Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teach Me Tuesday: Resurrection Week

We have made the decision to set this week apart,
to recognize it's importance.

These are some of the activities we are doing with our children this week.

Daily Devotionals to prepare our hearts for the weekend.

Jesus Eggs

A Traditional Messianic Seder Dinner on Thursday

A Good Friday Service with our church family

Empty Tomb Buns

How are you celebrating Easter?

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Visit from the Paci Fairy, An Update and A Multitude of Blessings

Claira was recently visited by the Paci-Fairy

Kissing her paci bye-bye.


The Paci-Fairy took the paci and left this on her night stand during the night.

Inside was a beautiful butterfly, princess dress.

An Extreme Life Makeover Update

Phase 1 was Clean Out and Clean Up.  We sorted through cabinets, closets and drawers compiling everything we no longer used or needed.  Keep One.....Throw One Away, we fondly call it.  Last weekend we had a big garage sale and I'm happy to say I am able to park in the garage again and our bank account balance is a little bit bigger.
I was so proud of Abby and Emmalie.  Before the sale they worked all week making bookmarks, decorating sugar cookies and bagging up homemade trail mix.  They set up their own little table and carefully explained to each shopper that they were earning money to send to their Compassion Brother and Sister in Africa.  They made lots of sales and even received some donations.  We are so excited to send this extra gift to Eunice and Macharia.
Phase 2 is Me.  Uggg......I hate even typing it.  I happily and proudly put my husband and my children first everyday.  But recently I was talking with a friend and she was telling me how it's important to her that she "present herself well, because she is a Daughter of The King".  While I agreed with her out loud, inside I was thinking "What?  Really? How does that work?"
Currently my wardrobe is less than slim pickings.  In the last eight years my size has looked something like Abby practicing counting by 2's - 2,4,2,4,6,4,2,4,6,4,2,4,6,8,6,4......you get the idea.  Thanks to pregnancy hormones my hair has gone from straight, fine and blond to wavy, course and dark brown. And summer is coming so there will be the inevitable need for a swimsuit.
Don't get me wrong.  I am extremely proud of all my body has accomplished in the last eight years.  I am not striving for any particular size or waist measurement.  But the more I thought about my friend's insight the more I am realizing the importance of what she said, if for no other reason than to be a good example to my daughters.  I have no idea where to start.  I would love the help of my friends.

Multitude Monday

Everywhere I look
there is one mess
after another.
I'm tempted to get frustrated,
but then He stops me.
Reminds me.
These are the signs of life,
of family,
of His gifts to me.

11.   dirty socks balled up on the floor
12.   bikes on the driveway
13.   a skinned knee
14.   dirty dishes in the sink
15.   crumbs on the floor
16.   laundry....clean, laying over the arm of the couch
17.   tears
18.   how well He knows me
19.   a word spoken just to me in a message meant for everyone
20.   tiny paper scraps littering the floor from a little girl learning to cut

Where did you find an unexpected blessing today?

holy experience

Monday, March 22, 2010

Multitude Monday - Week 1

Days like today can be hard on a mommy. After a weekend full of activity I am tired.  Two leaky diapers, two changes of sheets, two changes of clothes, a bath, an extra load of laundry added to my regular three daily loads.  That was before 8:30.  I haven't worked in a shower for myself yet.  My list for today sits on the countertop with less checked off than not.  Days like today can make it easy to miss the joy in everyday life, the gifts from the Creator to His creation.  I am making a choice from this this day forward to be intent on enjoying the gifts that God has given me, not just the obvious, but the ones that often get overlooked.  I will be purposeful in seeking them out and intentional about thanking Him for them.  Won't you join me on my search for One Thousand Gifts?

1.    a weekend full of friends and family
2.    the wonder of bubbles
3.    a boy and a dog
4.    glitter glue
5.    interruptions 
6.    leftovers
7.    toys strewn from one end of the house to the other
8.    helpful hearts
9.    a baby who loves to be held
10.  beautiful music

holy experience

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prom Dresses and Poopy Diapers

One of Sadie~Ryan's first big outings was to help Nina find a dress for her Senior Prom.  The plan was for Ryan to watch the other girls and I would take Nina and Sadie~Ryan.  But as most plans in our house do, it changed.  Ryan wasn't feeling well so off I went with all 5 of the girls.  Yikes!

All was going well about half way into trying on dresses.  Sadie~Ryan was sleeping soundly in the sling.  Nina had tried on several beautiful dresses and had several more to go.

The younger girls were enjoying watching Nina "look like a princess" and of course admiring themselves in the big mirrors.

Sadie~Ryan began to stir and I knew she was getting hungry.  Thankfully they had a little couch for guests to sit on in the dressing room area.  So I sat and nursed, while Nina continued her fashion show for us.  When her little tummy was full I crossed my leg over my knee and sat her up on my leg to enjoy the show.
A few minutes later I felt something warm on my lap and down between my legs.  I discreetly reached down and tried to determine "What In The World???  Had I Wet My Pants Unknowingly!!!"  And then I felt it............Thick, Yellow Newborn Baby Poop (you know the kind)!!  Hoping it was just on me and Sadie~Ryan I lifted her up and that's when I realized.......IT WAS EVERYWHERE!!!!!

Somehow the poop had managed to avoid the diaper and Sadie~Ryan's dress completely!!  It had spilled out over her diaper and her bloomers onto my lap and then all over the couch where we were sitting.
There was no being discrete at this point.  The smell of baby poop was quickly invading this formal wear store filled with mom's and their daughters trying to find "the perfect dress".  I needed help!!  Nina and her friend, that worked at the store, quickly began to gather paper towels and plastic sacks for me.  I filled the plastic sacks with paper towel after paper towel and every baby wipe I had with me.

Finally, everything was clean........except for the couch. No amount of scrubbing could touch the mustard yellow stain covering  half of the upholstery.  I apologized profusely and we left quickly.  I found out later they had to thrown the couch away.  

I am happy to say our second search for "the perfect dress", yesterday, went much better.  Instead of plastic bags full of poopy clothes, we brought home a beautiful dress.  

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It was a beautiful, pollen-covered, fun day for everyone!

Abby has been involved in American Heritage Girls for the past six months.  It is an incredible organization, grounded in Christian values, that promotes raising girls to be women who serve God and their community.  This week her troop was off for Spring Break, but decided to meet up at the Mercer Arboretum for some fun time.  The girls have been working on their Gardening Badge, so the arboretum was a great choice.  After the tour we played at the park across the street, with the some of the other families.  It was a beautiful, pollen-covered, fun day for everyone!

Can you tell??

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Extreme Life Makeover - Part 2: A Work In Progress

I am frustrated.  There seems to be a great distance between where I want to be and where I am.  A few weeks ago I announced to Ryan that I needed to do an "Extreme Makeover" on my life.  Of course he wanted to make sure I was keeping him around once the makeover was "complete" and I assured him I was.  I lovingly told him it would take too much time and energy to "train" another husband at this point in my life.  I had high hopes of using the next week or two at the most to overhaul the areas of my life that were making me the most crazy.  Then, of course, it would be smooth sailing after that.
It hasn't quite gone that way as you probably have already guessed.  As I type right now I have a long list of half finished things - the source of my frustration.  And I wonder if this isn't the way God intended our time on Earth to be.....

A constant frustration within us between the person we are and the finished product we will be when we meet our Creator.

A constant desire within us to "be something more" or "do something more" with this life we've been given.

A dissatisfaction with this life here on Earth, because this home is only temporary for us.

But today I will choose to be.....

Thankful for the soothing balm of grace that God applies to my heart for everyday in every way that I constantly fall short.

Diligent in keeping my "eye on the prize" and offering my life as an act of worship to My God.  

Focused on the things in this life that matter, which are not really "things" at all.

Aware that my life is a constant Work in Progress.  In the end God will take the good and the bad, the joyful and the stressful, the easy and the frustrating mold it all together and make something beautiful.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ice Cream for Breakfast and a $15 Dinner

If you know me or Ryan at all you know our love for all things food!  Ryan has a degree in Culinary Arts and mine is in Nutrition.  In our early days we would battle it out over yummy verses healthy.  But over time we've merged our culinary style into something we both enjoy for our health and our taste buds! You might say we began as two and have become one:).  We hope to share some of our love of food that you can apply in your own kitchen as you follow our family.

Ice cream for Breakfast......how can that be healthy??  I use my juicer to make homemade sorbet for a sweet treat for the girls.  I am as happy to feed it to them as they are to eat it (and the cost is mere pennies)!

2 cups frozen organic strawberries
2 frozen organic bananas
1 tsp Agave Nectar

Feed through your juicer on the homogenize setting and Ta Da!  Sorbet!  A healthy treat for any time of day!

A $15 Dinner.......for eight people!
So, I said we love to eat well and healthy, but with our big family we also have to eat on a budget.  This is a recipe for a Very Quick, Very Inexpensive Dinner I made last week.  Most of these ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry.

1 & 1/2 dozen eggs                                                          $3
1-2 cups organic shredded cheese (any kind is fine)        $2.99
2 pkgs organic breakfast sausage                                     $3.69
1/2 cup diced zucchini  (any veggie you have on hand)  $0 - this was leftover from earlier in the week  
splash of milk

Precook and chop sausage if it's not already.  Whisk all together and pour into a casserole pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 min.  The top will be golden brown.  Cut into squares and serve.       

I served this meal with a bowl of fresh grapes ($4.00) and Organic Vanilla Yogurt with Granola for Topping ($1.62 + granola).    

That's a grand total of $15.30!! 


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Abby has always wanted a brother, so she gets her wish!!

We have a big family, that is easy to see. There have been many friends and family that ask us if we are done adding members to our family, well, we are not! Abby has always wanted to have a brother (that is part of the reason Sadie-Ryan is here), so this week she got her wish. No, Maggie is NOT pregnant!!!

For the last 5 days, we have been following Abby's Sunday School teacher, through her blog, during her trip to Kenya with Compassion International. Her trip was one to help build awareness about what Compassion is doing for the children of this third world country and others. Our family has been deeply touched by her experience with the children who are part of Compassion's programs and decided we wanted to do our part. So this week, Abby got her wish of having a brother.....and another sister. We have made the bold move to put our money where our mouth is and sponsor two Kenyan children.

Abby's new brother is 17 yr old Malvin. He is in high school and lives with his mother. Malvin loves soccer and playing games with his younger siblings (he would fit right in here in our family). He is working hard on his studies and we are so excited to learn more and be a part of his life.

Larenda is the newest girl to join our family. She is six years old and also lives with her mother in a small town in Kenya. Like our girls, her favorite things are singing, playing outside, and learning. She also would fit in very well here in the Bokros home.

We are so excited and anxious to see how God works through us to bless these children who otherwise may have had no chance in life, resorting to slavery or prostitution in order to survive. We have given these children a chance to be used by God today and in the future because of Compassion's great work.

As you follow our family, you will be sure to hear more about our newest family members from around the globe, and we will be sharing proudly!!

You too can make a difference for 1/2 the cost of a Starbucks coffee per day...don't think about it, just do it!!!!!


Friday, March 5, 2010


Do you ever notice how easily distractions can move us away from the path we set out to take?  Often we don't even realize we have abandoned the original plan until we are pretty far down the road. I can relate to this in a big picture sort of way, but also on an everyday smaller scale.  
I am a planner.  I usually have a specific plan in mind for each day and then a broader plan for the week ahead.  I desperately try to stay the course, despite distractions.  Some days this is more difficult than others.  This week happened to be one of them.
As you read from my previous post I am on a mission to organize my life -- My Extreme Life Makeover.  My plan this week was to finish my office and move on to tackling my meal planning/grocery shopping system.  About 3:30 yesterday I realized that the week was quickly coming to an end and I was no where near the path I started out on. God used some distractions this week to remind me of a few things:

1. Sometimes (maybe I should say often here) God has plans for our time that are not the same as our's. What we think of as distractions are often Him trying to get our attention. We should not be so focused on our own plan that we fail to see His.

2. Relationships are work, but they must ALWAYS take the priority in EVERY situation.  

3. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. Distance leaves room for hurt feelings, suspicions and misunderstandings.

I've often heard the phrase "you can't take it with you when you go" and that is the harsh truth of the reality of death. I have vivid memories of the day my mom finally received complete healing from her cancer. After hospice pronounced her dead they said that someone would need to go in and remove her jewelry. "Her jewelry! But she wears that everyday! I've never seen her without it on!" is what I was thinking. I had the same feelings  a few months later when my sister and I did an Estate Sale and watched every last thing she owned be sold, leaving only an empty house. There it was, the harsh finality of death, right before my eyes. She was gone and took nothing with her.

My focus this week became some relationships that needed mending, rather than organizing my office.  What I thought were distractions, God showed me were actually priorities.   

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Extreme Life Makeover - Part 1

I was thrown into my current position as Manager of Our Big Family almost overnight. It was a "sink or swim" type of transition for me. I had very little experience in running a home and no experience at juggling the needs of several children at a time.  Ryan and I were basically still newlyweds with only four years of marriage behind us. Our oldest daughter Abby (now 8) was three at the time and her sister Emmalie (now almost 5) was just weeks away from being born.  Within a two month span I became mommy of one to "mommy" of seven.

Thirteen years ago this past Valentine's Day my mom adopted a sibling group from an orphanage in Russia, three little boys and one girl.  At the time of their adoption they were ages 4,5,6, and 7.  At the time of my mom's death, when they became ours to raise they were 13,14,15 and 16.

I won't lie to you, the first year I almost drown -- doing mostly sinking and very little swimming. But slowly I began to put systems in place in our home for everything from meals to laundry to chores. I established routines that everyone could count on. I quickly saw the security this gave everyone, including myself, and I began to enjoy the sensation of gliding through the water instead of letting it force me under.

Recently, after the birth of Sadie~Ryan, I began to have the same sensation of barely hanging on to my life raft while the waves of life were getting the best of me. This time it was for different reasons and not at all as difficult as what I went through back then.  I recognized the signs. I knew what to do when the waves started to overtake me. I was prepared.

Last week I woke up and announced to Ryan that I had had enough!!! It was time for an Extreme Life Makover!  And that's when the fun began.......

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This life....is not about us!

Our fourth daughter, Sadie~Ryan was born this past November. She is so precious to us. She represents a reminder and a renewal of a covenant that Ryan and I made with God- to give over every area of our lives and allow Him to do anything He wants through us.  I will never forget the moment we made that promise to Him sitting hand in hand, heads bowed at our tiny kitchen table in our first apartment.
It has been quite a journey since then.  Our marriage has seen more in it's short nine years than most couples do in a lifetime.  When people hear "our story" we usually get one of two responses - "wow! You guys are amazing!!" or "that's aweful what you've had to endure". While both responses can be nice to hear at times (we are human after all), neither response is really acurate.
And that is why we decided to write our blog - to open our lives and to share God's work.  Because we are far from heros, just humble servants. We are far from perfect, just clay in The Potters hands. We are far from a life to pitied, just so honored to have been chosen. Because you see.........it's just not all about us.