Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fearless by Max lucado

I was able to get a copy of Max Lucado's new release a few weeks ago. I have several copies of Max Lucado books, but simply have not taken the time to read them. When I was able to read this book before it was even released, I was thrilled. So, the book came and I have to say it is what every says about Max Lucado's writing. It is an awesome book. I keep hearing about Lucado's writing style. I have two of his devotionals and enjoy them.

Fearless takes issues that are ever present today, and addresses them Biblically. For many it is the economy right now that is causing fear. That is at the forefront of everyone's mind. Chapter six and seven use Lamentations for Biblical reference, I have not studied that book much, but saw some familiar Bible verses from there. So it was nice to see those references.

Lucado takes everyone's everyday fears, and eloquently and gently shows you why you should't be afraid. He does this in a non threatening way. Everyone has fears, but the Bible is full of ways that we work through them, and become the person that God would have us be.

Weather you are a Max Lucado fan or not, this book is sure to please everyone. Simple, short chapters with a disscussion guide in the back...makes this a book for small groups, couples or even by yourself. Enjoy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book Reveiw

Christianity Today Study Series: Faith & Pop Culture

I currently homeschool one of my children. We have been talking about how the media plays in to what we think. We used the book Sex, Lies and the media. It was really eye opening to my teen and I. IT has made him think about what the media is really telling him.

So when I had the chance to review Christianity Today study series I thought it was the perfect tie in to our previous book. I dug right in to the study. There is a lot of good content, and thought provoking insites. I do think it would have been better if I had done this with a small group. The book consists of 8 chapters, and is set up in a format to let you decide on your answers through scripture research. that is where I think doing this with a small group would give you more insites. The book doesn't attempt to answer the questions for you in anyway.

The study did give me a different view of some things that I can pull the good out of, for instance art, movies, tv. With so much of what is on tv now a days, it is hard to pull the good. But I can use the so called "bad" things on tv and turn them into learning and thought provoking teaching moments for my children.

In the future I think I will use this book in a small group setting. I was able to use some of what I read, but I think I will get more out of the study by doing it with a small group. There is always better discussion and points brought out with a small group.

Goodsearch

Goodsearch is powered by yahoo. Please consider searching to benefit Hope Blooms. Hope Blooms will get about a penny everytime you search. Just verify that you are searching for Hope Blooms! We are about 4$ away from breaking 10$!! So please search away!

Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hope for the Hopeless

Through a series of events, I ran into a caring bridge story that sort of breaks my heart. The story about Hope Blooms on July 21st, brought some interesting news. At first the feedback we were getting had alot to be desired. It actually gave me some doubts about what my intentions were/are. But as a dear friend reminds me, don't believe the lies. Well, anyway, my mom works in the St. Cloud area. She has had a few customers come in and let her know they saw the article. Well, one gentleman came in and told her about what his daughter has been doing. She started an organization called Kids Can. www.kidcanmn.org Her son has been battleing cancer. through chance, Mary, who started Kids Can, met a woman who's daughter was suffering cancer. Day after day this woman walked by a room with a little boy who also had cancer. He was in the foster care system, and no one hardly ever came to visit him. This family took on this little boy and later adopted him. So they are helping two children battle this ugly disease. Now isn't it time for something to be done about these children who are in need? How often does this occur? I am sure far more than any of us know. It is happening in our own back yard. God didn't call me to China to make a difference, he called me to Central Minnesota...now I just wish we had the funds to start! I need a rich uncle!~ Ü You can read a little about this story here
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/corinnewatters/mystory

Also, Mary from Kids Can put a little blurb about us on her son's caring bridge site. Every little bit helps. We are getting the word out, even though some are raining on our parade....some just don't understand ministry and trying to do good...

shan

Saturday, July 11, 2009

support

Did you know that you could head over to our website, and take a 10 question quiz about things on our website, and win a prize? Head over there www.hopebloomsmn.org

Also, another way to support is going to cafe press and ordering some items.
http://www.cafepress.com/hopeblooms

More Press

We were just blessed to have another interview. This time with the SC Times. We still have to have the photographer come out and take a big family pic. After that we will find out when it will be in the paper. So looking forward to spreading the word some more about our ministry.

Coming up on Tuesday, we interview with Spirit 92.9 radio station in SC. I am not quite sure if it will be live or not. We meet there at 8am.

We have had some amazing press, and I feel God's prescence in taking care of the big things. I just so wish He would show us the way. I know His timing is perfect. It is so hard to wait, when the only thing holding us back is money.

We recently applied for a couple of grants. One large, and two smaller ones. We are planning for buying land, and building, but also smaller grants for our programming. If we don't recieve large funding, we plan to at least start the programming we want to do. Invite foster families and families that have adopted to some activities. We thought this would be a good place to start. But my heart really wants to accomplish our greater mission. My motto has recently been, if 1,000,000 people gave just 2$ we could start our MISSION! So, as always we are just trying to follow God's lead, and let Him take care of things we don't realize He is taking care of.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! And are enjoying the rest of summer.

We are getting ready to plan a concert...if you want to help, let me know. If you know of a place to hold the concert, let me know. We are hoping to get local artists to donate their time, and a place to offer their building for free. Doesn't hurt to ask huh?

Until next time
Shan

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Been MIA

I have been soooo busy with grants. I sent one out today, and two for tomorrow. Well, actually I should clarify...they are LOI or Letter of Inquiries. These usually go first, then if they like what they see, they will ask for a full proposal! so praying they like what they see. Two are smaller grants and one is a larger one. Time will tell. God's plans are not always mine...bummer! Ü But His way is perfect and mine is not!

Here's to hoping you all are enjoying the cooler weather, and have a wonderful 4th of July!

Shannon

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Anointed

Anointed:

to dedicate to the service of God
To choose by or as if by divine intervention

I had a friend recently tell me, after hearing about all God has done for Hope Blooms, that God has anointed HB. You know I never thought about it that way before. I know God has blessed this endeavor..as I knew He would. After all it was His idea. I am just His tool in this.

That said, we are in a bit of a dry spell. God has kept me motivated to accomplish all He has asked me. He has given us amazing press time, and little bits of excitement here and there. Which given my temperament, that is what I needed at the most perfect God timing. But now it has been a few weeks of nothing....that is hard for me....and should I even complain? I think I know the direction He is taking us, but then sometimes I second guess that. So hard.

I am in a Bible Study doing the book called, "What Happens When Woman Say Yes to God?" Radical obedience. HB is radical obedience. The book talks about listening to what God is saying to you is radical in this day and age. So many people, Christians included are worldly...it is so easy to slip into what the world is telling you. It is a choice of what is right daily, hourly...The book is written by Lysa TerKeurst. The book can be found at www.proverbs31.org. I highly reccomend getting this book. It will change your perspective on a few important thoughts in your life...

So for now...Thank you God for allowing me to "dedicate this service to You, and for Your divine intervention" on my road, that is sometimes less traveled. To You be the Glory in this endeavor...forever.

In His Grip

Shan

Friday, June 19, 2009

MIA and stuff

It has been a few busy weeks.

Since our story aired on WCCO, we have felt God moving. But it seems like a painfully slow process at the moment. We want the millions now. But recently we have stepped back and are really trying to follow what God is calling us to do. His precence was felt telling us to work on the programing we want to do at HB. I truly felt Him saying I will take care of the big things...you take care of the small stuff. So that is what we are doing. Working on the smaller grants. I don't know what God has planned, but I felt that He was telling me to not worry about that right now.

Our motto verse has been part of James 1:27...take care of widows and orphans in their distress. I came across that verse last fall. Well, this week God has shown me that verse in two different books. I just started a Bible study on a book titled "What Happens When Woman Say Yes to God" Chapter 2 talks about this verse. The second is a book that I am reading Titled "Widows and Orphans" Which also happens to be based in Minneapolis and St. Cloud. The very beginning of this book quotes that same scripture.

Hope Blooms is a huge project. A God size project. We have had people support us to our face, and then we hear them down playing what we are doing. We have had unexpected people send us money to help with the mission of HB. WE have many prayer warriors...i am sure many that we don't even know. the first book I mentioned above talks about modern day listening to God is looked at as Radical..I guess our plans are pretty radical in the view of the world. God has already moved mountains, and I believe this whole idea was His idea, and He will continue to move mountains. We are on the brink of one of those mountains at this moment. There is no reason for us to be where we are State and IRS way. God got us here for His specific purpose. Come Lord Jesus...we are anxious to start helping these children!

Couple links for you to check out

www.mnadopt.org search for children on this site....tell me if your heart doesn't break.

also www.project127.org They are doing good things, but they have video listed that talks about adopting waiting children. You may not be called to adopt a waiting child...but do pray about how you can play an important role in the life of a child. Prayer and financial support is so important to many missions. Not just HB.

Blessings....
Shan

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nuggets of Truth

Isaiah 60:21-22 All of your people will do what is right. They will receive the earth forever. They are the plant I have planted, the work of my own hands to show My greatness. The smallest family will grow to a thousand. The least important of you will become a powerful nation. I am the Lord, and when it is time, I will make these things happen quickly...NCV

This verse was pointed out to me by a very good friend. She sent me a text as soon as she read it. This friend has been a huge prayer partner with me. She is supportive, helps put things in perspective. I had just read the verse from Isaiah..cannot remember where at the moment...the day before. The verse goes something like....Your ways are higher than my way, Your thoughts higher than my thoughts...Those verses really hit me when I read them. God has shown us that so much with HB. We couldn't have imagined the things that have happened with HB....Interveiw with Sue and WCCO, The article published in the Citizen...both of these people said they are not finished with us yet. Michele Bachmann interested in what HB is doing for children. The community and friend support. Our family that has donated money. We have gotten $180.00!! That is exciting to us! God has really made this program go fast. It is so hard to sit back and wait for money...like millions of dollars...if 2,000,000 people donated 1$, we could start! But when we look back to less than a year ago starting out...it has happened so fast!

God keeps amazing me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

humble beginnings

I stress humblness....to think we are better than anyone else...well that just ain't right! So I give you this link with a little background.

A little over a week ago the Sherburne County Citizen did an article on Hope Blooms. This in turn drew some interest from Michele Bachmann. We were thrilled to get a phone call from her office. They wanted to give us a Congressional Certificate for the work that Hope Blooms is doing.

So when I say humbleness, we are humbly thrilled. Every time Wayne's and my name is mentioned just know my parents are so involved also, and we have a mission in mind. We are doing this for all the orphans out there. Not to get recognized for what we are doing. So read it knowing that! Ü

sorry you will need to copy and paste the article!
http://bachmann.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=129000

Shan

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Listening When God Speaks

I have been trying to make it a habit to try to listen to God's voice. Since I have been doing that, I have come across many times that when I first heard God's voice, but ignored it, and then realized it was His voice speaking to me....

A few examples in the little ways that I have ignored His voice..

1. I needed Tylenol. I had a couple of bottle of Ibuprofen, but no bottles of Tylenol. I looked at one bottle of ibuprofen and looked around it, and after several minutes of searching, I opened up this bottle, the same one I overlooked, and it had Tylenol in it....

2. One day while I was driving kids to school I contemplated which way to go in. I was closer to cty rd. 23, but thought for a split second to just go back to hwy 25. I chose to go 23, and on my way in, my son called me to tell me there was construction on 23 and if I could to go back to hwy 25. There was a long wait.

Well, my point is, God speaks to us in many small situations. Many times we don't listen...I am learning to listen quicker than I used to.

A few weeks ago when I got Sue Turner, from WCCO, email, I was so excited, as you can imagine. It was early evening, and a nice night. I told Wayne that I just had to go for a little walk and just pray. We have a pond down a little hill behind our house. So I decided to go down there. I had 3 followers...the dogs. They all love to walk. So I went down there, the sun was starting to set, and it was a little cloudy. I knelt down and just said Thank You God over and over. All of a sudden I heard a plop/splash. In flew 2 ducks. Weird? Yes, I think so. I felt that was God saying to me...You are Welcome. Ducks are one of my favorite animals. They are fun to watch as babies. Usually when we walk down to the pond, we are scaring ducks out of there. For them to fly down, with me and three dogs down there, could only be explained as God.

Are you listening to what God is saying to you? What have you missed out on?


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dandelions or Lillies

There is much growing that we need to do as adults...young adults as well. I look back to my younger years. Wow so much growing up we do in our 20's. Coming from a girl who at age 16 got a free meal with my parents because the waiter thought I was under 12...I so couldn't wait to be 30....now I am leaning closer to 40 and want to be 30 again...or even 27....but I don't care to go back to my teens. There is enough to deal with in a normal childhood...I don't care to do it 2 times!

We just heard a sermon on Sunday about planting, blooming, spreading....Our pastor used dandelions. I will use Lillie's...much more enjoyable flower!

I have Tiger lilies, pink lilies, white lilies and dark maroon red lilies and Asiatic lilies. Every year they grow to be a bigger bunch....sometimes they come up where we have not had them before. Some have huge stems, some just tiny...the newer ones seem to be the tiniest.

Lillie's grow in sandy soil, but really go to town in the darker soil that we have planted some of them in.

After a summer of watering them, pulling some of the weeds that are around them, and watching them grow bigger and bigger, they get a beautiful flower on them. Hummingbirds love to come drink nectar from them.

How can I apply this to my life? Well, for starters, I create a home of rich soil. That is I don't bring in junk into my home...pornography, shows on TV that are not suitable for kids. Drugs or to much drinking. We use kind words to each other most of the time. We are creating good soil for us and our kids. Getting into God's word on a regular basis. God isn't just for Sundays. Once we have good soil we are fertilized and watered through God's word. Dig into the word....Your faith is caught not taught! As you follow this, you will bloom into a new creation that God wants you to be.

I love planting flowers, and seeing them bloom. I really like different ones that not every one has. But don't always have luck with them! Hope Blooms is founded on this... as we take care of children, nurture, fertilize new children in our lives, water, we can watch them bloom. There will be nothing better than when we can actually see the fruits of all this labor. I just cannot wait to physically start Hope Blooms!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The best is yet to come...

Just a year ago....Hope Blooms wasn't even a thought in my head. I found www.mnadopt.org and found a girl named Britney that I had a heart to help...then Joe, then Jason...then.....I still see these kid's picture in my head. They are all almost to ready to age out of the foster care system. Makes me sad that I cannot help them right now.

There are so many Joe's Britney's and Jason's....

I often pray for them....asking God to give them hope

asking God to give them peace...

I hope they feel that in their little lives. They have so much ahead of them, and soon decisions will be all theirs, rather than the adults that have been forced into their lives.

We have an interview set up for this coming Friday with channel four...WCCO/CBS. I really feel God orchestrated this moment to truly benefit Hope Blooms....the best is yet to come.

I feel that God is telling me we will be building this summer. This is so unthinkable to me. To think just a year ago, Hope Blooms wasn't eve non my mind, and here I am planning to buy land and build up to 10 homes this summer. Last year I was asking God...pleading with God...what do You want me to do with my life? I knew I wanted to make a difference...but I wasn't prepared for what God was going to show me. So all you little children in the state of Minnesota, hang on the best is yet to come...I will do my best to help each one of you. God has given me a huge task that I will not take lightly!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun?

You've all heard the saying, time flies when you are having fun. When you are in the midst of little ones running around. Wiping noses, changing diapers, doing laundry...being a wife. IT is such a crazy time. Time feels like it will never end. You go to bed and wake up and do the same things over again. BUT and I mean a big BUT, it IS gone in the blink of an eye. Oh how I wish I was teaching my kids how to use a scissors safely again. Or making koolaid play dough. Or cleaning up their little messes.

When they are getting ready to graduate, turn 18 and go to prom....you want to rewind the clock and start over again. Relive your regrets. Do over....rewind, erase, do over. Be the better mom.

At 18 I am sure I was more grown up than my soon to be 18 year old....wasn't I? I didn't think I was invincible. I thought I could do it all alone. Or was I the same way that my son is now? I feel as if he has some big time growing up to do. Even today as we were taking prom pictures, is little 12 year old brother was annoying him....cannot handle that like an adult now. Ü My grandma just recently told me, after a particularly tough time with my almost 18 year old.."he is stuck between a man and a boy." That is so tough.

Hang on to every moment that you can. It is gone in the blink of an eye.

Shan

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer

I just had the ultimate pleasure of reviewing the Book by Andy Andrews "The Noticer" My what a book it was. This book is set to be released tomorrow! April 28th. I recommend that you go out and get this book or order is! There are so many lessons in this book.

The story is set in a southern community called Orange Beach Alabama. The story line starts by a flashback of a young man who is homeless. Then it goes to present day and the young mans meets up with Jones...not Mr. Jones, just Jones.

Jones goes through town and gives incite to many people about the turmoil in their lives. From the couple who is teetering on divorce, to the gentleman who is a tough guy to work for. Jones travels from Alabama to Georgia and notices things about people that they almost feel he has been in their life and homes.

This book addresses many things in today's society that we are all dealing with. We learn that on the outside we all put on our masks, but inside we all have hurts. Jones teaches many people about the real meaning of life. We all have a purpose in life. Young and Old alike.

Go stand in line for this book. It will teach you things about your life that you may not know. There are thought provoking questions at the end for each chapter. I would also use these when you conclude each chapter!

Enjoy the Noticer...on sale April 28th~

Shannon

Max Lucado

I had the pleasure of receiving Max Lucado's DVD titles Skeeter and the Mystery of the Lost Mosquito Treasure from Thomas Nelson publishers. My youngest who is 10 enjoyed the movie. She is tinkering on not enjoying cartoons as much. She enjoyed the content and lessons learned. Skeeter is another Hermie and Friends cartoon. This particular one is on Being Unique. The leasson is based on Paslm 139:13 and 14. We were all designed by God. We each bring our own "uniqueness" into God's plan for our lives. We were not an accident. We all have something to bring to the table! The colors in the movie are wonderful, and the voices to boot!

Voices of each character include the likes of John O'Hurley...I think he was on Dancing with the stars a season or two ago! Funny man Tim Conway as the character Hermie, Robb Pottorf and Melissa Disney.

The movie running time about 60 minutes. Just long enough for little ones to sit and enjoy the movie. This is good quality TV watching verses other stuff that our little ones may be tempted to watch. Your little ones are sure to enjoy this movie. Max Lucado is one very talented man!

In Minnesota we all know about pesky Mosquitos...you are sure to get a kick out of Sinclair the mosquito. There is a little treasure map and a little adventure/mystery. You are sure to realize that even mosquitos have a place in our world. God must have created them for a purpose!

Go our and enjoy Hermie and Friends with another adventure of fun for your children. Good lessons to learn!

Shannon

Friday, April 24, 2009

A whirlwind week

Just when things are ho hum....

Just when I don't know which direction to turn with Hope Blooms

Just when I am losing interests....

Wham...God throws more exciting stuff at me!

Sue Turner from WCCO adopted two children from Liberia almost two years ago. I have been following her blog since she was actually in Liberia. She wrote on her blog about people from Liberia coming up to her and thanking her for adopting, or sending her e-mails, thanking her for adopting from Liberia. I posted a little about what our plans are for Hope Blooms. The next day she had looked at our website and e-mailed us about doing a story about Hope Blooms.

Now what is so exciting about this is....it opens huge doors for us. We get to share about our passion with adopting and waiting children. We get to hopefully/prayerfully build partnerships with donors. It may open doors for us to get started this summer. And that my friends, excites me! We are also getting the word out about adopting from Minnesota's foster care system.

So, please pray for this time. WE have not heard back from Sue yet. She thought it could take a couple of days. So pray for expedition on this! But God's timing is perfect, and I know that He is already working on the details. And what sweet details they are! WOW GOD IS GOOD! I am so blessed that I keep getting reminders of that every so often... well actually since this whole BIG plan started last July!

Have a good weekend!
Shan

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

etiquette Did I spell that right?? Ü

I have sent out e-mails to some important organizations wanting to gather more information on ways we can support each other. Adoption is a huge deal. Waiting children in Minnesota is a huge deal. These organizations do not get back to me. It has happened two times now. I am so passionate about helping these children to have a better life, and here are these organizations that are up and funded, and running and they don't get back to me. I would think they are passionate about helping the children they are servicing also.....Just frustrates me. I give them a week, and if I don't hear back, I just move on to the next organization. I am not so sure I want to work with an organization that is just going through the motions...Bummer!

Shan

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stuff

Well, it has been over a month since reaching tax exempt status. We are plugging away at finding money. Writing grants is a long tedious task. Who would have thought it would be so time consuming? But today is the first day in a while that I had a good chunk of time to work on paperwork. Felt good to work...but it is so nice outside. It is hard to work inside when the sun in shining, and it is nearly shorts weather!

That is it for an update....just plugging away!

Thanks for checking in!
Shan

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

are you really a Christian?

I am not even sure where this post is going...maybe someone out there has a good point...someone to point me in the right direction...

A few months ago, my dear husband Wayne told me that I don't live in the real world. I surround myself with good Christian friends. But that isn't the real world. The real world is...people behaving on Sundays at church functions one way, but in the real world there is swearing, lying, stealing, anger...you can fill in the blank. I don't mean out right stealing or lying. Just the sneak into the game, it is almost half time, and no one will notice. Or the little white lies, or out of the same mouth comes praise, and cussing....

I have been hearing about people that I thought were "good Christians". People that cared about how they acted at home, as well as at church. But I have become disillusioned about those people that act two different ways. I just don't think this is right! What you see with me is what you get...I may be a little more crabby at home, it is after all my safe zone. But if i am nice to your face, I am nice behind your back...I mess up as much as the next person...but I am who I am! I have been called Miss Perfect. Which really irritates me. I don't think I am perfect, nor do I judge you for not being perfect. But the sexual jokes, cussing up a storm, especially in front of your children, that just isn't right...no matter who you are. What is really the kicker, many of the people that I am talking about have other people questioning Christianity because of their actions. If someone doesn't know if they believe in God or not, and see you acting this way...they don't find any value in your behavior, and it actually turns them off even more of God.

Now I am not judging anyone. That is God's job. I am just truly disappointed when I hear of others acting this way...Perfection is always something to strive for. We will see perfection some day. But what will you have to answer for? Leaders of churches......man I could go on! I am just sad by this. Imagine how God feels.

Shannon

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friends

A few years back, I had a really good friend. We started working out together. Our children were friends,we BBQ together. But then there was some distance put between us...I am a loyal friend. I don't intentionally hurt someone. I usually try to think things through before I say something, but lean towards not saying anything, if it will hurt someone....Well, I asked this friend what was up. She said I am pouty, manipulative, and controlling.....WOW, that stung. It stung for quite sometime. I started questioning myself at every turn, everything I did, as a wife, mother, friend to someone else....It was a yucky time in my life. Of course she said she never meant to hurt me, but she never took back the words. I don't know what I was suppose to learn through this, after much searching, I have never received a clear answer....It is still uncomfortable when I see her. Thank goodness our children are friends again.

For a while, I thought, ok God you are not going to give me a close relationship with another woman. I became content with that. After a few struggles in parenting and marriage, Wayne and I became closer than we had ever been. Which was really good for us. I just gave up on finding a close relationship with another woman, who was on the same level with me...I still thought about it, but I was actively searching for it anymore....

I am happy to say, just being content....content in my role as a mother, as a wife, as a servant of God...So many prayers have been answered through contentment, being obedient to God...
I have two wonderful friends that I meet for coffee with once a week at a local coffee joint. They prayer with and for me...for others. One makes us all laugh constantly. One I text and talk with so many times during the day...for little snipets of time. Seems as if we will never run out of things to talk about. We encourage each other. These two women give me what I craved so much, but I am at a better place...God is good.

God has also answered questions as to what I should do with my life. By placing Hope Blooms in my life, I feel like this is the answer to questions that I have had for so long. It is stretching me mentally, but when I sit and dream of the lives that we will touch, I can hardly stand it! I am so excited to get this started. God is going to do amazing things. We even got our first enquiry from a search on our website. Unfortunatly we were unable to do anything about it, as we don't have the space yet. But my gut, from God, is telling me it will happen sooner than we think. I first thought maybe next fall, but God has put it on me to prepare for sooner...So I am plugging away with things that I feel I need to accopmplish. It is such an exciting time...I am so thankful to have God's purpose laid out for me with Hope Blooms. jsut ask me, I will tell you all about it! I love to talk about what God is doing for us right now. I am so thrilled to be His servant, completing this task that He set before me.

Please keep praying. I am trying to keep the prayers page updated a couple times a month, as there are new things to pray for. www.hopebloomsmn.org

Thanks for checking in!
Shan

Tax Exempt status

We have wonderful news. On Monday of this week we got a letter from the IRS. Previously, about two weeks ago, we received a letter from the IRS stating our form 1023 (tax exempt form) was in one of three places. Either needed no more information, and they would process it asap, needed a little more information, and they would let us know what else was needed. Finally it may need a ton of information, and they would contact us about that also. I knew with 90+ hours working on it that it didn't need a ton of info. So we help on tight for the wait. Monday I went out to the mailbox to gather our mail. There was a letter from the IRS. I opened it up expecting to get a list of what was still needed. Let me give you the time frame. The IRS received our forms on Feb. 19th, on March 18th they stamped our paperwork as accepted. That is less than a month for a ton of paperwork. I hear that this is unheard of for this form. Expect up to a year. I poured and poured over this paperwork, making sure everything was correct. It took me from mid august through mid feb to finish it all! So August 15th of 2008 we are officially incorporated and tax exempt........God sure had His hand in this. Now...for the fundraising and grants! Another mountain of paperwork, and time to put in. Huge task...if you know about writing grants, get ahold of me ASAP!!! Ü I would love to work with someone on this.

thanks much for checking in
Shannon

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anointed

I and a couple of friends are going through a Sunday night study called Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. Last Sunday was the first night. We do about a half hour video and then get into smaller groups and discuss a few topics that were presented.

Each of us woman in that study are going through many different paths. From sickness of a spouse, to verbally abusiveness from a spouse, to hearing God's call and being obedient to that call. But we are all getting something out of this study. Isn't God's word amazing that way. All walks of life can get something different out of the same Word!

Our first revelation was Anointed. Did you know you were anointed? Anointing is "a divine empower or a divine en-ablement to accomplish God's purposes for your life" It isn't about me (you), it is about God's power working in me(you).

God played the only role in finding Hope Blooms. I believe that He used many circumstances in my life to prepare me for this journey. From a suicide death of my sister in love, disease diagnosis of my husband, depression for me to follow, to raising children, alcohol abuse in my family....to the years of praying for God's answer in my life as to what I am suppose to do. God prepared me in big and small ways.

A little over a year ago I started working at the local pizza joint in Palmer USA. It was an OK job, but while I was there every day I was so restless. I knew that wasn't where God was going to leave me...I worked for about 3 months in the fall. In Oct I was done. Then in March Wayne was laid off from his job. God provided for us Big time during those next few months. Then we worked our way to July of 2008...God's answer to my prayers...Hope Blooms was born. It has been a wonderful journey so far. I have learned much through this process. I am continuing to learn much. My next journey is writing grants! I need to start on that...that will be a journey in itself! Today is the day. When we hear about our tax exempt status, I am sending off the grants! I pray that this all happens speedy like! There are children that need Hope Blooms homes...parents for forever!

God will provide, when it doesn't seem like He is listening. What are you anointed in today? Is it raising children? Working outside of the Home, supporting other organizations in your area? There is so much out there...where is He calling you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three little words

Below is an article I found about a child in US foster care system.


Three Little Words
In this prize-winning essay, a young woman recalls how a decade of disappointing foster care placements made her doubt the two people who had taken her into their hearts. by Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courter
I never thought three little words would have such an impact on my life, even though they weren’t the words I was supposed to say. Every time I see the videotape, I cringe. It was one of those memorable occasions that families treasure, but this is one “treasure” I would rather bury.
It was July 28, 1998, my adoption day. I had spent almost 10 of my 12 years in foster care; I was now living in my fourteenth placement. Some homes had lasted less than a week; few more than a year. So why would this one be any different? Before this placement, I had been in residential care (the politically correct name for an orphanage). Do you remember in the movie The Cider House Rules, when the orphans try to smile in just the right way so they will be picked by the couple shopping for a child? While it wasn’t supposed to be so obvious at the Children’s Home of Tampa, prospective parents did act as though they were looking at puppies in a pet shop. For more than two-and-a-half years I watched the few lucky dogs pack up their belongings, wave goodbye and exit the gate. I also saw them return— even after being placed with a family—with their tails between their legs. People made promises about “forever families,” but often something went wrong. I don’t know what families expected. Nobody is perfect, and children who have already been rejected by their parents—or at least feel they’ve been—are hoping that someone will love them no matter how they behave. I had been living with my new family for eight months. Everything seemed to be going well, but would that change after the papers were signed? And just because it was “official,” did that mean they would not send me back if I didn’t live up to their expectations?
My parents have two biological kids who are grown; they thought raising a daughter might fill their empty nest. I loved my new waterfront house, with my own room and a bathroom I didn’t have to share. For the first time, I could have friends over, and my all-star softball team came to swim after our games. Overnights are forbidden in foster care, but now I hosted and went to slumber parties. I could use the phone anytime I wanted, and lots of the calls were for me. I had my first pet, a kitten named Catchew that slept on my bed. There were no locks on the refrigerator or scheduled mealtimes. I could help myself to as many boxes of macaroni and cheese, bowls of ramen noodles, or grilled-cheese sandwiches as I wanted.
When I did something wrong, my pre-adoptive parents docked my allowance or cut back on TV or telephone time. In one foster home, I was beaten with a paddle, denied food, forced to stand in awkward positions, swallow hot sauce, and run laps in the blistering sun. Other times, I was removed to a new home with a new set of rules and promises. Nobody really lives happily ever after, do they? So when was this picture-perfect story going to fall apart? Before or after the “finalization”? You can see how terrified I am on the videotape as we enter the courthouse. My eyes seem to be searching for a way out as I am led into Judge Florence Foster’s chambers. On one side of the conference table are the people from my old life; on the other, those who represent my new one. I am placed between Gay and Phil, who are about to become my new parents. Across the way are two representatives from the Children’s Home, both therapists. They are happy for me, but that is their job. Mary Miller is smiling and holding a bouquet. She had been my volunteer guardian ad litem for four years and did the most to help me get a family.

“Our” side is also represented by Gay’s father, Grampy Weisman; one of my new brothers, Josh, who is home from college and acting as the cameraman; and my new godparents, the Weiners, who have brought their three small daughters. The proceedings are delayed because the Department of Children and Families representative is late. He also held up the adoption by neglecting the paperwork for months. While the others chat, I am biting my lip and biding my time. Finally the representative arrives, and my attorney, Neil Spector, who is also Gay’s cousin, begins the proceedings. I wait for my cue. But what am I supposed to do? Act as if this is the happiest day of my life? How can it be, when I am petrified that everything is a big fat lie?
After some legal jargon, the judge turns to me. “Nothing in life comes easy,” she begins. “If it does, you should be suspicious.” She may be trying to comfort me by saying that she knows I’ve overcome many hardships to get where I am. Instead, she just reinforces my fears that life with my new family is too good to be true. Because of my age, I have to consent to the adoption. After talking to my parents, the judge asks me, “Do you want me to sign the papers and make it official, Ashley?”
On the tape, it looks as if I am trapped center stage in the spotlight. Do I have a choice? I stare straight ahead, shrug my shoulder and mumble, “I guess so.” In three words, it is done.

P.S. Almost five years later, I am still with my family. I didn’t know then what I know now: some people can be trusted.

Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courter is in her senior year at Crystal River High School, Crystal River, FL. This essay was awarded first place by the New York Times in its annual high school writing competition..

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My shoes

MY SHOES
Thank God for my shoes--they fit only me.
I woke up one day and I realized that there were many things about my life I was not satisfied with.
And I said to myself, "Why should anyone envy me and want to be in my shoes." They don't know how far I've come, they don't know what lies ahead of me, and neither do they know how dissatisfied I get with myself from time to time.
People don't know the troubles that you've had or the price you had to pay to get to where you are. All they know is that they wish they were like you.
Why should you wish you were in anybody's shoes when you don't know how they fit?
When you've worn your shoes for a while, they take the shape of your feet and align to the way you walk. If you were to wear my shoes, you will not be comfortable in them.
So I stopped wishing that I am in someone else's shoes because they might not fit. Rather I thank God for my shoes, because they fit!
I have learned to be the best in what I do, and I know no one can replace me anywhere.
I am an original.
God is not in the cloning business. He makes originals.
Make the best of what you do. Besides, you have this beautiful life to live only once.
Live it to the fullest.
-- an anonymous author in Nigeria

I read this just this morning....Reminded me of the children we will be caring for. They have been through a lot. Seems sad to think about. Life changing things that will or have shaped who they are right now. Abuse, neglect, abandonment...how could God want us to care for these children...sometimes when I really think about it, I feel so unworthy of this great request...when I am tired at night, I think "God really? Me? Us?" When I wake up refreshed, in the quiet of the morning, when I pray, God quiets my soul, and says..."My grace is sufficient" I know God will see us through...What a journey it will be.

Shan

The house and Social Services

Yesterday...my mom took a sick day at work, and we went to look at the home we hope to call Hope Blooms some day. She was very impressed, and really understood how we thought it was so perfect of a place....A total God place! It has everything we need to get started.

Then we had to opportunity to meet with Sherburne County Social Services' foster care department. Our meeting was informative on both of our and the workers parts. She didn't understand our concept...so we feel we know how to better get across what we are doing. Hope Blooms is providing a home for married couples to do foster care in...we are not over seeing the foster care so to speak...We also found out that we can go through many organizations to become foster parents..adoptive parents. Like Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities etc...So we will also meet with one of those agencies in the coming weeks. Exciting times....

I also think God is whispering to my heart to contact the local paper..see if they will do an article about Hope Blooms...This is really out of my comfort zone...so I will have to make up my mind and do it!!! I have to keep remembering the mission is for children who do not have a permanent mom and dad! With over 600 of them in Minnesota alone...we have some work ahead of us. I am doing this for the children!

Until later!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can I come With???

Yesterday the day was beautiful in Minnesota. I looked out the window, the sun was shining. My plant, just one, was basking in the sunshine. My homeschooler was working on his homework, and my child that did the unthinkable last weekend, was home for his last day of being suspended...But we have processed through that, so Thursday was a good day.

I step out the door on this sunshiny Feb. day, and get smacked with barely above zero temps. OK, so it looks a little warmer than it actually is! But it was still nice to have the sunshine!

I get a phone call from my other sons school saying that he is sick. So off to school I go to pick him up. As I threw on my coat for this nice looking day I look at my cocker mix dog. He is looking at me with great expectation, "Can I go with?" His big brown eyes were asking. He hearts car rides! My son once commented that, the dogs love to go for rides, but all they do is get in the van and lay down and sleep. Zeek's big brown eyes made me think of my Heavenly Father...I go through my day, and He expectantly wants to go with me. He loves to spend time with me. In His still, gentle, quiet voice, He asks, Can I go with you today? From the moment I open my eyes, He eagerly waits coming with me. Like a gentleman He follows me around, but waits for me to invite Him to walk with me, or carry me...

I told Zeek to hop along in the van....I choose to invite God daily into my life...Without Him I would make bad choices!...I do make bad choices..

Will you let your Heavenly Father go with you today?

In His Grip, by my side..
Shannon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just finished reading Boomtown

Boomtown: This book sort of reminded me of Charley and the Chocolate factory. It was kind of quirky that way. As an adult, I had a hard time sticking with this book. As an adult female I should say. My 12 year old started to read the book. He has to be coaxed into reading. Although he hasn't finished the book, what he had read, he seems to enjoy at this point.

I felt the story was a little choppy...seemed to not flow well through out the book. I think a young boy would find the humor in this book.

This is a Christian author. There isn't much Christianity taught through out the book, however the father is a pastor.

Boomtown is a qwarky little place for the Buttons to live...They have interesting things happening to them, even before they got the Boomtown. Things keep going haywire..there are many celebrations that involve fireworks at every turn.

As I stated above, I think young boys will enjoy this book. I generally enjoy other types of books. But if you are looking for something for a young boy, with a great imagination, and clean writing, then this is the book.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Raising Teenagers is for the Birds

We just had an incident on Friday night...a late night call from the school. There was a school dance that two of my teenagers were going to. Once decided not to go, but still had to pick up my other teen....Well, said teen driver brought friends along that had been drinking and were obviously drunk. So a Breathalyzer was done on my teen driver, and there was enough alcohol in teen DRIVER, to the equivalent of cough medicine. So we now have teen driver home for 3 days from school. We have enforced some consequences at home. We are being so unfair.....none of the other students...five total got in any sort of trouble at home.

We live in such an entitlement age. Everyone else got off, why am I being punished? Says a teen who made the wrong decision to drink and drive....

We are dealing with truthfulness, underage drinking, drinking then driving, bringing in an innocent sister into the mix, and possibly a court date, which is yet to be determined. As parents, are we not suppose to discipline our children? Are our children entitled to seek their own discipline, based on what other parents are doing?

I don't want my children to grow up thinking they deserve anything...yet this is sort of what is expected...I think one minute my 17 year old is growing up, then he proves me way wrong. Plus I am sending him off to college in less than six months. It just seems as if there is so much growing up that needs to happen in the teen years....Will the REAL world show him how good he really did have it at home???

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Feelings......

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind...and love all mankind as you would love yourself....From the book or love...

I struggle so with this. God has convicted me this year with 1Samuel 12:24...which speaks to me in the way of letting God into my heart. I have such a hard time. If you are lucky enough to truly see my heart, then I value your friendship. I don't allow to many people into my heart. But I realized I wasn't even letting God in. Oh He is there all right. But I am not letting myself feel that. I go through the motions at church, but don't FEEL it. I go through the motions with my spouse, but don't' FEEL it. I go through the motions with my kiddos, my friends, my family, but don't FEEL. That is something I am working on for this year. I am not sure how to do it. Just this morning my husband and I were talking about one of our children's friends. This child would rather be at our home. This child would rather have us as parents. This child doesn't get along with their siblings or parents. This child's parents don't care if they are gone all day....this makes me sad to the point that these parents are not missing out. While talking about it, I could have cried for this child. Wayne and I have felt for a long time that we would like to be the fun place to hang out. We are cramped with room. But we allow friend over. I so am looking forward to an adequate size house for Hope Blooms, so we can be the hang out place. The place where friends come, because there is food. Food for the stomach, food for thought, and food for the soul......children of all ages deserve to know they are worth something....I deserve to feel that for them...with all my heart, soul and mind.....

Blessings
Shannon

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Integrity

Integrity is a result of God's work in us, in which the Spirit helps us to be conformed to the image of Christ, both internally and in our behavior. In a day when so many prominent people–politicians, religious leaders, business leaders, entertainment stars, professional athletes–lack integrity, it is incumbent upon Christians to seek to be whole people in Christ. Our high calling includes living out who we are in the world so that people might see God's work in us and be drawn to him through the integrity of our lives.

I received the above paragraph from a devotion. What I learned from that is...No matter what we are doing in our life; being a parent, church worker/leader, wife/husband, we need to do our life vocation with integrity. When people see God's work in us, they are seeing Jesus with skin on. Imagine all of God's workers with integrity. With humbleness. What a wonderful world it would be. Now if I could only remember this every moment of my life. Ü

In His Grip
Shannon

Saturday, January 17, 2009

endings and beginnings...

Well, yesturday was the day. The beginning of college life, new adventures, the ending of life as we know it at our house. It was so bittersweet! But exciting to be sending off our oldest to college life, next August....oh the reality of that.

Another new beginning....as I am drawing a close to Hope Blooms tax exempt form, I think we have found the perfect home and property to begin HB! Part woods, part house property, and part horse pasture. Once we saw this property, we knew it was the one, and getting to actually see it, really made a difference...we cannot wait to apply for grants for this place. What it will do for children that have gone through tough times! I cannot wait!

Shannon

Friday, January 16, 2009

Heading North and West...

A little mixed feelings today. I am taking my first born to do his college physical endurance tests. This is so hard. Knowing next year he will be off to college. For the most part he has a good head on his shoulders. I remember how grown up you feel at age 18, but in reality, there is so much growing up you do in your 20's!

Reminds me of my dreams with Hope Blooms. We will be taking in more children; to love them, care for them, raise them, accept them; to just let them go off to college, and see them on weekends and holidays....the art of learning to let go......so bittersweet!

Shan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I don't deserve

Matthew 8:8
The centurion replied, Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

This verse was on my desk top this morning. I got to thinking of the crud I do, the crud I say, the crud I think....There are so many things that bombard us as people, not to mention as Christians. The media has tons of things that we are so sensitised to. We are always watching things that we shouldn't. Our kids are hearing things they shouldn't at school, not just from students, but also staff! I think about the middle part of the verse above...I do not deserve to have you come under my roof....Dear Lord, I don't deserve to have YOU in my heart...But thanks for making the way!

In His Grip...always in my heart!
Shan

Friday, January 9, 2009

Eagles

Today, about 3 miles from the newest property that I am praying about, that we in fact get for Hope Blooms, I saw two eagles. They were on the ground. One was eating, the other on the lookout for danger....IT was so amazing to see this. When they are soaring up in the air they just don't seem as big as they really are. They seemed to stand off the ground with ease. Of course I didn't have my camera with me. I could have snapped some wonderful pictures.

Then another couple miles down the road I spotted another Eagle up in a tree, closer than the first two. My observations: Three is the perfect number. Reminds me of the Trinity.

Also, back to the first two. They stood a few feet tall. I won't guess how tall, because I am just amazed to have even seen this site....But one was eating, the other stood guard. Doesn't out Heavenly Father do that for us all of the time? We can have no cares in the world, and He is always willing to stand guard. In some sense this is what we will do for children also. Stand guard. Many will have been hurt by abuse, neglect, maybe even the death of a loved one. We will sweep down, stand guard, and protect them for as long as they need us. Oh what an honor to do this for children that we don't even know yet~ Dear Lord may it be soon!

For now....
Shannon

Monday, January 5, 2009

Taking the Wind out of My Sails...

After having a good day...quiet, spent with my husband, conflict arises...
I know everyone is different, and what I don't think is a big deal might be for someone
else...But to make me feel bad over it..that is what I have a problem with. My DH and I are doing a Bible study on marriage. I didn't realize the person in charge needed to know what specifically we are doing. I THOUGHT I left it as there were a few things we were toying with.... But this person thought we were doing one specific one...Now I ordered a whole different study...I have a hard enough time being friends with other women, then when conflict arises it makes it so much harder for me. Miscommunication...ugh! Makes me want to dig my heels in and say...I am doing the one I just paid 100$ for, thank you very much...But I was a good girl and emailed the two couples signed up, to see what they think...

So what helps you in conflict...post or e-mail and let me know!



Shannon

Thursday, January 1, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Well, a fresh start...I am excited.
I am visiting the gym more this year, oh yes I am!
I am going to get healthy, oh yes I am!
I am going to be in the Word more, oh yes I am!
Hope Blooms is going to Blossom, oh yes it is!
This year, life as I know it; life as my kids know it, is going to change...Sometime in the next year, I feel as if I won't have just five kids....well, six if you count Wayne! ;) God will Bless us with more kids to love, accept, cherish, raise, and did I say love??? I am so excited to get this going...

I have the paperwork finished to file out 1023, tax exempt form....now praying for the funds! God will provide when He sees fit! Trust.....

Got this in an e-mail this morning. Wanted to share. Some good stuff in here!


1. Faith is the ability to not panic.
2. If you worry, you didn't pray. If you pray, don't worry.
3. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home every day.
4. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
5. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
6. Laugh every day. It's like inner jogging.
7. The most important things in your home are the people.
8. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
9. A grudge is a heavy thing to carry.
10. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
11. We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments.
12. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle -- it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.
13. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
14. Do the math. Count your blessings.
15. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
16. Dear God: I have a problem. It's me.
17. When we get tangled up in our problems, be still. God wants us to be still so He can untangle the knot.
-- author unknown

Until later!
Shannon
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About Me

Minnesota, United States
I am a wife, mother to five children, 2 cats, 3 dogs. Hoping to be a mother to more children someday through adopting waiting children in Minnesota.
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