Sunday, December 30, 2012

Little Duckies

Plane tickets purchased.....check
Hotel booked....check
Travel money....check
Dog sitter....check
Gifts to bring....check
On and on....check

Yesterday I posted this Facebook status:  "spent all morning lining up my duckies."  You can often hear me saying that I like to have all my ducks in a row.  Clearly planning for an overseas trip qualifies for one of those times.  I thrive in organization and order.  Having a well laid out plan relieves stress.  However no matter how much I prepare I cannot shake this anxiety over leaving the kids for 2 weeks.  We have planned and prepared for a whole year to bring a child home.  We have stepped out in faith into the unknown.  God has done a great work in our hearts for a child we do not know and yet fear haunts me.

It is time for me to let it go.  God has chosen this time, these days for us to travel.  Even with all MY planning, HE has diligently been paving the way, directing our steps and taking the lead.  My days belong to him alone.  He has started this awesome work and He alone will complete it.

It is in Christ alone....that we have purpose
It is in Christ alone....that we find life and order
It is in Christ alone....that we are saved
It is in Christ alone....that we have peace
It is in Christ alone....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rend Your Heart

I am currently using Morning by Morning, devotions of Charles Spurgeon during my personal devotion time.  This morning was very pungent and to the point, convicting and motivating.  It put me on the spot and led me to ask myself if I am willing or able to truly "rend my heart and not my garments."

"Even now, "declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.  Who knows?  He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing- grain offerings for the LORD your God.  Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast.  Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.  Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the temple porch and the altar.  Let them say, "Spare your people, O LORD.  Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.  Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
Joel 2:12-17
 In these early days, tearing your clothes was an outward sign of grief and distress over some disaster or calamity. It was also a sign of deep sorrow and mourning over someone who has died. Sometimes it indicated a holy indignation (righteous ANGER) against sin and what is contrary to God’s Word.  
Outward signs are NOT enough!  God wants more!  He wants us to give our hearts to him!  This however is no easy task.  We cannot give him part of us and then continue about our own agenda apart from him.  According to this passage, returning to him will be followed by fasting, weeping and mourning.  I believe this is a direct result of our sin.  When we turn around and gaze on his beauty and majesty our eyes are truly opened to our own troubled state.  We are also told to call everyone together; and to worship the LORD.
Have you heard in recent days "Where is their God?"  I have too.  Suddenly a people who have rejected God are blaming him for "not being there".  Though our nation is a nation rooted in the Gospel of Christ, for many generations it has only been an outward display of loyalty to him and more recently a complete rebellion of his truth.  I believe this land was given to us by God to be a blessing to us and to others, a place where we were free to worship Him in spirit and in truth.  God lead people here who were tired of just outward signs and religious piety at surface level.  They gave up everything to follow him.  And He blessed them.
Little by little we have forgotten why we are here.  God gave us this land to honor Him and not ourselves.   We are not going to be able to keep expecting his blessings, without first rending our hearts to him and not just our garments.  A time has come that if we do not turn back to him there will be more and more sorrow. 

"May we never be content with having only the form or pretense of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss.  Instead, may the Holy Spirit do such a work in us that we will cling with our whole heart to our Lord Jesus." -Charles Spurgeon

Friday, December 14, 2012

For Those Who Mourn

For those who mourn, for those who grieve, for those who wonder why.  Scripture, God's holy word is our only source of truth and peace.  We can find temporary comfort in the embrace of a loved one or a soothing song on the radio, but only God can bring lasting healing.  As a writer I see words as a balm to the soul especially those written by our Heavenly Father.  He tells us to remember him!  When nothing makes any sense and we hurt so bad, remember his goodness. 


Psalm 77[a]

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.

I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.
I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God,
    the waters saw you and writhed;
    the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
    the heavens resounded with thunder;
    your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
    your lightning lit up the world;
    the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
    your way through the mighty waters,
    though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Dear Jesus,   You are the God of mercy and peace.  Please today bring that healing balm that only you can give.  Pour out your living waters upon us that we may be washed in your Spirit and renewed with hope for the days to come.  Turn our eyes to you.  When pain is all that is felt and sadness is all we see let us remember your good deeds.  Lead us like you did Moses and Aaron, show us the way that leads to life.  Your promises I will hold onto.  Hear the cries of your people, dry their tears and heal our land. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not Just a Dream

Somebody pinch me!  Am I dreaming?  Did I really just book tickets with a travel agent?  Yes I did!  After the holidays in January we will be starting off on that long flight to Taiwan to pick up our son!  There were days I doubted it would actually happen.  You may think I am silly, but when one of your children is half way around the world or even in your own living room and things are not finalized legally peace is hard to come by.  An email or a phone call could change everything you know for better or worse.  For parents out there who have done domestic adoptions, you know exactly what I am talking about or from countries who do not have a clear timeline or who change the laws before your process is complete.  It is a road filled with many uncertainties.  It has given us the chance to "test" our faith and put into action not walking by sight.

For this child, I have prayed so hard!  I have cried and rejoiced.  And soon I will hold him.

The Sights and Sounds of the City

Both craziness and beauty await us, not only in the city of Taipei, but in the joining of two cultures as we unite our family come January!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Picture Update

Just this morning I found an email waiting for me with lots of photos and a progress report!  Up to this point many of our son's evaluations have been FAIR.  Today the report read MEDIUM!  Improvement is happening, even if it is a little bit at a time.  Cathwell continues to prepare him for the transition of coming home.  Thank you for your continued prayers for us and our son.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Delay

Today I am working on accepting that our travel times are out of my control.  At this moment it is looking like we will not be able to travel until January.  It is with a heavy heart that I must give thanks and rejoice in all circumstances and give glory to God for his sovereignty.  Giving thanks and praising God cannot only happen at times when we feel happy, but in those times of faith testing as well.

Our son has had much anxiety about coming home, and though he is excited to have a family he has much trepidation over leaving the only home he has ever known.  Cathwel has put him in counseling to prepare for coming home, to help him work through what might me a difficult transition for him.  Please pray that God use this time and counseling for healing and preparation for our son.

For me the waiting is not actually the hardest part, the not knowing is, the fear of possible December travel turning into possible January travel, turning into possible February travel and so on.  It is a fear that I ask you to cover in prayer.  My dad told me this morning that voicing that fear aloud gives it less power.  Let it be so!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Orphan No More!

"The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." 
Psalm 145:13b
For more than twenty minutes I have been trying to figure out what to write.  For almost two days I have been trying to find the right words.  All my heart wants to do is praise our father in heaven for fulfilling his promise to show love, to provide, to bring to completion the things he works in us.
The adoption process is very much a process of waiting.  You wait to complete a home study.  You wait to be matched with a child.  You wait for approvals of various kinds.  You wait for a court date.  You wait for a final ruling.  You wait for a date to travel.  You wait to bring a child home.
All the while a child waits.  A child waits to be chosen.  A child waits to hear the words "You are loved!"  A child waits to be a son, a daughter, a brother or sister. 

"He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
  The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. 
The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow." 
Psalm 146:7-9a 
Today one less child waits for a family of his own!  Today our family has grown.  Today I am the mother of four sons.  Today the only thing we wait for is permission to travel and bring home our son.  Today and every day we give thanks to God who has kept every promise, met each need and carried us on the days we had nothing left to offer.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." 
Psalm 118:1
Please pray with us as we look ahead to the day we will bring him home.  For the preparations, my folks who will care for our children,  for "Walter" and for God's timing in our travel.  All of this to his glory!  And thank you again for lifting us up.  Your prayers are a great blessing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Give Thanks!

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
 make known among the nations what he has done.
  Sing to him, sing praise to him;
 tell of all his wonderful acts. 
 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
  Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." 
1 Chronicles 16:8-11

From the very beginning we knew that what we needed, God would provide.  How He would choose to provide it was a mystery.  For the last 3 years Chris has been in college, receiving tuition assistance through the VA.  In January his payment was unusually late.  Up until this time we had been using the money to pay off debt.  God began stirring in my heart the desire to adopt, so we prayed, for weeks we prayed about where He was leading us.  In God's perfect time the payment came and we had enough for our initial application fees.  A month or so later we refinanced our home, giving us just the amount we needed along with our first Chip-in to cover our Home study.  And so it went.  Through different means and only as we needed it God provided.  One day in the mail I received two checks, the exact amount we needed for our love offering for Reece's Rainbow.  Again and again God has shown his perfect provision.  It has never been more than we needed or early, a daily reminder that all good things come from God!  These are not works for us to boast about, but only to the glory of God!

The VA money was coming to an end and yet we still had $6000+ still to be raised for our travel expenses.  We started a campaign called "Twenty for Taiwan"  in which we raised just over $3000!  It came in a little at a time, a continual reminder that we are held in the palm of God's hand.  During this time racking our brains and just about at whits end emotionally, I get a call from our Pastor asking if the church could sponsor a dinner for us and another church family. 

How could I say no?  When we felt like we had nothing left to offer, no energy, no time, God provided.  He gave us a church family that has stood beside us, prayed, worked and even carried us in this journey!  
Our only responsibility for this dinner was to share our story and even that God provided!  I planned and stressed over what to say, but in the end God provided  just the right words.

Over 250 people came to our dinner!  The gym was packed, tangible evidence of the outpouring of God's love through his people.  All the food was donated from local restaurants.  Not only did our church come together, but our community as well.  More than 50 silent auction items lined the tables.  This is not the kind of event I could have planned.  Many thanks to the church staff and members who put it all together!  In total they raised just over $6000!

When Pastor Allen called the next night to tell us the total it was not hard to believe; it was exactly what we needed!  Had God not already shown us He would provide?  Is His provision not perfect?  It is indeed!

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:20

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blurry Vision

Through teary eyes tonight I said good-bye to my son, promising to see him soon.  Oh how I pray I can keep that promise!  Our Skype visit was much more emotional than the previous ones.  He knows that we are coming.  He sees us and Mommy and Daddy.  He continues to ask when he is coming home. 

Even without a final decree yet signed or travel plans made I can look at that little boy across the world through the camera and say he is my son!  It was so hard to see him crying.  I want to be the one rubbing his back to comfort him and to wipe those tears, but I am blessed to know he does have the kind of caregiver who will do those things.  She spoke words of comfort and encouragement and though He is unseen, my son has a heavenly father sending His Holy Spirit to comfort and give peace.

Monday, October 1, 2012

More Than a Bath

I would like to share this story with you that my friend wrote who is recently home with 3 new children that her and her husband adopted from overseas.  Many days have been filled with struggles as they adjust to each other, new routines, and blending a family of now 7 children.  Adoption is not easy.  It is not for the faint of heart.  It is a road that challenges our faith and our very identity.  Do I have what it takes to parent this child?  Will we survive this adjustment and still like each other?  Will life every be easy again?  Adoption, from what I have seen, changes you.  Your heart and your faith will never be the same again.  Though there are struggles, it also brings with it the greatest of joys and glimpses of the great love the Heavenly Father has for us, His adopted children!


As I bathed Nicole tonight I couldn’t help but be filled with thoughts .. tender thoughts for this little girl. I admit that often I struggle with why God chose us to be her parents or more precisely me to be her mom. I do not feel qualified to deal with so many of the issues this little girl, this broken girl has. At such a young tender age of 5 and yet we are her fourth “home”. How much has she endured? How will she ever learn to love us? Most important how will she learn to love herself. I don’t understand why things happen as they do in the world. I don’t know why she was moved from place to place never staying long enough to establish a “normal” life. I can’t imagine what she had to face. the unanswered tears.. the lonely nights of strange noises.. the food given strictly to survive and not for pleasure.. the struggle for dominance in order to be safe.. all these things I can’t comprehend. I do know that our Lord and Savior loved this little girl. He protected her and saw her through all in which she endured and tonight as I washed this broken soul my heart grew for her and my Savior. Her body may be whole although she is painfully skinny and shivers in the bath even though it is warm, but her emotions and her spirit are broken. As she put her little hand into mine and I lathered the soap on it and scrubbed it softly I was brought to think of this verse

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him.
For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Cor 3:16-17

Isn’t that a thought? I wasn’t just washing a little girl but also the holy spirit within her. Let me tell you that gives you a new perspective on how you handle someone. The feeling of her hand in mine and the trust that she has in even a simple bath is enough to give me pause.. pause to the feelings I have had lately... the feelings of frustration and anger when she did things I perceived as bad or destructive. This child of God is doing the best that she can given the circumstances of life that were given to her. I do not have all the answers and I am still not “qualified” to deal with all her hurdles.. but God will equip me to know how to help her... and you know maybe that is just part of it.. it is not about me and what “I” can do for her to help.. this is about God and his redeeming love.. about how he can use someone like me (and my husband) to be His hands and feet .. we are not only taking care of our child but also God’s daughter. After her tender bath as I was rinsing her clean from suds it reminded me of how God has washed me clean and this verse really hit home

   "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Titus 3:3-7

 I know that even as profound as this washing was for me tonight that I will still stumble and fail to do or act the right ways. She will still frustrate me and we will still have battles, but tonight as I washed “even the least of these” .. I washed by the Holy Spirit and that will forever stick in my mind and soul.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

No Place Like Home

Last night we had a wonderful Skype visit with "Walter".  He sang "Happy Birthday" to Ty in Mandarin, he read to us and even read through the entire English alphabet.  He is such a bright, sweet boy with a smile that melts my heart and clearly the hearts of his caregivers.

He is very excited and eager for us to come and get him, but is a little confused about the coming home part.  "Walter" seems to think that we are coming and will live with him in Taiwan!  This is the only home he has ever known.  The caretakers ARE his family.  Please pray that God prepare him for coming home and that God heal his heart for those he will surely miss.  I hope to keep in contact with at least a few of the ladies there, to share updates, photos and the reassuring message of the hope we have in Jesus. 

We continue to pray for God's timing and provision.  It seems that our recent rush and possible early travel is not going to happen.  We are back to our original time frame of traveling possibly around December.  Though I long to have "Walter" home, I trust God's timing.  He has brought us thus far, step by step leading the way.

As the daughter of a Pastor, moving from place to place, I never had a specific place to call my hometown.  However, we made each place HOME because we were together.  Now this may sound corny or cliche, but it is true!  This may be the strangest place "Walter" has ever been, but it will be home and we will be a family!

Thank you to so many of you who are helping to make that happen!  We praise God for the wonderful blessing that you are to our family through your support of donations, love and prayers.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Read All About It!

This just in.......our church will be sponsoring a dinner on our behalf to help us raise funds for our adoption!

What an amazing group of believers we are a part of.  Just when we are feeling totally overwhelmed and wondering when and how to make it all happen, not only with the adoption, but in everyday life, we get a phone call.  Our pastor calls to ask when would be a good time to have a dinner at the church?  My answer...ANYTIME!

We are blessed!  It is both humbling and encouraging to be on this end of the giving and support! 

Please mark your calenders for Monday Oct. 22 and join us in a celebration of life and family, food and fellowship.  More details to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Simple Prayers

Growing up we had a common table prayer that was said at most meals and was also the common prayer said at church before eating. 

Come Lord Jesus,
Be our guest
Let these gifts to us be blessed

This continues to be one of the prayers we use before meal times.  Well, Levi, our middle son, has recently taken responsibility of being the prayer leader.  One day I think he was especially hungry and not wanting to wait for everyone to be ready so he just starts praying.  He hasn't quite gotten the whole thing down, but his heart is in it!

Today at breakfast he again asks to do the prayer.  It went like this:

Come Lord Jesus,
Be our guest

All I could think was that needs to be my prayer everyday!  When the words won't come out right or I just don't even know where to begin, it all starts with that simple prayer, "Come Lord Jesus!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quiet Places

I went in my room today, closed the door, knelt beside my bed and wept before my Heavenly Father.  I cried till I could not find another tear.  My burden too great and the tasks too large to accomplish.  It seems as if there is no end in sight and my strength is gone.  "Please God take it away."  "Let me run and be free."  I prayed with all my might.  I can still hear the baby crying out in the hall and see the endless lists of duties running faster and faster.  "God please send mercy and relief."

Slowly the tears end and my breathing is under control.  Nothing has changed, the baby still crying, things still to do, yet my burden is lighter.  Lighter because I gave it to the Lord to help me carry it.  I still feel like I might break under the pressure, but that voice, that peace that comes only from God says, "I am enough, I am there, I will see you through this." 

Let there be hope Lord for all those who hurt, who are burdened, for those who grieve, for those who have no hope.  Bring relief.  Bring peace.  Show mercy.  Love them.

Be light and life for someone today who needs to see Jesus.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Getting Ready

"Walter's" new bed in the big boy room

It has been so much fun looking at airline tickets and hotels.  No, we don't have a travel date yet or an official approval in court, but knowing what our options are and seeing where we might stay makes it all seem so real!  It won't be long now.  Just the other night we had our 2nd Skype visit with "Walter"  also.  Still didn't understand a thing he said, might be time to purchase Rosetta Stone Mandarin!
A care package for "Walter"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This One's for You!

This post is in honor of my mom who would have been celebrating her 52nd birthday today. 
My mom and Ty visiting me at the hospital after the birth of Levi.
She would be so excited about our adoption.  She was once an orphan in our foster care system who was welcomed into a loving family and also a biological mother who made that difficult yet brave choice of adoption for her infant son. 

In the last few weeks of her life she spent some time at our house and I clearly remember one conversation about adoption.  I shared with her some of my fears and apprehensions, yet my strong desire to adopt.  She lovingly reassured me of the great blessing it would be and that God would give us the strength to do it.

Her greatest joy in life was being a "Granny".  She didn't care how old that made her sound or look.  Even when it seemed like nothing else was going right, she had that joy to hold onto.  And though I miss her, I am glad that she is no longer in pain physically or mentally.  One day it will be a joyous reunion in heaven with much celebrating!  This one's for you mom!

Mom and Baby Levi

Mom and Me on my wedding day

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Determined Steps

Late last week I checked my email and nearly had a panic!  Our social worker said she had good news......we have a court date set for August 22.  I felt a bit confused, thought maybe this was a precourt kind of meeting.  Apparently there is no such thing!  Silly me!  To this point our timeline has pretty much run on schedule for an older child adoption from Taiwan.  Submitting our documents August 1st put us on track for receiving an October court date and traveling in December.  I thought we were on easy street, plans for fundraising clearly laid out and well within a manageable means. In November Chris will finish college.  It seemed perfect. 

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

This verse speaks loud and clear to us!  Nothing wrong with a plan, I love a good plan, but ultimately the Lord determines the steps that we take!

As many of you know fundraising can and is a great burden on adoptive families.  The call is clear in scripture to care for those in need especially those who are alien, widowed, or orphaned,  but when the need is great how can so few possibly answer the call and it be enough?  I don't really have an answer for this except to say that we believe in a BIG God, with infinite resources!

I came across this idea on another blog months ago and tucked it away for a rainy day.  Today is that day!  We need to raise $6,000 in order to travel.  This will cover airline tickets, food, lodging, translator, and child visa.  Again this is a large amount, but if we break it down this way

300 families giving $20 each = $6,000

Please  join with us in this effort to bring our son home.  At the top of our blog you will find a link to make tax deductible donations. 
 We ask for your continued prayers and help in sharing our story with others.  Consider sharing this on your FB page or blog.  Thank you so much!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Old Journal Entry Part 2

"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists
 and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  Hebrews 11:6

June 5, 2008

We can't come to God in prayer, praise or frustration; any of those things unless we believe that He is indeed real.  I think of my coworkers who I have heard or have written "I will pray for you" or "God bless you".  Do they believe in the existence of God, the one true God?  And if they believe in Him do they have a relationship with God?  Are they open to the idea of building a relationship, do they want their children to know Him?  How can God use me to share my faith with them?  I have already told my boss that I am willing to do this at risk to my job.  I am not able to separate my faith from who I am because it defines who I am, we are one.  No job is worth that. 

I do not feel that I do a very good job at earnestly seeking God.  The word earnest makes me think of doing something as if my life depended on it.  Do I act like my life depends on seeking God's face and his word?

To often I call out to God only when it is convenient or I am so worried I don't know what else to do.  That alone is not wrong, but I see all the missed opportunities I have had when I simply fill the time with something else.

This plague of worry that surrounds me sometimes, I am sure would be kept at bay or even destroyed if I were earnestly seeking God's face.

Seeking God is like breathing in fresh air or taking a medicine that heals pain.  He is the healer.  My life will still have trouble, the bible is clear on that, but it's a whole lot harder to see when my eyes are no longer focused on them, but on the one who made me!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Old Journal Entry Part 1

I have notebooks and journals here and there in the house, not specific books I write in everyday, just ones I take notes in during bible study or when I feel like writing out prayers.  Yesterday I came across two I wrote during another faith testing time in our families life.  I was almost 5 months pregnant with our 2nd son, Chris was contemplating getting out of the Marines and I was very unhappy at my part time job.

June 1, 2008

I get so worried before I pay bills.  We planned for my check to be extra to pay our debt down, but so often it doesn't seem to make it that far.  Chris might be changing jobs, possibly even making less money, but this is what God is showing is so hard to follow sometimes.

In the reading today Jesus is in attendance at a wedding.  A feast followed that was not necessary for life, but very important to the time and culture.  In the midst of this the wine runs out and Jesus turns water into wine.  Now the wine that He made was not just bottom of the shelf jug wine, but top shelf good stuff.  In the new couples time of need Jesus provided and He provided well.

God provides.  Whether we deserve it or ask for it, He provides for our needs.  Time after time, I pay bills and am surprised by God's goodness.  I worry and sweat and toil and then there is God who speaks and it is accomplished.  He has provided for us what we need and sometimes not a lot beyond, but it is a testament to His goodness and provision.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful ways you have taken care of our family.  Your love is great than anything we can imagine.  Your power and goodness know no limit.  You are great.  I know that in my life I can never repay you, but I ask that through the power of the Holy Spirit I may offer myself to you.  I am broken, flawed, fearful of trusting, not easy to love and sinful.  Yet knowing all this you accepted me as your own and so I desire to seek your face; my offering of praise and thanks!


We made it through those days by God's grace and I hold tight to His promises that He will see us through the rough days now too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reeces Rainbow

One day while I was scanning the pages of children on Reece's Rainbow I came across a profile that made my heart leap.  It was our son!  He is listed on their site by Lifeline Christian services as "Walter".  After contacting RR and confirming it was indeed our little guy, his profile was moved to my family found me status.  We have not yet set up our FSP, but we will soon.  We are still in the process of gathering the funds for our agency fee and then we will be able to do the love offering and paperwork needed to get that going.  We were also given permission by All Blessings to share Walter's picture for the RR page.  We will then be able to post a link on the blog for tax deductible donations to the FSP.  Our court documents have also been submitted recently.  Now we wait for a court date.  The other piece of good news is that we had our 1st of several Skype visits with Walter!  I have to admit I was a little nervous to meet him and worried about what to say or even if he would like us.  I know....I worry a little too much!

This worry was for NOTHING!  He showed us toy cars, made silly faces at us and rambled on and on.  He really did not want the translator there, he just wanted to talk with us, which considering he was speaking Manderin, was well....entertaining at the least!  The boys kept going to get cars to show him and even the model of the helicopter Chris works on.  It all made his eyes sparkle.  For 40 minutes that boy did not stop smiling!  It was pure joy and for the next several days I don't think I could stop smiling either.  When it was time to go the translator was trying to explain to him that Momma and Papa had to put brothers to bed and that it was late.  That was ok with him EXCEPT he wanted us to come right back so we could talk some more.

We are indeed Momma and Papa to him already, that needed no translation!

Please continue to pray for God's timing and provision as we venture along this crazy and faith building thing called ADOPTION!

"Humble yourselves, therefore,
under God's mighty hand,
 that he may lift you up in due time.
Cast all your anxiety on him
 becuase he cares for you."  1Peter 5:6-7

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Recovery and Unexpected Visitors

The closer I got to home the more eerie and surreal the scene appeared.  A possible tornado had just ripped through our little part of town and neighborhood.  Not 15 minutes away while this ugly stormed devastated a home, a few businesses and our quiet neighborhood I sat out on our friends porch enjoying the cool breezes that this storm had brought with it.  They were such a relief to the horrendous heat wave of the last two weeks, little did we know.

Our neighbor had called during dinner to report that part of our tree had fallen and perhaps we should make our way home to clean it up.  We didn't think too much of it, large branches fall out every time the wind blows, but as Chris is getting closer to home and sees rescue crews all over, he called me to say it was way more than just our tree.  This was a storm that rattled people, that caught them by surprise and eventually led to our unexpected visitors.  You see we don't get tornadoes in this part of the country, not usually anyway!  No one was ready, no one was prepared for this.

I was talking to my dad today about understanding God's plans and the paths that he takes us on when I realized that what God has been trying to say to me for a little while is that he just wants us to walk with him.  We don't always need to know the plan, understand the plan, be prepared for the plan.  We just have to walk with the one who does!

Fast forward to this evening, the damaged tree now carefully cut and safely down waits to be carried off.  Our family piece by piece is cleaning it up, sorting some for firewood, some for scrap and some to make really cool seats out of.  Down the street we see some young people loading up other fallen trees from the neighbors yard.  They eventually make their way to our house and offer a hand, several hands actually and a chainsaw!  We made quick work of the bit that was left leaving only the stump and reminder of a fallen tree. 

They were admiring our boys and I happened to mention that we are actually in the process of adopting another boy.  I had no idea the flood gates were going to open, but as with women and their emotions, just like storms, they are unpredictable.  I began to cry, a sudden wave of all the emotions I had been feeling the last 2 days.  God had protected us and so many!  God protected our home.  God provided for us to be able to have the tree taken down, but was it at the expense of delaying our adoption paperwork.  You see we finally received our court documents late last week.  Yesterday they were notarized and God willing next week they will be state authenticated and then delivered to our country's office in Washington DC before their final destination to court.  These documents must be submitted with our foreign source fee, most of which we had until the storm and the tree.  It isn't that I don't trust God's provision or timing, it is simply overwhelming and humbling.

These unexpected visitors from a church down the street had come to show love and to show Christ.  Not only did they help us finish cleaning up our tree, but they prayed for us!  The prayed for blessings over our adoption and our family!  We stood in our driveway shoulder to shoulder united as the body of Christ, a community of believers through the grace of God.  That is what I picture when I see the CHURCH.  Until today we had never met and yet they are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I promise you friends I will never forget them. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Not So Random

The days are heating up and the time is flying by!  We thought that any day we would be recieving our court documents to sign and have authenticated, but still no delivery.  From what I understand that is just the way things work over there.  I am ok with that for now.  We are busy wrapping up our school year, Chris can almost see the finish line for his degree and I am taking this time to learn sign  (ASL).

Did I tell you the little guy we are adopting is deaf?  Though he can speak and does wear hearing aids, according to our pediatrician who looked over his file, he does have a significant hearing loss.  Ty seems to be the most excited about learning sign.  He has been practicing with me and watching all the videos I've gotten.  Children are like sponges!  Oh Lord please let me learn it just as quickly! 

My mom would be so thrilled to know we are learning sign.  When I was little she studied at Fort Wayne to be a Sign Language Interpreter.  It is kind of like God has been planting these little seeds all along the way........could he have a plan? *GASP*  Turns out nothing is random.....just in case you were wondering!

I imagine all the possibilies for our son.  I see him shining bright like the fireworks on the 4th of July!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

God's Amazing Presence

I walked into the house just as she was having a strong contraction, her husband stood beside her as she breathed through the pain.  I quietly set my bag down on the couch and retrieved my Bible.  I had packed light, my purse only contained a diet Dr. Pepper and my Bible for what could be a long wait.  Soon another contraction came; maybe it wasn’t going to be a long wait after all!
The house remained quiet and still, save the giant boxer hidden in his crate in the corner of the room fiercely licking peanut butter out of a Kong.
Thumbing through the pages of Psalms I stopped at a familiar section and began to read.
“I waited patiently for the Lord.  He turned to me and heard my cry. 
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
I could feel the muscles in her back relax and her breathing steady as I continued to read.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to God.”
As I am reading, I earnestly pray that with each word, God is fulfilling his promises to her just has he did for King David as he penned this Psalm.
When you speak words of truth, the very words of God, the power of the Holy Spirit flows through you.  It is like an intense episode of the goose bumps, not the kind that leave you freaked out, but the kind that leave the realization that God is present and awe for him overwhelms you.
The contractions continue to wave in regular intervals preparing her body for the delivery of a baby.  Soon the midwife arrives flustered from the traffic that frequently plagues our little town outside of DC.  She brings her things in and sets up in the master bedroom. 
As the contractions get more intense she asks me to read again……
“Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.”
I must have read from Psalm 40 three or four times and others like it that day, calling on God to be merciful and to uphold my friend and her child through the stages of labor.
Within two hours of arriving and only five hours of labor it was time for delivery.  Her arms are around her husband’s neck.  She confides in her love that she doubts her strength to continue.  He whispers words of encouragement and of a promise of protection.  It is time.  With anxious hearts we call on God to bring the child safely out as for a brief moment his shoulders hesitate.  Out loud the midwife and I are praying, the husband is focused and my friend is pushing with all her might.
It is a moment I will never forget, it was powerful, God’s very presence was so tangible!  To each of our prayers God said YES!  Only moments after those anxious thoughts, a calm and peaceful child lay in the arms of his mother. 
He indeed hears the prayers of His people.  He stands at the ready to intercede for those who call on His name.  To Him be all honor and glory for His love and power.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In the quiet

I wish that I had seen this while we were waiting for our referral.  I begged God to speak, to say something...anything!  I could not bare the quiet another moment.  Though I knew he was still with me, I needed to hear his voice to calm my anxious heart and give peace to my troubled mind.  And yet he remained silent.  It was dreadful.  But how beautiful was his voice the moment we heard.  We could not doubt it was him, we could not question for a moment that it was his plan. 

Within days of finally accepting that it could be another month before a decision might be made, we got an email.  Ironically after checking my email obsessivley day in and day out, word came while we were in DC getting our biometric fingerprints done.  We made it a family day and even went to the National Zoo.  What a wonderful day it was!  I was ok with the waiting.  Life had to continue on even in the quiet and the not knowing.

So when we arrived home I sat at the computer, curious about the days events on Facebook and what might be in my email today and to my surprise an email had come from our social worker.  We had a referral! 

Praise be to God for the way he works on us, to soften our hearts and for the timing of his plans!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Little Boys

I just shake my head and thank God I'm a girl!  Oh and that I have a working washing machine and a tub!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rest for the Weary

Today we journey back into town for baseball practice and a little face time with the parents.  Chris’ folks are driving up from the Eastern Shore to have lunch with us and watch Ty’s little league practice.  I am finding much joy in my children when the to-do list is minimized and Chris has no homework.  It’s not that there is no pleasure in caring for my family, it’s just that sometimes the sheer responsibility and the mundane tasks overshadow the satisfaction and simple pleasure of being a mom. 

I am reminded of the command to take seriously the Sabbath, to rest and take delight in the Lord.  It isn’t that we don’t take time to worship or go to church, but taking time to rest from daily activities is near impossible with little children.  So how then do we heed this command to rest in the Lord?  Well on a daily basis, I set aside time after breakfast, with my no longer hot cup of coffee and read scripture.  We do Bible lessons together as part of our school time and each Wednesday we participate in our churches “family night”.  Though we go our separate ways according to age, we each get some study time and fellowship with other believers.  Yet somehow this is still not enough.  My body and soul yearn for rest; maybe they are yearning for more than rest, but yearning for The Burden Carrier, Christ.

So we escape.  For one weekend a month we load up our camper and pick-up truck and head out into the country. Just getting out the door or the unpacking later could make you question the whole value of the outing, but I guarantee that the price is well worth the investment.

What is it that your family does together to escape, unwind and reconnect with each other and with God?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just a Moment

Well we loaded up our camper and took off down the road to the state park.  It is just a beautiful day!  Though I don’t know what tomorrow holds, today has been amazing.  I stood down at the lake, next to the little metal choo-choo and watched the kids run around, the sun shining and the wind blowing on my face and I could have cried.  I have felt so anxious and stressed that to feel that free was almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.  I wish you could have stood at my side friend, left your anxieties and problems at home and enjoyed the goodness of God’s glory in a much needed peaceful escape.  I don’t have to decide which home school curriculum to use next year or frantically check my email as we wait for word of our referral.  I can just enjoy my children playing, something I have not done in longer than I want to admit.

Thank you God for this moment, for your grace and your goodness that have made me feel whole again.  Thank you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rain or Shine

Whether rain or shine let it be to the glory of God!  This is what I kept repeating to myself yesterday, not because that is what I was feeling, but because that is what I wanted to believe.  Sometimes even when you know the truth you don't feel it.

Today, however I am overwhelmed by God's mercies for truely they are new every morning!  Yesterday I was worried we would get approved for another child.  I was worried about the amount of help we would have at the yard sale, the weather and if anything would even sell.  You name it, I worried about it!  I have the Word of God planted in my heart, but it needed rain to grow and today it came. 

Last night Ty prayed that it would rain today instead of Saturday.  The prayers of a child are innocent and sweet, simple and to the point.  And today God said YES!  Indeed his plans are good!  I still do not know exactly how Saturday will go or how I will manage to care for another child in the midst of an already crazy life, but thankfully God is soveriegn and his plans for us are good.

I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Welcomed Guest

Linda & Ray Rogers
I was so relieved the other day to hear that my step mom is coming to help us with our yard sale.  She is a tremendous blessing to our family.  A few years ago my mom died and since that time my dad has found a wonderful partner and friend, Linda.  They are just so cute as a couple, just newlyweds.  Losing a parent is never easy, but once in awhile, God gives you the gift of a super special person that comes along side you and fills in that missing place. 
Christmas 2011
Mom Mom and all the monkeys

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Found Freedom

Alright, I'm just going to throw this word out there:  submissive!  There I said it!  What ideas do you conjure up when you think of this?  Are they negative or neutral?  I can bet my lunch money they are not positive!  And why is this, we tend to paint a picture of someone who is weak, without conviction and powerless.

I would like to turn this portrait on it's head and challenge you to consider it in a brand new way.  Let's first consider a christian who submits to God's plans and God's will; is he or she weak? Or might they be a strong and faithful individual who is secure enough in their beliefs to trust that God knows best?  What about a wife who steps back and encourages her husband to be the one to make the final call on an important family matter, is she powerless?  Now let's also imagine the friend who chooses not to engage in a debate simply to prove they are right, are they without conviction?

At one point or another over the last few months I have landed in all of these scenarios and I am wondering how on earth did this super stubborn women ever learn to be submissive?  Is it my age?  I know I'm starting to gray, but that can't be it!  Do I really not care enough anymore and I've given up the fight?  NO!  When I was a young girl, my dad used to call me "Ruth Knows All, Tells All".   Now I didn't like the name at all, but over time I began to wear it as a "ha! ha!" badge of honor.

But no longer.  I'm learning to be patient and wait on God.  I trust and respect my husband enough to know he will make the best decision for the entire family.  And I care more about the relationships I'm in than in being right.  I have found freedom in this!  I don't have to always be in control.  The responsibility is not solely on MY shoulders. 

When I struggle with these things, because it still is not second nature, I seek God's heart in prayer and in scripture.

By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers,
 love one another earnestly from a pure heart.  1Peter 1:22

We must first be obedient to God and then out of genuine love, care for others.  Granted that isn't an easy task to carry out, but it is also not a complicated formula like one of these new fangled diet plans!  Obedience and submission walk hand in hand.  I dare you to walk with them and see what happens!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Bigger Picture

Aren't you glad God sees the whole picture.  He not only has a glimpse of our little family, our little world, but a great big world full of his children whom he loves.  His plans for us include those others too!  As His creation we are intertwined with one another.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my little world, I forget to see the bigger picture.

It would be so much easier if we had all the money we needed without having to fund raise or ask for help.  It would be a lot less headache if we could handle the responsibility all on our own.  It would be a lot simpler if we could juggle the kids, the house, the paperwork, the travel without relying on others.

The problem with this picture is that it doesn't include God or others.  There is a bigger picture........

  • What if through this whole thing we grow closer to God
  • What if we learn to trust more
  • What if our marriage is tested and strengthened
  • What if we grow closer to our family
  • What if the church is able to work together as the Body of Christ
  • What if one other family is led to adopt
  • What if one neighbor excepts Christ through a witness
  • What if one less orphan has to live without a family
  • What if one adoption brings glory to God
  • What if................

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Perfect Peace: When Plans Change

It feels fantastic to be sure of what God is saying and how he is leading you even if it is a tough road; and then the plans change.  You begin to question everything you have ever thought you heard God speak in your life!   Sometimes His perfect peace means trusting each step you are shown even when it is a new direction.

We are nearing the completion of our homestudy, praise be to God for this milestone.  We are one step closer to bringing home our child.  Through this process we have learned that sometimes plans change and even when they do, God can bring enormous peace!

Our hearts were drawn to a little girl with a difficult past and I can only believe that God revealed her to us for a reason.  I thought the plan was for us to be her Mom and Dad.  We began to prepare our home for the arrival of a girl, a big transition for a family with 3 little boys.  And so we continued with the homestudy and the paperwork, but during one of our interviews we found out the plan was changing.  We would not be getting a referral for her. Our family was not a "good match" for her special needs.  What on earth was God saying?  After our social worker left we pondered these things, we looked back at all the steps we had taken thus far and wondered "now what?"  We thought back to all the children we had seen on the waiting list and Reeces Rainbow and wondered what the new plan was.

Many of you are praying for this little girl and we ask you to continue to do so as her family has still not found her.  Continue to pray that God heal her and that he fulfill his promise to bring "beauty to ashes", in this we have great peace.  What comfort there is in knowing even though we are not her parents, maybe her family is one step closer to finding her now.

When you look back at the journey that God has laid out for you, there is perfect peace in knowing God reveals things in the right time as well.  He is never late as we perceive time, but precisely on time.

So standing in our kitchen that day, thinking about "the list" and watching our boys run around like mad men, the answer came.  It was like waking up and suddenly it was all clear; a boy.  Not two weeks early neither one of us was open to that idea, but God knew.  His timing is perfect and He knows us so well.  We were ready to except the plan he had laid out.  We didn't need to know why it had twists and turns, we just had to hold on tight to His promise of perfect peace!