provided many opportunities within our homeschooling activities.

We planted two different varieties of sunflowers and discussed comparison.  What is different and what is alike?

We sorted according to seed sizes and and colors (some black and some varigated.)

We measured diameter.

We counted.

We touched.

When all the seeds where removed we used what was left as a stamper....painting it and pressing on paper.  Even enjoyed some art time!

We tasted!  We ate them before baking and after.

The kids can't wait for next years crop. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Heart of Flesh Necklaces and Bracelets

     I began making these necklaces after inspiration from Ezekiel 36:26.  I wanted to share a message through something visual that would be meaningful and heartfelt.  And so I began playing one evening a few weeks ago and several began to take shape.  I wanted to share just a sampling.  They will be for sale through Grace Haven's website shortly for $15 each and will help build our grants and go to our ministry outreaches.  Watch for ordering instructions soon.  Each necklace comes with the following story card attached:

Heart of Flesh Necklace

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

A while ago, I began finding heart stones. Gazing at the unique aspects to each one, I found beauty in the marks and the grooves. Some were soft and others had been shaped rather harshly. Some were eroded over time while others were hit fast chipping the surface. I imagined my own heart and its shape. How was it being formed? What aspects of my surroundings were shaping me?

I realized that regardless of what was happening around me, my heart was taking its shape from what I believed. More than anything I needed to know that Truth was filling my heart for it to receive and give Love as God intended.

As I prayed further I was led to this passage in Ezekiel and I felt a washing over my heart. My spirit rose as I rested in the words that our heavenly Father would remove the stone in our heart and soften us in his grace. No condemnation, no self willing, no striving, but through His love we are able to love well.

When you hold your necklace, I pray you contemplate the unique aspects. The wire represents the winding roads of your own personal journey that no other person will ever know, but Jesus. While you may have made some rough turns and at times loops didn't seem to have an end in sight, Jesus was always there. The stone represents who we were without God. It was hardened; alone. The thread represents the grace of Jesus that came when he died on the cross for us; the grace your heavenly Daddy weaves throughout your entire life making all things new. He wraps every broken piece and hands it back to you for you to see beauty. Your heart won't look like any other because it is as unique as you are and the destiny God has planned for you. But it is forever BEAUTIFUL, as you are.

If you haven't yet met Jesus as your heavenly Father, today He is asking you to receive him into your heart and to release to him everything that has kept you from living freely in the Love of Christ Jesus.

May your heart rest today in the safety of God's grace,

Tina Kacirek
Founder, Grace Haven Ministries

His Faithfulness - Our Follow

Well certainly the last 20 hours have unfolded quite differently than we had been expecting.  We were told we would need to stay seven days and be prepared it may be more than that.

Last night was a bit restless and around midnight I was praying when I knocked my bible off the chair and it slipped down beside me opening up to Matthew 21.  The passage my eyes landed on first was Matthew 21:21.

I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done. If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Immediately I felt in my spirit to pray this over Cephas.  I know healing is for my son, for all of us and it is a gift through faith we have to pray in belief.  Yet, often times we stop ourselves from praying due to different reasons.  

Maybe we have heard all the reports and in preparing ourselves for that we lose faith to believe what God might be saying to us.  Or, maybe what we see seems impossible or perhaps we think we are being proud or acting without humility to pray a power prayer of healing.  And sometimes its that we see our own limits, sins, flaws that keep us from praying.  

But last night all I heard over and over is, "Our faith comes from His faithfulness."  It just kept repeating in my heart.  It's not about how strong we are and how good at prayer we have gotten.  It's that we KNOW His faithfulness.  That we understand WHO OUR GOD IS.  And the goodness of God is not dependent on us.  It's just not! 

And so I placed my hand on Cephas and told God not by my strength or will but in His faithfulness to the word He showed me at that moment, heal my son. It wasn't a lengthy prayer with eloquent words and I didn't need to dazzle my heavenly Daddy.  He was just inviting me to believe and ASK.

And this morning I am watching my child surprising his doctors and nurses with his very quick recovery.  He is eating and drinking well, sitting up and in almost every way our Cephas.  He is more tired than usual and he has some pain at the site of the incision but otherwise he is full of energy oozing out all over!!  Talky, talky, talky!  

While I kept things going with Cephas here, Randy took Lucia for her tooth extraction.  He found quite a surprise himself with it lasting only TEN minutes in the chair!!!  She is doing BEAUTIFULLY and hasn't complained of mouth pain ONCE today!

So the wonderful news is that we ALL go home together - TOMORROW after lunch!  TWO DAYS after surgery and FIVE DAYS early!

We had some special celebrating with a visit from Charlie the retriever and Lucia was able to go outside to special festivities for the children and see a juggler and have her hand painted.

They hardly felt like they were stuck at the hospital today.  This place is so incredibly good to us.  I keep thinking we got lucky with a nurse and then the next one comes and is equally a blessing!  This experience is doing so much to repair what Lucia went through back home and she is feeling good about having her upcoming surgery here.

I am praying for anyone who has been struggling with belief to begin thinking about faith in a new way.  Begin asking for HIS faithfulness, not yours.  As you press in to who HE is, your spirit rises.  It's not dependent on you....His yoke is light.  Rest in who He is....LOVE.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Strength of Weakness

 I'm learning more about love.....

About how it involves so much weakness........

 Not knowing all the answers.....

But just being there in the midst of it all...... being present in heart to hear
and to touch and respond.

 Not to have the answer but to say, I will be with you through it all.

 The words I hear break me.....

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for not throwing me on the ground.

Thank you for hugging me.

I need to call Grandma and tell her about my surgery.

Is Lucia okay?  Will she have her surgery soon?  I will be with her.

I love my family.  Thank you 

I've learned more about love from my broken children, than all of my other years of life.  Watching them work through real concerns, processing their own medical conditions, discussing where they came from, what they have seen and experienced, and watching them interact with one another ministers Jesus.

They move in healing continually and Randy and I are on the receiving end of love's wisdom.  We receive heavenly nuggets of knowledge simply by being a part of this. 

Today Lucia asked if there was any way she would ever have to go back to Ukraine.  Would there be any reason we would ever send her back?

I asked her why she thought that and if she worried about it.

"Yes I worry.  I love you so much and I worry that I will be too much and you will not want me anymore."

In the waiting area we had a good cry session.

In the midst of medical needs we process emotional needs too.  They both affect their life.  Healing of their bodies and healing of their spirits.....

It's all about believing....of trusting and knowing that heaven is our home.

Throughout the day they ask us to pray with them and they stop to pray for others.  They have a sober spirit that understands their own weakness and seeks Jesus to heal them.  Randy and I see humility and a dependent heart on God. 

Spending time around these two will convict pride immediately.  These two have softened our other children and been an example of facing frailties.  I pray one day Cephas and Lucia will fully understand the incredible gift they have been to our family. 

Randy and I are softer than ever and what I witness in my husband is a holy working out.  The further we walk, the tighter we are being woven together up and into Christ.  It's a blessed walk and it might not be understood, but it's precious.  It's worth loss....even as I say that through painful tears, it's true.

Cephas is doing well this evening.  Laying next to me in his hospital bed he is soaking up some good sleep after recovering from his surgery today.  The doctors expect a nice healing and for us to be able to go home perhaps as soon as Monday if he continues to do this well. 

While Cephas was in surgery, we met with Lucia's spine surgeon.  He shared that her back is at 120 degrees scoliosis and her right lung is pressed so severely it looks like a "sliver."  It's hardly functioning.  He said that fusion of her back was not only a good option but necessary for her to live.   She is struggling with internal organs being pressed up into her ribcage area and besides breathing, feeding will continue to become more difficult.

Her surgery is scheduled for January 10th.  In the mean time we are working on getting her body strengthened for surgery nutritionally.  She is working very hard in therapies and we will return in December for her to undergo several more tests and preparations before her big surgery day.

They will put her in traction similar to when I had broken my neck with four point screws in her head and then screws in her legs and then they stretch her body into position so she is held in position when they put in the rod and fuse it.  She will be placed in a body brace for 4 that we can bathe her with. 

Our prayer request is that she would remain healthy and stable from now until the time of surgery and of course that her body would respond well to the surgery.  Tonight Randy has her at the hotel and will take her in for a tooth extraction in the morning.  Then they will come visit us one last time before he takes her back to Arkansas. 

I know many of you were a part of helping bring these precious hearts into our family and I just want to edify each of you and THANK you most sincerely for being part of God's divine plan and partaking in growing each of us.

I am truly humbled to be in the presence of so many beautiful hearts who share their own stories with me and who allow us to pray with them in their own journey of healing too.  It's what we are called to love one another and to bear with one another. 

God bless you