Monday, May 28, 2007

What do YOU do?

So- what do you do when someone says something to intentionally hurt you? How about when someone says something to intentionally hurt your child? How do you react? Are you a 'mama bear' and stop at nothing to protect your child or do you allow him/her to endure the momentary pain of the moment and use it as a teaching tool?

I am experiencing this today, with one of our Liberian children. At the moment, I feel so helpless and I so want to be the 'momma bear' that swoops in and protects in the face of it all. I cannot- I would, but it isn't even possible. It feels so insignificant when I say, "You know those statements are not true, sweetheart, that person is lying and trying to hurt your heart." What do you say when your child is absolutely broken hearted? I couldn't say anything...I cried. I could only say, "I am so sorry you have to endure this- I am so sorry!" It was the first time I have shown any 'weakness' to our Liberian children, I think our son was taken by surprise.

I remind myself of all the promises God has made- and even at times like these, He is ultimately in control. I also remind myself there is a time and a season for all things. My human side surfaces and I say to God, "Haven't these children suffered enough? Give me their suffering- spare them!" I know there is a reason for everything and God has His plan for this situation... my flesh is so weak today and I struggle and weep at the thought of being without our Liberian children even one more day. My mother's heart aches...

Through all this, I am grateful for my Heavenly Father and this blessing of motherhood he has bestowed upon me. I am grateful that I have the heart for these children and that even though it is painful, I can feel their sorrows. These feelings help me to understand just a hint of what our children have endured over the last 10 years and helps me to pray even more fervently for them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

You are someone's miracle

Have you ever stopped to think you may be someone's miracle? If it was raining, would you give someone your umbrella? If you were behind someone in the check-out line and they were short $5, would you give it to them? Do you go out of your way to look for people to bless, every day?

God said to Abram (Genesis 12:2), "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing." God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new land where God promised to build a great nation from Abram's family. Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God's promise of even greater blessings in the future. God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for him. Don't let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God's plan for you.

We all seem to be willing to receive, are we willing to give? To what extent? If we do something for someone who cannot pay us back, we are lending to the Lord. We are doing God a favor. Do you know that God will repay us? He will bless us more than what we gave in the first place! We have the opportunity every day to be someone's miracle. It doesn't have to be big things- maybe you don't have $$ to lend, but you do have your time. Spending time with someone and giving them the gift of your time can mean even more than your money.

What about good and positive gestures? Do you hold the door for people out in public? Have you ever considered taking someone's cart for them after they've loaded their car? Do you stop when you see a new mother with her newborn? What about bringing your neighbor a loaf of fresh bread or a home cooked meal? Have you ever considered adopting a widow or helping out a single mother by watching her children one night so she can have a break?

Life involves both risk and opportunity. Because life has no guarantees, we must be prepared. In Ecclesiastes 11:1 it says, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." This means that life has opportunities and we must seize them, not merely play it safe. We need a spirit of trust and adventure, facing life's risks and opportunities with God-directed enthusiasm and faith.

Proverbs 19:17 says, "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done." Here God identifies with the poor as Jesus does in Matthew 25:31-46. As our Creator, God values all of us, whether we are poor or rich. When we help the poor, we honor both the Creator and his creation. God accepts our help as if we had offered it directly to him.

You may be praying for a miracle today. The first step is to look for someone to bless, become someone's miracle and yours will surely be on its way. God has such wonderful plans for our lives, lets be a blessing to others and put a smile on His face! When we strive to bless others, the Lord will not only provide all of our needs but provide in abundance. You cannot out-give God!

Today I am thankful for:
~The miracle God worked in our lives this week through a business transaction that went through. We must have been someone's miracle because God sent us one on Friday! Thank you, Father- we praise your holy name!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's the little things

Today I am grateful for:
~cartoons to occupy the children while I wake up and start breakfast
~enough eggs to cook breakfast
~a washing machine that will clean the clothes for me
~a warm shower
~warm weather & sunshine
~the vacuum cleaner, to clean up after my 1 year old
~the camera, to capture what it is she did
~extra tools so Kaleb can work with daddy and do "man stuff"
~dish soap
~a riding lawn mower
~my yummy smelling lavender plants
~fresh bread
~wild flowers
~the ability to identify poison ivy!!
~library cards
~mail that is delivered to the end of our driveway
~running water to wash my tired but happy children
~kitty cats
~ceiling fans
~a comfy bed & warm blankets
~good dreams

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Little Glimpses

Do you believe in coincidence? Do you believe in luck or fate? I used to believe that I was a very 'unlucky' person because I never won any prize, never seemed to win any $$ off the occasional scratch-off lottery ticket purchased, etc. I thought, "Man, I just can't catch a break!"

Then, I came to believe there is no such thing as coincidence or luck. My new saying became, "Coincidence...I think not!" I began to understand that God is working behind the scenes of my life- no matter if I see Him or not. I began to learn and understand what it means to have faith during those 'dry seasons' when I just don't see anything happening. I now understand that He is a God of purpose and THE God of the universe- thus aligning my life and yours for His purpose. In knowing this, why would I ever worry again?

We know with absolute certainty that God has brought these 4 Liberian children to us for His specific purpose. We feel like a broken record when people ask us about the paperwork and when we think they're coming home. Truthfully, we just don't have any idea. During this journey, the past year, we've come to learn even more that we are not in control of this situation. We seem to be learning this truth over and over again-at different levels. Just about the time we think we can determine how things will work out- something happens to throw our thinking to the wind.

Also during this time, God has given us little glimpses that He is in control. He has sent us people, words of encouragement during difficult times, specific scripture verses & many other little glimpses that He is working behind the scenes.

What does the word confirmation mean to you?

There can be many meanings...but when it pertains to our Lord, to me it means that God has sent me a glimpse that He is working and hasn't forgotten me. To me, it means that He sees my every tear, feels my every frustration and walks along side of me even when I think I am alone.

I've also come to learn that when I believe and have faith, I release His power. I don't want to tie His hands by my unbelief. I want Him to fully bring forth His plan & His blessings for my life. Therefore, I am learning every day how to gain a new level of faith.

Just last night I found confirmation in the very first Psalm, verses 2-3. "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

Today I have gratitude for:
~a Lord who guides me and looks out for me, especially during the times I struggle to put one foot in front of the other
~the glimpses, no matter how small they seem, that lets me know He is still working
~the family & life He has given me, to enjoy every moment of every day

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"The" Ivy & "The" Oak

Answers anyone? The mystery plant is poison ivy/oak. Just to warn you- the last few days have been a blur- thus today will be an update and I'll be back tomorrow morning with more thoroughly formed thoughts & gratitudes.

Thursday was my preparation day. I prepared the laundry, the food and the house for my 2 day absence (Fri & Sat) to attend the Homeschool Conference in Searcy, AR. It took me all day to prepare to leave and I didn't actually pack until about 11pm Thursday night. Friday morning came all too quickly at 5am and I was out the door by 5:45am. I put the bills in the mailbox, ran the paycheck into town to the night deposit box & was on my way to Searcy by 6am.

I arrived to Harding University (beautiful Christian campus, by the way!!) at the time of registration and was soon on my way to hear the first keynote speaker of the day. I spent all day Friday at the convention attending seminars & looking at curriculum/talking to vendors. I enjoyed a nice dinner with some fellow homeschool moms/friends and retired to my hotel room by 8pm.

I set out to complete a long night ahead of me. Organizing thoughts, praying about curriculum, thinking about what seminars to attend Saturday & attempting to start a new, yearly prayer list for our children. In between all of that I took a bubble bath too....

Long story short, after only sleeping about an hour, my cellphone rang. My lovely husband was on the other end but wasn't sounding all that lovely at the moment. The only words I remember are, "You need to come home right now, I'm having some kind of allergic reaction." Talk about panic mode!! I was up, packed and out of the hotel room in less than 5 minutes. Searcy is about a 2 1/2 hr. drive to home so I knew it would be a while before I got there.

I called hubby again and asked him to call his sister to come and sit with the kids while he drove himself to the ER. After that phone call, I knew he'd never make it driving by himself. I pondered for about 3 seconds and then picked up my cellphone and called 9-1-1. I sent an ambulance to the house and they arrived the same time as hubby's sister.

Longer story short...hubby had a severe reaction to poison ivy/oak. He was taken by ambulance from our home, given an I.V. with epinephrine, steroids & benedryl on the way to the E.R. By the time I got home at 2:30am, he was just about to be released. I came home, checked blood sugars & headed back in the car to get hubby from the E.R. I'm told he looked a lot better upon coming home than at the time of the ambulance ride...

So, today I'm home- sleepy from only getting 3-4 hours sleep, but home.
Today I am grateful for:
Family that lives close by and will come when they're needed
A 9-1-1 system that we can rely on
An ambulance that will/can come in a moment's notice
A reliable vehicle to bring me home in the middle of the night
A hospital that treated my husband immediately and prevented him from going into anaphalactic shock
Children who 'slept through it all'
And last but not least... a God who guides and protects through it all!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The price of education

In America, is there a price on education? My first thought would be to think of college- of course there is a PRICE- there's a very big price to attend college! But more simply than that, do we have restrictions on education? I'm sure there are more categories than I can think of at the moment, but how about that we are 'allowed' to homeschool our children? What about that we can pick up our bibles & 'religious' education materials and learn about God anytime we choose? We can virtually have & read any book, anytime, anywhere. If we don't have the resources to purchase the books, we have libraries full of them just waiting for us to walk through the doors and read them.

What about the freedom to educate ourselves on any subject we desire? There are no restrictions on what we learn and teach our children. We may encounter nay-sayers and deal with the occasional "you're crazy" comment, but we aren't prohibited by anyone or anything other than our consciences (or leading of the Holy Spirit).

Does education impart wisdom? How do we know what materials to read that will guide us in the 'right direction?' What materials actually help us and don't clutter our minds with useless information? What materials actually make you feel smarter? Are we good stewards of this privilege?
These are just a few of the resources we've been looking at and learning from this past year regarding the adoptions. Trying to strike a balance between what is required of us by different 'agencies' and what we feel led to learn- that's the tricky part. There is the green binder...the one that's been with me since the beginning...the one that holds every piece of paper pertaining to the adoptions. This binder holds records of donations (for personal and tax purposes), encouraging notes from friends & those we don't even know. It holds many, many important forms and documents relating to the legality of the process. The green binder also holds many examples of families that have gone before us, their stories of adjustment & the responses of their Liberian children.

The white binder holds all the 'love letters' that have been sent to us from the children. I've categorized them all by child and by date (including every single envelope). This is the binder I go to when I'm feeling lonely for them or overwhelmed by the length of the process. This binder alone sets things into perspective for me. The love and adoration I feel just feeling and seeing these pages is indescribable. These are my children- there is nothing I wouldn't do or endure for them.
The smaller, single binders with their names are for journaling. These binders I will record the big and little details that they go through during this next year. All the adjustments, all the joys as well as the sorrows. They will be the record of the past meeting the future...

This is the bible I have been using for the last 5 years- the most influential years of my life thus far. We probably have 5-6 different translations in this house, but this is the book I keep coming back to. This translation God has used to speak VOLUMES to me... For me, if I stay focused- this is THE book we need to base our entire lives on. The other books are fillers, but to discern the important things- this book is the dictionary!

Today I am grateful for the gift of education. Enough said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The trimming of the trees

Today I am grateful for:
~a husband who (after 2 years of talking about it) tends to the manicuring of our beautiful yard
~the laughter and joy this invokes in me as he looks at me and says, "What have I gotten myself into?"
~that God has given me a 'rough & tumble' boy who loves being with his father, learning to do 'man stuff.'
~the heart of my son who picks one leaf from every brush pile and announces that these are special leaves, just for his 'brothers and sisters from Africa.'
~that God has given me 2 children with sky-blue eyes (even though mine are the dominant brown). Eyes to remind me of my husband and eyes that remind me of my grandparents.
~the privelege to stay home, love & educate our children.

I came across this checklist for 'homeschool' moms, whether we homeschool or not, I believe this is a comprehensive list to look at in terms of raising our children. I am adding this list to my prayer pages for our children!


1. Do I take the time to cultivate a reverent, fervent, joyful heart and home life?
2. Do I work hard to provide spiritual leadership through good example and teaching?
3. Do I require my children to show proper respect toward both parents?
4. Do I keep my children busy doing good things?
5. In my pursuit to teach my children independent living and learning, do I patiently exhort those who refuse to work, encourage those who lack confidence, and help those who truly need direct assistance?
6. Do I seek to be a peacemaker by encouraging kindness and prohibiting revenge?
7. Do I give thanks in all circumstances, knowing God will bring good from them?
8. Do I eliminate influences and activities which are not the best for my family?
9. Do I teach my children to discern good from evil and to seek God's will for their own lives?
10. When I see God's Spirit beginning to work in my child, do I avoid squelching this progress with my own impatience and perfectionism?
11. Do I pray earnestly and continually for my children?

Monday, May 14, 2007


Many years ago, I heard of the idea of a 'gratitude journal.' I've never actually started one, but it's stayed in the back of my mind all this time. After celebrating mother's day and reflecting on everything that has transpired since I've become a mother, I've vowed to start a gratitude journal. The biggest thing I think about when it comes down to writing in a gratitude journal is that there are so many things in my day that I should be grateful for- but end up not paying attention to or forgetting about. So, in between the adoption updates I'll be sharing a bit of my 'gratitude' entries here for you to see.

I'll begin by back-dating to yesterday, Mother's Day 2007.
I'm grateful for:
a husband who tells me "I'm so happy you're my wife- I love our life."
children who sleepily come to me- just crawling out of bed- to get their morning hugs& kisses
a home of our own that we can be comfortable in & extend hospitality to others
the ability to call half way around the world to hear my son say, "Happy Mother's Day, Mum!"
a heart that God uses & continues to grow an amazing love for my husband and ALL of our children
a spirit of contentment that I finally have after previous years of knowing and feeling "I'm missing something..."

Faith is not in understanding; Faith is yielding to God's will, Resting on His word of promise in assurance calm and still. Faith is looking unto Jesus, trusting where it cannot see, Faith is resting on His promise. Faith is glorious victory.

"One who trusts in the Lord is secure." Proverbs 29: 25

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

Faith is nothing at all tangible. It is simply believing God!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This Bumpy Road

As we continue on this bumpy road, I am continually reminded to be encouraged. "Life" is not easy...would we really want it to be? Yea, it might be nice at times- but what really determines 'living?' To know that you're alive, to know you are following God's plan for your life, to know you (or your family) might feel like you're suffering- but to know it will be 'worth it' in the end is priceless....

"You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord who fought for you... Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left...You know with all your heart and soul that not one of these good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed." Joshua 23: 3,6,14

"for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts..." Psalms 95: 7-8

"We live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5: 7

"May the God of hope full you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3: 16-19