The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Friday, July 31, 2009

Radical Life-Change

As you well know, I have been moping around here for months, complaining that God would put this yearning heart in a person who is so tied to the here and now that I can't follow this yearning and be the hands and feet of God in Uganda or Ethiopia or Russia or Honduras or somewhere else that the fatherless need Him.  

But then, as God is so often prone to doing, He sent me a little kick in the butt in the form of a friend who needed prayer from me.  Karyn e-mailed me a while back, asking me to pray for her regarding a trip she was contemplating to Sierra Leon, Africa.  In praying for her and "advising" her (not sure she actually asked for my opinion, but as is so tempting to do, when people ask you to pray, I imparted my "wisdom" along with my prayers... yuck.... sorry Kar.)  Anyway, she is two parts into a three part story at this point about the path God has lead her down in trying to discern His voice over this trip.  And be darned if it wasn't actually ME He was trying to make a point to.  Ever hear a sermon and swear God spoke those words directly to your pew and that the same words were not meant for anyone in the room but you?  Well, when I read Kar's post, I swore that God had sent her all along this thorny road just to scream at me since I seemed to be missing the point.  

See, Kar laid out her fleece before the Lord and it came back dry every time.  She was getting the message that she was not to take the next steps toward this trip.  However, she didn't just sit there on her butt feeling sorry for herself.  She picked up some tools and started packing up birthing kits to send to Africa with the folks who are going.  She started praying for the people she desperately wanted to serve.  And she is being transformed in the process.  And isn't that usually the point with God?  He sends you into situations feeling like you are going to help someone else, only to find out you are actually the one He is helping! :)

So, what does this have to do with me... after I've drug you through all that story in a very convoluted way?  Well, this.... contrary to what everyone seemed to read a few weeks ago when I posted this post, I do not feel God calling us to adopt at this particular time in our lives.  But I do feel him working and moving and I do know He's not done with us and orphans.  But what I did learn this week is that I don't have to be looking for something BIG and glamorous to start serving Him and them.  I can be folding and cutting bags for birthing kits.  I can be helping Gwen post her MASSIVE amount of stuff on Craig's List to draw people to her yard sale (seriously, this girl is overrun with nice stuff to sell to help finish the final push for Abigail and Joseph.)  And most of all, I can be serving the former orphans that are living in my home now who need specific things in their little hearts and minds specifically because they were orphans at one point.  My obligation to God on their behalf did not end when they entered my home, it had only just begun.  That is one thing I tend to forget.  I tend to look at parenting as just something that I have chosen, I forget that it's a mission field in and of itself.  And I forget that there are long lasting affects and effects of orphanage life, toxic exposures, and abandonment that will need to be addressed over and over again at various points in their little lives, continually reaffirming them and God's love for them and our commitment to them.  So, thanks Karyn for reminding me!  And I'll just leave you with this verse from the Message translation of the Bible that really was the final kick in the booty this morning!  I can identify with this verse because I do this so many times during the day... take my children firmly by the hand and lead them toward what's good for them, specifically because of my great love for them.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

Romans 2:4
"In kindness He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change."  

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Giving Up!

That's it... I'm throwing in the towel. Don't try to talk me out of it either because I won't listen. Let's recap....

In the past two weeks, my MacBook has been thrown (well, maybe that's dramatic, it was dropped) down a flight of stairs. Our TV has been cracked in two places, a Wii remote broken, my printer had Kool-Aid spilled on it. We've gone through THREE fish (that's right, the black one died over the weekend) and resigned ourselves to the fact that we rescued an ATTACK CAT. And when I finally got my Mac back last week, the geniuses (their term, not mine) had forgotten to put the air port back into it so I couldn't get internet service. You guessed it, the Macbook went BACK to Memphis and I STILL don't have it.

Then this past weekend, Brian and I went to Memphis for his 20 year class reunion. And someone STOLE my cell phone. Remember, the Blackberry that I love to hate? GONE! And to make matters worse, we know WHERE it is, we just can't get it back. One nice little feature on my Blackberry is GPS locator. Which we activated and tracked the phone to an exact address in Memphis. Brian and I went to the address (probably stupid, I know) and couldn't get anyone to the door. Nor would the police help us because they said they don't "do cell phones." Okay, I get it, it is Memphis, they have stabbings and stuff to work out, but still. Wouldn't you think that the cops would want someone to just hand them a thief, address and all? Apparently not. Anyway, I had insurance, luckily. But I won't have a cell phone until tomorrow, and even then all my contacts and my calendar are not recoverable.

But then today, my darling youngest son decided it was a good idea to paint the brick and a few boards on the fence with red spray paint. His buddy had a can of white and they made some AWESOME decorations! So that's it, I'm resigning my post as Mom and moving to somewhere tropical where I can order stiff drinks on the beach while listening to some reggae music. See you in another lifetime! :)


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just when you thought YOUR day was bad....

you see some crazy lady in the parking lot with a dead goldfish in a plastic baggy!

I just want to share this little story so that maybe you can think of me today and either laugh, or feel a little better about what YOUR doing at the moment.

Yesterday Gwen and Katie were together, no children, doing some much needed girl time before Katie leaves to return to her 13 children in Africa. When I called them, I shared this story and decided that the rest of you are just as deserving of feeling good about your day too! :) So here's the story....

I found myself driving to the mall with all four children, eating Taco Bell from the drive through, and trying NOT to look at the dead goldfish, which was in a sandwich bag hanging out my passenger side window of my car. Why, might you ask, was I even going to the mall with four children in the first place. I have no answer to that question. It did occur to me that it might be a bad idea, but it wasn't until about an hour into the shopping extravaganza (to which I had forgotten to bring my stroller) that I realized just how dumb it actually was.

Oh, you were wondering about the fish.... gotcha! Yes, well, the fish.... last week the two little boys (who share a room) decided to spend their own money, buy a tank, a goldfish and a snail. All is well for about a week, at which time the goldfish gets caught in the filter, which rips off his dorsal fin. He can't guide himself around the tank, he can only swim aimlessly without direction (which makes it hard to get food when you have to wait for it float past you.) Anyway, we flushed him live down the toilet because I couldn't stand to see him die a slow death. Enter the second trip to PetSmart where we purchase TWO goldfish this time. Black goldfish lives, white goldfish promptly dies upon entering the tank... seriously, within about two hours he was dead. I being the compassionate animal lover that I am decided that the black fish would not want to swim around in a tank with a dead fish overnight until we could take the fish back to the store (they have a two week guarantee on all fish.) So I put the dead fish in a plastic sandwich bag and go about my business. Yesterday morning I load the kids into the car, throw the baggy into the front seat and head off to the mall. But it only took me about two minutes to realize that this thing STINKS to high heaven and it would need about ten bags to keep the smell in. Hmmmm, what to do? I know, I'll stick the baggy out the window, roll the window back up, and let the fish and bag hang out the window on the way to the store. Great idea! Except.... the fish really took a beating and gross juice started coming out of his dead little body, which was pretty nasty to look at. Then his tail separated from his body. Then somehow, a little rip in the bag and the fish was gone to an interstate burial. Does this qualify for a "Because Kids Live Here" post?

You should have seen the look on the ladies face at PetSmart when I walked in with a baggy full of fish guts and juice, but no fish. All this for a refund of $2.17. :) I'm nothing if not CHEAP!

So, next time you think your day cannot get any more absurd, just thank your lucky stars you don't have a stinky fish hanging out your car window!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From Eternity to Here Review

I signed on to do a review of the book, From Eternity to Here, back in May. When the book arrived, I was excited; this was the first time I have participated in a blog circuit like this. It was new ground for me. But when I first cracked the book, I was very disappointed. The book was touted as a sort of "akin" to Crazy Love, which I had loved. I ALMOST gave up on the book altogether. At first blush, I felt tat Frank Viola had a different understanding of God than I did. I felt that he had taken liberties with the story of the church. I felt that he was going to be a very "literal translation" kind of fellow. A couple of times, even wrote in the margin that I disagreed with him.

At Chapter 4, the tide turned. I started to see some writing that I could embrace, and the Frank started to enlighten me and highlight Scripture that I was reading in a new light. He pointed out some things that were hard for me to embrace, not because I disagreed, but because I found myself realizing I had accepted some of Satan's lies about me. He presented our role to Christ in a way that I could identify with and I found hope and love in the final pages of that chapter. I wrote at the end of Chapter 4 that I loved the thought of the "church" (believers) clothing ourselves for Christ (the church being the bride of Christ.) I love that analogy because I can remember my wedding day, I can relate to trying to make yourself perfect and lovely for your beloved. And I can translate that feeling to trying to make myself as lovely and radiant as possible for the Great Lover, Christ! I can internalize the feeling of wanting to be perfect, not because that will make my Love love me more, but because He already loves me with a love so perfect and pure that I want to give back to Him. It's not that different from the way I feel about my husband. He does SO much for me, loves me so well, provides so perfectly and completely for me and the ones I love that I want to be a more perfect wife for him. But wife seems to be a word that (maybe the world) has become a drudgery.... BRIDE, on the other hand, depicts a passionate love, doesn't it? I want to continue to be my lovers BRIDE... and I want to be the bride of Christ too.

Chapter 5 Review:

This is where I started to have trouble with the lies I have bought from Satan. This is where Frank starts to talk about how we are perfect and undefiled. But I feel so defiled by this world. I feel that our culture is sordid and ugly and pervasive. I feel a film of grime on me from living IN this world, even as I strive not to be OF the world. I know that there are some things that I have normalized that aren't normal, aren't acceptable, and that need to be cut out of my heart, but God just hasn't chosen this time to root them out of me... yet. So, here was another time where I started to believe that Frank had it wrong, but then in the same page, sometimes in the same paragraph, he would remind us that we are perfect, we are flawless, we are beautiful to God because of CHRIST! I know these things intellectually, but reading them in this light made me realize that I have not accepted them. I don't consider myself flawless, beautiful, blameless, worthy... and that is a sad reality because Jesus paid such a high price so that I COULD be blameless in the sight of God. Nevertheless, I am righteous in His sight, whether I accept it or not. Christ assured it on the cross. The work was done already and requires nothing of me to be true.

Chapter 6:

It's as if Frank knew what we would be thinking and how hard it would be for us to accept what He had been highlighting about Truth. He says on page 59, "What you believe about yourself and how others have described you is the real lie." He also points out in this chapter that because of the work that Christ performed on the cross, we actually have no RIGHT to our self-debasing attitudes, our guilt, our shamefulness. It's not our right to continue in that sinful view of ourselves because it's practically rejecting what Christ did for us. It drives us further from our great Love, not closer.

As with practically everything in my life, I start to draw analogies that draw me back to orphans, or at least poverty. The same is true here. I found myself thinking of places of great poverty and how these places are more perfect in their reflection of Christ than we are, in all our abundance. That's mostly, I believe, because they are filled up with Christ, not filled up with the world and the things of the world. The Bible says that the love of the world and our "wanting, wanting, wanting, suffocates the pursuit of the Lord."

Chapter 7:

This is where it gets really good... gripping even. I have to first quote a paragraph from the book: "I would like to ask you to pause and think of the most horrible day you ever lived. The day when you did something you deeply regret. You can take great comfort in this one fact: Your heavenly Father saw that day WHEN He chose you in His Son before time. He saw you and He saw me live our most regrettable moment on that non-day before time when He chose us in Christ to be part of His much-loved bride. What a wonderful Lord! If that's not good news, I don't know what is." (read Psalm 139 for proof that this is Truth!) I practically wrote an entire blog post in the margin of the book that day. This is staggering truth to me! If I'm honest I will tell you I can't even actually recall my most regrettable day. I can only allow myself the knowledge that it existed. To actually recall my most regrettable acts are too disgusting, too painful, and too shameful for me now. I'm certain that my sins are so much worse than anyone else's. And you know what, that's exactly what Satan sold me.... he probably sold it to you too! He had me actually believing that my sin was so gross that it separated me from God, I was like Adam and Eve in the garden, naked and ashamed. But the truth is, God saw those sins, that "most regrettable day" BEFORE He chose me to be His.... that reminder alone made the book worth the read. The lies Satan sells us are all meant to keep us from intimacy with God. And your enemy knows you well. He knows you better than you know yourself. He's studied you and he wants you to buy what he is selling... and what he's selling is a shame and a guilt that keeps you from believing the voracity with which God loves you. He wants you to forget the perfect goodness of your Father and believe that you are the one sinner whose sins are so great that Jesus blood couldn't cover them.

In this chapter, Frank also explains something I've always sort of wondered about. In 1 John 4:19 "We love Him because He first loved us." I have always struggled with this verse. It seemed like John was saying that we love God out of obligation because He loves us. But the way Frank describes it is this... we are ABLE to love God because He loves us. We wouldn't be capable of love without Christ, because love is not a "worldly" emotion. It's of Christ, it's of God, and His love for us and in us is what allows us to be capable of love. We are REFLECTING Him when we love, and that's what the verse means, in Frank's explanation.

I'll leave the rest for you to read yourself. There are just too many things that I highlighted and commented on in the margins of the book for me to write it all here. Overall, I'd say that the book is worth the read. I am sure that you will find other points that echo truths for you and your individual situation. I wrote alot of notes about how my love for my children should reflect certain characteristics of the love God shows for us. I noted things about my marriage and applied some of the things Frank wrote to interactions with other believers. In the end, this book turned out to be one that I used for morning devotional and quiet time with the Spirit. It helped me to accept some things I hadn't realize I was rejecting, it explained a few things I had wondered about or misunderstood in the past, and it was a sweet time to explore with my Lord and ask Him to teach me what He wanted me to know from these chapters.

"Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
The following bloggers are posting a review or Q & A with Frank Viola on his bestselling book FROM ETERNITY TO HERE today, Tuesday, July 21st. You may order the book at a discount at – it’s also on audio book. Free discussion guide, sample chapters, interviews, and a free audio of the first chapter are available on that site also.
Here are the bloggers who are participating:
Igniting Hearts - Kimber Britner -
CrossPointe: The Church at Bevo -
Down to Write Honest -
Words by Jud Kossum -
Reconnect with God –
Nolan Bobbitt Website -
Encounter Church Helena Blog -
Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action -

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not MY Child!

MckMama is taking a one week detour from Not Me Monday to let us confess the transgressions of our children instead of ourselves. Good thing because I stopped participating in Not Me Monday when I realized that I was always confessing the same things. Isn't the point of confession to turn from your "sins" and change your ways? Well, I still enjoy reading how most everyone else is as "fallen" as me, but was getting a little bored with myself always posting photos of my dirty house and mountains of laundry. But when I saw that MckMama was going to allow us to post a list of our kids' foibles, I jumped in with both feet and started composing this list right away:

Meg most certainly did NOT have a screaming, typical two year old tantrum on the floor of a public restroom this past week. She did not throw her shorts and panties into the floor and writhe around on the floor half naked (yes, nasty, public restroom floor.) I did not wipe her entire body down with sanitary gel upon leaving the restroom. (Okay, I didn't actually do that, but I thought about it. I did douse her hands extra good though.)

Connor did not come inside early Tuesday morning proudly proclaiming. "I can pee further than Harrison (his cousin.) He can only pee to the blue chairs. I can pee past the blue chairs. My pee is longer!"

Mega-pee son did not, also, on the same day, flood the kitchen and mud room with water while playing with the water hose. It makes total sense to open the door with the hose in your hand because you need to tell your mom about a cool spider you saw, right! In four year old logic, it certainly does! Besides, if you put the water hose down, your sister might take it and then you'd have to throw a fit and get into trouble.

Dear oldest son did not make a tragic mistake this week. Remember when I asked the question Mac or PC? Well, I decided to go with the Mac (more on that later.) My oldest son was literally salivating to get his hands on all this cool technology, so one day while I was gone, he took the computer to his room. He did not do this in disobedience, after all, that would never happen in my house. And when his dad called him to come down, he did not, in his haste, drop my new (less than a week old) laptop ALL THE WAY down our stairs. The computer did not tumble head over heels, landing with a giant thud on the tile flooring below. The rugged little bugger is still working, however, it's dented and dinged and scraped beyond repair. I have been praying for Chris McMurtry and his family ever since (he's the Apple Genius who majorly blessed me by comping the repairs to my Mac. Turns out he and his wife are adopting from Ethiopia and they have a blog! Only God can have me walk into the Apple store and get connected to the one guy in there who has a heart for orphans!)
It was NOT an expensive week for oldest son as he and his buddy did NOT play the Wii without their remote wrist straps (my son knows this is a major Wii rule in our house so he would never do that.) His friend did not swing for the fences in baseball, meanwhile letting go of the remote on accident and cracking the screen of our main family TV (which happens to be about 40 inches) and breaking the Wii remote in the process. Needless to say, I've gotten alot of free labor around here this week with Jack working off all the money he's cost us!
Even though my other children have NOT done anything wrong.... they can't top that one. What have your angels not been up to this week? Head over to "Not My Child" at My Charming Kids and let the world know!

Friday, July 17, 2009

All God's Children Singing Glory, Glory!

.......and all the powers of darkness, can't drown out a single word!

I am still trying to process everything that I saw and witnessed tonight. Katie's benefit dinner was held tonight and it was amazing. It was better than I had hoped for, and I hope it was better than what they had envisioned too. Suzanne and Gwen put alot of time into making tonight what it was and the work paid off. I don't see how anyone in that room could not have "gotten it". It was thick, it was heavy, and it was all Him!

I came apart though. I cry whenever I hear Katie speak. I cry whenever I see orphans. I cry when I see pictures of orphans. But tonight, I came completely unglued. Katie had just spoken and a video of her in Uganda began to play. There were images of children sitting everywhere, eating rice and beans, and wearing dirty clothes or half-clothed, and it shook me. I can't put into words what I was feeling, but I'll try to tell you some of the thoughts I had.

The thing that got me started crying was that I was thinking, "Those were my babies! My babies were those children at one point. Desperate, hungry, hopeless, fatherless... those children right there, they were my babies... why my three? Why not three of the other 147,000,000? And then my mind just went to each and every single child in that video, how much a parent would change that child's life. How much just one person to love them half as much as I love my kids would change their self-worth. And then just the overwhelming feeling of the vastness of 147,000,000. There are SO many, I just kept thinking. There are SO many, how can we ever make a dent?

And then I looked around that room, at all the able bodies, at all the love, at all the wealth, at all the extravagance and abundance and all the hands raised in praise and I thought to myself, "If only every single person in this room could know what I know about loving an orphan. If only every single person in this room could feel what I have felt while standing in an orphanage. If only they could touch these children, THEN, they would feel the burning desire to tell someone else to tell someone else to tell someone else and everyone would "get it" and then we'd make some progress." And I think that's exactly what happened tonight. Katie made the faces of the faceless millions real to alot of folks who haven't touched an orphan before. She brought the reality of the situation home for some who may have never heard the real starkness of what it looks like. And that IS speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves. Katie gave a voice tonight, to all the thousands of fatherless children in Uganda. And it was a genuine voice! Oh, I just wish that everyone who COULD do something, WOULD do something! I know I am preaching to the choir here. I know that almost every single person who reads my blog is touched by adoption in one way or another. But still, there must be someone you could tell who could DO SOMETHING!!!!!

Oh, how sweet it is to be in communion with other believers, other orphan lovers, other brothers and sisters who know the Spirit and recognize Him when they see Him. My sweet friend Kendra had to literally hold me up tonight. I was wracked with sobs for the children, mine and all the ones I can't help! At one point I just had to put my head down and let it out! It's really just too much to bare.... but someone has to carry this banner, and the word is spreading, and I wouldn't give it up even if someone tried to take it from me.

I'm going to stop now and just leave you with a few photos because I realize that none of this is making any sense at all and I'm just spilling out what comes to my head because it's too deep to really be cohesive at this point. I'll just have to sit with it a couple of days. But oh, do I wish I had a blog that got 2,000 hits a day! I wish I was up to thousands of comments with each post. I want to shout this from the rooftops! I'm tired of being invisible! I want a bigger voice for THEM!

You can't tell from the detail in this photo, but this was the most amazing photo of Katie at the check-in table.

Gwen and Suzanne going over the seating chart... they labored over this!

"Jen from Georgia" cutting the cake afterward... wherever Gwen and Suzanne are, I am learning that there are two other things.... 1) Diet Coke (and probably some nasty diet entree of the frozen variety) and 2.) Chocolate!

Here we are after the hall was cleared, just standing in awe of His vision, His provision, and His calling on Katie's life!
Lord, Thank you so much for letting me walk on this path with these amazing women! What a blessing you have given to me!

Monday, July 13, 2009

A REAL Orphan Movie

I just want to share a video worth watching.  This is precious proof of what adoption can look like.  On the surface, my friend Kristi had the "perfect" family.  Two boys, two girls, a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood, stay at home mommy and happy marriage.  But God's "happy" doesn't "look" like the world's definition of happy, He had so much more for them.  So when He called, they added the most gorgeous little Ethiopian treasure to their four bio children and the rest is history.   Watch this video and I dare you not to be touched.  It's so sweet!  

Thanks, Kristi, for sharing Lucy Lane's Homecoming Video with the world!  She is yummy and I am so glad I get to be a little part of her life.

Proverbs 24:11 "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

That Darn Cat

Just sayin'... the cat that was once this sweet little long suffering sweetheart is now the spawn of Satan who attacks anything and everything that moves... including my feet in the middle of the night under the covers!  Ouch!  So out he goes... honestly, I mentioned many times that I'm not really a cat person... I like them well enough, but I don't like to see a cat on the counters after digging around in their toilet.  So since this cat seems to have springs on his feet and climb the curtains, couch, beds, and even people's legs, I think he is really ready for the life of adventure that only outdoors could give him.  I'm putting his litter box in the garage and his food.  I'm leaving a space for him to come in from the weather so he has a refuge, but I think the kids need to play with him inside and put him out when done.... much longer and I'm afraid he's going to get used to living in the conditioned air.  Am I backward to have my 100 pound dog inside and my two pound cat out?  

In other exciting news, we were supposed to dog sit my Sister-in-law's dog, Wilson this weekend.  He's a Bichon (and truly, I love dogs, just not always little dogs....) anyway, this particular dog has never liked me very much because he barks insanely at me every time I come into their home and I always pull the dog-whisperer stuff on him (you know, one finger touch, SHHH.)  Anyway, I had him for all of four hours before he RAN AWAY.  I don't mean that he got lost or wandered off when no one was looking, like you know, a NORMAL dog... I mean RAN for his life as fast as he could the first time the door was cracked open.  Seriously, like, looking over his shoulder as he bolted for his life, running in every direction, z-formation, looking-over-his-shoulder-to-see-if-the-wolf-was-behind-him, just flat-out-sprinting anywhere-but-my-house running away.  Anyway, I do LOVE dogs, as you all know, and I LOVE my niece (and my sister-in-law too, of course) so this was a combination for total trauma at my house for a better part of the day yesterday.  I did NOT want to face my niece and tell her I lost her dog.  And this dog is the most pitiful thing you've ever seen.  When my SIL leaves, he sits on the couch and cries like a baby until she returns... he can't live without her.  He's like a total dependent or something.  It's bizarre the way he LOVES her.  He left about 2 PM and we spent the better part of the day (after I finally lost sight of him) driving around looking for him, calling his name, and squeaking his little toy out the sunroof window.  (You really should have seen me SPRINTING through yards after this dog as fast as I could run, I haven't run that fast in probably... well, ever, maybe.)  Anyway, finally, I gave up.  My sister-in-law called me last night at 9 SOBBING saying, "It's okay, it's not your fault."  sniff sniff... I felt like a total JERK for losing her baby.  (Did I mention that she is on the beach for vacation and my hubby decided to call and tell her we'd lost her dog?  Personally, I wanted to go down to the Humane Society and just put another white poodle dog in the kennel and act like I knew nothing about why he was acting strange, but DH blew that option within an hour of the disappearance. :)  Anyway, if there is one lesson I learned from growing up on the farm, it's that animals have a pretty good record of finding their way home (my Grandfather used to tell stories about a cat he tried to dump that beat him back home by swimming the river where he had to go take the bridge on horseback when he was a kid... but that's another story.)  Anyway, I did the best I could to find the dog and at the end of the night I decided to just leave their garage door slightly cracked, put his kennel and food in the garage, and hope he found his way home. About 7 this morning, my SIL called to say that her neighbor had spotted the little devil and he did, indeed, make it home in the night.  Covered in beggars lice, cockle burrs and filthy, but safe and sound.  Phew!  I guess Thanksgiving dinner will be alot more friendly this year than it might have been.  Never a dull moment around here.  

Question of the day:

Did you know that when a dog accepts your authority or your affection he has an INVOLUNTARY reaction of licking his lips and swallowing?  Don't believe me?  Try it with your pup, he may sit on command, but if he doesn't lick, he hasn't accepted that you are his alpha... when he internalizes your praise (rubbing, sweet talk, etc.) or authority he will involuntarily lick his lips and swallow.  Very interesting!  Now go rub on your puppy!   And thank God I'm not your dog-sitter.  hehehe


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blubbering all day long....

Okay, warning, here comes another post about orphans... (Not the movie, the real orphans, you know, the ones out there without any mommy to tuck them in tonight.)

For some reason, God saw fit to flood my life with visions and images of Ethiopian orphans all day today.  First, I went over to Kristi's house today.  She just returned from Ethiopia with her PRECIOUS (too gorgeous for words) daughter from Ethiopia.  And as if that wasn't enough to send a girl over the edge of jealousy ( I mean, truly, this is a yummy little baby! ) her sister Kelly, showed up with her son, Nathan.  And then comes Tracy and her son.  Angie and her little girl, Macy. And Katie was there (not from Ethiopia, but still the mother of 13 gorgeous little Africans) which, say no more.  But the real kicker was that Tracy's daughter, Elle, just returned from a seven week trip to Africa (where she actually got to spend some time with Gwen's son, Joseph, and shared some photos of that sweet time!) and she was generous enough to show us (all us adoptive mamas) all the photos she took in the various orphanages she served during her time and was even more kind to point out all the beautiful children who are still without families.  Well, you know where this is going! 

I blubbered all the way through it.  I cried for these children who are not likely to find families.  The odds are totally against them that they will ever know the love of a parent.  The odds are not good that they will have any opportunity at what we know as family.  The odds are about 147,000,000 to one, in fact.  So, how can I say to Brian, just this morning, that I know I am done having kiddos because I am getting rid of all my baby stuff at the fall consignment sales and not one bit sad about it.  And in the same day, see children without mothers and WEEP for them, knowing that I can't parent them and they likely don't have alot of hope of finding any parent in life.  I come home and Kristine has posted a link on her blog to a family who is in Ethiopia right now adopting a sibling group of three.  Wow!  And Tracy and her family are in the process of adopting four children from Ethiopia to add to their already full home.  And again, I'm driven to that place in my heart where I ask God why He shows me all this if He doesn't intend to use me to "fix" it somehow.  And at the same time, I know that "fixing" it, doesn't necessarily mean bringing another child into my home.  It means something bigger.  There's nothing bigger for ONE CHILD than joining a family.  And someone (maybe you!) are a child's only chance at a family.  But I can't adopt 147,000,000, so no matter how many times I decide to add a child to my home, somewhere it has to end and there will still be beautiful children out there without mamas.  I'll still be running across stories and photos all the times of others who need a Mommy.  It's just the life I live, I am "in that circle" where everyone I know is in the throes of this life we call 'orphan awareness.'  So, as much as EVERY part of me wants to grab up every child in every one of Elle's photos and be "the one" for "that one", I also know that at some point, I have to figure out how to be bigger than myself... how to be bigger than bringing one child into this one home.  And I know that God already knows the answer to that.  

Will you please pray with me that He will reveal to me what He wants me to do with all this? What will bring Him glory in my sorrow for these children?  What is His big idea in how we can all work together to solve this crisis.  It is a crisis.  We CAN all work together.  If we all do something, we'll be one body and the body will be complete.  What's my part?  What's yours?

Monday, July 06, 2009

I love you... I love you not!

Dear Blackberry, I love you! I love the technology of your scheduling and tasking capabilities! I love that you allow me to "ping" my husband when I add important events to my calendar that HE TOO needs to attend (like kids' plays and certain doctors appointments.) I love that since I met you, I have not missed ONE birthday party. Not one! And any friend of my children will tell you that this is a most unusual accomplishment for me.
I did not even want to meet this you, Blackberry. I was pressured into it by my husband and friends who said I had fallen behind the times with my cute little pink flip phone. They made me do it! And though I have come to love you, I can't go on like this anymore. It's really not you, it's me! I have become too obsessed, too attached, it's not good for either one of us. I vowed when I met you that I would not become one of "those" people who checked their e-mail during meaningful events and face to face conversations, but alas, I was caught red handed today at my boys' last swim meet of the season. You just make it too easy to read the blog comments and I can't help myself! And then there are all the friendships that are falling by the wayside because of you. Sure, I'm easier to reach now. But how can anyone possibly expect me to respond to my e-mail on that tiny little keyboard of yours. I was determined not to be one of those "one line response, abbreviated word people" who think I'm appeased by their signature that says, "Pardon the Brevity, sent from my Blackberry." But what's a girl to do? I have normal human hands! To soften the blow, I'd like to introduce you to one of my daughter's friends. Her name is Barbie. You guys would be perfect for one another... her hands are practically made for your keyboard.
Big-fingered Addict


Just wanted to make a quick note... I don't have a ton of time today because Brian's cousin is visiting from Ireland and we are off to lunch (with all four kids in tow), so I have to be quick.

Way back when, when I commented on the "Orphan" movie, I turned on the comment moderation for that post and boy am I glad that I did. I got some pretty nasty messages from folks and even a few folks who wanted to post links to their sites that are OPPOSED to orphan adoption. Can you even imagine me allowing such a thing??? But the thing I find most interesting is that TO A PERSON, every SINGLE one of these nasty commenters or the people who supported this movie or opposed adoption were ANONYMOUS. I went to great lengths to try to find or identify the guy who has two sites dedicated to opposing adoption, but he has no identifying information and you can't even leave him a comment on either of those sites, you have to use a third party venue to comment, which he moderates, and then never posted any of my comments, which obviously disagreed with him. I guess, in truth, I did the same to him since I didn't publish his comment either (I didn't want to get any traffic to his site by people following the links he posted in his comment.) Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that none of these people who wanted to so boldly support this tasteless movie and wanted to be so petty and cheap in making fun of my "sensitivity" would not leave their names. Not one of them had the guts to put their name to their comment... I think that alone should tell them and everyone else that at best, they are uncertain about the validity of their feelings and they don't want anyone to know how they feel! If you can't live your beliefs in the light of day, maybe you should rethink your beliefs??? I'm just sayin'!

Psalm 63:9-10 The Message translation
"But the king is glad in God; his true friends spread the joy, while small-minded gossips are gagged for good."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What could you do today to begin to live with a bigger, better view of God?

That is the question that ends Chapter 3 in "In a Pit...." and it is similar to what Frances Chan asks in "Crazy Love", "What are you doing today that is causing you to live by faith?" Both these questions make me stop and pause. But then you just turn the page in Batterson's book and there are some core rocking points he makes. In telling about a lady who was afraid to step out for God (in this case, go on a mission trip to Ethiopia, but it could have been anything... expect healing for a child, save a marriage, etc. etc.) he recounts her story. Sarah says, "there are a MILLION reasons why I shouldn't go." She goes on to talk about finances, commitments, lack of talent, etc. etc. that she told herself all pointed to reasons NOT to follow this burning call. However, she ends her story this way, "But I only needed one reason to go: I was called." Wow! I really wish I had the kind of faith that would allow me to put aside EVERY good reason not to and just follow the one reason that matters most!

Isn't that how it happens so many times? At least for me it does. I know I am called to do something (whether it be share my story with someone or help an orphan), but I can reason and "think" my way through all the excuses of why it must be something I ate rather than the moving of the Holy Spirit. I can count all the talents I lack, all the financial reasons why things don't make any sense, I can think of the commitment I have already made to my own children and allow them to be the righteous reason I turn down opportunities. But in the end, none of these things need to make sense to God. In the end, He is just waiting for me to step out DESPITE all these things, simply because He asked me too. When I learn to live like that, THEN God will find glory in my story. Then my Lord will be exalted by my life. Then, and only then, will I experience God's unleashed power. There are so many small things in my life that I don't trust Him for. So many things in my life that I feel are "up to me". How absurd! Despite MY best efforts, here I am still wallowing in my pit of "me." Hmmm, maybe it's time that I give up "me" and try a HE approach to all this?

The caption leading up to Sarah's story says it all: "She decided to live her life in a way that was worth telling stories about."

Thank you Matt for the quote today! :)

"I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone." St. Francis of Assisi